One of my parenting goals is to further my own education in ways that will help me teach my children better. As the kids are getting older and I have more kids to teach, I see how indispensable it is for me to continue learning myself; especially learning ways that I can be a better teacher to them. The kids each have different learning styles plus I have my own teaching style–all things that need consideration. These are a few of the things I am doing right now to help me teach better:
I read, Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. I’ve seen this book praised for awhile now by other homeschooling moms and finally ordered it because a friend invited me to a Facebook group to discuss the book.
I finished this book fairly quickly. I read about 10 minutes at a time each night until done. I also poked around the authors website a bit, and will probably check it out some more. You can find more info on the book at her website http://amongstlovelythings.com/
Much of what I read in the book I have learned the hard way–through trial and error (my oldest is a graduate already and she was the experiment homeschool child!). I enjoyed reading Sarah’s thoughts and related to much of what she wrote. Relating to other moms on the same homeschooling journey is important. We can be rather isolated and left wondering if we are doing this homeschooling thing right or not. I think this book could help many moms rest at ease with all they are doing right and give them some good guidance for those areas that need improving.
The idea of “teaching from rest” isn’t about taking it easy but teaching with confidence and resting and trusting in God. The book explains this idea well and explains why it is vital to a healthy and happy homeschooling environment. After homeschooling for almost 15 years now, I can say I wish I had this book in the beginning and highly recommend it. If I had the money I would buy this book for all my friends who homeschool!
I learned new things from this book, too. I am eager to implement those things in our homeschooling. Using a loop is one I am expecting to be extremely handy. Basically a loop is taking the lessons that aren’t everyday subjects, adding them to a list and scheduling a time to do loop subjects everyday. You do not schedule the subjects by a specific day (like Latin on Mondays) but go down the list every time you sit down for loop time. I have always scheduled the non-daily subjects on specific days and that tends to make us fall behind or not do them at all on some days. I think the loop idea will be extremely helpful. We will have three loop lists; one for me, and one for my husband to do with the kids, and the older kids will have their own personal loop list for subjects they need to work on individually. I’m including mainly art projects for them on their loops because these subjects tend to get neglected and only squeezed in here and there. I plan on making loop subjects a priority in the day to insure we get them done before finishing up the other daily subjects.
Manny’s loop will look something like this:
Read a classic (I just got him King Arthur to read with the kids as a Father’s Day gift)
Spanish or Latin lessons
My loop with the kids:
Latin/Greek Root Words
Catechism — I plan on a daily lesson of the scripture readings and saint of the day already and will include a catechism lesson for the older kids and one for the younger kids in the loop time.
One of my kid’s loop will be this:
Art Lessons on Easy Peasy
Not sure what I will read now that I am finished with Teaching from Rest, but I am thinking something on Classical Education. We follow a classical approach already but further study wouldn’t hurt. Any suggestions? And again, if you haven’t read, Teaching From Rest, trust me, you really should.
The next thing I am doing is taking some lessons from a friend who is a reading teacher. She is allowing me to benefit from her years of experience teaching adults and tutoring dyslexic students. I am shocked–seriously shocked–at how complex learning to read really is. I am grateful my lovely friend is willing to share her knowledge with me. I know the kids will benefit from me learning more.
My first two readers were fairly easy to teach and are strong readers. Though I am seeing how we could’ve improved their reading and spelling skills now. The next four kids who are reading have had different learning styles from my first two and various struggles with spelling and learning. Some fast and easy to pick up, others struggling at times with much frustration for both of us.
One thing which has helped everyone is an online program we use called, Reading Eggs. You can try a free trial at www.readingeggs.com If you do sign up please mention my name so I get some additional time added to our program. I have six kids signed up on the program and have seen a lot of improvement with everyone’s reading skills, plus the kids love it and it frees up time for me to work on other areas. It’s been great for us.
I will soon be breaking the kids into two groups and doing additional phonics lessons with what my friend has taught me and using the materials she has loaned me. Learning to read and spell isn’t as easy as it seems it should be and doesn’t come easy for all students. I will write some more about this as we progress. One of the programs I am going to be using for the younger kids is called, Lively Letters. The other is, Patterns for Success in Reading and Spelling. I’ve bought several books over the years and have never been satisfied with any of our spelling or phonics programs. I am learning that is because each of the kids learning styles are so different and these skills are more complex than I ever thought. I have high hopes for these two new programs and the lessons I am getting from my friend. I’ll let you know how things go as we continue.
There are free webinars and an overview video for Lively Letters. But it is only for a limited time so check it out now if you are interested! http://www.readingwithtlc.com/
What things are you doing to improve your homeschooling days? I’d be happy to hear and learn what works in your home.