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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!

 

 

Fun Outdoor Activities for Children

imgresSpring is here! I can feel it in the air and I am sure your children can as well! Here are some outdoor activity ideas for them to enjoy.

What about the old-fashioned outdoor games of hopscotch; jumping rope and Hide and Seek?

Red Light, Green Light; Simon Says; Follow the Leader, and Mother May I (see how to play below) are games that require no supplies and provide your children with the opportunity to follow directions. Which, by the way, are essential to school. 🙂

Does your daughter like to draw? Sidewalk chalk is all kinds of fun. Be sure and take a picture of the creations afterwards.

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Sidewalk Chalk (homeschooling ideas.com)

  • Plaster of Paris or egg shells
  • Tempera Paint- liquid or powder
  • Old bowls or pots for mixing
  • Molds –
      Have fun choosing! You could make small chalks with ice cube trays, big fat toilet roll or kitchen roll chalks. Or use popsicle or play-doh molds for something different. Shaped silicone baking trays can also be used.
  • Water
  • Spatula or old spoon
  • Possibly needed – Wax paper and/or petroleum jelly; duct tape; tin foil or plastic wrap.

Next you need to prepare your molds. Paper towel rolls or toilet rolls should be cut to size if they are too long for you. Tape over one end to stop the chalk mixture running out when you fill them (you can use duct tape). They also will need lining with wax paper or freezer paper to make them waterproof. Disposable molds won’t need any preparation – you can always cut them away from the chalk if they get stuck. Coat any other molds (such as your baking trays or ice cube trays) with petroleum jelly so the chalk will slip out easily when dry. Or alternatively, you could line them with tin foil or film wrap.

Bubbles

Who doesn’t like to blow bubbles and pop them? Bubble recipes follow for your son to enjoy. Bubble wands can be made out of pipe cleaners (craft stems) that are twisted together for durability.

Exploratorium Bubble Formula
from the Exploratorium web site

2/3 cup Joy dishwashing soap
1 gallon water
2 to 3 tablespoons of glycerin
(available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)

Cyndi’s Bubble Recipes
from the Nathan’s Wish web site

1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid (Dawn or Joy)
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of sugar

Cyndi suggests adding a dab of food coloring for colorful bubbles. Mix the solution and place in a shallow pan (or refill your old bubble containers). NOTE: More recipes and fun with bubbles are available at the website link above.

Homemade Bubbles
from Kids Domain Craft Exchange

1/2 (500 ml) cup dishwashing detergent
4-1/2 (4.5 liter) cup water
4 tablespoons (60 ml) glycerin
(available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)
Measure out the water, detergent, and glycerin into container with a cover and stir gently. Note: The longer you let the mixture set, the larger the bubbles are and the longer they seem to last.
  • Red Light, Green LightUsing  a large yard have all the kids line up on one side. the person who is “it” stays in the middle of the yard.  When “it” says green light, all the kids run as fast as they can.  When “it” says red light, everyone stops. whoever doesn’t stop is out. “It” keeps saying red light or green light until all the kids are out or has gone from one end of the yard and back to where they started from.The last person to make it back to the starting line is “it”.  There is a  rule that you have two seconds to come to a complete stop or hit the ground.
  • Simon Says

One person is designated Simon, the others are the players. Standing in front of the group, Simon tells players what they must do. However, the players must only obey commands that begin with the words “Simon Says.” If Simon says, “Simon says touch your nose,” then players must touch their nose. But, if Simon simply says, “jump,” without first saying “Simon says,” players must not jump. Those that do jump are out.
Objective
Follow directions and stay in the game for as long as possible! The last player standing wins and becomes the next Simon. If you’re Simon, the object is to try to trick the players to follow your commands when they shouldn’t.

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  • Follow the Leader

One player, the Leader, begins moving around with actions that the rest of the players must mimic. Anything — including wildly flailing his hands or furiously scratching his head — what the leader does, the others must follow. Those players who disobey, or lag behind the leader’s motions are out of the game. The last person standing becomes the new Leader. It is best to play with three or more. 

  • Mother May I? 

