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Fall is for Planting... and for Fun! -  Comprehension and Listening Problems

By Lynn Hogan

Added Friday, August 26, 2005

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 6 No 34 August 26, 2005
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2000-2005 Lynn Hogan. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook.

If you like this newsletter, recommend it to a friend! We all
need to be helping each other with our schools!



Guest Article - Karen Lange
-- Fall is for Planting and for Fun
Helpful Hints
-- A Thematic Unit Study Website
Question of the Week:
-- On-Line Schooling?
Reader's Response
-- Frustrated Mom


It's the last Friday of the month and that means that we have a
guest author. This week we have a homeschooling mom and
subscriber to the Homeschooler's Notebook. She has some great
ideas for a great fall activity for your homeschool!

Fall is for Planting and for Fun! - Karen Lange

Fall is for Planting - You might see this advertising slogan at
garden centers this time of year. So what does this have to do
with homeschooling? More than you might think.

Planting in the fall helps trees and shrubs become established
during the cooler months, before enduring the warm, often dry
conditions of summer. The benefits to giving plants a strong
start are many. The plant has an opportunity to establish and
strengthen while sending out new roots. The plant will be more
resistant to pests, disease, drought, and other adverse
conditions. A strong plant will be healthier, live longer, and
will provide benefits to the environment around it.

Parents who teach their children at home are raising them using
similar principles; they are helping them establish healthy
roots. These children have the advantage of a more relaxed and
customized learning climate. They have time to play, imagine,
to learn and to discover through various means. These children
are less likely to be influenced by negative peer pressure.
Homeschool parents have the opportunity to impart their values
and help children gain confidence. In the long run, this will
make them better citizens. Like young plants in a greenhouse,
children can be strengthened and established before heading out
on their own.

Think of your homeschool endeavors, even on the most challenging
of days, as the wonderful advantage your young plants need. You
are giving your children an edge. Plants well established and
cared for always produce good things!

Fall is for Fun - You are less likely to see this slogan at a
garden center, but fall provides ample opportunities to enjoy
and learn about nature. Cooler temperatures provide the perfect
backdrop for nature hikes, a trip to the beach, and excursions
to the interesting things to see and do in your state. Here are
a few ideas that can be adapted for all ages.

Play "leaf detective" by identifying leaves collected in your
yard or on a nature walk. Little ones can enjoy the colors and
shapes, the older ones can identify evergreen and deciduous,
and examine the bark, leaf structure, etc. The library or
bookstore can supply you with a guide to trees if you don't
already have one.

Make a nature collage or shadowbox with colorful leaves, pine
cones, acorns and other fall treasures. Use Styrofoam plates or
meat trays and glue to create mosaics with pebbles, small
leaves and twigs, seeds, and so on. Or try some leaf rubbings
by placing paper over leaves (vein side up) and rubbing crayons
or colored pencils over the paper.

A nature sketchbook or notebook is a good place to draw or
record interesting things seen on a hike or around the yard.
Look for changing leaves and animal signs such as footprints,
nests, and migrating birds. Keep a fall journal noting the
daily temperature, cloud patterns and general conditions, or
watch for a Harvest moon.

For fall fun in the kitchen, make some applesauce, apple crisp,
or apple butter. "Dissect" a pumpkin and toast the seeds, or
make a pie. Hollow out a large gourd and make a birdhouse or

Put a new twist on the old "What I did last summer" writing
assignment. Have your children write about what they will do in
the summer ten years from now. Or have them write a sensory
poem about fall - encourage them to think about crunchy leaves,
cool, crisp breezes, smoky bonfires, or bouncy hay rides.

Fall is a great time to do some lessons on the porch or on a
blanket on the lawn. Take a snack and work on math, read a
story, or listen to the classics on tape and soak up the
sunshine. Enjoy the wonders of creation while your plants are
still young!

