Monday, January 23, 2012

Memory Success: Thinking Outside the "System"

Rote Learning~ sigh, it doesn't come easy to some of our special learners does it?  While surfing the net, reading books etc., most resources suggest consistent repetition and perseverance.  But what about a tool that might be helpful for us while doing all this persevering and repetition?  

I wanted to share this link resource that describes a Scripture Memory System from the Simply Charlotte Mason Website.

As I read through this article I could see how this kind of "memory system" could work in other areas of study.

This "system" could be a great way to keep track of any kind of rote learning from scripture memory to math formulas, or grammar learning, etc.,

Suggestions on  the " what" I might use this "system" ~ 

Grammar~ When learning a particular part of speech I might add a few things that we might have just worked on recently, for example, listing pronouns, listing contraction examples, reminders of adjectives, or even for older children (working from the Blue Book of Grammar) work and list spelling rules.

Math~ Math fact practice ( trouble spots for those stinkers they can't seem to remember) math formulas they tend to be resistive about, shapes practice etc..,

History~ Important dates in history to remember, (what, where, who, why) great for self assessing and preparation for tests and study guide information.

Science~ Scientists information, formulas, body systems its just endless on what you can use it for.

This system can be used for Music Study, Art Study also much the same way.

Now suggestions on the "how "on using this "system" ~

Print out the cards at the bottom of resource link. I may change these to our day schedule instead of days of the week (day 1, day, 2 day 3, day 4). This works better for our schedule.

Our dividers would be color coded so I could have one index box for all subjects of rote learning.  Science would be green, English, yellow, History blue, Math, red ( these are colors the boys have known for topics since the beginning and would make it much easier for me to flip to if I am looking for something) Electives like art/music might just be white.

I would write down information on those cards and add it to the day I want.

At the end of the box I would add one more tab that would say "mastered" I would place those index cards they no longer need to practice there, but for safe keeping just to go back to every once in a while.

For older children in specific higher leveled programs one could use this system for just one subject like Chemistry, Physics, Trigonometry etc..,

Thinking out side the "system", tweaking things to meet our learners and our own needs where we are at is what we are all about! Hope some find these suggestions and ideas helpful.


 Here are some photos of what I created.  I printed the index tabs on white cardstock and turned them around so that I could add "Days" instead of using the days of the week.

In the back I added a "mastered" tab just in case I wan to go back to those later on and I also left a couple of the tabs empty in case I need them for something specific.

I labeled each index card box with the boys name on it and listed the color coding for each subject ( just in case my mind goes, lol ) for their reference if they need it for some reason.

Here is an example of a math card I added for my youngest that dealt with shapes. I even took it one step further and added an area where I can add dates and notes for me assessing where he is at with these. Again, "making it our own".

here is the back of that card where it gives a quicky assessment.

As I did this I quickly thought as we get into more and more work with shapes etc., I might keep this and have to staple a new card to it as well. Again, more repetition and the more times they see it and work with it the better and more able they are to "file" it into their long term memory.

here is an example of how I decided what to add to these cards, for us, we use LLATL and so I went through his book looking at the areas I knew he needed a bit more practice in.

I began to quickly see how this could be a very powerful, worthwhile tool for him.

Here is more examples so you can get an even better idea.

I want to mention that I don't plan on using these as "lesson" but only quick reviews that take a minute or two to read over. As we do, the boys will get to a point where they hear me or read over the card and they are saying "yup, yup, that's right I know that..." kind of review. Real quick NOT laboring. I intend to make this helpful not a dreaded hindrance to our home learning.

And here is a math example of what I have added.

I hope these are helpful in understanding in what capacity we are using this index memory system. ~

** 1/25/12 another update. I started incorporating this with the two boys this week, they loved the idea and it is working very well. We only spend about 5-10 mins. tops on doing these ( just running through and reviewing new concepts) I wish I would have thought of this much sooner! **

Monday, January 16, 2012

Picture and Music Study Made EASY ~

I am so excited to share this with my readers I can hardly contain myself~ to use Nadene's ( author of Practical Pages)  phrase "A Treasure for CM'ers" this is indeed so true.

She was kind enough to share about this "treasure trove" of items to use for Picture/Music and Poetry Study. Here is Nadene's post she shared.

I started searching All Things Bright and Beautiful and absolutely love it and will be incorporating this into our home learning at once. It also sent me on some bunny trails ( gotta love those too) for resources I can pick up to reinforce our Music Study as well.

Like the author ( Patti) explains in her introduction post,( which shares how to use the blog) we also have had a hard time trying to find the time to fit in art and music into our home learning. I think this will be a perfect thing to use in helping us do just that.

At times, I find myself having to sit back and reflect on so many homeschooling parents I run into that are so willing to work and share their labors with others freely~ it is truly inspiring.

I can't wait to get started on this~ I hope you find these two blogs as inspiring as I have~ enjoy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Science Ramblings- with a Hop and a Skip!

My 12 yo ended up skipping around the house today singing how much he LOVES his science lessons. ( We started using Intellego Unit Studies for Science back in late November) and he really loves using these. We are incorporating notebooking, posters and I plan on adding labs/experiments when I can also) he loves these because they move right along and have some great web sites to go along with the topics he is learning.

Seeing him hop and skip around all happy made me want to make a shift in his schedule plans a bit. Right now we are working a block schedule ( which he has always liked Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays are his core studies which include Math and Language Arts) but I think has he gets older it might be nice to go ahead and incorporate a bit more "delight direction" in his learning.

I am considering if perhaps it might be a nice change to maybe do more "sprinkles" throughout the week of LA instead of all of them every day and he would work his Science studies daily with short lessons to begin his day instead of waiting till the end of the week to do them all at once.

His favorite topic has been History but now I am seeing it might be a tie between History and Science~ ( not a very heavy burden to have I suppose) :]

He tends to be very visual and loves the different websites for learning. I really like how Intellego has everything there for us and I no longer need to go hunting interactives down for him.

Here is a copy of our old block schedule: ( your going to notice there are times added in here, He insisted I add these because big brother ( my teen who has to track his time for credit hours has this as well) has this and wanted to have what he has) 

to print, click here
And here is what I have revised:
to print, click here

The above revised daily check list is much more involved, but I really think he is ready. We won't ever do every single thing on this list but it serves as a helpful guide for him and reminders of what can be done for each topic.  It will also depend on my lesson outlines and what his particular interests are, in a given topic/subject.

I usually print these double sided so that I can use this sheet for two weeks to save on paper~ hope you find these helpful and gives you some ideas on how you can plan out your middle schoolers days~

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Flash Cards for Practicing Shapes~

We are just starting back with our studies this week and that means a bit of review~ here are some flash cards I made up this morning to help with learning some of the 2D and 3D shapes.
I have a few boxes empty so that you can add your own for younger learners like a star and heart etc.., I also will be adding more as we move further into geometry with our youngest. Some are quite easy but we are also using these cards for the spelling of the shapes as well~ 

If you would like to print these out you can find them here.  I will post more as I create more for this set. For right now these are all we need I am going to laminate these and use a hole punch and add them to a silver stainless ring so that we can have easy access to them~

*update~ here are some activities and games to use for continuing practice with shapes:
Nets 3D models to make from Sen Teacher
Smartinies Shape Store - this is for much younger learners but thought I would share for my readers that have younger children.
Interactive Math Shape Games
Geometry from Math is Fun

You might like these~

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