Around our Homeschooling House

My children love to use the game Boggle, which is great for giving them a load of letters and then they have to make as many words as they can from them. With more than one child, this is good as each can be involved and work to their own level of spelling and word recognition / formation.

We also love to play dominoes (numbers, patterns, pairs), do jigsaw puzzles (great for their thinking skills) and play yahtzee, another great alternative for teaching maths.

We are hoping to buy monopoly soon as we no longer have it, and are looking for some other worthwhile games to add to our collection.

Each Sunday I sit down and write what I call a weekly wrap up. It details what we have been up to, the things the children enjoyed, any outings we had and field trips we did. I also put in any other relevant info about how the kids are progressing etc. I find it interesting to go back over. Especially like now at the end of the month I can see just how much we have done and what we have achieved.

I also keep a reading log, a monthly rundown and logs of each individual field trip we take.

Writing a weekly wrap up is mostly for my own self, the kids dad, who is not always around to see what we do, and for the kids to read if they choose. It takes around 30 minutes a week out of my time for me to keep everything done, and I usually sit at the table and write it when the kids are doing their own school work, so it never interferes with normal day to day stuff.

I have devised a number of small forms to assist me in collecting this information quickly and documenting it.

Home Education Rescources – Maths

Well I have been busy looking through some links and websites for some work that I can use for home schooling.

I have actually been amazed at the number of great sites with great information for you to be able to use. So much so that I thought I would share some of the websites I have found along the way today as well as some that others have shared with me so far. I hope that you are able to find some of them useful.

MATHS SITES

MOST offer FREE resources for you to use, while a few require payment.

Free Maths Work Sheets

Cool Maths for Kids

Mental Maths for ages 6-13

Maths Playground

More Free Math WorkSheets

APlusMaths

Mathletics

Basic Maths

Happy Child Maths

Maths -Shape and Space

I will add more as I find them!

Trying to Make Maths and Spelling Fun

Family, Homeschooling and Maths

Home educational resources – Maths Textbooks

Another Day in our Homeschooling Life

We have spent much of the day playing dress ups, making music with home made maracas and creating verbal story lines. Both the children and I have had a lot of fun with this.

I also spent part of the day going over a lot of the stuff we have been doing and I am quite amazed (as I always are) at the amount of learning that has been achieved. It always feels good to me to have that first month of the year out of the way!

I borrowed the Mary Griffith book – The Unschooling Handbook from our local library on Friday and Finished reading it on Saturday. It was such a great book and easy read. I just wanted to keep reading more at every opportunity and felt a little lost when I had finished it. I have since gone online and put a hold on her other book the Homeschooling Handbook. I am hoping that too will be a great read.

Another good read also arrived in my mailbox today. It is a magazine called Otherways. It is an Australian (Victorian Based) Home education magazine. I quite enjoyed reading through it.

I am quite sad as we have a Home Education Training course going on in Launceston on the 12th of February, but it looks like I am unable to go. It is run by a Tasmanian home schooling mum of Ten children who has years and years of experience behind her (16 years I think it is in total!) and I am sure it would be well worth it. A load of the other home schooling mums around here are all going.

Onwards and Upwards! Over the next week or so I will be continuing with my home education resource hunt. That’s when I spend a week or so hunting around the world wide web every once in a while, looking for any new and exciting things I can use as resources for our learning that I may not have seen before or missed along the way.

Homeschooling – Workbooks

Well dependent on how you choose to educate your child and your families philosophy on life, will have a definite affect on the types of workbooks, if any, you choose to use with your children. Our children like to have workbooks to do so we incorporate this kind of educational experience into their school day.

We have a huge variety of workbooks here ready for our children to use. Our intention was to photocopy the work from each book, and give the daily units required to be completed by the children to them. This way we could reuse the books again when it came time for the younger children to work at the level the workbooks are designed for. However we noticed something extremely interesting happening in our house.

The level of work dropped once we introduced worksheets in favour of the actual workbooks. Now this may not seem like much, but homeschooling was going along great guns, until we made this, what we thought was a slight change, to the way we gave our work.

Upon talking to the children we became aware that they preferred to have their own workbooks where they completed the work in the actual book. They felt more organised and could easily access and go over prior work if required to understand what was to be done next. They also liked the idea of being able to get to the end of a workbook and feel that they had accomplished something.

So we have reintroduced the children to completing their work within the workbooks that we purchased for their levels. They now (again happily) complete their work with a lot more enthusiasm and have a greater sense of achievement, Especially when others come to visit and they can show how far they have worked through a book or what they have been doing. They know where their work is kept and can easily move onto the next units of work as required independently, meaning they are less reliant on me to direct them.

This is a win win situation for us all. Initially the cost of homeschooling our children has gone up as we can no longer reuse many of the workbooks we have purchased for upcoming younger children, but the improvement in the childrens work ethics, enthusiasm and increase in their independence far out ways any small cost involved in repurchasing books when needed in the future.

Some of the workbooks we are currently using which the children enjoy are as follows:

Mighty Mentals Math Book

Focus on text

Spelling Rules

Grammar Rules

Comprehension Checkpoints

These books do change frequently as we finish one off and move onto a different one!

Homeschooling with Spelladrome

Home Educational Resources – Spelling Rules Textbooks!

Homeschool Happenings – Documentation

Well I am sitting here writing my weekly wrap up of our homeschooling week. It is something I do at the end of each week. (For me the new week starts on a Sunday, so I usually write the wrap up on this day of what we have done for the previous week).

I am always amazed at what we have accomplished and the amount of learning opportunities the children have been exposed to over the course of a week. As always the wrap up never really gives our week the depth of information it deserves, but for us it seems to serve as a reminder of what we have done, any challenges we have faced and any achievements we have accomplished.

Reading back over some of the weekly wrap ups, I realise just how much I had forgotten we had done over the last few months. At times I dislike the short amount of time it takes for me to sit and document our journey, but when it is done and I get the time to recap what has occurred I know that it is all worth ever minute of effort taken to write about our week.

Sometimes it spurs me on to keep a more in depth look at our learning for a particular day or two. These types of documentation are more few and far between, but by still capturing the essence of a chosen day in greater detail, we can really assess our styles, learning and capture ways to improve it.

For us, documentation is required, in the state of Tasmania, but the methods we adopt to document our journey are ours to choose, so as time progresses I am sure we will experiment with a variety of methods and eventually stick with those that seem to capture the essence of our homeschooling experience to the greatest extent.

Some examples of how our home education experience is documented are as follows:

Through photobooks,

Photographs,

Written documentation such as weekly wrap ups, notes in a diary, lesson plans, logs, daily recounts and much more

Portfolio of work undertaken, samples, selected pieces etc

Computer documents and grading system

Online programs

Our website

and much much more!