This week question for the Blog Cruise is the following:
Do you use technology (iPods, computers, videos, digi cams, etc.) in your homeschool?
My answer to this is the following… YOU CAN BET ON IT!
Seriously, how can I not use the variety of technology available to spice up our homeschool.
Computer is a given in our household. We are techies in a way since we have a home business in the IT world. There are plenty of programs that kids can use and learn at the same time. Mathematics, language arts and sciences can now be covered with software. In Canada, one company that I think do wonderful products that are also available for homeschoolers is Nectar Foundation. Their products covers mathematics, language and sciences from kindergarten to high school.
Over the internet, I would strongly suggest that you look into BrainPop and BrainPop Junior. BrainPop offers one new video free per day which you child can watch and learn at the same time. Afterward, he/she can take a little quiz to test their listening skills and their understanding. It is wonderful. BrainPop Junior is for K-3 and will have the same video for the whole week. Again the child can listen and watch while learning at the same time. Other sites available are BrainPop Spanish and BrainPop ESL. Now I wish they had a BrainPop French. I think it would be a wonderful addition to their wide range of fun educational websites. The creators of BrainPop also have a site for educators called BrainPop Educator. Believe me you won’t be disappointed with the quality of the little videos. Mind you it is not a christian site so you might have some information about evolution and billions of years old kind of chat but still I find that basically these sites are worth it.
Videos – ah television is involve here. First I must be totally honest and tell you that we don’t have cable. The reason why we remove it was first the cost and second the quality of what was on these days. By removing the cable, we can re-invest the amount in quality videos in English and in French. We discovered wonderful DVDs on the Big Adventure as well as as nature. We also invested in getting the well known French TV series Passe-Partout for our kids as we are primarily French Canadian. And we keep an eye on anything educational out there. We also use youTube when we do unit studies as well as other TV series available on the internet like How it’s Made. This particular series demonstrate how things are made for example last year the kids saw how padlocks, hair clippers, wooden shoes and synthetic leather were made in one specific show. The whole family enjoys watching these.
The Wii and Nintendo DS can also be very educative believe it or not. The trick is to get the games that will teach something like Wii Music for example or ZooTycoon. I even found mathematics and geography games for the Nintendo DS. There are a variety of fun games that either one or the whole family can play with. Wii in itself can even be used for PhysEd with the Wii Fit or any other program that makes you move, jump, run and so on.
Until this year, only my husband had the iPhone. Now two iPods have entered our household…. *grin* And let me tell you that you can have wonderful learning apps for it. And one of the apps I particularly love it the BrainPop which allows you to keep track of your quizzing performance. I also have other fun apps that cover mathematics, sciences, English, French, geography and much more. We are also planning to use the podcast of Focus on the Family to train our kids to write reports. Alexandre, our oldest, will start this assignment this year. We will choose the subject and he will have to listen to and write a small report on it to tell us what he has learned.
However, like anything in life, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. What I mean by that is that it is necessary and ultimately your responsibility to limit the time your kids spend on technology. Yes it is nice to have them but being addicted to it is not good. Consequently I strongly suggest that you determine a time limit when your child is on the computer, the iPods, the internet, the television and so on.
Do I think technology should have a place in homeschool? Definitively. I am so ever grateful to have the software, videos, and iPod apps on hand when I have a difficult day or when an unplanned event happens.
Well it arrived last week. And here’s Jose Daniel from El Salvador.
Jose makes his home with his father and mother. Running errands is his household duty. His father is employed and his mother maintains the home. There are 2 children in the family. For fun, Jose enjoys playing with cars, singing and running. He attends church activities and Bible class regularly and is in kindergarten where his performance is average.
Jose lives on the plains located north of San Salvador. It is the home of approximately 1,500 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement. The population is comprised of Mestizos and the most common spoken language is Spanish.
The regional diet consists of maize, beans, bread and rice. Common health problems in this area include respiratory disorders and stomach infections. Most adults in the community are unemployed but some work in domestic services and earn the equivalent of $144 per month. This community has water and electricity but needs literacy training, health services and employment opportunities.
Alexandre has already send a card to Jose and is looking forward to get to know him.
This week as part of the blog cruise, the questions are:
“How do you afford to homeschool? What are some ways to save money on homeschooling supplies?”
Good question. Homeschooling can be as cheap or as expensive as you want. I’m totally serious about it. I’ve heard of people only relying on free things over the internet and others who spend tons of money on their homeschool.
