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FREE Online Resources

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Since all public school students in Ohio are home for the next three weeks (or longer) I have seen some fantastic online opportunities for students. I hope you find some resources here for your family.

Scholastic Learn at Home– This website has cross-curricular units with reading and can include science, math, writing or fine arts. Grades Pre-K – 6th grade and higher

Storytime Online– This website has videos, websites, and podcasts that help promote early literacy.

Amazing Educational Resources– This has a very long listing of various companies and services that are being offered. Note: All of the resources are not free, but the listing lets you know if it is or not.

Mr. Otter Art Studio– You can go here for free art classes for your student. Even though I have zero ability (or confidence!), I think I could do this!

Museum Tours Would you like to go to an art gallery in England or France? No problem! Check out these collections and virtual tours.

$5 Dinners Erin and her sons have live daily cooking lessons or you can watch them later. Taco Soup is on the menu for today.

The Cincinnati Zoo is having a Home Safari Facebook Live every weekday at 3:00pm where they will feature an animal and have a home activity to do as well.

The San Diego Zoo has a Galapagos Tortoise video. The youngest animal is 85 years old!

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems! If your daughter or son likes Elephant and Piggie or the Pigeon books, Mo Willems draws and talks about his books. This is so inspiring for your budding writers. Mr. Willems is such a great host!

Just a quick reminder that there is one more week for you to enter my Giveaway for one of two free portfolio reviews. See last week’s post for more details. 

Have a great week!  ~Lisa~

Testing Options for Homeschooling

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Last week I discussed the option of the Written Narrative option.  This week I wanted to give you some resources if you would like to do testing. (NOTE: for the 2019-2020 school year you do not need to have your student take a standardized test due to the extenuating circumstances of the covid-19 pandemic.)

Here are things to consider:

  • Which test do you want your child to take? The ITBS? CAT? Standford? Think long term and stay with the same test so that you can compare how your son/daughter measures up from the previous year.
  • How well does your child test? If you have a student that is anxious and you do not think it would be a good indication of what they know, consider doing a portfolio review/ assessment instead.
  • Does your child read well? Much of the test is read independently, even in the younger grades.
  • Has your child taken a standardized test before? If not, practice filling in bubbles beforehand. This can confuse some students if they haven’t done this before.
  • Qualifications– Some standardized tests have administrator requirements. Others do not so be sure to check on that detail.
  • Time– Consider the amount of time it will take for the test. You do not do the test all in one sitting and it will take several days. Also, order tests early as some companies (BJU Press) only allow you to order until a certain date.
  • Cost– If you are ordering a test that will need to be mailed, how much will it cost in order to do this? Doing an online test can be less expensive and the results will be given to you much quicker. Prices vary from $25.00- $45.00

Here are websites to order standardized tests.

https://www.bjupresshomeschool.com/content/home

https://homeschooltestingservices.com

https://www.setontesting.com

Have a great week!  ~Lisa~

 

Midyear Evaluating: What’s working, what’s not

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As we begin 2020 this is a good time to do a quick evaluation of your school year so far. It’s easy to get mired in the day-to-day routine of school and not consider changing things if needed.

What is going well? I take it for granted when things are going well, but perhaps it would be better to figure out what is going well. Here are some questions to ponder:

  • Is it the curriculum? Does your student love math because of the way it is presented? There may be other types of teaching styles for other subjects that are not going well.
  • Does your daughter/ son enjoy the subject matter?  Consider incorporating that into other subject areas. For instance, if dinosaurs are a loved topic, how about not only using this for science, but also math (measuring the distance of various creatures, graphing the lengths), or Language arts (writing a report; doing a lap book, or reading books about them).
  • Is it the time of day or where it is placed in the day that works well? Do you have a son who likes to sleep in or a daughter who is an early bird? Fit the schedule (within reason) that accommodates their sleep patterns. After all, you have the flexibility to begin and end when it is best for your family.

