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Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

Competition

Friday, September 20th, 2013
With the beginning of school, comes another season of sports of all kinds for our youngsters. We have come to believe that competition is good for us. But research show that “offensive competition.” which involves aggressive gamesmanship, can be counterproductive. A study conducted at the University of Texas disclosed that people who were more concerned with winning than with performing well had lower levels of achievement. If you are competitive or your child is competitive, consider the following:
  • Keep in mind that competition is not the opposite of cooperation. Using cooperative strategies will often help one be more “competitive.”
  • Learn to believe in yourself. Do not strive to prove yourself in others’ eyes.
  • Accept that other people are needed to get ahead. A combination of healthy competition and cooperation can go a long way.
  • Keep an open mind to new ideas, information and feedback. Offensively competitive people often resist others’ suggestions.
  • Help others to achieve their goals.
Dr. Stan J. Katz and Aimee E. Liu

Squeezed for Time!

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
Are there so many demands on your time that you can’t squeeze another second out of your schedule? If so, you have “timelock.” Just as gridlock stops traffic, timelock stops productivity. Here is what to do to get unlocked:
  • Think of what you want out of life….not how much you can get done. Assess all your activities. If they add to your life, keep them. If not, eliminate them whenever possible.
  • Understand your body clock. It’s irregular and not as uniform as time from a clock. Identify its peak times. That is when to schedule especially difficult work.
  • Don’t crowd every minute with some task. If you do, tension rises and effectiveness declines.
  • Slow down. Don’t be addicted to rushing. Ask, “Why am I rushing? What will hap-en if I don’t?” Know the difference between necessary haste and impatience.
  • Subtract an old activity when you add a new one.

TEN Ways to Make the Most of STUDY TIME

Monday, September 16th, 2013
Relax a bit after school before doing homework. Then….
1. Find the best time to study
After school, after dinner…..homework should have a definite start and finish time. If the homework is finished early, the remaining time should be used to double-check and review.
2. The best place to study
Homework headquarters should be away from television, stereo, telephone, and other distractions. A writing surface and good light are necessities. A small tale may be the best place for a young student, while a desk or table, even the floor or a bed, may work for an older student.
3. Be prepared
Have all the materials needed to complete assignments. Pencils, sharpener, eraser and paper for younger students, a pen, ruler, dictionary, thesaurus, and more may be necessary for older students.
4. Make a homework list
Make an easy two-part homework checklist:
______ List homework assignments in each class each day as they are made.
______ Check over the list at the end of the school day to make sure you have all the materials necessary to take home.
Show the assignment sheet to teachers. They can help to see that you have everything to complete assignments at home.
5. Keep a homework calendar
Record due dates for major long-range assignments on a special calendar brings the task into focus. Work backwards, identifying all the steps along the way to completion of the assignment.
If a short paper is due on Friday, the last step is to write the final draft on Thursday.
The first step is to begin reading and note taking on Monday.
6. Study rhythms
Tackle the most difficult assignments when you are most alert and save easier tasks for off-peak times. Schedule several smaller segments of time for memorization. It is easier to learn in short stretches than at one long session. Try using an easier assignment as a break from something more difficult.
7. When you get stuck
Ask these questions…..
  • Have you read and followed directions carefully?
  • Are you taking short cuts that are confusing you?
  • Are you using your book properly?
  • Read the directions aloud….now do they make sense?
  • Have you tried making a picture, table, graph, or diagram to represent the known facts and relationships?
  • Have you tried to sold a similar, but less difficult problem?
  • Have you checked the glossaries, the table of contents or the indexes for help?
  • Did you copy the words or numbers correctly?
  • Are you trying to do too much of the work in your head?
  • Have you checked for careless mistakes?
Still stuck? Do other homework assignments for awhile. Go to class early and check with the teacher. Remember…..teachers want success from their students.
8. Ask for help
It is okay to ask for help. Ask parents, older brothers and sisters, just ask.
9. Take a break
Schedule one or more short breaks during the study time. Stretching the mind for an hour, calls for stretching the body for a few minutes. Do jumping jacks, play ping pong or the drums…..get up and move.
10. Book bag at bedtime
Create a fail-proof method for getting completed homework assignments to school on time. A good slogan is “homework goes in the book bag at bedtime.”

