Archive for the ‘Teaching – all grades’ Category
No matter what type of homeschooling curriculum or methodology you use, this simple graphic tool will help you be a more effective teacher and your student a better learner.
This is my favorite graphic tool because it is SO helpful, on so many fronts, for both me and my students! Maybe this is something you have never done, but I have been guilty of quickly throwing an assignment at a student, without really thinking it through, let alone sufficiently explaining it. And then I would wonder why it wasn’t at all what I was expecting when it was done! Especially if you are a newbie at homeschooling, I bet you have struggled with this, too.
A simple rubric often eliminates this problem by:
- helping you think through the assignment before you give it.
- giving you a clear, concrete way to explain exactly what you want your student to do.
- providing a written reminder to your student of what he’s aiming for as he works on the assignment.
- offering you the perfect tool to evaluate and discuss your student’s work with her.
Rubrics work equally well with written assignments, oral presentations, hands on projects or anything else you might dream up, for history, science, language arts and many other subjects you teach. You can make your rubric as simple or complicated as you want, depending upon the age of your student and your grading criteria.
This rubric is a simple one suitable for a story written by a late elementary student.
Personally, I did not grade my children at that age, but I did use a rubric to insure that we both understood what was expected in an assignment.
How to Make Your Own
- View and download this sample of of a (blank) basic rubric.
- Decide which skills or concepts you want to evaluate.
- List the most important ones in the first column on the left.
- Create a table in Microsoft Word or software similar, or use the blank grid provided on the Train up a Child Publishing Tools CD if you happen own one of our Unit Programs. Type or write in the criteria under the numbers with the highest number being the best score. Notice the wording on the sample criteria to help you develop your own.
- You may add rows or columns if you would like a more fine-tuned system.
- Share the rubric with your student to explain your expectations for the assignment. Encourage her to check the rubric while she is working on the assignment to make sure it is completely finished before it is turned in.
- Evaluate the assignment using the rubric and calculate the points if you are giving your student a grade for that assignment.
- As the teacher, you determine the grading scale depending on the number of elements and whether certain elements are more important than others. With our example, a possible grading scale would be:
9—12 points Passing
below 9 points Reteach
Another possible scoring system could be:
below 8 Reteach
I actually waited as long as I could to begin formal grading; I didn’t begin until half way through middle school. But whether you decide to grade earlier or not, rubrics will still go a long way to ensure you and your students are on the same page with assignments and evaluation.
Have you used rubrics with your students? When did you start using them and how have they worked for you?
Have you noticed recently that the world is becoming notably less tolerant of our biblical beliefs? Moral relativism and immoral perspectives are not creeping, but charging, into our communities, public education system and even into our churches.
This situation is not going to be improving any time soon, and in no time at all our children and grandchildren are going to be on the front lines.
It is our jobs to prepare them!
Coming from a corporate background prior to marriage, kids and homeschooling, I’ve always had an interest in leadership. But there is a difference between training leaders in the marketplace and training them at home.
As Christian parents we not only want to raise leaders; we want to raise godly leaders.
I know it is a lot to ask harried moms struggling to get in the academic basics, but it is crucial that we look at the big picture and intentionally raise our children to be godly leaders. What could be more important that that?
So, how do we raise godly leaders? Here are six tips:
1. Teach the Word daily and model integrity.
- Men and women who are leaders have integrity. Integrity is moral uprightness; displaying strong principles based on truth. Without daily teaching of the Truth, your children will not know how to recognize it from the falsehoods constantly bombarding them from our culture.
- When an integrity issue comes up, put the books away and deal with it immediately. There are some non-negotiables when it comes to behavior, and integrity is one of them.
- As Christian parents, hold yourselves to the same standard and remember that you have little ears and eyes listening and watching. And when you are at fault for something – apologize immediately. Just as they are accountable to us, we are accountable to God.
2.Keep your eyes on the big picture: share your vision for your children with them from an early age.
Teach your sons and daughters that they are made in God’s image, and that He has given them strengths and special talents to accomplish great things in His kingdom. Share with them how excited you are and how you anticipate watching those special gifts and talents develop as they grow up!
Remind them of this periodically and identify and reinforce these gifts and talents as they appear.
3. Train your children to have sound physical and mental habits.
Probably because my husband and I lived so far away from our parents, we had no clue how to raise children. Then we moved to the South where children’s roles are very well defined, and we learned the secret: You train them to have good habits.
As Charlotte Mason wrote:
“The habits of the child produce the character of the man . . .every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.”
Habits are skills that are cultivated in our children by training, repetition and accountability. Character is molded through habit training, whether they be physical habits or intellectual ones.
4. Read and discuss stories that show children as leaders.
If you are using a literature-based homeschool curriculum (and I hope you are!), read historical fiction and literature with characters who demonstrate the leadership traits you would like to see in your children, such as: integrity, humility, responsibility for self and others, reliability, initiative, willingness to be self-sacrificing, ability to learn from mistakes, resistance to peer pressure, willingness to tackle difficult problems with a positive attitude, diligence, and perseverance.
