Blended Learning- Shaping Education Around Your Child’s Needs
“Perhaps the hardest thing to predict… is the future.”–Yogi Berra
Scientific advances and electronic networks are permanently changing the global landscape at an incredible pace. Without a doubt, our children will encounter enormous future challenges in this uncertain world. How can we prepare them to solve problems we cannot even anticipate? What are the most essential skills they will need to find the answers to questions that may not even exist yet?
Literacy is one of the most important foundational skills for successful learning. The best way to prepare your children for the future is by helping them become confident, competent, and motivated readers. We need to equip our children to read information critically and analytically so they do not just believe everything they see and hear. Reading develops the mind, improves understanding, and enhances the imagination.
The Reading Comprehension Crisis in the U.S.
If your children do not like to read, you are not alone. The reading comprehension crisis in the U.S. is real. Two-thirds of our nation’s 4th, 8th and 12th graders consistently score below the” proficient” level on national assessments. Many of our nation’s children have difficulty understanding a text’s purpose, determining what is important, locating information, making inferences, summarizing text, and figuring out the meanings of new words. Knowing this, how can we help our kids succeed?
What Humans Do Well
Humans are geniuses at finding patterns and making connections. The human brain understands content and context, and can also read mood. Even when our children are not directly telling us, we know through their body language when they are engaged and motivated. We also know when they are confused, bored, distracted, or turned off.
What Computers Do Well
Computers, on the other hand, are great at distinguishing between discrete pieces of information. Powerful, research-based computer programs can present information differently based on each of your child’s responses. This is something a quality computer program can do brilliantly.
Why Watering Down Content Hurts Struggling Readers
Children at all skill levels need to be prepared for future challenges. We cannot simply ignore the root causes of their reading problems. It is unacceptable to lower our expectations and just “water down” content. Watering down content means that our children do not have access to the same rich information other children have. This jeopardizes the future of our children and puts them at a great disadvantage.
Helping Parents and Children with…Blended Learning
As your children’s teacher, you are essential to their learning. You have an awesome responsibility. You have great power to influence your children and to shape the course of their futures, for better or for worse. This is where blended learning can help you. Blended learning is not accomplished by just having your child use computer programs. The important thing is to choose the right ones. Research-based, adaptive programs can help your children succeed. These programs can engage your children with rigorous academic content, at their individual levels. They should also provide you with specific data on your children’s progress, and with downloadable resources so that you can continually meet your children’s specific needs.
As a long time educator, literacy coach, and curriculum director, I became all too familiar with the frustrations of children who struggle with reading. The problem only increased when they read nonfiction, especially in science, because of its many unfamiliar concepts and its new vocabulary. I was determined to address this problem head on. I worked with a team to develop Readorium. This blended learning solution is designed to enable children at all skill levels to understand the same rich, grade- appropriate science content. This is accomplished with text and support systems that automatically adjust to each individual’s needs, as they read. Using Readorium’s Instructor Resource Center, you can always access your child’s progress reports as well as downloadable resources to help your child succeed. To learn more about this program go to https://homeschool.readorium.com/.
This is a guest blog post from House of NUBS (www.houseofnubs.org)
Unique new program alert! We’ve all heard the importance of teaching children how to “bounce back” from tough times, but it is difficult to find ready-to-use programs for parents and educators to help teach these skills. Now, the House of NUBS, a non-profit known around the world for its adorable, true stories of rescued animals, is bringing its popular program to the homeschooling community! The Wings Up™ Resiliency Building Program is an easy to use, psycho-educational tool for educators, parents, and child care professionals to promote resiliency in children grades 1 – 4 (ages 6 – 11).
