Walking among the Autumn Trees

Everywhere I look, I see trees dressed in vivid hues of red, orange, and yellow.  Even when it gets hot during the day, the mornings are crisp and the evenings are cool.  Autumn has arrived and it is beautiful.

This month’s Outdoor Hour Challenge Grid contained all sorts of fun activities for exploring fall trees.  We’ve been taking walks around our block, seeing all the colors of autumn and enjoying the fresh air.

Fall Trees in our Neighborhood

Fall Trees in our Neighborhood

We spotted a colorful tree in our neighborhood and learned the name of it: The California Sycamore.  We smelled some bark and found leaves that were bigger than our palms.

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We looked for birds in trees, but we only spotted some California Towhees on the ground.  We’ll keep looking!

California Towhee

We picked some apples off of our apple tree to examine and eat.  They used to be green but they have ripened into a golden color, so we wonder if they are perhaps Golden Delicious apples.  They were indeed delicious when we ate them.

Apples!

Apples!

We pressed and traced some leaves and my daughter and I used watercolor pencils to draw our California Sycamore trees in our nature journals.

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A Day in the Life

Now that we are in our 11th week of school this year, I finally feel like I’m getting into a rhythm.  I’d like to invite you to walk with us today and see how a day goes at Terrace Hill Academy.

Kids on a fence

 

About 7:15-  Breakfast & Bible.  We reviewed Awana verses and since we took a little extra time with this, we didn’t get to singing the hymn we are currently learning: Victory in Jesus.  Then we read our Bible story about God providing manna to the Israelites in the desert.  We had a great conversation about how manna, God’s heavenly bread, was a picture of Jesus, the Bread of Life from Heaven.

About 7:50- The kids did their morning lists (make bed, get dressed, put away clothes, brush hair and teeth).

About 8:20- Phonics.  We started a new word wall and read Rain and What Makes a Rainbow.  It was such a timely phonics lesson, since it rained this very morning.  One might even think it was deliberate based on the weather forecast.

Manna from Heaven with Betty Luken's flannelgraph; Our new word board

Manna from Heaven with Betty Luken’s flannelgraph; Our new word board

About 8:50- Turned on a LeapFrog for the younger boys (thank you, Netflix streaming!) while I did history and handwriting with the older two.  I read the chapters in our book, Story of the Ancient World, about the death Joshua and the first few Judges.  X-man and Princess K illustrated what I read to them and they narrated the stories back to me.  In handwriting, they learned the cursive g and had to give me 6 perfect g’s.

Narrations done on notebooking pages (thank you Notebookingpages.com!)

Narrations done on notebooking pages (thank you Notebookingpages.com!)

About 9:45- We took a post-rain puddle-splashing nature walk.  It was great fun!  They jumped in puddles, explored what the world looks like after rain (we don’t get to see that much in California these days), found sticks and stems to make instruments for a band, gave me an impromptu performance, and enjoyed the smell of rain that hung heavily in the air.

Puddle Splashing

Puddle Splashing

Exploring

Exploring

X-man found a branch with leaves that he felt should be held over a marching queen or princess.  Princess K happily played the part of the princess and even handed him her purse to carry as he shaded her from the (non-existant) sun.  He walked behind her carefully and respectfully until she accidently got a stick in the eye and the princess decided she’d had enough shade.  He then used the branch as a broom and swept the leaves off the ground ahead of us.  We appreciated his efforts.

I am always amazed at how many things the kids can think to do with such simple items from nature.

Princess K with her servant X-man

Princess K with her servant X-man

About 10:45- We came home and decided to have a late snack of hot chocolate and English muffins.  With snack, we first practiced our Spanish series (from Cherrydale Press’s Speaking Spanish curriculum) and then read the next chapter in Charlotte’s Web.  We were especially excited about this book today because we found a web on our walk this morning, covered with raindrops and looking amazing.

Spider web covered with raindrops

Spider web covered with raindrops

About 11:15- Math time.  I do 15-20 minutes of math with one student while the other plays with the younger boys and then the older two swap places.  This system has been working out very well for us this year so far.

