This is a guest blog post by Problem Solved! Did you know that Problem Solved! was chosen by Homeschool.com readers as a Top Back to Homeschool Resource? You can find the awards here, and sample their product here. Interested in Homeschool.com’s Back to Homeschool e-magazine? Then just click here!
Does your child struggle in math? You are not alone. It is also pretty safe to say the struggle is not a learning problem. It is likely a teaching problem. In America, it is extremely common for teachers (and parents) to teach in a way that addresses only one learning style, usually auditory. The problem is, only 34% of us learn that way. What about the other 66%?
We can’t blame educators for getting up in front of their students and “showing” students how to perform a procedure, like 45 + 39. After all, they learned that way when they were in school. We teach how we were taught, usually.
In order to support ALL students and create equity, teachers/parents need to facilitate lessons that address all learners. They need to make the math meaningful, where students make connections. Math is a story where connections can be made within concepts and across concepts. Math is not a series of unrelated procedures. But, it is still taught that way.
Problem Solved! online sessions are designed to provide your child with deep conceptual understanding. Problem Solved! facilitates instruction that gives students the opportunity to construct their own strategies, and then make meaningful connections.
Please click here to learn more.
Homeschool.com is having a Back to Homeschool event…..but it’s almost over!
Our Top Back to Homeschool Resource Awards include great products, curriculum, and websites. You can find the awards here, and free trials/additional information about the awarded products here.
Interested in Homeschool.com’s Back to Homeschool e-magazine? Then just click here! Back to Homeschool Mentoring Moments can be found on this link.
Check everything out while you can!
Did you know that ueisworkshop.com was chosen by Homeschool.com readers as a Top Back to Homeschool Resource? You can find the awards here, and learn more about their product here. Interested in Homeschool.com’s Back to Homeschool e-magazine? Then just click here!
We’re having an entire Back to Homeschool Event!
Three Tips for Effective Fall (Homeschool) Planning is a guest blog post from ueisworkshop.com.
As summer winds down and Fall launch approaches, we are filled with a sense of renewed optimism. Our unwavering faith in our children, their dreams and what we believe they can achieve motivates us to provide an optimal learning environment. The instructional planning and preparation that we employ are critical to achieving our goals. With this in mind, we offer the following friendly tips:
1. Reflect on previous instructional experiences.
In order to make sound adjustments, it is critical to reflect on prior instructional practices. What went well? What didn’t go so well? When was my child fully engaged and interested? Should I employ more direct teaching or does my child thrive during independent learning time? Should I invest in more training in order to enhance my teaching skills? Addressing such questions are critical to our growth as instructional leaders in our homes.
2. Provide practical learning experiences.
Research tells us that learning is preserved when applied. In other words, providing children with opportunities to practice what they have learned increases the likelihood of the information being retained. For example, when studying plant life or the ecosystem, encouraging children to build and cultivate personal gardens is an effective way to employ a “live curriculum”.
3. Stay organized.
Preparation is essential to delivering effective instruction. How well we organize our planning time greatly impacts our ability to deliver instruction, assess student progress and provide differentiated learning opportunities in response to what we have learned. Knowing what we need to teach, documenting how we plan on teaching it and archiving the information in such a way that it can be easily retrieved and used is a great first step.
No one strategy can guarantee an easy “back to school” transition. However, early preparation is a great starting point. So dust off your teacher hat and let’s start planning!
Did you know that Alpha Omega Publications was chosen by Homeschool.com readers as a Top Back to Homeschool Resource? You can find the awards here, and sample an AOP product here. Interested in Homeschool.com’s Back to Homeschool e-magazine? Then just click here!
