Friday, November 20, 2009

If success is measured by learning opportunities

Geography challenge #2 was, if nothing else, fun. I love that the most ordinary activities become exciting with children.

I let each girl pick a destination. My 6 year old routed us from our pick up spot to the "transfer circle". From there she guided us onto our next bus and pulled the bell when our stop was announced. When we reached our destination she looked up at me and said, "Thanks for planning this."

My 8 year old was also able to reach her chosen destination, but it took a little more work. She did not need to switch buses, but she really wanted to. After two attempts at navigating a bus transfer she agreed to stay on the main line and get off at the stop closest to her goal, the library. The ride back to the car went more smoothly.

I would like to repeat this activity. I think that I would be able to tweak it as they get older. Superimpose latitude and longitude type lines on the bus map, give the destinations in the form of coordinates. Also, it would be fun to ask them to be the tour guide for our town and have them plan a tour using the bus system. That idea would focus more on social studies and language arts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Geography Challenge #2

At the beginning of the year I tried a geography challenge with the girls. It worked even better than I had hoped.

We are now filling the "geography adventure" jar again. For the next two weeks, as we read about Columbus, I will be teaching the girls basic map skills. Each morning I am asking them questions from the previous lesson. Along with the review questions I am throwing in world geography questions. For my first grader I am also asking her questions about our address.

My ideas do not always work. This one is working. For this homemade geography unit I am using a book called Maps and Mapping: geography facts and experiments. (check the J912 section in your library for something similar) I am also using TOG Year 2 map aids.

And the adventure that will reward all of their hard work? A trip on the Applcart! What? The Applcart is our college town's version of public transportation. Each girl will be given a map, pick a destination, and without assistance pick the bus route that we should follow to reach the chosen destination. They are so excited that it is almost embarrassing. You would think that they never leave the house.

I do not care to spend the entire day on the college bus with my 4 children, so I am highly motivated to teach well. I hope to take pictures of this adventure.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

When the teacher is the student

Two and a half years ago my husband and I made an agonizing decision. We wrote a letter to the principal of our oldest daughter's school. We ordered a math curicullum. We drilled our friends with questions about home management. We called the president of a local homeschooling coop. And so began this quiet "unexpected adventure."

This week I have realized all the things that I would have never learned had I been unwilling to venture down this path. Here is the short list:
  • I love history. My exposure to world history prior to homeschooling was a backbreaking textbook with dates, dates, and more dates. This year history has come alive for me. I love the books that we are using. Real books, not two paragraphs used to bookend another timeline.
  • spelling - - -teaching phonics is greatly improving my spelling skills
  • each fingertip has 50,000 nerve endings! Did you know that? Last night as I prayed for my children, I thanked God that he knows every one of those nerve endings.
  • how to find the answer to analogy questions (wish I had had this one 15 years ago when I was taking the SAT)
  • how to rejoice and live comfortably in the life that God has called you to, even if that is different from what you expected

What are you learning on the adventure that God has called you to?