Teaching Life Skills, even when You don’t Remember it

Sometimes I forget the whole reason that I homeschool, other than the fact that the Bible isn’t taught in schools, and I get caught up thinking my daughter isn’t learning if we aren’t using worksheets or books. Then I get a little push from God telling me what I’m teaching her doesn’t always need to come from books and “school” stuff. We do many things together and travel without calling the trips “field trips” but they really are.

We travel to Georgia, often, by car, and the sights she sees are learning experiences, even if we don’t stop to inspect them closely. She has learned what mile markers are and how to tell distance using them. She knows that our gas up point is a little more than halfway to our destination. Also, she knows that where we gas up is a state that sells fireworks, and that not all states do sell them. Some adults don’t even know this.

She knows that the Mall of Georgia is in Buford, GA and that it has over 200 stores. Maybe not on a test but if a friend asked her where to go in Georgia, she would send them there. Steaks and Shakes, a restaurant franchise exclusive to Georgia is a restaurant we frequent and she is aware that it isn’t in any other states. These seem small but when you figure the places we travel, all together, she is accumulating a lot of knowledge.

We love camping and fishing, too. She knows how to setup a tent, with help. She can bait a worm, but chooses not to, and catch a fish. Arianna is very helpful when camping and she knows how to start a campfire but also the dangers of fire. She has a survival backpack that she knows how to use if needed and she helped to pack it. The importance of this backpack can range from lost in the woods to earthquake, fire, storms, or manmade disasters. We believe in being prepared.

We teach our daughter money management, too and Arianna is very bright! She opened her own savings account, without being asked to or pleaded with. She has under $5.00 in it but she has one just the same.

Time management we all learn everyday by the chores we do around the house and the things we would like to do are scheduled around the needs of the day. We manage this without a schedule….somehow. Lol.

Sharing, caring, taking turns and following directions are also being taught and our kids never see us teach them these as a skill but learn them regardless, as long as we are showing them and teaching them the way God wants us to. Friendships teach these skills, too, and friendships show how to work as a team, too, so do families that work together to make a project a reality.

Household basics are taught through chores and even getting the mail from the box (also learn to cross the road). Organization is picked up while picking up toys and putting away clean laundry, sorting dirty from clean, too.

I am teaching life skills, even if I’m not at my desk with my mouth speaking on a subject of study. She may not comprehend that she is learning something but it is being learned. And manners are learned, especially yes Ma’am and no Ma’am, along with please and thank you. We live in Virginia and Ma’am and Sir are respectful terms that we expect our child to learn, so I use them, too, in business calls, so she can hear the importance of using them. Respect is high in my book of life skills and I expect that my children respect me and others. This lesson can only be learned at home.

Do you ever feel like you forgot to teach this day or that? Remember that a life skill was learned even without either of you realizing it. God blesses us with these gifts, too.


Blog Titles

Sometimes I think what can I write about that isn’t already been done a hundred times and this is what I’ve been working on lately. I promise by the end of today, that I will come up with at least 2 blog posts for today and 2 for this next week. One will be on the Solar System (next unit to study) and may try to squeeze a Lakota Indian post in, too.

My mind is alive and just life has kept me busy. The property ….surprise! Wait…

See you later today for updates!

Snow Day

I think a snow day has lots of potential for learning, especially for children in the South, who don’t have sleds and snow toys. My daughter came up with all sorts of ideas to make a sled. She ended up using a cooler lid but it’s too deep to go well.

We used warm water, an empty dish liquid bottle and food coloring to make SNOW PAINT. Always fun to make colorful snowmen and practice writing in the snow (handwriting with a twist and practice for sight words). Children are geniuses when it comes to fun and not getting snow much brings out their creativity, after months of boredom and schoolwork.

All children need a break and since every other child had a day off, in our area, I saw fit to do the same. Arianna has been out dozens of times since 8am and has come back in each time with reddened cheeks and hands. The joy of being a child and playing in the fluffy, white creation we call snow is worth more than a lesson the States say our children must learn.

I remember endless hours of upstate NY winters, where I was born and raised. We had many sleds and still found other things to make it more interesting. We made ramps that would send us soaring and bump down hard on our non suspecting tailbones (didn’t hurt then, but now….) and we would choose steep hills to see who could go the fastest and farthest without jumping off. It’s a wonder our mothers never had heart failure watching us. Of course, when we got a bit older, we would get out of Mom’s sight and brave more treacherous trails with our cousins and my oldest cousin would call us babies if we didn’t go along, so we often came home with cut, scrapes and bruises but no tears and no explanations. The good old days….

