Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mom's Reading-Creative Home Schooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families

I just finished reading Creative Home Schooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families  by Lisa Rivero. I enjoy reading it every year. It contains so many reminders to keep the joy alive. I find it very motivating and it helps me focus on the needs of each of my separate children. After all, that's a major reason we decided to homeschool.

*Why I like it:
-It helps me understand the behaviors that my children at times exhibit that seem to be related to their giftedness (although neither have been formally tested for it). Some of these behaviors include precociousness, intensity, sensitivity, drive, and divergent thinking, (read "always coming up with new ways to do things" and "trying to talk their way out of a corner").
-It's a good reminder to gradually introduce more self-directed study into our school as my children mature. For us right now, this means asking my children weekly what else they'd like to learn more about and trying to help them find out about it. It might also lead me to look for a community program I otherwise wouldn't have thought about exploring.
-There are practical ideas for anyone to use in order to make their schooling proceed more smoothly.

*Some of my favorite points and quotes:
-"One does not homeschool gifted children. One homeschools with them." Over these past couple of years, I've learned that there is a lot that I don't know about quite a few things. I've learned so much by helping the kids find answers to their own questions. They are more eager to take facts to heart if they've generated questions themselves, too.
-"Some gifted children end up underachieving. The student actively "not learns" exercising perhaps the only avenue of self-determination available. These may be letting us know that they need more, not less control over their lives." I've found this to be so true of ds8. We can often achieve the same end goal if he has even a little extra say in the path we use to get there.
-"Asynchronous kids are different ages at one time." Have you ever noticed that with your kids? That hits pretty close to home for me. It's important for me to keep this in mind. A child may be age 8 but have a reading level and speaking skills of a 12 year-old and the self-control of a 6 year-old.

Yes, this book is largely for homeschoolers of gifted children. But it's also for homeschoolers of any and every child. Why?

It's a book about that encourages a tailor-made learning environment based on the needs of each individual child. Does that sound like a lot of work?

Maybe, but in other ways, not really. For example, I don't use different math programs for my kids with different learning styles, but I might use different ways to approach the topic or reinforce what we've learned.

If it takes a little extra planning time but results in less argument during lesson time the method has its place in our homeschool.  

I'm looking forward to trying some of the ideas in this book for the upcoming school year. I'm also looking forward to re-reading the book again spring 2012.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Enjoying "Summer"-Music Game

When you're on school break, what do you do? Are your kids completely free? Do they have certain times when they're allowed to have screen time?

I find that my kids usually get along better when we limit time on the Wii/computer. They also get a little tired of sibling togetherness. So during our "summer" break I've tried to have some other fun things available for them to do.

Today we played a fun music game from MakingMusicFun. It was a break-the-code game using simple rhythms and pitches on the piano. It was great for ds8 to practice his note reading. It was also good for dd5 to be involved as well. She caught right on to which notes on the piano to use and also reviewed some rhythms and note reading. (She just began piano lessons a couple months ago.)

It's a real hit. I'm sure we'll be playing it again. If your kids have basic skills in note-reading they may enjoy it as well. (I was thinking it would be fun to re-play the game with tougher note combinations as well. Maybe in the future...)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mom's Reading-Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

One of the biggest things I look forward to this time of year is having time to read some of my most motivating school-related books.

I recently read You Can't Make Me But I Can Be Persuaded by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias.
I enjoy reading anything by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias.
*They're pretty quick reads.
*They have well-tested ideas.
*They're extremely motivating to me in dealing with strong-willed souls (who shall remain nameless).

This book was no exception. It reminded me to step back and assess our situations from the strong-willed's perspective and to keep our main goals in focus at all times. It was also a good reminder that some of the very traits that the strong-willed child will exhibit now (much to our frustration) are the same traits that may help them forge through life's obstacles and fearlessly face life's challenges.


All Good Things Must Come to an End

This past week we wrapped up our school year. It's always fun to look back at our notebooks and see what we've learned. It's also enlightening to look at piano books and handwriting samples. The kids know they've accomplished something at the end of it all.

I also love this time of the year because it gives me the opportunity to do some reading of my own. Yes, I'm sometimes able to squeeze in some just-for-fun literature. But much of what I read this time of year is homeschool-related. I love things that give me fresh ideas or motivation to keep going.

I'll be writing about some of these books in the days to come.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Art Lesson-Piet Mondrian

Last week's artist was Piet Mondrian.

Reasons I like teaching about Mondrian:

*His life is a history lesson. His life was affected by both World Wars.
*His life is a geography lesson as we trace his route across Europe and to the United States.
*His artwork is so fun and in many ways simple, using basic lines and primary colors.
*His artwork is easy to imitate. Doing our own artwork in his style can be as similar or different as we'd like it to be. The kids sometimes like the satisfaction that comes when their artwork looks close to that of the original.

                                                                            by ds7

                                                                              by dd5

Monday, May 2, 2011

Writing Skills - Memory Skills

Today we practiced our memory skills with an activity reminiscent of a bridal shower game. It started out as part of a Writer's Workshop in which the kids practiced their observation skills. It turned into a great memory game.

The kids had to study the tray for a minute. Then I removed one item and they had to guess which item was missing.

After playing a couple of times, the kids wanted to test me, too. When I could name every item on the tray, the kids were intrigued. It gave me a chance to explain how to group the items in your mind, in pairs or threes, and find similarities that will help your mind remember. In this case:

The cassette tape and tie (necktie) are blue, start with t, and are at the top together).
The whisk, vegetable brush, and hairbrush look similar.
After the hairbrush naturally comes the comb and hair tie.
Lastly, the paperclip and pencils are office supplies (and start with p).

I'm not exactly sure what subject this falls under, but it seemed like it was worthwhile.
Couldn't it come in handy someday when trying to memorize the periodic table?