Of course another place to find stuff to homeschool with is the internet. Oh, how far things have come in homeschooling! I remember as a young mom with Shayleen and how all we had was supermarket workbooks, library books, the Teaching Home magazine (how I LIVED by that magazine!) and eventually when she was I think 3rd or 4th grade a local Christian bookstore devoted it's basement to homeschooling material....
Anyway, NOW, there are so many resources. Ambleside Online is the place to start for me. What an incredible wealth of resources are connected in to that site. I assumed everyone in homeschooling knew about them but in the last week I talked to a couple people who didn't. So if you haven't done so already, check them out. If you like to you can whole heartily go with their curriculum or if you're like me and cannot seem to stick to a recipe but like to see what other people are doing you can peruse it every time you do lesson planning. They also have an email list through Yahoo. But if you subscribe, be ready for lots of mail. I personally delete more of them than I read, but through that list I have found lots of stuff and I also know that what ever question I have about anything school-ish I will be able to get an answer through those ladies. They take this stuff really seriously, I can tell you!
From there you will naturally progress to Libri Vox. Need a breather? Set the kiddos up with an audio book. Libri Vox has volunteers read aloud books that are in the public domain. We have really enjoyed the history books, "Our Island Story" (British history) and "This Country of Ours" (American History) I've heard that their reading of Robinson Crusoe and Pilgrim's Progress are very good. I also plan to make use of some of their poetry since I'm having one of my girls read Tennyson this year.
Another must know site is the Baldwin Project. Ooo, who even needs to go to the library when there are such treasures? If I had more than one computer I might not bother. The Baldwin Project is focused on children's books, all online. Want to read about King Alfred? Read some Nathaniel Hawthorne? How about some fun Thornton Burgess animal books? They're all there.
And if you get through all those and you still haven't had enough free books, try Project Gutenberg. I haven't used them much because I have found so much at the other two sites. But they have an absolute ton of stuff.
So, you've got your books covered.
How about art lessons? DrawSpace. Oh yeah. Enough there to keep you going for a while. And for art history you can look at many wonderful paintings at Olga's Gallery.
Also, never neglect YouTube. (There are some art lessons there, though not as thorough and well laid out as drawspace.) But you can also find grammar lessons, foreign language lessons, music by about any composer you like (my son often refers to YouTube when trying to figure out a violin piece.) just tons of stuff. It can take a bit to organize the information, but it is amazing the wealth of knowledge that can be gleaned there. Usually the videos are done by people who are passionate about a subject and want to share what they know!
Free worksheets and coloring pages abound. But my favorite for Bible pages is here.
Another good source for worksheets is http://softschools.com/ I have used them for handwriting, but there is a ton of stuff there.
Do you need help with geography? Maybe keep the younger kids hypnotised err, I mean productively entertained for a bit while you help the older ones? http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/ I really like the geography games and I use them a lot but the boys also play some of the math and grammar games.
How about stuff for the older kids? http://www.khanacademy.org/ This is an absolute treasure trove of higher math and science help. Really a fantastic resource and obviously a labor of love for the guy that is putting it out there.
Would one of your kids like to learn web design? My older two taught themselves HTML http://w3schools.com/ They have a bunch of tutorials, not just HTML.
Here is a site I have used for Bible Study:http://padfield.com/ So far we've used it for the book of Matthew and I liked that-so far-I think he does a pretty good job at asking the study questions in a straight forward way and I haven't felt like he's interjected any particular doctrinal view point. But I always feel like I have to watch Bible studies closely and I read over assignments before giving them. I haven't found one yet I could endorse without reservation. But I really did like the study we did in Matthew there, and there are maps and time lines, etc. where applicable.
Well, are you over whelmed yet? Need help organizing? I have used the forms/calenders and so forth here and found them really helpful. http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/ She has a lot of stuff on that site, but I haven't fully explored it other than the organizing stuff.
OK, I guess this isn't really very schooly but I love this site of vintage paper dolls. Maybe it could fit in with an art project. http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/
I haven't really even scratched the surface of all the stuff that's out there. There's NASA, National Geographic, etc. I'd love to get your favorites!
And swimming, well, it is fun just to go to a lake, take a lunch and let the kiddos learn... Do some nature study there... and you don't get all that chlorine in your eyes... :)
So if you are home schooling, you don't want to take any money from the state and you don't have a whole lot of money to spend, what do you do?