Today we had a real breakthrough day with the princess that left us both smiling huge and then the lesson for X-man was a game to practice skip-counting.  He liked the game so much that when I took it away so as to keep it nice (and not lose all the cards), he acquired some index cards and a pen and made his own version.  This turned out to be great practice and reinforcement and since it was his own idea, it was that much more meaningful and motivating.

Math time

Math time

About 11:45- The kids had some free time while I did some chores and made lunch.  We had a later lunch today, since we had a later snack.

About 1:00- Lunch & science reading.  We are doing Apologia’s Flying Creatures book this semester, and today we started reading about migration.  We discussed the chapter afterwards and talked about the time when Daddy had found a couple of birds in our house and had to chase them out.

About 1:30- School is done for the day!

The kids went outside while I worked on some things I needed to get done.  They dug in the rocks and found all sorts of things, including a little centipede.  They were so excited and a bit creeped out by it.  Princess K wanted to know its name (soil centipede) and Z-urchin had observed it closely enough to explain it very fully to his father at dinner time.

Silly & Sweet kids

Silly & Sweet kids

I didn’t do any dishes today, but I talked with my kids about Jesus and I walked with my kids and found a spider web filled with raindrops, a few totally awesome things about this day.  I’m thankful.

My intended schedule goes like this:

7:00 Kids do their morning list

7:15 Breakfast & Bible

7:45 Morning Chores

8:15 Phonics

8:45 Leapfrog/History & Handwriting

9:20 Quick break while I prepare snack

9:30 Snack & Read-aloud

9:45 Preschool Hour

11:00 Math

11:30 Break

12:30 Lunch & Science

1:30 Reading (a picture book for my younger ones, practice easy-readers 10 minutes each with my older ones)

2:00 One last project or book for school/Naptime for Shortstop

2:30 Free time

That’s the goal, but it hardly ever goes that way.  I’d like to start using a timer to help me make sure I’m keeping to my intentions to have short lessons.

Though really, so often I’m interrupted by the loud toddler, the really good questions that I have to take the time to discuss, or the sounds coming from the other room that mean my almost four-year old might be destroying something.  Again.

But these interruptions are what the homeschooling life is all about.  Love. Family. Curiosity. Deep discussions about God. Learning to let go of my own agenda and follow God’s leading.

It helps that this little weapon of mass destruction is so cute.

It helps that this little weapon of mass destruction is so cute.

So there it is.  A day in the life of me.  Me and my four little learners.

Studying Egypt

Pyramids.  Mummies.  Heiroglyphics.  The Nile.  Ancient Egypt is a fascinating era to study.

The kids and I have been going through Guerber’s Ancient World from Nothing New Press for our history this year.  We have just finished our studies of Egypt.

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We read a lot of great books:

Story of the Ancient World by H.A. Guerber and Christine Miller

The Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World- like a museum in book form.  We loved looking at the pictures.

Shipwrecked Sailor by Tamara Bower- this was an interesting tale about a man who sailed on the Nile River and found a legendary island

Tutankhamen’s Gift by Robert Sabuda- we loved the briliant Egyptian pictures in this book about the young boy-king

Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki- interesting, albeit somewhat disgustng information about how mummies were made

Pyramid by David Macaulay- we really enjoyed this story of a Pharoah who began building his pyramid when we just started his reign, the pictures of the pyramid building process were fascinating

Croco’nile by Roy Gerrard- this was an endearing tale of two children and their pet crocodile

Moses in the Bulrushes by Warwick Hutton- whimsical watercolors help tell this simple story of Moses’s infancy

Exodus by Brian Wildsmith- vibrant illustrations help tell about this significant event from the Old Testament

Notebook pages from some of our readings- notice the broken skeletons from the burial chamber under the pyramid... apparently someone broke into this tomb and messed with the mummies!

Notebook pages from some of our readings- notice the broken skeletons from the burial chamber under the pyramid… apparently someone broke into this tomb and messed with the mummies!

 

We did a couple of fun activities:

1.  Apple Mummies:  http://www.sciencekidsathome.com/science_experiments/mummy_experiment.html

We found the apple mummification experiment fascinating.  Well, my husband and I were fascinated.  The kids were mildly interested and a little bit grossed out.

