Find Your Fit

Recently I shared some ideas on how to Tailor-make your curriculum.  Just as when you buy your children’s clothes, you may sometime need to try a size smaller or larger to get the best fit, so, too, it is with finding the right fit for your child’s homeschool curriculum.

Your child’s age is often a starting point, however your child may need to begin at an earlier grade, or stay on a level longer than the professional calculated for the average child. Your child may need to skip over a grade where he finds work too easy in order that he finds the level that stimulates and challenges him.

This individualization should be the practice in every classroom, but the school system usually focuses on the average child and so the more gifted or special-needs child often fall through the cracks.  Because homeschooling is a one-on-one education, it is far easier for a parent to find the perfect fit for their child.

You are tailor-making your child’s learning experience – read more Tailor made and Offer a learning buffet  and Tailor-make your curriculum.

I urge you to customize your curriculum and subjects for each child.

Some of the most challenging subjects that require individualization are
Reading, Writing and Maths.  This post has quite a few links to my archives.  Please bookmark them to read later if you don’t have time today.)

Reading

  • Teach your child their phonics so that they know how to sound out every letter in the alphabet and then combination letters called blends.
  • Use flashcards, charts and picture games to practice and master phonics.
  • Find a series of early readers that are both entertaining and interesting and which contain almost all the words your child can sound out and read.
  • Use partnered reading where your child sits on your lap are next to you, and you whisper in their ear as they read and sound out their words.  You can see that we use a ruler or pointer to help with tracking along the sentence.
  • Read more about partnered reading technique I used with my youngest child — Partnered Reading Helps Improve Reading and Partnered Reading ~ moments I treasure and Slow learner Joys discovered.

Writing 

  • Don’t fret/ push/ demand/ panic if your child isn’t ready to write out his own narrations / or write neatly.
  • Keep on assisting him and encourage oral dictations, recorded narrations or dictated narrations, or traced over or printed dictated narrations. The vital skill of narration is being practiced and the writing will come later.  Read about being your child’s Narration Scribe
  • Gently encourage your child to write an opening sentence and then the concluding sentence. Work on developing 3 sentences that form a paragraph.  Before long he will be doing more and more of his own written narrations.
  • Use a word bank  or textmapping to help your child remember their ideas.
  • Find an alternative activity that your child enjoys instead of the prescribed narration – there are so many options and alternatives!  Purchase my Narration Ideas booklet with over 100 ideas and options instead of just writing!
  • Writing is such an important skill that you should find a way for your child to present his thoughts and understanding with narrations because Narrations show you what he knows.

Mathematics

  • Mathematics is a very important subject and it is vital to find the right level and pace and approach for each child.
  • Swap or add another Maths book if the course your child uses progresses too quickly.  Look for an exercise or book that offers more practice lessons, or one that provides more visual or practical work.
  • Use concrete apparatus for as long as is needed.  Work with beads, blocks, number lines, counting fingers or whatever helps your child.  It really doesn’t actually matter how long your child needs these “props”.  If it helps, then use them!  Don’t shame your child or let him believe that he is immature.  Make physical apparatus options available.
  • Gently encourage your child to do the same activity again without the physical apparatus and teach him how to picture the blocks or bead in his head.  It may just suddenly ‘click’ and he will be able to continue his work without the objects.
  • Maths butterfliesEncourage Maths drills with games and mental Maths worksheets.
  •  Use different approaches as and when needed, for example, use blocks, flashcards, use number lines, and or computer games to teach, practice and master a concept.
  • Work for mastery — you want your child to feel a sense of confidence.  Maths is a very emotionally charged subject for some children.  Don’t give up at a point of anxiety or stress.  Look for creative ways of doing the work so that your child feels good about themselves.

Time

  • Start by stretching out a one-year curriculum over 18 months to provide a wide margin of time to enjoy themes and topics that your children enjoy, time to take detours or take longer scenic stops.
  • Continue working longer on any concepts to practice and fully master a skill.
  • Read about my experiences extending time on a curriculum — Re-using Sonlight and doing it differently and Best Homeschooling Decision-More Time .

In every subject, in every grade, adjust your course to suit your child’s interests, ability and pace.  Try find the balance between challenging and mastery, gently increasing the work load and difficulty, but allowing for their sense of “I can do it!”

Blessings as you find your fit, Nadene

 

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Practical Tip ~ Senior Maths Cheat Sheets

Here’s this week’s practical tip ~

Senior Mini OfficeMost highschool Maths students need to have maths formulas, conversion charts, geometry formulas, number systems, order of operations, and other important Maths information at hand.  We called it a mini office, but some think of these pages as “cheat sheets”.

Over the years, instead of making a laminated file folder mini office, I simply place the pages in a page-protector display file.  We keep the file on hand and my high schoolers use it regularly.

You can find all my free Maths Mini Office downloads here.   Download yours for your highschooler.

