Cardinal Alternative Learning

Infinitely Tweakable Education. Because Learning is a Dynamic Process.

Archive for the category “What’s Working for Us”

Science Windows & Book Nooks

As part of my gung-ho planning phase this year, I decided maybe I needed to be more organized about science this year, pick a focus, maybe use a “real” scope and sequence from some boxed curriculum even if I pulled together my own resources.  Another plan that has not lasted!  D just loves science, and we’re a science-y family.  We can’t be limited by a scope and sequence, at least not at this age and stage!  So here’s what we’re doing for science instead, and another little tweak we’ve made to our learning system… Read more…


The Mystery Jar

What’s really working in our homeschool this week: The Mystery Jar.

So many things beyond the basics look fun and enriching to do with Miss D. On the one hand, the thought of scheduling so many bits and pieces makes me want to hide under the bed. On the other hand, I don’t really trust myself to encourage her to try these things without having it as part of the routine somehow. Read more…

Keeping It Interesting

I have one of those kids who is constantly asking me, “what can we do now.”  While I may eventually respond with some variation of “figure it out – you’re too creative to be bored for long,” Miss D is only 4.5, and already gets to practice self-entertaining for a decent chunk (1.5-2 hours) most afternoons during her quiet time.  So I’m still working our old whiteboard method – throwing up a bunch of ideas, some technically “academic” and many less obviously so.  Sometimes I throw up stuff for myself, and we trade off, her stuff versus Mommy stuff like laundry or baking.  Other days I just work my stuff in naturally anyway.

We cross activities out as Miss D picks different things to do, and the other day, as she spontaneously marked through something we’d just done, I realized we were probably working in some reading practice as we went.  Otherwise, how would she have known which to cross off?

Resources We Love, March Edition

I am really getting my groove with CSMP as a math program, and I wonder why I don’t hear more about it! Here’s what I love about it:

  • It’s a free curriculum. Free is always good, but something I especially love about free in this case is that it means I feel zero guilt skipping over things I think Miss D has already mastered
  • I have it saved as a PDF on my iPad so it doesn’t even have to be printed out!
  • Despite all this convenience and free-ness, it’s a really good, building-understanding, not-just-computation-or-memorization-but-MATH kind of program.
  • I call it math games with Miss D b/c that’s truly what it feels like. It’s not a problem at all that she isn’t a strong writer yet, because this is anything but a worksheet intensive approach, at least at the K level
  • While I have to adjust for our home (v. school) context at points, that hasn’t felt too difficult. In fact, I can adjust the “stories” behind the math games to fit the books and manipulatives I have, AND (even more importantly) to what Miss D is interested in. So Miss D learned counting-on as an addition strategy with the Incredibles family taking out a series of Omnidroids. Whatever works!
  • While there are some manipulatives to buy, it’s not all at once.

We’re really enjoying CSMP and making progress with just 10-15 minutes 3-4x per week.

What math programs or resources do you like, and why?

Fun Apps for Miss D

Post by Ua

Confession: I was on the iPad bandwagon early on. Before it came out, I was mildly obsessed with what possibilities it would hold for how we interact with digital media. I was thinking about this not only as a teacher, but also as a parent. What tools would help us bring more of the world to Miss D’s fingertips?

The iPad still amazes me in what it provides. Although there’s going to be more to discover, I wanted to share a few of the apps that I have enjoyed using with Miss D:

1. Science 360: This app has some great videos and pictures on a variety of scientific topics.

2. NASA: Gorgeous pictures and very detailed video. Miss D became curious about the recent Mars Rover Curiosity, and NASA had planned ahead with many videos ready to go, as well as animation. Read more…

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