Feb 28, 2011

Crystal Outcomes

For some reason no crystals have formed in the sugar jar. There looks like there is some collection on the bottom, but no formation. Salt one is growing though.

Feb 22, 2011

Piquing Interest in Learning

In an attempt to engage the teens in the house today in a project that I thought they could really get into, I picked a topic that I knew they both would like and added a bit of constructive as well as destructive properties to it.

They began on Brain Pop! watching a video on crystals and completing the quiz together ~ they had one answer that they did not agree on and they both turned out to be incorrect! Then we went to the experiments section and decided to try it out. For a competitive twist I gave KM sugar and DN salt, so they can see whose crystal forms first and what property differences they might have. I also choose to veer of course a bit from the original instructions -- I had them use nearly boiling water, so that it would dissolve to a solution better and they would not need to "shake" every so often. There are plenty of variations of growing crystals with sugar and salt all over the web, just be sure to check the sites before you send your kids there!

Once the jars were set aside to begin growing, I took out some geodes to bash! They had a good deal of success and got out some of those pent up teenage frustrations!

With DN here for the week and learning more about how our household works on a regular basis, this was the perfect opportunity for him to engage in an educational activity where he was interested in the subject and did not feel intimidated by the process or institutional feel of learning. He asked some really great questions and when I wasn't sure on an answer he saw that we could find the answer together. Although he has difficulty admitting it, I could tell that he was enjoying himself and learning at the same time.

Sometimes in order to engage the learner, all you have to do is take advantage of an aforementioned interest area. Paying attention to the actions of a child can pay off in so many ways. Even a child who is extremely resistant to any form of "schooling", "learning" or other educational jargon will give you hints about what might interest them. You may notice that when they are walking to the car and they tend to kick the rock ever so slowly, they always seem to be staring at the ground, you find rocks in the washer and in piles in next to the bed. This is a HUGE indication that for some reason his child is interested in rocks, geology and earth science. Now your challenge will be to present it to the child in a way that will really catch their attention.

Don't push too hard and when the child is done - THEY ARE DONE! Sometimes that means that they will stay on a topic for months and sometimes that means that they are only there for a few days or even hours. Pushing them to continue a study that they are no longer interested in or that they have learned enough about is not going to do anything, but make them more resistant the next time you try a learning sneak attack.

Good Luck and PLEASE feel free to post any helpful tips or ideas for encouraging the resistant learner!

Feb 19, 2011

CurrClick - Presidents' Day FREEBIES

CurrClick - Presidents' Day Freebies - This is a direct link to the 5 Free American History Packets they are offering during their President's Day Sale!

Feb 13, 2011

What outcome are you looking for?

I have been speaking to a lot of people recently about the direction that their children's educational paths have been taking. To me, this is an incredibly individualized endeavor that needs to be worked and tweaked to fit each family child. It should be something that is allowed to flow like a river and the child should have the freedom to meander through the twists and turns of life.

One thing that is often forgotten about when one begins down this uncharted path is to really think about what outcome they desire at the end of the journey. This might be something that is really overwhelming for a parent of a four year old to think about - where do I want my child to be in 14 years? - but it really is necessary. I don't mean that you need to pick your child's career or the type of haircut they are going to have. I mean think about the type of person you would like them to be and what attributes you feel are really important for them to be "successful" adults.

I, for one, wish more than anything that I had made the decision to homeschool my daughter when she was younger, however I was at least lucky enough to come to this conclusion before irrevocable damage was done. At 10 my daughter was taken out of 5th grade mid-year and we began our journey. I still had a good amount of time to fix many of the problems that the public school had caused. It has been very interesting since then, we have been on this journey and have taken paths that we never imagined were there.

We started out very much in a "school at home" state, but have evolved over the last 3 years and have moved farther and farther away from the institutionalized mind set. We have moved more towards a system of learning that fits our family. We are fairly happy people around here, but lately we have been evolving again and taking a look at what else we need to change in order to let in more light, love and happiness into our days.

We are taking a few weeks off -from EVERYTHING- in order to really work on ourselves. We will be doing some self-reflection, meditation, yoga and reconnecting with each other. Our lives have gotten so busy and hectic over the last few months and I really feel like we may have wandered a bit farther off our path than I am comfortable with. We are going to focus on what values are truly important to us and what things CJ and I feel are extremely important to convey to our children.

As we take this time to figure out what we want for our future, let us know what types of hopes, wishes and dreams you have for your families!

Feb 12, 2011

Getting ready for Valentine's Day

 The Littles came over on Friday and we did a simplified version of these great Heart Suncatchers for Valentine's Day!

Feb 3, 2011

How much is enough?

I think when you start to loose sight of your yard...it might be enough for a while, but of course we are suppose to be getting another round coming in this weekend! We are trying to still LOVE the snow!!! We just really need somewhere to put it!

Feb 2, 2011

Sometimes you need to step away!

The other morning KM was busy getting some work done before a friend was coming over to go sledding. She had gone through most of it, but when she got to her Algebra she seemed to hit a wall. Math is generally one of her favorite subjects and she usually breezes right through it, but for some reason she just couldn't focus. She was making silly mistakes and really just needed to step away. So she finished up some vocabulary, had lunch and waited for her friend to arrive. After her visit, she went back to her Algebra book and finished it up in no time, with very little error. 

When you see your child is having trouble with something that normally comes easy to them, you need to think about the situation and the results you are trying to reach. If your child is not focused and in a learning mood, then really you are just wasting time. Sometimes you just need a break. Let the student walk away, take a break and return to later on