Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Carnival of Cool Homeschoolers #5

Welcome to another edition of the Carnival of Cool Homeschoolers. I hope you enjoy reading the entries as much as I did.

Lydia of the Little Blue School shares her lesson plans for Treasure Island Homeschool Seminar: Literary Lesson Plans and Nautical Worksheets.

My son was lucky enough to have Lydia as his teacher for this seminar. A happier boy you never did see. Lydia had high expectations of the boys and they did not let her down. She has a masterful ability to stretch young children's minds while they are having more fun than should be legal. She has made all her lesson plans available to other homeschoolers. You can find them by clicking here.

She's teaching the Odyssey at our co-op this coming semester. Hopefully she'll make those lesson plans available as well.

Mother Hen from Ship Full O' Pirates has a post that is very topical for me. She talks about how to form habits in her children. Everyone in my family thrives on routines and we're feeling the lack of routine this summer vacation. We start up our school year on Monday (don't tell the kids though that they never really stopped school. I just stopped calling it school and changed how we did it.). We need to sit down and work out our routine for the school year. I like Mother Hen's tip about the white board. I am definitely going to copy this idea and tweak it for our family.
The last tool I am going to tell about right now is my white board. I use my white board like a specials board at a sidewalk cafe. I use it to tell about today. I write the name of the day, the date, the season, today’s high and low temperature, weather appropriate attire, where we will be going, what’s for dinner, and anything planned for the day that is out of the ordinary. I also like to write a Latin phrase across the bottom, for the children to figure out. They usually get it, sometimes they will need to discuss it with each other, but they are not allowed to ask me or their Father for assistance. If they really can’t figure any of it out, I will give hints. I might start doing vocabulary words this way as well. Anyway, having all this info on the white board cuts out a lot of repetitive (for me) questions. I don’t hold to these bits of info, rigidly. Some weeks or days I may decide that other bits of info are more pertinent at that time, so I hang loose on the content. But, it certainly eases my day to not have to answer the question, “What day is it?” 4 times in a 30 minute span.

Maria of Playful Learningposts beautiful pictures of her flower dissection. Ben and Shira are showing great interest in doing animal dissections. I am truly grateful that may other half is a pathologist and is not squeamish. I am just not up to dissecting animals with the kids. Flower are definitely more my speed. Our local medical school offers field trips to homeschoolers that take them through the anatomy lab. I need to arrange one for our group so that Ben and Shira can get their gore fix. They love going to work with Marc and seeing excised body parts. I think we have the only children in the world who can look at slides of tissue and say, "cancer". They love nothing better than to sit with their dad and learn how to recognize atypical cells.

After they dissected their flowers, Mariah and her children pressed them.

Staying with Mariah and her flowers, we see how she teaches her young children to arrange flowers. Thanks for the reminder Mariah, that young children need practical life activities that also add beauty to their lives.

Thomas West shares his second music practice tip Don't Exceed Your Brain's Speed Limit.
n the second of our ongoing series of practice tips, I intend to touch on one of the two biggest practice errors that I see students make. The whole article can be summed up in one phrase: BE PATIENT!

Most young students (and even some older ones) try to practice their music at a tempo that is quite simply just plain old TOO FAST!

The more complex the motor skills are for your instrument, the slower you will need to take the tempo and the more repetitions you will need to master the music in question. Instruments like piano, drum set, guitar, and violin have a higher number of independent fine motor skills required to perform than instruments such as the trumpet. For any instrument, you must begin learning a new piece of music by playing slowly - probably slower than you think you should go.

Why so slow? In order to perform a piece of music on an instrument, the brain has to accuate a sequence of events that go something like this:

The brain interprets the written notes
The brain uses memory to determine what the music should sound like if it is performed correctly
The brain sends signals to the various muscle groups involved in order to correctly perform the music
As the muscles are performing, the brain is monitoring the results and making adjustments
The brain also is analyzing the data using internal dialogue
At the end of the performance, the brain analyzes the results using internal dialog and chooses the next course of action

I've found that Thomas' practice tips have made a big difference in how Ben and Shira approach their piano practice. I hope they make as much difference in your children's lives.

