Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Days In December~

We have been really busy this past November, it seemed to just fly by... We are already into the holiday season and things are getting even busier.

Right about now, I am always thankful that we home school because of the hectic schedules and very busy days. We are able to be flexible with our studies and squeak things in here and there~ for me, its the flexibility that is the key.

Some notes about our Studies~ 

We made some changes to our curriculum a bit, altered things here and there and here in December we will only be working for about two weeks with our studies.

For the next two weeks we are primarily concentrating on working Math and our History and Science. It is going well and leaves us to be able to catch up on some areas we had not had time for previously while working our cores this year. Writing has been a real focus for us this year and the boys are doing great with their IEW programs. ( SWI C for highschool and my youngest is working Fables Myths and Fairytales and is almost done and should be starting the Following Narnia Series right after Christmas in January).

One really big hit this year for my middle schooler has been something we picked up called Science Fusion. These are interactive texts that are used online and my youngest loves it!. He is working through the Module B Diversity of Living Things.  this program has completely livened up my son's science. We purchased two others the Ecology and the Environment and also Matter and Energy. He works from a spiral bound notebook add vocabulary folds and cut out pictures from the full color workbook that comes along with the curriculum and does his writing of things he learns in that one notebook.

We add lots of color and folds in it as well. There are virtual labs and many other activities like National Geographic videos etc.. that really make the learning much more richer and interesting for him. He is a very visual and auditory learning so this fits him wonderfully.
I was able to get these through Rainbow Resource for a very decent price.

I am finding that with both boys as they get older and as the information is much more in depth that using things like notebooking, graphic organizers like a Venn diagram and things like this really helps process and organize the information.

One area I am really going to start focusing on is having them use and put into practice their skills they have acquired with their IEW program into their writing for Science and History. This needs more practice we are just about there but still more modeling is needed. I quickly saw this over this past week when my youngest was writing about a scientist and began circling "phrases" and not just key words in his paragraph. I let him go and wanted to see what was going to be the outcome. Instead of writing out the outline he was able to tell back and write out the information on paper from what he circled. I saw this and we had a discussion on how summarizing and putting things in our own words is important for both understanding and copyright reasons. I am glad I saw this because now we can focus in on using our writing skills in our science and history curriculum. ( I think what happens is we get so busy moving along with our writing programs that I forget to encourage writing across the curriculum so that they can actually "see" the benefits of learning these skills. I made a mental note of this and it will definitely be encouraged in the coming new year.

The rest of the month we will be taking off for holiday chores, family get-togethers and other things.

I have been working on adding more to our cooking blog over at Inside Mama's Kitchen, so if your looking for some cooking ideas you might find some on there as I continue to post through this holiday season. You can also catch up with us on my facebook page Learners at Home.

I hope everyone is enjoying the month so far and will try and keep up with our blog here a bit more as time permits. ~

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Highschool Blog Carnival~

Its always really helpful to read articles and share experiences with home school parents who are also teaching their highschool aged learner.

Here is a blog carnival I just learned about that pertains to homeschooling in highschool.

Homeschool Highschool Blog Carnival has some great writings and so I thought I might share this new "find".

until next time!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Some "Reads"

There are SO many books and not enough time to read them~ I had been looking for some interesting read alouds for us for the month of November and found a few things~

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I think this book would be a great read aloud to do for November. The book is about the every day lives of Pilgrims and the voyage on the Mayflower.

Along with Thanksgiving comes alot of myths and legends and Mayflower History  is an interesting site for older learners to use to sort things out a bit. This could be a great unit study also.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Strive and Thrive: High School Encouragement

As promised, I plan on sharing anything and everything related to teens and highschool learning.

Recently, I found this must-see blog link-up called Home School No Fear High!

There are some great articles I found and thought I would share this encouragement with my own readers.

Homeschooling can be hard enough but the thought for some home school parents, to home home school through their teens is REALLY scary. I hope to find more resources and blog link-ups like these that share what many of us often feel and encounter with our teens. This article "Encouragement of a Friend" is really wonderful.

 I, myself, have a friend that I share just about everything with she is another homeschooling mom who has boys the same age as my youngest.

 Right now we have been and supporting and encouraging each other in teaching mathematics. It's helpful to have someone you can go to and share things with. Someone who you know who won't judge you for your opinions or short-comings. A friend who has an honest heart and will tell you not what you want to hear but what she really thinks and what is on her heart. We help and encourage each other~ it can be a wonderful thing.

Don't be afraid to let people into your life and home school that you find you have a connection with and can encourage you. It makes the journey so worthwhile and enriches your life in ways that you never realized it could.

