View Full Version : Using unusual resources for teaching

10-03-2013, 10:54 AM
The last year has helped us figure out what works and doesn't work with the daughter. She seems to hate Time4Learning. She found it slow and tedious. Unusual things like her 7th grade science section I put together seem to hold her interest much more. I took the missing sections from her public school curriculum and created alternative assignments that used things she was already interested in to teach the concepts.

Part of the problem has been that the public school is reteaching the same thing year after year. It seems like they just adjust the detail level to fit the grade level. IE: they have done the science seed growing experiment how many years now? So I took things like the circulatory system section and instead had her do assignments on the circulatory system of rats, also the muscle system and basic anatomy of rats. I found resources and detailed anatomy diagrams that explained these systems and detailed what the structures are. I had her do a drawing of each set of systems and label the structures. Since she is an avid artist and an interest in rats (she has 4) this seemed to really click.

I guess my anxiety is am I getting her the right knowledge she needs? Is this going to look good or bad on reviews of her work either with public school reviews of her work or potentially for college entrance? She really clicks with these unusual approaches to learning and assignments so much more than reading a chapter and answering questions at the end.

She is rather excited about things like some of JASON's live science events and other interactive online things like that. There was an online entomology program that took student samples and put them into their giant lab microscope then broadcast it online and did discussions of the findings. She said she wants Bill Nye to be her science teacher. :-) So how do I take these unusual approaches to learning and make sure it is fitting what needs to be documented and what she needs to actually learn?

10-03-2013, 10:58 AM
Why will public school review her work? are you planning on sending her back to school? Most schools put kids at age level, no matter what you've done with them. Some states make it very hard to come in partway through high school, some dont.

Colleges generally love a kid who is passionate, sees the world differently, and is willing to take initiative and do good work. We all have a hard time believing that we can educate kids well without following the standards, but we can - we can prepare them better for college and for life.

I assume that you are already aware of and complying with your states laws - that of course matters. I have no idea SD's laws.

10-04-2013, 07:04 PM
Thanks, this was incredibly helpful. SD has no requirements for home school other than doing the 8th grade standardized test. We have tried to sort of follow MN's home school rules just in case we move we don't get caught in a bind. Theirs are portfolio review type ones. I currently have a binder I kept all of her Time4Learning grades in and now am starting to print finished assignments as we are moving towards a more flexible way of doing work.
I really like the idea of taking the content standards and seeing what we can match up to her interests first. If she has some say in what or how she is doing things she seems way more motivated and happy. My big question is how much should I be worried about doing things that document or 'test" her understanding? In the SD situation I don't really need to for the state. If I am confident she gets whatever she is doing I don't have to prove it to them with a paper trail. MN I have to show them something. Sometimes projects and just documenting what was done seems logical. Sometimes I wonder if something more is needed to prove they understand it. Esp. with certain science or math etc.

Would thinking of it as passive vs. active activities work? That if she is doing an active activity it can provide documentation of the concept learned. As opposed to passive learning (watching a lecture, movie, reading a book).

10-05-2013, 11:05 PM
I guess I wouldn't think those resources are that unusual. This is homeschooling, after all. Seems pretty mainstream in that context. And sounds like you're doing a great job.

As for testing and documenting, I don't think you have to do so much now, but you're going to want to very soon. If you do algebra, for example, you'll want to have the documentation for that so she can get the credit for it and won't have to retake it or can include it on her high school transcript in some form. She'll also need to take standardized tests for college before you know it and you might want to have that in mind for down the road. And if you are worried about how it looks for college, then documentation is the thing you'll need in order to support the idea that she's had a variety of rich experiences.

Pennie Elwood
10-11-2013, 02:37 AM
Lillie, I think you're a little confused on MN homeschooling laws. I live in MN and the only things we are required to do here is notify our district. First year with the intent to homeschool form (this will also include their immunization records and such, and after they reach age 7 or you move school districts) and then after that just the intent to continue. We are also required to annual testing. However, the only time you would be required to show anybody anything is if you happened to be audited for any reason (like if you had to prove a case for truancy or something) or if you were to choose to enroll your child in a public school. So, for that reason, it is recommended to keep up some level of documentation, but you will probably never be asked to show that to anyone. Not even the test scores need to be sent in to the state or the school. I hope this helps!