Friday, September 6, 2013

Navigating Uncharted Waters

Erik is like preparing for and riding out hurricane Ike each day. such huge hormonal fluctuations.
He is Pre-AP for English, Science, Algebra, and Technology. it is the first time that he has had a curriculum that really pushes him to his limits academically. He is reading freshman college lit books and doing analysis.

his time management is still under development. we are in the middle of Forming and Storming each day.

Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing - Leadership skills
Learn how to guide your team through the difficult early stages of team formation.

Magnus, I really do not see us making it another week. I really thought I could this, but I just do not see it happening for us. it is A LOT of tedious work on my part and I am not seeing the need. he is checking in with me every couple of hours with some new tidbit.

a morning for Magnus:
NOVA | Ground Zero Supertower
Engineers race to complete 1 World Trade Center as they grapple with the final challenges.
American Experience
Watch American Experience videos on demand. Stream full episodes online. American Experience, TV’s most-watched history series, brings to life the compelling stories from our past that inform our understanding of the world today.

Monday we are going to spend the entire day at the Museum of Natural Science, and the first monday of each month for the next year. Two hours of khanacademy every day for math and computer science.

Since he has tested out of reading three times now he is now working on the classics.. Lord Of The Rings... is currently in his kindle

Not unschooling, but very 'targeted learning' for Magnus
Is School Enough?
Filmmaker Stephen Brown examines self-directed education. is on my planner for next week
Ecoregions of Texas (EPA) Ecoregions denote areas of general similar just sent my request off for this resource, so that will be next month's activity
Nutrients for Life Foundation
Our curriculum provides plans for a variety of experiments to get your students enthusiastic about soil science. These experiments require extra supplies that your school may need to purchase.
Texas A&M Forest Service - Trees of Texas - Eco-Regions
For further information on Texas Eco-Regions please visit:Texas Parks and Wildlife - Map of Texas Ecoregions U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Ecoregions of Texas

Magnus is technically on vacation, since he already logged 60 hours in July / August in Math and 60 hours in Science / Social Studies, so he is just puttering through his days for last week and this week. then we will come back hard starting 9/9/13

He has at least that much literature time as well. Year round seems to help with staying in groove. Lots of short frequent breaks.

the calendar that we are using

We do super block scheduling. two hours a day of math (no books), two hours a day of social studies (no books), two hours a day of science (no books), two hours a day of literature. the science / social studies are the 'fun' to help with the fact that he really does not like the math component. but he has 'failed' the staar 4 years in a row, so it is time to just beat that out, when we left public school, it was due to not being able to read, we overcame that. now the math must take priority. we did it the k12 method with lots of math and even NML 5 days a week and lots of study island, but their method failed to work for him, so I am going back to trusting my own judgement of knowing his learning style that is not even part of the curriculum at k12.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Teacher = Mom

I have learned in the last 4.5 years with k12 that I am ultimately my child's biggest cheerleader and hardest critic.  I am the one that is in charge of his progress, his daily assignments. I am the teacher for him. the certified professional on the other side of the screen so to speak has 100 other kids to contend with.  I will execute the program to the best of my ability, however that being said.

if I do an assessment orally with my child. then that is the end of it. if I do an assessment as an open book exam with the help of google, everyone is just going to have to trust my judgement on that. I know him best, I know how far I can push him before he stops believing in himself. I know when to back off and he needs a break. that may or may not coincide with what the local, state, or fed's think is appropriate, but hey, they can go sit in on the other 99 kids, and actually teach them.

for this kid, if I say a youtube on the subject is good enough for the day, it is. if I say that the one hour of swimming 5 days a week for 12 weeks counts as the whole year, it does. if passing the spellingcity list is done, the rest of the busy work is not going to be done and that is the end of it.

I go in and I mark done absolutely everything that I feel meets the spirit of the lesson, and that is the end of it. we make 3% progress on paper every week, I do the record keeping on sunday nights, I mark 6 hours of attendance each day and it is never ever 6 hours a day, some days it is 2, some days it is 6, and some days it is 12. it is my judgement call, not the local, state, or feds call.

no one has ever come to my house to 'verify' that we have done XYZ, no one has ever asked for me to fax in a weeks worth of work at the end of the week.  now fortunately we have an electronic sample each week that is just a reporting, not physically done work. it is scores taken from the OLS. We take OLS as the spirit of the objective, not the letter of the law.  As long as he has answered the assessments in one fashion or another, I move on and do not quibble.

I used to WORRY about the benchmarks and state tests, what if. well so what, what if. many kids that never study (his brother) get exemplary without even trying. some kids fail due to test anxiety, it does not measure anything more than the temperature of the day IMO. so no, that is not my final indicator that this program is working. what is?

when we started, my child was 18 months behind in reading ability and 1 year behind in math. today he is 6 years ahead in reading ability and 1 year behind in math.  He is most likely 10 years ahead in science. I fill out the forms each week to stay in compliance, but ultimately my objective was to get the books and 'grades' accredited for those that can not see beyond the nose on their face when it comes to college acceptance. and really nothing more.

this program is excellent for training the newly B&M departed, it is training wheels to the education of our children. if I have a question, I can ask someone here, google it, whatever, so long as I can get the right information.  but ultimately I sign off on everything with my child and I bank and balance the work in OLS to make "them" happy.

for instance. my child working on algebra ever day for 30 days for 2.5 hours a day this summer, so I just stored that time up and progress, and then applied it over the last two weeks, while he is doing what he wants on science and literature.  He reads age appropriate books that are interesting to him, many that are not in OLS, but I mark off the number of chapters in there that correlate by progress, so we 'trade' one item for another. He would much rather read Lord of the Rings than Henry Huggins.

If you really want to take control of your child's education, there is still a way to do that at home. you just have to be proactive. ;)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Texas Science