Alberta Home Education Association
Subcategories from this category:Encouragement of the Week, Fathers, High School, Home Education Philosophies, Reasons to Home Educate, Special Needs, Support Group Ideas, Tip of the Week, Website of the Week
Well, it is hard to believe I haven't blogged for a while, but life has been extremely busy. I have kept busy home schooling, managed to visit our oldest daughter (and husband AND new baby!) in Germany a few weeks ago, and our 3rd daughter just had an emergency appendectomy that was pretty awful - hospital visits and recovery - as well, as keeping an eye on the new AHEA Facebook page. (The Facebook Page is hopping with links and comments, though!)
Life is kind of slowing down and I am back. smile
I was looking for a baby present and a preschooler / toddler birthday present yesterday and came across two great resources.
The first was a Leapfrog Frig Farm Animal Magnet Set. (I actually saw this on a Facebook Garage Sale Page for our area - that is another tip for the Facebookers! People not on Facebook, keep checking Kijiji and real life garage sales! BUT for those of us on Facebook, the Garage Sale pages for our areas are a great resource. I am loving ours and have found many great house items on great sales, as well as some educational items, too. I bought a used set for $5.) The new set for a baby gift was aroud $23 at the Bargain Shop.
The second resource that I saw and LOVE for little home schoolers was the Leapfrog Letter Factory Phonics. Again, it was at the Bargain Shop - around $27. I shop mostly in rural Alberta, so I had never seen this before other than online. Love it. I think it would be a great educational extra for a little home schooler to help learn the letters of the alphabet with - great as a workboxing extra OR to keep a little one busy while the big kids are homeschooling.
The last item is a KEVA Contraptions set. I saw this at one of the Home School Supply Stores and after a little consideration, I picked up for our household. Our kids are older - our youngest is 14, but I thought it would be a great building set to have in the house. I was right - I've had a few home school events in our house OR babysat for friends and had some kids LOVE building with it.
This is an idea that I have used in our home school often through the years. *I was just thinking I do a lot of online extras BUT the internet is a tool in our home and home school. I always recommend monitoring it closely. Our computers and laptops are in public areas and I continue limiting and checking how much our daughters use them AND what they are doing on them. That is a parental responsibility in this day and age. *I do trust our children often, but I don't trust their friends usually - parents have different rules, so it is important to keep an eye on even our trusted children. I was reminded of that recently.
BUT using Youtube in our home school has been a valuable tool. I am always looking for tips and links to illustrate what we are learning about.... I often check out Youtube for a video to make a lesson come to life. It works for checking out: animal habitats for science, current news stories, art or paper play techniques, math extras - Doodling in Math Class, anyone? (We love her series on Sprials, Fibonacci and Being a Plant), historical videos (Ancients Behaving Badly - Genghis Khan- there are many other videos, too) and much more.
Here is a link to Using Youtube in Your Home School for even more ideas.
I think the key is to make home schooling work in your home. If you are comfortable with Youtube, it is just one more tool to use!
I can't even remember if I have shared about this before, but I was just thinking how well it has gone this year and how much we enjoy it. First of all, I have to say that I have realised through the years that NOT everything educational needs curriculum or *workbooks* to be a great activity or extra. I actually have found discussions to be a great learning activity in our home.
We have done Afternoon Discussions with another Homeschool Family for years. Some families read books or base their discussions off questions, but we have simply watched a TV season episode (while I wrote down questions relating to what we watched) and then I host a discussion with the youth present. It really is such a simple idea, but so effective.
We watched the entire series of Dr. Quinn together a few years ago and had some amazing discussions. There really is nothing like seeing outright racism (Robert Lee and Grace) to get everyone thinking and talking. We also talked about pioneer days, women being doctors when only men were accepted as doctors, purity and waiting for marriage (Dr Quinn and Sully), and so much more.
