I have to say, I LOVE math “tricks”. Here is one that’s perfect for April Fool’s Day! Because when all is said and done, the answer is
3 5 5 6 3 8 4 2 7
L O O F L I R P A
Now read the answer backward!
Still, your kids will enjoy it!
Wyndham Vacation Rentals
My School Year
University of Nebraska
Master Books ®
Garlic Press, Inc.
Home Science Tools
High School (UNHS)
I have to say, I LOVE math “tricks”. Here is one that’s perfect for April Fool’s Day! Because when all is said and done, the answer is
3 5 5 6 3 8 4 2 7
Now read the answer backward!
Still, your kids will enjoy it!
Creating An Atmosphere Of Peace In Our Home – This is a guest blog post written by Sandra McCollom. Sandra is the author of I Tried Until I Almost Died: From Anxiety and Frustration to Rest and Relaxation (WaterBrook Press, March 2015).
I used to be the queen of creating an atmosphere of anxiety and frustration in my home, but now, by the grace of God, more often than not I am able to create an atmosphere of peace.
What happened? I found out I had a truck-load of fears that were driving my negative reactions toward people and circumstances. There was so much turmoil going on inside me all the time that I would constantly react out of that turmoil.
But thankfully in early January of 2012, God began to show me His great and unconditional love for me. He showed me that He loved me for me, not for what I do. He loved me just because I was His daughter. This revelation of God’s love along with a true understanding of God’s grace completely transformed my life!
Of course, this transformation has taken time. It’s been a journey for sure, but one thing I’ve noticed from the very first day, is the more of God’s love I let into my life, the more fear went out.
1 John 4:18 says,
18 There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love aturns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear bbrings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection]. (AMP)
Once I started losing my fears, I also stopped striving to earn my way into God’s good graces and simply began to accept God’s grace on the bad days, as well as the good days.
My family noticed a positive difference in me and in our home. My twin girls were wondering where the old Mom had gone – the one who was often overly-serious and never had much fun.
Interestingly enough, when I began to relax in God’s love my kids did too! I was then able to help my girls track their wrong reactions back to fears in their own lives. For example: one of them was having a bad attitude during Math class. Instead of saying, “Stop it, you just need to stop it,” as I would have previously, I now realized that Starr’s attitude was coming from some kind of fear. I would stop her and say, “What’s wrong Starr? What are you afraid of?” Then we discovered that she was afraid of being inadequate, so we talked about how Jesus is perfectly adequate and that Starr can make the choice to put all of her confidence in Jesus, the perfectly adequate One, to help her understand her Math lesson instead of continuing to focus on her own inadequacies.
This really helped my girls when we started getting to the root of their wrong behaviors. Their confidence went up, up, up. Why? Because their confidence was no longer in themselves and their own ability, but instead it was in Jesus’ ability in them!
My other daughter, Angel, who had previously struggled with lying, has even stopped hiding the truth and has instead been coming to us on her own the last number of months to confess her wrong choices. She was scared to do this before for two reasons: she didn’t know how I was going to react and she did not realize that she was loved by God…unconditionally, even when she made mistakes. Again, when Angel began to let God’s love in, her fears went out.
Us McColloms—we’re not perfect by any means—but we’re certainly enjoying a much greater level of peace in our home than we’ve ever had before. Thank God for the transforming power of His love and grace!
Sandra McCollom is the author of I Tried Until I Almost Died: From Anxiety and Frustration to Rest and Relaxation (WaterBrook Press, March 2015). You can find her online at SandraMcCollom.com.
Teaching Writing that is Fun to Read
Written by Crystal Pratt
“I’m going to tell you about…” Seeing this phrase at the beginning of a paragraph/essay/research paper is, to me, the equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. I’m also not a real big fan of the “first, next, then, last” system much past third grade. Writing, even expository writing, doesn’t have to be boring.
Of course, the first thing a writer needs to keep in mind is the audience that the work is intended for. For example, if your high school senior is writing an essay for a college application, he probably doesn’t want to open with a joke… But with that in mind, teaching your child the following tips when teaching writing will not only make the writing more interesting, but the quality of his writing will be improved.
Hook your audience.
