Homeschool Info and More

On this page you will find information on homeschooling and information on various curriculums available. One in particular will be Bright Minds - Critical Thinking Co ~ at home. You can also visit my website at the following addy:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Writing and Creating Sentences

So, I don't know if your children are like mine, but they would rather not write or try to create sentences much less stories!! I have had to be quite creative to get them to use their imagination. One thing I found that works is a tape recorder. I will have them record themselves telling me a story. Then we will transfer the story on paper by writing it out. Lots of times, they will tell me that they can't think of anything to write, but when I pull out the tape recorder they automatically can come up with a story. Interesting, huh?? We also like to write plays and have them perform them for us. We video tape them and they love to be able to see their finished products.

I started my children writing at a an early age with a journal. I use a simple notebook and have them write in it everyday or at least 3 times a week. I save these journals and they love being able to look back at them. They are able to see how much their writing, spelling and penmanship has changed throughout the months and years.

With the younger ones, I have them draw pictures and create a sentence or two about the picture. This is a great preparation exercise for when they have to write in the later years. They also love to use either their dolls or puppets to create stories, and I will write it for them. Once we get their imagination sparks, it's amazing what they can come up with:)

Until next time.....

Many Blessings,

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Learning the ABC's

If you are like me and homeschool, we are always finding different ways to teach the alphabet. Sure, we have the alphabet chart and alphabet puzzles, but that gets BORING:) Soooo, we try to find new and inventive ways to learn our ABC's.

My little guy loves to get dirty and what child doesn't? So, we let him play in the yard on his picnic table with shaving cream. I spray shaving cream on the table and he uses his finger or a popsicle stick to practice his letters. He also has a sand box and practices his letters in the sand as well. This helps him develop his tactile senses and he has FUN too!!!

We love to paint, so of course we use finger paints to learn our letters and he learns his colors at the same time too:)

We also love to cook, so we make cookies and pancakes and pretzels in the shape of letters. All my children enjoyed making letters out of dough and they are also learning to count and measure and cook!!! Wow, isn't that awesome!!!

What I love to do is designate a letter a week. That week we will have special snacks that begin with that letter and special crafts with that letter too!! Who says learning has to be boring?? My kids learned their alphabet very quickly because we made it fun!! Don't stress perfection!! If your child has difficulty writing the letters, have him paint them instead. He will perfect his writing eventually, but the most important thing is for him to be able to identify letters and know their sounds, because reading will be that much easier:)

Remember have fun and don't be afraid to try new things!! You will be amazed how quickly they will learn and what to continue learning:)

Until next time.....

Many Blessings,

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Crazy Times

Wow, it's seems like a lifetime since I last posted!! Things at our home are finally working well. We had some difficulties with scheduling but hopefully things will work out this time. If not, back to the drawing board:)

When it comes to scheduling I rely completely on my Homeschool Tracker program. It is a Free program and it is great!! I am able to input each child's information and subjects and design a schedule for each child. Of course in my case, I have to be a little more creative since I have 5 children in different age group and grades. At first and for a long time, I thought I had to do everything myself. Boy, was I mistaken!!! It has definitely caught with me and it has been extremely stressful.

I am very lucky and thankful that I have a husband that has decided to help out in the schooling. My children would much rather I teach them individually but unfortunately I am only one person and it has gotten difficult, especially with High School courses that require more time. Soooo, my husband is helping with my older two children and will be helping with Biology and History. Although his teaching methods are much different than mine and his patience level is extremely low, I believe my children will get a wonderful education. This is also preparing them for the future years when they attend college and have different instructors with different teaching methods.

So, even though my children may dread the time when Daddy has to teach, they will thank him in the long run and be assured that they will learn the subject not just coast through it. Now, if you are not as lucky as I am to have someone else to help with the schooling then you must find other methods to teach where it will be less stressful.

For example my fifth grader has a difficult time reading and comprehending. Well, actually comprehending items she doesn't have interest in. But, I explained there will be subjects that we have to read and be able to comprehend even though it may not be interesting to us. Soooo, I purchased a CD-rom called 'Reading Detective', since she enjoys solving mysteries. She is enjoying it immensely!!! She actually begs to get on the computer to read!! She also has the book version but prefers the computer. So, you see, this is a way to get her to read, comprehend, and increase her typing skills all at once. Now, I find that quite helpful and it also increases her self esteem, because she is able to read, solve mysteries and is given an award at the end of each section.

There are many different methods to teach your children and we must be able to get away from the traditional books and find new exciting ways to teach. It will not only excite our children but get us excited and motivated to teach!!

Until next time.....


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Managing your time

I think that if you homeschool and homeschool many like I do, time management is very, very important. In the beginning, long, long ago, when I first starting homeschooling I thought that I didn't need to schedule classes, chores, activities or anything else for that matter. I thought that I could just go day by day and see what the day brought. Well, that may work for some, but it didn't work in our household. When I first began I only had 2 children that I schooled and an infant. Well, now I have 5 children homeschooling with the youngest being only 3!!:) Times have definitely changed.

I couldn't do it in the beginning and I definitely would not be able to do it today if I didn't manage my time appropriately. I have found that if I schedule classes at a certain time that my children seem to get more done and are quite happy with their accomplishments. Of course, our schedule is not written in stone, but it helps to have something to follow on a daily basis. I also found that if I do not allow any television time during school hours, that they definitely appreciate it more, when they are able to watch it. I tape alot of educational shows for my youngest and that seems to keep him entertained if I have to let him watch while I teach the older ones. But for the most part, he enjoys his puzzles, coloring and play dough just as much.

