Teachers: Wear Your Mask!
This is a guest blog post from John Hofland – artachieve.com
It’s an actor’s key to success, its a seasoned teacher’s key to success, and it’s a key that may have eluded homeschoolers.
What’s the key? A mask.
Successful teachers and actors wear a mask.
Greek actors, for whom wearing a physical mask was a requirement, would spend hours finding elements of themselves that they could use to express the personality of their mask. The combination of mask and person drew the audience’s attention and made the actor bigger than life.
Modern actors also wear a mask. In my first acting role at the Dallas Theatre Center, I was simply the narrator of a story that was being enacted around me. I needed a way to grab the audience’s attention, so I used a clay pipe for my “mask.” (I don’t smoke, so it took me some time to make this “mask” work!)
- I puffed the pipe slowly to show I was “thinking.”
- I grabbed the bowl to point to important things I was talking about.
- I pulled the pipe out of my mouth before I spoke – my way of showing the audience that it was time to pay attention to me, not the other actors.
Seasoned teachers know they need to wear a mask: their teacher persona is something different from their regular self. Their mask is anything that
- Draws attention,
- Establishes authority,
- Emphasizes the difference between teacher and student, and
- Helps teachers connect with their audience.
Homeschoolers would do well to adopt a mask for themselves for the same reasons:
- It makes children pay attention.
- It gives you authority, suggesting, “My role right now is special, so pay attention.”)
- It’s a tool for interacting with your children, who must now take on the role/mask of student.
How do you put on a teaching mask? Here are some techniques.
Use Quirks and Props.
Some teachers like to use props. As a classroom teacher, I carried a yardstick as my personal extension. I could point with it, tap the floor with it for emphasis, point to students with it, and tap on their desks to commend them as I led a discussion. I also used a quirk. I liked to sit on the rim of the large metal garbage can that stood beside my disk. It was my “let’s think together” position.
Wear Special Clothes.
We live in the Washington state, where dress is casual. However, when I teach a class at our church, I’m sure to wear a jacket and tie. Why? It draws attention, suggests that I have made special preparation for teaching, and sets me apart from my audience.
Teachers have to give grades, so while they should seem friendly, they cannot be friends with their students. A friendly teacher will have a hard time giving a grade, so it’s best to find a way to set yourself apart from your children during class time. My yardstick had this effect. It gave me a goofiness that students loved, but its tapping sound was also a noisy symbol of authority.
Use Special Mannerisms.
Some teachers like to develop special mannerisms as part of the persona. As a university professor, I made sure to present my material with an over-abundance of energy. Some of this was mere nervous energy, but I directed to my teaching mask. Students read my exuberant animation as enthusiasm. Using a special mannerism while teaching helps set class time apart from ordinary family life.
Establish Expectations Early. Part of establishing your teaching persona is establishing your expectations and routines early on. Know ahead of time what your expectations and consequences will be, and let your students/children know. Then be consistent in following the plan.
What does a persona do for teachers and homeschoolers?
It sets up an environment for learning.
It signals that class time is special.
It sets you in the special position of authority.
Develop your persona, and set yourself up for success!
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the creation of 1.4 million new jobs in computer science by 2020, yet the number of women pursuing careers in the field has continued to drop since the 80s. The reasons behind this gender imbalance are varied, from lack of female mentors to lack of encouragement, both at an early age and even adulthood. And these barriers are even more challenging for women of color. More and more employers, however, are eager to diversify their tech departments. Many corporations understand the value and unique perspective that women bring to the tech industry and engineering and now partner with colleges and universities to change the culture and attract more female tech talent.”
There has never been a better time for women to enter computer science. Click here to learn how girls/women can make the most of this tremendous opportunity, including how high school girls can prepare for and succeed in college-level computer science, CS scholarships specifically for women, and ways to help women bridge the CS career gap.
