I've enjoyed sharing some basics about homeschooling. For those of you who actually read this blog, I hope it helped answer some of your questions regarding homeschooling.
However, the time has come that I must draw an end to this blog and focus more on other things in my life. I just have too many irons in the fire.
The posts will remain live throughout this month after which they will no longer be available. Please review them, and collect whatever information you need from them. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Two of the most controversial topics for school age kids is the use of calculators and cell phones.
So, I would like some real feedback from you on both of those.
My personal opinion is cell phones are not necessary and can be more disruptive than productive. During the student's free time, or in between classes would better times for that.
As for calculators, while I was in school, we were only allowed a basic four function calculator, and that was limited at best. Two reasons, students who are not well adapted to the functions could possibly forget how to do basic four, especially long division. Now, we can't have mathematicians actually forgetting how to do math - you know, without the help of electronic gadgets. Can you imagine such a day? Picture it, earth in the year 2030 is struck by a major solar blast and wipes out the memory of computers the world over. Far fetched, admittedly, but still. As I was once told, math is not like riding a bicycle. For most people, we don't forget how to ride bikes. Math is easily forgettable. Practice is so important or we tend to get a bit rusty in not time at all.
However, because our day is so wrapped up in electronics, it is necessary that students be allowed to use them.
I think, as with anything, there are pros and cons to the use of both of these.
Ok, now it's your turn. Please click the red comments link below and share your thoughts or strategies on if and when you allow your students the use of either of these educational tools.
Please do not condemn another's comment. I look forward to hearing from you.
Taking breaks is just as much a vital part of education as academic studies. One of the problems faced by many home schoolers is that the day breaks tend to be longer than necessary. It removes a little bit of discipline both on the student and the parent. It is okay to work around that from time to time as other responsibilities take place in our normal every day lives.
Just as in a public school, plan those 5 minute breaks in between subjects. It is a much needed time for the student and parent to take a mental break from one subject, let your mind fly away to the farthest beach or world, then gear up for the next subject. It works best to keep those short breaks to five to no more than ten minutes unless you go out for a half hour play time, or nap time if your child is young enough to still need this.
Those break times are so refreshing to me and I know they must be for my child. Of course, she doesn't see it as the benefit that it really is, the chance to unwind, let go of the stress, take a deep breathe or maybe go outside and inhale some warm sunshine. But that's what she's is doing, letting go of the academic related stress. Encourage it, talk to your child about how they can best utilize those 5 or 10 minutes for their mental and physical health; remind yourself of how to take and enjoy those breaks often, too.
And don't forget to plan those longer much needed breaks: fall or spring break, summer break, maybe a nature walk and picnic lunch in a national forest to just simply blow the day away. In such invigorating environments, the mind still works to learn and absorb the nature around. Perhaps a trip to a nature center to watch or pet an eagle or maybe a science center. When possible, plan a trip to the beach. For me, just rising up early enough to watch the sun peak out over the horizon and listening to the waves resets my spirit, and recharges my batteries for sure.
Getting out of the norm on well planned events does much to restore the spirit, soul, and body for the next leg of an academic journey.
Talk with your child(ren) and see what you might can plan together. Be prepared for one of the kids to not like the idea. Schedule two to three events like this a school year if you can afford it or time permits. Allow the kids to mark one by their first choice and so on. Once you tally the votes, you can let the kids know and get that set in the schedule for the school year.
How many breaks a year do you schedule? How does your family work around those tough issues? Do you make it a family issue to save or invest money for those trips and teach your child about investing along the way?
To comment, simply tap the word comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.
It's mind boggling to think of one year going out, a new one coming in, and graduation right around the corner, right. What an eye opener.
I'll make this short and sweet, lol. Just because you home school your child doesn't mean you can't collaborate with others in the community to put together a graduation ceremony. So, start thinking of some things you can do to make graduation special for your child and others who are home schooled.
And don't forget to make a party and allow them to invite some friends over. Better yet, make a community wide effort of this. Talk with other parents and see about pitching in to rent a place to make a great event and an opportunity for the local graduates.
