Showing posts with label Homeschool Help. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homeschool Help. Show all posts

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Homeschooling thoughts-not to give up

Well, here we are-almost done with January of a new year and I wonder if I have lived up to my hopes for this school year. I started out all geeked and ready-huge difference in getting into the groove and accomplishing things. Then we had the unexpected trip to Hawaii with my hubby, so that took out about 3 weeks worth of time-mostly recovery from the time change! Then it started rolling into the holiday season and I felt overwhelmed, like I didn't do much. But after going back through all the paperwork, lapbooks, and such-I see that we did do some stuff and mostly stayed on track. So that was definitely an uplifting moment-cuz I really felt like I bombed it.

But even though we have not accomplished what I had hoped by this point in the year-I can say we are working toward our goals and that alone is worth a high five. My biggest problem is that I have not simply had the time I wanted to get my pre-planning and printing/cutting/packaging for future use done. I dunno why really, but I am sluggish in that department of late. SO my goal between now and mid-Feb. is to get some of it done and sketched out to help guide us. I need to be focused and sadly, I have not been. I wonder what is up with me? I only have to do a quick flip thru my memory cells to know that answer, and need to cut myself some slack-but I also need to get my rear in gear.

SO what do I want to accomplish with the kiddos this next term?

For the teen: get her through her Life of Fred book (which is so not how I learn math) and move her into Consumer Math. Wrap up the dreaded Biology that has taken forEVER to get thru (b/cuz we don't do it every day) and start her in Astronomy soon. Continue working her through the IEW module and then carry that idea over to other subjects so she gets plenty of writing experience. Start her on ACT practice (which I am not sure if she will even take yet-testing is a struggle for her and I dunno if she really even needs it...I know our local Comm. College doesn't require it to be admitted)...and continue on with our artist study (Winslow and Grandma Moses), another Composer (??) and one more Shakespeare play. She will also move along in her Copywork material, LLATL (almost done) and History. Once that history is done-I may have her go back to Medieval or Ancient history...or simply read more 20th Century books covering the Vietnam war and beyond. I haven't decided just yet. That is the basic hope anyway.

For the boy: continue working him through the Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading and get him fluent in reading (huge struggle that is taking forEVER due to his dyslexia), continue him on with his copywork, history (American), wrap up his Astronomy and move him to a bunch of fun experiments until we start the Flying Creatures on the 5th Day, in the early summer; and keep up the pace with one FIAR book (IV set) per month, and a couple various lapbooks too. He is continuing through his Abeka grade 3 math book but has hit a snag with division-so I have to stop for a week or two and have him work on hands-on projects that get that concept thru to him.

Both kids are working through their Bible studies as planned (Yippeeee) and we started the Narnia Chronicles and will work through each book until we are done. That is their big lit. projects and when I can I add some fun, out of the ordinary things to liven up our days.

Can I do it? I dunno-but I have hope and am praying for perseverance. I will try my best. Only time will tell...but the reason I am posting all this gobbleygoop is that I am seeing that this is a huge time of the year when others are fading so fast and losing hope. They are toast- and many we simply cannot blame, they have some big issues to deal with-but I so hate to see others throw in the towel. I am not foolish enough to think that everyone is meant to homeschool, or continue hsing all the way thru to graduation...but too many are giving up too soon. It is a battle and a big one. And there are plenty of Satan motivated days that almost snap even the hardiest warrior in half. Those are the times when you must pull back and hit the floor in prayer. Stop all extra commitments and clean house (meaning getting rid of laborious, tedious and non-essential curriculum/work) to just focus on being a family. Take more days off during the week to do some game playing, snuggling whilst reading a good book, baking, crafting, field trips and laughing! The math will always be there. The science can wait. You can work back into a reg. routine soon enough. Changing up how you homeschool can bring in such refreshing change that you'll wonder why you didn't try it sooner. Sometimes we (the parent) are so fearful we'll mess the kids up, set them behind their peers, or miss teaching them something utterly important-well, after these many years of hsing, I can tell you this...

