Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Solar System Lapbooks

This term we are working our way through the Solar System at the lapbook group I run. We have a few new people coming this term which is nice for us. We are working our way through 15 lapbooks starting with the Sun and working our way to Pluto and other dwarf planets. It's a short and sweet entry today. :-)

Friday, 20 December 2013

Lapbooking, GCSEs and College Places

This school year I am running a weekly lapbooking group for M and other children around her age. The group is free because I found a free venue and the parents stay with their children and work with them. It makes it a learning experience for the family.

This term we covered the human body and did 11 lapbooks on various parts of the body. The final lapbook we did at home which was on the body systems. I thought it would take longer to do than the others as there was more cutting out to do and writing.

We worked our way through this bundle: Human Body Bundle by homeschool bits.

We did them in this order:

Human Body: Skeleton

Human Body: Joints

Human Body: Muscles

Human Body: Brain

Human Body: Heart

Human Body: Lungs

Human Body: Senses

Human Body: Stomach

Human Body: Intestines

Human Body: Cells

Human Body: Body Systems

In January we will be working on the Solar System Bundle which has 15 lapbooks in it.

We have not been using Easy Peasy very much as M's preferred way of learning is with lapbooks. Even when M isn't at lapbooking group, she still does lapbooks at home.

L is now working on more GCSEs and is at school finishing the last few off. She has three offers for college places next September. She chose this particular school and the staff there have been enthusiastic about working with three formerly home educated teens. She and two of her friends started there in September. They said that these three really want to learn and it is nice to work with people who have such a positive attitude to learning.

Today is the last day of term for the schools but we all know that learning never stops.

Have a Merry Christmas, a Blessed Yule (whichever you celebrate) and all the best for 2014.

x

Friday, 25 October 2013

Laugh and the World Laughs With You

I think jokes play a very important part of education and life in general. There are many types of comedy and jokes. We've learned about satire, parody, slapstick, and hyperbole to name a few.

Jokes are a wonderful tool for teaching literacy skills because some jokes have to be said aloud to be understood and some are best read or seen, as I found out this morning.

Let's look at this joke:

A man moved to Ireland because he got a job. He needed a new clock and it was a special kind of clock.

He went to the first shop on the street and asked if they sold potato clocks. The clerk told him no.

He went to the second shop, asked the same thing, the clerk told him no.

He went to every shop on the street and word started to get around.

He walked in, and asked if they sold potato clocks. The clerk said they didn't but then asked him why he was going into every shop and asking for a potato clock. He said we sell cuckoo clocks, carriage clocks, grandfather clocks, alarm clocks... what is a potato clock?

He said, "I don't know, but I start my new job at nine tomorrow, and my boss said 'You'd better get a potato clock."

A few people didn't get it because this joke needs to be heard to be understood. I had to type out the the other way of saying the punch line and then they got it (You'd better get up at eight o'clock).

This joke is joke that is funny whether it is heard or read:

Joe was driving through a little town and lost his way. He stopped someone and asked them for directions.

Joe said, "Can you tell me the quickest way to London from here?"

The man replied, "Are you walking or driving?"

Joe said, "Driving."

The man said, "That'll be the quickest way."

I enjoy a good joke and my favourite type of joke is of course the pun. I love playing with words and hearing how people react (or reading in the case of a Facebook share).

I will leave you with The One Ronnie to give you a good laugh or groan :-)

Now it's your turn to go and find a funny joke to comment on my post. Let's see who can come up with the best groaner. A joke a day keeps the doctor away because laughter is the best medicine.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Easy Peasy is Easy Peasy for the Parents

M has been working through an online curriculum called Easy Peasy All in one Homeschool. I like how everything is planned out day by day and we just go to the computer and look at what the day's subjects and tasks are.

The curriculum is set out with the subjects divided into two sections on the website. First you work on a 'level' (not a grade or school year but level). In the level, you have English, Math, Computer and Logic (Thinking). English is divided into Reading, Spelling, Writing, Grammar, Vocabulary, and finally, Speech and Speaking.

The second component of the curriculum is the program year. There are four years (three of which are complete) and in those years you have History, Science, Music, Art and PE. A daily Bible passage is also included in the year program. The program year is meant to be used to teach multiple grade levels/ages together. The program year has two levels in it, Level L which is for elementary (Grades 1-4 or Years 2-5 in the British system) and Level M which is for Grades 5-8 or Years 6-9).

As the program year is intended to be used with multiple levels and ages there are times when it is too advanced for M and if I had a child in the Grade 4 age bracket there might be times where it would not be advanced enough. I am not particularly worried because I can either explain it to her, or we can skip over it because I know it will be covered again if we are working at the upper level in a few years from now.

Easy Peasy is easy for the parents because all of the planning is done and it's very easy to access everything, and at the same time it challenges the children and is fun for them.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeasy

We started working through the Easy Peasy All-in-One-Homeschool curriculum which can be found here. It is a 180 day curriculum that has subjects laid out in a nice format.

We are working on Year 1 which is a programme of study for History, Science, Music, Art, PE and Health along with the main level which has English (which includes reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, speech and speaking and grammar), Math, Thinking/Logic and Computer.

I do find that some of the History and Science is a bit advanced because it is meant to be covered with multiple grade levels (1st Grade to 4th Grade) but as I am working 1:1 with M it just means that I have to explain things when she doesn't understand them.

Yesterday we did a reading test and M who is not yet 7 has a reading age of 12 (Grade 7 or Year 8)! I find that fascinating. I looked at the list of high frequency words that children in British schools are expected to use and know by the end of Year 5 (age 10 or Grade 4) and she knew those words at the age of 4. Her reading age has come up two full years this year.