The reason movies or television shows open with an exciting or suspenseful scene is to get your attention and keep it. A good hook will draw your readers in so that they want to keep reading. A hook can consist of a number of things: a quotation, a question, an exclamation, reveal something startling, or provide a description. The goal is to get your reader into your second paragraph.
There are several words and phrases that your writer can use to get from paragraph to paragraph. However, I implore you to teach your child how to use these transitions correctly. I once made the mistake of simply giving a 6th grade class a handout containing transition words. I got pages and pages full of paragraphs that started with “In addition…” The transition word or phrase used should be relevant. I suggest keeping a handout or printout of transitional words and phrases as a permanent component of your child’s writing folder. A quick Google search with the terms “writing transition” will give you plenty of options to choose from so that you can print out a list that is suitable for your child’s age level.
There’s nothing more distracting than trying to read something full of grammatical errors. I’ve had students write the most wonderful, creative stories, but the quality of the story is lost in the run-on sentences, the misspelled words, and the random capital letters. You’ll probably find that your child is not overly receptive to your asking for these errors to be addressed, but it is an important part of the writing process. A technique I like to use is to give the child a familiar piece of work (a fairy tale, poem, etc.) and fill it full of errors. It is uncomfortable to read and the student often sees the value in writing with correct grammar. It doesn’t make them any happier about having to correct the errors, but at least they know why they are doing it.
This is a set of writing tricks complied by a teacher from Texas (Mary Ellen Ledbetter). Using these tips in your writing adds life and depth to your writing. Some of these tips include using hyphenated modifiers (adjectives), using figurative language, and using parallel groups of words. (I just did that, did you catch it?) Again, you can do a Google search for “Smiley Face Tricks” to find many, many copies of Ms. Ledbetter’s tips.
My final tip is going to go here, in my concluding paragraph. Can you guess what my final tip is? End your writing. Even if your story has a cliffhanger, it should have an ending. Wrap things up. (There are tips for full-circle endings in the Smiley Face Tricks). Summarize and let your reader know that you are done imparting information or telling your story. In summary, teaching your child to utilize some of these tricks when writing will make their writing more interesting, more informative, and more likely to hold a reader’s interest.
Crystal Pratt is an employee of Calvert Education Services. She has been involved in education for 20 years. Crystal is a certified teacher, a writer, and a lover of all things that sparkle.
This is a guest blog post written by Julie Brill.
Homeschoolers are ____________________.
Could you fill in the blank? The more homeschoolers I know, the less I’m able to generalize about them. Families homeschool for different reasons. The homeschooling movement includes everything from the religious right to unschoolers. There are kids who have never been to school, and ones who drop out to homeschool.
My girls are fifteen and eighteen, and until my older daughter started college last fall they both had been homeschooled their whole lives. My younger one will homeschool until she turns eighteen, and then likely enroll in a four year college. When I posted pictures recently of her being inducted into Phi Theta Kappa at the community college where she’s earning her associates degree, several friends messaged me to ask what curriculum I recommend. I was little help because we’ve never used one.
The longer we homeschool the more I understand the benefits. When my girls were little, homeschooling seemed like a natural extension of the fulltime parenting I was already doing. I wanted them to experience a non-academic kindergarten year, so we kept on doing projects and having lots of time for free play and being outdoors. First grade was easy; I wasn’t intimidated by early reading and math. We just kept going from there.
We were lucky that the homeschooling movement grew up around us. We knew lots of homeschoolers. Our rec department ran a homeschool gymnastics class and our library had a homeschool reading group. Parents on email lists organized day trips. My kids took homeschool nature walks, ceramic classes, performed plays. Homeschool parents joke about the socialization question we frequently get, because our kids are out in the world socializing all the time, and not just with kids their own age.
Along the way I saw the biggest gift homeschooling gives children is the time to follow their own passions, engage in creative play, be spontaneous, go on fieldtrips, hang out with family and friends, spend time alone. The job of childhood, well it’s a lifelong job really, is to figure out who you are, what you’re passionate about, why you’re here. Homeschoolers have the flexibility to learn the answers to these questions, and so can enter adulthood ready to get down to business. They know who they are, and how they learn. They’re passionate and curious.