Egypt5

Egypt

2.  Visit to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, CA

I took my older two to visit this museum that has thousands of artifacts from ancient Egypt.  It was amazing.  We really enjoyed seeing things we’d studied and walking through a replica of a rock cut tomb.  And we saw some real mummies!  Wow!

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The atmosphere and appearance was so very Egyptian

The atmosphere and appearance was so very Egyptian

We were fascinated by seeing things we had studied

We were fascinated by seeing things we had studied

Princess K especially loved the jewelry, I was especially fascinated by the mummies

Princess K especially loved the jewelry, X-man liked the golden man, and I was especially fascinated by the mummies and the replica of Queen Nefertiti’s Bust

Our two favorite things: the hidden clues our special light we were given uncovered and the replica of the tomb we walked through

Our two favorite things: the hidden clues uncovered by the special light we were given at the beginning and the replica of the tomb we walked through

I wanted to do a whole lot more activities: hiding broken pottery in the sand and have the kids play archeologists, making Egyptian jewelry or face masks, making papyrus, and creating cartouches.  But we didn’t.  Next time we study Egypt, I’ll have to pull out these ideas and see what I can do with them.

 

Nature Study: Going on a Feather Hunt

We’ve been studying birds lately.  For science for the first half of the year, we are going through Apologia’s Elementary Science book: Exploring Creation with Flying Creatures.  We needed some feathers to examine closely, so we took a nature walk with the goal of finding some feathers.

OHC Going on a Feather Hunt

When the kids saw all the rocks at the beginning of the trail, they decided that they were Rockhopper Penguins (birds we’ve learned a little bit about in the course of our bird study) and so they hopped on rocks and had a good time.  It is important for peaceful (relatively speaking) nature walks for my kids to bounce and jump and run and wiggle some of their energy out, right at the beginning.

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Then we settled down into our nature walk and feather hunt.  The first feathers we found were attached to X-man’s very favorite birds: Dark-Eyed Juncos.  Dark-eyed Juncos were regular visitors to our backyard at our house in the South Bay Area, but we haven’t seen any of these sweet little birds since we moved last summer.  So we were all so excited to spot them hopping around in the grass by the path.  Princess K began to keep record of all the birds she saw (she was up to about 21 when we walked by a huge flock of crows and lost heart).  We had just read in our science book about using certain features, such as bright colors and tufted crests, to identify birds.  So we tried to keep our eyes sharp to see these features on the birds we found.  Way up high in a tree, we saw a bird with a crest.  I could not closely see the colors of the bird, but I know it had a black face and a crest.  So perhaps it was a Cedar Waxwing?

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By this time, we were near the water and a female Mallard Duck came swimming across the lake in our direction.  My children were enthralled by the sight and sat quietly for several minutes (this is like a minor miracle!) to watch the bird.  They did not want to scare her away.

Mallard duck swimming toward us

Mallard duck swimming toward us

Quietly observing the water bird

Quietly observing the water bird

They noticed that is seemed like she was searching for food.  She came quite near the children, perhaps hoping that they might share a snack with her.  Alas, they had no food to share and she swam on.  While the kids were quietly watching the duck, we heard an intriguing sound.  A faint tapping sound was emanating from a tree nearby.  I peered through the tangled branches and saw flashes of black and white feathers and a little red on the crown as the Nuttal Woodpecker tapped quietly away.  I was really excited.  Not only had we just read in Burgess Bird Books about woodpeckers, but although I have heard woodpeckers tapping from far away, I have never seen one up close and at work.  A new bird for my life list!

You can just barely see the bird through the branches

You can just barely see the bird through the branches

After the duck swam away, the children grew restless and we all decided to resume our nature walk and keep our eyes open, searching the ground for feathers.

OHC Nature Walk

Looking up at the heights of the trees surrounding him

We were successful in our hunting endeavors and found four feathers to carry home with us to observe and study.  We noticed that they all looked a bit damaged in some way or another and recalled that we learned that birds molt because of the very fact that feathers get damaged and must be replaced or they cannot fly.  It is so exciting to see with our eyes and touch with our hands proof of the facts that we learn.

