Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all educators:  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!

Whether you teach in a public school, private school, charter school, or home school-- ALL educators who TRULY care about our students, are worthy of being thanked over and over again this season.

I know that I am grateful to home educate my two beautiful daughters. It is a blessing from God to be their teacher.

Enjoy the your day of thankfulness!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Using Issuu to Create Digital Learning Portfolios

There is a really cool website I've been enjoying for a few years that takes your PDF files and converts them to flip-style online magazines or presentations.

Check out

I've used this for my other websistes before, but never thought about using it to digitize ALL that paperwork we've accumulated during our home school.

Well...DUH!  My solution for classwork paper management was in front of me the entire time!

So I've recently begun a project to scrap all paper clutter and digitize nearly all of my daughter's school work (except a few exceptional, "can't bear to part with it" paper stuff).  All of her artwork will be not only kept in a hardbound cover at home, but digitized as well.

I'll be sure to keep posted here at the blog about how our paper digitization goes (or doesn't go).

Meanwhile, here's a peak at our History, Geography, and Social Studies portfolio.  This is NyGirl's portfolio, for grades K-1.  It doesn't include everything we've done, but it shows a good bit of the paperwork we've completed last year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Slideshow of our American Girls lapbooking

Last week NyGirl and I worked diligently at beginning a lapbook for American Girls, the Kaya series.

To be truthful, I haven't been much of a project-oriented, lapbooking kind of homeschool mama.  I have been in LOVE with workbooks and notebooking since Day 1, and we used the classical approach last year.  I totally dug the Well Trained Mind books and forums.  Perhaps it's because I'm attracted to that method of learning, because I learned best that way.  But I've quickly discovered that my children learn in ways that I haven't been adept at teaching...

Which served as a nice wake up call.

I can't say I have since ditched workbooks, because I haven't.  I still use them regularly for math (a combo of Saxon and AO Lifepacs) and Language Arts.  But I am using more hands-on methods to teach now so my kids can pick up and feel objects (our math programs always had great manipulatives, but adding more projects to other subjects like history help my daughter cement the lessons in her mind).

mary pride homeschoolingI really like what Mary Pride talks about in her book, when she says to "cut the twaddle". A lot of what we parent teachers/teachers in general do is simply assign busy-work. When I had an infant/ young toddler these past 2 years, I had to learn to readjust my teaching methods for my then 1st grader to meet her needs and still be able to stay sane!  That meant (for me) assigning lots more coloring and workbook pages than I would normally have liked.  And that was okay for then.

I guess I'd like to experience doing more projects with NyGirl this year.  She is a hands-on kind of girl, but is also a great auditory and visual learner too, so I really have a lot of choice I think with presentation.

It's not that I need to "make learning fun" for her.  She already enjoys learning.  But for my kids, I want them to appreciate the journey of exploring ideas, and coming to valid conclusions, with limited help.  Maybe this is more of a Montessori method...I'm not even sure what to call it.  And one thing I know will help aid in this process is all of the online helps and technology available to us today.

So...NyGirl really enjoyed putting together her American Girl lapbook pieces...and we'll have to do more of this I see.

I also enjoyed creating this slideshow using  Lots of fun!!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Ballerina

A few months ago my daughter had her final ballet recital of the year.  She is really into drama, arts, music and the like...and has been begging me again recently to start back ballet again.

I would, (ballet is not extemely expensive where we live), except that I made her choose between a few pre-selected activities.  Not wanting to overcrowd her schedule, we ended up joining a local gym instead, which allows her to have drilled and free play exercises in a class for kids her age.

Meanwhile, I thought I would put up her ballet pics...

At the end of the recital, she receives flowers from mom and dad :-)

Gotta love the giddy smile.

Okay, I'm not certain if my eyes were open or close, but I did try to jump in this picture with NyGirl.

You know how it is- when you're always the one TAKING the picture, there's never any proof you were ever present!  So I wanted to make sure I actually got IN the picture this time.

:-) LOL

More pics:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cool Homeschool

Cool Homeschool...

Deer in the backyard

I guess this would be considered science!

The girls are just looking out the window, observing nature around us, when suddenly we saw three small deer scurrying throughout backyard.

BabyZ is really enjoying this sight while NyGirl squeals with delight.

I couldn't take a decent picture through the window, but I would have quickly snapped the shot if I could have.

It was just so cool to see those beautiful deer up close so near to our home.

Biblical Character Day

One of the things my daughter really enjoys is our fun "themed" days at our local homeschool co-op.

In our family, in particular, we do not participate in Halloween activities...but many churches have a Fall Festival and the children have an opportunity to dress up and enjoy fun activities.

I have mixed feelings about fall festival, especially those that somehow "take the place" of Halloween- but one thing I know for sure- God created the seasons which we enjoy, so why not enjoy them, even celebrate them?  I can celebrate the God and creator of fall, spring, winter, and summer... so with that said...

Our co-op has Costume Day during this season.  NyGirl is enjoying dressing up as a biblical character- Esther.  I think Esther must be her all-time favorite bible character.

There is the whole thing about Esther being a princess and all...and NyGirl is definitely a girly-girl type and is REALLY into princesses.  So there you go.

Here she is during co-op, walking across the front of the auditorium to announce her character.  We had some really great costumes this year and lots of creativity in our group!

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