Category Archives: Early Learners
I recently shared a shocking homeschool confession post on my blog. In that post, I also shared that I don’t worry about what the grade number is on the front of my children’s books. One of the luxuries of homeschooling is that we don’t have to work on grade level. We can let our kids work at their own pace. This is a luxury for them, and us.
When you first begin homeschooling, you may assume that you can go with whatever grade they “should” be in. But, that is not always the case. I have found that some homeschool curriculums work about a ½-grade level above where our local public schools work. Some curriculum companies work below where our local schools are. You cannot trust the number on the front of a homeschool curriculum and assume it is “grade level appropriate”.
When thinking about where to place your child there are numerous things you can do to properly place them into a curriculum. Check the publishing company’s website and see if they offer grade placement tests. These tests are usually free and can be downloaded onto your computer and printed out. They will likely tell you about where your child should be placed in the publisher’s curriculum.
Another thing you may want to do is see the curriculum in person. This can be done at a convention, through a local homeschool friend who may use the curriculum, or at a curriculum swap and sell. This helps a lot because there may b some material in a curriculum your child has covered, and some they haven’t.
As homeschoolers, we can let our children work at their own pace. They don’t have to worry about what the number on the front of the book says as long as they are mastering the material along the way. Some people do consider grade levels important and where we live we do have to share what grade level our children are in when we turn in our notification. In this case I would consider what grade they WOULD be in if they attended public school. If someone asks my children, what grade they are in they will tell them. This helps in Sunday school classes, Jr church programs, scouts, and sports. Grade levels are not bad; they just aren’t always necessary or accurate when it comes to actual curriculum.
So, when thinking about grade placement for your homeschool child, for record keeping purposes, go with the grade they would be in if they attended public school. For curriculum purposes go with where they place academically and don’t worry about the number on the front of the book! Let them work at their own pace, regardless of what “grade” that may be!
Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.
Do you have a child who just doesn’t like school? Everything seems like a chore when it comes to learning. They don’t want to do math, reading is a bore, and getting them to sit and concentrate is a near impossible task…. If this is your child, you may have a reluctant learner. Most kids are reluctant in school at some point in their education career, but reluctant learners are different. They really don’t seem to like school. At all. Here are some tips for homeschooling a reluctant learner.
Debunk the Myth
What is the myth? The myth is that your child doesn’t want to learn. That is not true. All children WANT to learn. Whether it be how to play the new minecraft game, or how to climb the tree they are gazing at out the window. The key is to find out what it is that they WANT to learn.
Don’t push. Really. Who says a child HAS to read at five? If reading is hard, slow down, and pick it up in a few months. Forcing a child to learn something they are not ready for can cause emotional stress on the child, and exasperation for you. Let them work at their own pace. That is the beauty of homeschooling.
What does your child like? Figure that out and set a goal. You can have X for 10 minutes AFTER we finish this page of math. The key is to get them to want to finish their work, in order to move on to the next thing.
You can set bigger goals for the weeks accomplishments. If you finish all your assignments this week, we will have pizza for dinner on Friday. Or something along those lines. Find out what excites them and use it to your advantage.
Get Them Involved
What do they want to learn about? Find out and tailor your lessons around that. Unit studies may be a great approach for the reluctant learner because all the lessons are focused on one topic. I had a friend whose child was fascinated with tornadoes. That is all he wanted to talk about or learn about. So, she did a study on tornadoes, for a MONTH! The science of them, the history of the worst tornadoes, math related to how long they travel, books and spelling lists related to tornadoes, it was a LOT about tornadoes. BUT, he learned, and not reluctantly. Because it was something he was interested in.
Having a reluctant learner can be a challenge, but you can homeschool your child! Find out what interests them, slow down, and get them involved. These tips will help make your days a little smoother.
Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a free Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.
Homeschool groups can offer homeschoolers numerous benefits. A homeschool group can offer friendships for parents and kids, field trips, co-op classes and even sports groups. Being a part of a homeschool group can also help answer the “What about Socialization?” question.
But, how do you find a homeschool group? I know of a few different ways. I hope that one of these will work for you!
- Find another homeschooler. This is the easiest way to find a homeschool group. If you don’t know anyone who homeschools, start asking around at the library, family events and talking to your friends. Just about everyone knows someone who homeschools.
- Check Yahoo or Facebook. Yahoo offers group pages where you can search your area and see what comes up. You can also do a search on Facebook.
