Saturday, September 10, 2011

Free Websites Master Lists

Ok, a while ago I made a list of my most used free worksheet links, there are of course many more webpages that I have found important in my HS - from fun interactive sites for the kids, to sites designed for different types of learners (my oldest is a visual). Here is my list of what is in my favorites list.
Blessings -

Interactive Sites -
Miamiopia - the kids LOVE this site and play it while I'm making dinner.
Big IQ - math, spelling & Geography. The kids play about 30 minutes each.
12 Dozen Places to Educate Your Kids
Click n' Kids (Phonics and spelling) -- ok this is not free, it is about $50/mo but it is sooo fun!
 Head of the Class - this site is a little disappointing - each lesson starts with a great animation, but many (MANY) of the lessons are actually worksheets. But it is free, and great on a day I'm sick or the kids need a distraction.

Geography -

Math -

Science -

Computer Science

Lesson Plans -

more to come!

Our Worse Enemy -- OURSELVES!

I've been running groups like this one for years now. I've been HS'ing my own kids since they were toddlers. I'm the first person to defend HS as a viable resource. I'm the shoulder other newbies cry on. And I shake my head at the worries and guilt new HS parents often experience. But I will fully admit even I can sometimes fall prey to the even twin resting on my shoulder whispering guilt and doubt. I thought I'd write this post for all other HS mom's who stongly defend their decision then, late in the night when no one is watching, bite my fingernails to the quick.

Here are some of my guilty whisperings:

Gosh, we don't spend nearly the amount of time on HS as PS kids do...what with going to school for 8 hours then having a couple of hours of homework when they get home...Now, intellectually I know we don't need as much time as the kids are getting one on one attention, and the curriculum is designed specifically for their learning styles. I'm not trying to fit square pegs into round holes. But even I will sometimes question our dedication. When we do coop once a week, I will slack on the other days, not doing as much (and I know many other parents who do nothing at all on those other 6 days a week)....and I'm one of those parents who think all of life is a learning experience, so technically our kids are learning all of the time...but still I'll feel whisperings of doubt occasionally.

I'm not a trained professional. My oldest son has Aspergers (a form of Autism). I can not conceive of him thriving in a PS setting. And yet I know (supposedly) he'd be surrounded by 'experts' if I put him in the ps system. In fact I had a hard time finding a doctor who a. supported HS or b. would dx him without having a report from a school psychologist. Again my son is in a safe environment where I can give him the freedom to explore his stengths to his hearts content, and work gently on his weaknesses....but I had a hard time learning about his learning style, and I feel (ocassionally) that we wasted those years that I tried to teach him with a different style. I know he would have been bullied and miserable in a group setting (he has high anxiety) but ocassionally I too will doubt my abilities.

My house looks like the setting for an epic war film. One of the hardest parts of HS is getting balance. Especially since I'm legally handicapped and can't be on my feet for long periods of time. So I will shrug off keeping the kitchen spotless to instead watch hours of documentaries with the kids. Or I won't do laundry so we can instead work on building a volcano. Our house is cleaning central on the weekends, which the kids hate. But I will sometimes feel guilty for taking my quiet reading time in the evening after the kids go to bed. Our house would sparkle, but I'd probably be homicidal without it. I'm the first to tell parents the importance of taking decompression time, but it doesn't stop the guilt.

So ladies. Acknowledge your guilt and doubt, own it. I believe the doubt and fear are part and parcel with being a good parent. It keeps us on our toes, always striving to be the best parent/teacher we can be. No matter what your guilt/doubt know that you ARE good enough, you ARE smart enough, and you ARE doing what is right for YOUR family.