The House of NUBS (www.houseofnubs.org) is a 501c3 non-profit organization, with the mission of promoting resiliency through the inspirational stories of rescued animals who have bravely given life a second chance. NUBS developed Wings Up™ because they consider resiliency-building to be a serious gap in childhood education. Resiliency building has been discussed in the scientific literature since the mid-1980’s, yet is still not a regular part of most school curriculums. Every child is at risk to experience a potential trauma in life, yet little in their current education prepares them specifically to weather these storms. Resiliency has been proven to be a skill that can be taught and developed, just like reading and writing, with grade school age being the ideal time to introduce these concepts. The Wings Up™ Resiliency Building Program is designed to educate grade school age children preventatively, as well as provide a useful tool to children who have already experienced a trauma. They are beneficial for children of all backgrounds, as all children can use support in building a resilient core. By relating the real-life stories of actual rescued animals in a manner that is attractive to children, NUBS has discovered a unique way to deliver resiliency building that is both entertaining and educational.
The Wings Up Resiliency Building Program includes three children’s books (Nubs: A Little Bird with a Big Story, Remy: A Little Bird with a Big Imagination, and Miles: A Little Dog with an Eye for Friendship), two activity workbooks with parent-guided activities, and free YouTube videos to support resilience. Each workbook contains 8 activities, and illustrated coloring pages. Wings Up activities are designed to be used one day or one week at a time. The program promotes adult/ child interaction and utilizes coloring, storytelling and more. Videos featuring the birds and animals of the House of Nubs are available on the House of Nubs YouTube Channel. NUBS encourages using these videos to create a real-life connection to the stories to these animals. Where applicable, the Common Core State Standard that best fits the activity for Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and/or Language has been listed.
“Our books are popular with children because they are true stories with real happy endings. But what they don’t realize is that each book actually deals with a different attribute needed for resilience to adversity,” NUBS founder Kristin Ludwig said. “Resiliency training provides the coping skills to handle life’s misfortunes so that an individual may continue to live a good, functioning life. Everyone can benefit from resiliency training, but it is not widely taught today. NUBS is trying to fill that gap.”
To learn more, please visit www.houseofnubs.org.
About NUBS: NUBS (No Unwanted BirdS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit social welfare organization. The mission of NUBS is to promote resiliency in children through the inspirational stories of animals who have bravely given life a second chance. The NUBS organization produces educational resiliency-building books and tools, which have been distributed throughout the world. NUBS also hosts live events and visits libraries, schools, and group foster homes. Fans follow the daily journey of the animals in the “House of Nubs” through the popular Nubs Facebook Page, the House of Nubs Web Series on YouTube, and at www.houseofnubs.org.
About Our Founder: Kristin Ludwig, a life-long animal advocate, has been rehabilitating and training animals for therapy work with children since 2009. Kristin Ludwig started the House of Nubs to care for abused animals. She added the resiliency program after saving a one-legged parakeet named Nubs from an animal hoarder. When sharing Nubs’ rescue story with children at a local group foster home, to Ludwig’s surprise, the foster children began to use the bird’s story as a way to process their own traumatic experiences.
Today, the NUBS team includes educators, writers, social workers, and marketers, all aiming to make resiliency training more common among all children.
Humble Bugs is a character value subscription kit.
Each Character Building Kit features a different character value (Honesty, Courage, Empathy, Goal Setting, Acceptance, Friendship, Loyalty, etc.) that helps build stronger, happier kids and families. The Humble Bugs’ Character Building Kits include supplies, information, a classic movie, crafts, and lots more that the whole family can enjoy together. Subscribers receive a new Character Building Kit at their doorstep every other month. These are perfect for kids ages 4-11, but really, they can be used with any age group.
As you can see in the above graphic, each Humble Bugs Character Building Kit is chocked full of GREAT material, including:
- A Parent’s Guide that provides instructions on how to get the most out of the kit. (This is very helpful!)
- Multiple activities, crafts, and games that both kids and adults can enjoy together – very fun! Really – a lot is included!
- A Kid’s Guide that allows kids to follow along with a self-guided activity – again, very helpful.
- A classic family movie that kids and adults of all ages can enjoy together.
- Award pins that kids can share or receive for demonstrating good character – by the way, these are VERY cute – and your kids will want to earn and wear them!
We really like this product. We especially like:
- The valuable content! Each kit helps to reinforce an important character trait.
