Category Archives: Georgia Homeschooling Information & Updates

Homeschooling Multiple Ages with Unit Studies

Homeschooling Multiple Ages

As homeschool parents, we usually have a wide variety of ages in our home to teach.   When you get a wide variety of age groups together sometimes it is hard to teach them all at once. One way we have found to make homeschooling  multiple ages work is to use unit studies!

Unit Studies consist of picking a topic that interests all students. You then spend time learning about that topic in an interesting and engaging way.  Unit Studies are great for multi age learning. You can use a Unit study in a girl or Boy Scout troop, classroom or home school group. Here are some steps for creating a unit study for multi age homeschooling.  The example I am going to use starts with a book selection, but really you don’t have to base a unit study off of a book, this is just an example. If you do not use a book you can go to #2.

  1. Pick a book. For example, let’s say you wanted to spend time reading a book like Charlotte’s Web.
  2. Pick a topic. Since we are reading Charlotte’s Web, we are going to study farm life.
  3. Pick your For Art we will be making pictures of a farm, for Science we will be studying farm animals and how animals live and work on a farm. For a field trip, we will visit a local farm.
  4. Create lesson plans. Here is where multi age learning comes into play. You will want to ensure that all children learn at their own level.
  • For Art you can have younger children create pictures with stickers and construction paper.  You can make the project more difficult depending on age. Some children may free hand draw a farm scene. Older children may paint a picture, or create a drawing of one animal they found interesting.
  • For writing you can have older children write a report about what they learned on their field trip. Younger children can write 1-2 sentences.
  • For Science younger children can learn about different animals on the farm. Older children can learn about what roles these animals play and study their life cycle.
  1. Get the older ones involved! Any time we have done unit studies in a large group it always helps to remind the older children they are helpers. They can teach the younger ones by showing them how to use scissors, reading to them, or even teaching a class themselves!

You can continue this pattern with just about any subject. The key to unit studies and making multi age homeschooling work is finding a topic everyone is interested in and breaking it down into smaller pieces depending on age.    Older children will study the topic more in depth, while younger ones study it more hands on. Older children may read more non fiction books, while the younger ones read engaging stories. With some planning ahead homeschooling multiple ages will work!

 

Teaching the Alphabet -WITHOUT a Curriculum!

Teaching Alphabet

 

One of the first things a child learns in preschool is the alphabet. We have all sang the ABC’s with a young preschooler, and most of us have practiced letter sounds. Teaching the alphabet to our children can be a lot of fun, and it doesn’t require a curriculum!

I have found children learn best when they are active, and many children are hands on learners. Teaching the alphabet with worksheets may work for some, but it won’t work with everyone! And, it isn’t exactly the funnest way to learn, now is it?

Here are a few hands on activities I have found that tend to make learning the alphabet easy without a curriculum!

  1. Make a Rice Sensory Bin: Rice is a great sensory tool and other than needing swept up is not really messy. Find a plastic bin and fill it with rice. Get plastic spoons, funnels and cups and put them with the bin. Then get alphabet tiles or another form letters and bury them. See how many letters the child can find and identify. If they don’t identify it correctly, tell them the right answer and bury it again.
  2. Fun with Cotton Balls! Gather up some cotton balls, glue, a marker and a piece of construction paper. Write a capital and lowercase letter of your choice on the paper. Show the child how to make glue drops onto the letter. Then have them tear up the cotton balls and place them onto the glue drops.
  3. Play a game of I Spy! Get a pack of alphabet flash cards. Pick a letter, then “spy” something that starts with that letter. Then, have your child try to find what you are referring to. “I Spy with my little eye something that starts with the letter sound T-“ta, ta”. Have them try to guess, if they say something that doesn’t’ start with that sound correct them by saying something like “Hmm, no that starts with the letter B. B says ba, ba “ then refer them back to the proper sound. Take turns playing the game. This helps the child learn to recognize the sounds the letters make.
  4. Let them play in the Dirt! What child doesn’t love to play in the dirt? Grab a stick and go outside! Find a good flat area where the children can draw or write in the dirt. Make letters and ask the children which letters are in their name. Have them copy the letters. If you have room write out the alphabet in the dirt and sing it with the children.

Learning the alphabet is a huge part of a child’s life. It sets the foundation for reading, writing, and spelling. However, teaching the alphabet CAN be fun, and it doesn’t require a curriculum!

 

How to Prep Your Homeschool Child for the ACT or SAT

ACT and SAT prep

If you are homeschooling a high schooler, you probably realize that college testing season will be here before you know it, and as a homeschool parent you may be concerned about how to best prep your homeschool child for the ACT or SAT. Homeschool parents are typically the sole person responsible for their child’s education so this can make testing season rather stressful. You may wonder if you taught everything your child needs to know, and if your child isn’t used to standardized testing you may wonder if they are fully prepared to take the tests.

There are a few things you can do to best prepare yourself and your child for the ACT or SAT.

Prepare now for testing season

Students who study ahead of time tend to score higher on these tests because they walk in feeling confident and prepared.

