Friday, April 17, 2015

Immune System and Vaccine Resources for Kids

We will be incorporating World Immunization Week into our studies later this month. (Also, I will likely be posting even more pro-science-y stuff on Twitter and Facebook than usual that week, so consider yourself warned.)

Today I'm sharing a quick post about two great online resources we use in our homeschool (3rd and 1st grade) to learn about how the immune system works and the importance of vaccines.
Not just cute . . . vaccinated, too
KidsHealth from Nemours This is one of our absolute favorite go-to sites for learning about the human body. 

Immune Platoon This is part of BAM! (Body and Mind), the kids' information section at the CDC website. 
#vaccineswork #vaccinateyourkids #homeschoolersvaccinatetoo

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Snapshot of One Homeschooling Day

We're pretty relaxed homeschoolers but need a bit of form to our day to keep from going insane. We typically have a general plan of where we'd like to end up, but often get there in unconventional ways. There's a very fine line around here between organization and chaos. I jump over it frequently.

Today I'm sharing another quick snapshot of what "educational" things we might do during a given day. Some of these occur during more structured "school" time and others just kind of happen. I should probably add a disclaimer that I wrote this down after the fact, so it's likely I forgot something, and these "activities" are listed in random order. And we did Other Stuff, too; I'm just trying to single out the most school-y things. Also, we didn't go anywhere this particular day (library, errands, etc.). 


Watching Little Pim (Spanish) and playing with Little Pim flash cards. We love that adorable panda around here, and have used both the Spanish and Italian videos in the past. And the flash cards, well, let's just say the Agents are the type of kids who actually like flash cards and enjoy organizing them into stories. Or, spreading them around the living room floor randomly. 

(Side note: Several of the Pim videos are available for free on Amazon Prime!)

Reading all the books. I once tried to keep track of how much time the Senior Agents spend on independent fiction reading each day, but I gave up. I usually assume at least two hours, but honestly, it's probably more like three or more many days. Mostly they like "real" (paper) books from the library or our own bookshelf, but they've both been more into Kindle books in recent weeks. (We got the Agents their own, shared Kindle for Christmas last year, with Free Time Unlimited, and I think that's when they started becoming more keen on the whole eBook concept.)

Marriage discussion. We had a very interesting (impromptu) chat about who can get married. Yes, this was very educational. Up until this point, they honestly had no idea that a woman could marry a woman or a man could marry a man . . . even though they had met a married, lesbian couple and chatted with them just a few months ago. Full disclosure, they had a little trouble digesting this new information. But, young kids in general are extremely accepting and this is no different. Agent J confirmed for me during our discussion that she will still be marrying Patrick.

(Side story: About a year ago Agent J told me she had a dream about her future husband. His name is Patrick, he has blue eyes, light brown hair that is kind of thin, is about the same height or a little shorter than her future self, and has a skin tone slightly darker than hers, kind of like a perpetual tan. Yes, she was that specific. They meet in Starbucks and date for ten years before getting married. Agent E is her maid of honor, of course. She is undecided as to whether she will take his last name, keep her own, or use both. They go on to have three children (two girls and a boy) and they name them Unicorn, Rainbow, and Pants.)

Checking out videos and articles on KidsHealth. This is one of our absolute favorite go to sites for science and health questions. I believe the topics that day included why we have gas, what happens when you throw up, and the kidneys and urine. If anyone thinks girls are not into gross things and bodily functions in the same way boys are, um, yeah. They would be wrong.

Math. We use a few basic math workbooks we found Amazon (not a full curriculum). Agent J worked through some basic addition and subtraction and Agent E learned about area. We also read a book called Math Appeal, which is part of a series of math "riddle" books written by Greg Tang. While I like them, they are not that into these books, however, and prefer some of the others we've read, including the Sir Cumference series. 

More reading. We did a quick recap of the books they had read yesterday on the specific school subjects we're covering right now, including two books about presidents (Lincoln and Cleveland), two books about kangaroos, and one about Charles Darwin. For today's "lessons" they read more about kangaroos (we're studying animals and Australia, so it makes sense) and a short biography of Bach. 

Scrabble. At some point Agent E and I played a game of Scrabble. She often still needs my assistance, and we don't keep score, but she's getting better. Agent J occasionally plays with us, too, but I have to help her a lot. We frequently play a "game" where we just look at all the letters and try to spell as many connected words on one topic as we can. So, for instance I might put "Mickey" in the middle of the board and they they have to build as many Disney-related words around it as they can. 

