Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Geography Activity

Today Sandy was away for the morning so I covered a play ball with paper. The kids painted continents on pieces of paper. I painted the ball light blue. When the continents dried we glued to them to the ball. We learned that if the continents were crumpled first, they fit on the ball much better and looked much more realistic! We hung it from dental floss attached with a hot glue gun. Hung up in the dark bathroom and illuminated with a flashlight, it's a good way to illustrate continents and oceans.



It would be easy to make snowy areas with glue and sprinkles, put in lakes and rivers with markers, and start adding cities. Advanced activities would include:

* Drawing maps of each continent.
* Naming countries and cities.
* Measuring distances.
* Imagining populations.
* Adding islands.
* Studying moons (we made two).



video

Sunday, January 04, 2009

My Kids Made the Paper

It's always nice to see something positive about homeschoolers in your local newspaper; it's even more fun to see that those homeschoolers are your own children.

From The January 3, 2009 edition of the Rochester Post-Bulletin:

(click to enlarge)







Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our New Co-Op









Our inaugural session of Med-City Homeschoolers went off without a hitch. The other parents were fairly helpful, we started and ended on time, and the kids had big smiles on their faces when the day was done.

Although there were a tad more kids than we anticipated (do you know how hard it is to teach 14 preschoolers to share musical instruments???), I think it will be alright. The kids were all really nice to one another, and other than a tear shed here and there by a child who missed mom suddenly, everyone got along really well.

Today, we sang Pa's version of Yankee Doodle, talked about the author and illustrator and where the Ingalls family lived, and made our own butter.

It was a good day, and I can't wait for next week.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

TED Talk on the Educational System Killing Creativity

I watch a lot of TED videos and this one on creativity and education is excellent. Not so much a criticism of education perhaps as a criticism of people in general. I think that most homeschooling parents have in them, too, the sense that there are more important areas of intelligence, Math and Science and so forth, and it's simply not true. The trick is to not kill the creativity that is inately there and replace it with our own vision of educational importance.

The real question is, are parents and educators ready to allow kids to retain their innate creativity and curiosity while not knowing what a worldwide movement of that radical idea would bring about? Which children will be sacrificed on the alter of right-brain based education to maintain our world? Which children will be allowed to flourish creatively on their own?

Fascinating talk. Some excerpts:


Picasso once said this, he said that all children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up. I believe this passionately, that we don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather we get educated out of it. So why is this?

But something strikes you when you move to America and when you travel around the world: every education system on earth has the same heirarchy of subjects. Every one, doesn't matter where you go, you'd think it would be otherwise but it isn't. At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and the bottom are the arts. Everywhere on earth.

Truthfully what happens is, as children grow up we start to educate them progressively from the waist up. And then we focus on their heads. And slightly to one side.

Now our education system is predicated on the idea of academic ability. And there's a reason. The whole system was invented round the world there were no public systems of education really before the 19th century. They all came into being to meet the needs of industrialism.

So the hierarchy is rooted on two ideas: Number one, that the most useful subjects for work are at the top. So you were probably steered benignly away from things at school when you were a kid, things you liked, on the grounds that you would never get a job doing that. Is that right? Don't do music, you're not going to be a musician; don't do art, you're not going to be an artist. Benign advice -- now, profoundly mistaken. The whole world is engulfed in a revolution.

And the second is, academic ability, which has really come to dominate our view of intelligence because the universities designed the system in their image. If you think of it, the whole system of public education around the world is a protracted process of university entrance. And the consequence is that many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they're not, because the thing they were good at at school wasn't valued, or was actually stigmatized. And I think we can't afford to go on that way.

She's been responsible for some of the most successful musical theater productions in history, she's given pleasure to millions, and she's a multimillionaire.

Somebody else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down.



Saturday, March 22, 2008

Common Sight Words For Little Readers

Recently, I realized that not all sight words are created equal. Some are indeed true "sight words," words that should be committed to memory without "sounding out," then blending the sounds together. Other words that are commonly thought of as sight words can actually be sounded out successfully without memorization or have such common spellings that your reader can easily figure them out. For example, "go" is commonly thought of as a sight word, even though phonetically, it is an easy word to sound out. The word "goes," however, is much more tricky. Phonetically, it confuses the reader, so it should be memorized.

Here is a list of common nonphonetic words (and words with less usual spelling patterns) that should be rote memorized. In general, these words have been arranged according to the degree of difficulty and the frequency of occurrence. These words are easier to learn if the student write them, saying aloud the names of the letters as he forms them. This provides simultaneous auditory, kinesthetic and visual reinforcement. Frequent review is necessary.


For my own information, I have starred the words below Annika has memorized.

ROTE MEMORY LIST
*Taken from Language Tool Kit by Paul D. Rome and Jean S. Osman


the *
one *
only
once
of *
off
to *
too *
two *
four
do
does
done
don't
goes
gone
was *
were
what *
where
there
they
their
are *
says
said *
you *
your *
want
have *
give
live
who
whom
whose
whole
been
both
always
could
would
should
any
many
sure
very
owe
own
some
come
such
much
rich
which
father
aunt
woman
women
buy
build
busy
half
pint
ninth
triple
among
false
move
prove
again
against
often
listen
put
push
pull
bull
bush
door
floor
friend
people *
pupil
enough
pretty
laugh
Wednesday
February
minute
hour
though
through
thorough
cloth
clothes
sew
iron
study
city
copy
busy
odd
egg
yolk
folk
bye
eye *
heart
stomach
toward
answer
soft
wind
beauty
great
steak
break
straight
touch
Arctic
ocean
island
view
lose
bear
pear
tear
wear
shoe
sugar
wore
worn
swore
honest
honor
usual
company
blood
floor
truth
doubt
debt
guess
guest
guy
guide
guard
calf
wolf
rough
tough
cough
height
journey
route
machine
sign
foreign