Each HOD guide has a pattern that becomes familiar.

Teaching Tip: 

Each HOD guide has a pattern that becomes familiar.

Each HOD guide is designed with a pattern that is meant to become familiar to your students. As the pattern becomes familiar, your students will know more clearly what is expected and what is required to complete assignments.

Knowing a guide’s pattern shortens work times.

Knowing the guide’s pattern and expectations helps your students do assignments in less time. As students move through the guide, the school day typically becomes shorter. This is simply because the students have gotten the routine down!

As the guide progresses, your days will flow better, be shorter, and require less of you.

If you are starting a new guide that seems a bit challenging right now, don’t lose heart! If your child is well-placed in his/her guide, you will see improvement as your child progresses through the year. Your days will flow better, be shorter, and require less of you. When you draw near to the end of your official “school year” you’ll be surprised at how “easy” the guide seems.

One benefit of the guide’s pattern is a shorter school day!

A shortened school day as the year progresses is a huge blessing. Often the shortened days come at a time when many teachers (and students) are running out of steam. To see my boys clipping through their day and knowing what is expected is a joy! I pray it will be a blessing to you to see your kiddos finish strong and confident as well!

Blessings,
Carrie

Partner with students!

Teaching Tip: 

What is one of a teacher’s most important roles?

When you think of teaching, what roles automatically come to mind? Being a teacher is definitely about scheduling, planning, teaching lessons, guiding, directing, correcting, and student accountability. It is also about partnering with your students to help them accomplish needed goals. The partnering role is one that is easily overlooked in the “structure” of the daily plan. Today’s tip is a reminder that the partnering role may be our most important role of all!

What does it mean to “partner” with your students?

Partnering means being ready and willing to help in whatever way is needed for your kiddos to be successful. This means when students fall behind in their day, it is part of our job to jump in and help them catch up. Maybe they fell behind due to struggling with an assignment or a lack of understanding. Perhaps an assignment went longer than expected or the kiddos were just plain dawdling. No matter the reason they fell behind, partnering means our kids’ success is linked to us. So, if they are falling behind, we need to jump in and help.

What are some ways you can partner with your students?

One easy way to partner with your students is to do the English lesson orally. While you still cover the entire lesson, your students tell you the answers instead of writing them. Or, you could write part or all of the Drawn into the Heart of Reading Student Book assignment for your child. In this scenario, you act as the scribe to complete the Student Book page while your student tells you the answers. Another option is to write your child’s responses on a markerboard to be copied later (as copying is easier). Another easy way to partner with your students is to sit nearby while they complete an assignment. Often simply being available for immediate help is a huge partnering tool.

For math, you might have your child say the math answers while you write them in the textbook. For vocabulary, you could write the definition from the dictionary as your child reads it aloud. Then, your child could do the rest of the vocabulary card. You could get out books, open them to the right page, and put books away to speed along that process. Perhaps you partner by getting out needed supplies for a science experiment, or clean up when the experiment is over. Maybe you set up part of a history project so your child has no wasted time. However you choose to partner with your child, be sure none of these helps become habitual. Used only as needed, they can save the day and help save your child’s attitude too!

What is the difference between partnering with your child and skipping assignments?

Partnering with your child is not to be confused with skipping assignments. As you can see from the examples above, the assignments are still being completed. This is different from portions of the assignment being omitted or skipped altogether. This week give yourself permission to partner with your child. See if you notice a positive change in your homeschool day!

Blessings,
Carrie

There are few “normal” days of homeschooling.

Teaching Tip: 

There are few “normal” days of homeschooling.

One thing I am discovering as I am getting older is there are few “normal” days of homeschooling. Life is often filled with unexpected surprises. The further we travel down life’s path, health and medical issues are bound to crop up. Issues may arise within our own families, our extended families, or both. This is just a part of living in a sinful world where our bodies break down with the passing of time. What a glorious blessing that the earth is not our eternal home and our bodies will one day be made new again!

Let your HOD guide be a help during uncertain times.