- The kits provide family fun/family bonding time (always a plus!).
- The Character Building Kits are well-planned and organized to include activities for both children and parents.
- The kits are targeted towards kids between the ages of 4 and 11, but with parental guidance all ages can enjoy the activities.
- Each kit is good with visual, auditory, read-write, and kinesthetic learners.
- All crafts included in the box have enough materials for 3 people to enjoy, or 1 person to test their creativity 3 times.
- The packaging is very attractive – the box looks so nice (and inviting!). Kids LOVE getting mail/packages – there will be excitement around these boxes!
- The price/price options are nice ($30-$35 every other month, depending on the option chosen).
Everything You Need to Know About Dyscalculia
You may have heard of dyslexia and dyspraxia, but have you heard of dyscalculia? If it’s not something you’re up to speed with, here’s a brief overview of everything you need to know…
What is dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia is a learning difficulty that makes mathematics a very challenging.
It makes it hard for children to make sense of number concepts. Children with dyscalculia will find mental arithmetic and other mathematical tasks are too difficult to complete successfully.
If dyscalculia isn’t diagnosed and accounted for, it can make a child feel very anxious. In fact, it can cause feelings of frustration, embarrassment and low self-esteem.
Who does dyscalculia affect?
Dyscalculia is a learning disorder that affects children of all ages. However, just because a child is struggling with arithmetic doesn’t mean that they’re affected by dyscalculia.
Instead, they might just be performing at the expected ability level for their age, experiencing ‘normal’ challenges with mathematics. Or, they might simply have a knowledge gap in their understanding.
So what are the typical signs of dyscalculia?
The British Dyslexia association has listed typical symptoms for dyscalculia, and are as follows:
Anxiety and avoidance:
- High levels of mathematics anxiety and an avoidance of maths tasks that are perceived as difficult or likely to result in the wrong answer
- Weak mental arithmetic skills
- Difficulty counting backwards
- Preference for addition, avoiding all other operations or executing them poorly when attempted
- Slower to perform calculations
- Difficulty understanding the place value or role of ‘zero’ in the number system
- No sense of whether or not an answer is right or nearly right
- A poor sense of the value of numbers and estimation
- Difficulty remembering basic facts despite lots of hours of practice and rote learning
- Poor memory of mathematical procedures, especially if complex – long division is often very challenging
- Unable to compensate for a lack of recall other than to use counting
It’s worth noting that dyscalculia is often diagnosed in children who have already been diagnosed with ADHD.
How should a child be diagnosed with dyscalculia?
It’s difficult to diagnose dyscalculia, and there isn’t a straightforward test for a child to take. Some organisations believe that dyscalculia is as common as dyslexia, which affects approximately 5% of the UK population.
To secure an accurate diagnosis of dyscalculia, children should be assessed in a person-to-person clinical interview, rather than an online test or in an informal setting.
What can be done to help children diagnosed with dyscalculia?
First, schools can devise plans to support children with dyscalculia. One to one instruction can be used to identify the specific areas a child needs extra help with, and educational supplies (such as number lines) and support staff can be put in place to help children with dyscalculia reach their full potential.
There are also things that can be done to help children at home. For instance, a child could ne tasked with sorting household objects, or small items such as buttons. This can be a useful learning aid to learn about number values, division, subtraction and other arithmetic tasks.
Finally, it’s a good idea to play maths related games to help children have fun and feel more at ease with arithmetic. Doing maths outside of the classroom will help to alleviate some of the anxiety and frustration associated with the subject.
Naomi Webb is an experienced freelance writer specializing in a wide range of topics, surrounding primary and secondary school education. She has written for a variety of online publications and is keen to share her knowledge and advice with teachers, parents, and homeschoolers.
The Back to Homeschool season has come and gone, and you’re probably into your homeschool groove. Are you at the point where you’re considering additional curriculum and maybe fun supplements? Just in case you are, we’ve compiled a list of interesting homeschooling resources you might want to consider. They are in alphabetical order. Today – Part II (Part I was published as yesterday’s blog post).
