Monday, November 28, 2011

Explorers: A UU Perspecitve

As a UU family, we approach subjects such as the exploration of North America by Lewis and Clarke, tentatively. We try to see what truth we can find, we try to see both sides of the story, we try to see the bad and the good.

It gets frustrating seeing the glossed over accounts of history being retold, when there is more than one truth to be told.

As we move forward, what account of history will our current events shape?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Taking Time Off: Do You Follow the Public School Calendar?

Many of our local schools took time off in addition to Thursday and Friday this week and so did this family. Often times, when schools are off, we are in session. Homeschooling (yes, I prefer that spelling)offers us the opportunity to take time off when it makes sense for our family, which usually doesn't involve the major holidays but this Thanksgiving, I noticed that the kids were a little run down, so it seemed to make sense to take a few days off.

Was that a run on sentence?

I find that when I listen to the kids and follow their lead, we all tend to feel better, have less stress and less arguments. Of course, as a family of five, sometimes it isn't possible to go with what one child needs, when the other two need something else but taking mental health days, time to spend with family, or just a day to ourselves, really does make for a happier family.

Right now, on our day off, the kids are watching tv, browsing magazines, and eating breakfast. Later in the day they will help me start the dough for our Thanksgiving rolls. Sure, chores will still need to be done, and we need to pick up groceries, but we will take time to just relax.

Happy Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Building Community- Literally

Our blocks area took a mini-vacation back in the summer and then we got very involved in magnets, and science experiments but they have been missed, so out they come again.

The block area is a key part of children's developing sense of size, weight, space, structure, form, architecture, and exploration.

Blocks of varying sizes, shapes, and texture add to the child's building experience. We will add sticks to our block area.

I also plan to add letter/word blocks in the coming weeks.

If you put your blocks away to make room for other areas/play, consider bringing them back out. Your children will create, build and play all day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Ideas for UU families

Are you looking for new ideas and rituals for your homeschooling day? The UUA has printable materials on their website. UUA can be found with the link provided. From their, you can choose from sections, such as family, or meditations or various other links.

I was thrilled to find meditations and reflections that we can use as a blessing. I tried to either find ones that fit our current theme or the current season. Tonight, when we light our chalice, we will say our monthly blessing.

I also printed out the inserts from the UU magazine and added them to my planner by season.

As a UU family, you may feel like their aren't guidelines or resources available, but there really are so many from the UUA.

Check it out!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Being of Service

On Wednesday my girls helped make a pot of tater soup for the Occupy folks. We talked about the idea behind Occupy and why we were helping them. Then on Thursday we began working on our Family Fun basket for the UUCNC Arabian Nights Goods and Services auction.
We talked about how we can be of service to others, and help our community. Our next goal will be to collect goods for the local food pantry and Toys for Tots.

The girls also trick or treated for UNICEF.

This is how we create a Caring and Compassionate Home and Commuity.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Organization: Lesson Plan Ideas by Topic

This summer I pulled out the resources the girls had chosen to research this school year and organized them by topic into binders. This was my attempt at getting better organized and it has worked for the most part.

Here is the process:
Using web and book resources, I looked up the topics and made copies of the materials that I thought would be interesting.

I then put them in plastic sleeves and placed them in a binder.

I then picked up 12 baskets that I used to organize resources like books, toys, and related materials and labeled the baskets by topic.

If you have read this blog over the last year, you know that I prefer a Montessori/emergent curriculum/play based approach to learning, so it may seem odd that I have all these materials organized by topic. I agree, at first it felt odd, but after working with this approach for three months, I can honestly say, it is still based in the above while keeping Mommy sane. We still pull materials as the girls ask questions, but having some POSSIBLE topics in the wings, saves us lots of time.

I know I have mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating, I also utilize the KWL approach with the girls in the spring so that I can begin searching for materials. I simply ask them what they would like to learn in the coming year.

K- what KNOW about a topic
W- what you WANT to learn about a topic
L- what have you Learned about a topic

Sometimes we use all the resources I have pulled, sometimes we only use a few and still other times, we discard a topic because it really isn't working for us at the moment. The great advantage to having the resources set aside, is that we can always come back to them later.