Ann Zeise has long been one of the homeschooling community’s best resources. Her site, A2Z Home’s Cool, is a collection of links to any topic you can imagine, from field trips to special needs. She has recommendations for any topic you or your child might want to cover. Her essays and articles are filled with sound homeschooling advice. And her section on homeschooling laws and regulations is constantly updated.
A word-cloud is typographic artwork, generated by a computer algorythm, based upon a given text. The more times a word is in the text, the larger it appears. I created word clouds for some of the contributed posts to this week’s carnival of homeschooling. I used tagul.com to create these but there are many other free services out there. A quick glance should give you the feel, then read the article to see if it resembles the graphic.
Rebecca goes Back to (Un)School!As unschoolers, the question of when we “start school” doesn’t have as easy an answer as an upcoming date on the calendar. It’s a bit more complex than that…and yet for us, delightfully simple.
Saron sings a Song for Safety I share the words to a lovely little song my daughter taught me when she was 4yrs old. She learnt it in playschool as part of the programme to help protect children. It’s fun, catchy, easy to learn and I still find myself humming it. But it tells our children an important message! via Reading-Writing-Learning
One snafoo after another held up this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling- my deepest apologies! My tech crew gets home late on Tuesdays, but I think everything is finally fixed, working and raring to go! Click to Tweet Fall is kick-off season, whether you homeschool year-round or seasonally, in a relaxed or more traditional manner. Do you have any traditions for starting the season right?
Regarding children being abused by trusted adults in the school, some Michigan parents are making a statement about the safety of their children. They are exiting the building in droves. The school is receiving a vote of no confidence. On July 10, former Rose City Middle School teacher and former Michigan Education Association President Neal […]
IS IT WORTH A LOOK OR JUST A STUNT? Ron Paul is a familiar and polarizing name in American politics. While the longtime Congressman from Texas and former Presidential candidate is retired from politics, he continues to spread his libertarian message through education with the recent launch of the Ron Paul Homeschool Curriculum. Many homeschool moms around the country have been patiently waiting for the launch of Ron Paul’s homeschool curriculum and now the wait is over… sort of. While the site is still a work in progress, libertarian-loving homeschoolers can find enough educational inspiration at RonPaulCurriculum.com to hold them over until the full roll-out is complete.
Learn or you’ll be made to learn. That’s old school. New school: unlock your potential. Determine your strengths, discover your learning style, and unleash your talents. For this TOS Crew Review of PeopleKeys, a company specializing in behavior analysis, I had my twelve year old son take their online Student Strength’s Report. In less than thirty minutes he had fill out the eDISC profile assessment, and I had instant access to a thirty-four paged report that interpreted his answers to multiple behavior questions. This report logically explained how my son learns best, and reinforced how I can maximize his learning and guide his education by focusing on his strengths.
Online Purchase Price: $20
This was easy to complete – with but little guidance from my husband or me, my son followed the clear directions provided in a userfriendly PDF, which took the user through a sample assessment step by step. Most of the questions were straightforward, Like What is your normal tone of voice? Rate from most to least in different areas. Results are immediately available after submission. I received a 34 page report that summarized my youngest son’s strengths. It was fascinating to read. My son (Will) was excited to hear what PeopleKeys had to say about him in these three areas they assess:
Personality style: Dominant, Influencing, Steady or Conscientious
Cognitive thinking: Literal, Intuitive, Theoretical, or Experiential
Perceptual learning: Auditory, Visual or Kinesthetic
The first thing he read was style: LEADER
It was like he was thinking, yeah, someone finally gets me.
After several years of trying many curriculums, various teaching methods, group classes, clubs, and online programs, we found nothing that appealed to him. He rejected it all. We were sure the only option left for us was to send him to public school. We couldn’t teach him at home and we worried that he was not learning. Maybe we were the cause? At ten years old he declared he wouldn’t get on a bus, and if put in public school he would sit there and block out everyone and everything and simply refuse to do or learn anything. We researched, prayed, and listened (thank God!) to our son and kept him home. He is a very bright boy, he just learns differently. We went from eclectic, to relaxed, to unschooling, and now use a blended approach with his homeschool program. We chose to focusing on his interests and allow him to learn his way.
I wish I had known about PeopleKeys two years ago when we were struggling so terribly. This Student Strengths Report would have shed light on such critical aspects of our son’s personality and could have saved us money, time, and needless frustration. You can’t force a child to fit a curriculum, or make him learn in a way that is not natural for him. We were pretty sure Will was an auditory learner, and PeopleKeys agreed. The report offered tips for lectures, studying and test taking for his style of learning, such as:
Repeat things out loud, ask an instructor to (verbally) explain homework instructions in his own words, ask questions, sit near the front of the class, talk to yourself while problem solving, create songs of information, play an instrument while studying.
There is such a cache of information in this report and many suggestions to help our student seriously grow. One especially helpful insight they provided were ideas on how to design the learning environment. We let Will choose his workspace, decide on furniture, lighting, noise level. He loves having input in what and how he learns, and since we have been open and willing to bend, he has thrived.