Have you submitted your nominations for your favorite homeschool blog? Rush off to Alasandra's Homeschool Blog Awards and nominate your favorite adult, teen, child and group homeschool blogs.

Dianne of Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes writes about how to How To Find Emotional Intelligence and Positive Thinking In the Ballet World
"Train Your Brain: A Teen's Guide To Well Being" goes beyond tissue and bone into the wondrous creative realm every student experiences, and sometimes loses direction in. Deborah sets forth with help for you, the would-be ballerina or male ballet dancer, to gain more understanding and control over the demanding world you live in.

Any student of music, writing, and performing of any kind, needs to know some survival techniques to maintain emotional intelligence, and stick with positive thinking. Every new class, with new exams, and fierce competitions, can instigate implosions of self-doubts. How do you take command of your mental and emotional space before that important event? Or so you can sleep well every night?

Deborah designed this book so that teens and pre-teens could discover that there is a way to begin a dialogue about self-sabotaging beliefs and thoughts that so influence their patterns of behavior and success.

Silvia at Po Moyemu shares her family's experience radio controlled planes. Ben and Shira were given radio controlled helicopters for their seventh birthday. Unfortunately it appears that they still do not have the developmental skills to be able to fly the things. We've been thinking that radio control cars might be a better starting point. However, reading Silvia's account of her son's exploits makes me wonder if we don't need to find a club with experienced teachers. I'd much rather be flying gliders than radio controlled planes, but since we have such miserable thermic activity here at the coast, I know that the radio controlled planes will be more fun than the gliders.

Alvaro writes an interesting post on Learning & the Brain: Resources for EducatorsThere are a multitude of books about the brain. For educators, the best of these are books that demystify the language of neuroscience while providing information applicable to the teaching/learning process.

My find of the year is Emily's blog Armadillo's Book Blog. Emily has reviewed hundreds of children's books. Each review starts off with the following information
    Reading Level (Conceptual):
    Reading Level (Vocabulary):
    Year of publication:

The reading level information is worth its weight in gold. I often struggle to find reading material for my twins because of the disconnects between the conceptual and vocabulary levels in many books. Emily makes life so much easier for me. I've found this blog to be an invaluable resource, I hope you do as well.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of the carnival of cool homeschoolers using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.


Jennifer said...

You always have the most interesting things on your blog. It is so cool that your hubby is a pathologist. What homeschool co-op do you belong to? My kids are 10 and 15 and are bored being homeschooled because they don't have any interaction with other kids.

Shez said...

Thanks Jennifer. We go to http://www.hsobx.org/. this semester we're only doing one class, Lydia's Odyssey book club. There are quite a few co-ops in HR. Do you know about Southside Teens and Tidewater Teens? Your older child might enjoy that. The Southside one is for teens and tweens so both kids would enjoy that group

Silvia said...

From what I've been told, R/C helicopters are a lot more difficult to master, and are not similar to airplane flying, so the skills may not transfer. Cars would help in that you learn that you have to reverse your controls when the car is coming at you, as with a plane, but otherwise, there's no other benefit to starting there. But I'm no expert! I'd just go with a plane and find a nice R/C group. :)

Book said...

Super reading, thanks very much. I'm always on the hunt for great children's books and have recently discovered Bayard and their series of StoryBoxBooks, AdventureBoxBooks, DiscoveryBoxBooks They have work by acclaimed children's books illustrator Helen Oxenbury appearing in the Storybox series for September. In addition to this, they also have some great activities for rainy days: http://www.storyboxbooks.com/potatoprinting.php, http://www.adventureboxbooks.com/macaroni-picture-frames.php, http://www.discoveryboxbooks.com/skittles.php Enjoy!

Shez said...

Book, those Bayard books look great. I've just sent off an email to the US rep asking for samples.