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A Simple Approach to Teaching Developmental Homeschool Writing with the Portfolio

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Simple Approach to Teaching Developmental Homeschool Writing with the Portfolio

A Simple Approach to Teaching Developmental Homeschool Writing with the Portfolio

Teaching Developmental Homeschool Writing and the Homeschool Portfolio Writing is one of those things that is just hard for some people. I learned a lot about teaching developmental writing in college and grad school. While it was an outstanding foundation, I have actually learned so much beyond that by actually homeschooling my own children. Each child is different and has unique hurdles he or she must overcome. This approach meets him where he is and walks him on to the next step. This is the writing approach I use in my homeschool for elementary aged children. I have found that this pattern can be modified and tailored to children as young as 3 or 4 and all the way up to the child who is ready for very formal, lengthy essays. The Weekly Cycle and Our Portfolio When you keep each phase in the child’s portfolio and you will both be motivated by the progress you will see. The weekly cycle looks something like this: Day 1- Prewriting using a graphic organizer Day 2- Copy the sentences into a first draft Day 3/4- Edit the draft Day 4/5- Final draft Prewriting in the Developmental Goal: Get your thoughts on paper. Modifications: For the very young child, your goal is simply to help them understand that writing is no more than moving their thoughts to paper. Believe me, they have a lot to say! While it sounds very simple, this step can take quite a while for some. If the child can not yet physically write three to four sentences with ease, the parent should write the child’s thoughts for him. Most elementary aged children benefit from graphic organizers to help them collect enough thoughts to form solid paragraphs. I can’t emphasize these enough. They are fun and who doesn’t like to think about a big hamburger while writing? (see sample photos). Older children can move to a more word based outline format for prewriting. First Draft Goal: Make it look like writing. Modifications: Again, if the child is very young, the parent can model how to transfer his thoughts from the organizer to lined paper. It is a great time to emphasize the mechanics of writing such as directionality, letter formation, and the concept of a sentence. For the slightly older child, all him to copy his work from the organizer onto lined paper. Encourage him to pay attention to capitalization and punctuation. The older child should be thinking more about developing a voice in his writing and the quality of his sentences. He, of course, should write the first draft...

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3 Rules of Keeping for Homeschool Portfolios

Posted by on Jan 19, 2014 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Rules of Keeping for Homeschool Portfolios

3 Rules of Keeping for Homeschool Portfolios

What to Keep In Your Homeschool Portfolio Ever wonder what to keep in your portfolio? I have and so have many of my friends. For years, actually, I have thought about this and tried to come up with a working formula to make this easier. Well, there’s no formula per se but I do have three rules that help me in my homeschool on a daily basis. Note: This is the third and final post in a recent series on homeschool organization. To see the first post: Homeschool Organization…Not Your Typical Approach and 4 Step Homeschool Planning see these. My crew of kids are all the time making masterpieces, projects, and special work that… well… melts me. It’s hard to determine what to keep and not keep. So here you have it folks, the 3 Rules of Keeping that will keep you sane, organized, and at peace with managing all your kids’ creations without renting a storage unit. 3 Rules of Keeping for Homeschool Portfolios Does this show progress over time? Does this show important prior learning? Does this show where we went, what we did, or what we learned in a meaningful way? Progress Over Time We all like to improve. If this writing sample or musical performance will encourage my student by showing growth over time, then it gets the green light. If it is a total bomb and the child is discouraged by his work, I usually don’t keep it. Your portfolio includes the highlights and other nuggets of success. The portfolio should communicate a positive message, no matter where he is on the learning continuum. Penmanship, artwork, character development, and math often meet this rule in my house. Prior Learning Whether I use these for review, launching a new unit, or just celebrating what we’ve done as a family, prior learning is SUPER important. Some current green light items in this category for my family include chapter summary notes for  our Child’s History of America reader, mid year math assessments, and photos from our recent trip to the caves. Each of this items are nuggets I want to pull out in the future when introducing new concepts. They give a quick reminder about what the child already knows and the discussion around them can show me gaps that I need to fill in before jumping into the next topic. Learning is all about connections between what we already know and what is going to be learned. If you haven’t noticed, I use pictures. Lots and LOTS of pictures, videos, and audio clips. Meaningful Experiences Meaningful experiences can include where you went, what you’ve done, and/or what you’ve learned in a meaningful way. Field trips, cooking together, family milestones, and reaching individual goals are a few examples. Currently our family is trying a new project to learn about investments.  Each child has been given fake money and chosen select stocks in which to invest. Over time we are charting, graphing, researching, writing about, and making decisions about how our investments have fared. These are meaningful experiences. The weaving of life and learning together is a good indicator of a meaningful experience. Make It Your Own Your “green light” items will be different from mine. These 3 Rules of Keeping can guide you as you make choices about what work to keep and...

