Saturday, November 14, 2009

Homeschooling a success so far

Well, I realize I haven't really talked about homeschooling much in my blog (maybe I haven't been talking much about anything at all, really), but just so you know, it is really going great. Maylin and I are a good pair for this -- she's a good student and listens to me (most of the time) and when I'm prepared, weeks are great. When someone's sick, things slow down, but we make up for it on the weekends. We have a very flexible schedule. Sometimes Maylin will do some work in the morning, some in the afternoon, and some in the evening. She is often motivated by 10-minute bites of a movie. 2 pages of math will earn her 10 minutes of watching. A writing worksheet earn the same as well. A chess game counts, too. Maylin gets the most work done using this reward system.

Our language arts work is all over the place. We'll have spelling tests, phonics worksheets, reading, story-writing, book-making, writing games...mixing it up seems to be key. Our math curriculum is Singapore Math. Maylin's almost done with her first book -- her big reward is a scooter. Sometimes she likes math, sometimes she doesn't. I still need to figure that piece out.

For science, we'll do experiments using household products like baking soda, borax, and vinegar. I usually have her write up a report afterwards. Fortunately, she still says she loves science. Oh, we also work through the Evan-Mohr books. We're in the vertebrate book presently -- it has great worksheets and lesson plans. I've woven in trips to the Oakland Zoo and the Natural History Museum (NY) to supplement the unit study. And soon, we'll visit some week-old puppies to help study the life cycle of vertebrates.

Social studies has included map-study, worksheets, and journal-writing after trips. I need to work more on integrating this into our daily studies.

Maylin also takes Chinese, French, piano, chess, and karate. I'm teaching her the piano, but it's hard because she doesn't have much interest in it. But that karate...she loves it. It's the perfect activity for her. She likes working hard, doesn't mind repetition, and is good at memorizing a series of steps (forms). I'm quite proud of her. She'll be testing for her yellow belt soon.

I'm not worried about her not getting enough socialization -- she has plenty of opportunity in her extracurricular activities.

Some great online resources that Maylin likes to use:
http://chess.math.com/ (so she can always have the computer to play against)
http://www.typingweb.com/ (a free site for learning how to type -- she's already learned homerow and the top row -- her accuracy is quite good...and she loves it!)

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