Tips for Teaching Your Struggling Student
(from a homeschool mom who has survived to tell it!)
Do you have a child like this?
He (or she) sits down with a page of problems or questions in front of him. Two hours later he has done only three of them (and two of them are wrong!) You have tried everything to get him to do his work. Rewards work only for a day or two, and now all you know to do is punish him and take away privileges—and you find you must do that daily, if not hourly. People have suggested that he has a “learning deficiency,” but you can see that he is very smart and that he has a very logical mind—in fact, he often shows a great deal of common sense. He can figure things out or fix something that is broken. He can sit for hours doing something he wants to do (so much for the “attention deficit”). You know there is no problem with his brain. So you conclude that he must be either lazy or rebellious. Yet when you talk to him, he really seems like he wants to try, and you are certain that he wants to please you.
I had a child like this! And I have spent many hours talking to other mothers who have one. I would like to share some tips with you that I believe will make a big difference for you and your student. Below are just a few of my tips for teaching and motivating your child. You can view and print the entire document free at www.statehistory.net.
- Your goal is learning, not busywork. Copywork can be used as a “punishment” because it takes time and effort away from things he wants to do, but it will not be a learning tool with this child. He can copy pages upon pages without ever engaging his brain.
- Your goal is mastering a skill, not doing a certain number of problems or pages. If he can master the skill in five problems, why make him do twenty? (Remember, though, that he will need to reinforce the skill by review work on successive days. You cannot assume that learning it on one particular day means that he has mastered it forever.)
- Your goal is to make him engage his mind. If he is not learning, then he has not engaged his mind. If he does not engage his mind, he will not learn. Unless he engages his mind, you are both wasting time.
- Start by giving him only what you know he can do and gradually increase the amount he can do until he can work independently.
- Competition should be directed toward competing against himself and seeing his own progress. Otherwise, it will just intimidate and discourage him.
- His greatest motivation will be saving himself work and getting finished more quickly. This may appear to be laziness, but it can be turned into efficiency and diligence. Make him see that by applying himself diligently to something in the beginning, he saves himself work in the long run. What better life lesson could there be than this?
- Never “settle” for less than mastery. You may lower the level temporarily if you see that he is unable to master it, but after you back up to a simpler step always return to the harder step. Every time he says “this is too hard” and then actually accomplishes it, make a big deal of it. It will give him encouragement the next time he faces something that he thinks is too hard.
© 2003 by Joy Dean. Published by A Helping Hand, www.statehistory.net
VISIT www.statehistory.net for curriculum by this author for age 4 through grade 12, including hands-on state history project studies available for all 50 states as well as US History and US Geography workbooks that cover all 50 states in order of statehood.
The Arbor Day Foundation has a Nature Explore Program for children, complete with a Families’ Club, and more.
Although membership isn’t necessary, it only costs $10–and you receive TEN FREE TREES, in addition to The Tree Book, with planting and care information, the Arbor Day bimonthly newsletter, a membership card, and discounts on more than 100 varieties of trees.
And today is Arbor Day–what an appropriate day to check out all this organization and website have to offer.
Fun–and fun learning is forever learning!
Everyone likes trees….and we all know we need trees. But did you know the following?
- One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. U.S. Department of Agriculture
- There are between 60 and 200 million spaces along our city streets where trees could be planted. This translates to the potential to absorb 33 million more tons of CO2 every year, and save $4 billion in energy costs. National Wildlife Federation
- Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save between 20 and 50 percent in energy used for heating. USDA Forest Service
- Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value. USDA Forest Service
Fun links that might be of interest–
And remember, fun learning is forever learning!
Homeschool Graduation Ideas
The moment you’ve worked toward for so many years has finally arrived. Your homeschooler has completed his last lesson, and now it’s time to celebrate the completion of his home education. You want to recognize all those years of effort and hard work, but what do you do to honor your homeschool high school graduate? After consulting your child to see what he might enjoy, here are a few ideas to make his graduation unforgettable:
Join other homeschoolers from your state for graduation ceremonies.
Many larger state homeschool associations organize graduation ceremonies to coincide with their annual homeschool conventions. Parents of graduating seniors can contact their state homeschool association several months prior to the convention to add their child’s name to the graduating list. (Note: A fee may be required). Resembling a traditional school ceremony, the festivities usually involve a cap and gown ceremony, along with a diploma presentation, a special speaker, and refreshments for family and friends following the ceremony.
Organize a local graduation ceremony within your homeschool support group.
Many homeschool graduates prefer attending a smaller ceremony with other graduates they know from their homeschool support group. These ceremonies can be as carefree as the individual homeschoolers graduating. However, if several graduates are involved, it’s best to meet well in advance with the families involved to plan logistics. Here are a few important questions to ask:
– Should a professional photographer take senior portraits?
– Will there be custom-printed announcements or invitations?
– Where will the ceremony be held?
– Who will be the master of the ceremony?
