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Gil

____ was a teaching weakness until I found___

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What was your big weakness as a teacher and what specific resource(s) helped you to strengthen that area of your teaching?

 

 

Edited by Gil
Grammar in the title. Again.
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Effectively remediating learning weaknesses while encouraging growth in gifted strengths was a big weakness for me until I found.....

the Well-Trained Mind boards which recommended

The Mislabeled Child by the Eides which

allowed me to really explore what was going on which

prompted me to get evaluations which

were no help at all in actually remediating the weaknesses or building the strengths but allowed me to properly label what was going on which

brought me back to the Well-Trained Mind boards.

Seriously, these boards are a true wealth of knowledge. Most of the resources I've been able to discover have come from here. 

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Reading the Logic of English was very helpful for me when it came time to teach my kids to read.  

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*Huge* thanks to the mentoring by some local homeschoolers who had struggling learners a few years older than our DSs, plus the very helpful people on these boards who have shared so many tips and helps about specific subject areas, dealing with struggling learners, and *how* to homeschool overall.

Some specific resources that helped in specific ways for me:
- math = Miquon and Singapore Primary (helped ME understand math connections & flexibility of math, and problem solving techniques)
- algebra = Hands On Equations (showed me how to visually understand and *explain*/demo abstract equations and solving for X)
- handwriting = Handwriting Without Tears (showed me how to make it VISUAL and CLEVER for my struggling writer)
- grammar = Joyce Herzog's small booklet on teaching Grammar -- now expanded into 6 Weeks to Understanding Grammar

Edited by Lori D.
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CSMP maths for teaching me to break maths into even smaller pieces than arithmetic, so I could teach my dyscalculic daughter. I still use those lessons to tutor adults with dyscalculia.

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All of them, LOL? I’m not a natural born teacher.

My biggest fear was writing- I didn’t know what to expect from a Xgrader. I had one kid of school age at that point and had no idea what level 11 year olds were supposed to write at. I hadn’t seen 11 year old writing since I was 11! I think I had way too high of expectations the first year. So for that IEW, and God bless their rubrics. 

My biggest learning curves have been math, remediating math, and accelerating math. Closely followed by EF. Math I credit RS and whatever that book from Singapore site we used in Kate Snow’s class plus these boards.

With EF recognition and scaffolding, I credit the boards, as I’d never heard the term until about two years ago, and took a while to realize this was actually a thing and not a made up excuse. Scaffolding was a new concept to replace demanding. I’m a convert. 

 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan

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31 minutes ago, Paradox5 said:

What does EF stand for?


Executive Functioning skills (paying attention; organizing and planning; initiating tasks and staying focused; regulating emotions; self-monitoring)

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4 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

With EF recognition and scaffolding, I credit the boards, as I’d never heard the term until about two years ago, and took a while to realize this was actually a thing and not a made up excuse. Scaffolding was a new concept to replace demanding. I’m a convert. 

Would you mind explaining this further?

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knowing when and how to push was a ...weakness until I found a mentor....

knowing how to coach effectively was a... weakness until I found a mentor an read up on motivation....

Edited by HeighHo

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9 hours ago, Lori D. said:


Executive Functioning skills (paying attention; organizing and planning; initiating tasks and staying focused; regulating emotions; self-monitoring)

I think we need a new thread. i read the sticky but I need more laid-out.

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9 hours ago, Slache said:

Would you mind explaining this further?

I expected organizational skills to just naturally manifest with maturity. That was my experience and I expected the same thing from my dd. I think I erred in two ways though:

1) My dd is not me, which although seems like a Captain Obvious note, I do think for some of us who we are effects what we expect from others. It came easily for me on the school front- or at least that is my recollection of it.  It has/did not for her.

2) I did not account that above and beyond personality etc., that my private schools years apparently did a much better job in preparing me for organization and expectations in general than dd's public school experience did for her. In hindsight I had a lot of scaffolding as in a lot of age appropriate expectation that slowly built upon itself through time. I have found Public Schools in our area seem to go low expectation as far as homework and difficulty level in Elementary, low exception in Intermediate, then suddenly slam into CRAZY HIGH EXPECTATIONS!!! in middle school without any middle ground and requiring insane amounts of independence, literally overnight for 11/12 year old kids and it just doesn't seem to work. And they pushed parents to let the kids struggle, which was a horrid idea and that's around the time we were just done. I knew it was stupid what they were doing, but I didn't know what to do about it. I didn't have the skills to teach the skills. 

