Thursday, September 17, 2015

Evaluating our Time -Moving Over to Facebook

I have decided to step away from the blogging world for home learning~ having only one learner at home allows me to be able to work in my Studio and do some of the things that I had not had time to do previously. ( kind of nice don't you think?)

I will be keeping the blog open for the archives because my time has become more involved in my Studio. I will not have the time to keep up with the effort involved with the blog and  have decided to keep up with my followers and my sharing of our information over on my Learners at Home Facebook Page.

This blog has been fairly quiet over the past year or two as the boys had gotten older and there is not much traffic so I don't really feel the need to continue on for others as I had in the past.

I wish all my readers many blessings in their journey to home school and home teach their children~ and thank you for the time you spent here at Learners At Home and plan on seeing you over on the Facebook Page of Learners at Home. 

All The Best,

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Science Portfolio "Share"

Sometimes your learner can run out of ideas or needs encouragement to present their information they have learned in different ways.  Here is a print-out I created for my teen to add in the front of his science notebook binder to help remind them that they don't have to only do essays or narrations for all their science learning.

Quick Tip and Share: Text To Speech

Since we have been posting about productivity tools I thought I would share something that also can be really helpful for functionality and productivity in your home studies.

Text to Speech programs can really be helpful as well. Here is a free download version by Natural Reader . Upon considering the free version vs. the paid version there isn't huge differences when considering what you will be doing. Be sure and check it out when you have a chance.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Quick Tip/Share: A Speech Recognition Program ~

Many homeschoolers use Dragon Naturally Speaking. It is very popular. I just recently purchased it for my teen to increase his productivity for his school work as time becomes more tight and studies become more involved and longer.

I wanted to quickly share post a quick not about a free speech recognition program you may want to try out as well. Many don't know about it and so I wanted to share this blog post explaining it a bit better than I could~

update: I have started using this ALOT. I find it to be very helpful and saves me so much time with everything I have to do.  
For example, we recently shifted gears a bit with Science and I was able to re-do our outline/guide for science in a matter of minutes! 

Here also is a pdf you can print out ( shared in its entirety) from a school ( Davidson College) that uses speech recognition and may be helpful while doing the tutorials and learning all about it. 

And just in case your using Dragon Spelling- here is a cheat sheet I found ( shared in its entirety) also. 

Let me know if you find it helpful!

Monday, August 24, 2015

World History Course for Highschool

Here is our World History for the next two years. By the time this is completed my teen will have learned as much as he can and wants up to the time period of 2011 or so.

I thought I would share this with my readers in case some of you may want to use this as your "guide" and help you get started. Resources are noted in the document so you will probably be able to tell exactly what we were using along the way.

We worked American History earlier in his high school and stopped after going through the American Industrial period so then we thought it would be a good idea to pick up World History and allow it to naturally "connect" and wrap around to where it would meet up with the World Wars etc.,

I think this will work nicely for him and I am happy about the fact that he helped me put this together with his own ideas and resources he found like the "Crash Course" videos and a few of the other things on it.

Along with using this outline another resource that will help and that we will use is the book called " The Timetables of History" by Bernard Grun. You can see a sample of this book here and it will help explain how it works and how you can use it for further connections toward a specific time period.

As I make notes and we find more interesting resources to use with this I will share them and update this post~ On some of the topics throughout the outline there have been some book resources added because my teen showed more interest in these areas for special projects or wanted longer time on a specific area.

Resources I have added so far to this outline are as follows;
Resource as Guide: Kingfisher History Encyclopedia
Resource Timeline: The Timetables of History  
Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World 
Mathematicians Are People Too ISBN:0-86651-509-7  
Heroes of History by Will Durant ISBN 978-0-7432-3594-5
Website to use:

My teen is going to be dowloading these outlines to his Microsoft One Note, this way he can check things off and use the links within the outline easier, making it more functional. 

update~ I have gone back and forth on this over the past few days studying the outline and because the website my teen is using is entitled Macrohistory, I decided to fine-tune the outline just a bit so that we are diving into more depth as far as time periods. So I am adding the Kingfishers History Encyclopedia ( oddly enough) due to its "tighter" timeline we can use as our guide to jump from topic to topic. Once this is updated I will be posting the new version soon.

I can see this outline is going to be very big so I am going to break it down into time periods; Ancient World, Classical World, Middle Ages, Renaissance, 1601 - 1707 , 1708 - 1835, 1836-1913, 1914-1949 and 1950 to present day ( you can see how the history begins to wrap around).

