A Fable by the Little Professor

Professor

The Proud Eagle

One day a proud Eagle was flying along when he came across a barn with some crows on top of it. He thought they would want to see him show off some of his amazing skills. So, he went down and said, “I am so much faster than you crows, I could beat you in a one mile race – ten times faster than you guys combined”.

The crows replied, “Yes, you are faster, but God made us a different way.  He made us scared of the Scarecrow.   The only reason we are scared of it, is because of the scary face.  So scary”.

The Eagle said, “Yeah, I guess it is pretty scary”.

“I bet you could not do these moves”, the Eagle continued.

Then the Eagle flew up and flew in a circle three times very fast.  He also saw a field mouse and he dove down to eat it in one gulp!  The Eagle then flew off to find some other birds to show off his awesome moves to.

The Crows said to each other. “If the Eagle isn’t careful about his pride, something embarrassing is going to happen”.

The Eagle flew to a jungle and saw some toucans on top of a tree.  He said the same thing to the toucans that he said to the crows   Then he showed them what he showed to the crows, but this time the last event went a little wrong.  When he swooped down to catch a mouse, he got tangled in a vine.

The wise toucans said, “Pride comes before a fall”, and then they cut the vines with their beaks and the Eagle fell to the ground.

15 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Homeschoolers

School

1.  Please do not look at our children with pity.  They’re happy, they like to learn at home, they have lots of friends, they don’t have to get up early to catch a bus on very cold days and they get to experience many things other children don’t.  Our family travels a lot during value seasons and we get to go to cool places when it’s quiet and not during school break.  We hardly ever have to wait in lines and we get a lot of discounts.

2.  Please do not ask us about the socialization of our children.  They have many opportunities to socialize in a much broader sense and are constantly learning to become productive citizens. They are able to grow into their own personalities, choose their own interests and create their own sense of style.   Just don’t ask, it’s rude – we don’t ask about your child’s future ability to conform to what society deems acceptable.

3.  Please do not tell us you can’t home school because you don’t have the patience for it.  You are implying that we were born with an endless supply of patience therefore it is easy for us to home school our children.  This is definitely not the case.  Homeschooling is hard and challenging at times but it’s a decision we made based on what we felt was best for our children.  If you don’t want to home school that’s your choice, it’s OK to just say so.  We respect you for it.

4.  Please don’t tell us you can’t home school because you don’t have the discipline or organizational skills – refer to #3 and then visit our home.  Please excuse the clutter!

5.  Please don’t assume we are trying to convert you to homeschooling if we happen to mention it to you.  We are like any other parent, we like to talk about our children’s studies and education and because we home school our views tend to be from that stand point.

6.  Please don’t try to convert us to public school, catholic school, private school or any other school out there.  Like you, we made the choice based on what we thought was best for our children and we are happy with it.

7.  Please do not discourage anyone you know who is thinking about homeschooling their child. It’s a valid choice and it’s a big decision – one that is never taken lightly and can be extremely daunting at first.  You would never discourage someone from sending their child to private school,  so don’t do it with potential homeschoolers.  You know the saying, if you don’t have something nice to say….

8.  Please do not assume that our children will fail to achieve successful futures.  There are a multitude of studies available that show homeschooled children in general score higher on average.  A simple online search will bring up very promising and exciting studies – too many to list.

9.  Please do not assume that we as parents are not intelligent enough to educate our children.  We are capable and while we may not know everything there is, there is a plethora of resources out there for us to direct our children to and help them find the knowledge they need.  You would be surprised at how much our children teach themselves and each other.

10.  Please do not assume we are lazy parents because we choose to home school our children.  Yes, some of us may do our schooling in our pajamas or stretched out across the floor.  Sometimes we do our lessons outside on warm, sunny days under a shady tree.  We may get all our studies finished by lunch time and spend the rest of the day reading, doing crafts or playing games but that does not make us lazy.  We constantly research curriculum, help with assignments, teach our children,  take them on outings, go to co-op classes, mark school work, keep records and many, many other things.  All the things you do as parents and all the things your children’s teacher does too.

11.  Please do not assume we home school because we are scared to allow our children to enter the “real” world.  While we do not keep our children home because of unknown and even a few known dangers lurking around school halls, we do feel that home is a better environment for our children.  It’s not fear that drives us, it’s hope for a better future.

12.  Please do not try to quiz our children, in hopes to point out the flaws in their education. They’re not monkeys ready to perform at will.  Half the time my children will look you right in the eyes and tell you they don’t know the answer to your questions because they’re not allowed to tell you to take a hike!

13.  Please do not tell me that you could never spend so much time with your kids.  That just makes me sad for your kids.

14.  Please do not assume we are weird because we home school.  Some of us are just weird, it might be all the Syfy we watch or maybe we’re just born this way, but it’s not because we home school.  Homeschooling is becoming more acceptable and popular.