By taking neither of those into account, I myself had crazy expectations that were unrealistic for a young person who was neither naturally inclined to organization (which I am not either, but I am naturally inclined to accomplishment which will override the organizational deficit when it comes to school or work), nor given any building blocks for how to either organize or prioritize.

Through a lot of error, I have come to realize that I/we cannot expect that from a lot of people- they aren't going to naturally pick up those organizational and prioritizing skills which make up part of the Executive Function skills without modeling and scaffolding. They don't just naturally intuit it, and in a lot of cases these days they are never exposed to the background work to know what we are doing to get to a point. They don't see it, because they're (typically) at school or doing something else and it's really hard to replicate something you've never seen, imo and have never had a low stakes chance to practice. If you've never had to take notes because your teacher is giving you handouts of the slides because heaven forbid you take a note, if you don't sweat 0's because most of your classmates aren't turning in assignments either and the teachers gripe but don't do anything about it and redeem you all at the end with extra credit so you still end with an A, if you aren't made to memorize facts because they're deemed drill and kill and old fashioned, all of a sudden you're going to be on the hind foot when that's no longer the case. Here it's in junior high that all of that comes to a pointand it seems pretty universal as far as our district. It's an excellent place for tutoring and study skill service companies  to flourish, because of that. To me it would be similar to growing up with a maid and a cook and never having to lift a finger in a household, and then suddenly being dropped off an a new house on your own with no access to those services and being expected to keep a clean house and cater a dinner party for 12 that weekend. It's not going to be pretty. 

I don't know if I've done a good job of laying this out, so I'd say for sure look at the pinned EF thread. That's a great thread. Because even once you realize that it's needed, it still might not come naturally to teach. As a general rule, I think when people are really good at something that came easily to them- easily being the key word- that around 95% of the time they suck as a teacher on that topic. They don't know how to break it down. This was me with EF. I knew what was needed but I had no idea how to teach it, which is very frustrating for teacher and student alike. So I needed Smart But Scattered for Teens and threads here to make me not see this as a laziness issue, or a character flaw that could be drilled out, and instead a case where like any other subject, you need to Easy+1 it and gradually lay the rails or the track to get them where they need to be. I'm not saying that teens aren't sometimes lazy, but I think there's a difference between the two, if that makes sense. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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And just one more thing- I don't think jumping to improper expectations is just a public school thing. I think homeschooling can have some extremely unrealistic expectations pushed as far as independence and what independence means, and at what age that should happen, but that's probably another conversation. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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1 hour ago, Paradox5 said:

I think we need a new thread. i read the sticky but I need more laid-out.


Not the original poster of that thread, so I can't help with that. 😉 

But perhaps try the book Smart But Scattered?

Or some of these online articles:
- Child-Mind Institute: "Helping Kids Who Struggle With Executive Functions"
- Harvard University: Center on the Developing Child: "Activity Guide: Enhancing And Practicing Executive Function Skills With Children"
- Understood: Understanding Executive Functioning Issues" -- series of links/articles

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17 hours ago, Slache said:

Confidence in teaching language arts... IEW materials.

Yes! Me too!

Also MM and Video Text because although I knew how to do the math, I didn't know why we were doing the math that way. I learned so much that first year (with an 8th grader as well as elementary students) about why math works the way it works! It didn't really teach me how to teach necessarily, but it gave me the conceptual understanding I was lacking to be able to figure out on my own how to teach the concepts to them and how to help them when they got stuck.

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9 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I expected organizational skills to just naturally manifest with maturity. That was my experience and I expected the same thing from my dd. I think I erred in two ways though:

1) My dd is not me, which although seems like a Captain Obvious note, I do think for some of us who we are effects what we expect from others. It came easily for me on the school front- or at least that is my recollection of it.  It has/did not for her.

