5 Daily Practices of Unstressed Unschoolers

unduhan (62)We live in an amazing time. Thanks to pioneering people and constantly evolving social constructs, most of us can not only legally educate our children in our own homes, but we can do it in most any way we see fit. Increasingly families are turning to the concept of ‘unschooling’, or free-range learning, as the method most aligned with their family values, structures and schedules.

In deciding to unschool we are committing to trust that we are all capable of learning what we need to learn when we need to learn it, despite unending societal messages to the contrary. Unschooling means a commitment to letting everyone direct their own learning, while also providing a constant influx of enriching opportunities to keep everyone motivated and engaged. It means not allowing complacency or boredom to rob us of vital opportunities for authentic learning. One way to strike the balance is through a daily commitment to five open-ended practices. These practices have the potential to provide a comforting framework which can help families fully relax into the blank canvas of the unschooling life.

    1. Get your game on. Not only will you get increased family connections by making a daily commitment to play a game, you will have the opportunity to teach and model so many other concepts in real time: math, reading, logic, problem solving, and of course the ability to lose graciously. Engagement is the key to authentic and powerful learning and connections = engagement. Setting aside a small block of time to play a game with your kids, giving them your full and undivided attention, is time well spent, and the payoff far exceeds the investment. Board games, card games, games that need no equipment – the opportunities for learning are limitless and easily found. Find what works best in your family, try to set this time aside in your daily routine. Maybe after dinner, before each person gets to go off and spend an hour or so in our own personal free time before bed. In the summer, take the games outdoors and use big body movements. In winter take advantage of the huge array of amazing board games available these days – there are so many more than Monopoly and Life – though both are still great games! A daily commitment to game playing will support engaging conversations and create multiple opportunities to model more refined strategic planning.
    2. Create. Making a commitment to create every day can greatly enrich the unschooling experience, while also allowing each person to follow their own passions. Someone who really enjoys creating food has an opportunity to build essential safety skills, practice reading and math, and tinker with chemistry. Art lovers will find concrete ways to share their feelings and emotions, practice a multitude of gross and fine motor skills, and honor and practice intrapersonal skills. And don’t forget to take time to create for yourself as well! It’s important that children see their caregivers making time for and honoring their own creative process, which looks different for every person, but brings solace and comfort to all. Modeling is a powerful teaching and learning tool. The sky is the limit when it comes to creation. Legos, Minecraft, paper dolls from magazines. Visit a retirement home and create some joy. Break out the tools and create a birdhouse. If you can dream it, you can create it. And if you can create it, you can learn from it.
    3. Be still and silent. Interestingly enough, this might be the hardest one of all. However, there are no shortage of studies to suggest adding a mindfulness/meditation practice to your day is extremely beneficial. It may be necessary to start very small, but results will show up quickly with dedication. Begin with two minutes of silence and work your way up. One easy way to get started is to take one silent car ride per day. No music, no talking, just looking out at the changing scenery and letting thoughts come and go, noticing them but not acting on them. It will be challenging at first, but a commitment to silence, even for a short while, not only creates a wonderful opportunity to hear our own inner wisdom, it also gives us a powerful tool that we can come back to in times of overwhelm and upset.
    4. Write. As a means of self-reflection and exploration, it’s hard to beat writing. Even something as mundane as simply recording the events of the day can not only get your juices flowing, but also provide a treasured memory later on. It doesn’t matter what you write. Depending on the mood, energy level and interests of the day, the time could be used for journaling, letter writing, field guide making, or writing up a daily menu. Set aside a 10-20 minute block each day to write what your hearts dictate. It’s a meditative time, quiet and still. It’s not a time for perfection or overthinking. The emphasis is on putting thoughts and feelings to paper in order to preserve moments and generate ideas.
    5. Go outside. If you only take one piece of advice, this is the one. Go outside, even when it’s raining, even when it’s cold. Invest in rain pants, good dry boots and other necessary gear. On days when all you want to do is sit, tell yourself that you will step outside for five minutes only. On some days five minutes may be enough, but on others you may find yourself wanting more. The fresh air clears our minds and Mother Nature soothes our spirits when we forget the simple things. Exercise gets our blood pumping and exploration inspires our souls. Honoring outdoor time is a critical component to health, happiness and learning.

