Ignite Home-based Learning
Curiosity • Creativity • Self-Esteem • Metacognition • Executive Function • Emotions & Learning
I know a ten-year-old boy named Jake who has many strengths: he is athletic, musical and artistic. He likes all academic areas and does not struggle with any particular subject. But, he does not learn best with the more traditional learning structures in schools today – doing worksheets, memorizing rote facts, lecture style learning.
This type of learning does not make sense to Jake and the way he processes information, so he becomes easily overloaded. An outside observer might not notice when he is overloaded by his environment because he uses a great deal of focus and energy to try to get as much information and understanding as he can. This form of learning, however, exhausts and confuses him and ultimately does not have him feeling smart and confident. Jake is forced to go into SURVIVAL mode, trying to retain what little bits of information he can to make sense of his experience.
These learning forms also make it hard for Jake to retain what he has learned (most kids I have worked with don’t like this type of learning either.) He needs time to process what he is learning and opportunities to turn what he experiences into language. He needs an environment that contains a ton of discussion, reflection time, previewing and reviewing; where use of language, “thinking aloud”, making connections with what he already knows and asking questions are all used regularly as a part of his learning plan.
However, and here is the tricky part, Jake tends to also need frequent break times from learning/processing time where he can do a quiet, creative, right-brain activity or one that allows him to be more passive (like watching a video) or a movement activity (like kicking a ball) to give his brain a break.
Jake is my son. And he is also the perfect example of a student that would benefit from a made-for-him in-home classroom environment like the ones I help parents set up in their homes through Ignite Home-based Learning.
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Have you come to the decision that educating your child at home is the best choice for your Unique Learner and family? Would you like to learn about our innovative and fluid home-based learning program and how you can support your child’s unique learning style?
Provide your information below and we’ll be in touch with more information about our customized program and how to apply, along with helpful resources, practical tools, and tips.
Your privacy is always respected and your information is confidential and will not be shared.
If you have a Unique Learner(s) who would benefit from homeschooling and you’re not sure where to start, I invite you to an Ignite Home-based Learning consultation.
In Ignite Home-based Learning, we create innovative, customized programs that are suited to your child’s needs including their:
- Ultimate Learning Environment
- Specific Learning Style
- Physical Space: learning space layout, type of desk, chair, colors etc.
- Emotional Affect: This refers to emotions and learning and creating a space that supports your child’s fullest potential
- Self-Responsibility and Self-Awareness: This includes knowing and being able to accept and even celebrate oneself as a person and learner
- Metacogntion: This means how we think about thinking and asking questions
- Executive Function
- Stress/Anxiety/Sensitivities around life and learning: Here we address clearing patterns formed very early around learning
- Ability to make empowering choices: Activities that support their fullest potential (diet and exercise) and getting life experience are some of the areas considered and addressed
- Personality type and temperament
- Objectives and family/community needs
- Wellness needs of the whole student and whether short-term or long-term development is best
- Interests and creating lessons around them: we often start with what is familiar and then expand into the unfamiliar
And we also address how to incorporate the following whenever necessary or beneficial:
- Learning Needs & Differences
- Appropriate learning materials
- Scheduling your days, months, and the upcoming year
- Lesson Length
- Breaks/Time off from thinking
- Processing Time
- Connecting beyond the classroom
- Doing vs. Showing
- Hands on learning vs. lecture learning
- Talking/Thinking Aloud
- Survival Mode vs. Learning Mode
My philosophy on homeschooling is the same as my philosophy on learning in general: address the specific needs of the learner and help them feel good about learning so they can shine. I am concerned with creating a safe space for learning – for both the learner and the facilitator. I’m here to create a learning program for your child from scratch – there is no cookie cutter approach here and there is no box. All of my ideas are out of the box. Each learning day considers personality type, active, passive and active/passive learning, processing, creativity, personal gifts, talents and interests. Some activities are rest activities, some are active learning activities, some are self-reflection activities and activities that make connections with the world around the individual.
I also teach the parent or learning facilitator how to create fluid learning plans that constantly adjust to your child’s needs as they grow and change. We will customize your physical space to fit your child’s ultimate learning environment – whether that means sitting, standing, a place to rest and relax, having music around or very limited stimulation, to name a few. We will also create and set learning boundaries around how to switch from family time or free time to learning time – which, as you may know, can get tricky when you are learning from home.
For Parents and
Sometimes parents want or need to homeschool their child/children, but they don’t know how to get started. I coach the parent as the learning facilitator to set-up the space, create a structure, choose/gather materials and facilitate the lessons. I also help the learning facilitator to be calm and positive for their student, especially when he/she has experienced a lot of trauma around how they learn.
I help find the answers to the following questions:
- Who is going to teach your student(s)?
- When? (scheduling for each day, week, year)
- How? (form of each lesson and then the bigger picture for how to support each student emotionally, physically, mentally, intellectually, creatively, etc.)
- Where? (in home/out of home or both)
- Why? (What are the specific intentions for your student(s) individually and as a group?)
I will help make adjustments to all of the above, so that it continually meets the needs of the student(s) wellness, growth and fullest potential.
I also help with how to communicate with your student/child. The goal is to grow confidence and self-esteem as they learn so they can be their brilliant selves and shine.