This game is a simple childhood action game that might be good for reinforcing the use of manners. One person is chosen as the “mother” (or “captain” if it is a male).  She or he stands facing away from a line of kids and selects a child at random, or in order.  The mother/captain calls out a direction, step type, and number of steps.  For example, the mother/captain can say: “Scott, you may take seven (or any other number)’ baby/normal/giant steps forward/backward.”The child then responds with “Mother may I?” (or “Captain may I?” if it is a male player in charge).  The mother/captain states “Yes” or “No”, depending on her whim, and the child obeys and takes the steps.  If the child forgets to ask “Mother may I?” then he/she goes back to the beginning of the line.  The first one to touch the Mother/Captain wins and becomes the new Mother/Captain.

An alternate version of the game is similar: each child takes turns asking, “Mother/Captain may I take [x kind of] steps?” The child who is mother (or captain) replies yes or no.

There are other kinds of steps possible for this game – be creative and come up with your own.  For example, there are:

  • Bunny hops: hopping like a bunny.
  • Frog hops: going down on all fours and hopping up like a frog.
  • Scissors steps: jump while crossing your feet, then jump while uncrossing them was one step.
  • Skip steps: steps as though one is skipping.

Educational Co-ops and Programs

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Co-ops and educational programs are such great ways to connect your children and you to other families who are homeschooling. Your children can take classes that you may not want to teach or just don’t have the equipment for, such as chemistry. They are also a terrific way of meeting other homeschool moms. Some of my closest friends are those who I met at a local homeschool co-op. Below is a list of co-ops here in greater Cincinnati. I hope you can find one that you will enjoy. 🙂
Beth Yada Co-op

Location:Crosspoint Church of Christ (off Exit 32), Middletown, OH

Meeting Dates: Thursdays, 12:15-3:00pm

Contact information: Director: Kim Watson tkwatts@zoomtown.com

CAFE Christian Co-op
Just like a cafe is a place to relax, fellowship and enjoy the company of friends, CAFE Christian Co-op is a place for homeschool families to find help, support and encouragement.
Location: Evangelical Community Church in Mt Healthy
Time: Wednesdays 9:00 am-4:30 pm. 14 weeks/semester (16 weeks for advanced academic classes)
Cost: Family fee TBD. Class supply fee. Teacher paid by each parent not through CAFE
Class groupings: 7th/8th grades, 9th/10th grades, and 11th/12th grades
Contact: Kerry Marsh
Email: Kerry Marsh at marshck1@yahoo.com
Website: cafecoop.weebly.com
Classical Conversations
“Across the United States, Classical Conversations Communities exist to complement your home-centered education and connect you with like-minded families. Each community is facilitated by a trained parent-director, and classes are led by trained parent-tutors who model the classical tools of learning. Tutors have the privilege of encouraging students toward becoming lifelong learners while also encouraging parents in the classical teaching of their children.” – www.ClassicalConversations.com

 Local groups meet in these areas: Bethel; Colerain Township; Goshen; Hamilton; Lebanon; Liberty Township; Mariemont; Sharonville; South Lebanon; West Chester

Clermont Homeschoolers Co-op

Date Organized: 2017

Location: Bross Center for Learning, 4435 Aichlotz Rd., Suite 100; Cincinnati, OH 45245

Description: The Clermont Homeschoolers CO-OP helps to support home education by providing a secular, inclusive, affordable, conveniently located cooperative learning experience. This is a year-round program with flexible, short sessions rather than long school style semesters. Sessions are generally 4 to 8 weeks. Occasionally we will offer offsite activities that may include local parks, or community volunteering and more. In addition, we host occasional parent workshops, holiday or seasonal parties, and Mom Nights!

Website: https://clermonthomeschooler.wixsite.com/co-op

Days of Wonder Our classes will consist of multiple ages that have the same teachers several years in a row.
Location: Batavia
Meeting Times: Preschool and grade levels K – 8 meets 3 days per week: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Our full-time High School (grades 9-12) program meets Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Cost: $190/mo – for first child from a family. $180/mo – for the 2nd child.$170/mo – for the 3rd child. $160/mo – for the 4th child. Plus supply fee $75 per year, per student.
Grades: Preschool-12
Director: Cynthia Day
Email: daysofwonderschool@gmail.com
Website: http://www.daysofwonderschool.org/
Family Christian Homeschool Co-op 
Date Organized: 2012
Location: Fairfield Baptist Church, Fairfield, Ohio
Meeting Times: Fridays 9:00 am -12:30 pm
Cost: $50—Annual Registration Fee/Per Family
$70—Per Semester Fee/Teacher Families $125—Per Semester Fee/Non-Teacher Families. Plus additional fees for some classes
Grades: nursery- 12th grade
Director: Kristen Luckey
Email: fchcdirector@gmail.com
Web Site: http://www.familychristianhomeschoolers.org
Help
Date Organized:  2004/2005
Location: Trenton Christian Church Middletown, Ohio
Meeting Times: 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month  from 1:00 – 3:00
Cost: $15.00 for the year  (subject to change)
Grades: Pre-K – 12th Grades
Director: Cherilu DuVal
Email: Duvals@ameritech.net
Website: None
Our members come from Middletown, Trenton, Franklin, Carlisle, and Germantown.

