How American Homeschoolers Measure Up

For those with skeptical family and friends, this bit of homeschooling info is always handy to have in your back pocket! 🙂

Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up
Source: TopMastersInEducation.com

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Reading Tree Motivation

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I wasn’t planning on starting the reading tree until we started our official new year, but the kids had different ideas and so we already have a few new leaves up and I’m pleasantly surprised at my daughters reading level…might ditch the BOB books as she appears to be farther along.

Listening to my son read skippyjon jones with a Spanish accent made me realize he might get the Spanish language better than French…but lucky for him he’s stuck learning both haha!

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It is such a treat to take a break from laundry, house chores and other misc not as important tasks to sit down and listen to a story read out loud by your child. Hearing their voices tackle challenging words, see the pride when they conquer that word, hug them and encourage them when they are frustrated. It is so special to get to be a part of the process. I love it!

Strewing, I’m a Strewer, Are You???

I love to strew activities around for my kids to find and explore. Today I caught a few photos of strewing in action!

My daughter was painting earlier while my son was totally engrossed in history channels documentary Ancient Aliens series. Painting was the last thing on his mind.

After a while I noticed my daughter had moved on to building circuit boards with our snap circuit kits. (Which were conveniently set out)

(Side note: awesome toy alert!)

I hated to waste the paint she didn’t use up, so I took it outside and put it on a table near the sand box. (I knew they would be our near the sand box this afternoon)

One of the kids chores today was to remove old sand box toys for goodwill. As they started removing toys, they decided they didn’t want any of the toys, just the sand, some rocks, shells and the water hose. (Another moment that supports more natural simply play over plastic crap toys!)

And I digress a lot! Such is life as a masterful multitasker haha! 😉

Point is, there was that paint, just sitting there while the kids cleaned out/played in the sand box. Not noticed at first.

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Then after a little while…my son discovered it and decided he wanted to paint some rocks….

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My daughter was engrossed in flooding the sand box and making her own sand creations.

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But it wasn’t too long before she discovered her pet rocks needed some eyeballs! And the paint happen to be right there.

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I love how activities lead into others so smoothly. My son was clearly still processing the earlier documentary’s information when he decided to build ancient alien inspired cities, walls, artifacts, etc in the sand box.

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A quick toy tidy chore with cleverly places supplies turned into nearly two hours of fantastic creative personally inspired educational play.

Strewing is such a fantabulous way to give mama a quiet moment to sip some tea and the kids a chance to love learning. All I did was set the paints outside and assign a tidy up chore. Win win for all!!!

As I type I overheard the kids making plans to become paleontologists and the adventure of finding a freshly painted dinosaur tooth (aka stick) in the sand box, who will hide it, who will find it, the outfits they need to change into first, who will wear what, etc…the plans are almost as much fun as the adventures….oh to be a kid again! 🙂

Thursday – Day Four

Well first thing this morning neither child had forgotten I promised a BEN 10 episode, so they started their day off with a cartoon. When the one was over, they were hooked and wanted more, more, more…so I figured if they worked together to clean my daughter’s room (which looked like a tornado blew thru a hoarder room) Then I would agree to another Ben 10.

 A few minutes later they came out and said they were finished. I’m pretty sure this is not the case. I ask, did you really clean up her room in that short of time? And they said, OH I THOUGHT YOU JUST WANTED A NICEPATH THRU HER ROOM…ha ha! So I look, they had neatly shoved everything to the sides so one might have a lovely path threw the disaster zone.

 With a little guidance they did a beautiful job on her room and they also worked on compromise, working together to tackle a fairly large job (giant really for a kid!) I could hear them deciding who would do what. It was pretty cute!

 A few jobs needed to be accomplished before our play dates arrived today.

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 We had two separate play dates today and to be honest I got way side tracked chatting with my mama friends to document much of today. I do have photos to share, but not a lot of “homeschooling” stuff other then SOCIALIZING…today was SOCIALIZING DAY! Ha ha! 🙂

 A little dress up time:

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Breakfast time:

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 My son is researching Ben 10 alien costumes and preparing himself for HALLOWEEN already! He will most likely change his mind a billion times, so we have a rule, I will purchase ONE costume, but if you decide you want to be something else, then you have to make the costume yourself using stuff from our dress up bin….or literally MAKE IT yourself with card board or whatever you have to use.