Organize Your Homeschool for Success
Are you ready for the new homeschooling year to begin? As the days of summer begin to dwindle, many homeschool parents start the countdown to the first day of school and often begin to feel stressed. Whether you’ve been blessed with one child, two, or a tribe of 12, getting prepared to homeschool takes more than just good intentions or wishful thinking. To start your homeschooling year on the right foot, try these helpful organizational suggestions and ideas:
Organize your curriculum
If a busy summer schedule has kept you from reviewing the homeschool curriculum you purchased two months ago, now’s the time to open the boxes and start making lesson plans. As you study teacher’s guides, student workbooks, and testing materials, spend an entire week planning, so you begin the new school year with at least one month of lessons for subjects such as Bible, math, language arts, science, and history. Also, if you have curriculum from last year that can’t be passed down to younger children or given away, don’t waste extra space on your shelves. Pack the old curriculum away and only place each child’s current schoolbooks on your book shelves.
If you really want to make things easy, get all your homeschool curriculum for the whole family with a Monarch Plan, which grants up to three students unprecedented access to 50 courses for grades 3-12. Plus, you’ll get the convenience of automatic grading and lesson planning.
Organize your house
Getting your home ready for the new homeschooling year includes fall cleaning. Although you likely aren’t enthusiastic about this chore, you probably won’t move the furniture to give the carpet a thorough vacuuming again until December. So reclaim the living room and your children’s bedrooms by chasing those spider webs away before you get into the routine of schooling each day.
You should also decide which rooms in your house should be used as classrooms. Since every home is different, work with your floor plan and available space. Maybe the kitchen works best for your family because the table is big enough to accommodate four children. Also, make sure there are plenty of storage spaces like a pantry or closet nearby to hold all your schoolbooks and supplies. You’ll also find it beneficial to prepare a place in each child’s room for quiet, independent activities, as well as find places to hang maps, time lines, and posters on your walls to stimulate your child’s learning interests.
Another organizing tip that saves time is stocking up on essentials such as non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies, personal items, and paper products. Extra trips to the store for these items will be reduced, creating more uninterrupted, homeschooling time.
Organize supplemental teaching materials and supplies
Bookcases have a way of getting out of control when books have been haphazardly returned to their spots throughout the summer months. Reorganize before starting a new school year by separating shelves into different categories such as encyclopedias, fiction, non-fiction, and reference books for history, science, and other subjects. Educational toys such as math manipulatives, games, and puzzles can be sorted for older or younger children and stored in plastic tubs. Plastic storage units with three or four drawers can house arts and craft supplies, as well as markers, colors, pencils, and other everyday schooling supplies. If your homeschooling budget is tight, be creative. Make storage containers out of empty laundry soap boxes, cookie tins, coffee cans, and other inexpensive, ordinary items found around your home.
Organize the family chores
If there’s one good thing about homeschooling with a large family, it certainly provides opportunities for learning a variety of life skills. The problem arises, however, when trying to keep track of each child’s chores and responsibilities. To keep things organized, especially when the children are younger, use a weekly schedule and post it on the refrigerator. Whether helping prepare the meal, setting the table, washing the dirty dishes, carrying out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, collecting dirty laundry, or folding clothes and putting them away, each child will know what is expected of him that week. When the daily chores are completed, your children can place a sticker or check mark in the box next to the assigned, age-appropriate chore completed.
Organize your household rules
Save more time for teaching instead of parenting with a posted set of family rules. Decide together with your children what these rules will be, along with the consequences if they are violated. Disobedience, disrespect, pouting, and other poor character qualities that interfere with homeschooling can be addressed before you begin the school year. Also, don’t forget to include a clear understanding of expected bed times, as well as how much screen time is allowed each day.
Be truthful. Since you’re the first link in the homeschooling adventure, don’t forget to pencil in time for yourself when organizing your yearly homeschool calendar. After all, if the stress of parenting and teaching 24/7 causes your marriage, friendships, and relationship with the Lord to fail, what good are all your homeschooling efforts? Plan dates with your spouse, fun days with friends, and special alone times with the Lord before the year begins. If you don’t schedule these important events, they’ll never happen. Also, be sure to schedule more time than you think you’ll need, since unforeseen circumstances usually cancel half of them for one reason or another. More importantly, make sure you prioritize your daily schedule and include time for personal devotions and exercise, so you find the spiritual, emotional, and physical strength you need.
Although organization takes a fair amount of time to accomplish at the beginning of the homeschool year, it only takes a short amount of time to maintain. Take advantage of these last days of summer vacation. Get organized and make your homeschooling year the best it can be, as you enjoy more free time teaching the people you love most.
