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Summer Reading - books for all ages.
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Timeless Teaching Tips: How to Think Like a Teacher


Timeless Teaching Tips: How to Think Like a Teacher

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Publisher: Joyce Herzog

Author: Joyce Herzog

List Price: $18.00

Ages: Adult

Reviewed By: Jean Hall

Timeless Teaching Tips is a book full of teacherly wisdom suited not just to homeschoolers, but church school, Vacation Bible School, co-ops, music lessons, and many other teaching situations.

If you’re a new homeschooler, however... I remember the vague feeling of panic, when I first set out to teach my own. Perhaps not so vague; we’d talked about homeschooling for several years and had always been talked out of it by professional teachers of our acquaintance. Our child, with her learning delays, needed “expert” attention. We tried to go along with this advice, both in the public school system and in private schools. It felt like gambling – she’d blossom under a wise, kind, experienced teacher (she had two or three of these, over the years, but more who caused her to pull into her shell) and we’d have hope until the next teacher came along.

Timeless Teaching Tips just happens to have a warning against “mainstreaming” special children, with encouragement for teaching them at their own pace, allowing them to learn in their own way, on the timetable that their Maker set up for them.

In the end, it wasn’t the gamble of “good teacher/destructive teacher” that decided us, but rather the bullying that the school officials seemed helpless to address. We pulled our child out of school. I only wish we’d acted in February, when we made the decision, rather than finishing out the school year because it seemed less like quitting somehow. My husband encouraged me with, “Just try it over the summer.”

Standardized testing was mandatory in our state, and the student had to score higher than the fifteenth percentile or the law would allow the system to “remand” the child, or, so far as I could tell, force the parents to put the child back in school. Our child took the test and scored in the ninth percentile, at the beginning of the summer. After a year of homeschooling, she scored in the nineteenth percentile. You may be underwhelmed by such a score, but we were jubilant. Not only had her score climbed ten percentile points but we were also above that “magic” cut-off line that allowed us to continue to do what was working.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe in test scores as a measure of learning. But by the measure employed by the state bureaucracy, our child was doing “better” at home than at school. I could have told them that! She went from adding 1+1 and getting “4” to knowing the addition tables well enough to add columns of six-digit numbers, in just a few months of home teaching.

But it was a process of trial and error, and those first few years, when all I knew was what I’d learned in public school, were much more difficult than they had to be! I was using “canned curriculum” – a complete curriculum from a Christian educational publisher, and it was a grind and a trial for my child and me. We struggled for five years, trying different curriculum packages, before I learned about a technique called “narration” and another called “copywork” and began to apply these with amazing results. At the same time I’d been hearing about “delight-directed learning” and saw it in action, when our child took an interest in rabbits and studied everything she could find on the subject, gulping down information and memorizing without seeming effort. She went from a foot-dragging, reluctant student to a learner.

And that’s what Timeless Teaching Tips is all about: nurturing life-long learners. The book begins with two pages addressing a crucial foundation for teaching your children. Want to know what it is? Obedience.

And then the book gets into the concept of teaching, and we’re not talking about crowd-control techniques or any of the other skills that institutional teachers must master, but rather how people learn. The author begins with the advice to “think like a teacher” (e.g. know your child and use basic common sense. Realize that children are persons. Give them choices. Encourage mature language. Listen to your child.) “Steps of good teaching” gives an overview on how to present information, from getting attention in the first place and whetting the appetite for learning, to final review, and everything in between. And on we go, discovering the difference between knowledge and skill, finding ways to stimulate desire to learn by incorporating interests, enhancing learning (music, movement, color, comfort – I found myself nodding over this section, remembering how our wiggly learners listen better while crocheting with colorful yarn in hand), and more.

There is so much meat in this book, so many practical tips, that I could practically write a book in describing and praising Timeless Teaching Tips! You’ll find “something for everyone” here. There are tips for teaching when you have preschoolers underfoot, and teaching several ages at once (multi-level learning). There are suggestions for record keeping. Habits and household chores are addressed. There are specific sections that address math, teaching reading, thinking skills, reading comprehension, and spelling. Character is an important issue, and spiritual training is succinctly addressed, with practical tips and exhortation.

The last section of the book is entitled “Gems” – and that is exactly what is contained in these pages. These are little bits of instruction and encouragement, suited to copying on a 3 x 5 card or posting on a wall, worth memorizing as you apply them. It would take pages to list all the topics covered! (Organization, praise, attitude, word selection, expectations, goal-setting, following instructions, environment for living and learning; these are just a few of the topics.)

Even as an “experienced” homeschooler (I suppose more than a dozen years would qualify me for that label) I have found encouragement and reminders of things that worked for our eldest, that I need to revisit now for the younger two. I would highly recommend Timeless Teaching Tips to any homeschooler, but especially to the beginning teacher who’s feeling that vague panic that she’s got to do “something”, and do it now! You’ll find many words of wisdom, tested and refined by experience, to encourage you on your way.
More Information
Available From: Joyce Herzog
Phone: 800.745.8212
Other Notes:
Purchase Now From the Eclectic Homeschool Resource Center
Jean Hall
Jean Hall, a Christian home educator with three daughters, enjoys writing stories and music. Her family's interests include reading together, art, gardening, volkswalking and pets: two cats and a Giant Schnauzer.
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