2) I did not account that above and beyond personality etc., that my private schools years apparently did a much better job in preparing me for organization and expectations in general than dd's public school experience did for her. In hindsight I had a lot of scaffolding as in a lot of age appropriate expectation that slowly built upon itself through time. I have found Public Schools in our area seem to go low expectation as far as homework and difficulty level in Elementary, low exception in Intermediate, then suddenly slam into CRAZY HIGH EXPECTATIONS!!! in middle school without any middle ground and requiring insane amounts of independence, literally overnight for 11/12 year old kids and it just doesn't seem to work. And they pushed parents to let the kids struggle, which was a horrid idea and that's around the time we were just done. I knew it was stupid what they were doing, but I didn't know what to do about it. I didn't have the skills to teach the skills. 

By taking neither of those into account, I myself had crazy expectations that were unrealistic for a young person who was neither naturally inclined to organization (which I am not either, but I am naturally inclined to accomplishment which will override the organizational deficit when it comes to school or work), nor given any building blocks for how to either organize or prioritize.

Through a lot of error, I have come to realize that I/we cannot expect that from a lot of people- they aren't going to naturally pick up those organizational and prioritizing skills which make up part of the Executive Function skills without modeling and scaffolding. They don't just naturally intuit it, and in a lot of cases these days they are never exposed to the background work to know what we are doing to get to a point. They don't see it, because they're (typically) at school or doing something else and it's really hard to replicate something you've never seen, imo and have never had a low stakes chance to practice. If you've never had to take notes because your teacher is giving you handouts of the slides because heaven forbid you take a note, if you don't sweat 0's because most of your classmates aren't turning in assignments either and the teachers gripe but don't do anything about it and redeem you all at the end with extra credit so you still end with an A, if you aren't made to memorize facts because they're deemed drill and kill and old fashioned, all of a sudden you're going to be on the hind foot when that's no longer the case. Here it's in junior high that all of that comes to a pointand it seems pretty universal as far as our district. It's an excellent place for tutoring and study skill service companies  to flourish, because of that. To me it would be similar to growing up with a maid and a cook and never having to lift a finger in a household, and then suddenly being dropped off an a new house on your own with no access to those services and being expected to keep a clean house and cater a dinner party for 12 that weekend. It's not going to be pretty. 

I don't know if I've done a good job of laying this out, so I'd say for sure look at the pinned EF thread. That's a great thread. Because even once you realize that it's needed, it still might not come naturally to teach. As a general rule, I think when people are really good at something that came easily to them- easily being the key word- that around 95% of the time they suck as a teacher on that topic. They don't know how to break it down. This was me with EF. I knew what was needed but I had no idea how to teach it, which is very frustrating for teacher and student alike. So I needed Smart But Scattered for Teens and threads here to make me not see this as a laziness issue, or a character flaw that could be drilled out, and instead a case where like any other subject, you need to Easy+1 it and gradually lay the rails or the track to get them where they need to be. I'm not saying that teens aren't sometimes lazy, but I think there's a difference between the two, if that makes sense. 

Thank you! I will definitely look more into this.

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Teaching math facts was a real weakness with me, until I found Addition Facts that Stick (and subtraction, multiplication, division).

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I finally feel really good about teaching phonics, and especially spelling.  The first step was learning the rules from All About Spelling.  The biggest help, however, was learning the methods in How to Teach Spelling.  I don't use that program because my tough spellers work better off of a weekly list (go figure...).  However, I teach them the rules for the week, remind them of phonics/spelling concepts, etc as we go over the week's list.  HTTS has given me the ability to use those weekly lists successfully.  Mastering the different sounds and examples for each letter, blend, digraph, etc. was essential to my confidence in teaching them, and also in their own success.

Also, going to a Handwriting Without Tears workshop (Yikes! It was waaay pricey!) was unbelievably helpful in helping me teach my children to write.  Of my 4 that write (the littlest is almost 2), 3 of the 4 have had tremendous issues.  Not every homeschool mom needs the workshop, but due to my children's issues, it was a handwriting game changer for me.

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On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 9:03 PM, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

All of them, LOL? I’m not a natural born teacher.

Why not? If you found a book that by carefully reading and studying it (or even just a specific part of it), you were less dependent on other books/workbooks/widgets for teaching that subject, then certainly share them. I don't think most of the parents on this forum would call themselves a natural born teacher.

