Using the Internet and Social Networking Sites in Home School
Monday, 6 April 2009 09:44
-by Mimi Rothschild
You have to have had your head in the sand for the past several years not to have heard of the ever-growing world of social networking websites such as Myspace, gloryLane, and Facebook. But what are these sites, really? And is there a way that you can use them and the internet in general to enhance your home school environment? Although it is a personal decision, as long as you’re careful the general answer would be yes.
First of all, the most important thing to remember about the internet is that it can be a dangerous, unsavory place, particularly for children. Should you decide to embark on the journey of incorporating today’s technology into your home school curriculum, be sure that you are diligent in monitoring the safety of your students.
That being said, what types of things can you do to bring the world wide web into your classroom?
Social networking sites, such as Facebook or the Christian Networking site gloryLane, are ways in which friends can keep in touch with one another, via cyberspace, and are growing in popularity daily. Many of these sites contain groups and causes you can join, ways to share links with your friends and family, and even games you can play. The games can even be interactive and somewhat educational, such as word games and IQ challenges, which will at least get your child thinking. If properly monitored, these sites can be an excellent way to foster socialization, particularly for the only child in a home school home. But be cautioned, just as there are positive aspects to some of these sites, there are, of course, also dangers. If you allow your child to create an account, be sure that the privacy levels are properly in place, and keep close tabs on what your child is doing when visiting their account.
Chat rooms and forums are another way to communicate with others online. There are countless sites that offer the ability to set up a free account and become a member of their communities, some general, others much more specific to a certain hobby or subject. In fact, there are even several out there dedicated to the world of home schooling. These types of sites can be beneficial to your child by encouraging them to develop and share thoughtful opinions with others and participate in worthwhile discussions. However, just as with the social networking sites, you must do your due diligence in properly monitoring any forum or chat activity that your child is participating in.
Blogs are an excellent way to help your child develop a love for writing. There are multiple websites that offer free blogs to anyone who wants to start one. Allowing your child to establish their own blog will help them to become independent, flex their creativity muscles, and share their thoughts and ideas with anyone who is interested in reading it. And the possible subjects or themes of blogs are endless. Is your child especially interested in ballet? Maybe a particular sport piques your son’s interest. Whatever they are passionate about would make great material for their own blog. What better way to encourage your student to write than to allow them to publish their work online, for the world to see?
As always, you must be cautiously optimistic about today’s changing and developing technological resources, and safety is always the key. Remind your child regularly that it is never ok to share personal information, such as address or phone numbers, with anyone they are speaking to online. If you are careful and diligent about it, the internet can be an excellent tool to add a new dimension to your home school classroom.
Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of LearningByGrace.org the nation’s leading provider of online PreK-12 online Christian educational programs for homeschoolers.
Sensory Modalities- Multisensory Learning
Monday, 20 October 2008 13:04
One of the great things about homeschooling is that we can teach each of our children in the very best way for that particular child. One of the learning differences that matters most is the child’s preferred sensory modality.
That’s a long phrase that means that some children learn better through seeing (visual learners), some through hearing (auditory learners), and some through touching (kinesthetic learners). God has given us our senses, and we all use them in the ways that are best for our uniquely created selves.
How Can I Tell My Child’s Preferred Sensory Modality?
When you get out a map, your visual learners might look closely and study it. Your auditory learners might look at it briefly and then look back at you, listening for an explanation, or start reading the names of the countries out loud. Your kinesthetic learners might touch the map, tracing out a route with their fingers.
Some people are more balanced than others, and might seem to use information from different sensory channels equally. Usually, even more balanced learners show their preferred modality when they’re feeling a little stressed.
Your auditory learner might talk to herself when she is working hard on a math test. Your kinesthetic learner might count on his fingers or doodle numbers in the margins. Your visual learner might write in the margins, too, but he’ll be doing it so he can look at the figures to see whether they look right.
Fortunately, all children learn best when they use all their senses, so you don’t have to be sure about their
preferred modalities. Just include a range of different activities in your lessons. It is so easy for us to think of activities that fit our own preferred modality! Sometimes we need to be reminded of the best activities for the other learning modalities.
