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Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

Quality of Time

Monday, January 14th, 2013


Busy parents……especially those who are working or are single working parents…..have a limited amount of time to spend with their children. Spending time with your child, no matter what the age, is extremely important, but research suggests it is the quality of the time spent, not the quantity of time that is important.

The quality of the time you spend together can be enhanced by talking with and listening to your child. Communicating with your child encourages him or her to express ideas, improve vocabulary and develop thinking skills……all of which are important for success in school.

Quality time can occur at any time or any place. Driving in the car or riding in the bus, taking a walk in the park or a stroll through the neighborhood or going for an ice cream after dinner are all good opportunities for talking together. Cleaning the kitchen, doing the laundry, or washing the dishes together provide time to communicate with each other and keep in touch with each other’s activities. Children of all ages especially enjoy having your full attention at bedtime when you can read or talk together.

Learning

Friday, January 11th, 2013

In an educational sense learning and behavior are inseparable.  Learning is said to have occurred when there is an observable change of behavior.  All learning results from exposure to stimulation.

The source of stimulation is referred to as the stimulus. For the newborn all stimuli are unique in that they have not yet been meaningfully associated with a personal response mode.

With the passage of time the child begins to associate specific stimuli with specific personal reactions. By way of example a child may relieve personal discomfort by moving the head away from an intensely bright light. Conversely the child may associate auditory sound patterns made by an adult with the satisfaction of his need for food.

Through continual exposure to stimulation, the child begins to accumulate a pool of stimulus bound information. In this way he is ultimately able to predict his personal reaction to any stimulus which he has previously experienced in some meaningful way.

A stimulus is not sufficient unto itself. A stimulus must be sensed or received if it is to have instructional value. Some sensory organ on the body must be able to detect the stimulus. Having a stimulus and the process of receiving it cannot complete a learning sequence. The received stimulus must be processed by the brain to cause some form of expression. The final part of the learning model which must be considered is what actually happens as a result of having detected a stimulus, or the terminal behavior. By combining all of these elements the basic learning model, in its simplest form, looks like this:

Stimulus —» Reception —| Processing |—» Terminal Behavior (Expression)

The learning model graphically represents a chain type of reaction commencing with receptive skills, proceeding to process skills and concluding with some form of expressive activity.

A Holiday of Reading

Friday, December 28th, 2012

It’s not unusual for adults to stop reading to children once they are old enough to read for themselves.  however, even children in the intermediate grades still like being read to now and then, says Texas instructional specialist Sam Ayers.  He suggests that parents continue reading aloud to children on a consistent basis even as they get older and that teachers and librarians can make age-appropriate recommendations to parents who don’t feel comfortable selecting books on their own.

Mr. Ayers has found older children often enjoy reading to younger children.  “Parents should provide opportunities for children to read to each other,”  he says.  “This provides them with oral reading practice and may positively affect their self-esteem.  it also provides the listener with a positive role model.”

Researchers at Clark University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education suggest that you do more than just read books to preschoolers.  They suggest that you discuss the books and vary the types of books as well. 

The researcher recommend asking “what” and “why” questions that encourage the child to think about a character’s behavior and motivation and connect the events in the book with his or her own experience.  Ask the child to name colors and label objects.  Also vary the types of reading material.  For example, one time you may want to read a work of fiction.  The next time, read a nursery rhyme or a non-fiction informational book.


Preparing Students for Reading

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The best way to prepare students 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.

What Is Your SSQ (Study Skills Quotient)?

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Smart is not something you are…smart is something you can become if you work at it.

Lots of techniques can help you study better, but nothing can take the place of a good attitude.  Read the following statements.  how many of these good study habits do you practice regularly, sometimes or never?  Your answers will reveal a lot about your attitude toward studying.

Yes or no….
I have a regular time for homework.  Even when I’m busy, I always manage to find some time to study.

If I get a bad grade on a test, I work harder.  I also seek help from a teacher, parent, a tutor or another student who is doing well with learning.

I have goals for what I want to do after graduation.  I know that studying will help me get closer to may goals.

I’m usually prepared for studying.

I know how to break a large project down into smaller, easier steps.

If I have a subject that I don’t really like, I work harder to make it interesting.

Pressures on Children and Youth

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

As a parent, you want your child to learn from the experience of pressure as part of the process of growing up.  You also want to do whatever you can to help your child cope with the pressures in life and to prevent the pressures from becoming insurmountable.  Obviously, you cannot eliminate many of these pressures, even if you really wanted to.  But you can help your child face them and you can avoid adding to them to make them worse.

  • Provide guidance in dealing with pressure.  Your child could take one of three general approaches…retreat, capitulation or action…to reduce the stress.  You can help your child determine what action would be most effective in a given circumstance.
  • Let your child know you care.  Be available to help her or him work out difficulties.  When a child has the security of parental love and respect, pressure can be met with self-confidence.  Be supportive, not smothering.  The more children feel they have solved problems themselves, the more assurance they feel the next time.
  • Be a positive force in your child’s life, not a major pressure point.  Throughout school years, avoid making unrealistic demands.  It is fine to start education early, but don’t pressure children to learn or to read before they are ready.  Let them feel they are reaching for their own goals, not satisfying your needs.  Don’t push children into early social experiences…they will mature emotionally and physically at their own rate.
  • Teach your child to live with limitations.  No one excels in everything; no one is perfect.  It is not your child’s particula
  • r handicaps that are crucial, but his or her attitude toward them.  Children should know their limits and recognize their strengths.
  • Help your child find time to be alone….time to think, to dream,  to plan, to make decisions.
  • Ground your child in a system of values.  Even if pressures become overwhelming, you do not want your child to seek ethically unacceptable means of dealing with them.  Students who have cheated report a wish for more parental direction, firm rules and guidance in                        determining right and wrong.
  • Encourage your teenager to develop self-responsibility.  Volunteer service, such as community work, provides one of the few remaining outlets in adolescence for independence, cooperative rather than competitive activity and useful and socially necessary work.

