Kids and E-mail

I have set up email accounts for my kids…only our family has the addresses…for now….they will branch out in due time.

I send them video clips and links to educational apps or games to discover.ย Example: a specific link to a video clip on “thekidshouldseethis.com” web site..then ask questions about the video, so they reply, get practice in reading, typing, emailing, etc…but in the relative safety of our family.

I also send them links to various apps to download and explore and tell me about the game or info they discovered. They had a lot of fun with a stop motion app. They created lots of stop motion videos with their stuffed animals.

I emailed the new electronic drum manual’s PDF file to my son and told him to read it by Wednesday. He replied on Tuesday letting me know he was finished. He also let me know he learned a bunch of cool things his new drum set can do.

Recently I allowed them to download a trivia game which we play together, against one another. Again only family, so no playing online with strangers. And the trivia questions are history, science, art, geography, etc…it is fun to see how much they know! And it’s good for them to “wait their turn” on a game that can take days to finish.

Turtle diary web site has educational games. I will send them links to these games and ask them to reply to me with their score.

I downloaded the natural reader app, and showed them how to link a web site to the audio natural reader, allowing me to send them links to pages of information they can listen to as some of the scientific words are too advanced for their reading level at this time…and then we discuss the information via email.

The kids love it!

They typically crawl into bed next to me and put on headphones and check their emails, which is great because I still need a bit of quiet time and they are waking up earlier now! (I just need to train them to make me a cup of tea, since the cup my husband brings me before leaving for work is typically gone by this time! Haha”)

All of this is IMHO, teaching them to navigate a world in which they will inevitably have to work in someday. It is encouraging them to explore educational information and discuss it with me. It’s encouraging better typing, spelling, reading, etc…and what I love best, is seeing their wheels turn, they are thinking about what they are learning, putting pieces together, finding humor, facts and safe solid life skills.

I got an email from my daughter out of the blue, asking if we can go to a specific church she wanted to know more about (where her Girl Scout meetings are held) and one from my son out of the blue asking if we can have one on one time and go to get frozen yogurt together.

This morning I got an email from my son explaining how smart the atoms are in H2O because no matter what, they know what they are supposed to do…I replied, and you are a bundle of atoms that knows exactly what you should be doing….and he replied with a bunch of laughing smilies and said, you’re funny mom! Hahahahahahaha!

These interactions are priceless! And I vote instead of fearing the Internet and technology, teach the kids what to do, how to do it, what not to do, what to avoid, why, etc…we limit tech time each day and now a large portion of their screen time is educationally productive! They aren’t spending their time “killing bosses” they are instead watching educational clips and interacting with one another.

Learning on a Weekend?!?!

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Here is the best part of homeschooling. The kids learn new things everyday…even on the weekend!…and even with old toys they thought they had mastered!

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This entire weekend has been snap circuit crazy. We own several of these kits, so that means over a thousand small bits and pieces scattered all over the place in the name of educational play!

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If you go to http://www.amazon.com and do a search for “Elenco snap circuits” you will find several choices from small beginner kits, Eco friendly kits to massively sized kits. Have fun!

 

Life Science

We recently had to rehome of our rooster “Storm” because he was a bit too good at being a rooster. He protected his ladies too well and attacked the kids when they were collecting eggs. We were very sad about this and tried to remedy to situation, but sadly we weren’t successful.

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We took Storm back to the breeder and swapped him for Frosty, our new rooster.

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Long story short, we wanted some of Storm’s babies, so into the incubator went some of the eggs fertilized by him.

21 days later we had the best science experiment ever…getting to see life emerge.

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These chicks were half blue orpington (Storm) and half Easter egger (Mama)

26 days later we opened up the unhatched eggs. Mostly we found icky yokes that never really took…

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…but then we discovered two chicks that were well on their way. It was sad for the kiddos and they wanted to bury the chicks.

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You can see one dyed before it’s yoke sack was absorbed into it’s abdominal cavity…but the other chick was ready to hatch and never pipped or unzipped for some unknown to us reason.

It was a good science lesson on how delicate life is.

The kids decided they needed to bury the chicks at the base of a tree, so they can climb up to the top and learn to fly. And because according to my daughter it takes a year to get to heaven and well the flight journey there is a long way. She’s pretty sure heaven is on a planet not discovered by humans yet.

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Each one decided to add some sort of token for their journey before we buried the little peepers.

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Then we came inside to celebrate the life of 8 baby chicks that did hatch.

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Could we be lucky enough to have 8 HENS??? Lol…against the odds, but we are hoping for all hens! Frosty (our roo) doesn’t need any competition. ๐Ÿ™‚

It would be nice to add some more grey/blue to our colorful flock.

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Ideally I’d love for the flock to have a plethora of colors and variations. I think when we incubate some of Frosty’s offspring we will get to add even more variety. ๐Ÿ™‚

Homeschool Science Rocks…it’s hands on thru the entire process!

Glass Blowing Is Amazing!

 

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Recently we had a rare opportunity to watch a glass blower create amazing artwork. Saul (the glass blowing artist) and his wife Gina were both really kind gentle people who took the time to share this incredible craft with our kids.

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He showed the kids all his supplies, how he makes the various colors, how to add colors to the clear glass, showing us all the tools and ovens used to make his creations. (Which are VERY HOT! 2000+ degrees hot!) He also crafted a gorgeous vase for the kidโ€™s demonstration so they could see a ball of scalding hot goo turn into a masterpiece before their very eyes from start to finish.

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Saul is very humorous and entertaining for both the children and adults alike. His demonstration was so captivating, my wiggly giggly kiddos were frozen like statues watching, learning and sucking in every aspect of glass blowing like little sponges. They enjoyed every second of the experience and were in complete awe!

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When he was finished with his demonstration, he took the time to let the kids create a piece of glass work themselves. He was very patient. Words can not describe how great he was with the kids. He is exactly what you would want in a mentor. My son was actually terrified at first of being burnt, but Saul was so good with my son; he was able to conquer his fears and create his bird.

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Both of my kiddos chose to make birds. They were able to pick their colors, manipulate the glass goo ball, use his tools and literally create their very own piece of art.

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In this motherโ€™s opinion, these two birds are priceless!

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As a home schooler, I was thrilled to find out Saul and his wife Gina home schooled their children who are now in college.

If you have the opportunity to see glass blowing I highly recommend it.

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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!

Our Reading Tree

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We have this years reading tree up and ready to go. This year we are using a paper tree from amazon. We are hoping my very talented sister will one day paint a beautiful tree with a child swinging in a swing sweeping over the wall. But for now the paper tree is perfect. ๐Ÿ™‚

This particular tree comes with leaves, acorns and animals. We have decided to designate the acorns for level readers the kids read out loud to me, leaves for books the kids read on their own and animals to chapter books we read as a family together. (At least that is the plan as of today) ๐Ÿ™‚

We are looking forward to seeing how full our tree gets over this next year. I hope to blog about our full reading tree next summer around this time.

Back to mental planning and getting things ready for our next year ahead. ๐Ÿ™‚