Sunday, November 30, 2014

Winter 2015 Class Grid

The Enrich Winter 2015 Class Grid is now available for your viewing pleasure! Our Class Development Committee and Teachers have put together a great variety of classes from which to choose! Head on over to the google doc by clicking on this link.......

Registration emails to Teachers will be sent this evening. Teachers' Registrations are due back by 5 pm Wednesday, December 3. Registration emails for returning and new families will be sent Friday, December 5, 2014 and are due back to pat.martelle@gmail.com by 5pm Tuesday, December 9. 

If you would like more information or a registration email, please contact pat.martelle@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Homeschooling When Money Is Tight


By Mary Hood, Ph.D.

This is the first of a two-part series. This article will focus on the years up to age 12 or 13, and the September issue will deal with making it through the teenage years on a tight budget.

The first thing you have to do is get over your fear of operating without a set curriculum. The Bible has many promises that tell us that “all things are possible with God.” Stand on those promises, trust your mom’s intuition, trust your kids’ desire to learn, and trust God! You can do this! Stop saying you can’t, because that will be a hindrance as you try to help your children develop a healthy level of confidence in their own abilities.

Second, you have to lose the assumptions you are carrying around from public school. Yes, you will “miss something” once in a while. That’s okay! No, your children will not have horrible consequences if they aren’t exactly on “grade level.” Focus on developing lifelong learners with skills to continue learning as they become adults. Try to forget all those assumptions you are carrying around from your own public school days, set some worthwhile goals, and get busy having some relaxed, joyful learning experiences!

Next, without believing you have to do things just like the schools do, identify the basic subjects that you want your children to learn. Then plan some free or very inexpensive ways to help children reach the goals you have set for them. Following are some examples/suggestions:

1. Reading. This one is simple. Use the public library! Don’t say it is too far away or that your children are too little. When I was in elementary school I walked (alone) more than 2 miles to get to the nearest library to get my weekly fix of “Cowboy Sam” books. Do you live in a rural area? Find out if a bookmobile visits your area regularly, or go once a month and load up! Just read, read, read . . . and make sure most of the books are real books you can hold in your hand, whose pages you can turn, and which your children will learn to love!

E-Books may have their place, but I don’t see them fostering the love of books the way that a printed-on-paper one can. When your children are small, read to them. Learn about good authors, and above all, don’t kill off their love of reading. When something isn’t working, back off before damage is done.

2. Are your children not reading yet?1 Remember that not everyone learns at the same speed or in the same manner. Do phonics work? Get some cheap workbooks from the grocery store, or make up your own phonics games. He isn’t “getting” it with phonics? Maybe your child isn’t ready, or maybe, like my oldest daughter (who graduated with an English degree and is a freelance writer/counseling master’s student), he or she will never be able to learn with phonics. Relax. Be flexible. Keep reading to them until they are able to do it themselves, and then . . . keep reading to them!

3. Writing? Language arts? Abraham Lincoln didn’t use a grammar book and managed to write the Gettysburg Address. Reading will lead to writing. Just have them write about their experiences, edit a little at a time with common sense, and watch the literacy build!

Is spelling an issue? Don’t worry about it too much when they are this age. If you want to do a little something, you can make your own lists out of words they misspell, or have them do spelling bees in the car.

4. Math! Before the age of 12, the key is to build their understanding and the basic skills. Just consider what those math topics are: an understanding of numbers (setting the table for 4 people . . . oh, wait, the grandparents are coming tonight, that makes 6) and time, measurement, and money (buy a real digital watch, measure in the garden and the kitchen, use an allowance to teach money management). Practice adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, working with fractions, and using decimals in daily life situations. Always strive for understanding.2  

Use Cheerios and M&Ms to group and focus on understanding that 3 x 4 means three groups of four . . . and 4 x 3 means four groups of three—and you’ve just taught the commutative property of multiplication! Use some grocery store workbooks to supplement your instruction, along with lots of real-life experiences.

Fractions can be taught with pizza and apples and a few little workbooks once they get the idea. Dividing can be understood first, then learned and practiced a little with the long-division algorithm, and once they really understand it, let them use a calculator. That’s what adults do!

