When Life Changes …

We really don’t have any choice but to change with it. New things come, old things go. some routines that we have held onto for years simply no longer work for where we find ourselves. It happens and is more common than we like to think. If anything IS a constant, it’s that CHANGE comes. Our ability to flex with those changes and eventually thrive is what makes all the difference in the world.

Whatever has changed in your life recently … even if it’s just more of the same old, same old that you haven’t quite gotten used to, please know that you can do this thing called homeschooling–even in the midst of crazy times!

One thing that helps you weather the storms of life is your ability to discern what HAS to be done vs what is simply good to be done. You can liken this to knowing the difference between wants and needs. Pare your schedule down to the bare bones, the basics. That will help tremendously. Another thing to do is to release guilt. There’s simply no room for that when you are homeschooling during a season of change or crisis.

A good thing to implement in your lives during this time is a period of “productive free time” (PFT) each day. During this block of time (be it an hour or longer — based on age and ability), let the children do their thing. Let them explore something, play something, read something, whatever. When the evening comes, ask everyone what they did during their PFT. As the days go by, you will be amazed at just how much learning happens.

One thing that is certain, season change. A season of change or crisis will pass. When it does, you can be assured that you can pick up the threads of your lives and continue weaving them into the beautiful and unique tapestry that is your family. Until then, may many blessings be showered upon you and yours!

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Resolutions

Why not consider some resolutions for your homeschool as well as for your personal life?

Homeschool Resolutions for a New Year – AOP Homeschooling

A Homeschooler’s New Year’s Resolutions – A Quiet Simple Life with Sallie Borrink

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Homeschoolers – Homeschooling Help (homeschoolacademy.com)

Let’s keep it simple with just these few. Enjoy the journey!!!

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12 Days of Christmas

If you are following my FB page, you know that I’ve been sharing things about the holidays this month. I have a few links scheduled for this topic too, but I like this page because it has separate links for each of the days and their meanings. The Hidden Meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas (courageouschristianfather.com)

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What’s Christmas without Christmas Music?

I love Christmas music. Here are some of the stories behind some of the very best songs (and a few not-so-great ones, too):

10 of the Best Classic Christmas Carols and the Stories Behind Them – Interesting Literature

10 Unusual Stories Behind Your Favorite Christmas Songs – Oddee

The History Behind Your Favorite Christmas Carols | Reader’s Digest (rd.com)

The History Behind 5 Great Christmas Carols (incourage.me)

Christmas Hymns | hymn stories

The Quick 10: Stories Behind 10 Famous Christmas Songs | Mental Floss

Christmas songs: Strange and fascinating stories behind your favorite tunes – CNN

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Celebrate the Light of the World with Chanukah

One of the first things you probably notice is that Chanukah can be spelled different ways. This happens with transliterated languages. The following page has some wonderful “stuff” for studying Chanukah. You really won’t want to search for anything else.

Happy Hanukkah: Free Planner Stickers – Bible Journal Love (biblejournalingdigitally.com)

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December Unit Study Ideas

I’ve listed several unit studies on my FB page, but here are a few more:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Unit Study – Homeschool Helper Online

December Themed Activities for Kids (livingmontessorinow.com)

40+ Free Resources for a Christmas Around the World Unit (livingmontessorinow.com)

December: Multicultural Holiday Celebrations | Education World

Holiday Activities, Worksheets, Printables, and Lesson Plans (edhelper.com)

Celebrate Winter Holidays Teaching Guide | Scholastic

Holiday Helps ~ Free Holiday Unit Studies — DIY Homeschooler

Christmas Around the World Unit Study and FREE Notebooking Pages | As We Walk Along the Road

Hey! There are EIGHT here, just as if you received one per each of the days of Chanukah! BTW, that starts on December 10th this year. There is just so much that you COULD do in December that I don’t want to overburden you with school-like things that you feel like you HAVE to do. Enjoy the season. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy your family! Many blessings to you and yours this holiday season — Stay SAFE!!!

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Advent

Have you ever thought about what that word means? It has to do with eagerly awaiting something. If you have not been involved in Christian teachings about Christmas, you may never have heard of Advent. In fact, even some Christians don’t know what it is! If you don’t “get it,” think back on what you remember about the impending birth of your first born child. All of the things you did to get ready for the birth of that baby are very similar to the things that go on during Advent. This makes sense since the Baby Jesus is coming to dwell with us, to abide with us!

Another thing that is really neat about Advent is how you can prepare your heart for the coming of the Lord, His Light and Love. Over the past few years I’ve seen some grandparents wrap a series of books to read on the days leading up to Christmas. Some plans show little story books that can easily be read in one sitting, others show books that need a few days, and a few feature books that take up the entire season of advent.

Let’s explore some Advent books!

