Academics

STOP PIDDLING: HOW TO GET REAL ABOUT YOUR HOMESCHOOL

Posted by Donna Vail on November 12, 2015  /   Posted in Academics, Learn More
8 Steps to Get Real About Your Homeschool

Get Real About Your Homeschool

When we begin homeschooling we have a lot of ideals in our mind about how we want it to go. Then once we take the leap of faith it’s a marathon to keep up with all the opportunities and many late nights spent sifting through virtual piles of information. We’re always trying to find that one way that will work, the ideal curriculum.

Maybe the day doesn’t go as planned, you’ve run into challenges with one of your children (or more) then you may run into the naysayers of homeschooling. Some days you wonder if you’ll ever get it right or if you should quit, or worse, you slip into inaction and take a prolonged break from academics, drifting and not realizing the importance of incremental learning only to panic when it’s time to fill high school credits or your child comes to you announcing she’s decided to be a musician for a livelihood and wants to go to Juliard or a engineer/scientist needing a serious foundation in math.

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Customized Targeted Learning

Posted by Donna Vail on August 13, 2015  /   Posted in Academics, Learn More

Customized Targeted Learning

Asking a child “what do you want to learn” is like asking an adult “how are you going to change your life so you can live your dreams?” It can be ambiguous. While ideas might come up when asked this question, it can feel overwhelming without a clear path to the answer.

As your child’s parent, mentor and guide it’s your responsibility to understand their highest values, be able to communicate in their language and operate from a place of partnership. This is where the needs of the child are revealed, through every day living and intuitive parenting. All parents have intuitive connections with their children, you have that knowing that comes up that something is wrong or something needs to change because their needs are not being met. Or you can feel them struggling or needing more of something. You don’t have to have expensive curriculum packages, a schedule weighted down with community classes or piles of worksheets and assignments to plow through. Your inspiring learning environment is the perfect place to nurture your children to learning and living inspired.

It’s extremely important to me today to provide children with academia that will stand the test of time however I also know that what has been done in schools and then repeated in many homes is not what will stand the test of time. It’s the practices of the Greats, a core of knowledge that allows the child to advance in whatever the future demands as well as a creativity and willingness to explore to find new solutions, knowledge and skills.

What I’m talking about is a system I’ve created for home educators called Customized Targeted Learning. It’s a system that is flexible so that it can be used by the most strict and high achiever while also customized for the free spirits who want a firm foundation and benefiting from fulfilling the need for more exploration. Yes, completely customizable because no two children are the same and no two families are the same.

Customized Targeted Learning brings your child’s learning to be more aligned with him while also creating the practice of lifelong learning. As your child is growing up he’s working on his core learning, which is the center of the target. In that core learning there comes practices or skills that must be developed which moves out to the next ring on the target. As he’s naturally learning, exploration is the next ring on the target. This is where special interests come in as well as subjects that are explored to greater depth depending on the child’s highest values.

The beauty of this system is that the learning does not end at noon or 3pm when home education studies are done for the day but rather continues 24/7 and for a lifetime. We all should be learning and growing constantly because that’s what keeps us alive, engaged and productive. So this system also helps parents balance out in their own studies and life pursuits. In our own advancement we have to seek core knowledge, build skills and explore new horizons, ideas and get creative. This is a success habit that the most successful use in any business or philanthropic venture. Now you can have a peace of mind that you are covering it all with Customized Targeted Learning and so the habit continues to be carried into all areas of life.

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Doubts or Inspiration, You Choose

Posted by Donna Vail on August 07, 2015  /   Posted in Academics, Learn More, Love More

Doubts or Inspiration, You Choose

I began home educating my children in the Dark Ages. No there were no knights on horses battling with swords but it was a time that we all did our academics away from the world, in the privacy of our homes, usually with the drapes drawn. There were no curriculum fairs, local stores with a homeschool section, people didn’t openly share their homeschool practices and Google wouldn’t appear for another three years. While it was perfectly legal, it was definitely not socially acceptable. But we did it anyway.

Carrying on the wisdom of the ages is not something widely supported or collectively acceptable but if you look all through history and those currently making a real difference in the world, none of them entertained collective practices but rather selective choices. Greatness in yourself and your children is not for the faint of heart. You are being called to step up into living by inspiration both for yourself as well as your children. If you want them to elevate to greatness, you’re going to have to as well to be able to empower them to their greatness. And that’s the beauty of home education; it’s for the whole family to rise up, live inspired and make a real difference in the world.

Don’t be carried away with your doubts about being able to give your children the education they need or be able to bring them up into the life they are meant to live. Some people voice loudly, “I don’t think I can do this,” some even louder, “I could never do that,” “I don’t have what it takes,” then rolls in the “I’m not good enough, smart enough, have enough…”

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Allow Your Children to Learn Naturally

Posted by Donna Vail on February 07, 2015  /   Posted in Academics, Learn More

smiling girl writes on her notebookSelf-Education is all about aligning with the needs of the student. You don’t have to be at a specific grade level, ability or skill; it’s all developed as you self-educate. You begin from right where you stand. The key for us as parents is getting out of the way enough to allow our children to naturally learn.

I’ve found the easiest way to do this is by becoming a student ourselves, creating a parent partnership and taking it step by step. Remember, your responsibility is to provide, guide and step aside. As you sit with them and I mean really get to know them you will be inspired with how to align with their needs. Opportunities will arise that naturally flow in our lives to help us grow to our highest good. Begin reflecting on ways you’ve seen your children dive into something they are wildly interested in. They didn’t wait to be told how to do it or what’s right or wrong, they just followed the path of discovery.