What do you or did you enjoy about the snow and snow days? Do you have snow days? Do you teach science? Do you make snow cones? We do….well, she does. She is having a kool-aid flavored snow cone, right now and enjoying every drop.

Prayers to all those who lost power and are dealing with the ice.

An Update on my Geoboard and our geometry lessons

geoboard 2 Our Geoboard is 8×11 ($2.49) and was painted Gypsy Pink (AC Moores for $0.59) by my daughter (fun art project). Then I added tacks. I ran out and had to buy more (Family Dollar – tacks $0.50 for 50 tacks). All said and done this cost me roughly $7.00 to make, as the cost of 2 lbs of rubber bands cost $1.99.

Glad I made it and not bought a cheap plastic one. Oh, by the way. I used graph paper to line up the holes and I printed the graph paper off the internet and paid nothing. Then after all the tacks are in place came the annoying part of taking the graph paper off (easy but tedious).

The first night, I gave it her and she asked what to do, and off she went for a few hours of play. She said it was fun and came back with the board covered in rubber band shapes. She said it was something she was glad that we made. Yeah points for Mom!

Today we did our first Math lesson with it and she did well except with the diamond. She draws it well and recognizes it but can’t get the rubber bands to cooperate. The other shape was the hexagon. She made one but the sides weren’t even. I told her that was ok because as long as it has 6 sides, I figure she has the idea. geoboard

Have you mastered geometry and symmetry? Did you buy or make geoboards? How well did your child do learning all of the wonderful shapes around us?

Reading as a Separate Subject

We do reading as a subject all of its own and we read from chapter books, as part of our lessons. Then I have my daughter read to me from an easy reader or a newspaper, magazine or catalog. This shows me she is picking up new words as we go along. two-kids-reading-together

We usually pick either classics or harder chapter books meant for older children. Right now, we are reading A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My daughter loves princesses and this shows that princesses have feelings, too. So far, I, too, am enjoying the book, too!

I just recently bought magnet sentence creators and this has become a new hit! The refrigerator has so much space for creating descriptive sentences and she gets to read them, too, and more importantly show me the ones that excite her the most! What better way to learn to read and have fun? (Magnetic Wordplay- Sentence Fun, word fun magnetic learning kit)I bought it at five below for $3.00…great bargain!

What do you read? little-girl-reading-a-book Do you teach reading as a separate subject or as a part of English class? Does your child like chapter books or just children’s books?

….And then the Request to Learn Poetry….

Ah, yes, we can learn poetry and we are going to make poems about you and your body and for Valentine’s Day. You are going to write a book about you, too. Wow, Mom! I love writing books!    funky-pink-heart

I have caught an interest and this just a few hours after hearing I don’t want to do school anymore. The idea of school is scary but the break down to what we are going to do is exciting, especially when she heard we were going to learn new shapes and get a break from adding and subtracting. The number break is good for both of us. I just need to make a geoboard to practice symmetry and geometry.pink-colored-pencil

The geoboard will be fun for car rides, too and when she wants to play. Telling her that it is a tool for learning, just like our Bingo game, may take some fun out of it, but maybe not. I, often will be cleaning the bathroom and come into the kitchen to see her playing Bingo by herself. I let her play the way she wants cause it makes her happy and she is learning by play.

I try teaching by interest but she normally doesn’t give me many ideas. Our science lessons this month are going to be on the human body and caring for it. girl-scientist-with-frog  I can add fashion, gymnastics, dance, and singing to these lessons to catch her attention and still have worthy lessons that will teach her what she needs to know.

We are going to start A Little Princess as our chapter book and discuss Princesses in real life, too. There are many real life princesses and I have bookmarked a few pages to go to when we get to the research part of it. Arianna is my little Princess and usually tells many this. little-girl-reading-a-book    🙂

The poem we wrote together tonight was “Catch my heart in the sun, All day long”. Short and sweet but a good way to spend a few minutes waiting on Daddy to finish work, and to make my daughter smile! She wrote the first part and I the second and her face lit up….  Nothing better. 🙂

Has your child requested something that may have caught you off guard? Do you teach interest based learning? Why or why not?

Until next time, may God bless you!

Ancient China…….Teaching it

What do we know about China? I anticipate this answer from my daughter. I know a lot more than I did and hope to learn even more. I chose January to teach it due to the Chinese New Year coming up (this year a bit later…Feb, but great time to learn). My daughter loves animals, like her Mommy and I’m sure will try desperately to match up each year with a family member or friend. If this is the attention grabber, than even better, but I have a few planned. I LOVE Pinterest and all the ideas that you can find there!chnsdrgn

I printed templates for money envelopes, found some of our red construction paper and traced and cut…the red money envelopes. Then I printed Chinese play money to add to the envelopes ($8 is lucky but it cannot be $4+$4). This will be fun practice day to learn about printed money and printing presses.

