Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Celebrating homeschooling!

We have two tubs of Chistmas/winter books we bring out at this time of year.  My kids have always been excited, but I took note this year on how excited they were.  It was like time stood still.  Everyone grabbed a book and began to read after we brought them out of storage.  Old favorites were read and new books discovered.  It was one of those moments where I decide to celebrate homeschooling.  I realized my children have developed a love of books, and that gave me deep satisfaction.  It's easy to doubt what we do sometimes.  Is it working?  Do my kids know enough?  Is it worth it?  I took these pictures to remind myself that yes it is working, and yes it is worth it. I am cultivating life long learners who love to read.  
Take some time to celebrate today what is working in your homeschooling.  It's easy to get lost in the agenda, and forget about what is important (at least for me).
Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fun Finds: Math books

I have a fun find.  I was at my favorite thrift store in Cincinnati.  I was looking through the books and came across an entire set of Miquon math books.  I was so excited.  This is one of my favorite math programs.  They were less than $1 each. It was the find of finds.  Who would have thought this would be in a thrift store?   I guess you never know.

Proof of actual purchase :-)
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vocabulary: mapping a better future.

I enjoy reading to my children and listening to them read.  It is wonderful to see them engaging in text.  I have been listening to children read through my entire teaching career (over 22 years).  I often begin with the incorrect assumption that children know all words presented to them.  I have to remember to ask them if they know what certain words mean. 

I am trying to make more of a focused effort on expanding your students vocabulary.  I wanted to share some of the strategies that are currently helping.   Some familiar methods would be telling your student what a word means, looking it up in the dictionary, and trying to guess what a word means from reading it in a sentence.

Another strategy that is helpful for visual learners is Semantic mapping or word maps.  Here is a nice article that tells more. Basically, a word map is a visual organizer that promotes vocabulary.  I find it helpful to use in science or social studies, and with beginning readers.

This is nice map for older elementary and middle school readers.   Here is another one that would be excellent for science for older students. This is an article that shares how to use mapping with students in grades 4-6 in science.  It is a teacher lesson with examples and a blank map.   Lastly, here is one more that would work very well for 4th to 6th graders. 

For younger students I like this map.   It is very basic and easy to follow.  You could also just take a piece of paper and fold it in fourths to have the same vocabulary  map. 

I would recommend trying to do this 2-3 times per month as a realistic goal.  Try to focus on science and social studies for older learners and read-alouds for younger students.

There are many other methods, but hopefully these help your student to expand their vocabulary. 


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Interesting Article on Phonics

I am back.  My husband was out of town last week, and we were pretty excited to make it through the week.  We did have some great chances to play in the leaves. 

I am taking a class to keep up my Ohio certificate.  We had this article in class.  It is a nice article that describes phonics instruction.  I thought it might be helpful.  I will finish up my reading series in the next few weeks with a post on vocabulary.

Hope you are enjoying the first day of November.  We have a beautiful sunny day here.