Friday, November 16, 2012

Quick Takes: Homeschooling (in pictures) edition

It's been awhile since our last homeschooling update, so I thought I'd appease the grandparents and offer, for their enjoyment (and yours!), this edition of Quick Takes.....make sure to go visit Jen for more!

1.   I'll start off with an art project/science project series.  We had a bajillion broken crayons laying around the house, so we peeled all of that pesky paper off of all of them and melted them down into cool "swirly" crayons (Rascal #2 named them), while talking about primary/secondary colours and the concept of melting.....

Hard labour.  ;)

Excitedly watching...

Using the finished product (Rascal #3 creating a Memory-style game)

2.   A few weeks ago, the Rascals went on a weekend adventure to Nanny and Poppy's house.   While there, Uncle Tony took them on a tour of the greenhouse he works at, and they got to learn about all kinds of fun things.   Interesting things like:  how do they make their own potting soil?   How do you care for certain kinds of plants?   How do you know what amount of each plant to grow?  and so on.....they had a BLAST!

3.   This last week, we had a fun engineering project that we had to complete.  Mike and I managed to score an awesome playground structure at a great price, but with one catch:  we had to put it together ourselves.  While this was NOT fun, the boys had a blast helping to figure out the directions and learning how to use tools.  We'll call it math/engineering/AND shop class all in one!

4.  One of the great things about homeschooling is that we can focus on what they truly love to do, and really individualize each of the boy's education.   Rascals #1 and #2 LOVE gymnastics, and thanks to a school day that requires MUCH less time than traditional schooling, they're able to spend many hours each week at our local gym.   Both of them will be competing for the first time this year, and we just received their competition uniforms.   They were excited to try them on, and I was quite shocked at how professional they looked!  Insta-gymnast!

5.  We may live in a town that's officially a "village," but we have the best village library around!  The rascals LOVE going, and I love that it produces many, many moments that look like this:

He's such a good big brother!

6.  Best investment we made for this school year?   Teaching Textbooks.  Without a doubt, this program has made math time with Rascal #1 so.very.much.easier.  He's being challenged with it (we started him at the 4th grade level, even though he's technically in 3rd grade), but is excelling.   For our little boy who LOVES the chance to be on the computer and his mommy who's NOT ready for him to spend any time online....this is the perfect compromise.  He's thrilled that he's the only one who gets to spend time at the computer....and I'm thrilled that math is no longer a fight!

7.  Last homeschooling update for today is about Rascal #2.   Now our middle rascal has a bit of a challenging personality.  He will not attempt to do ANYTHING in front of ANYONE (including Mom and Dad) if he thinks he might fail.   Even as a baby, we'd catch him practicing his words in his crib thanks to our handy-dandy baby monitor for weeks before he'd say it in front of us.   He's a perfectionist, through and through.   In some ways, this is great (this child can make a mean bed!)...but with homeschooling, it has presented as quite a struggle.  It's hard to teach a child who refuses to make a mistake.

Enter in this book.   I'll admit, teaching Rascal #2 how to read was terrifying to me.   Not only did I not remember learning to read and was scared I wouldn't be able to relate to my rascals, but his perfectionist personality just screamed "DIFFICULT!" when I thought about it.    This book has been the answer for us.  It moves VERY slowly (we only do 3-5 tasks per lesson each day, so it usually takes us a week to finish each of these "easy" lessons), but this is good for my rascal.   Moving slowly allows him to fully master each step.  One day, he's going to pick up a chapter book and read it all to us, flawlessly, I'm convinced.  Today, however....he read this:

Perfectly.   Without any prompting from me, or any stumbling over words.  This book rocks, y'all!

And with that.....our Thanksgiving break begins!

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