Teachers And Homeschoolers Sharing Wisdom: Guest Blogger Lisa Smith May 7, 2015 By Bekki Leave a Comment This content may contain affiliate links. I am super excited to introduce you all to my first “Teacher Guest Blogger”, Lisa Smith! 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! ~Bekki I 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. In 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. When 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. I am not a fan of making every assessment a traditional “test.” Assessments do not have to be boring! 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 a Classifying Shapes Activity to assess student learning (You can visit Lisa’s store by following the link at the end of this post) In addition, reviewing content doesn’t have to be boring. One of my favorite review activities came from Tr. Harvey Silver. It called the Magic Box. Basically, you have the students draw a box and have them 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 assessment. In 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 to me. I 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 teach. I sincerely thank you for reading my post and a special thank you to A Better Way to Homeschool for the guest host opportunity. More about Lisa: 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. 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 ********************************************************************************* Isn’t Lisa Great? I asked her to share three fabulous resources with us. Not only does she have a wealth of experience and wisdom, but she also creates learning materials that can be easily used in our homeschooling environments. Here we go: Freebie: Even though the cover says “Classroom Posters”, these would make wonderful notebook references for homeschoolers studying poetry! Poetry: (5-7th grade) This is a great way to do a poetry focus. Lisa has done all the planning for you! Plot Structure: (4th-8th) This complete unit helps us teach our kiddos how to analyze the plot of a story in an objective way. 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!