Archive for the ‘Teaching Science’ Category

Using this Simple Graphic Tool Will Make You a Better Teacher

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Tools-by-Grant-Cochrane-via-freedigitalphotos.net

Tools-by-Grant-Cochrane-via-freedigitalphotos.net

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.

The Rubric

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.

Sample Rubric

 

Sample Rubric from K-5 Manual

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

  1. View and download this sample of  of a (blank) basic rubric.
  2. Decide which skills or concepts you want to evaluate.
  3. List the most important ones in the first column on the left.
  4. 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.
  5. You may add rows or columns if you would like a more fine-tuned system.
  6. 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.
  7. Evaluate the assignment using the rubric and calculate the points if you are giving your student a grade for that assignment.
  8. 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:

10-12                  A

8-9                      B

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?

Dana Wilson at Train up a Child Publishing

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Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival – Education is a Discipline

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Welcome to the March 20th edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!Christian literature-based homeschooling curriculum using Charlotte Mason methods

If you are new here, you will want to carve a little time out of your day, grab a cup of coffee or tea and spend some time perusing the articles  from homeschooling moms who use Charlotte Mason’s methodology in their home schools. Expect to learn, be inspired and encouraged!

This edition’s theme is “Education is a Discipline,” but there are always posts that relate to other areas of Miss Mason’s philosophy included in the carnival. And we usually squeeze in a few posts on the last edition’s topic as well. :-)

I hope those of you who are in ‘cold country’ especially, will enjoy the photos! Your flowers will come soon, I promise.

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival, Education is a Discipline

Parenting = Teaching and Training

The parent who believes that the possibilities of virtuous training are unlimited will set to work with cheerful confidence, will forego the twaddle about ‘Nature,’ whether as lovely in itself or as an irresistible force, and will perceive that the first function of the parent is that function of discipline … — Volume 2, p. 65

Nancy, from Sage Parnassus, posts Parents as Rulers, Inspirers, and Revealers – Charlotte Mason on Thoughtful Parenting, wherein she suggests that Miss Mason had much to offer not only the educator, but also the parent.  Melissa also shares her thoughts and ruminations on our topic from her blog, Educating Mother: Education is a Discipline {chewing on a couple of things}.  Barb at Harmony Art Mom offers us food for thought with her post entitled Homeschooling for Life and Not a Lifestyle. I agree that Charlotte would have wanted to see her charges develop a lifelong love for learning.

Editor’s Note:  Due to a technical problem, this is a post that is being added a few hours after the publishing of this issue:

Here is Erin’s post, Education is a Discipline, from her blog, Seven Little Australians and Counting.

A very clear presentation of how Sarah instills morning habits in her children, Discipline and the Two R’s,  is posted on her blog, All That’s Good. I love these concrete examples, don’t you?  Another beneficial post along these lines is by Tammy, who chronicles her experience Curing the Habit of Frustration, presented on her blog, Aut-2B-Homeincarolina.

Why Homeschool? Retaining Sibling Relationships, is a thoughtful post by Kelly at The Homeschool Co-op. You will not only enjoy the post – the photos of her kids are too cute!  Nadene also talks about her children, and transparently shares a current struggle  implementing the ‘perfect’ Charlotte Mason home school.  Read her post, Stresses and Struggles, on her blog, Practical Pages.

Daily Lesson Plans for Charlotte Mason homeschoolingPoetry Study

Here are a few posts that either didn’t make it into the last edition of the carnival or were included after it was initially published: Laura shares her first experiences sharing poetry with her son at her blog, Windy Hill Home School in her post entitled Poetry.  At the other end of the homeschooling spectrum, here is an inspiring poem with suggestions for middle and high school lesson plans included on the Epi Kardia Blog, Poetry Study: Anne Bradstreet: Puritan Poet.  Additionally, Amy from Fisher Academy International shares her very useful post on how to analyze poetry For Novel Poetry Analysts…Like Me!.