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 Contemplating life I suppose? I wonder if school kids get much quiet time to just think their thoughts. I know when I have a busy day it takes a lot of quiet practice to come down and feel grounded and able to just think my thoughts, so I love seeing my kids pondering life or maybe Ben 10 costumes ha ha!, but just having quiet moments to think their own personal private thoughts.

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image Son: Did you know your body is complex? You can eat upside down! (as he puts a handful of popcorn in his mouth upside down…apparently one can defy gravity in some ways)

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Play time: (trying to sort out weapons, game rules, costumes…all really important stuff!)

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Lunch Time:

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 Playing after Lunch…(mama is starting to loose steam and forgetting to document…sorry!)

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 Kids came in the room where the mama chat was going on, so I have a few photos of the games they pulled out and played…

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Then back to base camp to plot some more weapons, war tactics, game rules and strategies for conquering the other team!

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 Little break to jump on the trampoline (and it is hard to see but one kiddo is up in the tree)

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These magnets are still fascinating to him. He has had three days of processing these magnets. I know more is going on up in his brain regarding the magnets then just positive negative charges…he had that mastered when he was two! I’m guessing Thomas Edison type stuff, so I’m glad there isn’t fire involved and it’s just magnets! ha ha!

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A bit later one set of friends left and another arrived…The girls were playing with the doll house and it wasn’t really my son’s gig, so he played this game by himself in more of a puzzly way.

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 This is where I failed on documentation miserably today…I was having a nice time visiting with friends and the kids happily playing. The day got away from me… 

Dinner time… 

Bath… 

I took the kids out for an ice cream. As much as I dislike them having ice cream right before bed, I had promised it to them two days ago. I figured we should just get that promise over with and hopefully the sugar crash happens in their sleep. Ha ha!

 I’m going to snuggle up with hubby and watch whatever show he’s watching then head for bed…I hope to do a better job tomorrow. 

I’ve been thinking about it, I think I will try this again in the fall/winter when we are doing more schooly things then we do during the summer. We do school year round, but we are relaxed schoolers and the month of July we are SUPER relaxed schoolers…lol…might not be the best week, oh well, hind sight is alwasy 20/20 we’ll do it again some time down the road… 

Good night!

Wednesday – Day Three

Today was a little trickier to document because we were out and about all day here and there and everywhere, busy. Which means we are relying on my mama mind to recall our day…ha ha! (Have I mentioned in the past I’m fairly certain my memory was delivered along with my children…they might of called it a placenta, but I’m certain it was the memory section of my brain!

First thing this morning I had a SMIDGEN of mama time before my son woke up and we had to get ready to leave. I had to unfortunately urge my daughter out of bed and rush her along a bit.

While in the car (an hour drive today) My daughter was reading her insect fact book. She loves these types of books on insects, mammals, sea life, and all living creatures! She announces: I can’t believe there is a MOTH that is pink, yellow and blue…it is so beautiful and it is a MOTH! Can you believe there is a beautiful moth mom?!?! My son leans over and reads the info…he tells her, yup, it’s called a Rosy Maple Moth…

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Joke told by my kids: Do you know the difference between a preying mantis and a praying mantis? One has a bug between it’s hands. (not really sure if that is how the joke goes, but that is how they said it and they laughed!) Ha ha!

After that I listened to the music and they researched spiders. I did have to keep reminding them to look up to avoid getting car sick…sometimes reading in the car will turn them green.

A bit later I notice my son has packed the magnet toy in our car, so he’s still processing magnets and having fun with it. (I wasn’t overjoyed when the magnets fought each other and shot all over the market’s floor, but such is life when you are learning I suppose…he now understands why it’s best to leave your toys in the car)

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Directly entering Costco there are a plethora of TV’s, today was an interesting show about underwater life. Tomorrow we are supposed to research that show to see if we can get it and watch it in full. I’d happily do that over researching a cartoon we discover at the entrance of Costco.

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After our errands are complete, we meet up with some friends and play at the park, then head down to the beach. It wasn’t really beach weather, but most of our kids still enjoy it.

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I love how each kid stands so nicely in line waiting their turn. No one is cutting or complaining. It is just a peaceful cooperative queue of unsocialized homeschool kids. (Oh gees, there goes that sarcasm again, ha ha!)

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Every time we get together with other homeschoolers, I giggle to myself at how silly the whole “socialization” concern is. These kids are so well socialized. The way they work out differences and handle situations is generally very impressive.

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It is always a sensory experience to have your entire body buried under sand! And such a physical job for my daughter’s friend who was covering her up! (We can check on P.E. off for my daughter’s friend!) Ha ha!

