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By Jessica Leavitt
A common mistake made by many (parents, teachers, doctors, relatives, well-meaning strangers) is that literacy only relates to being able to read. This couldn’t be further from the truth! The Language Arts encompass so much more than simply the reading of words. Children should be learning to listen and speak, both in a learning context and in a casual conversational context. Did you know? Drawing is considered a pre-writing skill! Make sure you give your child credit for talking about stories they have heard, for making up and telling stories orally, and for having conversations with others. When you pay attention to other literacy skills such as these, you will realize that you don’t need to rush reading skills. If you slow down and let your child learn to read at a natural, enjoyable pace, great things will happen. You will both appreciate the added benefits of waiting – here are just a few to look for:
To help take the stress out of teaching reading to your child, consider purchasing HOME's New Teaching Reading: A Stress Free Resource Guide.
Jessica Leavitt is a former elementary teacher who now homeschools her two children. She enjoys camping and hiking with her family, loves children’s literature, and works from home part-time. Jessica supports the Early Learners group for Homeschoolers of Maine and believes in the importance of play for children of all ages.
By Sarah Buchwalder
Not too long ago, Valentine's Day was called St. Valentine's Day. St. Valentine was a Roman physician and martyr who wrote letters to friends and loved ones from prison as he awaited execution because of his Christian faith. The notes were signed: "From, your Valentine." Why not take some time with family one of these winter days to make your own valentines - notes of hope and encouragement to those you love and maybe even those you don't know? A hospital, care facility, or even correctional facility might welcome simple cards letting residents know you are thinking of them. Or you could make some notes of appreciation for others in service positions - cashiers, your local library clerk, your postal worker. You could have the fun of shopping for inexpensive supplies (decorative paper, stickers, ribbon, and other add-ons) OR have even more fun working with what you can find on hand in the house. Cut out pictures from old magazines and catalogues as a collage! Make some tea or hot chocolate and popcorn to make it a cozy and memorable experience for everyone. Not to mention all the skills and subjects this activity works in - budgeting, problem solving, community service, fine arts, fine motor control, even history if you take the time to explain the tradition of notes and cards at this time of year because of St. Valentine.
Consider a deeper look at Valentine's Day with HOME's Chocolate and St. Valentine unit study!
Sarah is a mother of three and a New York expat, homeschooling on the Midcoast. Her degree is in philosophy, and she wears multiple hats at HOME (and home). She sort of classically educates her kids and likes being by the ocean, growing food, and having meaningful conversations with friends. She is a pet mom to an especially handsome bearded dragon, three chatty guinea pigs, and a fluctuating flock of hapless Ancona ducks.
Make the most of this 34th annual Maine homeschool event. Take advantage of the money and time saving tips below. Learn the strategies you need for the best experience possible!
What is a Unit Study?
Unit Studies offer students a thematic approach to learning. Typically, all subjects are covered through an in-depth study of one central topic. Learning becomes an adventure with students becoming more engaged, excited, and eager to dig deeper. Topics can be introduced to spark interest or to develop a special interest.
While typically unit studies are best suited for the elementary grades, they can easily be adapted for upper or lower grades or used in a multi-grade setting.
This makes them a popular and practical choice among homeschool families with multiple children. Everyone learns together, but at their own level of ability or interest!
Incorporating Unit Studies into Your Program
There are lots of ways to use unit studies. Some families use this method exclusively throughout the
year. Others find that unit studies are better suited for a particular season or in certain circumstances.
By Kathy Green
Merry Christmas! If you follow the liturgical year, the celebration of Christmas has just begun and will continue until January 6 (Epiphany). There is still plenty of time for more caroling, gift-giving, and sharing the message of hope in Jesus our Savior.
If you are like our family, though, the day after Christmas is a time to quietly reflect on Christmas Day memories made and the thoughtful gifts so lovingly prepared by friends and family. The heart and soul behind each gift become so clear and evident. That is often the greater gift! What a joy and blessing it is to see through the window into the soul of one with his heart in the right place.
Through the years, we have often had themes to our own gift giving to children and grandchildren. Themes help us to focus on a collective message that can be passed on as we give. Teachable moments can present themselves more easily at times, such as the holiday season, when emotions are heightened. The spirit is more willing to receive and remember what is shared. A new blanket brings warmth and comfort. Do we know another that needs to be comforted? A soft, new pillow gives us rest when we are weary. Can we lift a burden for a neighbor?
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