Activities for Visual Learners
• Looking at charts and diagrams.
• Color-coding information
• Using graphic organizers to show information
• Practicing with flashcards and worksheets
• Using videos
Activities for Auditory Learners
• Listening to lectures
• Discussing information and ideas
• Reading aloud
• Using learning songs and chants
• Reciting information and doing oral practice
Activities for Kinesthetic Learners
• Using manipulatives
• Doing hands-on practice
• Creating models
• Playing games with information
• Using role play and drama
A perfect lesson would include activities for all the senses. We know that practicing new learning in different ways helps children learn better than practicing for the same amount of time using the same approach. Research also shows that multisensory lessons are learned more easily and remembered longer.
Combine different activities to get the most out of each of them and the best for each learner. Learning videos let visual learners watch and auditory learners listen. Let kinesthetic learners follow along with drawings or manipulatives, or try out what they see on their own. Have kinesthetic learners make graphic organizers with their visual learner siblings, and the auditory learners will join in discussing how to sort the information in the organizers. You can even include cooking, gardening, and nature study to bring in the senses of smell and taste. As far as we know, children don’t use these senses as their preferred learning modality, but we have all seen how cooking a dish from a country being studied can bring that lesson to life.
Soon multisensory lessons will be second nature!
Seven Tips to Help Students with Attention Deficit Disorder
Friday, 19 October 2007 15:06
By Mimi Rothschild
Take some time to read this great article about helping students with Attention Deficit Disorder. Included are seven solid strategies that parents and teachers should start implementing for students with ADD.
As all good teachers know, every student has unique interests, abilities, and learning styles. In a successful classroom, this individuality is respected. In fact, teachers use what they know about each individual to help students learn. This same care and respect can help the growing number of students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) overcome some of the educational challenges that they face.
Distinguishing ADD from the normal range of childhood activity is difficult and requires the help of a trained professional. There is no cure for ADD. However, you can use strategies like the seven below to help students with ADD find success in your classroom.
Establish a calm, structured classroom
Set up regular routines and clear, consistent rules. While this classroom structure need not come at the expense of creativity or excitement, students with ADD are usually most comfortable in classrooms where procedures, expectations, and limits are explicit.
Provide a “stimuli-reduced study area” in a quiet, low-traffic area of the classroom. Encourage students to use it. To learn more about setting up this study space, go to KidSource Online.
Seat students with ADD away from distractions and close to you. Younger students who have trouble staying in their own spaces can benefit from clear physical boundaries, such as their own table or a box marked on the floor with colored tape.
Always be clear and concise when giving instructions
Repeat yourself! Students with ADD flourish in classrooms where reminders and previews are the norm. Be sure that students know what to expect, and give them frequent updates.
Maintain eye contact when giving verbal instructions and make sure that students understand the instructions before they begin the task. You may want to have students repeat directions back to you.
Simplify complex instructions, and break large tasks into a series of smaller, more manageable parts. Provide older students with written instructions for multistep projects. Review these instructions orally to be sure that students understand.
Use non-verbal cues to communicate with the students; for example, quiet the class by raising your hand or blinking the lights. Give private cues when students are off-task, like sending a signal to re-focus by placing your hand on the shoulder of a chatting or distracted student. If a student is struggling with written instructions, print simple, easy-to-understand icons in the margins of the page in order to draw attention to key points.
Help students to become better organized
Provide students with an easy-to-use assignment log. In this log, clearly list the day’s assignments on a clear, standardized homework schedule. Be sure to include a checklist of all books and supplies that students will need to complete the assignments. If possible, older students should make these homework schedules on their own. Remind all students to consult this notebook at the end of each day and to make sure they understand the assignments.
Take advantage of technology
Encourage students to do writing assignments on computers or word processors that have a spell-checking feature. Students can also use hand-held, computerized spellers. Of course, these aids should not replace good, comprehensive training in these basic skills. However, for projects that emphasize content mastery, technology can be a very valuable tool! Students who can demonstrate their knowledge without worrying about spelling or handwriting can feel pride in their accomplishment and enjoy a great boost in self-esteem.
