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Reader Feedback, Visualize World Geography, Study Skills

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, May 05, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 36 May 5, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

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Notes from Heather
-- Reader Feedback
Helpful Tip
-- Education is Never 'Over'
Resource Review
-- Visualize World Geography
Reader Question
-- Improving Study Habits
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Reader Feedback on Music Lessons for Visually Impaired

"I have two blind children, and have had the opportunity to meet
professional musicians who are blind (and sighted ones, too) and
I can tell you that good vision is not required for learning
music; in fact, the majority of professional musicians don't read
music and most music teachers do not teach children with average
sight to read music until they learn to read print well, at about
age 7. Their child can certainly learn to read music, and Braille
music is available from the Library of Congress through the state
library for the Blind. We have abook called, 'Who's Afraid of
Braille Music: A Short Introduction and Resource Handbook for
Parents and Students' by Richard Taesch and William McCann, which
we purchased from the National Braille Press, that they might be
interested in when their child is older. I also recommend that
their family join the National Federation of the Blind and the
National Association of Parents of the Visually Impaired. What
they really need is to learn to become very confident and pro-
active about approaching their goals. When I know my daughter
can do something, even if she needs to approach it differently,
my confidence in her definitely gets transmitted to the teacher.
Whenever I sign my daughter up for something, I just let them
know up front, 'Hey, I have a special kid who'd like to give this
a try. We can work out any parts that need to be a little differ-
ent together.' We never get turned down, and other people love
to be part of my children's success. Good luck!" -- Colleen


Feedback on the Sunday School Question

"Tammy -- thank you for asking this question. And thank you all
who responded.

I have never considered that this could be a problem, as my oldest
is only in Kindergarten class at church. But reading your question
and responses got me thinking about what the 'older' homeschooling
families in my church do. A number of them do take their children
to the service with them. But equal numbers involve their children
in the nursery at church, having their kids care for the babies
(serving!) instead of going to the kids' classes. There are a num-
ber of the homeschool girls that help out in our church's nursery
that are amazingly mature, after years of serving and caring for
others every Sunday. This is the route I think we will go, should
there be problems in our children's classes." -- Diana


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

"Today during our lessons, a thought came to me, and I was a bit
uplifted by it. Maybe it would be encouraging to someone else
as well.

I had some gaps in my own education, many of which I've been able
to fill through teaching my children. My children each have areas
in which they struggle, and I have concerns about them leaving home
as underachievers in those subjects. Well, today, as we were hav-
ing our ever-so-common agony over spelling, it occurred to me that
when they are teaching spelling to their children, they, too, will
grow in those skills which are now weak. Their education won't be
over when they leave home. I'll keep praying that God will help
them rise above my shortcomings, and have faith that He will do
more than I can ask or imagine." -- Mary Beth

Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Resource Review

Visualize World Geography in 7 Minutes a Day:
Let Pictography Take you from Clueless to Knowing the World

Author: Theresa A. Blain
For more information or to order: www.tenderheartpress.com

I have found several mnemonic tools to teach U.S. states and capi-
tals, but had never located a tool for teaching world geography
-— until now. We all have gazed at the clouds and identified
objects or animals; Theresa Blain identifies common pictures in
landforms of bordering nations to help us visualize geography.
Through her "pictography" and mnemonic devices you can easily
learn the location of over 100 nations and their flags.

The 6" x 9" bound book begins each section with a pictography
(ex. eagle on rock, Scottie dog, rooster chasing caterpillar,
etc.) on a continent outline map. Each pictography (21 in all)
depicts from one to 11 nations. For each nation, the left page
shows a smaller pictography, a labeled map, a colored flag and a
mnemonic device (paragraph explaining what to look for in the
picture or a storyline to remember the details.) The right page
includes a fill-in-the-blank section for capitals and bordering
nations (to be used at a later time to review), a country profile
(terrain, population, languages, religions, currency, etc.) a
flag description, and an area to draw and color the flag. At the
end of each section you will find a flag quiz and an outline map
to identify the nations for that pictography. Additional coun-
tries are included without pictography using creative visuals and
the nation's flag to bring the total nations covered to 112.
The book includes a CD clearly stating the nation and capital
city as well as jingles for younger listeners. The index makes
it easy to locate a particular nation in the 288-page book and
the corresponding information on the CD.

