Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Paperfolding Links (math)

Math concepts taught with paperfolding - here are some paperfolding sites courtesy of Yahoo 3R Homeschooling group. I haven't investigated all of these


http://www.teachnet.com/brainbinders/

http://www.uniqueprojects.com/projects/complico/complico.htm#puzzles

http://www.uniqueprojects.com/projects/complico/complico.htm?page=5

http://www.puzzles.com/PuzzlePlayground/PencilNPaper.htm

http://www.cyffredin.co.uk/Tangrami.htm

http://www.paperfolding.com/math/

http://www.ics.uci.edu/~eppstein/junkyard/origami.html

http://www.cut-the-knot.org/pythagoras/PaperFolding/AngleTrisection.shtml

Enjoy!

Homeschool Co-Op Fishing Day

Our homeschool co-op went fishing on Tuesday. The girls got a fishing rod and small tackle box. They loved fishing, especially Laura. Rose liked it too but isn't patient enough to sit and watch a rod. They both had fish eat their worms but didn't catch any. The pond we went to had lots of frogs we got to see too.



Although it was very chilly the girls were thrilled and can't wait to use their fishing poles again.

Our long weekend

What a wonderful weekend we had. Friday night we went to the Cleveland Indian's game for scout night. The whole family got to walk around the field - the girls held up the signs they made for their troops. Although the game was very long and we lost - we still had a good time. Laura usually covers her ears for fireworks and just has never enjoyed them. Well....Friday after the games there were fireworks and she just loved them!! She didn't cover her ears and it's the first time I've ever seen her enjoy fireworks!

Saturday we did some running around, saw our new granddaughter - what a cutie.

Sunday we went to the park for a cook-out. Laura threw one of her tantrums. Very embarrasing. Besides that incident we had a good time. The girls watched the people fishing. Laura was seeing what floats and what sinks at the edge of the river. Laura asked this man fishing a bunch of questions - getting ready for our Tuesday fishing day with our co-op.

Monday we went on a LONG bike ride. We overdid it though, the girls aren't quite ready for the length we went. We discovered though - Rose needs a new bike, her 20" is too small so now it's time to shop for a grown-up bike. Laura will get Rose's old bike (which is like new) and we are going to give Laura's bike to one of the grandchildren.

We went to the valley at the Mastick Road picnic area and had a cook out with my mom (Grandma). The girls got soaked in the fountain then we went down by the river. Laura was using her flip-flops as boats :) Rose said the back of her shoes floated but the front sank. On the way back to the car - Grandma almost stepped on a toad. So we tried to rescue it but a little boy took it to show his sister - Laura was not happy. But we explained - we couldn't stop him and we did the best we could to save the toad.

Overall a very nice relaxing weekend.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Weekend Observations

Overall we had a pretty good weekend. The girls and I visited with friends Friday afternoon. Saturday we did our running around for the first half of the day and we had an outing at the Zoo with Girl Scouts in the afternoon. Although the program itself was very disappointing we had fun anyway.

Sunday was a nice stay at home family time day. We transplanted houseplants, planted a couple tomato plants and planted some flowers. The girls loved picking out the flower and putting them in the dirt but did not like the weed clean out or adding dirt to the flower box we have. Oh well - I guess they are actually pretty smart if you think about it - have mom and dad do the dirty work and we'll have fun. :)

The girls actually did pretty well getting along this weekend, especially Sunday - I could see they were really doing their best and I am very proud of how they interacted with each other.

One observation I made this weekend was another parent forcing her child to interact with a group, when the child obviously really didn't want to. This really bothered me...I really felt like speaking up and saying - if the child doesn't want to participate don't force them. I haven't gotten bold enough to do this yet.

This week looks like it might be pretty calm but next week we are very busy. Well at least we'll have the holiday weekend to rest up.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Allison McKee - Homeschooling our Children, Unschooling Ourselves

This book was a big eye opener for me. The little light bulb went off and I finally get it. I understand why some homeschoolers use an "unschooling" approach and what it is about. This book helped me so much and I've dropped the curriculum and have let me children have freedom. No more stressful schedules or fights with my youngest over doing her work. Our lives have become more relaxed and pleasant.

Are they learning? Yes! Even in this short time I've watched what they do and they learn. One quote from Allison's book, Homeschooling our Children, Unschooling Ourselves (p. 126) "The difficulty was ours: we had to learn to look beyond labels to understand this." "...we discovered that social studies, math, science, language arts, music, reading, and health could not be separated out as distinct subject of study in our children's unschooled lives. In fact, what had been misleading us, and caused us to distrust our children's natural inclinations to learn, had been our need to apply subject matter labels to their ever-boundless learning ventures. When we finally understood this, it became much easier for us to let go our our worries and trust that our children would fare well no matter what they chose to do."