Until next time~

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Unit Study: "Old Ironsides"~

We went to visit the USS Constitution and had a wonderful visit.

Seeing and hearing the story of "Old Ironsides" was really inspiring.

The boys really enjoyed the trip to Boston and also the walking tour of Bunker Hill and much more.

I recently found this unit study entitled " All Hands On Deck" for the USS Constitution that we plan on working on this Fall.

Until next time~

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Free Resource: Curriki & More

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I had just come across this "new to me" free learning resource online. I had been reading up just a bit about open textbook projects that are popping up all over the US and came across the mention of this site called Curriki.

Its a really interesting site I plan to look through much more as the weeks and months go by~

Another new site I found for free resources is called Connexions. This site has information to use, share and contribute to. I found some interesting courses like Sociology and others you might like to look through~

Just wanted to share these free resource sites with my readers. I hope everyone enjoys their weekend~

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Strive N Thrive: Spelling

Spelling for older learners ( early to mid teens) can be tricky. Some let it fall to the side, while others maintain and continue a rigorous practice daily.

What about a bit of both? Having two Dyslexics and practicing spelling can be very tricky and on some days it could be frustrating.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bookmarking Organization~

I just learned about this new bookmarking organizer that can be added directly to your desktop. It is called Symbaloo.

This is a really handy bookmarking tool. It is fairly easy to get used to and you can customize this in any way you would like.

It is simple and something that someone can use when you have specific bookmarks you find you use very frequently for daily tasks on your computer.

I really like it. I decided to make this my default homepage for one of my browsers I use and so I can go right on and quickly get to where I need to very quickly.

I hope you find it as helpful as I have~ and if you have any favorite bookmarking sites you find unique, feel free to share with us~

Until next time~

Monday, October 1, 2012

Strive & Thrive: Getting Real

I am not sure if there is anyone out there like me but I have found that when I can find a blog out there that speaks to me about homeschooling our teens or highschoolers I am really interested.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Preparation for a New Year of Blogging~

It's a brand new school year and we are off to a good, solid start. I have many articles and posts planned for this upcoming school year and decided I really needed a better way to keep things more organized and so, for me, that meant better planning.

I went searching for something I thought I would never need or use a blog planner! After searching around and finding some wonderful thing I thought I would share these with my own readers who also have blogs of their own;

here are some of the goodies I found: ( I am always amazed by people's creativity and ideas, these are really wonderful free pieces of work and inspiration) 

Enjoy and Happy Planning! ( click on the photo credit to follow the link) 

ONE MORE THING: my friend Chrissy (thanks girly) shared this with me as I was sharing over on HS Necessities about my organizing. The organizing fun never stops! 

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                         Mama Jenn 2012 Blogging Planner

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Confessions of a Homeschool 2012 Blog Planner

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Homeschool Creations Blog Planner Printables

Photo Credit 

Faithful Bloggers Blog Planning Pages

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A New School Year Begins~

Autumn is here and that means a new school year for us and the end of our summer vacation.

We started back to school this past week. It went surprisingly well!

I found this was the first year there were not too many issues or problems getting things going. In years past we had to ramp slowly but this year we are doing pretty well.

The boys are working completely separate now for their studies. The difference between highschool and middle school lessons are becoming increasingly apparent and I felt that boys would be much more successful working separately and I have found I was right.

We are starting our 7th year of homeschooling and by now I can clearly see what the boys strengths and abilities are. Where they need more work and how best to meet their needs.

I noticed one thing for sure and that is that they continue to evolve in their strengths and in their interests.  It can be hard sometimes to keep up with the change but I think I have finalized things out and we are right on track as to which direction we are going.

I will be sharing about those changes as the weeks move forward and how the changes have helped them become more successful in their learning.

I am also going to be starting a series this year that pertains specifically toward homeschooling teens. In this new series I plan on sharing parenting and learning issues. I realized that there isn't really all that much out there when it comes to homeschooling our teens so I thought I would share suggestions, ideas, tips and examples that readers may find helpful.

I hope everyone is planning or has had a great first start to their new year of learning!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Series:

I found this great blog post from a blog I subscribe to, New Beginnings.

I thought it might be a perfect link to share during our summer series for planning and organizing~ there are some really great ideas in these pictures that have been shared of how others organize their learning areas.

We are re-organizing and re-vamping our learning area this Summer. Waiting and waiting for our furniture.

We have opted to take down the huge bulletin board and wipe board from the walls and in-turn add whimsical pictures of our founding fathers, maps and places of interest to us as a family. We also are really into history so we are doing a puzzle of some of our presidents playing a card game and will add that once its done and glued together to our walls.

