23 February 2018

Learning Made Easy

As you may have noticed from my bio, I am a homeschooling mom.  In fact I have technically been schooling children in my home since 1988 when Funsocksgirl turned 5.  That's 30 years!

Homeschooling was a new and daring and somewhat scary road in the 80's.  School boards, State teachers' associations and social workers were not terribly accepting of the homeschool option.  We lived in central Missouri at the time and I remember the Kindergarten principal bawling me out for "ruining" my child with my harebrained ideas.  Thankfully, I knew the law better than she did and was able to calmly stand my ground.  I had memorized State statutes on what courses and hours were required and made sure we jumped through every paperwork hoop. 

Nonetheless, I was paranoid about "The State" coming and taking away my children.  We actually used to have family drills on what to do if "They" came to the door.  Stories abounded of children being taken away and parents being taken to court for neglect or for aiding in truancy.

We were faithful members of the Home School Legal Defense Association so we'd have affordable legal representation if anything happened.

  I planned our school "classes" meticulously and kept very detailed records of what we did, when we did it and who we did it with.  I strove to meet every requirement of the law.  We even bought an entire brand new set of World Book Encyclopedias so we'd have our own well equipped library at home.

It was exhausting!  And the task was further complicated by the limited resources that were available.  There were only a very few publishers who put out curriculum for home sale. I had no other homeschoolers to bounce ideas of off.  There was no internet (that I knew of) and we did not have a computer.

Still, I did manage to find some decent texts, we made frequent use of our public library, and took frequent field trips.  By our second year, there was one more homeschooling family in our neighborhood.  We pinched pennies and went to a couple of homeschool conventions and discovered a few more resources and a boatload more home educators.  It was great!

Fast forward several years.  Funsocksgirl was 16 and Scout was 13 when we had Girly-Girl in 1999.  Then we had Silly-Head in 2001.   While we were working on Jr high and High School for the older 2, we entered into a new realm with the babies.  By the time the girls were school age we even had computers and email, along with educational computer games. There were homeschool co-ops we could take part in, homeschool parties and proms and more curriculum options than we could shake a stick at.

Nowadays, finding quality curriculum is quite simple; Just turn on the computer!  You can find so many affordable options.  Better yet, you can even find some that are FREE!  Imagine that!

One thing I am always looking for is quality resources for studying science.  Even though my girls are older now, I still occasionally teach High School biology for a local co-op.  I also lead a 4-H club with 12 kids ages 5-18.  And one thing we study in both those settings is BUGS.  In the biology classes we study insects and arachnids and how God made them.  In 4-H we study invasive species like the Asian Longhorn Beetle and parasites like goat lice and how to control/eradicate them.

 Imagine my delight when I found out about the Orkin Science Website!  As you may know, Orkin is a company that specializes in pest control.  ie. They know their bug science!

On this website you can find entomology lessons and accompanying printables for grades K-6.  There are coloring pages, interactive activities (anyone up for studying a virtual roach?), and tips for field trips and good lab practices.  They are not a complete science curriculum in and of themselves, but they'd make a great supplement to life science lessons with your kids.  Best all, these resources are all FREE!  Woooot!

I can easily see incorporating some of Orkin's free material in my lesson planning!  According to their website, I might even be able to schedule my local Orkin man to come to our co-op or 4-H activity to teach us more about bugs.  Groovy!

So there you have it.  If you homeschool or if you want to share some fun FREE science resources with your child's school, check out the Orkin Science Website.  I think you'll like it!


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