Been in iTunes today collecting sounds and music for our Halloween neighborhood bash. Here’s the list I have so far. Oh! Interesting! Did you know if you hit command-t when playing your iTunes you get a light show that bounces around in time to the music. Another command-t gets you back to your playlist.
Welcome to Day 3 of the first EVER International Homeschool Spirit Week! A to Z Homeschool’s Cool is proud to be the official host of Wednesday, September 26th: Crazy Sock Day!
How awesome is it that Homeschoolers don’t have to wear shoes all day if they don’t want to? Today, we’re going to celebrate that fact with Crazy Sock Day! So, take off those shoes (if you’re wearing them) and show off those crazy socks. Have some white tube socks and some fabric markers? Make your own! Or, just find the craziest socks you can and roll up those pant with pride. Still wearing shorts? Who cares? Pull those crazy socks up to your knees and show your crazy sock spirit!
Don’t forget to download your FREE spirit week resource from Geography Matters by visiting CurrClick.com, the official host of International Homeschool Spirit Week.
We encourage you to share your crazy sock fun with other homeschoolers in the following ways:
• Tell your co-op and your homeschooling friends what you are doing and get them involved.
• Hit the message boards and tell everybody about the fun you are having participating in International Homeschool Spirit Week.
• YouTube a video of your family schooling, comfy cozy style! Be sure and use the keywords, tag A to Z Homeschool’s Cool, Geography Matters and Homeschool Spirit Week when uploading.
• Take a picture and Instagram your fun to Facebook! Be sure and tag A to Z Homeschool’s Cool, Geography Matters and CurrClick.com‘s Facebook pages so we can take a look at your pictures.
• Tweet about what you are doing, using hashtag: #homeschoolspiritweek
Discover unique learning opportunities at the Newseum, an interactive museum of history in Washington, D.C.
- Learning Center classes on journalism, history and the First Amendment.
- Free online teacher resources such as lesson plans and self-guided tours through the museum.
- Educator-led gallery tours.
- Professional development for teachers.
- Unique learning plans created just for you and your group.
Visit Newseum.org/education to learn more.Homeschools receive the school group discount when they visit the Newseum.
Students on a teacher-lead organized field trip from public, private and homeschools grades 1 through university in the DC metro area receive free, general admission through the generous support of The Washington Post and WTOP. More information on the free admission program.
For schools outside of the area, the school rate is $10 per student. One chaperone for every 10 students will receive free admission. Additional chaperones over the required 1:10 chaperone ratio will be charged $15 each.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Maggie Crawford, Education Coordinator, at (202) 292-6663 or email email@example.com
The Newseum is located at
555 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20001
Free time was once the hallmark of childhood. But these days, many parents feel it’s their duty to keep their children busy. This mindset can be found in parents who both work outside the home and need somewhere for the kids to go during off-school hours, parents who compete with other parents regarding whose child is the most “well-rounded,” parents who want to give their children every so-called “advantage,” and parents who believe their children will fall behind or get into trouble unless their schedules include every activity that can be crammed into each day.
The result is a generation of children who are so accustomed to organized activities that they don’t know how to entertain themselves (unless there’s a television or video game nearby). They’re the total opposite of the kind of workers needed to grow our economy in the future. America needs creative innovators, not passive participants or couch potatoes. So if you want to encourage your children’s natural creativity, reduce the amount of time they spend in scheduled activities, and give them more free time instead.
What is free time? It’s unstructured. It’s not directed by adults. It requires that children move through boredom in order to arrive at the place where the innate creativity of the child kicks in and comes up with something to do. But many parents dread the thought of free time for their children, because they know it will be a matter of moments before the “I’m Bored!” chorus begins.
If you have children whose time has always been planned out for them, they won’t know what to do with a lot of free time—at first. But if you stick to your guns and require them to entertain themselves on a daily basis, they will (perhaps out of desperation) figure it out. See “Boredom” (Appendix A) for more about this.
So what will they do with all their free time? They can make things and work with their hands. They can use their imaginations to come up with games, structures, even toys. In the absence of planned activities and formal schedules, children are incredibly good at learning from their play. They just need enough time to do so.
Children also need time to be alone so they can think. In this frantically scheduled world we live in, even adults find they don’t have time to just sit and think. But quiet introspection is important for everyone, young and old. It’s particularly important for those who create things. Much solitary thought is required for pursuits such as writing, painting, inventing, etc.
Free time isn’t only a necessity for small children; older children and teens need plenty of it, too. Many extremely creative people are late-bloomers (as Edison was). They need ample time alone as they grow older and discover what their gifts are, and how they want to use them. Unfortunately, parents and schools tend to increase the outside activities of teens just when they really need their personal time.
Tightly scheduled lives are detrimental to creativity. In 1996, Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile, an expert on creativity and business innovation, led a research project to study creativity in the workplace. Amabile and her team pored over almost 12,000 journal entries from over 200 people working on creative projects in a variety of different companies. One of their most important conclusions was that time pressure actually decreases creativity. While many people (myself included) feel that working against a deadline makes them more productive, it may not make them more creative. It takes time for creative ideas to grow and develop in our minds. The Amabile study found repeatedly that creative people on a tight time schedule found their creative abilities hampered not only up until their deadlines, but even for a few days afterward.
What this means for our children is that they need regular free time in order to feed the creativity and spirit of innovation they were born with. It takes time to get deeply involved in a creative pursuit; as parents, it’s up to us to make sure our children get that time.
