Thursday, December 3, 2009

MOVING BLOG TO NING

Peace Blessings Balance I have tranferred my blog entries over to my new ning "Homeschooling on a Budget and Outside of the Box" I wanted to create a space for like minded homeschoolers to connect because WHERE THERE IS UNITY THERE IS STRENGTH
PEACE

Join and connect with other like minds on your homescholing journey.

www.creativehomeschooling.ning.com


Visit Homeschooling on a Budget and Outside of the Box

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/MahoganyHomeschooler.rss

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/MahoganyHomeschooler.rss

Yes I am taking my blog to the next level. I will be airing in the coming weeks on blogtalk radio talking about various subjets pertaining to homeschooling.

COMING SOON!!! ~Peace~

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Homescholing on a Budget

With all the boxed curriculum's and programs out you start to wonder if you can afford to homeschol. I will say that after homeschooling for the past 61/2 years I have spend very little money. You can spend as much or as little as you like depending on what you want to use. I will list a few resources and techniques we have used over the years that have saved us lots of money.

1. PUBLIC LIBRARY the library can be one of your most vital resources. It's free! You can find any book on any subject that you are working on. Most libraries are also accessible online and that's a time saver. Instead of taking hours physically searching in the library, you can find the books you want online and place them on hold so that you can go and pick them up. Alot of libraries also give homeschoolers the same advantages as teachers allowing you to tap into more resources not generally available to the public. The library is also a great way to meet other homeschoolers. You can take the opportunity to print out worksheets, make copies and some libraries have laminators. Your tax dollars help maintain this vital resource so take full advantage.

2. INTERNET The educational possibilities are endless. There are dozens of websites that offer free worksheets on every subject in every grade. A lot of the material you will find in some of the workbooks on the market can be found online. There are a lot of sites that offer memberships which allow access to thousands of worksheets, lesson plans, unit studies etc. Most offer a one time fee between $20 and 40 for the entire year which is not much considering all the frivolous things we spend our money on at a moments notice. The only downside (if you want to call it a downside) is that you will consume a of of paper and ink. I would only print out what I know I would use so that unnecessary paper and ink are wasted.

3. Building an In Home Library I posted a blog about this in my earlier postings. You can purchase books used and save a lot of money. There are some reference books that you may want to keep in your home such as a dictionaries (1 child, 1 adult), thesaurus, spelling aides, encyclopedias and books of that nature. You can also purchase books based on the subject matter you are working on. The more literature you have in your home, the more they will want to read.

4. Your Community I'm sure there are a lot of places that you have never thought of visiting or even knew were there. You may want to take your child on a field trip to your local recycling plant, or volunteer at a nursing home. If you live near a farm, that is a great place to take you children so they can see how food grows and the hard work it takes to make the farm function. Most towns and cities have a website providing information on activities that are being held (most of them being free) or very inexpensive. If their are no activities being offered in your area and you have neighbors and friends with children, try coming together and planning activities. There are many learning opportunities within our own neighborhoods, we just have to be creative and resourceful.


EBAY If you choose the boxed curriculum route, you do not have to spend large amounts of money. If you go on Ebay, there are many people who have complete boxed curriculums, text books, workbooks etc, that they have not used or slightly used and want to get rid of at a fraction of the retail price. Craig's list is also has a wealth items for sale. Some boxed curriculums can even be bought in segments instead of all together so you can purchase as you go along if you can't afford to purchase all at once.

THE DOLLAR STORES Don't sleep on the dollar stores because they have really upgraded in the past few years. Dollar Tree carries educational posters along with most of the supplies you will need.

When it comes to homeschooling on a budget, money management, it crucial. If we can spent $100 on sneakers, $30 on nails that only last a week or 2 and things like that, we can invest in our children's education and not break the pockets. ~Peace~

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tapping Into Your child's Learning Style

Knowing your child's learning styles will help you in deciding how you want to homeschool your children. Once you know the best ways your children are able to learn, you can then custumizr your lessons to better suite the child. YOu can then help your children to strengthen the areas they may not be as strong in. If you have multiple children, creating a one size fit all lesson plan may stunt a child's growth. You may have a set of identical twins and need to manipulate your lessons to accomadate their very different learning styles. One of the ways you can tap into their learning styles is by watching them play and how they communicate. I will list the various learning styles and how to pick upon them. (This informaton on learning styles below originally ran in the Parent to Parent column)

SPATIAL VISUAL LEARNER -- Needs and likes to visualize things; learns through images; enjoys art and drawing; reads maps, charts and diagrams well; fascinated with machines and inventions; plays with legos; likes mazes and puzzles. Often accused of being a daydreamer in class. MOTIVATING TIPS -- Use board games and memory devices to create visual patterns. In reading suggest visual clues. Offer picture books of all types; when reading chapter books together, encourage visualization of story and scenes at intervals. Promote writing via colored pens, computer or drawing.