I’ve seen my son run around outside catching lizards, looking at their every detail, observing how they live, looking in field guides about specifics, drawing and noting what he was capturing. I’ve watched my daughter from a very young age write stories and mini books as she would call them, even before I began any formal required writing only to bloom into a teenager who’s written three books now. I watch my son take things apart and build things, explaining to me in depth about physics and mechanics even though he is nowhere near the level of study for this. My youngest will sit and draw for hours showing me the great details of all she sees. They are already self-educating, I don’t have to force anything on them, they learn naturally.
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HOW to Give Your Child the Leading Edge

Posted by Donna Vail on June 07, 2013  /   Posted in Academics, Learn More

Education is quickly becoming a competitive field. There is so much information as well as expensive programs available to us more than any other time in history. As parents it’s our responsibility to be sure what we choose for our children is clear and focused on the family as a whole as well as address individual needs of each child.

 

I always begin with identifying each child’s highest values. Once you know their values, the strengths and areas for improvement can be honed in on allowing you to direct the focus of their training on a direction aligned with their highest values. This will give them the leading edge needed to move forward in our quickly evolving society.

 

In my previous article What Will Give Your Child The Leading Edge, I covered the discovery process with the admissions board at Texas A&M University dealing with the “what”. In this week’s article I delve into the “how”. The following topics when mastered will give your child the leading edge.

 

As you’re reading the “how,” see it as something you experience in your everyday living through your parent partnership loving your children unconditionally. I don’t want you to go out and buy a stack of curriculum, hand out worksheets or create a formal class. All that is needed is for your family to love more, live more and learn more through shared experiences.

 

How to cover the following 7 topics in your homeschool and everyday living to give your child the leading edge:

 

  • Ethical reasoning

Ethics is something you will be living and your child will learn in the way that you live. This is all about the Golden Rule: Do to others what you would have them do to you. On the other hand ethical reasoning is a way of thinking about issues and the implications what’s involved. This is lived out day in and day out as you go through life facing real life situations. A homeschool is a perfect place for this to cultivate because families are involved in their world and have daily experiences to use ethical reasoning.  Whether it’s relating to a sibling, taking care of a pet, or reading the classics and discussing how the characters worked through ethical reasoning, it all comes down to living more life to all and less to none.

 

  • Critical thinking

Every day you can leverage your experiences to teach critical thinking. As you’re guiding your children simultaneously you increase in your critical thinking skills. It’s for the whole family! Keep the conversations going by asking questions out of genuine curiosity. Lectures should be no more than 30 seconds to inspire questions. This means don’t be afraid of constructive controversy. Let them hash out controversial topics, but make sure it’s respectful for all. Don’t feel like you have to always hold the reins. As you let go and let the children lead thy will step up.

 

Communication

Becoming an effective communicator can result in happier, more successful people with greater earning potential. Early skills can be learned as easy as playing games like telephone when children are young then working up to having your child practice how to be responsible with answering the real phone and taking messages. Have your child navigate you home from the store or on a vacation. Have a round table game at dinner and let each person take a turn talking for one minute about their favorite topic without saying “um”, “er”, “uh”, “like”, or “ya’ know.” Other ways include creating presentations within the family as well as larger groups, finishing a story, or even doing an impromptu speech for 2 minutes.

 

That’s three of the seven topics. I will continue with the next four in the next blog post including compassion, empathy, leadership, and maturity. When you’re fully present with your children, engaged and practice the above suggestions, children will naturally progress to greater levels of ethical reasoning, critical thinking and communication. Remember, actions speak louder than words so model what you want to see in your children.

 

Parents Inspired Action:

After reading this article, checking in on your child’s highest values and keeping in mind their strengths; make a short checklist of items you would like to begin implementing in your every day to bring in the ethical reasoning, critical thinking and communication skills.

 

What are your favorite ways to nurture your children in ethical resonating, critical thinking and communication skills? Please share your thoughts on this by leaving a comment below.

 

Make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter so you always receive updates and latest in balancing education, work and life.

Peace and love,

Donna

 

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About Donna Vail

Donna Vail, Education and Parenting Specialist, is founder of An Inspired Education and the Mentor Mastery Inner Circle, the proven step-by-step program dedicated to maximizing the success in the human potential through homeschooling and life mastery for the whole family. She creates educational programs for homeschool children, “after-school” study programs for public schooled children and personal development for moms, while homeschooling her five children. Get free tips and resources from Donna Vail at: www.donnavailinternational.com

What Will Give Your Child the Leading Edge?

Posted by Donna Vail on May 23, 2013  /   Posted in Academics, Learn More

399825_505369622862489_1783844198_nDo ever wonder if what you’re doing in your homeschool has what it takes to help your children get into a top notch college? Even if you’re not interested in college or maybe your kids are young, you still want to make sure they have a well rounded education.

Recently I took a trip to College Station, Texas where my daughter’s Vet Science 4-H Club attended the Texas A&M University’s 20th Annual Vet School Open House as my daughter is working through the five year 4H Vet Science program sponsored by Texas A&M.

There were so many things to do including tour the small animal clinic, tour the large animal clinic, hands on animal procedures including ultra sounds, radiology, pathology, fistulated cow, and so much more. There were so many things we’ll have to go back next year to see what we missed. It was easy to see why Texas A&M is the country’s top veterinarian school.

Whether your children are interested in vet science or any other higher learning, what I’m about to share with you will benefit all families. And I’ll wrap up this article with Inspired Actions you can implement in your homeschool.

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