Monday, July 13, 2015

New Year of Homeschool:

At the Bird's Nest, we have started our third year of homeschooling. We have one Pre-teen and one teenager. I always like to evaluate how everything is going about every four months. I have learned already, expect change, and expect more change.

The first time I evaluate is the beginning of the Year. I knew we needed to add in a little more fun and less academics from books. I know my kids are more visual learners so I wanted to add more of that. I also know the love to learn on the Computer as much as from a book.

The kids were wanting to learn instruments and foreign languages. I was wanting them to learn a little more technology related things, like coding. Since they are very independent learns, by personalities, I had to find something they could do at their own pace and by themselves.

My husband, aka The Mister, was really starting to participate more. I have chronic health problems and that was very much needed. He was wanting to do my science related things, like simple mechanics.

It was getting time to pull this all together for the new school year. (We go year round but tend to take June off.) I had been for months reading about this method and that method. I decided to detour from our normal way. A way, I might add, that was pretty much working.

So I spent a week making a schedule, and it lasted part of a week. It was too ridged for us. I didn't have set hours or time limits. It was just a list of subjects to study everyday. There was no spaces of : I want to finish this, or I want to do the science experiment and not wait until whatever day. Plus to be honest, my kids and their parents, are good for about 4-5 hours. We can do six, but.....

There also wasn't anytime to allow for our numerous dr. appointments. For instance, we have 4 this week. We did some school on Sunday, the kids are doing some projects that don't require adult help, so they do whenever they feel the need during the week.

This is what work for us, we use an outline. We, meaning I, write down things to do for that day. I usually do it the night before and sometimes do two days in a row. There is one thing we are going to do religiously, math. I feel we need to kick this up a little more, and they also asked to do more. We go down the list checking off activity by activity. It roughly resembles loop schedule. I do have a list of things I want to do this week and I compile that usually on Sunday(my planning day). I keep looking for one I haven't wrote on the back of a math worksheet or envelope of a bill. It goes something like this:

Math(Khan) 60 min.
Code 45 min.
Camp google
Doc. on Netflix
Youtube Video
Report: Ocean Animal
    Independent 60
    Classic 30
     Book in the Box  30

I go into a little more detail, and this one doesn't have music or the ten other things we have going on.  Sometimes, I do write down specific things on certain days. For example: We are just going to do Code on Tuesday and Thursday(which didn't happen, the kids have asked to do it everyday. I figured why the have interest is the best time to learn.)

I looked into other math programs for us and came back to Khan. That was working and I really don't know why I was looking to change. I'm supplementing with worksheets, games and everyday life.

Science:  We are doing life science right now. My kids are visual learners. We are using Documentaries from Netflix, YouTube, DVR, the library, etc. We also are big into STEM (which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.) We also have started into STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) We are going to bump up how many experiments we are going to do a week. My husband is starting some stuff  like small machines, carpentry, pulleys and gears, etc. We plan to start adding in some chemistry, the second part of the year.

Language Arts: I feel like we are going radical into language arts. Basically, we are focusing on creative writing and have done some worksheets here and there. We have found a few things on the web, and I look forward to seeing how the work for us. I have read articles, and I'm going to stay the course, and re-evaluate at third sections. Next year, I may be panicking.  We also have started blogging and do reports.  I hope to have the opportunity to throw in a little grammar here and there.

Coding: We have decided to have our kids start learning code and computer programming. We are using at the moment.

We are using Duolingo for foreign language. We are just started.

I'm so excited to see how this year goes for the kids. They have changed back into the kids that I sent off to Public school. My son is even wearing sandals/flip-flops. You will never know how that is such a big deal.

                                         Now some pictures of last year's learning and fun!
Here is the kids working on Engineering fun.

Mini Me is modeling the paper chain Anaconda. We learned about Anaconda's when we studied the rain forest.

Mini Her took this picture for our ongoing Photography class.

Field trip on the Missouri River.

The Mini's showing off their paintings.

The Mister and the Mini's rescuing a turtle.

Mini Her learning a new life skill on a field trip.

Mini Him doing some reading.

The mini's showing off there Viking ships.

Mini Her working in the Garden.

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