Thursday, November 6, 2014

Digging Deeper with Spotify~

Sometimes its nice to just sit back and listen to a really good book. You can do that now with Spotify. There is a while library treasure trove of classics to check out that I just recently learned about.

You can find it by searching on the "Word" section of Spotify for listening to great classics that your learner can follow along with their own book curled up with a cup of hot cocoa or just sit back and listen.

I learned about this through an article from Biographile It is an online magazine that tells real life stories of people. Its a great place to check out!

Until next time!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Why We Ditched Formal Grammar Instruction-An Article to Share

We stopped learning Grammar in the traditional way with workbooks, worksheets and rules a few years ago. Why? It wasn't working. It was boring, dis-jointed and I found it really had no effect on how their writing was progressing. ( which is the main point of learning Grammar isn't it?)

I tossed out the books and got them writing and then even more writing until we were writing narrations and writing about all kinds of things in all kinds of ways. We wrote narrations, notes, outlines, mind maps etc., and for the more formal writings we would go back and read over our their work together and fix, add and adjust things while being armed with a good solid grammar resource to help us along.

We are still using IEW's program called Fix-it as well and it is a quick way of practicing and learning grammar in context instead of learning it as a separate subject.

Here is a great article I found that talks about three best ways to teach Grammar. I thought it was very good and may be helpful to some who might be finding formal Grammar instruction unsuccessful.

Until next time!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Resource- Algebra Calculator

My older teen found this online calculator very helpful and wanted to share it with me.
photo credit 


The site is called MathPapa. Its very easy to use and out of a few my teen tried he said this has been the most easy and most helpful.

In trying this out I really liked it because it shows and displays the solutions while giving the answers so if your learner gets stuck on something they can study the solution that is provided to check to see where they might be mis-understanding or having trouble.

Hope you find this as helpful as my teen has~ Until next time!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Math Helps~

At certain times its always helpful to have some things we can print out and use for reference for either a notebook or a mini-office, poster etc., whichever your learner chooses to use for reference when needed.

Here are a few helpful things I have found for my learners' math;

Pauls Online Math Notes
Basic Algebra Formulas - you can print out and cut these to suit your needs
Algebra Reference Sheet 
Mini office from Practical Pages - this has younger items as well as things for older learners to check out and use.

We may end up making up some of our own and if we do I will share those at that time. Hope you find some of these helpful ~

Monday, September 29, 2014

Setting up your History Binders ~

History is a huge topic. It covers SO MANY areas that it can be a bit overwhelming as to how to organize and break down these topics of study.

One the of the advantages of keeping an organized binder is being able to have a place to properly and appropriately document all the information that was covered. You will be happy you have that at years end because it is a great tool for your learner to use as he needs to refer back to things throughout the year and also to use as documentation for what was covered over the year and can be fun looking back at what was learned for your learner.

Here are some suggestions as an attempt to help you get your World History binders organized so that they are functionally effective for your school year:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Freebies~ Books for Reading

Here are some free online resources for finding books for your home learner; ( some of these resources are for much younger learners, however, they lend themselves to us for really helping us dive deeper and easier into literary analysis so we use some of these, even now) 

I believe using all different levels of reading material is much more helpful to learners. Whether your using easier stories and reading for older learners to learn and pick up new skills for writing or using a much older book as a Read-Aloud for our younger children both can work very nicely.

If there are some resources you can share please post and share them as well;

Free Kindle Books online from Ben and Me

Elementary Reading 

Children's Storybooks Online 

Children's Classics 

Aesop's Fables 

McGuffeey Readers 

The Main Lesson

Heritage History 

Bibliomania

Page by Page 

Classic Reader



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teaching about the Comma~

This is a bit harder to teach when learning to write well. Comma's are really important they can change are writing drastically and I needed to find some resources that would help my teens understand them better. I found some link resources to help us along a bit more and I thought you might find them helpful as well.
photo credit 

The Comma Story by TEDed

Comma Rules and How to Teach Commas

Pasta Punctuation - this was so adorable and creative I just had to share for my readers with younger learners.

