Ideas for Teaching Subjects for Homeschool

Teaching subjects can get to be a bit overwhelming. So, how do you teach all of them? Where do you find the time? When students are just beginning school and in the primary grades remember attention spans are short, so teaching a lesson needs to be short too. Take small breaks and return to subjects if necessary. For example, 15 minutes of explaining and showing examples, 15- 30 minutes of practicing/ doing what has been taught.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I am going to be concentrating on teaching elementary students.  I don’t want these posts to be too long so I will be talking about a few subjects each week. I can see just concentrating upon just one subject at a time, but I’ll save that for a later date. So many years of teaching, so little time to explain. lol  If you have an older student, I promise to address teaching junior high and high school students in future posts; please stay tuned. 🙂

Language Arts

Reading- I believe that teaching a child to read is the single most topic she needs in order to succeed in life. As far as language arts is concerned, my concentration would be to only teach reading in Kindergarten and 1st grade until your daughter is reading fluently. Incorporating spelling, grammar and handwriting can be done informally through writing the alphabet, her name,  street address, creating homemade cards, writing simple stories, etc. If you are interested in teaching these with a formal program, this can be added to your studies once reading is progressing well.

Spelling and grammar- The best way to teach spelling and grammar is by incorporating these into reading and writing. Practice writing the words you are teaching your son to read. If he is able, he can write simple sentences and perhaps a story using these words, which will reinforce what he is learning.

Handwriting- While many schools are opting not to teach cursive, I have read studies that say this is good for your brain since both hemispheres are involved in the process. It also requires less of the pencil to be taken off of the paper and nearly all letters are made in a forward fashion. I think teaching handwriting formally with a program is important since you want your son to be able to not only write it (neatly lol), but also to be able to read it. I am encountering junior high students who can no longer read cursive. I wish I had the time to instruct them so that they can read old documents, communicate with others who use cursive, etc. Don’t you want your student to have every means of communication available to him? Copying passages of favorite literature or poetry or writing out spelling words or science terms is an easy way to incorporate this into your lessons.

Social Studies (Geography, History)

Geography- While teaching young students geography and history can be taught by learning your address, what state and country you live in. When reading a book that has a specific setting, have your daughter investigate where that is located. Have you used Google Maps or Google Earth? These are fantastic apps to see the world and where we fit into it. Do you have relatives that live out of state? Use google to show her where this is in relation to your home and to the world. Still using the app, you can pick a destination such as the Statue of Liberty and take a virtual tour. I think it’s a pretty cool way to teach geography.

History- With young students, I like to begin teaching history that is relevant to them. For instance, create a personal timeline with your son. Choose events such as his birth and things that are memorable to him (learning to ride a bike, losing a tooth, the birth of a sibling, etc.) Creating a family tree gives meaning to history as well. This can involve interviewing grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc., which can be a lot of fun.  Once the concept of things occurring in the past has been established, history takes on a bit more meaning since much of it is about people. Field trips are a fun way to teach history. You can go to a local history or museum and discuss what you see and the time period in which it occurred. Dressing up in period clothing like we did when we studied Ohio presidents, and reading a famous speech or reading a short biography such as the series of books by David Adler brings history to life. (Click on the book for the link.)

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Homeschool Subjects to Teach

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Reading, writing, arithmetic are the core topics for your school, but what do you need to teach besides these three? The best place to check would be your state’s homeschool laws because when you notify the school officials most states require specific topics to be studied. If you are teaching here in Ohio these are the topics that are required:

(a) language, reading, spelling, and writing;

(b) geography, history of the United States and Ohio; and national, state, and local government;

(c) mathematics;

(d) science;

(e) health;

(f) physical education;

(g) fine arts, including music; and

(h) first aid, safety, and fire prevention.

It looks like a long list and you may be wondering how to cover all of them. This week I will concentrate on these subjects and how to schedule them. The good news is you do not need to teach every subject every day. Of course, the 3 R’s, as they are frequently referred to (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic), need to be taught daily due to the amount of information that is taught and learned.

