How to Choose the Best Homeschooling Curriculum

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SPOILER ALERT:  I’m going to get personal and invite you to ask yourself some tough questions. Stay with me. I promise you'll be glad you did!

At a recent educator’s convention, I interacted with a parent and teacher who was searching for a Grammar and Writing curriculum.  I gently offered her some verbal information, a flyer about Shurley English, and gave her some space.  I observed her leaf through the pages of an older, black and white version of the curriculum with convincing focus.  Then, a confused look on her face invited me to initiate further conversation, so I asked her if she was looking for anything specific… “Grammar and Writing” was her response.  I assured her she was in the right place and began sharing with her the big picture of how Shurley English makes the Grammar-Writing Connection.  I let her know that our latest edition was in a digital format, she immediately said, “This isn’t for my son; I don’t want him on the computer because he gets too distracted,” and she bolted out of the booth.  A surge of questions rushed through my head as I was choking on the dust her trail left behind.  The question that lingered in my mind most was, “Is this curriculum not a good fit for YOU or YOUR CHILD?"

Learning styles are groups of common ways people learn.  We all have a mix of learning styles that may suit us, and some learners have a dominant style.  We utilize different styles based on the situation we are in, too.  We are able to develop our less dominant learning styles and further develop our preferred style.  This experience really nagged at me because the next question that popped up in my mind was, “I wonder if she even knows what type of learner her son is, and does she know what type of a learner she is?”  Whether you’re teaching one child or 30 children, knowing students’ preferred learning style is vital to being an effective teacher!  As a side-note, as an adult and life-long learner, life can be much simpler if you understand YOUR preferred style of learning.

Get familiar with these different styles of learning:

  1. Verbal
  2. Visual
  3. Auditory
  4. Kinesthetic
  5. Logical
  6. Social
  7. Solitary
Source Credit: https://bonniegillespie.com/is-your-learning-style-the-problem/

Source Credit: https://bonniegillespie.com/is-your-learning-style-the-problem/

Sadly, many schools and teachers still use more traditional teaching methods which equates to a limited range of teaching and learning techniques.  Sitting in individual desks (cubicles) and book-based teaching with lectures, reviews, and exams work for some learners, but not all, and many that don’t fit into that box have been labeled with behavior issues, learning disabilities, and even less intelligent.  Hmmm?  That would explain why I struggled in certain subject areas growing up, and why the field of Teaching was so appealing to me; I knew there were multiple ways to learn.  We are all different, so why would anyone think that there is just ONE way to learn? 

If you’re teaching Shurley English, I don’t have to tell you that our method of teaching and the strategies used are for ALL STUDENTS…Shurley students SEE IT, HEAR IT, SAY IT, & DO IT!  As for my convention experience, I respect the parent-teacher’s opinion and decision, but I can’t help but wonder, “What if her child doesn’t learn in the exact same way she does?  What if the child could be engaged in learning and not distracted while on the computer?”  Did this teacher fail to consider the topic of learning style and just miss a huge opportunity for her son/student to become a competent, confident communicator…for life? Being an effective educator is not just about reading from the teacher’s manual in each subject, it’s all about getting below the surface-know your child, know your students, and know the curriculum you teach!

Comment /Source

Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.

 

Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.

 

Helping Parents Understand Shurley English

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I love it when parents want to help their children at home. This kind of attention and assistance can make all the difference. But what happens when the parent is not quite sure about your teaching methods, specifically the Shurley English approach to language arts? Not to worry! We have a resource to help parents understand how Shurley English unfolds in the classroom: The Parent Help Booklet.

Here is a step-by-step process to access our Parent Help Booklet from our website:

 
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Step 1:

Go to www.shurley.com.

 
 
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Step 2:

Click the PRODUCTS AND SERVICES tab.

 
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Step 3:

Scroll to the bottom of the page to the PARENT HELP section.

Click the level desired.

 
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Step 4:

Print the Parent Help Booklet you wish to distribute.

