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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cooking with Kids

Earlier this week I made a great pasta salad. It was so easy, and it's a great way to get kids to help out in the kitchen and have some say in what they eat. Just cook the pasta and ask them what they'd like to include in it. Then have them do the cutting and mixing. It's a little learning, a little helping mom and lots of fun!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Great Digital Homeschool Calendar

Next year I will be both working part time and homeschooling 180 days. To keep track of this for myself and my employer I looked for an app that could count my days as I circled them on the calendar.

The All-In-One year Calendar is perfect! You can start the year on any month, and the week on any day. With brightly colored icons and backgrounds you can put multiple activities on each day.

Below is a photo that I took of my homeschool year. The green circles are days we homeschool. The bright yellow are days I work full-time and the light yellow are days I work part-time. The blue squares are my son's summer camp days and the red hearts are my daughter's summer camp days.

What I like best about this calendar is that it's so easy to  change a day without having to recount. For example if my son wants a day off all I do is tap on the date and the green circle disappears. The count then goes down to 179.

This morning he was complaining that he wanted more time off from school around Christmas. I told him fine, but he had to pick the replacement days. It worked like a charm and I wasn't the bad guy.

I paid $4.99 for the iPad app and it was worth every penny and then some. Be sure to check it out!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lumosity-Gym Class for Your Brain

It's my husband who should be writing this post, because he's the one who can really sing the praises of this brain-exercising website. According to him, you are actually able to retrain your brain and make new "paths," thus making learning easier. He claims it's great for everyone, but especially for those with ADD and other learning differences.

I wasn't so sure, but when it was time to renew his membership he signed us up for a family membership. Since then I have my son play this just for five or ten minutes a day. It's a good break between subjects, and even if it isn't a miracle cure for ADD, it can only help his concentration and focus.

At a homeschool convention I heard a woman speak to such claims. While she wasn't promoting Lumosity, what she was selling were services that sounded just like it. They were quite expensive and you had to travel to her office, which was an hour away from me.

Considering it's price, it's definitely worth a try for anyone who has a student who may benefit from this type of brain training. I'd be interested to hear if others have had any dramatic results with this. Please let me know!

If you'd like to give it a try, just click here.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Foreign Handwriting

If you happen to be studying a country or culture that has an alphabet different than ours, here's a great idea. Have your child write down the names of each family member using that alphabet.

My son did this with the Japanese alphabet. Not only do they learn, but it's fun for everyone to see their name in another language. And with the internet it's easier than ever.

Later this year we're going to do this with the Cyrillic alphabet to complete our study of Russia.

Another cool thing to do is have your student write the names of guests on disposable cups at your next gathering. It makes a great conversation starter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dog Show!

Here's a fun way to learn about animals-attend a show. We're a dog family, so a dog show was a natural fit for us. We learned about a lot of different breeds. And in most cases you can talk to the breeders and groomers.

Best of all they're available in mostly every area. Even small shows that only have one breed of dog can be great learning experiences.

Other shows that I can think of are cat shows and horse shows. My daughter just went to a horse show this month with a friend and had a great time.

The photo shows a Bedlington Terrier getting groomed for the show. We were able to pet him and talk with the groomer and find out more about this unique breed of dog.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dealing with Disruptions

 When we were having our basement finished, it was really inconvenient for this homeschooling family. At least at first.

I was trying to do a lesson with my son, who has trouble staying focused to begin with. Right in the middle of teaching the doorbell would ring. My son would leap up from the table, ever-grateful for the disruption of the day.

Once I got our contractor Charlie all organized, an hour had gone by. Trying to reel my son back to the table and lesson was difficult. And when the lesson did resume it wasn't long before we were disrupted again.

Finally I couldn't do it anymore. For a couple of days I turned homeschooling into HOMEschooling. We learned about blueprints, insulation, wiring, and tools in addition to our regular subjects. The distractions became extra lessons.

From a basement remodel to a simple locksmithing job, we often look on as people come to work around the house. Now I don't look at them as disruptions, but lessons.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fun Civics Website

My son actually found this website while he was looking for information on becoming a citizen. Since we have to have civics each year I thought this would be a good site to explore. There are dozens of links to external pages, pdf's, quizzes, etc.   From the thirteen colonies to the three branches of the government it certainly seems to offer a lot, and for free too! You can go directly to the website by clicking here.