If you follow my blog you know we love Amanda Bennett Unit Studies and use them all the time. They were an answer to prayer when I didn't want to pull my own units together (which I think is more mommy intensive than kid friendly or useful) when I found these. They truly are download and go!
Every day this week Amanda Bennett Unit Studies will have different sales to celebrate so this is a GREAT time to go get some units. They have also been running 5 for $5 off and I'm not sure if it applies but IF it does apply to the sales.... go...go now and pick up some of these! If you have an Ipad you can download GoodReader from Itunes and do these units ON YOUR IPAD!
Click the pic above and then up at the right hand corner click the specials tab and you'll find the days offerings.
We LOVE sparkle stories! If you haven't heard of them they are gentle, friendly stories told by a Waldorf teacher and they're awesome when you need to get some space but don't want to turn on the TV babysitter. Did I mention they were gentle? It can be really, really hard to find sweet, gentle stories for children that are audios so this definitely fills a need!
Right now you can enjoy a subscription to a month of 3 different stories (that would be 3 a week x 4) for just $1!
We do: At Home With Martin & Sylvia, Martin & Sylvia, Willowbee Tree
Click the logo to find your favorites and carve out some time for Mommy!
Need to get some nature study in but...well...you don't know where to start? Try The Kids' Nature Book! This has been our "go-to" when nothing exciting is happening outdoors. Why would this be the go to? Because there is something to do EVERY DAY of the year. Is it January 12th and you don't know what to do? The book has you covered. November 30th?...Got It. Save your sanity and check this out of your library...you'll see what I mean. Pair this with The Storybook Of Science for your older children and you've got your science covered! What a fun and educational book Nature Anatomy is! The kids will love to just peruse it and maybe even copy the illustrations :) And I'd be remiss if I didn't suggest that YOU have yourself covered by getting the classic Handbook of Nature Study. This has tons of info for you to read (not to the kids) so you sound like a naturalist without trying! Simply find what your kids asked you about and let them know. Of course don't bore them by reading directly out of it...unless they are wanting you to, or they are in Jr. High and up.
My boys just LOVE Madeline...which I think is funny because most people think of it as more of a "girl" book but it's not! This week as we're rowing Madeline we've Youtube'd all the architecture of Paris and watched the show Madeline. Here's the original which sticks fairly closely with the book
So...think you need to invent all kind of crafts so that your kid has a fuller experience of his literature based unit??
This is what my son did on his own...from his imagination after I finished The Story of Doctor Dolittle from Sonlight A. Keep in mind he's only 6 so I was pretty impressed that he got the red sails and look at the wavy sky thing. I think he learned some of this technique from Five In A Row. When I finished the book he hugged the book and then said "I don't want it to end!" 'nuff said.
Well it's no secret that I LOVE literature and so do my kids...but...what can you do to add a little pizzaz without Mommy going nutz? If you're not notebooking your book here's some ideas....
Cook: Find a recipe from the country that the book is about
Read: OUTSIDE!!! or at least not in your regular places...make a reading "fort"
Art: Give them coloring pages, empty pages, water color paints, coloring pencils, crayons, home made salt dough, real dough, scissors, old magazines, egg cartons....you get the idea. Ask them to make something about the book.
Act: Let them have the bath towels, clothes pins, hubby's old shirt, your old skirts, scarfs.
Map: Either make a map or download one or get one and have them coloring, sticker...whatever!
Grow: Definitely grow your food. Lots of science first hand! You can even just have a window garden.
Craft: Just let them loose on the recycle pile and see what they can come up with! Just don't tell them what to do, let them create!
Field Trip: Get out and discover what your reading! It will do you and the kids good to get out. This doesn't mean homeschool group stuff, I'm talking about just you and the kids. Even the grocery store can be a field trip! Grocery Bingo anyone? Shapes, money, color...the ideas are limitless. You can also do scavenger hunts at the grocery store as well based on the same ideas. Or even math using a worksheet and a clipboard
Puppet Show: This really cements the story and littles LOVE this. You can have the olders make the puppets and do the show or if you have only littles have them help you make puppets. The puppets don't have to be elaborate. They could just be paper bag puppets that they make ;)
Coloring Books: Dover makes all KINDS of coloring books that you can buy about the time period you are studying.
We reemphasize: The best early "academics" are your responses to your children-giving yourself to them in warm fellowship, conversation, travel; reading and telling stories with moral values; working at home chores and cottage industries together; teaching them by example how to serve others (in the home and down the street); being alert to their highest motives and interests; and encouraging them to develop their own creative ideas in the sand pile, with kitchen dough, with a telescope, in a diary, and with tools in the garage or garden.
