Tag: English

Teaching and Using Idioms

An idiom is a group of words or an expression that means something different to the literal meaning of the words. As an example, “to bark up the wrong tree,” is to look for something in the wrong place or to go about something in the wrong way. Idioms can be grouped by language (some idioms are particularly Aussie whereas the British have their own peculiar idioms) and other idioms can be grouped by other particulars such as animals, food, colours, health, time, sports, etc. Continue reading

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2012 The National Year of Reading

The National Year of Reading 2012 is about children learning to read and keen readers finding new sources of inspiration. It’s about supporting reading initiatives while respecting the oral tradition of storytelling. It’s about helping people discover and rediscover the magic of books. And most of all, it’s about Australians becoming a nation of readers. Nearly half the population can’t read with any fluency. It’s a shameful and worrying statistic. TNYR has identified three goals which will help turn Australia into a nation of readers and encourage a reading culture in every home:   For all Australians to understand...

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Poetry Month

April is Poetry Month! National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. We hope to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated. Now while initially an American holiday we can use Poetry Month as a way of sharing how we appreciate poetry- Aussie style! Join us in the forums or our blog and share Poetry Month with us.  Further Information National Poetry Month Teacher lesson plans Tips for teachers Ideas to incorporate poetry into your lifestyle Some ideas that homeschoolers can easily begin and continue are: Start a Commonplace BookSince the Renaissance, devoted readers have been copying their favorite poems and quotations into notebooks to form their own personal anthologies called commonplace books."  Read a book of poetry "Poetry is a response to the daily necessity of getting the world right." Memorize a poem "Getting a poem or prose passage truly 'by heart' implies getting it by mind and memory and understanding and delight." Revisit a poem "America is a country of...

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What is 'Copywork'?

  Copywork is a cornerstone of our English program in our home-based-learning. Many things have come and gone over the years but copywork is a tried and true, effective tool for us. Copywork is not a Charlotte Mason invention. Nor was it invented by Ruth Beechick. It is as old as old.  However, CM elucidated upon the idea, incorporated it into her method, which dovetailed with her philosophy of education and it is now very popular. Ruth Beechick uses the idea of copywork/copywriting/transcription or whatever else you'd like to name it. 'Learning Language Arts through Literature', in which Ruth Beechick helped to form, uses copywork and dictation as a cornerstone of their program. You might find it helpful to know what both Charlotte Mason and Ruth Beechick have to say on the why and wherefore's of copywork. Knowing that, you will be able to *pick the meat and toss the bones*…taking what you need for your child.   Charlotte Mason style Bear in mind that CM developed a philosophy of education and the methods she combined were supposed to be used in conjunction with that philosophy. I'll explain what I mean eh? Miss Mason liked the idea of short lessons. This served the purpose of securing the child's attention totally, but for short periods. This enabled a child to tend to all of his studies without boredom. Similarly, Miss...

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Laid-back Learning for Non-Readers (3)

Most of the learning my children have acquired over the years has come from their own self-initiated, independent reading. But what do you do while you're waiting for that magic moment of independence to arrive? You plot. Set up an environment that invites inquiry and discovery — even if a child can't read the fine print. I think the Montessori model comes closest to what I imagine, but her theory incorporates neatly organized stations for exploration strategically located about the room. It's at the "neatly organized" level that my model falls apart. I'm more of a "randomly scattered" kind of mom. "Yes, that science microscope you just tripped over in the center of the living room could very well have been intentionally placed there for your discovery, but I doubt it." Anyway, do fill up the environment wherever possible with interesting bits and pieces for discovery: National Geographic maps taped to the walls; aquariums, terrariums, cocoons; seedbeds for the spring garden; postcard art prints; lots of music; lots of paints; clay; beads and buttons for counting and sorting; puppets; a makeshift theater from a refrigerator box found in an alley way, etc. All these were part of the daily environment my children explored freely when young. The Purpose of Structured Learning The first goal of structured learning should be to teach a child to read. But the purpose of...

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