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Monthly Archives: September 2018

Finish Your Homeschool Year Strong

1. Do more hands on learning
Those experiments you skipped during winter when your days were packed, now is a great time to do them! Not only will it be fun for the kiddos and a great change of pace for them and you but you’ll also be reviewing previous material at the same time. What homeschooler doesn’t love that!

2. Get outside
Now that the weather is warmer take the lessons outside. Pack up the books and move the learning outdoors. Hearing the birds singing, getting some Vitamin D and lots a fresh air can be very energizing. Spread a blanket out on your lawn or at a local park. Pack some water and snacks and enjoy learning in a natural setting. (Just don’t forget the sunblock!)

3. Get moving
Play learning games that involve moving. For example, if your kids are learning addition write the numbers in chalk on a sidewalk and give them a problem and then have them jump to the correct answer. We are currently doing this with multiplication and division facts. Don’t forget to move with them. It’s a great way to get some physical activity for yourself too!

4. Take some me time for yourself
This time of year I start to feel burnt out and my child picks up on that quickly. She then starts to feel burnt out as well so over the years I have learned that the best thing that I can do as a mom and a homeschooler is to take a little time and do something I enjoy. You have to fill yourself up before you can pour into others. I take an hour and read on the deck or watch an inspirational sermon. I grab my camera and go for a ride looking for great scenery. Whatever fills your love tank, do that! It will help you to feel better so that you can finish those last few weeks strong.

5. Field Trips
Now is the perfect time to take a few field trips. Visit the zoo, the aquarium, local museums… whatever you like. It will give the kids and you a much needed break from your routine but still allow for lots of fun learning that your children will remember forever.

Organize A Notebooking Station

Organizing a Notebooking Station

Find a wide assortment of notebooking templates. You can create them yourself, or download templates from thousands of available online notebooking templates.

Organize your templates into files or notebooks.

If you are using the traditional hanging file folder system, create folders for your templates to make them easy to locate. Some example categories would be: blank templates, countries, ancient history, floral, insects, character studies, and holidays. There are many many more categories. Simply add new templates into new folders as they are acquired.

If you chose to organize your templates into notebooks, you may want to fill a three ring binder with plastic page holders. Print of masters of each template for your child and use file dividers to organize by topic.

Organize your Art Supplies.

Create an area, bin, or holder to give your child easy access to scissors, glue, crayons, colored pencils, and markers. Replenish them a few times year to keep the supplies fresh!

Create a Journal for each child’s completed notebooking pages.

Your children will be very proud of their notebooking pages when they are complete. Validate their hard work by providing them a place to store them safely. A three ring notebook with plastic page protectors works beautifully. At the end of the school year, or when they have collected quite a collection of pages on a particular topic, you can even have the pages bound at your local office supply.

Notebooking journals are a beautiful keepsake and even make great gifts or grandparents!

Taking the time to organize your child’s notebooking templates, journal, and supplies are essential. If you treat these supplies with respect, so will they. There is something intrinsically freeing about journalling about what you are learning. It is one of the best ways to document what you are learning. Your children will grow to love their journals. Even reluctant writers can grow by first using the pages as copywork, then word and phrase collectors, and finally documenting their learning.

Bondage of Education

I will never forget the first time I failed a test. It was in fifth with one of my favorite teachers. I remember receiving the test back with a zero on the front and instantly covering the test up so no one could not see the sign of failure. The teacher must have seen my shock because I was told to stay after class. She explained to me how I had made a 100 but I did not “take the test right” which is what resulted in the zero. From then on, I developed what college students call “test anxiety.” I worked to follow directions, to be structured, and to never ask a question that could possibly be wrong. I made straight A’s, participated in school organizations, was president of my class, and lived to fill the resume that would be sent to potential colleges. I did what students are expected to do. When I came to college I was excited because I could finally learn outside the perimeters of standardized tests. What I did not expect was to hear phrases from professors such as, “don’t worry this will not be on the test,” or having to spend thirty minutes of class listening to students ask how many questions will be on the exam. Teachers from my high school always told us, “college will not be like this, so enjoy it while you can,” but it was all the same. Listen, take notes, memorize, take test, repeat.

