Our Story

Welcome to our site! We are Joanne & Steve. After 20+ years working for a city school department and police department, we sold almost everything, bought an RV, and started living on the road with our three children. Joanne homeschools and works online.
What we have chosen is to live life as unencumbered as we possibly can and to spend time with our family, for our family, and as a family.
This website is a record of our travels. But, we also hope to educate, entertain, and inform others about RVing, roadschooling, and the great places we visit in this country.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

data data data

As I delve head-first into full-time homeschooling, it is very difficult to shed the 19 years of public school teaching experience and pedagogy ground into me.  I think once we are traveling (My LORD I have been saying that a long time!), our instructional focus will be based on the history of the area in which we stay.  For now, I am working the basics.

You know; the 3 Rs...


I am lucky.  I have a slew of awesome people to go to for help in any academic, and behavioral, area.  I worked with the best people on the planet, at all 3 schools.  As Ian moves higher into the subject of Mathematics, I will surely be calling on my friends.

Meanwhile, I am fortunate enough to have access to certain websites that have been a Godsend in providing for daily reading skills for the twins.

One of the newest I have begun to use is ixl.com.

It is a pay site, but well worth it.  I used to use it for my class, but, if you are not a member, you can only do so many activities before you are shut off for the day.
I finally decided to buy the subscription...and I am very glad I did.

Like I said, I am fresh from the public school classroom, with all its lovely government interference.  Nothing like it used to be.  It's all about testing and record keeping now.  Which is fine, but it can consume your life.  In no other profession is one person solely responsible for all aspects of the job.  Planning lessons, especially with the extreme influence on differentiated instruction; teaching these lessons; giving formative assessments; recording data from formative assessments; analyzing this data; using the formative assessment data to guide new lessons; giving summative assessments; analyzing summative assessments; meeting with students for conferences; meeting with parents for conferences; oh, and now, joining many committees...all done by the classroom teacher. Not to mention correcting papers, sometimes 4-8 per student, per day.   25 students.  You do the math.

I have only 3 students now, but, the old ghosts haunt me.  I struggle, as always, with the best method to do all of the above.  Not that I have big brother school department breathing down my neck, or cold-hearted mrs city hall threatening my pay for low test scores.  They are my own ghosts.  I have yet to release myself from the grip of the public school chains. I am trying.

But, I digress...back to ixl.com.

It is a website that provides math skills practice from grades pre-K to eighth.  What I like about it is the skills tasks are all aligned to the different 50 state's standards, as well as to the new national Common Core standards.

So, for a teacher, there is a ton of practice with what their current standards are and what their new standards will be (if their state joined the Common Core train).

For parents, it is great as well.  As the new standards are implemented, new terminology will be used, new report cards possibly made.  This site gives an example, just with the slide of a mouse, of all the new (and old) standards.   You don't even need a subscription for that.  So, if Johnny comes home with homework and you have no clue what it is all about, I bet this site will help.

We just began using it a couple of days ago.  But already I see the value, especially, and this is always on my mind, if some day the anti-homeschool police knock on my door due to some nosey-body's complaining (not that I disagree with someone interfering if they believe it is necessary) that my kids aren't in school.  I will have a plethora of data to be used as evidence of teaching and learning.  It also serves to feed the itch I have of uber-organization.

Check it out.


By the way, I have no monetary relationship with this site...unfortunately.

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