Friday, February 11, 2011

Our "new history thing"

Today, for the first time, we participated in an online webcast history lesson. The girls loved it. We (along with others) were invited to another homeschooling families home to participate in it. There were 5 families there today.

The host family has subscribed on an online history class in Colonial America. The topic this week was on slavery (fitting, since February is black history month). Their family actually does "double" on this, as the kids are also building their own web page sharing what they have learned. So, not only are they learning about Colonial America, they are also learning computer and web building, and how to research their material. They will meet again in March. One week they will work on the web page, and the next week they will have a new web lesson.

After the lesson was over, the kids split up into groups. Some played a board game, some had computer time and the rest gathered in the kitchen and did science experiments with various chemicals.

This was a great opportunity for us, as we only have dial up (about all we can get where we live), and programs such as this don't work with our computers. Our county has no library, and the one we do frequent frowns on 4 being on the same computer to watch, plus it limits your online time to 1 hour a day, which is shorter than the web cast was. So, if it wasn't for them inviting us in, we would not be able to do this one. The girls can't wait to go back.

After we finished at their house, we went on a shopping spree to Target. My husband surprised us this morning with $125 worth of gift cards he had received through his employer as a sort of bonus. I had a $10 to add to it, so off we went. I bought some new wisks, a tea pot, a new alarm clock, a Mavis Beacon computer typing program, and a garlic press to replace one I broke a few weeks ago. (the garlic press as I have high hopes for all the garlic I planted!) I wanted to check out their lawn and garden area, but they were just starting to set it up. I did notice however, the swim suits were already out.

Rebecca takes after me, as she went straight to the clearance rack and with $20 managed to get a new purse, 2 pairs of pants, socks and a sweater. Elizabeth got a book, socks and CD's, and Emily jeans, socks and a new billfold.

We love Target clearance sales. We found knee socks for 50 cents a pair! OK, they were Christmas socks, but hey, Christmas is only 10 1/2 months away.... And, we still have some left on the last card for our next trip!

The girls started on the Mavis Beacon typing program tonight. So far, they have learned the home row keys with the left hand. They have been using the computer, but this will help them get the correct finger placement and improve their speed. So, lesson one down, 249 more to go! Each lesson takes approximately 40 minutes, with option games as well. The CD is for all ages, up through adult, so as they progress they can learn by typing things on their level, such as poetry, Mark Twain, history, literature and more. It was a well spent $9.99

People say homeschoolers don't get enough socialization, but this week, we have had church activities, 4H, fire department training, history at another homeschooling families home, and homeschool coop. (Not to mention trips to the store and an upcoming one to the library next town over) And, I might point out, each of these activities involves different people, and of various ages, unlike traditional schooling in which kids are normally exposed to the same people daily. Needless to say, the lack of socialization argument doesn't carry any water with me.

I had someone tell me today that homeschoolers don't have to pay school taxes. I want to point out that YES we do indeed pay school taxes. (at least in Missouri, other states may be different). Not only do we pay school taxes, at the same rate as everyone else, but we also have to pay for most of our learning materials, unless we use free ones obtained from friends, bartering, online or the library. In fact, since my county has no library, and we use the library the next county over, we even pay for our library cards at $60 per card, per year.

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