Teachers and Homeschoolers Sharing Wisdom Part 3: Guest Blogger Jennifer Garcia 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! Here’s Jennifer! 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 Disclosure: I receive no monetary perks for any of the teaching and learning packets shared in this post. I am simply trying to share my heart for becoming a better educator by connecting great teachers with great homeschoolers. We have so much to learn from each other!