The idea that parents should hurry reading, spelling, writing, or math ahead of children's normal development is not supported by a single replicable research study in the world or by any clinical experience in history. All history, research and common sense points in the opposite direction! We repeat: Any who push the three R's early deny the readiness factors the Creator built in-reasonably mature vision, hearing, taste, smell, reason, brain growth, coordination.
-Dr. Raymond Moore
The Succesful Homeschool Family Handbook, pg 46
I should have named this post...LoF Joy - or How Not To Get Math Burnout :^) I've seen LOTS of criticism on the homeschool board about using Life Of Fred (LoF) elementary. Mostly it revolves around it not being a stand alone curriculum. I seriously can't figure this one out...really. You don't need to supplement. BUT you do need to understand how it works. I HIGHLY recommend you going to Dr. Stanley Schmidt's site and reading ALL of it. Life Of Fred Elementary series was meant to be done over and over....not just one time. For our backstory we use this and have now for about a year along with Mathtacular! and Math Lessons For A Living Education. So I feel pretty qualified to answer this one. First I'm sure you just noticed I use other stuff. I don't use them as my "main" curriculum so they are in fact my "other" fun stuff. I read Fred to my non-readers and have them answer it verbally because they are just learning to write and I don't feel the need to burden them further with trying to write the answer. They WILL write it when they go through it again when they can read it on their own. Yes, that's right, I said again. If you go on the website for LoF you'll notice it says that it's meant to do a couple of times (my wording). Why? How many times have you had to read that same book your kid is infatuated with?? That's because when kids are under about 9is they LOVE repetition. So going over stuff a couple (or a whole lot more than a couple) is enjoyable. I know...I feel your pain. I no longer have books in my house that I can't stand to read over and over so there's a free tip for ya if you hate something you're having to read over and over. Substitute it with something you CAN deal with. It's that same repetition idea for Fred. The second time through they pick up even more info than the last time and believe me there is A LOT more than math in there. What about the memorizing tables you ask? Fred doesn't go over that for addition and subtraction but it does for multiplication. Why? Because that should be something fun you do at home not some torture that everyone has to go through. So how do you do the tables? Well you can toss a ball, jump them, play bingo, invent a game using dice or cards ...you name. We use an origami fortune teller paper game...now before you freak out it's that game you did in school it's nothing weird. Instead of fortunes it's the 6 or 7 times table and then their "fortune" is stuff like do 3 jumping jacks or hop on one foot 6 times sort of thing. Back to what a kid actually needs to know for elementary math. What does a kid actually need to know that you don't do all day long? Tell time? Money? Temperature? Fractions? Aren't those things you do ALL day? Yes they are. Just go to the grocery store if you want some math skills. Seriously! Now stay with me here, I use the Moore Fornula which is kinda a hybrid unschooling method. Now I know there are unschoolers who will argue with that but stay with me. Here's a personal story about the color red. See I never taught my sons red...or any other color. Why? Because it's around them all the time and they picked up on it themselves. Guess what? I didn't teach them 1-100 too much either. As a matter of fact I didn't teach them 1-10 at all because it's used so much in daily life they just picked up on it and they understood the quantity that went with the number which is the crucial part of numbers. How did that happen? Hand me those 2 socks...or hand me 3 spoons...you get the idea. Now here's the important part. THEY learned them when THEY were ready not when some curriculum told me it was time. Just like walking and talking. Are my kids some kind of math genii? ...doubtful. Just normal kids who play and explore....a lot! That isn't to say there aren't rules and such which is why I'm not a card carrying member of the radical unschool group. Anyways, This is the way Fred works. Daily life and math...simple. I think that's why it looks like it's not really teaching anything....that's how teaching REALLy is...just Everyday life...simple. So that brings me back to LoF. My husband who's college education was all about the hard sciences...physics anyone?...told me specifically NOT to ditch Fred. He heard me reading it one night to the kids for our night time read aloud and loved it. He loved it so much he showed it to HIS parents and said I wish this was around when I was a kid....ya...do I need to say more? I think the part that is so incredibly hard for parents to understand with Fred is that it requires your kid to think...not fill in the blank or jump through some hoop that's useless. Do my kids get it every time? No. But guess what? This won't be the first time they're going to hear it either. Daddy also does his part by having what we call "homeschool moments" with them all the time...like...When he's at the hardware store and says "if we get these 8 screws and I use 3 of them on that project we are doing together, how many are left"? Or how many planets are there? Or why does the moon not crash into the Earth?" Learning is happening all the time if you are living with your kids...not just surviving the day. What happens if your kid is like 8 or 9 when he's fully getting LoF elementary you ask? Rejoice I imagine! Math Party, gift, week off then... move on to the next in the series. For me it means that my kids are learning at their rate and not mine. If they get stuck...time off. Take a week off (or more) and watch some Mathtacular!, do some MLFLE, play some games. Then strangely enough...bingo! They know what was so hard for them just the week earlier. In the Moore Formula way of thinking it's called Integrated Maturity Level. When they hit the IML for whatever they are learning they'll get it in a day not months....and months...of you tearing your hair out and them crying. Wait...breathe....live...with your kids.