A Power Point on learning Commas- from Primary Resources ( see down at end of google list for the link)I really liked this very straightforward -
photo credit 


here is some online practice you can use as well from Daily Grammar. When at the link just go to the bottom and click on "next lesson" for the following lessons.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Quick Tip/Share: Fractions & Math Foldables~

I recetly had a conversation about Fractions and reviewing them and remembered that we will be going over some things in the area of Fractions as well. I like using foldables and things that are more visual to review things so I thought I would share some things I have found;

Fraction Review foldable to make

Math Foldables- these are for several different areas

Factors and Multiples Mini-book

Reducing Fractions to lowest terms- this is a freebie from TPT website you can register for free as well to use the site

Cheat Sheets to use for Math topics

Hope some find these helpful for your learning or your review~

Until next time!





Monday, September 8, 2014

Note-taking Methods to Consider

Here are some examples of note-taking methods I found helpful. Some may look very familiar to you when reading through the information. As with anything we come to read over, take what you want and can use and leave the rest.

The boys are taking a series of lecture courses this year from The Great Course Teaching Company and these resources may be helpful to us in some ways.
Here are some resources;

Note-Taking Systems 
5 Methods of Note-taking, distributed in its printed entirety from University of Redlands - I found this one most helpful
Methods on Note-taking from Alexandria Technical and Community College
Note-taking Methods from Massey University

Until next time!

New Year of Studies: Drivers Ed Resources

I have one teen who is just about to get his license while I have another who is just beginning to learn about driving and will begin practicing this late Fall.

I wanted to share some resources I found to help us out;

Drivers Ed Guru - this is a free instructional site to help us out
Drivers Ed Log we use here in New Hampshire ( each state is different in their laws)
Online Drivers Ed Resources 
Resources for Drivers Ed Teachers 

Hope if you have a soon-to-be driver like we do that you find these resources helpful !

Until next time!

New Study- ASL ( American Sign Language)

This year our teens are working on learning Amercian Sign Language. ( ASL) I found some great resources to help them do that.

Here are some for you to check out if your interested;
Signing Naturally by Cheri Smith, Ella Mae Lentz and Ken Mikos - a workbook type program accompanied with an interactive DVD 
Lifeprint- a website with tutorials/lessons for learning signing
StartASL - anothe website with lessons
Teacher Tube- a song for learning to sign the ABC's for finger spelling

Until next time !

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Quick Tip/Share: Free Online Class Scheduler



Here is a freebie I found online in case your in need of creating a schedule for your learner. Its fairly easy to use if you want to try it out from Grade Tracker. 
photo credit
Until next time!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Quick Tip and Share: Notebooking Your Way Through Algebra

Here are some resources to help your learner with Algebra note-taking.

Math=Love blog has a bunch of folds, graphic organizers and ideas for learning new Algebra concepts.

Solving Equations Foldable

Coordinate Plane Foldable 

Understanding Expressions Foldable 

Solving Systems of Equations

Integer Foldable - there are many other things on here that you might find really helpful as well.

I am sure as we move through topics in Algebra I will be adding more and more to this list, possibly making some of our own as well and I will be sure to share these as we go along~

Until next time!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quick Tip/Share Series: New Science Resource for All Kinds of Topics~



Here is an interesting site I just learned about. There is all kinds of topics covered here. The site is called Exploring Nature Educational Resource.



photo credit
When you have time be sure and take a look through it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!
Many of the sections are free and the subscription they charge of 25.00 per year is quite reasonable for a home learning family .
Until Next Time!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Learning about Cells and DNA

For our Biology Course Outline, the first two weeks we are going over Characteristics of Life,Cells and Cell Processes. Here is some information I have gathered that we are using that is outside of our books we have.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Planning our New Year of Studies - Science

I am just about finished with our planning for Science. We are using two different programs for each teen this year ( we usually do). We are working a very different kind of science curriculum this year. Its Inquiry Based. And we are quite excited to get going on it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Planning our New Year: Math and Economics

This area of planning wasn't too tricky for us this year.  I find certain subjects can be harder than others to cover and find just the right program. These two areas I found were not all that difficult for us.







Math

Both Teens~
We had been using Teaching Textbooks and have found it to be great for the boys who really do better working a program that has both auditorial and visual instruction, so we are keeping with this program.