Well, the first and most obvious answer to that is a library card. Now I do know some people who hold similar convictions about libraries as I do about state money and I understand that. I'm thinking we need to kind of work through transition time as a society, on one hand not just going along with the crowd and on the other realizing even the best we can do isn't perfect. I have found a lot of stuff at our church library as well, so that could be a place to look. Maybe as we homeschoolers read and buy more books an out come of that will be more private libraries springing up. That would be really, really neat. Imagine libraries privately own and free of the ALA!
Anyway, if you can get a book and you have internet access, you can get a lot of mileage out of one book. For example last year I checked out "Where Do You Think You're Going Christopher Columbus" by Jean Fritz for my boys and read it aloud to them. I also bought three (because I am teaching three boys at almost the same level) of those brad holder peechee type things at Fred Meyer for .39 apiece. And there we begin. Day one I would read the book until it felt like a natural stopping point (that particular book isn't divided into chapters.)Then I would copy off a picture that goes with the book (in this case a picture of a map of Italy.) then I would have the boys color it and copy a sentence that I had written about the reading. In this case it was "Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy." So we practice handwriting, they learn to recognize the shape of Italy, we talk about how all sentences start with a capital and so do names of people and places because they are proper nouns. Then the next day I read a portion and on that day I have them tell me back a narration about the book. Basically they just tell me the story back and I write it down for them they way they want it. (My 9 year old son is very particular about his narrations.) All my boys are still at the stage where their brains work faster than they can write things down so I write it for them but my girls write their narrations on their own.
So we follow this, each day alternating between them writing a sentence and labeling a map or coloring a picture copied from the book (at least in this case the pictures were black and white and several were good for coloring and writing a caption underneath) and narrating. You can see it's very simple for me and they enjoy it.Other than math, which I still have struggles with getting the boys to sit down and do, they are reasonably willing to come to the table and do the work. I think they are getting a good deal out of it. (Any experienced home schooling mom knows the feeling of "Ugh" when your child is presented with something you KNOW you covered and they cannot remember a thing from it.)
We also read a biography of Sam Colt last year which the boys enjoyed, as I knew they would. But Owen (the 9yr old) really latched onto the fact that what he invented allowed people to make repeated shots out of a gun rather than having to stop and reload between shots. Later when we were reading Laura Ingalls he commented that this was before Sam Colt so if Pa had to shoot a bear he would have to get it in one shot. If he missed the bear would have eaten him before he would have time to reload!
This brings me to another thing that we do which is called "Book Of Centuries". I know some people really like to read all of history in chronological order. Maybe it's because I tend to over think things but I never found that workable for me. I could never seem to decide on when to move from one era to the next and often there were books I wanted to read for a certain time period but it would be over the boys' heads. So I decided to cut myself loose from that expectation and I just read what ever looks interesting and important and then we file it in our book of centuries. If it's a page for a person I will just find a page from a book or a coloring page online from a significant event for a person's life and we'll write a caption and file it in the right time period in our 3 ring binder. For Renoir, for example I found a coloring page online for one of his best known paintings so I printed that off and we labeled it with his name and the date of the painting. I may point something out like "Look, Renoir painted this painting ten years after Sam Colt died." I don't want it to be complicated which I found time lines to be, trying to figure out how much space to give time periods and such.
Anyway, this is basically what I do for the history portion of our homeschool (geography, handwriting, some grammar get incorporated in as well.) You can see that this is very inexpensive. I generally buy a notebook for a book. (we read several biographies last year.) Then there is paper, printer ink, internet connection, (I use the web a lot for free map outlines.) The book of centuries is in a three ring binder but expect that to last a few years.
The air smells like fall! It makes me so happy. I love fall, I love the fresh cool air, the crispness... It gives me so much energy and joy!
We have been peeling apples for applesauce, making crisps, pies etc. I took pictures but I can't post them because my usual computer was a sick puppy and I am using my MIL's laptop in the mean time. It is amazing how hard it is to get used to a new computer. Probably about the time I get used to the set up of this one it will be time to switch back. I can't wait to get back onto our own computer though, where all my pictures and favorites and all that are...
Are you ready for the school year? I am tidying up the schedule, but I think we will be ready to start next week. The kids have been put on notice. This is your last week. Make use of it.
