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Showing posts from February, 2015

Learning about Birds Through Observation

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We were heading out this morning and manged to find quite a lot of birds to observe.



While driving we saw a hawk fly over our car and land in a big tree near the edge of the road.  It was across the street from the parking lot so all the boys got to see it sitting up in the tree.  The light brown feathers really worked like camouflage for the bird and we were all a bit awed at the size.

The yard next door had many bright red cardinals and some big blue jays too.

We were having fun watching the birds then I spotted the bald eagle sitting in a tree along the water's edge!  We pulled into the driveway and were able to park the car so all the boys got to see the eagle sitting in the tree.


Seeing the bald eagle brought up the topic of predators and prey.  Alec was happy to teach us all everything he has learned about birds.
The size of female and male birds of prey.  Ian assumed since this was the smaller of the two bald eagles spotted lately that it must be the female but Alec tol…

Self- Directed and Teacher- Directed Learning Mesh

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We had a quick morning of work today.  I  had a dentist appointment this morning and my mom was coming to watch the boys so I wouldn't have to drag them with me.  I told them they only had to do math and reading for today but they surprised me by choosing to do even more!


Our days are often a mix of traditional teaching methods where I teach and guide lessons and a mix of delight directed learning where the boys choose what else we are learning about. 

Math-- Each of the boys took their 20 minute turn on Khan Academy.  Ian is starting to hate it since the deeper he gets into 4th/5th grade math the harder it gets.  He then pulled out his math book and completed a page drawing lines to specific measurements; I'm thinking we might just turn to book work altogether.

Evan had worked in his Star Wars book and completed a page on counting by 10's up to 250.  He needed a bit of help but did a good job.  He also worked on Khan Academy for a bit and was thrilled to earn tons of mast…

It's All Fun and Games: Declaring a "Game Day" in our Homeschool

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After another mid-week sleepover with my younger two and a couple of days filled with schoolwork and book work, I decided to declare today a fun movie and game day.



I loaded some new computer games onto each of the computers-- Where in the U.S.A. Is Carmen Sandiego?  and Oregon Trail.

I pulled out board games like Q Bitz,Spot It! Fire and Ice, and Geo Dice.

I pulled out science kits like Wind Powered Car and Big Bag of Science.

I pulled out movies like Schoolhouse Rock,The Magic School Bus, and Liberty's Kids.

 I had the kids pick and chose what interested them and we just learned through play and exploration. We set aside our regular schoolwork and our geography/ history fair reports and just focused on enjoying ourselves.

At first I wasn't sure this was going to go well.  Ian and I started playing Q Bitz and then Evan and Alec asked what we were doing and wanted a turn to try.    It is a super fun game though and you have to use a lot of math and strategy.



Evan then reque…

One Moment at A Time

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Some of our best school days take place when we're just quietly working and plugging away at our schoolwork.  I try to take each day one moment at a time and follow the boys leads as much as possible.


Our days have a nice slow flow and rhythm to them that has taken us a long time to find.

We started our day by starting another chapter book together over breakfast.  We try to start each day with a read aloud.  It helps settle us into a nice day of schoolwork and gives us all a slow ease into our day.  We enjoy starting the day altogether.

 To continue on in our World War II unit we've started reading Danger in the Darkest Hour.  It's a new book in the Magic Tree House series.  We're really enjoying another book with Jack and Annie; we really missed them!

We ended up reading two chapters and the boys were concerned that Jack and Annie are going to be parachuting behind enemy lies; "won't that make them better targets for the bad guys?"  We can't wait …

The Benefit of Using Workbooks

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I have not always been a fan of workbooks.

I usually try to avoid using them.

I prefer for our learning to be hands-on and fun but my boys were asking for book work.

Then there are days like today when I am reminded of why there are days when we just love our workbooks!  



While they aren't always the best lessons, or the most exciting, they do give us a certain bit of freedom.

1.  We can take our schoolwork with us! We did a small bit of school while in the car today.

The boys had karate class and then we headed out to lunch with my mom.  We spent the entire afternoon visiting with her, my sister, and my niece.  It was nice and relaxing and both Ian and Evan had a great time playing with my niece.  She's a year and a half old so they built towers out of cardboard stacking blocks and let her knock them down.  Then they tried to teach her some new phrases and words.  They all had so much fun.

Knowing we were going to have a really relaxed day I had asked the boys to bring som…

Flying Through the Work

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I just love days where everything seem to click!

I don't know why Monday's always seem to be filled with schoolwork.

I'm not sure if I'm trying to overcompensate for our lazy weekends or if it's just because Mondays tend to be quiet days at home and we have more time for school.

 I do know it sure seems to work!



We got so much done today and I was floored by how much the kids WANTED to work and learn today.  

I often hear of homeschoolers telling me their kids love their workbooks or want to go on in a subject and normally I'm sitting there thinking "I forced them to finish one worksheet today!"

But today I could honestly say they were all engaged and fairly willing  to work.

We've fallen into a morning routine that works really well for us.

I exercised while the boys slowly woke.  Evan went right to playing the Wii U for a bit while Ian and Alec decided to stay in bed and watch movies.  Evan soon joined Alec and all was quiet.  I was able to get…

Middle School Math Game!

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Ian made up his own game this weekend and by the end of it I thought it was such a great self- guided math game that I thought I'd share.



 After lunch Ian asked his father to play a Nerf gun game and the next thing I knew we were having a great time (and practicing a lot of math too!).

Ian drew a target on our French doors using the dry erase markers; assigning each circle of the target a value.  We each took turns shooting all 6 bullets from his Nerf Gun.  Ian would then add up our scores.

We kept track for 10 rounds, adding, carrying over and even subtracting at times.  After 8 rounds Ian and I were tied for first.  By the end I won by a mere 15 points and Ian ended up coming in third.

He added up our scores into the thousandths, happily and with lots of carrying over (and here I was thinking this morning that we've never added beyond three digit numbers).  I think he was pretty bummed he lost but he took it well and was a good sport about it.

 He wanted to play another g…

A Full and Fun Day of Reading

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When we first started homeschooling, I only had one boy that actually enjoyed reading.

Alec had taught himself to read when he was just 4 and loved reading stories.  He could easily get lost in a book and spend hours enjoying himself.

My youngest did not yet know how to read but my oldest son hated it.  Hated it so much he told me he never wanted to read.


I did not push him to read and let him take a bit of time off from reading.  However, I did keep on reading.  I read aloud interesting books, books with colorful illustrations and chapter books that left them begging me to tell them what happened next!

After a bit of time listening to me read aloud he finally asked if he could start reading by himself, in his room and it's amazing at what a difference that has made in his willingness to read!

I did not push him to read chapter books and instead encouraged a love of reading through picture books and other books he picked out himself.  Knowing he'd be more willing to read books …