I am considering myself frugal but for certain subjects in our homeschool, I prefer buying new. Which subjects? Take mathematics for example. We use Math U See for our curriculum. Each year I buy the full package for my oldest and the student workbooks for the kids that follow. But this program is multi-sensory and is fun to use so this goes on our priority list even when money is tight. The other product that goes on the priority list is the Easy Grammar. What I like from this curriculum for grammar is that it is reproducible. So I buy once, and can use it for all the kids. What I do is that I buy the teacher’s manual which also includes the student pages and then make copies of the pages we need.
Now for French, I need to buy as well. At first I used workbooks I had found at Costco but with a math section we never used in it, I was wondering if it was necessary. They I discovered a publisher of school material that had reproducible rights. Perfect for us!
I regularly go to Value Village and stumble on neat things I can use for the homeschool. For example, I’ve found Canadian geography and history books in a recent outing. And guess what some of them are reproducible. Yeah for me!
At a recent freecycle event, we found a coloring book of the human body that Alexandre will be able to use. He is so interested in it that he can’t hardly wait to start it…
Earlier this year, I went to a presentation given during a meeting of our homeschool association. At the same time, there was tons of curriculum available for free given from another homeschool family and a school that was updating their material. I was blessed beyond measures with a variety of products.
Garage sales can also be a wonderful place where you can found fun school items, books and workbooks.
The trick is to keep an eye open for specials or sales and to trust God to bless you with what you need. Not easy sometimes especially when the economy is hard. I know as we went through it.
Last year, I had no clue how to introduce geography in our homeschool. I felt it was needed but buying something was not an option. And I was stressing out a bit. Then I got asked to rejoin the TOS Homeschool Crew for the remaining of the year. The first product I had the opportunity to review was….. are you sitting comfortably before I tell you about ? Good! ….. so the product was Old World Style Maps from Homeschool In The Woods. I was speechless and touched by God’s providence. I couldn’t ask for a better product for geography. Since then, other geography products have been added for free.
In my house , it is 2 years old. From an early age, Jasmine was willing to help in and around the house. What her big brothers do, she wants to do.
Alexandre has recently showed her how to dry the utensils and place them at the proper place. Nothing stops her. As soon as she hears him or me unloading the dishwasher, she comes to help. She grabs a towels and want to do the utensils.
Here’s her taking one of the utensils to dry.
Now she is drying the said utensil…
And she place it at the proper place. This was a mommy fork and she knows the difference between the mommy fork and the baby fork.
She is simply ADORABLE!
As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we also have the possibility to write on homeschool subject during the year. This is officially the first departure of The Blog Cruise. The question is:
“What advice do you have for those considering homeschooling or just starting out?”
So you are thinking of homeschooling. You know someone who does it or you are dissatisfied with the school your child is going. Whatever the reason I encourage you to give it a try.
It can be scary – especially if you don’t have support or don’t know families who are doing it. And it can take a couple of years for you and your family to be fully adjusted and find your own pace. But the rewards are fabulous – guaranteed.
When I started I thought I would reconsider every year if we continue homeschooling or not. However, a very wise person told me “Take one month at a time.” She told me that because homeschooling is not for every one. It is a lifestyle and a way of living but it is not for every families.
My suggestion to you is to read about it to fully grasp what homeschooling is. And if you can interview families who are doing it. Research as much as you can. I was bless to have about 20 families from my church and elsewhere who were homeschooled when I started considering it. I emailed them my questions and sat down with my friend to see how she organize her days. It was such a blessing to have their answers and this friend willing to open her home for me. It quieted some of my fears.
Some books I recommend are:
- So You Are Thinking of Homeschooling by Lisa Whelchel
- Beyond Survival – A Guide to Abundant-Life Homeschooling by Diana Waring
- Help for the Harried Homeschooler – A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Child’s Education with the Rest of Your Life by Christine M. Field
- Homeschooling For the Rest of Us – How Your One-of-a-kind Family Can Make Homeschooling and Real Life Work by Sonya Haskin
- Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling by Mary Pride.
Concentrate to the basics for the first year. Homeschooling for the first time can be stressful. So I would suggest to concentrate to the basics for a little while before adding to your schedule. The basics are reading, writing (in which I am including grammar as well), and math. The extra like geography, science, history and so on can be added if you feel comfortable. It doesn’t have to be right away but eventually you will want to include the rest in your day.
Investigate all the possibilities of curriculum and think it through before spending money. Often, you buy something and then realized that it is not a fit for your family. That’s what the TOS Homeschool Crew is for. We review some homeschool products and tell you what we think about it. So the site is a great way to look at some ideas. Read the reviews. Check with the vendor if they have a preview DVD you can receive to check it out. Ask other homeschoolers. There are a wide variety of products out there so be careful. And don’t buy everything you see. It can become expensive. For us, we like reproducible products which means I can make copies of the product to use with all my kids eventually. Check second-hand stores as well. I’ve found wonderful things at Value Village that were not used whatsoever.