Economics

Older Teen:
My older teen's course is enttitled Economics II ( having done other resources for Economics in previous years I decided to make this an extension of those )  will be doing a course from the Teaching Company enttitled " Thinking Like and Economist: A Guide to Rational Decision Making". While also reading the following books; ( these he picked out on his own) "Capitalism and Freedom" by Milton Freedman and " The Case for Gold" by Ron Paul. And " The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism" by Robert P. Murphy, PHD.
My older teen is very interested in this area which is probably why he knew right away what books he would rather read.

Younger Teen:
He will be working Economics I and will be reading over a book entitled " What Ever Happened to Penny Candy " by Maybury and Williams. I really feel this is a great introduction to the world of economics and this will be our second time through this book ( having done this one with my older teen ).

Until next time~ !




Planning the New Year: World History & Government

I am finally finished with planning out our World History ( for the most part).

Our 10th grader
I created an outline that my teen can check off and work on throughout the year. I decided to keep it in outline form so that it can be more flexible working at his own pace on more or less work some days.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

World History Lapbook Resource~

I am still in full planning mode and am putting the finishing touches on our World History I outline for my  younger teen and will be sharing it very soon. But I quickly wanted to share this resource that can actually be used for any World History program.

I found out about this group a while ago, when we were using Story of the World History. It is called Hannah's Homeschool Helps and it is a yahoo group that shares lots of great resources. One in particular are lapbook folds that conincide with the Story of the World Volumes for history. Yes ALL 3 volumes.

 I realize this is a younger world history program, however, if one is planning on creating a lapbook for highschool you can very easily adapt these folds to reflect a higher level of understanding by using the folds and writing further deeper information on the specific topics.

And just another quick resource- here is a blog with videos that might be helpful too~ SOTW Video Links Blog.

I will be sharing my own Ancients and World History videos I am compiling as well so stay tuned for those~

You can download the zip files after you sign up for the yahoo group. Its that easy. Be sure and check these out if your working World History this year.

Until next time!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Planning a New Year of Studies~

I decided that July would be my planning month for our new year of studies. I am going to be planning and re-organizing each subject of study for the teens.

After having worked much more heavily in the Charlotte Mason approach over the past few years we really are still shifting even more in that direction ( with a bit of a tweaking here and there) ~

As I plan things more, I will be sharing my thoughts and ideas in each area, what has been working and how I may change a few things, to make certain areas more accomodating to meet my teens needs. I will also be offering my thoughts on why certain items were chosen to provide a bit of insight into my and my teens thoughts.

Most of the courses and studies are chosen by my teens. I allow them to have a say in what they will be learning and how they wish to learn the information. So we, at this point in our home learning work together in choosing what is going to be used, explored and worked on.

Stay tuned for our planning outlines and hopefully it will give my readers ideas/suggestions for their own planning and organizing~

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

An "Ah Ha" Moment: Working through "Strengths"! Part 2

We just completed our portfolios for this past year. I tend to dread these each year because it seems like such a daunting task because the boys tend to do so many different things and follow all these different tangents of learning with their interests. It seems to not get easier as they become older~

Every year when I do these I am always so glad that I actually do have to get these done or choose to do these, because I find out things that I probably would not have discovered, if I hadn't taken the hours to go through all the information.

I wanted to share my thoughts on what I realized this year just in case some of my own readers might be falling into the same situation~

I had been working on the "yearly work samples" of their portfolios and started to pull out pages from the beginning, middle and end of the courses to add to the binders. I quickly noticed a few things with my older teen. His pages that came from the more traditional approach ( specifically his AOP Lifepacs) had much lower grades than I am used to seeing with him. The different sections were ok but just mediocre, in his writing of answering the questions and the grades were a bit to be desired, usually in the 70's not something that is very common for him especially in the area of History.  Then I began to look over and pull out his narration pages. The writing was exceptional. I could see how he understood and enjoyed writing about the information. There was a huge difference between the two ways of doing History.

I talked this over with my older teen and we both realized that working the more traditional way of reading the "text" and answering the questions, or doing the matching words doesn't really work toward his strengths at all. He is able to just read a chapter from a book and sit down and write down all the important and interesting information about that topic. He displays that he knows the material far better than a worksheet or textbook question would be able to provide to us. I have often said: Once we read something and can write about it and even teach it back we know it~ 

Many might be concerned about  ( not attempting to try to use a more traditional method) this, however, I am not at all. In the higher years of learning, in college, when you think of how they do things in the classroom it fits my son's strengths exactly. In class, your sitting and listening to lectures and discussing issues and topics. While listening, many will take notes and write up summaries of the information being learned. ( writing about what you learned and know) We call this narrations, plain and simple. Telling /Writing back what you learned. Its really quite simple.

