Archive for June, 2006

My Picks for Phonics, Reading, and Spelling

My pick for this subject is “Spell to Write and Read” by Wanda Sanseri. I could explain it all to you, but Britta does a great job. Here is another great explanation.
(You can purchase the program from both of these sites or here at amazon.)

I was first introduced to the Writing Road to Reading when my oldest attended a small private school. When we went back to homeschooling, I bought the book and tried to implement the program at home. I did do this, but not very successfully. I fumbled through the program with my second, knowing the program was good. I tried to do a better job of learning and teaching the program. As my third approached reading age, I found SWR and think it is just wonderful!

The author studied under Romalda Spalding the author of WRTR so the program follows the same principles, methodology, etc. but is much easier to follow and use. A couple of training dvd’s are now available to purchase. (I plan to purchase these before the fall.) Make sure you get the core kit…Spell to Write and Read, WISE Guide, phonogram cards, spelling rule cards, and a learning log.

In my homeschooling journey, I have migrated towards books and materials that are not grade specific, not consumable, and not textbooks. (I may explain that in another post.) Anyway, this is a good program to invest in. It can be used with many ages/grades and over and over each year.

And please don’t think your child can already read and you don’t need this program. If you are looking for a spelling program, try this, no matter the age.

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June 28, 2006 at 3:40 am Leave a comment

Math Choices

Right Start
http://www.alabacus.com

Singapore Math
http://www.singaporemath.com

Singapore Math is actually from Singapore. The Asians are known for their superior knowledge and use of mathematics in comparison to US students. (TIMSS: check out this pdf for some stats) It is not based on rote memory but emphasizes mental math. A U.S. Edition is available that does have U.S. currency and some U.S. measurements although not a lot. The teacher’s editions are made by Sonlight (at least that’s the one I have) and are okay, but I never used it.

Right Start is a program written here in the United States, but based on the Asian methods. It has 5 levels for kindergarten through fourth grade. It uses one main manipulative, an American based abacus. It also has quite a few games that reinforce the concepts taught. The math games can be bought as a separate kit, or the instructions are in the teacher’s manuals and the cards can be made yourself. I would recommend just getting the Math Games Kit. The kit comes with all the cards nicely laminated, an instruction manual, and a small abacus (which you need anyway). The teacher’s manuals are clear and easy to understand, better than those for the Singapore Math.

That said, I am currently going to be using Singapore Math for my 2nd grader instead of Right Start. First reason, Right Start is quite expensive compared to Singapore. Second reason: I used two levels of Right Start with my older kids and feel like I have the methodology down. I use the abacus and the games from Right Start with Singapore Math. I also still have an older book put out by Right Start that says Activities and Worksheets for the AL Abacus. I use these anytime I need to reinforce a concept or help in explaining one. And not a great reason, but I consider myself good in math and so teaching and explaining it comes fairly easy to me.

My recommendation for those beginning to homeschool in the K-4th grades would be to use Right Start. You will appreciate their teacher manuals. If you start with Singapore you could become easily frustrated and quit. Switch to Singapore once you feel comfortable with the methodology as explained in Right Start (at least a couple years).

As they get older… My son is going to be doing 6A and 6B and finishing the Primary Series this year. My daughter (almost 14) is in book 3 of the New Math Counts series. On the Singapore website they recommend the New Elementary Math instead of NMC, but we found that the lack of teacher manuals was too much. In NEM the concepts go from concrete to abstract, easy to very deep, way too fast. I would have to sit down and work through many of the problems on the page before I could explain them to my daughter. This proved to be just too time consuming for our family. From the website it says the NMC covers much of the same content, just not as deep. The explanations in the student text are thorough and my daughter can work them much more independently.

My son is probably one that might pursue a career in some kind of math field. For him, we may start with NEM. It looks like they have put out new Teacher’s Manuals (NEM) for the first two books. I will be ordering this as he gets to the end of 6B.

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June 25, 2006 at 3:42 am Leave a comment

Biblical Principle Approach

The book “A Guide to American Christian Education” by James Rose is a great book to learn about the Principle Approach.
Anna-Marie has started a yahoo group to study the book and she is blogging about her studies with the book as well. Head on over…here’s the first post.

