How are Homeschools Like Snowflakes?

How are homeschools like snowflakes? No two look the same! Most people think we are flakes because we spend all day with our kids. Some days I would argue, but most days I agree!

But seriously, in the past I’ve found myself trying to make our homeschool look just like my friend’s. I’ve even tried to make our homeschool look like some fanciful image from my imagination. In this image all my kids are eager to learn and sit around our kitchen table, quietly anticipating each nugget of wisdom that drops from their mother’s lips. Yeah, RIGHT! Our reality looks NOTHING like that!

This is what our homeschool looks like:

  • One son who wakes at the crack of dawn every morning.
  • Another son who has inherited his mother’s insomnia and therefore sleeps in most mornings.
  • Three children who will do as little school work as they can get away with so they can get on to gaming.
  • Three children who are anything but quiet!
  • Three children who are, well, CHILDREN.
  • A mom who has to really work to be organized.

And you know what? It’s ok! My children are learning and progressing and I’m sure yours are too. So relax and rejoice in your flakiness! Happy Homeschooling 😉

What Language is Cursive?

One day when my kids were all much younger, one of them asked me during school, “Mamma, what language is cursive?” I had pretty much decided to let my kids continue to believe that cursive is another language. I mean, who really uses it anymore in our computer age? It seems to have all but become obsolete. MyHero trumped my decision which he is always free to do.

So now my kids have to do daily cursive writing practice. We use a workbook which I have laminated. This way my kids can all share and reuse the same pages as many times as they need to. I simply assign one page, front and back per day. They use a dry erase marker and I check it when they are done.

Now that my kids seem to have a pretty decent handle on what each of the cursive letters are, and that they are not some foreign language, I’m starting something new. One day a week they will have to write each of their spelling words in cursive three times. The cool thing is that www.spellingcity.com provides a quick and easy way to print spelling pintables for this. They’ll be learning their spelling words and cursive at the same time!

LBP2 Night!

We are having a LBP2 night tonight! Some of you are wondering, “What in the heck is an LBP and should I be worried that there are two of them?” It stands for Little Big Planet. I know, that really clears things up for you! It’s only the coolest game in the imaginosphere! Not only do you get your very own Sack Person, but you can dress him or her anyway you want. Plus, after you’ve played all the levels in Story Mode, you can go to your “Moon” and create your own levels!

I’m thinking there have GOT to be all kinds of homeschooling  applications within this game! After all, we homeschoolers are all about unconventional learning! For one thing they are learning to work as a team as their little Sack People have to figure out how to get through the different levels. They also learn problem solving as they work through different puzzles. At the top of the list is that they are stretching their creativity as they come up with and make levels of their own.

Relax! Enjoy the Ride!

What is it with kids? Ours have been asking for a few weeks to have a picnic in the park after church. So we finally took them. We even got lunch meat and cheese so we didn’t have to eat PB&J. MyHero got a bag of chips and juice packets. Wouldn’t you know it? They still found reasons to complain!

MyHero wanted to do some geocaching while we were at the park. ManBoy didn’t want to. We did it anyway. Fashionista, living up to her name, decided to wear some not-so-practical shoes. She ended up with blisters on her feet. RoboBoy complained that we didn’t get to bring bicycles or do anything fun. Sigh.

I told the kids that we are just horrible ogre parents. I mean we MUST be since we tried to take them out for a nice day! Oh, we can’t forget how we let them go to the top of the big hill and roll down! One little girl there told MyHero, “If you were younger, you could do it too! You’d fall in love with it!” It’s unforgivable that we offered to take them for slushies afterward. Perhaps it comes with maturity, being able to relax and simply enjoy the ride.

A Suppliment to Our Curriculum

I’ve found a great new supplement to our homeschool curriculum! It’s called Homeschool Advantage. I love the way they methodically review facts until the student really has them stuck in their brain. Plus they also keep records of what was learned each day. Students are encouraged to make mistakes. In fact they are told that it is an important part of the learning process.

One of my kids has really struggled to memorize the multiplication tables. I’m hoping that this site will help all that to change. Homeschool Advantage also has courses for Geography, History, Science, Social Studies, Spanish, Spelling, Vocabulary Building and Vocabulary SAT/GRE Prep. It’s very easy to go in and assign courses to each of your students.