We had two big tables and now will have a much smaller one, choosing more couches and chairs to sit in with laptops and our books. Teens like this much better I think. It doesn't look so "schooly" ( yes, I probably made this word up, lol )

We still will be using wipeboards, they are really a mainstay in our Math and Writing but I put ours now ( 10x16 or so and magnetic) on art easels on the table instead.

I cannot wait to get the furniture in so we can get the room pulled together for September~I will be posting before and after pictures once its all pulled together~  anyone else changing their learning areas this summer also?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Home Organization- Keeping it All Together

After working in my studio this week, ( I was re-arranging and re-organizing things for the Fall Season) I realized how little time I have had recently to clean and keep things organized.

As homeschoolers we are really busy people. Not that everyone else isn't but when you add all the necessary things we need to do as parents and work responsibilities and then on top of that, you add teaching your own children it can really get crazy!

I have found also that having chronic illness can make it even harder on us. So I need to get even MORE organized and better prepared in our home.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Learning and Remembering~

I have often posted about how we work and learn in Math and other sequentially learned topics ~ how reviewing and teaching back is a strong component in our learning at home.

Here is an excellent article I received from a good friend of mine ( thank you Cindy K) about learning and forgetting.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Table Top Easels for Learning~

A friend of mine ( thank you Laura F!) shared this project (Table Top Easels) over on our Homeschool Necessities group we share together.

I loved this idea. I could quickly see how this didn't have to be just for Preschool~ it could be for all ages of learning.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Writing: The Writers Notebook/Readers Journal and a NEW Series!

In outlining our Oak Meadow program this year I learned that it is suggested to keep a Readers Journal.   This Journal is besides the daily lessons and assignments and is for the supplemental reading for each semester.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A New Site to Share~ and "Handouts"

Here is a new site I just learned about this morning from my good homeschool friend Chrissy, this site has lots of information and goodies and I just had to share~ Mellissa Forney.com

Free handouts is where you can find some downloadable freebies!

A favorite is the Young Writers Survival Kit. I loved it~The Writers Toolbox is also a neat printable to be used for Mini-office etc.. We will definitely be printing and using this for our new year :)

Summer Series: Planning and Organizing with Lists~

I have am on the mend as they say, and starting to get some energy back so I have been spending my time ( while I have to rest often) continuing on with our years organizations and planning....

Most recently I learned about these "color coded progress lists" from another homeschool blog I follow "Amongst Lovely Things". I really enjoy this blog and thought my own readers might enjoy this idea for organizing your year of studies.

In reading how Sarah ( owner, creator of Amongst Lovely Things) breaks down her year I could see very easily how we could also do this if we wanted while using Homeschool Tracker Online. ( online tracking and record keeping planner) -{see notes below for an update on HST Online.}

I enjoyed Sarah's ideas and thought you might enjoy them as well~

Homeschool Tracker Online Notes~   I continue to learn more on how best I can use this online planner. I am really starting to understand and enjoy how the planner works.  One favorite component they have is the Daily Task List that you can print out Daily so that the learner has their very own check list of the assignments for that day~ wonderful way for encouraging independence, responsibility and time management.  I continue to ask lots of questions on their forum and can really begin to see the benefits of using this program for the remaining time of our home learning. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Finding Organization with Homeschool Tracker Online

** Just a note** 
Recently, I had been diagnosed with Bells Palsy, and am undergoing further testing for other outstanding health issues, so my health is giving me a bit of a hard time at this point. But I will try and continue with our planning and sharing things that I am finding useful for our learning at home

After a short break, I am trying now to get back into planning and organizing for our new school year.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Condensing And Organzing All Our Paper!

I have been working in our school room the past few days, we had some rainy weather so I thought I would try and get some things done in there while I wouldn't feel guilty being indoors working when it is nicer weather.

I have been re-organizing our books and programs. I was sort of stumped today trying to figure out how to condense our papers with our studies and get them out of all the binders we had created.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

{Summer Series} Field Trip Logs

Since we had gotten back from our trip down South I had a bunch of notes I took and brochures from the places we visited during our travels.

As I started writing some of these down I realized its never too early to start organizing paperwork now for portfolios next year!  With trips to the lake, beach or Grandma's its not so silly to document these trips~

Here is a Field Trip Log template I created so that you can write down information about where you went and notes about interesting things you saw that your children can write about later on.

One other thing you can do to keep things all in one spot is to keep these printouts in a pocket folder with the brochures, tickets stubs, etc., you acquire in your travels.

