Sunday, May 17, 2009

Alternative Education

Homeschool Your Way - The Varied Approaches to Homeschooling
By Mimi Rothschild

One of the best things about homeschooling is the fact that there are different approaches available. No two children are exactly the same. Each child has a different learning style and each family has different routines and needs. Many educational methods lack the ability to adapt to the unique needs of the individual, but homeschooling is different. A homeschool approach can be whatever best fits for the particular student and family.

One approach to homeschooling is referred to as school at home. This homeschool approach is very similar to education in a traditional school setting. Homeschool parents who choose this method typically use standardized textbooks and curricula to teach their children. Homeschool parents who use this method often create traditional lesson plans and adhere to homeschooling schedules. Other homeschool parents choose to purchase lesson plans. Some who use this homeschool approach set up separate schoolrooms, complete with desks for both the homeschool children and the parent teacher. However, this is not always the case as homeschooling lends itself to just about any location.

Some homeschool parents choose to use a variation of the school at home method by purchasing or creating unit studies. Unit studies are thematic units geared towards studying several subjects in relation to one particular theme. Homeschool parents who choose this approach essentially decide on a theme and base all learning activities around it. For example, a study of the planets would likely include science, math, spelling, writing, and even history in one thematic unit. Hands on activities and homeschool field trips would be planned around this topic as well. This method allows homeschool students to not only learn the subjects at hand, but also to enjoy learning it. When students enjoy learning, they are more likely to fully absorb and retain the information presented to them.

Another popular approach to homeschooling is refereed to as unschooling. This method is known by many names including, but not limited to, child-led, eclectic, open, and interest-driven learning. Unschooling typically involves allowing the homeschool child to learn from living and the world in general. It relies on the fundamental idea that children learn through everything they do and see. Since they are always learning, they do not necessarily need textbooks. Some homeschool parents, who choose to unschool, do use textbooks and other curriculum materials. However, they let the child dictate what will be learned according to his or her interests. They also seek to provide learning experiences through everyday activities. For example, a trip to the grocery store might actually include a math lesson. Likewise, visiting an ailing relative might develop into a study of related health subjects.

The approach you choose to homeschooling will depend on your needs and desires as a family. You should also carefully consider your child's learning style when deciding. Remember, you don't have to choose just one homeschool approach. You can combine methods to obtain the mix that is just right for your homeschool.

Story-Telling in Education
By Mimi Rothschild

In English teaching, story-telling plays as an important role. Stories can provide rich materials of language teaching, and stimulate children's study motives. They also help children to understand their world and share the attainments with others. Children always look forward to hear more marvelous plots from the teacher and are always curious with stories. When children concentrate their attention to listen to stories, it will be the best encouragement and feedback for story teachers.

I. Strength of story-telling

  1. Establish good listening and speaking ablity For getting good listening ability, children need to practice constantly. We should encourage children to understand by themselves when they listen to stories. It is helpful if they have active attitude.
  2. Be familiar with English When listening to stories, children would be familiar with the pronunciation, intonation and usage of English. They would contact with vocabularies, phrases and grammar structure then could speak English better.
  3. Arouse speaking and writing output After finishing the story, teacher may bring up some related questions, ask children to write down their feelings, and encourage children to express their opinions. Teacher could also stimulate higher-degree children to say the story, even arrange the story. In the study process, the class could be divided into groups then they would learn how to cooperate and communicate with others. It would be meaningful on language learning.

II. How to use story-telling well

  1. Choose appropriate stories The story should suit to children's degree and be able to attract children's interests and attention. There should be correct values in the story and children would get the enlightenment If it is easy to extend related activities like painting, writing a letter, or performing about the story. That would be nice.
  2. Preparation before story-telling Children need to have the groundwork about vocabularies ,especially verbs like walk, run, go to school,stay at home,sit down,pull out,turn on the light,get up,wash my face,I'm thirsty,drink water,brush my teeth,get dressed,comb my hair,open the door ,and so on. Some adjectives are common like happy, little, big, strong, brave, sad. If teacher would like to tell the story about animals, their names should be taught first (unless using Big Book).
  3. The beginning of the show Music familiar to children could be played to match up the contents before the story or with the story. So that It can attract children's curiosity and attention. In addition, teacher could prepare the stage property like cardboardas TV screen, treasure boxput textbook and small properties in, fanpictures, characters,or the whole story on the covering.
  4. The main points of the process First, teacher may tell about the subject of the story briefly to give children simple concept (may use the native language).Except previous stage properties we mentioned, flashcards and mime(performance) are easier ways of telling the story effectively. Flashcards could be put on the blackboard or pasted on the apron then children could memorize the vocabularies and the sentences they have already learned. Second, the story could be told once or twice for being understood indeed. Then teacher asks children to put the flashcards in order and explain the picture in English. Next, the whole class divide into groups and group leader should tell the story again after group discussion(each group must have one set of teaching aids). Finally, teacher may ask several questions, or children ask teacher questions in the process..
  5. Display the vocabularies and sentence patterns Teacher could put the vocabularies and sentence patterns which are not learned yet so that children can repeat after teacher.
  6. Assignment After the class, each group would bring back properties or photographs teacher prepared in advance and make a new story for the next class.
III. Conclusion Each teacher in the teaching is an artist, and the ingenuity is about basing on children's degree, increasing the teaching experiences, and having a heart willing to learn. Now no matter the official or the folk manage many lectures of English story-telling. We could learn the skills through experienced teachers, and make progress in the process.


Mimi Rothschild is a homeschooling parent, children's rights activist, author, and Founder and C.E.O. of online education company Learning by Grace, Inc. Rothschild and her husband of twenty-eight years reside in suburban Philadelphia with their eight children.

Feeling that “our current system of education has broken its promise,” Rothschild co-founded Learning By Grace, Inc. to provide families with Internet-based multimedia education to PreK-12 children all over the world.

In addition to her twenty years of experience as a homeschool mother, Rothschild has written a number of books dealing with education published by McGraw Hill and others. Her Home Education Websites Blog consists of helpful online content and activities for Christian homeschooling


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