Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Notebooking Anyone?

Morning everyone~ Amongst all the chaos going on at our home this week I wanted to share a few links I find really helpful when it comes to notebooking.   We do notebooking much more than worksheets. Its just more fun!

Here is a brief explanation about Notebooking in case you were actually new to this concept and trying to get away from all the dreaded piles of countless worksheets;  Notebooking for us is a way to explain and organize information learners are taught that is creative, innovative and something that they can call their own. We use Notebooking for all subjects, even math when understanding skills and concepts, for grammar when learning about a specific part of speech, for science for our nature study or for an experiment or article or web site we might have explored, for art when learning a specific discipline or media for just about EVERYTHING. Think of Notebooking as a way of reiterating information learned but in a creative way with pictures and cartoons and such. :)

When just starting out using Notebooking;  trying one or two with a particular topic to replace a worksheet works out really well and your learners are given a chance to just kind of see where they want to go with it. One of my boys likes to get really creative while the other is more read and narrate back in writing sort of a notebooker.

We also combine notebooking with lapbooking or folds when we want also. It creates a great portfolio of work when studying a particular topic in history, science, style of writing or grammar ~ :)

Here is a post What is Notebooking by Highland Heritage.

Some Notebook pages to be shared; 

Composer Study Pages - From That Resources Site, a listing of 26 different composers!

* Freebies List from Betsy these are pages in all different kinds of areas.

* Notebooking Pages - this is a site that sort of started me out in learning about Notebooking be sure and sign up and enjoy your journey with tips, tricks and freebies along with great pages to buy and learn from like I did. 

* Notebooking Article from Love to Know - this is a great insightful article to read. Your going to quickly see how Notebooking can be used in a variety of ways even for assessments! ( that's right forget the quiz's try notebooking to evaluate where your learner is) I really believe there is no better way or more natural way to evaluate a child's work, understanding and competence in an area than to have them teach it back/tell it back or write about what they learned. ~ it really works. 

* The Notebooking Fairy, - first I love the name ( I love fairies and all that comes with them) this is a site that really provides lots of freebies, tips and recommendations for Notebooking, "a new to me site" of recent weeks. 

*Homeschool Launch is a real favorite of mine. It shares pages all of us homeschool parents create to help our own children and these ladies are kind enough to share with everyone else their time and talents.

Hope this helps send you on your way out of the doldrums of worksheets and into the world of Notebooking~ !

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Math Reading~

Here is another book I just learned about this morning. "How to Teach Math- Even if You Hate Fractions", by Robin Padron.

I ended up getting this on my Kindle PC and plan on starting this very soon. This book is more about "how to teach" math without all the programs than it is a book about "teaching math".  The heavier we get into our math learning the more I realize that there will be no program that is a perfect fit. All programs have pros and cons and it is up to me ( as facilitator ) and my boys ( as learners) to narrow things down and learn math the way they need to learn.

This is transcending into all our other subjects as well. It really is quite liberating and I can tell you MUCH less expensive. There are so many programs out there and many of them will never meet our needs and work the way they are supposed to for our boys. I am completely convinced. So because of this I really enjoy reading books like Larry Zafran's, ( that I posted earlier about) and this book by Robin.

We have been very successful now in our math learning but it isn't due to a particular program it is much more about a combination of a few programs combined and more importantly how it is practiced and how the material is presented.

* I had already started reading and could find so many more excerpts to highlight for you but here is just a small sampling that might make you get an idea of what this book is more about*

"I know from personal experience that 10 minutes of math time with me and my undivided attention is far more productive for my kids than an hour spent doing exercises on their own.  I firmly believe in the idea of ‘less time, more connection’ as an effective way to teach math." 

Padron, Robin (2011). How to Homeschool Math - Even if you Hate Fractions!! (Kindle Locations 191-193). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

and another~ 
"I vividly remembered two things I hated about learning math from my own school years.  The first one was having to do hundreds of identical problems in a row.  It was boring drudgery!  If I knew it well enough to do the first one or two, why do the others? "

Padron, Robin (2011). How to Homeschool Math - Even if you Hate Fractions!! (Kindle Locations 223-225). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

Hope you have a chance to check this book out~

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Math Reading ~

Below is a book I am planning on reading over this summer. I started looking over Larry Zafran's site a while back and we have used many of his tutorials. He is very helpful, his lessons are easy to understand, to the point and also he is very accessible.  I was able to contact Larry with a couple of questions and he responded back very promptly with the information I needed.

