Posts Tagged ‘Homeschooling’
by Romona Weston
Many parents like you have thought about the possibilities of homeschooling their children through high school. After all, every responsible and loving parent wants the very best for their offspring. The simple truth is that whether you send your child to high school or teach them yourself, your decision will impact them for the rest of their lives. I think it’s a decision worth taking some time to think about.
Some Advantages of Home Schooling through High School
- Greater Focus on Learning – Studies have shown that only a third of the average school day is focused on academic subjects. By having one-on-one support, either from yourself or an online tutor, you can maximise your son or daughter’s learning time.
- Reducing Peer Pressure – In the school environment, there is a lot of pressure to ‘fit in’ with a group. Some sensitive youngsters can be influenced into misbehaving in order to appear ‘cool’ to their classmates. Even if your children manage to withstand peer pressure, its very existence can disrupt learning.
- Avoiding Sex and Drugs - You have probably worried that, one day, your innocent child will be exposed to the realities of sex and drugs. In high school, this might happen far earlier than you are happy with. Home schooling enables you to protect your son or daughter from the harsh realities of life until you feel they are ready to cope with them.
- A Safer Physical Space – It is impossible for teachers to see everything that happens during school, especially in the schoolyard. Physical and verbal attacks and ongoing bullying can make school a terrifying place for some children and even general play can lead to dangerous risk-taking. Home schooling protects your offspring from some of these dangers.
- More Extra-Curricular Time – With no travelling time to and from school, your child has more time available to get ready for and attend any extra classes, groups, choirs, musical interests, community service, church involvement that they are drawn to.
- Prolonging Parental Influence – As loving and moral parents you have already built a secure foundation for your child’s future. With home schooling you can continue that process, guiding and mentoring your son or daughter through the ups and downs of academic life.
- Building Strong Families – With your children effectively out of your care for six to eight hours a day, family bonds can be eroded and your cherished values can start to slide. With home schooling, your family relationships can continue to grow from strength to strength, creating a happier home.
- Customize your Child’s Learning – One of the greatest benefits of home schooling is your ability to tailor your child’s education to their own learning style, areas of interest and pace. In high school, your offspring are in competition with the rest of the class and can get bored or left behind if the pace doesn’t suit them.
- Increased Flexibility – Another great reason to consider home schooling is flexibility. Not only can you structure the learning day to suit your family life, you can take family holidays at convenient times.
- Results – At the end of the day, the most important reason to turn to home schooling is that it works. Children who have been taught at home are typically more mature, better socialized and have a bigger vocabulary than their high school counterparts. Research carried out by Dr. Brian Ray revealed that children who were home schooled were no less likely to enter college and were more satisfied with their work, happier with their lives and more involved in civic life than their high school peers.
Drawbacks of Home Schooling
Of course, home schooling is not an educational cure-all; there will still be bumps in the road. Here are a couple of common worries:
- Learning Difficult Subjects – One of the greatest fears for parent-teachers is that they will be unable to master the subjects themselves. Although some subjects will be unfamiliar at first, perseverance will not only bring success, you will be providing a good role model as you show your child how to be an independent learner.
- Having No Time Away From Your Children – Spending most of every day with your children may be something you are looking forward to or are dreading. Either way, there are bound to be times when you both get fed up with each other’s company. Will you be able to adapt to this level of intensity?
If you do decide that home schooling is for your family, you will need to check out your state’s requirements first. Sometimes (e.g. in Texas and Michigan), you won’t even have to inform your state that you are home schooling. In New York, on the other hand, you may need to undertake teacher training and agree to home visits.
In preparation for home schooling, you will also need to consider which core courses you have to include in your curriculum, which electives and what extra-curricular activities, based on your child’s interests and goals.
Whatever your decision, you owe it to your child to consider carefully whether home schooling is their path to a happy, successful work and family life.