So moving forward, we won't be changing things in our Highschool because we feel like we need to go back to a more traditional school approach.( to prepare him better for what is to come) It doesn't work. How my older teens does things work best for him and his learning strengths.

I think the most important thing I took away from this is to realize how working as they need to can really make that huge difference between success and just getting by~ doesn't it make more sense to work as they feel they need to? Especially as they are getting older in the highschool years?
Share your thoughts~

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

An "Ah Ha" Moment! Working through "Strengths" Part I

My teen had one of those  "Ah Ha" moments this morning. We had been working on writing for quite a while now. Both teens do fairly well in writing naturally, mostly due to their oral and written narrations we have done through out the years.

Yet when you get to the point where essays are involved and more technical writing is pursued things can sort of get confusing. We had been with IEW writing for a few years now. The boys wrote very well and often times the writing sounded and read very nicely with great word choices and such.

But I found when asked to do a writing assignment for another subject their writing was often dis-jointed and I found they were not really using the skills/concepts that were taught with IEW.

I couldn't understand why~ I do now. We were not working enough through their strengths. IEW emphasized their weaknesses with outlining in the very beginning and keeping things very logical and systematic in their efforts to create sentences etc., I think this may have hindered their ability to actually understand the information- the why's or how's of the writing.

This was just a hunch, so what I did was set aside IEW and have them do some free-writing because I really wanted to see ( not just from narrations) where their understanding was and how much of the information they internalized. My surprise was not much. So IEW sits on the shelf.

an example of how my teen used his visual strength to help with this exercise
Today we began a new writing endeavor Essentials in Writing. And surprisingly my teen came to me and showed me something that proves and gives an example of how working through strengths really helps.

After watching the DVD
(Essentials in Writing  is a DVD program whereby the student watches the video on DVD and then does an assignment from the printables that come with the DVD) my son asked for some hi-lighter markers. Then he exclaimed " I finally can see how a paragraph is actually broken down". " It's like an algorithm."   And he showed me what he worked on.

He explained he now understands how at times he never knew when to actually start another paragraph when writing about a topic. "Aha Moment" for sure! I was really surprised but kept my thoughts to myself and let him finish off his work.

I realize that these last few years I have been able to show him "how" to actually work through things with his own strengths and use his own abilities to figure out how something can be understood and work for him.

Another example I can give for my other teen who has more auditory strength is we had been working on a really tough spelling word list ( from his ITL "Individual Spelling List" derived from his writing work) and it had been a few days he was working with these particular words. So I decided to turn things more toward his strengths and had him enter the words onto a site called Spelling City. After working a day with those words doing the exercises he was able to get ALL the words today just by adding a more auditorial component. This is just one more example of how using strengths can really help in areas of struggle.

I thought this post might be helpful to some who are skeptical of the thought of having children work through their own strengths. It works. And it helps. You won't be sorry if you try things this way~ I promise.

update 6/14: After reviewing the years writing for their portfolios my older teen has found he really continues to love the Essentials in Writing and will continue to use this writing through the rest of his Highschool.  Interesting to note however, I have my other learner (my younger teen )who enjoys the more classical approach and after going over his writing and year's worth of studies  had requested to go back to using IEW ( Institute in Writing) because he felt it is more thorough and gives him better structure for his writing. I thought that was very interesting and of course we will be going back to using what he feels is best for him and works with his strengths.

I suppose this once again shows how working through their own individual strengths and remaining flexible in their learning really is beneficial.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Quick Tip and Share: Using Comments Feature in Microsoft Word

Computers have made writing so much easier. There are many different things we can use online to help us with our writing.

Do you still print out drafts of your learners work during the editing process? You don't have to~

I am finding when working with teens and writing or for assignments that have been worked in Microsoft Word it is much easier to edit and work with them online instead of printing out drafts.

sample 

The "Comments" feature in Word really helps with this. You can annotate and/or make corrections you would like the student to see "before" making any changes right on the page.

