No Presents This Year?
Picture this. As the most special day of the year-besides my birthday- came closer, something happened that would change the way I looked at Christmas for the rest of my life. This particular Christmas took place over fifty years ago, when I was just a boy.
I grew up in a family of seven children. We knew that when it came to presents, we could never expect to get everything on our lists. But each Christmas we submitted them to our parents anyway, hoping for something big that year. That special day was less than three weeks away, and our lists were in. Read more...
Your Child Should Know This By Now
Got your attention, didn’t I? We moms are certainly susceptible to fearing that our children might be behind in something.
It starts when we’re pregnant. Your book for expectant moms says you should feel kicking by 20 weeks. If you don’t feel kicking yet, you need an ultrasound to see what’s going on.
Well, maybe. But maybe your due date’s a wee bit off, or you don’t realize that the bubbly feeling in your abdomen is the baby kicking. There’s no point in freaking out yet, but the tone of the book makes you feel pretty insecure. Read more...
Online-Based Homeschool Planning Made Easy
Beta testers wanted! Get in on the ground floor of this great new Lesson Planner. You you will never know how you did without it! Use CODE HEFT when you sign up!
Would you like to help us test a product for the Homeschool community?
A Christian organization along with a team of experienced techies specializing in Apple and PC technology partnered with an elite group of tech savvy homeschoolers (who have been frustrated with the current lesson planning tools on the market) to build a better lesson planning web application. They launched a prototype at the INCH conference in MI earlier this year and had an alarmingly high positive response rate to the product.
In this last phase of development, WE NEED YOU! Will you be a beta tester for us?
We value your time! You will receive 3 months FREE!
Delight Directed Learning
Some people just aren’t textbook people! What do you do if your homeschooler learns by living, instead of studying textbooks? What if your child soaks up knowledge like a sponge, without being directed in any way? Can you still create a serious-looking high school transcript?
My son Alex was a self-motivated extreme learner. If only it were an Olympic event, like extreme sports! He learned novel writing for fun, and wanted to take a third year of French even though I didn’t have a curriculum for him. He asked for an American Government curriculum for Christmas, and read every economics book he could get his hands on. Although his “love language” is reading, he was still a delight-directed learner. When it was time to make his transcript, I still had to figure out how to translate his experiences onto a piece of paper. Read more...
Homeschool: How We Do It
One morning last week, before my kids Desmond and Nini had begun their home-school kindergarten day, they were playing on the floor with a random assemblage of building blocks, figurines and toy vehicles, like a zillion other 5-year-olds around the world. Since I was theoretically in charge while their mother got ready for the day, I surfaced from my cup of coffee and the New York Times sports section to listen in for a few seconds. It turned out they were building a temple for Ganesh, the elephant-headed god who removes obstacles from the lives of observant Hindus. Their construction materials were the columns and blocks from a Greco-Roman architecture play set.
I made some wry dad comment: Hindu gods at a Greek temple, ha ha ha. Literally jumping up and down with excitement, Desmond set me straight: "We're playing ancient times, Daddy, when there was trade between Greece and India! They traded stuff, and they traded ideas!" Read more...
How and Why to Instill Gratitude in Your Children
Sincere gratitude seems to be dying out in America, but Andrea and David Reiser say it’s a trend that can be reversed by involved parents.
Hoboken, NJ (November 2010)—Venture out to the mall, and you’ll doubtless see multiple examples of what’s fast becoming the “typical” kid: selfish, entitled, impolite, ungrateful, and constantly plugged in to video games, computers, cell phones, etc. You’ve encountered kids like this often—and perhaps, despite your best intentions, you’re afraid the previous description might apply to your own children as well. Overall, it seems that parents across the country have thrown up their hands in frustration and defeat—but David and Andrea Reiser say that we don’t have to settle for an America full of kids who take everything they have for granted. Read more...
How to Turn Being Broke into a Unit Study (or Depressions don't need to be depressing!)
One of the most powerful lessons I learned from my parents was the ability to live with few material possessions. It certainly is a helpful lesson for getting us through the current economic situation. The generation that lived through the Great Depression took care of whatever they had. In my mother's household, it mattered which way you rolled the cord up for the toaster; how often you oiled the moving parts on the sewing machine; which way the pots were stacked in the cabinet. Everything was done for one purpose: to conserve resources and keep everything in good shape. Nothing was ever thrown away. When socks got holes in them, they were darned. When they finally gave up the ghost, they became rags for dusting. When clothing was outgrown, it was passed down to the next child, and the next, until the family ran out of children. At that point it was cut up into squares to make a quilt. The buttons were cut off and put in the button box. The zipper was carefully removed and sewn into the next garment. Read more...
Homeschooling Gifted Children: Life In The Asynchronous Family
Max has not only been highly gifted all of his life, but also somewhat adolescent all of his life...at 14, he can display a ferocious insistence for justice with the passions and tenacity of a 3-year-old...this gets confusing! We were told that at age 9 he displayed "cognitive reasoning skills way beyond his years." I wish he came with a blinking sign on his forehead to let me know just who I am dealing with: the 3-year-old, the 14-year-old, or the 25-year-old.
Last summer an ill-placed golf ball landed in the bedroom of a house adjoining a picturesque lighthouse. (Remind me to ask how this boy could ignore the physics of playing golf in a densely populated suburban neighborhood.) As glass went crashing, his highly gifted buddy was heard to have prayed, "Thank God it wasn’t me!" I hear myself asking Max, again and again, 'What were you thinking?" Read more...
Not "If" We Grade, But "How" we grade
Some home schoolers hold the belief that grading and learning don’t mix, that grades and grading, being a fairly recent innovation used by schools, should be avoided at all costs. Over the years, teachers have been accused of “teaching to the test” to gain professional recognition and merit pay. Some instructors have actually been found guilty of tampering with student’s answers on standardized tests to insure certain outcomes were achieved.
Military Families Who Want to Home-School Their Children Find Support
ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. — More military parents are embracing home schooling, rejecting the age-old tradition of switching schools for their children when they are redeployed.
They are finding support on bases, which are providing resources for families and opening their doors to home-schooling cooperatives. Read more...
From our Last Issue:
Advice from Veterans (Homeschooling) can be Valuable
Homeschooling, like parenting, is not a precise art. There is no carefully detailed prescription; no clearly defined road map guaranteeing that if you just follow this book or that method and bear toward so-and-so's philosophy - you 'll arrive at your perfect destination. We need advice-givers today.
Years ago, parents were surrounded with loving advisors. Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles all lived under one roof or close at hand - so advice about children or anything else for that matter flowed as freely as water from a faucet... only it couldn 't be readily turned off. But that was usually a good thing. Today, families are flung far and wide across the country or countries. Even with the advent of email and cell phones and texting, communication can be difficult and the problems that arise during parenting and, of course, homeschooling are sometimes daunting. Questions arise almost daily. We veterans can help. Read more...
They Did Finally Learn to Read!
WAITING TO EXHALE was such an inspiring book. In fact, just its title inspires me the most. Have you ever caught yourself 'waiting to exhale?'
I have spent so much of my life holding my breath. Raising my children has certainly been one of those situations. For me, every decision in parenting had to be thoroughly researched and then deliberated and discussed. And once the decision was made, I found myself holding my breath, worrying about how it would turn out. Read more...
The Importance of Saying Thank You
Our little New England town of 1,400 is nestled in the Berkshire Hills. The scenery with its lakes and ponds is lovely year round and spectacular in the fall. All our inhabitants have enough to eat; live in houses with at least two to four bedrooms, have modern bathrooms and kitchens; and wear colorful warm clothes in the winter. The local supermarkets are stuffed with delicacies from around the world surpassing the opulence of the wealthiest pharaohs and emperors of old. Gauging from the parking lots, we reach this opulence in late model shiny cars. Read more...
From Previous Issues
Learning Success With Unit Studies & More
Homeschooling parents today are faced with a jungle of choices when searching for the right resources for their children's studies.
A Call To Arms
When it comes to the culture wars, my husband Tripp and I feel well positioned. Surveying the terrain, mapping our strategy, and especially measuring our capability, we feel braced for battle - maybe more than most.
Parents in the Garden
The image of transplanting a plant that screams so loud you need ear protection was an intriguing thought. Children seem amused by a body shaped root system wiggling and screaming while being pulled out of one pot and plunged into the larger pot. For a movie scene of a Hogwarts class project, it makes an attractive composition of both fear and intention. And for the parent who struggles with the inevitable moments of helping a screaming child negotiate the many transplanting moments of life, the image is one for contemplation.
We are parents in the garden who have discovered that the scriptural image of creation did not include a reference to Adam and Eve as parents. The children did not arrive until after the original prototypes of our species were expelled from Eden. And when we do meet up with this bonded twosome as parents they are deep in the throws of a parent’s nightmare: sibling rivalry that ultimately results in the deepest pain a parent can endure. Now is that the way to start a handbook on parenting? Read more...
The Learning Moment
Of all the discoveries I’ve made while homeschooling my three children over the last seven years, that of what I like to call “the learning moment” is one of the most delightful and useful. The “learning moment” is one of those effervescent occurrences like the precise moment a sunset is at it’s most beautiful, a piece of music is at its most moving, or shared time with someone is at its most memorable. It’s one of those times you have to seize or loose forever. I guess I would define the “learning moment” as that precise instant when an educational opportunity naturally presents itself interestingly and in context, in such a way that it can be built upon and expanded with the maximum of learning obtained. Read more...
Finding Ideas Not Discouragement
With the renaissance of homeschooling in the early 1980s came a trickle, and then a flood, of books and magazines about homeschooling. These were eagerly read by homeschooling parents wanting to know how others were teaching their children, because there weren’t many homeschoolers around to talk with.
The First Year of Homeschooling
Reasons to homeschool hit a high in the reactive category. School’s dumbed-down academics were mentioned frequently, as was the opposite end of this spectrum; the inability of a classroom situation to address children’s different learning styles, creating problems for those who don’t learn in “the school way.” Many raised concerns about overt lessons or covert insinuations about values brought home more families, whether or not they were homeschooling for religious reasons. Parents made note of school bullying by both students and teachers, personality-altering peer dependence, disenchantment with learning, stress and resulting irritability, scheduling and transportation issues and, of course, safety concerns.
“I was reacting to the overwhelming pressures on children these days – both morally and otherwise,” Amy Cooper explains from Wilmore, Kentucky. “We could probably be called ‘reverse snobs’ in that we avoid – at all costs – the ‘latest and greatest’ in clothing, entertainment and everything else.”
Let’s Think About It
think: ‘to picture in one’s mind, to consider, to contemplate, plan’ (The World Book Dictionary)
Whether educating oneself or others, the process should always include thinking. That should be as obvious as the nose on one’s face, but adults do not seem to consider it often enough. Then frustration enters the picture. Adults perceive that actions are proof of what children believe, but this is not a good indicator. Actions may speak louder than words, but words are the better basis for good communication.
How a child processes what he hears plays a part in how he responds. For instance, I have coined a phrase called fishtank thinking. I call it this because it reminds me of how fish get their food. First fish flakes are poured onto the water and then they sink. A child hears the words someone says, needs time to process the words (flakes floating on the water), and then responds to the words. If a child is in a classroom or other situation where he must always respond immediately, he will exhibit signs of frustration, anger, or anxiety. Read more...
IN THE NEWS
Is Homeschool the Best Preparation for College? Experts Say It Strengthens Students Independence
A homeschool girl, now studying at a state college, says that instead of stunting her social and intellectual growth, homeschooling actually toughened her up for the real challenges of college life. Christian homeschooling advocates argue that studying at home frees kids up to thrive and is a better option than public and even private school for grades K-12.
From Our Last Issue:
Socialization: Our Biggest Gripe With Homeschooling
by John O. Anderson
Yes, it has been a huge problem for our children. But with experience, we’ve learned to bring it largely under control.
You see, we live in Portland, Oregon. Before we moved here, we suspected it was a good place to homeschool. Talk about understatement! After a few years in this area, we’ve got lots of hard evidence that if there ever were a contest for America’s homeschooling mecca, Portland would easily make the short list. Read full article...
Play Pays: The Rich Benefits of Tree-Climbing, Firefly-Chasing,
Madeline Levine, Ph.D.
“It’s too bad that the old-fashioned notion of summer as endless free time—to climb trees, chase fireflies, build a fort in the woods, maybe set up a lemonade stand—has fallen by the wayside,” says Levine, author of the New York Times bestseller, Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success. “This is what kids need—they need it far more than they need a high-priced summer camp or some other program aimed at cramming a little bit more learning into their exhausted brains.”
Play is serious business, insists Levine. We tend to see it as wasted time, but it’s actually anything but. Play is the work of childhood. It’s a classroom in which children develop a whole set of skills that really matter in life. Indeed, research shows that children who attend play-based preschools, as opposed to academic preschools, do significantly better in school down the line.
One Busy Guy
Leaving Home by Jon Remmerde
One of our goals as parents was to help our daughters, Juniper and Amanda, achieve maturity and independence. We worked toward that goal through all the years we enjoyed living together as a close family, with most of our education guided by our family, by all of us working toward knowledge and wisdom together.
When Juniper and Amanda did go into the world on their own, Laura and I were ready, because that was the fulfillment of what we’d been working toward. Well, in truth, I was more ready than Laura was. Maybe that was partly because of some differences in the emotions of a mother and a father. Maybe it was partly because I knew deep in the area where all knowledge resides in me that the need for adventures on their own stirred early in our daughters. Read full article...
ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM BRICK WALL SYNDROME?
by Melanie Antonacci
I know I am not the only homeschool mother out there with this affliction! I am sure every single one of you has suffered or is currently suffering from what I call Brick Wall Syndrome! My case is chronic, although it does go into remission from time to time. It is painful, and sometimes ugly. Symptoms vary from one person to the next. It is brought on by a glazy eyed child with a faraway look possibly in tears, saying, “I don’t get it!” after you have explained ”it” for the ump-teenth time!
Royal Academy now offers more personalized services and a virtual classroom experience
Royal Academy Education, Inc. a Maine Recognized School and Homeschooling service provider, is opening a second office in New England in order to service the needs of its growing operations worldwide.
Penny Cote, MA and Shirley Minster M.Ed, Administrators of Royal Academy Education & Home Education & Family Services, have partnered to enhance educational services to current home educators and build upon technologically advanced opportunities in the digital world. According to Penny, “a world of knowledge is at our finger tips; with the right tools we are able to guide an exceptional educational process for a student anywhere in the world, real time; we are doing that today through our Virtual Online Personal Presence classes and tutoring.” Read more...
From Our Previous Issues
Homeschooling for Safety
I’m not used to hearing homeschooling being recommended by people like Dennis Miller, but in the wake of the awful event at Sandy Hook, I can see where shaken parents all over the country are looking at their children and thinking, “How can I protect them?” when dropping them off at school each day no longer looks like a safe thing to do.
The Tenth Intelligence by David H. Albert
That best portion of a good man's life,
I have on occasion wondered what it might have been like to go through life as a Robin.
I never had the opportunity to find out. In the second month of the first grade at P.S. 131, my public elementary school in New York City, we were separated into “Bluebirds and Robins”. (I have since discovered that in other schools there were also “Sparrows”, who were “Special Ed” children before Special Ed was invented, those destined to ride “the short bus.”*) I don’t remember any test being involved; we were just told we were either Robins or Bluebirds and that was that. Read Full Article...
Americans Warned: Homeschoolers Stripped of Rights
BERLIN -- Recently, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said that homeschooling is not a parent's right. It is a statement some are saying should frighten American parents.
Nations like Germany and Sweden show that when governments take away homeschooling rights, it's a slippery slope to no parental rights.
America the Refuge or Not
The Romeike family came to the United States from Germany five years ago hoping to find refuge. They wanted to homeschool their children in freedom and a federal judge granted them asylum.
Addicted to Experts by Linda Dobson
Book Excerpt from The Art of Education
"We have a right," our forefathers cried once upon a time, “to think for ourselves." We have surrendered that right, not to a dictatorial, hostile monarchy overseas, but to our own government's institutions. And oh, the tangled web these institutions have woven.
A web, because their "experts" pervade every area of our lives today. Tangled, because they work hand-in-hand. Woven, because they get closer to marriage every day we remain asleep.
It all begins in school, folks. By law, it is required that you attend. (That you learn is not required, that school be the best place for you to learn is not required, just that you attend.) Read Full Article...
A Child’s Place is in the Kitchen; How Cooking Advances Learning
by Laura Grace Weldon
It’s easier to cook when our kids aren’t in the way. Besides, bubbling pots and sharp knives are hardly child friendly. But there are many reasons why our children belong in the kitchen. One is the way their learning advances as they stir, chop and converse with us. What may seem like average culinary tasks are actually rich educational projects for them.
Yes, it takes longer when Mason snips cilantro, Sophie reads the recipe aloud and Mia mixes. A lot longer. And you’ve got places to go, probably places to take your darling children like T-ball practice or that great science program at the museum. That’s how we parent our kids these days — we eat and run to keep up with our busy child-centered lives. But research shows that exactly the sort of learning that happens during hands-on,purposeful experiences (like cooking together) is highly valuable. There’s a lot less research showing that our beloved children benefit from rushing to adult run programs.
More From Previous Issues
Stretch Like Elastigirl!
By Barbara Frank
In the movie “The Incredibles,” a pair of retired superheroes marry, have a
What Kids Learn From Chores
Like so many parental expectations and requirements, getting your kid in the
Here are some of the benefits kids derive from assigned chores.
Much Too Early by David Elkind
(Editor's Note: Children must be protected from early institutionalization - and
Children must master the language of things before they master the language of
In one sentence, Froebel, father of the kindergarten, expressed the essence
"The earlier [that schools try] to inculcate so-called 'academic' skills, the
Some of the most ambitious and expensive educational evaluations conducted in
Awesome prizes and life changing experiences await those who enter the College + Missions Scholarship Contest. Find out how you can win $5,000 towards your degree and an amazing life experience by clicking below. Click here for Details...
We hug them, love them, teach them, and share with them - wiping away tears, assuring them that monsters are not in the closet or under the bed, even helping them through algebra. We are our children's caretakers and we care for them so deeply and completely that we sometimes forget to care for ourselves. If we get too stretched out and burned out, we aren't as effective at taking care of others very well.
One of the things that I learned through my early years of homeschooling and being a full time mom was that I had to take care of MOM first. One of the best analogies for this is the statement that is made when you are going through the safety talk before takeoff on an airplane - when the oxygen masks drop in an emergency, the adult should put their mask on first, then assist the child with theirs. We can't help them if we are incapacitated - that's my interpretation. And this holds true in all that we do, particularly when it comes to parental well-being and the individual feeling of fulfillment. Read article...
It seems to me that the overall opinion about teenagers is that they are to be dreaded and endured. I've come across this attitude more than once. As a parent, I have to admit that I have had my share of moments of dread. To be fair, though, I also have to admit that bad moments are not all there is to parenting teens.
Most of the time our teens are simply normal everyday kids. They have their sore spots and they have their moments of stardom, but the rest of the time they are quite unremarkable. When we lose sight of this fact, we tend to focus our attention on the extremes, thus leaving teens feeling as though they are only worthy of our recognition when they are either shining or having a rough time. I've lived with teens long enough to know that this is a trap that is easy to fall into. Read article...
Shedding the Adult Agenda by Barbara Frank
I’ve always admired unschoolers for their relaxed approach to learning. Yet while my own style of homeschooling has become much more relaxed over the years, I will never be called an unschooler because I am incapable of being one. It is simply not in my personality.
Do the math: I’m a first-born (yes, there are Kevin Leman books on my shelves), public-schooled, Missouri Synod Lutheran (Lutherans live for and by their routines), child of a career military man. Let’s face it, I was never meant to be an unschooler. Read article...
Let's Write! Writing Prose With Flow
National Writing Institute (by Dave Marks)
The following exercise is designed to teach in about five days, students who are in grades six through ninth, that: 1) ideas in sentences can be connected; 2) ideas can flow from one sentence to the next; and 3) they can make ideas in their writing flow from one bit of information to the next one.
This exercise speaks directly to the student and you shouldn’t have to read it or interpret it to your children. Give it to them and tell them that everything that they might need to do it is contained within it. Don’t help them with it until they get stuck. Read article...
Homeschooling and the All Important Family
The homeschooling movement is absolutely exploding with growth. Since 2000, the homeschooling population has been growing at the astounding rate of at least 10 to 20 percent per year. Literally millions of families are homeschooling in the United States alone. What is it that draws so many people to this trend? Through all the talking and listening I have done with hundreds of diverse homeschoolers across the country, one common theme has emerged as the most important advantage to homeschoolers: family unity. This element of homeschooling is of the utmost importance to homeschoolers, who consider it the cornerstone of (and the greatest boon to) their children’s social development. Read article...
"Homeschool Split-Personality Disorder" ... A Recovery Program by Diane Flynn Keith
Do you vacillate between child-led, developmentally appropriate, interest-initiated unschooling on one hand, and traditional, structured, academic-based education on the other? These mood-altering swings in methodology creep up unexpectedly on homeschooling parents and are often exacerbated by events beyond their control. I know. I am recovering from homeschool split-personality disorder.