Nature Study & the Arts

The Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival would not be complete without celebrating nature and all we may learn there, especially during the delightful Spring season! Barb at her Handbook of Nature Study blog shares her informative and visually cheerful post, Early Spring Flowers – Nature Study and Art Project. After Barb’s post, head over to Hodgepodge where Trish offers us 10 Easter and Spring Arts and Crafts activities to enjoy.   Jimmie at Jimmies Collage then features her Georgia O’Keeffe  Artist Study (along with the display of her daughter’s beautiful work!) Thanks to all three ladies for the lesson plans and photos of gorgeous art work to inspire us.

Even if you are not quite ready for the art studies, Melissa’s post Snippets from Charlotte on Being Outdoors will encourage you to carve out the time to regularly leave your four walls and go outside (with your children!) on her blog, Bugs, Knights, and Turkeys in the Yard.

Living Math

In her post at Jimmie’s Collage, Jimmie describes how she incorporates principles of “living” math along with a textbook curriculum in Using Teaching Textbooks in a Living Math Approach.

Scripture Prayer Calendar

Charlotte Mason Education is a Discipline

And, finally, a lovely gift to us of a downloadable Scripture Prayer Calendar from Nadene of Practical Pages. Thank you, Nadene, for the helpful photos and clear directions for creating our own calendars, as well as for the reminder of the need to be lifting up our children in prayer.

 

Thank you to all of the authors for their useful entries and to our readers for taking the time to read and comment on our posts!

 

 

 

The next Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival on April 3rd will be hosted by Jimmie at Jimmie’s Collage. The theme will be Living Books –  (definition of, why we use them, our favorites, choosing books, etc.)
* PR article to read for background: Schoolbooks and How They Make for Education.

Editor’s Note: if you would like to have one of your posts included in the next edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival, please send the following to charlottemasonblogs@gmail.com instead of using the blog carnival form:

  • the name of and link to your blog
  • the title of and link to your post
  • any remarks you would like to make about your post

Blessings~

Christian literature based homeschool curriclum

 

P.S. Reminder to those interested in entering a no-strings-attached give-away of a year of Charlotte Mason curricula : click here to see how to enter. The random drawing will tomorrow, March 21st.

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Valentine’s Day Ideas for Your School and Ministry

Monday, January 30th, 2012
Valentine's Day Ideas for your homeschool

Looking for some Valentine’s Day ideas to incorporate into your homeschooling?  Here is a reprint of an earlier popular post:

Whether you are looking for academic assignments, ministry ideas or art projects,  look no further! Here are 15 Valentine’s Day ideas, broken down by subject, to add some pizzazz to your homeschooling.

Valentine’s ideas for History and Geography

1.  Did you know the original St. Valentine was said to be a Christian martyr? Noting that there are a few different versions of the St. Valentine’s legend, have your middle/high schooler research and create a short oral report about St. Valentine’s life and death and present it to your family.

2. Have your dramatically-inclined student use the above research and create a short play based on St. Valentine’s life and perform it for another homeschooling family.

3. Task your students with researching Valentine’s Day during the Middle Ages and find out what Valentine’s Day had to do with birds.  :-)

4.  One of the most common symbols of Valentine’s Day is a Cupid. After defining  the word “symbol” for your youngest students, have your older ones research Cupid, draw a picture of one (in color, of course) and include a description of the origins of Cupid on the page.

5. Valentine’s Day is not just an American holiday! Have your student(s) locate other countries where Valentine’s Day is celebrated and do one or more of the following: Make a notebooking page for every country you find that celebrates Valentine’s Day.  List the Valentine’s Day traditions of that country and draw a map of each country.

6. Choose one or more interesting traditions and incorporate it into your family’s celebration.

7. Create a world map labeling the countries that celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Ideas for Language Arts

8. Create a word search including the following terms: Valentine’s Day, roses, pink, red, lace, cupid, card, St. Valentine, heart, doves, chocolate, etc.

9. What does the Bible say about love?  Instruct your students to find verses that describe the love that God has for His people, for the church and the love believers should have for one another.  Choose some of the verses as copy work and/or memorization.

10. Have your students define the word “love” in a paragraph.  Have them read about love in the Bible and then revise their paragraph as needed, including Bible verses as references.  Use this assignment as a lesson between love as a “feeling”

and love as a “choice” and/or an “action.”