Global Village School is a homeschool program serving K-8 and High School students. Registered as a private school in the state of California, GVS enrolls students from around the globe. Curriculum only is also available. Using a mix of online and physical resources, the curriculum is creative, progressive, flexible, and enlivening.
House of Nubs – Wings Up™ is a new program from the House of Nubs, a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting childhood resiliency via the inspirational stories of rescued animals. Young fans can follow the journey of the animals via the House of Nubs Web Series on YouTube. This program is perfect for kids in Grades 1-4. You can learn more at http://www.houseofnubs.org/wings-up.html.
HUE HD provides colorful, affordable technology to inspire creative learning and teaching. You can learn more about the company here and you can shop their cameras, software and more here.
Math Without Borders offers high school math, Algebra through Calculus, specifically for homeschooled students. The company provides video lessons, video solution guides, demonstrations, and more, to complement the very best existing Math textbooks (they use Foerster for the Algebra sequence and Chakerian, et.al. for Geometry). You can check out their reviews here!
At Northpoint Virtual Academy, 6th-12th grade students have access to over 100 dynamic courses that can be started year round and completed at a pace individualized for the student. Students can complete courses in a 3, 6, or 10-month term and families can pay for each course using affordable, monthly payment plans.
Minimum teacher prep, maximum retention and lots of fun!
The Picture Smart Bible helps people internalize the Scriptures through the act of drawing.
Each book of the Bible is illustrated on one page and has a matching, traceable Student Sheet. The teacher “script” is a synopsis of the Bible book with complete instructions.
Reading Eggs is offering a special 4 WEEKS FREE ACCESS to their program to help your child get a head start in reading. You can try their online reading program and see how your child’s reading improves in just weeks. You can register at http://readingeggs.com/teach/. Hurry though – the offer ends October 31.
*This offer is valid for new customers only.
Red Apple Reading helps children ages 4 to 8 become successful readers – with serious learning that’s seriously fun! Membership includes: online and app access to 1,000+ interactive games and videos, self-paced lessons in letter sounds, phonics, vocabulary, sight words, and comprehension, offline materials, magazine, progress tracking and more.
ScienceWerkz is a dynamic set of science apps (29 or more) that engage users using animations, videos, drag and drop activities, games, and more. The apps include the subject areas of General, Life, Physical, Chemistry, and Earth Science. Plus, the apps works OFFLINE. Tablet or computer. 5 apps free. Subscribe to get the rest for $6. You can learn more at www.sciencewerkzapps.com.
S.C.E.E. offers diagnostic testing and educational materials for children Grade Levels K-12. Along with quality, mastery-based academics, this self-instructional curriculum instils traditional values, Godly character, and Biblical principles. You can learn more at www.australiahomeschooling.com.au.
TutorComp – Tutoring at your home and at your convenience.
TutorComp provides quality, online, one to one live tutoring for U.S. students (using any curriculum) in Grades 3-12. If your homeschooler is having difficulty grasping a subject, or if you don’t feel comfortable explaining/teaching a subject, TutorComp can help. And you can try their RISK-FREE demo session here.
Veritas Press helps your children prepare for life by educating them in the ways they naturally develop with the desired result of producing a bold educated servant of Christ, ready to succeed in whatever calling God has for them.
Writing Whatever offers a complete online writing course (sentences, paragraphs, essays, and more) for students in Grades 7-12. Inspired by Khan Academy, the 60 lessons offer a short video, full text, assignments (with answers), and forums for discussions, with immediate and transformative results.
Hope you like the resources!
3 Science-Based Lesson Plans for Kids Who Hate Science
There are many reasons some kids hate science. But, it is possible to inspire a love of science in these kids with carefully selected lesson plans and experiments. Here are three science-based lesson plans for kids who hate science. I hope that these activities will turn around kids’ attitudes toward such an important (and fun!) subject.
- Mystery Markers
One of the best ways to inspire kids who hate science is to show them the science of everyday objects, such as markers. Kids may not realize that most colors are composed of several different dyes. For the Mystery Markers lesson, you’ll need a bowl of clean water, strips of paper towels, and markers of 3 or more different colors (try to include black and non-primary colors, such as orange).