I'd like to generate discussion of useful resources that help parents grow to be less dependent upon a multi-year program in one area or another.

My specific example: Handwriting.

There are a lot of commercial handwriting programs, many of them with levels for K-6 and I've never used  any of them. Chapter 1 of the Writing Road to Reading (which my library owns, I never spent a cent on handwriting), taught me how to teach The Boys to write.  Because I studied and learned the method, I didn't need any particular product to teach The Boys fluent and legible handwriting. We used any paper and pencil we had at the time and that was it. The Boys quickly developed writing that is fluent, neat and legible in print and cursive, by default, without ever having used a multi-year handwriting program. I only pulled that off by carefully reading and studying the handwriting section of The Writing Road to Reading.

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I have made vast improvements in method with:

- Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics, as well as really combing through the HIGs of SM and the old Right Start B teacher's guide.  

- Videos from Education Unboxed

For writing, the books: "Writer's Jungle" (Bravewriter) as well as Julie Bogart's podcasts and periscope videos for overall writing/teaching philosophy, "Talking, Drawing, Writing" by Horn for PreK-2nd transition to writing, "The Most Wonderful Writing Lessons Ever" for fiction writing.  

For Science, "Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding"

 

I also think there is something to be said for philosophy of schooling, which modifies the teaching of any subject as it's put through a certain philosophical lens.  

- I credit SWB and her materials to giving me a lens of rigor.  Her philosophy does not pull punches, and demands high caliber work from children... and children CAN and DO rise to challenges if they are able.  I am not afraid to demand effort and quality from my kids.

- @8FillTheHeart of these boards for so consistently and articulately demonstrating that homeschool can/should be something truly other and apart from "school at home".  Think far, far outside the box.  Think of children as individual humans with worthy goals of their own.  ...so many more lessons I can't begin to list them all.

- Julie Bogart for overall homeschool philosophy that is also beyond the box and beyond the curriculum.  I credit her with really keeping the love of family in our school.  

- "Why Don't Students Like School" (Cog sci of learning), "How to Talk so Kids Will LIsten...", "Simplicity Parenting", "Siblings Without Rivalry" for general guidelines on how to interact with my kids as both my children and my students.  I don't put any kind of barrier between parenting and teaching, they are one and the same for me.  So all of these have guided me to better parenting AND teaching.  

 

A partial list, I'm sure there are others!

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3 hours ago, Gil said:

 

Why not? If you found a book that by carefully reading and studying it (or even just a specific part of it), you were less dependent on other books/workbooks/widgets for teaching that subject, then certainly share them. I don't think most of the parents on this forum would call themselves a natural born teacher.

I'd like to generate discussion of useful resources that help parents grow to be less dependent upon a multi-year program in one area or another.

My specific example: Handwriting.

There are a lot of commercial handwriting programs, many of them with levels for K-6 and I've never used  any of them. Chapter 1 of the Writing Road to Reading (which my library owns, I never spent a cent on handwriting), taught me how to teach The Boys to write.  Because I studied and learned the method, I didn't need any particular product to teach The Boys fluent and legible handwriting. We used any paper and pencil we had at the time and that was it. The Boys quickly developed writing that is fluent, neat and legible in print and cursive, by default, without ever having used a multi-year handwriting program. I only pulled that off by carefully reading and studying the handwriting section of The Writing Road to Reading.

I think I did list a couple of helpful products in my first post. I also got a lot from what Monica in Switzerland lists in her recent post. And of course I have absorbed so much here it's not even funny. If not on a technical front, on a theoretical front that gets filed away later. 

Ruth Beechick's books would probably be the closest to something approachable and concise that I can think of as something that empowers a parent as a teacher outside of a curricula, but most people don't even know who Ruth Beechick is anymore. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
I think I got too wordy here, so deleted what was outside of thread's scope.
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On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 7:09 PM, Slache said:

Confidence in teaching language arts... IEW materials.

Hey, since IEW offers a large range of products could you please specify which one(s) you felt were essential in helping you understand how to teach language arts?

