The purpose of this blog is to provide an archived resource of Personal thoughts, learning resources, and parent information.

Regular postings will be added on Mondays.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

New "Evangelists"

I have evangelists living in my house! This week I took a “little” trip to Northern BC to visit some of my online families.  I hadn’t seen my own parents for a while so I invited them to join me on the six to seven-hour drive.

We had a terrific chat about life, family, church, the future, concerns over friends, work, society, and all of the other things that arise on a long drive.

Our drive back had a little different theme. 

You see my parents, both teachers, have been involved in public education for over 50 years. They are still involved as TOCs (subs) on a fairly regular basis. Over 50 years they have poured their lives into their students and have also seen a lot of change in schools, in children, and in society. They have always been curious about homeschooling and to be honest were slightly skeptical about its results.

My HCOS families were gracious enough to welcome my parents in to meet their children and talk about what homeschooling means to them and their families. My parents listened in as some of the children shared their learning and showed off their work.

Well, I had to smile all the way home as my parents began to espouse homeschooling as the cure for all ills. They repeatedly commented on how sharp the children were, how organized the parents were, how well the children listened, how the kids had a calmness and security and peace. They were so impressed at how learning was individualized and truly nurtured each one, and how the children worked and cooperated around the home; essentially the character that was being developed and shown. My parents were SOOOO impressed!!

Yup, I have two new homeschool evangelists in my family. 

Thank you to the families who were so welcoming and exemplary of what homeschooling is all about. Thanks to all of you for the time, energy, and passion that you invest in the lives of your children. May God bless you with wisdom, patience, energy, and a renewed vision in what you do every day. The lives you’re touching aren’t just those of your own family. 

Auditory Learners

Auditory Learners: Learning by Hearing

   Auditory learners like to read to themselves out loud. They are not afraid to speak in class. They like to do oral reports and are good at explaining. Auditory learners remember names and notice small things like sound effects in movies. They enjoy music and are good at grammar and foreign languages. They prefer oral directions over written directions. Some auditory learners can't keep quiet for long periods. They enjoy acting, and being on stage. Written information may not make sense until they hear it read.

Auditory learners may have a knack for ascertaining the true meaning of someone's words by listening to audible signals like changes in tone. When memorizing a phone number, an auditory learner will say it out loud and then remember how it sounded to recall it.

    Use word association to remember facts and lines.
    Recording lectures.
    Watching videos.
    Repeating facts with eyes closed.
    Participating in group discussions.
    Using audiotapes for language practice.
    Taping notes after writing them.
    Working in study groups.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Visual Learners: The Learner is Watching

This type of learner learns best by watching how things work. Many students respond to visual learning techniques today because they are growing up in an image driven culture.

Visual/spatial learners love a well-ordered and designed space with each object in its place and appealingly
 They are uncomfortable, even restless, encountering incomplete or unsettled situations.

Instinctive sense of balance and completeness
: They can tell when something is out of alignment, or not truly horizontal or vertical. 
They are adept at working with mirror images and rotating images in their minds, and strive to bring order by constructing, arranging, color coding, or fixing things.

Observing/experiencing: They learn best by observing and experiencing. They use visual images to navigate and comprehend.

Visual/spatial learners are good at seeing the “big picture”
of both simple and complex systems. Overviews or summaries are their specialty, often at the expense of remembering details or constructing sequences.

They prefer to read and work under subdued or natural lighting 
and in comfortable conditions, and are uncomfortable with glare/harsh lighting, rough clothing, drafts, and temperature extremes.


* Retention--Students better remember information when it's represented and learned both visually and verbally. They need to see how things are done and how things work. Outlines and graphic organizers link verbal and visual information and help students make connections, understand relationships and recall related details.

* Comprehension--Students better comprehend new ideas when they see how things work and observe how they are done. Diagrams, models, animations, and visual displays work best.

* Assignments--Students can create diagrams, displays, dramas, models, tables, charts, and cartoons to demonstrate knowledge. Using outlines and graphic organizers will help their productivity.

Keys to Discipleship

I was blessed to have been raised in a Christian home. As a child, I sometimes wondered if I had actually been born in the foyer or a Sunday school classroom or the 4th row, left side, since we were there every time the doors were open.

I believed in God for as long as I could remember, and understood the basics of Jesus’ love and work in my life, but when I became a teen things changed a bit. I began to question my faith. Did I believe in God because that was what I had inherited, or did I own my faith?

It has been my experience that as I have learned a few keys that my relationship has grown deeper and stronger. Here they are:

1. Who is God? Understanding who God is foundational to our faith. Learning to understand the Father’s heart, His character, His attributes, and His love & grace is where we need to begin.

