Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘lessons’

Music Time

I always knew music would become a component of our learning journey.  My husband and I were in band all through middle school, high school, and college, continuing after.  Music is simply a part of who and what we are as individuals and a family.  The same has shown in Builder and Princess.  They go around singing to themselves, to each other, and to us.  Truly, there are days that I feel I live in a musical…and I LOVE IT!

With that, I wasn’t exactly sure when and where to start.  Well, just recently I stumbled upon an amazing resource that I want to share with you.  It is another web resource that has a portion free, and another portion that is available by purchasing a paid premium account.  However, there is enough of the free material to get us well on our way.  It will also give us that period to see if this is truly the best fit for us.  At the moment, we are in love with it.  Granted we honestly have only completed one lesson, but that is all it has taken for all of us to be excited.

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The resource is Hoffman Academy, online piano lessons.  The website is very nice, neat, and easy to maneuver.  I have been impressed with the resources sent my way upon creating our free account.  The lessons are in video style and Mr. Hoffman (the teacher) seems to be a wonderful instructor.  The introductory material on the website refer to him as the Mr. Rogers of piano lessons.  From what I saw in the first video, I can see that.  After the first lesson video, Builder and Princess, were playing their first song – Hot Cross Buns.  In a 13-minute video, not only did he teach them how to play the song, but he introduced where the song originated from, as well as the beginnings of the do-re-mi scale.  So much rich learning introduced in such a way that my kids got it without a hint of effort, and they never lost focus.

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The Hoffman Academy recommends 2-3 lessons a week with daily practice.  With this schedule in mind, there should be about 24 months of lessons in the nine units available.  As I said, we are not very far into this course, but we are super excited about it.  I didn’t want to wait any longer before sharing this resource with you.  I highly recommend you take a look into it, and give it a try.  If you do, be sure to let me know how it works for you and your family.

Your Turn to Play ~ What role did music play in your life growing up?

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Sickness

SONY DSCTwo weeks ago was our scheduled one week break from school.  We had completed 5 weeks of focused learning, and were looking forward to a week off.  It was a good time for all.  Then last week it was supposed to be back to lessons…and sickness hit both kiddos.

Really?

It wasn’t awful, but just enough to take away momentum and focus.  Sinus yuck just makes it that much harder to concentrate or want to do much in general.  So, last week was a miss on getting anything done.  Of course we still learned, read a few books together on the couch.  All-in-all though, not much forward movement.

This is ok.

I know this is truly not a big deal, and one of the perks of being at home to learn.  However, I feel like we are again trying to get back to it all.  Builder and Princess got used to laying around on the couch, and having maybe too much watching time.  And being so young, they just generally got out of the “habit” of school with two weeks off.  We did have a good day today though, so my hopes are high!

 

Your Turn ~ How do you come back from a bout of sickness in your homeschool?

 

Always Learning

So, Builder and I had real troubles this morning pushing through today’s math lesson. We both ended up in tears, frustration, and a blubbering mess. I leave the lesson frustrated. He is upset because he has upset me, and yet he still doesn’t want to have done the lesson. 
 
Then, we each go about our own business, calming down and taking a break from each other. He eventually starts playing with Princess in the living room. As I am going around emptying the trash, I head into Builder’s room and find this spread out on his bed.
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He had come across the section of continents in his new encyclopedia, got out his geography game, found the correct corresponding continent and was matching the playing cards to the correct country on the board.  He was then finding that country in his encyclopedia. Wow. Can we say, “school”.
 
This homeschooling journey never ceases to humble me. Learning is a much more natural occurrence than we give it credit for. We feel it must be scheduled, and sequenced, confined…And sometimes, yes, but more often than not, this is what happens. Learning happens.  Evidently it was a geography day, not a math day.
 
Sadly, I again realize that too many times it is not my desire for Builder and Princess to know more that pushes me to push when it is the wrong timing.  It is my own insecurities and fears.
Lord, thank you that this journey is ours with You, not apart from You.  I thank you that what you have to place in Builder and Princess is too precious for me to stand in the way.  I thank you that their learning is in Your more than capable hands.  Thank you for the reminders of when I am hindering instead of helping.  Please, Lord, continue to show us how to proceed, when to turn left or right, and when to keep on heading straight.  I am thankful you have already written our path, and we will follow you to the best of our ability.

Organization: Rainbow Drawers

Today: Rainbow Drawers.

This is one of the simplest, as well as one of the most marvelous, tools of organization we have for our school area.  They are beneficial because it is something useful for both my kids and myself.  How we use them is pretty simple, yet very effective for us.  (To read about some of my other favorite organization tools, click here.)

For Me

The rainbow drawers serve two purposes for me.  The first helps me keep clutter off my desk (very much needed).  The second is that the drawers give me an easy, organized, presentable way to deliver those papers to my children.