Have your child draw a wavy line about an inch from the bottom of a paper towel strip with one marker. Repeat using a new strip with each color until the child has used all of the colors. Ask the child to make a hypothesis about what will happen when he dips the strip into the water.
Next, instruct the child to dip a strip into the water so that the paper towel’s bottom edge is submerged, but not the wavy ink line. The child should hold the strip in place until the water begins to absorb into the towel, making the ink mark spread. Have the child observe the strip and note his observations. Then, ask the child to make a new hypothesis for the remaining strips. Finally, repeat the dipping process with each strip. The child will see that the various dyes in each color are revealed.
Explain that the water molecules bond with the ink molecules, spreading them out on the paper towel. This process of separating the dyes, as with separating the components of any mixture, is called chromatography. To extend the lesson, dip strips ahead of time and have the child guess which marker was used.
- Transparent Plants
Some kids hate science because they can’t visualize the concepts. One science-based lesson plan for kids like this is Transparent Plants. Transparent Plants is a fun and easy way to teach the plant lifecycle and parts of plants to elementary-age children.
You’ll need CD cases, potting soil, water, and lima beans. First, have the kids fill the CD case with a little potting soil. Be sure the hinges of the CD case are at the top, so they will stand up without allowing the dirt to fall out. Next, plant the bean high in the soil, so the roots will not grow out the bottom, and tape the bottom shut. Use a water dropper to water the bean through the opening at the top of the CD case and place it in the sunlight.
Kids will observe the plant grow, and they should measure its growth and record the changes they observe in their plant every few days. It’s also helpful to supply the children with journals or bean growth sheets so they can easily track the plant’s growth. After about a week, give the students markers or paint pens to label the parts of the plant directly on the CD case.
To extend this science-based lesson, you can turn it into an experiment by asking children to plant some beans with the concave side down, to make a letter “n,” and some beans with the concave side up, to make a letter “u.” Kids can then compare the growth of their beans and discuss the differences in their plants, based on how they oriented their bean when they planted it.
- The Physics of Pool Temperatures
Science lessons don’t have to take place solely in a classroom setting, and one of the best ways to get kids excited about the subject is to head to every kid’s favorite spot: the swimming pool. It’s best if you can get to a large pool, though this lesson can be adapted for a kiddie pool. Grab paper and pencil, your bathing suit, appropriate safety gear, sunscreen, towels, a pool thermometer, and a couple pairs of goggles to learn about the Physics of Pool Temperatures. (Don’t be afraid to make adjustments depending on your child’s swimming abilities!)
If possible, first visit the pool in the morning to stick your toes in the water and check the temperature. Have your child record the time, outside temperature, and water temperature on a piece of paper.
Return to the pool in the afternoon when the sun has had some time to shine. Test the water again and record the time and temperature. Next, jump right in! Swim around to different depths and see how the temperature varies. Using your goggles, swim to the deepest section of the pool and check the temperature. Record all the information you gather. If you’re at a public pool and there’s a child’s pool present, compare the differences in temperature between the large and small pools. Discuss thermodynamics and why different volumes and levels of water may differ in temperature, as well as how the sun and time of day affects it.
By using common objects and showing kids the science that is around them in everyday life, you most likely will spark their interest in science. The more fun science activities you conduct with them, the more they will use their natural curiosity to ask questions, make hypotheses, and want to know why things work in the ways that they do. In the process, you may just inspire a love of science in the kids who hate it.
Jamie Strand is a former homeschool kid and unashamed science nerd. He’s a community college professor and proud father of two daughters who wants to inspire a passion for science and math in today’s young people. That goal drove him to start SciCamps.org with help from a good friend. When he isn’t teaching, Jamie can often be found digging for fossils in the backyard with his daughters, exploring the local nature preserve, or binge watching Star Trek reruns.