 

Kingdom Builders    

 Address of Location: 12060 Route 42 (Lebanon Rd.), Sharonville, Ohio 45241

Meeting Dates: Wednesdays from Labor Day to end of April with breaks for Thanksgiving and Christmas

General Description: We are a Christ-centered community that provides a variety of educational and enrichment classes for home-educating families in a safe and loving environment. We desire to strengthen Christian home-educating families by providing times of close interaction. We co-labor with each other and God to achieve excellence by serving each other through our strengths.

Fees: Application Fee: $70, annual, non-refundable (for all membership levels)
Family Membership Fees:
Standard Family Fee: $110 per semester
Teacher or Director Family Fee: $40 per semester Board Family Fee: $40 per semester
Drop-off Family Fees (all fees are per semester)
$65 per Co-op Class taught by Co-op Volunteer (plus supply fees if applicable) $25 per Paid Class taught by a Professional Teacher (plus paid class fees)
$10 per Study Hall
Contact Information: kingdombuilderscoop.weebly.com
Registration Deadline: variable (Contact through website to be considered for membership.)
Additional Information: Drop-off opportunities are available for students who are 12 and older by November 1 of the program year.
Classes Offered: We offer art, guitar, science, drama, writing, literature, geography, choir, and a variety of other classes for elementary through high school.

The Learning Tree Co-op in Springdale, Ohio
Date Organized: 1997
Location: Vineyard Community Church in Springdale off Kemper Road
Meeting Times: Monday’s 10:00 – 2:30 (2 semesters of 15-16 weeks each per year)
Cost: $70.00 per child per semester (3 child maximum per family) plus family membership fee of $50.00 per semester. Teachers and leaders get one child’s tuition free.
Grades: nursery-12th grade
Director:  Jen Moore
Email: director@learningtreeonline.org
Web Site: http://www.learningtreeonline.org/
Leaves of Learning
Date Organized: 1996
Location: 7131 Plainfield Rd., Deer Park, Ohio 45236
Meeting Times: one to five days a week (parent choice)
Grades: pre-school-12
Cost: $75.00 deposit to hold your spot plus monthly tuition fees
Director and contact: Diana Osborn
Email: info@leavesoflearning.org or 697-9021
Web Site: www.leavesoflearning.org
*You can drop off your child for classes, so it is not
fellowship-oriented for the mothers.  Leaves does not have a Christian emphasis, but does have Christian parents involved.
PATH-Parents in Academic Training of Homeschoolers
We are a Christ-centered group of volunteer home school parents, partnering together with Christian teachers to provide high quality courses for 7th – 12th grade home school students.  Our goal is to have all courses taught from a Biblical perspective at an academic level to prepare students for higher education.
We offer a full compliment of courses from 7th-12th grade, including: Physics, Anatomy, Chemistry, Biology, Physical Science, General Science, Composition/literature, American History, American Government, Western Civ I & II, World History, World Geography, Spanish I & II, Advanced math, Geometry, Alg II, Alg I, Alg 1/2, Saxon 87, drama and art.
Website:  www.pathmilford.org

