Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mothers as (Homeschool) Teachers

Ozark Latter-day Saints Homeschool Group Presentation

Facts taught without values creates chaos.  ~Susan Roylance

When homeschooling it helps to record what you did in each subject each day, for each child.  Special lesson plan calendars for teachers are sold at teacher supply stores.  I used one of these for each grade I was homeschooling.  You can reuse these as the children move up in grade.  Then your lesson plans are already recorded—you just need to update the calendar for each new child.  I have saved these for several years after they entered public (or private) school in case there were any question about their education and what we covered.  For new homeschooling parents, I highly recommend Homeschooling:  Answers to Questions Parents Most Often Ask, Deborah McIntire and Robert Windham, ISBN#  091611984X.  It was a huge help for our family and also includes worksheets such as lesson plan calendar pages to copy.

At the teacher stores, there are great publications for teaching the different grades such as K-3.  CopyCat Magazine was my favorite and I subscribed to it.  I loved doing every science activity with all my children no matter how old they were.  The reading activities were also a wonderful and creative extension of what the children were learning in their texts.  I could supplement any subject with an unit plan from CopyCat Magazine.  There were also tons of great artistic activities to do, including studying the great masters.  (I'm horrified to find out that CopyCat Magazine is no more!  After 20 years, the owners called it quits!  I've linked my first mention of this publication to a site where you can still shop for their products.  To find other CopyCat and similar unit activities go to: 

Daily Language Review (also handwriting, math, etc.), by Evan-Moor (example ISBN 1557996563) were essential in my teaching.  I used these to review what the children had learned.  Most of the time, my kids could do these practices independently, giving me time to work with another child or prepare for the next activity.

Scholastic has many wonderful books, and because I was in charge of my own church school, I could order these books for my “class” and receive a lot of free stuff.  I liked books such as Teaching with Favorite Newberry Books  (ISBN 0590019759).  We could study Newberry Award books such as Sarah, Plain and Tall, A Wrinkle in Time, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Ella Enchanted.  There were lots of fun activities to choose from. 

We actually did Sarah, Plain and Tall as a short series of Achievement Day Activities when my girls were that age.  American Girls have a teacher’s guide to the Kirsten series that was the best of all their teacher’s guides at the time.  I think Kirsten is the best written American Girls series as well.  I never used a textbook for reading.  I just read what I felt was the best of contemporary writing and most of the children’s classics.  Whatever my kids were reading, I read too.

I feel that state history and geography is still important even though it is not formally taught in our state anymore, so I found old state text books, (even one from the turn-of-the-century!)  Also helpful was Sizzling State Reports, ISBN 0881602981.  I required my homeschoolers to do social studies projects as well as science projects and this was a very helpful guide. 

I recommend reading "Making Home A Learning Center," (Ensign Feb. 84).  It is article full of ideas great for homeschoolers.

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