Students At Home

For Everyone Who Learns at Home

The Power of Praise

As my daughter and I reviewed her spelling list today, I found a new motivational tool. 

After each word she spelled wrong, I heard myself saying “No, try again.”  If she spelled a word right, I immediately said the next word from the list.  About halfway through the list,  I paused.  Why was I saying no when she missed a word and offering no praise when she spelled a word correctly?  I began saying yes when she spelled a word correctly, and we finished the list with over 20 correctly spelled words and only two incorrect responses.   She should have heard 20 times, “Well done!  Good work!  Great job!”

By nature, I am a pessimistic person.  Yet my students at home need to hear positive reinforcement and praise.  These tools make our day more pleasant and produce a positive learning environment.  As I praise them, they strive to work even harder and bask in the praise from their teacher.  I know this principle works for my son, and I vow to make a conscious effort to offer more praise throughout our day!

My son’s speech therapist first introduces this concept to me.  As she praises him for correct responses, he works harder and calms down quickly after wrong responses.  I am grateful for the power of praise and for the reminder that encouragement benefits both me and my students at home.


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I served as a guest on The Learning Curve internet radio show!

Last weekend, I accepted an invitation to speak with two online radio show hosts.  Roger Boswarva and Virginia Koenig share a passion for creating a successful learning environment for every student.  Our conversation about student-led education and other topics inspired me to start this blog to help other parents and students.  Below, I have posted the link to the show.  While you’re visiting the website, check out the archives.  Find great ideas, tips and techniques for creating a positive educational experience for your students at home and in any school environment.

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Handling Sibling Conflict

All siblings fight from time to time.  My two children are no exception.  When they can’t seem to get along, I implement several techniques to restore peace.

Remain calm.  If my emotions escalate to the point that I add drama to the situation, then no one can be helped.  I must find inner peace before I can serve as a mediator during sibling conflicts.

Separate the siblings.  Anger can lead to physical violence.  Instead of allowing siblings to beat up on each other, provide cool down time.  Eventually, siblings can work out their differences, but be sure the anger has disippated first.  

Give them an activity.  Often, boredom leads to excessive touching, poking or verbal abuse.  Provide activities that occupy hands and minds. 

Restore the relationship by giving the siblings a chance to apologize.  Restoration of the relationship ensures that each child learns how to admit their mistakes and ask for forgiveness.  Additionally, unresolved conflict leads to bitterness.  Especially if a child tends to hold a grudge, be sure all parties understand their part in the conflict and apologize.

Make quiet time alone a priority every day.  Like anything, too much of something leads to familiarity.  Siblings need time apart to pursue indivudual interests.  Give each child personal space to be alone.

Pay attention.  When I’m busy working, my children tend to get after each other.  Their aggravating tendencies are often a plea for my attention.  By stopping what I’m doing, I can meet their need for mommy time and alleviate conflict. 

*I also found this helpful blog post that includes additional resources.  Enjoy!*

Feel free to post your own tips for handling sibling conflict.  I look forward to reading your ideas on how to promote peace for our students at home!

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Flexible Schedules

My children spent time this morning working on school work.  My kindergartener attended his online math class on the desktop computer our cyber school provides.  My second grader practiced her math skills on our family laptop.  Because we plan to take off school tomorrow in order to visit my mom after her recent surgery, I have a list of school items we need to accomplish today.

In the midst of diligent studies, Daddy walked in the door.  Instead of waiting at his auto body shop for parts, he came home to sit with us and eat lunch.  With joy, we welcomed him home and prepared peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  My daughter made her own sandwich while my son counted the pieces of bread Daddy used to create his culinary masterpiece.  I can count lunch preparation as math and fine motor skills.  We will catch up later today or next week on our other curriculum requirements.

While our daily schedule is interrupted today, I find the rewards to be worth the extra work we will need to do later.  In the meantime, I allow my children to enjoy much-needed time with their Daddy.  My students at home benefit from flexible schedules, and we all benefit from the peace and joy we gain as we relax and go with the flow.

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Make it Interesting

My seven year old daughter struggled today with her reading assignment about the life of George Washington Carver.  Usually, she’s the child who eagerly embraces all homework and quickly complies with directions.  For some reason, she dawdled her way to the school table and reluctantly listened as I gave her the new reading assignment.  On the verge of tears, she quietly refused to pick up the book I asked her to read.  I questioned her attitude and demanded she read the book before afternoon play time. 

Distracted, I left the table to help her brother with an online class.  When I  returned to her, she sat joyfully reading a library book about princesses.  I paused and listened to her reading the story out loud.  The look on her face showed me how excited she was to be reading something that interested her.

This small phrase, “make it interesting”, summarizes one key to educational success.  When students personally connect to the material, they embrace learning.  Every subject can be fun when the teacher relates it to the student’s interests.  While I believe students must at times be challenged to read and study uninteresting topics, successful educators work as much as possible to include relavent material that piques the child’s natural curiosity and interests.   

My princess-loving daughter did read her assignment today, and she enjoyed the story.  I am grateful that she loves to read, and I vow to give her every opportunity to read what interests her as I cultivate my students at home.

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Thank you for joining me on the educational journey.  Like most parents, we want the best possible education for our children.  In my case, I choose to homeschool.  Other families choose public or private school.  All options contain pros and cons, and I don’t wish to promote one avenue over another.  My intent with this blog is to share educational tips and resources that make your child successful in school.   I intend to post tips and techniques that work for me, and I welcome feedback and questions.  Personally, I learn so much from browsing other sites, and I will share what I learn with you as we journey together in creating lifelong students at home!

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