For years we have all been encouraged to operate with less paperwork and more electronic storage. But it seems that a completely paperless society is still far on the horizon. I don’t know about you but I continually need lots of storage for paperwork. Add children and education to that and you have colored papers, lined paper, worksheets, and a myriad of other hard copy material you still need to store. Hanging file folders in a file cabinet work well, but file cabinets take up space, and you can only have so many of them. Years ago, I began using magazine files to store many of my papers. Magazine files are designed for storing magazines, and they are oriented in a portrait layout instead of the landscape layout of traditional file cabinets. So how do I use these portable containers for organized storage? Enter the backpack folder. It is designed with the dividing tabs on one end of the folder and a side opening for easy filling. They fit perfectly inside magazine files, allowing you to have an organized method of storing your important papers. Never seen them before? Actually, backpack folders are easier to find than you may think.
This past weekend, I had the privilege to speak to families on the subject of the power of our words for our children. In that workshop I focused on just a FEW of the verses in the Bible that address the power of the tongue and the importance of our speech. Now, if we were to do an exhaustive study on what God says about our words, we would have had to camp at that conference center for days! Prov. 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Those are some drastic extremes. For us, that means that we need to seriously consider how we use our words to engage and encourage our children. An unguarded rant made out of frustration can do lots of damage to little ears. And once it is spoken, you can’t unsay it, right? Well, one of the points I discussed has to do with what Paul writes in Colossians 4:6. He says, “Let your speech be always gracious, seasoned with salt, that you can know how you should answer everyone.” We are instructed here to make our words salty. Why does Paul use this metaphor? Well, salt is an enhancer.
I am always excited when I see things that help students who learn differently. Having raised children with diagnosed ADHD and dysgraphia and watching them struggle to navigate through educational hurdles, this piece of news makes me smile. Christian Boer, a graphic designer in the Netherlands, has developed a special font that aids dyslexic individuals in their reading. It is called “Dyslexie,” and it is designed to enable dyslexics like Boer more easily identify letters. You see, those with dyslexia often get similar letters confused. Dyslexia is a processing issue, not a problem with intelligence. Please don’t confuse processing issues with how smart someone is! Letters that are mirrored, such as “b” and “d” are often interchanged in the brain when a person with dyslexia is reading. Letters that can be flipped, like “p” and “d” are also an issue. What Boer did was carefully design each letter so that it is unique from the others. He made all the letters slightly thicker at their bases so they appear heavier and weighted down. He also slightly angled others so that they look more distinct. The capital letters in this font are in bold, as well as all punctuation. All of
This week I was reading in the book of Romans and came across this verse: Romans 11:17 – “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree” (ESV). Of course, this verse is super-packed with great information and encouragement for us. The major thing going on here is that some wild olive shoots are grafted into an existing tree. They then are able to get their food and water from the roots of that existing plant. Let’s first discuss what grafting is. Once we look at this process, then we will have a much fuller understanding of what the verse means for us. Grafting is a technique where a section of a stem with some leaf buds is attached to the stock of an existing tree. It is placed onto the stock plant so that the vascular cambium tissue of both pieces lines up. That way the grafted portion is able to receive nutrients from the stock. Vascular cambium is the material that produces the xylem and phloem of plants. Xylem and phloem transport fluid and nutrients
If you have been on the internet in the last 48 hours, you have already seen and debated over whether “the dress” is white and gold, or blue and black. If you haven’t seen it yet, look HERE. No matter the color you saw, you were absolutely positive that you were seeing it correctly and others were absolutely wrong! How can this be? You know what you were seeing. And if you look over the hundreds of comments, you will find that there were even a few who sometimes saw white and gold and other times saw blue and black, depending on how they were observing it. Why? Well, having been a homeschooler for two decades, I have to take this interesting phenomenon and turn it into a short science lesson. Let’s do a few things to explore what our body does to perceive color. Things are not actually “made” of color. Rather, as Isaac Newton noted, the surface of objects reflects some colors and absorbs others. So a red rose really does not have red within it. Its surface reflects the wavelengths of light we see as red and absorbs all of the other wavelengths. When light is bent