Alpha Omega Publications is a leading provider of PreK-12 Christian curriculum, educational resources, and services to homeschool families worldwide. AOP follows its mission every day by creating and providing quality Christian educational materials to thousands of students through curriculum, educational books and games, support services, family entertainment, and an accredited online academy. To learn more, visit www.aop.com or call 800-622-3070.
Want to “polite up the world” by teaching your children social skills and team work skills in a uniquely comprehensive, systematic, and memorable way? You can with becoolwizhomeschool.com. The website becoolwizhomeschool.com offers 52 different lessons (465+ activities!) that teach social skills and basic English for learning ESL. Plus, they offer a Bible version.
Following, are the many things I like about the lessons/this product:
- It is very thorough. There are so many topics – 52 sets of polite social skill activities, including how to greet others (lesson 1), how to respect others’ property (lesson 6), being polite with time (13), how to say sorry, forgive and be honest (26), how to make polite table conversation (35), how to handle rejection (41), and how to prevent or resolve conflict gracefully (51).
- Each of the topics comes with introductions to the activities; prop ideas for those who wish to act the lesson out (great idea!), or do more practice/real life applications; and 12 printable supplements.
- The lessons allow children to learn in a FUN, playful, colorful, animated way – the way kids like to learn. Be Cool Wiz lessons include music, sound effects, male and female voice, and humor.
- The product covers virtually every age group, with versions for ages 5-8, 9-13 and 14+.
- It’s in English and Spanish.
- There are extra items if your kids love the program (t-shirts, etc).
- The product is designed by a former teacher/author/illustrator, as well as teacher and PhD advisors and contributors. They took the best from psychology, manners, counseling, law, business and education.
- The price! It’s only $25 / 3 year license (normally $25 /1 year)
As a parent, you’ll want to sit with your younger children as they go through the lessons, so you can explain why incorrect answers are incorrect, and why correct answers are better options. You’ll have the opportunity to delve into a lesson as much as you’d like to/ need to, to ensure your children develop the good manners we all value.
Did you know that Easy Grammar was chosen by Homeschool.com readers as a Top Back to Homeschool Resource? You can find the awards here, and sample their products here. Interested in Homeschool.com’s Back to Homeschool e-magazine? Then just click here!
We’re having an entire Back to Homeschool Event!
Easy Grammar Systems publishes the Easy Grammar series, Daily GRAMS series and Easy Grammar Ultimate Series. Author Dr. Wanda C. Phillips has long been recognized for her expertise in teaching grammar and writing. Using easy explanations, she also introduces concepts in a building-block manner and incorporates a cyclical approach that promotes mastery learning.
Easy Grammar teaching texts (Grades 2-6 and Plus) introduce common prepositions. Then, students learn to delete prepositional phrases and easily determine subject, verb, agreement, etc. Concepts are introduced at a basic level and build for understanding. Easy Grammar Plus and Grades 3-6 include unit reviews/tests and cumulative reviews/tests, all enhancing mastery learning. (Students usually complete two or three lessons per day; however, the goal is mastery, not speed.)
Daily GRAMS texts (Grades 3-7) are daily, 5-10 minute reviews (180 lessons). The format is capitalization (#1), punctuation (#2), grammar and other concepts (#3/4), and sentence combining (#5) for improved quality of writing. Concepts are reviewed cyclically to increase mastery learning. It is recommended to begin each class period with a lesson and, then, moving to Easy Grammar.
Easy Grammar Ultimate Series (Grades 8-12) are teaching texts that are quick-but-thorough, 10-minute daily teaching lessons. This allows students to maintain skills —while expanding learning. Easy Grammar Ultimate Series presents 180 lessons with teaching and review of capitalization, punctuation, usage, and sentence combining for improved syntax.
