Archives for May 2015
I am just loving the guest Bloggers who have graced us with wisdom these past few weeks! The links are at the end of this post!
Today’s guest blogger is Jennifer Garcia with Pages of Grace.
She is a Christian, teacher, wife, mom, runner, cake decorator, and craft enthusiast who tries to enjoy the little things in life. I love that! Get ready. Jennifer, like me, began by disagreeing with homeschooling! I love how the Lord changed her heart!
To be honest, when I was teaching in the classroom, I did not understand why people chose to homeschool.
Through my college education and the years I spent working in public schools, I was trained to believe that children should be in regular school; it was not good for them to be deprived of the socialization that comes from the schools.
Now that I have children of my own, my whole thought process has changed!
I decided to take a few years off when I had my first child, always planning on going back to the classroom when my children were in school. Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time looking at the different school options in our area, and I am feeling more and more that homeschool is a very good option for us and many other families.
My older daughter attends a Christian preschool, and I do supplemental work at a home with her and my younger daughter. I completely understand and respect the reasons that parents choose to homeschool their children now. Parents know what is best for their own children. There are many reasons, but these are the three big ones that stick out to me and many people I know:
*We want more time with our children. Family time seems to be less and less important these days, but in reality, I believe it is more necessary than ever. By spending that extra time with our children, we have the opportunity to pour love, wisdom, and morals into our children that we might not have if they were in school every day.
*Exposing our children to things when we feel it is right. There is such a push to throw kids out in society and let them deal with it, because that’s what “everybody” does. However, we feel that there is a proper time and place for children to be exposed to certain ideas and situations, and it should be when we feel they are ready, not when society says they should.
*Religious reasons. While everyone has their own beliefs, we believe that Jesus and the Bible should guide our lives. Our society has removed every ounce of truth from our schools, to the point where I felt I had to walk on eggshells as a teacher. It is very sad to see that the more we push God away, the worse our society has become. Students will eventually have to grow up and make their own choices, but I believe that children need to spend these influential years in an atmosphere of love and truth, so they are ready for what the world throws at them later.
My children are young, so we are mostly focused on literacy right now. I create activities and lessons based on their interests. I know the topic that I want to focus on, and then I mix it with the things that my kids enjoy. For example, my girls are both really into art, so when we are working on letter recognition, I give them lots of different materials and have them make letters using the different materials–rhinestones and glitter are their favorites 🙂 They also love playing games, so when we started doing sight words, I made some games that we could play together to reinforce the sight word practice. I think the key to approaching new things is to know the topic that you need to teach, and then create learning activities around the interests of the children.
When I was in the classroom, I worked with many struggling learners. Here is my approach to helping them succeed:
First and foremost, you have to know the child. Look at all of the background information so you understand what is NOT working.
Then, I take a different approach. If one method is not clicking, I try something else. I also think it is important to take things one step at a time. It can be overwhelming to look at a child who is struggling in every area. I take the approach of tackling one thing at a time, and also making it a point to praise every milestone and achievement. This builds confidence in the student and helps him feel that he is making progress and that the goals are in reach.
My Teachers Pay Teachers store has a wide variety of resources, because I have things from the classroom (4th-6th grade) and things that I make for my own children (preschool-kindergarten). I will include some products from different levels, in the hopes that it will help parents with multiple children.
This is my main freebie.
It is a set of task cards for double digit multiplication. Task cards are a great resource that can be used in many different ways.
This is one of my phonics packets. I have a series of phonics packets that I made to teach my children how to read. I think this is a great homeschool resource. It is easy to follow and progresses smoothly from one topic to the next. Each packet builds upon the last. The packets are designed to focus on one or two word families at a time, allowing children to focus on and master one thing and build confidence. This is the first packet (CVC words). I have 3 other packets in my store now, and I am working on adding more soon.
I have some novel studies that are complete integrated units. These are a fun way to really dive into a book, while covering many different skills. This link is for the book, Holes. I also have novel studies for Charlotte’s Web and The Tale of Desperaux, and I am in the process of adding a few more in the next few months.
I hope parents find this information helpful, and I look forward to learning more about homeschool ideas from the other people in this guest blog. Thank you for the opportunity to collaborate 🙂
Recent Guest Bloggers:
Melissa Jenkins, My Broken BootStraps
Lisa Smith, Tales of Teaching and Learning
Without a doubt the students I loved teaching the most are my own twin daughters, now age 19. They are one week from graduating high school and I couldn’t be more proud. They both have learning disabilities, so school was a long hard battle for them as well as me. Their first grade teacher said Megan and Katie needed to repeat that grade, so they did. With me. I homeschooled them to the dismay of several public school teacher friends. We did not follow the typical public or private school curriculum. I saw how they learned. I knew where the gaps were and decided to focus on that alone. We did reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic, with an emphasis on reading. By the end of the semester, Megan, who entered homeschool as a non-reader, was now reading on a second grade level. We had gained two and a half years in one semester. Talk about miracles!
- One of the most difficult skills a good teacher MUST learn to do is break down information into smaller bites. WE know the information already, but our children do not. Think from the child’s perspective. Break the information down into small steps. Do not go to step two until they understand step one. This takes a lot more time, but it is so worth it in the end.
