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Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

Imagine It!

Monday, May 20th, 2013

The part of your mind that plays the greatest role in achieving the things that you want from life is that part of your mind that imagines.  It is a strange fact, in view of this, that this part of your mind is the one that is developed and controlled the least.  You spend years developing the part of your mind that stores knowledge, reasons, analyzes, judges, memorizes, and learns but almost no time in developing the immense power of your imagination.  Here are some interesting facts about this enormous personal power and the benefits you will receive by tapping its potential.

Fact No. 1:  Your imagination affects your emotions.  Scientists have discovered there is a kind of “hot line” running from the part of the mind that imagines to the part of the mind that controls your emotions.  This explains why you can imagine yourself in a frightening situation and actually get emotionally upset.  It is simply because your imagination is sending pictures directly to your emotional control center which, in turn, affects the feelings and functions of the body.

Fact No. 2:  Your imagination is more apt to act destructively rather than constructively unless managed by you.  All of your problems in living are rooted in your imagination. It is the imagination acting negatively that becomes congested by fear, doubt, worry, and makes you feel inferior, unhappy, and depressed.  It even keeps you from getting along with others and is the breeding place for jealousy, envy, suspicion and hate.  Letting your imagination run wild can be one of the most destructive forces in your life.

Fact No. 3:   The untapped power of your imagination is almost unlimited. Psychologists say that, at the very most, people use only 10% to 20% of their mental potential.  They must certainly be referring to the imagination.  Your imagination is a rich source of ideas, mental pictures, and dormant forces that yu can use to develo9p0 your life into abundance and happiness.



Frame Their Art

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Have you ever noticed that all young children are artists?  Creative geniuses ready to bloom and be discovered.  Children can teach us so much about creativity…just watch them when they paint a picture.  They become completely absorbed in the drawing and put their complete attention, concentration, and love into that one picture.  They don’t worry about what others think…they give it their all.

Creativity takes many forms.  A four-year-old boy I know can take a watch apart and put it back together almost exactly the way it was.  When his father discovered this curiosity, he recognized his son’s mechanical ability.  He buys old watches and clocks at garage sales;  the little boy loves them better than toys.

With art children learn to solve problems.  When your child is angry, frustrated, or scared, drawing a picture and telling a story can help him work it through.  Always encourage creativity, for you never know where it might lead.  A top Seattle department store carries jewelry designed with the drawings of a twelve-year-old girl.  One mother used her son’s pictures to make greeting cards; he now works on movies.  A father designed his business cards using a logo that his daughter had scribbled on paper.  It gave her quit a boost…today she is a graphic designer.

When a child explores her creativity she discovers her potential.  When her potential is recognized and acknowledged, her future is secured.  Frame their art and suddenly it looks suitable for any gallery.  Hang it on the walls and they are ready to fly.


Super Heroes

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Symbols of action hero favorites decorate shirts and pajamas, wallpaper and sheets. Heroes are huge with kids…both small and of the grown-up variety. A “hero” is anyone worthy of being respected and honored for his or her courage, noble exploits or outstanding qualities. On a TV screen or through a child at play cartoon characters and fictional action-figure heroes routinely exhibit great courage. But the contrived and scripted stages on which they act are so artificial their actions are usually of little value in guiding the real world behavior of kids. Children, though, don’t always draw this distinction clearly. So, it is a wise parent who builds “thought bridges” across which these heroic actions of fantasy champions can be translated into real life principles and acts a child can imitate on the stages of their own family, school, community and social relationships.

Use questions like these to help you and your children notice and value everyday heroes and heroics:

After you have watched a hero perform in a game, a movie, on a TV show, or in a newspaper or news report, ask:

  • What do you think he/she was thinking at that moment?
  • What is the lesson to be learned from what happened?
  • What would prevent me from doing the same thing?

When a friend, neighbor or family member does something “heroic” (selfless, of true value and worthy of emulation), ask:

  • How can I/we best applaud and truly appreciate what this person has done? (Imitation is the highest form of flattery.)
  • Is jealousy or rivalry coloring the value of this act?

When your “hero” fails to perform, ask:

  • Should this failure or mistake change my “hero’s” status?
  • Did my hero have the character to express regret/apologize?

Spring Cleaning

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

As spring brings out all that is fresh and new, thoughts turn to spring cleaning and packing away our winter hats and gloves. But as we look forward to getting ready for spring, we should not forget all of the progress we have made throughout the school year. It is important to look back so we can see how far we have come. Consider setting up a filing system for your student. These files can prove to be a rich source of inspiration and reflection for any student.

Grade school students may wish to save cherished artwork and see the progress they have made. With a quick flip through their file, they can see how their cursive writing has become neater, how they can read books with chapters, and how their artwork has improved.

Middle school students will be able to track the development of their skills. Simple addition and subtraction give way to geometry and pre-algebra. Essays extend beyond a page; science projects involve complex equations and chemicals.

As their studies become more complicated, students may find their files have grown dramatically in size, an indication of the increasing complexity of their knowledge. They may be surprised to learn how much material they have studied.

High school students may wish to save long English papers which can be revised and turned into college admissions essays. Favorite books can be a source of inspiration; an essay about The Great Gatsby from the 9th grade could be the source of an inspiring AP essay for college credit. Chemistry and biology experiments may be the basis for scholarship applications for science programs.