KINETIC LEARNER -- Processes knowledge through physical sensations; highly active, not able to sit still long; communicates with body language and gestures. Shows you rather than tells you; needs to touch and feel world; good at mimicking others; likes scary amusement rides; naturally athletic and enjoys sports. Often labeled with attention deficient disorder. MOTIVATING TIPS -- Physical action is the key ingredient to stimulating this student. While reading, let child chew gum, walk around, rock or ride stationary bicycle. Use numerous hands-on activities and experiments, art projects, nature walks or acting out stories.

LANGUAGE-ORIENTED LEARNER -- Thinks in words, verbalizes concepts; spins tales and jokes; spells words accurately and easily. Can be a good reader or prefer the spoken word more; has excellent memory for names, dates and trivia; likes word games; enjoys using tape recorders and often musically talented. MOTIVATING TIPS -- Encourage creation of own word problems. Have child dictate a story to you and watch while you write it or type it out on a word processor -- then child can share it with you. Read aloud together and tape session for later playback. Consider purchasing some book/tape selections.

LOGICAL LEARNER -- Thinks conceptually, likes to explore patterns and relationships; enjoys puzzles and seeing how things work; constantly questions and wonders; capable of highly abstract forms of logical thinking at early age; computes math problems quickly in head; enjoys strategy games, computers and experiments with purpose; creates own designs to build with blocks/legos. MOTIVATING TIPS -- Do science experiments together and have child record results; use computer learning games and word puzzles. Offer context clues as a reading aid. Introduce non-fiction and rhyming books. When reading fiction, discuss relation of story to real-life situations and people.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Unit Studies

Peace,
Unit studies are a great way top include all of your children while teaching around a certain topic. I incoporate a lot of unit studies in my lesson. Because of the range of ages in children, I am able to provide a themed lesson that all of my children can participate in on their own indivual level. When creating your lessons you are taking that theme and incorporating every subject from math and science to geography and art. We are currently working on an autumn themed unit study which I will be sharing in the coming weeks.


This video is a homeschooling mom giving a brief example of a unit study and lapbooking project on butterflies she has prepared for her children. I wanted to share this video as a visual example of what a unit study may consist of.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Now that We got all the Legal Stuff Out of the Way

Once you have squared all your legal requirements if any away, now the journey can really begin. This may be a little overwhelming but relax, it's not as hard as you may think it is. We all may have a concept of what school is based on our own personal experienced in the public school system. You have to in a sense deprogram yourself from the public school setting. Homeschooling does not have to be at all what we experienced growing. You can make it a fun enjoyable learning experience for you and your children. It can really be a holistic experience enlightening the mind, body and spirit. No two homes are alike. There are many different methods of homeschooling. It all depends on your family's needs and wants. Some families teach out of a boxed curriculum where the lessons are already prepared for you. In a boxed curriculum you have to do very little in terms of finding resources, however, there isn't much room for extras outside of the box. Some families, such as myself are what some consider eclectic. I like to pull from all kind of resources to create my own curriculum. When creating your own lessons, it takes a lot of time and research but to me it's worth it. You are able to customize your lessons for each individual child and incorporate a lot of different activities. Some families unschool their children where they let their children lead the educational process. The parents provide a rich environment reflective upon what their child's interest are. The possibilities are endless. If you are concerned about what your child should be learning in different grades, there are a few books that lay out a scope of what is learned in each subject in every grade. I recommend Home Learning Year by Year How to Design a homeschool Curriculum from Preschool through High School by Rebecca Rupp. Very good book. So take it slow. You set the standard. All children learn differently at different rates so don't get upset when your child doesn't pick something up right way. Homeschooling allows the time for real learning and growth. Peace

