Posts Tagged ‘learning fun’

 I love it when my older children teach the little ones. It’s a homeschool mom’s dream come true! My four-year-old son William was recently teaching his two-year-old brother how to count.


William and Joel

“One,” said William. “Say one, Joel.”

“One,” echoed Joel.

They continued this way up to five, and then William—proud as a banty rooster—kept on counting. He skipped 13 (not an important number), counted perfectly to 29, and jumped to 50.

There might have been a time when I would have been concerned that Joel would learn mistakes from his brother, but I’ve come to appreciate how quickly children learn from each other. It’s my belief that someone who has recently learned something is actually a better teacher because of it. I realize that this directly contradicts a tenet of our society: “Only an expert shall dare to teach.”

I was recently doing some research for an article and I came across a telling statistic: on standardized achievement tests, homeschooled children outperformed public schooled children by an average of 37 percentile points. That’s a huge discrepancy. And the vast majority of the parents that are teaching these kids are not certified teachers. Obviously there is more to being a great teacher then being an “expert.”

Moving on to the alphabet

Moving on to the alphabet

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not slamming experts; I really do think that a surgeon should have pass a number of criteria that demonstrates that he or she has sufficient knowledge and skill. And teachers in schools have my great respect and admiration. But I think that our society’s focus on experts has made most people feel inept when it comes to passing on their skills. Here are a few points that make my four-year-old son a great teacher.

Love. William loves his little brother. That is something that a teacher in a school setting can’t always have for her students. Love overcomes many shortcomings!

Passion. William loves to count. He’s proud of counting, and he passes on the passion to his little brother. When we learn from someone who is passionate about a topic, it is almost impossible to not get caught up in the excitement. Passion makes learning fun, and fun makes learning effortless.

He knows what it’s like to be a beginner. Because William has recently learned to count, he know the steps involved. He knows the frustrations and how to encourage along the way.

The ideal class size. One on one is a pretty perfect ratio. It allows the teacher to move along at the best possible pace: not so slowly that the student gets bored and not so fast that steps get missed.

I’m not worried about William passing on errors to his brother, because right now he’s teaching Joel to count to five, and he can do that very well. By the time Joel is ready to count past there, William will have remembered what number comes between 12 and 14. 🙂

You don’t need to be a certified expert to pass on a skill, just teach what you’re passionate about…teach what you love.

Read Full Post »

Many homeschoolers do their work year round. We’ve tried schooling through the summer with a few subjects, but when September arrived and we started everything again, the children were grumpy and there was no enthusiasm. We’ve found that taking a break really works best for our family, but review is important over the summer as well. I hate to think of them forgetting much of what was learned the previous year!

There are two requirements for summer learning in our home: it must be different from our regular schooling and it must be fun! The three things that we focus on are: reading, family learning games and computer learning games.


I read to our family every night. Being read to aloud helps to build comprehension and an appreciation for great literature. I try to read many books over the summer about the historical period that we will be studying the following year.

It is also important that the children read books on their own each day. I have them choose a read aloud book that they read for 8 min per day. I also have them choose another book for reading to themselves. New readers should choose a book that they can easily read by themselves, but I have the older children (grades 3 and up) find something that is quite challenging. The idea is to keep pushing their comprehension level forward.

They read 15 min a day from this book and then they must narrate it back to me, which is simply telling it back to me in their own words. This helps me to see that they are comprehending what they are reading, but it also helps them to read actively and attentively. Besides these two books I encourage them to read whatever they want on their own.

Family Learning Games

My children love it when we play games as a family. I try to play one game each day. We made a game that reviews the facts that we learned studying human anatomy last school year. I have another series of games that teaches and reviews math concepts from addition and subtraction through simplifying and multiplying fractions. Other games that we choose from are memory games and various trivia games.

Computer Learning Games

I have downloaded a few free games that help my children review their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. My children’s favourite is Timez Attack. It probably isn’t for everyone as it is a full blown video game that you move to the next level by attacking the enemy with the answer to multiplication or division questions. It systematically builds confidence and knowledge of the tables up to 12 x 12 and happens to be a lot fun too. The free version comes with 2 levels that can be used again and again and does cover all of the facts. If you want more variety, you can pay for the rest of the levels. They will be releasing an addition and subtraction version of the game later this year.

We also have a very basic facts review game that simply states the fact and then you choose the answer. It can be downloaded here.

There are many, many websites that have tons of great learning games. I haven’t explored them too much because we do pay for the amount of time we are on the internet. One website that I have found and that we do enjoy though is Sheppard Software.

And now for some giveaway fun…

Giveaway Day I have been planning to do a giveaway for a few months now and here it is! I won one recently and was so thrilled that I wanted to pass on the joy.

I will be giving away a $25 gift certificate for Amazon.com or Amazon.ca (your choice). Much of our curriculum is purchased from Amazon as their prices are quite good and I love the free shipping on orders over $25.

This giveaway is open to everyone and all you must do to enter is leave a comment on this post. Additional enteries may be obtained by:

-subscribing to my blog. And if you are already subscribed you receive two entries when you comment. (Let me know in your comment if you are a subscriber.)
-post about this giveaway on facebook. (Please mention in your comment.)
-tweet about this giveaway on twitter. (Let me know in your comment.)
-mention this giveaway on your blog. (And let me know you did in a comment!)

Each person can receive a total of 5 entries. The deadline in August 16th and the draw will be August 17th. Have fun and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Read Full Post »