I am still trying to learn how best to use this but so far I find it really helpful to put all of our online work and writings in Dropbox and work right from there. Each teen has a folder in our family dropbox. Under each of the teens folders are sub-folders for each subject of study and inside those are their work we add in. I use this very often and it is a great cloud for the storage of the items they have worked on before and are currently working on now.

Here is also some more information about this tool in Word. And here is how to go about using it. I think it is one of those things you play around with to get it right. How I am using it, is I go to the line or word I am referring to and highlight it then I click on "comments" in the ribbon above and it gives me a bubble to type in comments.

Its a great way to work with teens who might not have time to sit with you and go over something they are working on~ I really think we will be using this more and more as we go along.

There is also a quick little video on how to use this feature also if you want to check it out. This particular link can be helpful if you have older versions of Microsoft Word.

 I can see how it would be great for collaboration on a project for Co-ops and other things where you might have more than one author.

If you have other ideas on how you use this tool I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quick Tip/Share: Writing and Proofreading

Have you ever wanted to have a way for your teens work proofread  by someone else so that it makes the editing/revising process a bit less painful for your learner and YOU? - If you answered yes, have I got a resource to share with you ! Its called Paper Rater. (primarily for Middle School writing and up)

PaperRater
This site is very simple to use. All you need to do is to cut & paste the piece of writing into the space and give the work a title and follow the prompts and submit the piece of writing.

I tried this and submitted a piece of my teens writing and I love it! It was really helpful getting feedback and information that wasn't coming from me, MOM.

The report that came back examined the following; Plagiarism, Spelling and Grammar, Style and Word Choice Analysis, Readability Statistics, Title Validation, Vocabulary and also graded the paper.

I really liked how I could read this over to my teen for a more "objective" point of view. Let's face it us Mom's who play Editor have a tough job critiqing our learners work and its just nice for us to have something that we can use to give feedback that is constructive and can be used as a great teaching tool.

I hope you get a chance to give this a try~ If you do let me know what you think!

Quick Tip & Share Series: Writing: An Interactive Model Bank

Elements of Lanaguage 
Have you ever wanted to find a quick writing model for your teen? I have.

Here is a neat interactive model bank that can help show and explain specific "kinds of writing".

It is interactive so if you click on the margins it explains the specific concept in more detail for better understanding.

Happy Writing!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quick Tip and Share: Literature Study~ a Reference

Novelinks


We are starting a new book for our Literature Study. It is a play by Arthur Miller called "Death of a Salesman".

I found this link that has resource materials and information in working with this piece of work.

The site is called Novelinks. It find it helpful and thought I would quickly share it here with my readers.

For the play "Death of a Salesman" there are several activities for reader to do. Some of the charts like the "K,W,H,L" was a different approach for us as was the Taxonomy for the information as well. We are using the Anticipation Guide as well I think this will be a great tool for writing a compare/contrast essay.

Further resources to review and possibly use:
Death of a Salesman Unit - this link focus' on poetry and the focus on family relationships.
Death of a Salesman - Toward the Examined Life - a series of commentaries and discussion questions to use
Teachers Guide 
A Quiz on Death of a Salesman 
Vocabulary work for Death of a Salesman

Update: * For my younger teen we are reading more books in the CS Lewis series. This month we are starting "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe". Here is a study guide with some activities we may pick adn choose from.

Feel free to share any particular resource you found helpful here as well~

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mind-Mapping for Lectures and Video Learning ~

One of the major differences we have seen in our home learning now that both boys are now in highschool is the increase of lectures and video learning. They use these in all the different subjects, even for English at times.

Trying to have the teens absorb all the information or a good portion of the information can be hard for a special needs teen. I have found some things that might help with processing the large amounts of information they are exposed to from a lecture or a long documentary/video.

My teens both use mind-mapping. Have you ever heard of it? It is a kind of diagram you create where your able to write down the main topic and all the other pieces of information that surrounds that particular main topic. From there, you might have sub-topics that are added from the main topics and you can add even more information that is more specific as they learn. I like to think of it as a visual outline of ideas and information.

Here are some examples and information on mind mapping~ ( and How to Make a Mindmap) It is taking my youngest teen a bit to get used to this form of organization. He was having a really hard time figuring out how best to add them to his Mind Map ( see photo). What is best for him, is to use online mapping tools so that the computer can organize the information more clearly in a written way and all he has to do is move things around to his liking and preference. When I showed him some online mapping tools he loved them, as you can imagine from seeing his first attempt at mind mapping about a video he was watching on the American Industrial period.