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Not sure what they are doing, but looks fun!

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Looks like the kids have decided to play duck duck goose…

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The mamas were enjoying a relaxing adult chat while the kids were running around.

While my son was enjoying a pizza party with his super brains club (three of the kids, my son included, were graduating today) I took my daughter shopping for what she loves…jewelry!

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A little boy was selling confetti eggs (6 for a dollar) on the sidewalk, so we bought some confetti eggs and the kids had fun smashing eggs on each other’s heads!

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Well some liked doing the smashing more so then getting smashed on…ha ha!

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This would be a loving tackle, she comes off as a delicate little flower, but that is her trick…watch out, when you are least expecting it, she will get you!

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After the beach and confetti eggs, it was BATH TIME! Which always ends up becoming some sort of water explosion, I mean experiment! (I have been known to line the floor with towels, because it doesn’t matter how often you mention keep the water IN the tub to the children, that darn water still seems to leak out of the tub and all over the floor, sometimes the walls and on a rare occasion the water makes it’s way up to the ceiling!

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Deal Making time: My son wants to watch a BEN 10…the job is CLEAN YOUR ROOM…trust me it’s a big job tonight!

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We sneak in a little LIFE OF FRED MATH (my son’s choice!) He is asked to build a house with right angles and he enjoys himself so much, he decides to build a basement and a basement vent and of course he has to leave the roof off because a roof isn’t made of right angels…he takes his assignments very seriously!

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…and a little practice with nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc thru MAD LIBS (love those!)

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My daughter does some piano practice. I don’t force practice on them, but neither of them like the rush of having to complete it all last-minute, so they generally do a little here and there each day. (as you can see in the background my son is practicing head stands in the chair! Ha ha!)

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never a dull moment…kids are tucked in and it is my bedtime…goodnight 🙂

Tuesday – Day Two

Today started off typical, I was up early and got my mama me time before the little folks were up for the day.

After a while, my daughter surfaced…she contently looked thru a bag of rocks and minerals for a long time.

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After a while my son joined us and they made themselves some breakfast.

While preparing their breakfast I over hear my son telling his sister, that when we go on vacation they will get spending money and if they save it they can buy all the junk cereal they want…my daughter replies something on the lines of; no, we only get two per year! My son replies: Yeah, that’s the deal with mom’s money, not our money! (he’s getting clever now!) 🙂

SIDE NOTE: We have a family deal, twice a year (Christmas and Birthdays) they get their choice of a box of crap cereal, you know the kind, typically have a toy in the bottom of the box and turns your poop bright turquoise blue green color! And when they get their box of cereal, they will opt for cereal breakfast, lunch and dinner until it’s gone.

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Breakfast around here is make it yourself if mom hasn’t gotten to it by the time you are hungry. Be grateful when someone serves you, but be willing to do things for yourself if you can and need to. I’d say a couple days a week they make their own breakfast and majority of the time I make it.

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After breakfast:

Son: And NOW I’m actually going to do school!
Daughter: Really?!?!
Son: Yes, I’m really going to read this book and learn something new!

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How could I interrupt that with my plans to make those darn crackers???

While reading a basher book on weather:
Son: Mom, do you remember mine craft on the ipad?
Mom: yes.
Son: Do you think I could get to outer space on mine craft? Because in creative mode you can fly and if you go above the clouds, there is a bluish orb like place. Do you think if you puncture thru the bottom of that orb you would reach the outer atmosphere? Or like the other side of the atmosphere? I really want to know what is on the other side!

Son: mom, look (showing me his book) these are the extreme weather conditions, except you really can’t have a draught and flood at the same time. Wanna know something sis – you can’t have a tornado without a thunder cloud. There is a difference between a tornado and hurricane. A hurricane does not lower itself from a thunderstorm cloud. Hurricanes come from the sea and tornados come from the sky.

He continues on, but I need to get this cracker deal going…so I stroll off to the kitchen while he has his sister’s ear now.

He comes into the kitchen to find me, apparently, he has been checking out his basher book on elements now and has stumbled across an element he can’t pronounce…and truth be known neither can mom! We have our talking dictionary give us a leg up on this one!

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Son: finally found what I was looking for! Neodymium
Mom: why?
Son: I’m kind of interested in it, that’s why

CRACKER TIME…I had to just get it over with…stuff was sitting there waiting, staring me in the face…so here we go, we are making saltine crackers from scratch! (And yes it involved washing the table cloth ha ha!)