The above guidelines present just one of many possible roadmaps for unschoolers that honors both the slow and easy pace of a self-directed life, while still providing daily opportunities for growth and inspiration. Maybe these five practices don’t resonate with your family, and that’s fine. But taking the time to define three or four or five core values and making a commitment to including them in your daily life will help your family flesh out a routine that soothes the spirit and excites the mind.

When Learning Doesn’t Come Easy

unduhan (61)From the moment we find out we are expecting a child, our minds and hearts overflow with hopes and dreams for them. My child will be the most beautiful, brilliant, talented little person to ever walk the Earth, right? And they are that to each of us!

But sometimes, we discover there is a “problem.” The last thing we want to admit is there is something different or wrong with our child. It’s a hard thing to do. Not that we love them any less! But let’s be honest, we would rather sit around other moms and share how our 4 year old can read a chapter book, do multiplication at age 6 and paint like Rembrandt by age 7. Not to mention, they are also on their way to the Olympics in two different sports. Or at least it seems that way when you are the one quietly listening to all the achievements of other people’s children!

So, let’s get a few things straight… Most likely those other moms are exaggerating a wee bit! And there is nothing wrong with your child! Even if your child has a learning disability. She or he simply learns differently than the mainstream! And really, that is kind of cool!

I didn’t always feel that way though. After struggling to teach my daughter to read for 3 years with little progress I was getting pretty frustrated and so was she. Each school session ended in tears and some days started in tears with the mere mention of reading. She had always loved books and being read to and was excited to learn how to read by herself. So, why was it such a struggle? Was I just a bad teacher? Was she too easily distracted and not self motivated enough?

We finally decided to get testing done at age 7. I had noticed a lot of letter and word reversal while reading and writing as well as in math. She complained of her head and eyes hurting when reading (and a vision test found her to have 20/20 eyesight). I needed to know what was holding us back. I knew she was extremely intelligent in so many ways but we were hitting a brick wall. Since we homeschool, we decided to have her tested with a private therapist. It took 4 hours to complete and when finished we were told she had visual and auditory processing disorders.

I then went into mom research mode! And as I read and searched the internet and library, I became more and more confused and overwhelmed! There did not seem to be any truly helpful book or website and those I found seemed to tell me different things! We did decide to go to vision therapy, which of course is not covered by insurance, are any of us surprised? But we felt it was worth a try and worth the money. In therapy, she worked on re-learning phonics using A Time for Phonics. We also did assigned therapy at home. After 6 months she finished and I could definitely see a huge improvement! We did not do auditory therapy with the therapist because of cost, but I did use a program called Earobics for at home. I also found the book, The Out of Sync Child and When the Brain Can’t Hear very helpful.

My search continued to find other ways to help her learn in a way that fit her learning styles. You see, processing disorders and dyslexia do not have to be a roadblock! There are so many ways to learn. The point where I realized this was when I happened to find a book by Ben Foss, The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan. I encourage everyone to read it! Check out his website also! I kind of hate the word accommodations. It makes it sound like you need extra or special help, sort of like you are being allowed to cheat. There should be no shame in learning differently. Figure out what your child’s strengths are and harness those skills. Don’t focus on the standard way most kids are taught to read. I have been so incredibly thankful that we chose to homeschool because my daughter did not have to compare herself to others or be labeled in any way. But even if your child is in public or private school, remember your child is not broken, but the system may be. Advocate for your child to have the resources they need to excel and feel connected.

What resources can you use? Oh, there are so many! This is where I got overwhelmed! I am going to list some of the resources I felt were the best. But look around more and explore the options available!

