Typing/ Keyboarding

key_homeWith so many students having to do distance learning this year, teaching typing would be a terrific benefit to them.

Here are some typing programs worth considering purchasing:

Typing Instructor for Kids This is the program I used with my sons. It has lessons, accuracy tests, and games to help them learn.

Jump Start Typing This computer typing program is for children in grades 2-5 and includes video clips for hand placement. We used this program as well, but the boys for the most part, had already learned the keyboard and this was reinforcement if they wanted more games to play. I know, extra-cautious homeschool mom syndrome 🙂

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing is a classic computer program that would appeal to older students (junior and senior high school).

Online Typing Programs

Online Keyboarding Education is a terrific program that students of all ages will enjoy. I played a few games and also brushed up on my typing accuracy while having fun at the same time. Thanks to two wonderful readers for suggesting this program!

Typing Web This is a FREE online program for typists of all ages and abilities. You can even print a certificate when you finish.

Typing Club is a free online typing program and has helped 23,000,000 students. That’s a lot of flying fingers over keyboards!

Dance Mat Typing is free and is offered through BBC so it has a Scottish accented sheep who is your typing instructor. It is for younger students, but the children are entertained with animated animals that rock n’ roll. That may not be what you are looking for in regards to learning to type as I noticed it can be distracting. If not, you can try one of the other programs.

I wanted to thank Justin for sending me some amazing websites for more online typing options: 

Keyboarding Basics You are sure to find a typing program that will interest your son or daughter on this website.

Learning to Type More Efficiently  This has typing education to help you with your typing skills and typing tests.

A special thanks to Mary Anne N for sending me all of these cool websites for typing. https://www.wristbandexpress.com/content/wrist-hands-and-fingers-proper-typing-techniques/

~Kjwq

oOps! I meant…

~ Lisa~

Establishing a Schedule

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You may have been homeschooling for a few weeks now and noticed that you need some type of schedule or routine. In my early days of homeschooling I thought that I should set up a schedule like I did when I was teaching school. It looked something like this:

Math 8:00-8:50 Language Arts (Reading, Spelling, Grammar) 8:50-9:50

Snack/ Break 9:50-10:00 Writing/Handwriting 10:00-10:30

Social Studies 10:30-11:15 Science or Health 11:15-12:00

Lunch 12:00-12:30 Quiet Time/ Silent Reading 12:30-1:30

That schedule lasted a couple of weeks before I realized that school life at home is quite different from a classroom setting.

Consider blocks of times and subjects instead of specific beginning and ending periods. You will see that sometimes you breeze through subjects, so you might wrap up math is 30 minutes and other times you get involved with a topic (like dinosaurs) and just want to keep on going.

Choose a routine. Things run more smoothly when your daughter/son knows what to expect. For example you may choose to have these things be done prior to school: breakfast is eaten; bed is made; teeth are brushed, and bed is made. You can have an order of subjects that you follow each day, a snack time, and lunch is at/ around 12:00. You can vary this according to what works best for your family and schedule.

Plan a starting and ending time. Do you need to start precisely at 8:00? Of course not, but pick a time that is good for your family’s schedule and aim to start and finish at that time every day. I liked to start early so we could be done early. I also told the boys as they got older that I was available to them all morning, but after that, they were to wait until the next day to ask questions. Any work they did not finish during our school time was their “homework”.

Pick a place to keep school books and supplies. This may seem strange to put this under scheduling, but I thought it important to mention. Having a designated place for items will cut down on them being misplaced and time lost in looking for them. You can have a certain color for each of your child’s things if you have more than one child.(notebooks, binders, folders, etc.) If you don’t have the room for a lot of things, then purchase a milk crate or stackable cubes to put textbooks and binders in them.

Expect the unexpected. Some days things are not going to go the way you want or planned. That’s okay! There might be a lesson that is difficult and your daughter/ son just isn’t understanding it. Put the lesson aside and come back to it. You might need to look for additional resources to help with the concept, or just some time for it to make sense. There might be an unexpected opportunity to go on a business trip with your spouse; a family member comes to visit; a cool display is in town for the week, and so on can disrupt your school day. Take advantage of the opportunity and make it a learning experience.

Have a great week! ~Lisa ~

How to Keep Going on Hard Days

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Wails, whines, and why’s coming from our children all happen at some point when homeschooling. But, how do you look past the behavior and continue with school?

Talk to your child about their behavior.
Is the work too hard? Is there something s/he is not understanding? Is s/he tired? Or, has this behavior worked before and you have stopped the lesson to maintain peace? (This happened in our school.)