– Will all of the graduates write a speech to share their goals and express their thanks to those who have mentored them along the way?
– Will tassels, caps, and gowns be the same color, or will each child have his own colors?
– Will the diplomas be custom-made or ordered?
– Will there be a special speaker, such as a pastor, a coach, or parents?
– Will there be games, refreshments, or a time for fellowship following the ceremony?
– Will the food be catered or potluck?
Plan a private celebration with family and friends.
Another option preferred by many homeschoolers is sending out invitations to celebrate with close family, friends, and mentors who have been involved in the graduate’s life and education. This celebration might involve a meal at your child’s favorite restaurant or a special ceremony that honors your graduate’s achievements over the years. Consider adding a virtual component for guests who can’t attend in person. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and others can be offered the opportunity to speak and give the graduate a special blessing. A private celebration is also a great opportunity to feature any special gifts or talents your graduate may want to share, such as a short music recital. Complete with a guest book, party decorations, gifts, photos, and his own diploma, this can be a memorable time for your child with those he loves most.
Take official cap-and-gown photos or videos.
Sure, senior pictures are fun, but it’s also nice to have pictures taken of your student on graduation day. This significant moment deserves to be documented. Consider asking a talented family friend or hiring a professional photographer or videographer to capture your student’s achievement, even if there is no official ceremony.
Skip the party and splurge on a special trip or gift.
If your child isn’t into “mushy stuff,” consider making his graduation from high school special with a memorable trip or gift. Travel to a part of the United States he’s always wanted to see and spend an entire week together enjoying new scenery, people, and experiences. If your budget allows, you could also give your child a much-wanted gift, such as a new computer to further a college education or a car to open up new opportunities for employment.
Whether your child chooses a large graduation ceremony or a simple dinner party with a few friends and family members, be sure to make your graduate feel special. This is his moment, and it should be touching, heartfelt, and memorable. Most of all, savor all that you and your child have accomplished together as a homeschooling family and have fun enjoying the graduation event.
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.
Tech Rocket is an online learning platform, built by iD Tech. The site offers programming courses in languages like Java, C++, Python, and iOS app development, and also Game Design tracks including Minecraft Modding and other popular 2D and 3D platforms. The courses are designed for kids and teens ages 10-18.
We reviewed their Swift Wildfire: Business as Usual course. This is an introductory course into the world of iOS app building using Apple’s new programming language, Swift, and developing application Xcode. No knowledge of Swift and Xcode is required, but basic understanding of programming is required.
What we liked about the course:
- The install process was a breeze.
- This course provides an in depth, hands-on approach for the iOS beginner.
- It’s thorough – with 8 levels and 24 challenges.
- There is a clear goal and the chapters break down uniformly with a good length for each section.
- The course is easy to follow with clear buttons and next steps.
- The characters interact with the flow of the course.
- The animation is age appropriate and engaging.
- The program is easy to pause as you check your work or rewind it to watch a section again.
- Being able to pause and look at the code is a nice feature.
- The questions are relevant to the course section that you just completed. This encourages interaction and reinforces what you learned in the chapter.
- There are great fact sheets that provide for more explanations and digging deeper into the material.
- You don’t feel rushed – you can go at your own pace.
- You can leave the course and come back easily right where you left off.
- If your student needs a little help s/he can get it. Tech Rocket courses have built-in hints to help get students past tough concepts. Need further help, or just want to talk to a fellow human? You can start a chat with one of their Live Coaches. Or, your student can visit the social forums and ask, browse, and answer questions and seek help from his/her fellow peers.
- You get to see the apps that you helped build run in simulation mode on your computer live while you do the course – which is very rewarding.
- Students are taught how to build TWO functional mobile apps.
- The platform gives you enough ideas to create your own apps off of the course and try your own things – again, very rewarding.
- It’s affordable! Free courses are available and you have monthly options of $19 or $29. Click hereto learn more.
- The program is fun – and fun is always good!
Fun, educational, STEM oriented – you might want to check out Tech Rocket and Swift Wildfire: Business as Usual (or their other courses!).
Super Teacher Worksheets: A Recipe for Homeschool Success
Homeschooling is all about trying new things and finding what works best for your child, just like perfecting a recipe. Super Teacher Worksheets has a growing presence in the education community for its vast collection of quality educational printables and activities. If you’re looking to spice up your homeschool curriculum with new printable resources, then discover the wonderful ingredients Super Teacher Worksheets has to offer.
Among the more than 10,000 printable resources you can find on Super Teacher Worksheets, the multiplication worksheets stand out as one of the most popular collections on the site. Does your homeschooler need to practice quick problem-solving? Check out the multiplication timed quizzes. Would you like to spend some time reviewing basic facts with your child? Give the multiplication task cards a try. There are also plenty of options for incorporating fun into multiplication lessons with educational games. Take a look at the multiplication bingo games, mystery pictures, origami fortune tellers, memory matching game, and number bonds. You’ll find much more than this, so be sure to sample all the great multiplication resources here!
