Help! I need to make home school more fun!!

Having problems figuring out where to start? Let other homeschoolers offer you some advice!

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kkapfe
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Help! I need to make home school more fun!!

Postby kkapfe » Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:37 am

Attention all experienced home schoolers!!

My daughters (1st grade and PreK/K) and I have been doing our schoolwork for almost two weeks and I need some ideas on how to make it more fun. So far, our schedule consists of my kindergartener and I sitting at the table for about an hour and a half every day doing her workbooks and color sheets. Then, in the afternoon my first grader and I sit at the table for about three and a half hours doing her bookwork. They are doing great and learning a lot but it is getting kind of boring for me so I'm sure it is getting boring for them. I don't want them to get tired of "school", it's only been two weeks. It's been almost 100 degrees out side for the past couple of weeks so we really need to stay inside but sitting at the table is driving me crazy.

Also, I need a fun way to do phonics. My kindergartener uses www.starfall.com to be introduced to each letter but we need a way to to continue the learning other than a color sheet like we are currently doing. My 1st grader knows how to read but hates it. Any help would be great!!

hbmom36
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Postby hbmom36 » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:11 pm

I think they're a little young for so much "bookwork." When my daughter was that age, we did a lot of reading together. She has become a very independent learner. The only formal curriculum we use is Singapore Math.

Also, maybe they need more time out of the house. There are many learning experiences out there-at local parks, museums, nature centers. A walk in the woods can turn into a lesson about the parts of a flower.

hbmom36
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Postby hbmom36 » Fri Aug 04, 2006 9:19 pm

Also, about learning to read-why not try books on tape? You can get the ones that come with the book, so they can follow along while listening to the story. My kids LOVE books on tape.

kkapfe
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Postby kkapfe » Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:52 am

The thing is this...since this is my first year and I'm not really confident on my own yet, I need more structure. Especially for the grandparents who are opposed to the whole idea. They are even stressing me out about getting the girls tested every year to make sure they're not "missing" anything. I want to cover everything but in a fun way.

Do you know of any songs that cover the sounds of the letters or anything like that? I think it would be more fun for my daughter to learn them through a song. I also love the idea of books on tape. That is a great idea that I'm going to have to check out. Now that you have my creative juices flowing, I never thought of the idea of recording myself reading the books. That way they have me reading with them, in a way. Thanks for the idea.

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Theodore
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Songs for the sounds of letters:

Postby Theodore » Sat Aug 05, 2006 11:09 am

Sounds like the Numbers and Letters CD from Kidzup, or if you want a full phonics program, Sing, Spell, Read and Write.

hbmom36
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Postby hbmom36 » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:27 pm

kkapfe wrote:The thing is this...since this is my first year and I'm not really confident on my own yet, I need more structure. Especially for the grandparents who are opposed to the whole idea. They are even stressing me out about getting the girls tested every year to make sure they're not "missing" anything. I want to cover everything but in a fun way.

Do you know of any songs that cover the sounds of the letters or anything like that? I think it would be more fun for my daughter to learn them through a song. I also love the idea of books on tape. That is a great idea that I'm going to have to check out. Now that you have my creative juices flowing, I never thought of the idea of recording myself reading the books. That way they have me reading with them, in a way. Thanks for the idea.


I'm lucky there are no fussy grandparents living nearby. My father-in-law doesn't like the idea, but he lives in England! Also, the "official" reason for homeschooling is my 7 year old's medical condition (diabetes). I know you want to keep family harmony, but don't let yourself get pushed around by otherwise well-meaning family members. Do what is best for your girls. In a few years, they will be able to see how advanced they are compareed to public (or private) school kids. But in the meantime, you don't want to turn them off from learning all together. Let them have fun, too. They're only kids for a short time.
I'm so glad you like the idea of books on tape. My 3 year old has his fovorite memorized (Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs), and when we read the book last night he recited the entire thing to me. Check out your local library. They're bound to have a good selection. We have to pay an extra fee to rent them from our library here, but it's worth it.

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Postby momo3boys » Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:35 am

sara-jordan.com: This is a site that sells a lot of teaching with music. We are going to be using it for Spanish this year. It is fun, and teaches at the same time. What a concept :lol: I hope this helps. My mother was skeptical that I would be able to teach my boys what they needed to know. She didn't think I could teach them to read. When my "kindergartener" started reading at a first grade level and doing multiplication, she changed her tune. Now she is all for Homeschooling! And recommends it to everyone.
Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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Postby Lorren » Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:20 pm

I agree that's a lot of bookwork. Maybe a different curriculum would help? My dd can handle about 2 sheets (front and back) of workbook material and then she's ready to move on to something else.