With the fragility of health in mind, it is a huge blessing the HOD guides have all your planning done. I am thankful the guides are truly open-and-go. Over the past year, we have really put the open-and-go claim to the test! Our son Greyson struggled with his health and was in and out of the hospital 160+ days. Since we never knew when we would have to head to the hospital, often there was no time to prepare. With the specialty hospital 4 hours away, we had a myriad of teachers come and go to help at home. Both grandmas took a turn teaching. Our older sons alternated teaching with working on their college classes. Some days my sister taught our youngest son along with her own boys. Many days we had to have our sons do as much as they could on their own. Upon our return, we picked up where the other teachers left off and jumped right back in. Even with all sorts of teachers popping in to do different parts, we went forward with our HOD guides in hand. The guides were a constant “normal” in our ever-changing days.

What should you do if a situation of duress arises?

So, what should you do when a situation of duress arises? If the situation is short lived, it makes sense to downshift and do whatever you must. If the situation is longer term, the advice we most often hear is to shift down to doing only the 3R’s. Yet, doing only the 3R’s leaves a houseful of kids who still need something to do all day. So in our situation, we decided to go forward with our HOD guides even if we were limping through. Of course there are extreme situations, where downshifting to the basics makes sense. Just be sure to watch so this doesn’t become the norm.

Let your HOD guide provide needed structure to your days.

In times of duress, let the pattern of the HOD guides give your school days some normalcy. Your kids will recognize and take comfort in the pattern, even if you aren’t there. Don’t spend precious time thinking of how to cut back, shift, change, add, adapt, or subtract from the HOD guide. Instead, just teach the guide “as is” and progress steadily forward day by day. Let the guide provide needed structure in the good times and the tough times. Try it, and you may find (as I have) that you are actually relieved to have the guides drive your days.

Blessings,
Carrie

What do we mean by “education is a life”?

A Charlotte Mason Moment:

“In saying that ‘education is a life,’ the need of intellectual and moral as well as of physical sustenance is implied. The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.”

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Vol. 6; Preface to the ‘Home Education’ Series)

Make an effort to be fully present during school time.

Teaching Tip:

Make an effort to be fully present during school time.

During school time with my kiddos, I am often reminded how important it is for me to be “fully present.” If I don’t make a conscious effort to focus on my kids, I can easily be distracted. The telephone, computer, people at the door, cooking tasks, laundry, texting, errands, or a million tasks can divide my attention. When I am doing all these tasks while schooling, my boys are continually waiting on me. This means their school day (and mine) drags on longer than it should!

Try to minimize interruptions and limit outside tasks during school time.

So, I am reminded anew to try to minimize interruptions and limit my tasks to a time when I am not teaching. Depending on the ages of your students, you can do this in several ways.

For younger students, try alternating school time with breaks.

If your students are young, you can alternate a half hour of school with a half hour break. Simply continue this alternating pattern until the school subjects are done for the day. This pattern alternates chunks of school time with chunks of free time. We followed this plan for years when our boys were young, so we know it works. Just be sure to return to school after each half hour break!

For older students, try focused teaching hours.

If your students are older, and their school day is longer, you can focus your teaching time during certain hours. At our house, we typically teach from 9 A.M. – 1 P.M. With this plan, the kiddos often have school left in the afternoon, but my formal teaching is done by 1 PM. I simply schedule more independent subjects for my boys to complete after 1:00 PM.

The last few years, our older boys have done several school subjects in the evening to “get ahead.” They always do independent subjects that would typically be done after lunch the next day. Working ahead helps them finish by 1:00 PM the next day, which they prefer. Doing several subjects in the evening is another option to help your children get done earlier.

Or, try a scheduled mid-day break before returning to school.

One other scenario we tried in the past was to take a scheduled mid-day break. One year we took a scheduled break from 1:00-3:30 PM. This allowed me to deal with many things that needed my attention before it got too late in the day. We then returned to school from 3:30-5:30 PM. This was a plan that worked for a year, but I must admit it was hard to return to school at 3:30!

It is amazing what can be accomplished in a short time if you are fully present.

I am amazed what I can get done in a very short time with my boys if I am “fully present.” While this is not always possible, I encourage you to see with a new light any time stealers that really can wait. Strive to be mentally and physically present as much as possible during school time. If emergencies and situations that need to be dealt with occur, return to the pattern of being fully present as soon as possible. I am trying to focus on being fully present and am finding new joy in the time I do have with my boys!

Blessings,
Carrie