Learn Something New

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As teachers of our children, we expect our scholars to learn new concepts and build upon them to further their knowledge. My goal was to raise our sons (and now my precious grandchildren) to be life-learners. In order for them to have a desire to do so, I need to be a role model.  Here are my thoughts on how this can be beneficial to us and them.

The struggle is real. When my family sees me try and fail they are watching me continue to try repeatedly until I am successful or I fail (example- rock hard breadsticks). They see they are not alone in learning something new. I feel like I have a renewed sense of what it is like for each of my students when they are learning something new.

We are role models. By observing you and me, our children see how we problem-solve; we don’t quit; we go over the directions again (and again), and we make corrections. Our children see that we don’t just sit down once and be successful every time. It takes time and practice, practice, practice in order to achieve success.

We are willing. We are willing to continue through the frustration of failure to see the project through to completion. When things are h-a-r-d and I feel like quitting, it makes me try harder when little eyes are watching me.

Our attitude is everything. I have certainly had my shares of getting upset and walking away. However, I do try to maintain a positive attitude throughout a new skill being learned and talk about what I learned. If (and when) we fail, it’s a good teaching moment to discuss how we are going to do it differently the next time.

You have permission to fail. Not everything comes easily and sometimes we just aren’t very good at certain things.  My sons would get frustrated when I would hand back an assignment because they hadn’t done it correctly. I had to evaluate whether it was my lack of explanation or their failure to understand. We learn from our mistakes and try again. Sometimes you just have to put it aside and come back to it later.

What is something new you would like (or have) to learn? Can you share your experience with your son/ daughter? By trying something new we continue to model that we are all life-long learners. ( I am learning about technology :(, morphology for teaching language skills, and what staples to stock in my pantry.)

Have a great week! ~Lisa~


Homeschool Quotes

Many of you are finishing up your school year in the next month or so and I thought you might need some encouragement to keep on teaching. You can do it;  you are nearly there. (You can quote me on that! 🙂 )

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

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I want to give credit where credit is due. The first picture and third pictures are from, and the last picture is from wikicommons. com. The final quote is from Robert Brault. 

Homeschooling During Uncertainty

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In this time of difficulty, you might find it hard to homeschool. Concerns about jobs, keeping everyone healthy, wondering when life will return to normal,  can certainly be a distraction while you are homeschooling your child. Please keep in mind:

You are not alone. You may feel isolated since you can’t go out of your house as you once did, but remember that your next-door neighbor is home too! Perhaps start a neighborhood text or a Facebook page to connect with those nearby. If you don’t know your neighbors, maybe you can knock on a few doors and introduce yourself. (Of course, keep 6 feet away from them. 🙂 )  You can also call a friend or two, FaceTime them or do Hangouts so you and your children can see friends.

Have discussions with your children. Be open with your children as far as letting them know that you or your spouse (or both of you) are staying home for a while. Inform them as much as they can understand, but do not make them scared. Ask them if they have any questions so that you can assure them that you are there for them.

Keep things as normal as possible. Sticking to your regular routine as much as possible will help allay uneasiness. If you have family members that are working from home and need things to be quiet, what subjects can you do that are (relatively) quiet and what can you save for lunch break that might be noisier? (science experiments, read aloud time, etc.) Can school be started earlier or begun later to accommodate working schedules? Consider incorporating educational programs that will keep your children learning and engaged while keeping the noise level down.

Find teachable moments. Have you ever wondered what kind of topics are you going to cover in health after you have taught it for sooo many years? Well, I think this year health will be discussed nearly every day,  from washing your hands, to being loving at a distance, etc. Character qualities can be discussed (kindness, patience, love, self- control, etc.) and practiced by everyone.

Find ways to serve. Maybe your children can’t go to co-op to see their friends, but you can send a letter! This would be an excellent way to incorporate spelling, writing, and handwriting. How about making vegetable soup in the crockpot and a loaf of crusty bread to go with it? Have your child(ren) help prepare it. Everyone can add an ingredient to the pot and can help with this easy, no- knead bread.  I love this recipe and it won’t last long in your house. No-Knead Bread  

Thinking of you! ~Lisa ~




Teachable Moments

I just wanted to remind myself (and perhaps you too) that some of the best learning that takes place is away from the formal lessons. I can get caught up in teaching and making sure my lessons are “just right” and be disappointed when things just don’t seem to be clicking. Then a funny thing happens, something else happens that reinforces what I have just been trying to teach. The lights go off and my students say, “I just found out about ______!”

