By Kimberly Miller
If you are a parent of more than one child, you know firsthand that each child is unique. If you are homeschooling multiple children, you have probably observed that your children have varying tendencies in the way they take in new information. They may have differing preferences for how they learn. Even if you only have one child, you have probably noticed that your child picks up new skills and information in a different way than you do.
Maybe your daughter likes to read about a new subject to learn about it, but your son likes to dive in and use a more hands-on approach to learning. Maybe one of your children learns more quickly through pictures and images than through verbal instructions, while another loves to listen to sounds or music in order to integrate new knowledge. If any of these sound familiar to you, then you have been observing different learning styles in action.
Learning styles are, quite simply, the ways in which individual people learn best. Everyone has a mix of learning styles, varying to one degree or another, with one learning style usually dominant over the others. Learning styles can change throughout a person’s life as they grow and mature and develop other, less dominant styles.
Knowing about learning styles can be helpful for a homeschooling parent. Understanding learning styles and how they affect your child can go a long way toward aiding you in making your teaching—and your child’s learning—more effective and efficient.
By Leann Dunckel
...my frame was not hidden from thee when i was made in the secret place...and in thy book they were all written the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them...(Psalm 139:15-16)
We have six children, each one different, each one a valued inheritance from the Lord. My oldest daughter was born shortly before i turned 32. After waiting almost 3 years, we were surprised to be pregnant. 'They' said 'sometimes it takes awhile'. I remembered my prayer. I mused to God I would be happy with whatever He had for us--a couple of kids, a bunch of kids, no kids and we would adopt "but you have to put that in my heart, Lord". He said into my heart, "You'll have five." We have six (still haven't figured that out). I told my mother. She wasn't sure. You see, i was 32 and had no kids. We did nothing medically. We were pregnant a month later, and children came every 18 months after that. Yay!! (Phew!) The Lord put homeschooling in my heart immediately. But how? My husband thought homeschoolers were crazy. We both worked in schools! And I worked full time.
End of 3rd grade. My husband said, "Why don't we try homeschooling?" (I had left my desire to homeschool in God's hands, and only prayed.) After all, we thought, it's only 4th grade, how could we hurt her? I had worked my way into part-time, and then temporary work from home. We could put her back after one year, and as long as she could read, write, and do math, we had not hurt her education in any way. Homeschooling began. Meredith was a different child within three weeks. She was so soft and peaceful. Her music began--not because we were musical, but because Meredith asked for piano lessons (that we couldn't afford on our current income). So, Meredith took 10 weeks of piano. A little water, a little sunshine, that little seed put up a shoot. Meredith wouldn't do the end-of-the-year recital. The teacher said "Will you play a song for the offeratory in church?" Meredith said yes.
By Kimberly Miller
Creativity—it’s something most parents would say they want to foster in their children. After all,
creativity leads to ingenuity and innovation, which we’ve seen in our modern world can lead to
helpful and important developments in technology and the arts (STEAM fields). Creativity also
has benefits beyond what it can produce; the act of creative pursuits can make us happier and
more fulfilled. And what parent doesn’t want that for their child?
As homeschooling parents, we have a huge impact on our children’s creativity and how it is
developed and utilized. We can encourage it, or we can stifle it. We must make sure we are
doing the things that will foster our children’s creativity and help it to grow and flourish.
But how can we best encourage creativity in our children so that they will be free to invent,
explore, and create throughout their lives?
Here are a few tips to get you started in helping your children develop their creativity:
Everyone is creative in some way. Creativity is a natural, God-given inclination.
Creativity is an attribute of God’s character, as well as an expression of our humanity. God is a
creative being, and as humans, we are made in His image. We have an innate desire to be
creative ingrained in us by the very design with which we were made. We reflect God’s image
when we practice our creativity. Children naturally enjoy making things. So do adults. In fact, I
would argue that most people are in some way creative—they may just not see it in themselves.
If you claim that you or your child are not creative, stop and take a look at what you love to do
and you just may discover that it is a creative activity at its heart.
Even parents who think they are not creative can raise creative kids.
Yes, that means you. I guarantee you are a creative person, even if you do not see it in yourself.
Look for that spark of creativity, and fan it into a flame—in yourself as well as in your child. You
may just find that it enhances your life in ways you could not have imagined. And it will inspire
your child as well. But even if you never accomplish anything you would consider creative, you
can still have an influence in fostering creativity in you children. They will thank you for it, and
the world will be enriched by the gifts they share with it.
by Jessica Leavitt
It has happened to most of us. The end of the school year comes sneaking up behind us. We turn around to meet it head on and we see our three-inch binder (aka a pre-assembled portfolio from HOME) staring us in the face. Empty. Maybe you have a few worksheets saved, or maybe you just forgot to write down every book, hike, and educational game played this past year. Maybe you aren’t sure what “counts” as evidence of learning. If only you had an assistant …
From one procrastinator to another, I can assure you that there is hope. Lots of hope! Your children are the best assistants you could hope for. Your phone (if it has a camera) is a treasure trove of evidence. Your calendar is another.
The notice of intent that you sign at the beginning of the year states that you must cover English, language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts, and in at least one grade from 6 to 12 Maine Studies, and at one grade level from 7 to 12 the student will demonstrate proficiency in use of computers. We will leave Maine Studies and computer proficiency for another blog and just tackle the remaining subjects.
First, start easy. Gather any paper evidence you have from the year. Workbooks, worksheets, printouts, artwork, outlines, writing samples, etc. Sort these into piles for each subject. If your pile is small, or non-existent, we will address that later. Review each pile with your child and date any samples to the month they were completed if a date is missing. This is where your child will be a huge help. “I remember doing this math worksheet the same day we decorated gingerbread houses!” December 2020 for the win. The goal is to have two samples/examples per quarter, per subject for the portfolio. Once you have sorted and dated what you have, you can make a list of what you still need. This is a good time to have your child go through your home library and pull out books for the book lists. Children have a great memory for books! Don’t forget Audible books, podcasts, and books on CD. You can list the same book for multiple subjects: Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry can be on your list for English and Social Studies. Children can also help with field trips. Start with phone pictures and look for any outings you took as a family. Your children will remember what you
saw/observed/learned each trip. A hike can count as a field trip and also count as Science and P.E. and sometimes Social Studies (map use, landforms).
by Kimberly Miller
Reading aloud is one of the most important things a parent can do for their own children to ensure their academic success. Listening to a good, well written work of literature does something to the mind and the imagination of a child that is truly remarkable. It prepares them, through the use of the imaginative powers, for life and learning. It plants seeds in the fertile ground of the mind that will grow and bloom well into their future lives.
Multiple studies have shown evidence that reading to children is beneficial and in many ways even essential for learning and brain development.
It is important for homeschooling parents to not underestimate the power of reading to our children. For something that seems so simple, the effects are far reaching and may even be immeasurable. At the very least, it helps set kids up for a love of books and reading. But sharing a read aloud can also be a bonding experience for parent and child.
You probably read to your child when they were very young. Most parents enjoy holding a child in their lap and sharing a classic picture book together. Young children can learn so much from the language patterns, repetition, engaging pictures, and captivating ideas contained in quality literature for young children. Be sure to capture those moments while they are available. Little ones don’t stay little forever, and before you know it, they have moved past the picture book stage. They won’t want to hear you read Goodnight Moon forever.
At some point, it will be time to move on to longer and more complex books. Early readers, chapter books, and children’s classics like The Secret Garden and The Wind in the Willows can offer a feast for the heart and imagination of children. Once again, books like these shared between parents and children are delightful opportunities for strengthening the parent-child connection. Those hours spend sitting side-by-side, sharing a good book together, create special memories and important moments for both parent and child.
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