you will miss stuff
you will mess them up at times
you will be behind in things
and you will on occasion-lose your marbles
you may yell
you may cry
you may wonder why God created children
you may plot a one way trip for yourself to Rancho Relaxo to never be seen or heard from again
and you may, you may
think you will never get through another day with these creatures

But as someone who has been there and felt the whole gamut of emotions-turn those thoughts around and consider these things too-it makes all the difference:

you are your child's best teacher
you love your child and know them best
you have the Lord on your side-where you miss, mess up and/or (unavoidably)create gaps-HE can fill and bring those lessons to them when HE needs them to have them
you cannot be it all and neither can a school system or someone else
GOD provides you with everything you need-you just need to pray, ask and wait
you will never get back those moments (good, bad or indifferent) and they fly by!
you will never, ever regret those tender moments and prob'ly will get a good family chuckle out of the bad moments down the road
and most importantly
the most worthy, and noble things in life come only by hard work, dedication and a lot of sweat and tears. This is not a picnic folks-it takes grit. It takes more than most are willing to even try for because it is hard! Let it instead, be a part of who you are, the way you live-not something you compartmentalize into "school stuff". Lowering our expectations to their abilities, not what we think they should be-but what they really are, then add a dash of encouragement, so they push for just beyond that. Recognize your child's "trigger" points and work the schedule around them-not the other way around (so if you child has frequent melt-downs by 1 pm-focus on getting the work done before then so they can have free time all afternoon). Do shorter lesson periods (this is a biggie-no 6 year old needs an hour of math per day-15-20 min is way more than needed), engage in more hands on things that yes-teach (baking, building, sewing, etc.), and most importantly-
stop worrying about everyone else's kids and how yours measure up to them-no child should ever have to bear that albatross around their neck. God created each of us to be individuals, with our unique and beautiful talents/skills. Encourage them to work past their road blocks, and always expect just a bit more than what they can do-and even if they don't reach it-praise them for their dedication, hard work and effort.

And remember-if they are being little stinkers and are fighting you tooth and nail-that is not an academic issue-
it is an issue of the heart.
and that needs to be dealt with before any of the disruptive school behavior is resolved.

I hope this brings some thoughts and ideas to you and helps you to continue forth.  Look to God to help you walk the tough times, so that you can bask in the blessings you will bear when your journey ends.  Sometimes it is us-the parent-that needs to die to self and start walking as Christ demands us to-in love and not out of selfish gain.  Tall order, but doable.  He will always provide for you and He will never ask more of you than can tolerate.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

To eBook or Not to eBook: That is the Question Part I

So I suppose I should pen something of substance here-as I have neglected the weightier posts for some time.

The decision to purchase eBooks, versus the hard copy of the product, has absorbed more and more of my thoughts lately.  Because I am a reviewer for the TOS Crew, I receive the majority of the products in the eFormat, than I do in print form.  And that is where my quandary begins.

I totally understand the eFormat idea for selling products, I truly do.  After all, you get the item almost instantaneously, you can (usually-all though this is not always the case-we'll discuss that later) print as needed and for many applications-it is a perfect fit.  But what about the downsides to this relatively new idea?  Unfortunately, for a hold-it-in-my hands kinda gal, there are plenty.  So how do I advise my fellow blogger friends regarding this issue?

For starters, I wanted to address the negatives, so that I can end on a positive note.  I am not a huge fan of them-I simply am not.  Honestly, I would rather have something in my hands, that I can refer to in a moments notice, without the need to hunt it down on my computer (and sometimes, that means booting the thing up too).  I do not like having to read a long, "thick" eBook on the computer screen-it hurts my eyes after a time.  I am not fond of the possibility that I can "loose" the material and never see it again-even though I do my best to back the file up onto a secondary source-sometimes I do forget.