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Daughter: can I push on it? Because then I can feel the squish substance called dough, isn’t that funny mom, and anyways it’s quicker than rolling it.

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While I put the table cloth and a load of reds in the wash, my daughter started to read a book about horses.

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a bit later, my son decided he was going to teach his little sis how to tell time by reading a baby basher book on TIME to her. I’ve mentioned before both my children enjoy being the teacher…not so much the student role model, but teacher position they thrive! Ha ha!

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Outside time! Some days I have to kick these little kiddos OUTSIDE! Today was one of those days, out out out, go get your wiggly beans OUT!

Wardrobe Change #2 – She is in one of her fancy gowns, jumping on the trampoline and announces that she thinks this dress should not be a dress but rather dress up clothes from now on. She has serious individual ideas on what is what when it comes to clothes and shoes! She has stated many times she wants to design her own clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc… From the first (and last) power struggle over shoes when she was 9 months old, I decided clothes really aren’t worth it, as long as they are content in their skin, and happy with their choices, I do not intervene when it comes to their fashion preferrences. They are free to express themselves fully. I do however, get to choose Christmas dinner and Easter Brunch outfits for both kiddos.

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Wardrobe Change #3 – Pondering life while swinging on the swings.

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Pondering life while hanging in his self made tree hammock…yes, my rug is still in the tree!

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Story time with narration and discussion afterwards

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Reading about rocks and minerals…we also made a trip today to the rock and mineral shop in town.

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Son: A hypothesis about Stonehenge is it was used to be a UFO landing site and the Easter Island rock heads are known to also be associated with aliens. And I think aliens would be awesome!
Daughter: No, people believe Stonehenge is a place where people saw the sunrise and set.
Son: Some people think Stonehenge was built as a giant calendar because the sun rises and sets in certain positions during the solstices, but I like the alien theory better.

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My Daughter making orange juice with one orange that is still not ready, but she was, so it was plucked, cut and squeezed…she’d like to sell you a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice for 50 cents at her “lemonade stand” ha ha!

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A little more piano practice

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My son is trying to build an upside down telescope.

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Which leads him to you tube for directions, but he is quickly side tracked by anti gravity toys…which leads to magnet play. Which is related to his morning interest of Neodymium…right?! I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Neodymium is used to make really powerful magnets.

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My daughter likes that the figurine bin was taken out and quickly has her own saving story going on. A goat has falling off a cliff and all the other animals are trying to save him from falling to the ground…she plays this story out in many ways and has a great time talking for each animals and is very serious with different voices for different characters.

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all animals made it safe and sound to their farm land…and no the lion is not going to eat the pig. ha ha!

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Dad’s Home….dinner time and all that jazz…

During dinner:

Son: I have a hypothesis, that cloth gets wet when you dump water on it because the water molecules latch on to the cloth molecules.
Dad: And then they use capillary action to propagate through the material.
Daughter: So if I dump a bucket of water here, the whole table cloth gets wet?
Dad: Yup, you got it.
Mom: Sooooo capillary action to propagate??? Would that be spreads out for the rest of us??? Ha ha!

Daughter: Well I have a hypothesis too about bubbles – it is I think bubbles are little air things filled with liquid.
Dad: you are close, but it’s the opposite.
Daughter: its air trapped in liquid? Hmmm…
Mom: come on kids, clear your dishes and get ready for story time in my room.

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They are now in their own beds listening to an audio book. I’m posting this, and then heading for bed myself. My editor (I mean better at spelling friend) will tell me tomorrow of any major glitches in my verbal spewing, ha ha! I’m too tired tonight!

Life’s a Beach!

During the summer we often take the day off from school and hit the beach with family or friends.

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(Dude, we must be those homeschooler types you hear about that are grooming the next Jeff Spicoli…what could you possibly learn in that vast nothingness?!?)

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Well it’s not all boogie boarding and sunbathing…

We dig…

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We search…

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We find…

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We research…

We often stop by the local sea center and ask questions after a productive day at the beach, as well as pet their fishy friends.

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They let us use their equipment and microscopes to look at our teensy tiny microscopic finds.

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You decide if a day at the beach is worth cutting class.

I think so!

P.S. Did I mention I’m typically lounging in a chair, enjoying the sunshine, the warm sand in my toes and hanging out with good company or a good book. And I also learn a few interesting things along the way!

I mention this because so many parents THINK they don’t have what it takes to homeschool, but the hardest part of homeschooling is making the decision to do it!