Take steps to correct the behavior.
If the material is too difficult then go back to a previous lesson that your daughter/son understood and build from there. This will help them to feel successful and more willing to move ahead when the material is more challenging.

Is your child staying up too late? Try changing the bedtime routine, have quiet activities in the evening and turn off all electronic devices 60 minutes before bedtime. If you keep late evening hours then start school later in the day.

Has less desirable behavior given your daughter/son the desired outcome of stopping the lesson for the day? Wearing the ‘ol mom down was something I had to determine that I would not let happen as often as possible. Although, it certainly did happen at times. I found out that if that happened too often it became an established habit that was hard to break. I would tell the boys that the work was still going to be there, regardless if they did it that day or the next, or the next… I would have them do at least a little of it and we would tackle more of it the next day. I like to think of it as eating peas.lol I detest them, but I know they are good for me, so I figured out that if I put a bunch of them on a fork, grab a glass of water, shove the peas in my mouth and swallow them like pills, I have “eaten” them.

Let your child know you are partners in homeschooling.
You are both learning, you are both tackling hard things. You might not like teaching Social Studies, but you are going to because it is part of the Ohio homeschool requirements. Our attitudes, as teachers toward schoolwork and routines, help set the atmosphere of our school.

Celebrate the victories!
Doing things that are hard deserve recognition. Call attention to good behavior and perseverance. If it was especially hard, then give a sticker, ten minutes of extra time for games, whatever you feel would be appropriate. Let your child see that you appreciate their effort.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

5 Reasons You are Qualified to Teach your Child

This question has been asked at least once by every homeschool parent in their homeschooling journey. But the answer is, “Yes!” You are definitely qualified. Let me allay your doubts about your abilities and qualifications.

1. You are a parent.

That is an obvious statement, but it’s because you are the greatest advocate for your child. You want the best for them and that includes a quality education. I bet if your son/ daughter said they would love to learn about dinosaurs you would be looking for videos, books, and resources to help foster that interest, even if you are not interested in it. That is a quality of a great teacher.

2. No one knows your child better than you.

You know when your child is getting overwhelmed; when they are interested in continuing; when they are interested in a subject and really, really really want to delve further into a topic. The classroom cannot provide more than just the necessary things needed for your child’s education since they have so many children to teach, specific topics to cover, and a limited amount of time for each subject. You have the choice to spend what time you need or want on a particular subject.

3. You can tailor your daughter/son’s education to fit them.

Perhaps you have a child who is squirmy, or a child who is quiet and doesn’t enjoy large, noisy discussion groups. You can make your child’s learning environment fit their unique learning style.

4. You don’t need a teaching degree.

You are uniquely qualified to instruct your daughter/son in more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. Although, it goes without saying, teaching school subjects is essential and must be taught. Consider this, you instruct your child all day in matter such as: personal hygiene; caring for the house; being empathetic; serving others, and the list continues. Ohio has a provision that everyone, no matter your own education, can homeschool their child. CLICK HERE for more information and see item #9.

5. You don’t have to teach every subject.

There are a few people who can teach every subject from K-12, but that person is as rare as finding a real diamond ring in the box of cereal where there is a toy surprise inside of it. There are so many resources now that you can find a class for that particular subject. Here are a few ideas to help teach those difficult subjects.

  • Curricula Cathy Duffy Reviews has a list of curricula to help you decide which one is best for your family.
  • Online
  • Community programs and classes
  • Fellow homeschool moms
  • Co-ops (after all of the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted)

To learn more about the laws of homeschooling in your state, go to Home School Legal Defense or Home School State Laws.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Using Wordless Books for Language Arts

Students of all ages like well crafted wordless books. Young readers/ writers and those who are struggling can tell a story when given these types of books. There is not a right way to narrate what is happening and children do not have to create a story line since it is already in the book.

Here are some ideas to get your child talking and the pencil moving.

  • You can partner write with Post-it notes the events of the story. You can take turns telling the story and writing the details. If your child is reluctant to write, then you can be the scribe.
  • For new/ struggling/ reluctant writers, they can use Post-it notes and just write brief words that some of the characters would say. For instance, “Help!” or “Watch out!”
  • Write and/or illustrate a sequel to the story.

A favorite of mine and my students is Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner. Mr. Wuffles is a cat who has a plethora of toys, but is not interested in any of them. Well, he is interested in one, a spaceship. What ensues is sure to make your student want to tell you what is happening.

I hope you get to try this activity with your writer. Have a great week! ~Lisa~