Friday, October 12, 2007

Fall Into Reading: The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas

I'm making good progress on my fall reading list! This is partly due to the fact that we somehow managed to endure Word Problems in Algebra and have moved on to happier topics (at least for the time being), and partly due to the fact that John and Co. are gone almost every weekend camping. I stay home and man the fort, i.e. keep life running smoothly so he can spend every weekend camping.
I finished three books in addition to Corrie Ten Boom's Tramp For the Lord. The first was A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute which was *wonderful!* I ordered the Masterpiece Theater movie from ebay and hope that the BBC did it justice. They usually do. Tonight I finished The Nazi Officer's Wife: The Story of How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust by Edith Beer. Her story is remarkable, but it stands in stark contrast to Corrie Ten Boom's story. I've got some thoughts on that, but that's more than I want to go into now. So we'll concentrate on the easy read, The Ulimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Ideas for Kids Ages 3-12 by Linda Dobson.

I generally am not drawn to books like this any longer. I read them like crazy when John Mark was young and really, after you've read the first 10 or so, how many more can you read? But I picked this up at Books A Million, was in the correct frame of mind, and I liked it enough to go home and order it online (sorry BAM- I'm cheap!) As the title indicates, it's geared for ages 3-12 (with more younger ideas than older ideas). It's an easy read and is full of tips sent in by homeschool moms on creative ways to teach various subjects such as math, writing, science, history and so on. Here are a couple of tips I liked:

One day, when my younger son was really bugging me and I was desperately trying to finish an algebra concept with his big brother, I turned on the the closed captioning [on the TV], turned off the sound, and told my son he could watch television for a while. What a surprise! The child who wouldn't read to me giggled as he easily read the captions.

Genius born out of desperation- I love it! My kids are willing readers, but they also beg to watch TV way too much. This might be a satisfactory compromise on the cold, wet afternoons which I have faith will eventually arrive. Here's another easy idea:

Have your child cut out pictures from old magazines: a house, tree, kitchen table, chair, characters, cars, food- nothing is off limits. Attach the pictures to individual sheets of paper. Lay about a dozen pictures face down. Ask your child to choose four (or however many you want), then invite him to create a story with those four pictures (orally or written, depending on his skill level.)
The book is full of ideas like this- nothing earth shattering, just ideas that are easy to incorporate into your day-to-day life or that give an activity which may have become monotonous (go write in your journal!) a new twist. My verdict? It's a keeper.

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