Recently there was a discussion on taking govie money for schooling over at Tim's blog. He put forth his reasons for not taking the government route and I whole heartedly agree. My feeling about the government is the farther away the better. I can't deny that at times the money has it's allure, and it would be so luxerious to walk into a book store (or have the UPS guy drive up) and get all these new books at once, enough for everyone...all at the same time.... and swimming lessons and art supplies...*sigh* Snap Out Of It! (Well, I'm only human you know...)
But I don't. Why? Especially when we have had years where we could have really used the help and really with the number of kids we have we could probably get a good chunk of money?
Well, for one thing, when you sign up with those programs you are no longer considered a home schooler. Your child is now a public school child. The state has the same interest in your child as they do any other public school child. I just don't want them being that interested in my children. I don't want them feeling like they have a need to shape and mold my children's values.
I also have a general conviction that it isn't right to force other people to pay for our stuff. I know families who have had to move, put their taxes on their credit cards, etc, etc. Taxes are too high. We pay taxes not only in income taxes, but on our property, in the way of fees and permit fees, business fees, tolls, etc. etc. and not only that but in the price of everything we pay for there is the cost of all the taxes and fees of everything that item has gone through. From the income taxes of the workers who made it, the trucking, the business liscences, etc. etc. on and on. I know people justify taking money by saying that they have already paid in, why not take it back out? But that just broadens and furthers the whole thing. I for one am not going to take part in it as far as I am able. I do not think it is right to take other people's money to pay for my children's swimming lessons. I just don't.
I want my children to be trained to be independant minded. I don't want them to grow up thinking that you turn to the government for help with all your personal problems. That just isn't the government's job. I want my children to grow up to be resourceful and problem solvers on their own and in times of real need to turn to their God, family and church. How can I teach them that if I am standing in line looking for handouts? If we need to move to a smaller house, do without new clothes, eat beans, so be it. But I want my children to view life as free men, not as creatures of the state.
Many people wonder at how easily the younger generation has swallowed socialism. Is it any wonder at all? They are being raised in a socialist institution that is hallowed and untouchable even by the most ardent conservative-the public school system. I may be one small bump in that road, but I will not just flow along with it.
Of course there are two directions a person could be moving if they were questioning taking the government home learning route. They could be homeschoolers who are just tired of being poor or who are entranced with getting a microscope or something like that. Or on the other hand there could be someone who now has their children enrolled in a brick and mortar public school and are considering home schooling but don't have the confidence to go it alone yet. To that person I would say whole heartedly "go for it." It's still better than having to have them away in the government's care all day. But to the prior... Well, consider your path. Is it really worth it to give up your freedom and independence?
On one hand one of my family's favorite past times is jet skiing. My husband shares ownership on a pair that have been in disrepair for awhile for a number of reasons and recently we were able to get them fixed. That has been a cause for great rejoicing. For my husband because he loves to go, for the kids because they love to go, and for me because I can see a definite benefit for my husband when he gets to do things like this (You know the old proverb about Jack and all work and no play and all that) and because while everybody else gets to go I stay home in a quiet house and do my own puttery type things. So that is a good thing.
The bad thing is that while jet skiing somebody broke into my husband's van and stole his wallet, his phone, tools, blah, blah, blah. I'm not sure if the monetary loss is even as bad as the headache of replacing all this stuff and the loss of all the business contact's phone numbers and people at present not being able to get a hold of him via his business # and all that rigmarole. Ugh.
This summer-actually, this last year, there have been things that have really kept me stressed out. I find myself almost whimpering, begging God not to destroy us, praying, praying, but not the good kind, the kind of a trusting child looking to her Father for help, but the kind of a fearful, servile slave, not expecting anything good, expecting every miserable prophecy my gloomy nature can produce... Writing it down seems so.. stark.. but that's how it goes.
Finally I was walking up to the store the other day and God and I had a good talk. About how when I was young and everyone told us if we had more than two children, home schooled, did the things we thought we needed to do to walk in obedience to God, that we didn't listen. We believed God was our help. When they said, "Well, you know, folks can't live on one income these-a-days" We didn't listen and believed God was our help. And God HAS been our help. He hasn't let us down yet. Where did my spunk go?
About how I used to see change as adventure. How I was eager for what ever was next, how I eagerly looked for His direction, His plan and not my immediate circumstances to define my future and what He could do.
When did I get so fearful? When did I get so.... Pasty???