My daughter dove into her freshman year at a highly selective New England college. She got permission to carry more credits than first year students are normally allowed. She chose classes, auditioned for dance performances, choir, and a play. She volunteered with Dance for Parkinson’s, and got to work self-designing a theater tech major. She made friends. She didn’t struggle with time management, laundry, or academics because she already had those skills. Her first semester she earned a 4.0 and was invited to a dinner with twenty-seven other freshmen. There were five tables, but my daughter has had enough adult social interaction to confidently sit next to the college president.
Homeschooling gives families the chance to be together and not just in the frantic mornings, or the tired, cranky time after school. When you homeschool you don’t give the best part of the day to someone else. Kids can learn at their own rate, and the secret of academics, especially in the early years, is they just don’t take that much time. Kids can do a day’s worth of academics in an hour in the morning, and be done with a year’s worth of math before the snow melts.
My daughter called me recently from college. Her education class assignment was to examine her own learning experiences, to study biases she might be bringing into the classroom as a teacher. Her professor suggested she call to discover what negative school experiences I had which led me to homeschool. How that question misses the mark. It assumes school is the educational norm, and only a negative experience could drive a parent from sending her children.
My own school years weren’t bad, but there was lots of wasted time. I brought books from home to read in some of those gaps. There was busy work and lots of lining up. We asked permission to go to the bathroom. I was praised for knowing the answer, and learned to judge myself against other kids in the class.
For most of human history parents enjoyed the pleasure and responsibility of educating our own children. Who is more invested in them being able to lead successful adult lives than us? I don’t homeschool in reaction to problems in schools, I told my daughter, though I was certainly happy to spare her from standardized tests, hours of sitting every day, wasted time, competition.
I choose homeschooling because of what’s possible when you free children from school. A day can be spent on an art project, a play, a trip to the museum, curled on the couch with a stack of library books. The first day that feels like spring you stay outdoors. Life isn’t divided into educational and free time because, as John Holt said, homeschoolers are learning all the time. The natural curiosity all kids have is protected and nourished.
If I had it to do again, I would spend even less time in the early years on formal academics, and more time building, creating, listening to stories, acting, baking. That’s what builds intelligence and creativity. Books are wonderful, but they aren’t the best place to learn about nature or problem solving. We kept goats and chickens and had a garden, and I would start that all sooner. We’d travel more. The future is uncertain. The best tools we can give our kids are the ability to think outside the box, to diversify, to communicate. A homeschool mom whose kids are grown said to me recently, homeschoolers know how to cook and build things, and how to make a funnel out of a piece of paper. They know how to learn, and that’s the most important skill of all.
Bio: Julie Brill sees education along a continuum and feels that she’s been homeschooling her daughters, who are now teens, since birth. Along the way her views of what children are capable of have expanded, and her own love of learning has deepened. She’s fascinated by different learning styles and how learning occurs.
Julie teaches childbirth education, newborn care, and breastfeeding, and trains childbirth educators and doulas at www.WellPregnancy.com. Her first book, Round the Circle: Experienced Doulas Share What They’ve Learned will be available this spring at www.RoundtheCircle.com.
For a person who most definitely didn’t grow up liking math at all -in fact, I had quite an aversion to it to be honest – it is shocking that I am once again, writing a post about all the FUN Niamh and I have been having with Math!!! As we are very busy running from program to program, we have come across ways to enjoy math on-the-go and it would be very unfair for us not to share with all of you, so here you have it!
Upon researching stimulating ways to engage Niamh in mathematics, I came across the following brilliant ideas:
License Plate Math
While you are driving in the car, randomly select license plates to work with. Try skip counting, using the first or the last digit in the license plate. You may even try ordering the individual digits from greatest to least or least to greatest!
Did you hear what became of the humans on Earth?
Choose a color or a make and model of vehicle. Each person in the car then predicts how many cars bearing that particular color or make/model they will see from the beginning of your trip to the end. Have your child tally the number of cars spotted and give the grand total at the end of your drive, announcing the winner! (encourage your child to think about how many cars he/she thinks you will pass in a specific time frame. Ask if he/she thinks that number will increase or decrease depending on the distance you are traveling, the time of day and even ‘where’ you travel – highway, city, rural streets)
I’ve written about this before, but it definitely warrants a re-post.Instead of hogging the GPS to yourself, hand it over to your child with our children exposed to so much technology, they navigate around a GPS quicker, and discover more hidden uses than we do!
