Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!

Body Smart — Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence

Child doing a handstand—a Body Smart intelligence!

Today's blog is about those who are Body Smart—an intelligence that is seldom recognized unless you happen to be a highly-paid athlete. So, to get started, let me ask:

Do you remember that student in class who was always drumming their hands on the desk, fidgeting in the chair, and grabbing any excuse that came along to get up and DO something? What did the teacher always say?

“Stop making that noise. Stop fidgeting. SIT DOWN!”

The class realized right away that moving and making noise was wrong, and that anyone who did it was in trouble. And now, here you are, with a child in your homeschool who is exhibiting the same behavior! And you keep trying to do what that teacher tried to do—take the bounciness, the fidgetiness out of that distracting kid—with the same amount of success the teacher had. . .

It’s not a pretty picture, is it?

What if I told you that that student is actually BRILLIANT? And that the drumming on the desk, fidgeting in the chair, and the constant movement shines a spotlight directly on their intelligence!!

It’s called Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence, or, more simply, Body Smart.

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Monica Sewell
Thanks, Diana! I needed this reminder for my one who has figured out how to sit still (now in high school). She did most of her ... Read More
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 16:21
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Picture Smart — Spatial Intelligence

Working with color and design is the joyous stuff of life

Do you have a doodler? Someone who is constantly drawing pictures when you think they're taking notes? Maybe you've got a Lego-loving kid, who only seems interested in building the latest set of Lego structures. Perhaps you've got one who really comes to life when creating animals with Play Dough—or sculpting a pyramid with styrofoam. If so, you may have wondered why they can't stop "messing around" and get down to real work.

Guess what? For those gifted in Spatial Intelligence—whether expressed in something like painting, architecture, flower arranging, sculpture, or Lego masterpieces—working with color and design is the joyous stuff of life! 

(The following is excerpted from my book, Reaping the Harvest.)

This intelligence could be described as being "Picture Smart." People who are strong in this ability tend to think in pictures rather than in words. They can visualize solutions to problems, can see the answers to questions, and can understand the dimensions of a possible scenario. They are brilliant when it comes to using maps, drawing diagrams, designing landscapes, loading cars, painting three-dimensional masterpieces, and more. They have a grasp of the foundational architecture and artistry of the space that surrounds us. Painters, architects, landscape designers, interior decorators, web designers, traffic engineers, design teams who create new styles for cars and trucks, map makers, draftsmen, sculptors, cabinet makers, and more all display the wonderful gift of this intelligence.

Some of the characteristics of this intelligence are:

      • thinks in pictures rather than words
      • learns more from the picture than from the caption underneath
      • inventive
      • draws random images on paper while learning
      • enjoys learning how to paint, sculpt, draw, etc.
      • able to learn and utilize the information from maps and charts
      • can easily picture the location of items in his/her environment
      • finds lost items that have been overlooked by others
      • has a natural ability to draw in perspective
      • appreciates receiving information from visual sources such as photos
      • enjoys visual games and picture puzzles

Spatial Intelligence

If you or your children are strong in this intelligence, then come to grips with the fact that, somewhere in your house, a place needs to be set aside for art projects. Yes, it will be messy at times. But that is a very small price to pay for opening the door for these kinds of learners! 

Provide opportunities and encouragement (perhaps even lessons!) in drawing and painting. For an at-home approach to teaching art, check out the curriculum of Visual Manna, How Great Thou Art, and Artistic Pursuits. Legos and other three-dimensional materials allow students to work with another aspect of Spatial intelligence, giving opportunities for exploring space and design. Encourage students to follow their interests in garden design or interior decorating—playing with color and texture—even if on a very small scale. Photography, graphic design, PowerPoint, craft projects, cake decorating. . .all fall within this intelligence. So have fun, make a mess, and watch your—or your child's—genius blossom!!

We welcome the use of Spatial Intelligence in the History Revealed curriculum. The following is from Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries, Unit 4 (the Holy Roman Empire & the Vikings), Phase 4:

Design a T-shirt for the Normans who are about to invade England with Duke William of Normandy. Since the outcome is still undecided, create a motivating "You can do it!" type of design.

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Music Smart — Musical Intelligence

Does Music Make You Smile?

Does music give you a bounce in your step, a smile on your face, and the zest to do your to-do list?   Have you ever felt like you are dragging through the day. . .UNTIL you put on music? If so, the energizing effect of music is one great indicator that you are  strong in the Musical Intelligence.

Music is one of the most amazing gifts of this life. Regardless of our age or culture, there is music that will stir our heart—reminding us of happy or sad moments in life, and everything in between. Whether folk songs, classical, country-western, hymns, or the latest movie soundtrack, music can connect us to old memories, it can evoke powerful emotions, and it can help us to worship. Profoundly, music can help us communicate the very depths of our heart, whether joy or grief.

And, this “smart” is not limited solely to people who create music. Anyone who enjoys music—at any level—is exhibiting a Musical Intelligence.  Since music adds such a depth of richness to our everyday lives, it is certainly worth spending time and money to cultivate this in our families!

With that in mind, let's take a peek into this "Music Smart" intelligence (excerpted from my book, Reaping the Harvest).

“People who are strong in this area enjoy listening to music, as well as making music. They might be instrumentalists, vocalists, percussionists. They could make instruments; they could play instruments. They might like classical music, country-western music, Polynesian music, jazz music, rhythm and blues, folk music, opera, twentieth century music, African music, Renaissance madrigals, or Japanese music. They might like woodwinds, brass, strings, or percussion. They could play Sousa marches on the CD player to do chores, or a Bach violin sonata to help them write an English composition. This intelligence has to do with rhythmic tapping, soft humming, original composing, guitar strumming, tuneless whistling. Someone strong in this area might very well "sing for their supper" and for any other opportunity that comes their way!

“An example of a person strong in this intelligence would be Johann Sebastian Bach. He was a church organist who composed original church music on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, many of the people of his own time hated it! Too many new ideas!! However, many years later, Felix Mendelssohn discovered Bach's manuscripts and shared them with the rest of the world—which led to an astonishing growth in popularity of this music, which was composed for the glory of God!”

For budding musicians, get them music lessons!If you or any of your kids are strong in this intelligence, step outside of the box! That means, you can look for opportunities to sing your way through subjects. For instance, you can actually learn the countries of the world by singing them. . . And, though this might be obvious, let me say that for these learners, take the time, trouble and expense to get them music lessons if they are interested.  The benefits are numerous—not the least of which is that they will have the opportunity to SHINE.

P.S.  I LOVE music!!  I love to hear it, work with it, sing it, play it, compose it, perform it. That’s why we created the fun of learning American history through its folk music in Experience History Through Music books/CDs. And, it was also delightful to add music into my History Revealed world history curriculum.  We not only learn about music during each chapter (the elements of music, church music, and famous composers), but there are also opportunities for students to create and perform music within their history studies.  We also have a lot of fun with it—as you can see from the example below (part of the Recapping exercise in Unit 2 of World Empires, World Missions, World Wars):

In a small group, decide what the Industrial Revolution would have sounded like to the people of the day (crowded cities, railroads, machinery, telegraph, etc.). Once you have chosen the type of sounds that will best reflect this revolution, organize your team to make a rhythmic and discernible set of sounds, paying attention to rhythm, loudness, and pitch. Can onlookers identify your sounds?

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Cat Womyn
Great post! Thank you! ... Read More
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 16:31
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Nature Smart — Naturalist Intelligence

Are you energized by going outside?

Meet my dear friend, Paul Rushworth, a senior zoo keeper at Werribee Open Range Zoo, in Melbourne, Australia. In this pose with an African serval, Paul demonstrates the trusting relationship he has built over time with this lovely, wild cat.

Why are some people incredibly good with animals? And why are some brilliant when it comes to plants, beaches, mountains, the ocean or rivers—you know, the great outdoors?

Naturalist is a way of being smart, one that we might not pay much attention to in our culture of concrete buildings, offices, apartments, and highways. Yet, for the folks who are gifted in this way, it is a key to opening the doors of opportunity, self-motivation in learning, and fantastic careers. (The following is excerpted from my book, Reaping the Harvest.)

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Self Smart — Intrapersonal Intelligence

Are you refreshed by time alone? Intrapersonal

Today begins an eight-part series on how God has made each of us smart

Now, you might be thinking, "Oh, well, maybe YOU are smart, but I'm not. . .and I have the grades to prove it!

Uh-huh.  I understand!

And I beg to differ.

You are smart.  And so are each of your kids.  It's just that most of us have never learned that there are different ways of being smart. We learned a long time ago that "smart" people were good at math or science, and good at using words and taking tests. Those are the kids that got straight "A's", got scholarships, and got degrees. If we didn't happen to fit that mold, we assumed (or were told) that we were NOT smart. We might be nice, good-looking, hard workers. . . but not SMART.

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