Wanda C. Phillips, a native Pennsylvanian, earned a B.S. degree in Secondary Education from Shippensburg University in 1969, elementary certification from Grand Canyon College in Arizona, and a Master’s Degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University in 1992. In 2007, Wanda earned a doctorate from George Fox, a Christian University in Newburg, Oregon. After earning her doctorate in, she completed a statistical study of her Easy Grammar and Daily GRAMS texts in Grades 3-8. Results supported Dr. Phillips’s informal findings. Final analysis reflected amazing mastery learning! Of 282 students, 252 (80%) increased mastery by 20 percent or more. This phenomenal growth statistically reflects that Easy Grammar and Daily GRAMS are extremely effective in promoting learning. Phillips adds, “Ninety-nine percent showed growth, with one student increasing more than sixty percent!”
Please visit www.easygrammar.com for more information.
Did you know that PetraLingua® was chosen by Homeschool.com readers as a Top Back to Homeschool Resource? You can find the awards here, and sample their products here. Interested in Homeschool.com’s Back to Homeschool e-magazine? Then just click here!
We’re having an entire Back to Homeschool Event!
PetraLingua® Foreign Language Courses for Kids
PetraLingua® foreign language courses for children offer a fun and efficient way to teach basic Spanish, French, German, Chinese or Russian vocabulary to your child.
The courses are available online and in complete langauage learning sets with DVDs, CDs and activity books.
Suitable for children 6 – 10, for families and schools.
Why Should You Include a Foreign Language Curriculum in Your Homeschool Program?
Multilingualism has been linked to a variety of positive cognitive benefits, including early reading, better listening perception, improved problem-solving skills, and higher scores on school tests.
Also, starting to learn a new language early will make it much easier to later learn a third or even fourth language, since the child is able to understand how the functions and structures of a language are organized in general.
The longer a person is in contact with a new language, the higher levels of proficiencies in that language they can develop, so it is highly recommended for children to start learning a new language at an early age. Parents whant want to give their child a head-start by teaching a second language, should start as early as they can.
However, the key advantage to learning languages early results from children’s natural sense of curiosity. It motivates them to learn a new language without any effort, by exploring, just like they do in their first language.
Learning languages should be fun. When presented in an interesting and attractive way, it is an enjoyable learning activity. And because a child’s first learning successes are often achieved with little or no noticeable effort, this builds the child’s self-confidence and their desire to learn continues.
Planning your language learning activities with PetraLingua®
PetraLingua® offers all you need for a beginners language course. The program is based on an early language curriculum with 2-3 learning sessions per week. We want to encourage this kind of step-by-step learning to ensure vocabulary retention.
With the clear PetraLingua® curriculum structure, you’ll find it very easy to plan your language lessons. Just follow the course progression – it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3!
1) introduce new vocabulary with PetraLingua® videos and songs
Petralingua® language courses teach the kids the basics of a new language through common everyday situations. This way, you expose children to a foreign language by reinforcing a lot of the vocabulary and phrases you probably use with them everyday.
In each lesson new vocabulary is introduced through an introductory video sequence.
A large number of lessons include language learning songs composed to repeat and practice the vocabulary from the lesson.
2) use interactive exercises to repeat the new words
Each lesson ends with a set of various interactive online games, designed to practice the words that have been introduced in the lesson and expand the vocabulary.
3) continue practicing with the activity book and flashcards
The activity book includes all the topics covered by the PetraLingua® language course and gives your children a great opportunity to practice their reading and writing skills. Furthermore, to focus on their listening skills as well, the activity book includes a large number of listening exercises.
Glad to help with lesson plans!
The PetraLingua® Team has been creating and developing multimedia language learning materials for children for the last 15 years. The PetraLingua® Project has been created in cooperation with hundreds of institutions, experts, children and parents from all over the world.
Did you know that Kirkwood Education Online was chosen by Homeschool.com readers as a Top Back to Homeschool Resource? You can find the awards here, and sample their products here. Interested in Homeschool.com’s Back to Homeschool e-magazine? Then just click here!
We’re having an entire Back to Homeschool Event!
Kirkwood Education Online offers much more than academic curriculum. Upon enrollment, parents are provided tools to accurately assess their student’s placement level. Every curriculum concept is first taught and demonstrated by a state-of-the-art cloud-based interactive computer lesson and instructional video. Students then complete practice and review exercises and enter their answers on the computer.