Feathers!

Then we had some more fun:  Z-urchin climbed a tree that was bent over the water (I really want to find out how that happened!  It’s crazy!) and I had quite a challenge on my hands keeping him from climbing out to the top (?) or end (?) of the tree.  But I really did not want to jump in the lake after him, so I was vigilant.  X-man made a fishing pole out of a stick, a long grass or reed, and a piece of a straw that he found.  Princess K collected things to put in her little fuzzy pink purse she brought along to keep feathers and other nature items in.  Shortstop watched everyone and tried (fairly unsuccessfully) to copy them all.

The Horizontal Tree

The Horizontal Tree

Goin' Fishin'

Goin’ Fishin’

Looking for things to put in her collection bag

Looking for things to put in her collection bag

We went home happy, having made fun new memories and being four feathers (and one bird for the life list!) richer.

 

Happier Homeschooling: Free Time

Sometimes you really need to close the books and build a tent that takes up your entire living room.

The tent takes up half the house

Along with teaching to your kids’ learning styles and incorporating nature study into your curriculum, one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the free time your kids have at their disposal.

With the video games and television firmly turned off (usually, anyway), free time is an extremely important part of our daily schedule.  They are free to explore their interests, paint, do crafts, climb the apple tree, play with their toys in new creative ways, dress up and act like animals, create games, draw, get messy, make mud, and enjoy childhood.  Free time is a beautiful thing.

Climbing the Apple Tree

Climbing the Apple Tree

Painting Wilbur after reading a chapter from Charlotte's Web

Painting Wilbur after reading a chapter from Charlotte’s Web

Playing with Angry Birds Jenga- making his own creations to knock down

Playing with Star Wars Angry Birds Jenga- making his own creations to knock down

Time to be a Bunny Rabbit- complete with carrot!

Time to be a Bunny Rabbit- complete with carrot!

Working with the pebbles & creating a board game for the family to play (with extremely complex rules)

Working with the pebbles & creating a board game for the family to play (with extremely complex rules)

Making Mud

Making Mud

Free time is incredibly valuable in teaching the kids to take initiative, to begin and finish projects, and to cooperate with others as they practice these skills in this little microcosm alone or with their siblings.  It is time for self-directed sensory and hands on play and learning.  Protecting free time in our daily schedule is as important as making the time for reading and math instruction.  It is vital for a happy homeschool day, and for well-educated, well-rounded, independent kids.  And I get a little break too, which might be a factor in how carefully I guard this time.  It’s fun for all of us!

Happier Homeschooling: Take a Nature Walk

2 Rockhopper Penguins

We are in our 7th week of homeschooling for this school year.  We are beginning to settle into a routine (though I have to keep tweaking it to suit our needs with ever-changing preschoolers in the mix) and the newness and the excitement of the new school year is wearing off.  It takes discipline and internal fortitude to keep moving along with school.  Homeschooling is a delight and I’m thankful to be on this journey, but there is no denying that it is really hard work too.

So when our focus is fuzzy or our attention is wavering or tasks seem overwhelmingly arduous, we take a nature walk.  It is a breath of fresh air (literally and metaphorically) to get outside, feel the breeze and the sunshine, to see birds or squirrels or insects busy about their work, to watch the calm confidence of the trees as they stand stoically and generously offer shade, food, and shelter to other creatures.  It is cheering to see the bright and vividly colored flowers or leaves in the various seasons.  Taking a walk clears the mind, gives us new perspective, and provides renewed strength.

As a Charlotte Mason Method homeschooler (for the most part), nature walks are also part of our weekly routine.  She gives a few great guidelines for hours in the outdoors that we usually follow in our nature walks and studies.  Here are three steps we take in our nature studies:

1. Play and go crazy!  “Our wise mother, arrived, first sends the children to let off their spirits in a wild scamper.”  (Charlotte Mason, Original Homeschooling Series Volume 1, Part 2)  Then the kids get their energy out so they are ready to focus on the nature that is all around them.  My kids will play on playground structures or climb rocks or run and play tag.