Social Studies, Science  If you have purchased a textbook and it is for an entire school year, then you will need to teach each of these subjects daily. But, if you have not and you have junior high or younger students, Social Studies and Science can be covered by dividing them throughout the week. For instance, you can teach Social Studies on Monday and Wednesday and teach Science on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, or vice versa depending upon your curricula or topics you are studying for the year.

Health, Physical Education These subjects can be taught once a week and can actually be incorporated together since many times when you are discussing health topics you include physical education.

Fine Arts This too can be taught once a week.

First Aid, Safety, and Fire Prevention The first two topics can be taught in conjunction with Health and Physical Education since you discuss injury prevention and naturally teach first aid as you care for scrapes and bruises. Fire Prevention needs to only be taught a few weeks for the entire school year and reviewed as necessary.

These are only recommendations and you can teach subjects as you like since there is nothing stated by law on how many days you teach or how much time you spend on each one. However, keep in mind that you are preparing your son or daughter to one day leave your home and be able to support themselves. Lay a strong, solid educational foundation for your student. The world job market is highly competitive and employers are looking for well-educated people to work for them. You are the perfect teacher to equip your scholar to succeed. 🙂

Looking ahead: Next week I will give you some ideas on how to teach each of these subjects. The following week I will discuss teaching high school subjects. 

 

 

 

My Intrepid Son

Ian and AllisonI always had a feeling that my oldest son, Ian, would live in another country. I breathed I sigh of relief when he married Allison, a wonderful local young lady, five years ago. I thought that feeling was unfounded as they both had jobs and were enjoying city life here.

All of that changed last spring when they announced they were seriously considering moving to Japan. I can tell you that while I was smiling and telling them I would support their decision, my heart was heavy and sad because I just wanted them to stay close. Isn’t that what every mama wants? But, I didn’t feel that I could be selfish and pout and carry on because either way they were going for it.

Allison ended up getting a job first as an elementary teacher in an international school in Tokyo and they left in early August. That first day was awful as I was thinking about how far away they were going to be from us. The clincher was when my husband said, “I see that their plane is over Russia now. ”

“Russia? Really?That’s so far and they aren’t even there yet!” I burst into tears and ran out of the room after Dale made that announcement. It really helped that I had made plans for us to go see a fabulous homeschool drama production to pass the time away. But, as things would happen that day, I sat next to a woman with whom I struck up a conversation and I shared with her what had happened that day.

“They are living in Japan? Oh, I lived there for six years and loved it. I didn’t want to come back home.” I wanted to jump up right then and run away from her as it was not what I wanted to hear. But, that also brought comfort knowing that she enjoyed it that much.

So, fast forward a couple of months and you can see by the picture taken at the Imperial Palace that they are enjoying themselves and adjusting to life in the Far East. Ian has a job teaching English to adults and shares funny and interesting stories with me as he navigates the culture and language. By the way, neither of them speak Japanese! I know this is the best way to learn the language, but I am not sure I could have gone somewhere so totally different from where I had lived. I think that is the advantage to being young, you just do it. lol

So, as you homeschool, prepare your child to take risks, make mistakes, and give lots of encouragement to your sweet student. Our world is shrinking and you never know that perhaps your child will be like Ian and live abroad. I am glad he and Allison are intrepid, taking chances, and are living their lives as they feel called to do. I guess Dale and I will stay here at the homefront so they feel secure in knowing they can always come home. (And for me, that can never be too soon!) I am working and saving money so we can make the trek over to see them in the future. 🙂

Have a great week!

~Lisa

Fall: Places to Go

What a wonderful time of the year to go out and explore! I had a friend that asked me for some recommendations and I thought I’d give some local ideas as well as general since not all my readers are from Southwest Ohio. 🙂

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens– The zoo is such a wonderful place to take a field trip for not only seeing the animals, but also the flowers and trees. I enjoy this time of year because of the cool temperatures that seem to make the animals quite active.  If you would like to get a group of homeschool friends together you can get a group discount and make it a fun, educational day.