What do you think needs to change? Let’s face it, some subjects are just not our daughter/ son’s favorite and no matter what you do, it doesn’t seem to go well. But, what about a heart-to-heart talk to her/him about making the most of the school day? These are things to consider why things aren’t working:

  • How are attitudes? Bad attitudes breed bad lessons and bad school days. I know, I have done this myself. 😦 Teaching with the right attitude and expecting the same from your child will help with the tough things.
  •  Is the curriculum or subject too hard, not challenging enough, or just plain boring?  You do not need to stick with the curriculum if it is not helping you to teach your children. If you are looking for some curriculum ideas check out Cathy Duffy’s website: https://cathyduffyreviews.com/
  • Do you need to change your daily routine? If you teach the easy subjects first and the harder ones last, your child’s focus could be waning. How about teaching the hard things first, take a 10 minute break and come back to it?
  • Is your son/ daughter sitting too long? Everybody needs a break. How about for your younger son/ daughter having wiggle breaks or brain breaks?  Set the timer for 2- 3 minutes and choose an activity such as do jumping jacks,; run outside; get a drink of water and a handful of nuts or granola; carry the books you have already used back to their place of origin, etc. Your older daughter/ son can stretch their legs; get a small snack; get a drink of water, etc.

If you have other ideas please let me know. 🙂

Have a great week! ~ Lisa ~ 

 

Free Homeschool Lesson Plan Templates

Whether you choose an unschooling approach or a traditional approach to homeschooling, keeping track of learning is essential to having a successful school year. There are many wonderful lesson plan books that you can purchase, but money can be tight at this time of the year, especially after your curriculum purchases. 🙂 I have a list of resources from which you can choose.

This free resource is an editable lesson plan template that has daily and weekly lesson plan templates. While it is for a traditional classroom, you can edit it to meet your needs. Click on the picture for the resource link.

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Susan at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds has several different types of planning sheets from which you can choose.  She has formal lesson planning sheets as well as more informal learning logs.

The Homeschool Mom has a planner for not only school but for home as well. You do have to subscribe to download the pages.

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Our Good Family has a lesson planning sheet that includes not only the subjects, but also daily goals, notes, and things to work on with your student.

I liked the sound of this planner resource, Planned Spontaneity. This is a free E-book that has practical steps in helping you plan your year. Drop by Homeschooling Ideas to download a copy for yourself (Click on the book for link).Screen Shot 2019-09-02 at 6.46.01 AM.png

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

The Growth Mindset

The buzzword, “growth mindset”, has been around in the field of education for several years now and I think it is worth considering when you are teaching your daughter/son. It can also help you as a teacher and a student.

What is it? According to an article that I was reading at Mindsetworks.com, “Dr. Carol Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.”

Did you know our brains are able to be rewired? The connections can be strengthened, changed, and reinforced depending upon the actions we take. You can do that for your child as you homeschool.

Praise your son/ daughter in the areas where s/he is strong and encourage in the areas where there are weaknesses. For instance, if your daughter is a great speller but is having difficulty with more complex words, praise her and show her all the words she can spell with ease. Show her what she has done with single-syllable words and help her break those longer words down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Praise her efforts and come alongside her.

Does your son struggle in math? Perhaps long division is a difficult concept.  Try pointing out the concept that he knows, “Wow! You did a fantastic job on this short division problem (16/4).  Now let’s try 168/4. Work on the problem together and do several more. You can encourage him by saying, “I know you can do this; I will help you.” give lots of high fives and fist bumps along the way.

It is important to come alongside your student and show her you are supporting her and that she can do it. Think about when you were learning to ride a bicycle. You had someone else run alongside you, holding the bike up so that it wouldn’t tip over. You needed this until you had the confidence to balance and do it yourself. That process and the mastery of a new concept or idea is what having an, “I can do it.” mindset is all about.

Here is a book that I believe will help your child to understand the power of thinking, the power of their brain. You can click on the image to read about the book.

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Everyone makes mistakes. That can be hard for a child to understand and give themselves grace to learn or grow from that experience. I have to remind myself of this quite often as well. 🙂 Here are some books to read and discuss:

Beautiful Oops! is a quick read, but there are so many things you can talk about with your son as you read it. Don’t see mistakes as failures, but as possibilities.

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I have a confession, when I was a little girl I said’, “I can’t!” A Lot.  I remember my mom saying, “Can’t never did anything.” She didn’t let me quit on things and I wasn’t all that happy with her at the time, but I have come to realize that she was teaching me a life lesson that I try to apply in my life when things get tough. I can’t do it by myself, but with God’s help, I can. The title of this next book is a sentence that I want to adopt in my own thinking.:)

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I want to encourage you today; you can teach your child. You can help them because you are a good tutor. Your son/ daughter will get the difficult concepts that at first may seem monumental. Keep praising them, walking alongside them, and pretty soon that tough thing will be added to the growing list of things they can do.

Have a great week!  ~ Lisa ~