Oh, and the best part! The price is very reasonable! It’s one monthly or annual fee for your whole family! There is also a free 30 day trial. ManBoy, who is probably my pickiest student, tried it and loved it. He didn’t want to quit.

Feed Their Passions

One of the characteristics of Aspies is that they tend to become focused on one interest at a time. RoboBoy tends to focus on 2-3 interests at a time. Right now one of RoboBoy’s passions is origami. That is also the beauty of homeschooling. We are able to feed the passions of our children. This allows them to grow and become the unique people that God designed them to be.

We discovered that our local library was hosting a free origami workshop. RoboBoy was practically vibrating with excitement! We learned to make butterfly balls which you see in the photo above. The neat thing about these is that when you throw them in the air and smack them, they come apart and all the pieces come fluttering down like butterfly wings. Very cool! Even more cool? We found out that our library hosts an origami workshop once a month.

I encourage you to check your local library. It’s quite likely that they have similar workshops. If they don’t then you can suggest that they start some.

Too Many Words!

We use Time4Learning as our homeschool curriculum. This works great for my two older children. My youngest is on the Autism Spectrum and tends to get overwhelmed by too much text on the screen. I used to deal with this by reading all his lessons aloud to him.

Then I realized that he needs practice in reading his assignment for himself.

At the suggestion of my friend, I started trading off reading with him. For example, I might read the first paragraph on the page and then he would read the second and so on. This kept him from feeling so overwhelmed. It helped to build his confidence in his ability to read and allowed him to transition into being able to read his lessons all by himself. I’m really looking forward to seeing improvements in his end of the year testing scores for reading comprehension as happened for both his siblings as a result of using this curriculum! ManBoy went up seven grade levels in his reading comprehension while Fashionista went up about five!

Screentime Woes

My husband, who I’m going to call MyHero, and I have been brainstorming ideas for how to regulate screentime for our children so that it’s fair for all and I don’t have to deal with arguments. One of the ideas we’re looking at trying is schedualing specific times for each child to have access to the computer or TV. Their times wouldn’t start til after noon.

See one of our issues is that they rush through their homeschooling schoolwork so that they can be the first to get to play. Hopefully having set times will eliminate that.

I also deal with, “Moooooom!!! He’s getting extra tiiiiime!! I want extra time if HE got extra time!” The problem is that usually they have NO idea how much extra time their sibling actually got. They seem to always forget to set a timer! Of course the one who’s getting the extra time denies that it’s anything over what they were entitled to. I can’t seem to get them to understand the concept that when you’re playing a game it doesn’t feel like you’ve been doing it for 3 hours. However, for the one who’s waiting it feels like it’s been 5 hours!

Our Unscheduled Field Trip

I promised to share about ManBoy’s 8 staples. It happened this past summer when we went to visit my folks for vacation. I grew up in rural AR. It is beautiful country. One of my favorite childhood memories is swimming in the Cassatot River. Back then it was not a state park. This is something that I’ve always wanted my kids to experience.

So the first full day we were in AR, we headed out to The River. It turned out that the area where we always swam was extremely crowded so my aunts, sister and nephew wanted to show us another area where they liked to go. They called it The Slide.

We had to do a little bit of hiking to get there. My sister, nephew and kids were a little ahead of us and were the first into the water. As we were coming up to The Slide, my sister said, “Dee, you need to come look at ManBoy!” It seems that slippery rocks and excited kids equals one of them smacking his head on a hard rock! And that is how we ended up taking a “field trip” to the ER while on vacation!

Life with Boys!

It’s so much fun having boys! While at our Life Group one night, all the adults were sitting in the living room visiting when RoboBoy walked in and showed me his hands. They had some blood on them. Then he turned and showed me the back of his head. There was a spot where his hair was matted with blood.

“Oh, m’gosh, son!! What happened??” He was playing around and hit his head on the corner of a toy chest. OUCH! He was so calm about it all though.

We took him into the kitchen and cleaned his head up a bit so we could assess the damage. There was a small gash that probably would have required about two stitches. Since the cut wasn’t too bad and since he IS a boy, we improvised! Our friend pulled out the super glue, which he uses to close cuts on his own hands from laying carpet. We literally glued RoboBoy’s head back together! By the way, we did check to make sure that his eyes dilated and he was fine. After seeing his older brother get 8 staples, this seems like nothing! But that is a story for another post!