My homeschool is boring :( Help!!

Discuss unschooling, eclectic, the unit study approach, or any other "unusual" homeschooling method.

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Tara
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My homeschool is boring :( Help!!

Postby Tara » Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:39 pm

I am the mother of a wonderful 6 year old girl and brand new to the homeschool world. She went to public school for kindergarten but now we are home schooling 1st grade. I researched forever and ended up ordering the A Beka kit for 1st grade, predominately because all of the Christian schools here use it and if we did decide to enroll her later then she would already be on track with what they are doing. We also decided to do year round school with about 6 weeks on/ 2 weeks off schedule. We just wrapped up the 1st 6 weeks and it went ok, her grades are all in the 90's and she seems to catch on to it all but we are both super bored!!! A Beka is a really boring curriculum, their ideas of games are basically just variations of flashcard use or really kind of need more kids to make it fun. I'd really like to find a way to make school more fun when we kick it back into gear in a couple of weeks. I'm a fairly creative person but I'm just not sure how to make phonics, writing, and math fun :( Science and History are fun with field trips, skits, adventures, etc . . . but I really need help making 1st grade more fun. Any tips??

Tara

ncmom
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Postby ncmom » Fri Aug 08, 2008 7:56 pm

I started my daughter in the 1st grade too with Abeka. That was several years ago now and we are still learning on ways to make it fun. Things like math we made up games. As long as she understands and knows how to do the work do you have to do all the problems in the book? I made construction paper alligators with their mouths open and named one greater than and the other lesser than. That is what we used for that section. I also made up a fun dance where we used our arms to "chomp" the numbers as she told me if it was supposed to be lesser or greater than. We used beans, candy, straws, and stuffed animals in math too. She really loved the candy math.

For writing I let her write letters to family, friends, I got her a penpal. Learning to write isn't going to be tons of fun but I tried to make it as enjoyable as possible. For phonics we made up dances and songs. I also let her be as involved as possible and tried to pay attention to how she learned the phonics. Learning to read can be difficult at times so I just went as slow as my daughter needed to and we didn't finish the book but that was OK because she finished up what she missed in the second grade book. The second grade book, at the beginning, is a review of first grade.

For science we just read the book together. The fun part came in when we watched birds hatch in our yard then watched them learn to fly, we are raising tadpoles now, we have caught caterpillars and watched them change to moths (we have never been lucky enough to get butterflies, yet). We have sea monkeys, watched spiders spin webs and encase their dinner. Anything can be science. Get a rain gauge or if you live where it snows learn about the snow. The options are limitless.

For history we again just read the book. The fun came in when we went to the Memorial Day parade and learned about the veteran's, we learned the important songs for our country, learned about what the colors on our flag mean, talked about who and what the president is and does. After reading our book we basically just learned about our country. This past year we took our time because the book was really interesting to her and she didn't want to just read through it. So we did all the work like it should be done and she really liked it. You could learn about the town you live in for history. Go see the sites.

It gets better as they get older because the information can become more in depth. This year my daughter will be in the fourth grade and she is excited about school starting. Once they learn the basics and are then building on them it gets easier and more fun.

Good Luck!

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Postby Minniewannabe » Fri Aug 08, 2008 8:13 pm

What a great question! All the curriculum are boring, in my opinion, not just A beka. Here's a few of the things we've tried. Some have been successful, some not. (And we've stuck with the A beka curriculum for the same reasons you have.)

1. We combined P.E. and phonics. While bouncing a ball and running, we would "sing" rhyming words. For example, "b" "at" "bat", "c" "at" "cat". I would keep the A beka list of the week in my pocket to use as a guide. As DD got older, we would do the same thing but with made up poems, history facts, Chinese vocabulary words, etc.

2. Go through an article in the newspaper and have DD circle all the blends she's currently working on and skip the phonics book that day.

3. Cut out the A beka math problems and hide each one in a scavenger hunt. Each time DD gets one right, she gets the clue to find the next problem.

4. Get pennies or whatever and act out a couple of the math problems. For example, 4 + 5 could be acted out with you being the queen and DD the princess. Give her 4 gold coins for making the royal bed and then 5 gold coins for brushing the royal teeth.

5. Swap out a
Cat in the Hat book for one of the A beka stories.

6. Set out some stuffed animals for a story time. Have DD do the reading.

7. Have a daily art class or whatever your DD is most interested in. This will help break up the monotony.

8. Buy lots of reward stickers and tattoos.

9. Using one of the phonics lists, have DD try to make up a story using as many of the words as possible.

10. Buy two identical sets of the flash cards. Play "Go Fish" with them. If you get a match, then you do the card. You can also turn a bunch face down and play a matching game.

