Locations to Introduce Science to Homeschool Students

Are you lamenting the lack of a formal science laboratory as a homeschooling parent? Don’t worry about it because teaching science to homeschool students is not  a problem since you can improvise on locations around the house.

The Kitchen

Think about the number of science experiments that require heat or cold. You can conduct them easily in the kitchen using the hob or microwave for heat and the freezer or refrigerator for cold. Do make sure that the homeschool students are well versed with safety rules so that no one accidentally ends up hurting themselves by touching something scorching hot or freezing cold.

The Bathroom

Does your science experiment require large quantities of water? Or do you need to dip something in water? Maybe an experiment that may involve water splashing out of containers? The bathroom is the best place for such tricks. Your homeschool students can play with the water to their heart’s content and you will have minimal cleaning up to do.

The Garden

Need to dig up some mud, plant something or generally have a large area available for a science experiment to be conducted? Use the garden or the backyard for such science experiments. This can also be a great place to observe small ants and other insects for a nature study. Spider’s web, ant hills and other small phenomena can be introduced to teh homeschool students here.

The Playground

The seesaw can be used to balance weights, the swing can be used to explain pendulum motion, the ball can be thrown to show the effect of gravity, a paper plane can be flown to show how wind currents carry gliders, and so much more. Who said the play ground was only for playing? A homeschooling family can easily use the ready equipment in the play ground to conduct many enjoyable science experiments.

Think of other such places where you can conduct science experiments with ease. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have a formal science laboratory, the locations you can access in regular life can be easily converted into a learning lab for your homeschool students.

 

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Changing to Homeschool from Regular School

homeschool supplies There is a lot of difference between “school at home” and homeschooling. If your child is shifting between the two systems you as the homeschooling teacher have to ensure a smooth transition. Here are some things that you can do to ensure the success of such a transition.

Explain the Difference

A child who is used to the daily routine of a regular public school will have some trouble understanding how homeschool scheduling works. The concept of fixed break times will have to be replaced with flexible learning times. The teaching style will differ and the kind of classwork that needs to be done and submitted will also be different.

Stick to Few Subjects

When shifting between systems it is a good idea to focus on a few core subjects instead of doing all that was being done in the regular school. That way you will not be struggling to cover a lot of ground over the school day. Stick to the essentials in the beginning and work your way up to more subjects and activities as both teacher and student get comfortable with the new set up.

Take Field Trips

The freedom to take a field trip anytime you wish should be exploited in the transition period. There is a lot to say for being able to take off for a walk in the park, or a visit to the local museum and calling it a working school day. Visit the homes of old friends, or family who the children enjoy being with. Or just go to the supermarket for groceries. Anytime the homeschool classroom is getting too claustrophobic, just step out to do something new.

One on One Subject Scheduling

Each child has his own specific interests. Sit down with your child and ask about what he would like to learn more about. This topic should be used to teach regular subject lessons where possible, and studied separately as a different class as well. Find material and activities to support your teaching. The level of interaction in this class will be more as the child is genuinely interested in learning more about the topic.

 

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Preparing to Move From Public School To Homeschool

homeschool curriculum In the last blog post we discussed the basic preparation that you would have to do in order to shift from public school to homeschool. Here we elaborate on what else you may have to consider.

The Legal Aspect

If your child has been attending Public school and you should find out the legal requirements that you will need to meet before you can switch over to homeschooling. Some states have different laws and if you are in and out of the country, you may actually want to consult with someone knowledgeable from the education department. This will help you avoid hassles later on when your child wants to go to college.

The Physical Classroom

To a child used to the public school routine sitting on the dinning table and studying all day will not come naturally. He will want to take his lunch break, and ask about what he is supposed to do for PE. It would help if you can designate a room in the house as the homeschool classroom. The child will compare everything and you have to be ready to explain why some things will change in homeschool.

The Change in Teaching Style

Homeschooling involves one on one teaching which is a lot more intensive than the typical public school classroom where a single teacher must keep track of multiple students. The child may be uncomfortable at first with such direct supervision. It would be a good idea to give him some self learning time where you are not directly teaching him all the time.

Missing Friends and Old Environment

No matter how exciting you make it sound, homeschool will be very different from what your child has experienced so far. He will miss old friends. He will miss the old learning environment and possibly things that irritated him when he attended public school will become things he wants to do. Keep your patience and explain why things will have to be different. Try and make new friends to replace the old and find new activities to burn energy as well. It will take time for the child to get accustomed to his new reality. Stay his friend as he works through this.

 

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Shifting Between Systems

homeschool science Homeschooling may not have been your first choice but perhaps it is your only one. Maybe you have shifted abroad and no local school has English language based instruction, or you move about so much that studying in a regular school is not an option. No matter what the reason you may have to shift from regular school to homeschool, there is bound to be some apprehension on both sides when you make the switch.Here’s what you can do to make it easier on both sides.