We recently asked our product testers about social media sites they use. This was a response about a website, and it was such an informative response, I thought I’d share it with you! It’s from Patti –
One of my favorite websites that I came across a few weeks ago is http://www.kidsastronomy.com/index.htm
It has a free astronomy course for kids. I am using this with my grandson because he expressed an interest in learning more about outer space. There are many online games and printable worksheets, short movies and video clips, in addition to the actual lessons. There is a lot of information packed in the website, and it can be used in various ways, depending on the individual’s needs.
The lessons are divided into 8 “packets”. Each packet has 6 assignments with the 6th assignment being an observation of a constellation. A final project is offered for those who chose to complete it. The site offers a certificate for completing the course.
This site is a part of the Kids Know It Network (The Totally Free Children’s Learning Network) and several other subjects are available.
Are there any websites you’d like to tell me about? Just write me at Ann@Homeschool.com.
Homeschool.com’s Top 100 Educational Websites of 2016 published earlier this month. FYI, below are a number of online schools that made the list:
Bridgeway Academy – www.homeschoolacademy.com
eLearningK12 – http://elearningk12.com
Forest Trail Academy – www.foresttrailacademy.com
Global Student Network – http://globalstudentnetwork.com
National High School – www.nationalhighschool.com
The Virtual Learning Academy – www.jcesc.k12.oh.us/VLAHomeschool.aspx
If you’d like to see ALL the websites that made the list? Just click here!
Have you seen Homeschool.com’s Top 100 Educational Websites of 2016 ? Maybe your favorite websites are included. Or maybe you’ll find new and interesting websites you’ve never heard of!
The list can be found here. And below, are just a few of the included companies, fyi:
All Bilingual Press – www.allbilingual.com
American Heritage Education Foundation, Inc. – www.americanheritage.org
Bellerophon Books – http://bellerophonbooks.com
C8 Sciences – http://c8home.com
Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids – www.foreignlanguagesforkids.com
GamesforLanguage, LLC – www.gamesforlanguage.com
Gifted and Talented – https://giftedandtalented.com
Hoffman Academy – www.hoffmanacademy.com
Languagenut – www.languagenut.com
Middlebury Interactive Languages – http://middleburyinteractive.com
Online G3, Inc. – www.onlineg3.com
Rosetta Stone Language Learning for Homeschool – www.rosettastone.com/homeschool
Spanish for You! – www.spanish-for-you.net
The Animation Course – www.theanimcourse.com
Theory Time – www.theorytime.com
Timeline Staircase – www.timelinestaircase.com
TutorMing – www.tutorming.com
Whistlefritz – www.whistlefritz.com
6 Supplemental Income Ideas for Homeschool Parents
To the family that chooses to live on a single salary in order to homeschool, a supplemental income that can be earned from home may sound too good to be true, but it doesn’t have to be. By tapping into your God-given talents, you can develop an in-home business with a workload that fits your family’s schedule. Here are six practical supplemental income options that may interest your homeschool family.
Tutor – You already help your own children with schoolwork, so why not put your knowledge of their studies to use helping other children succeed? Spread the news of your service by word of mouth or advertise in a local newspaper.
Child Care – It’s no secret that one of the perks of homeschooling is avoiding the outrageous fees charged by daycare providers. Starting a small-scale child care center in your home can help you earn a little extra cash while serving neighbors or family friends with affordable child care.
Freelance – Putting the skills you have to use is one of the easiest ways to supplement your family’s income. Many writers, editors, coders, graphic designers, and photographers freelance for a living. Explore the market to see where your skills can be put to use.
Music Lessons – Capitalize on your God-given musical talents by helping others develop their own. Especially if you own a piano, voice and instrumental lessons are easy to host in your own home.
Farmers’ Market – A great way to make some money, being a vendor at the local farmers’ market also serves as a handy teaching tool. Countless math, science, and life lessons can be gleaned from gardening and selling fruits and veggies with your kids.
Blog – Experience and advice from veteran homeschoolers is highly sought-after by new homeschool families. Explore opportunities to write curriculum reviews or guest blog on popular homeschool sites.
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.
