Monday, February 23, 2015

Home Educating with Preschoolers Part 2

In this post I just wanted to share a couple of ideas that I have found helpful with my little ones. Maybe they will help your little ones.

A large container of uncooked beans with cups, small toys, and gadgets in it.  I am amazed at how this will keep a small child busy for some time.  It has been a favorite of all of my kids. 

Playing a yard sale game or reading a books with a sibling.

Math Manipulatives make great blocks.  For some reason those are way more fun than the other building blocks at my house. 

My kids loved playing in this bucket of water this week.  They played with plastic animals.  A great time. 

A program I love for preschoolers is Ready Made Preschool.   I have used it with my daughter and we loved it.  I have written about it here.

Kinetic sand is our new favorite toy!  It keeps our daughter busy for hours.  After about 3 or 4 they can listen to play-aways from the library.  Or do both!

 Dress-up is always great!

 Playing with Magnetic letters or shapes is fun!  Magnets can stick to a board, a refrigerator, or cookie sheets.

Would love to hear any ideas you have in the comments.
Have a great week!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Narrative Assessments for Ohio Homeschoolers

 I will be accepting narrative assessments  and writing up notes from March 1, 2015 through August 1, 2015. After August 1, 2015 I will review your portfolio, but will not write up notes.  Thank you!  Becky
I complete narrative assessments for Ohio homeschoolers for $30.  The Assessments are portfolio reviews by myself, a certified teacher, that fulfill the Ohio Home Education requirement for 3301-34-04 Academic Assessment Report Option #2.  
If you would like to begin the process start by downloading the forms for the Freestyle Assessment for unschoolers, the Self Reflection Assessment for K-8th grade, or the Self Reflection Assessment for High School for those who follow a subject curriculum. You fill out the forms, prepare the documentation, and sign them. Please email me for an instruction sheet that tells you where to mail them and answers some other questions. If you have trouble with the downloads, please email and I will email them to you.  Below are links  in Google Documents.   I am happy to help you so please contact me with any questions.

Becky Boerner

Freestyle Assessment in Google Documents
Self Reflection for K-8 in Google Documents
Self Reflection for High School in Google Documents.

Once you get there you need to do the following. 
If you click on the arrow button on the left hand side of the page you can download the file.
If you click on the print button you can print it out.

PS: If you can not access these files, try the links above in the document.  If you still can not access the documents, please email me and I will send you the files.  I am happy to do that! 

I also accept PayPal, Check, or Money Orders (Contact me for more information.  Many families send me checks or money orders through the mail. ) 
Click on the arrow for pricing for 2 or more reviews.

Portfolio Review(s)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Home Educating with Preschoolers and Little Ones Part 1


I have homeschooled for the last 10 years and always have had a little one running around while I was trying to work with older kids.   When we started home educating I would read anything I could about how you home educate with little ones.  I actively sought magazines (remember this was awhile ago); and later looked at articles and blog posts on the subject.  I am not sure if I am all that good at it, but I have learned a few things that have been helpful along the way. Today I thought I would share what has been helpful organizationally, time-wise, and how I manage my days.  My thought is that maybe one of these ideas will help you through the January days ahead.

Some things we have done:

I try to have a separate schedule for the little one in my master schedule.   I try to plan where they need to be in the house and what they should be doing while others are working.

I have invested in at least one computer curriculum for most of the school age kids.  If the school age child is working on the computer I can read, play a game, or just love on a little one.  

I try to have intentional video/streaming time for the little ones.  For me that means setting up a math lesson with an older child and telling them we will have 30 minutes to do a lesson and stay focused before the little one needs us again.  I also make a personal commitment to not be online or on the phone during this time.  I am amazed at what I can do in 30 minutes.

I try to train the little children to have some playpen time which later leads to playing by themselves in the family room.  I put the little one in the playpen/family room first thing in the morning.  That will usually give me 30-60 minutes until they start moving the playpen around the family room.  It also keeps them away from 3-5 year olds who tend to get in their face.

When setting up a schedule I will assign other children to entertain,read,  or play with a little one.  Up until 8th grade or so most students have time in their schedule for 20-30 minutes of play time with a little one.  I love how it teaches the older one to be patient, play directly with someone less competent then they are, gives them a meaningful break from work.  It usually helps both ways.

I set up a "school time" at the table with the little one with coloring books, small toys, or paper and crayons. They want to be like the big kids and do school.   I had to laugh when one of my children told me it was time for "math Jesus."  Apparently his bible coloring book qualified for this subject.

When my parents or others have asked what they can do to help, I invite them over to sit with a little one for a time and read books, play a game, or just hold and love on them.  It is good to ask for help.

I try to take breaks to just hold my little one, rock them, or read to them.  When I first started I was so worried about doing "the right thing" for the older kids doing school work I tended to not love on the little ones enough during the day.  If I can hold and rock someone for 5-15 minutes they are often fine after that and go back to playing.

What I have learned:

I have learned that no matter how great your schedule, how focused you are, or how great your plans  may be, sometimes how well things go depends on the temperament of the child.  Some kids are better at entertaining themselves, others need more training, and for some it is really hard and drastic measures must be taken.  My 6th child had to have each person in the family assigned to her for a 30 minute time slot to be with her.   We just to refer to that as "doing your time."

When I go into my day with a plan we are all better off.  If I can think of my little one as part of the learning schedule it helps all of us.  If I set aside a video, plan a story, know their snack, or set aside time for them we all have a better day.

It is never too late to start again.  I also try to give myself grace.  Home Educating is a hard job and adding a little one or two to the mix is not easy.  But I try to see it as a challenge that can be overcome, and not to take the bad days too personally.  Tomorrow is a fresh day with no mistakes as Anne Shirley says.

Lastly, the little one will grow up, and things will get better.  My 6th child is now learning to read.  I honestly was not sure if she would make it through her 2s, 3s, 4s, or 5s.  (currently I am not sure if I will make it through her 6s.)  But each time she has and she continues to get better.  I figure she will use her negotiations skills one day to become a CEO.  I try to nurture her skills, hold her more, and remember that before I know it she will be in high school. (Please note that this is on a good day.  The other days I whine to my husband.)

I hope these help.  Please add any ideas you have in the comments.  I am still reading those online articles on how to home educate with little ones.  I would love to hear your tips!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Winners of the Free Narrative Assessmenst!

The winners of the free assessments are Judy and Kriston.  Congratulations!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's comments and blog post ideas.  I will be incorporating  the ideas over the next year.

Thank you for taking the time to enter the contest and support Ohio Homeschool Assessments!

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