Hello from The 4 Brothers Ranch! Our family has a lot going on and a couple blogs in order to keep things organized. You can find all our homeschooling stuff here! Annissa's regular everyday blog is called A PAGE IN MY BOOK and also there is a blog to update the kids medical issues at MY UNIQUE FLOWERS. Please check those out too!

Monday, May 25, 2009

HA: Learning Styles

I'm looking through some of the homeschooling books that I picked up at the library, one of which being THE FIRST YEAR OF HOMESCHOOLING YOUR CHILD: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start By: Linda Dobson .... and I came to chapter 4 where it starts to discuss learning styles.

Learning styles is something I'm interested in figuring out because I cannot for the life of me peg Calahan. I can peg myself, Dennis... even Noah. But not Calahan. I can't figure him out.

So there is a section where they are discussing Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences ... Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner, Ph.D. wrote Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice, and also Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century ... basically, (and I am going to quote the book pictured) "This theory suggests that we should employ a pluralistic view when measuring mental functioning. In other words, the theory sets forth a rationale for recognizing a variety of intelligent ways of thinking."

Frames of Mind lists 7 types of intelligences to consider (apparently the first 2 are almost exclusively valued in the school systems.) It suggests that by reviewing the traits listed in each intelligence, that you can understand how underappreciated the majority of intelligences are.

The 7 Types of Intelligences

LINGUISTIC: think in words; possess good auditory skills, learn best by verbalizing or hearing and seeing words.

LOGICAL - MATHEMATICAL: think conceptually; enjoy patterns and experimenting.

BODILY - KINESTHETIC; process knowledge through bodily sensations; fine motor coordinations; learn by moving or acting things out.

VISUAL - SPATIAL: think in images and pictures; inventive and/or artisitc.

MUSICAL: high appreciation of music or talent for creating, including singing; hear sounds that others don't; sensitive to nonverbal sounds.

INTERPERSONAL: good at organizing and communicating (or, negatively, manipulating); natural mediators; learn best by relating and cooperating.

INTRAPERSONAL: Possess deep awareness of inner feelings and ideas; deep sense of self; qualities of inner wisdom or intuition

and in 1996 he added an 8th ...

NATURALIST: skilled at observing, understanding, and organizing patters in the natural environments; good classifer; analyzes minute differences, as in sounds of different engines or fingerpring variations.

Thomas Armstrong Ph.D. put a spin on Gardner's theory in 1987 in a book called In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child's Personal Learning Style .... where he then the theory more accessible for parents to help customize eduation paths for children. It has chapters on nurturing environments, building support systems for your child, creating positive beliefs, honoring your child, enhance your childs senses to improve learning, and reasons why your child isnt' thriving in school. He even says, while discussing ways to get the best education for your child, that parents should "consider teaching your child at home."


The book also discusses another book called: Discover Your Child's Learning Style by: Mariaemma Willis and Victoria Kindle Hodson ... A brief review of each aspect follows: (taken directly from the book)


Preforming: Prefers activities that are entertaining, relevant, challenging, and hands-on; learns best when teaching is short and to the point, allows movement, involves games, manipulatives, and audiovisuals.

Producing: Prefers structure and order, opportunity to organize; learns best when teaching is logical and sequential, allows planning, scheduling, and due dates.

Inventing: Prefers experimntal activity and opportunity to question, design, and discover; learns best when teaching is direct and provides "intellectual" ideas, theories, models, and time for exploration.

Relating/Inspiring: Prefers social activity, incorporation of personal feelings, and opportunity to interact; learns best when teaching offers individualization, small groups, and cooperative interaction.

Thinking/Creative: Prefers activity that is creative and has artistic or philosophical aspects, provides artistic expression and opportunity to wonder, think, and dream; learns best when theaching allows for time alone and involves the creative process.


Note the similarities to what Gardner calls intelligences.
Criteria to define talents are:
* activities that are done with ease
* child is ahead of others in specific area without previous instruction
* dormant if not developed, but not lost
* have an underlying effect on other life aspects
Talents include music, math-logic reasoning, mechanical reasoning, word-language reasoning, spatial, body coordination, interactive-self, interactive-others, interactive-animals, interactive-nature, humor, and life enhancement.


