Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Reason for Writing: Experience based writing

I find it so odd that children in public school are told to write on subjects they have no experience.  The teacher just grabs subjects out of her head hoping a large number of students can write on the subject.  I remember as child thinking to myself, the only way I can make these entries interesting is by making up details.  Making up details in the public system now a days can be dangerous.  False accusations and more can happen. Others struggle with writing because they just don't know what to say. First because of the lack of experience. They don't have the time to get out.  Their whole life is the public classroom, the kitchen table,  television or computer and a bed.  I knew I wanted to give my children real life experiences and understanding of the world.  I wanted them to learn about history not from a book but to walk similar paths.  For science, I didn't want them to read about the reactions in an experiment.  I wanted them to see and experience it as close and as safely as possible.  I wanted them to see the world and cultures through experience not a book.  Not only did I want them to appreciate the diversity of all the good that is out there, I wanted to give them a reason to write.

With that reason,  I wanted them to develop the vocabulary to express themselves.  They needed to have a voice and an opinion.  I knew that those people with smaller vocabularies have a harder time expressing, getting what they truly desire and are more easily manipulated or defrauded.  I also know that some people use explicatives because they don't have the vocabulary to really express the passion and feelings they really have.

With this need to truly communicate, understand others and express themselves,  I found that a safe journaling experience could give this and more.  I knew that they would forever have records of the memories and learning we experienced.  Thus here are my notes regarding my writing portion of playing with purpose.  There are so many learning opportunities out there.  Especially in Utah- go here to see the list I refer to on a regular basis or click on the field trips tab above to take a look at the opportunities. Keeping a record of them not only provides memories but shows progress in a very non intimidating way.

Much of what I teach is in the class but here are the slides for the presentation:

Explore and Journaling PRESO- quick time movie
Explore and Journaling- pdf

Graphic organizers for brainstorming:


 I wanted to help my children develop a sense of independence and know what was expected. Not only did I wanted to make sure each child knew exactly what they needed to do, since I tend to confuse and mix the names during times of stress, I also needed to know what I had told my children.  It made it easy to follow through.   My husband created this spreadsheet planner to help us organize our lives.  Each editable excel spreadsheet was individualized for each child. A blank pdf spreadsheet is found here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Avoiding the MIddle School Blues and Beyond

Well,  Here's an attempt to put many of the things I have learned in one place regarding avoiding the middle school dull drums and handing many of the opportunities over to your student.  May it help you to feel in control all the while you are empowering your child for their future. Often we just don't know where our resources are and here is my attempt to get you started in moving forward with grades 7-12 here in Utah.

Here are the slides from our class June 19th, 2014.  Anything underlined should go directly to a weblink for further information.

Avoiding Middle School Blues

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

So you wanna homeschool: Elementary Years

After discussing the keys to effective homeschool families, we have now moved down into more specific items of the different ages.  This is the slide show from the Elementary Years with links to various elements to get you started.

Elementary Years Keynote 

Elementary Years PDF's

Saturday, June 7, 2014

What's a Dad to Do?

Rob and I had the opportunity to talk together of how we worked as a team to create our homeschool environment.  Often in a homeschool environment the mom's take over the whole of running the household and the dad brings home the bacon.  Well in our home,  Mom still ruled the roost but Dad was the sweet spot and the maple syrup on our bacon!  He made the biggest difference.  And this is how he did it.  Here  I have him share some of his ideas that worked for us in developing a fun and loving learning environment. Click on the link below and you will find his presentation notes.  Hope it gets the ideas flowing of how you could make a difference.

What's Dad to Do? UHEA class June 7th, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

Taking Control of Your Child's Education

This is my second year in teaching about the observations and keys I learned as I watched and participated with successful homeschool families.  To help those who attended my presentation at UHEA June 6-7th,  I have made my slides available.

Taking Control of your Child's Education: Keys to Effective Homeschooling June 6 2014

Teen: Path to Independence

My daughter McKenzie, tested out of her first high school diploma at 12 years of age.  She received the actual diploma at age 13.  With her motivation to learn, I knew I needed to know how I could best prepare her to survive as an independent adult earlier than I anticipated.  To do so, through various conversations, books and my experiences as President of Wasatch Home Educators Network,  I created a list of things that I felt were skills needed to be mastered to be a successful independent adult.  Here is the pdf notes from my UHEA class taught Friday June 6, 2014.

Teens: The Magic Number 

Here you will find:

Secrets often not shared with teenagers until it slaps them in the face.
A list of areas and skills that will help a adult survive independently.
And resources to help make decisions regarding the options and resources available to continue on that path.