Saturday, February 4, 2012

Teaching Techniques

OK I found an article going over different teaching techniques and thought I would share the highpoint that I agree with.I don't remember the website but it has something to do with math. The downside of reading way to many site in a day. Anyway,   I'm seeing how good teaching technique can positively impact students and how bad teaching techniques can hinder your child. .There's an art and a science to guiding young people towards acquisition of the skills and knowledge they'll need to succeed. Teachers in public and private schools are reminded of good teaching techniques constantly. But the Home-educator  is on his/her own. So here are a few tips for all the home educators out there.

1. Don't teach until a concept is covered. Teach until it's mastered.- I have found this to be especially true in math and english. As much as I wanted to move onto new concepts, I knew my daughter had a basic knowledge, but not true mastery of the topic. This only made each lesson more difficult for both of us. It also started to destroy her self confidence in her own ability to understand what I was teaching. Once the light bulb went off and I realized if I would slow down and stay with a concept till she mastered it, things would be so much smoother. I really had to accept the fact that we might not finish that math book and english book like I had hoped. This is a hard one for me because I expect to be able to finish each book in each subject by the end of the year, but then I started to really think about it and what good does it do to finish the book if she does not understand what the book was suppose to teach her to begin with? What has happened though when I slowed down,  is my daughter is enjoying learning!

2. Try to make learning fun-this is my biggie for science. As a single parent it is difficult to do the experiments and my nature is to skip them and just do extra book work to enforce the topic. What happened is my daughter dreaded science because I zapped the fun out of it. Once I realized I needed to let her do the hands on, things have soared. We cannot always do the ones laid out, but the web is full of great science projects that are cheep. Since my daughter want to open up her own animal rescue business and study animal science, she needs a firm foundation and I was destroying that by taking all the fun out of learning science.

3. Kids can forget. Schedule regular Review Sessions-wow, has this one helped me out. Every month or so we go back over all our review sheets for the subjects we covered. We make a game out of it and quiz each other. We might use online games, or get out the board game we made (30 moves in a circle, with dynamite fields labeled to switch places with person in last, or go back 5 spaces, etc) and we each take a review sheet and quiz the other person.

4. Try to tap into their Intrinsic Desire to control their world: who does not want to be in control of their own universe? I know I do and so do each of my kids. I let them pick what subjects to study on what day and let them pick if they want to revamp and try something different. We have done all 5 days of math on one day, science on another, etc. When she wanted to change and do each subject each day we did so at the beginning of the next week. When they wanted to try and do 4 days on 3 days off we gave it a try. Let them experiment and find out what works for them as well as you. After all they are the ones learning! My eldest wanted to do only science for one straight month and then do art for a month, then english...he loved it and it worked great for him and before transitioning onto new subjects we reviewed each of the previous months in between for one week.

5. As much as possible, make it "real", not abstract: my kids love using cooking for math and science and seeing how they are really applying it. the also love to build with legos and so I have them build geometric shapes with them and design skyscrapers and use them to write math formulas in lego's They love it. They learned that different geometric shapes are important with driving. the different shape of stop signs, yield etc play a role for people who may not be able to read, but recognize shapes. The possibilities are endless. Also used this with robotics! Huge hit.

6. Kids learn a lot more when they are working hard than when you are working hard. Ok I admit this one took me a little longer to grasp and I still fall into this at times. I hate seeing my kids struggle and have a tendency not to help but take over. I google search for them, find pages with the answer on it, work out all the problems....I know, I know trust me I see if AFTER I have done this.This one really sank in when my kids dad was visiting them and my daughter needed help with her math. For those who don't know me,rest assure you dont want me teaching math! Anyway so I referred my daughter to her dad.

7. Try creating a Learning Group with other homeschool kids. Lots of time kids can explain things to each other better than an adult can explain it to them: OK this one I have not done, but I know I need to because there is so much truth in it. Just sit and listen to your kids with other kids and you will know this simple truth is true.

8. Make every effort to ensure that your student is confident that she/he can learn.

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