• Mothering Monday ~ Teaching

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    I believe education is one of the higher responsibilities of parents as we raise our heaven-gifted children.
    I have many an email and questions in regards to this topic. Many know I am easing into making our lifestyle that of educating at home, full time. I feel the need to communicate that I adamantly believe the home is the best place for education to birth and flourish, regardless of choice between formal or unconventional education paths for your children. If learning is to be a passion and thrill for your child, it will always start from home!

    A Love for Learning is a gift I want to give my children. I want to help set a lifestyle of learning for them that will not be completed when they have received their highschool or university diploma. For me to see in my adult children a passion and continuation of learning, will be a great reward.

    For me life is simply too short to waste any precious time on junk! Junk Education!

    There are so many beautiful, alive and uplifting things for our children’s (and our) minds to dwell on!

    Beautiful Music

    Beautiful Art

    Beautiful Words: Poetry, Stories

    Beautiful Thoughts ~ in touch with great minds

    Beautiful books filled with life ~ art ~ poetry ~ stories ~ thoughts

    Beautiful Nature ~ Seasons drenched in wonder

    I have seen growth in children minds and characters when life settles in beauty.

    For your home to emanate peace and learning…

    Turn off the t.v or computer, cancel as many after school lessons as possible.

    ~ Go home ~

    Play music of Vivaldi, Chopin, Holst, (most children’s favourites).

    Pull out books sparked with wonder, adventure and truth. Read to your kids in as much enthusiasm you can muster.

    Take them out in nature. Let them feel her pulse. Have them run with the waters, meadows and mountains of this grand earth. Encourage them as they collect pocketfuls of treasures hunted from out doors. Once home read and explain what leaves and woods, rocks and plants they have collected.

    Filter your home play with a standard of greatness, purity and reality. Play with them.

    Have fewer toys providing more room and time for art supplies.

    A child will feel much surer, encouraged, adventurous and healthy if they are dwelling on wholesome, enlightening and uplifting materials or activities.

    Make learning your life and their life will learn!

    There is a world of ‘educational’ things you could buy and fill your life with that is sadly ‘fluff’, taking precious space of shelves and minds!

    When life boils down to home work and math facts and midwinter house blues remember that all things should be a blessing. Learning the disciplines is so important. Work with your child’s character to be able to manage their ‘harder work’ in a timely fashion and with self-responsibility. Let discipline subjects be interwoven with the lighter more engaging topics. Do not make excuses for their tardiness or lack of discipline. Use wisdom, if math is not working try another program, if that is still not working, work on character, your and your child’s, encourage your child’s mind to think new thoughts of math. Read to them about Galileo, Leonardo da-Vinci, Albert Einstein (or any scientist, inventor or explorer for that matter), let them taste the importance of math. Point out throughout the day when you or they have just used a math skill. Your goal with difficult subjects is to make it as alive and interesting as possible while still having your child learn the subject matter fully.

    I encourage you Dear Mother ~ you are a teacher ~ if you have a babe tucked close to heart, you are their main educator, if anything, teach them of adventures in learning, the glorious wonders of this World.

    My amazing friend and brilliant educator Marion, has some wisdom on teaching she is so generously sharing with us this morning.

    There are so many good ideas for teaching/learning situations. Each Mom/Dad knows their child and knows what sparks their interest and keep them going. I am so blessed when I see the work that home-schoolers do with their own children. I love working alongside some of those parents. It is a great joy!

    Questions to ask?

    Does your child listen well? Will your child copy (actions, etc.) and remember what they have seen shown to them? Does your child like to learn by being shown something? Does your child remember well? Can your child sit for 5 minutes or for 20 minutes?

    The answers to these questions and others like them can help you shape the teaching styles and times in your child's day.

    .....teaching/learning should involve as many senses as possible (seeing, hearing, feeling, even tasting or smelling something).

    .....much teaching involves listening/seeing and should include doing something as well.

    .....be at your child’s level when you’re teaching them something---ie. Sitting at the table alongside them or being on the floor or a low chair for activities at that level.

    .....play games with a purpose....ie. Memory games can build and perfect listening skills if you start out instructing the child to do one thing/two things/three things/etc.; memory games can also increase visual retention if you play a card game with face-down pairs of pictures and takes turns flipping over pairs of them to try and find those matches. Putting together puzzles is a great way of getting children ready to read as it helps them pull out details from a whole array of details on the table (it’s called “figure-ground” and helps a child find letters/words on a page of other words);

    .....READ TO YOUR CHILD----I think we, as parents, can never do this enough. Reading as your child(ren) snuggle around you provides them not only with rich language but also the closeness/safety/pleasure of being YOUR focus. Read books that include words new to them....use these words later to increase your child’s vocabulary. Talk about synonyms and antonyms and homonyms.....about descriptive words (adjectives), action words (verbs). Model good English is your speech around the home. If children say something that isn’t grammatically correct, repeat it back to them correctly (ie...”Sally and me want to play outside” should be repeated, “Sally and I want to play outside”....or “Tommy gave that to Peter and I”...repeat it correctly as “....to Peter and me”)

    .....have your child describe something to you using only words....or only a drawing...or whatever other creative way you decide.....this can come after you’ve demonstrated how to do it together. For instance, put a ripe yellow pear on the table on a plate and start writing down words to describe it....use sight, sound, smell, feel, taste words.

    .....use your child’s BACKboard---I have found that most children have a great message centre to their brain---it’s their back. Try writing numbers or letters (particularly those which a child may write “backward” or inverted) on a child’s back and have them write what you have done on a paper in front of them or trace it on a “sand square” in front of them.....a sand square is a small box filled with a layer of coarse sand/rice/flours/beans/etc. to give your child a tactile (feeling) sensation of what is being written. Another fun way of writing such letters is in chocolate pudding on a heavier type paper....fun and TASTY!

    Some over-riding suggestions:

    Always be positive. In whatever learning activity your child is involved, there is always something. Some days, finding that positive note might provide you needed humor as well (:

    Teach from what your child already knows. For instance, math is not stand-alone bits of knowledge....it is all inter-related and must be built consecutively day by day. Addition/subtraction facts live in families as to multiplication/division facts. Teach these facts to rote memory as this knowledge gives your child the tools they need to build with greater ease the higher levels. Provide more practice in a skill than not enough. Encourage mastery (ie. 80% or better) in this subject.

    If you hit a road-block in learning, leave it for an hour/a day....then return to it and try it “another way”....let your child tell you in words HOW they did something. Listen carefully and you will likely be able to see where they took a wrong-turn. Encourage them; tell them what wrong turn happened; and walk them through the correct pattern. Then allow practice in it and keep up the encouraging words.

    Take breaks.....have a wee snack/run around the yard....then get back to it. Have a finish in mind and congratulate your child on a job well-done.

    Be ready to learn yourself.

    Ladies, my teacher’s hat is off to you, may your week be a wonder, with your child’s hand warmly tucked into yours through your learning adventures.