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4 Step Homeschool Planning: Where are we going again?

Posted by on Jan 11, 2014 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Step Homeschool Planning: Where are we going again?

4 Step Homeschool Planning: Where are we going again?

4 Step Homeschool Planning is the second in the Homeschool Organization Series See the first post here were we discussed the number one enemy of homeschool organization. We’re All Going Somewhere… Homeschooling with Purpose and Direction Pretend you announce to your kids “Go pack your bags, we’re going on a trip”. They bounce of the walls, more than normal, and head off with their suitcases. You all pile in the van, back out, and you stop… not sure which way to turn. Your precious first born says “Hey, where are we going anyway?”. You realize, you  missed that step in executing this trip, so on the fly you decide to go to the beach which is 10 hours away. Kid 2 says, “I didn’t pack my swim suit, but I packed my ski pants for the mountains”. Kid 3 says, “I packed hiking boots and our pop up tent. I was going camping”. Chaos ensues and you pull back in the driveway and go nowhere.   Sound ridiculous? Yes. Unlikely? Maybe not. Sometimes we approach schooling with a general vision, just like the mom who said, “We are going on a trip”. However, when she lacked specific direction, her children were all going different directions and making preparations that were less than helpful. Having a clear, common vision is foundational in organization.   Homeschool Organization and Planning: Chart the Course Taking time this week to be intentional about where you are going this semester will reap one hundred fold. Let’s keep it simple!  Reflect Look back at what went well for each student in the last term. What went well? What didn’t? Use this this free guide to get the most from your look back. Objectives With your reflective thoughts fresh, look forward to the time left this year. What you do want to change? Determining objectives is not as complex as many think. Basically, what do you want each child to master by the end of this time? Be specific. Determine objectives for at least the next quarter. Several free printables can be found at Donna Young’s Homeschool Goals page. Go through each subject you use and list what you would like your students to master. These objectives should then drive your resource selection… or help you weed out what you are currently using if it is not working. A clear vision has good, developmentally minded objectives as a foundation. Sample Objectives: add with carrying memorize all multiplication facts tying shoes understand the importance of the American Revolution write a well developed paragraph improve penmanship Determining objectives is an often skipped over step when someone goes to purchase curriculum. Early in my homeschooling I was guilty of buying curriculum by the grade level and having a very traditional approach to academic subjects. Those years were the most frustrating and burdensome in terms of artificial expectations. We had busy work, redundant activities, some lessons went too quick while others went on WAAAY too long. If you set the objectives, it is your foundation upon which you can strategically build your family’s educational plan. LearningKeeper portfolios makes tracking these objectives super easy too. You can add them in one easy step and tag each sample of student learning with the appropriate objective(s) as the year progresses.  Curriculum Armed with your objectives you can compare your main...

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Homeschool Organization… Not Your Typical Approach

Posted by on Jan 7, 2014 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Homeschool Organization… Not Your Typical Approach

