When I am searching for curriculum resources to use in homeschooling my own children, I keep the standard quite high. I seek resources that really teach kids how to think, solve meaningful problems, and communicate with others. This allows each child to showcase his or her area of giftedness.
What type of learning activities provide opportunities for kids to learn how to think and excel in their giftedness? Here is a list to keep in mind:
Activities need to be interesting to students.
The reason is simple: When kids are motivated, it is so much easier to keep them focused and learning. Additionally, when students are interested, they are much more likely to stretch their thinking and really challenge themselves. My favorite resource is Evan-Moor’s Daily Word Problems. My kids enjoy the facts about animals while being challenged to think in new ways to solve math problems.
Activities should provide opportunities to share and show students’ thinking.
We can only teach kids what they don’t know, right? However, we have to get inside our kids’ minds to know exactly what they are thinking! Evan-Moor’s activities always encourage students to show their thinking so that we teachers can better guide their learning. By offering activities that go beyond repetitive skill practice, students are excited to share their thinking and give priceless insight into their thinking processes.
Activities encourage students to pause and double-check their thinking.
It is so easy for students to go on “auto-pilot” and fail to really pay attention. (It is easy for adults, too!) One favorite Evan-Moor math question was “How many wings are there on a dog?” I overheard comments like, “Wait, what did that say?” and “Did I read that right?” and “Ummm, dogs don’t have wings, so why are they asking us that?” All of those great questions were music to my ears! My children were not on auto-pilot, but rather were actively engaged in their learning. Once they understood the answer was “zero,” there were lots of giggles and hopes for more silly questions in the future.
Evan-Moor publications keep my kids thinking and having fun practicing their skills. Do your kids have a favorite Evan-Moor resource? Please share any favorites in the comments section!
Amy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website http://www.thrivehomeschooling.com.