Prepare for the Change

A child, who is not used to the parent being in a teacher’s role, will need to redefine the authority figure. A parent, who has not been much of a disciplinarian, may have to work on methods to hold the child’s attention. For both, the teacher and the student, this period of transition can be difficult. However if you are mentally prepared for the undertaking it can be done with considerable ease.

Keep the Child Informed

If you are going to begin homeschooling ensure that the potential homeschool student is aware of the situation that is leading to this change. Give the child time to come to terms with the change. About a month in advance start preparing the child for the future. Sit down and have a detailed chat about the course of action you are taking and the reasons for it. Even a younger child may have questions and doubts that you should take the time to address.

Avoid the Isolation

Going to public school involves meeting up with a large number of people everyday. Even if the actual number of friends that your child has is limited, he is used to seeing many people when he leaves the house. Homeschooling will cut into this and may leave the child feeling isolated. To avoid this ensure that there are after school activities that the child can join in. A club, a sport, or even learning a musical instrument can all count as acceptable distractions. Making new friends may not be possible immediately but having new people around the child is. Perhaps he will pick new friends from among them.

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Do You Homeschool Year-Round?

homeschool science Regular schools shut down for the summer, but homeschooling families have no such compulsion. So do they take a break during the summer as well or do they carry on homeschooling all year round? The yearly routine would depend on a number of factors. Here are some that you can consider.

Are you planning a long trip out of town?

Some families tend to go visit grandparents or take exploratory trips that last more than a couple of weeks. If you plan to take a long trip out of town at a different time of the year, it would make more sense to continue homeschool classes during the summer. That way you will stay on track academically speaking without piling on the pressure towards the end of the year.

Does the weather where you live get particularly hostile at some part of the year?

If you live in a place where the winters cause you to get snowed in or the summers are so hot that you get housebound for the major part of the day, it would make sense to continue homeschool classes at these times. Since you are going to be stuck in the house for the majority of the day due to the weather, it would make sense to use the time to get some learning done.

Do you take a mid term break when you finish half of your syllabus?

Some families start slowly and build up momentum through the homeschooling year with the majority of classes happening in the last quarter. Others prefer to take a dash into the new academic year by quickly picking up speed in the homeschool classes as soon as the new session begins. No matter when you get there, when you finish half of your prescribed syllabus for the year, consider taking a mid term break to relax and recoup.

Scheduling short breaks for each season may also work

Every season has something new to offer in terms of physical activity like swimming in summer, or hiking in autumn, or camping in spring. It makes sense to take a short break from homeschooling to enjoy these activities. So schedule your school breaks in a manner that allows you to make the best of the season.

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Homeschool Disconnects the Father

homeschool curriculum In most homeschooling families the pattern that is followed is that the mother is the homeschool teacher and the father is the primary bread winner. In this case the mother spends most of her day in the company of the children and grows closer to them in a way that would never be possible if the children were attending a regular school.This does not happen with the father.

Not the best thing for the family

While the stronger bond that the mother and children forge is a beautiful gift in itself, it can have one slightly ugly fallout. The homeschool clique consisting of the mother and childre unintentionally disconnects itself from the father. The kids are much more comfortable speaking with the mother and are not quite as quick to share their thoughts with the father. While it is only natural that a child feels more comfortable with the parent he is spending more time with, the eventual outcome of this situation may not be the best thing to happen to the family.

Involving Dad in the daily thread

It is important that the homeschooled children spend some quality time with their father. Since there is not much scope for a long activity at the end of the day it could be something simple like playing a game or reading a book together. The shared hobby such as stamp collection or building a model plane may also work well. It should be something exclusive to the children and their father. What is important is that they spend some time together everyday doing a common activity which both look forward to. It is equally important for the mother to sit this activity out.

Exclusive family outings

The best way to bond as a family is the spend time together. By planning weekends where the family goes climbing a hill, or exploring a museum, or playing an out door sport, the children will get to spend time with Dad and Mom. This will enhance the family aspect of their lives. The bonds that they forge will now be with both parents as a set rather than with just one individual. With a little effort and a lot of love it is easily possible to make Dad reconnect with the family.

 

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Homeschool Breaks Are Important

online homeschooling Working non stop can become tiring for both the homeschooling parent as well as the student. Sometimes the parent feels that by finishing up all the written study work in the morning and keeping the afternoon relatively free is a good system. While this may sound good once in a while, most homeschooling students do not want to study non stop for five hours in the morning only to have nothing to do in the afternoon. They would rather take small breaks between all the tasks that they have to do all through the day.

Breaks are Part of Your Schedule

Just as important as covering your subjects may seem to you, breaks are also important. In fact you need to schedule in the breaks that you will take each day. Without a break you will find that your children’s ability to concentrate will suffer. They will become tired and get irritable when you suggest that they do some more writing work. You can ensure that they get enough down time by sprinkling in enough breaks through the school day.