One of the nice things about these outlines is I left them in document form so you can add your own book resources, take things out and also add notes and things for the different sections as you want.

 Ancient World Outline.
 Classical World Outline.
 Middle Ages Outline
 Renaissance Outline
1914-1949- may be adding a few more resources as we do this section
1950 to present day - will be adding more resources to this outline as well as we work through it

Additional update: Since we are going to be working "cross-curriculuar" this year I wanted to share about a series we are going to be using to introduce science topics for deeper study.  The series may be one you have heard about " The Story of Science" by Joy Hakim. ( you can download samples here)  This was specifically chosen by my teen since he really wanted to be able to carry over his love of history to his science studies and we both thought this was one way to do this. 
In another post that will be based on a Science timeline outline I will share what we will be using for our Science Study/Labs etc., for this year. I am at this point, considering building science right into this outline to make things even more comprehensive. 

Until next time!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Literature Study~ An Outline for IEW's Windows to the World

This year we are using IEW's Windows to the World for our Literature Study. As with most things we are using it loosely as a "guide" more than diving into each and every nook and cranny.

UPDATE:9/16- I created a Teachers Edition that can be used for ANY book you select. You can find it here.

I made up an outline( you can download and check out the outline here) for us to use while reading " "Lord of the Flies" and then decided to make a very "basic" outline so we could use it for any book we choose. We are not using most of the initial pieces that were provided in the program since my teen would rather pick out his own pieces. So this "basic" outline will really help him out.

My teen has a whole list of books he plans on reading aside from his reading he will be doing for History and Science this year. I think he really enjoys reading literature. So far, his favorite authors are C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkein and also Ernest Hemingway.

I thought it might be helpful to share my own resources I have kept over time and have used. This way I can clean up my book marks pf older resources we will no longer be using and also share for those who may want to use something I have saved. Here are some resources I have either used or saved to use for our Literature:

Homeschool Share is a great place to find literature based studies for all kinds of areas I had many book marked from volcanoes to fictional books like Farmer Boy to Sign of the Beaver, Cricket in Time Square~ you should check out their site often if your looking for a literature study.

( One study we will be working this year is The Plague since we are working integratively this will coincide nicely when my teen works on The Middle Ages for his history) We will be adding to this of course because he will probably want to dive much further into more details as he goes. But this will be a resource we intend to use.

Invitation to World Literature - this is a course/site we may jump into now and then and I wanted to share it with you in case you may find something interesting to use as well.

American Passages- A Literary Survey - this is from the same site as above. We plan on using this one even more as we move through history and integrate the literature with the time he is studying. It will work nicely as it proceeds to introduce the learner to literary movements for different time periods and authors. Perfect for us!

Language of the Land- Journeys into Literary America - this one is another gem. One that we can read and pull from about all the different regions of the US. Again, perfect addition to our integrated learning.

Novel Study Guides for the Classroom Teacher - this is one I wanted to share, we don't really work our literature study in this fashion as it is a more traditional model of the public schools but wanted to share this one for anyone who may work literature in this way with the questions etc., Sometimes the questions can be used as great writing prompts if you need that.

Cummings Study Guides - if you can maneuver through all the ads and have patience this site can be helpful especially while using the outlines I am using as it touches upon many of the literary tools you can use in your literary analysis.

Literature Websites - a list of all kinds of literature sites to check out for all ages. One that stands out of this big list for us was American Literature it has a bunch of goodies here including short stories. Another is Carol Hurst's Childrens Literature Site. If your integrating your curriculum you can find some neat things here. 

Web English Teacher- a great site for a more traditional approach to literature study

DAWCL-Database of Award-Winning Childrens Literature - a really helpful site to use when looking up a specific time period

Literature ClassicsGlencoe's Authors List- I love using this as a reference for a time period.

Online Guide to American Literature - this is GREAT also for looking things up according to a time period.

I hope some of these resources are helpful and will post back any others I find to share about~

Until next time!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Thinking of Exploring Unschooling?

photo credit 
Here is an email series I just heard about that explores the world of Unschooling. If your interested you can sign up for this series and receive the emails to learn more about it.

You can sign up for the email series at Living Joyfully.  I signed up myself just to read through it ~

Until next time!

A Few Reading Tips to Share~

I wanted to share a few reading tips that I had been thinking about recently while talking about learning to read.

