Homeschool Help: Project Portfolio

For the past 5 years, my children has been putting together and presenting their project portfolios as part of the requirements from TMA Homeschool. I personally believe  that this is an important skill they need to learn and gain as the years pass. It has been a tool to assess what my child has learned throughout the school year and it has helped preserve memories about our homeschooling journey.  I have kept all of their projects so far. Most are done manually but some of them are done digitally.

So what exactly do you include in a project portfolio? According to TMA Homeschool, “A portfolio is a collection of material to showcase your child’s learning. It is tangible evidence of what your child or student has learned and accomplished during the quarter. It can include anything you think is important and which showcases your child’s milestones.” Highlights of the the child’s learning and achievements are included.

Here are some suggestions of what to include:

– Cover page with your child’s name, age, grade level, picture

– List of goals like improve his writing, completing a project

– Sample of child’s work like drawings, book reports, creative witing

– Life skills learned like cooking, baking, gardening, swimming

– Field trips

– List of books read

I have already shared some of my daughter’s work previously in my post about her 4th grade portfolio as for my son, I’ve shared his 1st grade portfolio.  They used clearbook to store all their work.

Here are some more samples from my daughter’s 2nd grade work a few years back. She used cartolina to put together all her projects.

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IMG_3653 IMG_3654 IMG_3655 IMG_3652My daughter is very art oriented as you can see from her work. She incorporates art with her projects.

Here are the sample pages from her 5th grade portfolio project.

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IMG_3670 IMG_3669 IMG_3668 IMG_3667 IMG_3666 IMG_3665   Here she created her fictional city called Sunshine City. She made maps of the whole city, citizens, government, government facilities and laws of the land.

IMG_3661IMG_3664IMG_3662  IMG_3663There are many ways to create portfolio projects, but what if your child doesn’t like arts? I’ve shared 3 projects for non-artsy students and hope that will give you more ideas.

As your child gets older, they can incorporate all their learnings from different subjects in a single project.

Do you have other ideas? I’d like to hear about it too!

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

Learning never stops. I believe that moms, especially homeschool moms, should continually learn from others. Successful Homeschooling Made Easy has created an online course which is designed to make the homeschooling an easier journey for moms. I am blessed to be chosen to review this course. I have been homeschooling my children for the past 5 years and the journey has not been a smooth one. There were many ups and downs along the way and learning from seasoned homeschoolers has always helped me through the various seasons of my journey.

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course  is a 26-week long subscription program for parents who are interested in homeschooling or those parents who need a fresh start in their homeschooling journey. The lessons are sent via email every week as a PDF attachment by Stephanie. Stephanie Walmsley created this course as a homeschooling 101 guide to help parents achieve successful homeschooling. Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

Each week, a PDF document  with at least 5 pages will be sent to my email address. Every lesson address a key component in achieving stress free homeshooling through out the years. Lessons are focused on giving the teacher tools to develop personalized ideas on homeschooling and help them apply these ideas to their own families. There are weekly assignments that needs to be completed.

Some of the topics include: How to Start Homeschooling Straight Away, Teach Math and other Subjects, Vision and Goal for Your Family’s Homeschool, Fireproof Your Homeshool, The Key Ingredient for Success and others.

The lessons can fit whether one is homeschooling a preschooler or a highschooler. It also works even if you are homeschooling just one or a group. The lessons also help you avoid burn out and unneeded stress by teaching you to choose the right curriculum and programs your family.

The whole course costs $48 but if you want to pay monthly instead, it will cost $10 a month.

How I Used the Product

As I received my email with a download link for the first lesson, I made sure that my Adobe Reader was working so that I can open the file using my laptop. I read the short introduction and was immediately starting my first lesson. The first lesson was about making a schedule that works for my family. There were a series of questions about how we spend time as a family and based from my answers, I was asked to make our 8 week schedule. I printed the file at the end of the document and followed the instructions.

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It took me about 15 minutes to complete the first lesson and the assignment. I took note of the tips that I think will be useful for our family like the LITERACY HOUR.

As I received the 2nd lesson for the succeeding week, I was  quite excited to see how I can make Math more easy for my children. I was reminded that Math needs to be taught 3 ways: via practical experience, talking about it and writing about it. Most of them, I just skip the first part which is practical experience and it makes Math more dull and that is probably why my daughter doesn’t like Math very much.

The very practical guide to choosing the right Math curriculum for your family is truly a helpful guide for me. It helped me evaluate if we are using the right product for our family. Then I even received a BONUS lesson which was about  Math Ideas, making Math more enjoyable to learn for the kids.

The 3rd lesson was about helping a child who has been studying in a public or private school adjust to homeschool. There were several moms who shared their real life stories and what they did to help their kids adjust.

4th lesson was about fireproofing our homeschool. It talks about the philosophy on education, what I want to achieve in my life and whyI want to homeschool the kids. This week also see my adding new things to our schedule like FUN things to do.