- Go through your statewide support group. Many states offer some sort of statewide support group for homeschoolers. This page has a variety of different groups listed across Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. If you see a group listed that is not real close to you, but you know where the area is contact the support group leader. They may be able to put you in touch with homeschoolers in your area.
- If all else fails start one yourself! I have actually had to do this, and promise you that it can be done! When I first began homeschooling I knew only one other homeschooler. They introduced me to another one, I met another at the park, another at the library and before I knew it we had enough people to have our first field trip. In four years, our group has grown to include over 50 families. And, we live in a fairly rural area J.
What are some benefits to finding a homeschool group? If you are a new homeschooler, those in your group can help you navigate the process. They can help you by letting you “see” curriculum first hand, and telling you what works and hasn’t worked for them. Friendships are also very important to our children; they need to know they are not the only ones out there who are not getting on that big yellow bus.
I truly believe finding a homeschool group is essential to homeschool success. When you have bad homeschool days (which we all have!), it is so helpful to know there is another mom out there having one too. The friendships that you can make with other homeschoolers are priceless. No one else truly understands what it is like to homeschool except homeschoolers.
Author: Misty Bailey
Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.
Flash card drills. Math fact tables. Do they matter? With so much to learn is it really necessary to drill the same things over and over again? Well, opinions may vary but I would give a whole-hearted, YES! Simply put, fact mastery makes all the higher level learning smoother. While math is the obvious focal point for memorization, it is useful in every discipline: bible verses, grammar rules, science tables and more.
Education from Kindergarten through graduation involves incremental learning. In many ways, each year is a review of the previous year with exciting expansions in content and application. Understanding the basic system encourages us to instill deep learning in our students. Rote memorization is a foundational tool that allows us to build a terrific academic structure. Now that offers motivation for we teachers, but how do we keep our students attentive and interested?
Learning through play is definitely one possibility. Wonderful books on incorporating games into learning sit in the library waiting to share their secrets. Hopscotch math was a favorite when our children were young. Rolling over-sized diced to get the numbers and hopping out the math fact made for laughter and learning. Old-fashioned board games, hand-held math fact timers and computer programs with spaceships offer diverse ways to prevent boredom in learning. Instilling a love for learning begins with fun in learning. Get all the senses involved as often as possible and get their bodies moving!
Music is a definite aid. Put facts to music or rhyme. Teach silly acrostics to help memorize disconnected pieces of information. ROY G BIV and “My Very Educated Mom Just Taught Us about Neptune” are nonsense words that keep great information accessible. Clapping or other rhythmic motion may keep the attention of a very kinesthetic learner. Very young children have learned the entire genealogy of Christ by putting it to song. The power of music and movement is a great asset in learning. Use the things that speak to your student’s heart and help them take nuggets of knowledge deep into their minds.
Finally, grab every teaching opportunity! Life is learning. Opportunities to practice math facts at the grocery store begin with counting tomatoes in the package and progress to unit pricing and family budgets. Calculating the miles per gallon of gas and the cost for every trip to Wal-Mart may just change your own spending habits—while your student practices multiplication and division. Reading grocery labels, learning new words…even foreign words is possible on nearly every trip. Listen to the interests of your students and look for lessons in those arenas.
As home school parents, we have the potential to design curriculum that fits the hearts of our students. It is a high and holy privilege. Use the opportunities life presents, use the personality and preferences in your home…and enjoy the learning adventure!
Have you stayed away from the Homeschool Expo just because of the magnitude of it all? Looking at the listing of workshops or a peak into the exhibit hall can give you a deer in the headlights look! Where do you start?
- Plan ahead by reading about the available workshops and making a note of when it will be held. If there are two you want to attend at the same time, consider which would be best to attend and get the other on CD. If you go with a friend or a spouse, you can each attend one and share notes afterwards.
- Have a list of curriculum you want to look over. Plan on taking the time you need and ask the exhibitors your questions.
- Know your prices. If you buy at the conference it will save on shipping, but you will want to have some kind of luggage or cart on wheels to save your strength.
- Do you have a budget? If you do, don’t spend it all at once! The school year is long and you will probably need something else before the year is out.
Attending the Homeschool Expo is educational and exciting. The workshops and exhibitors are there for you. You might also want to consider Homeschooling for Excellence, a one day conference for beginning homeschoolers.