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2.  Exploration Expedition.  “While wits are fresh and eyes are keen, she sends them off on an exploring expedition- who can see the most, and tell the most about yonder hillock or brook, hedge, or copse.  This is an exercise that delights children, and may be endlessly varied, carried on in the spirit of a game, and yet with the exactness and carefulness of a lesson.”  (Charlotte Mason, Original Homeschooling Series Volume 1, Part 2)   I actually usually trail behind them in their explorations (rather than send them), but they are given some sort of mission- often to find something that they find interesting.  It may be a tree, a leaf, a berry, a weed, a flower, a rock, an insect or an animal.  We may touch it and pick it up (if it is, say, a leaf or a weed) or we might take a picture.  I occasionally exclaim over a find of my own and share my delight with my children.

Exploration Expidition

Exploration Expedition

3.  Nature Journal.  When we get home, we discuss what they found and I leave it up to them to decide whether they will make a journal entry.  Often we will do some internet research to try to find the name of the tree or leaf or bird or insect and discover interesting facts about it.  “As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature-diary is a source of delight to a child.  Every day’s walk give him something to enter.” (Charlotte Mason, Original Homeschooling Series Volume 1, Part 2)  They also often narrate their nature walk adventures to daddy at the dinner table later.  I love to hear what they remember about our nature walks.  What they share gives me little glimpses and insights into their soul.

Nature walk incorporates all the learning styles, including Kinesthetic-Tactile Whole Body

Nature walk incorporates all the learning styles, including Kinesthetic-Tactile Whole Body

The great thing about nature study is that it is a great way to naturally encompass all of the learning styles and modalities, providing for the needs of all of your learners and also making these lessons very memorable.  Everywhere you look, there is so much to see (visual picture) and there may occasionally be signs to read (visual print).  There are bird calls, bubbling brooks and rustling leaves to listen to (auditory listening) and descriptions to share of wonderful sights and experiences (auditory verbal).  You can walk, jump, crawl, scamper, crouch, stretch, wade, and do all sorts of bodily movements (kinesthetic-tactile whole body) and there is rough bark to feel, sticky sap to touch, flowers to smell, dirt to dig, leaves to crunch, and grass to roll around in (kinesthetic-tactile hands on).  In keeping a nature journal, you may sketch and write what you found and learned (kinesthetic-tactile sketching and writing).

Nature walks provide ample opportunity for hands on learning

Nature walks provide ample opportunity for hands on learning

Charlotte Mason said, “Let them once get touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life.”  Truly, nature walks are a wonderful source of delight in our homeschool.

Nature study- and learning to listen and watch quietly- is an endless source of delight

Nature study- and learning to listen and watch quietly- is an endless source of delight

Happier Homeschooling: Teach to their Learning Styles

Trampoline

“Teach your kids about how they learn: this is the most valuable thing you can do, because they will have that forever.”

~Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis, cofounder of The Learning Success Institute and coauthor of Discover Your Child’s Learning Style

One of the greatest things about homeschooling is that you get to teach your kids according to their personal needs, styles, gifts, and interests.  Your kids are free to develop in their own time, rather than forced by predetermined schedules to learn and be tested on things they are not ready to do and thus feel shame or learn to hate something they might have come to love.  You are free to create learning environments that are tailored to the needs of your own children and experiment with a variety of methods to see which one your child responds to the best.  If you plan and prepare and teach to your child’s needs and interests, you will find them happier, more motivated, and more interested and excited to learn.

It is also extremely important that your kids know how it is that they learn best.  For if they learn how they learn, if they are free to develop their own interests and talents, and they experience the confidence that comes with having their own learning styles and personalities respected, they will be prepared for a life that is filled with learning and purpose.

So what do you do?  Here are a few things I’ve done (or plan to do):

1.  Educate yourself about the various learning styles.

I really like The Learning Success Institute’s system for profiling learning styles.  They describe 5 aspects that make up each person’s individual learning style:  Disposition, Modalities, Interests, Talents, and Environment.  The learning disposition, or personality, forms the foundation for your learning style.  It describes how the world views you as a learner.  The modalities are the various ways we take in, process, understand, and remember information.   Interests and talents will guide individuals in their focus and the environment where one learns best can provide the setting for success.

