Archives for February 2011

On-line Assessment

If you are concerned about whether your child is learning what they need to learn for their age, or if you want a diagnostic to know what to teach them, visit this site

It helped me assess my oldest son when he was going into grade 1. What I like about the assessment is that it begins at the easiest level and then works its way up so you get to see where your child is at versus whether they know the material for their specific level only. It is a well designed, interactive and intelligent test. When I say intelligent, this means that it will offer your child several options before it assumes that they know or don’t know the material and then  proceed to the next problem.

You will also be given a comprehensive report on what areas your child needs to pay more attention to and how you can help support them as they learn. I was pretty impressed with their report.

The other great thing is that you can re-take the test during the year so you can find out if they are improving as you teach them.

It may seem a little bit pricey, but it is worth it. And the more kids you sign up, the more reasonable it becomes. So gather a bunch of friends together and sign up together if that will help ease the burden.

I had my son take the Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment (DORA) and Diagnostic Online Math Assessment (DOMA). Even though I sat down beside him, I made sure that I didn’t “aid” his answers. This is an important factor. If you feel that you cannot control yourself, ask a friend or relative to be the one to sit beside your child so that the results will be objective and useful to you.

Are You A Tiger Mom?

In the January 31 issue of Time Magazine, I came across the article, “The Roar of the Tiger Mom.” It is about Yale Law Professor, Amy Chua, and her account of raising her two daughters, Sophia and Lulu, which she wrote about in her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Her prepublication excerpt in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” was circulated online.

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1. Oxford University Press – Oxford Practice Grammar – I like this site because you can take a grammar test to see what grammar you need to work on. It helps when you start teaching grammar to your kids so you don’t pass on bad habits 😉

2. Grammar Blast – This is a fun site for the kids to practice their grammar and it is arranged by levels so it is specific to the skills your child needs.

Board Games That Teach

San Juan Board Game

When my brother visited from the U.S. this past Christmas, he brought us a bunch of board games which we learned how to play with my siblings and their spouses. A couple of years back he also introduced us to two games called Catan and Dominion. But recently, he picked up a few other games that gave us hours of bonding time — namely Puerto Rico, San Juan, and 7 Wonders.

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Look At My Work, Mom and Dad!

Dimensione mobile to hang artwork instead of photos

Animal origami hanging from mobile

This is a fun way to showcase your child’s work. For my boys, this mobile from Dimensione worked for their origami.

Kids love it when their work is displayed around the house. But, I know that some parents don’t want to post everything up on the walls. This could be a good solution.

It has worked as an art piece in the boys room and we juts change what is hanging on it from time to time to keep it interesting.

Goals or Love? Love!

Today’s homeschooling was a little bit tough earlier this morning. I had recently created a chart for the kids which had their goals for each day on it. For every goal that they accomplished, they got to check off the little box in front. At the end of the week, if they accomplished their goals, they would get a prize.

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Take It Outdoors!

Edan draws a cityscape

Elijah finishes his imaginary city

Titus is one cool dude in the city

I brought the kids outdoors for some Charlotte Mason-style homeschooling. The boys copied the buildings they saw. We hunted for taproot and fibrous root systems. I read a couple of stories to them and discussed science.  Elijah drew a diagram of a branch and labeled parts like terminal bud, terminal bud scar, and some other words I actually can’t remember. In between, the three of them threw a miniature football around to expend their energy. Of course we had snacks, too!

Edan's finished work

Don’t confine your idea of homeschooling to a “classroom” set-up. There are so many ways to make learning fun for your kids. You can take learning outdoors and you will find that you enjoy it as a teacher, too! There is something about being outdoors with all the open space that makes you come alive!

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Prepare Your Child for Life Success

Life success is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love others as yourself.  It is a life defined by peace, faith, true joy, and legacy – making a difference in this world for Jesus Christ.

Parenting success is doing everything we can to prepare our children for life success.

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Baking and Learning

The kids get ready to bake chocolate chip cookies

Baking cookies is a fun way to teach several important skills which I have listed here:

  • Character – Everyone wants to have a role so they learn how to cooperate, be patient, and take turns (social development). They also learn how to be careful (don’t touch the hot tray or oven), put things back, and clean up.
  • Fine motor – They learn how to scoop and pour.
  • Gross motor – My sons get their arms worked out when they mix the dough. I don’t use the mixer for Chocolate Chip Cookies (but it does taste better when you mix everything with a mixer)

Elijah measuring out the floor. It's okay to make a mess!

  • Math – Measuring using a cup or spoons (fractions). They also learn estimation because we don’t put in all the sugar or salt that the recipe calls for. You can also ask questions like, how many cookies do you think we will be able to make with this dough?
  • Language – We communicate, dialogue together and they need to listen to instructions. For my eldest, Elijah, he can read the instructions himself.
  • Science – Although we didn’t cover this the last time we baked, there is something to be learned about chemistry and how matter changes from solid to liquid to solid.
  • Home Economics – They are learning how to use and handle tools in the kitchen.

Edan mixes the eggs

And of course, the best part is there is a reward for all that work and effort – yummy dough (but don’t eat too much because of the raw eggs) and yummy cookies! I don’t have a picture to show because we ate them all!