Just saying "IEW materials" doesn't get at what I intended to be the spirit of this thread, because one could easily buy and use the extensive IEW program for years with their kids, without ever really "getting" the program themselves. If individual parents/teachers don't get at the heart of a program/methodology, they don't become less dependent on subsequent programs fore that area.
I know that I'm guilty of it, but I doubt that I'm the only one. Or at least I hope that I'm not the only one.

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Just now, Gil said:

Hey, since IEW offers a large range of products could you please specify which one(s) you felt were essential in helping you understand how to teach language arts?

Just saying "IEW materials" doesn't get at what I intended to be the spirit of this thread, because one could easily buy and use the extensive IEW program for years with their kids, without ever really "getting" the program themselves. If individual parents/teachers don't get at the heart of a program/methodology, they don't become less dependent on subsequent programs fore that area.
I know that I'm guilty of it, but I doubt that I'm the only one. Or at least I hope that I'm not the only one.

Not Slache, but for me it was the TWSS from IEW, although one can derive a lot of the program through listening to the Arts of Language Podcast by IEW. They basically cover the whole thing just in segments over time, and of course without the visuals and exercises given in the TWSS. But I would say the Arts of Language podcast would be a good resource  for someone debating on whether or not to drop a couple hundred bucks on the TWSS set. For me, even knowing that IEW has a money back guarantee, it was a hard leap to invest in that program, but I think it is worth every dime IF you watch the videos and do the exercises. But if you have the TWSS you honestly never need another IEW product for writing unless you just want to hand it off to your student. But you could teach well up to a rhetoric stage level of writing, with just the TWSS, imo. 

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27 minutes ago, Gil said:

Hey, since IEW offers a large range of products could you please specify which one(s) you felt were essential in helping you understand how to teach language arts?

Just saying "IEW materials" doesn't get at what I intended to be the spirit of this thread, because one could easily buy and use the extensive IEW program for years with their kids, without ever really "getting" the program themselves. If individual parents/teachers don't get at the heart of a program/methodology, they don't become less dependent on subsequent programs fore that area.
I know that I'm guilty of it, but I doubt that I'm the only one. Or at least I hope that I'm not the only one.

TWSS.

We'll be starting our second themed book this coming year for my convenience but they are not necessary, and the grammar just happens to be perfect for my child but any grammer could be used with the program.

TWSS is essential and a standalone product. I am confident that in a few years I will say the same thing about Teaching The Classics which is the core of the literature program.

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2 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Ruth Beechick's books would probably be the closest to something approachable and concise that I can think of as something that empowers a parent as a teacher outside of a curricula, but most people don't even know who Ruth Beechick is anymore. 


Ruth Beechick! Along with reading WTM right before starting to homeschool, I read these short booklet versions of Beechick's longer works:

The Three R's: An Easy Start in Arithmetic (gr. K-3)
The Three R's: A Strong Start in Language (gr. K-3)
The Three R's: A Home Start in Reading (gr. K-3)
You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully (gr. 4-8)

Beechick's booklets + WTM + Joyce Herzog's Grammar booklet (mentioned in my post above) were some of the most helpful things I read at the outset for starting to homeschool grades 1 and 2.

Edited by Lori D.
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Maybe I'm alone in this, but I keep coming back because it's a struggle to recommend a one fits all type of program to teach anyone how to teach a subject. I feel like more detail needs to go with each rec.Is that what you are wanting, Gil? Like "this program works very well for parents who are learning how to remediate a child in X" or "this resource is awesome for teaching a parent to deal with an accelerated math student" type of thing? 

 This is sort of what I'd written earlier and deleted. But for me, it's been more of a combination of time, exposure to lots of books, curricula, and more than anything else, experience the more I've thought about this thread. The things that have helped have been incredibly situation specific so I keep wanting to qualify everything I suggest here. 

I'll give the example of IEW, and I've listed it here and have sang its praises many times for some situations. I think TWSS is epic for SOME cases. It worked very, very well for me as a Mother in a situation where I came from the world of academia and had really warped writing expectations for an 11 year old, combined with a kid who had some really, really, terrible writing habits from years of GT Language Arts that stressed creative writing and not much else. IEW/TWSS was great for me to use to figure out how to teach at the level of a child, have a fair and concise rubric and move through at a sensible progression- and it systematically worked to break her bad habits and turn her into a technically sound writer that then allowed her to springboard into more complex modes of writing.