Homeschool Organization… Not Your Typical Approach

Organizing Your Homeschool and Charting Your Course We won’t discuss labeling, bins, and sorting. We won’t even bring up the status of your garage or basement. I’m talking here about real life, busy mom homeschool organization. In all honesty, I don’t have time to be disorganized and here is why. It’s a new year, but if you generally follow a traditional schooling schedule like us you are half way through another school year. So how has it gone? This time of year many moms do a ‘reboot’ and start fresh after winter break. This means looking both back and forward at the same time. You have a matter of months left this school year, so what would you like to accomplish and how will you get it all done? Jamie of The Unlikely Homeschool said it best, “I never want to be tied down to a sinking ship.” Make. It. Count. Why get organized? You get one, and only one shot at your years with your kids at home. This blog is here to support you in making it more meaningful and less stressful. Won’t you join me in this three post series on homeschool organization so you can accomplish bigger and better things with your kids this year? The Love/Hate Relationship with Paper The #1 nemesis in my homeschool is paper… I have a love hate relationship with it really. There’s nothing like a finger paint masterpiece or a beautiful piece of handwriting, but what do you with it all? Multiple kids, many years of school, and a sentimental tie to each beautiful creation. If you look around, are you likely plagued with piles of: sweet kid creations like: artwork, worksheets/workbooks, writing samples, and projects stuff you ‘might need’ to document learning personal papers like mail and bills books, Books, and MORE BOOKS! Paper is great but if you don’t rule it, it will rule you! Clutter and chaos are best friends. It drowns you physically and mentally and is keeping you and your kids from being your best. Win the Battle Homeschool paper clutter can be managed, easily. How? Your portfolio. Yes. That dry, boring, often meaningless pile (or binder if you are on top of things) can be the hub of your success. Homeschool organization that goes with and isn’t limited to two dimensions. Solution: The Portfolio Power You and your kids are setting out to do some really exciting and memorable things in the coming months. Do you stress about homeschool record keeping? How do you determine what to keep, and what to pitch? What about the year-end review that your state may require? Maybe you can’t decide so you pile it up or shove it in a box and let it weigh you down. “I can’t throw away their work”… It’s a battle of sentimentality mixed with a fear of needing it. I use my LearningKeeper ePortfolio to solve these problems. I capture learning as it happens and save the stuff that matters without taking up three closets.  My portfolio is a central tool in my homeschool. From planning and curriculum choices, to assessment and documentation your portfolio should be the heart of it all. Not sure how to do that? Join me in the next post: “Where are we going again?” Rebooting Resources for Homeschool Organization Cut personal clutter Cynthia Ewer at The...

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What I Learned from Gum Drops and Gingerbread

Posted by on Dec 17, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What I Learned from Gum Drops and Gingerbread

What I Learned from Gum Drops and Gingerbread

What am I really teaching? Every year I approach the holidays and vow that ‘this year will be different’. I will make those cookies with my kids, take time to play in the snow, and build gingerbread houses that would be the envy of the block. I would be ‘that kinda mom’ to make a mess and love it.  Every year though, I would plan to do that tomorrow… after we got through with school. I would separate academic and play to ultimately teach my kids that ‘learning’ and ‘life’ are mutually exclusive. Learning only involves only books and being boring is just part of the deal. I would also end up with a mammoth size case of mom-guilt for not being the fun mom, all in the name of real education. Days would come and go. We would be working away at ‘school’ but what was I really teaching?   Last year I had a bit of an awakening. Learning and life are NOT mutually exclusive but I lived in fear of having nothing to document what we actually did all day. LearningKeeper has changed that, and ‘this year IS different’. LearningKeeper lets me document that hands on activities that reinforce academic concepts. I thrive as mom because of it. No more guilt, no more fear, and no more feelings of inadequacy.   Learning Behind Making Gingerbread Houses Take today for example. Math got messy at my house. We ditched the textbook for today with the goal to build those gingerbread houses that had previously been skipped over. So what did we learn? Building gingerbread houses can teach the following: Patterns Colors Geometric Shapes Combining Shapes Dimensionality Measurement Following Directions Listening Visual Arts, Creativity Turn it into a writing project by building a setting around your creation. Create a story that happened in this setting. Read some books about gingerbread houses and make it a thematic focus for the day. Recipe We used graham crackers rather than making gingerbread. You know, some shortcuts are just worth it. Here’s my NO-FAIL Gingerbread House Glue: 2 lb bag of powdered sugar 12  – 14 T of cold water 3 T of cream of tartar Dump the sugar in a mixing bowl. Add water and cream of tartar. Stir… gently! I use a stand mixer because this is…well… glue-like. Place about a half cup to a cup at a time in freezer grade quart zip-locks.  This makes enough for about four kids.  Want to free yourself as a mom and teacher? Get LearningKeeper Free Trial with No Credit Card Make this year different. For real this time. Easy Homeschool Record Keeping Video  ...