Romona Weston and her family lives in the beautiful Amish countryside in Lancaster County, PA. She is a mom to 7 beautiful children and a wife to a wonderful man. Romona has been homeschooling for over 20 years, and loves every aspect of learning as a family. In her spare time, she loves to hike, write and organize. She is a Web Publisher who started a review blog on the best stainless steel top kitchen islands carts and rolling kitchen carts. As researcher rather than a seller, she presents an unbiased view of products. You can read her reviews at http://www.kitchencarts360.com
Puzzles are great for preschool-aged children. We started out with the 24 piece jigsaw puzzles recommended for ages 3+. My 4 1/2-yr-old boys quickly graduated to 50 and 60 piece puzzles. Not all children will be really interested in puzzles, but if your child does show an interest, don’t be afraid to get harder and harder puzzles, even if the puzzle says it is for older children.
My boys’ great-grandma recently brought them a magnetic puzzle. It is not a jigsaw puzzle in that it does not have interlocking pieces, but the pieces attach to a board magnetically. This is nice because the pieces don’t fall off. Your child can do the puzzle in his lap, and it travels well, which makes it a great car and travelling activity.
This particular magnetic puzzle is a map of the United States. It is recommended for ages 4-8. This puzzle is a great way to introduce geography to your preschool-aged child. My boys really enjoyed doing the puzzle. We thought it might be too hard for them, but they had no problem putting it together. Besides learning the locations of the states, they also learn things like what a state is known for. It doesn’t take them long to recognize apples come from Washington, oranges from Florida, etc. It also comes with a book with more statistics and facts for each state.
The only real drawback of this puzzle is that it has several very small pieces. Just make sure to keep away from very small children.
Purchase or read more reviews of the The 50 States Book and Magnetic Puzzle Map at Amazon.com.
Have any favorite geography puzzles to share? Post your thoughts below.
by Michelle Caskey
Do you need some great homeschool camping ideas? Are you planning a camping trip and have no idea what to do with your sons while you’re out in the great outdoors?
Camping is one of the best ways to teach your sons without them even realizing it. Homeschooling your sons while out in nature is lots of fun – but you’ll want to be prepared with lots of camping ideas before you go. The most natural way to learn is to teach from situations as they present themselves and not to try to force specific events to happen.
While camping, it will be obvious to you that you aren’t in control of the weather or your environment. If you are prepared with many possible homeschooling ideas beforehand, you’ll be ready to teach your sons regardless of the circumstances you might encounter.
Here are some great camping ideas that you can try with your boys on your next family trip:
Animal Tracks – Finding animal tracks can be so much fun. Identifying them is even more gratifying. Depending on your own skills, you can attempt to follow them and see how far you can track the animals – be careful which animals you attempt to locate. Raccoon and deer would be safer to track than coyotes or bears!
Bird Watching – You can identify birds by sight – or sit quietly and try to identify them by sound.
Campfires – Roasting marshmallows and hot dogs is a favorite past time for our sons. Also, take this opportunity to instruct your sons in the proper art of campfire building. They’ll love it!
Field Guides – You can get amazing field guides on everything from mammals to birds to flowers to frogs – and you can get guides that are specific to your area! We have found the guides by Stan Tekiela to be very helpful. Get the guides with the audio CDs if you can. You will be amazed at how quickly your boys will learn the sounds of the frogs and the birds. And they’re great to listen to in the car on long rides.
Fishing – What little boy wouldn’t want to learn to fish? Whether you cook your catch or throw it back, they will learn a lot from this experience. And let them hunt for their own bait as well.
Hiking – When you choose your camping location, make sure to pick one which has hiking trails. Most state parks and national parks have many trails – pick up trail maps at the office so that you can explore them all.
Maps – Speaking of maps, let your sons be the navigators when you are hiking. Bring along a compass and let them learn how to use that as well.
Mushroom Hunting – Depending on where you camp, you may be able to hunt for edible mushrooms as well. If you decide to give this a try, make sure you know what you are gathering before you eat them!
Nature Journals – At the end of every day, have your sons write about their experiences and draw pictures in a nature journal as well. If they are interested in photography, they can leave room for any pictures they may have taken throughout the day instead.