Now is a great time to begin thinking about this as many of us don't have the financial resources as public schools do.
Also, if this is your last child, take some time for yourself to reflect on all the years, happy and not so happy memories. Prepare yourself for that empty nest syndrome. It hits hard.
What things will you do to prepare for graduation? Will it be a community effort or just a family event? What other thoughts did you put into make this special for both you and your child?
I would really like to hear from some of you because my last one will soon be graduating.
In this issue, I want to talk about teaming up with other homeschoolers. One of the biggest drawbacks to homeschooling that the general public fusses about is that their child will not have any friends.
That is a lame excuse for not homeschooling your child to me but let's explore this. There are, of course, valid reasons for not choosing this alternative such as both parents need to work. Sometimes, single parent or health issues are involved, too.
My thought on the friend issue is that as parents you have better control over what influences your child while you are trying to build your morals into them. This helps them to develop healthy relationships because now they have something to help them decide who to hang out with. Developing friendships is important because it helps our kids be social and get along.
Many homeschoolers get involved with others who homeschool. They create sports teams, cheerleading or dance teams, and often attend or participate in community events together. The homeschoolers are out there but you need to ask around. If your community doesn't have one, start one. Try to develop a schedule to meet regularly to share concerns, elicit help from others for those tough subjects, and more. Try not to get too political, just have fun.
With holidays fast approaching, now would be a good time to put together a float for the Christmas parade, get the community involved to help promote your home schooled group. You could even set up group-wide fundraisers to help financially support the group activities.
With you getting involved in your child's activities and taking matters to heart to help your kids get involved, you set a good example for the kids and it helps others who home school to get involved.
So, Team Up and Have Fun.
So, summer is pretty much over and probably by now you have started a homeschool program for your children. Many parents and students bog down shortly after starting so I want to introduce you to some various methods of teaching that you might want to take a serious look at before the first breakdown.
I don't have the time to break down the pro's and con's of each method but I won't leave you without a dependable resource for researching each one on your own.
Lots of families probably take a normal, practical approach that is much like traditional public school settings. Following is a short list of some other methods and a brief note about each one.
Unschooling method: this method takes on a child-led approach that is natural and interesting to the child.
Eclectic method: is by far the most relaxed (to me, it severely lacks discipline) method of teaching. This method does not use a prescribed set of textbooks, rather it uses various workbooks for math, reading, and spelling and basically uses unschooling method for all other subjects and interests. This works for some but I don't have a feel for this method so it probably would not work as well for me.
Charlotte Mason method: uses real life situations through playtime and creativity to teach youngsters.
Waldorf method & the Montessori method: both of these methods discourage the use of TV and computers for younger students but allow it in later grades. Waldorf focuses on teaching the whole child as in spirt, mind, and body, while Montessori actively approaches errors and turns it into a positive experience for the student so that they walk away from their mistakes with a positive attitude that even through the mistake, they still learned.
There are other methods out there for your consideration. This and more information can be found at Homeschool Methods. Type in any search bar "homeschool methods" for other resources as well.
Now, to tie all this together. When you or your child has a bad hair day, incorporate one or more of these methods for the day, maybe even finish out the week in an eclectic sort of way.
If necessary, after you have studied these methods, create your own method that will work for you and your child---just keep the learning momentum going.
I hope you and your family are enjoying some summer time fun. While it's not quite time to prepare for the new year, I do want to run a few ideas by you that you should at least be thinking about for now.
Most of the time, we tend to think of closing out the year with a bang. We'll plan parties, have a few friends over, play games or watch some movies.
So, I have the thought why don't we do the same to start our year off right. One of the key factors in successfully homeschooling our children is to get them connected to other homeschoolers and get involved in some community wide activities. Make an annual pre-school planning event in your community. Consider the following:
Next post July 8th.
Summer break is finally here for many of us. It's a time to just shut down and lock up the old school desk until a later time.
Summer break is an important part of the homeschooling process.
