Friday, March 13, 2015

Homeschool Learning Styles

How do you learn? How does your husband or wife learn? Do you know the homeschool learning styles of your student? Regardless of how you school, public, private, or homeschool, knowing how you and your child learn is crucial. If you are not teaching toward your child’s learning style, you are paddling up a swift running river. It can be done, but you will fight hard the whole way.

A simple learning styles inventory (test) will shed light on which styles are most dominant. Most people will have more than one learning style, but one will shine more than the others. Once you know your preferred learning style and the preferred learning style of your child, you can tailor your homeschool lessons to fit you both. It doesn’t matter if you are use eclectic homeschooling, traditional homeschooling, or unschooling, teaching and learning with learning styles in mind will make homeschooling easier and more productive.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Homeschool Science

Science is a favorite subject for many first graders. One reason science in elementary is so fun is because it can be very hands-on and it involves studying animals at one time or another. Who doesn’t love kitties and puppies?

There are great homeschool textbooks with super illustrations, but illustrations can only take you so far. Sometimes you just want to get your hands dirty. While first graders typically do not participate in elementary science fair projects, you totally can since you homeschool. Lots of homeschool co-ops and homeschool support groups offer science fairs that first graders can enter. This is a great opportunity for your child to shine and learn tons along the way. If there is not a science fair event in your local support groups or co-op, maybe you can be the pioneer and start one.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Alphabetical Order

You and your first grader have been working hard learning to spell words. Now it is time to teach your child about putting words in ABC order.

A good mix of worksheets, hands-on activities, and games work well to accomplish teaching alphabetizing. ABC games can be games you make up or online educational ABC games. Most first graders benefit from learning to alphabetize up to the second letter or third letter. If your child has a hard time, just teach them to go to the second letter for now. There is plenty of time to master this skill, and it is practiced each year in subsequent years in most elementary homeschool curriculum programs.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum

What is your favorite first grade homeschool curriculum? What makes it your favorite? Does it meet your child’s learning style? Is it easy to follow, totally scripted, and quick to implement?

Finding the perfect homeschool curriculum is almost impossible. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Mos of the time you will not find a ‘perfect’ curriculum, but several really good ones. A curriculum that claims to be the ‘end all’ sends red flags up for me.

When I’m looking for a good first grade science curriculum, for example, some of the things I look for are lots of hands-on activities with textbook or online learning. I like something that is laid out very well, but that I can stray from when I choose. I check demos or excerpts of the lessons to see first hand the quality of what I will be getting. I want to know if it is aligned to state and national standards. I want to know if the cost includes everything I need, or will I need to purchase extra items. I want to know if the company I purchase from has some type of warranty or refund policy.

You will have some of the same requirements I’ve listed and many more. Just keep in mind that even when you think you have thoroughly checked out a potential curriculum, once you get it home, it just might not be what you need or want. That’s what homeschool swap boards are for.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Solid Foundation

Learning to read involves practice, practice, and more practice. A healthy blend of phonics and sight words lays a good solid foundation for learning to read. Playing short vowel games helps kids understand those sounds that can be hard for some kids to master. If your child is a right-brained visual learner, then you might want to consider online flash animation games, charts, graphs, use of colors…to stimulate them.

Let your child read into a recorder so they can hear themselves. Have them practice by reading to a younger sibling, their pet, or a stuffed animal or doll. Create language experience stories with your child. Help them write the stories down. Encourage them to practice reading those stories. Have one night every month or so where your child reads a short story to the whole family.
Just keep practicing, practicing, and practicing!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I know you have explained what syllables are to your first grader. So what are they? According to, a syllable is an uninterrupted segment of speech consisting of a vowel sound, a diphthong, or a syllabic consonant, with or without preceding or following consonant sounds: “Eye,” “sty,” “act,” and “should” are English words of one syllable. “Eyelet,” “stifle,” “enact,” and “shouldn't” are two-syllable words.

Breaking words into syllables helps kids decode words. It is one component of phonological awareness. Students gain the ability to hear phonemes that comprise words and to explore speech sounds as syllables. Students who have well-developed phonological skills generally learn to read with more success. Kids can “clap” syllables, put their hand over their mouth and see how many times their mouth opens, or play other syllable games.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Rainbow of Gifts and Talents

Homeschoolers comes in a rainbow of gifts and talents. Some are gifted mathematicians, some hate math. Some take hours to complete a lesson and others zip right through them. Some need remedial help. Some have physical challenges. Some are gung ho and some are burned out. Some are sweet all day and others need a nap twice a day. Despite their gifts and talents or lack thereof, all are unique and precious. They just want to know you believe in them.

Special needs learning represents a great many homeschoolers. Parents who homeschool their special needs child feel they can give their child more attention and a better quality education because they have their child’s best interest at heart. They understand their child’s needs. They know their child can achieve whatever they set their mind to. They sound like every other homeschool child to to achieve whatever they set their mind to. Isn’t it wonderful that kids can be taught in an atmosphere where the sky's the limit. They are nurtured and expected to achieve, so they do, regardless of their special education needs or their academic giftedness.