 

 

© Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc.

Comment /Source

Cindy Goeden

Cindy Goeden has enjoyed being involved with Shurley English for the last sixteen of her twenty-six years in the field of education.  Working with various levels of students in elementary, junior, and high schools, in both the private and public arenas, Cindy surely is thankful for the providential day that she was introduced to Shurley English, which changed forever her approach to Language Arts instruction. That has led to her current job of having the joy of sharing about Shurley with other educators.  Her love of learning has prodded her to earn over two hundred and twenty hours, which includes two bachelor degrees in education.

 

Cindy currently lives with her husband, Donald, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she enjoys puttering in her flowers, changing up her décor with the seasons, and occasionally getting out and traveling with Donald to either explore a new beach or view historic sights and gardens.

Shurley English Centers for Your ELA Classroom

(This is part two of a two-part series on Language Arts Centers. If you missed part one, you can find it here.)

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Now that you’ve decided to create Shurley English Centers in your classroom and have solidified the details of my  7 Must Dos, let’s brainstorm some topics and activities that you might decide to include in your Shurley Centers!

Here are some possible center/station ideas to get you started:

 

  1. Listening/Video/Jingles

-Have groups practice some of the Shurley English Jingles that stump them. (Preposition Flow, Transition Words, Eight Parts of Speech)

-Allow groups to record a video of themselves performing their favorite Shurley English Jingle.

-Have the group listen to and view different videos from YouTube that show other classrooms practicing their Shurley English Jingles; see if this helps your class gain some new ideas for “jazzing up” their current jingles.

 

2. Question & Answer Flow Practice

-Create a sheet with a set of Practice Sentences on it. Place the sheet in a plastic protector. Allow group members to partner up to lead each other through the Q&A Flow; one person uses a dry erase maker to label the sentences as the other person recites the Q&A Flow. (Be sure to create several Practice Sentence sheets for this center.)

 

3.  Practice & Revised Sentences/Sentence Blueprints

- Have a pre-written sentence or two prepared as the Original Sentence for students to work from.  Ask them to use different Sentence Structure Strategies to revise the Original Sentence.  Be sure to have dictionaries and thesauruses available at the center.  Students can draw a picture of their Revised Sentence and can be expected to share it during the Wrap-Up if they’d like. 

-Vocabulary and Spelling activities can be incorporated into this center, as well.  Have students create a fill-in-the-blank worksheet. Each student can write sentences that use words from the Power Words list.  Students can exchange papers with their group members to become familiar seeing and using these new words.

 

4.  Writing

–Have a fishbowl of different fun, quick writing prompts ready for students to individually choose and write about.  Include specific writing requirements such as including compound and complex sentences, incorporating Power Words, including inverted word order sentences, using colors to circle different parts of speech or types of sentences, and following the Three-Point Paragraph organizational format, etc.

-Pull in a part of the Writing Process for students to work on.

-Allow students to record themselves reading their rough draft to help them revise a short writing piece.

-Use a Writing Across the Curriculum activity here…just get the materials ready and you’re all set!

 

5.  Silent Station

-It’s nice to have a quiet group or two. If possible, a Chapter Check-Up or Classroom Practice worksheet can be assigned here to be completed independently and graded.

-Reading and Literature Time are incorporated into the Shurley English curriculum, so don’t hesitate to include a reading passage, poem, or research time into this type of Learning Center.

 

6.  Teacher Station/Float

-I often placed myself at a center where I reviewed a tricky concept with students to make sure they received more individualized attention and differentiated instruction. 

-Float around and monitor each center from a distance.  This allows the students to experience a sense of freedom that can build autonomy, independence, and self-confidence…you are showing them that you trust them to be active self-managers.             

 

Remember, all instructions should be typed out at each center in order for each group to follow them independently, along with all necessary materials/supplies for each activity.

 

The Bottom Line-BE CREATIVE & HAVE FUN!!

 

Comment /Source

Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.

 

Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.