Finally, give yourself and your kids some time to adjust. If they are used to go to school it means they need to adjust thinking that mom (or dad) will be their teacher now. It takes time. Be patient with them and with yourself.
Oh! Before I forget. Homeschool Legal Defense is a must. You can find them easily over the internet but they are there to help you with any issues you might stumble on while homeschooling. For example, last year I received a jury duty request stating that I needed to fill in the questionnaire in order to be called for jury duty. I have nothing against jury duty and my husband even thought it was cool that I received one. I wasn't too triller. He wondered why. That's when I asked him: "What would happen to our homeschool if the case last months and I can't be home?" Now he got it... So I called HSLDA and asked them what could be done for this. They totally understood and had a paperwork that I could include with the questionnaire which I did. Well I haven't heard a thing since then... The membership is like an insurance for you and your family. I would strongly recommend that you look into it.
Other crew mates have written on the subject as well. Click on the blog cruise image at the beginning of this entry to be directed to The Blog Cruise page. Have fun with your homeschool - the kids and yourself will enjoy it better.
So for the past two years, he got these glasses – two pairs sale we got at Costco. Same design. Same color. Same prescription.
Last month, one of them broke. I tried to go to Costco to get it repaired. They won’t do it. To fix them it would need a machine to melt the metal together. I went to various eye glasses store. They don’t have the machine anymore for whatever reason. They don’t do it. I got told to ask jewellery stores. I did everyone told me that it’s not the same kind of metal. Grrrr! How hard could it be to do that? Really.
Then I found a place downtown but I need to bring the glasses so that the owner can make sure it is the proper kind of metal. He would do it for 25$. Not bad but I would have to drop them off and then go pick them up the next day. *sigh*
Last night, Dominic came downstairs after his shower crying. We thought he had hurt himself. But then he start saying something about his glasses…. Poor kid thought he would get punished because the 2nd pair had fallen from the counter and broke. Accidents happen. These frames were old – about 2 1/2 years now. His next appointment is in December.
What should we do? Get another frame and lenses from Costco which would be between 100 and 150$ is an option. But we called his doctor and left a message. Trying to get his appointment switched to earlier and make sure his prescription for his eye doesn’t need to be changed. Then knowing that this place guarantee replacement in case of accidents like this we told them we would buy there this time as we have learned our lesson. We prefer the guarantee of having repairs than discovering that they can’t do it anymore because the frame is over two years old (like Costco for example).
It will be more expensive. We might consider getting the instant darkening for outside depending of the price.
So now we wait and see what will happen. They were close last night. I’m praying for an opening and understanding from the specialist and his staff...
This week, I am part of the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog Walk. Members of the crew will come and visit me by posting links to my blogs on their own.
This is week 8 of the blog walk. My blog walks are posted on Canadianladybug Reviews! – my review blog.
Life At Oak Grove is our personal blog where I share more about our family and homeschool as well as any inspirational insights I want to share.
So welcome fellow crew members. I am blessed to have you visiting me. Hope you enjoy discovering a little bit about me.
Compassion Canada – do you know this organization?
They help kids in poor neighbourhoods all around the world. Sponsorship help provide children Bible studies, evangelism and discipleship, medical and dental treatment, social activities, school supplies and academic support. The parents or guardians of the child will also have evangelism, workshops and seminars provided for them.
When I met my husband he was already sponsoring a child through Compassion Canada. We were writing to him regularly. Then we got a call telling us that this little guy would not be available anymore, would we be willing to get another child elsewhere in the world?
We said yes. And Maruja from Bolivia became our sponsor child.
Playing ball games, listening to music and running are Maruja’s favourite recreational activities. She also attend church activities, Bible class, and vacation Bible school regularly.
Maruja lives with her father and her mother. Both parents are sometimes employed as farmers. Maruja works at home washing clothes, making beds and helping in the kitchen. There are 3 children in the family.
She lives in the mountainous area southwest of La Paz. There are about 2,100 residents in the area. Typical houses are constructed of dirt floors, adobe walls and corrugated iron roofs. The primary ethnic group and language is Aymara.
The regional diet consists of bread, beef, rice, potatoes, quinoa, barley, beans and dehydrated potatoes. Common health problems in the area would be anemia, malnutrition, respiratory infections, fevers, stomach illnesses, coughs, colds and dental cavities. Most adults work on plantations and earn the equivalent of 28$ per month. The community needs potable water, electricity and libraries.
