Thursday, January 28, 2016

January Lesson Ideas, Fun Experiments and Encouragement

When the weather is dismal and energy levels inspire more to crawling back under the covers than to deep study and hard work, the homeschool blues or dropping it all seem to be the only options. Courage, fellow homeschoolers, the season will soon be turning and you will be glad that you have persevered and finished up the lessons you intended to complete before the weather turns beautiful again and outdoor adventures beckon. You can do it!

Think of:
All the books you ever wanted your kids to read. Make a list, start with your very favorites, and curl up for reading time, out loud or individually. We are into the second book in "The Wrinkle in Time" series for one of our read alouds. Another is a history series that they are all enjoying; "A History of US," by Joy Hakim, Oxford Press. I take advantage of the lack of enthusiasm to venture out in the winter months to spend lots of time reading, and a little extra on writing and doing math. 

Science...move on to an experiment once a week. The Waldorf method is to do the experiment one day, not discussing it, just letting it sink in until the next day when it gets explained, analyzed and recorded. Some fun online resources:
from the Chicago Science Institute: how to build an electric motor,  mix up chemicals and create explosions, (recipe at the end): Genius Joe or here: for a tutorial on how to make stalactites from hand warmers, super cool, according to the kids.

Foreign language burn-out? Try music from another country...and dancing to it. If they are old enough, give Duolingo (on phone or computer) or a similar ap a whirl; our library system has one we can sign up for called Mango. I love it! This is not a complete course, but it can be a fun supplement, or intro to a new language. In Latin, Charles and Valentine and I have found that the program we prefer is the Cambridge Latin Course, so we are sticking with that one. We turn to Wheelock's Latin for more in-depth explanations of grammar at times, or different texts. In Spanish, we have gone back to a basic CD in order to improve pronunciation. I dug out a high school text book to show them that they are doing well; they had at least heard and attempted to use most of the vocabulary in the book already.

For opportunities out of doors, look up your local environmental organizations. Around here, even in below zero temps, there are eagle-watching days, hikes at the marsh and snow-shoeing, all for free. Bundle up and head out to a museum or the library just to be somewhere else for a day. 

In our home this week:

At school, Valentine was bored to tears in math and consistently at over 100% in her class. After much deliberation and reassurance from our tutor, she decided to join the honors class. She is her father's child where this subject is concerned. I am happy for her. 

Gael is making progress in spite of himself. His reading and writing are coming along to the point, not of grabbing a book and reading it, but to where he has the confidence to try to read aloud to me and will actually look at the words on the page instead of saying, "I told you I don't get it. I don't know. I can't." I write new little rhymes for him each day, or silly stories, adding on to the lines from the day before. He does copy work from known poets too. This week's poem is "The Oak and the Reed," by Margaret Morgan. I find most of the poems I use from the book in this week's book review: "A Journey in Time Through Verse and Rhyme." 

Happy Winter!

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