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LearningKeeper and Special Needs Record Keeping

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on LearningKeeper and Special Needs Record Keeping

LearningKeeper and Special Needs Record Keeping

LearningKeeper, Record Keeping, and Special Needs This weekend I had the privilege of chatting with an amazing homeschool mom about special needs record keeping. This mom is like you, she has a house full of kids that she loves dearly. Her children are really not so different from mine and yours. Each has a different personality and learning style. Each has unique interests. Each was uniquely made for a unique purpose in life. The same, yet different. What a beautiful world. When it comes to record keeping and special needs, this friend of mine was feeling discouraged. Learning Diversity and Record Keeping Our conversation was regarding assessment and how portfolios help record all of the awesome things we do during the year as a family. Portfolios are the record keeping story of your child’s journey. This mom has sharing with me how her heart was burdened for one of her daughters in particular that has a variety of learning challenges. Many of the learning activities they do are hands on, real life learning situations. Record keeping has been a challenge. Dyslexia, autism, dysgraphia, ADD, ADHD, PTSD, Downs Syndrome, Dyscalculia, Sensory Integrative Disorder, Asperger…. Unfortunately there are too many to list, so I will stop trying. Like many families with special needs, the teachable moments and learning opportunities might be considered non-traditional. There may not always be a worksheet or chapter test. The progress may be slow or things that are automatic for some students are a major achievement for your student. The reality is, you may be working on the same skill for months. If you child is VERY interested in one topic, he may go REALLY deeply into that one topic. That is ok! I’ll say it again, that is OK! In the past, she has found these hard to document, track, and record since there really is no paper trail. The year end review for this family has, at times, been more of a frustration than a celebration of all they have actually done. LearningKeeper is your Partner in Special Needs Record Keeping The premise of LearningKeeper is to document learning when and where it happens. That may mean you find math in the context of measuring during a sewing project. Have you ever considered the tessellations found in cutting out quilt pieces? If your social studies/ economics is in the context of practicing the flow of goods and services on your farm, then LearningKeeper can help you document that. With many special needs students, writing is a challenge. While you will always be working toward developing writing skills, you don’t have to drive yourself (and everyone else) batty with lengthy writing just to develop a paper trail. Consider using video to record your student giving a presentation on their learning or use interviewing to help them talk through a concept. Remember, assessment is anything you use to measure and evaluate learning. Don’t measure your special needs student with the same ruler as everyone else. That is like measuring sand on the beach with a one cup scoop just because that is what everyone else is doing. If you need to measure with a 5 gallon bucket, go for it! If you need to measure with a teaspoon, then do it! The days of documenting and assessing your special needs student in the same modes...

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What if Homeschool Record Keeping is Not Required?

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What if Homeschool Record Keeping is Not Required?

What if Homeschool Record Keeping is Not Required?

Homeschool Documentation  is Not Evil The word “documentation” may bring to mind images of a criminal on trial or an attempt to prove your innocence. When you combine these rather threatening situations with schooling your darling children, you may break out in a cold sweat. It need not be that way though. Even if homeschool record keeping / documentation is not required, here are six reasons why you still should do it: Organization– So maybe this is obvious but if you are organizationally challenged, like some of my creative friends, being reminded of this won’t hurt! Keeping records, in its simplest form, shows you where you have been and points to where you are (or should be) going. It is motivating– When you are able to look back at the exciting things your have done, you and your student will be motivated. Little nuggets of learning, over time, create mountains of achievement! Time Investment– As a parent and teacher, you have invested the most precious thing around- your time- into your child’s education. If it is worth doing, it is worth keeping… in one form or another! It communicates value– anything you record or keep is something valuable. Think about it: your bank info, your wedding photos, baby pictures. You keep things that are special to you and you want to preserve. What our kids do, create, and learn is valuable. We can communicate that by being a “Keeper” or piling their best work in a box in the basement. Enough said! “You never know”– Ok, so normally my husband is the pessimist but the reality is, “You never know”. If something should happen to you (heaven forbid) and your child should have to transition to another form of schooling, keeping records will make the transition a whole lot smoother. Laws can change, your situation may change, or you may just need to have proof of what you did. “You never know”. Learning is a Journey– What is the most important part of a journey? All the small steps that get you to the destination. Keeping records is like being mindful that these small steps are going somewhere big! How much richer is the final destination when you have the steps all along the way to show you how far you have traveled. So if your state does NOT require homeschool record keeping, these are six of many reasons why “Documentation” is not a bad word. Why would you not want to communicate worth, organization, value, preparation, and please associated with your child’s learning? Keeping records is really quite easy with LearningKeeper and we are here to encourage you all along the...