I am also not thrilled that when and if I choose to print-I have now tacked on several dollars worth of expense in ink and paper costs, and the additional cost of providing something to store it in (which for me is usually a 3-Ring binder and protective sheet covers).  I am not happy to know that I have no resale options involved with an eBook.  You bought and now you own it-with no possibility of recouping some of the expense of it, when your family has finished with it. I also am much more liable to forget what I have in eBook form, therefore, missing out on using the material when I need it.  I am fortunate enough to have High Speed Internet connection, so downloading the products is not usually an issue.  But many of my friends simply do not live in an area that can accommodate the cable connection/satellite dish option (or their phone service does not have the capability to provide internet thru their pre-existing wiring). Obviously this is a big issue, as they simply cannot purchase products in this manner-they wouldn't get them or it would literally take days to upload.

Doesn't sound too appealing when I lay it out like that does it?  Well, there are actually some positives to going this route.  For one, like I already stated-you get it almost immediately.  No waiting anxiously for the thing to arrive (and sometimes-all battered and torn due to bad handling) or wondering if it is MIA in the mail system.  Printed copies are nice, but let's face it-somewhere along the line, if you want to print off parts of it for your students, there is going to a run to a local print shop or library to do so.  And once there, you are at the mercy of the copier (I cannot tell you how many times the ink was low so it was a cruddy copy, paper jammed or the machine itself was "Out of Order") and soon realize you just wasted your time, gas and money to get a couple prints made.  With eBooks, you are usually able to print what you need, when you need it (again see above paragraph about the expense issue involved) as many times as necessary.  Now, I have to be clear here-there is a batch of folks out there who do not honor the protocol of not selling or incorrectly using the copyrighted material.

Because of this tragic situation-many companies have had to purchase programs that create limiting parameters for the purchaser of the products.  For instance, one product that has come across my desk, can only be printed a certain number of times and that is it.  So it is an all or nothing type of deal-and I am not fond of that.  I don't always have the time, ink/paper or money to print the whole enchilada-so I am bound to the computer for its use.  I am on the side of the company on this-I don't think they like it either, but they also have to protect their investment.  So, what it comes down to,  is that at times the purchase has additional limitations -rendering it one of those get the print version whenever you can moments.

I am not sounding very positive, but alas, there are some great benefits to the eVersions of products.  Seriously, there are.  The whole trick to deciding betwixt the two-is to know what your need is for that particular product.  I wouldn't suggest purchasing a whole curricula on eFormat if you or your child need to have access to it rather frequently, or if the cost of it is at or just below the print version.  I need to do a separate paragraph to address that issue-but a good rule of thumb is this: if you need to see, touch,  and use it more than you can to spend in front of the computer screen-get it in print form whenever you can.  The second rule of the "Wise eFormat Purchases"  is to consider its application.  Lapbooks/Notebooking and Workbox activities are perfect for the eBook set up.  With all of the printing needs of such projects, this is truly the only way to go.  In fact, the majority of my files are lapbook kits and Workbox activity worksheets and projects.  I can print as needed, as often as necessary and find I can control many of the aesthetic choices involved (IE: color and type of paper for example).

Another great aspect is that they (eVersions) are so tiny that they do not (when not printed out and packaged in a binder) take up much space at all-and if they remain in eFormat-no space at all on your (jam packed?) bookshelves.  If you are overseas, in a remote area or in a situation where space is a total issue, they are great for meeting your needs.  No oversea shipping costs (and a lot of companies do not ship there anyway, so it is the only option for procuring the product), you can have a lot of product/data for your homeschool library without all the clutter and again-you have it almost as soon as you purchase it.  These are all admirable and wonderful pluses to such products.

Because this is getting rather long in the tooth-I will end this post here, and will pick it up again in another one soon. Let it be said, that regardless as to what is better for my family's needs-yours will be different. You will need to take into consideration all the factors that make an eBook VS a printed version of a product right for you-before you buy.

Look for the second installment soon-until then....