June 23, 2006 at 3:43 am Leave a comment

Starting to plan lessons

Well, I’ve spent the week looking over materials and trying to come up with the start of my teaching plans for this fall. Last year I purchased a software to help with this, but never used it. I’ve been reading over the user manual and have decided that it will help a lot! You just have to put in quite a bit of time on the front end. But once you do, the rest is smooth sailing!

I chose Home School Easy Records. I think lots of the different programs are similar, but one thing that stood out with HER was that you can share lesson plans with other users.

The second big thing is that you make a lesson plan with no dates. So then it can be stored for future use (like the next child in a few years). You make the lesson plan and then link it to a student and course and it will automatically fill in the lessons according to the school calendar you entered. There is a free 30 day trial, so check it out.

And now you know what I’ll be doing for the rest of the summer!

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June 23, 2006 at 2:45 am Leave a comment

Philosophy of Education: final copy

I have finished working on my Christian Philosophy of Education. I am posting it in pdf if you would like to print out a copy.

But remember, this is just what God has been showing me. It isn’t neccesarily what you need to follow. Please follow what God has laid on your heart.

Update: 20 June 2006
I know this may never be perfect, but I did want to add something. I added “to desire and seek after wisdom and understanding. Proverbs 3:13-15” under Purposes of Education. The link to the pdf file above has been updated as well.

June 17, 2006 at 3:47 am Leave a comment

VIII. Curriculum

I used the two main groups as outlined in the Heart of Wisdom book. Then I looked at the “Encyclopedia of Bible Truths” by Ruth Haycock. This book is over 400 pages documenting what scripture says about what we usually consider to be school subjects. It is a much more exhaustive list, one I will not even try to duplicate! I just wanted a general idea of those things which scripture says we should study. If I want more, I will just use this book and my Bible. I suggest this to you as well! (Note: I guess the book has been revised and is now in 4 volumes, mine is one volume, but out of print)

Here is the last section of my Philosophy of Education
VIII. Curriculum
From the purposes we gather that we need to study:
A. God’s Word
In order to correctly handle and know the Word of God and in order to become a disciple of Christ a student must study God’s Word.

Joshua 1:8 (KJV) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

A study of God’s word would also include the following things:
God has declared his thoughts to us through Scripture and he desires us to read and understand.

Amos 4:13 (KJV) For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Nehemiah 8:8 (KJV) So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

God commanded some to record history, prophesies, laws, and standards.
Isaiah 30:8 (KJV) Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:Deuteronomy 27:3 (KJV) And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee.

Habakkuk 2:2 (KJV) And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

Romans 15:4 (KJV) For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

We are to speak the truth and edify others with our words.
Ephesians 4:25, 29 (KJV) 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

B. God’s World
In order for a student to be equipped for their future station and ministry and in order to have dominion over the earth a student must study God’s World.

Studying God’s world should include the following: (not an exhaustive list)
History is to be recorded and shared with future generations.
Exodus 17:14 (KJV) And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.Psalms 78:4 (KJV) We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

In order to take care of God’s creation we need to learn about the earth. (geography)
Genesis 2:15 (KJV) And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.Psalms 8:6 (KJV) Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

A student should study Science, the details of creation, in order to learn and know God.
Job 12:7-8 (KJV) 7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: 8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.Romans 1:20 (KJV) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Through the study of math, we learn about the precise, unchanging God we serve.
Psalms 19:1 (KJV) The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Genesis 7-8 God gave Noah the measurements and details for the building of the ark.
Exodus 25-27 God gave the specifics for the tabernacle.

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June 17, 2006 at 2:51 am Leave a comment

VII. Methodology

Thanks to the Heart of Wisdom for help in looking at how Jesus taught.
Scripture references given only as an example.

A. Use object lessons. Joshua 4:20-5:1
B. Staightforward, clear teaching. Luke 6:20-49
C. Use of questions and discussion. Mark 12:35-37
D. Use of proverbs and parables: the comparison allows you to move from the known to the unknown. Matthew 13:24-42
E. Be an example.

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June 16, 2006 at 3:53 am Leave a comment

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Psalm 78:4

We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.