Sunday, June 30, 2013

Two Math Classes from HarmonyPen

Normally the classes I offer are writing classes. But now that I've found the perfect writing curriculum and am teaching that, I'm looking for a way to lift the weakness I see with students in Math. And it's not so easy to find a good Math teacher. A group class would be useful, because there'd be accountability, and a group setting really helps the accountability factor. So I am putting together 2 classes: Math 7 and Algebra 1.

I've researched and chewed over so many different math curriculum. Since my classes are once a week, I'm going to need a math text that assists the student with every problem, but isn't so boring they want to pull their hair out. I would also like part of the class to be inspiring about math, so that my students can catch the vision from someone who is a math enthusiast. If possible, I also want to come at math from several different directions so that students who learn in different ways can still catch on to Pre-Algebra.

So I've found the curriculum I want to incorporate into my teaching:

Curriculum: For on-their-own math study: Teaching Textbooks (which has a teacher on dvd demonstrating every lesson AND every problem if needed). We've tried Saxon. We've tried all kinds of patched together curriculum. Teaching Textbooks has been approved by my two eldest children. Yay!

I found a Math teacher named Barbara to help with the math classes. She has 30 years experience, patience and willingness to use manipulatives to explain concepts. She will be available to answer math questions with an inspiring love of mathematics!

Accountability: Students will be required to complete (and grade their own, fixing their errors and coming with questions to class) five math assignments a week from Teaching Textbooks.

Assessment: Have your student take these assessment tests to know if he/she should take the class: Is your student ready for Math 7? Is your student ready for Algebra 1?

Class will cost: $300 includes everything
Location: The Harmon Schoolroom in Lehi
Times: Math 7 from 2:45-3:45pm, Algebra 1 from 3:45-4:45pm
Dates: Thursdays, September 5-December 12. No class Nov. 28.

Number of students: 1 spot left in Math 7, Algebra 1 FULL

Email me with your questions and if you are interested in registering!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Welcome to Harmony Pen!

Welcome to my blog, Harmony Pen!

My name is Valerie Harmon, and I teach writing classes in Utah County. I started this blog as a way to collect the best writing from my students and to make my writing class information more accessible.

First, you must know that I believe the Institute for Excellence in Writing has created the best essay writing curriculum I've ever seen! I wish I had learned the pattern as a Freshman in college--then it wouldn't have taken me a year and a half to figure out an "A" essay pattern on my own. And yet the pattern is so clear, I can teach it to an 8 year old. I am a HUGE fan of IEW and that is what I use in my essay writing classes.

Second, which IEW books (out of the many) do I recommend? I recommend All Things Fun and Fascinating for an Introductory Writing class and U.S. History Volume 1 Student Manual for an Intermediate Writing class.

I've taught the Medieval-themed text and really enjoyed it. It's a good follow up book to ATFF but easier than the more intermediate US History text.  I did not enjoy and cannot recommend the Bible Writing-themed text (the IEW pattern encourages re-writing and "dressing up" a text, and I did NOT feel comfortable re-writing the Bible).

Third, if you want to use the IEW curriculum, I highly encourage you to watch Andrew Pudewa's parent training dvds (you can buy the set or rent it from Love To Learn) or come to one of my parent trainings ($20 for a four hour session). Although the pattern is clear and fabulous, there's a learning curve to know how to teach it, and you'll be far more successful if you take some training. Don't skip the training!

Fourth, if you order All Things Fun and Fascinating, or U.S. History from Love to Learn, use the code "Valerie" and you'll get FREE SHIPPING (I don't earn any money off the sale, I'm just letting you know of a good deal)!

Fifth, I have taught novel writing from IEW before, and I found the text How To Write A Story
useful as a teaching supplement but not as a student text. Instead, my formula was a short 10 minute lecture on an aspect from How To Write A Story, and then Writing Races (write for 15 minutes, count up the words, the winner gets a sweet). My students also set writing goals for the week that they get a sweet if they accomplish. The most important thing I teach my students is to Finish The Story. Each of my students has novel ideas that are publishable. The biggest difference between them and a published author is a finished story. I'm not saying it has to be polished yet. But it has to be written all the way to the end (and then edited), and yet that is the biggest obstacle for a novelist.

I wasn't going to teach Novel Writing this coming year, but my 12 year old son wants to finish his novel, and he's so encouraged by a writing group that I just changed my mind.

Best writing wishes to you and enjoy my blog!
~Valerie Harmon