The Legal Steps to Take Before Homeschooling

I know there are so many of you out there want to homeschool your children but don't really know where to start. Before you really get into the fun part of the homeschool journey, you must first cover all legal areas. It is legal to homeschool your children in all states, however the laws from state to state vary. Each state is different. Some states do not require you to report to your Board of Education or take any standardized test. some states may require you have some kind of teaching certificate, or you have to present your curriculum to the Board for review and approval. It varies, so please make sure you research the homeschooling laws. If you have a child in the public school system an d would like to withdraw them, call you child's school and ask for the necessary steps. Do not just pull them out without going through the proper procedures. It can be something as simple as writing a note. When withdrawing your children from school ask for all paper work i.e. shot records, parent info., anything pertaining to your child. You do not want any unnecessary paperwork floating around in the system. Once you know the homeschooling laws of the land in which you reside then the fun part can begin. I have added a link to a site with the homeschool laws in all states.
http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp
Peace

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Enchanted Learning

I just subscribed to www.enchantedlearning.com. It is a great site to supplement your homeschooling curriculum. It's only $20 for the ENTIRE YEAR!! You are able to click on target grade levels you need and weed out all the other unneccessary activities that don't pertain your child's working level. They also carry tons of worksheets and quizes in all the basic subjects. This site will be the best $20 investment you wil make and that's nothing when you see your children learning and loving it:)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Baby Wearing

Baby wearing is known in just about all cultures around the world for thousands of years. It is not only a convenent way to carry your child, but it is a very intimate experience between you and your baby....oh did I mention convenient??:) How many times have you tried to put down a little one to sleep and as soon as you are ready to get down to business they wake up? Carrying your baby in a sling is a very easy way of getting your work done and always being in the company of your little one. Some people say that being so attached to your child for so long will leave them to be very dependent,but it is the opposite. Children are more confident and sure of themselves as they get older because they got that love and closeness from their mother. In order to carry your baby, you don't have to spend a lot of money on a snuggly or anything like that. There are many different styles and techniques. I use about 6 yards of stretchy cotton fabric. I received a lot of inquiries on how to wrap it and it's a little hard to explain it. I found a video on youtube that wraps her baby exactly the way I wrap mine.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Great Healthy Way to Use Left Over Rice

I am a big believer in "Waste not want Not", so we are always finding ways to make new dishes out of our left overs. We tend to always have rice left over a meal so we have come up with a great way to turn in into a breakfast dish. It filling, nutritious and the children love to help preparing it. I am not a big fan of rice pudding but the concept is pretty much the same.
We eat Indian Basmati rice, but I'm sure it Will taste great with all kinds:)

We heat up the rice add a little bit of water to soften it up. Then we use:
Soy milk - add as much as you like depending on how thick you want it.
Honey - to sweeten
Cinnamon
Margarine (we use Earth Balance)
After it's all mixed, sweetened an seasoned to taste, pour it while is nice and hot. Here comes the fun part:) The children cut up all sorts of fruit, apples, bananas,strawberries, gooseberries or whatever you like and mix them into the rice .The children are participating and being proactive in their health. Try It Out and Let me know how it turns out:) ~Peace & Blessings~

Some of MY FAVORITE YOUTUBE VIDEOS ON MAKING YOUR OWN CLEANING SUPPLIES

When making the liquid soap I used Nubian Heritage soap and added a few drops of Tea Tree oil as it is a natural antimicrobial. The consistency is so rich you would think it came out of the stores. IT REALLY WORKS!!!!

Fun, Thrifty and Economical Homemade Items



The times we are living in today are pretty hard times and could be harder for some. Through the years my husband and I made a commitment to be as self sufficient at possible. I have found and used a lot of homemade recipes for cleaning and everyday use. They really work! I used to be skeptical thinking that in order for a cleaner to work you had to smell all the chemicals and realized that those chemicals were the very thing that were harming my family. There a very basic products you can keep in your home that are inexpensive and can be bought at just about any grocery store.

The following ingredients are

*Baking Soda
*Vinegar
*Rubbing Alcohol
*Washing Soda (can be found near laundry detergent in most stores)
*Murphy's Oil Soap (something I use on my floors but can used on any wood)
*Dr Bronners Castile Soap (can be used alone) $ sizes may vary ranging from $3 for 2oz to $50 per gallon- a Gallon can last up to a year depending on how often you use
*Bleach (I use mostly in the bathroom diluted with water only)
Your more costly ingredients would be essential oils, but recipes only require a few drops and they last a long time. You can purchase them at your local health food store. My favorite brand is Aura Cacia.