Printable Learning Games for Homeschool Families
This is a guest blog post from Super Teacher Worksheets
Homeschool learning can be exciting and adventurous when you incorporate educational games into your homeschool curriculum. Super Teacher Worksheets has an amazing selection of printable games for homeschool families. If you feel like your homeschool routine is getting somewhat stale or disengaging, consider using flash cards, memory matching games, board games, or card games from Super Teacher Worksheets to stir up some homeschool fun!
Teach basic multiplication skills to your homeschool learners with “To the Moon,” a popular printable board game on Super Teacher Worksheets. Print out and assemble this board game, which has an outer space theme. The objective is to be the first person to reach the “Moon Landing” by answering basic multiple choice questions correctly. This game is for two players. This board game is wonderful because it can be played with the flashcards provided or any set of multiplication flashcards that you would like to use. This game can be found on Super Teacher’s Multiplication Worksheets page.
Give your homeschoolers the opportunity to practice more advanced addition, subtraction, or multiplication facts with a “Magic Digits” printable card game. In the“Magic Digits” card game, use the digits provided to complete the math problem. This fun card game helps your homeschool students develop critical thinking skills. Choose the skill you want to work on with your kids and let the game begin! For example, decide whether you’d like to review subtraction with regrouping or without regrouping, and pick the “Magic Digits” card game accordingly. Download and print this game on the Super Teacher Worksheets Subtraction Page.
Reinforce fraction skills at home with an exciting card game. “Fraction Memory Match” is played like traditional concentration-matching games that most children are already familiar with. In this game, students will try to match the fraction number card to the card with the same fraction illustrated by a shape that is partially filled in. The player with the most matches wins the game. See which games work for you and your homeschoolers on Super Teacher’s Fraction Worksheets page.
Educational games are an excellent resource for homeschool families because kids learn important concepts while having fun at the same time. It’s great to be able to mix games and activities into your homeschool curriculum. When you do, you are letting your children see that learning can be fun!
5 At-Home Lessons in the Arts for Middle Schoolers
By Sasa Afredi
Art is both a great method for self-expression and an avenue for dynamic and fun learning. Art projects can require a lot of mental focus and flexibility, but with minimal costs. Maximize at-home learning by supplementing core lessons with art projects that stimulate the creative mind, as well as your middle schooler’s critical-thinking skills. Consider incorporating these at-home art lessons into your daily curriculum:
1. Soap and candle making
Making soap or candles is a great way to make something that is practical, but also fun and creative. For these art projects, you will need some basic supplies and an adult to supervise the use more complicated equipment, such as the stove or a food processor. Will you make candles the same way settlers did in the 1700s? Are you creating soap from entirely organic ingredients? Use these fun exercises as a way to build upon lessons in chemistry or history. You can find variations of youth-friendly recipes online, where you can mix and match herbal ingredients, essential oils, textures, scents, and designs.
2. Construct a molecule
Make science something your child experiments with every day. It can be difficult to tie science to everyday life—particularly when you discuss concepts that can’t always be seen with the naked eye. Middle school students should be able to conceptualize the cellular and molecular structure of living matter. By building tactile learning aids, you are allowing your young scientist to visualize each element in the overall design and its function. Your child will be able to see the hierarchy between matter, molecules, and atoms. Pick up a few supplies (like toothpicks, cornstarch clay, and paint), and let your student get to work. The combination of artistic effort and knowledge recall can help reinforce your at-home science lessons.
3. Write and perform a play
Allow your students to unleash their imaginative side through a story or play. They will likely enjoy the creative aspect of writing and producing a play so much that they won’t even realize the work they are putting into developing writing and communication skills. Discuss concepts like conflict, plot lines, and character development. Then, use household items to design sets and costumes, and allow the fun to unfold. This is also the perfect opportunity to teach about narrative voice, specialized manuscript terminology, and the history of the performing arts in society and culture. For an additional academic boost, ask your students to write and perform the play based on a previously assigned reading.
4. Compose a song or learn to play music
Whether learning an instrument or composing their own songs, music is an excellent way to enrich a middle school-level curriculum. Musicianship can help boost critical-thinking skills, as performers reading music are required to process several bits of information at once. The emotional benefits of learning and playing a musical instrument are manifold as well. While this may seem like a costly endeavor, there are plenty of ways to curb spending by renting or borrowing instruments, sharing musical lessons with siblings or neighbors, and seeking out materials online. If your student has previous experience with a musical instrument, he or she can delve into the world of music theory and learn about the elements of songwriting.