-Audiobooks are your friend! Don’t get behind learning because you can’t read the material fast enough! If your child learns well by listening, give Audible a try. Amazon has audiobooks as well and so does your local library.
-A reading focus card. You can make your own or buy one. Also try printing your pages on yellow paper, or try other colors other than the usual white.
-Use a text-to-speech app such as Speak It or Talk to Me, and also a speech-to-text app such as Dragon Dictation. Another helpful app is Prizmo, users can scan in any kind of text document and have the program read it out loud, which can be a big help to those who struggle with reading.
-I love Snapwords for learning sitewords! There is also an app for Snapwords now!
-Fonts and background colors: Software that is regularly used in schools, such as Microsoft Word, is a good resource for fonts and background colors. Changing the background color to green, for example, can help with reading as can wearing green glasses. Fonts can also enable reading and understanding; teachers can download free specialist fonts, such as OpenDyslexic, which are free and can run on Microsoft software.
-All About Spelling, this curriculum is great for all children but the multi-sensory approach based on the Orton-Gillingham methods clicked with my daughter! We have not tried All About Reading but I would bet it is a good option.
-We used Rocket Phonics after we had finished vision therapy. It was developed by a dyslexic man, and it is fun! There are many games involved and interesting stories to read, not the usual boring books that are your typical easy reading.
-Math has been a struggle for us as well as reading. Memorizing facts is a challenge. I found a math program that uses learning by association, employing fact and process mnemonics called Semple Math.
-Get HANDS ON! Use clay, paints, blocks, magnets, etc. to practice letters, spelling, and sounds. Learn to write letters correctly first in sand with index finger, then move to writing with a pencil. Make it FUN! Use all the senses!
-Play games! Some we have used and enjoy are Sum Swamp, What’s Gnu?, Scrabble, Very Silly Sentences, Boggle Jr. even card games like addition war (lay down two cards each and add together), or Alphabet Go Fish (you have to say the letter sounds), search Pinterest and the internet for fun games to practice math facts and letter sounds or spelling and sight words. Even if your child is older, there are hands on ideas that are fun and multi-sensory

Moms (and Dads), my point in writing this is to give you some starting points. And to let you know that you are not alone! I know it can be disappointing at first to learn your child is struggling in some way. But it can also feel like a weight has been lifted to know how your child learns and that there are ways to help and empower your little one. I know if you are in a school setting, you will have to explain to your child why they may go to a special class or take tests differently than the other kids. You have to trust yourself to know how to talk to your child. There are books for kids that talk about dyslexia and learning issues in a positive light such as, Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco, The Alphabet War by Diane Robb, and for older children May B by Caroline Rose or Niagra Falls, Or Does It? By Henry Winkler (yes, Fonzie from Happy Days!)

Try to emphasize his/her strengths and affinities and do not simply focus on his/her weaknesses and difficulties. Remind your child that he/she can, indeed, learn but that he/she learns in a unique way, and that is OK! We all are unique and have our own strengths and weaknesses. Love your child for who they are and hopefully, they will find the right tools to make learning soar!

I never thought I would see the day when my daughter’s favorite activity was to read! Chin up, keep plugging away, lighten up and make it fun, and love them no matter what!

 

Why Do You Need a Home Tutor

unduhan (60)In-home tutoring or home tutoring can be defined as a form of tutoring that is basically done at home and not anywhere outside. Tutoring can also be defined as receiving guidance or any type of instruction by a tutor. More often than not, this tutoring relates to a particular test preparation or any academic subject. This is very different when compared to other types of tutoring centers or any other type of tutoring that is provided by various after school classes and/or programs. This is a very good form of tuition because it involves one-on- one attention and this increases the grasp of any student.

First step towards home tutoring

The first step that must be taken towards home tutoring is to determine whether or not your child requires home tutoring. This is a very important step because not everyone requires special attention. Thus it is always up to the parent or guardian to take a wise call as far as house tutoring is concerned. If you feel that it is not required, it would be very wise of you to just let go of the idea and move on with the normal classes.

