Guest Post by VOCST homeschool mom and blogger, Bekki Sayler
As a veteran homeschooler, I am quick to recognize when my children need something more than what I can offer them at home. Sometimes, they need help in an area that I have absolutely no skill or ability.
After 15 years of teaching my children,(the last 6 while at Valley Oaks), I have learned to ask for help.
Do you have any idea what an incredible pool of resources we have here at our little charter school?
Sure, you may like or love your assigned teacher.
Great, your kids may participate on the same sports team as one of the enrichment teachers. But do you realize that each one of the teachers here on our campus has an area of educational brilliance and delight? I know. They are all wonderful people and great teachers, but they each have their area of expertise.
Our resource teachers do more than process our paperwork and hand us curriculum. They are a collective of master-mind teachers with decades of experience between them.
Spending even 5 minutes with the right resource teacher can:
- Help me grab a vision for the next few weeks of school
- Fill my head with ideas to encourage my student
- Help me understand the big concept, so I can be better prepared to teach my children
- Inspire me to reach for the stars
So who is the right resource teacher?
While I do not know each and ever teacher’s area of passion and expertise, here is my list of go-to people on campus (in alphabetical order).
Ms. Dragonmanovich (Mrs. D)
This is the go to gal for anything and everything having to do with young students. She is exceptionally gifted with the K-2 students. In just a few minutes she can inspire you to turn a beautiful picture book into a vocabulary building, reading strengthening, math, science, art, and music activity for your younger students. Even though my kids are now older, I try to take every workshop she teaches because she inspires me to be a professional educator!
Margo is my resource teacher, so I am biased. Margo is a growing expert in Classical Education. I am inspired to teach my children with excellent literature as a model for excellent handwriting and writing in addition to equipping them to master the “grammar” (fundamental vocabulary) of everything they learn. Margo is my resource for classical education, writing, and anything having to do with the US government and constitution.
What can I say? This man has a rattlesnake skin on his wall and a mounted piranha in his office. My boys adore this world traveler! Do you need help teaching foreign language? Brian is the one to see. When my boys were doing a virtual world tour of the continents, Mr. McFarland spent 30 minutes with us sharing his life adventures as he traveled through South America. The boys learned more in 30 minutes than I could have taught them in 30 days!
This is your “understanding standards” gal. While as homeschoolers, we may not spend a lot of time staring at the state standards, they do provide a valuable benchmark to assess and plan what we are teaching our kids. Ms. McKendrick is a valuable source of ideas of how to make sure you are addressing the standards during your school year!
Shelley is our resident science expert. She simply delights in science, exploration, intrigue and discovery. She is filled to the brim with ideas for not only science topics, but ways to integrate those same ideas with art, math, and writing! Mrs. Prestage is also the science fair guru!
If you can catch her, Mrs. Rosander is a wealth of inspiration. She is especially gifted with technology. I love her passion for literature and nature. If you need creative ideas for projects and fold-ables ask Mrs. Rosander. Because she is truly one of the busiest people I know, I would suggest emailing her any questions. In between escaping dangerous winds in Scotland and teaching 8th graders how to write a research paper she will answer you quickly! Personally, I have gleaned most of my fold-able or interactive folder ideas from this amazing teacher!
If you love math, great. If not, talk to Mrs. Uthof. Not only does she love math, she is good at it. Not only is she good at math, she has tricks: magic tricks. With the skills in her head, she can inspire you to not hate math. Actually, she has saved me a couple of times. The last time I was struggling with how to teach solving percentages. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that in 5 minutes, written on a scrap piece of paper, she taught me how to solve percentages regardless of how the problems were worded.
If you do not get math, talk to Jamie.
If you hate math, talk to Jamie.
If you are confused, talk to Jamie.
I love how Mrs. White teaches kids to be problem solvers and independent thinkers. She has a love for excellent literature which is contagious. I highly recommend simply sitting in one of her classes and watch her interact with the kids. I have learned to stop coddling my children’s learning and freeing them to be independent learners simply by observing her with kids!
We all need help, encouragement, and direction at one time or another. If I were a new homeschooler, I would want to have a list of “who to talk to if_” in my back pocket. You will find that each one of these men and women are not only able to come along and help, but they are delighted to do so!
Be sure to add your list of “experts” to the comments below!