Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thankful for Home Education

Somehow it is almost Thanksgiving.  I am not entirely clear how that happened.  I still think it is the beginning of fall when fall is about to end. Thanksgiving tends to make me reflective.  This year with three teenagers I am more reflective than usual.  I keep wondering where time has gone.  How did my babies get to be so big?   What am I thankful for with home education?  Was home education the right choice?

I have come to the conclusion that home education was the right choice for my teens.  I love seeing the people they have become.  I love how we laugh together and have so many shared memories.  I love that we are able to Google how to take apart at coconut at 9:30pm and do not have to worry about being anywhere the next day.  I love how they have the confidence in their own abilities to believe they can open a coconut. They have a confidence in who they are and believe they are able to solve problems.  I am glad I get to spend time with them, and am glad for the time I have spent with them.

When they were little I tended to believe that academics was the most important of all.  Getting through each item on our check-list was so important.  Now, I love the time we laugh together, the jokes we share, the many things about life I am able to share with them.  I love seeing who they are becoming, and wondering what the future holds for them. 

I am thankful for home education and the gift of time.  Enjoy the time you have with your children.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Phonics, Phonics, Phonics. . . .

(originally published in 2011)

In college my reading teacher referred to phonics as clucking and spitting.  My classmates and I  thought that was pretty funny, and having little experience with phonics we did not realize how true that was.  I have spent many years clucking and spitting since then, and I do have more experience with phonics.

There are many phonics programs and most people are very attached to whichever one taught their child(ren) to read.  I heard Cheryl Lowe from Memoria Press share that people tend to keep trying different phonics programs with their kid, and the last one they try is their favorite.  When in reality their child was ready.   There is a great deal of truth in that.  I am going to share a few suggestions and a few programs that I know of.  The list is not all encompassing, and is just a place to start.  If you have one that is working hold on to it and stay with it.    For me it has been helpful to not rush out and buy them.  Almost all of them are available at the public library.  I have borrowed them to see if they were a good fit for my family.    In my opinion a program has to work for your child and also has to be one that you are comfortable with.  The following are some suggestions.  

Alpha Phonics Primer for Beginners  
This is my current favorite program.  It is very easy to follow and is very systematic.  I love the calligraphy print they use in the book.  It is your systematic intensive phonics program.  The front of the book has what your child reads and in the back they explain each lesson. 

 Phonics Pathways : Clear Steps to Easy Reading and Perfect Spelling
I have used this one as well.  I do like this one and it was the final program that helped my daughter learn to read.  Some people find this one hard to follow. Personally, I did not.  I liked the long lists and it was helpful for my daughter from China.  Definitely look at this one at the library before purchasing. 

The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. 
Well, I will admit that I have this one as well.  I talked to Jessie Wise (the author) at a homeschooling convention, and she told me she wrote this for parents who have little or no experience in phonics.  She shared that she likes Phonics Pathways, but wanted something easier for parents to use.  This program also incorporates sight words nicely into the program.  This is a scripted program. 

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.
I do not own this book, but know many people who like it.  Cathy Duffy has a nice review here. It is not an expensive book and has a serious following.  It is also a scripted program.

I believe magnetic letters are helpful with any of these programs.  For some children moving around the letters and building the words helps them to connect to the text.  For example, you are working on the word family "am."  Below you have the letters "h, s, r, and p."  Have the child move each letter up to "build" the word and then pronounce it.  This is especially helpful with tactile kids.

This is my short list of what is out there.  I know different curriculum programs like Memoria Press, ABEKA , The  Phonics Museum (Veritas Press) , and Sonlight have phonics incorporated into their kindergarten programs.   So there are many options.

My last thought on any phonics program you choose is to work on it consistently.  It can be painful to sit with a child to which this is not an easy task.   I would recommend taking 10-15 minutes every morning working on a phonics program with them.  When the time is up stop, and move on to something else.  I think short consistent times are better than longer inconsistent ones.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Narrative Assessments for Ohio Homeschoolers

For the 2014-2015 School Year:  After August 1, 2015 I will review your portfolio and only send you the form you need for your district.   I am  happy to accept your portfolio(s) at any time. 

 For the 2015-2016 School year: I will begin accepting portfolios after March 1, 2016.    Thank you!  Becky

I complete narrative assessments for Ohio homeschoolers for $30.  The Assessments are portfolio reviews by myself, a certified teacher, that fulfill the Ohio Home Education requirement for 3301-34-04 Academic Assessment Report Option #2.  
If you would like to begin the process start by downloading the forms for the Freestyle Assessment for unschoolers, the Self Reflection Assessment for K-8th grade, or the Self Reflection Assessment for High School for those who follow a subject curriculum. You fill out the forms, prepare the documentation, and sign them. Please email me for an instruction sheet that tells you where to mail them and answers some other questions. If you have trouble with the downloads, please email and I will email them to you.  Below are links  in Google Documents.   I am happy to help you so please contact me with any questions.

Becky Boerner

Freestyle Assessment in Google Documents
Self Reflection for K-8 in Google Documents
Self Reflection for High School in Google Documents.

Once you get there you need to do the following. 
If you click on the arrow button on the left hand side of the page you can download the file.
If you click on the print button you can print it out.

PS: If you can not access these files, try the links above in the document.  If you still can not access the documents, please email me and I will send you the files.  I am happy to do that! 

I also accept PayPal, Check, or Money Orders (Contact me for more information.  Many families send me checks or money orders through the mail. ) 
Click on the arrow for pricing for 2 or more reviews.

Portfolio Review(s)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Callie Grant: An author worth taking note of.

Over the last year I have learned about the author Callie Grant.  It has been a wonderful discovery.  Callie Grant writes board books for children up to seven years old.  Her company is called Graham Blanchard books.  Her website is filled with parenting trips, reading ideas, and ways to support parents.

Her books combine beautiful pictures with Biblical concepts. I appreciate their quality and how much my children enjoy reading them with me.  They are engaging and enjoyable.  If you have not checked them out I would highly recommend them.  Here is a collection of her books.  She also has a collection of Grown-up Tips that go along with them.

I just finished reading All of Me That You Can't See.  It is a sweet story that introduces the concept of our inner self that grows along with our outer self.  It talks to children about their heart and soul and how they nourish them through seeking truth and their faith.  The pictures and quality of the book are amazing.  I love that this book has a good story, a good message, and is visually engaging.  I highly recommend this book.
I got this book free through for my honest review.