Parks– Every park has a variety of trees, which make for such a great opportunity for a picnic and an afternoon of a scavenger hunt for leaves. Your daughter can collect leaves and press them to make a fall leaf book.  If you are interested here is a website about making your own leaf collection book. CLICK HERE

Local Parks:

Hamilton County Parks Miami Whitewater in Harrison, Ohio has a large lake and two walking/ bike paths. You can make a weekend of it, and enjoy the camping and fishing at the lake. This is one of my favorite parks in the county as it has many things to do with your family.

Butler County Parks Voice of America Park has a small lake, boating, and a walking/ bath pike. Fishing can be done from the dock and if you want to take your dogs they will enjoy the dog park that is adjacent to the walking path.

Cincinnati Parks Eden Park and Smale Park are both downtown and are quite lovely. There is even a carousel along the riverfront walk that adjoins Smale Park the children will enjoy but do not plan on going on either Monday and Tuesday because it is closed on these days.

Other Parks

Ohio State Parks Hueston Woods has camping, fishing, hiking, and a 625-acre lake, large enough to take a sailboat on if you so desire. East Fork State Park is a nice getaway from city life and is one of the largest parks in the area, with nearly 5,000 acres. If you enjoy water sports and camping, then this is a great place for you and your family. I just returned from camping this past weekend and the facilities are quite nice. I took an 11- mile bike ride and could have kept going! The scenery is peaceful and beautiful as you can see by the pictures I took.

 

 

Indiana State Parks Brown County State Park is a favorite place to enjoy this time of year because it not only has a beautiful park and amazing lodge but also a quaint town nearby for shopping and restaurants.

Kentucky State Parks If you have never been to either Natural Bridge or Cumberland Falls then you really should consider going for the day or better still, the weekend. They each have a  lodge if you are not interested in camping. Cumberland Falls has a moonbow, that is worth going to see.

If you have a favorite place that you enjoy going with your family, please post as I am sure others would enjoy as well as my family.

 

Keep On Pedaling

This week as I was riding my bike along the Little Maimi Scenic Trail and I stopped to look at a large map of the spur that I had just ridden to see if it will be expanded any further. Because, at this point, the path just ends. Not that I am complaining because it was a good time to turn around and head back to the car anyway. 🙂

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As I was retracing my route on the map board, I happened to see an older couple on bikes close by and realized they were Amish. The man was wearing overalls, a straw hat, and the woman was attired in a blue dress, black stockings, and a white hat. She had a three-wheeled bike with heavy plastic saddle buckets on the back which I thought was a great idea if you were going on a long day trip or want to carry some water and a lunch. It was filled with items and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to strick up a conversation with them.  I found out they were intending on going into Cincinnati and were just reading the map to see which direction was needed to be taken in order to get there.

“Oh, where did you start your trip?” I inquired.

“Do you know where Wooster, Ohio is?” asked the gentleman. “That’s where we began yesterday.”

“Sure.” I answered, “That is quite a distance from here. Will you be headed back home after you visit Cincinnati?”

The man laughed and said, “No, we are on our way to Sarasota, Florida!”

With that, he and his wife pedaled away southward on their bikes and waved to me as I stood there gawking at them. I wanted to ride after them; I wanted to take their picture; I wanted to ask them a couple of dozen questions. My 15-mile bike ride seemed so meager compared to the journey they were facing. I had quite a lot to think about on my way back to my car.

This week I wanted to encourage you because you may feel that you are on a long journey with a bicycle, or maybe even a scooter or skateboard, and feel that the school year is as far away as Sarasota. I promise you, you are going to make it, and it’s going to be a great journey.

Will you have obstacles, will you be tired and think you can’t go on some days? Yes, but it will be worth all you will go through because your children will be learning academic and life lessons from you. I believe you are best suited and called for this. You are lovingly guiding them and teaching them valuable and precious things that only you as their mom can do. You have an awesome opportunity and yes, responsibility with homeschooling. I know you can do it. Because if I did it, you can too. lol The joy that I have, when I see my sons becoming such great young men, makes me glad I chose to invest my time and talents into their lives. It made the journey and all of the bumps that came with it so worth it.  Keep on pedaling!

 

While I did not get a picture of the Amish couple, I did get a great picture of the scenery.

 

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Enjoy the journey