Our guides take advantage of the “beginning of the school year” enthusiasm!

Teaching Tip:

Our guides take advantage of “beginning-of-the-school-year” enthusiasm!

If you are considering placing your child in one of our guides, here is a tip that is good to know. I planned each guide to take advantage of the enthusiasm the start of a new school year brings. So, at the start of a new guide, we really hit the skills hard and build on them incrementally throughout the year. This means the first week of plans is a good indicator of how difficult a guide is overall.

Rather than beginning with review, our guides jump in and get going right away!

Rather than starting with review, and beginning with easy things, our guides jump right in and get going right away. The benefit of this approach is that kiddos can work on mastering the skills in our guides all year long. This approach is good for the parent too, as you can see where you need your student to be by the time the guide ends.

Time spent training your students during the first week is time well-spent.

During the first week, it is helpful to spend some time training students in what the guide is asking. Since each guide has a definite pattern and repeating set of skills, time spent training students to complete the guide successfully is time well-spent.

As students discover the pattern of a guide, the guide takes less time.

As students begin to sense the pattern of a guide, they get into a rhythm. Things begin to fall into place. As the year progresses, students are able to complete their work in less time. As students master needed skills, the quality of their work improves too.

If your start to the year is rocky, hang in there!

If your start to a new guide is rocky, just hang in there! It should get better as you go. Your children should seem to thrive more as time passes. It is how the guides are designed to work! If for some reason your children continue to be overwhelmed in a guide, it may be time to rethink their placement.

Blessings,
Carrie

Scheduled breaks are important!

Teaching Tip: 

Scheduled breaks are important!

As we are in the midst of summer in South Dakota, I am reminded of the importance of taking a break from school. Scheduled time off is important for both parent and child. It is a time to rest, rejuvenate, ponder, and do projects.  Breaks lend themselves to a different kind of schedule.  The freedom of a break is good for the soul.  Often, if you don’t take time off, you will eventually lose steam and end up taking an unscheduled break anyway.

Should you take a break if you already missed more school than you would like?

Even if your school year was not as successful as you desired, it is still important to take a break! In 2018-2019, we had 160 days with our son Greyson away in the hospital, but our boys at home kept moving forward.  They were in need of a break that summer.  Even though my husband and I were gone a lot, we needed a break too. Taking a scheduled break is different than taking a break due to life’s circumstances.  So, if you can take a scheduled break for a few weeks or a month, I encourage you to do so!

Why is is important to take a scheduled break?

Scheduled breaks are something both you and your child can look forward to with anticipation.  The break time can be wisely spent if you know it is coming.  It can be a time to organize, read, travel, plan, catch up on needed rest, or work on character training. The break can be time for your children to rest their minds and pursue their hobbies and interests. A scheduled break can be a time of refreshment and rejuvenation.  When it is over, often both you and your child will feel more ready to return to the routine of school.

What is a good amount of time for a break?

Each family will differ in the amount of time they feel is right for their break.  I typically like to have at least one month off from school.  A couple of weeks just doesn’t feel like a true break to me! If we’ve had a good school year with few interruptions, I will take the whole summer off from school. For our son Greyson, we had a different schedule the summer of 2019.  Since he missed so much school that year, he did half-days of school four days a week during the summer.  He schooled on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. We checked his school twice a week, but my husband did the checking, so I got a break!

Plan to take a scheduled break.

If you haven’t already done so, take time to plan a scheduled break soon!  Use your break time in a way that helps you and your children rejuvenate.  Then, see if you feel more ready to begin school after your break.  We all need time to step back and refresh from life’s challenges.  Otherwise, we will just wear out! Plan for your next scheduled break today.

Blessings,

Carrie

Summer is a great time for audio books!

Teaching Tip:

Summer is a great time for audio books!

Are your days stretching long with time to fill for your kiddos? Or, are your days filled with car trips and vacations? Are you beating the summer heat by staying indoors close to the air conditioner? No matter what your summer looks like, audio books are a great way to pass the time!

Listening to audios builds auditory skills.

Would you consider yourself to be an auditory learner? Or, are you more of a visual learner? Then again, perhaps you learn more easily by doing. Not everyone is strong in auditory learning, yet it is often an important way to learn! This means auditory skills are worth building. No matter what your child’s preferred learning style, as your kiddos listen to audio books they build auditory skills.

Do audio books only work for auditory learners?

Of course, auditory learners will enjoy audio books more. Since it is their preferred style of learning, auditory learners will listen to almost anything! However, all learners can enjoy audio books if you find the type that suits their listening style.

Try different types!