Here's how it works. Select 1 or 2 nations a day to learn from
a particular pictography. Read the mnemonic device and identify
the part of the pictography depicted for each nation. Listen to
the CD for correct pronunciation. Next, look at the nation's
flag and read the description. Say the nation and capital over
and over while drawing the flag. Later in the day, look at the
pictography's flag section; point to the flag and recite the name
of nation and capital (requiring about 30 seconds). Throughout
the day look back at the pictography, point to and identify the
nation, and say the capital city (30 seconds). Although Ms. Blain
suggests learning no more than two nations a day, five days a
week, let your child set the pace. You are not to proceed with
another pictography until your child can easily locate each nation
on the map and identify the flag and capital city.

Here's *why* it works. Pictography takes what the scientific
community knows about effective memory encoding/retrieval processes
in our brain and applies it to learning geography. When you asso-
ciate new geographical information with easy, everyday words, and
organize these associations visually (pictography), put them in a
story (mnemonic device) or in an auditory format (music jingles)
you will be more successful in remembering this information. In
addition, the various formats will help you capitalize on your
child's particular learning style.

My two girls and I have found the methods presented in 'Visualize
World Geography' extremely useful in remembering the location of
nations, capital cities and flags. After we had reviewed the
information in the morning, I found it best to bookmark both the
pictography page and the flag/outline map at the end of the sec-
tion and keep the book at hand to review periodically throughout
the day. A corresponding set of flashcards would be a great
compliment to the book as you could easily pull out just the
countries studied to create games and activities to reinforce
and review.

Few Americans can identify nations on a world map. As home
schoolers, we, too, often neglect this area of study. 'Visualize
World Geography' offers a solution and will help your child
(and you!) have success in learning world geography.

Review written by Carol Benson for Homeschooling From the Heart.


Last Issue's Reader Question

"I have a 13 year old son who is at 7th grade level. He does well
when I help him study, but I would like him to study independently
without much help from me so I can focus on my 10 year old. But
I don't know how to strengthen his study skills so he feels confi-
dent about doing this on his own. He loves Math and can do that
on his own, but in other courses he doesn't do very well when I
ask him to finish a chapter on his own and later test him on it.

How do I build these life long study skills so he can do better
as he goes to high school level courses? Any help and advice is
appreciated." -- SPT in CA

Our Readers' Responses

"My son is 14 and still seems to do better when I'm with him.
I personally believe that in his case, he's simply more social,
and prefers company. Most of the time, I'm not really helping
him, just being there. Could you have your son work near you
while you're doing something else, such as ironing or cooking,
and let him know that you're available for help whenever he needs
it? Then he could gradually build confidence in his ability and
slowly wean himself from your oversight. Be sure to do other
things with him so that it doesn't appear as if you are abandon-
ing him in favor of your younger child. You could even use other
activities as a reward for independent study. For example, if
he completes his writing assignment on his own, you'll play him
a game of checkers." -- Mary Beth


A Note from Heather --

I noticed a natural maturing in study skills in my oldest son as
he took high school level courses outside the home and had
'outside' teachers to please. I noticed this when he had to study
to pass a hunter safety course at age 12 (he was one of the young-
est in a class of about 80 and one of only 2 to get 100%) and then
as he has studied for Civil Air Patrol exams.

Today my second son is starting Driver's Ed and I know he will
have written tests to study for -- and he'll have to pay close
attention if he wants to pass. I believe my oldest son inherited
his dad's good study skills, so it will be interesting to see how
son #2 does -- without them! ;-)

If it were me, I wouldn't worry too much about your son. Hopefully
as he matures and begins to 'own' his own education he will just
want to do well. Actually, you can reinforce this concept of him
being 'in charge' of his own education by pulling back a bit. Let
him know he's had a good start and now the rest is up to him, since
you need to spend time with your 10 year now to give him/her a good
start, too.

I regularly tell my boys that a 'good education' is a fringe benefit
of life and it is really up to them to pursue it. If they seem to
be taking it for granted or sloughing off, I'll pull out a biography
or story tape on Booker T. Washington to remind them. :-)

Answer our NEW Question

"I have an 8 year old son. He has never attended school outside
of our home. I have read about different learning styles and am
wondering if anyone has suggestions about how to specifically iden-
tify which style of learning your child has. I am also interested
in the 'unschooling' style of homeschooling. I do not know any-
thing about it, other than it is pretty unstructured. What does a
typical day look like in an 'unschooling' homeschool situation,
and how are these children assessed at the end of the year? Thank
you." -- Suzanne


Do you have some help for Suzanne?
Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

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and let them know that Heather sent you!

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ear and encouragement.


[Note: This ministry is especially for Christian parents, but
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have any technical difficulties.]

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