I have mentored many through their adventures with homeschooling and the number one thing that I stress is time management and scheduling. This not only makes it easier for you as the teacher and them as the student but it is a valuable lesson for the latter years of schooling. My oldest who is a sophmore in high school, follows her schedule religiously. She knows what she is responsible for and is able to manage her time appropriately. It is very important when the children are involved in extra curricular activities as mine are or if they have part-time jobs like my oldest.

Now, don't get me wrong!! We can diverge from our schedules on given days to include field trips, but this is only done if they have kept up with their schooling and the trips coincide with what they are learning at the time. My kids love going to the library, even though we have enough books to open one in our home:) They love going to the zoo, the beach and the Museum of Science and Industry. I take advantage of their interests and make each trip an educational adventure. It has taken much time to develop our homeschool environment and it is ever changing, but with time management anything is possible:)

Many Blessings,

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Home schooling Many Children at One Time

Some may think that home schooling more than one child is difficult, but all you need is some creativity and organizational skills. I have been schooling my children for many years and I have a child in just about every grade level. I have one who is in 10th grade, one in 8th/9th grade, one in 5th grade, another in 2nd grade and one in the Pre-school level. So, as you can tell, organization in our household is extremely important. I have found that if I schedule their courses in 1 to 1 ½ hour increments I am able to work with the younger ones and still be available for the older ones as well.

A typical day in our household starts with a 7:30 am wake up call. This allows my children to wake up, eat breakfast and complete their daily chores, before beginning their schoolwork at promptly 9:00am. They have 15-minute breaks between courses and we stop at noon for lunch and daily devotions. We start back up at 1pm and finish up for the day at 2pm. My older children may continue working if they have extra work to do, but they don’t seem to complain. This schedule is working wonderfully for us, but that doesn’t mean that it will work in your household. You must find what works better for you and your children. It also doesn’t mean that we don’t deviate it from it from time to time. For the most part we stick to our schedule unless we have a field trip or a day off.

We have tried many different schooling forms, such as relaxed home schooling, unit studies and strict seatwork schooling, but those have not worked well for our family. We have found that we have an ‘eclectic style’ of schooling and that seems to work for us. By eclectic, I mean, we use various sources for our schooling and don’t rely on one curriculum or unit study. For instance, my daughter loves to read Little House on the Praire books, so I incorporated those books into our schooling. We will be using The Praire Primer as a resource and learn not only reading, but science, history and cooking as well.

You may wonder how I keep my young ones entertained while teaching the older ones. Well, I have found that if I keep a box of ‘school toys’ that can only be used during schooling hours, that it keeps them entertained. That along with books, crayons, paints, and playdoh seems to help keep them occupied as well as learning at their pace. My little one loves ‘doing’ school because he has his own drawer with books, and school supplies. He is learning at a young age, to keep himself entertained and has also learned patience.

I am an example that it can be done. With a little patience and organization you too can home school more than one child and still keep your sanity.

Friday, August 11, 2006

What has happened to respect?

What has happened to respect? You know that little word that a song was made about, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me? I wonder what has happened to it? Doesn't anyone learn it anymore??

I remember while growing up in a strict Spanish household, how respect was taught and demanded of us. I recall my father telling me 'Look at me when I talk to you' and when I did, then he would say 'Don't you look at me like that'. Boy, was I confused!! But, I was taught that children must, must respect their elders. We were never to question or talk back in any form to our elders, even if we knew deep down inside that they were wrong.

I still to this day say, 'Yes and No Maam and Sir'. I don't have to ever be reminded to say it. I instinctly say it. That is what I am teaching my children. Since the time they were able to speak, they have been taught manners. But, most importantly they have been taught to respect. They are always reminded to say, Maam and Sir as well as please and thank you.

People look at me strangly when I correct my children and expect them to repeat Sir and Maam. But, it is so important to teach them while they are young. Why aren't more parents instilling these values?? I cringe when I hear a child demand something instead of asking politely. It drives me crazy when a child doesn't say 'please' or 'thank you'. Doesn't anyone else see it?? Sometimes I wonder if I am living in archaic times, when I am demanding the respect that we deserve. My parents demanded it, expected it and received it. Why is it so different today??

I refuse to stop teaching my children how to behave in public. I refuse to stop teaching them manners and most importantly RESPECT. Imagine how different our lives would be if this was instilled in all our children. For starters, we wouldn't have the problems that our teachers face today. By that I mean, when I child is rude and disrespectful and they are not able to do anything about it. Sad, isn't it!!

All I ask is where is the respect?? I can rest assured that my children have learned the meaning and are following our teachings and can only hope and pray that they do the same when they have children of their own.

Until next time....


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Been Away

Sorry I haven't written in some time. It is just a little crazy here with my kiddos and their activities. This is the last few days of summer vacation before we buckle down to doing 'school'. It won't be easy getting the kids up early to start working on their assignments. Although we have a schedule written out, it is not written in stone. All the intentions are there, but if we should get involved in an exciting activity that will take precedent over all the other subjects.

We have what one would call and 'eclectic' style of homeschooling. As much as my husband would want them to sit at their desks and do schoolwork for 8 hours a day; that is just not how it works:) That's why I homeschool and not him:) I do have the subjects written on a daily basis and times with them, but that is more of a guide and not an actual schedule.

My kids are always learning even when we go to the grocery store. So, as long as I keep them learning and wondering about new and exciting things, I feel I am doing my job. That's why my kids are sooo excited to begin next week.

One book I highly recommend to every homeschooler or even those who have thought about homeschooling is 'The Joyful Homeschooler' by Mary Hood. She is an awesome person and author. I had the pleasure of meeting her and working with a few years ago and it was an amazing experience.

Another thing I would recommend for new homeschoolers and veteran homeschoolers is to get involved in other homeschool groups; either online or in your community. It feels good to be able to share experiences with other moms and the children all have something in common:)

This is all for now, I will be back soon:)

Many Blessings,