Give frequent and specific praise
Be sure to tell students how much you value them. Praise all good behavior and outstanding academic performance or improvement in front of classmates or in private. Be specific – tell students exactly what they accomplished!
“Great job, Leila! You raised your hand before you answered the question!”
“Thank you for washing your paintbrush and putting it back where it belongs, Juan. You really listened to my directions!”
“What a clean desk! You are very organized today, Matt.”
Reward success in the classroom by:
Distributing small prizes, like stickers.
Adding checkmarks or stars to a prominently displayed chart.
Giving successful students firm handshakes and bright smiles.
Telling students that you are proud of them!
Share good news with family members
Tell family members about their children’s accomplishments. Don’t limit home-school communication to difficult periods or crisis situations.
Give younger students a daily home-school “report card.” Encourage them to keep cards in their assignment logs and to share them with their parents. Use this report card to describe students’ achievements and to ask for information or assistance.
There are no easy solutions to ADD, but a classroom environment that is rich in structure, support, and encouragement can nurture success in all students.
Poetry for Home Schoolers
Monday, 9 July 2007 10:40
By Mimi Rothschild
Poetry is a timeless art that has lasted throughout the ages. From David in The Bible to Walt Whitman, poems have been written that have stirred people’s hearts and sparked their imaginations. Poems have the ability to capture a moment, much like a painting, and encapsulate that moment forever. The Jubilee Academy believes that poetry is an excellent way for home schooling students to improve their writing and reading skills. Poetry is written in all different levels and in a variety of forms. The Jubilee Academy has found some phenomenal resources that will introduce younger home schoolers to poetry and challenge older home schoolers with more advanced poems. Enjoy!
Pre-Kindergarten Home Schoolers
Having Fun with Shel Silverstein: Pre-kindergarten home schoolers can write poems, solves puzzles, and learn all about poetry!!! This website brilliantly introduces poetry to pre-k home schoolers!
Elementary Home Schoolers
Giggle Poetry: Elementary home schoolers have always loved poetry and they will love using this website to learn about poetry. Giggle poetry allows elementary home schoolers to write, read, and perform poems with friends, and much more!
Middle School Home Schoolers
Famous Poems: Middle school home schoolers have a variety of interests and this extensive list of famous poems will meet their individual interests. The Jubilee Academy feels this website provides an impressive list of poems that middle school home schoolers should read and study.
High School Home Schoolers
W.B. Yeats: Yeats is perhaps one of the greatest poets known to man. Yeats was a founder of the Irish Literary Revival that produced many world-famous writers. Yeats’ poems may be difficult to understand at first, but we feel that high school home schoolers will greatly benefit from studying his works.
“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud: ‘To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding. Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right.’” (Proverbs 8:1-6)
The Jubilee Academy
The Fourth of July For Home Schoolers
Tuesday, 3 July 2007 10:41
By Mimi Rothschild
Good morning! Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone is having a terrific week! Tomorrow, America celebrates the Fourth of July. How will you celebrate Independence Day? Do you know what Independence Day is? These sites are dedicated to teaching The Jubilee Academy home schoolers all about America’s most important national holiday.
Pre-Kindergarten Home Schoolers
Independence Day Printable Coloring Pages: Pre-k home schoolers can print out 4th of July pictures and color them in! This is the perfect Independence Day activity for pre-k home schoolers!
Elementary Home Schoolers
Fourth of July Activity Book: Elementary home schoolers will have a blast solving word puzzles, labeling maps, and reading about important American symbols. This is a great way to reinforce home school curriculum or introduce home school curriculum!
Middle School Home Schoolers
Constitutional Puzzles: Middle school home schoolers, do you think you know your American history? The Jubilee Academy is going to put you to the test! Solve each of these word puzzles that focus on a different area of American history. Enjoy!
High School Home Schoolers
Save the Bill of Rights: High school home schoolers, have you got what it takes? If you do, then help America save the Bill of Rights in this excellent interactive game. Playing this game is also a cool way to strengthen your home school education!
“Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:17-21)
The Jubilee Academy