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The top two drawers are for Builder to keep essentials such as notepads, slate board, spirals, etc.  Princess has the next two drawers.  The proceeding drawers are labeled by subject areas, with some drawers sharing similar subjects.  Since I use Sunday afternoon as my prep time for the week, I make sure to print and gather everything needed for each lesson/activity.  If those items were to stay on my desk, it would be a nightmare.  So, after printing and gathering, I place the materials in their designated drawer.

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For Them

Princess’s work is still very theme based, so it is difficult to split her items into subjects.  Because of this, I have been placing all her materials in the second of her pink drawers.  This has been working well, and many times she will dig into whatever sheet is next in her drawer.

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For Builder, his daily list will have an asterik beside any subject that has something printed or gathered for the lesson/activity.  As he is working through his list, he knows when to look in a drawer to complete an assignment.

For a while after we purchased the drawers, they sat empty and unused.  I tried this and that, until we found this system that is working for now.  I know this will shift and change as Princess progresses and our needs change.  As for now, this is our system, and we’re sticking to it!

Your Turn to Play – How do you organize all those pesky papers for upcoming lessons?

First Day of School

When I was teaching in the public school setting, the first day of school was always looked on with great anticipation and excitement.  New supplies, fresh faces, all new possibilities for the year.  It was also accompanied with a multitude of preparations – decorate room, make sure all papers needed were copied, start learning names, PowerPoint presentations completed, etc.

The first week was not my favorite.

Yes, I enjoyed getting to know the kids.  I enjoyed helping them find their way around the building, but not so much the policies and procedures.  The fact that we had to spend the first 4 or 5 days getting used to school routines and classroom procedures never got better for me.  I just wanted to jump into the learning process.

As our first day of home schooling approached, I realized it was my dream come true!  We didn’t have to do policies and procedures!  I didn’t have to spend time “training”  Mason to get a tissue by himself or sharpen his pencil as needed, or how to properly check out of the classroom to go to the bathroom.

I was free!

We could get right to learning all about Forces and Motion, US symbols, skip counting, and silent e words.  I thought about the day and how it would be full of learning and increase of knowledge.  Then a thought hit…

This is the first of a first.

All of a sudden, I realized this was the first, first day of my son’s school journey.  We couldn’t go through the day without celebrating and having some fun to commemorate this amazing day.  However, this epiphany came to me the night before, of course.  So my brain began to reel…What should we do?  Do we do any work?  How do I make this special?  Enter Google and Pinterest.  Hello, where would we be without these beauties.

At the same time that the internet helps, it can also hinder.  In just a few minutes I was swimming in a wealth of homeschoolers first day traditions, more confusion.  Then I calmed myself down and remembered one of the lessons I have already learned regarding teaching/learning at home:  whatever we do it needs to be totally and completely “us”.  This helped me begin to weed out activities, resulting in a half plan that I trusted would fill itself in as we went forward the next day.  Here is a bit of what our first day looked like:

Breakfast

Mason loves doughnut shops so I planned to start our celebration by visiting his favorite.  He surprised me by requesting to go through a different drive-thru doughnut shop, but it was his day and that was easier anyway!

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Not so healthy, very yummy!

School Supplies

I wanted to have a fun basket of school supplies waiting for him on the table when he woke up.  That didn’t happen, so we decided to go and buy school supplies together.  We all had a blast and I believe a First Day of School tradition was started.

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A fun find.

Socks!!!

Picking out school supplies didn’t really take that long.  Since we start our school year in July, I knew there would be great sales coming after public school started.  So, we grabbed a few basics and a couple fun items as well.  Wandering around Wal-Mart we came upon some Angry Bird socks that Mason thought were the coolest.  Aaaannnd, another new tradition was created…fun new socks on the First Day of School.  (P.S. I love fun crazy socks, so this was perfect!)

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Woot! Fun socks!

All About Me

I really liked the idea of this four page packet “About Me”.   At this point, it is probably more for me than Mason.  However, doing this at the beginning of every school year, I am betting it will be fun to look back on these when he is a Senior.  We did one page a day for the First Week of School.  I’m sure it will become a one day project as he gets older.

All About Me - blog

Click Here to find download

 

Yummy Graphing

This was a fun little graphing project that I had seen on one of the First Day tradition websites.  Of course, they loved eating the manipulatives at the end.  This was fun, but I’m not sure that it will end up in the “tradition” category.

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Click Here to download

 

Overall we had a wonderful first day.  I’m sure our First Day of School traditions will morph through the years, but I feel this was a great start.  I am very glad that we took our first, first day of school to celebrate instead of hitting the books right away.  I thank the Lord that he placed that seed of a thought in my mind the night before our First Day of School.

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