I recommend listening to the podcast Learning Styles: The Key to Confidence & Success or reading the book, Discover Your Child’s Learning Style.  Then go through the process to discover your own learning style so you can see how you are similar and different than your children and your husband and therefore help you to respect and value the differences you find.   It can also give you tips and techniques for getting more out of sermons or seminars, conventions or workshops, and so that you can learn better what it is you then need to teach your children.

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2.  Observe Your Child(ren)

After you have educated yourself about the various learning styles and therefore understand what to look for, watch your children as they learn, play, interact, and relax.  Ask them questions about their interests, what they want to do with their free time or their future, and about how they like to learn.  Watch to see what motivates them and what deflates them.  Observe how they learn in different subjects, as a person’s preferred modality may differ from subject to subject.

If they are old enough to take an assessment, you may consider having them go through the learning style assessment at the back of the Discover Your Child’s Learning Style or on the Learning Success Institute’s website.

Developing her interest in cooking

Developing her interest in cooking

3. Use a Variety of Methods in the Various Modalities in your Daily Lessons

Regardless of anyone’s individual learning style, the more ways you present the information to your students, the more connections are made in their brain and the better they will know and understand the material.  Then in using the various methods, you have more opportunities to observe your children to see the dispositions they possess and the modalities they prefer.  Incorporating the students’ interests in the curriculum or lessons can increase their motivation and delight in their studies which increases retention and understanding.

The modalities include visual print and visual pictureauditory listening and auditory verbalkinesthetic-tactile sketching, kinesthetic-tactile writing, kinesthetic-tactile hands on, and kinesthetic-tactile whole body.  

Here’s what this looks like in our homeschool:

Kinesthetic-Tactile Bible Lesson: The Creation of Man from Dirt

Kinesthetic-Tactile Bible Lesson: The Creation of Man from Dirt

       Bible:  We sing a hymn (auditory listening and verbal).   I read the story (auditory listening) while illustrating it with flannelgraph or occasionally a painting or illustration from a children’s Bible (visual picture).  I allow questions at natural breaks in the reading (for those learning dispositions- such as the Thinker-Creator- who ask questions based on their seemingly randomly connected thoughts) and because I allow this,  we will often discuss important theological or moral concepts which is perhaps the most meaningful and significant learning that we do in our homeschool as a whole.  After the reading, I ask the kids to tell me back what happened (auditory verbal) and then I will occasionally have them draw a picture of what we just learned (kinesthetic-tactile sketching) or act out the story (kinesthetic-tactile whole body).

Kinesthetic-Tactile Writing

Kinesthetic-Tactile Writing

      Language Arts:  We review phonograms and their sounds (visual print, auditory hearing, auditory verbal).  We play games to learn and review phonograms (kinesthetic-tactile whole body) and we do worksheets (kinesthetic-tactile writing).  It is incredibly motivating to my Performer (disposition) son to compete but it is vital to my Relator (disposition) daughter that we do not.  So I compete with my son- often humorously, which also motivates him, and  my daughter and I cooperate together in her version of the game.  Then they both learn!

Today we played a game where I put the phonograms and blends I wanted to practice on cards on the ground and gave instructions, such as, “Skate to the beginning blend in skate,” and “Hop to the middle sound in hop.”  My son and I competed (and kept score), my daughter just joyfully followed the instructions.  This game used the kinesthetic-tactile whole body and the visual print and the auditory listening modalities.  After the game was over, they told me, “Can we do that again?  That was fun!”

  We do not yet do grammar, as they are both too young for that, but you could use the same ideas: obviously worksheets, interactive activities, conversations or games that use listening, speaking, pictures, print, writing or their whole bodies.

   For handwriting, we are learning cursive and I show them the letter and how to form it while explaining verbally how it is formed (visual picture/print and auditory listening), then we form the letter in the air with big arm movements (kinesthetic-tactile whole body), they may trace it with their finger or in sand or rice (kinesthetic-tactile hands on), and then write the letter on a white board or on paper a few times (kinesthetic-tactile print).  Finally, they look at their letters and select their favorite one (visual print).

