Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

Help with Dictation

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Fitting Dictation Into Your Homeschool

A Brave Writer mom asks about her 11 year old daughter who has a low tolerance for schoolwork and struggles with spelling:

I want to start dictation with her but am not sure where and how to fit it in.

Hi! I think it is a good idea to use a passage she knows well for dictation. Initially she may even need you to offer to verbally spell words she is unsure of as you dictate. This is still great experience for her as she will have to listen and write what you say (another way to encode the spellings). Exaggerate your pauses for commas and make a strong finish sound when you get to periods. Help her in all the ways you can. If she needs some words written in advance on a notecard to copy when she hears you say them, then do that too!

You might try our practice of French-style dictation. This is where you choose which words will be written. You type the entire passage, then you omit some of the words and replace them with blank lines. Print the whole thing. Read the passage aloud and she reads along with you until she gets to a blank space. When she hears the word that goes there, she will write it. This is a wonderful, gradual practice for kids who are just struggling to write and spell. You can isolate words she knows well the first time you do it so she has success. Then gradually include a word or two she doesn’t know well and prep her before the dictation by orally spelling them together.

For freewriting: spelling doesn’t matter AT ALL. It doesn’t matter if she misspells every word. You can help her if she calls out to you in the middle of a freewrite by spelling it back to her, but remind her that all spellings can be cleaned up later. That’s not the goal of freewriting. If there are words she can’t even attempt in freewriting, then write them for her on a white board or note pad before she begins so she can copy them exactly.

Always use Spell Check on the computer (it teaches kids a lot) and offer her the opportunity to correct her own work against the original so that she is the one making the connection between where she missed the spelling and what it should be.

Keep ALL these sessions short. She will tire easily (it’s an enormous amount of work for her). Give her shoulder rubs and light candles. Eat treats after she finishes. Use pretty paper and flowing pens—let her write in colors other than blue or black.

Make this a nourishing experience, not just school work. Remind her of how smart she is and how you know that she is capable of growing in this arena. Keep her first dictation in a file and compare it to one six months and then a year from now so she can see her progress.

Good luck!

The Homeschool Alliance

YouTube Videos: The Bogart Kids

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

YouTube videos: The Bogart KidsFrom left to right: Caitrin, Liam, Jacob, Johannah, Noah

It’s YouTube Thursday! The scopes released today feature the Bogart kids! Homeschool projects they did over the years are shared and then Noah, Liam, and Johannah are featured in broadcasts. There are also cameo appearances by Jacob and Caitrin. Enjoy!

Show & Tell: 17 Years of Great Successes and Epic Fails

Table Top Games with Noah

Here’s a list of all the suggested games!

You are the Blueprint PLUS Liam Talks about Video Gaming

Johannah and Noah: A Conversation about Homeschool

This periscope is in podcast form and can be listened to here.

And though Jacob and Caitrin have yet to be featured on Periscope, you can catch a glimpse of them at the end of the video where Cindy and the Brave Writer community shared a big surprise!

What on earth?! I’m being ambushed by Cindy!

Subscribe to Brave Writer on YouTube!

The Value of a Gap Year

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Take a Gap Year
For years, I’ve been saying at home education conferences that more American high school graduates should take a gap year. ~Susan Wise Bauer

Liam took a gap year. Noah took a gap year. Some people think that the gap year needs to be “something productive.” Noah’s wasn’t anything extraordinary. It was his time to do what he wanted when he wanted to do it. Liam’s was a year of earning money to travel in Europe for a month. Both benefited from not going directly to college following high school.

Johannah is in the middle of several gap years, if you want to look at it that way. When many of her peers went directly into grad school after college, she chose to teach in France for a year, then work in social work for three years in New York and now is living in South America. She’s deferring her admittance to graduate school to continue her travels for one more year.

In your desire to prepare your kids for college, don’t forget that taking time off between high school and college is valuable!

Both Susan and I have shared that students we meet in our college classes who are a little older tend to bring more to the classroom and fare better than their younger peers. Something to enthusiastically consider!

Food for thought:

How Common is a Gap Year? by Adrienne Green

“…an increasingly popular tradition in the United States: the gap year….the year-long deferral where many students choose to travel, pursue special projects, or gain work experience.”

Helpful Facebook discussion on the Brave Writer page.

The Homeschool Alliance

Parallel Play!

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Parallel Play

Parallel Play

Your stealth attack strategy
for catalyzing learning!

Watch today’s recorded webinar on Parallel Play on Facebook! Here’s the link.

Then grab your FREE illustrated 12-page pdf download.

Includes

  • the benefits of parallel play
  • how to implement stealthy learning
  • encouragement in the process!

Teaching Writing: Out of Ideas

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Moving into the role of being a guide and supporter
A Brave Writer mom asked what to do when her 12 year old daughter still doesn’t like writing after doing poetry teatime, art journaling, freewriting, and other fun, low stress activities.

Here are some suggestions:

She’s at the age where you can talk to her about her education. I would take her out for milkshakes and spend some time looking ahead to college, to adulthood. Ask her about her aspirations. Ask her how she envisions her future (she may not know, and that’s okay too!).

Let her know you want to move into the role of guide and strong supporter and not be the person who is going to “hold her feet to the fire.” Then discuss what it takes to get where she may want to go: college or some other type of schooling or trade preparation. Look at how writing may or may not fit into that. Ask her how she envisions getting the writing skills she needs to get where she wants to go. Then pause and wait to hear what she says.

Sometimes preteens and teens are so sure their parents will push them into what they don’t want to do, they keep resisting secure in the notion that they don’t have to ever engage their own wills. But you can “drop the rope” of this tug of war and gently, kindly put the pressure back on her. You want to let her know that you love her and will help her reach HER goals, but you aren’t going to fight about stuff.

You might ask her to do some of her own research about how writing fits into her future and find out how she may want to go about learning it. Tell her all options are on the table. And mean it.

Brave Writer's Help for High SchoolHelp for High School is a self-directed writing program for teens that both teaches rhetorical thinking in writing, as well as the academic essay formats for high school and college. Teens work independently of their parents, however models of completed assignments and rubrics for feedback are included, as well.