Homeschool Resources

Challenge the Norm, who me? No, YOU!

Since New Year’s day is typically a time of reflection and resolutions, I thought it a good time to ask you to look at your norm and consider how it could be improved. I’m sure you are already at the gym, grinding up a fresh glass of green juice or deciding what fish to bake for dinner (or at least you will be by tomorrow), but I want to push you farther than that.

I know for me, I question everything. Why do we do it that way? Do we have to? Can we change it? How do I change it? This type of thinking started with my food and the way I eat which naturally expanded to my body, how I care for it and help it heal. The progression continues with how I choose to educate my child and the daily emotional state I want for him. More than anything I want him to be in a positive, healthy state of mind and confident with himself, his abilities and choices.

I talk to people every day about homeschooling. I understand that not everyone can or wants to solely take on the challenge of educating their child(ren), but what so many don’t understand is that there is nothing about ‘homeschooling’ that means ‘alone’. You are only alone if you choose to be. If you push yourself for experiences, friendships, and adventures, they are out there. I consider myself Sebastian’s manager or personal assistant. I teach him subjects that I can and want to teach him. The rest is outsourced to instructors, groups, and environments of my choosing. That’s the difference. People and places that I have vetted to ensure he is getting the most out his time. That he is a getting a rich, fulfilling experience free of negative factors. It doesn’t mean that we don’t run into difficult people or challenging tasks, but we are together to talk about and work through them. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have a child for other people to do the majority of the raising.

This brings me to ask you to look at where your child spends the majority of their time. Who are their biggest influencers? Do those people have your child’s best interest at heart? Do they share your values? And if they didn’t would you even know?

A 5-day work week has 120 hours. If your child is asleep 9 hours a night then that is 45 hours, leaving 75 hours that they are awake. If the average school day is 7 hours, then they are at a public, government facility 35 hours a week, typically by the time they are 43,800 hours old.  This leaves 40 hours during these five days for passion learning (sports, art, music, tech), dinner, family bonding, and HOMEWORK! (what the heck did they do for 35 hours during the week?) These numbers worsen for middle schoolers and high schoolers.

Why do I ask you to look at this? Simply to ask yourself if this is the best use of their time? You only have 18 years (157,680 hours) to mold and shape this fellow human being into a healthy, happy, loving adult.  How can you best accomplish that goal? When you really look at them….are they their healthiest? happiest? most well-rested? We all know that rest, a good physical and mental mindset is the minimum necessary to learn and absorb new information.

I stumbled upon the following video a few weeks back and have been holding on to it waiting for the right time to present it. Today is my action day. The video breaks down 6 problems with our school system. They begin with explaining that our schools were first created during the industrial age to instill skills necessary for factory workers. Be on time. Take directions. Complete the task given. Don’t deviate from the instruction. The basic structure of kids sitting in a school room, taking instructions, listening to a lecture, memorizing facts and only being valued on the results of a written test has not changed for at least a 100 years. Is this what we value in today’s modern times? Contrary, we want workers who are creative thinkers, problem solvers, successful communicators, and collaborators.  Is this new, modern person who you are raising?

At school, they have zero autonomy and no control over the structure of their day. They are even told when they can/cannot talk and when they can talk, how loud it can or can’t be! In a successful career, you are asked every day to independently make decisions about what to do and when. Would you be happy being told what to do all day, every day? We place this high value on teaching language at a young age…..why is teaching autonomy and self-control so undervalued that we don’t give over even a portion of this freedom until so much later in life? Who ultimately wants to control us so badly that it must be indoctrinated so young?

If you get nothing from my ‘food for thought’ at least consider where you stand on standardized testing. There is a reason that there are now SO many groups of parents in Texas assembling to fight against STAAR and opting out! Follow the money if you’re a doubter. Do you think 13 billion per year for standardized testing is good use of the Texas education budget? Could we do more with that money and modernize our system to individualized learning?

“The Big Picture framework allows us to personalize each child’s education. Each child is a unique individual with different needs, talents, and interests. But a standardized system has no room for such differences. By personalizing education, we are able to cater to the unique needs and interests of each child. So education can be about what the child wants to learn, their passions, interests, and curiosity. This makes education relevant and engaging for each child, as opposed to a standardized system where knowledge is force-fed to children regardless of what they want to learn – their interests, talents, and needs.”  This excerpt is taken from a forward-thinking school called ‘Next‘.