Throughout the program, children are systematically guided through seven stages of character development. These character development continuums are defined as:
- Investment of Energy
- Value Development
- Goal-Setting Behavior
- Spiritual Growth and Development
Academic achievement accelerates as students learn to take responsibility for their own education. Self-esteem building exercises promote spiritual growth, interpersonal skills, and strong work ethic. Daily discipleship lessons encourage students to store the truth of God’s Word in their minds and hearts.
Students earn weekly award certificates that highlight academic progress. These printable certificates can be presented to the student, affording an excellent opportunity for praise and validation. The most powerful positive affective experiences occur when a student has invested energy into reaching an objective, and that accomplishment is then recognized and validated.
Parental involvement is the single most critical factor in a child’s academic success.
Kirkwood Education Online facilitates this crucial involvement with their Time with my Teacher component. This one-on-one time affords parents the opportunity to ensure their child has complete mastery of each curriculum component before moving on to the next. Parents are provided tools to target areas where mastery is not evident, so that they may work with the child. Time with my Teacher results are recorded to show each child’s achievement and progress over time.
Maintaining accurate records is one of the most daunting tasks for homeschool parents. Kirkwood Education Online effortlessly maintains accurate records and provides parents an at-a-glance overview of their child’s academic progress in real time.
The homeschool program is available on a monthly subscription, and includes ongoing support and monitoring. Their support staff is available to answer your questions and to provide guidance through our online communication portal, by telephone, and by email.
With over 40 years continuous research and development, Kirkwood Education Online has a proven track record of fostering strong Christian character growth and high academic achievement. Kirkwood Education Online is committed to providing homeschool families with a system of education that will truly enable every child to develop as much of their God-given potential as possible.
Author Bio -
Janet is dedicated to upholding a high standard of excellence in Christ-centered education. She is passionate about homeschooling and empowering the next generation to develop their full potential.
Janet Slinkard | Director of Operations
Kirkwood Education Online
Did you know that ALEKS was chosen by Homeschool.com readers as a Top Back to Homeschool Resource? You can find the awards here, and sample ALEKS here. Interested in Homeschool.com’s Back to Homeschool e-magazine? Then just click here!
We’re having an entire Back to Homeschool Event!
This is a product review from imaginationsoup.net.
The ALEKS Math website for kids offers extensive math courses – from 3rd grade to college level (If you’re a homeschooler, doesn’t this look helpful!). Another benefit of ALEKS is that parents get a wealth of information on student progress.
When you sign up, you’ll pick which course your student should be in.
First, your student will do a tutorial on how to input answers and use the program.
Then, he’ll take an initial assessment to determine where he is. So, what he knows and what he needs to learn next.
This is a good thing since each child is unique and will need his own learning path.
You’ll be glad to know that ALEKS uses a free response answering system. There are no multiple choice questions which avoids the chance of an accidental correct answer and an incorrect assessment of knowledge.
Once the assessment is complete, you’ll see each student’s knowledge depicted in a pie chart. I love this visual representation of what a student knows and what he will learn. I think students do, too — especially once the pie chart begins to fill in.
Click on the pie graph to see the topics within each category that still need to be learned. Choose one and begin practice and instruction.
For all math topics, ALEKS provides practice, explanations, and input tools.
At any time during the student practice, she can click on “Explain” to have the problem explained.
ALEKS requires correct practice to insure the student has indeed mastered the concept. I purposely answered questions incorrectly and it wouldn’t move me along until I answered three in a row correct.
Once the concept is mastered, the pie graph is updated. Hooray!
Learning Math Facts
Another helpful part of ALEKS is QuickTables. It’s is a research-based math fact mastery program for multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction for grades 3 and up. Like the ALEKS program, QuickTables assesses where a student is and shows students and parents what she needs to learn next. Afterwards, she can practice and play games to reinforce and grow her knowledge of the math facts.
I like that when you master new math facts, you can earn new games to play. That’s a great incentive, at least for my kids.
