Somehow, I actually managed to finish my cross country and complete my PPL requirements, and -- thanks to some cooperative friends --pull off a birthday party and Bon Voyage Breakfast and get everyone out the door and to the airport to catch our first plane to Miami, enroute to Buenos Aires!
This is where I excuse myself from this Blog, and invite my readers to follow me here instead for the next few months.
Will be back here in December. Have a great fall, everyone!
With the exception of the year I taught full time at Tyndale's Dept of Education (and that might not really even be an exception, since I still had a "class", technically speaking), this is the first time in my career that I have not spent the first day of school in, well, a SCHOOL! Or at the very least, in a Board office, logged onto a Board computer, thinking about and planning for a school!
Particularly curious is the fact that while I was supposed to have been enjoying a final day at the beach before heading back to Toronto (I'm still in PEI) to do some last minute packing and tying up of loose ends before heading off to Argentina for the year, I am instead holed up inside on a wet, cold, miserable Island day, working on LESSON PLANS, LOL!!!
Yep, just spent the last three hours mapping out my first week of "school" for Argentina, where I'll be primarily home schooling Alex and Simon.
It is a singular experience to have such a long stretch of uninterrupted time to plan in peace -- no announcements, no colleagues coming in to borrow stuff, no custodians chasing me out of the building... kind of nice, but a little strange, too.
Totally just getting started, and I have TONNES of work to do, still. But I have finally started working on my Argentina plans for school!!! Much of the work will be documented on this website, which will be updated in the weeks ahead, and which I will do most of my blogging on next year....
I'm keen to continue growing in my newly developing use of technology as a teaching tool while home schooling my 9-year-old twins in Argentina next year. One of the things I've been researching is how to integrate the use of our family's iPads and minis into our program; specifically, I am interested in using them as a replacement for paper notebooks.
One of the more appealing "paper" apps I've come across is Bamboo Paper, and app that allows the user to create a variety of notebooks. These digital notebooks can be customized by colour, title and by type of paper inside (blank, lined, grid, even staff paper!)
The trouble with any sort of digital paper app I've seen to date is that one still has to use one's finger on it, the result of which tends to be a bit of a blobby mess.
Enter Bamboo Stylus, the "pen" for iPads and other tablets.
Today in the mail there arrived a small box containing several models of these neat pens, including one that acts as both a stylus and a traditional pen (neat!) and another that attaches to the iPad itself.
I immediately ripped open the packaging and excitedly began to experiment with my new "toys", and I must say, they are pretty darned cool!
My head is already filled with 10 000 ideas for how these digital pens can be used with the iPad to make my job as teacher of two easier while home schooling next year... I am looking forward to stretching their capabilities to the limits, and blogging about it as I go!
To supplement my program next year, I've developed a list of rich mentor texts which I hope to read with the boys while home-schooling in Argentina. The list is based largely on ETFO's SJBWM booklist, however, I have also included a few other favourites.
I really enjoyed this year's "Grand Conversations" with my Grade 3 class, and am interested to see how these can be modified for my "class of 2 students" next year... it is possible that I may enlist the help of other home-schooling, English Speaking families. Another idea is to have the boys blog about the books, and hope that their classmates, friends and family back home comment on their blog posts.
One thing I am discovering, in both my planning and my packing, is that it is helpful to chunk the year into 3 parts. Thus you will see above that there are three groups of Mentor Texts: One to be addressed Sept-Dec, the next Jan - March, and the final one in April/May.
As some of my readers may know, we're heading to Buenos Aires next year, and will be home schooling the boys for most of the school year. As of last week, our apartment is booked, and we've just begun researching ticket prices for the second leg of our journey, which begins in January 2014.
As we prepare for the year ahead, I've been googling to see what I can find out about home schooling groups in the city. Although I'm fairly confident in my abilities to provide intellectual stimulation for the boys and cover the Grade 4 curriculum, it's important to me that they meet other children, both locals and fellow English speakers. After all, one of the main reasons we're going there is to soak up the local culture, and that is not something I alone can provide!
Home schooling in Argentina is a bit of an anomaly, but it is beginning to gain momentum. Recently, a conference was held for home schoolers, in BA. Today, I stumbled across this relatively new website (too bad she's leaving before we get there!) Another interesting read is offered here.
With any luck, I will succeed in finding some others who are on a similar journey as we are, and the timing will work out so that we can connect with other families while we are living abroad next year.
I was recently on the hunt for edu-apps for next year’s home-schooling extravaganza, and as Regions of Canada is one of the Social Studies topics for Grade 4 (Alex and Simon will be in grade 4 next year), I decided to look for relevant Canada Map apps.
While US map learning apps abound, Canada appears to be a more elusive market. The following three apps offer Canadian geography seekers and opportunity to learn…
For my 40th, I'm hoping for 40 books to take to Argentina next year to homeschool Alex and Simon.
Once we've finished using the books, our plan is to leave most of them behind, donating them to a local school or library down there.
The list includes books about Canada, non-fiction texts on Grade 4 Science topics, socially sensitive picture books, and an assortment of age-appropriate novels.
I got about 14 of the books from my list for my birthday this morning. Yay!
If you're looking for a small gift to make to a practical purpose and a good cause, please check out my amazon wish list here. Thanks for looking.
When I was in my late teens, I traveled to southern Germany to work, for a few months, at a small hotel in the Alps. Away from home and on my own for the first time, it was in many ways a life changing experience.
During this time, my mother sent me a card in the mail with a Marcel Proust quote:
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
I have often wrestled with this quote over the years since that summer for, as someone who enjoys "seeking new landscapes", it made me wonder if my travels were somehow frivilous or unnecessary. Was I just too shallow to see the existing landscape with new eyes, I wondered?
But today I read a quote from the son of a man who's just on his way home after walking around the globe (yes, on foot!) Asked what he thought of his father's eccentric, 11-year journey, he replied, "Often, without travelling, the media can impose a point of view".
This made me realise once again just how important travel, if possible, can be.
Many people have marveled at my desire to take my two 9-year-olds to Argentina for a school year, and their dad's alleged support of this apparently hair-brained scheme. But I can already see the impact of media and peer group on Alex and Simon's points of view, despite their fairly "liberal" family, and I desperately want to broaden their horizons while they are still young enough for it to make a powerful impact.
I am also not so arrogant as to think that I have nothing to learn from this next adventure: It will be the longest time I am away from "home", and in particular, living in a language that is not English or German.
Inevitably, there will be challenges to face, both philosophical and practical, along the way. But I am convinced that one of the best ways to see the old landscape with new eyes is to experience new landscapes that shape one's perspective.
New Landscape -- Here we Come!
After writing for several teacher and multiple birth publications, including ETFO's Voice Magazine, Multiple Moments, and the Bulletwin, Vera turned her written attention to prolific blogging for some years, including BiB, "Learn to Fly with Vera!" and SMARTbansho . Homeschooling 4 was her travel blog in Argentina. She now spends more time on her Instagram (@schalgzeug_usw) than her blog (pictures are worth a thousand words?!) Contact Vera by clicking the photo above.
The views expressed on this blog are the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the perspectives of her family members or the position of her employer on the the issues she blogs about. These posts are intended to share resources, document family life, and encourage critical thought on a variety of subjects. They are not intended to cause harm to any individual or member of any group. By reading this blog and viewing this site, you agree to not hold Vera liable for any harm done by views expressed in this blog.