Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some New Typing Games-

A friend of mine posted this Trick or Type, from Free TypingGame.Net  game over on our AKOL E-Mail Group. I showed it to my son and he just loved it. We backtracked a bit and played for over an hour with the different games on this site.

I just had to share with my readers here, just in case some may have been looking for something a bit different with their typing practice at home.

A New Toy- vozMe AND Revamping Things a Bit

A friend of mine posted an article called " Question- To What Lengths Will You Go To Teach Your Child"?    this title made me very curious.
My friend used this to teach sentence structure and paragraph writing~ here is a blog post about it from Homeschooling, Chronic Illnesses and Other Daily Events - Living a Special Needs Life.

After reading over her article about using vozME, I decided to try it out and play with it. As I was doing so my youngest came walking by and saw what I was doing.  He was instantly intrigued~ it was really funny. He asked what this was for and I explained that you can type in anything you want, a poem, a story a sentence and it will play it back to you and you can hear it. OH he loved that ! He made up a few sentences and then loved it even more. He went running into our school room looking for his old stories he had written from IEW. We had to both pull those out and I typed up a few in this and he really enjoyed this. 

As he was looking through his work, he would comment on how something could be better or rather, "My work is much better now Mum".  I told him if he wanted, we could use this for his writing if he was interested.  ( my thinking was hey, if this gets him motivated to write, why not?) It also helps with teaching typing also~ he kept digging through his work making comments and I think he was actually surprised at just how good his work sounded and was! :)

Now the revamping part~ 
After a long discussion this afternoon, we both agreed that it would be fun to do a writers workshop with IEW.  We had planned on him taking October and November as his time for more delight directed learning~ ( unschooling whichever your more comfortable with) and now this does change things just a bit, but yet, on a second thought it is an interest and he loves writing so why not?  We decided November will be his Writing Workshop along while still doing reading practice and one daily math lesson.

I ended up having to pull all my IEW materials back out since we thought it best to start right from the beginning and work right through.  I am really looking forward to it and so is he.  We may need to let a few of the things we planned go for a bit but I think this will be very worth it.

He is my story writer, he loves writing. Problem is, he is the kiddo that will take something and make it into like 5 chapters! So you have to tone it down for him but it isn't easy! :)  I will be sure to share some of the things he does and post them as we do them for November. I like the idea since we will be working one on one, I found IEW harder to work with different levels of children when we did it together, I will be much more comfortable working the program this way. 

So, out of playing with a simple tool on the computer comes a whole revamping of a month already planned!  As I always say, we have to be flexible, it has many benefits~  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Day of Studies-

Many often ask about how we do our studies at home. We are very eclectic in how we do things,  mixing traditional studies in some ways and some with "not so traditional" ways.  It is often really hard to explain since I tend to "ad lib" quite a bit if you will~ I thought perhaps sharing some examples of a few of our school days might really help others to understand a bit more. As you read on things might become more clear. You will see I often take advantage at every turn to make something into a learning experience, not so much me "teaching" it to him but through his own efforts, I try and find paths for learning~

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My son's Hero~

My son,  for his delight directed learning for next month,  explained he wanted to know all he could about his hero. Who is his hero? Thomas Edison.

Did you know that Thomas Edison was a Dyslexic and that he struggled terribly while in school. His teacher at age 6 wrote a note to his parents explained he was too stupid to learn.  We will be reading The Childhood of Thomas Edison and also working BFIAR ( Beyond Five in a Row ) while also working on a lapbook as well.

Dyslexics are not stupid people. Many are very gifted often twice exceptional. Many do have difficulty learning to read and/or write.  Many can read very well yet often struggle with spelling and speaking. Dyslexics CAN learn to read and they can learn to write they just need to learn differently.

Here is some more famous Dyslexics.

an extended Dyslexia resource: a write up and free download of the book entitled " The Dyslexics Guide to Academic Achievement".

Our New Community~

Besides my Facebook page~ Learners at Home now has an on-line community that you can subscribe to and join in the conversations.  I thought this would be a great extension for my readers in sharing and joining in with other parents who teach their children at home.

You can find Learners at Home Community on the left side of my toolbar or by clicking onto this link:
Learners At Home Community  I hope to see you there~ :)

Working with their Strengths/Passions- science learning

I have to say, today was a real WOW day. We are working through this Ellen McHenry's  Introduction to Neurology Unit and my son has taken this to a whole other level.

I really had a "wow moment" this morning. We had worked for over about two hours on several chapters in his unit study and I have to step back and just kind of reflect on if he really would be learning all these things and have the freedom to explore deeper and further things that were specific to this unit if he were not learning it from home, for example SRI's and more on toxins and such and how they affect the brain. I would doubt it very much and so does he... :)

For him this kind of information is like "brain candy" to him. He aspires to be a Neuro-Surgeon so I allowed him to work this unit before starting other things I outlined for his science learning for the year. I thought it was too important to let this passion go to the side at this point.

