Black Bird

Friday, May 30, 2014

Homeschooling what not part 2

So as a continuation of my post yesterday.  I want to go into a few more subjects and if it gets to long there will be a part 3 to finish up (maybe lol).

When we started our homeschooling journey we started out doing lapbooks and unit studies, which we still do and still love.  But we don't do them as much for several reasons which I will go into in a bit.  If you are looking for an inexpensive way to do school this is it.  It's fun, it's hands on and there are TONS of free ones out that.  With a free lapbook/unit study and a library card you are GOLDEN.  Think you can't ever do them - think again.  All they require is a little time to cut things out, and time to check out library books.  Now if your library stinks like mine does, then it will take some time to order those books through the library so think a head a bit.  My FAVORITE place for getting FREE (yes FREE) lapbooks is Homeschool Share.  They have their lapbooks and notebooks organized into levels that go all the way through high school.  In addition to Homeschool Share there is a ton of other websites that have free lapbooks and notebooks.  Doing a search will find you more than you can ever imagine.  If there is a book or subject I'm interested in doing and I can't find it on the Homeschool Share site, then I do a search.  For example, right now Zach is into Egypt so I would go to my search engine and type in Egypt lapbooks and the list is huge.  

This segues into what I wanted to chat about next - history.  Now this has been a struggle for me since I dislike history with a passion, the memorization etc for me was awful.  But this is homeschooling who says we have to do that?? NO ONE.  YOU make your own way.  So what do we do for history.  Well we started with lapbooks and unit studies and that was working fine, but again absorbing what Nancy said we asked what she recommended for history and she pointed us to 2 different curriculum.  The first was Mystery of History, and we liked that except for it was centered around Biblical history.   And really there is nothing wrong with that but I wanted something a tad more rounded.  So the 2nd one was The Story of the World - same lay out as Mystery of History but more rounded.  This one does both Biblical and secular world view.  Zach is thoroughly enjoying this history a lot, but there is an addendum to that - we have combined it with Minecraft (more on that later).  If you are thinking of getting The Story of the World, you need to get both the text and the activity book.  The activity book has maps for every lesson, a coloring page for every lesson and sometimes either a crossword or a word search.  For each chapter there is a TON of activities, but I pick and choose what we do.  Think of this curriculum as both your history and geography rolled into one.  And if you do the art activities then you have 3 subjects in one.  We choose to do the art activities in Minecraft instead.

Which moves me into my next topic.  Use what your child loves when it comes to school.  What is your child into?  Don't know?  Well it's time to find out.  Observe your child, what do they like doing the most?  Are they constantly wanting to play on the computer?  Xbox? Outside? Do they like to dig in the dirt?  Do they light up when you do science experiments?  Would they rather read that "do school"?  Getting to know YOUR child is one of the best ways to know what direction you need to be going.  My child?  Well he's a mixture.  He loves being on his computer playing.  He loves the Xbox, but he also loves being outside.  And science experiments - well lets just say Backyard Ballistics is a must.  What I mainly want to talk about here is Minecraft.  WOW what a gift to homeschoolers.  This is an AMAZING game people.  No matter what you think of gaming check this game out.  It's basically Lego's online, with some combat against bad guys.  We quite by accident found this homeschooling Minecraft server - Skrafty - that has a safe server for homeschooled kids.  It is fully monitored and strictly inforced.  No cussing, bad mouthing and meanness.  We LOVE it.  I especially me - I know he can go on there and be safe.   So you might ask why Minecraft - well why not.  My son loves it, it's a GREAT educational tool, he's met some amazing kids all over the world that he loves to play with, his typing skills are at times better than my husband, his spelling had improved greatly and he's learning team play.  Skrafty offers classes as well and we've been able to take quite a few and Zach loves them.  For history though they use Mystery of History so I've chosen instead to create my own world for him and he does his work in that.

How do I do this?  I created a super flat world.

 Then I take fences and sign posts and I fence in the lesson, take the sign and put what lesson on the out side of the fenced area.  I then put a chest on the inside of the fenced area.
Inside that chest I put book and quills.  I ask all the questions for that lesson in 1 book.  In the next book I add the assignments - his coloring pages, his map work and his building projects go into this book.  The 3rd book is for any writing assignments he has.  I have him do his writing assignments in Word so I can print them out.

His "art" projects are done in Minecraft.  Pictured are his recreation of Josephs coat of many colors, Hammurabi's temple, his pyramid and sarcophagus.

Then to do the next lesson I create an arrow with torches pointing to where to go.  The reason I do this is because he wasn't able to find the next lesson before I did this.
So that is how we do our history in Minecraft.  Now does this entail some work - absolutely!!!  Is it worth it - YES!!!  History is fast becoming my sons favorite subject and hey guess what - I'm learning too.  We don't memorize dates, we read and learn facts.  It's great for all of us.  

Now do I think this is for everyone - no I don't, but it's worth a try.  Try Skrafty, the classes are set up for you and some of them go along with curriculum - like Inventions and Technology.  Some don't - the content is all there for you like Plants or Animals and their Habitats.  If you aren't sure you want to create your own lessons in Minecraft then don't, but wow does it work for us.

Once again this has gotten long, so look for part 3 soon.

Healthy hugs,

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