Email: pathpartners@gmail.com ( for course availability and more detailed information regarding pricing, days they meet.)
POINT – Middletown, Ohio 
POINT (Parents Offering Inspiration, Nurturing, and Training
Date Organized: 1999
Location:  Waynesville, Ohio
Meeting Times:  Fridays, 9:30 AM -12:15 PM
Cost:  $164 per student for 28 weeks, $35 annual fee per family, and $15 annual supplies fee
Grades: nursery – 12th grade
Director: Brad and Paula Sanders, Director
Email: director@point-homeschool.orgpointdirector@highstream.net
Website: POINT-homeschool.org
Providence Extension Program (PEP):
Specializing in Classical Education with a Biblical Worldview
PEP partners with homeschool parents to give 7th -12th grade students the knowledge of history, writing and speaking, and biblical philosophy vs. world philosophies they need to convince the world to follow them as they follow Christ.
Experienced tutors
Two-day collegiate format
CORE Concept for Humanities
    National Honor Society, National Latin Exam, National Spanish Exam
    Student activities (prom, ski club, yearbook, etc.)
PEP has a 17 year track record of preparing students for success in college and a life that is glorifying to God. Our strong academics have enabled many of our graduating students to receive college scholarships.
PEP has four Greater Cincinnati locations: Mason and Milford. Please contact one of the site administrators for more information.
Please see our website for a list of classes www.pep1.org Registration begins in early April.
SEED Educational Initiative

A core historical curriculum that includes history, geography, art, literature, and science. Enrichment and life skill classes will develop communication, team building, and rapport building skills while helping our children develop lifelong friendships plus they are a lot of fun!
Date Organized: 2015
Location: Eastgate Baptist Church, located at 717 Barg Salt Run Road, Cincinnati, 45244
Meeting Times: Friday 10:00 A.M. – 6:15 P.M.
Cost: Family Membership Fee per semester
Grades: Nursery – 12 grade
Director: Rene Normand
Email: Rene@seedhomeschool.com
Website: www.seedhomeschool.com

SPARK! Secular Homeschool Co-op

Location: Fort Wright, KY

Meeting Dates: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30 am until 2:30 pm.

Description: The structure of our co-op allows for both students and parents to take an active role learning and building our community. The parents and students together introduce and create the schedule for Offerings (Classes). We also offer a variety of daily activities students can choose from to help facilitate their learning when not participating in scheduled Offerings. Offerings and activities are non-compulsory and students have the option to participate as interested, collaborate with others, or follow their individual pursuits. Our co-op parents work with students to set their intentions each day and help assess the progress they have made toward their goals.

Cost: Costs of space, resources, and other expenses are covered by a very modest tuition based on the number of days per week a student attends.

To learn more details: https://sparkcoop.wordpress.com

Contact: https://sparkcoop.wordpress.com/contact-us

Veritas Christian Homeschool Group
Date Organized: 2000
Location:Grace Baptist on Middletown, OH
Meeting Times:  Thursday 9:00 a.m. — 2:50 p.m.
Cost: $100 per family per trimester for a.m. classes; $115 per family per trimester for all day (30 weeks total)
Grades: nursery- 12th grade
Director: Mandy Lail
Email: vchgdirector@gmail.com
Web Site:  www.veritaschristiancoop.org Registration begins in December. You may fill out a Waiting List Application if you have missed the deadline.
West Branch Learning Tree -WBLT Cheviot
Date Organized: 1999
Location: Friendship Baptist Church  Cheviot, Ohio
Meeting Times: Mondays from 9:30-2:00pm at
Costs: $80.00 per child (3 child maximum)
Grades: nursery – 12th grade
Director:  Amy Kearns
Email: kearnsamy@hotmail.com
Website: http://www.homeschool-life.com/oh/wbltcoop
Wisdom’s Gate Cooperative Ross/Oxford/Hamilton
Date Organized: September 2000
Location: West Side Church of Christ on Stahlheber (Hamilton)
Meeting Times: Fridays 9:30am to 2:30pm
Grades: Nursery – 12th grade
Cost: K-12 $50, preschool $40, Toddlers $25, Infants Free (per 10 week semester)
Discounts for teachers and large families
Email: tstatum@woh.rr.com
*You must be recommended to join by someone who attends Wisdom’s Gate.”
Wisdom’s Way Co-op in Milford
Date Organized: 1999
Location: We meet at Faith Evangelical Free Church at 5910 Price Rd. Milford, Ohio
Meeting Times: Monday’s from 1:00 – 3:00 PM for 12 weeks
Cost: The cost is $40 per child (maximum of $120) per family
Grades: nursery – 12th grade
Director: Laura Hoevener
Email:  laurahoevener@hotmail.com
Web Site: www.wisdomsway.net

How to Choose Curriculum

One school year ends and another one begins. It seems as though the time is too short and there is always something else to do besides check out all the curriculum options for the upcoming year. It can seem overwhelming at times and I wanted to write this to help make the process easier. I have a few questions that can help with making decisions in helping to sort through all the great resources that are available. If you would like to investigate any of the curriculum further there are links to each of them throughout the post. Just click on the underlined curriculum to see in greater detail.

