Monday, April 11, 2016

Girls Like Electronics, Too!

We've been busy curriculum shopping again recently. I believe that I've bore the child with the most difficult ability to satisfy her learning style. She's a YouTube/ Minecraft/ DIY with a screen kid I've ever met.

Alas, we'll get there yet. At the moment, we're weeks deep into Time4Learning, a full online curriculum that she's doing great at. I've heard pros and cons to this. What I love is that it's all video learning with quizzes and practice. I love that it has its own Facebook community for parents. And there I've met an enormous amount of parents who've had their children do T4L for years, even graduating them on this curriculum. I'm in.

 On a fun learning note, I've heard great things about Snap Circuits! These are like Lego on crack because you snap-snap-snap, and boom, lights and fans start whipping around. It teaches children about electricity and what a complete circuit is. These are things that never "clicked" for me learning it briefly in school.

 After circuit ONE, look at this face... who doesn't love to make a kid do that? Only unicorns and a carnival could make her do this otherwise.

There are 21 different circuits to complete in the beginner kit. Many are similar with just a few flips of a switch or a fan in a different direction brings alternate outcomes. I love it. She loved it more.

Seriously? You'd think Santa just slid down the chimney when that egg lit up.

She doesn't even realize she's learning too much. She just knows it's fun and that if she fiddles with the circuits, she makes things happen. That's STEM right there.

All in all, Snap Circuits are a success! We'll definitely be looking into bigger and different kits. Seeing her study the diagrams to reproduce them was worth every penny.  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Exploring Creativity

We're closing in on our last few months of our first year of home school. We've had some successes and some fails with curriculum, schedules and finding what works, so I've missed a few months of blogging, but I'm going to start getting this moving more frequently. We're finding our groove. :)

We've chosen to be year-round homeschoolers and take breaks when we feel like doing so throughout the year. This helps ease the strain of strict schedules to get curriculum completed and allows for more interest-led learning as life leads us that way.

Squirrel gets excited about a lot of things, but it can be difficult to hone in on what is most exciting to her as a student. So far, making her own videos, cooking and science are big deals to her.

If I let her, she'll make videos all day long on a cell phone or tablet left lying around. Not just any videos, though. She likes to make instructional videos, from "unboxing" videos to DIY everything in our house. Even when a camera is not pointed at her, she talks her way through teaching each and every one of YOU how to sweep, make a cup of Kool-Aid, or wash a dog in the backyard. It's what she's drawn to.

So, I have to try to direct her in an appropriate direction with her passions. Instead of letting her stare at YouTube all day long, I've let her create her own videos, and I've uploaded a few to a private channel. She's working me over to get me to make all her videos public. I'm not quite ready for that yet.

Her latest achievement is making homemade dog treats. Actually, they're partially homemade. Semi-homemade is the coined term, I believe.

Squirrel gives you Milk Bone Sandwiches... take two Milk Bones and sandwich them together with a sticky, nutty layer of PB. I must say, the dogs are fans!

So, my goal as we move into 3rd grade work and ideas, is to allow the Squirrel more freedom in her learning. Some things she finds boring, and I understand. As I'm working FT currently, I try to give her things to rouse her curiosity, but some things just aren't going to be crazy exciting. Math. She's good at it, but it isn't too exciting. I'll be exploring the web and getting some of my own creative ideas flowing to bring more excitement to our learning overall.

And, I'm happy for warmer weather, so we can cruise back to doing nature walks after our Saturday soccer games. Good times ahead!