Forget the pre-algebra for now. We’ll talk about that next month.

5. Science and social studies can be taught through relaxed unit studies. If you need ideas, look at curriculum materials and make a list of topics. Pick one in each area, and focus on those two things for a month. For example, in science, you can study natural things, such as insects, snakes, birds, the weather, rocks and minerals, or dinosaurs. Follow your children’s curiosity to learn about things.

Get some good non-fiction books from the library, and set up a learning center with an aquarium, terrarium, binoculars, and a bird feeder. Consider diving into topics like earthquakes or tornadoes or something like levers and pulleys or mechanical things for the upper elementary years. Use a combination of books, real-life experiences, and educational videos.

Do the same for social studies. Pick a topic, such as a particular country or U.S. history or the Great Depression, or the World Wars or whatever, and go in search of interesting materials. It will be so much more fun than using dry textbooks!

6. Don’t forget the fine arts. Set up a learning center for art, as discussed in one of my recent articles for TOS. Get books about artists, and include music and theatre in your children’s lives. Radio programs are free! If you have a little money, get a baritone ukulele, which is a stepping-stone to a guitar . . . or better yet, get a small keyboard.

7. Do some physical activities each day. Hike, bike, play tennis, and climb trees together. Yes, you!

8. Focus, above all, on developing their character and the values and habits you are helping them appreciate and acquire. Start the day with Bible stories, end with prayer, and spend some time on your knees planning for the next day. One day at a time! You don’t need a lot of expensive curriculum materials to homeschool in the early years.

Look for inexpensive experiences in the community to enjoy too, such as community theatre, church activities, and sports leagues. Above all, relax and enjoy it!

Endnotes:
1. Listen to my CD titled Reading and Writing the Natural Way, if you can.
2. If this is a problem, read my booklet, Taking the Frustration out of Math.

Mary Hood, Ph.D., and her husband, Roy, homeschooled their five children since the
early 1980s. All have successfully made the transition to adulthood. Mary has a Ph.D. in
education and is the director of ARCHERS for the Lord, Inc. (The Association of Relaxed
Christian Home Educators). She is the author of The Relaxed Home School, The
Joyful Home Schooler, and other books, and is available for speaking engagements.
Contact her via her website, www.archersforthelord.org.


Copyright 2012, used with permission.  All rights reserved by author.  Originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine.  Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Updated Calendar and Final Class Grid

For ease of use and to find everything easily, I've linked the updated calendar and Fall class grid below.

Calendar


Class Grid for the fall

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Get Organized for Homeschooling By Stephanie Green


For many families, the decision to homeschool opens infinite opportunities to teach and mold their children academically and spiritually. With the varied landscape of today’s homeschool curricula and learning aids, the possibilities to tailor-make the schooling experience seem endless. “It seems as though you could do everything,” says homeschool mom Kelly Adams.

And it may be tempting to try to do everything. But as you get ready and get set to homeschool, the best and first thing to do is to get organized. Let’s go!

First Things First

When getting organized to homeschool, it may seem that the most logical place to start is with your environment—after all, some portion of space will be dedicated to learning. Or one might think it’s best to dive into creating a schedule. Kelly Adams, who has homeschooled for the past seven years, knows firsthand and advises other homeschool families to first assess their priorities: “The first thing we did was to make a list of what was important spiritually, academically and socially,” Adams said. “It was also important for us to look at the needs of each of our children and their levels.”

Then the family made decisions about the best curriculum and activities for each child. “You’ve got to take a hard look at what God is calling you to do,” Kelly said. “Remembering to seek the Kingdom first is the biggest thing, because everything flows from that.”

Setting Schedules

With priorities established, the next step to getting organized is being prepared, which homeschool mom Abby Character says is essential to an organized homeschool: “It helps to organize each day, but I know it’s important to be very flexible and to change as priorities change,” Abby said.

Kelly agrees and points out that schedules require balance and actually allow her to be flexible. “It reminds me that God is in control. Don’t let the schedule rule you. Use it as a tool,” she said. “Schedules also will vary depending on the number of children you have and what you’re doing with each one,” Abby added. For the Characters, that means seven children, ranging in age from newborn to 8. Abby knows that “sometimes one kid needs more help than the others, and that’s when having a system can help.”

