Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Reading Program

This is great find for a summer reading enhancer program.  This is simple, easy to use and takes only 30 minutes a day.  I got my copy for FREE on my Kindle.  I thought it looked interesting so I downloaded it, I mean the price was right.  You can get it too on your Kindle, click here.  To be honest it will take some work for mom, making copies and being prepared.  The book gives enough poems with lessons plans to fill 8 weeks.  The poems are all by Bruce Lansky and are really cute.  Amy Buswell has added the reading stuff and it is so fun.  More Poems can be found at the Giggle Poetry Website.  This is the full title of the book:  Giggle Poetry Reading Lessons: A Successful Reading-Fluency Program Parents and Teachers Can Use to Dramatically Improve Reading Skills and Scores.  I share this in case you are looking for something fun and schoolish to fill your summer days, try this - the price is right.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Math Drills with IXL

We need something different for Math.  It needs to be something that I can monitor.  We have used Math-U-See on and off for years.  The kids learned but not as consistently as I would like. This is not their issue but mine.  I get so busy that waiting until tomorrow to correct todays paper ends up being a week without math.  This is no way to make progress.  I asked a friend to review Ron Paul's curriculum and part of the response was that he was very happy with IXL for math and for basic grammar.  I looked into it and I like that there is an audio version that reads the question out loud with a push of a button. 
I paid for access to the IXL site.  I included the grammar and was very disappointed that this is not on audio yet.  (YET, they tell me it will be soon.  I would not have paid for that part if I had known. If your children do not struggle with reading, then this might work well for you.)   Overall I am happy and I feel my money was well spent.  Click here to be directed to the IXL site.
What am I getting for my money?  Anyone can use IXL just visit the site as a guest.  The site will not keep track of your work.  When you pay into the access it then tracks it all and generates reports.  The site keeps track of the amount of time spent working as well. This is the part that I like.  I know the kids will make progress and remember more as we establish the habit of spending 30 minutes each day working on it.  My only problem with this site is that it just drills.  I feel that this is a I made them all start at the
 beginning and we are working 30 minutes each day.  Right now was are building the habit.



Friday, June 6, 2014

New Way to Homeschool With Kindes

This is a project really.  I have never really been thrilled with my reporting ability.  I work with kids all the time with little to show for it at the end of the day.  All those coloring sheets just get thrown away.  I have such dyslexic kids that they end up feeling very unaccomplished.  We needed something new.  After 18 years of homeschooling, I am bored, I am tired and I am feeling like I have failed. 

So as I have stated I was reading about Ron Paul's curriculum.  I know nothing about the content but I was loving the concepts for highschool.  How can adapt his ideas into what we do?  I also don't have the money to buy each young child a computer or an ipad.  In trying to figure all this out, dad came across a great deal for Kindle Fire.  We went ahead and invested only $60 each for 4 units for Pickle, Princess, Bagel, and Jumba.  In our minds the twins are too young and Possible as a nicer Kindle Fire HDX from Christmas.  These units have internet ability but so we can visits all the math sites from practices but they don't have the cool apps like the ipads do.  That might someday be worth the investment.  For now we are trying to get this ball rolling. 

We have started the 2014-2015 school year very early this year.  For the first month is will be just trying to figure out how and getting into the practice of our new methods of being accountable.  It is lots of work right now but I know that eventually it will relieve so much of the stress on me.  My goal has always been to get the kids to be self sufficient. They need basic educational skills, they need to be able to apply them and they need to have motivation to keep at it.  I have seen so many families push and push the school work only to have the children shy away from school all together later. 

I want to encourage the independence while still keeping track.  I will always hold out hope that we will move north.  Texas is very homeschool friendly, and I love that about being here.  I need to get back in the habit of better record keeping in case we get to move into a state with much stricter guidelines. I must admit that it took a lot of time (several hours over the course of everyday for three weeks or do.)  I established a homeschool blog for each child.  They will use this to report into each day instead of handing me a stack papers that I am supposed to grade and record somewhere.  I used blogger because that is what I am familiar with.  (I plan to keep them private for a few months until we work out the kinks. I also am not sure how out there I really want to be with the kids.  It would be really bad if their friends got at look at their work and started teasing them.  To be honest I am not sure they will be public until much later. I guess time will tell.)

We started by getting the kindles hooked up and going.  Set them up and downloaded and note taking app.  Setting each child up with the right font and colors etc.  They will be using this for their writing each day and each week.  It was very time consuming setting this up on all five devices.  We are still waiting on the arrival of the cases and I will also be getting each child head phones.  I had each child write an opening post for their blogs.  This was just three or five sentences.  It was a lot for some and nothing for others.  For the first month I will not be pushing too much with the writing but there will be several things due each week.  I am trying to find a routine and get the kiddos in the habit of using the "note" app.