Blessings, Nadene

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Rectangles Rhomboids Parallelograms

My daughter uses her Maths Mini Office regularly for reference while she does her rectangles rhomboids parallelogramswork.  As she learns new Maths themes, I  create new pages for her work.  Her latest geometry studies covers quadrilaterals, rectangles, rhomboids, squares & parallelograms.

You are welcome to download your free page ~ Rectangles rhomboids & parallelograms

A Mini Office is a handy reference – a file folder, laminated for durability , or a simple file with plastic page protectors.  I find that once a student practices enough with a formula or geometric principles, they no longer need the reference page.  It is also an excellent tool for review and revision.  Students who struggle and require remedial work, find reference pages very reassuring.

Have you found ways to help your maths student?  Any topics you wish to see included in a Mini Office reference page?  Please share in the comments below.

If you would like my posts automatically delivered to your reader or inbox, please click the  RSS Feed button or subscribe button.

Blessings,

Maths Mini Office New Pages

My youngest daughter’s middle school Maths Mini Office needs an upgrade and so I created some new pages to laminate and use in our Maths Mini Office.  These pages include ~

  1. Decimal and number value placement chart.  Handy to calculate multiplying and dividing by 10’s, 100’s or 100’s.
  2. Compass with bearings.  Handy for Geography and Geometry.
  3. X-Y Axis Grid for drawing graphs
  4. Positive & Negative Number Line to teach integers.

Here is the download link to the new Free Pages for your Maths Mini Office ~ Decimal Value Chart Compass XY Axis Pos & Neg Number line

Blessings,

Maths Mini Office Updated

My kids have all used their mini offices for years,

mostly for maths, and, I am sad to admit, mostly for multiplication tables!

(I wish their mental maths was much better, but we have all been lazy in this area.  Sigh.)Homeschool 2015

Anyway, a mini office is a very handy reference that one can personalize for each child’s needs and ages and stages.

I have recently updated both my Junior and the Senior Mini Offices.

The Junior Mini Office containsMini Office

Mini Office2

  1. Number Line & Number Chart
  2. Ordinal numbers & Fractions
  3. Tally or scores, finger counting signs, shapes, directions
  4. Number words & Roman numerals with blank clock face
  5. Multiplication Tables
  6. Seasons & Months
  7. Days of the week & time of the day
  8. Address & Where am I?
  9. Weather
  10. Sight Word Walls
  11. Family Words
  12. Print Handwriting Chart
  13. Cursive Handwriting Chart

The Senior Mini Office has only Maths information or cheat sheets ~Mini Office1

  1. Multiplication table
  2. Number chart
  3. Roman Numerals & Angles
  4. Circles
  5. 2D Shapes with their circumference and area formula
  6. 3D Shapes with their circumference and area and volume formula
  7. Triangles
  8. Maths symbols & Compass directions and bearings
  9. Conversions of time, distance, volumes, mass
  10. Order of operations
  11. Fractions to decimals & percentages, Recurring decimals to fractions
  12. Different types of fractions
  13. Base numbers squares & cubes
  14. Number systems

Pop over to my Mini Office page & check out my super-duper all-on-one-page Calendar for junior primary!

This is a 1 page-does-it-all-in-one chart, which when all assembled with rotating circles and slide bars instead of fiddly flash cards, pictures, Velcro and all those other bits & bobs, the child simply rotates the circles under the windows and slides the viewer to reveal the relevant pictures and information. Easy as pie!

 Handy Tips ~

  • Print out only the pages your child needs.  (It is in A4 landscape format.  You can try print 2 pages on 1 page to create a smaller A5 version.)
  • Paste onto card stock or a file folder or lapbook.
  • My senior children used a plastic display file folder.
  • LAMINATE!  It will last for years.
  • Use whiteboard markers on your laminated surfaces.
  • Keep handy in the child’s maths books, notebook or ring binder.

It is really worth laminating this chart when you make it!

We have used our chart for over 7 years and it is still as good as new!

Blessings,

K5 Review

About 6 weeks ago, we started our free trial of K5 Learning.  

Butterfly girl FT

My daughter loved to work on all the programs and especially enjoyed the creative activities.  She (recently turned-12-years old) said this,

“I enjoyed the options the program provided and the fun activities.  The lessons were very helpful and gave me a boost in Maths.”

Let me start from the beginning ~

Their initial assessment was excellent. The results were detailed and clear, and for the first time in our homeschooling career, I had an accurate breakdown in my child’s Maths and Reading skill levels and abilities.

My daughter loved the Maths Facts section – mental maths “designed to help kids develop instant recall of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts”. She worked positively to maintain high scores and loved to see her mastery results on the K5 Math Fact Matrix display. What impressed me was that the program constantly adapted to reinforce specific maths facts which she missed or took too long to recall.  