Bolivia comprises four geographic regions: the central plateau- or altiplano – in the Andes Mountains, the Lake Titicaca region, the centra region’s semitropical rain forests, and the hot, humid lowlands of the east.
Bolivia is the least developed country in South America. Compassion works mainly among the Indian highlanders, who makes beautiful handwoven textiles from the wool of alpacas and llamas, animals that also provide milk, meat, and transport. Corn and potatoes are staples of the Indian diet.
Originally part of the Inca empire, Bolivia came under Spanish rule in 1535 after being conquered by Hernando Pizarro. Struggle against Spain began in 1809, and Bolivia won independence in 1825. Until the end of the nineteenth century, there were many coups and short-lived constitutions, with few stable periods in between. The period from 1952 to 1964 was marked by significant economic and social reforms, and a new constitution was adopted in 1967; however, civil unrest contiues to dominate Bolivia’s politics.
Alberto is presently in level 3 of primary school in DR which is equivalent to 3rd grade in Canada. His performance is average.
Playing cars, bicycling and playing group games are Alberto’s favourite recreational activities. He also attends church activities and Bible class regularly.
Alberto lives with his father and his mother. His duties at home include caring for animals, making beds and running errands. There are 2 children in the family. His father is sometimes employed as a laborer and his mother maintains the home.
We had the opportunity to meet Alberto back in 2005. He was a bright boy with a hug smile. We also visited his home and met his parents.
It was hard to say goodbye and we got changed with this trip in DR.
Then after we had Jérémy back in 2005, we decided to sponsor a child for each child that God will give us. So we called and requested another child in the same project as Alberto. And we got a little girl named Indira.
Indira is presently in level 2 of primary school in DR which is the equivalent of 2nd grade in Canada. Her performance is average.
Playing house, jumping rope and bicycling are Indira`s favourite recreational activities. She also attend Bible class and vacation Bible school regularly.
Indira lives with her father and her mother. Her duties at home include running errands and cleaning. There are 2 children int he family. her father is employed as a laborer and her mother maintains the home.
Both Alberto and Indira lives in a coastal community near Puerto Plata. About 16,000 residents live there. Typical houses are constructed of cement floor, brick walls and zing roofs. The most commonly spoken language is Creole.
The regional diet consists of chicken, bread, beef and rice. Common health problems in this area include parasites, fever and flu. Most adults work in factories and earn the equivalent of 120$ per month. This community needs literacy training and drug abuse prevention programs.
The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti. It has a tropical climate, but moist, year-round trade winds keep temperatures between 72 and 83 F.
Almost 90% Dominicans live in rural areas where unemployment is high and malnutrition widespread. A family’s diet consists mainly of rice, beans, and fish. Spanish is the official language, and Catholicism is the state religion.
in 1492, Columbus discovered Hispaniola, and the island became the center of Spanish rule in the West Indies. Soon, the indigenous people were wiped out, and slaves were brought from Africa to populate the island. The descendants of those slaves form most of the population today. For three centuries, Hispaniola was governed by Spain, then by France. In 1804, the island won independence as the republic of Haiti. Forty years later, the eastern two –thirds of the island revolted and formed Dominican Republic. Except for a brief period of annexation to Spain, the Dominican Republic has been independent ever since.
Fast forward to 2007 – we had our fourth child. True to our decision, we contacted Compassion Canada again to request a new child to sponsor. This time, however, I wanted to have a child in Thailand – near where our friends – Al & Joane Brown – were missionaries which was Chiang Mai (they recently moved closer to their ministry in Mae Sot (for more information on what they do in Thailand please see Compasio website).
Orana is in level 5 of primary school in Thailand. This is equivalent to 5th grade in Canada. Her school work is average.
Ping Pong, art and walking are Orana’s favourite recreational activities. She also attends church activities regularly.
Orana makes her home with her father and her mother. Carrying water, making beds and running errands are her household duties. Her father and mother are sometimes employed as farmers. There are 2 children in the family.
The regional diet consists of maize, beans, chicken, rice, pork, fish and beef. Common health problems in this area include colds and malaria. Most adults work as day laborers or subsistence farmers and earn the equivalent of 30$ per month. This community needs employment opportunities and affordable education.
Thailand’s central region is a rich agricultural area called Asia’s rice bowl. the northeast is poor and suffers seasonal droughts or floods. The north has forested mountains and fertile valleys. Rain forest claims the south. Thailand’s tropical climate is dominated by monsoons, high temperatures and humidity.
compassion works mainly among the Karen, Lisu, and Lahu tribes. the Karen of western Thailand live by wet rice farming, although some are mahouts, keepers and drivers of elephants, who work hauling logs in the teak forests. Many Karen are Christians. The Lisu live in remote villages at high altitudes, largely concentrated in northern Thailand. The Lahu, mountain people of northern Thailand, farm rice and maize and hunt with poisoned arrows.