Are They Ready for Schooling?

Friday, September 13th, 2013

School is on the mind of everyone this month as the children start school for another year of learning. Backpacks bulge with new books and supplies, girls wear the latest fashions and boys find the baggiest levis. Happy faces and anticipation as the little ones trooped off walking or to catch a bus.

A neighbor stopped over and asked about her child who is three. With a birthday in September, she has been told that it might be better if she holds him back from attending school a year. Her concern is that he will be the youngest child in the class and may be immature and not do well in the school. This is a difficult question for me…..my own children have October birthdays and I did not hold either back. I know they struggled not only through elementary and high school, but college as well. Nevertheless, they both were bright enough and I didn’t see the problem as theirs, but that of the schools. In hindsight would I have done things differently….probably not. It is painful, though, as a parent, to see your child struggle.

So, my response to my neighbor was “wait and see, he is still young.” My children are adults now and there weren’t as many options then. However, it saddens me to think that a parent has to even consider this question today. Many parents choose to keep their children home for schooling, but others are unable to do this. So, do they have to worry that their child may not be ready? “Who is not ready, the child or the school?”

Six Developmental Needs of Young Adolescents

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
What are the specialized needs of young adolescents ages 10-15? Why do we need to develop curricula and instructional programs tailored to those unique needs? Researchers have found that young adolescents have the following developmental needs:
  • Positive social interaction with adults and peers
  • Creative expression
  • Structure and clear limits to physical activity
  • Meaningful participation in families and learning programs
  • Opportunities for self definition
  • Competence and achievement
Programs which meet the developmental needs of young adolescents use a variety of activities and strategies. As young adolescents have an orientation toward peers and a concern about social acceptance, work in small groups and advisory programs promote opportunities for interaction with peers and adults. Interdisciplinary team organization fosters feelings of belonging while advisory groups allow time and a small group for discussion of issues.
Achievement and competence is achieved through authentic assessment based on personal goals, challenging intellectual material focused on relevant problems and issues, and with recognition by peers and adults. The increase in the desire for autonomy can be addressed through learning strategies involving choice, a curriculum based on social and individual interests. Service projects and project based learning capitalize upon young adolescent’s creative expression and need for meaningful participation.

So Much to Do….So Little Time

Monday, July 29th, 2013

In the fast-paced world in which we live, adults often are hard pressed to find the time to work, manage a household, raise a family and pursue leisure activities….all within the confines of a 24 – hour day. Children are no different. Between going to school, doing homework, working part time, visiting with friends, attending athletic practice, participating in school clubs, taking music or dance lessons, doing household chores and watching a favorite television……a child can find himself without a minute to spare during a typical day.

Children need their parents’ help in learning how to organize their time. By equipping them with some vital time management skills now, they will be better prepared to meet the increasing demands placed on their lives as they grow older.

  • Weekly chart. Map out a schedule each week, with specific times allotted for school, homework, work, chores, extracurricular activities, television, dating and going out with friends.
  • Permanent work space. By mid-elementary age, your child should have his own palace for studying.
  • Organized notebooks.
  • Regular homework time
  • Learning comes first. If your child starts producing incomplete assignments, neglecting his homework or slacking off in his grades, it is time to make hip drop some activities. If schoolwork improves, he can resume the disrupted activity.

Do not let your child over structure her time after school and on weekends. Children need a few moments to wind down between activities. Encourage them to have a healthy snack, listen to music or read a magazine before rushing off to soccer practice or a music lesson. Remember that part of the joy in being young is the freedom to do nothing at all.

What is Discipline?