Here’s a list of advent devotionals: Best Advent Devotionals (83 books) (goodreads.com)

This is Amazon’s all-time best seller’s list for Christmas books for kids: Amazon Best Sellers: Best Children’s Christmas Books

Here are the timeless classics: 20 Timeless Christmas Books for Kids | Real Simple

Christian Favorites: Christian Children’s Christmas Books – Christianbook.com

Finally, the best Christmas picture books: 24 Of The Best Christmas Picture Books For Kids {To Read Aloud!} (aplusteachingresources.com.au)

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Dysteachia

Maybe you have not heard the word used in the title of today’s post before; maybe you have.  Either way, we need to be aware that while 20% of the population DOES have dyslexia, the rest do not.  What if you have discovered that your child is not where he or she ought to be when compared to his or her peers?  Well, if it’s not dyslexia or another learning disability that affects the language centers of the brain, it may be that your child is struggling due to dysteachia

I first heard the term dysteachia several years ago during a book study geared toward elementary teachers.  The idea behind this term is that sometimes—and sometimes that means more often than we would like—kids struggle with language due to the teaching provided by the teacher.  Maybe your child has been in a Balanced Literacy school where the three cueing idea has been promoted.  Perhaps you bought a well-known curriculum and just assumed that it would “work” for your child.  Whatever happened to bring you to this point, the best thing to do is a little detective work to figure out how to get your child back on track. 

There is NO room for GUILT here!  Guilt won’t help you find your way out of the trouble and it won’t help your child learn to read, comprehend, spell, or write any quicker.  This is so important that I’m going to say it again:

There is NO room for GUILT!!!

Instead of wallowing in guilt, you are far better off using it for its intended purpose—course correction. 

Have you ever been lost?  Maybe you wandered off in a department store when you were young.  Maybe you went hiking and lost track of the trail.  Maybe you downloaded directions that weren’t right.  However it came about, you were lost.  What did you do? 

Sometimes the best thing to do when you are lost is sit tight and wait for someone to find you.  Other times it’s best to stop and ask for directions.  Every now and then, you can find your way out of trouble on your own.  (Doesn’t that feel great?!)  The same is true for when you have discovered that for whatever reason, the teaching your child has been provided is not getting you folks to the intended destination.   (Notice I went into passive voice there—no need for the blame game or guilt.)

So, sit for a bit and figure out where things went wrong.  If you are not far off course, you may be able to just go back to where you veered off and get going in the right direction.  If, while you are working to find your way, you get off track again, you can search the terrain for better markers.  Reading about the best practices in reading instruction can help you there.  If you have no idea where things went wrong, you might be better off sitting still and calling for help from someone who has made the journey can guide you.  The point is, once you know better, you can do better!  And that, my friends, is a great place to be! 

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DON’T GIVE UP!!!!

We’re almost at the end of Dyslexia Awareness month and I hope that the posts I have written both here and on my FB page have been a help to you. 

Today’s message is about not giving up.  Anytime your child struggles with anything makes for a hard road.  When they do succeed; however, wow, is that precious!  Seeing their confidence build is worth the tears.  Of course, I wish that there had been no tears at all, but life isn’t all sunshine and roses.  The homeschool life is no different.  There are going to be tough times, troublesome lessons, and tricky areas to progress through.  That doesn’t mean that the hard battles won’t hurt, or be worth it once they are fought. 

Throughout my “Getting Started” tab, you will see me reference something called a “Philosophy of Education” repeatedly.  This isn’t something that gets figured out and out down on paper overnight.  It takes time to refine it and put it into words.  It is your WHY for choosing to take this road.  An educational philosophy is wonderful for anyone who is pursuing homeschooling as more of a conviction rather than a convenience, but it is imperative for someone who has a child with a learning disability—whether suspected or formally diagnosed.  Knowing, deep down, that you are doing the right thing for your child will help you sustain this lifestyle for the long haul. 

There are lots of helps available for parents today.  I have many of them showcased in various parts of this website as well as on my FB page.  A Google search using well-chosen key words will yield more. Teaching and learning are intrinsically connected. I would say they are two sides of the same coin. So keep learning so that you can keep teaching!

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More on the Science of Reading

Many people begin with The Reading League when they want to learn about the Science of Reading.

Here’s another great place for information. Check out their guides here.

This page links to what Shanahan has to say. You might be wondering who Tim Shanahan is and why he matters to the discussion. He’s a literacy guru who has been active in the world of reading for decades. You can read his bio here.

Last, but certainly not least, Mark Seidenberg is a the cutting edge of all things Science of Reading. In fact, his book is well worth reading–even if you are only teaching one child to read! The science behind this really is fascinating. Stanislas Dehaene’s book is excellent, too.

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