Copyright 2012 Barbara Frank/ Cardamom Publishers
Excerpted from Thriving in the 21st Century: Preparing Our Children for the New Economic Reality, (Cardamom Publishers, 2011). Barbara Frank homeschooled her four children for 25 years. You’ll find her on the web at www.barbarafrankonline.com and www.thrivinginthe21stcentury.com
Homeschooling, an alternative way of education, is a great way for parents to take charge of their child’s education, it includes organizing subjects and arranging the best teaching methods to teach their children. What better teacher can a child have than the most important people in their lives with their absolute best interests at heart.
Most parents are usually very good at teaching textbook subjects such as Science, English and Math but when it comes to fine arts such as Music they have a hard time figuring out what to do. Music is the soul of life, it is entertaining, very motivating and can make a powerful contribution to a child’s development as I’m sure most parents would agree, but how do you go about it?
I’m going to contradict myself here, but the best starting point is to try to separate music lessons from the other subjects whilst also having music involved in everyday living, so what do I mean by this?
Well, its really important to keep the music lessons enjoyable and fun, children need to learn to read, write and count as well as learn about science and history just to function in life. Thats simply a fact and something that they must be taught whether they enjoy it or not, music however, is different.
Have music playing in the home as much as possible, and I don’t mean blasting out heavy metal 24/7, but just at an ambient background level and you will find that the kids take it in and enjoy it. When it comes to putting down the text books don’t dive straight into a music lesson, take it at a slow pace and get involved yourself and try to play something even if you can’t. Children can be very self conscious about starting to play an instrument so make the lessons at irregular intervals or different days each week and try to do it on their terms.
In order for a child to learn to play the guitar, piano or whatever they must first want to learn. Yes you can push them into taking a guitar course or piano lessons but if they are not enjoying it then they are not going to get very far and may come to resent learning to play at all.
My father taught me to play the guitar at home because it was something I really wanted to learn, my sister on the other hand wasn’t so keen to learn the piano but, after some gentle persuasion from my mom, she decided to give it a go. My mom can play a little piano and taught her the basics before they found a music teacher to come and give her lessons, the teacher was a bit “old school” and my sister just felt like it was a chore to learn and eventually gave it up altogether.
My point is, it is so critical to avoid this situation in the first place, and one of the best ways to go about this is to approach it from a fun and leisurely aspect, by looking at it from a fun point of view the child is far more likely to be drawn towards a musical instrument and as their curiosity grows it will become clearer as to what type of instrument they are interested in.
I truly think that so many more children would take up some sort of musical instrument if only they were gently encouraged in the right direction.
If you are going to employ a music teacher then think it through, check their references and talk to some of their other students to hear what they have to say. A good music teacher for homeschoolers is one who has full knowledge of music (both vocal and instrumental), is patient with children and who has flexible timing to adjust with the ever changing schedules homeschoolers.
Learning music requires us to interpret new information, so it’s the duty of a music teacher to give all the elementary information to their students and then slowly move from basic knowledge to advanced.
From personal experience I know that the best candidates are more relaxed in their approach which makes them more likable and acceptable to kids. These teachers tend to have a nice way about them and are good at sharing their knowledge about the subject and can make music more innovative and interesting.
If you want to teach your children about music then listen up and try to find out their favorite songs, then spend a little time with them to watch the artists perform the songs online or on DVD. They will see which instruments are being played and will be more likely to want to try to play one, this is a good way to narrow down what they might be interested in as its not realistic to go out and buy a whole selection of different instruments.
I can remember wanting to learn to play the guitar and once I finally got my hands on one for the first time there was something very special about the touch and feel of actually holding it, and it gave me a real urge to want to learn to play it.
So once you’ve specified what instrument your child wants to play, give it to them so that they know its theirs to keep, its important to give them that responsibility and so now you haven’t made the mistake forcing them to learn an instrument of your choice, because you cannot force a child to learn to play. Music comes from the soul so just listen to your childrens’ soul.
The other way for homeschoolers to learn music is to take advantage of musical opportunities at community centers, clubs, churches, after school programs etc. Groups of homeschooling families often join together to create home school co-ops. These types of musical groups meet once or twice a week to pool their talent and get some musical knowledge from others as well. They provide an informal environment for the children and they get the opportunities to meet different people with different musical knowledge. In this type of atmosphere, students get the chance to do hands-on and group learning and its the perfect opportunity to perform in front of a group of people in a comfortable and like minded environment.
Another effective way is to go online. Online resources include study material, audio video notes, instrumental and vocal clippings etc. So many online musical educators have developed musical curriculum where students can learn to play any musical instrument in step by step courses.
There are any amount of piano, drums and guitar lessons for the beginner and I still use the internet for hints and tips on improving my own guitar playing. The beauty about the internet is that whether or not you have a music teacher, you can be very specific in what you are looking for.
For instance it’s easier to learn to play electric guitar than it is to learn to play acoustic guitar because of the differences in the thickness of the guitar fretboards and the weight of the strings, and it’s better to learn to play the piano on a genuine piano, with a properly weighted keyboard to build up the strength in your fingers, as opposed to learning on a low quality electronic keyboard, and so with information like this you can really home in on what it is you want to learn.
So remember, if you keep it enjoyable and fun, and if you start out on the right track from the outset, it can save a lot of time and make a big difference on how your child progresses.
By Gerald Crawford
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