Tuesday, May 18, 2010

CHAP Homeschool Convention 2010

I'm sorry that I haven't posted in quite some time. I've been having lost of computer problems.
I wanted to share about our annual CHAP Homeschool Convention that took place Friday and Saturday, May 7th and 8th, 2010 in Harrisburg, PA. I love the convention. I have not missed a single year since we've been homeschooling. Even if I don't have a lot that I need to purchase for the following school year, it is so worth going for the seminars. The speakers are very good, and I can always find something that applies to where I am at in my homeschooling journey. It's great because I always come home refreshed, rejuvenated and excited for the coming school year.

This year there weren't any well-known speakers, other than Michael Smith of HSLDA, but they had lots of great things to share. I wanted to find a good program to teach our new little guy how to read. This year we've been working on some simple 3-letter words, after I was sure he knew the alphabet and the sounds of the letters, and he's been doing really well with that, but I want him to be able to start some actual reading next year. When our middle boy was learning all of this, we used "Sing, Spell, Read and Write" which was wonderful, but I sold it a couple of years ago because we thought we were done adding to our family, and now it's no longer available.

Well, I was able to find another great program. It's called "Rocket Phonics". It was created by a kinesthetic learner and his wife. It's got great activities for kinesthetic learners and active boys and I'm sure our little guy will love it. It even includes some scavenger hunts. I found it by attending a seminar entitled "Hands-On Teaching Tips for Hands-On Learners and More!" I think that our little one is a combination of the kinesthetic learner and the visual learner. He likes to do things for himself, and loves to touch and move things, but he also loves to look at brightly colored pictures and find things in pictures.

In the seminar, Stephen Guffanti said that the kinesthetic learners experience before learning. He said that impulsivity drives hands-on learners to learn faster. He said the philosophy of kinesthetic learners is to "make mistakes, learn from them, make more mistakes and learn more." Stephen said that kinesthetic learners want to know three things: 1) Is it moving?
2) Can I touch it? 3) What happens next?

Stephen Guffanti said that kinesthetic learners think when they move (no movements, no thoughts). He suggested you teach to their strengths, (which I would recommend for every type of learner), not their weaknesses. He said that they need to be doing something else while they are learning. He suggested putting a rubber band around the front two chair legs so that they can bounce their feet on it, if you have them sitting at the table, because this is movement they can do that is relatively quiet and should not disturb others. He also suggested keeping lessons short and taking mini breaks and/or playing games. He suggested that you have them do brain warm-ups before even trying to begin lessons. He suggested cross-body movements (i.e. doing a movement with the right arm and the left leg at the same time, etc.).

If a kinesthetic learner's energy level is too low, they're doing something too frustrating. Let them get up and move or jump, etc. It's best not to make kinesthetic learners sit for lessons, but they can learn while sitting if you use the rubber band as mentioned above or have them sit on a textured chair. They can also learn while playing catch or jumping up and down on a trampoline.

I hope you found this information helpful. I will post again, hopefully tomorrow, about another seminar and speaker that I experienced at the convention. After I finish posting about the convention, I will post about the end of our school year. Our last day is Tuesday, May 25th.

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