Watched an episode of How the States Got Their Shapes. We generally like this show (yeah, Netflix!) but this particular one was kind of weird and not as good as some others. Overall, however, they enjoy it and like learning random facts about the states.

Music. Both girls (well, mostly Agent E) practiced a few notes on the recorder and watched a short online lesson about the music staff and learning the different whole notes. We decided to work toward learning a few simple songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb and Jingle Bells. (I should add here that we just began exploring the idea of learning an instrument about 3 days ago, so we're pretty early in the process.)

So we covered math, language arts, a little science/health, music, Spanish, and a touch of history. Some more than others, but I tend to think in terms of balancing weeks or months, not necessarily covering everything every day. (We do tend to lean heavy toward math and reading at this age, though.)

I often wonder if we would still do the kinds of things on this list if the Agents went to a traditional public or private school. I would like to think that we would, but honestly, I think time constraints and schedules would get the best of us. Truthfully, one of the best things about homeschooling is how little time it actually takes to work on our "curriculum"; we all have way more free time than we would if we had to conform to a 7:30-3:30 Monday-Friday plan (not counting homework). Their independent reading time would definitely be curtailed, that's for sure. Would they still be excited about watching Spanish language and history shows? I don't know. All I know is this is what we're doing and it works for us, for now.

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I can also be reached via e-mail at mommainprogress {at} gmail {dot} com.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The First 10 Blog Posts I Wrote

Today I'm pulling out some old posts from the depths of insanity (i.e., the first few months this blog existed) and sharing them. I simply cannot pass up the chance to humiliate myself with a good link up.

Reading these again made my brain cry.

Welcome Post (12 June 2010)
This one has more views than it's worthy of. Probably because some folks come to the blog and scroll to the very first post thinking it's going to actually say something of value about the blog or the author. For the record, it does neither.

Sleep (14 June 2010)
Random rambling and whining about why the Agents aren't sleeping.

This Is What I Do, Part 1 (23 June 2010)
Aside from one Wordless Wednesday post, this has the fewest views of anything on the blog. Not surprising, because it sucks. But, that clearly didn't stop me from adding a part two and a part three. My Beginning Blogger Self had no control.

This Is What I Do, Part 2 (24 June 2010)
Skimmed this and learned that a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away my kids went to bed between 8:00 and 8:30. Ha.

This Is What I Do, Part 3 (24 June 2010)
I wrote this on the same day as Part 2 (above) because clearly I needed to further expand the madness just hours later. I just re-read this post and . . . I can't even.

Writing (28 June 2010)
Relatively benign but pointless post about Anne Lamott and sh!@#y first drafts.

Feeding Baby (30 June 2010)
This has a decent page view count for such an early post. I must have shared it on another blog during World Breastfeeding Week or something. I don't remember.

Nothing posted at all for July or August 2010. I know we traveled twice during this time (a two-week trip to Germany and a one-week trip to Disneyland Paris). I may have also deleted some of these posts during a major blog reorganization a while back. (I shudder to think that the remaining posts in this list are the ones I deemed worthy of keeping. Eek.)

Travel Fun (3 September 2010)
The highs and lows of our final trip as a family of four (to Disneyland Paris).

Not nearly as interesting as a similar post I wrote a few months later.

Boob Talk (23 February 2011)
All I can say about this one is I think it was supposed to be funny. (Spoiler alert: It's not.)

And a bonus one, simply because I couldn't resist once I saw what the very next post was. Also, it was the same date as the 10th one, because apparently I used to have a thing for posting twice in the same day.

On Second Thought . . . (23 February 2011)
The post where I kinda sorta maybe almost admit that homeschooling the Agents is on my radar.

These are pretty much all the posts I wrote prior to creating a Facebook page for the blog. (It's here, BTW. You could click on it and like it. Hint. Hint.) Which means almost no one read any of them. (Not like people are falling over their keyboards to click on my links now, but at least now there's a chance someone on social media somewhere might take pity upon me and toss out a page view here and there.)

Fellow bloggers, what gems do you have hidden in your early archives?

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I can also be reached via e-mail at mommainprogress {at} gmail {dot} com.

Linking up with Tuesday Ten co-hosted by Rabia at The Liebers and Lisa at The Golden Spoons.