For those who are using HS Tracker you can use these to write information down quickly to then go back and add to your records online when you have time.

Planning the New Year~

To begin the planning for our new school year I have created a template to share that lays out our entire year of studies. (Please note that this is an overview of our year, this doesn't list our books we will be using our literature/classics listing of books etc.. )

The first page is an example of what our own curriculum outline looks to give you an idea of just how I use it. It is basically an overview of what I am planning to use. I may tweak things here and there or may add something if I had forgotten, but this gives you a better idea on how you might be able to use this template. The next page is a blank template I added so that you could add in your own information and divide up your year as how best it would fit your family.( I kept this in Word Document form so that readers could change things accordingly)  

Our Summer Series and A Q & A Series~

With our new summer series starting soon I wanted to take a moment to ask my readers what they are trying to accomplish over the summer as far as planning, organizing and prioritizing for their new year.

Some examples might be:
*curriculum/program considerations
* modification/accommodations for your special needs learner
* tools and strategies needed for help in an area
*scheduling issues
*taming the paper monster and record keeping

 What questions or considerations do you have moving forward to next year?

 I would love to hear from you ~all areas are welcome!  I can share and offer any ideas and recommendations for your personal consideration - a kind of Q & A time if you will.

I often have many home school parents email me and ask me questions so I thought it would be helpful to others to share these here at LAH so that it helps others as well !

I look forward to hearing back from you by leaving a comment below~

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Taking a Break and Planning Ahead~

Lilacs from our backyard
We just arrived back from our trip we took to Oklahoma to see family.

It was a great time and the boys had a chance to see lots of new things and see family.

Before leaving, we finished our our yearly portfolios and our evaluations are now done and turned in to our State.

So it is time for a bit of relaxation and planning ahead a bit for next year.

I will be sharing our planning, organization ideas and activities over the Summer.  If your taking some time off like we are, I am hoping the weather is good for you and your getting a chance to re-charge your batteries.

I love late Spring, here in New Hampshire, besides Autumn its my most favorite time of the year, before the REAL heat sets in for us. 

Even though ( after a few weeks off for rest and relaxation) we will be going back to our math and  ( student led ) science studies its still a nice change from the regular year of studies. Hanging outside on the front porch while reading a good book or enjoying the outdoors while doing a science experiment is just so much fun and so relaxing don't you think?

Until next time~ !

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Math "Notes"

We have been still running full steam ahead with our math learning at home. The boys will continue on their math studies throughout the summer. Mostly because they need the continuity, practice and reinforcement.

We are working with the Teaching Textbook series. It has been going well and we have found that the components we have added to using this program has really helped my 13yo be very successful in using this program.

The component I am referring to is our Math Notebook. I posted about this a short time ago and you can read the post here.   As an update, I wanted to share  a bit more about this and how consistent use of this has made us SO successful in our math.

My 13yo's Math Notebook has become a mainstay in his math learning. Before doing any lessons he writes his notes from the lectures in his notebook.  While working with the TT program he is allowed to go back and check his notes if he has any questions during the practice lessons. He is seeing just how helpful this can actually be.

Recently, I saw this blog article and thought this also might be a great thing to add to our Math Notebook or Notebooking if you wish to call it that.  It explains how to use Mini-books in your notebooking, but I decided this could be great for multi-step math learning also.

We started incorporating this into my older son's math notes. He has been less than enthusiastic about taking these notes, but I am sure once he sees how helpful they actually can be and he starts working consistently with these he will find he was missing out!

Here are some examples that he is working on:

It will take some time for him to try this out but I believe he will see the benefits of this soon.

He is off to a good start~

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cells - A Lapbook

We are gathering our projects together this year for our portfolios. Finishing up things and tying up loose ends on things we started and had not finished. Here is a lapbook we created from a "Cells" Lifepac we worked this year.


we add in our experiments also and cut out things we do from the Lifepacs
 as you can see, its a combination of things we cut out and things we created

another page

we add pictures and diagrams

you can't see it really well, but on our last page I usually make a "pocket" for  notebooking pages and odds and ends like a list of websites we used etc.
here is a notebook page I created also. 
If interested, you can find the printables I made for this lapbook here. And also here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Reference for Math

This site is a great site ( Society for Quality Education: Stairway to Math) I wanted to share about to use for notes for your Math Notebook.  Also if you use Mini-Offices for your math reference there are many sheets here you can use to add to the mini-office for more advanced understanding in math.

This is the same website that provides a remedial instruction program for reading as well titled Stairway to Reading.  don't let the online form intimidate you once you give the information, sign up is free and you will receive the downloads and program. 

You might like these~

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