Thursday, January 22, 2009

Branching out to new resources

As the days of our homeschooling go on, I am finding our new found variety in teaching methods to be both overwhelming and awesome. There doesn't seem to be enough time to do and learn everything I would want! And with Nic's curiosity and eagerness to learn, well, its hard to not stray from the subject when our discussions lead to new questions and discoveries.

With realizing that Nicholas learns best from being read too and having visual or hands on stimulation, I have been planning our lessons using so much more than the standard textbook or worksheet. My greatest resource has been our county library in conjunction with joining a larger library system for a fee of $30 a year due to being outside of our county residence. $30 for a years worth of resources was well spent!! I have found math & science tutoring dvds, books on cd and even storybooks that relate to our studies to make learning more fun. And honestly, they help save my voice, because I can't be the only one reading aloud to both kids all day long!

The dvds on math have been a big help. The visual stimulation captures Nic's attention, and the way that they show examples seems to help him more than the way I explain things. One example is rounding numbers - I told him the rule of thumb about rounding up if its 5 or more, he did ok on a workbook activity but something seemed to be confusing him. The series "Getting Ahead:Mathematics" used a space alien named Numberella, who has a very soothing voice and British accent and looks like a squid with glasses in my opinion, uses her long tentacles to show him a number line and how 5 is halfway, and anything halfway or more goes up. Right then I saw it click for him! He just needed to SEE it! We watched the sections on rounding and estimating twice to absorb more of what was said and shown, and now both kids ask to watch it for fun. They both say its a video game show, the theme music really does sound like an older arcade game.

Yesterday we got our first taste of books on cd. I love reading and have always encouraged both children to be readers. I read aloud to them everyday, at the very least bedtime if not during the course of the day as well. I like having the extra time with Nic to read so much more now too, and it seems to me like he does as well. I had never considered books on cd before, the thought just never really occurred to me. It was Nic who first saw the red packets of books and cds at the Gwinnett Library last week. We looked thru them and decided to give em a try. Turns out the are pretty great, especially for times when we are in the car running errands! Yesterday we had to get some grocery shopping done, and on the way there and back we heard the story of "Max & Maddy and the Chocolate Money Mystery". Nicholas followed along in the book as well. This seems like a good resource to have around for times when life calls me away from being at his side teaching as well, he can listen in his room using his computer if he needs an activity and a quiet spot to go.

T.V. and the Internet have also become popular learning tool for us this week. Namely CNN and Wikipedia. Tuesday was a big day in American History and Nicholas was able to watch it live with our family, which I think was pretty special. During the morning ceremonies, Nicholas was literally counting down the minutes until President Obama's speech. He was a bit bored with it once Obama began talking, but still, he was witnessing history. Nic was most excited that this was the first time that there had been a new President for him to see, as George Bush was sworn into office just days after Nicholas was born and then again 4 years later. This year, he was old enough to understand and to be curious about the process. Even better, Nic's chosen candidate won the election :)

Wikipedia has helped answer questions Nicholas has had, and quickly. Whenever he asks something that we don't have the answer too, we say "Let's look it up!". Wikipedia has told us that JFK was the 35th President, Obabma is #44 and that an elephant has many uses for its tusks such as digging and marking (something we tried to guess while at the Zoo and later looked up to see who was closest). It's amazing to me the knowledge that exists at our fingertips. Having the skill to find an answer to a question is definitely a life skill, and Nicholas knows how to do it!

No comments: