Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Seasons Four

I just read a funny article about homeschool curriculum called Spring or Fall.

The article discussed the seasons and then taked about the Suess story about Oobleck, the king who wanted a fifth season. He worked with his court magicians and of course, because of his foolish pride and hubris and his attempt to fool with Mother Nature, disaster ensued. Only in the depths of crisis and remorse does he understand the tragedy and say the magic words: "I'm sorry". Which fixes the situation.

In terms of literacy, this article raises the question about the authenticity of the Suess books which are both great stories about also rhyming with simple vocabulary. And I quote:

Anybody remember the story of the king who wanted a fifth season with something more than sun, leaves, snow, and rain? It was a Dr Suess book with Oobleck, the foolish king wanted something new to fall from the sky. So he had his magicians conjure up oobleck which of course turned out to be a terrible disaster.
Record players for classrooms
I have long wondered where in the history of teaching reading and literacy, the Suess books belong. Are they consider decodable readers with no intrinsic value? Are they “authentic” literature which pulls students towards literacy?
As part of this bing of question asking, I'll ask this question about Todays Learners.  Are they getting the education that they need to succeed. lLets focus for a sec on 4th and 5th grade:
Studying words, if done as part of an overall approach to meaningful education, provides a useful time-proven approach. Avoid trivia, use lists as a way to identify themes and patterns, not for trivia and memorization. Here is an ideas, us ethe  4th grade spelling and vocabulary words lists on SpellingCity.
There are in fact all sorts of lists to help with fourth grade study.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fifth Grade Learning

Fifth grade marks the end of the primary phase. By now, the kids should be deep into chapter books and hopefully have read Narnia, Potter, Wrinkle in Time, and whatever the hot series of books are now.

As homeschoolers, I hope you have read some books that feature families such as us. The best directory of Homeschool Literature is this site. For an authentic exercise, you can have your students write review of these books and send them in to get published on the site.
Best Directory of Homeschool Literature  
Beyond reading, students should be pretty strong at the basics of writing skills using Writers Workshop. And I quote:

Want Strong Writing and Grammar Results?

  • K-5 schools using WriteSteps have seen a dramatic increase in standardized test scores.
  • Our lessons are proven with a variety of teaching styles, learning styles, and socio-economic levels.
  • The curriculum teaches 100% of the writing and grammar Common Cores, and other state standards, with writing instruction that spirals across all grade levels.
  • Practice makes perfect. Students build critical writing skills from instructional modeling and daily writing practice.
Congratulations on finishing a big phase....

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Natural Homeschool Learning

I'm a fan of E D Hirsch and his concept that we should all master the words and info of our basic culture.  Without the basic information, we are culturally and effectively illiterate.

While teaching many concepts and ideas requires a great deal of time, a different question is giving the kids the practice that they need at each grade level to maintain their mastery of these concepts and vocabulary.

While som people don't respect word games and lists, I think they are a useful step for getting much of the info from short term into long term memory.

here's lists that work great for reinforcing key concepts and vocabulary including math, science, and social studies by grade level
 1st Grade Spelling Word Lists
2nd Grade Reading Word Lists
3rd Grade Spelling Word Lists
4th Grade Spelling Word Lists
5th Grade Spelling Word Lists 

I like the idea that there are multiple meaning words, sound alike words, and other confusing words at each grade level.  Examples are on these pages.

There areHomonyms, Homophones, Homographs, Heteronyms, and Capitonyms, confused yet?:
  • Homonyms, or multiple-meaning words, are words that have different meanings (e.g. dog bark, tree bark).
  • Homophones, or sound-alikes, are two or more words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings, and may or may not be spelled on the same way (e.g. write/right, their/there/they’re). There are hundreds of tehse for each grade level.
  • Homographs are words that have the same spelling, but have different meanings and may be pronounced differently (like heteronyms) or the same (like homonyms).
  • Heteronyms, or heterophones, are words that that have the same spelling but have different pronunciations (e.g. bow and arrow vs. take a bow). That is, they are homographs which are not homophones.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Growing up as a kid myself, February was one of my favorite months. I just loved buying those boxed Valentines; giving and receiving them from other kids at school.

When I first started homeschooling my own child, I will admit, I was sad thinking my children would never get to experience this tradition. Thankfully, those were normal “new to homeschooling” concerns that would soon be just a distant memory. In past years, my kids have had fun times exchanging Valentines with family members, play groups, and co-op friends. The one thing different for my kids, however, is that we like to make our own Valentines. To be honest, we add lots of Valentine fun into our homeschooling, the week before the 14th. This year will be no different. Besides creating our own hand made Valentines and using a 5th grade Valentine spelling list that I found, as part of our Spelling lessons, I also plan on printing some fun Valentine worksheets :)
                                                    I hope everyone has a

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Wow! 2015 Already?!

                               I hope everyone had a Fun & Safe New Year’s Eve.

My New Year’s Eve was Great! I had such a blast last night with family and friends. It was just a small gathering at my home, but we all enjoyed ourselves. For me, no matter how old I get, my favorite part is always watching the ball drop :)

Another thing that I love about a new year is the feeling of a new start. A time for change; get rid of what isn’t working and make new resolutions. We do this every Jan1st. Everyone in the family, no matter how old or young (as long as they can talk, lol ), sits down and shares what their New Year’s Resolutions will be. We don’t always keep them, but it is fun to try. One of my homeschool resolutions, that I am defiantly going to keep, is to try lapbooking. I have always wanted to do it, but never have. My daughter's resolution, is to get me to take here to New York next New Year's Eve, to see the ball drop in person.We will see ;)

Monday, December 15, 2014

5th Grade Math

Is it just me or has Christmas time come fast this year? Seems like the new school year just started and now we are already half through it. Speaking of schooling,  I am sure by now, you have realized that 5th grade math, is much harder than 4th grade math. The good news is, thankfully, there are tons of printable math worksheets, how-to videos, and math games that can help you teach and help your child learn. One of our favorite resources is a free game called “MatchItAlgebraic Terms”. It really helped my daughter learn those terms! ;)
     I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday & a Happy New Year!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I don’t think I mentioned it yet, but fall is definitely one of my favorite seasons. I love feeling the weather cool down and seeing all of those leaves start to change. Plus, I love Thanksgiving! Since, my kids were little I have always managed to incorporate this holiday into our homeschool lessons, even in Pre-K.  As always, we read about the first Thanksgiving and I always print out some themed printable worksheets for my child to do. However, my favorite part of this time of year is teaching my daughter home-ec. The older she gets the more she gets to help and learn. I mean what better day than Thanksgiving, to teach your child how to cook. I think learning how to cook is an important skill for your child to learn. Plus, one day you will be older and they will be the ones making that yummy Thanksgiving feast. You will want them to be able to make it taste good ;)