Then He showed my a picture of a trailer in a trailer park. "There", He said. "If I took your house, everything you own and there you are in that trailer, but you can still teach your children, love and train them, love your husband, know my presence, would that be so horrible?"
No, really, it would not be. It would be hard, but I could do it. It wouldn't be the end of the world.
So quitcher whining.
I really feel like a corner was turned for me. And the proof of that was that when all that stuff was stolen from my husband I didn't freak out. I thought, "well, we'll see what God is doing here."
And that was my mixed bag weekend. :)
(Oh, and as a PS, it isn't like we are in foreclosure or anything..It's just how those fears come to a person in the night.)
I swear my cousin Sarah can make something beautiful out of a can of spray paint and a chain link fence. She hasn't posted in a while, but she has some great tips on her site. She stops by here sometimes so maybe we can inspire her.
An old favorite from me is Anna Maria Horner. The first time I found her blog it was Christmas of 2008. This picture of her girls were at the top of the page and I just thought "Wow, that woman has my brain!" Of course, not really. But the way she does color and pattern are so inspiring to me and if I had the time, energy, materials and could make magic come out of my fingers... Well, this was the closest I had seen at the time. She really inspires me. :)
Anyway, close the politico page, msn news, where ever your head has been stuck and refresh yourself with a look at pretty things. :)
This is a name sign I made for Fiona. She is so happy with it! When I was a girl, I could never find anything with my name on it. It was such a bummer. They always had it spelled Carrie, which isn't quite right when your name is Kerri. So, no bike licence plate or personalized pencils for me. *Pout, Pout* Ah well, life goes on right?
I'm also working on putting up new pictures of the other stuff. My daughter thought her camera was broken because she was trying to load the pictures into the wrong place. So I took the prior ones with my husbands phone. Not the best set up. I have a lot to learn about picture taking.
I'm having fun learning about this whole Etsy thing, but there are so many people on it! It's a little mystifying. A little at a time, I guess. :)
Feedback? I would love to hear suggestions and/or comments!
I picked this up at Michaels yesterday. It's scandalously expensive for a magazine, I must say. But oh, swoon. Every page is a feast for the eyes, a tidbit of encouragement, a vision wanting to happen.
You know when you were a kid, maybe there was a fun uncle giving helicopter rides on the lawn, or a really fun looking ride at the fair, and you could only think, "Wow! Me too! Me too! I wanna do it too!" It wasn't enough to watch someone else experience the exhilaration, you must experience it too!
I think as adults we still get that feeling. It may be from watching people in love, or holding a new baby of their own, taking a trip, skydiving, (or for my husband, jet skiing and mountain climbing.)we just wanna do it too!
I get that feeling from watching people create beautiful things. I wanna smear paint, clip fabric, paste, draw, and make the pictures that are in my head come out into the real world. I love that sort of thing. Walking around in an art supply or craft store is a chance for me to hyperventilate. Blogs that are beautiful, make everyday life beautiful, encourage others to take stock of the beauty in their own life... swoon. That's the stuff of heaven for me. I'm going to try to carve out a moment to visit some of the blogs in here.
On Saturday a dear friend of mine took my daughter Elisa and I out for my birthday.
First we went to the Decorette Shop in SE Portland. Lately my girls and I have been watching lots of cake decorating videos on YouTube. Anything you want to learn in the whole wide world, I swear it's on YouTube. My son listens to Japanese lessons, Fiona is trying to learn Celtic dancing, there are grammar videos... Everything. But lately, for us it's the cake decorating videos. My bright idea is that if God ever blesses us again with gentler financial days and we don't need to rent out the upstairs, the girls could get the kitchen upstairs certified and make candy and cakes up there. Maybe, maybe not, but in the meantime it's fun to investigate the whole cake decorating thing. There are so many tips and accessories and colors and of course GLITTER. We just bought a couple new toys and continued on.
Wandered up to Za Zen and my daughter got a good deal on a dress and I saw some of the coolest shrinky dink earrings. I will definitely have to play with that idea! Those aren't them, I got that pic off a tutorial page.
I'm sure, like most things, it's harder than it looks. But the learning curve is part of the fun...
It was a good day. The weather has been perfect classic Oregon, 82 or so with a hint of a breeze. Perfect to me anyway. Today I hope to get some lesson planning done. Wish me luck!