For that, yes. I love IEW. I did learn some neat tips and tricks. I still go see Andrew Pudewa at every year at convention if he has a new talk. But I see so many people post here with a list of wants and needs, and IEW is never going give them what they're looking for. It would probably drive them and their kids crazy. And I don't think all kids need IEW, in which case, the TWSS isn't going to do a parent a lot of good. Not all kids need that kind of structuring and it could become stifling I think. Not to mention the time investment on the parent's behalf to work through TWSS. I mean, I've heard more than one talk where SWB, without taking a direct shot at IEW by name, enumerates the ways in which there are some weaknesses to dress ups and other aspects in general and I'm not going to argue with her there. I think she has some very valid criticisms. For us it was a starting place for a very specific situation. 

 It's also not going to get you all the way through a Classical level of high school rhetoric. I've used a lot of their products, but I'll be honest- I think at some point a parent is going to have to move out from that as their first set up, and branch out if they want to continue to teach writing at home, and either use TWTM, or some of those resources in that golden writing thread of Ruth's. IEW is not going to teach Rhetoric style writing well in my opinion. At that point you either need to stretch your teaching skills and use some other resources, or you need to outsource it. 

I think generally speaking, certain programs do a decent job of teaching things upto a certain level, but I think at some point to continue on, you're going to have to up your game and keep digging to get what you want, if that makes sense. I mean, Cathy Duffy can give me a starting list of what looks good for my wish list to check out, but I think to be a really successful teacher you have to dig far beyond a program. I think that comes naturally to some people- especially those of you dealing with gifted, or especially highly gifted kids. You can never take anything as its given because it won't work. Tweaking becomes second nature to you. And you might not think of yourself as a natural teacher, but you may be a natural researcher, or just someone with a really tenacious personality to do the work. But a lot of people aren't, so I think you're going to have to be careful to couch any suggestions about any program as a good teaching resource on its own. That's the point I keep circling back to for this. There are good places to start short term, but people should be made aware that that isn't going to cut it long term. Like you don't grab Right Start and suddenly you're an excellent math teacher for the rest of the kids' academic career. I know a lot of people here think that's clearly obvious but I don't think this board is representative of homeschoolers in general. At least the ones where I live. They think they find one thing and they think it's going to carry them through. So that's just the caveat I keep wanting to add to every post I make here. I know you guys *know* that, but I'm not sure that people who aren't already doing scads of research to figure this out on their own know that, if that makes sense? 

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2 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

 

Ruth Beechick's books would probably be the closest to something approachable and concise that I can think of as something that empowers a parent as a teacher outside of a curricula, but most people don't even know who Ruth Beechick is anymore. 

It's really quite a shame that her stuff isn't more popular.  I got started with Ruth Beechick and the longer I've homeschooled, the more I've come to appreciate what a gem her stuff is. 

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8 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Maybe I'm alone in this, but I keep coming back because it's a struggle to recommend a one fits all type of program to teach anyone how to teach a subject. I feel like more detail needs to go with each rec.Is that what you are wanting, Gil? Like "this program works very well for parents who are learning how to remediate a child in X" or "this resource is awesome for teaching a parent to deal with an accelerated math student" type of thing? 

 This is sort of what I'd written earlier and deleted. But for me, it's been more of a combination of time, exposure to lots of books, curricula, and more than anything else, experience the more I've thought about this thread. The things that have helped have been incredibly situation specific so I keep wanting to qualify everything I suggest here. 

I'll give the example of IEW, and I've listed it here and have sang its praises many times for some situations. I think TWSS is epic for SOME cases. It worked very, very well for me as a Mother in a situation where I came from the world of academia and had really warped writing expectations for an 11 year old, combined with a kid who had some really, really, terrible writing habits from years of GT Language Arts that stressed creative writing and not much else. IEW/TWSS was great for me to use to figure out how to teach at the level of a child, have a fair and concise rubric and move through at a sensible progression- and it systematically worked to break her bad habits and turn her into a technically sound writer that then allowed her to springboard into more complex modes of writing.