20 Minutes is Optimum

It is a good idea to take a short break once you have finished with a subject or topic that you have scheduled to cover in your homeschool classroom. Ideally speaking a 20 minute break, outside the homeschool classroom spent doing something fun, is optimum. These breaks serve as a refreshing and rejuvenating period between otherwise demanding classes. You will find that when you return to the homeschool classroom your homeschool students will perform better after a break.

Don’t Let Anything Interrupt Your Break Schedule

There are some days when things are not exactly going as planned in the homeschool class room. The students are taking longer to finish their written work, or someone is just not interested in the assignment that has been given out. Maybe there has been a discipline issue, or household chores like laundry, baths, and making lunch have taken more time than they should have. The reason why you are running behind in the academic schedule does not matter. In such a situation you will be tempted to delay or cut short a break. Don’t do that as a break is likely to prove more therapeutic under such circumstances to both you and the children.

 

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Creative Exploration at the SLO Maker Space

SLOMakerSpace

If you enjoyed exploring science and technology this past week with SuperchargedScience Camp, then you may find the SLO MakerSpace (in San Luis Obispo, California) a valuable resource for your family. The MakerSpace is a shared tech facility with wood and metal shops, ceramics, electronics, sewing, laser cutter, and 3-D printers. We are developing programs for kids such as our creative building challenge every Friday evening 6:00 – 8:00.

If you are interested, more information can be found at: http://www.slomakerspace.com/.

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https://www.facebook.com/SloMakerSpace

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The World Through Monuments in Crafting 3D

homeschool science Exploring the whole wide world can be quite daunting in the homeschool classroom. Here is a simple idea to introduce your homeschool students to some of the highlights of the world through famous monuments.

Start With Ten Monuments

Pick examples of famous buildings or iconic statues from around the world. Statue of Liberty, Colosseum, Eiffel Tower, Christ the Redeemer, Chichen Itza, Taj Mahal, Gateway of India, Great Wall of China, Sydney Opera House, Red Square’s St Basil’s Cathedral, or any other historically significant and famous monument will do.

Provide the Back Story

No monument is interesting to a child till you reveal its historical importance. Talk about one monument per day. Make sure you read up the back story beforehand to be able to answer the many questions you are sure to be asked. Have images ready in form of photos and videos to show your homeschool students.

Make a 3D Model in Craft Class

Now that the homeschool students know what the monument is all about get them to design a model. Explore the different materials that they can use to make a 3D model of the historically significant landmark. Have them construct one based on the original. It doesn’t have to be to scale or perfect. It should simply bear a good resemblance to the original.

Display the Monument Models on a World Map

Once you have constructed all ten monuments it is time to put them in perspective on the map of the world. You can buy a large sized map of the world and spread it out on the dining table. Now take each of the monuments and place them on the city/ country that they are found in. You can now include a discussion about each country out of the ten you have chosen.

Study the Countries in More Detail

Now that a general sense of interest has been invoked for each of the ten countries that the monuments are found in, you can speak more in detail about these countries. Talk of history, culture, language, popular celebrities, food and more from each country. Talk about which place they would like to visit and why they chose it. This is a great way to study the world.

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Android Apps to Aid Homeschooling

homeschool program You are not the first parent to give their child their smartphone. However you can be part of the growing group of smart parents who download educational apps disguised as games for their children to play with. With the Google Play Store at your finger tips you can actually download a fresh app every single day of the year. Not that I would recommend that you do so. Instead, pick from the top free apps in the educational section to ensure that when you hand over your smart phone to your child next, there is a good chance that homeschool learning will continue to occur. Here are some apps that parents have found useful.

Math Duel : 2 Player Math Game

A mathematics based game for two. It provides a basic math workout for students around 7 years of age and above. Teenagers will specially enjoy the competitive aspect of the game. Helps to revise addition and subtraction, multiplication and division. You also have the option to turn off a specific operation of the child has not yet grasped it.

eduDroid : Muti- tasking app

This one has a picture creator, stop motion, triangular maths, word searches, handwriting, phonics, spelling, reading, eBooks, quizzes, multiplication, number bonds, precision teaching, sound recording, money counting, hundreds tens and units, time, flash cards, app lock and more… all in one app. It can be used in parent and school modes as well.

TED : Videos an Audios

TED talks have gained a reputation for being the most informative and entertaining talks available in video format in the world today. With the TED app you can access all the different TED conferences in close to 22 languages. More than 1700 TEDTalk videos and audios are available with new ones being added each week. Its an unending source of information.

Booksy: learning-to-read platform

This one is primarily for your children who are starting to read. The app comes preloaded with three books for your youngster to start off with. Booksy describes itself as training wheels for books. It allows a child to read a book on his own and gain confidence in his fledgling reading skills.

These are not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding great Android apps to aid the homeschool parent. Search the Google Play store for more apps that you can use.

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