The avtivities that your child chooses to pursue are valid expressions of your child's learning style, yet they
* are often overlooked by parents
* don't always support a child's talents
* need to be observed
It helps if you assist child in prioritizing interests, especially insofar as recognizing short-term and long-term interests.


Modality refers to the senses through which information is taken in and processed. It takes into account the following:

Auditory - learns through listening or through talking and discussing

Visual - learns through pictures (charts, graphs, maps, etc.) or through pring (reading and writing)

Tactile-Kinesthetic - learns through touch or through movement


Do not ignore the understanding that we all learn best under different circumstances.

Sound - Preference for quiet or need for noise

Body Position - Preference to sit, recline, or stand

Interaction - Preference to be alone or with others, either quietly or intereacting

Lighting - Full-spectrum is better than fluorescent; dimmed lights have a calming effect.

Temperature - Discomfort is created when environment is eather too hot or too cold.


Healthy food and drink, available as needed, help some children's learning efficiency.


Affects mood, as some energizes, soothe, or depress; favorite colors in environment contribute to positive thinking and motivation.


Creating your own schedule

Saturday, May 23, 2009

We went to the library ...

We went to the library today, honestly - it was the first time I set foot in there, in YEARS. I remember why. I always seem to have a young child who is not happy in there and it's loud, and the library echos.

We got Dennis, Nathan & Kaedyn's library cards. Mine, Cal & Noah's are all basically out of service, I have to find them - and check them (to see if I have any fines - just incase.)

We got there, Dennis immediately went for the cook books, and I went for the homeschooling ones, however the kids started to whine right away "where are the kids books?"

Well at our library, the kids section is getting a remodel so they have temporarily been moved to the basement into one of the meeting rooms - and it's hard to get to. So I took Nathan out of the stroller and then took the older two down. Nathan had a blast and just walked around and around and around. He did - however, go out in the hall and beat his head against the glass case holding beanie babies.

But when I handed him a book of Backyardigans - he carried that around and around with him, going on each sitting surface and looking at it. It was adorable to watch. He loves books. I found a bunch of Blues Clues ones and then helped the older boys find things of interest. Cal got a car book (of course), a "how to fix and trouble shoot laptops" book, and 2 computer games. Noah got two movies, and some pirate books, and he (for whatever reason) grabbed a book on camping and activites to do.

Anyway - here are the homeschooling books I got. (So far I am LOVING these first two!)

I will be sharing what I find useful out of these books, of course... and I highly recommend the book in the first picture ... THE HOMESCHOOLER'S BOOK OF LISTS ... it is AWESOME!! These are (almost) all the books picked up by everyone today... LOL

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Books Books Books!

So we have started to bring our our OLD collection of K/1st Grade stuff for Noah ... and started to pick up stuff for Calahan. The top shelf is The Man's school books, and then there are some of the books for Cal, Noah's workbooks for this summer, and then more stuff for Noah on the next shelf, and on the bottom is some more work books more Pre-School age and Nathan's coloring books and such. We went to Borders the other day and found a couple of GREAT books on clearance! I'm so excited I wanted to share!

We got The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology and The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt ... Here are page examples of each! They were only $10 a piece!! Big huge thick books too packed with all sorts of great info!!

Then I found some Atlas ones. Got a Children's World Atlas, a New World Atlas which actually goes over the way the world looked during different eras. And then the Children's Picture Atlas. The Children's World Atlas is a bit more gered to Cal's age, and the Picture Atlas to Noah's. The New World one is just cool! The World Atlas was about $6, the Picture Atlas was about $4 and the New World one was $10!

When I finally found the Homeschooling book section, I found this... and decided it would be my first book buy! I haven't had a chance to look at it really but when I do I'll be sure to share! This was just a little under $20.