Hand him/her the GPS on your next trip as I always do with Niamh. Allow your child to direct your trip and give as many prompts as you can -Will I be turning left up here, or right? How many miles do we have left to travel? Is 2.6 mi closer to 2 or 3 miles? In how many ‘equal pieces’ does the GPS break a mile? What time is it right now? What time does the GPS estimate we will arrive? How much time do we have left to travel?
This is just a few of the many ways to engage your child in mathematics as you travel. So, instead of singing,John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidtone more time on the road, engage your children in on-the-go mathematics!
Multiplication with Playing Cards
Remember Multiplication Facts To Music? Well, here’s another wonderful way to practice multiplication facts with your child and have fun doing it:
1. Take out a deck of playing cards and your child’s multiplication table/grid up to 12.
This site will give you more information on The License Plate, Predictability and Multiplication card games – New York Adventures in Homeschooling!
Get into Math! It’s Cool!
This is a guest blog post from Carreen Schroeder and New York Adventures in Homeschooling!
Creation Illustrated is a Bible-based nature magazine. It publishes every season (fall, winter, spring and summer), and each magazine’s articles, recipes, photos and more are coordinated to the specific season.
Each magazine has a similar format, and things that stood out to me include:
Back issues are available for purchase too.
And fyi, FREEbies are available on their website (everyone loves freebies!) – http://www.creationillustrated.com/article/14/freebies.
Creation Illustrated helps students unplug and get out into nature while helping Moms and the whole family “Stop and smell the roses”. Really, after reading a magazine and looking at the pictures, you’ll want to get up close and personal with flowers, leaves, and nature in general!
22 Years Strong as the Leading Bible-based Nature Journal
Readers call it, “The Christian answer to National Geographic” — EVERY ISSUE A KEEPSAKE!
Spring Break (Educational!) Fun
This is a guest blog post written by Jennifer Campbell, from RedAppleReading.com.
Red Apple Reading has five spring break ideas that will not only bring a smile to your kiddos’ faces, but will engage their minds as well.
Write and Illustrate a Book – This spring break, why not collaborate on a book as a family? Come up with a story and assign each member a job (author, editor, illustrator, etc.). There are several different story creation websites (such as StoryJumper) that can be helpful in this endeavor. When your project is complete, send off your book for publishing. Your kiddos will have a beautiful book to show off and they will have learned about the writing process as well.
Put on a Play – Anyone who has ever read Little Women knows how much fun the March sisters had creating and putting on plays. Have your little men and women produce, direct, and act in their very own production over spring break. After daily rehearsals they will be ready to perform their play for friends, neighbors and grandparents at the end of the week!
Tour a Local Business/Charity – Your children’s spring vacation provides a good opportunity to tour a local business or charity organization in the community. For instance, local farmers are usually happy to give tours and explain the ins and outs of farming if you call and set up an advanced appointment. Also, if there is a charitable community organization you would like to know more about, set up a time to tour the facility and ask questions. Afterward, arrange a time to come back and volunteer as a family!
Enjoy Cultural Evenings – Tour the world over spring break without ever leaving your town! Pick 5 different countries and have a dinner each evening featuring cuisine from one region. Make sure to involve the whole family in these cultural evenings by enlisting everyone’s help. Have the kids do research about the country of the day and present their findings over dinner. Children also should help mom or dad prepare the meal. By the end of the week, your kids will have acquired new knowledge about 5 different countries and made some fun family memories in the process!
Learn a New Skill Together – Hopefully, your child is constantly taking in and learning new information at school; but when was the last time you (the parent) learned something new? Just because your school career is complete doesn’t mean your education has to be as well. Over spring vacation, join your children in the educational process and learn a new skill together. Take knitting lessons at your local knitting supply shop, buy a bird identification book and bird watch, or join ancestry.com and research your heritage. Whether you choose one of these activities or something different, the important part is learning and doing it together!
This spring break, avoid allowing the kids to sit in front of the television or computer all day. Instead, plan an exciting and educational week that your kids will always remember. If you have a spare moment, treat the kids to some computer time and visit us at Red Apple Reading. Like your spring break plans, you will find that we are both fun and educational!