5th lesson revolved around 3 questions that will help me achieve our family’s goals. It was really important as this helped shaped the goal of our homeschooling.

6th lesson reminded me to take care of myself and to reach for my dreams. It is important that as a person, I do not neglect myself as it is not holy to forget myself in the name of my children.

7th week is all about homeschooling. It gave a brief background on “school” and why curriculum shouldn’t really matter. It also gave an overview of the methods of homeshooling.

What I Thought of the Product

As I used this product during the review time frame, I have gained fresh insights on Math and how to fireproof our homeschool. I was also reminded of our family’s goals and how I shouldn’t be worried about the “best” curriculum there is. It was refreshing to learn from a veteran homeschooler!

If you are seriously considering to homeschool your children, I  would recommend this product to you. You will gain valuable insights and be guided in making wise choices for your homeschool. As this product is designed to work alongside your current homeschool year, you would probably need to use it best in the beginning of the school year or even before your school year.

For a homeschool parent who needs guidance in re-organizing and restarting their homeschool, this would also be a good start. The course asks the important questions and makes you reflect on your style, goals, methods and how to be a better homeschool parent. It is like attending a conference.

The only downside of this product for me is that it takes too long to complete. 26 weeks is half a year and almost an entire school year. I would rather have all the lessons in 2 or 3 months at least.

For more information, check out the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheBroadRoom.

I invite you to read the reviews of other Schoolhouse Review Crew members to see what they think of this product!

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review
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25 Free Classics Kindle eBooks for Kids

In celebration of  the World Read Aloud day, I am sharing with you some of our favorite books which are FREE as of today from Kindle. We love actual books but with the limited space we have and with the resources available online, there are generally some books we read using ebooks, particularly with Kindle.

I hope that your family will enjoy these classic ebooks as much as we did!

Pollyanna

Pollyanna Grows Up 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Light Princess

Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Great Expectations

A Christmas Carol

The Secret Garden

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Moby Dick

The Jungle Book

Anna Karenina

Little Women

Around the World in 80 Days

Heidi

The Swiss Family Robinson

A Little Princess

The Man in the Iron Mask

A Collection of Beatrix Potter Stories

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The Call of the Wild

Aesop’s Fables

The Legend of King Arthur and His Knights

Homeschool Help: Typical Homeschooling Day

Since I don’t have a household helper, I typically wake up around 5:30 am to take our dog Charlie out for a walk. When we come back, I do chores like wash clothes, sweep the floor and prepare breakfast. The kids wake up around 7:00 am and we start off by 8:30 am.

The kids read their own Bibles and we study the Bible together using the curriculm. We then proceed to our next subject. Usually the kids work on their Math separately.  I work with the little one first then go to my older one. We work on 1 lesson a day in Math since we do Math every day. Then they move on to their next subject.  We take a break by 11:00 am and start with a read-aloud by 1 pm. Then we do the remaining subjects until 3:30 pm.

The subjets we do together are Bible, Science, Art and Music . We do History, Math, English, Filipino, and Social Studies separately. There are some subjects that we do daily like Bible and Math while the other subject gets done twice or thrice a week.

After 3:30 pm, the kids usually play or read books or do little projects. There are days that there are ballet classes, football training and once a week Bible study meeting so our schedules are tweaked on those days.

We don’t follow a very rigid schedule but we have a daily subject guide for us to follow.

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Homeschool Help: World History

Since my daughter started first grade a couple of years back, we have started studying world history. It is not a common thing here in the Philippines as I remember studying world history only during my high school years. But reading, studying and discussing world history with my daughter has given her a deeper appreciation of life, of the world and of God. I believe that it has shaped her world view that evil things happen, men can be evil but God is always good and faithful.

As I study history along with my children, I realized that the struggles of mankind hasn’t really changed over the years. The problems often start from man’s selfishness and sinfulness. The cycle of history often repeats itself throughout the generations because man didn’t learn the lessons from the past.

There are different world history books out there but we chose to use books which are written from a biblical perspective. I am sharing with you some of the world history books and curriculum which I think are worth checking out.

Mystery of  History by Linda Hobar. Published by Bright Ideas Press, this history series has 4 volumes. It is written in chronological order and classical study style. It includes multi-age activities, book and video lists, memory helps, timeline suggestions, quizzes, and map work. We’ve used the first 2 volumes for the past 4 years and we’ve enjoyed reading through it. 

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Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer. Published by Peace Hill Press, this series has 4 volumes. It is written in a straight forward and engaging style. It is also available as an e-book and audiobook. We’ve not yet used this series but have heard of good reviews.

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Self-paced Online History by Veritas Press. This is an online video history curriculum and has 5 courses available. It is a fun and interactive history curriculum. My daughter has recently been using this and has helped her remember her lessons more.

Veritas Press Review

Studying world history expands one’s world view and understanding of the world. Moreso, it allows us to see the true state of mankind and what God has done for us. I have personally been enjoying history time with my children, and look forward to learning more with them!