Showing posts from April, 2015

Signs that Homeschooling is Working

It can be hard in the day to day moments of life and homeschooling to know if what we're doing is enough.  I often worry that the boys are not building skills or retaining what we're going over.  It can be hard to judge those little baby steps they take but other days those steps can be obvious; like today. I was blown away when Ian asked to read two chapters in The Hunger Games and offered to read all 6 pages up front (though he did change his mind after 3 and we took turns back and forth).  He did amazing! As much as I have noticed huge growth in his reading & decoding skills I'm always a bit uncertain as to whether or not he's understanding himself as he's reading. He tends to focus so much on the words that he doesn't always listen to himself.  I knew this was a problem two years ago when he left public school and I've never really been sure if it's something he's improving on or not.  I know he understands what we read but mostly

Tips for Homeschooling Outdoors

This morning was so sunny that I didn't want to sit inside and do schoolwork with the boys. It was bad enough that we had to go to the grocery store and since we only go every two weeks it takes us a long time to shop and even longer to unload the car and put all the groceries away.  It was 11 by the time I was finished with all that and I was itching to get outside. I suggested a hike but the boys all started grumbling.  They really do not enjoy hiking lately and I knew if I pushed it I would have a battle on my hands. The boys WANTED to do schoolwork so we compromised a bit and brought it outside. We set up some blankets and settled down in the sun to work.  They had been re-watching the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone during a late breakfast and while I was working in the kitchen so I used part of that time that they were occupied to set up some blankets and a fun sight word activity for Evan. A few tips to make working outside more enjoyable: Think about the work you

Meandering Through Math & Reading

After karate we had a very laid back day.  The boys each got to their own schoolwork in their own time.  We had nothing pressing planned and I was content to sit back and let them take control.   They knew they needed to do some math and some reading and we had hoped to watch a science video but with our school year winding down into our summer schedule we're much more flexible with what we feel we HAVE to do each day. We're toying with the idea of following the local school's calendar this year and taking the summer off like the boys asked to do. I'm open to that idea but see them crying boredom within a few short weeks.  They have grand ideas of playing with all their school friends every day but many of them are away at camps and on vacation. I told the boys we could play it by ear this summer but I'd still like to do a little bit of math and reading each day just so they keep those skills fresh but I promised we'd find fun ways to practice math and reading t

Down Periscope: Exploring the Submarine Museum

We headed off to the Nautilus museum bright and early this morning.  I've been wanting to bring the boys to see the submarine and the museum for quite some time (OK the whole three years we've been homeschooling!) but we just never seemed to make it there.  There's nothing quite like learning history through fun field trips! We arrived and had a great time searching through the museum. They loved the control room replica where they could play with the buttons, pretend to lower and raise the sub, and pretended to order pizzas to go!  They also had fun looking through the periscopes and spotting our cars in the parking lot as well as turning them around and seeing the water, the submarine, and the sights of Groton. We walked around the rooms reading various signs and checking out things like torpedoes, mission logs, personal effects and more.   We eventually made our way out to the submarine and each received listening devises for self- guided tours. There are 5

Working on the Weekend: Teaching Kids the Importance of a Good Work Ethic

My oldest son loves when the weekends come around. He hopes to get to work with his grandfather and calls him every Friday and Saturday night to find out if he can go to work or not. He works hard raking, cleaning, doing whatever odd jobs my father in law assigns him and he gets paid for his work.  He LOVES to work. He loves spending time with his grandfather and there are entire weekends when it seems like we don't even get to see him. The younger two boys typically spend their weekends playing video games or playing outside. They often complain that Ian always has money and they don't. They complain that he gets to work and they don't. Often when they have a chance to work, though, they often pass it up.  They don't enjoy physical labor nearly as much as Ian does.   I'd like to say we taught Ian his work ethic but I don't think we really did.  Working has been it's own reward.  He likes money, he likes digging in the dirt, he likes feeling like an adult.