With Mr. Man going to school too, I figured the English Grammer & Punchuation thing would be a good reference for EVERYONE... also got a Writing Tablet for Noah to work on his writing this summer.
Our family is struggling so bad right now, with The Man going to school himself, and my staying home with the babies cuz it's cheaper then daycare - plus we can't afford to have Nathan or Noah exposed to anymore germs then necessary! They both get sick so easy. Noah I want to keep of antibodics as much as possible because of his kindey failure in 2007, and Nathan just can't afford to be sick and lose weight. I wish I hadn't spent the money right now, but I knew the books would be of GREAT use and we need them if we are going to succeed. After all you can't get ALL your info from the internet!

Anyway - I ended up buying so much (or who knows, maybe they had a promotion going on) that I got a free $10 Gift Card with my purchuse!! (shakes head in shock) ... I was so stunned that I didn't ask why, or maybe.... it was more fear of "well, you can not have it then" LOL... who knows...

Anyway - I also picked up these math books at a garage sale

They might be geared for more down the road a bit, but it'll be good anyway! Can't beat $5 for them all!

And I'm not sure if Noah will go back to school next year or not. I think I might end up leaving it up to him, or possibly, I may send him next year too, and play it by ear. (If he gets a certain teacher for 2nd grade I think I will most likely send him because she was GREAT with Calahan and about the only teacher with Cal who actually put forth a lot of effort to help with his needs.) Then play it by ear for 3rd Grade. I really hesitate to pull Noah out because even though he is behind from his hearing loss and other issues, he thrives in that enviornment because he is such a social butterfly!!

In example, I brought him in late one day from a DR appt and the kids were getting ready for lunch/recess and one kid saw him, which lead to "NOAH IS HERE" to all the other kids around getting excited going "We missed you" "you weren't here" "where were you?" "you are here!" and all sorts of things. They literally all gathered around him and he was blushing. It was so cute! LOL...

Anyway - again, I am still debating on him. But we are most definitely working this summer to get him reading and writing better, and doing simple math. YAY!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Calahan's Assignment for the Week (2)

Calahan's Week 2 Assignment!

Calahan's assignment for this week is to give me a list of things that he would be interested in studying - certain subjects - like ...

would you like to study Mythology? Ancient Egypt? One certain person in history? Give me some things that you would like to do.

Since you haven't done the previous assignment yet, I'll give you until the end of the week to do both!

Calahan's Assignment: Wolf Of The Sea: Assignment 2

Monday, May 11, 2009

Calahan's Assignment for the Week

Calahan's First Assignment

Should you choose to accept it (actually you don't really have a choice in the matter)....

Write an essay on why you think you will enjoy homeschooling. Why you feel it is better for you then public schools. There is no word limit, it is just to get you familiarized with the set up and posting, and writing.

Enjoy Cal!

Calahan's Assignment: Wolf Of The Sea: Assignment 1

Saturday, May 9, 2009

You Know You Were Homeschooled.. because...

For All Homeschoolers...

You Know You Were Homeschooled because...