Try ALEKS free for 48 hour or just sign up. A subscription to ALEKS is:
- $19.95 per student, per month, or
- only $99.95 every 6 months, or
- only $179.95 every 12 months.
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Did you know that Homeschool Programming, Inc. was chosen by Homeschool.com readers as a Top Back to Homeschool Resource? You can find the awards here, and sample a Homeschool Programming product here. Interested in Homeschool.com’s Back to Homeschool e-magazine? Then just click here!
We’re having an entire Back to Homeschool Event!
Beginning Minecraft Mods for Kids
Written By Chris Yust, Homeschool Programming, Inc.
The Minecraft Juggernaut
“Minecraft”! Just saying the word out loud will make most kids snap to attention and listen to what you’re going to say next. Minecraft is a super-popular computer game, and odds are you’ve seen the blocky graphical theme repeated on T-shirts, Halloween costumes, and other knick-knacks belonging to your kids and their friends. In this game, you can create your own 3D virtual world by building and destroying blocks representing different kinds of materials and items.
Minecraft was conceived in 2009, and has maintained a firm grip on our attention since its wider release in 2010-2011. Why has it stayed so consistently popular? Minecraft appeals to our creative natures! While you can play the game with a pre-generated world under a standard set of rules, you can also spend endless hours in “creative” mode, making your own ideas come to life. You may have seen pictures of worlds containing things like replicas of the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower, or fantastic creations of space ships, castles, monsters, and all manner of imaginative buildings and landscapes. These are things your kids can build using the standard game.
Introducing Minecraft “Mods”
Another reason for Minecraft’s long-term appeal is the availability of custom modifications or “mods”, created by fans. Mods are packages of changes that alter the fundamental look or behavior of the game in large or small ways. So if you have a great idea for a new set of rules, or a new item or block, you can add them yourself! While your kids may have outgrown the original game, they are likely still playing through an endless variety of “mods” available on the Internet. Each mod might represent a brand new playing experience, so the game is kept fresh and appealing through the efforts of many mod authors.
While it takes some time and some talent, creating mods is a free process! So anyone, even technically inclined kids, can try to make their vision come to life. Many fan-based sites have sprung up with guides to making mods on your own.
Why Should I Encourage “Mod” Work?
Why should you allow, or even encourage your kids to spend hours creating their own Minecraft mods? The process actually takes some computer science skills, so time spent creating a Minecraft mod has many benefits! Your kids will become more comfortable working with files and folders on their computer, typing into text editors, using graphical drawing programs, and writing computer code.
Yes, Minecraft mods usually involve computer programming! So if your student is thinking about a career or hobby in computer science, or just wants to pick up computer programming as a useful skill, mod-work can be a great motivation. Minecraft is written in the Java programming language, and this language is also widely used in academic and business environments. So, skills learned while creating mods are not discarded afterwards, but can become the basis for a rewarding, long-term career.
Trying to get started with beginning Minecraft mods can be a little overwhelming. There is a huge amount of free information on the Internet about the process, but no single, orderly source. Type “minecraft mod tutorials” in your search engine and you will see many pages of results! The information you find may also be outdated as newer versions of the game are released.
There are some things you can do with very minimal skills, such as creating new images to change the look and feel of the standard Minecraft game. Other changes such as inventing new game rules or items require specific knowledge of the Java language and the related development tools.
Homeschool Programming offers a set of free “Beginning Minecraft Mod” lessons to guide your kids’ initial Minecraft mod experience. Over 100 pages of free lessons and activities detail how to create your own images or add new blocks and items to the game. You can visit the link below to get started!
All you need to begin is your own purchased copy of the Minecraft game. All other tools are freely available online.
Minecraft Credits and Official Website
Minecraft was created by Markus Persson (a.k.a. “Notch”) and published by Mojang AB. The official Minecraft website is https://minecraft.net/.
About the Author
Chris Yust from Homeschool Programming, Inc. is co-author of the KidCoder and TeenCoder programming curriculum for 4th-12th grade students. Find out more about computer programming for kids and teens at http://www.homeschoolprogramming.com!