Image via Pixabay
The Back to Homeschool season has come and gone, and you’re probably into your homeschool groove. Are you at the point where you’re considering additional curriculum and maybe fun supplements? Just in case you are, we’ve compiled a list of interesting homeschooling resources you might want to consider. They are in alphabetical order. Today – Part 1. Tomorrow – Part II.
Why not learn, laugh and have fun along the way. At 4Knowledge-4Fun, you can find a variety of educational materials and toys selected for kids newborn through age 14. 4Knowledge-4Fun carries workbooks, flashcards, DVDs, games, and much, much more. And the gift-giving holidays are right around the corner!
American School offers accredited high school courses and diploma programs at an affordable cost. Students can work toward their diplomas in the General High School Program or College Preparatory Program, both of which contain 18 units of credit; or they can take individual online or paper-based courses for enrichment. Really, they offer something for everyone.
Center Stage Guitar Academy has developed a guitar lesson program specifically designed for kids. Their Guitar For Kids is a special package of guitar lessons designed for children ages 6-11 years old. The 24 lesson course teaches kids the fundamentals of music. You can learn more here.
Get your homeschoolers college-ready with College Ready Ultimate Supplement Courses.
The courses include 1. Mastering Emotions 2. The Writing Course 3. Mastering Goals 4. Mastering Time and Procrastination 5. Mastering Reading Comprehension 6. Mastering Focus 7. Mastering Problem Solving 8. Mastering Relationships 9. Mastering Communication and 10. Mastering Memory. These courses are appropriate for ages 8 to 80.
“As experts in productivity, systems, home-education, and learning we decided to make the training we gave our 5 successful homeschool & college graduates available to families just like yours.” –Dr. & Mrs. Fred Ray Lybrand Jr.
Demme Learning has published the Math-U-See curriculum for over 25 years. Math-U-See is renowned for its unique approach to mastering math using integrated manipulatives, lesson-by-lesson instructional materials, and student practice and review materials.
Demme Learning also offers Spelling You See, with its own unique approach to learning and teaching spelling.
You can learn more about each product (and you can shop too) when you check out their online store .
Family Pastimes games make learning fun – and co-operative games produce less rivalry (yah!) and less aggressive behaviors, so they require less direct supervision by parents.
Family Pastimes has plenty of options for every subject and level. You can visit their site and find resources in: Books, Early Childhood, Elementary School, Gifted Resources , Geography, Social Studies, Summer Enrichment, Thinking Skills, and more.
Forest Trail Academy is an accredited, online, K-12 school renowned for its commitment to providing students with high quality education and developing them into holistic learners. Students have access to a wide range of courses designed to engage students and facilitate interactive learning while encouraging them to pursue lifelong learning as an integral part of their holistic development.
With back-to-school season upon us and more than 160,000 children missing school every day in the U.S. out of fear of being bullied, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s States with the Biggest Bullying Problems.
To identify the states where bullying is most pervasive, WalletHub’s analysts compared 45 states and the District of Columbia across 17 key metrics, ranging from “bullying-incident rate” to “truancy costs for schools” to “percentage of high school students bullied online.”
||Top 10 States with the Bullying Problems
||Bottom 10 States with Bullying Problems
||District of Columbia
Best vs. Worst
- The District of Columbia has the lowest percentage of high school students who were bullied on school property, 12.08 percent, which is 2.2 times lower than in Nebraska, where the percentage is highest, 26.28 percent.
- The District of Columbia has the lowest percentage of high school students who were bullied online, 7.86 percent, which is 2.7 times lower than in Idaho, where the percentage is highest, 21.08 percent.
- Maine has the lowest percentage of high school students involved in a physical fight on school property, 4.85 percent, which is 2.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where the percentage is highest, 13.81 percent.
- Kansas has the lowest percentage of high school students who missed school because they felt unsafe at school, 3.80 percent, which is 3.4 times lower than in Louisiana, where the percentage is highest, 13.10 percent.
- Vermont has the lowest percentage of high school students who attempted suicide, 5.88 percent, which is 2.2 times lower than in Louisiana, where the percentage is highest, 13.10 percent.
