How in the WORLD do you homeschool FOUR children while telecommuting? Love, patience and a TON of coffee... Just in case you wanted it, here's a glimpse inside Mrs. Kastner's Klass.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Curriculum improvements

For our entire homeschooling career thus far, I have been sticking to individualized grade based social studies and science.  It has been mind-numbing and ARDUOUS!  Which is NO FAIR because I LOVE history!  I have a major in history!  Besides diagramming sentences, studying the past is my favorite scholastic activity!

A few weeks ago I decided that we should be doing social studies and science as a GROUP and life has not been the same since! I don't know what took me so long to ditch the book dependence and TEACH my children about COOL STUFF that's happened before or GREAT THINGS that exist in their environment. But I am soooooooooooo glad I stumbled upon this idea!

Right now we are covering the discovery of America.  I plan to wrap that up by T-giving and take a break to read a little historical fiction (Our Strange New Land) to help the kids see what it was like to be a kid when America was being settled.

I'm not sure where we'll go after that.  I think a little geography jaunt.  All I know is my kiddos have retained more about the past in these last two weeks then they ever have before.

Well gotta go now! Hope you have a happy homeschooling day!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Interactive learning REALLY works wonders for us!  Two weeks ago, I decided to change things up a little (AGAIN!).  The kids were fighting me SO hard about doing math facts!  It was driving me NUTS!  I knew they KNEW their math facts, but getting them to put them on paper was like pulling teeth!!!!!  I found this site and one morning instead of having to complete a math facts quiz on paper, they had to do it online as a game.  You know what Jeremiah said to me????  "Mom, math is FUN now!"  WOOHOO!  I did it!!!!!  I got them to stop hating practicing their Math facts!!!  I started an Excel sheet to track their progress and now they BEG me to do math facts!  AMAZE-ZUH-ZING!

So here's a quick list of the online resources we use... some of them require a paid subscription but I'm pretty sure you can try out a demo for free....

phonics - we use Click N Kids... it has been AMAZING!  It is like a video game.  It teaches them phonics.  It tracks their progress compared to other users.  It is GREAT!  They also have Click N Spell but we haven't used that.

spelling - spelling city is AWESOME!  My kids are constantly begging to play Hang Mouse... Ha!  The joke is on them because they are learning their spelling list while playing it!  This site can be used by anyone:  homeschoolers, teachers, students in traditional school.  I recommended it to my friend Lori when she was telling me how grueling it was to study for spelling tests with her son (who's not homeschooled) and they LOVE it!

math - as before mentioned we use the Math Fact Practice.  I've noticed that they have MANY other games at this site, but I have no experience using them yet.

reading - my Aunt has a subscription to RAZ-kids.... I really don't know much about the management of it because I (my kids) have only had experience as users... but the kids really seem to like it.

Hope one of these links helps someone.  If you have any good sites, I'd LOVE for you to share them with us!
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