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Illness: How to Keep Going

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I have had one of those lingering colds where you just can’t seem to find the energy to do even the simplest of tasks. Teaching, doing lesson plans, cleaning the house and going grocery shopping seem like insurmountable tasks. I need a backup plan to get through this time. I am sure you have been there too. One piece of advice that I would like to give to you is to plan ahead in the event that you might not feel well sometime during the school year. So, while I am less foggy-headed, I thought I’d write some ideas that you can use if you find yourself under the weather.

Math

Here are some websites for math worksheets that will help your student stay on track and review concepts.

Homeschool Math

Math Drills

Soft School 

Looking for educational videos? Here are a few that I think your children will like.

Brain Pop It has some free videos and quizzes on a variety of topics for your daughter to take after she watches them. You can assign one or more depending upon your need. If you enjoy what is offered, you can sign up for a year’s subscription.

Social Studies

Liberty’s Kids are great for American history that I think your son will enjoy. They are well animated and would be great to use.

Ducksters has a variety of articles and games that are interesting that include topics of geography, science, and history.

Board and Card Games can also be educational as they teach children to do some of the following: Read and follow directions, strategize (checkers, chess, tic-tac-toe, Sorry, Monopoly), count money (Life, Monopoly), and add (Yahtzee, card games).

Educational Online Games

Sheppard Software would be a way of reviewing all sorts of topics.

 

Stay well!

~Lisa

 

 

 

 

Starting School

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When thinking about the first week of school, consider easing into routines and subjects. Sometimes setting a new routine can be one of the most difficult things to do after you have had a break from school.

Consider starting school midweek. As far as setting a routine for school, I always began school on Wednesday.  That way we had three days of school instead of a full week. It was an easier transition for the children AND for me.  We could get used to the routine in a more gentle way than hitting the school year full force.

Get a good night’s sleep. The day will be much better if you allow time for everyone (including you, Teacher) to get a full night’s rest. Going on little sleep makes it difficult to concentrate and focus. I know from personal experience! 🙂

Start every day at the same time. Whether you plan on starting at 8:00 or 9:00 (or later), have everyone ready to begin school and stay consistent. The first week may be begun an hour later since you are easing into things, but I actually found that when I did that, my sons were not happy with me when they had to get up early the following week. Instead, I shortened the day that we finished school, and I made sure that emphasized that. lol

Eat breakfast. For years I would skip breakfast and then have to listen to my stomach gurgle, keep my mind on my work,  while always wishing it was lunchtime. That was not that smart and now I have my husband to thank because every morning he makes us a delicious, nutritious smoothie that he either puts on my desk or hands to me as I am flying out the door to teach. Breakfast breaks your fast and sets you on the road to teaching and learning.

Go over your schedule. I think it is good to preview the day with your daughter or son, even if you just say, “This morning we are going to be learning our numbers and practicing our ABC’s.”  Your child knows what is going to be happening and you have said it, providing some accountability to yourself as well.

Begin with a few subjects. As far as subjects are concerned for the first week, I just concentrated upon reading and math. I found a good read aloud book to begin our day. With everyone beginning the school day on a pleasant note, we then went into math. Reviewing formerly learned concepts and providing successful experiences will set a positive tone for the year.

Celebrate the beginning of your new school year. You can end the day with a fun activity, a special dinner, or a board game your son or daughter likes to play.  Relax before going to bed so that you are ready to begin again.

You are a remarkable teacher and mother. You are going to have a great year!

~Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planning Your School Schedule

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Books: check!

Planner: check!

Calendar: check!

Something to write with: check!

You are off to a great start. Now, it’s time to begin planning your school schedule. Without warning, you come to a sudden and violent screeching halt. Your brain turns into a blob and no thoughts of how to even begin this process are coming to you. Does this sound familiar? Well, don’t worry, this post is to help you overcome being stuck and getting you back on the right track. I will give you some ideas on how I organize my week and please take what you can use and use it for your own schooling situation.

Look at your calendar Check to see when you are going to start and when you are going to finish. Ohio schools are in session for 180 days, so this will help to keep that in mind when you are planning.  A rule of thumb for many homeschool families is to generally follow the local school district’s calendar, but you are not required to do that. Consider times you will want to off time for holidays such as Thanksgiving, or anything that you know is going to happen that you will not be schooling, such as the arrival of a baby. 🙂

Take a big task and break it up into smaller tasks. My suggestion is that once you have looked at your academic calendar and have the beginning and ending dates set, that you only plan for a week or two at a time and write it in pencil. Plans change, and the unexpected happens. Great opportunities arise, or your student buzzes through one topic and gets stuck in another area, someone gets sick,  and you need to rearrange things, that’s OKAY! If you have only have one or two weeks planned you can rearrange your schedule easily.

