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.