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Teaching to Your Child’s Level

Have you ever been in a situation like this picture where you feel like the subject that was being taught or discussed was waaay over your head? Yeah, me too! So, when you get “the deer in the headlights” look from your child when you are teaching something, remember the time that you felt this way. It helps you realize what they are feeling and the frustration that is occurring. Here are some things I have found helpful having been a classroom teacher and home educator.

  1. Is background information needed before teaching the concept? I know this sounds like an automatic thing, but sometimes I forget that I am starting at ground zero with my student. Do not assume your child knows what you are talking. Orally quiz them to see what they know. If I asked you to explain the laws of thermodynamics you may not be able to do so because you just don’t know (or it has been a long time since you learned this <lol> ).
  2. Speak in simple terms. When you are teaching something, you must talk to your pupil in terms that is understood. You might be discussing how to write a thesis statement for a paper, but you don’t have to jump right in and say that. Explain the concept (thesis means the main idea of paper) and then introduce the terminology. I taught 8th grade Earth and Space Science and I didn’t use technical terms until I explained it simply.
  3. Use hands-on experiences as much as possible. Did you know you learn much quicker and concepts are remembered longer the more senses are involved? If I explained to you how to make a soufflĂ© and you didn’t have any directions to read, it would be very difficult, in my case, impossible! I will be able to make it if I can read the directions (see) , watch a video (see, hear), and make it (feel).
  4. Model and work together with your child. Let’s say you are teaching your child to learn to write the upper case L. You can start with a large surface and use paper and pencil until they get comfortable with that and using the writing instrument properly. Next, move to writing on paper. Using handwriting paper, have them trace the letter multiple times while instructing them. Demonstrate as you talk about forming the letter. (Start up at the top of the line and go to the bottom, etc.) You can put your hand over the top of their hand, guiding as they work on the letter. Don’t let a child do something independently until you see success.
  5. If at first you don’t succeed, try again! I listen to a teaching pastor that I dearly love because he explains something and then reiterates what he has just said by coming at it from a different angle. If you have explained division and your child is still not understanding, try using different modalities. Use manipulatives, find a video that explains it, start with simpler problems, etc.
  6. Stop and come back to it. Sometimes you just need to regroup and return to the subject. You may need to go back and review previous concepts. Your student could also just need to ruminate about the new material.

I hope these ideas are helpful.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Enter for a Chance to Win

Giveaway Closed- Congratulations to Jennifer K and Kaitlin W.

The Giveaway for a free portfolio review assessment ends on February 14, 2022. So, if you have not yet entered, you still have this week to do it. All of the details are on my post from last week, but I am posting the link here for you. https://schoolmarmohio.com/2022/02/02/homeschool-assessment-giveaway-2022/

I hop you win! Have a great week ~Lisa~

Homeschool Assessment Giveaway 2022

It is February which means it’s time for my annual Giveaway that begins today and ends at 12:00PM EST February 14. As usual, I will pick two winners and announce the winners on February 15, 2022. There are three ways you can win:

  1. Schedule a review with me. The Calendly schedule calendar is below and you can sign up right now. Days and times are limited for now, but I will open up more this summer if needed. Early evening appointments are on Tuesdays should you need it. Need more information? See the Homeschool Assessments Tab above. It has all the particulars.
  2. Follow me on Instagram. Here is where I share about children’s books and other homeschool things. This is an area where I want to grow in and will be dedicating more time and content to that. https://www.instagram.com/schoolmarmohio/
  3. Refer a friend. Write a comment below letting me know how many people you recommended having me do an assessment for them. Each referral is an entry.

If you won last year, then you are not eligible this year, sorry! Best wishes! I will notify the winners here and on Instagram on 02.15.22

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

There is no doubt about it, homeschooling is rewarding, but it can also be challenging. You might find yourself in a place where you and your student are stuck. You are not alone! E-v-e-r-y homeschool family faces this. Yes, even the all-put-together homeschool mom has days (or weeks) like this. So, what can you do about moving on where you are right now?

