The education pendulum swings, and homeschoolers often swing along with the trends of public schools. I’m old enough to have heard the experts be sure of phonics then whole language then phonics again. I’ve been through arithmetic, new math, and Common Core math. Various approaches to education have experts in their corner, and the experts often draw the battle lines clearly. Their way is the way. You do it their way, or you are doing it the wrong way. At least that’s the perception. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Consider Both/And instead of Either/Or. Continue reading »
My oldest child started high school at home this year. He's a very non-traditional learner, which can present a challenge when mom is the opposite. I never intended to homeschool and I really couldn't imagine homeschooling high school. But here we are, and here's how we are preparing a high school plan that works for us. Continue reading »
Kids with right-brain characteristics have hit the jackpot when it comes to homeschooling! Although students with a right-brain orientation often struggle in traditional school environments, homeschooling provides the perfect flexibility and individualization to help these children shine! Previous articles explore specific techniques and strategies to help these learners be successful in math. But what about reading? Continue reading »
Children with right-brain characteristics can learn to read effectively! These holistic thinkers often just need a different approach - one with plenty of visual and kinesthetic stimuli, and a whole-to-part perspective. A previous article provided an overview of the characteristics of the right-brained reader, and Right-brained Reading Strategies detailed a variety of approaches and resources to help these kids read effectively. Don't stress out, homeschool moms - use some of these additional strategies to help your right-brained reader maximize his or her potential. Continue reading »
Children with right brain characteristics often need a different approach to reading. These children, who tend to be visually-spatially oriented, holistic, and "big picture" rather than detail-oriented, and tend to create meaning from words by developing three-dimensional pictures in their minds. It is not unusual for traditional decoding phonics programs or decoding strategies to be ineffective for right-brain oriented kids. Previous articles provided strategies for helping right-brain learners with math, and gave a general overview of how the right-brained student processes information for reading. If you have a right-brained reader, consider the following curricula and strategies Continue reading »
Arithmetic operations are foundational to future math learning, so it is critical that kids master math facts. Yet often homeschoolers find that at least one child has difficulty with math, and that they have hit a wall. For a large majority of children who find arithmetic difficult, it is simply a matter of how the child processes information. Learning specialist Dianne Craft has found that 80% of struggling learners are right brain dominant, due to the fact that most curriculum and learning settings are oriented toward the left-brain oriented individual. Continue reading »
Does your child skip around when doing math problems? Have trouble reviewing work or checking over details? Find spelling challenging? Require a tremendous amount of interaction during homeschooling? If the answer to many of these questions is "yes", you may have a right-brain oriented child! Continue reading »
While arithmetic may seem simple to children with left-brain characteristics, right-brain oriented learners often struggle with basic math in traditional classroom settings, which are more geared toward left-brained learners. Fortunately, math does not have to be difficult for these learners! Homeschoolers can use curricula, techniques, and strategies that can help the right-brained child learn math effectively. Continue reading »
While research has demonstrated that we use all of our brain in processing information, children tend to display characteristics associated with the different hemispheres of the brain, depending on whether they are more right-brain oriented, or left-brain oriented. Understanding these different characteristics can have a strong impact on how children learn. Fortunately, homeschoolers have endless opportunities for being creative, individualized, and effective at meeting the needs of children with right-brain characteristics. Continue reading »
My three kids are very different from me. They are their own people. They have a mix of me and their dad and HUGE dollops of their own uniqueness. However, what happens when one of your kiddos is basically the South to your North? The Oil to your Water? The Day to your Night? As the kids got older, I noticed that I was struggling a bit more with one of my children. They would basically do the exact opposite of whatever I had planned for the day. Or question everything. This was really hard for a rules-following, go-by-the-book, authority respecting, uber-feeler to understand. Continue reading »
It's the time of year when families are suffering from Sudden Onset Homeschooling Syndrome. On social media, I'm seeing a lot of questions from new and newer homeschooling parents who are unhappy to find themselves with resistant children. "Please tell me how to make him sit down and do his work," a mom requests. Continue reading »
Working with electronic circuit boards may sound ambitious or advanced, but my kids enjoyed playing with these as part of their science and technology learning when they were in their early elementary years. They learned many concepts about creating circuits from hands-on play, in particular by using a kid-friendly Snap Circuits® Kit from Elenco. Continue reading »
As you may have read over on my personal blog, I'm thinning my library of homeschooling books, and it's an occasion for reflection. One of the things I finally feel free to do is to pass along my copy of Saxon Math.
Saxon didn't work for us. In fact, it didn't work in dramatic ways. We had multiple reasons for beginning homeschooling, but among the academic reasons was that the math taught at school was a poor fit and created a lot of stress and little math learning. Continue reading »
This year in my role as a homeschool evaluator, I met a number of tweens and teens who are interested in fashion. As we went through their portfolio of work and talked about their year, I was fascinated with the ways they had woven their interest in fashion with their academic studies. Two of the teens I met with had taken their interest in current fashion into the past -- studying the typical dress and accessorizing of women and men in earlier periods of history. They also took their fashion interest international -- studying the current typical dress of modern-day people in other parts of the world.
Both of these girls (who did not know each other -- they had arrived at this independently) had done extensive research to be able to portray the styles of other times and other places, and they could explain how the fashion reflected the culture, religious beliefs, gender roles, classes and roles in society, and daily life. They were articulate about the historical times and geography of the world as they discussed the observations they had made about fashion in these distant centuries and far-off places. Continue reading »
I recently wrote about how homeschooling parents can use a dialogue-based approach to education, which I see as a big potential benefit to home education. While many public schools have been forced into test-prep mania that defines success very narrowly, homeschoolers can use this educational approach to develop critical thinking and evaluate learning.
Scientific American has a recent story that reflects my thoughts on the unfortunate increased emphasis on standardized testing in public education. Continue reading »
It takes some creativity to teach right-brain oriented children effectively. These holistic, creative thinkers can keep us on our toes to find the best means to help them learn and remember. Intuitive, contextual, and visual, right-brain oriented learners often have difficulty learning concepts that are word-oriented, logical, and detailed. Therefore, like Reading and Math, vocabulary words can pose a challenge for right-brain oriented kids - especially when the traditional method of looking them up in the dictionary is used. Continue reading »
Why do some homeschoolers choose not to use one of the many complete math curricula available today? And what do they do instead? To many homeschooling parents, math feels like the one thing that must be taught and learned in a systematic way even for very young children. Even many people who are otherwise attracted to or influenced by a version of interest-based learning or unschooling often say-- "except for math."
Homeschooling parents can pique their kids' interests by incorporating educational information right into the decor. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make use of the large block of space that is your shower curtain. The easiest-to-find educational shower curtain is the world map. These are commonly available at discount department stores. Our current world map shower curtain came from Target, but you can frequently find a similar world map shower curtain at Walmart, JC Penney, or Amazon. Continue reading »
I realize that many of you reading this are free-spirited, artsy, Pinterest-devoted die-hard project people, and that the best part of your homeschooling lives involve doing hands-on activities with your kids. Good for you - I applaud you. And I hate you. Just a little bit. Continue reading »
What drives big thinkers, creators, and leaders who achieve success on their own terms? Jamie McMillin wanted to find out, hoping her quest would help her raise and educate her own two children. She delved into biographies of luminaries including Margaret Mead, Pearl Buck, Marie Curie, Louis Armstrong, Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Beatrix Potter looking for educational similarities. She found plenty. Continue reading »