Elementary

Common Core: It's the Biggest Reform You Know Nothing About

March 31 is the launch date of Building the Machine, the first investigative documentary about the Common Core. Building the Machine will introduce the public to the Common Core States Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and its effects on our children’s education. The documentary, created by HSLDA, compiles interviews from principle educational experts, including members of the Common Core Validation Committee.

In The Moment

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, engaged in small talk, discussed one or two different topics, and shared a few ideas only to notice that they constantly look down at their phone, tablet, or gadget? As those fingers fidget, they fully disengage as they launch into a (better?) brand new conversation, leaving you standing there like a second fiddle... 

Kids Need Praise

Monday morning, fall 2002. After breakfast, the twins began their chores. I wrote a list of about three things for each boy on little yellow post-it notes a with a black marker—things like: Take out the trash; Fold laundry; Windex the sliding back door...

In the pre- school years, we had a chore chart on the fridge, but once the boys were in the elementary grades, I switched to post-it notes.

Memory Strategies to Remember!

We often hear from moms who are frustrated because their child is having difficulty recalling information from day to day. They say, “He knew his multiplication facts (long division steps, science definitions, etc.) yesterday, but today, it’s as if everything is brand new.” There are many specific strategies that can be used to help students hold onto information. Today, I thought I’d describe just a few. 

Victory!

The homeschooling community and proponents of school choice all over the world are still rejoicing over the wonderful news that the Romeike family is allowed to stay in the United States. After seeking asylum because of Germany's persecution of homeschoolers, all of us watched and hoped and prayed that they wouldn't be sent back ...

When the Supreme Court declined the Romeike case, I couldn't help but think of how I'd feel if this was our family. What if we were going through this?

What Does It Take To Homeschool? Part I

The house was unusually silent. She poured her morning coffee, and strode from the kitchen to the little school room upstairs, the carpet muffling the sound of her footsteps. She sat at her desk, took a sip of steaming coffee, and glanced around the room. A tall bookshelf in the corner, three desks, and some fluffy pillows on the floor. On the walls next her were NASA pictures, reminding her of those visits to Cape Canaveral.

Opportunities for Struggling Readers

As a reading specialist, I am always looking for great resources and opportunities to assist students with reading and print disabilities. Recently, I came across a couple of great opportunities through the organization, Learning Ally, (Formerly Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic).

Home school parents, if you have a child who struggles with reading, is dyslexic, or is impacted by a print disability, I hope you will check out these opportunities!

Supporting Persons with Disabilities through the Holidays

I am so thankful for the wonderful resources available to families who are teaching children with special needs. Technology tools, low tech adaptive equipment, multi-sensory curriculum options―these are just some of the resources that make it possible to successfully teach a child with special needs at home. In addition to those tools that you can ‘buy’ are the wonderful people resources that homeschooling families can access. One such person is Barbara Newman who is a church and school consultant for the great folks at CLC Network. She is a special education teacher, author, and speaker who has a passion for creating environments that include, support, and celebrate people with disabilities. This week, I am pleased to introduce Barbara as a guest blogger. Enjoy! 

February Is National Children's Dental Health Month

"Be sure to brush gently, okay?" I reminded the twins as they scrambled from the lunch table that afternoon. I walked upstairs and looked into the bathroom where the twins faced each other like mirror images, and pulled out their bright toothbrushes (from the pretend sheaths) and started scrubbing―as if  they were in some kind of dental competition to out-do the opponent to win the incisor-polishing contest. Just then, they both looked over at me with those toothy, second-grade grins―and giggled...

Don't Balk - Encouraging Moms to Move Forward Confidently as Homeschool Teachers

 

I never liked when the coach put one of the twins in as pitcher during those baseball games. I sat in the stands on the edge of my seat watching those husky batters step out, one by one, amidst cheers and chants, "Knock that ball outta here! Homerun!"

 

These Are The Best Years

 

There are a million little details to orchestrate each day when we manage our households and teach at home. Whether we review those multiplication tables with our third-grader for the hundredth time, stock the fridge for the thousandth time, or taxi kids to music lessons for the thirtieth time―life can be mundane, wonderful, and/or overwhelming at times―sometimes all in one day!

Artistic Flair

This winter and coming spring, let's remember to add a little art to our repertoire as teachers. In Take Time For Art, we talked about setting aside a few moments for fun, creativity, and inspiration. I gave several (practically free) ideas of things to do in order to build kids' imaginations―whether it's drawing, painting, or simply working with color...

The whole thing about art is to make it a fun activity―something that's not stressful.

Come Fly With Us

It was a cool Monday late September when Jay called to let me know that a series of vintage (1920's and 1930's) airplanes were on exhibit at Frederick's Regional Airport for the "National Air Tour". I looked out our school room window, propellers already spinning in my mind.

"Hmm... I'm not sure that I can re-arrange things, but I know that the twins would love it. And I would love it!" But I hesitated as I looked down at my planner...

The Snow Day!

I always thought it was funny when people learned that we homeschooled, and asked, "What do you do when it snows? Do you take snow days?" And my response was always the same. "Of course we take snow days! To sit in that upstairs room doing school all day long when that gorgeous snow is falling, well, that's hard for two active boys. So, yes―we believe in fresh air, exerciseand snow days!"

Merry Christmas!

As schedules become increasingly busy, I think we need to give ourselves permission to say no to things that may make the family schedule too full. In other words, it's okay to look at the family calendar and decide when and how much the family can handle. During the elementary years especially, it's important for the kids to stay rested and well. And the same goes for us as moms and dads, too! When we pack the days with never ending commitments―something's sure to give...

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