To read the full report and to see where your state ranks, you can visit:
The Time4Writing curriculum helps homeschool students build skills and master the art of writing from elementary through high school. They do this by providing a full spectrum of 8-week online writing courses. All courses include one-on-one instruction and feedback with a certified teacher.
So how does it work? Once enrolled, students complete their work online through an easy to use interface and submit their completed assignments to their assigned teacher who then grades and provides encouraging feedback through the student’s online account. Students can send messages to their assigned teacher in order to ask questions about assignments or to discuss progress. It’s like having a personal writing tutor! Parents are kept in the loop throughout the course and even receive regular reports on their child’s progress.
Want more info on how Time4Writing works? You can view their two-minute tour.
The elementary online writing courses start at the pre-writing level with a beginner course on grammar. Other elementary writing courses cover topics such as the parts of speech, punctuation, subject and predicates, sentence structure, sentence types and different types of paragraphs. Advanced elementary writing courses teach how to write an essay, as well as how to write narratively and informatively. A homeschooler who has completed all of the elementary level courses should have a strong writing base and be ready for the bigger challenges of middle school writing.
We reviewed the Narrative Writing Course. We liked:
- That Time4Writing offers a large variety of courses – at every level – so it’s easy to find one that your child needs/wants to take.
- The certified writing teacher and personalize instruction – it was great. Our reviewer writes, “As a homeschool Mom, I liked that my daughter was able to take instruction from someone other than myself.”
- The convenience – courses are available 24/7. Our reviewer has a large family and homeschools multiple children at a time. So this flexibility was especially nice.
- There is a quick response time from instructors (within 24 hours excluding weekends/holidays).
- Time4Writing is very affordable.
The middle school online writing courses make sure your student is ready for high school. They start at the beginner level with a basic writing mechanics course which focuses on writing fundamentals such as sentences vs. fragments, subjects and predicates, subject-verb agreement and capitalization. Intermediate courses include writing enhancements, paragraph writing and a middle school essay writing course that is designed to strengthen the student’s ability to write a well-structured essay. The advanced middle school writing course teaches students to find their voice.
The high school online writing courses allow homeschoolers to strengthen their writing skills and fill in any gaps before heading to college or the workplace. Beginner level courses include “Grammar, Usage and Mechanics” and “High School Paragraphs” which focus on sentence structure, proper punctuation, capitalization, subject-verb agreement, paragraph structure, types of paragraphs, and proofreading. Intermediate courses include paragraph and essay writing courses that develop skills and introduce students to the essay writing process from the pre-writing to revision stage. For students who are college-bound, there is also a course on Writing Research Papers, where they learn all about citing sources, MLA style, research, and revision.
To see a list of all the Time4Writing courses, click here.
If you’re not sure which class is right for your child, Time4Writing provides an online Course Placement Tool to assist in the decision making process. This is very helpful.
Key benefits of Time4Writing courses include –
- The courses provide personalized writing instruction and encouraging feedback.
- The courses motivate aspiring writers to fine tune and develop their skills.
- The courses can be used to fill in writing skills gaps.
- Kids can work at their own pace – they just have to finish within an allotted time period.
- Convenience – students can start the classes any day, and the lessons can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere with a computer and an internet connection.
- Quick response – Teachers respond within 24 hours (excluding weekends).
- Parents are kept informed of their child’s progress and have a dedicated parent administration page.
- Time4Writing offers a satisfaction guarantee, which allows you to cancel or switch courses at any time if you are not satisfied with the product within the first 14 days. Wow-this is nice!
Time4Writing – you might want to check it out!
« Newer Posts — Older Posts »
FYI – Oak Meadow K-6 curriculum was revised in 2015.
- The addition of assignment checklists, planning pages, and material lists
- Factual information was updated
- Learning assessment rubrics were added (to help parents track their student’s progress)
- Coursebook covers were changed – they are now more heavy duty, and the pages are spiral-bound so books can lie flat (that’s nice!)
