Nov 30, 2012

A Month in Pictures - November

Since things have been so crazy around here, I figured I would try something new and start posting a slideshow at the end of each month with pics from some of the things that have been going on around here is the first one -

November - create a slideshow

Nov 28, 2012

History for Music Lovers --- Very Interesting Resource

Stumbled across this incredible You Tube Channel - History for Music Lovers - and thought I would share! It could be a really helpful resource for some of those reluctant to ordinary history presentations.

You can follow them on Twitter - 

amyb herbm


2 kooky teachers making history-based pop music parodies; have been called gloriously dorky; check out our YouTube channel and Facebook page

Nov 22, 2012

A Day of Contemplation

For our family Thanksgiving is a day to think about all the things that we are grateful for, to remember all those who have touched our lives and to reach out to those in our lives to express how much we appreciate them. So many people come in and out of our lives on a daily basis that it might be hard to see at first why they were put there. Some people are in our lives for a long time, while others just a brief passing. Some seem to be placed only to aggravate or annoy, while others only to bring joy. When we recognize the age old theory of yin and yang, you can begin to realize just how important every interaction is, so make your interactions count and be thankful for every little thing that you have on this day!

Nov 21, 2012

The Chocolate Fix Tournament - FREE Math Counts Event

The Chocolate Fix Tournament is a 4-Week Event… so even if you don’t get started on Monday, November 26, it certainly is not too late! On each Monday a different challenge will be released, and high-achieving students will earn great prizes each week. Additionally, students who perform well during the entire 4-week event are eligible for additional prizes and recognition.

Get a Sneak Peek

To check out the different types of challenges students will be tackling during the event, click here. You and your students are free to practice (and get hooked on!) these great puzzles.

To learn more about the entire Chocolate Fix project through ThinkFun’s BrainLab, check out this video:

Nov 9, 2012

Always Questioning

It seems that I am always questioning our direction around here. Any of you long time readers of my blog are sure to be aware of the numerous changes that we are always making to our schedule, curriculum, and/or lesson plans in general. KM will make comments like "I could just be unschooled, ya know!" or she will seem as though it is just another chore to get things done, which will lead me to days of wondering, questioning her, questioning myself, and until I have totally and completed over-thought every aspect of our life. I never want her to feel disdain for her education and she always says that she is only joking with her comments, but often truth is said in jest. She has a huge say in all that we do and since her goal is to attend cosmetology school all things are focused in that direction. However every time I think we have found our balance the innate worry of whether we are doing the right thing sets in, often as a pendulum swing of "Are we doing enough?" to "Why are we doing so much?"

I think a lot of my questioning stems from my own haphazard education. I would beg my mom to buy me those super cool workbooks at the drugstore every time we were there, but I loathed being in the classroom so much that I would fake illnesses to get to hang out in the nurse's office. I loved books and would beg the librarians to let me take out just one more book because it was just too hard to choose which had to stay, yet I managed to miss 94 days in my 8th grade year and somehow had B's in all my classes - except P.E. where of course the only requirement was to be there and participate. By the time I was in high school I was missing more days than I was there and three weeks into 11th grade, just days after turning 16, I was DONE! I signed myself out and my mother consented, worn down by the years of fighting to get me to school. I took the GED just weeks later and passed it with perfect math and science scores. I then proceeded to tutor high school students until my class graduated and I was finally eligible for financial aid to start college classes. I loved learning so much I even started out on my college path to be a math teacher, I hadn't understood that it was SCHOOL that I HATED! Luckily I had KM during that first year and decided, upon returning, to change my major to behavioral sciences. I then took a child psychology class in which I did a paper on various educational methods and was astonished at the wide variety of options that were out there. That paper is what began my understanding of learning styles and led our family down the twisty path which brought us to home education. 

Five years into this home education thing, I still question myself and our choices all the time. I create a list of literature titles that I think are important and that KM will enjoy, only to find that she hates most of them - why did I spend all that time scouring lists and hunting down copies of the books? KM will get stuck on a math problem that I can tell her the answer to and how to complete the formula or where she went wrong, but not why that is the answer - only to be left wondering, why do I even know that? While working on chemistry she has to create a graph that shows the electronegativity of a period of elements -  will she ever need to figure that out in her life? Since it is nearly impossible to ever know what a child will retain, be inspired by or be utterly bored with, I think it is truly important to be flexible, explore a wide berth of topics, and be open to anything! I am always astonishing at the rabbit holes that can be found when you simply let the learner take any and all twists and turns that might pop up along the way.

So basically I think questioning is good! Question everything, don't take anyone's word for it and allow your learners to question things as well - even if that something they are questioning is you!

Nov 1, 2012

Sometimes things get in the way and you learn SOOO much more!

We got an unexpected opportunity to add some little critters to our family this morning!

Freddy - The Daddy
Bernard - The Son

Lessons and plans for the day went out the window in lieu of learning all that we could about how to care for these little guys. We have had hamsters before, but not gerbils so we spent hours acquiring as much information as we could. During our search we discussed many other things - from geography of where these critters come from to logically discerning contradicting resources. The beauty of home education is never knowing where your day will take you and having the flexibility to YES whenever we want to!