Friday, November 27, 2009

Lapbooking and Writing

One thing I have always wondered about is how to incorporate more writing into homeschool lapbook projects. Time4Writing offers online writing tutors for students in 2nd through 12th grades.  They just recently published this free lapbook pocket download that homeschoolers can use to store their writing assignments in their current lapbook.

If you aren't using lapbooks in your homeschool curriculum, this is what Time4Writing has to say about the features and benefits of incorporating lapbooks into your homeschool routine:

"One of the greatest aspects of lapbooking is that the child can bring out their completed project anytime to present to family and friends. Each time they share their material they master it over and over again. Lapbooks help children master and retain what they’ve learned while having FUN! The completed lapbook makes a wonderful homeschool portfolio to bring along for your year end testing or annual evaluation."

I just like saying the word lapbooking, lapbooking, lapbooking. And children get a kick out of showing off what they have created by bringing out their trophies for family and friends.  Here's a fun video of 2 finished lapbooks. One on a complicated subject and the other just in time for Thanksgiving.
Enjoy and thank Kelly for sharing these great examples. To read more about how Kelly uses lapbooks in her homeschool routine, you can visit her lapbook post about what is a lapbook and why would I want one? on


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Unschooling - Does that mean I unlearn everthing I learned in school?

Unschooling seems like a strange term to use when describing an educational curriculum used by homeschoolers. It sounds like you are undoing something done by school instead of a proactive teaching approach. Reading about unschooling as a homeschool approach at Time4Learning:

"Contrary to how it sounds, Unschooling is an active learning process, and not the passive, unstructured method that it sounds like. Unschoolers are homeschoolers who are focused more on the experimental process of learning and becoming educated, than with 'doing school.' The focus of unschooling is on the choices made by the individual child, dictated by interests, learning style, and personality type."

My suggestion is that the unschoolers of the world get a new public relations agent and rename the curriculum to something that is more descriptive and less negative, like say maybe experiential homeschooling.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eclectic Homeschooling - Another Word for I Can't Decide?

When I first heard the term Eclectic homeschooling I thought it was a fancy way of saying I can't decide what curriculum to adopt but after more research it appears to be the best of all worlds. According to Time4Learning, they define eclectic homeschooling this way:

"Eclectic homeschooling is often an end result of trying a variety of other homeschooling styles. “Eclectic” does not mean “erratic” or “unorganized.” Families who take an eclectic approach have specific educational goals for their children, and they make deliberate choices about the resources that they use.

Eclectic homeschooling is an efficient way to teach a number of children who have different interests, abilities, ages, and learning styles. If you have more than one child, it is possible that their varying needs may not be met with a single curriculum."

This means that eclectic is really a collection of methods or approaches that are carefully selected and assembled to address the unique learning style of each child. That seems to me to be a lot of work, but the best way to choose a homeschool curriculum. I've even heard the term "relaxed homeschooling" applied to eclectic homeschoolers but that seems the furthest from the reality. I think I would be more relaxed if I picked one approach and used that one for all of my kids. Oh, isn't that what we do in the school systems? Is that relaxed or just lazy? You be the judge.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A preschooler's education - is it homeschooling?

I was watching some kids doing some great online preschool activities and their parents, all of whom are regular schooling families, talked about the homeschool education that they were giving to their kids. I thought it was weird.

But I loved the preschool website that they were using. I quote from it's description:

The Time4Learning preschool program combines technology, animated characters, original stories and fun music to inspire a love of learning in the littlest e-learners. Ed Mouse and his friends guide children through more than forty topics such as numbers, letters, rhymes, self, time, music and colors.

Time4Learning provides a solid standards-based foundation for Kindergarten readiness. Time4Learning's preschool program is divided into two distinct educational levels and recurring practice is provided in concepts that include ordering, classifying, syllables, patterns, rhymes, colors, and number and letter recognition.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are You Homeschooled?

One subject that never seems to come up in conversation, where did you go to school? Or should I say, one response that never comes up - I was homeschooled, how about you? I know that homeschoolers only make up abut 1.5% of the population, but I never seem to run into them. Or maybe homeschoolers are just not forthcoming about being homeschooled.

I mean homeschooling isn't mainstream for sure and that's one thing that kids want to be is mainstream so they fit into their peer group. So this might explain why mum is the word on homeschooling discussions at cocktail parties. But why be so quiet about an education platform that appears to be outperforming all others - by a margin of 20-30 points on standardized tests?

I think it might be time for homeschoolers everywhere to come out of the closet and toot their horn a bit. Even if all parents can't make the commitment to full time educational responsibility, maybe they can step up to the plate and provide more supplemental help for their kids. Technology and the internet have made easier than ever to fill in the gaps of where public schools are letting down our kids who may have special needs. The company I work for has a wonderful option for afterschool or summer school help, not to mention a great adoption rate by homeschoolers everywhere.