  • Does this curriculum fit the learning approach of my student?  Here are some questions to help determine curriculum choices.
  • Overall, does your child like to do worksheets/ workbooks or likes to write? ABeka, Bob Jones, and Rod and Staff  are all good choices.

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  • Does your daughter or son like stories that are read-aloud to them? (Sonlight, history- both Story of the World, and Mystery of History are good choices.)imgres-1.jpg
  • Does you student enjoy memorizing? (Classical Conversations) While your child would benefit greatly from attending  a Classical Conversations campus, if you are not able to do so, you can still purchase their curriculum.

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I know this is a lot of information, so feel free to write a comment or contact me; I’d love to help you.

~ Lisa

 

Homeschool Scheduling

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-3-12-36-amIt’s already November and my intentions of keeping ahead of my lesson plans has gone by the wayside. For some reason, life just gets in the way! So, today I am going to concentrate on getting my school schedule back in order. Would you want to do this with me? Encouragement nets results, I think.  It also provides an impetus for me and holds me accountable to do this since I am writing about it. 🙂

Look at my goals. Looking at where I am currently in teaching my classes and where I need to be by winter break helps keep me on the path of forward progress. Fortunately, I am right on with two of my classes and will be back on track this week with my other class. Setting realistic goals is one of the keys to success. If I set too many then I become discouraged and feel like I am not being successful. Do you do this too? I am planning on doing two or three things on my “To Do List” today instead of five or six like I normally do.  I’ll see how that goes! I can be goofy when it comes to writing a list. I put things on my list after I have done them just so I can cross them off!

How are things with your homeschool? If you are falling behind, stop and evaluate as to why this has occurred. Is it because of your schedule? Look at your school day and time you are teaching subjects. Sometimes it helps just to rearrange things. For instance, the boys and I would work on a harder subject first and mix in an easier subject afterwards. This helped to move things along instead of being bogged down, plus it gave our brains a break.

Evaluate Outside Activities.  Right now I am evaluating  changes to my schedule as I have made a commitment to do something once a week that I didn’t anticipate when I began school this year. Many a time when I was homeschooling I took on more than I should have in regards to our commitments. Are you doing a lot of running around like I was? Is school becoming a lower priority? Stop and evaluate before the new year begins. Do you have time for these other activities? Eliminate them as much as possible if you are putting them ahead of school. Of course, if you made a commitment to teach a co-op class or volunteer, finish it, but consider what you are doing and what adjustments need to be made. Sometimes I needed to scale back and get everything at home back in order before we could do something extra. I wasn’t always successful in doing this, thus causing undue stress, which was not a good thing!

Prepare for the School Day. I get up early every day to review what topics I am teaching. This means reading through lessons and preparing anything I need to teach. I also look at what else I have to do: appointments, housework, grocery shopping, etc. I feel like when I have a mental picture of what I am doing for the day I am better prepared. If getting up early doesn’t work for you, looking at your school day the night before may serve you better.

Write lesson plans. As long as I have all of my books and papers out I might was well dig into lessons before I put everything away. The winter break will soon be here, so I am going to write my lessons to have a plan in place. I don’t like to write them out too far in advance because they may need to change. My advice is not to plan beyond two weeks because you will become frustrated and anxious if you have to change. Teaching a new concept takes time! It requires time to introduce it, time to practice what has been taught, and time to master that new idea. Oftentimes, new topics of study take more time than you originally planned for, similar to house improvement projects…  lol If you plan for extra time and don’t need it, then it’s a bonus and you can teach that subject you never seem to get around to doing, such as health or art. Or, if you have everything finished, cut loose and have fun!

Speaking of lesson plans, these can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be in order to teach. I have written plans to just have the title of a book we were reading, or writing pages of the textbook the boys were studying that day. My plans have also been as elaborate as writing the steps for a science lab. Remember, they are a guide for teaching.

Don’t you love the picture at the top of the post? I would love to be there right now; I could think more clearly and evaluate my school schedule, or write my lesson plans at the end of the trail. (probably not!) Enjoy your week.

~Lisa