11. Take a walk with the flash cards. They're easier for me (ha, the mom) to stomach out of doors. Try to locate something outside that matches the phonics blend on the flash card.

12. Use colored pencils for the penmanship lesson one day. Decorate it a little and then art class is done at the same time.

13. Your DD isn't quite ready yet, but get acquainted with Homesciencetools.com and Ein-O science to supplement A beka's health and science textbooks. Having a lab each day really makes those subjects fun.

14. Play "Mother May I" with math facts. Have DD stand at one end of the room and you at the other. If DD gets a fact right, she gets to take one giant step forward. If she gets a fact wrong, she takes one little step backwards. The game ends when she gets across the room. We also did this with spelling words.

15. Let DD do her math page at the chalkboard one day instead of on the worksheet. She could also "write" in a sandbox or use refrigerator number/word magnets.

16. Supplement with some fun computer game time. We loved the Disney Interactive Software, Typing Tutor for Kids, Rosetta Stone for Spanish (if your child is especially bright), and PIX series. Take a 15 minute fun break and call it "computer class".

That's all I can think of at the moment. I'm sure you'll get a ton of fun things to do from all the moms and dads here.

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Postby Lily » Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:06 am

Check out the Rainbow Resource catalog and www.educationalgames.com for ideas.

For math this year we're using a hands on program supplemented with books like Sir Cumference and the First Round Table, Math Chef, Logix, Tangram...check out what your library has to offer. 1st grade math is fun with edible math or story book math.

Use things like School House Rock for language arts. It's fun to make spider webs to supplement a Charlotte's Web read-aloud (pick a word to 'write' with string), or write notes back and forth, or continue a story word by word on a dry erase board on the fridge.
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Postby momo3boys » Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:28 am

I have been reading lots of Thomas Armstrong books about the theory of multiple intelligences. If you read these, some by other authors as well, you will get loads of ideas, find out what her "IQ" is in the different areas and go. I have a very Kinesthetic learner, so jumping rope to learn the times tables, or standing for consonants and squatting for vowels during spelling, are ideas you will find in those books. Drama is another great way to bring things to life. Have her show you what she has learned, :)
sit back and enjoy
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elliemaejune
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Postby elliemaejune » Sat Aug 09, 2008 10:14 pm

She's just 6? Well, I would skim through the reading/phonics stuff, read the history and science stuff out loud together, maybe find some library books on the same topics, and just get through it the best you can. I would't bother grading anything--correcting stuff, just to make sure she understood what she was doing, but not grading.

If you'd asked me first, I'd have told you not to get all ABeka, lol
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Postby Jazzy » Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:29 am

We use Abeka and we love it, but we only use the math, language arts and phonics. I mostly use the workbooks and very rarely look at the lesson plans. We move at our own pace and I don't grade their work at all. I don't think my children really know what grades are, lol. When they make a mistake we just talk about why it's wrong and correct it.

I think it's great that you are wanting to spice things up a bit, but I would advise you to keep it simple so as not to overwhelm yourself. Go on field trips, take nature walks, do some community service. Make regular trips to the library and check out fiction books and books on history and science topics.

Right now, my kids are doing Olympic lapbooks and they're really having fun. I used the free one from Homeschool Share.

For writing, we are going to have a writing time every afternoon where we write about different subjects - favorite things, letters to friends, stories, etc.

We really enjoy playing games, too. Traditional card games and board games are fun and educational, and don't feel like school. We like Trouble, Scrabble Jr., Uno and War, and we're learning to play chess. Here are some other favorite homeschool games.

Just try a few new ideas at a time.

If you continue to use Abeka, make sure you adjust it to fit your needs instead of going "by the book". However, also try to remember that not everything has to be fun. We have some fun ways of drilling math facts, but sometimes we just do the worksheet. If you are not spending hours per day doing workbooks, then a little boring math or phonics drill won't hurt anything, IMO.

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Postby bbaron312 » Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:14 am

I always loved the typing games when I was growing up. Just a random crazy thought, but for grammar maybe make up madlibs? They are always fun to read and it might help your child learn differences between adjectives, adverbs, nouns, etc. Just a crazy morning thought!

mommyto2gr8ones
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Postby mommyto2gr8ones » Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:30 am

I don't know how much I can help considering I don't really have a curriculum for mine but I would suggest maybe just doing what you "need" to to keep her up-to-date on the curriculum and making your own learning games. If I am "working" out of a book that suggests a game that doesn't look fun, we don't do it. I will research the internet, ask my ds, find other books w/suggestions, ect. what else we could do to make a game out of our learning. HTH
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Postby FosteringHope » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:28 am

One thing to add... window markers have always gone over VERY well in my house. If you have a decent size window (we have one the size of a classroom chalk board that multiple kids can write on), buy crayola window markers then copy the worksheet onto the window. It's a guaranteed fun activity for the child - more work for the parent that has to clean it up though, but I've always found it to be worth the effort.