We asked for, and received, the Oak Meadow Second Grade program. The Second Grade program includes the subjects of Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, Arts & Crafts, Music and Health. When our box arrived (yes, it arrived – as in real books!), we were pleasantly surprised by the quality and the quantity of the materials.
Specifically, we received –
- 1 spiral bound soft cover book, Coursebook Grade 2 (it provides all the instructions and assignments for the full year of second grade) and 1 spiral bound soft cover book Resource Book, Grade 2 (it includes extensive instructions about teaching each subject). These are the core of your year, and both are chocked full of important info.
- 1 soft cover book – Fables, An Oak Meadow Collection (a collection of 16 classic fables). Selections include “The Gingerbread Boy,” “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse,” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.
- 1 soft cover book – Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling. Oak Meadow presents a special slim edition, which includes Kipling favorites, such as “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin,” “How the Leopard Got His Spots,” and “The Cat Who Walked By Himself”.
You can see that the materials are geared towards Second Grade students – the materials contain information that young students will want to read and learn about (yah!).
FYI – the above publications are also available in digital form. Click here for information on digital access, printables, and more; or click here to see the full line of digital curriculum.
Also included in the Second Grade box (Yes, there’s more!):
- 1 balsam airplane kit
- 1 chunky Oak Meadow pencil (for your child – probably their favorite item!)
- General instructions for the teacher/parent
- Information regarding the Homeschool Support program for families who are using Oak Meadow curriculum on their own (without enrollment)
- Info regarding Oak Meadow’s Foundation in Independent Learning program – a parent/teacher training program for parents who support independent learners
- Info on how to connect with Oak Meadow via their blog (which is very good), their free educational journal Living Education (again, very good!), and via their social media outlets (Pinterest, Instagramand more).
As mentioned, we were very impressed with all that we received. The books are certainly geared towards Second Grade students, and the parent/teacher resources are extensive. It’s clear that the curriculum accommodates visual, auditory, and physical learning styles – which is a plus. And everything you need for the year is included (how convenient). It would be very easy to use this for homeschooling as-is, or supplement as you’d like.
And FYI, you can view a sample lesson here.
After reviewing everything (we were impressed!), we forwarded the Oak Meadow materials to a homeschooling Mom of a second grader (our kids are older) and her feedback is below:
- Oak Meadow curriculum is easy to use which I truly appreciate. Assignments are clearly marked and explained in detail. There is a weekly planner, an assignment checklist, and a materials list for each lesson which helps me plan our week in advance. I’m homeschooling multiple kids, so I admit, things can get hectic, and on occasion, I can get overwhelmed. So, I truly appreciate the planning and checklist materials.
- Learning assessments are included at the end of each lesson. These are good for understanding your child’s progress, and recognizing strengths and areas where more support is needed. I’m not a “test” type person – but I found these assessments to be very helpful. There were occasions when I thought my son “got it” – but the assessment showed me “not so much”. So I knew where to spend extra time.
- Both my child and I enjoyed the focus on animals and nature for the reading and writing assignments. As the parent/teacher, I saw how well the writing and the reading assignments were integrated and I appreciated that as well.
- Social Studies is taught through the use of fables and folktales – the subject matter is geared towards the child, and the topics are important. Again, something that I appreciated.
- Math – I like that my son is already learning multiplication. I don’t think I started multiplying in second grade.
- Science focuses on nature-type assignments – which children of this age really respond to (as do I!). Again, I appreciated/likedthis.
- Art, crafts, music, and health are included subjects. These are important subjects that many public schools have had to eliminate. I’m glad that I have the time to do them as they are so enriching. We will have the opportunity to copy and illustrate poems, make books, perform puppet plays, grow indoor plants, and more.
I’ve certainly enjoyed using the Oak Meadow materials. And I like that you can purchase these and use them independently, or enroll in their online program. I think we’ll always go the independent route, but I can see how some families might appreciate teacher support and official school records. It’s always nice to have options.
(By the way, Oak Meadow is accredited through the The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), and by the New England Association for Schools and Colleges (NEASC).