All Purpose Cleaner
A clean 32 ounce trigger spray bottle
2 teaspoon borax
4 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 cup Dr. Bronners
Essential oil of lemon, tea tree or lavender
Hot water (enough to fill bottle)
Instructions: Fill bottle 1/4 full with hot water then add borax. Shake to completely dissolve borax. Next add vinegar, home soap, and 20-25 drops essential oil. Fill the rest of the bottle with hot water. Gently shake mixture. Ready for use. **It's a good idea to clearly label your bottle as "cleaner"

Dust Furniture Polish
Ingredients:
A clean 16 ounce trigger spray bottle
2 teaspoon olive oil ( vegetable oil)
Essential oil of lemon, tea tree or lavender
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
Hot water (enough to fill bottle)
Instructions: Mix 20 drops of essential oil, olive oil, and vinegar with hot water in bottle. Gently shake mixture. Ready for use. You have to shake this occasionally as you are using it for the oil separates in the water.**It's a good idea to label your bottle as "cleaner"

Dryer Sheets/Fabric Freshener
Ingredients: Your favorite essential oils
Instructions: Add freshness to baby's clothes with a few drops of essential oil in rinse water or put a few drops on towel and throw in the dryer.

Glass Cleaner All natural, powerful, AND inexpensive
Ingredients: 1 cup white distilled vinegar
1 cup distilled water
3 drops essential oil of your choice
Instructions: Mix all ingredients together. Pick an oil you'd like, or just skip.

Sterilize Sponges and Rags in Your Microwave I also recommend you modify the way you use your existing towels, sponges, rags and other conventional tools you use to clean your home with, as 1) they are some of the top sources for illness-causing germs in your home; and 2) they do a very poor job of cleaning the biological and toxic aspects of dirt in your home Microwaves are horrible for cooking, but GREAT for sterilizing these items! A University of Florida team found that putting your wet sponge in the microwave for two minutes at full power could kill 99 percent of a wide range of bacteria, viruses and parasites (including B. cereus spores after four minutes, which are normally able to survive extreme heat and radiation). Keep in mind, however, that you MUST SOAK THE SPONGE BEFORE MICROWAVING IT, or else it will likely catch fire and possibly ruin the microwave, if not your house. Additionally, the way this works is by causing the water in the sponge to turn to hot steam, which is what kills the bacteria. Also make sure the sponges do not contain any metallic components. Zapping your sponges in the microwave every other day will decontaminate them better than simply putting them in the dishwasher, which is the strategy I had been using previously.


BABY WIPES RECIPE
Step One
Strong paper towels work the best. Cut one roll of paper towels in half. Take out the core so wipes pull out of the center.
Step Two
Make solution.
2 cups water
1/2 cup of baby oil
1/4 cup baby magic baby bath or 1/8 cup Dr Bronners Baby Mild Castile Soap
Step Three
Place 1/2 roll of paper towels in container. Pour solution over towels. Store in container. Makes 2 1/2 rolls.
****A word of caution on making homemade cleaners: never mix bleach with any type of acid such as ammonia or vinegar. It will cause toxic fumes that are very dangerous
These recipes are fun to make with the children, Most of the ingredients are non-toxic ** I HIGHLY RECOMMEND KEEPING ESSENTIAL OILS AWAY FROM YOUNG CHILDREN AND CLOSELY SUPERVISE OLDER CHILDREN- As some essential oils can irritate the skin and eyes**

TRY THEM OUT AND HAVE FUN. MAKE A PROJECT OUT OF IT AND SEE HOW MUCH MONEY YOU SAVE MAKING YOUR OWN VERSUS BUYING DIFFERENT PRODUCTS EVERY MONTH
~BLESS~

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teach Our History

My husband and I have have been on a mission to make sure that our children know "Self" and our beautiful Afirkan culture and heritage. We have come across some very deep and intellectual brethren and sistren who have made it their lifes work to open the minds eye of our people and to come back to the "Ma'at" balance. Ashra kwesi is a very deep intellectual brethren that my husband had the liberty of meeting a while back. He has a website selling his lectures. His DVDs would make great supplements to your homeschooling curriculum.