You can find study test packets here:

Method Test Prep

ACT Test Prep

There are also free practice tests online:

SAT Practice

Powerscore.com

TestPrepReview

Consider allowing your child to take the PSAT in their early years of high school. This will give them an idea of what they need to focus on and will gauge their preliminary scores.

Standardize Test

Not everyone tests their homeschoolers and that’s fine. However, if you have a child in high school that you know is going to take college placement exams in a few years, test them now to prepare them for the big test later. This will allow them to gain confidence in their test taking abilities and will make them less nervous when it comes time to prep for college placement.

Be confident in your abilities as a teacher

Homeschoolers have an advantage when it comes to college entrance exams because they can turn preparation into daily lessons. Studying for the test can become school, after all they will be focusing on reading, writing and math while prepping to take the test.

Homeschoolers tend to turn out great scores on these exams, and consistently score higher than their public school counterparts. In 2002 and 2003 the average homeschooled students ACT score was 22.5 compared to the national average of 20.8. In 2002 the average homeschooled students SAT score was 72 points higher than the national average.

For more great articles on college placement tests, check out Let’s Homeschool High School and HSLDA’s testing page.

 

 

Homeschooling your Dyslexic Child

Homeschooling your dyslexic child

As a parent interested in homeschooling, you may wonder IF you can homeschool your child with dyslexia. The truth is, you can!

Benefits to Homeschooling a Child with Dyslexia

Believe it or not, there are many benefits to homeschooling a child with dyslexia.

  • Homeschooling allows for individualized education in all areas where dyslexic children struggle, including: reading, spelling, composition and comprehension.
  • Homeschooling your dyslexic child allows them to focus on areas of interest, and allows you to plan lessons around those interests.
  • Homeschooling your dyslexic child allows them to NOT be measured day in and day out by their peers.
  • Dyslexic children are allowed to work at their own pace using resources that work best with their individual strengths.
  • Homeschooling your dyslexic child allows them to avoid standardized testing and strict scheduling that takes place in public schools.

Tips to Help Homeschool Your Dyslexic Child

  • Audio Books- These are a great way for dyslexic children to experience books that may have otherwise been too difficult for them to read themselves. Many libraries offer a great selection of audio books!
  • Videos- Dyslexic children who may struggle with textbooks could greatly benefit from video instruction. Consider letting them watch lectures, demonstrations, documentaries, and science experiments. This gives visual learners a better learning experience.
  • Provide Modifications- Allow your dyslexic child modifications. These can include reading directions, allowing more time on tests, explanations when directions are unclear, and whatever other modifications your child may need.

Homeschooling your dyslexic child with these tips are not “cheating” but are ways to allow your child to excel in learning. A dyslexic child has learning differences that could hold them back in a traditional school setting. Homeschooling your dyslexic child and allowing them to work around their areas of struggle is a huge benefit of homeschooling.

Curriculum Options to Consider

There are certain types of curriculum that a dyslexic child may do better with. These include curriculums with:

  • Shorter teaching sessions
  • Auditory learning through DVD’s, audio books, etc.
  • An option for completing work orally

Dyslexic children tend to not do well with curriculums that have:

  • Lots of writing
  • Curriculums that require lots of reading
  • Difficult spelling lists

If you are considering homeschooling your dyslexic child please know that you CAN do it! Take into consideration their learning style, make modifications, and consider curriculums that are better geared for a dyslexic child. With these tips you can homeschool your child with dyslexia!

Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

What is deschooling?

What is deschooling?

 

Homeschooling can be done at any time, and in any grade. I have known many families who have successfully began homeschooling in the middle of a school year. This involves pulling a child out of public school (when you do this, make sure you complete the necessary paperwork related to the laws in your state). Children who have been in public school for a while may need time to “deschool” before beginning to homeschool. What is deschooling?

Deschooling is the adjustment period a child goes through when leaving school and beginning homeschooling. To fully benefit from homeschooling, a child has to let go of the school culture as the norm. This is called deschooling, and it is a crucial part of beginning homeschooling after a period of time spent in a classroom. ~The Homeschool Mom

When your child first begins homeschooling, there will be a time of transition. This transition period is the perfect time to “deschool” your child, and yourself. You are both used to a public school mindset, and you will both need time to learn what homeschooling is and what it looks like. Homeschooling is NOT public school at home. The environment is different, the structure is different, and the learning can be different.

During this time of transition, it is important to talk to your child about your expectations, and his expectations. Explain that getting used to homeschooling will take time. Offer to meet up with his friends, take him to homeschool group meetings, and make sure that he realizes he will still be “socializing”.

Put the academic learning on the back burner for a while. Let him pick topics that interest him, and focus on those. The deschooling period may be a great time to look into unit studies, or documentaries. This way, the learning is still happening, but you are not jumping head first into a full homeschool day and curriculum.

How long does the deschooling period last? That is up in the air. For some it may be a month, some a few weeks, it will vary from family to family. The factors could include why you took your child out of school. Was it bullying? The deschooling time may take longer due to emotional scars. Poor academic performance? You may want to deschool for just a week or so, that way you can get your child back on track. How long you deschool should be a decision that is based on you, your child, and how long you need to prepare in order to homeschool effectively.

For more information on deschooling, check out this series.

Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.