Sunday, June 30, 2013

Give-Away for You Can Do It Too!

 This contest has ended.  Thanks for checking it out.  You can still buy a copy of the book.  It is a great book.

I came across the book You Can Do It Too!  25 Homeschool Families Share Their Stories and I was absolutely intrigued by the title.  I wrote the editor Lorilee Lippincott and asked for a title to review and share here. She also has graciously agreed to give-away 3 copies to Ohio Homeschool Readers.  See the bottom of this post for the Raffle-Copter Give-Away!

The book exceeded my expectations.  It is filled with stories of many different families including big families, small families, families on bikes, unschooling families, families who follow a classical model, families who homeschool preschoolers, high school students, and everyone in between.

I am hoping this will be a book that will help others see that homeschooling can be a great option for their family. The book states: “We are not going to tell you what is best for you or your kids because we don’t know you or your options. The goal of this book is to let you see the nuts and bolts of what homeschool is and make sure you know it is an option for you.”  I love this sentiment.
The editor asks each family a variety of questions that help you get to know them better.  Everything from "Why did you decide to Homeschool?" and "What does your typical day look like?"  to "What animal does your child remind you of and why?"  There is truly something for everyone in this book.

I found myself renewed from reading the book as a seasoned home educator.  The book reminded me that everyone does not always have great days homeschooling, but it is important to remember daily why you have chosen to home educate.  I enjoyed seeing the variety of ways families home educate.   I am incorporating some of their ideas into our family. 

 Click here to view more detail  The bookcomes comes in PDF or Kindle format. From May through August the book is $4.99.  See the bottom of this post to enter for a chance to win a copy!

You Can Do It Too - 25 Homeschool Families Share Their Story
Click here to view more details

Here is a list of the families included in the book in the order they appear.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post contains an affiliate link.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ohio State History

First, a random tour of my state history growing up.  I grew up mostly in Ohio except for the three years I lived in Kansas during which Kansas history was taught in the curriculum.   Kansas history includes  Wyatt Erp, western towns, outlaws like Jesse James, and wagon trains. There is rarely a dull moment in Kansas history.
Wyatt Erp
When I started teaching grade school I was in Georgia and was required to teach Georgia State history.  I had been in Georgia a year, had learned about Kansas history growing up, and had spent most of my life in Ohio.  Needless to say, I quickly learned about the Cherokee Indians, the Trail of Tears, the importance of the Fort Pulaski in Savannah and the history of the state flag.
Cannon demonstrations inside fort
Fort Pulaski

 Now I am teaching my children Ohio history which honestly, I know little of as you can see.  But, luckily I am a creative home educator and am plowing ahead. This is what I have learned along the way.

I discovered the Ohio Historical Connection. which is a great site to visit to locate historical places in Ohio to visit. I also found the book  A Guide to Historic Houses in Ohio.  I checked the book out from the library. 

I bought these simple coloring books with many facts about Ohio.  I bought mine from Rainbow Resource.    They are for grades PK-7.  They are very simple, but I think they cover a great deal for the price.  They sell some other items dealing with Ohio history as well. 

Another option for learning Ohio history is a lap book.  Hands of a Child has one.   When I had less children, I completed this one, and the kids really enjoyed it.

Front of book

Inside of Ohio Ebook

Lastly, I found this little Ohio ebook for $1.  I downloaded it to see what it was about before posting.  It is about 10 pages long including a cover page and the last page that discusses other items on their site.  It is a nice little book for the price.  You can print it multiple time for many kids.  You put together a simple lap book on card-stock with it.  It includes places of interest, symbols, a map, and flag information.

If you have any ideas for Ohio history please put them in the comments.  Since I don't believe Wyatt Erp has much connection here, I would love to learn some more.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. -

I find myself in a new place with home education.  I did a great deal of research when my kids started homeschooling.  My husband and I figured out our plan for our kids for grades K-8.  We felt good, and I really have not done the serious kind of research about home education since then.

Now I find myself with 3 children who are entering or about to enter high school and I find myself gearing up again to do more research.  I wanted to find a resource to help me sort out what is out there for my kids.

 I stopped by Cathy Duffy's booth at the Great Homeschool Convention and picked up her last copy of 101 Top Pick for Homeschool Curriculum : Chosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Each Child's Learning Style. Because I am me, I asked her to sign the book.  She gave me an odd look, but did it anyway.

I have really enjoyed flipping through it and reading about what curricula are out there.  I am surprised at how much is out there as opposed to a few years ago.  I have enjoyed her reviews and information.  I have the eBook as well, but I like flipping through the pages and the quizzes in paperback book better.  But, if you are more techy the Kindle and eBook might work well for you.