Given that this curriculum is more advanced than what they are doing in schools, I think her reading age will come up again by the end of this 180 days (however long it takes to complete the 180 days).

We have finished all of our lessons for the day and we are off out to the playground just because we can. Enjoy your day!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Exams Are Done and Happy Canada Day!

This year we have been very focused on L's exams. She did five exams in three subjects. Now we wait for the results which are released in August.

Happy Canada Day! We are going to be celebrating Canada Day by making a flag cake, which is what we did last year. I need to get the necessary berries to make the maple leaf and red stripes.

I will be taking a different route with M and I am working my way through it all now. We are using a new curriculum that is available online for free. Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. We are trying this out to see how M likes it and so far so good. I will be tweaking the curriculum to suit us. It is a Christian curriculum, however, if you are so inclined, you can chop and change it to go with your religious belief system (or lack thereof).

We are also going to carry on with our lapbooks as she loves those. We are finishing up our nocturnal animals lapbook which is not yet available to the general public via Hands of a Child. I took the plunge this year and bought a Super Membership and I get two lapbooks from them every month in my account. We are working through May's lapbook which will be made available to everyone in another few weeks.

We have some projects on certain nocturnal animals such as bats, beavers, and owls from Hands of a Child and we will work on those and then do something on princesses and oceans. I have enough material on oceans to sink a ship!

Another publisher whose materials I like to use is homeschool bits. This publisher makes some really good lapbooks that are called 'Speedy Lapbooks' and they are easily completed in one session. I use these for my new lapbooking group that I started up. I send a link to the file on Currclick, the other parents purchase and download the file and then we get together and work with our children in the same room. This is done via a Facebook group.

At first I taught and led the group, however, I think it works better if the parents are teaching their children and explaining because they are working to the child's pace. We started off with some really big projects in the lapbook group such as a lapbook on Egypt and a unit study on Ahmed's Secret. I read the storybook Ahmed's Secret and then I showed some of the parents how the templates work and then they worked with their children. After we were mostly finished, I taught them a song about Tutankhamun. It was delightfully cheesy and the children loved it!

This project ended up being a really big project and it took us two sessions to complete it. The next project we did was on camels and that was also from homeschoolshare. I did some research in order to help fill in the lapbook templates and taught that lesson too. This was also a big project and took two or more sessions to complete.

The third project we started was on oceans and continents which was at the request of one of the families. Again, that was a big project and we are going to finish that on our own.

I decided to go with the Speedy Lapbook series by homeschool bits as that means that if the family only come for one session, the lapbook is finished and there is no missing out or catch up. The children who come can complete the lapbook there and then and have a sense of accomplishment at the end (as do the parents!).

We have done two lapbooks so far, one on Animal Parents And Their Offspring and another on Animals And Their Needs. At our next session we will complete Human Skeleton. This week will be our last session for the term as group we share the building with are finishing up for this school year.

I am looking into other options for September both a new venue and a day of the week to meet.

Have a great Canada Day, eh?

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Hallelujah: The Light at The End of The Tunnel Has Arrived!

We have reached that stage where we can see the light at the end of this exam preparation tunnel! We managed to cover the complete syllabus for the History IGCSE in less than three months. We worked diligently these past three months and it has all paid off! I looked at past papers and I feel much better now about the whole thing. We even managed to finish earlier than I had allotted for in my scheduling! I do like it when that comes together.

L needs to revise and catch up on some extra topical reading that she missed out on doing. We have a few loose ends to tie up from her Performing Arts GCSE and then it will be mock exams in History. We are already doing mock exams in English and will have impromptu lessons as we need to about various aspects of English Language.

M is learning about dinosaurs and the solar system. We went to the show Walking With Dinosaurs and we kept it as a surprise for the girls. They had no idea what they were going to be seeing until we arrived in the arena. L guessed it had something to do with dinosaurs because of all the little boys clutching their dinosaur toys. She was visibly nervous that it the show was going to be geared for small children! So like the self-respecting wind-ups that we are, we told her we were going to see In The Night Garden. :-) Even the man who was checking our tickets on the way in joined in on the fun and asked her what her favourite group was. She LOVED the show and M did too.

We had completed a unit study on dinosaurs the day of the show and it was my way of preparing them without telling them. M learned to classify various dinosaurs into the five classes of dinosaur: Sauropod, Theropod, Ornithopod, Thyreophora, and Margincephalia. She also learned to classify them into Bipeds and Quadrupeds. I did drop a hint though that day and when looking back throughout the day, L saw the clues but alas only in hindsight.

M screamed with excitement when she heard we were seeing 'Walking With Dinosaurs' and that there was going to be a palaeontologist there. She knew that a palaeontologist is a type of detective because we had learned about that in our unit study.

M has been doing lapbooks on the solar system and is doing a lapbook on each planet. So far she has completed three: Mercury, Venus and Earth. She is really coming along with her handwriting which was a struggling point for her.

After the exams are finished, L will get a short break and then we will crack on with the Math GCSE (yuck!) I was looking through past papers and it isn't too bad. So I will teach her what I know (pretty much anything numbers I can do), and what I don't know (geometry) she will have to pro-actively ask her dad to teach her. I loved algebra (said while looking through rose-coloured classes) and numbers but I absolutely HATED geometry. I found someone who could show me a geometry trick which suddenly opened that topic up for me. I will leave the geometry for him to teach though. I really would rather not. The goal is to do the Math exam in November.