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Re: My homeschool is boring :( Help!!

Postby Embassy » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:58 pm

Tara wrote:I am the mother of a wonderful 6 year old girl and brand new to the homeschool world. She went to public school for kindergarten but now we are home schooling 1st grade. I researched forever and ended up ordering the A Beka kit for 1st grade, predominately because all of the Christian schools here use it and if we did decide to enroll her later then she would already be on track with what they are doing. We also decided to do year round school with about 6 weeks on/ 2 weeks off schedule. We just wrapped up the 1st 6 weeks and it went ok, her grades are all in the 90's and she seems to catch on to it all but we are both super bored!!! A Beka is a really boring curriculum, their ideas of games are basically just variations of flashcard use or really kind of need more kids to make it fun. I'd really like to find a way to make school more fun when we kick it back into gear in a couple of weeks. I'm a fairly creative person but I'm just not sure how to make phonics, writing, and math fun :( Science and History are fun with field trips, skits, adventures, etc . . . but I really need help making 1st grade more fun. Any tips??

Tara


For writing I started a blog for my son. He enjoys writing his assignments on his blog. He even received a response from an author of a book we read. You can see his blog here: http://elijahs-thoughts.blogspot.com/

Phonics - Starfall.com is a great site for phonics fun. Between the Lions online games are also good.

Math- board games with dice are good practice in adding. You can find math games online too.

A boxed curriculum didn't fit us too well either.
Homeschooling ds aged 7 and ds aged 5
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roma
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Making learning fun

Postby roma » Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:02 am

Here are two links to articles on the subject.

"Teaching Phonics and Reading is Fun and Oh So Easy! (It Is! Let Me Explain!)"at this link:
http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Roma_Cox


"How to Teach Reading Comprehension" at this link:
http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Teach- ... id=2080406
[/url]
RC

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Postby MelissaM » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:46 am

Wow, there are some fantastic ideas here! Thanks guys, I am so inspired... I can't wait to try some of them out :o)

My step daughter loves to learn when it's fun and a challenge, especially to prove how smart she is. She learned her letters and numbers to join in at bingo, because she didn't want to miss out. Now she's reading all sorts of things and has no sign of wanting to slow down. It's great :o)
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Lorelei Sieja
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Unit Studies a blast

Postby Lorelei Sieja » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:55 pm

Have you looked into doing KONOS? It is a unit-study curriculum. It's really fun if you get a friend to do it, too. (Anything's more fun with friends). We did this for years, and it was soooo much fun.

One theme we studies was "obedience". That unit we studied Kings and Queens, although the other choices included studying the military, which little boys seem to enjoy more. My 4rth grader did a report on Mary Queen of Scots. My kindergartner memorized The King of Hearts. I don't remember every everything we did, but the culmination was to hold a medieval feast.

My mom was visiting that week. My husband was the Lord of the castle, and I the lady. Mom was an honored guest, so the round bread loaves were cut, and the upper crust was offered to her (that's where that expression came from). One child was the court jester and recited poems. Another child was a minstrel and played her violin. We all got dressed up - it was so much fun!

My kids loved being homeschooled. They were far to busy to sit at a desk. Our pencil and paper activities were generally around an hour a day, the rest of the time we were up and moving, or reading library books on the couch or on the carpet, or moving to music. Once we built a model ear out of cardboard and crawled through it.

Learning is so much fun, it should never be boring. Whether you try the other suggestions here, or try a new curriculum, I hope that you and your child find the right mix of excitement and education to rejuvenate your homeschool effort.

Finally, to anyone who is reaching the "I'm Bored" stage, have you read "Homeschool Burnout" by Raymond and Dorothy Moore? I remember really getting a lot out of that book, although I loaned it to someone and never got it back, so haven't read it in years.

Good luck, and God bless!
Lorelei
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judyh
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homeschool phonics and writing sugestions

Postby judyh » Tue May 05, 2009 12:12 am

I think i can probably comment on phonics and writing. For math, science and history, we are still not at that stage yet as my older kid is only 4 this year. We do have a lot of fun learning phonics using the "letterland" series. There are 2 tracks. One for parents and the other for teachers. I have signed up for both as i really find the methods useful. The songs are really catchy and my kids just love to sing them. Even in the shower! It could be worthwhile just trying it. As for writing, i've bought 2 doodle boards and use it every night to teach my older kid to write. The other doodle board is for my 2 year old, who just loves to scribble :) Its a non-messy and informal way to learn to write - while we are sitting on the bed before bedtime.
judy

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