School photos

October 7th, 2014

Rachel Anne is all into letters these days.  Letters and writing.  She gets excited like she has just seen an elephant in our yard when she sees a letter she recognizes–on a cereal box, in a book I’m reading at bedtime, or anywhere else.  When she is writing, she loves to write the letters she knows how to form, and then asks me to write the ones she can’t.  (She doesn’t know how to write very many yet, just to clarify.)

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This morning she got this magnetic white board and magnet letters and for over an our was doing stuff with the letters and writing on the board.  She would do it at one place in the house for a while, then load up her stuff and move to a different spot.  She moved several times until it was time to do her school.

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I give Paul and Hannah a lot of freedom when it comes to the location and posture in which they do their schoolwork.

IMG_5826You would think with nice desks and lamps under their loft beds (and for Hannah, even a comfortable, cushioned rolling chair!), they would love using their desks.

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Let me tell you, it is the place least used for schoolwork.

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Usually they are hunkered down on the floor in their rooms.  I don’t know how they can be comfortable, but they don’t complain, and they get it done.

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I cannot imagine how they (Paul especially since he is learning cursive) can have neat handwriting like they do since they are lying or crouched on the floor.

Maybe if I started requiring them to do their schoolwork on the floor, they would ask to use their desks!

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I know I have said this before, but because I like it so much, I’ll say it again.

I love the great big white board Andrew got for me and installed on the wall in our dining room!  It is the greatest single asset to our homeschool yet!

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I had been doing whiteboard school with Marie at a little whiteboard on the wall, down lower at her level.  It seemed to be getting old and boring for her, so I switched to using this one.

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I discovered a benefit of using this big one is I can fit (usually) all the word lists I want her to read for a lesson on the board, and then she can see where the end is.  Knowing where the end is (of anything, not just schoolwork) is a huge motivator for my kids.

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Marie is working at reading stories in the A Beka book, Fun with Pets.  It’s a little work for her (and I should emphasize “little”!), and she used to balk at doing it.

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Now that I’ve backed it up to having her read just two pages each day (taking a couple days to work through a story), her reading skills are soaring.

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Today she even wanted to read a little extra after the required two pages.  I see an avid reader on the brink of taking off!

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Now comes the highlight of Marie’s life right now—her school book!  She begs to do pages in her schoolbook on weekends, but I just haven’t done that yet because I need the time off.

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During the week, we do two pages each day (Well, most days.  There are days when I run out of time and energy before we get around to everything.).  She is getting able to do some sections by herself, so sometimes I do Rachel’s school while Marie is working on her school book.

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One of the ways I do Rachel’s school (we have several ways to do it) is I write random letters on a paper.  Then either I ask her to find a certain one, tell me it’s sound, and circle it, or I ask her to pick one, tell me the name and sound and then circle it.  As you can see, she circles them, and also writes all over some of them.  Rachel thinks it is big-girl stuff to be doing school papers, and she takes it very seriously.

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The longer I am at this homeschooling stuff, the more I realize it isn’t rocket science, it doesn’t take lots of equipment or expensive books or gadgets.  It mostly takes consistency, some creativity (to prevent boredom or cure it), and time.  The consistency part is necessary so the kids know what to expect.  If I consistently require them to do all their schoolwork every day, they know that’s the program and they may as well get to it.  The time part is big.  Many days (I’m tempted to say every day, but I know I miss one here and there) I remember a quote I heard at the homeschool convention one year, “Anything works as long as the teacher works”.  They were talking about different curricula.  I believe it.  The more I put into it as far as preparation, prompt grading and giving of feedback, words of encouragement, appearing energized and and positive about school, rewarding accomplishments and good attitudes, and all those things, the better things go.  If there’s a day when I’m in a slump, or didn’t prepare well ahead of time, you can bet your shoes the road is going to be bumpy.

This concludes the photo session of our school for this time.

You’ll have to forgive me for posting unrealistic pictures of our scholars.  I *just happened* not to have any of the usual ones where most of the kids are in pajamas, no one’s hair is combed, a few girls have bits of gypsy costumes trailing off their bodies, and Paul is wearing a do rag.

Did you know…

October 4th, 2014

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Popeye and Olive Oyl were at the beach with us?  Looks like all that spinach works!

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