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hands on learner help

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I am trying to help a friend research her 8th thru highschool. She is a very hands on learner and has a few other children to teach at lower levels so she can not make up as she go. She is looking to keep with the same program.

I know she has done two cycles of SOTW and wants another program like that

She is really worry about moving forward in english.

Any insight would be great

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  • 2 weeks later...

I saw your post when you first posted, but I wasn't really sure how to take it. I can tell you what we do (my dd is a DO-er), but that may or may not translate over well. People mean different things when they say hands-on. Also there's the limitation you mentioned with how much planning is involved. There are issues with the need level of the student (strengths and weaknesses, what kind of academic level we need to accomplish). I also think there's the unaddressed question of what the GOAL is for this child. Up until 8th I homeschooled very eclectically, sort of pleasure-oriented, without a lot of concern about what was coming next. In 8th you really start to think where is this going, what will be her next steps and is she prepared, what are the LONG-TERM skills she needs.


Back later--

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So for us 8th has been a time of getting serious about how we want to approach high school, what's realistic, what is going to get emphasized, what is maybe going to be de-emphasized or done in a more non-traditional way. I don't know your friend's plans, but for us evals were a helpful part in figuring out *why* my dd is a doer. They found strengths we hadn't anticipated (and were encouraged to make room for!) and gave explanations for how to plow through the quirky stuff, why some stuff was hard. Btw, we also have a helpful SN/Learning Challenges board she might like. No labels/evals needed, just lots of info and support.


So as far as a plan, here's the deal. For science this year, yes, we've been doing a lot of DO-ing and pretty much been doing all labs. I flesh them out sometimes with videos. It's physical science and this can work. The Illustrated Guides to Home Biology (chem, etc.) are predicated on the idea that a lot of your science CAN be DOING. The Happy Scientist guy that wrote them has schedules to correlate a couple popular texts or free online texts, or you could use the Bio 101, Chem 101, etc. videos.


The *hole* in this approach is not tackling head-on the issue of how you read a textbook and take from it. That's not necessarily a skill you have to hit with EVERY subject, but at some point it IS an issue and something you have to hit head-on, kwim? Synthesizing material for a test is hard but important if she's going to college. In college they're not going to ask regurgitation questions. So I don't think it's reasonable if I take my college-bound dc and utterly skip those skills. She particularly likes history, so we decided to use this year the BJU 10 World History text, which she really likes. It gives her the chance to interact with a nicely written text, take tests, etc., but it's still not EVERY SUBJECT. She likes the book and picked it, and it works for us.


For writing, usually these kids have a structure issue. We're doing WWS1 this year for 8th, and I like it well enough to recommend it. (Note, I go through the lessons and highlight the important things to make sure she catches them.) I also recommend Inspiration software to your friend. We finally broke down and bought it this year for a project that involved a lot of writing, and it is PHENOMENAL. It uses mind-mapping and lets them harness their creativity and visualization skills. It gets them to slow down and think about all they know and what the relationships are with concepts. And after you've done all that harnessing their VSL/creative side, then you hit a button and boom it converts to an outline to write from! Seriously amazing and worth the money and it will work well with any writing program or project. IEW is also very structured. I haven't used it myself.


Hmm, math. Whiteboards. We use our whiteboard a LOT. We've been pretty content this past year with TT plus BJU. For us it gives us that balance of short lessons, enough review to make her snappy, humor, creative touches, etc. plus the harder problems from BJU to top it off. But you know that's really individual. My dd visualizes very well, so VSL + doer means I can harness the VSL side for her math (or the math in her science labs), use a whiteboard, and be there. If you need actual manipulatives, you're looking at MUS.


In the evals (which again, I highly recommend when you're having issues teaching), they pointed out to us that dd is extremely CREATIVE and not to wear her out with so much regular work that she has no energy left to pursue her creative side. I've begun structuring creative things and putting them into her weekly checklist, which seems to make her very happy. So for instance this year she had a book on art history that I segmented, and she's been reading through a book on operas. After she reads about the opera, she'll watch it on youtube. This approach has been so good for her, I plan to continue it for this coming year and increase it with more topics (apologetics, photography, etc.). Dd is interested in photography, but to this point we've been haphazard. Actually putting it in the schedule in segments means it gets done. Oak Meadow has a high school art course I've been looking at. In the past we've done sewing together, sometimes as projects (we're making bags right now), sometimes as a weekly class (a quilt), etc. She's done a little knitting, and I'm thinking that's another thing I'd like to put in the schedule for this coming year. I've been looking at sampler booklets, that kind of thing. Again, it's prioritizing creativity and hands-on as a facet of who she IS and what makes her happy. She LOVES doing this stuff, but without structure it doesn't happen. That's just our reality. We get busy with something else and don't achieve our goals. So for us intentional structure is becoming a way to achieve goals. Your friend can talk with the dc about what HER goals are and what SHE would find interesting to accomplish. Maybe she'd like to do sketching or watercolor or something. Maybe pick 3 or 4 projects and do 9-12 weeks on each. It's prioritizing and putting creativity back into the checklist. Doers THRIVE on having stuff to DO. They don't want just work. Put cooking in, put handicrafts in.


I also think software is good to prioritize with these kids. My dd has been enjoying learning Lightroom (photo editing software), but the dc might also like GIMP, digital scrapbooking, making videos, etc. They can be for personal projects or integrated into a school subject as a project.


I've thought about having my dd do a journalism project next year and funneling a whole bunch of output goals (write for science, work on photography, etc.) into the one larger output. I'm not sure we will, because of course we have more ideas than can get done, hehe. However it's another example of DOING and how you converge DOING with your science goals, history goals, english goals, etc. They write book reviews for their lit and or pursuasive essays for their writing and then include them in their newspaper. You're merging their creativity and need to do with the content goals. Don't be afraid of this. One place for ideas is the website for High Tech High. They have lots of pics of out of the box output methods for their subjects.


Well maybe that gives you some ideas. We're enjoying National History Day, so that's another going doing thing for a doer. :)

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Hehe, you don't need more ideas. You just need to pick one or two and get the supplies and do them. Then you pick another project and do it. Nobody does everything and we certainly don't do it all at once. It's not like we cook AND sew AND do photography AND do NHD AND do all these things, all at the same time. We did NHD for a while, now we're taking a break and doing some sculpting and cleaning. Then we're going to sew and go back to our NHD project a bit. Then we'll do something else. Just pick one thing and do it. :)

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