I am glad I decided to work on this first with him. He does written narration in his OneNote and then pulls graphics and definition of further in-depth information from sources on the internet. He really cannot seem to get enough.

Right now he is happily coloring a brain cell diagram where he colors all the neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia and cerebrospinal fluid. ~ I think I need to look further and pick him up some of these coloring books here are some I found:

Biology Coloring Book
Microbiology Coloring Book
Anatomy Coloring Book
Zoology Coloring Book
Botany Coloring Book
Marine Biology Coloring Book
Anatomy and Physiology Flash Cards

I believe there are more also. What a great visual way to learn these things. My son is very visual so this kind of activity is very helpful.

I am completely convinced that textbooks are way behind us and how real learning happens without the textbooks and random information pushed upon us.  I will be sharing more things we will be using and exploring further later on~

Here are a few more things I am considering:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Working and Homeschooling a new Facebook Group

Working and homeschooling is definitely not an "easy" task to undertake. But I feel as though I am now ready to head back to my own work since we now ( in our fourth year) have found a balance in our home learning.

I decided the best way to help me and many of my friends who also plan to go back or already do work outside/or in the home, while still homeschooling would be to open up a facebook group for us to share and support eachother.

It just opened today.  We will be planning to share our daily lives, easy recipes, home organizing tips, money savers, time savers, behavior issues while working, schedules, always including curriculum tweaks and just about everything else that comes our way ! :)

If interested you can find the new facebook group ( new version~ if not familiar check out the new versions for facebook groups here.  Allows for email notification and a group chat if we ever plan to have a coffee clutch and need a timeout one evening ) here at Working and Homeschooling. 

 Note: * We also now have an email group for all our recipes, notes and such~ it is only by invitation and not listed in the yahoo directory you can subscribe by clicking: Homeschooling and Working.

If you work or are planning on working, hope to see you there~ !

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Seasonal Activities for Learning

 Laura Candler's Site has some great teaching resources for different subjects and levels and I thought I would share. I really liked the Pumpkin Seed Multiplication.  There is also November and winter activities also found on this page as well.

Other resources I found for seasonal activities:
Kathy Mitchells Online School
All Kids Network- has a bunch of fun crafts for younger learners.
Apple Science Projects for older learners
Halloween Pumpkin Templates
Pumpkin/Halloween Web page- various activities
Pumpkin Science
Teaching Unit on Pumpkins (ranges from 2nd to 7th grade)
Bats - from Kidzone
History of Halloween
Fall Lapbook
Pumpkin Lapbook
Halloween Lapbook from Homeschool Helper

*UPDATE: Here is one more lapbook I found for Fall.  I wanted to add this other FALL LAPBOOK because I thought the pumpkin life cycle page was excellent. ** this lapbook is from Dynamic2Moms a great website for resources.*

Sometimes it is fun to take a break from the more traditional studies to jump into a mini project like these. I think the bats is something we might dive into this month or next. ~

Friday, October 15, 2010

Eclectic Thoughts of My Own~ Copywork, Transcription and Dictation

A favorite site of mine Simply Charlotte Mason has been running a series of articles on Charlotte Mason's Methods toward Language Arts. ( scroll below to see all the articles in the series. )
I found this series really interesting and even ended up purchasing the latest handbook they had advertised entitled "Hearing and Reading, Telling and Writing: A Charlotte Mason Language Arts Handbook".  ( as I find more time to read through it I plan to post my thoughts and ideas here)

This week's article ( #7)"Copywork, Transcription and Dictation.

I thought I might share some of my own thoughts while reading over this great article.  I really can appreciate the analogy used for this being a homeschool version of a multi-vitamin, it is indeed and much more~! which is why I wanted to comment a bit further to share "our own" experiences and hear from others either here or my facebook page on how they find these specific methods helpful.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The New Homeschooler: Free E-Book Download From Simply Charlotte Mason

Here is a free resource for homeschoolers from Sonya Schaffer over at Simply Charlotte Mason.  I am not sure which I enjoyed more the helpful e-book or the comments from homeschool parents.
Has some great information and for those of us who have been homeschooling a while, some reminders and for some new ideas to add to their homeschooling as well~

Spelling- A Free Resource to Augment an Individualized Spelling Program

As I get further and further into my homeschooling experience I tend to kind of step back more and not jump into buying all those new programs that I used to hurry up and pick up before.
I now find that we do much better with a more individualized spelling program. To augment this approach Spelling Connections (grades 1-8) free program found online really can work very well for many children.
This spelling site is one of those sites where it can be used in many different ways and makes you kind of step back and realize, perhaps purchasing a "spelling program" may not be needed after all~ working a program like this one along with an individualized Spelling List is many times all that may be needed for a child's spelling The program and can also be used for cursive writing, Spanish and reading practice as well. 

What might an individualized spelling program look like ?  