Valentine’s Ideas in Science

Use this week  as an opportunity for a quick scientific study of the heart.

11.  Write a short report about the function of the human heart.  Include a diagram of the heart, labeling the various parts. Using different colors, show the blood flow into and out of the heart.

12.  Make a poster  comparing and contrasting the human heart and the heart of an amphibian or reptile. If comparing and contrasting is a new concept you may want to use a Venn Diagram for help.

Valentine’s Ideas for Fun and Ministry

kids crafts for Valentine's days, incorporating valentines day into curriculum

13. Gather your construction paper, wrapping paper scraps, ric rac, spare buttons, markers, glue and other craft supplies in the appropriate colors. Take an afternoon off school and construct hand-made Valentine’s cards for friends, family, elderly or shut in neighbors, children at a local hospital, etc.  Add a Bible verse about love to your cards and talk about what the verse means.

14.  Bake heart-shaped sugar cookies, frost with pink icing and glaze with pink sugar.  Include a homemade card and cookies and take to the neighbors, a nursing home or use to create a care package to a college student or two.

15. Start a new tradition!  Join with another family or two and assign many of the above ideas to different children.  Plan and execute a Valentine’s Party or dessert.  Have everyone share their reports and projects, exchange Valentines and then enjoy homemade Valentine’s treats!

 

What ideas can you add or what mentioned here sparked your interest?  Do you have any traditional Valentine’s activities in your family?

 

 

Dana

Dana Wilson
Train up a Child Publishing, LLC

Do Charlotte Mason Methods Work with Non-traditional Learners?

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Recent question: Can I homeschool my [non-traditional learners] Charlotte Mason style?

Answer: Of course!

As we discuss in our parent manual, parents teach and children learn in a variety of ways.  Some prefer to absorb information by what they see, for example, reading a book, watching a movie or viewing a live demonstration.  Some learn best by what they hear, such as when listening to a lecture, verbal instructions or an audio book. Some prefer to learn through what they do, or retain more by moving around as they are taking in information through another venue.  For example, making candles instead of reading about how they are made, or doing jumping jacks while practicing multiplication tables.   Most people utilize all of these learning methods to some degree, but  prefer one over the others.

Traditional school seems to be notoriously crafted to benefit the type of learners who like to sit still, learn things in a logical progression, and read about rather than experience what they are learning about, to the detriment of the others who don’t fit that mold! What a blessing it is that we are able to craft our learning opportunities to fit our children’s natural bents!

Charlotte Mason understood children. Many of her teaching methods and principles already incorporate a variety of learning methods.

Nature Study

Advocating as much time outside as possible, Ms. Mason suggested children experience nature first hand.

Children should be encouraged to watch, patiently and quietly, until they learn something of the habits and history of the bee, ant, wasp, spider, hairy caterpillar, dragon-fly, and whatever of larger growth comes in their way.

Rather than spending up to six hours outside every suitably-weathered day as Ms. Mason suggested, many homeschoolers satisfy their outdoor longings by taking at least one nature ‘walk’ per week, identifying and recording the different trees, flowers, insects and birds that come across their path.  (Some of our favorite books to use for these activities are below.)

Observing nature incorporates all the senses:  watching a bumblebee extract nectar from a flower while listening to its low buzz…feeling the gentle wind flow through your hair while listening to the leaves rustle…feeling the rough outer layer of a seashell and the smooth-as-glass inside, then holding it to your ear and listening to the ‘ocean’…

We help our children hone their powers of observation as they study their subjects, write about them and make detailed drawings in their nature notebooks, all while using visual, auditory and kinesthetic modes of learning.

Next week we will talk about other aspects of Charlotte Mason’s methods of learning in conjunction with learning styles.

Have a great week!

Warmly,

P.S.  These are some of our favorite books for aiding our nature studies. Check them out!
Handbook of Nature Study
Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America (Peterson Field Guide Series)
Peterson Field Guides; Rocks and Minerals
Peterson Field Guides; Wildflowers
Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of N.A.

P.P.S.  Read about one way to incorporate hands on (also known as tactile or kinesthetic) learning in this post called, Make a Lapbook!