She also has a web page with more reviews and tips.  She has extensive information on home education and many resources to get you started.   I enjoy her web site and the information she provides.  I highly recommend it. 

~ Becky

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Fun Find. . and do you remember??

I love to find things at thrift and resale shops.  I shop at one frequently that is associated with a school.  I was combing the aisles when I found a cassette tape of one of my favorite stories From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  .  It was 25 cents and I decided we would listen to this on one of our ailing tape recorders.

But then I opened it up and saw this. . .
I thought I saw a "check-out card."    I was laughing and took it out to show my kids. 
I told them about how you had to write your name on a card and turn it in to check out books.  But, then it got better.
As I sifted through the cards I then found card catalog cards.  I shouted to my husband to have him come and see.  He and I laughed and talked about going through the card catalog to search for items in high school.  This particular pack had subjects like New York City-Fiction, Newberry Award Books, and Record or Tape.  Our children gave us that confused look.  You know the one where you look at living history (us) and think, " Really?"  We proceeded to tell them how challenging and time consuming  it could be to do research.  Searching for topics in large drawers.  In the end we both smiled and felt a little older.

But, it was still a very fun walk down memory lane.  I told my librarians the story and they told me that card catalogs are hot collectors items currently.  Apparently used as furniture and not as card catalogs.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Unschooling/Freestyle Assessments

I really enjoy reading the freestyle assessments I receive.  They are so interesting.   People often ask me for some ideas on what to write and send.  The following is what I have shared with them. Hopefully it will help you as well.  

I have seen freestyle assessments written in many different ways.  The key thing is to show the progress your child has made from last July/August to now.  Ohio law says the child must make progress within their ability.  So when I do this for my kids I try to think through the following questions.  How have they changed? What can they do now that they could not do a few months ago, several months ago, and a year ago?   What do I have demonstrates this? (pictures, samples etc.)  Lastly, what can I share that communicates this?  

As far as writing up the assessment, I have seen them set up by subject, by project, and just sharing progress. The following are some ideas to get you started.  I think once you get started you will be surprised at how much you have to share.

If you write by subject you might write about the following.  I am going to give many examples to choose from.  Please do not feel you need to use all of them.  These are to spur your thinking about your year. 

Reading:  Share the books your child has read or you have read to them. Maybe share a series they are into like the Boxcar Children, Arthur, or Henry and Mudge.  What magazines do they enjoy reading?  Are there web sites they enjoy visiting and reading?  What  your child is reading now versus the beginning of the year communicates the progress they have made. 

Writing/Handwriting If your child is writing tell me what they are writing. Tell me if they are making lists, writing their name, writing stories, labeling pictures, writing letters etc.  If they are older, tell me about their creative writing, poetry, or journaling.  Send me a sample.   Do they write a blog, email letters to Grandma, or maybe record in a nature journal?   Tell me about it, send me a link, send a sample, or take a picture of it.

Math: Share how your child is telling time, working with money, adding or subtracting, multiplying or dividing, using percents, and/or measuring.  Tell me about activities your child participates in like cooking, grocery shopping, or building with blocks or LEGOS ©.  Share games with me that you play that involve math.   If you happen to do any worksheets you can always send in one from the beginning of the year and the end. 

Science/Social Studies/History/Art/ Music/PE: For younger kids you might share experiences to demonstrate progress.  You write  about the museums you have visited, zoo visits, park trips, neighborhood walks, nature walks, music lessons, and any sports your child may participate in.  Do you attend the YMCA to swim each week?  Do you attend an art class?  Tell me about books they have read or you have read together, if they have completed any projects, or art work your child has created.  This is a great place to include pictures.   For older students share what they have learned this year, a class they have taken, and/or a research project they have been working on.  Having your child write a summary of what they have learned is a fantastic way to demonstrate progress.  

Another way share your student's progress is to write up your assessment by project.  For instance you worked on a community or family garden together.  You discuss how you preplanned by getting books from the library and  reading about plants, your internet research, the garden store you visited,  how you measured the rows, how you prepared the soil, did you count the plants, if you sold them the skills you used,  and anything else that your child learned.  You might include pictures of your child working in the garden, some notes your child took while researching, and a list of books your child read.  You might share the 1-3 projects that your family used to facilitate learning for the year.  Then maybe you share about trips, nature walks, park visits, any type of lesson, and art you do.   

You are trying to showcase what your child has accomplished this year.  Usually when I sit down and think about all we have  learned, I am excited about the progress my kids have made.   If you are working on learning most days you have made progress. This is your chance to celebrate by sharing it with me. 

If I can help you in anyway let me know. Link to Freestyle Assessment 

I accept portfolios for review through Saturday August 24, 2013.  After that date I will accept your portfolio, but I will not write up any notes.  I will only send you what you need for your district.