As he wrote his first one out I showed him how to do it, but he was convinced and even liked the idea of all those boxes and bubbles and said he wanted to try it his way. Well, a quarter of the way into his work he quickly could see it was going to be very hard to actually try and decipher all of this information into paragraphs without getting overwhelmed and frustrated. The answer? The online mind mapping tool!

Here are a few for you to check out; WiseMapping, Bubbl.us, MindMup there are many more and some take a bit of learning how to use. But my teen seems to like WiseMapping the best so far.
photo credit
The video tutorial they have is really helpful, we really liked it. And I ended up cutting/pasting their "shortcuts" so that we can refer back to it as we use the program. In playing around with WiseMapping I found it a bit more cumbersome to use.

 They do have a tutorial on their site so that helped but some of my "child" topics I noticed was overlapping the "sibling" topics so I went looking over at the other mind mapping tool called Bubbl.us. Here is a video tutorial of how bubbl.us works. We may actually find this one better once we get to using it. In reading more I quickly learned that this site also isn't free, after you create so many "sheets" your told you hit your maximum of sheets and then are charged 3.00 per month.

Check out this mind map created for learning English Grammar.
photo credit 

Here is a book that you can get from Amazon on Mind Maps.

For younger learners, here is a beginners online mapping tool from Read, Write and Think.

So far the easiest one  I have seen to use is called Popplet. You can find it here.  The only problem with Popplet is your only allowed 5 Popplets then they charge you. So that is not really helpful.

In doing more research I finally remembered one that was shared with me way back a year or two ago. It is called Exploratree. They claim this site is free and provides templates for "thinking organizers" or you can create/customize your own thinking organizer ( just another name for a mind map or mind organizer). I am going to be looking into this site as well to see how this might help us. They have a tutorial you can view to learn more about these. While this one is great I believe its best used for the templates and the learners can fill them in. The program is a bit lengthy to go in and add things and move around.

Here is a mind map App you can get and add to your google chrome. Its called Connected Mind. You might like to try this one out as well~

Try out using mind maps for organizing information, you might find your learner really likes it. And this kind of tool is great for those teens with dysgraphia or are dyslexic and have trouble with writing long hand-written pieces~

If you try these, feel free to share what your thoughts are or if you find any you and your learner really like! ~

Friday, January 10, 2014

Teaching Watercolors~

Here is a great article that shows  how you might teach watercolors to children. I loved it. And I have done this before in the past it works out wonderfully.
photo credit

For our lesson we did an underwater scene with coral and it was really neat and then finished ours off with fishes that we drew and finished the details with pen/ink.

This lesson is alot of fun and easy to do~ it allows for a great deal of creativity. Enjoy ~!

Video- "Hackschooling" - Leaving the Traditional Education Method Behind

photo credit 
Here is a really intriguing video ( "This is What Happens When a Kid Leaves Traditional Education") of a young 13yo boy who talks about his home schooling. He has left the traditional homeschooling method behind and explains just how he does it. I loved it and it made me rethink a few things about what and how we are doing things with my own teens. Watch, you will love it.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Drawing Course~

Drawspace.com 
We are trying a new to us drawing course that I wanted to share with my readers. Its called Drawspace.   This looked to me like a simple, clearly designed, self pace drawing program that my teens might enjoy doing.
Drawspace.com
There are several lessons to be able to work on or you can choose to start right from the beginning like what we are doing. ( see Beginner Level).

I am hoping this winter they will be able to run through the entire Beginner Level. Will keep you posted with how they like it and any tips I can give as we go along~

update~ how cool is this video to get your new learner drawing~ crazy realistic drawing of Pepsi can and look to the right for more drawing video demos.

Happy Drawing! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Math: Comparing Fractions

We are just getting back to school and reviewing what we learned before our Christmas Break.  Math is an area that I planned to review more today than actually have the boys work a lesson just because there are so many concepts that they might not remember how to do.

We were reviewing fractions and the concept of "comparing" and my son wasn't actually remembering how to go ahead and do this. We looked over the previous lectures on it, since at the time he was learning it did not need to take notes but now he wished he had made a few notes on this topic.

