What Makes a Great Teacher Great?

When you think of some of your best high school teachers, those whom you learned the most from, what comes to mind? What makes those teachers more effective? Or, on the other hand, what made some teachers who taught very little so bad at teaching? I’ve been pondering these ideas as I’m working on planning my teens’ education, trying to figure out how to help them learn best.

I think of my Trigonometry and Calculus teacher who took us outside and had us work on calculating the height of the flag pole. Though we’d had such problems in the book, Continue reading What Makes a Great Teacher Great?

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Teaching a Preschooler at Home

Our little guy will be three years old in a couple of months. I’ve been assessing what he has learned. No, I haven’t given him some standardized test or even some informal test. Those sorts of things certainly aren’t necessary at this age (or for several years to come) when the child is with someone with whom he is comfortable and who has time to observe him often.

So what does he know? Currently, he knows all the letters of the alphabet by name. He knows a sound that each letter makes. (We haven’t worked on long vowels, or soft consonant sounds, or other advanced phonics skills yet. “The Letter Factory” video has been a favorite for some time and has to be given most of the credit for this.) Continue reading Teaching a Preschooler at Home