1. You went to school in your PJs.
2. Your biology lab consisted of assisting in your sibling's birth.
3. Your stacks of books to check out was taller than the librarian.
4. Your PE came from chasing little toddlers around.
5. Your school bus was a 9 passenger van.
6. You considered school work after lunch to be cruel and unusual punishment.
7. Your father ever told the check-out lady at Wal-Mart, "We're on a field trip."
8. Your social life was viewed by some to be one rung lower than that of a Benedictine monk.
9. Your teacher ever wrote your report card on a napkin.
10. You had to move dirty laundry off your desk before you could start school.
11. The signatures on your diploma all end with the same last name.
12. Everyone else in the world was referred to as "Non-homies."
13. Your Mother's wardrobe consisted primarily of denim jumpers.
14. Your first real date was on your honeymoon.
15. The word 'homework' sounded like a foreign language.
16. Your yearbook was also your babybook.
17. A snow day meant that you had to shovel the driveway after you finished your school work.
18. You enjoyed the pastime of watching public school kids walk home from school.
19. You had to look at the clock to see if you could call your public school friends yet.
20. You thought that "public-school-kid" was an insult of the highest degree.
21. Health class consisted of eating breakfast.
22. You had to decide what year you wanted to graduate.
23. You were always late but just called it "homeschooler time."
24. You can remember nearly every single day you went to public school.
25. The teacher could kiss the principal, and no one thought it was unusual.
26. You got to school and the teacher asked you if you've done all your chores.
27. You are one of the best people in the world!
28. Your friends talked about waiting in line for seven hours to try out the new roller coaster in town, so you went and waited five minutes on a school day.
29. Your school lunches contained any food item easily identifiable to a person without a microscope and extensive scientific knowledge.
30. You've ever listened to Beethoven and Michelle Branch on the same day. Not counting music lessons.
31. Gym class was actually a fun activity like swimming.
32. You're on a first-name basis with the clerks at the local bookstore.
33. The closest thing to a bully in your school was your slightly strange two-year-old sister.
34. Your friends complained about a hard day at school, and you had to keep yourself from giving them "that homeschooling smile."
35. You heard the phrase "socialization" and laughed because you had more friends and knew more people than your public school friends.
36. Your school dress code was: No Nudity Allowed
37. You didn't own a television
38. You were firmly convinced that high school causes brain damage
39. You slept in till 9 am on weekdays but got up at 7 am on Sundays
40. You have more siblings than sweaters
41. You knew what a 'Park Day' is
42. Your favorite author was Jane Austen, G.K. Chesterton, or P.G. Wodehouse
43. You have ever suffered through Saxon Math
44. All birthdays were school holidays
45. You have ever finished your schoolwork before breakfast
46. You taunted high schooled friends during finals week
47. You spent more than 2 hours each day reading and writing....voluntarily
48. You are 16 years of age or older and still have never been on a date
49. You knew what "Unit Studies" were
50. You had more than 2 science experiments going on in your room
51. You knew more than 1 Latin paradigm
52. You have ever spent the entire school day in pajamas
53. You regularly utilized words such as "malingering", "tedious", and "indubitably"
54. You considered sled riding phys ed
55. Your IQ is greater than your weight
56. You checked out more than 10 books each time you visited the library
57. You have ever attempted to teach yourself physics
58. When asked about your GPA, you said, "Oh, probably 4.0."
59. You had no idea as to what rock bands were popular then...but you could recite all of the stages of cellular mitosis (in order).
60. You believed that you were the most intelligent human in your age bracket within a ten mile radius.
61. You actually wanted to receive books on your birthday
62. Cleaning your room counted as Phys-Ed.
63. Your field trip took you overseas.
64. Shop class included watching your brother fix his car.
65. Your track meet was riding into town to race bikes with a friend.
66. Your mom wished you'd stop reading and do something else for a change.
67. Your bedroom was your classroom and your bed or floor was the desk.
68. You stayed up till whenever, and not because you were doing homework.
69. You could get days ahead in almost any subject.
70. You recorded, planned and graded your own school work.
71. You forgot about the minor holidays until you saw your dad sitting home in sweats or your public school friends asked you over the weekend what you did on your day off.
72. You didn't know what spring break was.
73. Your mom counted watching a war movie as history and playing out in the snow as PE.
74. You had more friends way older and younger than you than ones your actual age.
75. You read for fun

Friday, May 8, 2009

Choices ...

We're making hard choices today, and I am pretty sure what I will be doing.

Pulling my 13 year old out of school, and homeschooling him.

It's a choice I have been wrestling with for years. Ever since he was little and out of pre-school, I knew he wouldn't *thrive* in public school... my getting notice that he's failing almost all (5 out of 8 classes) was the last straw.

Add into the equation constant bullying and various other issues.

We're going to give it next year (8th Grade) and go from there.

I am also homeschooling my 7 year old this summer to try to get him to "catch up" to his peers. He is a social butterfly and I think he does very well in public school. For now anyway.

However - I totally have a plan in my head for my 7 year old, I have NO CLUE where to start for my 13 year old.