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6 Reasons You Need LearningKeeper Homeschool Portfolio Software

Posted by on Sep 22, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 6 Reasons You Need LearningKeeper Homeschool Portfolio Software

6 Reasons You Need LearningKeeper Homeschool Portfolio Software

Why Use LearningKeeper Homeschool Portfolio Software? So, you have children. These are six reasons why you need LearningKeeper homeschool portfolio software by your side. Celebrate Success– When is the last time you and your student looked back at his work from two or three years ago? So, prior to LearningKeeper I celebrated my children’s hard work and success by shoving their folders, binders, and papers in a box and piling said box on top of another box from the prior year. Each year, with each child, you repeat the process. These boxes unfortunately contain each child’s beautiful, unfolding story of learning and adventure and what have I done with them? Shoved them in the back of a closet to collect dust. Noting says mom fail quite like that! It is my intention to convey value and worth to these little lives and celebrate what they are learning and doing academically and otherwise. LearningKeeper homeschool portfolios has brought to the stage the affordable, easy, and motivating way of creating the chronicle of each child’s “Achievements” that communicates value, accomplishment, and a sense of celebration. Be a ‘Keeper’ and join LearningKeeper. Declutter– There have been times when I have nearly been eaten alive by the paper pile up that my kids create. Some papers are formal school work, others come from church, and still some are their special masterpieces that they make on their own initiative. I wish I could say there is one neat pile in our school room. Honesty, however would reveal that at times they have grown up on my kitchen counter, my nightstand, my desk, or any other flat surface in my house. Many of you can relate. Therefore, the age old parental dilemma appears, “What do I do will all this stuff???” Granted there are many pieces that can be trashed that are not student creations, but what about the rest? And yes, this picture conveys my sentiments. LearningKeeper will allow you to organize, archive, and save these treasures without your needed to build an addition on to your home or rent a storage building. Simply scan or photograph the masterpiece and save it in the appropriate student’s portfolio for future viewing. Student Motivation– we have all gone beside our student as they have tackled some new educational mountain and seen the sigh of doubt (and even tears) that they really cannot do this. My favorite plan of attack is empower my children with their own prior learning. Just this week, my son began a new, highly challenging violin piece. I could sense his intimidation and just happened to show him the video clip of his first violin accomplishment. That first “achievement” that we looked back at was him playing on only one open string, moving his bow back and forth. At the time, that was a big deal. Now two years later, I saw his reaction and own words say “I guess I have learned a lot!” and “That practice really did teach me something!”.  That prior learning was the fuel in his fire that has helped him take this new piece by storm. So much of leaning is like this: writing, reading, math, etc. Today’s “achievements” compound into tomorrow’s great mountain of new success! LearningKeeper is the best way to organize, store, and use these...

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Homeschool State Law and Portfolios

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Homeschool State Law and Portfolios