Jennifer Campbell is a mom of 4 and blog writer for RedAppleReading.com. Red Apple Reading offers online learning fun for your kiddos during spring break.
Did you give 100%, today?
I was so worried, pacing back and forth in my room before I decided to get the courage and just walked out into the kitchen and handed my mom and dad my report card. I’ll never forget this moment, I was 16 and I gave my mom and dad my report card with a D in history, one of my dad’s favorite subjects. My heart was beating super-fast, my hands were sweating, and legs were shaking. I decided to pull the Band-Aid off fast and handed him the report card. I was ready for my punishment. Was I going to get grounded, lose my computer, or the phone? I did not know.
Instead the outcome was something I never expected. My dad said “I noticed you got a D in History?” I responded with a shaky voice “Yes Sir”. “Son, Let me ask you something, did you give your best for this class? Did you give it 100% effort to pass this class with an A?” I quickly answered, “No Dad, I really didn’t give it 100%.” I never knew that the words that he was about to say would change my life forever “Whether it is a History Class, a girlfriend, job, friendship or a business venture, you give it 100%, no matter what. I want you to go to your room and just think about what I just said.”
I didn’t realize the importance of that message while sitting in my room, but years later it hit me hard while studying macroeconomics in college. I realized that there are 168 hours in a week and If I were to give 100% towards anything that would mean 168 hours a week I would have to work to achieve 100% efforts, but I don’t think that is what my dad meant, so what did he mean. This is when It hit me, OH my dad means read this economics book from page one until the last page (100% of the book), attend every class (100% of classes), listen to the professor (100% of the time), take notes (100% of the time), read your notes after each class (100% of the notes), and give every effort to learn everything in the economics book (100% knowledge). When I took my final exam and I got a 100% I realized this is giving 100%.
As time went on, I applied this approach to everything I did, I joined 12 organization in college, pledged Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, took 18 hours a semester with a 4.0 GPA, worked in my cookie company and I gave each of these 100%. I went back to my dad and explained that I was giving everything 100%, my dad immediately responded “Son, I’m really proud of you, but one last thing you need to do every night; ask yourself every night before you go to bed, did I give 100% today, and if your answer is yes, than you can have a great night sleep, but if you answer no than wake up the next day and don’t stop until you can answer “YES I GAVE IT 100%” and when you give 100% towards something, even if you fail, than you and I will never be disappointed because we couldn’t have given any more or tried any harder.”
Now ask yourself every night before you go to bed, did you give 100% today?
Theory Time® designs, creates and publishes material for general music theory education. They offer a K-12 Workbook Series, a Medallion Workbook Series, a Reproducible Series, Fun/Challenge Sheets, Camp Curriculum, Teaching Aids (including scale and rhythm blocks—very cute!), Games, Test Paks, Answer Sheets and MORE (over 100 products). For general website descriptions of all their products, click here. The Theory Time materials are perfect for students of voice, piano, strings, brass, woodwinds or percussion instruments. Homeschoolers can use them (you don’t need to have a music background), and professional teachers can use them as well, to teach in a studio environment. They’re very versatile—and very thorough.
The Teacher’s Editions offer the answers to the Ear Training drills, as well as the answers for every page of every workbook. The Teacher’s Edition Volume 1 covers the Primer and Grades1-3—so you don’t have to buy a Teacher’s Edition every time you purchase a workbook. That’s nice—it saves a little money.
Also nice? Theory Time offers free vocabulary drills and games –a plus for sure.
If you’re not sure which book your child should start with, Placement Tests are available. Theory Time suggests—”Late beginners should consider starting at the Grade Four workbook, or consider working through the comprehensive workbooks in the Medallion Series, beginning with the Bronze workbook.”
I took piano as a child, but haven’t played for years. I can still play easy sheet music, but I’m rusty. The Primer and the Grade 1 book were very easy/very fundamental, but there were things in the Grade 2 book that I had forgotten (quarter, half and whole rests). So for me, I started with the Primer and I’m working my way through all the books (Theory Time was kind enough to send them—I’m going to use them!).
