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Showing posts with label curriculum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label curriculum. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Grading subjects that haven't been taught

I can't tell you how many times I have heard people ask, "how do you decide their grades?"  "How do we know you are even teaching the subjects you say you are teaching?"  That's a really good question, and I suggest people start directing that to the brick and mortar schools and away from homeschoolers.

It is actually a fact that there are teachers giving less and less science instruction, and just filling in the blank or report cards.  Yes, grading a subject they never taught.  It's a shame really.  It's clear that there is little time to teach science due to all the testing and preparing for tests that are going on.  But with a

Monday, November 19, 2012

One-half credit in Government

The plan was originally, to do a full unit in Government for my daughter's senior year.  When we found out that is was required for accreditation to do 1/2 unit plus 1/2 unit of economics, our plans were changed.  We went from using the textbook, Politics in America , and the Hippocampus Government program to just using Hippocampus and leaving out the written assignments.   That, I hoped would take a good 60-70 hours creating a half credit.

To my surprise, my daughter sped through the information, scoring in the 90th percentile on all tests, within maybe 30 hours tops.  I was concerned that her lack of interest in the subject had translated to

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My last year homeschooling.... and I finally find the perfect math program

Ok, so we all no that there's no such thing as a perfect math curriculum for all children, but this one is as close to heaven as you get.  I am really upset that it took to now for me to find and implement this math program in our homeschooling program.  Oh the program... its called ALEKS.

ALEKS is available for every grade, K-12 and then some.  I discovered it because many homeschoolers who were taking CLEP exams were using it to learn college level math and science.

When we realized that the Personal Finance program my daughter was using did not give enough guidance, I decided to try ALEKS Business Math instead (as it included all of the personal finance

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

False starts, do-overs, and adjustments

 Now that my son is delivered safely to college (sob!), I can focus on my daughters senior year.

I have been homeschooling for about a decade, and every August has been an experiment.  After all, I am a homeschool mom, not a curriculum expert, so sometimes I choose curriculums that don't gel with my child.  This year was no exception.

This year the curriculum I had to shelf was at least free.  It was the packet from The Actuarial Foundation for Personal finance.  It is not a bad curriculum, but it does not do enough explaining, as it was designed for the teacher who actually already knows personal finance... not for the mom and child who don't really understand compound interest and mortgage amortization.  So we had a false start with math this year and

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A new school year and a roving play

We just got home from this years "school" meeting. We went over rules, regulations, dress codes, cell phone rules during class, and all that good stuff. We found out about all the new things that the homeschool program is rolling out. (Don't you hate it how things always get cooler and better just as you are done?... It reminds me of how mad I still get when I see the super-cool strollers that weren't available when my kids were babies.)  But they all grow up and things change.

The most exciting news was Drama Club.. of course!  The fall play is undecided (almost decided) but it won't be held at our usual venue.  Instead, the kids will bring the play to the community.  They may do a nursing home, a school, a community theater, a major theater, or all of the above... who knows.  The second play will be a full school play... I won't say what it is just yet, but it will have kids of every age from

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guest posts, blog spammers, and other housekeeping

 So, It's clearly time to spell out some policies:

Guest posts:  As of June 2017, I have decided to severely limit guest posts.  The requests are getting out of hand and I feel like the posts that are sent to me are not really what I am looking for in a guest post.  For the few I accept I will look for the following:

What I look for in a guest post:
  • Writer must be a homeschooling parent, homeschooling student, or former homeschooling student. 
  • Relevance to homeschoolers, as in you have something concrete to offer homeschoolers whether it be subject specific, experience specific, a unique perspective or something of that nature. 
  • Uplifting topic, as in I don't want to read another article about the downfalls or problems in

Friday, July 06, 2012

Nailed down this years curriculum... again

We really thought this year's curriculum plan for my SR. daughter was going to be easy peasy, then we decided to go for Accreditation. So, instead, we found ourselves adding classes in some areas which meant scaling back in others. 

Here is a brief accounting of our new and improved plans:

Math:  Business Math with Personal Finance:  ALEKS.COM
Language Arts: Analyzing and Interpreting Lit (study for CLEP exam)
History: Government 1/2 credit
Social Studies: Economics:  Uncle Erics Books

  • Whatever Happened to Penny Candy
  • Uncle Eric Talks About Personal, Career, and Financial Security (An Uncle Eric Book) by Richard J. Maybury, Jane A. Williams and Kathryn Ann Daniels (Apr 1, 2004)
  • Whatever Happened to Justice? (An Uncle Eric Book)

Science: General Physical Science
Spanish: Mango Languages (library subscription)
HEALTH: Glencoe Online

The plan is to still try to be finished with the bulk of this by Christmas so she can focus on her Sr. project at her Arts program.


