Saturday, October 25, 2014

Author of the month Cynthia Rylant

For the month of November, I am thrilled to announce as our author Cynthia Rylant.  She is a great favorite in our family.  The Henry and Mudge series, Mr. Putter and Tabby series, and When I was Young in the Mountains are wonderful!  Ms. Rylant has a wonderful website that tells more about her life and her books.  She lived for a time in Ohio which endears her to all of our hearts.

There are many wonderful activities that can be used with her books.  I have set up a Pinterest Board with a few I have found.  Here is a wonderful article about her life and books as well.

So this November you can read In November by Cynthia Rylant and celebrate the Author of the Month.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Myths about Home Education

The year is underway, and hopefully you are getting in the groove of home education.  After having the privilege of talking to many home educators in person and through my business, I have found that I am not alone in believing some homeschool myths. Though none of us believe them every day, it is easy to let them slip in.

Myth:  I think his her homeschool day always flows way better than mine.
Fact:  Sometimes his/her day is better than yours, but sometimes yours day is better than theirs.  That sounds so simple, but when you are alone at your house and watching chaos ensue it is easy to believe that myth.  

Myth:  When others homeschool, their children sit around the table and smile up at them, complete their work without complaint, and do what they are supposed to do. 
Fact: Most families' kids are probably like yours and occasionally argue, act stubborn, and maybe even cry about doing their work.  (Of course, I have only heard about other children doing this.☺)

Myth:  Other people do so many amazing things with their kids all day long, while I am just trying to get through the day! 
Fact:  You do amazing things with your kids.  I have looked at hundreds and hundreds of portfolios over the past five years.  I have never looked at a family that did not do at least one thing amazingly well.  I never cease to be amazed at the creativity and ideas that flow from people.  If you are home educating each day, you are doing something amazing!

Myth:  Home Educated Children are always very grateful that you are home educating them, and regularly tell you.     
Fact:  You care about your children and are pouring out your life for them.  They occasionally will say something nice, but they are kids.  How many of us were that grateful to our parents until we left home?  Hopefully we can help cultivate grateful hearts, but know that kids are kids.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

How do I help my child become a good reader?

 I sorted through my kids winter clothes this week.  I wanted to post something that I loved from past posts on Ohio Homeschool.  I felt I needed to hear this again. Happy fall!

One of the ways we help our children become good readers is to give them direct instruction on how to be one.   The most effective and simple way I know to help your child become a good reader is by sharing your thought process with them as you read a book to them.    By sharing your insights and the insights below, you are helping your child to become a good reader.   I have divided up the process of  reading to before, during, and after.  Each part shares what a good reader does and then gives you some things to say to your child to share your thinking process. 

Before Reading, a good reader will think about what is the purpose of what I am about to read.  They will ask, "Am I trying to gain information on a topic or find out what happens in a story?"  By stating what you think the purpose of a story or text is  out loud you are modeling what good readers do.
A good reader will look at the title, pictures, headings, bold face print and begin to ask wondering questionsYou can ask these out-loud before you begin a story with your child.   I wonder what this story is about?  I wonder why that person is doing this on the cover?  I wonder what is going to happen in this story? I wonder if this is similar to another book I read?  I wonder if this relates to something else I have been learning?

During Reading a good reader will form pictures in their head about what they are reading.   You can facilitate this with your child by  sharing what pictures are in your head as you read a story.  "I am picturing the little girl sitting by the lake.  What do you see in your head?"  At first your child may say "nothing."  That is fine.  Encourage them to make pictures in their heads of what they are reading and keep sharing the pictures that you have.  
A good reader continue to ask wonder questions during a reading. You can pause in the middle of story and wonder out loud to your child.    I wonder what what will happen next?  Did that make sense? I wonder if why that happened? I wonder if this information verifies what I already know about  this topic or if it is new to me?
A good reader will reread a passage that did not make sense.  You can say to your child "That really did not make sense to me.  I am going to reread it."  Then reread and discuss the passage.
A good reader is able to make inferences when reading. You can say to your child, I think that character is implying (blank)   I think the author is trying to say (blank)   Making inferences is a big part of reading comprehension.  Let your child know what you are inferring to make sense of a story or text.  It will help them learn to inference.

After Reading a story or text a good reader will check to see if the predictions they made came true.  You can model this by saying," I was not right about that prediction and this happened instead.  It happened just like I thought it would.  My predictions were right. "  You can also talk about any predictions your child made. For non-fiction you might say " I did learn about (topic) just like I thought I would. I thought this what have better information on (blank).  This verifies what we learned on our field trip." 
Good readers are able to retell a story or summarize what they read to someone.  By sharing your retelling of a story, or sharing what you have learned, you model what a good reader does.  Asking your child to retell a story, or summarize is also helpful.

I try to do the above type of reading with my kids  1-3 times per week.  I do not think you need to do it every time you read something to them. At first it seems strange to stop in the middle of a book and reveal your thinking to your child.  But it is a very powerful way to instruct them on becoming a good reader.  It becomes more natural the more you try it.  Your child wants to hear what other good readers are thinking about. Especially when that good reader is you.  

You as a parent are a good reader and by modeling your thought process you give your child a true gift.  You are drawing them into the group of good readers, and that is a gift that lasts a lifetime.


Saturday, October 04, 2014

Time to put aside a work sample.

I am in denial.  I keep thinking that it is still summer.  That the days are still long and the leaves are still on the trees.
But it is October and we are into fall.  Which means that I have been home educating for awhile,  and I need to put aside some work samples for all my kids.

 Hopefully you are thinking the same thing.  You can date some samples and put them in a manilla folder, take a picture of the work samples with your phone and store them, and/or take a picture of a project.  The important thing is to have a sample from the beginning of the year.

So enjoy fall, and put aside some work.