15.  Please do not assume that because we home school we hate teachers!  On the contrary, we have a lot of respect for teachers and can’t imagine how they teach a class of 30 kids at once and then have to deal with the parents too.  Kudos to the teachers out there who have committed their lives to teaching children!

 

 

 

Back to School…

We have made a lot of major changes to our home school this year.

The first change we made was with our school curriculum, as I mentioned a couple posts back.  The Little Professor’s curriculum arrived last Monday and we managed to get it all set up and ready to go.  We started back to school full-time last Wednesday.  It may seem early to most, but with all our travelling and field trips throughout the school year we need to start early to get all the mandatory school days in.  Besides, the kids were so excited to get back to school!

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One of the other big changes we made this year was assigning a designated space to act as a full-time classroom.  This was not an easy feat in our house because we’ve already completely outgrown our space as a family, never mind as a homeschooling family.  In order to make this happen, big sacrifices had to be made – specifically, all my sweet, little children had to agree to share a bedroom.  I wasn’t sure how they would react to this but I was pleasantly surprised when they all shouted for joy at the idea.  The fact that they were so agreeable made it easier but the actual logistics of the plan is a little more complicated and we’re still working them out each day.

In the meantime, the class room is set up and it is working out well.  I have been slowly fixing it up since the weekend and today we took a little trip to Ikea to purchase a few remaining things to make the classroom complete.

Since we left early for Ikea (so that it didn’t take up our whole day) we arrived before store hours, so we decided to stop in and have breakfast in their cafe first.  I have to say, that place is amazing!  Our family of 5 had breakfast for $12…where else can you purchase breakfast for that price and their coffee is so good!

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The kids sat in a special little area designated just for them and watched Cars 2 while they ate breakfast.

After we ate we quickly made our purchases and returned home to assemble our furniture and start our day.

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The Monkey enjoyed colouring on the empty boxes while I built the desk and rearranged the room.  Sure enough, the moment I became absorbed with my task the littlest quickly took advantage of it and left his mark on the new furniture.

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This is normal, everyday stuff in our house.  I gave birth to a multitude of Pen Pirates!

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I have to say, I’m so pleased with our new classroom but not anywhere near as pleased as the Professor and Princess!  They have both expressed their gratitude for a special place to learn.  The Professor and I had a big, one on one chat today and he thinks having a room dedicated to school will help him concentrate more and I completely agree.

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We named our school and hung some maps, posters and charts.

Not only do the kids have their individual desks but…

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we also have this big desk that will do double duty as my desk and the lab/art table.

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All we need now are a few more art supplies and for our science equipment to arrive!

I can’t begin to express how happy and excited I am for this school year.  The curriculum has far above passed any expectations I had and the new room has changed the whole atmosphere of our schooling.

This is going to be our best year yet, I just know it!

Flashcards on a Ring…

 

A while back I did a post about making flashcards.  You can find it here.

But what do you do with all the flashcards once they’re made?

Great question!  I’m so glad you asked.

If you are like us, you have more flashcards than you know what to do with.  Ours were piling up fast with every new PACE and spelling list.

When they started spilling over and the dog ran off with one (yes, the dog literally ate the homework) I knew it was time to get our flashcards organized.

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I bought an index card file for about $10 and filed the flashcards in alphabetical order.  That way when I need a word, I know exactly where to look.

That works great for storing the flashcards but what about when you need to populate the latest spelling list, what do you then?

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I bought these little index cards on a ring – 3 for approx. $7.

The ring opens up and I removed all the index cards that came on it.

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I used one of those cards to mark the hole on my flashcards.

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I punched a hole on the marked spot on all the flashcards with a single hole punch.

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Then I just went through and picked out the words I needed….

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and put them on the ring.

When we are done with those words, I can refile them for the next child and add new words to the ring.

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The flashcards are kept together while in use and they won’t get damaged!

You can find the little index cards on a ring from Staples.

I’m going to go back and buy some for our math flashcards next!

Homeschooling After Hours…

On a good day, the kids are done with their home school work load around 11 am.  They start around 7 am.  Not all days are good days, some are a struggle and there’s a lot of day dreaming.  Lately there are fewer of them.  So the question I know you’re asking is, what do the kids do with the rest of their day?

I’m glad you asked….here’s a little look!

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They paint…

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and do other crafts.

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The learn about electricity with Snap Circuits…

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and paleontology by digging up their own dinosaur bones.

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They love to build with Lego’s!

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There’s a lot of dressing up…

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and napping, when their bodies tell them they need it

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and even some napping while dressed up.

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There’s a lot of traveling and camping…

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and field trips.

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They enjoy weekly outings with Nana…

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and home spa times with Mummy.

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It doesn’t matter if it’s baking, writing stories, crafts or just plain silliness, my children get a lot of time for creative learning and playing.  They are enjoying their childhood and that makes me a happy Mummy!

Brain Quest…

When we left for Canada the other week we didn’t bring the kids school work.  We weren’t expecting to be gone so long.  When we realized we were going to be there for another full week I ran out to find something to temporarily replace our curriculum.