Scavenger Hunts – Boys love scavenger hunts. It helps them to practice their reading skills as well as their deductive reasoning. Write your clues so that it will help them to practice many of the other skills they’ve learned while camping as well.
Sports – Bring along Frisbees, baseball gloves and balls, footballs, and other sports equipment that your sons enjoy. Downtime at the camp site can be a wonderful time to practice these skills as well.
Stars – Bring along a star map for your area and for the proper season. The more remote your location, the more easily you will be able to see the stars.
Survival Skills – Boys love to learn survival skills and camping is a great time to try these out. Some of the more useful skills would be:
- Making a fire without matches. Try a flint and knife, first, and once they have that mastered let them try it with two sticks. There are several methods for making fire this way. This will be an adventure for the whole family!
- Looking for edible plants and bugs
- Tying knots
- Signaling for help
- Purifying water
- Building shelters
- Drying out wet wood & grass
Swimming – If your boys haven’t taken formal swimming lessons, this is a great time to teach them. At the very least, teach them how to tread water and how to float on their backs. That way, if they ever fall out of a boat, then can hold their own until they are able to be pulled out of the water.
Tents – If you and your sons are going to get the most learning out of a camping experience, you need to use a tent. Leave the RVs and trailers at home. Also, leave behind the TVs, hand-held video games, and anything else that might distract your sons from nature. Yes, this type of vacation is less relaxing for the parents; but, you need to remember what your reason was for getting your sons outside in the first place!
Weather Wisdom – Identify the clouds and what weather they usually precede.
Nature is the best classroom for your sons – and homeschooling is something you can do with your children whether at home or on vacation. We hope you try several of these homeschool camping ideas with your family. When you make lessons relevant for your sons, you will be amazed at how eager they will be to learn.
Michelle Caskey has been homeschooling her sons for five years. Michelle graduated from the Western Michigan University with a degree in English and Computer Science. Read more of her homeschooling articles at http://www.homeschool-your-boys.com
Now that it’s summer, it’s time to have lots of projects to keep your kids busy. Making word search puzzles for friends and family is one great hobby. But your kids don’t have to make ordinary puzzles with a random set of words. Use one of the ideas below for a puzzle with a twist! Kids can learn new words, practice their spelling, make cool gifts, and have fun while making these puzzles.
- First, buy a packet of graph paper at your local office supply store. Purchase graph paper with 4 squares per inch, for kids ages 8 and up. By starting in one corner of a paper, you can make several puzzles from a single page. One packet of graph paper can last you all summer!
- Always think about who will be receiving/solving the puzzle before you make it. Choose simple words for young solvers and bigger words for older friends.
Use Only One Word
- Choose a word of interest to the person who receives it. Suppose, for example, that Grandma has apple decorations all over her kitchen. Your puzzle word could be APPLE.
- Make a rectangular puzzle that’s about 12 x 12 squares. Write the word APPLE inside in different directions about 4 or 5 times. Then fill the blank spaces with A, P, L, E until all the spaces are full. Cut out the puzzle. Glue it onto a piece of red construction paper cut in the shape of an apple.
- Then ask Grandma, “How many times can you find the word APPLE?” She will be delighted, to the core!
- You can think of lots more fun words like this to hide.
- Choose a topic of interest to the person who will be receiving the puzzle. For example, if Grandpa loves to garden, use gardening or vegetables as the topic.
- Brainstorm to make a list of both long and short words related to the theme. For gardening, list soil, seed, plant, hoe, weeds, tomatoes, cucumber, radish, rain, sun and more.
- Place the words in a rectangular space of graph paper. Place the longest words first.
- Decide how large the puzzle will be and make sure your words fit inside that space.
- Make a list of the words as you hide them.
- Double-check the puzzle.
- Make your puzzle into a gift. Type the letters and word list on the computer and add some appropriate clip art. Or simply cut out the puzzle from the graph paper page, glue it onto a blank page, and write the word list on that paper. Tuck the puzzle inside a card or just hand it to the lucky recipient.