Our kids need to experience relief from stress, too. They spend a year trying to please you, make good grades, and the whole time they are being molded, stretched and shaped. It can be stressful to their little shoulders just as much as life can be stressful for our adult shoulders.
Many families have worked hard to take that long awaited vacation to a far away
never-land. No doubt you've spent some quality time with your spouse and/or the kids discussing the possibilities for your summer break.
In this post, I thought I would include some tips to keep in mind while planning how you and your family will unwind.
I've scoured MSN for some links to share. Maybe one of these will inspire your summer time and help you and your family rejuvenate those batteries.
Summer travel for working families
Affordable U.S. destinations
5 U.S. river cruises
More travel ideas from MSN
Enjoy your summer break while you can. It won't be long and we'll be back at planning for the new school year.
What rule of thumb do you go by when choosing how to spend your summer? Do you have budget friendly ideas to share with others? If you are interested, send us your pics via email and I will post them here.
In next post, we'll discuss an annual planning event. See you June 24th.
There are so many ideas about how to educate your child and whether any one idea works better than another.
Traditional schooling has taught us to be structured. School starts at the same time every day, lunch the same time every day, and sit in your seat until class is over every day. It's okay to vary from this occasionally but establishing and maintaining strong discipline and structure is of utmost importance.
Let's think about this. Most of our working world is disciplined and structured, so we need to train our children to be productive in that world. Even jobs that have shifts still have shifts that start at the same time daily, they have breaks, some have deadlines on when things need to be finished or accomplished. What kind of future are we preparing our children to handle? Will they need to constantly be on the go, or will they be behind a desk most of their day? For me, I want my child to able to hand a variety of situations and to maintain their effectiveness throughout all of it no matter what their day holds.
Keeping this in mind, I want to share with you some things that I believe are very beneficial no matter what ideas you choose. After all, we homeschool because we want our children to have the best so they can be at their best as an adult and active community member.
These are elements that should be a part of every program, no matter what method you choose. In another blog, we'll discuss different methods for teaching our kids.
Do you have a system you believe is beneficial? Please share with us by commenting below [just click on the blue comment link]. Some parents choose to not be so strict and there is some credibility to this as it cuts down on stress. However, the working world does not become successful by flying by the seat of their pants. There is some element of structure and some measure of discipline to stay in the game behind every successful person and business.
What works for you? Does your child respond well to a systematic approach? If not, how did you deal with the situation?
Will see you again June 10th.
So you have made the decision to home school your child but you don't know what they should learn in their current grade. How do you find this out? Well there is tons of information on the internet. Many programs such as the ACE and the Alpha - Omega system provide this information to you. With the ACE program they provide you with what's called a Scope & Sequence manual.
This manual provides a syllabus for each subject per grade level. It basically says what the student at that level needs to learn and the order in which it should be taught.
Of course, as their parent, you can vary from this a little. As your child's instructor, you must keep in mind to not require your child to learn something for which they have no basis upon which to build.
For example, we learn to add and subtract before we learn to multiply and divide. One of the main reasons we chose to homeschool our child was because Common Core kicked in just as our child was entering the 7th grade and she was expected to learn 9th grade material without having the foundation of 7th and 8th grade education.
Education is not a one size fits all and it should never be trapped inside a box.
Do some research from various websites and craft your own scope and sequence.
For some part of it, you'll need to require your child to learn certain things in a certain order but don't be afraid to be flexible.
From your scope and sequence, form a weekly plan that outlines the daily lessons to help you keep track. This information will also help you to stage benchmarks or tests to make sure your child has mastered certain content before moving on to other material.
In closing, it is a good idea for you, as the instructor, to study the material before hand and be prepared for questions and or discussions, especially when it comes to math and some sciences.
What are your favorite web resources? Do you allow your self to vary from the well beaten path? How did it work out for you and your child?
Share your thoughts, answers, or concerns by clicking the blue comment link below.
I'm Alexia Stevens. Welcome to
Letters from Lexi