Archives for May 2015
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!
be honest, when I was teaching in the classroom, I did not understand
why people chose to homeschool.
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.
that I have children of my own, my whole thought process has changed!
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
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
I was in the classroom, I worked with many struggling learners. Here
is my approach to helping them succeed:
and foremost, you have to know the child. Look at all of the
background information so you understand what is NOT working.
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.
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.
is my main freebie.
is a set of task cards for double digit multiplication. Task cards
are a great resource that can be used in many different ways.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
As a fellow wife, mom, Christian, principal, teacher and author you can be assured that she has a lot of valuable wisdom and insight for each one of us.
Make her welcome, comment on her post, visit her blog, and grab one of her fabulous resources at the bottom of this post!
believe that it’s the parent’s choice how their children are raised
and taught. Whether you are a public school teacher,
private school teacher or a homeschool teacher, you work
hard for the success of your students and that should be respected.
reality, homeschool teachers and public school teachers have a lot in
common. We all create lessons, assessments, and follow standards (of
some kind). Instead of noting the differences, we need to work
together to share ideas and materials, because in the end, we all
want our students to succeed.
creating a new lesson, I always begin with the end in mind.
I ask myself, “What is it that they must know?” Then, I
create the assessment before making the activities and
lessons. This helps me stay focused on what’s important.
am not a fan of making every
For example, my Events
in History Series have
projects for assessments. In my science class, I assess students by
using my Around
the Room Science Task Cards.
If students can finish the cards, I know they have mastered the
skills. In my fifth grade math class, I used Math
Bingo Cards and
Shapes Activity to
assess student learning
(You can visit Lisa’s store by following the link at the end of this post)
addition, reviewing content doesn’t have to be boring.
favorite review activities came from Tr. Harvey Silver.
write everything they learned on that topic in the box. After you
give them plenty of thinking time, you go over the items in their box
and help them add to it. This makes a great study guide, or a quick
my state, Indiana, we will have four different standardized tests in
a four year period. We would be fools to worry about “teaching to
the test.” Instead, we focus on teaching our standards. In my
opinion, standards do not limit teachers or take away their freedom
to be creative. Standards are just the checklist of what my kids need
to know before they leave me. What I do to meet that standard is up
use a standards checklist to ensure I meet my standards.
This standards checklist helps me to ensure that I am helping my
students be successful. Standards are important because they are a
teacher’s guidepost. Every successful program has standards. They
may not be Common Core or state standards, but if you have created
your own curriculum, you most definitely had to put thought into what
you wanted your child to learn and those are standards by which you
sincerely thank you for reading my post and a special thank you to A
Better Way to Homeschool for the guest host opportunity.
My husband and I have three children ranging from 10 to 17 years old. I have a wide-range of teaching experience.
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.
visit my Teacher Pay Teacher store for units that may be helpful to
you and your children
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!
- 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.
What can you learn by building a Paper Roller Coaster?
- 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”.