Category Archives: Homeschooling Help
Chances are, you have an understanding of how you learn. You may be the type that needs to read something to figure it out, you may need to see something in action to understand. There are six different types of ways people learn. Figuring out what type of learner your child (and you) are will help you figure out how your child learns and will be very beneficial in your homeschool.
Here is a breakdown of the different types of learners you may have:
- Visual (spatial): Your child may prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
- Aural (auditory-musical): Your child learns better while listening to music or other sounds.
- Verbal (linguistic): Your child may prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
- Physical (kinesthetic): Your child learns better while moving or using his body, hands, and sense of touch.
- Logical (mathematical): Your child needs to understand the logic, reasoning and systems
- Social (interpersonal): Your child may prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
- Solitary (intrapersonal): Your child prefers to work alone and use self-study.
If you are not sure how your child learns, think about these different types of learners. Does your child love to read, and research information (Verbal or Visual)? Is he always on the go, and unable to sit still during Math (Physical)? Does he need a quiet place to read and study (Solitary)?
If you are not sure how your child learns there are different types of online and paper quizzes out there that can help you determine his and your learning style. There are also books, and online information that can help you narrow it down.
Chances are you may have a child who learns differently than you. I am a verbal learner. I need to read information to fully understand it. My children, are more kinesthetic learners. This means that textbooks don’t work well in our family unless they are accompanied by hands on activities. Learning this about my children helped me figure out the best way to teach them.
Once you realize what type of learner your child is you will have a much easier time actually teaching them. As your child’s teacher, you can adapt your methods to better suit each of your children. This luxury is something that public schools cannot offer their students! So, take advantage of it. Study your child, find out how they learn, and offer them that customized education that only homeschooling offers!
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.
Randi’s Curriculum Choices
There are way too many curriculum choices. Some are excellent and a lot are not! In creating this list, I didn’t want to add to all the noise and burden parents to just buy more stuff to put on their shelves. I wanted to keep my recommendations to only the books that are very, very special. There are many more books, but most people don’t have very much time and their children don’t either. So read and use the really good books first and then if time permits, read the rest.
- Leading Little Ones to God/Marian Schooland (Best written beginning devotions)
- Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers/Joey Allen Series of Books on Theology for Little Ones
- Proverbs For Parenting/ (Must have book for training and disciplining children. Categories include: lying, fighting, honesty and many others)
Georgia State History
- This is Your Georgia by Bernice McCullar ISBN:0-932659-01-2
Science and Geography
- Exploring Our World by Tony Hare ISBN:0-7651-1027-x – This is an excellent book to use with all ages of children. It can be used as a Geography or Environmental Science book from an ecological zone perspective. Enhance study by using lapbooking techniques. Its easy to use the unit study and Dina Zike’s dioramas to make the nine biomes come alive!
- Hands-On Chemistry Activities with Real-Life Applications for grades 8-12. by Norman Herr ISBN: 0-87628-262-1 – Now this is the way to study Chemistry! Your students will learn more about Chemistry by working through this book than any old textbook. You may have to invest in a few things that you can get from Carolina Biological Supply or some other supply house, but you can do this book with the whole family. Fun and educational! Start this book in 8th or 9th grade, go slow and do 3-5 pages at a time. Leave enough time to do the Bob Jones Chemistry textbook and you will have a great science student!
- Quest of a Hemisphere by Donzella Cross Boyle published by Western Islands – Don’t miss this great history book! ” Written in an engaging narrative style, Quest of a Hemisphere is a factual American history written from documents, manuscripts, journals, diaries, letters, newspapers, and rare books… Illustrations feature the art of historical periods – reproductions of sketches and paintings, portraits of famous men by artists of their time, and copies of documents in the original style of printing.” This is a great book for the Charlotte Mason approach or unit studies.
- God and Government I and II by Gary DeMar – These books are great for read aloud and discussion. Although there are many questions, the author follows up with the answers which are probably better for study than answering the questions for yourself.
- Government by the People by David Magleby ISBN: 0-13-192159-2 – Generally used as a college textbook, this surprisingly well written government book is interesting and covers all the points that allows students to test out of their college government course. Be sure to take the CLEP or SAT Subject Exam after completing this book!
Don’t tell your child you were terrible at math! The best way to teach math is to purchase a copy for yourself and a copy for your child and do the problems along with her. I promise, it won’t be as hard as when you were in school. You will be so glad you did this!
- College Outline Series – Pre Algebra ISBN , Introductory Algebra ISBN 0-15-601524-2, and Intermediate Algebra ISBN 0-15-601522-6 – Over and over this is my favorite set of Algebra books. The subject Pre Algebra is essentially fractions, decimals, and percents which are usually taught in 7th and 8th grade. Even with my public and private school kids, I have to pull out this book to help them learn concepts. It is more systematically written and clearer than any other textbook I have used. Once a person uses a well programmed textbook, they never go back!
- Geometry – Notables Interactive Study Notebook ISBN 0-07-868213-4 – This is a consumable workbook that makes a very good Geometry textbook. It doesn’t focus heavily on proofs, which is a good thing.
- Videos – Chalk Dust – Chalk Dust might cost more than other videos but it does a better job and you can always resell it, so your net cost is not so great.
- Prentice Hall Math Textbooks – Better than Glencoe and way better than McDougal Littel! What does better mean? Better formatting, better questions, better explanations.
Life Skills –
- Just Do Something/Kevin DeYoung (Making Good Decisions) Helps the reader understand that determining your career calling is not as important as establishing proactive behaviors to bloom where you are planted!
