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Homeschooling Tips

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Iamhomeschooling.com offers an abundance of resources for homeschoolers. Whether you are considering homeschooling, new to homeschooling, or a seasoned homeschooler, you will find inspiration, great tips, and helpful advice.  For information specific to homeschooling in Florida, click here.

Lapbooking and Notebooking

Lapbooking and Notebooking are creative and memorable ways for children to learn. They provide interactive, hands-on learning, and they are adaptable to all ages and learning abilities. Lapbooks and notebooks can be used for any subject or topic, are great for book studies and unit studies, and can be especially useful when teaching multiple children at different levels simultaneously. So what are they?

{NOTEBOOKING AND LAPBOOKING}

Lapbooks are made using file folders, usually consisting of two folders taped together so that the lapbook will open on both sides, and contain minibooks and various foldables and other graphic organizers. Younger students tend to enjoy making lapbooks, but they sometimes need help with the cutting and pasting.  Notebooks are usually loose leaf papers kept in a 3-ring binder.  Notebooks can consist of drawings, maps, notes, and copywork and will oftentimes include minibooks and other foldables mounted onto heavyweight paper. Older students tend to gravitate toward notebooking and they can usually work independently on them.  A bonus with notebooking is that the notebooks can double as portfolios when it comes time for your children's annual evaluations.

Lapbooks and notebooks are generally very inexpensive to make, but if you happen to be into scrapbooking and have speciality papers and embellishments around to use, the sky is the limit.  There is no wrong way to make them, and they can be as simple or complex as you choose.  If you have a kinesthetic learner, definitely give one a try!  You can create your own from scratch or use pre-made templates and notebooking pages found on websites and in books such as the ones listed below. (Many are free! )

They're Never Too Old for Read-Alouds!

Besides the academic benefits of reading to our children, reading aloud provides an opportunity for quality family bonding time and creates wonderful lasting memories.

Great Read-Alouds

So, what are some of the benefits of reading aloud?

Read-alouds build reading, writing, thinking, listening and observational skills. Children learn new words, build background knowledge, and develop interests. Reading aloud also helps lengthen a child's attention span. (If your children are fidgety and have difficulty keeping still, let them draw or do something quietly by themselves while you read.)

What do you read?

If you're reading to infants and toddlers, snuggle up together with picture books. Goodnight Moon and Make Way for Ducklings are great choices, as both of these books are known for helping children learn the sounds that make up the English language. Younger children love books that rhyme, so Mother Goose rhymes and Dr. Suess books are perfect for read-alouds. When children are old enough to pick out books for themselves, let them—even if it means reading the same book for the hundredth time. (It will happen, trust me.) Then, as your children get older, move on to chapter books and novels.

While children typically make the gradual transition from board books to novels, don't be afraid to read a novel to a younger child (as long as it isn't too complex) or a picture book to a teenager. If it will hold their attention or spark their imagination, whether it's a poem, an informational article, a short story, or a novel, read it! Need help choosing books? Ask your librarian—your best resource ever! You will also find many websites offering book lists on the internet. We recommend the Recommended Books list at Read Aloud America, the Great Read-Alouds and Memorable Books! list at the Niskayuna Central School District's website, and this downloadable Interactive Read Aloud PDF file from The Reading & Writing Project.

If you're planning to read something you haven't read before, practice reading the selection before you read it to your child. If you discover words significant to the story that your child hasn't learned, be prepared to explain their meanings. If there are situations your child hasn't been exposed to, have a brief discussion before you begin reading or be ready to give explanations when the situations come up. Asking questions improves literacy, so make sure your child knows that it's okay to interrupt if they need you to clarify something you have read.

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