I will be doing Saxon K and BJU Reading 1 every day with dd, and BJU History 1 and BJU Science 1 twice a week with my dd, who is 4. Saxon K seems like the lessons are fairly short, and they use manipulatives (I told dd they were "math toys") to make it more interesting. BJU history has a lot of hands-on stuff too, like the first lesson we go outside with a pitcher of water and make mud puddles and talk about how God created ponds and lakes. In dd's first science lesson, she gets to try to figure out what a piece of candy is while it's inside an envelope (she gets to eat the candy later).

Not saying that this would be the right curriculum for you (BJU Reading 1 would not be a good idea for a Kindergartener still learning her letters, for example). But using this sort of curriculum is a lot different than doing worksheets for an hour. It has them doing stuff.

My dd also likes to play educational computer games like Jumpstart, Studydog, Reader Rabbit, and Arthur's Kindergarten/Arthur's First Grade. That's not a part of her curriculum, she plays them for fun. But while she's having fun, she's learning.

Lorren
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Postby Lorren » Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:23 pm

hbmom36 wrote:Also, about learning to read-why not try books on tape? You can get the ones that come with the book, so they can follow along while listening to the story. My kids LOVE books on tape.


I second that. I currently teach preschool part time and kids LOVE these. Especially when they get to turn the pages (some books have the chimes or whatever to tell them when to turn the page).

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Postby robinsegg » Sun Aug 20, 2006 11:40 pm

For reading, we used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It worked great for my now-1st grader. It takes you from knowing nothing (including sounds) to a second-grade reading level.

That does sound like a lot of bookwork. We had ours last year (for K) done in about ½ hour.

Here are some ways I like to introduce new subjects:
posters on the wall
library books (there are some great ones out on letter sounds)
"field trips" going to actually see the thing in person
finding a show (Magic Schoolbus is great) that talks about it

Something else you can try is to change locations. Go outside, in the living room, on the bed, wherever you can find space, just to spice it up a little.

Remember, homeschooling is a lifestyle. They learn much more from watching you and other adults in their lives than you think, and you can teach them to be observant of things around them (which will pique their interest and help them learn).
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AnnetteR
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Postby AnnetteR » Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:21 pm

If your children are into working out of books for an hour it's not at all too long. My son spends far more than an hour working from books. He does so of his own accord.

I too grow bored sitting with my son while he works from books so I try to focus more of my efforts on learning opportunities away from the table. For instance, when we go shopping I might have him name shapes, colors, add and subtract (I have four cans, I'm putting one back, how many are left - I have picked two cans, now I've picked two more, how many do I have). We have also worked on monetary units at the grocery store - many items have signs in which the price is clearly marked. My son loves reading the prices of items and it's more fun for me than working from a book. When we are out we spell and read words on signs or buildings. Everything around you is a possible lesson in waiting. The park is full of lefts, rights, ups, downs, fasts, slows, etc. There are shapes, colors, and numbers or units everywhere. I think these are excellent ways to foster a love of learning in your children and help them to form critical thinking skills and to be creative.

Think outside of the box, let your imagination run wild and I'm sure you'll find ways to make it fun for you while still providing lessons for your children.

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Postby Ramona » Tue Aug 22, 2006 10:34 pm

I agree with this:

robinsegg wrote:Something else you can try is to change locations. Go outside, in the living room, on the bed, wherever you can find space, just to spice it up a little.


When I was just starting someone said don't go longer than 45 minutes on any one lesson. I don't think about that most of the time, but every once in a while I think it's a good rule of thumb.

When we change subjects we change rooms. But we almost never sit at a table, no matter what room we're in. We sit side by side on a bed, couch, or floor or we sit facing on a bed or floor.

If the child is doing work with paper and pencil that s/he will happily continue for a long time, I get up and do some housework in the room or slide a little away and read the newspaper.

In between academic subjects we put more active things. For instance, we might do science and then PE, then math, then housework, then reading, then play with siblings, then history. I also switch back and forth between kids instead of working with one child for hours and then the other.

Ramona

wendi.t.momof4
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Making hs more fun! Changing locations!

Postby wendi.t.momof4 » Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:04 pm

:D It finally dawned on me today after doing something with my 7 yo and 9 yo. THERE IS NO RULE THAT SAYS I HAVE TO HOME SCHOOL AT THE TABLE INDOORS! I took my 2 youngest-I have 4 kids ages 7-14, 3 girls, 1 boy-outside to pre-test their phonics skills. They sat on our big cut logs with their white boards and I dictated phonograms to see what they knew. Then I realized-gee I could have had a v-8! just kidding! :lol: Seriously, I thought hey we can do this anytime we want. Hey, we live in Washington in the mountains and the rainy season is coming. So, when the mood hits us or my add (I think she is) youngest girl is squirmy, we can go outside with our books and stuff. Hope this inspires someone out there! :wink:
Wendi:-)
Jeremiah 29;11-13


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