A workbook can last an entire school year if a student completes one-three pages a week. If a student wants to play catch-up (is in the third grade but starting with the Primer), multiple workbooks can be completed during the year.
Want to learn more? You can watch a video on the Workbook Series here.
The Medallion Workbook Series is an accelerated general music theory method– an accelerated version of the K-12 series mentioned above—and spans entry-level through college prep music theory. This series is designed for adults, college students and late beginners. There are five workbooks in the Medallion series including
You can watch a video here of the series here.
I think both sets of workbooks are GREAT. They are thorough and easy to follow. They give a student confidence and a sense of accomplishment. I’m looking forward to working through all the books. That’s how great these books are—I really don’t want to miss a thing!
Theory Time is available from music distributors nationwide & font> Amazon.com. The K-12 Series books are approximately $10 on Amazon, and the Medallion books are approximately $15—what a deal!
Keyboarding – SO Important! OR Are Your Children Prepared For Online Testing?
Although the debate continues across the United States about when, how, and even whether to adopt Common Core educational standards, it’s likely that homeschooling parents and their children will be impacted in some way by one major trend Common Core will be relying on in a few years: online testing. While your state may not require homeschooled children to take or pass these computer-based exams, there are good reasons to make sure they’re prepared with adequate keyboarding skills.
2018 is a milestone year for many school districts around the country, because that’s when the guidelines set out by the Common Core program will make the final transition to phase out paper tests and focus on computer-based testing. Keyboarding is built into the curriculum already – students need to be able to use a computer keyboard and mouse, take online quizzes, and write essays and papers of one to three pages – all by the 6th grade. If you live in a state that requires compliance with these or any other educational targets, you know how important it is to make sure that your children have the skills to meet those targets. Even if you don’t have to follow outside guidelines, it’s a good idea to be aware of them; rules change quickly sometimes, on a local, state, and even federal level.
When it comes to computer and keyboarding skills, however, there are more reasons than state-based guidelines to make sure your kids are prepared for a successful future. Many employment agencies and human resources departments use computer-based testing to weed out unskilled workers. More and more jobs these days involve the use of computers, and touch typing is often required for even basic entry-level jobs, especially in an office setting. If you and your children are looking at higher education, they’ll need to be able to type quickly and accurately in order to keep up with the demands of a university degree.
While many kids are used to texting and two-finger typing, and can be fairly quick on the keyboard when sending an SMS to a friend or writing out short e-mail messages, they need to learn the principles of touch typing as early as possible. Here are some of the benefits of learning proper typing skills:
Although it’s still a few years before computers and keyboards take over from paper and pencil entirely, this is one technological trend that isn’t going away. No matter what age your child is, you can start them on a touch typing program today, and they’ll start enjoying the benefits of their new skill almost immediately. Ultimate TypingTM 2015, developed by educational software company eReflect, can be used by children as young as 6 or 7, but its personalized instructional methods means that older children and adults will get the typing training suited to their level as well. The software lets you target two goals: first, to get your kids the touch typing training they need; and second, to help them learn to use computer-based systems and tests efficiently.
Ultimate TypingTM 2015 uses video lessons, online demonstrations, interactive lesson suggestions, and fun games to teach basic and advanced touch typing skills. Because children can use the software to play games, they’ll learn to type without realizing that they’re spending time studying! The software’s progress tracking technology lets you and your child set typing goals, and see how quickly they can meet those goals.
One of the many reasons why Ultimate TypingTM 2015 is ideal for homeschooling parents is because of how easy it is to include it in any (or all) parts of your current lesson plan. You don’t have to spend more than a few minutes a day on the actual typing tutor activities, but you can still use the Ultimate TypingTM 2015 software while you’re studying other subjects. For example, if you are learning about the Arctic Ocean, you can link to articles about famous explorers, polar bears, ice sheets, and more. The software will use these articles as text for the typing exercises. That means your children will be learning about those topics as they type – a real time saver for you and your kids alike.
Contact eReflect today to find out more about the Ultimate TypingTM 2015 system, and how you can start using it to make sure your children are prepared for whatever the future may bring.
About the Author: Chassie Lee is the Content Expert for eReflect – creator of Ultimate Typing and Ultimate Typing EDU which is currently being used by tens of thousands of happy customers in over 110 countries.
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