I encourage you to spend 5 minutes watching this video as I only touched on a few of the ‘problems’ discussed. At the very least, question your day-to-day and be 100% sure that public school and traditional learning is best serving your unique, little human(s).

 

Homeschool Resources

Outline of ‘2nd Grade’

My resourceful friend, Gretchen, provided me with some information from our former public school that helped me put together these guidelines for our ‘school’ year.  Looking at the items, we are already weeks into several of the topics. I have been able to ID two areas of weakness that I plan to push harder into. Thankfully several other topics already seem to be coming naturally for Sebastian. Overall I would be surprised if at the rate we are going we take longer than one semester to complete the entire list. I am planning to incorporate lesson plans/worksheets/tools from education.com to help me expand on two of the core topics and really push the limits of his knowledge in language arts & math.  In addition to what is below, we are incorporate learning Spanish by translating our spelling words and quizzing on both languages. Next week Sebastian starts a fine arts class and a computer coding class….but I will save the fun details for another post!

Math

Big Concepts:

  • Place Value to 1,200
  • Money and Time
  • Graphing
  • Geometry and Fractions
  • Multiplication and Division
  • Measurement
  • Personal Financial Literacy
  • Addition/subtraction with regrouping

Language Arts

Reading:

  • Shift from learning to read to reading to learn
  • Fluency
  • Deepen Comprehension
  • Main Idea & Details
  • Inferring

Writing

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Genre Writing
  • Personal Narrative, Expository, Letter Writing, Imaginative, Writing, Poetry

Science

  • Living/Nonliving
  • Habitats/Adaptations
  • Weather
  • Force & Motion
  • Rocks & Minerals
  • Matter & Energy
  • Health & Well

Social Studies

  • My Community
  • Government
  • Timelines
  • Biographies
  • Landforms
  • Economics
Homeschool Resources

Planning Resource & Thoughts for our Future

In addition to our homeschooling adventures, I want to save and share homeschooling resources and articles I find here on the blog.

This is a great, inspiring article from another HS mom that is very organized with her lesson plans.  I can see needing this type of organization when we take on managing multiple subjects, more in depth. You can read the article here on the THSC website:  Homeschool Planning Resource

My friend, Gretchen, showed me this eye-opening article about our future.  I love the analogy to the photo industry.  It further strengthens my resolve to homeschool. I think often about what my son may do as an adult. These points further shatter what we think we know about the future and the plans we make for our children. If I read anything between the lines, it’s that you must stay adaptable. Teach your children to free-think and problem solve. Stay flexible and open-minded when it comes to their education. Their biggest asset may end up being their ability to learn new things and acclimatize to new circumstances. The source for the original post is here by Udo Gollub.

“In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they got bankrupt.

What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 year – and most people don’t see it coming.

Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on paper film again?

Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels but followed Moore’s law.

So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a long time, before it became way superior and got mainstream in only a few short years.

It will now happen with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture, and jobs.

Welcome to the Exponential Age! Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.………

Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years… 

Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world.

Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. 

This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected. 

In the US, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. 
So if you study law, stop immediately. 

There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.

Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, 4 times more accurate than human nurses.

Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. 

In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear for the public. 

Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. 
You don’t want to own a car anymore. 

You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. 

You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. 

Our kids will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car. It will change the cities because we will need 90-95% fewer cars for that.

We can transform former parking space into parks. 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide.

We now have one accident every 100,000 km, with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 10 million km.

That will save a million lives each year.

Most car companies might become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. Engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; they are completely terrified of Tesla.

Insurance companies will have massive trouble because, without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.

Electric cars will become mainstream until 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all cars will run on electric.

Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can only now see the impact.

Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil.

The price for solar will drop so much that all coal companies will be out of business by 2025.

With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter. We don’t have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.

Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. 
There will be companies who will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample, and your breath into it.

It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease. 
It will be cheap, so in a few years, everyone on this planet will have access to world class medicine, nearly for free.

3D printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from 18,000$ to 400$ within 10 years. In the same time, it became 100 times faster. 
All major shoe companies started 3D printing shoes. Spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for a lot of spare parts they used to have in the past.

At the end of this year, new smartphones will have 3D scanning possibilities. 
You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home. In China, they already 3D printed a complete 6-storey office building. By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed.

Business opportunities: If you think of a niche you want to go in, ask yourself: “in the future, do you think we will have that?” and if the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner? If it doesn’t work with your phone, forget the idea. And any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century.

Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a small time.