What animal comes to mind when you mention China? panda-bear-eating-leavesPanda Bear, exactly! What a great way to learn about the Panda and China in a day or two. I found some cool readings and a worksheet on it (also learning about the Panda can be a science lesson).

China is responsible for the Decimal system math-notebookand this would be a good way to review money lessons and learn about decimals.  If you are learning fractions you could translate your fractions to decimals? Depends on how well your child grasps these concepts.

The other fun activity I have planned is designing a dragon kite. Kites are from China, too and dragons are big in their New Year’s celebrations, so combining the two will get Arianna’s attention, for sure!kites-flying

I will be using some handwriting lessons and English lessons to fill in gaps of “fun” things about China and we will use our maps to locate China and how far China is to Virginia or how far it is to Paris. We have a quilted map set (USA and world) that we use for hands on map time.

I found coloring pages of China and important monuments, sports, etc, they are in French but I translated them, as they were too amazing to turn away from. There is a temple, a ship, the Great Wall, and two more pages. Coloring is fun to my daughter and I can supplement it into a road trip learning experience, if need be.

By the way, if you want to impress the pizza lover in your family….pizza was first made in China, not Italy!

How did you teach ancient China? Or plan to teach it?

Coming in February, Ancient India!

Planning A Lesson

I wish I knew that teaching my child would be like opening up my imagination and saying “What grabs my attention? What did MY teachers do to get me to listen?” or “What could they have done to make me want to learn?” The answers all resound back to me as……Make it Fun to learn!

Ok. How do I make MATH fun? I dreaded math in school. Wait…no I liked math until I got into high school. I even remember some fun middle school classes that had my attention! I could teach fun math. I just had to figure out how. Hmmmm…..hmmmmm. I got it! Light bulbs light up on my head (I think like this, at times). Cooking uses math and it is very fun to cook when you are a child and it’s NOT a chore.  math-notebook

We added cooking and baking to our math lessons and Mom became a great math teacher, for awhile. Cooking and baking can be messy and after a few days of math in the kitchen, tiresome. Now, we use cooking and baking as fun projects to add to our learning. We have also added helping clean up to our list.

We use our big dry erase board for learning new math and doing problems together until she gets the hang of it. Then I found dry erase boards (at Michael’s on clearance) that were lap size. This we use in place of paper. Easily erases without holes or rips and can save trees. We use these for math work that needs a lot of practice or that we may need to erase a lot. Plus, there is room to doodle and erase before Mom sees (sometimes I just smile, as I remember).

Mom liked math but what about the other subjects? What did I know about animal habitats (first grade) or ancient Egypt (second grade)? I know where some animals live and I have heard about pyramids and sphinx but come on….I had no idea!

Thank God for the internet and libraries! The internet has way too much info and guess what? Most of it is FREE! That’s right, if you can figure out what it is exactly that you need, you can find it for FREE! I have yet to buy pricey curriculum! I do however know a lot on how to research our state’s standards of learning and minimum requirements, and know how to apply them and teach my daughter above that level (easier done than sounds).cute-elephant

The Bible is implemented into our history classes because it is history. God created the whole world! History and science classes can be done using the Bible. Creation can be a science and history lesson. Think like that and find other lessons throughout the Bible to incorporate into your lessons. Your child will listen if you add crafts or projects or even just coloring pages (many free printable on the Bible topics). teacher-at-smartboard

How else can I make learning fun and not so boring? Hmmmm…Well, there are times that we go on mini “road trips” or even long ones and my daughter gets bored. I can put together a road trip activity pack and she can learn while playing. These need some thought. You need fun, attention getters, some coloring pages, and some real school type work, too. I keep my major learning stuff to a minimum in the car. Color by number is fun and engaging (could be sums, products, etc), color pages of flags or countries or a country’s monuments is a way to keep your history lesson flowing, scavenger hunts (items, license plates, animals, etc), talking about Bible verses or bring music that applies to a lesson can be another way to make learning fun on the go.

Planning a lesson wasn’t rocket science but I’ve learned as much or more as my child by learning what to teach and how to teach. Could I do it again? Sure! Could I teach 20-30 kids at a time? Probably not, but if I had to, I could. Teaching is not something I ever dreamt of doing but now that I do it, everyday, I love it. mom-surrounded-by-laundry

I’m always planning that next lesson, even if my daughter doesn’t know it’s a lesson. If I can teach her without her knowing that I’m teaching her, than God really is working miracles in both of our lives and that really is a blessing!

How do you plan your lessons? Do you use curriculum? Does the Bible guide you?