Friday, January 7, 2011

K12 Curriculum

I've been shopping on-line for "on-line curriculum" and one that I have found is K12. I had heard of it from a facebook friend, and did the research to learn more. K12 is a FREE virtual school, with online coursework, books, AND hands-on material. Each child is assigned a teacher, and the parent is the "learning coach." This is a wonderful option for parents who don't feel equipped, or need extra help in certain subjects. It's also a great option for people who want their kids at home for reasons that don't include that they are unhappy with the curriculum in their local public school. What I don't know right now is whether or not the "learning coach" can remove or alter assignments for each child. I've read that it can take up to 5 hours to complete the work, so I asked my friend about that and she said her daughter is able to do it in 2-3 hours. So if your child works particularly slow, it may be more work than you want to try and tackle. If your child is a quick worker, it should be about right. One example of something I might want to change is spelling assignments. If there are lots of things that have to be done with spelling words, I might want to remove them. I have excellent spellers. Once you show my kids a word, they know how to spell it. So why do work everyday to get you ready for the test? But I might want to spend more time with them on math. I still want some control, but nothing that should ruffle any feathers. Before I choose this curriculum, I would ask about this.

You can learn more at K12. My take on this system is that it is the government's way of saving money on education. Instead of trying to work against homeschoolers they are working with them, and helping parents who have the opportunity, desire, or need to keep kids at home provide a balanced, thorough education. So far so good. As I learn more I will update what I learn!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How many cubic feet is my washer?

I always enjoy the, "I get to use the math I learned in junior high!" moments because I can use these examples one day when my kids ask, "Why do I have to learn this?!" Here is a great use of measurement, formulas, and figuring out volume...

My washing machine broke. It is over 20 years old, so I decided it was probably time to start looking for a new one. I looked them up online and kept seeing how many cubic feet the new ones were. Well, how can I know how big that is if I don't know the cubic feet of my current washer? Hmmmm.... So I googled, "How many cubic feet is XXX washer?" I had written down the model number, serial number, brand and anything else I might need off the washer so I could find the information online. But what I found instead was (GASP!) how to calculate your cubic feet. Not only did I have to know what pi was, I needed to use the ol' formula A=pi (r squared). THEN I had to multiply the area by the height of the drum, to satisfy the formula V = pi (radius squared) (height) or V= pi X r^2 X h . But it doesn't end there! I measured in inches and ended up with the volume in cubic inches. In order to compare to the new washers, I needed to know how many cubic feet it was.

There are 12 inches in 1 foot, 144 (or 12x12) square inches in 1 square foot, 1728 (or 12x12x12) cubic inches in 1 cubic foot. So to find how many cubic feet you have, divide the number you got in inches by 1728. Then, you will know how many cubic feet your washer is in. Do yourself a favor and write it with permanent marker somewhere on the machine! It might come in handy at some point.

Figuring this out was an eye opener to me of the things we could ask children to figure out that will help them use what they are learning in math. My 4th grader isn't quite at the point of doing this, but one day... and I can't wait to show him! If you have other "using math" ideas, please share them!

P.S. My washer was 2.5 cubic feet!

Monday, January 3, 2011

My New Year's Resolution

Today is the last day of Christmas vacation, and marks the beginning of the year for me in a way. It's also the first day of a 30-Day Blogging Challenge, where we are to blog daily as well as encourage others in the challenge to keep it up for 30 days. My resolution is two-fold and simple: blog daily, and bring my kids home.
Ironically, regular blogging brings more website sales. I didn't have to learn that in a class, I learned that through experience. So by taking part in the challenge, I will simultaneously improve my business...which will hopefully eventually lead to enough income to homeschool my kids again. Isn't it great how these things work? After being home for a couple of weeks, I remember how much fun it is to be home with my kids, rather than at work with someone else's kids. Well, maybe fun isn't the right word...but I can definitely see the benefits again of children being home.
My house will be put on the market soon, and we will look for a house about an hour away, closer to a bigger city where the kids' activities are, and more opportunities for self-employment income. I'm hoping to tutor for extra income, and even possibly take a few kids during the day whose parents have to work, but want to be homechooled. Heck, I'd even cut grass in the summer! I don't know how everything is going to happen, but I just know that it is going to work out somehow. I mean, it always has. One thing that I have learned is that God is going to work out the details as long as I keep working toward the goal.
I'm hoping that going back to work tomorrow and getting back to kids' activities isn't going to thwart my blogging plans. I have a number of blogs and a number of things I can write about, but my fear is that I will have little energy left at the end of the day to write. We shall see!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Click N Kids Coupon

I couldn't let this special go by without sharing with you! Enjoy!

Save 20% Off Code:CKIDS2011 exp. 1/31

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Alpha Omega Homeschooling Products

While we are at home for Christmas break, I've been looking forward to bringing my kids back home by shopping for curricula online. Tonight as I watched the Sooners win the Fiesta Bowl, I spent a couple of hours on the Alpha Omega website checking out their numerous homeschooling curricula options. At first I thought the new Monarch was the cat's meow...until I read some online reviews basically saying that they are still working out kinks. In a year I'm sure it will be the bomb, but for immediate homeschooling needs, Switched on Schoolhouse is an excellent option... if you want to homeschool using the computer, that is. They also have other traditional book options, including a unit based curriculum that many homeschoolers love. At this point I'm more interested in something the kids can do on the computer. Switched on Schoolhouse (SOS) is great for that. With SOS you have to download the CDs on your computer, whereas the new Monarch system is all online. (This is a great benefit for people who travel and don't want to carry their laptops everywhere- assuming people HAVE laptops.) Since Alpha Omega is a great company and dedicated to homeschoolers and providing wonderful curricula, I'm sure that Monarch will soon meet the standards their customers expect. But for now, check out their other options as well as Monarch, especially if you have a student in K-2 or even younger. Use this button, and don't forget to check out the link on their home page that takes you to a chart comparing all their curricula. It's very helpful!

Alpha Omega Online Curriculum

Tom Woods