Textbooks for HI/LO – High interest for middle thru high school, low reading level 3-4 with larger than normal print, shorter chapters, and clear questions. When your student has learned how to read and you want to transition him to a textbook. These are good choices. Interestingly, these are also good choices for the very young, academically gifted child.
AGS Globe, now part of Pearson has great textbooks for Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts. http://www.pearsonschool.com/index.cfm?locator=PSZ1Ai
The National Bible Bee for ages 8-18 www.BibleBee.org
Education is not quite as mysterious as it sometimes seems. The truth is that education is a line upon line, precept upon precept project that never ends. Homeschooling recognizes that all of life is learning, and we seek to create life-long learners. Education is not confined to a classroom; it is life itself. While that sounds like an intimidating reality, it is a comforting one. As the homeschool journey unfolds, we realize that each year simply allows us to build on knowledge gained previously. It is an exciting journey. It reminds us why the foundation is critical.
Math is the simple example. Basic math facts develop into complicated algebraic equations over the years. But every subject shows us the exciting truth of learning’s progression. In elementary school we learn there was a deadly plague that devastated Europe in the 1300s. In high school we learn how the disease spread and begin to understand its impact on art, public policy and even the psyche. In Science our primary age children learn that some foods are healthier than others. In High School, nutritional complexities deepen to unveil nutrient transport to cells and healing potential within foods. Each layer of knowledge adds to the earlier layers and opens the door to exciting applications.
Keeping the progressive nature of education in mind quiets the fears when the process stalls. It helps us remember building takes time. Sometimes new facts pile up too rapidly and review is needed to reset the foundation. Other times minds grab facts too quickly and erroneous conclusions are jumped to because knowledge pieces are missing. Helping children hook new materials onto existing knowledge is a key to progress. In fact, that is the goal of an educator: find a place of understanding a child can put information upon and build a higher structure. The process is the destination!
When we added a puppy to our home, we purchased a set of training DVDs to help us ‘get things right. ‘I would love to say we are devouring those DVDs, but the truth is we snack at them. Even the snacking is bearing fruit. A recent clip from the trainer pierced my home schooling heart:
“Telling isn’t teaching.”
Wow! That was such a revelation to me. I realize it should not have been so shocking. After all, I have been a mom nearly twenty years. Just because I tell my child something does not mean they have learned (or even done) what I have said. Honestly, I have been a human nearly fifty years and I have not learned all that I have been told. But the truth of this little nugget is so convicting as an educator.
It is so easy to think that if a lesson has been presented, a lesson has been learned. Every life experience tells us that this is not true. Most things have to be learned, re-learned and practiced over and over before they are actually learned. One of my greatest joys in home education is not ‘teaching to the test’ as public school educators must. Our education goal is to take each subject and allow it to link to other knowledge and expand our ability to understand the world. Such a goal is not a one-time lesson approach to any subject.
Years ago, as a novice Sunday School teacher, a wise woman told me, “Remember: you are teaching children, not lessons.” When a curriculum is moving faster or delving deeper than the student’s mind can grasp, it may be time to set up camp for a bit. The intensive effort to fully grasp a subject will pay dividends as the course progresses. That does not mean that a fifth grade student must probe to the depths of DNA that a College Biology student will. Every year of education builds upon the previous years. There is time to delve but basic understandings can not be compromised.
In the early years of education children excitedly rush through lessons. The natural parent reaction is pride in their precious ones impressive intellect. We must take care that the accomplishments are solidly rooted in understanding. Sometimes ‘doing’ can happen without understanding. I can plug in a light but not know the details of electricity. That is okay in some cases, but it is not conducive to real learning in an education setting. Excellent readers may suffer from poor comprehension. Intuitive math ability may mask a total lack of process understanding. What appears to be repetitive, unnecessary work may be exactly what is needed to transform telling into understanding.
Finally, as a parent educator, grasping the truth that ‘telling isn’t teaching’ opens a door for patience–and humility. Our job is teaching: not telling. When our students have not learned, we have not taught. We must extend mercy to them in their ’failure to learn’ as they must extend mercy to us in our ‘failure to teach.’ The University of Home Education offers a curriculum for all. Be transformed!
One of the best things about home education is that it opens opportunities for learning that simply can not fit more traditional schedules. We will take a regular look at some irregular ways to maximize learning opportunities. Pets are a great place to start. Certainly I understand that children in public school have pets. I also understand that time shortages exist. Our lifestyle lends itself to getting the most out of every experience!
In a homeschool setting, the responsibility for caring for a pet covers a much broader spectrum than simply seeing him a few hours a day. Housetraining a puppy is an all-day proposition and waiting is not an option for a puppy. Both necessary tasks (I.e. English) and fun times (I.e. TV shows) alike bow to the needs of a puppy. Managing interruptions, sacrificing time, putting another (even if it is a four-legged other) are critical character concerns a puppy can teach. As a child ages, even night-time needs can become their challenge…a slow start in the morning will not upset the entire day!
The freedom to delve deeper into a topic offers great education possibilities. Over the years, the additions of new pets to our home have initiated many school projects. Researching breed characteristics (of dogs, horses, rabbits and even chickens) honed research and report skills. Persuasive writing techniques blossomed with a disagreement on which breed of dog we should purchase. Lessons on compromise presented themselves as well. Biology understanding deepened with a look at horse genetics. Catching a love of learning involves being interested in what you are learning. Pets are a terrific tool for planting seeds of learning excitement.
Even physical fitness requirements can flow into and out of a pet. Building dog agility or horse-back riding into the school day accomplishes much more than just meeting state mandates for physical education. The homeschool lifestyle is a course study in flexibility, individual passion and creativity. Enjoy the uniqueness of your children and your family as you accomplish the over-arching goal of education.