“When I first met Michele, I was a frustrated and lost high school freshman who felt as if he was always one step behind the rest of the class. The first day Michele and I met, I was fumingly sitting at my parents dining room table studying for a Social Studies exam that I was in no way prepared for. By the time Michele left my house, a few hours later, I was already not only prepared for the exam, but EXCITED to go into the classroom and give that bully of a test everything that I had.
By the end of our four immensely productive years together, I was prepared to enter my freshmen year of college a confident and independent man. I was no longer afraid of my schoolwork but instead eager to approach it head-on.
In a nutshell, Michele awakened the passionate academic inside of me. Without her, I would still be under the impression that it is not cool to be smart and hardworking. Not a day goes by where I do not fully incorporate the lessons she taught me and the work ethic she ingrained not only into my mind, but also in my soul.”
– Jake P. (Student)
Here are some more Frequently Asked Questions* to consider that may help you in navigating becoming/improving being a Home-based Learning Facilitator: (*I’ve provided answers for the top 4 questions below)
How do I fulfill both roles of teacher and parent?
When you are the learning facilitator, it is very important that you set a “ stress free” tone in your space. It is important to leave any worry and past frustrations/dynamic you may have with your child outside of your space. Taking a mindful moment to breathe and prepare yourself to change roles is important. If you and your student have been in conflict about something, your learning environment is not the place to show frustration, disapproval or be in opposition. It is a place for your student to explore who they are as a learner, how they learn best and their excitement and curiosity to do so.
It is also a time for them to go through what they find frustrating and challenging and find ways to get through these challenges. The learning space is a time for thinking, feeling, discovering and transforming. If there happens to be distracting emotions like worry, fear and anger and “family dynamics”, they are best left at the door. When setting up your learning facilitation plan, it’s best to identify these emotions and the dynamics that happen. Please contact me if you need help. My goal is to support you in using your own strengths, talents and capabilities as you facilitate your child’s learning.
What should my specific form for learning look like given my specific student(s), space, time, talents, budget, intentions, and learning style?
Your student has had a past learning/living experience that potentially caused a lot of stress and anxiety or, what I call, “mini-traumas”. They are most likely left with low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, possibly resulting in emotional outbursts, oppositional behavior and/or withdrawal. They are likely not even aware of how they learn. This leaves your child in survival mode and is not conducive to their best learning.
Close attention needs to be paid to the space they learn in and a plan that supports something new. Remember, there is a starting place and then there is a “fine-tuning” that happens as you see what works and best supports your student and what does not. Your learning environment is always changing just like life is always changing. There is not a finished point but there are strategies, structures and practices that will support your particular learner that he or she will take into their life forever.
How do I distinguish our learning time from our free time, play time and/or mealtime?
It is important to keep learning time very separate from free time. As I have told my students many times, when you do free time activities (e.g., texting with friends) while studying or learning, you get “the least of both worlds.” You are not doing your best learning because you are continually distracting yourself.
Make sure to mark focused learning time with a sort of practice or tradition that lets your student and you both know that you are in your learning space, free from outside distractions like cell phones. An example of this would be when you close the door to the learning space, playing a particular favorite song, putting on a certain pair of shoes, hat or t-shirt to show that you are ready to learn. You could also try the question of the morning, a theme for the day, something to think about that helps shape the day and students transition into learning time.
When you are in this space, you are the learning facilitator and you are no longer doing parental duties. You and your student(s) are focused on learning. Have fun creating with your student(s) a routine to mark the beginning and end of your learning time.
How do I help my child to avoid “meltdowns” during the learning process?
It’s essential to allow your child to process their emotions and notice when they are feeling stressed. This shows the student how to use strategies that specifically help them rest, re-energize and take care of themselves. It does not work for some students to “push through the day” without “resting their brains”.
When my son, for one, stops being able to efficiently and effectively process information, and steps into trying to force himself to do so, he becomes very fatigued, frustrated, overwhelmed and anxious and, inevitably, will have a “meltdown”. This experience then has him feeling badly about himself. One of the intentions for his learning plan would include how to support him in NOT reaching the point of “meltdown”. I will help you with this common issue should it arise.
Following are additional questions that can be helpful for learning facilitators to consider when working to create a positive and effective learning experience and environment:
How do I keep a learning structure in my home?
How do I teach to a kinesthetic “hands on” learner?
How do I best teach to my feeling type student?
How do I keep my child interested/motivated?
When and how do I alleviate stress and when do I nudge my student forward?
How, when and why do I more directly help/model for my student and when do I wean myself as the learning facilitator?
How do I best work with the time, money, resources and materials and student(s) I have?
How do I develop my own library for the facilitation of learning?
What stresses me out about this process and what do I do to alleviate that stress?
What stresses my student(s) out about this process/learning/the environment and what do I do to alleviate that stress?
When should I seek support from an outside source? What do I do when I’m not comfortable teaching a certain subject like math or science?
A note to the unique learner …
If you and your family have decided it would be best for you to learn at home, you may have some questions or concerns. I am here to make sure you feel comfortable in your learning environment and feel good about this choice. I will help your parent or learning facilitator to do their very best to work with your strengths, understand your challenges and help you feel good as you learn and grow. Homeschooling can be a wonderful experience for you and your family. My goal is to help you be heard in what you need and want and what will help you shine on this journey and in your life.
Thank you for your trust.