Karen Lange is the mother of three children (all homeschooled K-
12), a freelance writer and homeschool consultant, and the
instructor/creator of the Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-
op. Visit her website at http://hswritingcoop.bravehost.com




I came across this neat site for thematic unit studies and just
wanted to share it with everyone. - Meredith


Does anyone have a positive experience with an on-line schooling
experience? I am reaching the high school level and don't feel
real confident about teaching that level. Many of the on-line
schools sound nice, but that's what ads are supposed to make
them sound like! What is your opinion based on your experience?
- Rachel


NOTE: my publication of these responses does not necessarily
mean that I endorse a product or an activity. You make your own
decisions about how these responses might work in YOUR school!

My 8 year old is having a hard time understanding stuff that we
go over and over and over (any subject). Just listening is a
problem. He has a hard time comprehending anything and that
drives me crazy. I tend to yell at him to pay attention and to
listen. Any suggestions?

My daughter does this and it is VERY frustrating. I have found
that by tying in a subject she loves, say animals, she is more
likely to retain the information I need her to. Also, I try to
make everything hands-on. Make a door sized poster - as you
study a new subject you can add to the poster, make a time-line
by using calculator tape rolls and sticks, make a drawing, a
sculpture, a cake, a mess, just get involved TOGETHER and use
the learning opportunities as they come along. Try sandwiching
the "harder" subjects between ones that are more fun.

Yes, there are some subjects (read Math) where you will just
need to do it, and do it. I like Saxon because it gives me
room to do lots of repeat practice for one kid and cut it out
for the other.

Pray for patience. Leave the room. Change subjects when you
hear yourself yelling. I have yelled too and hated myself for
it. - L

1. Stop yelling, it's not getting you anywhere.

2. Take a break from what you've been doing and the way you've
been doing it. Give your son some time to explore the world HIS
way. Children don't all learn the same way and maybe the way
you're teaching isn't conducive to his learning style. Some
children do awesome with books and worksheets, others don't.
Some children do well with books in certain subjects but not
others. My daughter loves worksheets, but she wasn't learning
her times tables that way. A couple of weeks ago, we sat on
the floor during a thunderstorm tossing a soccer ball back and
forth and practicing our times tables. She knew most of them,
but if I were to give her a worksheet, she would get many of
them wrong. My son doesn't grasp what he reads about (mostly
because he hates sitting down and reading) but if he watches a
show on the subject on an educational channel or does it on the
computer, he retains it.

3. Relax, remember, this is your homeschool and it doesn't have
to look like anyone else's homeschool. - Ms

My daughter says it is in a child's job description to drive
their parents crazy. I think all of us have educational
challenges and frustrations when we homeschool. One thing I try
to do is make learning a game. We have recently been learning
the presidents. I will throw a ball to my daughter and say "1".
She throws it back to me and says "Washington." We worked on
the first ten presidents. Once we both had them in order, we
would throw the ball and mix the order up. Then when we had the
first ten down we added a few more to the game. For
multiplication tables I put squares on the floor with the
answers. I call out a problem and she calls out the answer. She
has to find the square and stand on it. Then she calls out a
problem and I have to find the square. Card games like
concentration can be used for science (try to match a
classification with an animal or plant). Creating posters,
dioramas, clay models, and other hands on activities helps them
learn. Sometimes making up a silly song and putting motions to
it triggers memorization. Some kids need to do to learn. They
just can't sit still and listen. Once you can figure out his
learning style I think it will help. Don't be afraid to use
unconventional and creative learning techniques. - Susan

Go to www.nogreaterjoy.org and do an article search on
homeschooling. They are a great resource. Read the recent two
part article on kids "jumping ship" from your values you are
trying to teach him.

Stop being a tyrant and just be a mom. He loves you. Apologize
to him for your attitude, get organized and take learning one
step at a time. Get out of the school text books for a bit and
use everyday life as your curriculum to get him interested and
engaged. - David

Next - Hurricane Relief, One Mom's Story, Homeschooling 'Hits'
Previous - Miss "I'm in Charge of My School", FieldTripFactory.com, Reluctantly Gifted

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