Holy Cow do we have a LOT of tomatoes. BT has now come home with 3 HUGE boxes of tomatoes to be dehydrated. I no longer can since it's kills all the nutrients and if you're wondering we have a 9 tier Excalibur. The only way to ensure you're keeping the nutrients is to keep the heat below 105 so most of the cheapy dehydrators won't work in case you're wondering. Yes I paid bank for the Excalibur but it has SO made up for it.
Here's the pics:
it's hard to tell from the pics but this is huge and filled to the brim...there so far have been three of these.
Ah...homemade sundried tomatoes...less space than canning and more flavor!
UPDATE: Farmer BT has now brought home 3 more HUGE boxes....my oldest starting whining NO! NO! No more tomatoes daddy! We had a teaching moment of being thankful for God giving us free food. Somewhere in there we also had a lesson on "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" Prov 17:22 NKJV
For Night of the Moonjellies I set up the Ipad with the menu from NOTM and then numbered each menu item between 1-6. The kids would roll the dice and then add up whatever the menu item was from the dice roll. So for instance: if they rolled a 1 & 2 they would add up 35 + 45. Then they would have to give me the real money for each item. This was a BIG hit here.
Well now you have cuisenaire rods or Miqon Math but...what do you do with them??? Check out Education Unboxed!! This is an amazing website built by a homeschool mom using videos to explain how to use cuisenaire rods (c-rods) for just about everything!
There is a series of podcasts from That Mom where she interviewed Ellen Dana (who was Dr. Raymond Moore's Assistant and now runs Moore Academy) and the Moore's Daughter ( a veteran homeschooler herself). This series of podcasts is EXCELLENT!!
6th in the series talks about curriculum and it's awesome! Very freeing from the curriculum merry-go-around.
Here's a replay from the early 80's of an interview with the late Dr. Raymond Moore a pioneer of homeschooling and considered by most to be the "grandfather" of the homeschooling movement and Dr. James Dobson....
Hubby came home last night and announced that the new mars rover Curiosity was about to land. So of course we youtube'd it
Luckily - And this is why I'm BIG on Sonlight & Childcraft encyclopedia's we had stuff to talk about Mars.
Today we measured how big Curiosity is, checked where it was via the NASA website on our Ipad, even looked at the "tweets" it's sending. Ah...Relaxed (child-led, Delight Directed, unschooling...whatever title) Homeschool at it's best!
I had a friend ask me how to stop a bad case of whining. First check to make sure your child isn't watching some show that has a lot of whining in it (can someone say Cailou???) Kids are amazing imitators so I would start there. Next, when they whine I simply say...I'm sorry I couldn't understand you through all that whining, what did you say? They almost always say whatever they need in a normal voice at that point. I'm not big on ignoring whining because it's a habit and a bad one at that and habit training is the basis of parenting. Sometimes I see people try to teach the lesson of not whining by whining themselves back to the kid but I don't think that actually addresses the problem and often times I see the kid getting mad ( or laughing if they're good natured). The outcome of my advice...her kid doesn't whine now. It did take 3 or 4 days of constantly saying "I'm sorry I couldn't..." but that's better than than MMMOOOOOMMMMEEEEE!
So you've read the The Succesful Homeschool Family Handbook by Dr. Raymond Moore and you know it's the way you want to go but you don't know how to implement it?? You NEED the Moore Formula Manual. As a matter of fact I would say anyone who is interested in Dr. Moore or Delight Directed Homeschooling (ie child led, unschooling but probably not radical unschooling) would find this a GEM. It's quite pricy to the tune of $50.00 and there are no pictures on the website to tell you much about it....but I will! So what's inside??? Just about everything you'd need for PK-12th with check off lists, suggestions on how to implement...just...well...everything! Take a look.