  1. Identify the problem. Is your child overwhelmed or frustrated? Evaluate whether the material is too difficult or could there be a learning difficulty? Tired? Sleep is highly underrated and your son/daughter really does need to get a good night’s rest. If you find that sleep routines have gone by the wayside, establish bedtime and when they are expected to be up in the morning. Bored? is the curriculum too easy or just not keeping the attention of your pupil? Consider putting aside what you are currently doing and look at alternatives. You can go to the library and get books on the subject; watch a video and do a quiz or have a discussion afterwards; look for an online class; find a community class or a person who would enjoy teaching the subject
  2. Ask for help. Call, email, or text someone who can listen and give some good counsel. There are Facebook groups, support groups, blogs, podcasts, and Instagrammers who can give you ideas. Have you considered there may be a physical issue occurring such as needing glasses; ADD; dyslexia; dyscalculia, or a food allergy?
  3. Step away. Close the books, take a break, play a game. Sometimes everyone just needs to be done. If your child just sits at the table and plays the waiting game, have a talk with them and let them know that you are finished for the day, but the work will still need to be finished. You decide when that will be; is it before bedtime, tomorrow, by Friday or does the unfinished work go into the weekend? Consider having an effect for not doing the work. For instance, since they chose to waste time sitting and not completing work, their favorite activity is shortened too.
  4. Praise when hard things have been attempted. It goes a looong way for your child to feel that you have seen the effort they have put forth. You can also have a small reward to be given as an incentive. I am not talking about a bribe, there is a difference. They can see that when facing a challenge, it is rewarding to overcome that task. If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know I struggle to keep my office desk clear. I put it off until I just can’t take it another minute. I have to reward myself or make the time more enjoyable by listening to an audiobook. So, if I have to do this, chances are your student does too.:) I am a big kid, after all. lol

Have a great week and remember, it’s okay to ask for help to get you and your student over the rough patches. ~Lisa~

I am not sure if you are aware of this, but I offer consulting for homeschool families and would be glad to help. I can offer ideas, discuss various curricula, look at your schedule, etc. My fee is $25.00 for a 30 minute Zoom conference. You can email me if you are interested, this does not include any legal or medical advice since that is not my area of expertise. I am neither a lawyer or a medical professional nor did I ever play the part of one. You can email me at: schoolmarmohio@me.com. In the subject line write Educational Consultation.

Finding Joy in Homeschooling

It’s sooo easy to lose your joy when your school day is not going well and your student is not cooperating. Let me reassure you that alllll of us have days and sometimes weeks of feeling stuck and not much learning is taking place. But, the truth of the matter is, progress is happening, learning is taking place. Here are four things that help me when I need to bring back joy in my life.

What brings a smile to your face? Take time to do that! Is it reading a book, reading your Bible? Snuggling with your child? Cooking? Drinking a cup of coffee? Playing your favorite song? It doesn’t require a lot of time, but it is worth it to get recharged and “find your happy spot”.

Look back since the beginning of the year. Where do you see progress? Is your child reading better? Getting faster with their math facts? Writing more? Paying attention more? You may not be seeing huge leaps, but small steps bring progress too! This aways helped me to see that we really were further along than I thought. Think on the good things that are happening.

Take a Break- Everyone gets burned out and that includes you! If the math lesson is going badly, stop before you reach the point of no return and everyone is upset. Can you quit teaching math for the year, no. But, you can put it aside and come back to it tomorrow. If you have a younger student then you could work on another concept such as measurement and incorporate baking. If you have an older student you will need to continue on, but can you find a teaching video that could help explain the concept.

Reach out to someone who supports you. Truth: homeschooling is hard and there are days you need a pep talk. I hope you have someone and if you don’t, let me encourage you. You can do this, you know your child better than anyone else. You can challenge them to excel in ways a classroom teacher can’t since you know their strengths, areas they need to work on, and what motivates them. I believe in you and have great respect for you homeschooling.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~