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Book for Mom-Easy Homeschooling Companion

I just  heard about this book and became very instantly interested.  This morning I was on my facebook and saw on the Heart of the Matter facebook page, they had a review about a book entitled " Easy Homeschooling Companion" written by author Lorraine Curry.

{Heart of the Matter also is online and you can subscribe to their email newsletter}

I have no idea who Lorraine Curry is, ( I plan to find out more though)  as I read the review and heard Hannah Haggarty's words "How arrogant of us homeschool moms to put so much pressure on our selves for all the responsibility of how our children turn out", ( Hannah's personal blog) this really got my attention. Because I, in many ways have felt this way for quite some time. It was nice to hear someone else say these words I have been thinking for quite some time.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Neurolearning- some helpful articles and information

One of my most favorite books that I have read and refer back to very often is The Mislabled Child by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide.  It helped me so much when I was considering what to look at when it came to my boys development and their learning strengths and struggles.
I think at first when we are contemplating testing or considering our child's struggles in learning it can be quite overwhelming. This book seems to really help sort things through and gives such hope, support and encouragement.  I would recommend this book to any parent, teacher or physician who works/deals with children ( all children not just special needs children).

There is also a  site called the Neurolearning Library which I found to have very helpful articles in many areas of learning and understanding. I could probably spend all day on this website because of the wealth of information here.
Reading through some of these articles give you an idea of what the their book is all about. I really don't think I would have been as successful as I have been with my two boys if I had not read this book.

The Neurolearning Blog is also something I subscribe to and find many of the posts very helpful and insightful.

Just a few suggestions for help if you suspect you may have a child with learning differences/or a disability~

Science~ Learning about the Brain

We have been working through Ellen McHenry's unit study~ Introduction to Neurology.  We are really enjoying this program. It has many different learning components to it and really makes this topic very interesting. My son is enjoying it very much.

Readings are short but very comprehensive written in a narrative form ( which my son enjoys much more than textbook formats) there are activities woven into each chapter's topic; experiments, coloring projects, puzzles, games etc.. it really makes for a holistic kind of learning.

Ellen has other units she has created that you can look through here.
I have already went ahead and purchased the "Elements" Unit also and will probably then move onto the Carbon Chemistry. Ellen has a note on here website that she is teaching a class on Cells and Microbiology this Fall and will have the unit for sale some time in May of 2011 and then another on Botany ( 8 lessons) to be completed this month~

There was an activity that he was to simulate an MRI of an orange to resemble what an MRI image actually does ~
MRI of an orange 

the layers representing the images of an MRI 

He enjoyed this and then decided on his own to sew the brain ( orange) back together again~
As my teen works this unit, he does written narrations of each portion/chapter.  It is a great way to be sure there is an understanding of the information. He has commented that he likes the written narration because it helps him to not only have a good understanding but helps him to remember what he has learned. He does these written narration in his OneNote virtual binder. He adds graphics and things also and enjoys going back and looking at his work~

Since I try and integrate their work, he is also going to be doing some science writing for this unit as well. I found this most recent article, entitled Neuroscience Research May Help Patients Recover from Brain Injury. from Science Daily and he will be doing an essay on this as well and adding it to his unit study.
Happy Science Learning~

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Home Organizing~

Here is a site I subscribe to Homemaking Organized. I found several handy things here that help keep me a bit more organized. I like some of these lists you can print out on your computer and use.  I cannot remember everything so these lists are very helpful when it comes to the changing seasons ~ you can subscribe to their newsletter and get up to date information and it helps keep "me" more organized.

Happy Home Organizing~!

Middle School Learning- Another Great Resource

I have mentioned before how I really attempt to limit how many shortcut icons I add to my desktop~ but this one I found for my teen to add to "his" desktop.  I have sort of found that there is alot of information out there for Elementary and Highschool but often when we are looking for something that is more geared to middle learning we always end up short, so when I find something like this I always like to share.
Virtual Middle School Library has a plethora of information, I found this site before but never really looked too closely at it, but took a bit of time this morning to check it out and found it to be a great resource for many areas of study.
Be sure and check it out when you have a chance, it would take too much time to go into all that is here for us and for our middle school aged learner.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Staying on Track and Teaching our Right Brain Learners-

photo credit
 Over at our AKOL Community, we have been talking a bit about Right Brain Learners. It has been a while since we had brought this up on our e-group, but in many ways, I think it is excellent timing and really helpful for me in providing reminders in how best the boys learn.

At times we can loose track of how best to teach our children, with all the curricula, programs and recommendations we have to find ways to sort through these things ( many times our budgets help us to do that as well) and make sense of everything that is laid out before us.

Friday, October 1, 2010

An online Magazine - Parenting Special Needs

I just learned about an online magazine you can subscribe to that is free. Parenting Special Needs is a great magazine that can be helpful to many who have special needs children.

Click here, for free downloads from their site that you might find helpful for your special needs child.

I enjoyed this months article on shoe lace tying~ be sure and sign up if you get a chance~

You might like these~

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