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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Rediscovering Hooda Math and PBS Math Educational Resources

My 15 yr old used Hooda Math for years.  When he got in the higher grades, he stopped using it, and I forgot about it.  I rediscovered it while looking for fun Math games for my now 11 year old.  She loves it, and I find games to be an excellent way to learn.  Not all day, and not all the time, but 15-30 minutes of educational games is a nice brain break, and different way to learn.  One thing I have noticed, since I decided to use Common Core standards, in our homeschool, is that I think it is harder for one because they don't allow kids to memorize math facts such as multiplication, and division before moving them on to harder concepts using those facts.  This slows kids down incredibly.  I think they need to learn those math facts first, before being forced to learn something their poor little brains just can't comprehend.  That is what I am doing anyway.  One of the beautiful things about homeschooling, is I can go at my child's place, even if the end goal is still to achieve the harder standards.  It isn't even that they are harder, just they want them to learn is harder.  The method has changed, not what they learn in the end.  Caitlin has improved immensely in the last 6 weeks, since I took her off the total Common Core method, and started letting her brain learn in a more sensible manner.

Along with OpenEd, I have started using PBS, and their media Math resources.  I then reinforce the videos with worksheets, discussion, games, and hands on learning.  Fridays, I evaluate how much she has retained with a test.  I can not say how much I love Flash Cards, for learning the math facts I mentioned above.  We use an app, and that makes it just that much more cool.  Cool Math, is another website, I used to use, and will be looking at it again for my daughter.

I will be looking at the Writing on PBS as well, though I love the Michael Clay Thompson series we have been using, and am already looking at purchasing it again for next year. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

4H County Events

Yesterday, was our yearly 4H County Events. Both kids got 1st place in their class, and will be able to move on to Districts, which will be on Caitlin's birthday this year. But, I did discuss it with her, and we will it on another day. She also has two friends with birthdays that same weekend, so it might get interesting this year. It will also be in Taylor County this year, which is a bit of a drive. DJ played Fix You, by Coldplay, on the electric guitar, and sang of course. Caitlin did Fashion Revue with her embellished clam digger pants. I thought I took a picture of them, but apparently I did not. I think I will have her make a matching shirt for Districts. This will be Caitlin's first year at Districts. Not because she didn't qualify before, but because she didn't want to. I am pushing her a little bit more this year. She also started Gymnastics last week, and she really loved it. She was sore the next day, saying I used a lot of different muscles. I hope she sticks with it, and has found something she can really love and get into. I would load the video of DJ playing, but I am not sure how, lol. Next up for 4H will be the Suwannee River Youth Fair, in March.  We usually do photography, but maybe they will both want to enter a wood burning project too.  Caitlin can also enter her pants in that fair too.



Saturday, January 16, 2016

Using OpenEd for Math Lessons and Turning Some of Our Favorite Nature Photos Into Awesome Gifts

Well, it has only been a week since my last post, lol.  I just don't have as much time, it seems, to blog.  I have been using OpenEd, the Math lessons, with my 6th grader, and right now it is going well.  She does the lesson, then plays a game, and watches videos.  Then we do Math flash cards, on an app, and she is finally getting division down.  I would still like her to be a little faster with her multiplication facts, but I wont quibble that.  With more practice she will get it. 

Since it was a little bit warmer today, I went out and got a lot of gardening done.  We are putting up a privacy fence, in the back yard, long story, so I had to dig up several plants.  They were successfully relocated, and I got to pick a spot for Caitlin and me to plant our 3 Sisters garden, in the Spring.  I got it dug, and added some good soil to it, and I will start composting it as well.  If you ever decide you want a privacy fence, do one panel a paycheck.  We didn't do it that way, but I wish we had.  Buying it all at once is extremely expensive. 

If you have been reading this blog, for any length of time, then you know we love to be outside.  We love nature, animals, visiting all our local parks and zoos.  Though, we have by no means visited them all, it takes a while, lol.  We also love to take pictures of all the beautiful, and fun things we see, and find.  Some of you might even recognize this picture.  The male lion, who let us take his picture several times.  Now, you can purchase some of our favorite, and best photographs, by shopping at my new Society6 Art store.  You will also find my paintings.  You can buy prints, canvas, or lovely gifts.  So far, along with this lion, I have uploaded flowers, manatees, deer, dolphins, springs, and other beautiful pictures from our travels around Florida.  I do not have all of them loaded, yet.  It takes quite a long time to edit and load them.  Plus, I have to find them in all my storage places.  We have been doing this for 9 years after all.  These make great, quality gifts.  You can also just click the Society6 banner, at the top corner of this blog.



Saturday, January 9, 2016

County Events and Three Sisters for Gardening

Our 4H County Events, is coming up at the end of this month.  This year we have a new 4H director, so it will be interesting to see how she sets it up.  County Events is where the kids get to showcase their talents, and skills.  Since 4H is not just for Agriculture anymore, it opens up 4H to a whole new world to children who have no place to do Agriculture.  We have used 4H project books, as part of our homeschool curriculum, in years past.  We don't have time to fit them in anymore, they are really in depth.  We do a project book with our group each year, so we still get to do them.  Caitlin will be doing Fashion Revue again.  This year she is going to embellish a piece of clothing.  I will share the results when they are finished.  Hopefully she will go to Districts, and then she can save the item for the N Florida fair entry as well.  DJ will be doing a demonstration, and Share the Fun.  Share the Fun, is where they get to showcase various talents.  He will be singing and playing the guitar, this year. 

We studied Native Americans, a few years back, but we were watching a National Geographic special on the Pilgrims and Native Americans.  They mentioned the 3 Sisters planting method that the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims.  I actually do not recall ever hearing that term before, so I looked it up.  The 3 Sisters is planting corn, beans and squash all together.  You actually plant the corn first, and when it is about 4-6 inches tall, you plant the other two right in the same basic spot.  The beans will grow up the corn stalk, and the squash will shade the roots of all the plants keeping the soil moist.  Brilliant!  So, even though it has been a mild winter here in FL, Caitlin and I will be testing this 3 Sisters method come say end of March.  We have been learning gardening for years, and we get a little bit better each year.  I wouldn't say we are good at it yet, lol.  I do well with flowers, and my tomatoes and peppers were awesome last year.  Anything else I have tried has been pretty much a flop.  There are two websites below that will talk about this method of planting.  The one adds a fourth, the Sunflower.  My little sunflowers do quite well, and the pollinators love them.  So, I would say they are very beneficial, and mine come back each year with no replanting. 

http://rodaleinstitute.org/the-three-sistersand-that-fourth-sister-no-one-really-talks-about/

http://blogs.cornell.edu/garden/get-activities/signature-projects/the-three-sisters-exploring-an-iroquois-garden/how-to-plant-the-three-sisters/

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