11 November 2013

Netflix and YouTube

This year Sweet Pea is studying the 20th century in history and literature. One of the best things about this time period is the development of cameras, video, tv, and computers. We are really taking advantage of resources available to us on the computer and other places to enhance/add to her studies.

Netflix is great. She has watched All Quiet on the Western Front, Saving Private Ryan, and The Great Gatsby already this year. I have a list of movies that we'll watch throughout the year that tie in with history. Some may not be specific history movies, like the war movies, but will be more to give a sense of the time period like The Great Gatsby. We're also going to watch a few movies instead of reading the book, partly to save some time. She's got a heavy reading load and a movie here and there instead of a book will be a nice change. Next up on the movie list is The Jazz Singer, the first "talkie" movie.

YouTube is also an amazing resource. We haven't used it much yet but I will be encouraging her to use it more, especially since she's moving into the 1940s this week. She's on it a lot, but mostly looking at music videos. I know there's videos of speeches, music concerts, and lots of other events that will tie in to her studies. It will be nice to see speeches and other things from early in the century instead of just reading the speech. It will give more of a feel for what was happening and how passionate the person giving the speech was at the time.

08 November 2013

Homeschooling Today

Right now my aunt, uncle, and cousin are visiting. They're actually staying with my mom, but we've been able to spend time with them. I enjoy talking with them since my cousins were homeschooled (I enjoy talking with them for other reasons as well). It's interesting how things have changed since they homeschooled back in the Dark Ages versus what I'm doing now with my girls. Knowing them, they were probably more of the unschooling/delight directed type of homeschoolers. While I would love to do that, it's not what we're doing and I'm not sure it would succeed well here. We're more of the "literature based and throw in a few interest based classes" types. But that's the joy of homeschooling, figuring out what works best for your family.

One of the great things of homeschooling now is computers and the access they give us to other things. My girls are taking a few online classes, obviously not an option before computers were found in the home. The classes they're taking are actually very different; two of the language classes are live and they can interact with the teacher and the other kids, the other language class has three live classes and the rest are recorded for the students to watch (no live interaction on those days, but there is a forum where you can ask questions later), and the other online class is a live class, but in lecture format, with an opportunity to ask questions at the end. There are other ways to deliver online classes but this is what my girls are doing right now.

The choices my aunt had back in the mid-80s were probably pretty minimal, if she was going with some sort of curriculum. She may have used what the schools use. Now, there's so many choices that sometimes it's hard to pick the right thing. I also think that there's some areas that are still lacking in homeschool materials or maybe there just hard to find.

I'm glad to have the ability to homeschool since I do think it's the best thing for our girls. They are learning, loving to learn, a trait which seems to be hard to come by in many kids that go to public school, and mostly enjoying school.