After looking through many different work books I came across the Brain Quest one and instantly knew it was what I was looking for.  It touched on so many subjects like Spelling and Vocabulary, Language Arts, Reading, Writing, Math Skills, Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and Division, Fractions and Decimals, Social Studies, Science and more – all in the one book.  The pages are colourful and bright.  The lessons are fun and filled with games and puzzles.

  

What I really liked about it was that it touches on the basics while keeping things entertaining.  It makes for a good supplemental curriculum for kids whether they are home schooled or attend a conventional school.  The lessons vary from fairly easy, which helps build confidence, to more challenging, which really gets the kids thinking.  The pages tear out easily which is good because the answers are in the back of the book.  Every activity has a little Brain Box at the bottom of the page which is more of a review than a lesson.  If your child has not learned that particular lesson in school, be prepared to do some teaching.

Overall, I’m really impressed with the Brain Quest workbooks and just thought I’d pass on my thoughts to you!

Flashcards

Flashcards are one of the tools I use often when it comes to teaching the kids.

After spending a lot of time searching for the sight cards I wanted and not finding them, I decided to just make my own.

It took off from there.  I’ve now made hundreds over the past couple of years…

With a little cutting and glue sticking onto index cards,

we can make flashcards for sight words, spelling lists and even cards to practice reading words.

They’re not fancy but they work and they’re cheap and they have definitely served their purpose!

If you want to make your own, I’ve uploaded my template for you.

Flashcard template

Disney Youth Individual Enrollement

A year ago I was searching online for fun and exciting activities to do with our children as part of our homeschooling.  One of the things I came across was the Disney Homeschool Days – a program that Disney provides for kids who homeschool.  We were really excited about this…what could be more cool than going to school at Disney?! Not only did it sound super fun but the discount on the park tickets was pretty awesome too.

When it came time to book our vacation Disney still hadn’t posted their dates for Homeschool days in the fall.  After a little research we came across the Disney Youth Individual Enrollement.  With this program there are even more class options and the park tickets are priced the same as the Homeschool days.  Plus…it’s open to all kids, not just those who homeschool.

Unfortunately, the one class that was provided for the Princess’ age was already booked up, so she was not able to attend.  However, the Professor had a couple options available to him and in the end he went with Wild by Nature at Animal Kingdom and Synergy in Science at Epcot.

Since Daddy and I each attended a class with him, our tickets were discounted also.  Instead of paying $400, our tickets were $220.  I just don’t see a downside to it!

The classes were awesome!

The Professor and I went to the Wild by Nature together and we had so much fun.  Josh was our tour guide/teacher and he was animated and informative…he captivated us with his knowledge and humor and kept us laughing for the 3 hours.  He engaged all the children into discussions about the various animals and explained how preditors and prey naturally balance each other out.  He went into great detail about how animals survive in nature through games and hands on examples.  He explained how humans and animals can live on the earth together and survive as long as we are willing to respect the earth.

Babysitting the Cottontop Tamarin

If you are heading to Disney, I truly recommend signing up your child for one of the Individual Enrollment classes!

Disney Youth Individual Enrollment

Disney Homeschool Days


Life of Fred

As a mother homeschooling my children, I’m always on the hunt for new and exciting ways to teach the kids.  One of our many reasons in making the decision to home school was so that we could provide our children with some unique approaches to learning, along side of the more traditional methods.  The older I get the more I realize that “generally accepted” isn’t always the best way of doing things.

On one of my journey’s for a different approach to teaching math, I came across Life of Fred.  It’s a series of books written by Stanley F. Schmidt, who’s a retired high school and college math teacher.  He writes the story about Fred Gauss, a teacher at Kitten’s University.  In the first book, Fred is 5 years old and his companion is a doll named Kingie.  The story itself is amusing, but it also introduces math in a way that shows its use our daily lives by demonstrating it in Fred’s life.

The chapters are relatively short and in the first book the math is very basic but it makes sense.  Along with the math it also touches on other life lessons like “Why you shouldn’t be rude” and “Sugar rots teeth”.

So far the Little Professor is really enjoying our new approach to math.  I’d consider it more supplemental than a main curriculum, though I read the higher level texts are much more involved.  It has definitely given the Little Professor a more rounded view on math and has enforced it’s importance in our life.  He’s beginning to get a more tangible understanding, it’s not just about memorizing numbers and rules.

  

I wasn’t able to find the Elementary books in any of the stores around where we live but I did find them online.  The cheapest I found them was through Z-Twist Books.  I wasn’t sure about ordering through them even though they were recommended by the Publisher because the website looked amateurish but my cheapness overruled my doubt and I went ahead and bought the book it.  As it turns out they were very quick and professional.  I received an email instantly confirming my order and within the hour I had a shipping confirmation number.  Shipping was free through Media Mail…I like free!  It’s my favourite!

At the rate the Little Professor is going through the first book, we’ll be ordering the next one very soon at which point I will start the Princess on the first one.

If you want more information, the webiste for the books are:

Life of Fred