Funny, that’s what I have been teaching this whole time! Most of the time our children are going to get the lesson from other sources that our class time and that’s okay! The more exposure, opportunities to hear, and ways to interact with a new concept, the more we understand. Here is what I have learned helps me to teach and also learn.

Take your time– New concepts may take days, months, maybe even longer for your child to understand. Knowledge is built one idea at a time. Think about when you learned to drive. You just didn’t take off and get on the highway. The first time my oldest drove he was going about 10 miles an hour and said, “Boy! This is fast!”  It took a bit of time for him to feel comfortable to drive on the interstate. 🙂 No, this isn’t our car, but I DO love sports cars, especially red ones!

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Small steps Taking learning in small, bite-sized pieces is better than throwing the whole lesson with new ideas at your son/daughter and expecting the material to be understood right away. You can’t eat a plate of spaghetti in one gulp, neither can your student learn to multiply 2×8 if they don’t know that it is really 2 sets of 8 items is the same thing.

Partner Learning thrives when we partner with our child.  We do it, we do it, you do it, is what my boss says when I am tutoring a student. In order to build understanding and confidence, a LOT of partnering needs to take place. There are still going to be mistakes made as your daughter learns something new. Reminding her of where she began and what she can do now helps her to continue on.  I helped my mom make brownies a dozen times before I got to make them myself. I was never so disappointed when I read the recipe incorrectly and added an extra cup of water to the mix! I think I needed just one more time with my mom before I did it myself… maybe not! lol

Step away It’s okay to put that lesson away and come back to it another time.  Just because your curriculum says the next lesson is about adjectives, don’t teach it if your son is still not understanding nouns. Add some hands-on activities before introducing adjectives.  (find nouns in the store ads, identify objects in the kitchen, build a model, make a list of favorite characters, games, foods,etc.)

Review It is important to review the concept/ idea you have been studying before moving on. If things are still unclear, don’t move forward until you feel they can be given more information without being overwhelmed.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Helping your Child Take Chances

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I love Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus books and videos. She is the cool science teacher who says to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy,  She is the kind of teacher that I wish each of us could have had some time in our school career.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could let things go and have that mantra for our children as well instead of trying to stick to a textbook? Well, I think we can if we take small steps, which I hope will lead to bigger steps, and then a lifestyle of grace and seeing possibilities.

Start with something in which your child is good to build confidence. Does she write fantastic stories or does he fly through his math computation? By showing them they are good at something they will have the confidence to try something that is not the easiest for them to do.

Start small. You can set a goal in what you want to accomplish, but make sure it is achievable and not overwhelming. If you want your son to write a book report, start with having them just give the book a thumbs up or a thumbs down. The next time they read a book they can still give it a thumbs up/ down, but add one sentence about why they rated it that way, and so on until they have written a paragraph and then another, and another…

Go s-l-o-w-l-y. By taking the time to build confidence, your daughter/ son is more likely to try something harder. Are you trying to teach the multiplication tables and it just isn’t working? Go back to addition and show him how 2 + 2 + 2 = 6 and that 3 sets of 2 are the same, only faster! I found food always helped. 🙂

Enjoy the process. Too many times all I can see is what I have not accomplished and just want to give up. If I can set a small goal and meet that, then take a break and relax  (and eat chocolate) for a few minutes, then I can come back to what I am working on. I like to review what I have done and set another achievable goal until I finish what I have begun. This doesn’t all have to be done at once, it can take several days or months, depending upon the task or subject area. Allow plenty of time so that you have a confident, risk-taking learner.

Give lots of praise! I know when I hear a parent say their child is doing well because of what I have taught them I feel like I can leap over a tall building in a single bound! Show your daughter/ son what they have accomplished and let them see how proud you are of them.

Be a role model. I am confident that you can teach your child to take chances and good risks. Let your daughter/ son see you are taking risks too. For instance, you might be shy and you show your child you are going to reach out and talk to someone at church. You might not feel confident in your writing abilities, but you read your story to your son during sharing time at the end of the lesson. You can ask for feedback and suggestions.

Have a great week! ~Lisa ~