Saturday, October 27, 2007

Kids Bored With Schoolwork? Play A Game!

I have a secret weapon in my homeschool. When the kids get bored or the day is ho-hum, I pull out an educational game. It's like sneaking blended up vegetables into macaroni and cheese. Your kids don't even know it's there, and they gobble it up. When we play these math games at our house, my kids don't even realize that they're practicing math. To them, they're just playing games with mom and having fun.
Math is an especially easy subject to practice with games. I started this when Keller was just 4. We took a set of dice and we each rolled one. He would count up the dots on the dice and decide who "won" that toss (whoever got the biggest number). Another easy "game" is to grab some cans of food out of your cupboard and label them with prices. Then give your kids a pile of coins and a shopping basket and tell them they have to come up with the right amount of money for each item. I remember my kids always begging me to not stop whenever we did that one. It was so easy and fun, and they learned some simple adding and the value of each coin in a heartbeat.
In language arts you can make a stack of nouns on index cards, some proper and some common, and they have to choose which ones are proper. Whoever grabs the most cards with proper nouns wins. These are some cheap and homemade games.
When you step into the world of manufactured educational games and products, your head will swim with the possibilities.
I bought an expensive globe last year and worried that I would regret it. It's called the
Oregon Scientific SmartGlobe.It has a game programmed into it that lets you compete against one another for who can find the most continents, countries, capitals of countries, and states. I've never had to devote any time to geography as a separate subject because of this globe (combined with mapwork during history and a large world map that we have on the wall).
There are entire web sites and catalogs devoted to educational games. Here are a couple:
Excellence In Education
Love To Learn

Whether you homeschool or not, play an educational game with your kids. They'll have fun, and you'll be happy knowing that they're learning! So go have fun with your kids!

Until later,

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Simple Pleasures

A tribute to the simple pleasures of life today. Like classic books and knitting to keep me busy when the kids are in bed. It's book club tonight and I'm looking forward to the discussion. Our book this quarter was so good, A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. Here's a wonderful quote about getting lost in a good book, taken from a book I just finished:
"The minutes and hours glided by as in a dream. When the cathedral bells tolled midnight, I barely heard them. Under the warm light cast by the reading lamp, I was plunged into a new world of images and sensations, peopled by characters who seemed as real to me as my room. Page after page I let the spell of the story and its world take me over, until the breath of dawn touched my window and my tired eyes slid over the last page. I lay in the bluish half-light with the book on my chest and listened to the murmur of the sleeping city. My eyes began to close, but I resisted. I did not want to lose the story's spell or bid farewell to its characters yet." -Carlos Ruiz Zafon The Shadow of the Wind.
Another simple pleasure is being able to hold your baby close and cuddle for a while. This pleasure doesn't come often enough for me, since Mary isn't a cuddler, but she's been sick and so I've been able to just hold her in my arms today. It won't be long until she's kicked out of her baby status by a new sister. How quick the time went. Enjoy your babies!
Until later,