Thursday, June 07, 2012

Ongoing Money Management Lessons for Children Help them Avoid Costly Mistakes

I am glad to offer you this guest post from another homeschool mom and freelance writer:

It doesn’t seem to matter whether your children go to public school, private school or are homeschooled – financial lessons and money management are lessons our children need to learn before they need to make financial decisions.  Money management strategies cannot be taught during a one time lesson; instead, children need age-appropriate information throughout their childhood so they have time to form sound financial habits that carry over into their adult years, and are armed and ready with the information they need to make good financial decisions.

Elementary Age Kids and Finances

My own children are ages 6 and 9.  My 6-year old seems to think if we need money for something, we need only visit the bank or ATM and ask for it; while my 9-year old understands you have to have the money in the bank to withdraw it, but doesn’t quite understand why we

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What your college prep student needs to know.

Remember that whole speech I made yesterday about doing personal finance math instead of Calculus or the like?  Well, the Board of Regents of the University System of GA has released guidelines that must be made to be considered entry into a GA state college, so if that is your goal,  any Personal Finance Class will have to be an elective, or perhaps you can use Economics/Business classes to satisfy the social science requirement.

So, if a GA state college is your goal, (and this probably applies to many state colleges across the country, here is what your child will need to complete beginning the school year 2012-1013.  (As my kids are not applying to state colleges, this is not a problem for us.

College Prep English:  4 units
  • American Lit (integrated with grammar, usage and composition)
  • English Lit (integrated with grammar, usage and composition)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Calculus or Personal Finance Math

For their senior year math classes, we had to make the decision for both kids whether they should take calculus or personal finance math.  In both cases we chose the latter.
Piggy Bank
Firstly, the reason we chose for them to study personal finance math over calculus is because neither child is interested in going into a science or math field.  Therefore they really don't need to go beyond Geometry, but for college reasons they took Algebra1, Algebra2, and Geometry.  My son also took Trig. 

Secondly, personal finance math is something they will be doing every day for the rest of their lives, so

Friday, February 10, 2012

Homeschool update video Feb 2012

Thought it as time I did a homeschool update video.
 Items discussed:

  • My son will graduate this year. 
  •  My daughter will graduate next year. 
  •  Planning for my daughter's senior year.
  •  Curriculum overview for next year.


Friday, October 14, 2011

I'd Love to do Elementary Math Education Again

The longer I homeschool, the more I wish I could start over.  Just like the new strollers and baby gadgets on the market that hadn't even been conceived when my kids were babies, there are now so many new and shiny learning programs that I have no use for because my kids are nearing the end of their homeschooling journey. 
I have always been partial to technology based learning for certain subjects. I experimented with all kinds of learning software that allowed my kids to "play" their way to acquiring knowledge.  While the games my kids played were cool... very cool, the stuff available now is insane.   In my opinion,  to date, the most natural way to teach homeschoolers is through adaptive learning. Adaptive learning is can now be found in many elementary math education programs in which you will find an individualized approach to teaching, that uses "personalization and also learning systems that dynamically assess and adapt to the student's current knowledge and ability levels". 

I love the fact that parents can purchase computer based curriculum and set kids in front of it and allow them to just go for it.  Compelling graphics, fun characters, and intuitive programming does the bulk of the work for them.  They don't have to worry about alignment to common core standards or any of that other educational mumbo-jumbo.  Children don't have to be dragged into a new concept before they are ready, or become a disruption because they have been stuck on a concept for too long waiting for the rest of the class to catch up. 

Sure, as homeschoolers, we want to get down and dirty into the trenches of addition, subtraction and multiplication, but trust me, you will want to back off when it comes time to figure out the perimeter of a circles. I know I did anyway.  Too bad most of these programs don't go past basic math.  While It won't do my kids much good as they've already mastered elementary math education, I am hoping that by the time I have grand kids (take your time kids) that adaptive learning software will be available for kids all the way through high school and beyond. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crazy about online curriculum

I just updated my curriculum page, and listed my favorite curriculum from over the years (scroll to end of page).  To my surprise, most of them ended with .com or .org. I have a thing for online curriculum.

The downside to that is that we end up buying new computers... often.  My daughter seems to be able to trash a laptop in 18 months.  My son's last longer, but his choices are more expensive.

Fortunately, I fill in the blanks with free home education resources such as those found on my  FREE HOME EDUCATION WEBSITE

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum Choices

 I just updated our curriculum choices page

As I see it, homeschooling will be pretty laid back and also pretty hands off next year.

My daughter will be a Jr.  She will squeezing Geometry in over the Summer and into the fall, in time to take the PSAT, which she will also put some speficic effort into studying for it over the summer. She may take the College Math CLEP at the end of the school year, as it seems easy to pass after taking the SAT.

For language arts, I will count the work she does towards her PSAT & SAT studies and she will also take a fiction writing course at her homeschool program.

For science, she will take the online MIT course Kitchen Chemistry.

We are skipping history this year opting to study government during her Sr. year, an election year.

She will continue to work on Spanish (2a) and Mandarin (1b).