As I used his site a bit more I started digging a bit and realized his books might be quite helpful. Larry ( a former school teacher) was talking my language as I flipped through his first book entitled " Math Made a Bit Easier - Basic Math". His writing appealed to me because he explained how grade levels in math really don't matter much, what matters is the concepts learned and that a solid foundation is formed for later math.  He also talks about how having pages of problems really doesn't always help - ( less is more philosophy) and that by consistent practice and instruction Math can be successful.

As I started reading I have enjoyed his "matter of fact" approach and also how he quickly explains in the beginning how many books will add "tips" about specific topics and how these are supposed to be notes/suggestions that the current concept might be needed later on~ Larry explains he will just tactfully outline those areas by explaining that the student NEEDS to know this... I like that! ~

Narrations for Highschool Learning~

Just a quickie post to refer my readers to a great blog post from Barb of Harmony Art Mom ~ she talks about narrations for High School and I have to say we have done this with my teen for a couple of years now with great success so I thought I might share~

Here is here blog post.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Literature Based Instruction~

I had recently seen a great article from the ByrdSeed Gifted Blog entitled
" Teaching With Literature in the Primary Grades".  I had posted about it on my facebook page but realized this article while good, was specific to teaching only in the primary grades.

I loved the examples the article gave but could think of identifying and explaining all kinds of older, gifted or twice exceptional children could benefit from teaching this way.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I recently came across this spelling program. We, right now are very happy with our spelling program we are using and do not plan on changing programs at this point but because I have dyslexics and because for some of my dyslexics spelling can, at times, be a major struggle.  I often find myself reading more and learning more about spelling and programs and strategies and techniques for teaching spelling (sometimes referred to as encoding also).

I found this program and wanted to share about it. - How to Teach Any Child to Spell by Gail Graham. I am intrigued by it because after looking at some of the samples of the book it was very close, if not right in line with what I have learned about spelling.  I had to get it, so I did.

Here is a link to see more and view the table of contents and read some excerpts which you might find very interesting and helpful.  

Language Arts "news" about LLATL

photo credit
I just received a newsletter from Common Sense press that LLATL ( a Ruth Beechick inspired LA program) is now offering placement tests for those who are new to the program.

I wish I would have had these when we first started out with this program, however, I was lucky in having been able to contact the authors of the series I was considering and by consulting with them was able to better determine placement for my younger son.

This program has been very successful for us with my youngest and so I thought I might share this information with others~  here is the link where you can find the placement tests for the LLATL Series.

* An update: Because this program has been SO successful with our youngest we are working this program as well for our teen as well. *

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What I have been up to lately~

I have been busy even though we are on a kind of break from most of our regular studies. I needed the break actually. It is really nice to just work an hour or a bit more in the mornings and then head up to my studio to do some painting or catch up on my Spring Cleaning that never had gotten finished. ~

Friday, June 3, 2011

Something I am Up To this Month - Better Organization

With our studies winding down, portfolios now completed, I am now thinking of finishing up the Spring cleaning and thinking more about organization and streamlining to make my life much easier.

I had posted a while back about our Home Log and now I think it is time to evolve this tool - Here is a link I was reading this morning on how I can take my idea of our Home Log and bring it into a whole "system" ( Household Notebook)  of organization to help me track, sort, and maintain contacts, errands, and other things.

I often need to juggle many different things within the same week or even the same day, as many of us do being mom's and dad's with children.  I often thought that as my boys were much younger that I was really busy then because they were so young and needed me so much, but now I laugh because as I have learned, the older boys can at times keep me even busier than I thought I had been before!  Organization and multi-tasking is a necessity in my world~

*Update~ I started really digging a bit more on the above site and found some examples of binders others had made, it really got me thinking... and inspired! I found this blog ( I subscribed and love it) that shows how to create a cover for my binder. I am not thinking of using this idea for my recipe binders I have created for our home. ( will be sharing about that over on my cooking blog this summer) ~* 
OK, so I suppose I wasn't finished finding great things to share about this here ya go~ 
Craft Blog Part I - creating a pattern to make your binder cover. 
Part II - Cutting and preparing pieces 
Part III - the construction 
Part IV - more construction.. I am just loving this at this point. 

Over on this blog there are many other ideas and things like cloth napkins and coasters etc.. I love it! I think I might be pulling my sewing machine and iron out again and getting down to some sewing! I have tons of fabrics up in my studio that I can put to some good use!

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