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Lessons Learned, Right-Brained Math, For the Birds

Added by Heather Idoni

Monday, July 30, 2012
Vol. 13 No. 13, July 30, 2012, ISSN: 1536-2035
(c) 2012, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net

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Guest Author - Maggie Hogan
-- Lessons I've Learned
Winning Website
-- Just for the Birds!
Helpful Tip
-- Right-Brained Math
Reader Question
-- Send Yours Today!
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Guest Article

Lessons I Learned from Homeschooling
  by Maggie Hogan


Every child has a gift or two. Every child has a special need or two.

It's not the method -- it's the time and the love.

It's not the test scores -- it's the character.

It's not a sprint -- it's a marathon.

Learning styles matter.

How to pick back up and start all over again.

Teenagers have so very much to offer.

To be open to new ways of doing, seeing, thinking.

That I am wrong much more than I'd like.

It is impossible to homeschool on my own strength.

You don't have to be patient -- just willing.

A sense of humor is your best defense.

The character flaws seen most often were mine.

If a curriculum isn't working, dump it and move on.

Shiny new curriculum is seductive -- be wise.

Written goals are a guidepost when you are floundering.

Chocolate makes a dreary task more enjoyable (for kids and moms).

The right music at the right time helps.

The right snack at the right time helps.

Yelling pretty much never helps.

Books allow us access to the world -- past and present.

Setting the alarm and getting up does not make you a morning person.

Teens and toddlers need more sleep, more food, and more time than I ever realized.

God has a sense of humor.

Coffee belongs in the school budget.

Ditto chocolate.

I can't do it all, on my own -- so I cling to Philippians 4:13.

Training boys to be men calls for a man. (God bless my single and widowed friends!)

I don't know nearly as much as I once thought.

I can't teach them everything they need to know; however, I can show them how to find answers.

Every day is educational -- whether for good or for bad.

Even when I make terrible mistakes, God has my back.

Simple things like games, car rides, inside jokes, and dinner time bind a family together in ways I could not have dreamt.

Just because siblings don't get along when they are younger doesn't preclude them from being close friends when they are grown.

If all else fails on any given day, try the following until something works: Prayer. Coffee. Chocolate. Prayer. Recess. Prayer. Movies. Bed. Prayer.

And I leave you with this:

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:4-7, NKJV)

How about you? What lessons did you learn from homeschooling this year?


-- Maggie Hogan - Bright Ideas Press, publisher of The Mystery of History series, Illuminations and more!


Share a few of the lessons YOU'VE learned! Please send your email to heather(at)familyclassroom.net!


Winning Website

Two Great Websites for Bird Songs and Sounds!

My boys and I have been enjoying learning to identify all the different bird sounds around our property in Southeastern Michigan. We found a wonderful website with recordings of lots of chirps, warbles, songs and calls at www.BirdJam.com!

And when you think you are ready to test your bird sound knowledge, try eNature's Bird Call Challenge. Just put in your zip code and the website generates unlimited randomized quizzes for your area. Lots of addictive fun! :-)


Helpful Tip

Perspectives on "Right-Brained" Learners and Math Resources

Do you have a right-brained child? Stephanie from www.ThrowingMarshmallows.com recently shared her experiences on an email support group called Homeschooling Creatively. You may benefit from her insights!


"I have found that especially when they were younger, my right brained kids tended to need a variety of things and following a set (sequential) path never really worked as well as mixing things up. So instead of looking for all encompassing math programs, I looked for resources that we could use. This allowed me to jump around a bit as far as topics went which allowed us to move on if he got stuck on something. Right brained kids often understand the more 'advanced' math yet struggle with the 'basic' arithmetic (memorization) so you need something that is flexible to work with their development rather than against it.

Over the years, the following resources have been really helpful.

Living Math - Jason was/is very story oriented, so learning math through literature and stories was a terrific fit. Julie's email list was a wealth of ideas and her book lists were fantastic. Best of all you can get most of the books from the library.

Math on the Level - By far my most useful resource. It is not cheap, but that is because it includes every math concept you need from pre-K to pre-algebra. I bought it a couple of years ago and am still using it with both kids. You can use it as structured or as unstructured as you want. And it lets you move around based on interests and readiness. I love Carlita's approach which is based on maturation level rather than grade level... which lets kids cover things when they are ready for it. I have found this to be perfect for us and use it as a supplement even when we are using another program. Her other idea of 5 A Days (for practice) is also a great approach for my right brained kids. What I really liked about MOTL was that it helped me put a bit more structure to our uneschool-y approach... I had a list of all the topics that could be covered and I could go through and find things I thought that they were ready for. Made less for me for to pull it together on my own.

Life of Fred - this has been Jason's favorite math program and we have been using it for fractions and pre-algebra. It is good for kids who like stories and have a goofy sense of humor. It is not good for kids who need to focus on one thing as it throws a lot of things (and not all of it math) at you. Was perfect for Jason but not good at all for Kyle (he found it overwhelming). They do have younger grades as well.

Kahn Academy - I just started using this with Kyle this last year and it is a good fit for him. He tends to need more practice and he likes the virtual whiteboard and video tutorials. Jason absolutely hated it though, as he has a tendency to make minor arithmetic errors which made it *very* frustrating to move through the practice problems.

Just keep in mind that even among right brained learners, different math programs/approaches will work/not work. Math-U-See would not have been a good fit for Jason, but there are a lot of right brained kids who do well with it. Same with Right Start Math. So you still really need to look at the program and see if it seems like it would be a good fit for *your* right brained kid.

I also wrote a post about right brained kids and math (memorization) here that might help:


-- Stephanie, Mom to Jason (15) and Kyle (12) www.throwingmarshmallows.com

"Learning can only happen when a child is interested. If he's not interested it's like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating." -- Katrina Gutleben

Now here is a much better use of marshmallows - for science! :-)

Marshmallow Molecules


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