- Don’t be afraid of silence. When you ask your child a question, wait. And wait. Aaaand wait. The fancy word for this is latency, but the purpose is the same. We already know the information, and the fact that we were going to ask it. Your child does not have that knowledge. Plus, if it is a child who is struggling, they may need longer time to process that information.
- Variety is the spice of life. It is also the spice to teaching. When you are teaching something new, talk about it, read about it, youtube about it, make something about it… Make sure your child has the opportunity to see it, hear it, visualize it, and experience it. The more opportunities they have to learn in different ways, the better they will internalize the information.
- Wash, rinse, repeat. Repetition is critical for a struggling learner. Research has shown that young readers need to hear a story read to them up to 20 times in order to internalize it. It’s the same with any new information. Go back to information you have already taught and review it from time to time. After you’ve taught the concept, let them take a turn to be the teacher and explain it to you or a younger sibling.
Make her welcome, comment on her post, visit her blog, and grab one of her fabulous resources at the bottom of this post!
(You can visit Lisa’s store by following the link at the end of this post)
Many years ago I owned a preschool and was a teacher for 4 and 5 year olds. After selling the preschool, I taught first grade at a rural school corporation and then taught fifth grade at a charter school.
For the last five years, I have taught in the community in which I live. Within those five years, I taught fifth and sixth grade. This year, I was promoted to principal of the elementary school and I am the High Ability Coordinator and Curriculum Director for my school corporation.
Please visit my Teacher Pay Teacher store for units that may be helpful to you and your children at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Rigorous-Resources-By-Lisa
Yes, We deprive Our Sons on Purpose:
That’s right. We deprive them.
The Result of Deprivation?
Do not be afraid of a bored child. And DO Not rescue them.
On the other side of boredom lives creativity, design, and ingenuity…
A Bit of chaos.
But out of this chaos, they create kingdoms!
Give the bored kids access to some kind of props. In our home, that means training swords. Even the 16-year-old will run through our yard, sword over head, leading the way on some fantastic quest.
They write, they draw, they create. But these things take time. The mind needs time and space to be creative!
In the stillness, they discover who they are. Priceless!
In the quiet, kids can be mentored to be self-reliant, problem-solving individuals. If they are always on the run, the temptation is to do too much for them.
Kids today are weak, selfish, and wimpy. They faint at the sight of hard work and they complain about their hard lives. These spoiled, self-indulgent future adults need to have a solid understanding that they do not live in the center of our universe. Do not misunderstand me… I adore my children. All five of them. But my day and clocks are not set by their wants and desires. My husband and I run this little universe of love and they are along for the ride.
I am a blessed mom who actively deprives her children of anything and anything that will make them “less”. TV, candy, lack of sleep, technology, etc…
So what do we deprive them of exactly?
We deprive them of over busy schedules
We leave room in their lives for family, creativity and (GASP) even boredom!
We deprive them of being saving them every time they fail
This one is hardest on me, the mom. They learn better if they fail. Sometimes when they fail miserably! we need to remember that our kids do not always need to be rescued.
We deprive them of technology
My son just asked me if he could play a video game. I answered, “No. Get the heck out of my house!” Yes, I was laughing. Yes, he replied, “I just wanted to see what you would say!”
Kids do not need to be wired into technology. They need limits. Adults set the limits, kids follow them. period.
We deprive them of sitting at a desk all day.
Boys need to run. I recently read a study that kids in Finland that the teachers teach for 45 minutes then they send their kids outside for 15 minutes (rain or shine). Not only do their kids’ test scores outrank most, their kids are more focused.
I tried this with my boys. Yep. It works. Short bursts outside in between all subjects. MAGIC.
We deprive the boys of staying up late.
All of our kids are sent to bed by 8:00. Even our 16 year old. While we allow the older boys (16, 13) to read for about an hour, the other kids (11, 9) are required to be quiet and sleep.
Kids need sleep!
Deprive your kids.
- Un-busy their lives
- Take away technology for large chunks of time. Be in charge of how much they get.
- Turn off the TV. As often as you can.
- Kick them outside and keep them there until they no longer whine about being there. (In a loving way, in a safe environment, supervised of course)
- Give your kids distance and time.
- Patience- This is not a “build it quick project. He spent days prepping and building the framework. We talked a lot about the need for a sturdy foundation and he took it to heart. This past week he decided to go taller. Currently, this nine year old’s roller coaster frame is about 7 feet tall!
- Planning- Once he had his framework set, he began planning the actual fun stuff. “where are my scissors?” That’s right. He has had them for weeks now.
- Testing- Quickly, he learned that what he saw in his mind often did not work in reality. He would plan, cut and test, tweak the design and test again before he secured the feature into the coaster.
- Support features- In order to go bigger, he learned that you must reinforce your design.
- Coaching isn’t easy- By the time the coaster was 7 foot tall, the other boys in the house began to take notice. In the picture above, the older son was showing his idea to the younger son. He explained how to make it and was getting frustrated that the younger one “wouldn’t listen”.