Teaching & Learning

Homeschool 4 Real Life H4RL / Teaching & Learning

What is a spiraling curriculum and why does it matter?

I’m a big fan of spiraling curriculum, mostly because it just makes sense.  If you picture the metal wire that binds a spiral notebook, you’ll see that it keeps coming back around to meet the pages as you travel up the wire.  It does not cut through at the same level, but nonetheless is passing through the same pages again and again.  A spiral curriculum does essentially the same thing.  A child’s studies will come back around to the same ideas at different points throughout their learning journey.  Just as the wire does not enter the same point in the pages every time, the learning is at increasingly complex levels each time a subject is revisited and may place emphasis on different aspects of the same topic.  I love the freedom a spiraling curriculum gives.  It takes away the pressure of making sure we eek out every bit of learning before...

4 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Math Confidence

It's important to help increase your child's math confidence because confident students learn more.  Why?  One major reason is that they don’t give up.  Students who believe they can find a solution aren’t stopped by mistakes or difficulty.  They keep thinking and try to find a different approach.  This leads to deeper understanding, more flexibility in problem-solving, and more efficient mastery of concepts.  These students are also likely to spend more time doing math since they are happier while studying it.  More time leads to more progress.  Focusing on increasing your child's math confidence can increase the time your child is willing to wrestle with math concepts. Another factor is attitude.  Confident students look forward to thinking mathematically and have a positive outlook as they approach new concepts.  Students who fear that they won’t be able to figure it out may be apprehensive.  This stress can actually lead to...

Take Time to Reflect

As a parent, it’s important to take time to reflect on how things are going for our kids and for our family in general.  Homeschooling makes it even more critical that we do this.  For one thing, it gives us a few minutes to sit down, put our feet up, and still be doing something productive!Good days and bad daysTaking time to reflect is just as important on good days as on the bad ones.  We need to think about what went well, why it went well, and how we can make more of that goodness happen!  On bad days, we need to pause and remember that it was just one day, one tiny piece of our life and learning with our children, and it’s okay!  The most important thing is to consider the root of the problem and what we can try to do differently that may be a...

The wrong way to homeschool

Wait – I thought there was no wrong way to homeschool! Well, that’s somewhat true. Families homeschool in many different ways and their children learn and thrive. However, there is one mistake that new homeschoolers make that often ruins the experience. Here’s how it happens.Let me tell you a story...

Homeschool schedule – what’s best?

It seems like such a simple question, but so much can affect what kind of homeschooling schedule is best for your family.  The ages of your children, number of children, scheduled activities, parent work schedules, family dynamics, personalities…all of these factors lead to a wide variation of schedules among homeschooling families.  There is also tremendous variation when it comes to homeschooling approaches and philosophies.  Let’s explore some options for your homeschool schedule, both on a yearly basis and daily. Some families prefer not to set a schedule at all, believing that keeping life unscheduled allows for free exploration and meaningful learning.  Others follow essentially the same schedule as the public schools, with breaks at holidays and during the summer.  Families that choose year-round schooling take breaks for a week or two at intervals during the year rather than taking the bulk of it at one time during the summer. Many homeschooling families...

Homeschooling Unexpectedly Due to COVID-19

Many families are finding themselves in what feels like a no-win situation. With the uncertainty created by COVID-19, heading back to school does not seem like the best option for creating a stable, effective learning situation. On-line school might work for some, but leaves other parents concerned about too much screen time and not enough interaction, especially for active learners. Homeschooling feels like the only option, but seems overwhelming and is definitely unfamiliar territory. That’s the empty half of the glass. Let me offer you some encouragement by shedding light on the other half of the glass – the half that is full of opportunity! Homeschooling may only be a brief interlude in your family’s educational story (or maybe you’ll love it so much you’ll decide to stay!), but you may find that it turns out to be an incredible gift. Just as many families have found that staying...