        For literature, I read them a picture book (visual picture and auditory listening) or a chapter or section from a book without pictures (auditory listening).  We often informally discuss vocabulary, themes, or other questions as they come up (auditory verbal).  Then they draw a picture of something from the book (kinesthetic-tactile sketching) and then they narrate the book or chapter or section to me and I write it down for them on their paper (auditory verbal).  Sometimes, during or at the end of a larger chapter book, we will do an activity, such as making maple syrup candy when we read Little House in the Big Woods (kinesthetic-tactile hands on).

Kinesthetic-Tactile Hands On Math Manipulatives

Kinesthetic-Tactile Hands On Math Manipulatives

      Math:  We use RightStart Math, which means that our math lessons are full of manipulatives and games (kinesthetic-tactile hands on).  Some problems are given verbally (auditory listening) and require a verbal response (auditory verbal) and there are some worksheets and visual aids (visual print, visual picture and kinesthetic-tactile writing).  Often I will incorporate their interests (such as video games, mazes, baking, parties, friends) in the word problems I give them which has helped in their enjoyment and motivation in this subject.

Field Trip to the Egyptian Museum

Field Trip to the Egyptian Museum

      History:  I read the chapter, book or section to them and show them illustrations as I have them available (auditory listening, visual picture).  They draw a picture illustrating what we just read (kinesthetic-tactile sketching) and then narrate to me what they remember from what we read (auditory verbal).  We occasionally go on field trips or do hands-on projects (kinesthetic-tactile hands on).

Kinesthetic-Tactile: Pretend Cuneiform in Playdough

Kinesthetic-Tactile: Pretend Cuneiform in Playdough

      Science:  I read the selection for the day while they look at the pictures and illustrate what they are learning in their science notebooks (auditory listening, visual picture, kinesthetic-tactile sketching) and then they narrate to me what they learned (auditory verbal).  We often to hands-on projects and experiments (kinesthetic-tactile hands on).

      Foreign Language: We are using Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and Francois, so we learn a series every two weeks.  We listen to the teacher say the series (auditory listening) while we act out what the teacher is saying (kinesthetic-tactile hands on/whole body).  Then we practice saying the series while acting it out (auditory verbal, kinesthetic-tactile hands on/whole body).

      Art/Music/Poetry Study:  For art study, I show them a painting (visual picture), then we talk about it (auditory verbal).  For music study, I tell them about the life of a composer and we listen to their music (auditory listening).  I also read poetry that has been illustrated with pictures to them and they often request their favorites (visual picture, auditory listening). 

Free TIme Fun

Free Time Fun

      Free Time:  My kids are given plenty of free time in which they jump on the trampoline or climb the apple tree in our back yard or play dress-up (kinesthetic-tactile whole body), or play in the sand box or with the pebbles in our back yard (kinesthetic-tactile hands on).  They often choose to create books or other artwork or work on crafts (kinesthetic-tactile hands on/sketching/writing).

Right now,  I have a second grader (who can read, but doesn’t enjoy reading- and can’t easily comprehend what he’s read aloud), a first grader (who is not a fluent reader), and two preschoolers.  Therefore, not much of my information is given via visual print and not much is expected out of them via kinesthetic-tactile writing.  The opportunities to use these modalities will increase as they develop these skills in their own timing.  Meanwhile, I am delighted to read to them, so they learn to love stories and to have them narrate to me while I write down their words so that their composition is not hindered in any way by their growing- but not yet fully developed- writing skills.

 4.  Talk to Your Kids about their Learning Styles

In the podcast, Learning Styles: The Key to Confidence & Success, Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis concludes with this message she wants her listeners to remember,”Teach your kids about how they learn: this is the most valuable thing you can do, because they will have that forever.”  So talk to your kids about their learning styles.  Help them to discover how they learn best.  Not only will it make for a happier and more successful homeschool experience, it will help them later in college, in their workplaces, and throughout their lives.

Space to Think