www.ashrakwesi.com



Monday, January 26, 2009

Using Reading Strategies

I am an avid reader and through my own "formal" school years have exceled in english and reading. I truly believe that a solid foundation to any academic education is reading. When I began homeschooling my eldest, we went over shapes,colors, and those sorts of things, but as soon as she showed an interest in reading at age 4 we went for it. We started her on the Hooked on Phonics program and she completed it in and was reading at at a 1st/2nd grade level by age 5. Everything was so much easier for her and she seemed to excel because she was reading on her own,able to read directions, and just wanting to read everything. Now she is at another level of reading where we are dissecting stories and other genres of text to look for meaning and understanding. We are using a list of reading strategies that are working well. We as adults probably use some of these strategies as we read. For example, you may look at the title and pictures before you begin reading a story or you may think about what you want to find out while reading. Using these strategies can help your child/student become a better reader.Here is a list of strategies that will improve their reading.

1. Use Decoding/Phonics - once your children have an understanding of phonics, they will be able to break down a word and pronounce it correctly.

2. Make and Confirm Prediction- it's good to ask your child what they think will happen next in a story, hightening their anticipation. They will want to continue reading hoping to confirm their prediction and see what the outcome is going to be. It brings a sense of excitement.

3.Create Mental Images- Whether the story has pictures or not as you read a story you are still able to create your own mental images as to what is going on or will go on in a story. I encourage mental imagery when my daughter reads chapter books because not only does she become more interested in the story, but it sure make for a great art project as well:)

4.Self Question- Sometimes we read and ask ourselves different questions while we read; Why is this happening? why would they do a things like that?, etc. You may be surprised how deep a child can get into a story.

5.Summarize-Summarizing is great while reflecting on what they have read. It shows how much of an understanding they have of the story and how well they pick up on details.

6. Read Aloud- Reading aloud is very good for the shy child or child who may have a little trouble with phonetics. You will be able to coach thet shy child and give them confidence in their reading and help the child who is having phonetic trouble. I have tutored children who may look at a word and it's first two letters and say a completely wrong word or skip words entirely. Those are things that need to be addressed early on.

7. Reread to Clarify- it is good to have your children reread things to check their level of understanding.

8.Use Context to Confirm Meaning-The definition of a word is not always expressed in a story as it would be in a dictionary. Your child may have to use context clues to find the definition of a word. (Example Grasp. to take hold of something tightly with the hands. Onye grasped the bars on the jungle gym set and pulled herself up.)

9.Use Text Structure and Format- Explaining how different text is formated and structured i.e. poetry,short stories etc. it will open up another level of understanding beyond just the text itself.

10. Adjust Reading Rate- Sometimes you may want your child to pick up the pace or slow down their reading. They may be reading at quicker pace , but not grasping the meaning of the text or they could be reading to slow or not enough to get to the meaning. It all depends on the project and the depth of the reading.

YOu will defenitely want to

be aware of what they do understand,

identify what they do not understand, and

use appropriate "fix-up" strategies to resolve problems in reading and comprehension.

I use these strategies myself so it's not just for the children:)Peace

Good Book to Incorporat Into Your history Lessons

This is a book that my 7 year old has been reading for history. This book is a historical fiction set during the time of the "Reconstruction Period" This book is meant for children ages 8 and up, but it depends on your child's level of understanding and reading level. It is about a 12-year-old orphaned slave who leaves South Carolina in search of a Freedmen's Bureau during the Reconstruction Period to claim the "40 acres and a mule"that was promised to them. I have compiled some subjects found in the book that can be expanded upon for further study.
Reconstruction Era
Freedman's Bureau
Emancipation Proclamation
Political Parties (Democarat/Republican etc.)
Abraham Lincoln
Carpet Baggers
Scalewags
Abolitionist
Bureau of Refugees
Freedman
Abandoned Lands
Union Leagues
Ku Klux Klan
Black Codes
Civil Rights Act
Southern Laws during slavery
There are also many vocabulary words that can be found and used for spelling and vocabulary activities. I always read a chapter ahead of my daughter so that I can create a vocab list of words that we can go over before we read so she has a complete understanding of the text. tyhis is where she also gets her practice using the dictionary and thesaurus. You can also go across the curriculum using the southern states in geography lessons, art, science and math. This is a good book and very readable. It is filled with many words and subjects that can bring forth many ideas and activities in your schooling.Much sucess on your journey ......~Light~