Five Reasons to Give a Gift of Art

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Using a little creativity when choosing gifts for school-age family members or friends can really pay off….with gifts that youngsters grow with rather than out grow.  Some expand children’s creativity and curiosity and encourage learning throughout the year.  They also can provide opportunities for family members to join in the learning process.

  • Art Supplies. Young artists will appreciate basic art supplies, like paper, paints, markers, pencils and crayons.  Avoid art kits that have pre-designed patterns, since children should be encourage to use their imaginations and creativity.
  • Framed Art. Have a piece of your child’s artwork matted and framed; this transforms a temporary “refrigerator door” piece of art into a beautiful wall piece that your child can treasure in adult years. Your child may also enjoy a work of art purchase at an art fair, gallery or museum shop.  Additionally, some libraries and art museums rent or loan art pieces.
  • Nontraditional Art. For students who do not express an interest in traditional art, select a gift in some other art form.  Architects, illustrators, filmmakers, fashion designers, cartoonists and industrial designers are also artists.
  • Photography. A digital camera of one’s own is a good gift idea for students who have an interest in art, as well as for students who have not yet acquired that interest.  Children can take pictures on family trips or can use photography to collect ideas for drawings and paintings.
  • Private Space. Provide your child a special place to work on art projects, such as an easel in a quiet corner with good lighting and a comfortable stool.

The Importance of Language in Reading

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Reading is first and foremost a form of communication.   When learning to talk, children develop the concept that words communicate thoughts, emotions, and needs.  When learning to read, they develop the concept that words can be communicated visually as well as orally.  In order that the printed words will have meaning for them, children must have a solid foundation in language.   Mastering spoken language is a key step toward mastering written language.   The more experiences children have, the more they are talked to and listened to, the more stimulation they receive….the more they will be ready to read.  Parents can help their children develop the needed foundation in language by talking with them and listening to them.

  • Talk with your child while doing things together:   folding laundry, driving the car, cooking.
  • Ask your child to sequence the events of the day at dinner or at bedtime.
  • Discuss what you’ve seen on TV or read together.   Ask questions:  Who was your favorite character?  Why?  What would you have done?  What do you think will happen next?
  • Repeat favorite nursery rhymes and stories.  If your child has memorized them, listen while the child tells them to you.
  • Encourage questions and try to answer them.

Safety Tips for Parents and Children Using the Internet

Friday, November 30th, 2012
  • Keep the computer in a main area of the home, not in your child’s bedroom. The computer should be set up where it is easy for parents to see the screen and monitor behavior.
  • Spend time with your children while they explore the Internet. Let your child know that you care and that you intend to participate.
  • Keep your children out of unmonitored chat rooms. The best Internet filtering software blocks access to all chat to keep children safe from the threat of dangerous persons, masquerading as kids.
  • Become familiar with the quality family-friendly and kid-friendly sites on the Web. Load your computer with bookmarks to sites, such as www.homeschoolingingcorner.com, www.e-tutor.com and www.knowledgehq.com. These sites offer both great educational and entertaining information for children that allows them to explore safely and will discourage wandering.
  • Know your child’s e-mail password and tell your children to inform you immediately about troubling, unsolicited e-mail. Make sure they understand it is not necessarily their fault if such e-mail arrives.
  • Inform your kids of personal information that should never be given out over the Internet without your consent; telephone numbers, address, credit card numbers, name of school, age, financial information, etc.
  • Stay abreast of technology and regulatory changes regarding Internet safety.
  • Take advantage of the Web filtering software available in the marketplace. These block access to inappropriate sites related to sex, drugs/alcohol, hate and violence and gambling.
  • Let your child know that you are there to talk anytime, about anything they come across that may cause discomfort.
  • It is important to review these tips from time to time to ensure these guidelines are being implemented.

Online Learning – Changing OUr View of Schooling

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

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 our own schooling as a 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 would, and should, be learning a great deal more of the information that took us years to assimilate. For the most part, children today begin school having access to more information than their parents 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. This 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.

This need to assimilate so much information makes the teaching learning process even more challenging.  The Internet offers the opportunity for students to work at their own level, at their own pace, on topics that are of personal interest.  Our work is a continuing effort to assist those we serve to understand and adapt their instructional programs by offering choices for personal learning.

Web-based, online learning gives students a unique opportunity to explore learning and gain knowledge at their own level.  Online learning offers a way to stay ahead of the information tide of an expanding knowledge base.  Students do not need to be time bound by their learning program.   Online learning can offer real-time learning in a vast number of subjects and topics for individual instruction. The best online learning programs will provide students and parents the flexibility necessary for true knowledge to take place.   We know that what we learned in school is not enough for the future of our children.  We have a responsibility to provide programs that offer skills and tools the students can use to ensure a successful future.

In this regard home schooling is reinventing the idea of school.  The integration of knowledge is a personal process, rather than a social process.  By viewing school not so much as a place, but the act of learning, those who home school have forced us to look at a new paradigm for schooling.  These parents recognize that acquiring knowledge does not need to be a group activity but is often more effective as an individual activity.  They know that how they learned is not the best method of learning for their children. Home schooling parents use varied approaches in teaching their children. Many have added online curricular programs to provide a new avenue of learning for their children.

How we learned and what we learned are not adequate measures of education for our children today. When I hear about educators who continue to teach the way they have for many years, it concerns me. The tried and true paradigms of the past, that served us well, that prepared us 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.