Friday, August 16, 2013

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

One of the best things about homeschooling is the ability to tailor your child's education to suit his or her own needs and personality.  Right-brained children in particular seem to benefit from the greater flexibility a homeschool education can offer.  Pinpointing exactly what your child's needs are and how best to teach them isn't always easy, though; something as simple as the wrong lighting or a cluttered work space can affect a student.  If the child's learning style differs greatly from that of the parent, it can be especially difficult to figure out what you need to do to be as effective a teacher as possible.  Luckily there are some great resources to help us out!  Here are a couple of great books to check out if you'd like to know more about your child's individual learning style:

The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles: A Fresh and Demystifying Approach by Carol Barnier is a great book that offers lots of ideas for educating the "non-traditional learner".  The book is relevant and useful for parents and teachers of kids K-12.

In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child's Multiple Intelligences by Thomas Armstrong is an easy-to-read, extremely helpful book for parents who want to understand a child's unique gifts.  The book explains eight different types of intelligence, and how to determine which of them are strongest in your child.  This is a fascinating read that has helped many, many homeschooling families.  (Though it's written for parents, I think it would be very helpful for classroom teachers as well.)

I read both of these books last year and immediately started modifying our curriculum and making adjustments.  It's no coincidence that Hunter, always a struggling reader, has made so much progress so quickly that he now reads at grade level (an enormous gain)!  We're moving forward with the understanding that Hunter is, like many boys, primarily a visual and kinesthetic learner.  I'm very excited to see small changes in my teaching make such a huge difference in the results.  I wish I'd read these books sooner!


Forced to say goodbye to Google Reader, I've started using to keep track of the gazillion blogs I read.  So far, I've been pretty happy with it!  It allows me to categorize and organize the blogs that I follow, which is important to me.  I'm only following teacher and homeschool blogs at the moment - maybe someday I'll have time to add my favorite cooking and farm blogs as well!  If you'd like to follow this blog on Bloglovin, just click the link:

Planning and Prep!

It's that time again!

A new school year is about to begin, and I'm smack-dab in the middle of my annual nervous breakdown.  I never feel prepared enough, or organized enough.  Of course, things always seem to work out just fine, but I've learned from experience that lots of pre-planning spares me headaches later on.  (Links to all sorts of great, free planning pages and organizing ideas can be found on my "Organized Homeschooler" Pinterest board.  How did I manage before Pinterest?!)

We didn't get as much done over the summer as we normally would have; reading was the only subject that we continued nonstop.  In addition to swimming lessons, karate, and ju jitsu, the boys both took classes offered by our school district. The past couple months have been very busy! This means we aren't exactly where I'd planned to be by this time, but the boys had a fantastic summer and it's well worth it to be a little "behind".

I'm still in the process of purchasing materials for the year, but here are a few things I've picked up so far:

Writing through the verses- helping students with handwriting skills!

Hunter really needs to work on his handwriting.  I've tried to avoid copywork as much as possible because of the bore factor, but he really needs the extra practice. This packet combines handwriting practice with Bible memory work.  It's so cute, and I got it on for only $3.50! 

Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

I love this version of Aesop's Fables; it's going to be the main text for our fables study later in the year.  Most of the others we'll probably get from the library.

One thing we'll be learning about this year is magnets!  There are two horseshoe magnets, a bar magnet, a tube of iron filings, and a tube of small steel pieces in this kit.  Along with some random household items for experimentation, this should be pretty much all we need in terms of hardware!  

I have exactly one week to get stuff done before we leave for our family vacation.  (If you could see how much I still have left to do . . . did I mention the nervous breakdown?) I'll try to keep you updated as my plans come together and our school year kicks off!