Homeschool State Law and Portfolios

Homeschool State Law and Portfolios So when you decide to homeschool it is kind of like getting married. There is some energy as you think about homeschooling, the point that you commit, and then suddenly the realization that this involves real work! The first step to success is to understand homeschool state law and how portfolios are involved. How to Homeschool in Your State When you feel that weight of the reality of it all, you will probably realize there are certain requirements, certain laws, and certain things that must be done to afford you this freedom to educate your child. The good news is that many have gone before you, and the state laws (by and large) are easy to deal with. I am not a lawyer but I am very grateful for those who stand on my behalf to preserve this right. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association  is my go-to source for homeschool state law and support. States require documentation and there is usually some form of due diligence that protects children from the rare situation in which they are not being educated. How to Keep a Homeschool Portfolio to Meet Homeschool State Law Many state laws allow for a portfolio of student work to be kept as evidence of what the student has learned each year. This is such a gift to families. A portfolio need not be stressful or overwhelming. The idea is simply to capture  milestones as they happen. A portfolio is like a personal storybook about your child. It motivates the parents and child alike to look back at growth. They are empowered to look forward. Why LearningKeeper can Help LearningKeeper.com is the best way to portfolio. Capture photo, video, or audio of your child. Sometimes this is a test. Perhaps a field trip. Often it is a writing sample. The format is broad but the power of keeping is deep.  This can be anything from a picture at the fire station as they learn about fire helpers and fire safety to an audio clip of the child reciting the preamble to the Constitution. Perhaps your child was in a theatrical production and you want to include a video clip to demonstrate how he has improved his public speaking. Maybe your child has just reached fluent reading and you want to document this with an audio clip or video. Your child will be motivated by all he has done. So many of these achievements (as we call them in LearningKeeper.com) transcend beyond paper and pencil learning. It is our deepest desire to help you capture the essence of your child’s learning, both academically and otherwise, through LearningKeeper.com. So don’t be bogged down if your state law lists a portfolio as documentation. Celebrate! We are here to help you every step of the way! There are also many users who are not required by law to keep a portfolio if they public school or their state simply doesn’t require it. Why do they do it? They are smart. Yes, really! I discussed the common goal of success that all parents have in this post. They do it because they have seen how amazing it is to share your child’s story as it unfolds. To find out specific law for your state, go to Homeschool Legal Defense....

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Learning, Memorization, and Assessment

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Learning, Memorization, and Assessment

Learning, Memorization, and Assessment – What is success? How can you tell the difference between learning and memorizing? In our family we love music. About two years ago we came across a method of violin instruction called the Suzuki method that teaches music in much the same way our babies learn language. They learn through experimentation, imitation, and repetition. One thing I love about this method is that it teaches the children to memorize each piece they play. At first, I was a skeptic because I know how difficult it is for me to memorize anything. Very easily though, the children in our music group learn the ‘finger pops’ to each new song. They can say the finger numbers in order but does that mean they know the song?       No. Not only can they learn the finger numbers, they learn to sing the fingerings with pitch and rhythm. They learn to sing the song before they ever begin to play in on their instruments. So does singing and learning fingerings mean they know the song? No. Once the child can sing the song, they begin playing and experimenting with the music on the instrument. They press the right fingers, hit the right strings, and play the right rhythms. Does this mean they know the song?             No. They have memorized the song. In a way, yes that is learning. Moving Beyond Memorization As a teacher and parent, however, I hope my desire is for more than memorization. Don’t misunderstand, developing memory work is important and should not be neglected. Math facts, for example, must be memorized. Schooling the heart of child aims, on the whole, for deep ownership of the content and your portfolio is there to help you capture that. I want my students to have ownership over what they have learned. I want the child to take the fingering, pitch, and rhythm and recreate the song with expression and passion. That, my friend, is learning. That is making music. So much of education is exactly like this. Do you teach history so your children can repeat war facts or information about Ancient Egypt? We teach history so that our children can better understand their world, the way peoples have interacted for centuries, and how they can use this information to be agents of change in their own world. LearningKeeper Captures Depth If we are not teaching for memory, then our assessments must fall in line. LearningKeeper.com is your powerful partner for documenting this type of learning. Perhaps you have interviewed your student on the importance of freedom of speech or perhaps they have written an essay on the religious views of our founding fathers. Portfolios have power. Audio, video, writing samples, art, song writing, projects…. use these and the power of your portfolio to move beyond memorization and enjoy the power of the portfolio in your schooling!  ...

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Creative ways to Capture Learning With LearningKeeper

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Creative ways to Capture Learning With LearningKeeper