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

There are times when children simply need discipline, and nothing else will do. We discipline them because we love them. We discipline our children to prepare them for life. Discipline is training through containment, setting limits or boundaries with clearly defined consequences. Here are a few things that discipline provides to help children make good choices and to live life well:

  • Discipline Provides Protection: Discipline provides limits that protect our children by keeping them away from danger. As we set limits, we also give our children ample opportunities to apply what they are learning to life.
  • Discipline Provides Security: In life, we must submit ourselves to people and laws to succeed. Teachers, police, principals, baby-sitters, parents and bosses have say over what is permissible and advisable behavior. To achieve and keep peace in our society, our children need to develop a healthy respect for those limits that make their lives make sense.
  • Discipline Provides Responsibility: In order for children to grow toward independence and take their place as adults, they must assume various responsibilities for themselves. They must learn to handle their money, to hold a job, and to manage emotions, to name a few. As they grow up, they learn that freedom and responsibility go together
  • Discipline Provides Training: Discipline trains a child in self-discipline and prepares the child for his future as an adult. A child who learns to do his chores or homework forms the habit of getting work done first, which leads to maturity and independence.

Overcoming Conventional Wisdom

Friday, June 21st, 2013

For centuries, people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all times and surely he could not be wrong. All it would have taken was for one brave person to take two objects, one heavy and one light, and drop them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one stepped forward until nearly 2000 years after Aristotle’s death. In 1589, Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the leaning Tower of Pisa. Then he went to the top and pushed off a ten-pound and a one-pound weight. Both landed at the same time. But the power of belief in the conventional wisdom was so strong that the professors denied what they had seen. They continued to say Aristotle was right.

Measuring Our Students Educational Program

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The other day a neighbor visited me while I was working in the garden. She wanted to talk about the changes occurring at the local school. Comparing the education she and her husband received with that her children were receiving, she had determined that they were getting an excellent education. Both parents were pleased their children were learning “so much more” than they had.

I had to agree with my friend, that, we most often use this standard of measurement for our children’s schooling. I certainly did when my children were young. But is this the best measure for quality in education? I asked the neighbor to consider how the world had changed, in the time since she was in school, and the amount of information we and our children have at our finger tips. It seems reasonable to assume that our children should be learning a great deal more of the information that took us years to assimilate. For the most part, our children begin school having access to more information than we had. By the time a child has completed one year of schooling that information has almost doubled. When I was in school it took many years for information to change. That provided me and those of my generation a certain consistency with learning information that is not available today. Therefore, I’m not certain that the same paradigms for learning, that served my neighbors and me, are adequate for today’s student.

Unfortunately, I do not have an easy answer for what should be or could be. I do know that when I hear about educators who continue to teach the way they have for many years, it concerns me. I have seen wonderful teachers who are very good with their students, but who are missing the mark in preparing their students for this fast-paced world. That human aspect is so very important to teaching, but what of the child who does not receive adequate information to be successful in ensuing years. What a dilemma it raises for those of us who work with these well intentioned people on a daily basis. The tried and true paradigms of the past, that served us well, that prepared our youngster for a successful future, are not adequate today. We all have to try harder to challenge our own methods of educating and of evaluating schooling.

Learning the eTutor Way!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

eTutor lesson modules are grouped at Primary (about K-3), Intermediate (about 4-5), Middle/Junior High (about 6-8) and High School.  This cross-aging of lesson modules has been very successful for eTutor students as they can work at their own pace.  Some lesson modules may be easier and can be used for review and some will be more challenging. Students should do no more than four lesson modules each day.  We recommend one lesson module in each of the four major curricular areas.  One lesson module a day is sufficient for those who use eTutor for supplemental work or credit recovery. All curricular areas support one another.

Lesson modules take from one hour to one and a half hours to complete. Some may even take several days to complete.  The default for passing quizzes and exams is set at eighty percent.  Students are expected to fully complete lesson modules.  Parents or another adult are asked to review the finished Activities and Extended Learning with each lesson module since these are most often completed off line.  They can be used as a springboard for discussion, ‘What did you learn by completing this,” “How could you have done this differently,”  ”Explain this concept to me,” etc.

There is much reading and writing in the eTutor program and users will haveexcellent reading and writing skills if the program is used consistently. We suggest the student respond in writing to the Problem Statement before and after completing each lesson module to act as a self-check. The vocabulary words can be used for writing sentences or creating word puzzles.  Students should write a short description of each of the resource links.   eTutor is a Pass/Fail program.  Completed lessons are reflective of those where the student has successfully completed Quizzes and Exams.  Students are expected to spend approximately four to five hours studying each day when using eTutor for their full curriculum.   We suggest that the student keep track of his hours of study each day on a piece of paper or a calendar.