Agriculture: There will be a 100$ agricultural robot in the future. 
Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all days in their fields. Aeroponics will need much less water.

The first petri dish produced veal is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced veal in 2018.

Right now, 30% of all agricultural surface is used for cows. Imagine if we don’t need that space anymore.

There are several startups who will bring insect protein to the market shortly.
It contains more protein than meat.

It will be labeled as “alternative protein source” (because most people still reject the idea of eating insects).

There is an app called “Moodies” which can already tell in which mood you are.
Until 2020 there will be apps that can tell by your facial expressions if you are lying.

Imagine a political debate where it’s being displayed when they are telling the truth and when not.

Bitcoin will become mainstream this year and might even become the default reserve currency.

Longevity: Right now, the average life span increases by 3 months per year.

Four years ago, the life span used to be 79 years, now it’s 80 years.

The increase itself is increasing and by 2036, there will be more than one year increase per year.

So we all might live for a long long time, probably way more than 100.

Education: The cheapest smartphones are already at 10$ in Africa and Asia.

Until 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smartphone.

That means, everyone has the same access to world class education.

Every child can use Khan Academy for everything a child learns at school in First World countries.

Already released software in Indonesia and will release it in Arabic, Swahili, and Chinese this Summer, because of an enormous potential.

English app for free, so that children in Africa can become fluent in English within half a year………”   By Udo Gollub at Messe Berlin, Germany

Homeschool Resources, Leaving the Flock

Our First OFFICIAL Day

Last week was our ‘soft start’ and we selected today to be our official first day ‘back to school’. We had to make the most of playing with friends last week before they started back to public school today. We wish them all the best for a great year!!

We also met new friends in our local homeschool group. We had a two hour class of gymnasium instruction.

Gym Time
Gym Time

Today, we started the day with Minecraft math (addition and money) and added the coin names to our spelling list. While we drove, Sebastian read to me from Diary of a Minecraft Zombie. Then we went to a sword fighting/park date with more, new homeschooling friends. It is fascinating to hear everyone’s experiences and journies. Came home for lunch and an afternoon of writing, grammar and keyboarding. Sebastian made his first blog entry today publishing the final draft of his Minecraft story, ‘The Life of Steve‘. Talk about one excited kid! He could not stop jumping around after hitting ‘Publish’!

Last night I stumbled upon an article that said so well, many things I agree with regarding education. An excerpt from:

It’s Time to Rethink How We Are Educating Our Children

“The ability to adapt and learn something new should be valued above all else. Gone are the days where you pick a profession and just do that one thing for the rest of your life. People will need to know how to learn something new multiple times over in their lives. Not only because it will be the only way you’ll still be able to contribute to society, but also because our knowledge of the world and who we are is progressing incredibly quickly.”  

Homeschool Resources

How?

Funny before I had a child, I used to talk about ‘homeschooling my kids’ one day. Who knows in my 20’s why I thought that maybe I am a secret seer.  Over the last year, I joined a few local Facebook homeschool groups to just ‘see what they were up to’. What were they doing? What did their ‘day’ look like? How did they start? What were the requirements? SO many questions when the idea first pops into your head. After a few months of just reading and getting a comfort level with the idea, a post for a nearby convention popped up. I immediately wanted to go and plotted my course to attend, the Great Homeschool Convention.  I attended two seminars. One covered the basics and was so incredibly helpful on getting started.  One was more specific to the laws and groups in Texas.  I decided not to purchase any curriculum that day,  but rather take my time and first establish which one might be a good fit.  I was encouraged to read 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum to learn more about the options.

The time came to start sharing the education and comfort level I was gaining with my husband. We discussed the topic time and time again. Things like the influence of standardized testing in our state (STAAR) and why I am an advocate for opting-out as well as the truth behind Common Core were all high factors on our list.  I also sent him articles as they would come across my groups. Like these:  New Path to Harvard, Unschooling and Homeschool Myth. In the end, he let his faith and trust in my research and knowledge guide his blessing……so here we are – all in for 2017-18 as homeschoolers!

 In Texas, you are essentially forming your own private school in which you will teach your child the state required curriculum of five basic subjects: reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship. How, when and where you choose to do that is entirely up to you.  There is no reporting or monitoring in the state of Texas. When you begin it is encouraged to brand yourself and name your school. I let my son help choose a name and create a logo…..so was born,

‘Craft the Mind Academy’

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Visit Sir Ken Robinson

 

…and it definitely isn’t a fit for our family!