Look at your curriculum Perusing through one subject at a time, how many chapters, units, pages, are there for your child to complete the subject being studied? For the sake of keeping this simple, let’s say the math book has 360 pages, 2 pages of work will be completed each day to finish the book. (360 pages divided by 180 days). Do that for all your subjects and write each of those subjects in your planner.

Plan for co-ops and extra-curricular activities. If you know you are going to be gone to a co-op all day and no one is going to do any work before or after, don’t plan anything academic for that day.  You can plan a four day school week, just keep in mind your student will need to double up on the work somewhere. So, instead of 2 pages of math per day, you add 2.5 pages on lighter school days.

Plan your time Consider what time you are going to begin your day and approximately how long it will take you to finish. At the beginning of the year things move slowly because everything is new.  But, as you get into the routine and repeat topics and routines, the time will decrease. The alphabet song that took 10 minutes to sing?  Later it will only take 2 minutes as your daughter learns the letters.

Okay, that’s enough planning for today! Take a break and enjoy the fact that you have just completed planning your school week. Way to go!

 

 

3 Great Homeschool Planners

August is quickly slipping away which means that school will soon begin. I don’t know about you, but I work more efficiently and feel better if I have a planner.

I would like to offer some tips with regards to planners. To save you money you can look for a planner that you can use from year to year. After you print off the pages place them in page protectors so that your planner doesn’t get food or drinks spilled on it. Use fine tipped dry erase markers to write assignments on so that you can erase at the end of the year and reuse for the next year. If you think all your hard work will be lost, then take pictures of each week’s work and create a file for future students. This also would provide additional documentation for your portfolio review should you choose to do it that way.

Organizing work assignments for your students will help them to know what is expected and what needs to be completed. So, with that in mind, investigate some of these websites that have school planners for you and also your student(s).

The Homeschool Planner from Free Homeschool Deals has a planner that not only has lesson plans, but a place to write down appointments and meal planning. You just need to make sure you don’t  lose your planner!

Homeschool Planet has an online planner that you can edit and also print off if you like. The online planner is nice because if you need to change things around because life got in the way, you can do that! The link is to a free trial, so there is no obligation to purchase it unless you like it.

Over at Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool she has so many options such as cover design, calendars and appointment keepers, goals, planning sheets, and more!) for you to print your own planner. There are also extra school helps such as co-op class scheduling, multiplication facts, grade trackers, and field trip reference forms. You choose the colors you want, and the fonts. It truly is a customized planner and it’s FREE!

Learning Styles: Curriculum Considerations

download.jpgImagine this for a moment…You have a friend recommend a curriculum that her son loves and you purchase it only to use it and discover your son doesn’t like it. This has certainly happened to me! You might feel like a failure, thinking it must be you. However, consider the possibility that your student has a different learning style than your friend’s child who recommended the curriculum. “What is a learning style?” you ask. It is an individual’s unique approach to learning based on strengths, weaknesses, and preferences.

There are four major types of learning styles:

  • Visual (learn through seeing and prefer pictures, images, and writing)
  • Auditory (learn through hearing, both words and music)
  • Tactile (learn through touch)
  • Kinesthetic (learn through doing and moving)

There are also additional learning styles that are important to remember and these are:

  • Logical (prefer using logic, reasoning and systems)
  • Social (prefer to learn in groups or with other people)
  • Solitary (prefer to work alone, use self-study)

You probably can identify what type of style your daughter prefers by the above descriptions. If not, observe her learning a new concept and which way the material is presented to see what works best for her. Everyone has a mix of these learning styles and different styles can be used at different times.

More Questions to Ask when thinking of curriculum. Each publishing company or program has a link to it; just click on the underlined words.

  • Is my child a visual learner? Picking a curriculum that is colorful and has pictures, charts and diagrams are beneficial to this type of learner. (ABeka, Horizon, and Bob Jones are traditional textbooks that are colorful, particularly in the younger grades. You can also use trade books such as Usborne or Dorling Kindersley or the library for your studies.
  • Is my child an auditory learner?  Many curriculums now have audio files to accompany their books such as Apologia Science  and Story of the World. But, Sonlight is best known for all of the Read-Aloud books that are the foundation of their program. Other curriculums that offer books to be read aloud are Memoria Press, and Five in a Row.
  • Is my child a tactile learner? Unit studies with activities are beneficial and curriculum such as My Father’s World and Heart of Dakota each are unit-based curricula.

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER:

Does this curriculum fit the learning style of my student? Above all, that would be the question I would ask when choosing a curriculum. Because no matter how much I liked unit studies, if my son didn’t like them, then he was not all that engaged in what we were doing.

If you absolutely cannot abide the type of curriculum that best works for your daughter or son, then consider adding the type s/he enjoys once in a while. For instance, you dislike reading fiction books aloud. Pick one book that you think you could like and either read it aloud OR get an audio version of the book. 🙂  Who knows, perhaps the learning style will grow on you!