Posted in Homeschooling Corner

How We Use Online Learning In Our Homeschool

There are many online resources, curriculum and programs available to homeschoolers. I won’t even pretend to know most of them, haha, but I do want to share how we use the internet in our homeschool. I want a healthy mix of hands-on and online learning for my son who is 14-years old. I think it’s important to learn how to balance both in today’s day and age.

Five years or so ago, we discovered an amazing distance education that we truly love. It is a perfect fit for our family. It’s through an LDS-based private school called, Liahona Preparatory Academy, and this is a big chunk of the way we homeschool.

We like Liahona because they film and stream their classes live, which is fun, but there is always the option to watch a previously-recorded class anytime, making this online learning quite flexible. It’s also personal because he can instant message and email his teachers, who have met him and our family. He is welcome to participate in many of the school’s activities such as youth conference, prom and super trips (we are going on a super trip at the end of May). Students may be unaccredited or accredited, God is fully included, there are no classes on Fridays, and assignments and tests are minimal (solely given on the subject matter taught).

This year, Marcus is taking three classes through Liahona: math (a combination geometry/algebra 2 class), earth science, and history.

English, music, art, more history and science- these are subjects we mesh and tackle together through hands-on learning, such as notebooking, unit studies, classics we read a-loud, poetry tea times, nature walks, fieldtrips, etc. We use online resources in conjunction with these activities, only as we need them or find them useful to complete the whole picture.

For example, right now we are in the middle of an early state history unit. As part of this unit, we are watching the history of the United States unfold through a wonderful BYUtv show called, American Ride. We started at season one and now we’re into season three. Marcus streams each episode for us on his Kindle, and we watch on our TV. After each show, we have a little discussion, and then we might pull out a book called, The American Story, by Jennifer Armstrong.

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Then at the kitchen table, Marcus works on his state notebook. He creates two pages for each state. He sketches something representing the history of the state on one page, and writes a description underneath his picture. To help with this part, we use the state pages on history.com and ducksters.com. For Tennessee last week, Marcus sketched a guitar and wrote that Elvis was from Tennessee, which is considered the home of blues and country music. And then we used YouTube to listen to a few Elvis songs. We decided Burning Love is our favorite (maybe because of the movies, The Game Plan and Lilo & Stitch?)

I also found an excellent printable USA map from mrprintables.com.

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This is our fabulous timeline. It was my daughter’s idea to use a poster board since we don’t have enough wall space.

♥ So that is how we use online learning in our homeschool. Thanks for reading! What is your favorite online resource or program in your homeschool? What is your favorite Elvis song? ♥

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Posted in Homeschooling Corner

Our Homechool Day in the Life with a 14-year old

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Dreaming of spring! This has been a looong winter.

The morning sky is milky white and there is only a scattering left of snow on the wet ground, for now. My oldest daughter’s car is missing from the driveway, indicating she is in her morning class at her university. Usually my boys are awake and going by now (8:30am), but all is quiet in the house. I’ve let the dog and cat outside and the tea kettle is heating up on the stove top so I can make up my favorite herbal tea.

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I walk into my bedroom, check my phone in case I’ve missed a text from my husband, who is on another business trip, and walk back out to find Marcus sitting in the recliner in a morning daze. I hug him good morning and instruct him to set up our next episode of American Ride. I start pan frying sausages for his breakfast.

American Ride     American Story

We are in season 2. We watch one episode about the war of 1812. Soon my oldest son, Zach, who is home on break from his university, has joined us and all eyes are glued on Stan Ellsworth (the host and narrator). I can’t help getting a bit misty over the part about the Star Spangled Banner. After the show ends, I pull out The American Story book and read three short stories, which catch us up to 1812. We learn that when bananas were first introduced to the United States, no one knew what to do with them so they all just sat there and rotted. It took a while for this exotic fruit to catch on.

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Taking notes during science.

Marcus heads into the den to set up for his online classes. He is a distance student through Liahona Preparatory Academy, an LDS-based private school here in Utah. We love, love, love Liahona! Luckily, his three classes are all in a row this year, beginning at 10:30am approx. First he watches earth science with Brother Lloyd, followed by Geometry/Algebra 2, also taught by Brother Lloyd. These classes are streamed-live which is an awesome feature of their distance program. Of course, his classes may be watched anytime once they are recorded, but when he watches them live, he can instant-message his teacher throughout class and his teacher will answer his questions on camera. (Later this year, Marcus, Zach and I will be taking a history trip with several other Liahona families, to NYC, Philadelphia and Boston.) Another bonus, Liahona is a Monday-Thursday school. No classes on Fridays, which frees up one day a week for whatever our hearts desire.

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My favorite room. It just makes me happy.

Meanwhile, I’ve changed into work out clothes and shut myself in our basement gym, to walk with Leslie Sansone. These are my favorite work outs! I walk 3 boosted miles, then return to the kitchen to make up my protein shake, happy to see that Zach has taken care of the dishes. I’ve showered and dressed before Marcus’ history class with Brother DeGraff. I watch his classes as often as I can because they are simply amazing. Lately the focus has been on our Supreme Court and their rulings over the years, including recent rulings. Marcus and I each take our own notes. Brother DeGraff uses a lot of excellent quotes and scripture verses to tie in with his lessons.

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When his classes end, it’s close to 1:30pm and time for lunch. As Marcus eats his Top Ramen, I read him a couple chapters from our current read-aloud which we are finishing up. At this point, Darcie returns home and listens in, even laughing with Marcus as certain parts of the story. After lunch, Marcus takes his turn in the gym for a workout. When he returns upstairs, he’s finally out of his pajamas! (This boy would live in his pajamas if I let him.) He returns to the den to finish up his math homework, but otherwise our afternoon is filled with a little housework, a little Minecraft, and texting with my sweet youngest daughter who is three hours away at her university.

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On a recent not-so-typical home school day, two friends join Marcus for some science fun.

Wednesday nights are Young Men’s/Boy Scout’s at church. Tonight Marcus is going a half hour early to help set up for a movie night. Zach and I drop him off. The promised snow is coming down. We drive to our local supermarket because it’s milk day. We stock up on groceries and drive home. Zach pops wings into the oven to go with a fruit bowl and Darcie has made up a Velveeta-salsa dip and opens a bag of tortilla chips. We sit down and watch, Zootopia, which Zach has never seen before. Later we put it on pause so Zach can pick Marcus up from his activity. As he walks in the door, Marcus looks at what we’re watching and says, “Hey, we watched Zootopia too!”

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My four babies. Can’t wait to have my third college student home in about five weeks.

The movie ends and we gather for family prayer. I read some scripture, Darcie gives the prayer and then we hug each other goodnight. I’m missing my hubby, but he phoned earlier to check in on us. ♥ And that is what a fairly typical homeschool day looks like at our house. We love being back in Utah (last year we were in Arizona) where Marcus is around his older siblings. ♥ Thanks for stopping by and reading.