5. As you study history and current events, regularly point out and discuss examples of exemplary and poor leadership.
History is full of examples of leadership and good character, as well as their opposites! If you use a Charlotte Mason-style, literature-based homeschool curriculum, you have the perfect opportunity to set a feast of inspiring characters before your children on a regular basis! Choose books with plenty of examples of great men and women of the past, and in your discussions and assignments, compare and contrast them with others, as we do in our high school World History I course, subtitled Lessons in Leadership.
Additionally, do not wait until your kids are old enough to vote to discuss local and national candidates for public office. Talk about the jobs candidates are campaigning for as well as their track record and experience. Identify leadership experience within their backgrounds.
The newspaper and other media are full of articles of both exemplary and poor leaders. Draw their attention to these snippets and help them to identify these differences in discussions.
6. Give your children opportunities to practice leadership inside and outside the home.
From being responsible for their own belongings at home, teach them to be responsible for pets, chores and their own school supplies. Let them be responsible for a family event, such as a service project, teaching them to plan, anticipate, organize and communicate with others what their roles will be. Give them a small garden to research, plan, plant, weed and harvest. Encourage industriousness and entrepreneurship.
Let older children be responsible for helping to teach younger children at home, as well helping teach Sunday School, Youth Group, etc., at church. Help them expand into service to the community, such as spearheading a neighborhood or road clean-up project.
Encourage them to earn all or part of the money for their own activities, rather than just handing money over like so many other parents do. (This happened regularly with friends of my son, particularly, and it was very difficult at the time but our firm stance on this issue has reaped benefits now that he is in college and has to manage his own expenses.)
We owe it to our children to prepare them to live in the world they will be facing in just a few short years. They must be mature, steadfast and well-grounded to be who they were designed to be.
What are you doing to encourage godly leadership in your children? What are your biggest challenges to instilling leadership characteristics in them?
Teaching Composition the “Charlotte Mason way” is not formally teaching it at all; but relying instead upon her methods, including the reading of great literature, oral and then written narrations and dictation. The reference from Volume 6 pertaining to this topic is here.
A special thank you to all those who sent in blog posts, as this is probably one of the busiest times of the year for homeschool moms!
Our first post is from Tammy, from her blog AUT-2B-Home in Carolina, and is entitled Composition with an Eye Toward Development. Tammy provides not only samples of her daughter’s written narrations along with Tammy’s wise analysis, but has several quite informative links for anyone wishing to read more about the benefits of narration and other Charlotte Mason methods of teaching.
Although many of us use a modified Charlotte Method approach toward teaching composition, Lindafay provides a bonanza in her two posts on this topic, encouraging homeschool parents to stay the course and rely only upon Charlotte Mason’s methodology in order to have students who become excellent writers. You Don’t Need a Composition Program and How I Raised a Writer Without a Composition Program share how to employ Charlotte Mason’s methodology from Kindergarten through high school, from her blog, Higher Up and Further In.
Part of the equation for learning how to write is reading living books. Carol shares a book review in her post, Shakespeare’s Theatre, complete with illustrations and quotes from this jewel, at her blog journey-and-destination.
Another highly recommended living book no homeschool should be without is described in my post, King Alfred’s English: a History of the Language we Speak: a Must Read!. This fascinating book is perfect for a family read-aloud, history book, copy work and more, from the Epi Kardia/Train up a Child Publishing Blog.
Like reading great literature, a hallmark of learning to write is regular oral and written narration. I’m still chuckling from Brandy’s post providing the benefits of and helpful teaching tips On Group Narration, at her blog, Afterthoughts.
Describing the sometimes difficult balance between “letting alone” and “controlling authority,” Shirley-Ann inspires us with her post, A Wise Letting Alone, pertaining to her family’s nature study, from her blog Under an English Sky.
Phyllis grants us a peek into her planning their homeschool’s nature study this year in her post School Planning: Nature Study on her blog, Hunsucker’s Home, as well as sharing a past post (with cute photos!) called Nature Study: Mammals.
Art and Music Study
Megan shares part of her recent “composer study binge” at her blog, The Winding Ascent. Music at the Feast and the Beauty of Attaining, Part II includes several marvelous recordings as well as Megan’s thoughts about Charlotte Mason’s vision for music study. Thank you for allowing us to be beneficiaries of your binge, Megan.
General Charlotte Mason
Here at the beginning of school for many, Nancy from Sage Parnassus offers wise counsel to focus on the relationships we desire our children to develop with what they are learning, rather than allowing the “nifty extras” to actually be a distraction to that relationship, in her post Love Affairs in Education or The Thing is The Thing.
New Post!!! added 8/22/13 6:30 pm EST
Celeste is already half-way through her first term! And school is well-underway, even though she has a houseful of little ones. Celeste has a well-organized plan for second grade, which she shares with us in her post Second Grade in Our Home: An Overview , from her Joyous Lessons blog. (I never met a chart I didn’t love!) Thank you, Celeste!
Thank you again for taking the time to participate! Apologies in advance if there is a post I missed; please contact me at email@example.com and I either will add it or send it on for the next carnival, at your request.
