When embarking on the journey of homeschooling, parents have the unique opportunity to tailor their children's education to their individual needs and learning styles. One of the key aspects to consider is the wide array of teaching methods available. Understanding different teaching methods can help parents create engaging and effective lessons that cater to their child's learning preferences. In this subchapter, we will explore various teaching methods commonly used in homeschooling, providing parents with valuable insights and strategies to enhance their homeschooling experience.
1. Traditional Teaching: This method follows a structured curriculum and textbook-based learning. It focuses on teacher-led instruction and emphasises memorisation and repetition. Parents can choose pre-packaged curricula or customise their own to suit their child's needs.
2. Montessori Method: Developed by Maria Montessori, this approach encourages hands-on learning, self-directed activities, and...
As parents embark on the journey of homeschooling in Australia, they may encounter various misconceptions surrounding this educational choice. Below, I aim to address some of the most common homeschooling myths, empowering home educators with accurate information and dispelling any doubts they may have.
Myth #1: Homeschooled children lack socialisation opportunities.
Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling does not isolate children from social interactions. In fact, homeschoolers often engage in numerous social opportunities, such as joining homeschooling groups, attending co-op classes, participating in community programs, and taking part in extracurricular activities. These avenues provide ample opportunities for children to develop social skills, make friends, and build lasting relationships.
Myth #2: Homeschooling is less academically rigorous than traditional schooling.
Homeschooling allows parents to tailor their children's education to their individual strengths, interests,...
In Australia, each state and territory has its own regulations regarding homeschooling. While the overall principles are similar, it is crucial to check the specific requirements for the state or territory in which you reside. Generally, parents register with their state or territory's education department or homeschooling authority. This registration process may involve filling out an application form, providing education plans, and occasionally, submitting to home visits or assessments. Some families choose not to ever register - understanding the requirements, your rights, and any repercussions is important.
Parents of registered children are responsible for maintaining records of their child's educational progress. This may include documenting completed assignments to record progress, and maintaining portfolios of their child's work. These records serve as evidence of the child's educational development and may be required during registration or assessment processes.
Following on from my last blog post about hands-on Maths and Numbers, here are some tips for busy, bouncy kids to get them involved in reading and writing activities...
play – games, letter dice, story dice, magnetic letters & words, board games, matching games, wordsearch
create – get them to tell you stories & poems and record these, make books, cards for loved ones, get a penpal, collage letters, paint letters (sprinkle sand on wet paint), use chalk on paths, tracing in sand or paint
label – your favourite things around the house, label your body parts, label your garden - label everything! If you use sticky labels, it's most fun.
worksheet creator – use your favourite words to create worksheets: names, address, pets, places. Wordsearches are worksheets in disguise.
read – audio books, read aloud (while they use playdough or eat is good), go to the library, read to yourself and aloud to other adults while children are around, and just...
Something that comes up a lot in my sessions and conversations with other parents is - how do we 'teach' kids who just want to touch, squash, bang, run, jump, yell and are basically very IN their own bodies a lot of the time?
There are so many ways to learn the same concepts. That we expect busy little bodies to sit, hold a pencil, and listen for great lengths of time is plain crazy. It's the worst part of our modern education system, I think. (And there's loads of research behind that opinion, but I don't think I need to convince you!)
Here are some of the ways we've discovered numbers in the early learning years with tactile learners:
manipulatives – buttons, coins, counters, Cuisenaire rods, MAB (Multibase Arithmetic Blocks), rocks, abacus, dominoes, sticker spots & stars, anything they have multiple of (favourite toys), lego, blocks
play – games, building, count as you hop, jump & skip, collect, bounce, measure, run, using timers, shops,...
AI - Artificial Intelligence - love it, hate it, or not sure? I'm still on the fence! That is a typical writer's response to a perceived threat.
I've been testing it out though, and I think it's a great tool for generating ideas. For example, today I logged into ChatGPT and asked it to "write a 4 week unit study for children aged 5-7 who are learning about the countries around the world, especially developing nations and less common countries, and include food, stories, and art, as well as academic learning."
For me to plan this would take maybe an hour or more, and for someone new to homeschooling, it could take a few hours. In under a minute, ChatGPT gave me this:
Week 1: Africa - A Continent of Rich Cultures
Introduce the concept of continents and explain that we will be starting our journey in Africa, a diverse continent.
Display a world map and locate...
I've had a lot of questions about some terms I use, lately.
What is an invitation to learn?
What is strewing?
What is a rich learning environment?
Why are you so passionate about make memories?
This photo is of Zeah's learning space a couple of years ago. It still looks like this, but with some of the toddler items moved on, and more big-kid things (and mess, plenty of mess). This room itself is an invitation to learn - there are a variety of toys, art activities, games and books (out of the shot) and she can set up to play and not have to pack it away right away. The room is an open area off our living space so she can see and hear me while I do Mum things, or work from home. For older kids, an inviting space might be games displayed on shelves, a comfy place to sit and read, quality books that are easy to find, art supplies that are accessible and interesting with images for inspiration, blank journals and nice pens, or a musical instrument in a living space...
We're finishing a human body unit study that has lasted many months and included lots of STEM activities from both My Creative Box and Kiwico, the 1998 BBC documentary series The Human Body, Magic School Bus episodes, lots of books, puzzles, games, and of course imaginative play as various health professionals who mostly use bandages and a stethoscope! Mum gets a few minutes to lay on the couch as a patient of course!
These activities were complimented by some Twinkl resources such as their My Body Activity Pack for Kids. There are so many printable resources online to teach most themes, and we choose those which appeal to Zeah. Mazes used to be the favourite, but wordsearches are becoming her most frequently requested activity sheets.
Zeah enjoyed some anatomy classes through Outschool where they built body parts such as the inner ear with playdough while learning facts about that body system. Including hands-on activities...
In 2022 Zeah enjoyed some themed learning activities about Space! We got loads of great ideas from a purchased lesson plan booklet from Preschool Unit Lesson Plans. Their thematic units are literature-based, easy to prepare, and fun to implement. This saved me some time searching the internet for activity ideas!
I also found so many activities on Twinkl, as usual, and Zeah chose several to download and print. She had fun with My Creative Box space-themed crafts and activities, especially the box that became a jet pack to zoom around the house!
We gathered, borrowed and purchased a number of games, puzzles, and books, and watched our old favourite Magic School Bus DVDs several times! Zeah joined an Outschool Space-themed escape room class, in which both the teacher and students shared their knowledge of space to solve problems and reach a goal. Escape rooms are Zeah's favourite style of Outschool class!
We intended to...
I'm a little behind with this series of posts sharing unit studies we've done. Early last year Zeah's learning theme was Insects. It followed Australia, which was a very broad theme to study. Insects was a fun unit with an abundance of resources available for a six year old, and despite studying insects with the kids for over two decades, I still learned a lot too!
We collected books from our own shelves and the library, and the most popular were those with close-up photographs of various minibeasts. We also gathered some toys and games - some we already had, and a few new items.
When preparing resources for themed learning, first I gather what we already own, then I search online for ideas. We use the library, borrowed items,...