Over the long run, students can examine these saved files and see how their interests develop. A science fair project from the fifth grade could spark a lifelong interest in chemistry, reflected in more and more complicated projects throughout junior high and high school. History papers about the Civil War can spark an outside interest in re-enactments.

As they look back on these files, students can see how much they’ve improved year by year. The 3rd grade book report about Old MacDonald’s Farm may be a far cry from Animal Farm in 11th grade, but students will be able to see how they have developed into mature young adults with a broad range of knowledge. These learning files show students how they’ve grown and where they are heading.

Summer School Offers Critical Thinking – Problem Solving Activities + Extended Learning

Monday, May 6th, 2013

When it’s time to go beyond learning facts and to get into the grayer matter of a topic or skill, your student is ready for an inquiry activity that presents the student with a challenging task, provides access to online resources and scaffolds the learning process to prompt higher order thinking. The best online learning programs include both an activity and extended learning section. These are an important part of learning. Students will not fully comprehend the concept or skill being taught unless they can apply critical thinking and problem solving skill.

Activities:

These can include a worksheet, hands-on activity, project, problems, questions or sites relevant to the study guide. This is a chance for students to apply what they have learned.  e-Tutor does not grade or evaluate activities, but encourages tutors to review these with their students. They should be used as a springboard for discussion.  Questions asked of the student might be:  “What did you learn by doing this?”  “How could you have done this differently?”  “Explain this concept to me.”

Extended Learning:

This might consist of a critical thinking project, problem or discussion that goes beyond the scope of the lesson. e-Tutor does not grade or evaluate extended learning activities.   Rather, these are used to frame a discussion between the student, parent and tutor. We suggest that both Activity and Extended Learning  activities be kept in folders, one for each of the main curricular areas: Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.

Students begin by learning background knowledge presented in the Study Guide, they are then given a specific task to complete. They synthesize their learning by presenting their interpretation of the Activity and Extended Learning to a parent or another adult..

Anything that requires evaluation or scientific hypothesizing will evoke a variety of interpretations. The reason the e-Tutor Activities and Extended Learning are so critical to the lesson is because they offer the breadth of perspectives and viewpoints that are usually needed to construct meaning on complex topics. Students benefit from completing these sections of each lesson so that they can explore and make sense of the concepts or skills introduced in the Study Guide.

Students are encouraged to keep track of the time they spend learning. They can jot down the time they start to study and the time they finish on a piece of paper or a calendar. Make sure and include time spent in physical development and the arts.

Tutors will quickly know which areas their students are struggling in and which topics they favor by frequently checking their portfolios. You might need to make recommendations to your students about trying new subjects or topics. New lesson modules are added frequently.

Leisure-Time Reading

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Leisure-time reading outside of educational activities is a key to superior learning performance, according to a study which examined the reading habits of 155 ten-year-olds. The most surprising finding was not the link between outside reading and educational proficiency, but rather the low amount of outside reading that is actually needed to improve instructional performance.

Astonishingly, ten minutes a day of outside book reading makes a vast difference, according to the study published in Reading Research Quarterly. Improvement tends to level off as outside reading time increases beyond twenty minutes a day.

Unfortunately most students read very little on their own. Therefore, the study suggests, parents and educators should make sure children have access to interesting books at a suitable vocabulary and comprehension level, and that adults read aloud to them and provide time for reading during each day.

Young Adolescents and Learning

Friday, April 5th, 2013

What are the specialized needs of young adolescents ages 10-15?  Why do we need to develop curricula and educational 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 school
  • 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.

Your Child and Reading

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

The best way to prepare children for reading instruction is to read interesting books to them. Nearly any book that youngsters can understand and relate to will do. Nursery rhymes and books with repetitive patterns lend themselves to preparation for reading.

Children begin acquiring literacy (reading and writing) long before they enter school. Most school-age children have acquired a fairly extensive vocabulary and sophisticated language system. They have seen traffic signs and billboard advertising, printed messages on television, and printing on cereal boxes. They can tell a McDonald’s logo from that of Burger King and distinguish a box of Fruit Loops from a box of Captain Crunch.

They have seen their parents read books, magazines, newspapers, letters, or bills, and observed them writing notes or letters, filling out forms, and making lists. The children may also have imitated some of these activities. Their parents may have read books to them and provided them with crayons, pencils, and other tools of literacy. All youngsters, no matter how impoverished their environment, have begun the journey along the path that begins with language acquisition and ends in formal literacy.

Excerpts from Creating Reading Instruction For All Children by Thomas G. Gunning, Allyn and Bacon, 1992.

Motivating Your Child

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Sometimes a child doesn’t seem motivated to start a project because it appears overwhelming. You can help by teaching your child to break a large job down into smaller parts. Say, “First, we will plan a trip to the library to get the materials you will need. Then you will need to schedule some time each day for your research.”

As your child completes each step, he will gain confidence and motivation. That will keep him working until the job is finished.

The Trick of Nines

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Is your child having trouble learning the “9″ times table? Here is a trick to help. Multiply any number by 9, and the answer will always add up to 9. Try it. 2 time 9 equals 18, and 1 plus 8 equals 9. 8 time 9 equals 72, and 7 plus 2 equals 9.

The trick works for very large numbers, as well, like this 8142 times 9 equals 73,278. 7 plus 3 plus 2 plus 7 plus 8 equals 27…and 2 plus 7 equals 9.

Give your child a calculator and let her try it for herself.