This article expresses the observations of one university professor regarding homeschooled students, but there are many similar observations from others.
"The following 16 weeks, she maintained eye contact throughout lectures and discussions, listened intently to me and her classmates, raised her hand to offer an observation, an answer or to ask a question when no one else would, followed instructions to the letter, communicated verbally and in writing more clearly than everyone else and received the highest grade on every assignment."
In high school, I had the great fortune to learn French from a great teacher. She knew what it was like to be a beginner and how intimidating it can be to speak a new language with funny and unfamiliar sounds and how self-conscious we would be attempting it. She taught us much vocabulary and grammar in a variety of ways, but her enthusiasm is what stood out and is still remembered today after all these years. No one in that class had to take French; it was an elective. I was already inspired, but she furthered that by teaching us about French culture and introducing us to French food. These weren’t in the textbook.
The following year, I signed up for French 2, but this teacher was formerly a P.E. coach and clearly, he wasn’t interested in teaching French at all! We learned lists of French words and phrases. We drilled and took tests. It’s a good thing I started with the other teacher because if he had been my first teacher, I am sure I would not have continued another year. For this teacher, teaching French was a punishment and we were all punished as well.
It is incredibly likely that as a homeschool parent you will not enjoy all subjects that you need to teach to your child. So how will you be inspiring in that subject? How will you not be like French teacher #2?
Perhaps you can find another homeschool parent who loves the subject and would be willing to have your children over to learn from him or her. Then you could teach something for her children that you are wild about. If that is not possible, you can find another way to show your gratitude.
If you must teach the subject yourself, find the most engaging curriculum you can, and preferably one that is self-teaching, so that your children can still be inspired by the enthusiasm of the author of the curriculum. You may find a co-op that offers the classes you need. But for convenience, you cannot beat the online class. We offer all sorts of literature and writing classes live online. No driving in traffic or paying rising gas costs. No catching and spreading flu germs. Just time focused on your child and your needs from the comfort of your home.
Over Spring Break I had the pleasure of visiting my daughter and her family. While there, she taught me how to crochet this little washcloth made with cotton thread, complete with a scalloped border! It's a simple project, especially for her.
As a homeschool mom, we did handicrafts from time to time and I taught my daughter the basics of crochet. Now, she knows far more than I do! That is why she teaches me. She has won 1st place ribbons at the state fair for her crocheted dolls and has made this adorable Tinkerbell outfit for her baby girl as well as a stunning Irish lace table runner for me.
What does all of this have to do with
Many times I have heard moms lament that they cannot teach their children something because they don't know how or don't know enough. That is a serious barrier sometimes. But what they don't realize is that if they know enough (or can learn enough) to get their children started, the children can learn more themselves. Isn't that the goal...to foster independent learners?
I love contests and I am very excited to spread the word about IEW's writing contest. Check out all the details here and then let me tell you why your child should enter it.
1) You could win! That would be exciting, of course.
2) You could win money! See #1 above. Who couldn't use some money to
stash away for college?
3) Writing is easier when you have a purpose.
4) It will be good practice and we only get good at what we practice.
5) Current students receive my editing and feedback free!
Do note that it is not a requirement to know or use the IEW methods to enter the contest.
Over the years I have heard different mothers tell what they do with their kids' school work. One mom told me that she doesn't keep any and that she throws all of their work out at the end of the year! I was horrified (and still am, a little) but her rationale was that it was the learning that was important and that is something they carry with them in their head.
Nevertheless, I am one for keeping records so I have kept a good deal of my kids' school work. Now, I only have some of our treasures, a report or two, a special picture or fun lapbook. Homeschooling was our life and these treasures are imbued with fond memories.
But here's the kicker. On one of my de-clutter missions, I came across three boxes of student writing papers. Not my children's! Yours! I know I have a couple more boxes somewhere AND I have already gotten rid of a couple boxes. Why on earth do I keep so many? I like to have lots of example student papers to help new students with, but truly I don't need three boxes! It's hard for me to get rid of them because they really were good! So...if you were a former writing student and got rid of something you really wish you had now, just contact me; I probably have a copy!
The study of English includes both the study of literature and writing. In the elementary grades, English includes reading, vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and writing. By the time a child is high school age, they should have a pretty firm grasp on grammar and spelling, but they continue to acquire new vocabulary, read more challenging texts, and to develop their writing skills.
At the high school level, it is important that students learn to write a variety of essays and to learn to write a research paper. One of those types of essays is the literary analysis essay. This is the type of writing that every college student encounters in their English 101 classes. It doesn’t matter whether they are majoring in engineering, biology, computers, theater, or basket-weaving! Everyone takes English 101.
Literary analysis requires a student to closely read and examine a story and to develop his own insights. Next, students learn strategies for writing about a story or a poem and to express those insights. So, although “literary analysis” per se, is not required on a high school transcript, it should be a part of a student’s high school English studies.
The Inspired Scholar offers one-semester course in literary analysis. We recommend students take it after they have taken the one-semester course in essay writing.
Where will you find me when I am not teaching?
For your reading pleasure!