Word List Twists
- Choose an interesting theme, make a word list, and then use only half the words in the puzzle. I once made a puzzle about roses for a newspaper. I called it “A Thorny Puzzle.” I included a list of 22 words related to roses and then asked the solvers which 11 of these words were actually in the puzzle.
- Or, write a listless wordsearch. For Grandpa’s vegetable puzzle, for example, you could hide the names of ten vegetables and not tell him which ones they are.
Your puzzle-writers just might come up with their own creative twist on the popular word search puzzle format. Maybe they’ll even start compiling their own word lists to use in the future. And they just might get the same puzzle-writing itch that this author has had since she was eight years old!
by Benetta Strydom
The following spelling games can be used by parents to reinforce spelling in children:
SPELLING GAME 1: USE BOARD GAMES, SUCH AS MONOPOLY
Play any game that is normally played with dice with the child — Monopoly, for example. The parent can continue to move her token forward in the normal way by throwing the dice, but the child must orally spell a word to move forward.
To select words that can be used, the parent can use words from the child’s schoolwork that he often misspells. She must make word cards of these words. It is best to use not fewer than 20 words and not more than 30. When playing a board game, the same 20-30 words can be used, or if the child already knows how to spell them, other words can be selected. The parent must thoroughly shuffle the word cards, and then put them in a pile upside down on the table between the two (or more) players.
When it is the child’s turn to play, the parent must take a word from the top of the pile and then say the word aloud. The child must spell the word. If the child spells the word correctly, he may move his token the same number of spaces as there are letters in the word. For example, for a word of seven letters he may move his token forward seven spaces. The word card is then put aside. If, however, he misspells the word, the parent must show the word to the child, and the child must spell the word aloud three times while looking at the word, and then three times without looking at it. Then the word is put at the bottom of the pile, so that it will come up again later. If the child misspells a word, he may also not move his token for that turn.
SPELLING GAME 2: HIDE AND SEEK GAME
Use the letters of a particular word, and build new words with these letters. For example, if one decides to use the word “difficulty,” one would write this word on a piece of paper and put it in front of the child.
The aim of the game is that the child must make a list of all the words he can think of using only the letters of the chosen word. It can also be played as a competition, meaning the parent can play it with the child, and at the end, the one with the largest number of correctly spelled words, wins.
There are always many words that can be formed in this way, and in an indirect manner the spelling of the chosen word is practiced, while many other words are also tested for spelling. A few examples of words that can be formed from the letters of “difficulty” are: if, left, cult, cliff, fifty, duty, etc.
Note that each letter may be used once only. The letter f appears twice in the word “difficulty,” and therefore a word like “fifty” is acceptable. “Dull,” however, is not acceptable.
Some examples of words to be used: alphabetical; misunderstanding; occasionally; postponement; mayonnaise; multimillionaire; credibility; determination; education; friendship; generosity; hippopotamus.
SPELLING GAME 3: WORD JUMBLES
Another interesting method of practicing spelling is by making word jumbles. The child then has to sort out the confused letters to come up with a word, which he has been taught before.
Words must be selected from the child’s schoolwork. Use a piece of paper, and write the word jumble on the paper. For example, if the letters “hergun” are written on the paper, the child must rearrange them to form the word “hunger.”
SPELLING GAME 4: NAME, SURNAME, ANIMAL, AND CITY/TOWN
To play this game, the parent and child will both need a piece of paper and a pencil. Write the 26 letters of the alphabet on a piece of paper, and select a letter at random. The parent and the child must now, as fast as they can, write down a name, surname, animal and town that starts with the selected letter. The one that finishes first gives the other party only 5 seconds, before shouting “Stop!” and then all pencils must be put down.
Ten points are awarded for each correctly spelled word. If both parent and child had exactly the same word under one of the headings, for example, both had the same animal, only 5 points will be awarded if the word was correctly spelled.
Say, for instance, the letter “d” was selected:
Names: Douglas, Danny, David.
Animals: dog, dinosaur, deer.
City/Town: Dallas, Durban.
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