As we listened it was still confusing so I pulled up the link practice he had done before Christmas and he found it much easier to understand.

I thought sharing this might be helpful since after looking at the quick method of doing this by cross multiplication and having practiced it on the game it seemed MUCH easier~ so here is the link resource:
Comparing Fractions: Computation Practice
Comparing Fractions from Math Playground

If you haven't ever used Math Playground you might be pleasantly surprised at this site and how great it is for trying to learn something or for practice games in a specific area.
Math Playground

Happy Reviewing!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Quick Tip/Share: Getting Back to Studies

We are heading back to studies this week. Ready or Not. This time of year can be really tough trying to reset our homes and learners to get back to a more structured and organzied plan for learning at home.

I sat down and thought of how I am going to get through this week because we have guitar lessons starting, doctors appointments with tests for me, and a teen just begining to feel better from being sick this week and another winter storm on the horizon. (sounds like most people doesn't it?)

I decided the following things would probably make things more manageable and thought I would share them here with my readers.

Here is my list I am going to try and follow for this week:

1. Let everyone know (friends & family) that you are no longer on Holiday Hiatus but are now going back to studies this week. ( this might fend off unwanted and un-needed calls in the am so you can actually get down to business without as much interruptions.  - TIP: I am shutting off my phone or plan on not answering it until we are done with studies or are on break. 

2. Begin by talking with your learners that it is going to be time to go back to their studies and that we will need to try and be better about bed times, eating and also start practicing a more structured schedule. TIP: For younger learners start a few days before scaling back on late night bedtimes. Move up your dinner time a bit earlier so that snacks are earlier and things settle down to where it is a more manageable bed time for an earlier morning the next day. 

3. Remind yourself that its only the first week back and that we need to be FLEXIBLE in just getting back to things. If its better to just start back with only a couple subjects for the first week then do so, realizing that the following week will be more of a ramp up as you go along. TIP: I am planning on slowly trying to ramp and get to whatever subjects we can get to considering the doctor appointments I have and lessons they have outside the home. This will help me to be a bit less stressed thinking I have to get every subject in every day right from the start. If your using HST (Homeschool Tracker Online) like I am, consider adding in the subjects and grades "after" you have finished for the day instead of following a schedule the first week or two. 

4. Plan out meals for this week so that you have lunches and dinners all lined up so that your not scurrying around wondering what there is for lunch and dinner. This saves time and stress on us. TIP: I plan on using the crockpot on many days this week since I will be in and out of the house this week and it ensures we will have a warm, hearty meal when we get back from our busy hectic day.  

5. Smile and give a hug to your learner. Remember why your home teaching and remind yourself of all the learners who are also getting back to the grind but have to wait out for a school bus or sit in a germ-filled classroom. I know my boys continually talk about this and are very thankful to be home for their studies. TIP: If you have teens or older learners like I do, bring this up to your kiddos at breakfast time so that everyone starts off on a good, positive note. I also encourage them to make a mug of Christmas Cookie Tea or maybe a Hot Cocoa for themselves before we settle in for studies. It helps set the right tone and makes things seem less structured and stress driven. 

6. ( I thought of one more as I get started with looking at things)- When starting out with the skill-based subjects ( math and grammar etc., ) consider before starting a lesson doing a quick review of skills before attempting the lessons so they have a refresher. This will save alot of melt-downs headaches and stress. TIP: We are going to read over math notes before math lessons start and also go over writing stylistic techniques and dress-ups checklist so they feel a bit more less in a fog and might be able to attempt their lessons with a bit more confidence and less stress. 

I hope these tip considerations help you as you get back to your studies. If you have any tips or suggestions I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions that you think might help someone as well.

Happy Learning!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Starting the New Year~

It's been a while since I have posted here. The Holiday Season has come to an end and we are starting to think about getting back to our studies next week. Is everyone ready for the New Year? Can you believe 2014 is already here?!

I made a few changes here and will be slowly updating things as we go along. One goal I have is to be a bit better at updating my readers as to what we are up to and how things are moving along~ 

We have made a few changes in our home learning and I am looking forward to sharing some of these changes, resources and ideas with my readers. 

So here is wishing all my LAH Readers a Happy New Year and a successful new year of learning at home~ 


Until next time~ 

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