Try different types of audio books to find your child’s style. Perhaps your child would enjoy a dramatized version or one that is performed radio-style. Audios with background music, multiple voices and performers, and sound effects may have more of an appeal. Often the narrator’s voice makes a difference as to how easy it is to listen to and understand an audio book. The genre makes a difference too! Maybe your child loves mysteries, fantasies, humorous books, or nonfiction.

Set aside time to listen each day.

To enjoy the audio book, set aside 20-30 minutes each day for your child to listen. We encourage our boys to listen while they are playing quietly, or drawing, or modeling, or riding in the car, or laying in their beds. As with any book, it can take time and continuity to get “into” a book. If your child gets hooked, he/she may want to listen much longer!

Try audios this summer and see what you think!

Try a variety of audios with your child, and see if you can hook your listener. If you do, you will be building important auditory skills in an effortless way! Plus, it’s just plain fun to get lost in a good book!

Blessings,
Carrie

Summer is a great time to encourage reading!

Teaching Tip:

Summer is a great time to encourage reading!

While it is important to take time off during the school year, summer is a great time to encourage reading. The long, lazy days of summer just beg for you to curl up with an ice cold glass of lemonade or iced tea and a book!

How can you encourage your children to read this summer?

One way to encourage your children to read this summer is by example. If you read this summer, and your children see you reading, they will be encouraged to read! One way we have done this at our house is to set aside time as a family to read.

Have a family “reading time.”

Last summer, we set aside 30 minutes in the evenings after dinner as family “reading time.” We gathered together in our living room with our individual books and read silently. We set the timer, and when it rang… we were done. At the end of reading time, sometimes a few family members shared something about what they’d read. But mostly, we just read. We enjoyed this time so much as a family that we carried it into our school year!

These days we steadily get to reading time about 4-5 nights a week. Sometimes the boys don’t want to take time out of their busy schedules to read. Yet, when we do take time to read, all of us seem to end up enjoying it. My husband and I really look forward to reading time. I finished several books this year I never would have found time to read had it not been for reading time!

What types of books will tempt your children to read this summer?

Summer seems to be a time for a different kind of reading. If you’ve ever walked through a book store in the summer, you will notice tables of books labeled “beach reads.” These are books that are easy to read on a beach or outdoors somewhere. They often are absorbing books you can take breaks from, return to, and easily be caught up in again. Books like this also work well for the family “reading time” I described above. Sometimes “beach reads” have a lighter, more carefree feel to them. Other times they have a brisk and thrilling pace. Overall, they are enjoyable, easy to read, and have simpler phrasing and diction. They are books that are just less work to read.

Series books work well for summer reading.

Summer can be a great time for series books. Series books often have the “beach read” feel. They have simpler phrasing and diction, have similar plots, follow a definite pattern, and require much less work to read because you already know the characters. Plus, if your child gets invested in a series, he/she can just keep on reading from one book to the next. Of course, not all series books are good. Many are not. So, you’ll have to use discernment to discover the series books that are acceptable for your family.

Take time to cultivate the habit of summer reading.

Time spent cultivating the habit of summer reading is time well spent. We’ve discovered our children curled up reading on the couch, reading in their beds, reading in the bath, and reading late at night. They started a book during “reading time” and just had to know what happened next! Try a family reading time and see what you think. Who knows, you may find yourself burning the midnight oil to find out what happens next in your book too!

Blessings,
Carrie

How much “together time” is beneficial?

Teaching Tip: 

How much “together time” is beneficial?

In a previous teaching tip, I mentioned how we can always be assured of plenty of “together time” in a homeschooling setting! One thing to weigh is how much “together time” is truly beneficial? Often as homeschool teachers, we default into thinking that anything done together is better. Often we think that knowledge shared in a group is better, because it is shared.

How do you learn best?

Think through the way that you learn best. Would you say that the “group experience” is the only way or the best way for you to learn? I know for me this isn’t necessarily true.

Be specific in choosing which experiences are shared.

This is why it is important to be specific in choosing which experiences are shared and which ones are individual. Sometimes experiences are shared only between teacher and one student.

What kind of experiences are best done one-on-one?

Personal/private sharing is best done one-on-one. Difficult subjects are best done one-on-one. Subjects that require concentrated attention are best done with few interruptions.

Make a conscious choice about how to handle each subject.

Try making a conscious choice about which subjects are best as a group experience and which subjects are best one-on-one. This specific choosing will make each subject more meaningful. It will also help each subject be better suited to your students’ needs! Try make conscious choices today, and see if your school day goes more smoothly!

Blessings,
Carrie