For that, yes. I love IEW. I did learn some neat tips and tricks. I still go see Andrew Pudewa at every year at convention if he has a new talk. But I see so many people post here with a list of wants and needs, and IEW is never going give them what they're looking for. It would probably drive them and their kids crazy. And I don't think all kids need IEW, in which case, the TWSS isn't going to do a parent a lot of good. Not all kids need that kind of structuring and it could become stifling I think. Not to mention the time investment on the parent's behalf to work through TWSS. I mean, I've heard more than one talk where SWB, without taking a direct shot at IEW by name, enumerates the ways in which there are some weaknesses to dress ups and other aspects in general and I'm not going to argue with her there. I think she has some very valid criticisms. For us it was a starting place for a very specific situation. 

 It's also not going to get you all the way through a Classical level of high school rhetoric. I've used a lot of their products, but I'll be honest- I think at some point a parent is going to have to move out from that as their first set up, and branch out if they want to continue to teach writing at home, and either use TWTM, or some of those resources in that golden writing thread of Ruth's. IEW is not going to teach Rhetoric style writing well in my opinion. At that point you either need to stretch your teaching skills and use some other resources, or you need to outsource it. 

I think generally speaking, certain programs do a decent job of teaching things upto a certain level, but I think at some point to continue on, you're going to have to up your game and keep digging to get what you want, if that makes sense. I mean, Cathy Duffy can give me a starting list of what looks good for my wish list to check out, but I think to be a really successful teacher you have to dig far beyond a program. I think that comes naturally to some people- especially those of you dealing with gifted, or especially highly gifted kids. You can never take anything as its given because it won't work. Tweaking becomes second nature to you. And you might not think of yourself as a natural teacher, but you may be a natural researcher, or just someone with a really tenacious personality to do the work. But a lot of people aren't, so I think you're going to have to be careful to couch any suggestions about any program as a good teaching resource on its own. That's the point I keep circling back to for this. There are good places to start short term, but people should be made aware that that isn't going to cut it long term. Like you don't grab Right Start and suddenly you're an excellent math teacher for the rest of the kids' academic career. I know a lot of people here think that's clearly obvious but I don't think this board is representative of homeschoolers in general. At least the ones where I live. They think they find one thing and they think it's going to carry them through. So that's just the caveat I keep wanting to add to every post I make here. I know you guys *know* that, but I'm not sure that people who aren't already doing scads of research to figure this out on their own know that, if that makes sense? 

This. It's very easy to jump into homeschooling and find programs with good content but not really understand what you're doing and why you're doing it.  For the most part, if your kids are at least average, neurotypical learners you can skim by with just finding good content programs.  True TEACHING, however, involves some sort of understanding of what skills need to be taught not just what knowledge needs to be conveyed.  

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3 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

This. It's very easy to jump into homeschooling and find programs with good content but not really understand what you're doing and why you're doing it.  For the most part, if your kids are at least average, neurotypical learners you can skim by with just finding good content programs.  True TEACHING, however, involves some sort of understanding of what skills need to be taught not just what knowledge needs to be conveyed.  

Yes. You said that much more succinctly than I could! 

I think any parent starting out needs to realize that although there are things that help them learn how to be better at teaching this and that, that it's equally important that during that same time, they're trying to figure out their why. I think "what's your educational philosophy" scares some people off, but if you look into the why you are doing what you do, the "what" and "how" makes more sense and you'll work harder to figure out how to do it well. 

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If I think about what math resources were helpful in guiding me along the elementary years:

Ruth Beechick's math booklet

Singapore Math's A Handbook for Mathematics teachers in primary schools

Ronit Bird's dyscalculia materials

Liping Ma's book: https://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Elementary-Mathematics-Understanding-Fundamental/dp/0415873843

I'll give some thought about my journey through jr high and high school mathematics. I am NOT mathematically inclined at all but my dh and older ds very much are and so we had to find a common language to talk about math in order to help me in teaching it. (Right now, trig is killing my brain.) 

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Another agreement for @Æthelthryth the Texan (by the way, it's super hard to "mention" you since your name starts with a special character, why must you make my life so difficult? 😂) and to add:

- I have learned AT LEAST as much about myself as a teacher and the subjects I want to teach from materials that have NOT worked for me as I have from the materials I like.  

