Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Independent Learning

My older two children, ages 9 and 11, have become very independent learners this year.  I currently spend five days every two weeks in the hospital with my 5 year old who has Leukemia. Therefore, I am simply not there everyday for school. Since we wanted to continuing homeschooling I had to find some new ways to teach.

All of the kids, even the five year old, have email accounts. When I'm in the hospital I send the kids emails with lists of things to do. The lists are organized by subject with one or two things to do for each subject.

History - My son is very visual, so I found several youtube videos on Ancient Greece (which is what we are currently studying for history). I email the kids the links and they watch the videos. When I am home we read and do activities connected with the history.

Language - We have Rosetta Stone, so they learn language very independently. In addition, they watch movies and read books in the foreign language they are learning. Sometimes I have them copy sentences from the books in the foreign language.

Math - I usually have my son work in a workbook or play an iPad math app game while I'm gone. When I am here we do one chapter per day in the Life of Fred series. My daughter does Math-U-See and is currently reviewing previous lessons. I have her do the lessons completely on her own.

Reading - They each have a shelf on the bookshelf which contains books I think would be good for them to read. When I am gone (and when I'm here) they select books from the shelf and read for 1/2 hour each day. They like this because they are in control of what they are reading.

Science - I found some wonderful free Human Body science videos. My kids have been watching them while I'm gone. Last year I had them doing the Discover and Do Science video-experiment series. Although I was there, they rarely needed me for science.

Science/Engineering - They have been using the free computer program Scratch to create programs. I have them watch a tutorial movie then open the tool and create something on their own.


Writing - There are several different types of writing assignments my children work on while I'm away.
- Last week I had my daughter start a blog. She likes to write about her sewing projects. If you check it out please leave her a comment. That would provide her so much encouragement.
- They write about topics related to our history studies.
- They write letters to friends.
- All of my kids have email accounts, and frequently exchange emails with family. They also exchange email with each other.
- Sometimes I will ask them to write fictional stories. I usually give time a title such as "The time I built my first roller coaster" and see what they come up with.

Music - They independently practice the piano each day.


Although this was a forced change, it is working well. Ironically, this school year is going better than any before.


14 comments:

  1. Thank you for the great ideas here! Can't wait to use the videos, and introduce my son to scratch! Sending my thought and prayers for your daughters health!

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    1. You are very welcome. I hope these ideas work well for you too.

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  2. Isn't it awesome when things work out? Keeping your little one in prayer...God bless your family!!

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  3. Looks like everyone has figured out a way to make this year work...and go well! I encourage my kids to be independent learners from about 2nd grade on. Not that they do everything alone, but so that I don't have to sit with them the WHOLE TIME they're doing school. As they get to middle school, it's mostly just me and them setting learning goals, them working towards them with me correcting work as needed, and meeting once a week to discuss things. All the best with your little one!

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    1. "setting learning goals"...... I would love to hear more about how you do this. Although we are not there yet, we will be in the next year or two. Just that phrase sounds like a good idea.

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  4. I'm sorry to hear about your 5 yr old's illness. We went through something similar with our daughter 12 years ago. She and I were away from home for 2 months. I was a total airhead and didn't even think about lessons for the other kids! You have shared some very important information for others who may face such a situation, though I would love for cancer to be cured instead!

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    1. I hope your daughter is alright. It's hard dealing with illness in any form.

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  5. Just prayed for your little one! God bless your family.

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  6. Your family sounds amazing! It is wonderful to read about how each of you are working together to make homeschool a success! You all are an inspiration. Prayers for your little one.

    I'm definitely going to hop on over to your daughters blog. :)

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    1. Jeannine,

      We all do what we have to in times like this. You and your family would too. Thank you for supporting my daughter on her blog.

      Julie

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  7. I love it when they begin to round the curve and actually complete some independent learning.

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  8. I love how you have made homeschooling work for you this year! What language(s) are you children learning on Rosetta Stone? Do you like the program? I'm off to check out your girl's blog =)

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    1. Thanks for checking out my daughter's blog.

      Language has always been a big focus in our homeschool. We live in Germany. My daughter became very involved with a local German dance group and learned a lot of language. My son has learned a lot through Rosetta Stone. My German is currently pretty good. I did levels 1-5 in German and learned a lot. That coupled with my exposure to the language has helped me to learn. Although I can communicate my ideas there are still many words I don't understand. I have a long way to go.

      I have also use Pimsleur language programs and like them for adults. For the kids I really like Muzzy. This post explains our language learning.

      http://highhillhomeschool.blogspot.com/2011/11/language-learning-german-and-spanish.html

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    2. German, of course! I wasn't thinking =)

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