Founded in the 13th century, Thailand is the only country in South and Southeast Asia never colonized by a European power. Since 1975, Thailand has provided asylum for refugees from Communist Indochina. For its aid, Thailand has received acclaim from international organizations supporting refugee relief.
A few months ago, I learned through another crew member at the TOS Homeschool Crew, TIM, that it could be possible to be a correspondence sponsor. A correspondence sponsor is a sponsor who doesn’t send money to the organization but is willing to write to a child sponsored who doesn’t receive letters from his sponsor. This happens often when big organizations sponsor kids and don’t have the time or money to have someone writing to them.
So I called with the intent to get Alexandre, age 9 now, to become a correspondence sponsor. He already started to write to Alberto but this specific child would be his own. The responsibility to write to the boy about his age would be is.
I got told that it was possible but they would have to look into it. No problem I said.
Well today we got a call. They have a boy of 8 years old living in El Salvador who is sponsored but do not receive letters. Alexandre should get his package in the mail soon. I didn’t tell him yet. I want it to be a surprise.
Do you want to sponsor kids via Compassion Canada? It is simple. Go to their website - http://www.compassion.ca/ and click on the Sponsor a Child today! It is very rewarding. Please do consider doing so. It will make a major difference in the life of a child. Thank you.
As for my friends who might be reading this – I encourage you to sponsor as many kids as you have in your home. It is a great way to introduce the kids in helping those who have less than us. As well, as a homeschooler you can discover geography, practice penmanship and more.
I have dreams.
I admit it.
Sometimes they are big and other times they are small.
I love antique. I have a few desks that belonged to my grand-mother. They are beautiful and have so much character.
But one of my dreams is to restore an old chair I have. It belonged to my parents and I am fortunate to have it. This is the chair where I sit in the morning to do my devotional, read my bible, pray and write in my journal. The kids know not to disturb me if I am sitting there – unless it is am emergency that is…
Once I found a similar chair somewhere past Toronto, in the windows of an antique store. Now I wonder how much they were selling it. But the store was closed and we needed to continue our way.
The chair is in need to being restore. The material is used, holes popping here and there. The wood would need sanding and painting. Some fancy nails are missing and the border need to be changed.
Someday, I promise myself to get it done. It is still comfortable and rock perfectly even though it makes noise sometimes.
If I ever get the money to get it done, I think I would stick to dark green. Or maybe dark blue.
I love my antique chair. And I hope that one day I can give it a new life. Maybe one of my kid would like to have it in their house someday.
The chair back in the 70s. Yes that’s me…
The chair in the 21st century – 2010 – with Jasmine age 2 1/2.
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So I reorganized and cleaned up the place with the help of my oldest at times. But honestly, I also realized that I need to teach my kids to put back when they take at the proper place. To do so, I figured that each needed their own shelf on the bookcase. Problem is one shelf had broken a long time ago…
So I decided to go talk to my husband and asked him if we could build a shelf. As a matter of fact, we had extra wood from a shelf he made in the old change table now converted in scrapbook storage. So we remove one of the shelves in the bookcase and took the measurements. He took the wood and came back literally 5 minutes later with my shelf. I guess I should have asked a long time ago.
So the shelf is now in the bookcase. I had to reorganize a few things around to accommodate it because the K*NEX where store in the bigger section. I moved them under the window.
Our schoolroom was painted last year – thanks to my in-laws. And we have three desks on which we have two laptops and a desktop. These are used for educational games and other software we have.
When Alexandre need some quiet time to do some work I requested, he goes in there to do it. The rest of my kids and I will be around the dining table to do other things because I need to supervise them more.
But this schoolroom helps me to have everything I need in one place. There is a bookcase for the curriculum used for each child, a bookcase for some books (another bookcase is located close by in the hallway with more books in it), and a cabinet where I store extra curriculum and crafts items like glue and so on.
As I am writing this, we are also scanning the reproducible things we have like Easy Grammar and some geography workbooks I have found at Value Village and other things. For our family reproducible is very interesting.
I also have a few things I want to buy. At Éditions de l’envolée I will purchase the French grammar for grade 1 and grade 4 and maybe a couple of other things. At Indigo.ca I will get 1st Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind Level 1, The book of Virtues and one of Arnold Ytreeide books for advent (this is possible because I participated to some blog tours with Mom Central Canada which gave me some gift cards.)
Here’s some pictures of the schoolroom.
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