I have just recently acquired a number of newer mom friends, with younger kids, who are just getting started, and "What do you recommend?" is a constant question.  The truth is, I can tell them what I use, but it eliminates the entire learning process behind my choices.  It's very hard to set out a "course of study" for homeschooling parents.  In fact, I tried it for quite a while, running a blog called "Homeschool Laboratory: Teacher Training for Homeschoolers" (ran out of time, but not interest in the subject, so the blog is down).  I think putting in the hours to know what we teach, why we teach them, and finally HOW to teach them well is very important.  But it's also very individual and family-dynamic-dependent.  So I encourage parents just to read.  Read on philosophies you agree with and even those you don't agree with.  

Only a certain subset of homeschoolers want to dig into teaching philosophy.  It depends totally on their motivations for schooling.  For many people, homeschooling is a safer or more nurturing or more ideal world view oriented way of teaching the same basic things as a PS does.  AND THOSE ARE PERFECTLY VALID REASONS TO HOMESCHOOL!  Some people have specific legal restrictions that prevent their homeschool from looking exactly like their dream school.

Some of us *want* to wrestle with the gripping questions of number bonds vs fact families, what role poetry plays in learning, and whether or not Shakespeare is worth the time.  

But I don't think it is possible to lay out a course of study for a parent to become a better teacher.  I can certainly give a few book titles, but the real improvements come from following the rabbit trails, the same as for our children.  

 

Oh, one last thing.  Good teachers have much deeper knowledge than their students' coursework demands.  If you want one, single way to be a better teacher, get yourself The Great Courses Plus and just constantly learn something.  Anything.  My best teachers were always the ones who were the most interesting people *as individuals*- not necessarily because they handled grading or seating charts well.  Interest is infectious, so have interests and be interesting, and it'll probably just catch on in the kids at some point.

 

(So said the woman whose oldest child is 12...)

((It's been sooooo long since I've waded into a philosophical post, lol))

 

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On ‎2‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 1:29 PM, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Maybe I'm alone in this, but I keep coming back because it's a struggle to recommend a one fits all type of program to teach anyone how to teach a subject. I feel like more detail needs to go with each rec.

Sorry, I know that you wrote more, but I wanted to take a minute and respond to this directly, because the idea of this thread is not that anyone come and share a solution to a specific problem they have because that solution is The One solution to that problem, and right for everyone having that problem.

I noticed that there were a slew of current/new planning threads which made me think that it might be helpful if various parents shared anecdotes from their own experiences where they found a "game changing" explanation or technique in a program/book/etc. Because  
1) It might help someone take a fresh look at the curriculum that they already own or have access to.
Or
2) They may or may not have been able to use that explanation/technique/idea to strengthen their teaching approach in general.

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Books and people that led me to paradigms in teaching and thinking:

Overcoming Dyslexia by Shaywitz

How the Brain Learns Mathematics by Sousa

Bird’s Overcoming Difficulty with Number 

The Dyslexic Advantage by the Eides

Singapore Math

James Tanton at jamestanton.com (dude is a mathematics rock star)

Dr. Charles Haynes from the Landmark School (he gave a talk about writing)

SWB’s Well-Trained Mind

Multiple participants over at the Learning Challenges Board

I learned to trust direct, multisensory instruction.  I have no qualms with absolutely ripping a curriculum apart and teaching in a way that works.  I love the WTM History notebook.  We use concrete manipulatives and draw pictures/ bar models for math.  I accommodate handwriting and love mutisensory instruction using all modalities.  I gave myself permisiion to use audiobooks and teach in a way that suits my kids.  Mainly, I’m not fearful anymore.

 

 

Edited by Heathermomster

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High school math was always difficult for me, until I found Videotext Algebra.  I did every lesson my kids did, the night before.  (For my oldest two, who did it at the same time.)  It was the first time Algebra made sense.  After that, all math suddenly made sense.  It explains concepts so thoroughly, step by step, in a way that rationally makes sense.  (Not just memorizing formulas.)  I actually LOVED Algebra after that.  It became one of my favorite subjects.

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