There are a number of helpful, fun things we can do to help our new readers or struggling readers.  Here are a few ideas/suggestions for you to consider over this summer and also while starting a new school year of studies:

1. Reading consistency is really important. Don't start and then suddenly stop a reading program that has been successful.  A child who has recently developed better automaticity and has found success in reading should continue to read over the summer months aloud and on his/her own. The time all depends on the level of maturity and age for the learner. You don't want to make reading a burden, even sitting for 10-15 minutes a day while they is fine so that you can continue to help them with their reading self confidence.

2. For the new reader, find a couple of books they read fairly well ( one that only has a couple of words that they still get sort of stuck on ( NOT a couple  of "trouble words" on a page but a  few (4-5) for the whole book) and write those words on small squares of paper/index cards. Add the book and the small cards to a ziplock bag and add more and more bags with books and cards as you go throughout the weeks and have them work like 4-5 bags at a time as follows; ( you will watch their reading confidence grow!)
            - with them, read over and sound out the "trouble spot" word and then have them repeat
            - next have them read over the story to you and working on those same "trouble spot" words                 when you get to them in the book itself.
This sort of consistent practice is great for building fluency & automaticity ( see below for the understanding of this word if your not familiar) and it tends to be less stressful and fun for younger, new readers because of the constant familiarity with the book itself.

3. For a bit older readers ( later elementary) reading aloud is still important. Audio books really allow much more interesting and less time for us parents to spend with them while practicing in this way. While working with an audio book the learner should have the book in front of them and be following along as the narrator reads. If you have a much younger child - having a child draw a picture of the story as they listen actually can help with comprehension :) .

4.  We used to do something I believe is similar to something called "popcorn reading". We all would read aloud the same book ( for example Mr. Poppers Penguins) and when a specific word would came up in the story I would have them read the word out loud so that I knew they were following along with the story and paying attention to the written word while listening. The boys loved it - and it really was fun~

5. Try really hard in the beginning not to combine reading practice with grammar or spelling learning. This can be really overwhelming to the NEW readers and this way they can just concentrate on one thing at a time. Much less stressful. I know we can be tempted to say " see how this is capitalized" etc., but hold off for a bit while teaching the basic reading code.

6. Have your learner make up their own phonogram cards  ( ABC's) to practice with you can make up games with them like "Go Fish" or something similar to Candy Land so that your learner can show their understanding of the phonemes and phonograms. ( see below if needed) This helps with sounding words out phonetically. You will be really surprised at how much better they will get at their sounding out and breaking words apart once they get these down. But make it FUN! And later on add the vowels with all their sounds for each~

Automaticity- a level of reading that is "easy" for them, "automatic" and effortless like they literally know the words by heart without having to sound anything out. You can read more about automaticity and fluency here. 

phoneme - a phoneme is the smallest "unit" of sound a letter or as I like to call it a symbol makes which is used in phonetics.

phonogram- is a written symbol ( a grapheme) that represents a sound, these are used in spelling  

Hope these tips are helpful~

Until next time!

Unit Studies for High School Learners ( Part 2)

I decided to add a "Part 2" to my most recent post for Unit Studies and Integrated Learning. I thought it might be even more helpful to share what I am doing and how I plan on doing more Integrated Learning with my teen.

I looked around the internet and really couldn't find too much in a way of examples of doing this kind of learning so I thought I might share some ideas and things that I am doing with this topic.

I have learned recently that Unit Studies can also be known or referred to as Project Based Learning/Studies and also Integrated Learning/Studies.

For us, there are two huge advantages using integrated learning and they are as follows:

1. Retention will be much better - I believe with the immersion, intensity and relevance aspects this adds to my teens learning, he will without a doubt, be more engaged and active in his learning and retention of material.

2. Time to fit in a great deal of information and get many more subject topics included into our day instead of working one separate subject at a time. Our tracker will greatly help in pulling Science in and Writing in where on some days we just didn't have enough time to get to it.

The only subject area I don't plan on adding to the Integrated Learning is our Math. Only if it truly is obvious like in some sciences with Chemistry, Physics and some sub-topics of Biology. I feel that at this stage my teen needs to continue on with his math as a separate subject but do plan on adding in the math whenever possible, when it is appropriate with using graphing and such he will be practicing in his Algebra. I think adding the area of Math is much easier when the learners are at much lower level areas of learning instead of doing it during the high school years.

our finished spiral booklet
Here is a picture of our finished booklet I had made. It came out great and I plan on using the back side of the page for my son to write any additional delight directed learning on it with the resoures he used so I can track those as well.