The next year, we headed into McGyver (to give the boys a break from relationship *talks*! smile). It had a science and creativity flavor.Â
For the past 2 years or so, we have been working through Numb3rs. It has a mathematic bent and has been very good for the math phobic youth present. (smile/ sigh)
Last week, we took a departure from watching an episode from a TV season and watched "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler". I had a friend recommend it and I ordered it in through Interlibrary Loan. WOW. What a great movie about real life heroes. Amazing story.
BUT I once again realised how powerful this discussion idea was. . . It really isn't hard writing down questions to discuss - often a movie or episode will have a theme. I try to be sensitive to those who are more shy, but I believe in everyone sharing their thoughts, too. It really was a great discussion and a learning hook for the children present who hadn't studied WW2 yet. (3 families took part and preteens were present.)
*Oh, and when I host a discussion, I always note the date, what we watched and who was present - along with the questions as a record of what we did - as well as any great comments or quotes.
Well, I hope you had a great time at the Convention! I know AHEA's Facebook Page (look for Alberta Home Education Association and join!) has had a lot of positive comments... Richard and I kinda came home and collapsed. smile It is a very busy week preparing and a busy time at the Convention. BUT we love it and love meeting all of you!
I have been planning *extra* home school extras in our area since February. A new home school friend, Liz (the support group leader from St. Paul) inspired me earlier this year with the Facebook Page for their Support Group. I started one for our area and home schoolers ARE connecting more than they ever have.
We have always had home school support group meetings and the odd field trip now and then, as moms got inspired, but not much more than that.
WELL, since I started the Facebook Page, I got inspired and started thinking of home schooling extras that the children and teens in our area would enjoy. We now have a monthly Homeschool Bowling time (which surprisingly to me, is VERY popular!), and quite a few other things are happening, too.
One is a Lego Afternoon. This has been amazing and will turn into an article soon. (smile) I went through our Lego and washed it in preparation. I then picked an afternoon and had 9 families for the first Lego Afternoon. It was a bit crazy with 30+ kids in attendence, but went well. I also had Duplo out for the younger kids, and Bionicles were a hit with the boys. (I had K'NEX downstairs for the big kids, but that needs to be an afternoon on its own - harder and longer to build.)
The moms visited for an hour while the kids built their creations. We then had a Show and Tell with some amazing creations. One was a pretty expensive kit that was motorized and could do a lot. After that, we had a potluck snack while the kids roared around some more. There was some serious *socialization* going on. (smile)
(We just had our second Lego Afternoon with 4 families and around 12 kids in attendence. More Lego for everyone and there was a *famous monument* theme which some of the kids enjoyed. We had Big Ben from London, a scene from Les Mes where everyone died, an amazing Twin Ranch by two girls, and an Art Deco cityscape. I encouraged the families who couldn't make it this month - due to sickness - to have some home schoolers over for some Lego fun OR have a Lego Family Night.)
We have also had Seasonal Craft Afternoons that have been a hit. More prep for me, but a lot of fun. $ per child, and potluck snacks.
Some Field Trips are planned, and it is so easy to see who is coming on Facebook. (I am trying to send out reminder emails to those not on Facebook, too. Try to keep everyone in the loop.)
One mom is putting together a First Aid Course for our big kids. Lots of response for that.
Other things we are doing: Home School Social times - families and youth. Home School Mtgs for the moms. We have a Quilling Class planned for next week. (One of the home school girls in our area is an amazing Quiller and will be teaching us how to Quill.)Home School Discussion Afternoon (we are working through the seasons of Numbers and discussing them as we go. That has been very good over the past 3 or 4 years.) Movie Afternoon - we will be watching The Courageous Heart of Irena SendlerÂ and discussing it this week, plus I am posting GREAT Home School links as I find them, too. Oh, and we are also trying to have a Home School Youth afternoon every couple of months, too.
It sounds like quite a lot and it is IF we do everything, but everyone is picking and choosing what works best for them. I find I cannot do more than one extra a week AND I cannot do extras that require a lot of planning or prep more than once or twice a month (AND they have to be on a quieter week. smile) BUT the families and children / youth in our area are connecting more and that is a lovely sight to see. Totally worth all the time and work.