Then there's a slew of arts electives such as voice, drama, instruments, art...

*If she starts at a decent hour she will be done with her work by lunch and can work on her electives and independent stuff... not holding my breath.  I am considering not regulating her sleep patterns next year to see what happens.

My son will be a SR.  ACK!!

He has few requirements and has opted to take them as a dual enrollment student at the local college.  We are working on his applications now, but it looks good.  The dual enrolled classes will probably be:

  • Intro to Physics (Fall)
  • Personal Finance (Fall)
  • Spanish 101 (Spring)

In addition to that, he is taking a Journalism class at the homeschool program, and a few arts related electives.

*My job with my son is to ask questions and perhaps guide organization.  Oh, and to make sure he gets his drivers license. 


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Boo Math! NO... Yay Math (sample video)

 If you are like me, ever since your kids finished Algebra, you have been at a loss of how to help them.  You have hired tutors, purchased video based curriculum, and prayed.  Well, that's what I have done anyway. 

My youngest is currently doing Algebra 2 and every now and then she presents me with a problem I don't understand... I don't want to understand it either.  It put us both in very boo-math moods.

But in my quest to find new ways to explain old problems to her, I turned to YouTube and therefore discovered Yay Math.  Ahhh...  It's awesome.

Math videos are recorded in an actual classroom by a full time math teacher.  There is interaction between the teacher and student and important questions are asked and answered. They videos do get kind of silly, but I like that...  If you need dryer material, there's Khan Academy which I also like... but Yay Math is my new favorite for free math help online.

Here's a sample of a Yay math video:


Monday, November 29, 2010

Special Cyber Monday Kickoff offer from National Geographic

Notes from a Homeschooling Mom is pleased to have the opportunity to participate in a bit of Cyber Monday Madness.   The products in question are of course, educational and will benefit your child greatly. 

 You will have the opportunity to purchase  products where you can personalize Atlas books for your child. You can upload your child's/children's photos, see & choose from several different personalization options (ranging from where the child/children go to school, information about their pet, things they love/enjoy & more), and also write a dedication and then see your final product online. 
So take a minute to check out the personalized National Geographic Kids Atlas of My World "personalized" discount promotion.  The discounts offered are as follows:
  • 50% Discount plus free shipping on Nov 29 & 30 & Dec 1 with "personalized" Notes from a Homeschooling Mom blog discount code:  nfahm50gift

  • 25% Discount plus free shipping on Dec 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 with "personalized" Notes from a Homeschooling Mom discount code: gift25nfahm
 The code discount code will be active from 12 noon November 29 until expiration of the programs mentioned above.

If you twitter, you can follow National Geographic Kids on twitter: @NGKids and you can friend National Geographic Kids on facebook:

Disclosure:  While there is a contest involved for bloggers, I have not been paid for this blog post.  I am participating because I believe this discount will be valuable to my readers.  

Friday, October 01, 2010

Using Elementary workbook pages for High School Students

 Mrs. C has left a new comment on my post "Teach it Till They Learn It":  in which I talked about my kids struggling with the Cells chapter in biology.  She thought the lesson created for younger kids might be too simplistic but she was wrong.   See here.

While the chapter was on plant cells, and they are studying animal cells, so I will save it for later.

So let me explain why the worksheet sent from Mrs. C was soooo right. 

Things are best explained on an elementary level. I have found over the years, when the kids don't get something at a sophisticated and advanced level, to head to the bookstore and pick up a children's picture book.  Once the kids get the simplistic basics, you can them build on it.  So I will be using this unit if necessary when we get to animal cells... so, Thanks Mrs. C.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

What Does an Elementary School Homeschooler Really Need to Know

I had this conversation with a new homeschooler earlier today. I promised to send a recap. I will also add that if any seasoned homeschoolers has a list of what an elementary age homeschooler needs to know, please leave a comment.

So in my estimation, by the time a child enters middle school, they need the following

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Homeschooling For Dummies

I just read an article entitled Using For Dummies Books in Homeschooling.  "Hey!  I've done that"; I thought.

I mostly use free online programs for homeschooling my high school students, but there were few options available for Algebra 2.  I had noticed the For Dummies books but hesitated to buy them in fear of insulting my son.  Then he came to me and requested Algebra 2 for Dummies.  (My son has always helped  research and choose his curriculum.  I purchased the book and accompanying workbook. He loved it.

Upon finishing it, he did give a small warning. He said that it was written for someone who was familiar with Algebra and possibly even Algebra 2, but needed extra help.  Whenever he got stuck, he went online and chose videos from sites like Khan Academy, and Your

Just something I thought you should know.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Ready for Calculus, Part 2

I can't believe I spent the night fretting over this.  I was up from 1 till 4 doing research on whether or not he really needs to take calculus. 

I asked the question to one of my homeschooling groups and heard back from the wife of a school counselor... he suggested pre-calculus. (even though he took trig?)... I guess Pre-calculus will be easy for him.