As a homeschool educator, you know what’s important for your child’s homeschool education, and giving your homeschooler the tools to becoming a good writer is one of those things. That’s where spelling lessons come in. Add a generous helping of exceptional spelling lessons by using the Super Teacher Worksheets spelling lists and worksheets. Recently, Super Teacher Worksheets recreated their entire spelling curriculum. Now each grade from first through fifth contains thirty units of spelling curriculum, as well as a variety of supportive spelling activities for each unit. Your child can complete alphabetical order worksheets, scrambled spelling words activities, complete the sentences activities, and fix the misspelled word exercises. There is even more to try, so fill up with great spelling worksheets.
You can never give your homeschooler enough reading practice! When it comes to reading comprehension, Super Teacher Worksheets has an incredible variety. Is your child interested in superheroes, pirates, or princesses? Find fictional reading passages to meet your child’s unique interests. Are you looking for a nonfiction article to complement your lesson on stink bugs? Super Teacher Worksheets has you covered! Animal articles, science passages, and other nonfiction reading comprehension worksheets are available in the reading collection. Each of the reading comprehension worksheets includes comprehension questions, vocabulary words, and a writing prompt. Reading comprehension worksheets are available from first grade through fifth grade.
What would you find useful on a printable resources website? Many homeschooling families find the fraction worksheets on Super Teacher Worksheets very helpful. Whether your child excels in this area, struggles with fractions, or seems to be somewhere in between, you’ll find great activities to support fraction lessons. The Super Teacher Worksheets fractions collection includes: fraction introduction worksheets, cut-and-paste fractions, fraction shapes, and manipulative fraction tools. Explore and enjoy with your homeschooler!
Finally, what’s a homeschool curriculum without educational activities for the holidays? One of the most popular holiday pages on Super Teacher Worksheets is the Christmas worksheets page. Imagine how much fun your homeschooler will have with the myriad of activities here: Christmas bingo; Christmas graph mystery pictures; crossword puzzles; word search puzzles; riddles; letter to Santa; cut-out crafts; paper bag puppets; Christmas countdowns; holiday-themed reading comprehension passages; Christmas-themed math worksheets; and a whole lot more. Create meaningful memories with your child as you help them learn and celebrate the season at the same time!
You, the homeschool educator, are such an invaluable figure in your child’s life. As parent, teacher, helper, and fellow explorer, you have the ability to shape your child’s education and worldview in a powerful way. Super Teacher Worksheets is here for you! Homeschooling doesn’t have to be boring, rigid, or irrelevant, and with the printable resources on Super Teacher Worksheets, you are sure to find the perfect recipe for your child’s success.
What a great concept to instill in our children. Yes, Earth Day is today, but it’s our responsibility EVERY day, to do what we can, to protect the Earth. Choose actions that you and your family can continue throughout the year, whether it’s recycling, composting, donating unwanted items to charity or any of the ideas listed here–http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0775891.html.
And of course, have fun with it, because fun learning is forever learning!
Earth Day Pancakes
(Earth Day is April 22nd)
This is a guest blog post written by Renae C.
Homeschool fun – start your kids off right for Earth Day by making these pancakes in the shape of the planet Earth! Simply take your favorite pancake mix (I like Krusteaz) and follow the directions. Next, separate 2/3 of the mix into one bowl, and 1/3 of the mix in another. In the larger bowl add blue food coloring and add green to the smaller bowl.
You will want a piping bag, or if you don’t have one on hand (I didn’t), then you can make a temporary one yourself. You will need some wax paper, which you should fold in half, and roll it into a cone. Tape the sides and you’re done.
Now that you have mixed your batter and you have your piping bag, you will need to load the green batter into the bag. Then pour the blue batter onto your greased skillet, making sure it makes more of a circular shape than an oval one. Take your piping bag and pipe green batter in the shape of the continents (or as close as you can manage!).
Finish the pancakes the way that you regularly would. I made my pancakes in advance, so all I will have to do in the morning is pull them out, heat them up, and serve.
Renae C. is a homeschooling mom and blogger. She writes ‘Mostly Together Mommy’ (www.mtmommy.com).
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The Global Oneness Project offers multicultural stories and accompanying lesson plans for high school and college classrooms. Their award-winning collection of films, photo essays, and articles explore cultural, social, and environmental issues with a humanistic lens. The curriculum content contains an interdisciplinary approach to learning and facilitates the development of active, critical thinking. Each month, they release a new story and accompanying lesson plan. All of the content and resources are available for free with no ads or subscriptions.
Their films have been featured on National Geographic, PBS, The Atlantic,The New York Times, The New Yorker, and at the Smithsonian, among others. Their educational materials are being used in diverse settings around the country including Chicago Public Schools, MIT, UC Berkeley, and AltSchool.
Just thought you might want to check it out!