Tag Archives: Resources

hammock tracks

Who Homeschools?

Ever wonder how other mothers (and fathers) come to the decision to homeschool? How does homeschooling look in other homes?

Well, my friend Savannah over at Hammock Tracks has started a project to answer just those types of questions, and I was honored when she asked me to participate in her weekly questionnaire, Who Homeschools?

So, follow me over there to find out our story – how we came to homeschooling, how we plan to continue, and what a typical day looks like.

While you’re there, don’t miss the other interviews – I don’t know about you, but I always like finding out how others are doing it. I just might get inspired to try something new – and, I always feel camaraderie because the great thing about homeschooling is that although every family culture looks different, there are also areas of overlap where we feel a sense of kinship with each other.

And, while you are there, definitely fill out her Who Homeschools? questionnaire – I know that I would love to find out what homeschooling looks like in your family!

Photobucket

Unschooling Unmotivated Kids

Motivation for an Unschooler

I had a great question posed on the Back to Unschool post, and when I realized that I was answering with a book of information, I figured that everyone might be better served by a brand new entry. :)

KK asked {in part}: …the highschooler isn’t getting it when I give her permission to follow her interests. she just doesn’t have the motivation and is afraid she wouldn’t be doing school , yet at the same time she struggles to do school. can you make suggestions here.

This is such an area where I have struggled as well – I did a lot of googling on the subject!

Unschooling Unmotivated Kids

One article especially made an impression on me. It asked “Do they sit around all day staring at the ceiling?” Or, do they have motivation to do the things that interest them…. and for me, I realized that I somehow wanted my daughter to have internal motivation to do MY goals – not her own. Unfortunately, I can’t find that article again, but the Homeschool News Network has one about how unschooling leads to self-motivated learning.

After explaining that they would be allowed to use computer time, watch TV, etc… they were both excited. Then my son went to his schedule so that he could finish school and get to those things. So, I realized that I needed to do something that made it clear that things were going to be different – in order to release the pressure, both on them and me (and to stop hubby’s inquiries about what we did for school each day), I made an announcement.

We are on Vacation.

I told them very honestly that I was having trouble with letting go as well, so I decided that we would not be doing anything schoolish at least until after Christmas. I called it an experiment. (The result of that experiment is that we will not be going back to how it was before.) This gave them the freedom to pursue what they were interested in without feeling guilty about not doing school.

{Side note on hubby: he is starting to see that they are accomplishing things on their own – not “schooly” stuff – but amazing stuff, instead!}

Another thing that is helping us is that I am actively pursuing my own interests for a change. For example, I had gotten us a documentary that looked interesting. I asked the kids if they wanted to watch it with me, and I allowed them the freedom to say No. But, here’s where the change kicked in – instead of waiting to watch it until later – until they were ready to watch with me – I watched it MYSELF. I think this also sent the message that I was truly interested in it and not just trying to force them to learn something.

I am also putting books on hold at the library for me again. Books on subjects that I am interested in learning more about: how to be more creative, plays to read, trigger point therapy. And, I am sitting down to read them in the middle of the day – when the kids can see me. I am learning to untangle our interests. It’s ok if we are not intrigued by the same stuff…God made us different from each other.

I’ll be honest, I still watch the time that they are playing games, and I worry: Is it ok that they are on the computer most of the day. But, then I noticed that my daughter is not playing games. She is creating a piece of music – with Japanese lyrics – to be her harmony during the talent show later this year. And, my son plays lots of different games. I stand and watch him occasionally, and there are strategic/logic games, creative games, and historical games – with dates and everything! So, even during deschooling, they are not choosing passive activities – these games make them think!

I’ve even started playing math games to improve my skills in that arena. I am loving Manga High (not just for highschool math) and can easily get sucked in for a long time trying to be the various games.

And, if it turns out that your daughter truly is motivated to do traditional schoolwork, and that is what interests her, then Why not? If that is what she wants to do, it will be her goal; her motivation to accomplish it will be her own. And, she still has the freedom to go off on rabbit trails if she wants to learn more. If she has a great desire to go to college, then she will be motivated from within to get there.

For us, we are still kind of at the beginning of this unschool journey, but I have realized more each day, that it is me who needs to change: my expectations, my worrying, my pushing. I’m a Type A driven person, and I need to be ok with letting my Type B laid back daughter do things in her own time. {My son is much easier to get to go along with anything that I want to do.}

I also do not leave them completely alone either. I find opportunities, and I put books on hold for them. I guess I am participating in Strewing – but I have always done this – the difference is that they have the freedom to accept or reject what is being offered, hopefully without me getting all bent out of shape. I say hopefully because this momma is definitely still a work in progress!

Here are some sites that have helped with my ideas of motivation, self- motivation, and the lack there-of. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in each of these pages, but it has challenged me to pin-point my thoughts – and why I think them.

I have no doubt that I will still become too pushy at times, and I will still worry, but for us, for now, I am happy with how our experiment is developing. I hope you’re able to find these resources helpful in your journey as well.

I would love to hear your stories. How did you deschool? How long did it take? How do you judge success? Please tell me about your experiences in the comments!

Photobucket

Real World Math Word Problems

Free Real World Math Problems

I’ve found that math can get rather boring if all you do is learn a problem style and then do a page of problems with that style, so lately I’ve been on the hunt for some free real world math problems that would stimulate curiosity in the kids.

Here are my favorite sites that I’ve found with FREE problems.

Source: cityyandcolour.tumblr.com via Nicole on Pinterest

Figure This!

This site has about 80 different Challenges that you can choose based on mathematical skill set necessary. We haven’t used these yet, but they are on our to try list. Middle school and up.

Franklin Institute

This site has quite a few different types of problems ranging from Melting Pot Math to Toothpick Puzzles. So far, we’ve only completed a few of the Open-ended Math Problems, and we’ve enjoyed working them out together very much. Middle school and up.

Real World Math: Using Google Earth in the Math Curriculum

They have lessons based on concepts, project based learning, space, and more. This site has ALOT of information, and I’m still digging through it. I have seen some projects that are for as low as 3rd grade, but most seem to be appropriate for grades 5-12. The author is clear though that it’s difficult to assign grade levels to the problems presented. I think the U-boat Hunt looks particularly interesting – combining decoding a cipher with charting latitude and longitude. This is an extremely well done resource, but you won’t be able to just pop on and print out a problem for the day – there are Google Earth files to download for each lesson.

Make it Real Math and States by the Numbers by Make it Real Learning

OK, this is not actually a free resource, but they do have a free download that contains 10 sample problems taken from the various workbooks. And, the entire state of North Dakota is available as a sample. So, while not free, you can definitely get some good practice problems out of it, and the cost is not prohibitive to purchase them. Make it Real Math is probably my favorite of what we’ve done so far because it uses actual real situations that you could find yourself in. States by the Numbers covers place value, rounding, estimation, fractions, and percents.

And, if you still don’t have your fill of math and want to get more real world ideas – you can check out Education Math’s article: Get Real: Math in Everyday Life.

And, for day to day math encouragement as well as great ideas, I can think of no better place than my friend Bon’s site Math is not a Four Letter Word. This girl LOVES math! Don’t believe me? Just take a hop on over there yourself. :)

So, what about you? What are some of your favorite math resources? How do you integrate math into everyday life? Tell me about it in the comments.

Photobucket