If you homeschool teens, you are probably already aware of some of the advantages that homeschooling offers students: flexibility, working at their own pace, matching courses to their interests. But you may not have thought of this one: sleep. While sleep may not be the first advantage homeschooling parents think of, it is an important one.
Why Teenagers Need to Sleep
National Jewish Health in Colorado studied the sleep patterns of 2612 students, including nearly 500 homeschoolers. They found that the homeschooled students slept an average of ninety minutes more per night. On average, homeschooled students woke up eighteen minutes after their public and private schooled peers were already in class. According to an American Academy of Pediatrics statement, “insufficient sleep [is] an important public health issue that significantly affects the health and safety, as well as the academic success, of our nation’s middle and high school students.”
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If you poll any group of homeschool moms about which subject they dislike teaching the most, I would guess that math would come in high on the list. So many of my friends, many of whom found math confusing themselves, dread teaching it. I have always loved teaching math, both as a public school Kindergarten teacher and now as a homeschooler. One of the ways that I keep math fun for all of us is to use a variety of fun manipulatives when teaching math lessons.
Math Manipulatives for Learning
Even if you have never heard of “manipulatives,” I’m certain you have used at least one — your fingers! A manipulative is anything that a learner can use to help them learn a math concept by manipulating it. There are tons of fun, colorful manipulatives that you can purchase at school supply stores or online, but they can be expensive. Instead, why not try some of the following math manipulative ideas, many of which you probably already have in your home:
For Creating Patterns or Sorting
- colored cereal
- colored pasta (instructions below)
- sponges cut into small pieces
- flat marbles (found at craft stores with the artificial plants)
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We have made it through the first year of high school! Here is a post I wrote for HEDUA about what we did to prepare our daughter for high school during her middle school years. I am happy to say that this preparation paid off. High school took more effort and work than middle school, but she was prepared for the challenge.
It’s hard for me to believe it, but in just over a month I will officially have a high school student!
I miss my little pig-tailed tooth-loser, but I have to admit that I am enjoying the young lady she is quickly becoming. I have been telling her that high school will be different.
Before we started school last year I thought through some ways to make it easier for her to transition into high school course work. Here are some of the things we did:
1. Time management. We regularly met to discuss questions and make sure she was on track, but I also gave her a list of assignments with due dates that were days to weeks out. I taught her how to divide assignments and projects into smaller sections, and to make sure she was done on time.
Check out the rest of this post at Hedua.com.
Right now I am in the thick of planning our next year of homeschooling, and I am finding myself dealing with so many changes! Next year I will go from teaching an elementary student and a middle school student, to one in middle school and one in high school.
While we have always used electives in our homeschooling, how we use them-and choose them-is evolving.
According to our state, our homeschool core classes need to include language, math, social studies, science, and health. As a Christian homeschool, I consider Bible to be “core” as well. Any classes outside of those I consider “electives.” When our children were small, I used electives for exposure. While I did take into account their interests and abilities, I wanted my kids exposed to lots of different possibilities. Though I didn’t see that we had a Rembrandt or Mozart on our hands, small children don’t necessarily demonstrate the abilities they may grow into later on. So, we had art, music, cooking, various sports, crafts, poetry, creative writing, keyboarding, and more.
Read more at Hedua.com.
Reducing Algebra Stress
I know a word that can make even a group of seasoned homeschoolers groan. Can you guess what it is?Algebra! But it doesn’t have to be that way. While I don’t have a secret weapon that will make math your child’s favorite subject, I can offer some suggestions to reduce the algebra stress and make it easier for both of you.
Wait until your child is ready. This is probably the most important advice I have for reducing algebra stress. From the time our children are tiny, we parents are prone to playing the comparison game. Did Jimmy walk at nine months while the Evans’ child was nearly a year-and-a-half? Did the Ortega’s daughter potty train at two years old while Ella is still in pull-ups at three? We take pride in our early learners and agonize over the later ones. This attitude is unfortunately carried into high school as well, where many homeschoolers rush their children into advanced subjects such as higher-level math.
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How do you involve Dad in homeschooling?
While homeschooling certainly isn’t a gender-specific occupation, in many of the families that we know, the mom has the lion’s share of the responsibility for homeschooling. My husband’s occupation makes this necessary in our home, but it also has the unintended consequence of his being left out of a good amount of our day. Early on in our homeschooling, we began making a conscious effort to include him as much as possible.
Here are some strategies for involving Dad in homeschooling that we have used over the years:
Show and Tell. After my husband has had some time to change his clothes and move out of “work mode,” I encourage my children to show off some of their work from the day, especially if we have done a special activity. Art projects, science experiments, handwriting pages, and new reading material are all fun to show dad.
Read more on Hedua.com.