I would encourage all homeschoolers to use an evaluation tool such as this Strengths Report. I would expect this would be helpful for those in grades 6+. PeopleKeys is generalized, and no one can be completely defined by an online assessment, but it is a tool you can use to…
Maximize Strengths; Minimize Weaknesses..It’s that simple. If you know where your thinking excels, you can capitalize on those aspects, use your mind to do what it enjoys doing most…Your mind has a distinctive skill set that it has sharpened over the years. Find out what that is, and use it. Once you pinpoint and appreciate your strengths and limits, you can minimize or maximize them in all types of learning situations.
Know Yourself. To know yourself sometimes requires that you stand outside of yourself and observe, objectively in a critical way. Your report has indicated that you prefer one thinking style. It is up to you to decide if it is “like” you or it is “not like you”. (From Student Strengths Report)
To teach cursive, or not to teach cursive. That is the question.
I did teach my three boys cursive, and they all defaulted to manuscript writing by middle school. Now sixteen, I asked my middle son to give cursive a second chance by reviewing with me The Rhythm of Handwriting: Cursive by The Logic of English. As of late he had been working on perfecting his “signature”, and agreed to revisit the mechanics of cursive.
This workbook is geared toward the student of any age who is first learning to write. The Logic of English recommends writing instruction begin with cursive rather than manuscript. WHY?
They suggest this approach is less motor intensive, the letters b and d are less likely to be reversed, and that if cursive is learned first, it will be a muscle memory that is lifelong.
Their technique starts with large motor movements/letter forms, and emphasizes combining all the senses:
Show your student how to form the letter,
Tell how to form the letter,
Do have the student form the letter
Student says aloud instructions as they form the letter.
I do agree-cursive is like riding a bike. I mastered it in my primary education, and I prefer cursive over manuscript for my own note taking and letter writing. Despite my perfectly formed letters and flowing sentences, my boys can’t read my writing. They read manuscript. They write manuscript. And revisiting it in highschool didn’t change my son’s preference – manuscript rules. Although using this 170 paged workbook did help him get his signature perfect.
Here is his review of the workbook:
Rhythm of Handrwiting is a good program for those students just learning to write cursive. Even though I had completed cursive handwriting instruction in my early elementary years, I prefer to print (manuscript) when I write. It is easier for me. I did enjoy going through this workbook as it refreshed my memory and encouraged me to try writing in cursive once again. It wasn’t too hard, and I was surprised at how quickly the information came back. I find myself now writing lists and more sentences in cursive. The reference chart was helpful to refer to as it contains all the letter formations. I don’t think I will write everything in cursive as I am so used to manuscript, but I’m glad I had this refresher.
Cursive appears to be a dying art in 21st century education. Today’s students need to master keyboard/texting skills, not cursive. It is a rare event for me to see my boys write anything. Reports, letters, fill-in-blanks are all done in manuscript or completed in some digital fashion. I didn’t even teach my youngest the correct hand positioning for “home row” – he just learned it. And he is way faster than me.
Who knows what the future holds for cursive handwriting. I’m glad I taught it to my boys. I didn’t start with cursive like The Logic of English advises. Perhaps if I did, it would have stuck with them. There are many methods of cursive instruction available, and this one seems reasonably priced and offers many extra helps on reinforcing and practicing what is taught. I’m glad to pass on the good feedback from my son, but he is likely a wee bit older than the majority of those who would be using this product. I agree with him in that I too liked the folding reference chart- it is a great summary of the instruction and something you will want to have at hand for quick reinforcement. Swing, drop, swoop, dot. Perhaps that’s all kids need to hear to get that motor recall when needed.
Blog Buzz:Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy via Semicolon
The marketing blurb on the back of this YA novel says “for fans of Jodi Piccoult”, but since I’ve been underwhelmed by the Jodi Piccoult novels I’ve tried, that’s not much of a recommendation. I would say that Imperfect Spiral is much better than a lot of YA novels and transcends the “problem novel” genre. [...] Read more at Semicolon…
While the new standards, which purport to emphasize critical thinking and problem solving, are meant for public schools only, opponents say they will affect all children – including those who are home-schooled, especially when it comes to taking state standardized tests that are aligned with the Common Core. It is up to each state whether home-schooled children must take standardized tests in grades three through eight, and once in high school. But all college-bound home-schooled students take the SAT, which is now being aligned with the new standards. The new head of the College Board, which is revamping the SAT, is David Coleman, the so-called architect of the Common Core. “We home-school our kids to make sure we can support and encourage their individual interests, gifts and talents,” said 42-year-old Finnerty Ricardo, who holds degrees in marketing, public relations and biology.
I apologize for keeping you all waiting for this 401st Carnival! Life throws some curves at times and this week a loved one fell and broke a hip and needed surgery on the days I would have been mindful enough to do this. Thanks to the Cates for their ongoing faithfulness and again thank you for patiently waiting!