Cool Story

When I first started researching home schooling I came across many stories like this one. But each one gives the often needed confidence to continue down this often lonely home schooling road.

Learning styles

I came across this resource in my reading and found it helpful. In thinking about how our kids (and ourselves) are different in how we receive information, here is a list of educational tools to gear toward those learning abilities. I think this list is originally adapted from Howard Gardner’s work.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence – Playgrounds, parks, pools, sports, drama, video-games, hikes, gymnastics, wood-carving, blocks.

Spatial Intelligence – Movies, maps, cameras, telescopes, diagrams, graphic-design software, Legos, art supplies

Musical Intelligence – musical instruments, cds, musical videos, computerized sound systems

Linguistic Intelligence – Books, computers/word processors, label makers, writing materials, discussions, books on tape, debates, storytelling, and public speaking

Logical-Mathematic Intelligence – Strategy games (chess, checkers), logic puzzles, science kits, electronic labs, computer programing software

Interpersonal Intelligence – club, sports, cooperative learning, classes, play groups, discussions, group projects, after-school programs

Intrapersonal Intelligence – individualized projects, self-paced instructions, individual sports, retreats (forts, tree houses, lofts) diaries and journals

The list is almost endless. But hopefully this gets you thinking about how your kids are wired and the tools that might encourage their further exploration of this amazing world.

Cincinnati Homeschool Convention

Cincinnati is hosting a home school convention in late March for all you Mid-westerners who want to gather some more ideas, curriculum, or connections.  I haven’t been, but listening in on some message boards sounds like it could be helpful.  Here is the site if you want to check it out.

The Traveling Homeschooler

The opportunity to travel and see/experience the  world is a big motivation to home school our kids.  My husband and I dream of renting a motor home and just going, stopping where we want to stop, seeing what we want to see, experiencing the people and the culture of different areas.  How cool would it be to go to Rome and learn about that civilization.  Or even just to travel around Ohio and visiting different museums and landmarks.  I came across another home schooler with a similar love  – check out this site Bright Kids at Home.  And here is a cool site that links a lot of bloggers who are traveling and writing about it.  Well I know 2 trips that are on the calendar for us this year, Cosi in Columbus for my four year old who loves Math and Science – and Sea World for my 2 year old who loves animals.  Can’t wait.

Rough Week

Well we have been sick all week.  My son started coughing on Sunday and it has been a week of fevers, sleepless nights, PBS, whining, doctors offices – and I am just started to feel bad myself.  Why can’t we all get it at once?  Oh well the fun thing about it is my kids still find time to learn.  This is what I find incredible, I don’t have to make my kids learn  – they want to learn.  Somehow (I think it was probably PBS KIDS  ) my son learned the 9 planets (wait is there 10 now – or did Pluto get knocked off? – got to get some info on that).  If you haven’t checked out this site yet there is some great educational games, it is clean, and no advertising.   In fact I need to start sending PBS some money for as much as they are a staple around here.  I was considering doing an at- home, computer- based,  school sponsored  education  – but the more I think about it, I want him to not look at learning as a chore or work (obviously there is a time for work – but I want to keep learning separate from that as long as possible).  I also think that information that is presented is not without agenda.  I am not speaking about everyone in the school system has an evil agenda it just seems that there is a more stream-lined approach to the information being taught and how they are teaching it.  I think that the world is more interesting that that, and that people are more interesting than that  – I want my kids to interact with lots of information, come to their own conclusions, follow their own interests and become their own people.  Well see :).

Criticism of homeschooling

Everyone who decided against the public school system has to deal with it – criticism. What I find interesting is that they usually feel prepared/ or justified in their criticism when it is obvious that they have given a full five minutes of thought on the subject, or worse yet are regurgitating something they have read in the local newspaper. I had family in town this holiday and I had a very different experience when answering the question that I often have to deal with – what are you doing about schooling? My aunt and uncle are educators (one past and one present) and it was very refreshing talking to them about educational philosophy, how kids/people learn, different stages of learning, and passion for learning. We weren’t in agreement on everything for instance my aunt was concerned about the order of learning. I was assuming that this is because being in the public school system there is an order of achievement and testing that they have to follow. I am wondering if there is research out there on this or whether it is in place so that evaluation of the student is easier. But it was a really interesting conversation where I think we both learned something – and isn’t that the point? One of the many reasons I want to home-school is so I can join my kids in this learning process. Nothing like a pat answer to keep someone from learning. So when someone approaches me with the “reason” they aren’t homeschooling (I guess assuming I haven’t actually spent any time thinking about why I want to home-school) I usual give the answer “because it sounds like fun”. Hard to argue that – but if people want to really wrestle with the questions of meaningful education I am also open for that conversation.

Geography Quizes

Thats right – I promised it and here it is just in time for the holidays. Free geography quizes. I guess we all have some part geek inside all of us and this is mine – I can spend hours doing these quizes. Well here is a few, Test your Geography , Fun Brain, and Geonet. My favorite is Test your Geography. Well I am off to find Cambodia.

Free online curriculum

There are a lot more resources out there than when i started looking into homeschooling a few years back. One thing I am starting to see are big intellectual companies like The New York Times providing ready made curriculum. On New York Times learning, they provide lessons plans from grade 3-12 – they want to be a resource for students, teachers, and parents. Another site I came across was The Gilder Lehrman Institute which provides American history modules. I think we will see a lot more of these sites popping up as information shifts from the text book to the Internet. Which I am presuming we will be paying for our education in a different way (Internet advertising?) – maybe my property tax will come down :).

Spelling fun

I love sites that have games that help you learn something. My favorite is Geography quizes (I’ll post some of my favorites later)- but maps change so often. Anyways someone just pointed out this site that makes a game out of spelling. It has different levels for differently ages. So go play!

Time Article

I know, I know I have been hitting the philosophy stuff pretty hard lately, but there has been a lot of talk in the media lately on big picture educational approaches. In the Time article, they highlight the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce (what a mouthful) report that is coming out this week. Their main conclusion per the Time article was that we need to bring our educational system into the 21st century to meet the standards of the 21st century workforce. This is one of the main reasons we are homeschooling our children (there are plenty of others), but we see the deparity between the preparedness of kids coming out of school and the rapidly changing workforce. It is not the workforce that our parents went into, for that matter not the one we inherited either. It is increasingly valuing ingeniuity, specialization, and the ability to deal with a lot of information (the article talks some on this). The greatest values I think our kids can take to the work force is the ability to think for oneself, to know who they are, what they bring to the table, and to love what they do.  So anyways check out the article.