Messiah Christian Academy encourages and supports homeschooling families in the Canton, Woodstock, Alpharetta, Holly Springs, and Milton areas.
Visit Website: Messiah Christian Academy – www.messiahchristianacademy.com
Sometimes the easiest things become the biggest stumbling blocks to a smooth school day. “Where’s my pencil?” “I need an eraser.” “I can’t find any notebook paper.” As homeschool families we LIVE in our homes far more than most. The piles of busy-ness can easily become a cluttered mess. Spending just a bit of time to create a homeschool supplies area will bring smoothness to your days that will bless immensely! Probably it has been on your to-do list for months. If so, may this be just the encouragement you need to create your spot today.
No doubt you already have all you need to create a homeschool supply nest. A desk, book-case and/or filing cabinet dedicated to homeschool necessities easily prevent the time waste of searching. The most important resource: a simple pencil box and a sharpener in a readily accessible place. This will prevent the greatest number of school day delays. The contents of the ‘nest’ vary with the ages, courses and interests of your students. Honestly, for me, it usually requires three or four consecutive days of “Where is….” before I catch on to the need to update the supply area, but the relief is immediate.
Some timeless necessities include:
- An age-appropriate dictionary and encyclopedia; perhaps a thesaurus. (I know Wikipedia and spell-check are popular but… Also, sometimes the computer simply offers more distraction than assistance. )
- That wonderful pencil box mentioned earlier (with a sharpener)
- Basic art/project supplies such as: scissors, markers, tape, glue and colored pencils
- Math supplies: protractor, compass and scientific calculator
- Whiteboard and supplies for the teacher to draw out some of the concepts
Don’t let those ‘little foxes’ throw a wrench into your school days. Avert the difficulty before it pops up.
Ms. Klopfenstein, COTA/L received her Associate of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from Palm Beach State College, Florida. Currently, she provides occupational therapy services in the Palm Beach County School district. In addition, Diane works for the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Association as part of The Learning Program. She has extensive experience with tutoring children with handwriting problems. She is a consultant for Handwriting Without Tears and is responsible for presentations at education conferences to share her expertise in the field of handwriting instruction and remediation.
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!
Often freedom is mistakenly perceived as being without bounds of any type. An absence of any bounds is anarchy and chaos which is neither productive nor realistic. True freedom allows individual choice and the pursuit of goals set by the individual. That sort of freedom is the aim of every home educator.
One great tool that creates freedom within our home schools is a schedule. Like a budget, a schedule is simply a framework. A budget guides money spending; a schedule guides time spending. It allows the parent and student to visualize what needs to be accomplished each week–and make adjustments as life happens. It is so freeing to make decisions based on rightly-determined priorities without stockpiling a to-do list that will drown you in the future.
Setting up a schedule is not terribly time-consuming. Once the curriculums for the year have been chosen, simply calculate the page numbers of each text and divide by the days (or the weeks) in your school year. A weekly review helps you evaluate progress and make adjustments as the year unrolls. Some students prefer to do every subject, every day; others prefer to vary their school week. Help your students assume responsibility for making the scheduling decisions as they get older–but help them be realistic and keep them accountable. Great lessons in goal-setting, perseverance and the joy of success come with this simple aspect of the home school lifestyle.
Home education is not freedom without constraint. As home educators we desire to be free from the control of government-determined goals and curriculums. We desire to be free to educate our children in the manner suited to them and in accordance with the demands they will face in the future. A schedule or program of education is a tremendous asset in accomplishing home education goals.