It’s why long-time homeschooler Marsha Corbin staggers her children’s lessons with work they can do independently versus work that she assists them with. “This allows me time to interact with each child,” Corbin said. After more than twenty years of homeschooling, Marsha knows that “organization gives structure. It’s a framework to operate within,” she said.

In the Corbin home, that structure is clearly outlined on a chart that lists each family member’s responsibilities and school assignments. “Our day starts at 8 a.m. There are things each child must do before beginning their academic work. The chart incorporates personal responsibility with studies,” Marsha explained. “We try to balance our school schedule and work time with play time. That way, we’re not focusing too much on one area,” Marsha added.

Tracking Schedules

Whether you have one child or ten or prefer a paper system to a digital one, all homeschool families need some way to track activities, appointments, and assignments. “I’m a calendar girl,” Kelly said. While she says she’s always been a very organized person, she finds the calendar is a useful tool, because it not only helps her to see what’s going on but also helps her discern when too much is going on. “You can absolutely get too busy,” she said. When that happens, “then I know that we may have to pull out from something.”

To keep track of her family’s comings and goings, Abby keeps a master calendar in Google. And to stay on top of who’s doing what lesson, Abby said she figured out two years ago that “I’m a lesson plan person. I keep a non-dated lesson plan book together with each child’s curriculum,” she said.

Non-dated lesson plan books are good no matter when you begin your school year, and they help to avoid a feeling of being “behind” if you miss a day or two. “You have to figure out what works for your personality,” Abby advises.

Maintaining Paperwork and Other Stuff

Among the many hats worn when homeschooling, one is administrator (or one who keeps up with the paperwork). Organizing and keeping track of daily papers and a variety of documentation doesn’t require anything fancy, just a system.

Abby shared that they keep track of their children’s work by creating a notebook for each child. “The book is organized for each weekday, and not every subject is covered each day,” she explained.

Marsha encourages homeschool families to learn their state’s legal requirements and keep a file for each year for each child, including items such as declaration of intent, attendance report, and year-end report.

Organizing Your Work Space

When the Characters started homeschooling in 2006, they did schoolwork at a picnic table. As their family grew, they moved to the kitchen table, where most of their schoolwork is still done today.

“We had to organize our space more, because each year, we’ve added more kids,” Abby said. That space has now spilled over into what was once the living room but now houses student desks, an adult desk, and a computer station. Abby said the biggest consideration in organizing their work space was accessibility: “We have a space for each part of our curriculum,” she said. “And you don’t have to have a schoolroom; a simple cabinet will work. The key is to make the items easily accessible to the kids and to keep them in the same place.”

Just like organizing and adjusting their work space, the same is true for organizing any aspect of homeschooling. “It all gets better with practice more than anything else,” Abby said.

I hope these tips from experienced homeschooling moms will prove helpful to you as you prepare for the new school year. May this be the best year ever for you and your family!

Stephanie Green is a wife, mother of five, and writer who lives in Augusta, Georgia. She has been writing for more than fifteen years and enjoys writing about parenting and family topics.
Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the July 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.





Friday, August 22, 2014

Enrich Fall Registration

It's so exciting! Teacher Registration is complete, emails have been sent to Returning and New Families with registration information, we are gearing up for our Welcome Reception/Kick Off on Thursday, September 11at 5:45 pm. If you did not receive an email with information and would like one, please contact pat.martelle@gmail.com #thisyearisgoingtobegreat!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fall Class Grid Available!

Applause, applause! Hats off and kudos to Rhonda Smith and our Class Development Committee for creating another spectacular grid for our families! Registration information will be sent out this week to Teachers. Registration information for Returning and New families will be sent out August 21. If you (or anyone you know) are looking for a great co-op to be a part of, please email me at pat.martelle@gmail.com
Please click the link below to access the class grid!
Enrich Fall Class Grid

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

At long last, the much anticipated Enrich calendar for 2014-2015 is now available!! Click on the link to access it Enrich 2014-2015 Calendar Please feel free to share it with anyone who may be interested.