I plan on trying the "post it note method"
 ( created by Lee Binz for adapting delight directed learning into well organized transcripts - found in Chapter 10 of her book
 "Setting the Record Straight" )  as well and sticking them to the back of the pages so that I can have everything in one place for me once I am read to bring all the information and resources together for portfolios and/or transcripts.

In Part 3 I will begin to explain how we are working this kind of method and would love input and feedback from my readers if they have any ideas/suggestions to add~

Unil next time!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Unit Studies for High School Learners (Part 1)

We are heading back to completely integrated learning at this point. The only problem was to figure out how to organize our transcripts for particular subjects of concern -like Science and its sub-topics. When working through an integrated, immersion-type of learning, a subject like Science can get jumbled up because you can be working multiple sub-topics at one time, depending on what my teen is learning.

His main interest and passion is History so we are using this subject as our core and will build all his other studies around it.

I really wanted it to make sense to colleges so that my teen could show he worked in all areas of Science that would be more like courses, for example; a year of Biology with a Lab, a year of Physics with Labs and then a year of Chemistry with Labs as well.

download here 
I think I figured out a way to do this. I saw this blog post from Homeschool Share  and it gave me the idea of having my teen document the time spent in particular areas so that I could track the areas of his learnng while he worked more integrated on his studies.

I added other integrated areas on the tracking sheet so it can act both as a task list and reminder for the subjects. For example, in History; Art would be any art that was created and artists in that particular time period, Geography would be finding out the location, area and interesting facts about a particular place, where connections around the world ( my teens idea) was added because he LOVES to draw connections between places and events at the same time. ( while working on a specific topic he often goes and researches what was happening in other regions of the world at the time)

I already created a tracking sheet for my teen to add what he works on but decided to tweak it a bit more so that we can track time and his efforts in more specific areas. By using this kind of tracking I am sure this will help in documenting all the areas of Science and other things needed to have a completed transcript. You can find this unit study tracking sheet here.

We are really looking forward to starting our new year of studies this way. Will keep you posted on any changes and how things are moving along~

update~ I am planning on printing these off and having them bound into a spiral book ( or you can add them to a binder for less money too)so that we can keep them all together so I can go back and use the information ( that is all in one place) for transcripts and portfolios.

Until next time!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Notebooking "Hack" to Share ~

I had been looking through some organization blogs and found this neat idea on how to organize your notebooks. I haven't tried it yet but plan to try this idea out very soon for some of my notebooks I am keeping, for both home and studies.

I can see this working for several areas like Math and Grammar especially. This really seems like a clever idea to using a spiral notebook!

You can read and learn more about it here.

And while researching notebook organization and uses I found out about this blog post  ( from Amongst Lovely Things )recently from our Working and Homeschooling Facebook Group. A HS mom shared what she uses to keep her students organized and on task.

Let me know what you think about it~ and share any ideas you might have about this way or organizing a spiral notebook as well~

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Getting back on Track ~ Some "Notes" & a Planner

Its been a while! I feel like I am finally getting back on track with things at home and with my health as best I can. I hit a few major bumps and needed to step away and take a break from things and it has helped a great deal.

It seems that time has really gotten away from us here at Learners At Home but I am planning on heading right back to blogging and my beloved AKOL ( All Kinds of Learners) group over on Facebook ( formerly the popular email loop group from Yahoo Groups).

The teens are growing up! And I have one teen who is now in his final year of home studies and the other who has a couple more years left.

Needless to say, we have been busy with lots of things and I hope to share those things moving forward as I get our special LAH blog moving forward again.

As I have been trying to re-assemble and re-organize things into a more tidy mess I found this planner that I thought some of you might be interested in.
photo credit from Passion Planner

I am in now way affiliated with this planner and am  trying it out from the free pdf's that you can print out. Once I see it works out  well I plan on purchasing it for myself and my teens.

Its called the Passion Planner. I was intrigued when I saw it, but like so many other planners, I wondered if it would actually really work for me and my own personal needs ( since I have many in trying to teach, work in my art studio and maintain a family and home). It seems to have what I need and I can cover all areas and aspects of my busy daily life as a mom, teacher, artist and homemaker.
So far, its been going really well since I started using it.  Be sure and check it out if your like me and have a million things going on at the same time and need to get better organized in more than one area of your busy life.

Looking forward to sharing more in a few days so stay tuned~

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