5. Design products for sale
Educational art can also include the development of more practical skills. Creating jewelry, for example, is a great way to teach your middle schooler about merging passion with work ethic and business sense. Your student will conceptualize and craft a product to sell among family, friends, and the community. You can work with your student to develop a “budget”—how much money should he or she spend to buy supplies, and how much can he or she realistically expect to make by selling the finished goods? Reflect upon the price differences between store-bought items and homemade items. This can be a great lesson in responsibility and fiscal awareness for your middle schooler.
You can also encourage your student to donate a percentage or all of the proceeds to a local charity, emphasizing the importance of generosity and involvement in the community. Whether its crocheting for a cause or organizing a bake sale for the local fire station, your student can pair creativity and passion with doing good.
Art is an excellent way to show your middle schoolers the interactive and creative side of learning. By introducing fun crafts into your day-to-day lessons, you’re helping your students develop special skills and interests that have benefits beyond the realm of the arts. Engaging and reinforcing, art lessons can boost your child’s interest in learning while challenging him or her to tackle something new.
Sasa Afredi is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, a global marketplace for finding independent tutors.
« Newer Posts — Older Posts »
Starting Homeschooling Back Up After Winter Break
This is a guest blog post written by Jonathan Leger
After winter break, many homeschooling families need a change. Here are some ways to change things around and make them work for you after the winter break.
Following the same routine day in and day out can quickly become monotonous. To help relieve some of this monotony switch the schedule around.
Try starting the day out backward and do the subject that was normally done last prior to the winter break, first in the day. Mix things up and alternate days for specific subjects.
Have some fun in the snow for physical education and go sledding, tubing or build a snowman or snow fort.
Brainstorm with children and find some creative crafts that they may be interested in pursuing. This could include jewelry making, photography and the like. It may be a career making decision or a passing phase, incorporate it into the lessons and allow your children to explore their creative sides.
For spelling and reading, consider incorporating word games into the daily routine. It’s amazing what changing one simple subject activity can do for the mind as well as to relieve the monotony.
One of the best reasons to homeschool is that there is less stress. Reducing stress frees children up to learn more readily. Relax and allow your children to learn at their own pace. If a child isn’t into a subject, decide what they are into and find a way to incorporate that into their curriculum.
It’s easy to get caught up in what is going on in public school and try to tailor your home school to function the same way, the truth is, home schooling doesn’t function at all in the same fashion and that is the beauty of homeschooling. Your child can learn at his or her own pace and focus on what he or she is good at doing without stress.
Have Some Fun
You can change out the routine at any time and still maintain your school day. A trip to the doctor can provide an educational opportunity.
A trip to the grocery store can be educational. A trip to the post office can teach children all sorts of valuable information. Don’t focus so intently upon the educational value of everyday mundane things and watch how they naturally incorporate themselves into your homeschooling curriculum.
Allow your children to ask questions at the grocery store, pharmacy, post office and everywhere else that you go. Take them with you and give them these unique learning opportunities.
When the day is done, ask them what they have learned. They should be able to give you a brief run down of what they learned that day.
Regardless of the reasons you choose to homeschool, take the time to have some fun. It’s okay to spend an afternoon outside throwing snowballs and creating a fort.
It’s okay to spend the day out at the park and have a picnic. Focus on reasons to spend time together and build up the family. Allow education to happen naturally and don’t push it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your children learn once you do this.
Lead By Example
If you’re involved in a homeschool group, lead by example. Step up to the plate and let your children see you involved. Help at the special events. Get your children involved helping at special events. The more your children see you willing to help the more they will be willing to help as well.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to homeschool your children. Go with what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to change things around now and again to break the monotony and keep the momentum going.
About the Author
Jonathan Leger is a freelance writer and small business owner. He runs a popular question and answer site at a popular question and answer site at answerthis.co.