Posts Tagged With: 21st century learners

Stormschooling

blizzardSo, we know about homeschooling, and we have extended that to roadschooling, but we’ve got a new one this year – stormschooling. Definition: the act of trying to supplement your children’s education while you are buried under 12 feet of snow.

For us, with our youngest daughter, this has been a bit of a blessing in disguise. She has been struggling to work at the same pace as her class in math, as many children do, and although we have been trying to work with her daily at home, we often find we are playing catch-up. After an unsatisfying performance on a test, we work on the skills she hasn’t mastered yet, but by the time we get to that, the damage to her self-esteem and her confidence with math in general, has been done. Also, the daily schedule of extra-curricular activities and homework makes it hard to fit “extra” math in. So, storm days provide us with an opportunity to do some focused math work in areas where we know she really needs it, and it can be spread out over the day so it doesn’t get too exhausting. It takes me back…

She is in the same grade our middle daughter was in the year we were on the road. We used lots of different tools in our roadschooling – lots of iPad apps, as well as online tutorials like Khan Academy, games, as well as more traditional drills, and even text books. It’s interesting to see what she responds to most, compared to her sister. Lots of the tools are still good, but I find myself having to search for more exciting ones as well, or just different ones from those her sister enjoyed/tolerated. We are finding motivation a bit off at times.

So far, the best motivation has been “math prizes” – Dollar Store purchases that are bestowed upon her periodically, not just for doing the math, but for doing it with a positive attitude. That’s the trickiest part. The fact that, as far as she’s concerned, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not the teacher, and am I actually aware that place value was weeks ago?! My clever response, “Place value is every day for the rest of your life,” does not seem to provide the motivational boost I require.

A three dollar Webkin, however, combined with weather conditions that do not allow easy escape, seems to work quite nicely. Bring it on, Winter!

You_Gotta_Have_Math_Ad

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Global Curriculum??

 

 

I’m starting to obsess just a little bit over what we will be teaching our kids, and whether they will be able to seamlessly transfer into the next grade when we return. At first, I thought, “the world will be our curriculum…” in a kind of hippie-trance like state that comes from things not being imminent. But now, it’s imminent, and all of a sudden, I’m thinking about times tables and science concepts and literacy and project based learning and live binders etc etc, and it’s a bit of a puddle in my head. Of course, my hippie dictum is not that far wrong, and in moments of lesser panic, I can see that. The problem is, I don’t want to mess up. I don’t want to be standing in front of the best educational stimulus there ever was, and not notice it. Or at least, not know what to do with it. I could trip over a math PBL and I wouldn’t recognize it. I can imagine the wonderful writing experiences and real life publishing possibilities when they can blog to the world, but it’s the other stuff that sort of throws me. I don’t want Mairi to be sitting in a grade 9 classroom next September listening to the phrase “Remember when we did this in grade 8…” and stressing over the fact that she didn’t actually do it.

My dream for my girls is that they come back not just well educated and more globally aware, but more confident and self-assured. More ready for the trials of adolescence. More digital – real 21st century learners. More empathetic. More worldly. More everything.

I have had very high expectations for this year off, and I am just beginning to realize the pressure that these expectations are putting on me. I guess I really thought it would all just “happen”. And maybe it will. But in case it doesn’t, I’m feeling a lot of pressure to make it happen.

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