The Maths program has excellent explanations of new maths concepts with good, clear examples of the work, followed by the exercises.  Without too much fuss, K5 gave a quick sound effect to indicate success or mistake.  After the exercise series, my child was given time to play on an “arcade game” which gave her a few minutes of  fun as a refreshing break.

The Reading and comprehension was thorough and very comprehensive. I was impressed with the comprehension questions and the vocabulary extension.

We struggled with the Spelling program because there was no “teaching” or pre-learning component on the spelling lessons presented.  The program presented the vocabulary test and practice almost blind.  Despite trying to change the grade levels, we didn’t seem to find our level and so we did not enjoy the spelling program. 

My only regret was that we didn’t have reliable, speedy Internet service during our free trial period and so we missed several days each week of online learning.  But I highly recommend this program to any homeschooler!  It is excellent and very effective! From an educational perspective, it is outstanding and their methodology is excellent.  From a parent’s perspective it is very easy to use, log in to assess and keep in touch with the child’s progress.  For the child, it is simple to log in and work on his or her own.

K5 learning badge125x125

K5 Learning has a referral program, which pays participants $25 for each new subscriber that clicks over to K5, so my daughter and I will be very grateful if you click here to go start your free trial!

Blessings,

Free Trial K5 Learning

I seldom promote products and have never done reviews, but an invitation to try K5 Learning caught my attention.

Home

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I’ve been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

After receiving this invitation, I popped over to check out their website and I was very impressed.  Their demo videos looked so inviting and their approach and methodology seemed excellent.

My initial thoughts were that my youngest is already in grade 5 & 6 and up in most her subjects and that this might not fit into our homeschool schedule, but their Math Facts heading caught my eye and I thought that this would be worth doing the free trial.  They explain ~

“Learn math facts online and say goodbye to counting fingers”

“Recalling math facts efficiently is critical because it allows a student to study more advanced math topics without being bogged down by simple calculations.”

So, I hope to use K5 Learning with my youngest and trust that she will both enjoy and learn a lot more than she does with my Mental Maths fun worksheets and Bananagram spelling games.

For more information please go to http://www.k5learning.com/.  I will be back with my honest review in 6 weeks time.

Blessings,

Teaching 24 Hour Clock

My visual learner needed a 24 hour clock with colored indicators for am or pm and the 24 hour numbers.  She and I discussed how we could show the difference between daytime and nighttime on a clock and came up with this idea ~

24 hour clock

To start, begin inside the clock at 12 midnight. Follow around the thin blue circle until it becomes orange, indicating day time. Continue following around the thin inner orange circle until you reach 12 noon.  Now slide outside the clock continuing around the broad orange circle for the 24 hour daytime hours.  At 18 hours, the broad outer circle turns blue, indicating the start of nighttime.

Place this clock inside a plastic protector and use whiteboard markers to write the digital times and the matching clock hands. My youngest daughter and I enjoy taking turns in drawing the clock hands to show the times and writing digital times!

There are separate hour, minute and second hands which you could attach to the clock with a split pin.

Download and enjoy this middle school maths activity ~ 24 hour clock.

  • Khan Academy has fabulous maths video lessons and exercises to teach the time.
  • Maths is Fun has lovely clear images and explanations on clocks.
  • Maths Games.org includes lots of different times and clock games and activities.

Blessings,

Maths Games With A Pack of Cards

We love to play maths games on Fridays for informal, fun mental arithmetic practice!

Did you know that an ordinary pack of playing cards is your most versatile game?

I spotted the game that is worth 1000 worksheets at Lets Play Math.net.

I made these instruction cards sized to fit in the card pack so that the kids can play maths games when they have spare time.


And here’s your free download ~ Maths Card Game Rules

There is so much more on Let’s Play Maths, but take a look at these other web sites for more maths card games:

Have you seen the other fun maths downloads on my Maths Pages?

Have fun!

Blessings,

Maths Mini Office for Middle & Senior Students

A Mini Office is a collection of reference materials your child needs to refer to while they work.

Most mini offices are pasted into the child’s own file folder.

This makes it easy for them to find information or important facts.

Mini Offices replace the wall charts that most classrooms have on display.

My grade 5/6 and grade 9 children refer to math reference pages often.

I created this Maths Mini Office for them.

I have combined current middle school and high school Maths work in this  13 page download ~ Click your download here ~ Mini Office Senior Maths A4

Included in this Maths Mini Office are~

  1. Multiplication Chart
  2. Shapes and Counting
  3. Roman Numerals and Angles
  4. 3D Shapes with formulas for area & volume
  5. 2D Shapes with formulas for area & circumference
  6. Circles with formulas for area &  circumference
  7. Triangles with angles, area & Pythagoras Theory
  8. Maths Symbols and Compass Points
  9. Fractions, Decimals & Converting Fractions

Here are some examples of the download:

Multiplication Table

Shapes & counting

Roman Numerals & Angles

3D Shapes ~ Pyramid, Sphere & Cones

Read more ~ go to  Mini Offices

Blessings,