Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Living what you are Learning!

Jocelyn learning how to use a dropper
This week I am writing about the workshops that I attended at the Nebraska Christian Home Educator's Association conference.  If you missed my first review about 10 Practical things that Every homeschooling Mom should know, you can find it HERE!  If you missed my second post about Secret's that Teachers Never Tell, you can find it: HERE!

Living what you are learning, was the title to the workshop I am about to tell you a little about.  It was presented by Dawn Hudson, the same presenter of 10 Practical things. 

This was a really good workshop...a little overwhelming because her family is REALLY into history.  I am not into that right now...eventually we will be, but my kids are so young...and I have a lot of things to learn (most likely right along with them). 

1.  Break out of the traditional school mold. 

Who says you have to teach every subject every day...or cover every single topic out there?  No One!  When homeschooling, YOU are in control of your kids' curriculum.  If you live in the state of Nebraska there is a state law about how you need to cover all different particular subjects...however think about what you are doing in your daily life instead of just something that comes out of a textbook.

2.  Move around the house!

It is OK to sit in the floor...move around from room to room.  How many kids like to sit at a desk all day?  Probably not very many. 

Dawn was telling us how during her first year of homeschooling she made up a pretty little school room in her house with bulletin boards and desks lined in a row for all of her kids, and then quickly realized it was not practical because they were schooling every where...including a majority of lessons in their sandbox. 

I am a guilty of this.  We do around 90 minutes of school in our toy room.  I have a calendar on the wall...that hasn't been changed for 2 months, because we don't go over the days of the week everyday.  My girls know them...so I figure what is the point.  I have a desk for each of the girls...that they rarely sit at.  I have the alphabet posted on the wall...twice...that we hardly ever look at.  Next year we are moving down to the basement...I want our family room to continue to look like a family room, so I will most likely not go all out up the cutesie stuff and scrap the desks.

3.  School can be fun and rigorous at the same time!

Kids and teens love projects.  I know this is true....my kids get so excited when we do hands on learning activities.  I tend to move the learning outside when it is nice out...and what a difference EVERYONE'S attitudes are!

If your kids just sit at a desk all day and do ho hum things...I am not seeing how kids can love learning.  Model the excitement about learning...challenge them to create their own projects.  Let them experiment. 

Don't use the excuse that "I am not creative...and I can't come up with ideas on my own."  There are so many resources out their that give great ideas on how to cover different topics....blogs, books, pinterest...so many...might take a little work on your part...treat homeschool teaching like a part-time job.  It is our job...isn't it?  Also do use the excuse that we have to cover XYZ by then end of XYZ date...really?  Say's who?

4.  Don't kill their curiosity

Follow their interests.  Jocelyn (6 yrs old) comments on different things that others are learning...in particular, Science related things.  We do a bit of Science...not much though.  I ask her if she wants to learn those same things and she usually replies no...I figure certain topics can wait until later..or even not at all...or maybe when the boys are old enough and we can dive into topics as a family.

5.  Learning happens all of the time

Not just while you are doing "school".  It can happen when you are grocery shopping, out on a walk, playing in the yard, or in the car.  Don't just limit learning to "school".  Ask your kids questions, challenge them in the car to find certain things.  Play scavenger hunts at the park.  My kids love eye spy games.  Just yesterday we played an eye spy color game at the park. The girls were good sports, since they are already pros with colors, but Easton could use some practice.  They had fun running around finding colors for the sake of their little brother.

6.  Buy curricula early in summer and go through everything

Obviously you don't want to wait until the first day of school to crack everything open.  Dawn suggested making a list of everything that you want to cover over the school year and check things off as you go.  I like that idea and do it for the most part, but then I think of other fun things and throw them in.  I never make a calendar of here is what we are going to do on September 1st, here is what we are going to be doing on October 3rd and so on.  I personally like to take it one day at a time.  I like to leave wiggle room if something comes up or we feel like going to the library or swimming.  For example my parents decided that they are having a garage sale this week...so we are doing "school" by holding a lemonade stand for a few days.  I typically decide the night before or morning of, exactly what we will be doing.  That is just me...I know it would drive 99% of the population bonkers. I keep dates and I guess lesson plans all in this little brain of mine...my husband makes fun of me for that...and compares me to the Rainman movie.  I haven't seen the movie, nor do I intend to...

7.  Schedule learning vacations

Dawn gave several wonderful examples about what her family did...how they learned about their home state of Colorado and Washington DC.  Her family takes one learning vacation during the school year.  I would really like to do this especially when our kids get older.  We did a little one last year traveling to Chimney Rock and Mount Rushmore.  The girls loved that vacation and we intend to go again when the boys get older.  My parents just bought a driving RV...so maybe several educational related vacations are in our future!
Education is an Atmosphere, discipline, and a life (a quote from Charlotte Mason)

That is all I have to say about this workshop!

Upcoming posts in the next week or two:  (bear with me...we are going to be out of town holding our lemonade stand!!):)

Multi-level teaching-- ideas about how to do it

Motivating Reluctant Learners

Time & Home Management

and a New way to See Words! (not in any particular order!)

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