2. Who am I? Understanding myself; my strengths, weaknesses, gifts, talents, and my need for God is the next key.

3. What does God want to do through me? Understanding that I am significant to God. He has a plan for my life that He is equipping me for.

4. How have I been created to worship? What stirs my heart toward God? When do I feel the closest to Him? How do I hear from the Holy Spirit? (Yes, this could go with “Who am I?”)

If you’re looking for a focus this year perhaps this is a place to start. Going through the books of John or Luke, and focusing on how Jesus taught these things to his disciples, is a great way to make these books real, and disciple your children as well.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Built to Last

One of my families recently shared some details about a trip that they made to Portugal. One of their family outings included a visit to a house that was built 1500 years ago.  That house had been lived in for over 1000 years.  That would be about 30 generations….a lot of Great-great-greats for grandparents.
Last year my wife and I built a house. The idea of it lasting 100 years is a stretch let alone 1500 years. (and No, that’s NOT a comment on my construction skills.)

I began thinking about that mason 1500 years ago, setting those rocks in place applying some mortar, fitting another rock. Was he in any way aware that the rock that he had just put in place would be there 1500 years later? Was he aware that MANY generations of people would be living in that house? I wonder if he thought at all about the MANY children  that would be raised there, the many meals shared, the many families that would call it home? Did he have the slightest inkling of the impact that his seemingly insignificant act of putting a series of rocks into place would have?

Every day YOU “add a rock”, YOU “add some mortar”, YOU are building into a life. The life of the child(ren) that you are building into daily will go on to create a loooooong legacy. They will pass on the things that you are teaching them, skills, attitudes, convictions, and knowledge, to their children, their grand children and so on.

I’m not sharing this to freak you out or to make you think that if you screw up a lesson or two that you’re messing up your child and generations to come. Please don’t get that at all. My purpose in writing this is to encourage you to see the incredible value and legacy in what you are doing.

Raising children is a challenge and an amazing responsibility. When we rely on God daily, when we cover our children with prayer, and when we don’t give up in teaching them the skills, attitudes, convictions, and information that they will need and pass on to those who follow after.

Learning Styles: Kinesthetic Learners

Understanding your child’s learning style(s) can be a key to experiencing greater success in teaching. Over the next few weeks I will introduce a number of learning styles and ways to identify them in your child(ten).

Kinesthetic:  Learning through touch.
This type of learner learns best by physically interacting with the material. They naturally count with fingers, trace shapes, and “have” to touch everything to see how it feels. Other signs to look for include: fidgeting, bouncing a leg, doodling, or playing with something in their hands while they listen.

Some Strategies:
*These students thrive when they get to build, handle or create things connected to the topic.
*Use concrete objects (like coins, beans, cheerios, etc.) to help with Math concepts.
*Spelling/printing-trace words and letters in salt, sand, or use magnetic letters to spell words.
*Use maps, globes and puzzles to study history and geography. Go on a field to a museum or heritage village.
*Have your child “teach” the lesson that they learned to the family using a chalkboard or manipulatives.

*While listening to information have your child play with a stress ball, or stand and move.
*Allow child to have opportunities to leave seatwork to move around.
*Have someone help your child develop an organization system.

Portfolio Checklist

Portfolios: Term One
Beginning mid-October the first round of portfolios will be due. Below is a checklist of what I need to see for Grades One through Nine. Kindergarten students do as much as currently applies to you. I do not need to see anything for online courses.  Copies can be scanned or photographed.
Language Arts
___2 Samples of Writing projects.  (This will vary according to grade level.) For Grades 4-9 a paragraph is all I really need for Term One evaluation.
                ___2-3 Copies or quiz results for Spelling.  ie. 18/20
                ___2-3 Copies or quiz results for Grammar.
___Your assessment of their Reading levels. Include: fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. 
___ Copies of Math quiz results. Include results for drill and practice such as Mad Minutes.
___ List of Units covered this term. (Many of you are doing this as part of your weekly reports.)
Science & Social:
___Copies of quiz results and/or three sample pages of work that they’ve done.
PE:           ___PE activity logs
___Evaluations or comments from coaches or teachers. (ie. Tae kwon do instructor)
Health & Career
___Covered in weekly reports.
Art:          ___Evaluations or comments from Music, Drama or Dance instructors.
                ___3 samples of artwork. (You can take pictures and email them to me.)
Bible:        ___Covered in weekly reports.

Second Language: (grades 5-9)  ___  Quiz results.

Other: Applied Skills,  ___SEND ME COOKIES! J
As I fill out your children’s report cards I can only report on what I know, and I only know what you tell me. So don’t be shy about telling me LOTS!
Portfolios can be sent in the mail, or by email.

My Mailing address is available if you email me. I don't want to publish it on this site.