Benefits of home tutoring

Home tutoring involves the dispatch of a qualified and highly experienced tutor to a client without having to drive or travel to anywhere. This is not required for all children or students but the ones that have very unique needs and requirement of attention as far as learning and teaching is concerned. Also such a tutor can be able to address all the special needs as well as work that is required to ensure that a pupil is getting all the required help and attention. A tutor can give special attention to all these special and important needs and in a process work to ensure that this pupil is getting the required help. As a student, you can also set your own objectives and goals as this improves your oral capacity in order to recite in the classes, develop your grasping and developing skills and your capacity to learn more.

Thus always take house tutoring very seriously because it can turn out to be the best thing for your child. Your child can turn out to be the most outstanding student in the class if house tutoring works out for the best. There is obviously no room for error here. It is one of the important things to remember.

 

Getting the Right Tutor for Your Child

unduhan (59)The 21st century is very competitive for students, particularly in Singapore, where exemplary exam results and academic success are vital to a student’s future. Unfortunately, most of the teachers in our schools are often not able to give their students the individual attention that they need to achieve their high levels of academic success in their studies and exams.

Home Tutoring for the Struggling Student

Many students, often the underachievers and those with learning difficulties struggle in school to cope with their daily homework and exam preparation. Often, it is not that they are not smart nor that they are committed enough. Usually, it is because a student needs personalised guidance and training to perform better in his exams which are more challenging and demanding.

The key to enhancing a student’s poor results in his exams is home tuition. A home tutor will be able to adjust his teaching styles to suit the student’s individual learning needs. The tutor can also focus and help by imparting him with vital skills and exam strategies that will boost his self esteem and confidence to perform better in his studies and exams.

One of the most powerful tools and study strategies that a tutor can use is the internet. With the whole world at the student’s fingertips, there are always valuable study resources and tools the student can easily access to improve his knowledge. The internet offers a new perspective to students worldwide and often brings about the epiphany that is the signal of true learning.

Home Tuition to Improve Examination Scores

A third of the 500 parents interviewed in the Straits Times study mentioned that their children scored higher grades and their academic results improved significantly prior to their engaging a home tutor for their children. By engaging the right home tutor who is well qualified and experienced, it is a success pathway for true academic achievement for a student.

General Tutor versus a Subject Specialist Tutor

A general tutor is usually able to help a student with their core subjects which are English, Maths, Science and Mother Tongue Language subjects. The tutor will teach and help the student to study more effectively to perform better in his daily works and exams.

A subject specialist tutor will teach and train a student on a specific subject only.

For example, a student seeking to enter who wants to be a lawyer will need to ace his English and General Paper. A subject specialist tutor can help a student to excel in the subject he is teaching by helping his student to focus more on exam strategies. He can also teach his student how to apply the strategies successfully and effectively in his studies and exams.

Professional Tutors

In Singapore, where competitive testing is part of every student’s daily challenges in his studies and exams, there are thousands of people who can claim to be tutors. The most important thing for parents or students to do is to engage tutors who are well trained, experienced and committed. Parents should always interview the tutor and check out his credentials, experience and teaching philosophy before engaging the tutor.

Since home tuition is vital for the success of a student’s performance in Singapore’s highly competitive academic world, parents should choose tutors wisely.

Engaging a home tutor is an investment that will pays dividends for a lifetime.

Copyright © Supergeniusiq All rights reserved.

Suseelah is the founder of SuperGeniusIQ Eduacational Consultancy, a home tuition agency which focuses and specializes on bringing out the best in every child and individual.

She is also an experienced English Language teacher and special needs therapist with more than 30 years of teaching experience.

http://www.supergeniusiq.com is the website of SuperGeniusiq. Parents and students can choose a tutor or special needs therapist to improve their grades and study skills.

SuperGeniusIQ Home Tuition is constantly in touch with the changing educational system.and aims to help students gain a competitive edge in our knowledge-based economy.