I began to realize that maybe this was what education was intended to be. A system that engrains students with the idea that to conform and restrain one’s mind to standardization is what makes us “successful.” David Brooks discusses how college students are “goal-orientated… a means for self-improvement, resume-building, and enrichment. College is just one step on the continual stairway of advancement and they are always aware that they must get to the next step.” Students go through elementary, junior high, high school, and now even universities not to “free our minds” or truly educating ourselves, but to climb the ladder of social order. One can relate education to Plato’s cave allegory, “they are in it from childhood with their legs and necks in bonds so that they are fixed, seeing only in front of them unable because of the bond to turn their heads.” This system of education that parents, professors, politicians, employers, and even students talk so highly about is not about producing the world’s next great minds, it is about producing the world’s next source of capital. Society has taken a liberal education and twisted it to where it will fit students into its workplace.

Everyone says that your first semester of college is the hardest. You move away from home, meet new people, and are thrown into a whole new environment. I knew it would be tough, but never thought I would be the student that curled onto her dorm room rug and cried over a seventy-eight on a couple of tests. I had made back-to-back “failing grades” in my mind and had the mindset that I could never recover. What could I accomplish without a 4.0 GPA and four years on the Deans List? To make matters worse, I received a zero for a homework assignment. Believing that there must have been something wrong, I made my way to my TAs office hours where he proceeded to tell me that I did great on the assignment but had to give me a zero based on a small technicality. That is when I had the realization that a modern-day college education has nothing to do with a liberal education. From then on, every test I would take and grade that followed would no longer determine how I would go about learning. I decided that in order to receive a true liberal education I had to throw away every concept of what I thought education was. In Plato’s book I was reminded that “education is not what the professions of certain men assert it to be” and when I decided to make my way out of ‘the cave’ of education I was thankful for the realization that I had broken the bonds that society tried so hard to place tightly around me. Leo Strauss said that a “liberal education supplies us with experience in things beautiful,” and that is when an individual is truly free.

I sometimes think about where I would be if I had the mindset that I do now about education when I received that zero if fifth grade. Would I have waved it in the air as a badge of pride representing how I refused to conform to the institution instead of hiding it from my friends in shame or would I had done it all the same? A true liberal education is what enables individuals to achieve, admire, and model greatness. So, when I hear a professor repeat the phrase “don’t worry, this won’t be on the test,” a part of me wonders if even they have given up on helping break the bonds placed upon us.

Blended Learning

  • It augments the benefits of training: It is well known that learning is enhanced when the same concept is presented in different ways. This is the principle behind ‘Blended Learning’. After presenting the concepts in an instructor led face to face training session, the knowledge retention is significantly improved with the addition of a new method in the learning process, through elearning or gamification. It delivers a much richer training experience and helps employees to retain the new information better by applying on different platforms like elearning and gamification.

  • It reduces and simplifies logistics: Each method of training has its pros and cons. Face to face training when led by an accomplished trainer can achieve profound results; however, managing the logistics of all the participants can be a nightmare. But when the live programs are reduced and the training is supported by video conferences and elearning, then the impact is not compromised. The last two training methods reduces the need for logistics and is also eco-friendly; e-copies of the training materials can be share thereby reducing the need for printing.

  • It allows employees greater control over their training: Microlearning is shared through mobile phones and elearning is shared through Learning Management Systems. Both these methods allow employees to study the material on their own time from their phones or laptops. So long hours of travel has contributed to enhanced productivity as this time is used efficiently. Each person has a varied ability to learn. In face to face sessions, people who take longer to absorb new information have a hard time keeping abreast with the rest of the group. But when employees are given control over their learning, by being able to combine their face to face training sessions with online self study, unique learning needs and behaviors are met; this contributes dramatically to enhanced productivity and career growth.