Creative ways to Capture Learning With LearningKeeper

Creative ways to Capture Learning With LearningKeeper Here at LearningKeeper.com we love portfolios. We love them so much that we have devoted ourselves to bringing you the best and we love to hear from you! We love to hear your creative ways to capture learning with LearningKeeper.   Photo, video, audio integration ideas Using  photo, video, and audio to record this otherwise hard to document learning is the super power of your portfolio and it allows you to show real life learning. Learning is beyond books and tests, so shouldn’t your portfolio also be? My time with my children is short. Shorter than I like to think about, really. The longer we homeschool the more I see the blur between family life and homeschool blur. I see learning everywhere, embedded in our everyday life. I want to capture these morsels of learning and use them to motivate my children in other areas. Here are some great ways you might catch learning at your house: Interpersonal skills– Your student was caught showing extra kindness in play with a sibling or neighbor Your child visits an elderly neighbor and is learning to respect adults so you video them talking You interview your child about qualities of a good friend Responsibility– Your child has mastered a new chore that helps keep the house running smoothly Your child is making choices about how to use his allowance Reading– You caught your child reading for fun and record the moment with a quick photo Reading fluency- use audio or video record your child’s reading fluency Bible– You capture and audio clip of your child’s new memory verse and let them explain in their own words what it means Physical Development– Your child has learned to swim, ride a bike, or other big accomplishment Organized Sports– Your child is learning sportsmanship and teamwork Your child has learned to throw, catch, hit, or shoot the ball with good form Cooking and Math– Have your child explain measuring cups and fractions they have used while cooking Field trips– Record the photo or video from the trip and attach a writing sample from the trip Video scientific discoveries while hiking or exploring You study statistics and then go to a baseball game where you practice tracking and discussing stats Public Speaking– Your child was in a performance or play and has learned about speaking in front of a crowd Why Should I Capture Learning with LearningKeeper? Learning is everywhere. Don’t let ordinary learning pass you by when it can be used to encourage your child. So catch them learning and make it fun! While not strictly academic, these nuggets of learning are very much the essence of who your child is becoming. Homeschool documentation and learning progress is something we must always be considering. Learning is beyond books and tests, so shouldn’t your portfolio also be? Yes, we think so. Have other great ideas to share with us? Contact us to share your creative ways to use...

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Schooling Choices…Our Story

Posted by on Sep 8, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Schooling Choices…Our Story

Schooling Choices…Our Story

Schooling Choices…Our Story Choices. Many are clear cut, such as: Do you prefer vanilla or chocolate? Hands down, it is chocolate every time. Others begin to blur together.  Do you want eggs or sausage? “Well,  actually I want an omelet with a little of both and some spinach thrown in the mix.” Educating our children has become this way too.  I am here to say, no matter which side you find yourself on, you can find great joy in celebrating the success of your child. We have been a little like that omelet. A combination of many educational philosophies and techniques. Schooling is as broad as the Grand Canyon and can often be just as divisive, but it doesn’t need to be. No matter which side of the coin you are on, you have probably heard comments like “What do you do with your kids ALL day?” or “How are you going to prepare them for the REAL world?”. Well, as someone who didn’t grow up homeschooling or plan to before we were blessed with children, I think I have a pretty good perspective from both sides. Whether we homeschool, public school, or charter school, we are all investing in our children. I have many wonderful friends all along the educational continuum. Most Parents Want the Best Educational researcher, Kathleen Bowers, has really dove into the subject of all the schooling choices. She hits the nail on the head that regardless of your educational choice, “our goal is well-educated, informed, and prepared people”. This is a common ground. A firm place to stand.   So perhaps you can identify with some elements of our educational omelet. We have eSchooled and used our own personally create curriculum at various times with various children. By the way, I have four. And they are all DIFFERENT with a capital D! That’s the topic of anther post, though. We have used Charlotte Mason methods, classical methods, textbook methods, literature based methods, project based methods, and everything in between. I like to think of our school as a ‘test kitchen’ in a good way. Through these experiments we have learned much about our personal learning styles, my teaching styles, and our own interests. There is an ebb and flow to schooling and your child’s learning.   With all these experiences, though, there is one common theme. I want the best for my children. Each one of them. One year that may look totally different from the next.   As I seek what is best, I note what works and record their successes along the way. Their achievements. Their hard work. Their progress. Their learning. All of this is the sum total of who they are becoming and what we have focused on so diligently. Celebrate Learning with a Portfolio   I want to celebrate their success and use those prior experiences to motivate them for today’s learning. How do I do this? Simple. I keep a portfolio and thus a beautiful story of each child. LearningKeeper makes the Portfolio Easy LearningKeeper.com is the gift of that dream to you. I want you to celebrate each child and who they are becoming. Let them savor their hard work and celebrate what they have done.   Life, and education are both a journey. Let LearningKeeper.com be the...

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