Wow! That says it all. That is just one piece of this book that opened my eyes. Our children can and will learn on their own. They will do just fine to learn what they need to know and become what they want to be as adults. This is the freedom I always wanted when I was in school - the chance to learn what I needed to learn to become what I wanted to become.

There is an excellent post in the Unschooling group on Facebook by a Laurel Schwingel (Portland, ME) that I printed out to keep around which also helps me remember what Allison pointed out in her book. This young lady was homeschooled in the unschooling method along with her siblings, they are now all adults and successful, society contributing individuals. Laurel herself is a D.O. intern in an osteopathic family practice residency program. Her post will be kept in my sight to remind me what my children can do - if they choose - she is my inspiration that reminds me I'm giving my children a wonderful opportunity and start to their lives.

5/15/08 Homeschool Group

The girls and I went to our weekly Homeschool gathering yesterday. I just love going to these because we meet interesting people with a common goal - giving our kids the best education we can.

Although we usually see the same people each week not everyone comes every week so we do get to see some new faces or at least some old faces we haven't seen in awhile. Yesterday, the subject came up as I was introduced to one of the parents, why I pulled my children from public school this year.

Why? Well, the straw the broke the camel's back was the fact my oldest daughter went to school with a bruise on her face, they were having school physicals that day and the doctor noticed than called in the school counselor. The school counselor than took her out of class, into a room by herself, and questioned her (I say grilled her) for a 1/2 hour until she heard words from my daughter that were twisted around to be interpreted as my husband hit her. My daughter explained to me that she wasn't sure where she got the bruise and told them she didn't know. After thinking about it she remembered her 2 year old relative had thrown a board book (the kind with the cushy cover) at her - she thought of this during the questioning but didn't think the counselor would believe her since the book had a soft cover....so she left it unsaid. She did mention her dad separating her and her sister while fighting over the weekend and said "my dad separated my sister and I while we were fighting and might have done it then." Which was twisted and tangled by the counselor into him hitting her. I just want to add the small fact that this counselor came to the school once a week, mostly to talk about handling bullies, so she didn't even know my daughter that well. She never talked to anyone else like her teachers, to see if they had ever noticed any problems, she just jumped the gun looking to start a problem (in my opinion).

Needless to say my daughter was very upset by this incident that day and when I picked her up from school I could tell she was upset. She told me all about what happened when we got home and that she was nervous and scared when the counselor was questioning her. I called the school right away and when the principal talked to me she stated she wasn't there and she doesn't know what went on. Long story made short - the counselor called family services they came out and investigated we got a letter a few days later saying the accusations were unfounded and they dropped any further investigation.

After saying all that - I had been thinking about pulling them out before school started to homeschool but we weren't sure we could financially handle it. So I had investigated into homeschooling over a year ago. Why was I going to homeschool them before this incident?
Well my oldest daughter told me several times over the year that she was bored. My youngest was getting frustrated because she wanted to learn and they weren't teaching her and at other times she didn't have time to complete the work they gave her. So she was getting upset. So I wanted to be able to teach them at their own pace so they could work ahead if they understood the subject or take longer on a concept they didn't understand.

One of the other moms pulled her child out of school the year before I did, they sent their child to a private school than to a public school. Her child kept getting in trouble for disrupting the class. Why was she disruptive? She was always trying to help the other kids. Her mom said, I'm not going to tell her not to help other people. So, she ended up pulling her out.

One of the moms put it into simple terms - with such large class sizes and standarized tests the schools can't give a child the individual attention and care needed to thrive in a learning situation. I personally don't like the cookie cutter approach - all the cookies (children) need to look the same and act the same and if they don't conform there is something wrong - they are labeled ADHD or LD or a trouble maker or even "gifted" but are they really or are they just being their own individual?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What will I blog about???

Well as I go along I hope to include information about what we have done as a family. You will find a lot of information on homeschooling. We also like to utilize the Cleveland Metroparks (http://www.clemetparks.com/) since we bike ride and walk through them. We love the nature centers too. I also hope to include links to free stuff because I love free! I'm always looking for free or inexpensive things for our family to enjoy. This blog will probably fly out in many directions so hang on tight and enjoy!

Welcome

Welcome to our family's first blog. The goal is to share the knowledge our family has gained through a variety of resources. A little about ourselves:

Mom: Linda Dad: John Children: Rose, Laura
Pets: Coco (shih tzu/chi hua hua), Rascal (Shih tzu)

We live in a suburb of Cleveland Ohio. We homeschool our 2 daughters.

Most of the time Linda will be doing the blogging but she hopes to get John tech saavy and if the children have anything to add they will too.