According to the Carnival Schedule, the next carnival will be the “Back to School” edition focusing on CM Planning and Organization! Please submit posts to the following e-mail address: charlottemasonblogs (at) gmail.com. (deadline: Mon. 9/2 at 5pm CST). Thank you!
Dana Wilson Train up a Child Publishing™ formerly Epi Kardia Home Education trainupachildpub.com firstname.lastname@example.org ******************************** Visit our Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/trainupachildpub
New Year’s Resolutions.
There was a time every January 1st when I thoughtfully crafted a list of resolutions for the New Year. However, since I am a dyed-in-the-wool
control freak goal setter, I scrapped annual New Year’s Resolutions awhile back in favor of setting goals.
Rather than a list of vague things I want to accomplish, I worked on setting “SMART” goals:
- S = specific
- M = measurable and defined in such a way that I can evaluate progress
- A = achievable; i.e., challenging, but not impossible
- R = relevant; important to vital areas of my life
- T = time-based; that is, they are linked to a date
So, instead of having a goal that sounds more like a New Year’s Resolution:
It would be written as a SMART goal, such as:
In the next month I am going to lose five pounds by losing at least 1 1/4 pounds per week. In order to do this I am going to exercise at least 45 minutes, five days a week and cut all grain products from my diet.
Writing this as a SMART goal forces me to think specifically about how I would lose weight and what specific steps I need to take to do so. It also gives me a way to measure how I am progressing toward my goal.
Setting Homeschooling Goals
Homeschooling is a perfect opportunity to hone your goal-setting skills! In fact, if you have not set goals for yourself and your homeschooling/child training, you have missed out on the motivating, organizing, intentional action-causing power this process provides.
Here is a former SMART goal from a few years ago:
I am going to be more organized with homeschooling by arranging for my husband to watch the kids so I can spend 3-4 hours on the weekend planning for the following week. During that time I will:
- read over my lesson plans for the following week
- look through and note on my planning pages/calendar any scheduled appointments or errands we will need to run
- plan the subjects/assignments we will cover together and individually
- make sure I reserve my books at the library for the next three weeks’ reading
- grade any papers that need grading before the week starts
- plan to procure any needed material for science, history and art activities and projects prior to their scheduled time
It is extremely motivating and rewarding to make positive changes in your life. Moreover, it is crucial modeling for your children, especially as one of our primary goals is to teach them to become independent learners and problem solvers!
Perfectionists: Set Goals with Caution
Now hear this: setting goals does not mean unproductively comparing yourself, your children or your homeschool with others, especially if you are a new homeschooling mom. Nor does it mean that you are a failure if you don’t meet all of your goals.
You, your children and your homeschooling efforts are all works in progress, so realize that like everything else worthwhile, it takes work to make changes - and it often takes longer than you would think and certainly more than you would like.
First Things First: Start With Yourself
I find goal setting the most productive when I begin with myself. Over the years I have learned that the tone I set with my demeanor and attitude, the way I react to my children’s behavior, the peace I exhibit (or not) all greatly affect our school day. Am I modeling grace? Am I flexible? Am I self-controlled? Am I emotionally, spiritually and academically prepared for the day?
If you are having difficulty in some of these areas and you are not meeting with Jesus on a daily basis – I would definitely begin there. Start small and remember it takes 30 days or so to make something a routine! Work on developing consistency!
Create one personal goal or one homeschooling goal in the next 48 hours. Assess where you would like to be and formulate a goal to help you get there. Work on it until it is a SMART goal rather than a vague statement.
For example, perhaps you would like to have more regular prayer as part of your daily morning quiet time. Your SMART goal might read something like this:
Beginning tomorrow I am going to have intentional daily prayer for my children for ten minutes as part of my daily quiet time.
Note – you may have to set a ‘process’ or secondary goal to achieve your primary goal, so consider that as well. You may have to reword your goal as follows:
Beginning tomorrow I am going to get up 15 minutes earlier to have intentional daily prayer for ten minutes as part of my daily quiet time before the children get up in the morning. I will set the alarm to get up at __ and set it again to make sure I pray for at least 10 minutes.
If you already have that priority covered, perhaps you have other personal areas you would like to consider, such as:
- Beginning or tweaking an exercise program
- Making more time for daily personal reading (for your own pleasure and edification)
- Planning a weekly letter or visit to an elderly neighbor or relative
- Finding one relaxational/social outing per week with a friend to renew your perspective
- Rediscovering a beloved hobby you haven’t taken the time to engage in regularly since you began homeschooling
- Trading babysitting time with another mom and planning a weekly or biweekly ‘date night’ with your husband
- Beginning a blog
- Volunteering at church or in your community
Respond in the Comments
If you are serious about making a change in your life, make your goal public. Sharing it with others = instant accountability!
Would you benefit by setting a personal goal for yourself? Do you regularly set goals for yourself or your homeschool? I would love to hear what you are planning or about any difficulties you have setting goals in this post’s comments!
I will share one of my personal goals for this coming year in my next post. :-)