Thursday, October 12, 2017

History of Learning: Where are we today?

School Choice is such a hot phrase these days although I'm not really sure why. I think the big concept should be quality. School and educational quality. What difference does it make if you can apply to a crappy charter school, pay for a crappy private school, attend a crappy public school, or struggle thru some sort of virtual school experience. The real value is in having on great quality choice.

As a parent, I like quality. I love neighborhood schools since they build communtiy, the kids know their neighbors, it makes all feel right with the world. But it relies on quality. Not choice. Choice is divisive, confusing, and I'm not sure how it helps.

Now students should have some choice in their curriculum, about what they want to study and what they want to learn. VSC and other technolgoy base programs give the school all sorts of flexibility . For instance, a student can create their own word lists from their own studies on VSC.

There are 35 different learning games that can be used with these lists whether the student or teacher or school creates them. Enjoy!

Yes that is a playing card joker.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sixth Grade Word Study: Today vs Circa 1970

Suzy, I'm so sorry that I let this blog sit fallow. I know that my readers have wanted me to update this with more tips and tricks for educating sixth graders.

In sixth grade, I was a proud responsible safety patrol. The year was 1970 and the place was Bethesda MD. Every week we had vocabulary and spelling practice and dictation and it was all done by hand in the old fashioned way.  Word lists were mimeographed and had blue ink and a great smell.  Tests took class time and the teacher had lots of homework to grade all of those papers. Feedback took days or weeks to get back and we had by them moved onto new subjects.

But now it's 2017 and there's a great new automated way to learn 6th grade spelling words.  Use the app or website: VocabularySpellingCity.

Teachers can import sixth grade word lists and assign interactive games and activities to students to provide practice in sixth grade ELA standards. These web-based games support sixth grade lesson plans. Free printable worksheets aligned to sixth grade word lists are also available for download.
Sixth grade vocabulary lists encompass all literary genres. The sixth grade vocabulary word lists include poetry, like Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” and Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride.” Vocabulary word lists for ELA literature studies, such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain and Eleven by Sandra Cisneros, are available on VocabularySpellingCity. Teachers can use VocabularySpellingCity’s engaging, interactive games to help students develop literary vocabulary knowledge through independent practice.
VocabularySpellingCity also offers sixth grade content area vocabulary word lists. Word lists include subject areas like sixth grade mathsixth grade science, and sixth grade social studies. Teacher can use VocabularySpellingCity’s games and activities as a supplemental tool when teaching subject areas like math or science.
That quote is from their website.  Here's some details on how it can help.

 This is a hurricane reference since in fact, the state was sort of closed during IRMA. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fun With Projects!

Social studies projects are one awesome way to keep homeschool days interesting.  By taking what is being learned about the world around them and incorporating a hands-on project, homeschool students stay engrossed in their school day.  Is your student in the middle of learning about ancient  pyramids?  Build one at home with modeling clay and sand!  Have you been reading about the movement west?  Make a covered wagon.  Create a map, design a diorama, or craft a sculpture.  There are endless ways to bring history lessons to life in your homeschool.  Utilizing an online curriculum is a great way to stay on track, learn new skills, and reduce clutter but projects and crafts can often go a long way in making the stories seem real and interesting.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Thought of Blogging?

As elementary students become middle school students, it’s important to stay on top of relevant educational opportunities to keep them engaged.  One way to encourage writing is by creating a blog.  Blogging is a great way to work on creative writing skills.  Plus, with so many blog templates and online writing ideas available, there are a multitude of ways to create a blog.  Layout and template options are set up to be as easy as possible to encourage beginners to give blogging a try.  

Of course, supervision needs to be exercised any time children are online, blogging included.  Plus, being available to answer questions, offer suggestions, assign writing topics are all great reasons to be nearby when blogging is underway.  If your middle schooler is looking for ways to use their creative writing capabilities, blogging is certainly an outlet to be considered.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year!

As a new calendar year begins and school has been in session for several months, you can tell what is working and what might not be living up to the hype.  Anytime is a good time to make adjustments to school, but just after a break for the holidays seems like a perfect time.  If something isn’t working for you, maybe it’s time to reconsider its place in your homeschool.  

Before you start back to school, take stock of your school plans to see if everything is working like you think it should.  If the science doesn’t have fun experiments, if the social studies projects aren’t interesting, or if the reading is boring, maybe it’s time to rethink your course of action.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Magic of Music

This time of year, music is filling the air.  There’s so many types of music you will hear as you are shopping here, there, everywhere.  Take advantage of all of those additional sounds by focusing on a music study at the end of the year!  You can compare and contrast genres and types of music.  You can discuss the variety of musical instruments used to create music.  You can listen to different styles of music to find your favorite!

A fun way to continue on with music education is by finding some online music games to play.  Learn about string, percussion, and wind instruments.  Listen to the different sounds each instrument makes.  Learn about music notes and their purpose.  There is a large variety of online games you can find for any subject--even music!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Benefits of Art

As holidays approach, a fun way to incorporate seasonal studies is by creating some fun art projects.  With such a vast array of mediums of which to choose, you can find materials to create art just about anywhere.  Plus, any chance to get messy, to play, to create, and to learn is a time in which expression and creativity takes place.

There are also more formal ways to add art studies in your day.  Consider looking into an art curriculum for your homeschool students.  Some regular instruction in addition to free expression will allow for thought-provoking ideas.  This time of year especially is a magnificent time to create art as it can be given away to others as a gift!