If you have been following along, you know that this is the fourth and final post on how to build note-taking skills for students. The previous parts are HERE, HERE, and HERE. In this episode (cue the exciting music): Notehand. Notehand is unlike shorthand, which was a way for secretaries to quickly take word-for-word notes by using special symbols and swirls to later decipher the notes back into a complete script. Notehand, however, is a way for students to compile important information so they can refer to it later. It should not be word-for-word, but rather point-for-point. Because it is simply not possible to write out words as quickly as someone is speaking, you have to come up with a way to write information in a shorter form in a way that is easy to understand when it is read later. By using abbreviated words, incomplete sentences, and various symbols that stand for larger or regularly used words, you can more easily notate the information given in a lecture or presentation. The best way to do this is to begin to form a notehand method that works best for YOU. It needs to be intuitive to each person. That means what
In the previous two posts on this topic, I covered the importance of taking good notes, whether it is during a college lecture, a business workshop, or a church sermon. Quite simply, note-taking is a great way to stay focused on the information that is presented, and it results in a concise set of information that can easily be referred to later. During Part I, located HERE, I went over some of the reasons WHY it is important to teach these skills to students. Then I touched on what is a good age to start and where you can find opportunities to practice. In Part II, HERE, I covered how to listen for signal words so you will be clued in on WHAT to write. Well, in this post we will be going over how to organize your notes as you write them. After all, if your notes are a jumbled, unorganized mess, they won’t be very helpful to read later on, will they? You see, when you approach a lecture session, you need to take notes so you don’t have to go back to rewrite or decipher them. They need to be written in a logical organized way. One
Do you sometimes feel like you need to wear a referee shirt during the day, just to keep the peace between your children? Does it seem like a constant challenge to deal with bickering and to teach sharing? I know that there were days I felt this way. My heart would be hurting as I envisioned my children fighting each other as adults. Oh, how I wanted them to grow up to be friends, loving each other. Well, this past weekend, I had the privilege to speak at Books and Beyond, a local homeschooling mid-year conference. It was a special time of meeting with and encouraging families in their homeschooling journey as well as within their households. One of my workshops was a new one: “How To Make a Unit Study Out of (practically) Anything.” This was a hands-on presentation, where, after going over unit study structure, resources, and record-keeping, we actually CREATED two units on random topics people came up with. And by “random,” I mean really random! One theme we created was an entire unit on Light Bulbs, complete with studying light speed, Thomas Edison, and late 1800s history. Such fun! Additionally, my husband, Dave, and I taught
If you read my last post HERE, you know that I believe it is important for students to have good note-taking skills as they enter high school, college, and career. And there are some simple ways to build these skills. Previously, I talked about how it is important for students to get proficient in summarizing material. This builds their ability to take a large amount of information and distill it down to the major points. After all, that is pretty much what note-taking is, isn’t it? Taking notes does not mean that the student writes down EVERYTHING that is said in the way a court reporter does. That is not note-taking. In fact, unless you are professionally trained in shorthand or other abbreviation constructs, then you will not be ABLE to write as fast as a person can speak. Instead, you are expected to take good notes, sifting through the sentences coming out of the lecturer’s mouth and determining what is significant and what is not. Why is this so important? Well, one reason is that taking notes presents you with two opportunities to learn the information presented. One opportunity is during class while you are taking the notes and
During my years as a homeschooling mom, I have had the opportunity to not only teach my own children but also other homeschoolers in co-op type classes. Doing this has been such a pleasure, but it has also given me some interesting insights to the strengths of homeschooling as well as some weaknesses. Now don’t get me wrong. I believe that homeschooling is one of the best educational options for your children. My husband and I have homeschooled all of our children from K-12 and are so grateful we did. But the nature of home education creates some interesting situations that all homeschooling families need to be aware of so that they can best prepare their children for college or career situations. One of the most interesting things that I noticed about the students that came to my classes is that during our discussion time, when I would give a hint that a specific piece of information would be on the test or when I would write out a chart on the board, I noticed that many of my students would just sit there and watch me. Why weren’t they writing this down? I made sure to stress that it