Tuesday, April 29, 2008 in education, homeschooling, how my children learn

Using technology in your home(school)

Amy  Bowllan from School Library Journal ask me to contribute to a conversation about using technology as a learning tool in the homeschool, and did I ever fill her inbox. 😀 You can read part one here. Long time readers will recognize a lot of it, unschoolers will be nodding their heads. Hopefully a couple of my kids might even chime in.  Although The Boy is now done college and is busy moving for his work co-op as an ASP programmer for the Dept of Secondary Education (talk about proof of concept…), so he might be too busy.

Added bonus: see Sarah using the computer at age 2, and in diapers (cloth, naturally 😉 way back in the dark ages when you had to pin and fold them). And yes I did ask her permission before posting that. Sarah has recently done some work for a local small business, designing posters and brochures, all on computer.

Boy, the first time in a long time where I write pages about some homeschooling topic, and it’s for someone else’s site. 😀

Meet Bobby

This is Bobby. Bobby came to live with us last weekend.

Meet Bobby

Bobby is a result of taking Emma (and the others) out for a wee bit of shopping, where we did not aim for the Dollar Store for a treat, but bumped it up a notch. This is what happens sometimes.

Now Bobby has made friends with Mr Bones and the Visible Woman. Sometimes I find Bobby and his parts in odd places, but mostly I’m just glad the CSI team has not stopped by.

Emma tells me that Visible woman and Mr Bones are an item, and in fact the parents of Bobby, but Bobby himself looks at us haughtily out of his one good eye, and Visible Woman already has a plastic fetus to take care of.

Yeah, I know. We ARE weird.

All that screen time wasn’t wasted

Over at the awesome educational gaming site Super Smart Games, they are running a series of posts on homeschooling and computer games. Intriguing, huh? I’m sure you know we love computer games, utilizing them in our children’s schooling, and I’ve always said that a well-designed game is educational in itself, no matter how fluffy it may seem to the parent, and…

Well, I wrote a whole article. You should go read it.  There’s even a picture of me not smirking like usual. Then you should poke around the rest of the site and bookmark it and stuff. Elle is my new bestest friend.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007 in food, how my children learn

Not back to school, but the grocery store

Sarah and I did the grocery run this morning, but by the time we finally got there it was just about lunch time. Normally this doesn’t even register on our rader very much, but today it did after we kept seeing kids and teens around. Then I realized the high school was just down the street and the grocery store has a deli that serves lunch. Doh.

We were both amused by the girls who all dressed alike (to express their individuality) and the majority of boys in a sort of uniform: black tshirt, baggy jeans, skateboard sneakers. I was convinced that the same 6 guys were walking back and forth.

Meanwhile, Sarah and I price-checked, compared unit values, budgeted, planned meals for the week and generally had a good time poking fun at others. 😀

Monday, September 3, 2007 in holiday fun, how my children learn, travels

Mommy, I wanna learn about oceans

That was Emma and her wish for what to learn about next. Our recent library trip cleaned them out of at least half of the ocean-related books they had, and behind the scenes Ron and I thought up a couple of related activities we could do.

Seeing as we’re somewhat near the ocean and all… 😉

Ron is on vacation this week and we had talked about places we wanted to go, so after a quick consult over our morning caffeine, we decided to head on down to St. Andrews and visit the Huntsman Marine Science Center. It’s a family favorite and Emma couldn’t remember the last time we were there. Hmmm, maybe it was three years ago…

It was a little over two hours to get there, but the drive down was not bad because we were excited and it was a different highway than the ones we normally travel on. Still kinda boring with all those trees though.

We had a great time at the aquarium, going over all the exhibits, taking blurry pics, trying all the touchy-feely things and watching the seals. They even had a tank with some shiver-inducing GIANT sturgeons. A couple of them were as big as me, I swear.

I had a long conversation with another mom over Emma’s pink hair and how it got that way. She said it was a beautiful color (which it is).

After that, we headed downtown with no clear idea what to see next, but the spirit of whatever looked interesting. Lo and behold, there was the Block House. We explored quite a bit there and scrambled over some rocks as high tide came in. And rather quickly too. We continued on and explored downtown, which did not seem to be doing as well as it has in past years. We also toured an old historical home once belonging to the local sheriff.

Sarah did a write-up on her blog too. I think she maybe had a not-bad time. 😉

Even though we were cranky when we needed food NOW, the drive home was long, and I had to lie down when we got back, I was so pleased to hear Emma say what a great day we had, and how she learned SO MUCH and not just abut oceans and things. She really got to see how exploring one topic can lead in all sorts of unexpected directions and adventures.

Pictures to follow, we have two computers on the go today with three people clamoring to use them.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 in homeschooling, how my children learn

Remember how I used to talk about homeschooling?

I can honestly say that over the past year or so, homeschooling (as it were) has been the furthest thing from my mind. You’d be incorrect to assume that the children didn’t learn anything or weren’t taught anything though. Lack of “school” does not equal lack of learning.

I read or skim far too many posts about planning, angsting, second-guessing, decision-making and the like from many homeschoolers. In the end, the kids learn stuff anyway. That’s the biggest thing the last few years have taught me, and now I don’t really do anything but let that knowledge wash over me. Melissa coined the phrase tidal homeschooling and in many ways it seems the tide has been out here for some time. Looking deeper, you;d see that despite that, things are moving along. I just no longer worry about it I guess. It just *is*.

Maybe this nonchalance about the whole thing led to the following conversation Emma and I had at the library.

Me: “Do you want to get more story books and easy readers?”
Emma: “No. I want to learn stuff. I want to learn about.. .OCEANS!”
Me: “Okay.”
Emma: “Mommy? Am I in grade one yet?”
Me: “You wanna be in grade one?”
Emma nods anxiously.
Me, shrugging: “Okay, fine, you’re in grade one.”
Emma BEAMS. Then she heads to the desk and flags down a librarian, “Excuse me, can you show me where the books about oceans are?”

Meaghan asked me recently when kids here start school. It’s earlier than the rest of the province because it all centers around the potato harvest. She’s planning on starting next week, and to that end went around the house gathering books she wants to read and study. No word from me beforehand, this was all on her own. She is almost done reading the entire Harry Potter series all the way through from start to finish. Again. this is how she “does school”, which may not be how you pictured it or how others do it, but it works for us, so we run with it.

There’s all sorts of other things going on in the background, things that the kids are involved with that don’t look anything like school but will eventually help them become independant adults. And to us, that’s what matters.