Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Do-It-Yourself Homeschool Journals Review Week 1

Since receiving our review materials, the kids and I have jumped right into the Homeschool Journals from Dyslexia Games.  As a mom with a newborn, the idea that I could spend a few days showing the kids what to do and then turn them loose for several weeks was appealing to say the least!

One thing I've been concerned about with homeschooling this year is the amount of screen time to let the kids have.  Some of them seem like they'd sit in front of the TV playing Minecraft all day or watching movies until I turn it off and make them do something else.

One of our main focus areas this year was to de-stress the learning experience.  So many of our kids experienced massive anxiety at school.  They would get so frustrated and upset that it was impossible for them to really learn anything when they were in tears literally banging their head off the desk, saying how stupid they are because they can't read.

I was struggling with finding a balance of "unschooling" so they didn't feel so stressed, while still providing enough structure for them to learn.  Many of them are so behind and I get hung up on just how very far behind they are.  I want them to catch up right.now.  I've really had to let go of some of my ideas for how I thought reading should be taught.  Dyslexic kids just don't learn the typical way!  

I have VERY active kids.  They like to DO things, BUILD things, and watch things.
Sitting and studying or doing worksheets is like torture to them.  Drill work?  They HATE it.

One activity in the DIY Homeschool Journal that kids have really gotten into this week is the one that tells them to go outside and draw something realistic from nature.  We had a little talk about what "realistic" meant (remember I have 4 ESL kids) and what "nature" is so they understood the assignment.

We have a beautiful tree at the end of our driveway that is turning just the most lovely shade of yellow.

E and Wy were determined to get the leaves at the top that the sun was hitting because they were the prettiest.  

So Wy climbed and got a few.

Not to be outdone, E climbed really high and stood on a branch, shaking the entire tree making leaves rain down on all of us.
See him up there?
He was having so much fun!

M got herself several lovely leaves to draw pictures of.

Even baby Ellie and I got some leaves :)

The boys had so much fun climbing the tree with the pretty leaves that they decided to climb another tree to look for slug trails to draw in their books… 
M watched a safe distance from the slugs.

Being outside looking for things to draw has been so much fun that the boys all decided they wanted to go on a bike ride with their backpacks on so they could pick up any other fun things they saw.  We ended up walking/biking for over an hour around our subdivision.  We all got tons of exercise, talked about why its not actually sad the trees lose their leaves, and V found several neat rocks that he was very interested in.
I'm thinking our focus for the next few days will be on different kinds of rocks because we can just go with the flow of natural curiosity.

M spent quite some time not just drawing her leaves, but making several pages of rubbings with them as well.  She has been so much more relaxed now that school is FUN and can be done at her pace.  

I told her I don't care at all how much time she spends on the art page.  
She can make drawings and rubbings all day if she wants.

The other activity in this journal that my boys have really gotten into is the "Math practice" page.  It says they can use the graph sheet for math practice OR drawing designs.  Again, we went over what a "design" can be and it was like their head exploded.  

W loves Legos.  He can build ANYTHING out of Legos if he just has a picture.  Often he'll ask me to print him off a picture of something so he can look at it and build it.  No instructions needed.  What his brain can do with a picture is amazing.

He built this *working* Lego pistol.  
It cocks, and shoots a Lego like an actual working gun.
He watched a YouTube video on how to create this.
Did I mention he's just 9?

He also drew a design for a treehouse based on what he'd learned from watching Tree House Masters.

 Click this to see all DIY Journals available

Its so neat to see how he learns and then applies it.

It looks a little like a death trap right now, but we have good insurance!  LOL
They are all off working on it right now actually, which is why my house is quiet enough to blog!

D drew this yesterday.  
I find it so fascinating that several of my boys would rather spend a lot of time designing something than practicing math problems BUT it works for them.  
They love the flexibility.

What I'm most happy about is that these journals provide several hours of structured learning time, but give the kids the flexibility to learn about what they want in the way that works for them.  There is no cookie cutter method that these have to be done it.  They don't have to be graded.  Everyone can do something a little different and be celebrated for their unique take on it.  If I think they need to spend a little more time on something or do it differently then I go over that with them when I review their books at the end of the day.    

As a mom with a new baby, these journals have been wonderful.  
I love that I don't have to be standing over top of my children for them to learn.
So far we give these Do-It-Yourself Homeschool Journals 2 big thumbs up!      


Nicole said...

Sounds so interesting ! You are doing an amazing job !

A. Redyns said...

This sounds really neat!
It's exciting how kids can take one thing they love and discover how to do things they normally wouldn't like learn about it.
The treehouse for example and all the measurements and other things that go into making it possible!

Your kids might be a bit behind but they are clearly brilliant!

PL said...

Try leaf rubbing with crayons. She can experiment with layering colors and they turn out so beautiful. Peeling the paper off the crayons to get ready to use them sideways is great OT ;)


We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson