Category Archives: School Articles

Homeschooling – Your Inadequacy Is a Myth

Do you sometimes wake up in the morning second guessing yourself about your qualifications to homeschool your own children? Do your thoughts run away with you wondering if you’re making them “dumb?” I’m here to put your mind at ease.

First of all, even PRIOR to the start of the academic years (Kindergarten), you WERE teaching your children. You taught them how to smile, how to talk, how to sing, how to eat… how to walk, and more. You taught them these skills without even realizing that you WERE homeschooling them! Did you ever feel inadequate about giving birth and changing diapers? Of course you did. It’s the SAME with homeschooling. You love them and you want the best for them, so questioning yourself is part of the equation.

Even if you sometimes think you’re not cutting the mustard, I’m here to testify that you are doing just great! My oldest child was homeschooled 3rd through 11th grade. At that point, he talked me into allowing him to enroll in the local technical school (operated by the public school system). Looking back, I clearly should have stood my ground with a solid, “No”. However, against my better judgment, I allowed him to enroll.

A few months into the school year, I realized what a wonderful job I had done teaching him! My standards for his education were miles higher than what was expected of him at the tech school, and I’m not just talking about homeschool curriculum choices either. For example, I distinctly recall my Algebra II problems taking 2 to 3 pages of writing paper to solve when I was getting my own high-school diploma. I also remember my teacher giving us several of them as homework EVERY night. My son, also taking Algebra II at the public school establishment, came home with ZERO homework the ENTIRE school year. It wasn’t because he was finishing anything in class either! It was the fact there was NO homework assigned! I kid you not — they gave the students ONE problem to solve TOGETHER during class. What? I was floored at the lack of challenge and learning offered in this tax funded building.

Home school curriculum teaching isn’t just about the academics, though. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a thought process. It’s a confidence you gain when you reach that “aha” moment that you ARE already teaching them! So, why not teach them the book work, too?

Christee Brauckmann is the Director of Supplier Services at Homeschool Buyers Co-op and a 10-year veteran homeschool mom. The Co-op provides free membership for homeschooling families and offers exclusive group discounts on homeschool curriculum, as well as homeschooling resources.

Homeschooling Internet Resources

Valerie Zilinsky

My son is an A student. Or so I thought. Each Monday, he brings home a folder with all of the previous week’s schoolwork. And each week, I usually go through his papers, with a proud smile on my face.

But this week, there was an unpleasant surprise. My son brought home an “E”!! My husband got angry, and I was just plain disappointed. Sure, kids have a bad day now and then, or get a tough assignment. But lately, I have noticed more and more “C” & “D” papers passing through my hands on Monday afternoons.

It isn’t because he can’t do the work. I know my son better than that. He’s used to homework that comes easy to him, but now that he’s entering the middle school grades, he’s finding that he actually has to work at his assignments. It amazes me when he asks me for help on a problem, and I can flip one page in his book and see the answer right there. I hand the book right back to him, and tell him he needs to really try for himself before I help him. He gets tired and frustrated, but at least he’s learning to put some effort into finding the answers.

As a parent, it’s important to remember that your child’s grades are not a reflection of your parenting skills. So how can you help your struggling child without doing the work for him? Here are some great places to find some homework help…

For Parents:

10 Homework Tips (Parents-Talk.com)
http://www.parents-talk.com/expertsadvice/ea_sl_0004.html

Helping Your Child With Homework (US Dept. of Education)
http://www.parents-talk.com/expertsadvice/ea_sl_0004.html
For Kids:

Homework Central (BigChalk.com)
http://www.bigchalk.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/WOPortal.woa/db/hwchelp/whatis.html

BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper (discoveryschool.com)
http://school.discovery.com/homeworkhelp/bjpinchbeck/

Homework @ MSN
http://encarta.msn.com/homework/

Homework/Study Tips (about.com)
http://homeworktips.about.com/mbody.htm
Until our son brings home the “A” & “B” grades that he is capable of again, we have compromised with him. His computer and TV time have been cut back. His homework time has been rescheduled to make sure he has plenty of time to put the proper effort into it. And I will check over his assignments thoroughly every night, just as I do with my 2nd grader.

Each family is different, and parents have to find what techniques will work best with their own children. As children get older and their work gets harder, we also have to expect that not every grade is going to be perfect. But we need to accept that those occasional “D” & “E” grades are all part of the learning process. Our son isn’t proud of those grades, he didn’t intend to get them, and I know he’ll be trying hard to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future. And we’ll be right there cheering him on, and helping him when he stumbles.

—————————————————-
Valerie Zilinsky of Michigan is a mother of four…… two children, the family dog, and her biggest kid of all – her husband. She is also the proud co-owner of both http://www.raisingourkids.com/ and http://www.mom2momlist.com/

What Is Homeschooling And How Do I Know It’s Right For My Family?

Do you know what these famous people have in common?

Alexander Graham Bell
George Patton
Albert Einstein
Benjamin Franklin
Winston Churchill
Agatha Christie
George Bernard Shaw
Will Rogers

If you guessed that they were all homeschoolers, you’d be correct. This is a very short list of famous and successful people who were educated at home. If you would like to expand this list, do a search on the Internet for famous homeschoolers. There are many websites that list these people and some provide detailed biographies. There is even a book called, “Famous Homeschoolers” by Nancy and Malcolm Plant. http://www.fun-books.com/specials.htm

The point here is to get into the mindset that people can be educated and become successful adults without attending public school. And because I can almost hear what you are thinking, no, it is not necessary to have a high school diploma to go to college.

So what is homeschooling? In the broadest sense, homeschooling is educating your children at home. You, as parent, become teacher. Parents homeschool for more reasons than you can imagine. Some want to avoid having their children exposed to violence and peer pressure. Some homeschool so that they can make sure their children’s education adheres to their religious beliefs. Some live a different lifestyle. Perhaps they travel a lot and want their children’s schooling to be flexible enough to fit around that life style. And some, like me, simply enjoy being with their children. They don’t want the public school to interrupt and weaken the parent/child bond that they have been working hard to create for the first five years of their child’s life.

Just as there are many reasons to homeschool, there are many methods of homeschooling. All the way from un-schooling (learning by doing, learning from life, not using textbook type materials) to school at home (using textbooks at desks set up in a schoolroom at home) and everything in between. It’s very easy to find hundreds of homeschool websites by using a search engine, but just to get you started, try:
Jon’s Homeschool Resource Page http://www.midnightbeach.com/hs/

When I decided to write this article, I thought hard about what I could offer that wasn’t being displayed on thousands of websites on the Internet. I realized that the only thing I have to offer anyone interested in homeschooling is my experience. So everything in the article below comes from my fifteen years of experience homeschooling my four youngest children. I hope it is of some use to you.

Deciding to homeschool your child may be one of the most important decisions you ever make as a parent, and it will take a lot of thought and soul searching. To the newcomer, it may seem impossible, overwhelming and very, very lonely. But like most huge obstacles, once it’s broken down into smaller pieces, it becomes manageable. We’ll take it one step at a time, in small enough chunks to get a hold of. So, if you’re game, roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work figuring out if homeschooling is for you and your child.

First things first. Organization is the key. Get a three-ring binder (homeschooling parent’s LOVE three-ring binders) and put a label on the front. (If you’ve made the transition to digital record keeping, you can just start a folder on the computer. But it’s not as much fun.) Label it something serious, like “My Homeschooling Plans” or “Homeschooling Thoughts”. Put some paper in the binder, find a really comfortable ink pen, and sit down somewhere quiet.

Ready? Good. Now, let’s get started.

What are your reasons for considering homeschooling? Even if you haven’t actually made the decision to homeschool, the fact that you are here reading this article says you are curious. Perhaps you honestly don’t know the answer yet and that’s ok. The remainder of this article is going to try to help you start to find those answers.

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but each state has it’s own set of laws that must be followed. Compulsory (how I hate that word) education here in Washington state starts at the age of 8. Even though I had been homeschooling him from birth, to stay legal once my son reached 8-years old, I was required to become”certified”. That meant I either had to have two years of college education, or take a certification class, I met this requirement by taking an independent correspondence class, during which I was asked to put on paper my goals, philosophies and reasons for wanting to homeschool. I’d like to help you do the same right now.

Start a page–either the tree kind or a file on the computer and title it “My Educational Beliefs”.
List what personal beliefs you have about education, especially the education of your own children. Get as detailed as you can here–the value is in the thinking process behind the list. Take your time, I’m in no hurry.

As an example to get you started, I’m going to share with you what I wrote on my list nine years ago.

My Educational Beliefs

1. I believe my child’s attitude about learning should be:
One of continual curiosity and seeking of knowledge.

2. I believe my child’s learning should lead towards a lifestyle that is:
Rural, physically active, creative.

2. I believe these basic values should be part of my child’s learning:
Respect for others
Loyalty to family and friends
Honesty
Generosity

2. I believe children learn best:
Through hands-on learning experience, reading, workbooks.

2. I believe a teacher should:

Provide side-by-side assistance and direction.
Interact with the child.
Provide the structure within which the child may explore, experiment, study and achieve.
Provide a good example of excitement in learning.

2. Other beliefs:

I believe my child should grow up to be self-reliant and occupationally secure in a field of high interest to them.

Now, that wasn’t too bad, was it? Don’t give up on this until you have at least something written down, but don’t agonize over it either. You can come back to it later if need be. Next, start a paper or file titled “Life Goals For My Child”.

I want you to write down what kind of person you envision your child being as an adult. What are your hopes and dreams for him/her? What educational gifts do you hope to be able to help them find that will serve them their entire lives?

I’ll share mine from 9 years ago, just to get you started.

“Life Goals for My Child”

1. Be literate.
2. Be self-reliant.
3. Compete well in their chosen field of occupation.
4. Appreciate art, music, and literature.
5. Be creative.
6. Be inventive and resourceful.
7. Be healthy, mentally and physically.
8. Co-operate with others.
9. Maintain a strong sense of self-worth.
10. Maintain a life-long curiosity, seeking knowledge as a way of life.
11. Look to the future with a sense of excitement and adventure.

For the last exercise, start a third paper titled: Why We (I) Am Going To Homeschool Our (My) Child? (Yes, single parents can successfully homeschool their children.) You may not have all the answers for this one yet either, but just get something down. All of these ideas and beliefs can start getting mixed in with other people’s opinions once we start educating ourselves in depth about homeschooling, and you’ll be glad you have these lists tucked away.

Okay, here’s my old list:

Why We Are Going To Homeschool Our Children

Our family consists of myself, my husband, a 21-year-old daughter, a 19-year-old daughter, an 8-year-old son, a 7-year-old daughter, a 4-½ year old daughter, and an unborn son due in 6 months. My two oldest daughters (from my first marriage) were in the public school system for the whole of their educational years. It is largely a dissatisfaction with the public schools and all it’s attendant problems (academic, social, and moral) that has caused us to make the decision to homeschool our youngest children. We decided, even before our 8-year-old son (the oldest of the younger set) was born, that somehow we would find an alternative to the public schools.

We want to homeschool for some additional reasons. We want added closeness with our children. We want more independence, greater control over our family’s moral and philosophical values, and better awareness of our children’s interests.

We dislike the thought of any government agency–no matter how well meaning–directing the raising of our children.

We intend to homeschool because we do not want our children’s academic, social, and moral education taken out of our hands.

We believe these areas of a child’s education are a parent’s responsibility, right, and pleasure.
I’d like you to spend some time going over these lists until you feel they accurately reflect your feelings about homeschooling your children. When I did these exercises, I had only a vague idea about why I wanted to homeschool and what kind of education I wanted to help my children acquire. These simple exercises helped me to ?solidify? my ideas and provided the basis for our future homeschooling methods. I hope they help you to do the same. Keep these lists in a safe place and add to them as you explore the possibility of homeschooling your child.
Anita York has been homeschooling her four youngest children for the past 15 years. In addition, she teaches other homeschoolers at two resource centers, and is a contracted Senior Editor, Editor, Copyeditor and Manuscript Screener for three different on-line publishers–one print.

Her book “You CAN Homeschool Your Child” is available from One-At-A-Time Enterprises, the business she started with her homeschoolers.

Her home business, EagleMountain Reading, Writing, and Research Services
http:// www.L7s.net/eaglemountain provides a variety of services geared towards helping beginning as well as established authors with various aspects of the writing process.

 By : Anita York

Using the Internet to Enhance K-12 Teaching & Learning

**What’s All The Hype**

The Internet has fast become the most extensive resource tool available to teachers and learners across the globe. From printable offline resources to interactive tutorials, the Internet medium provides enriching activities that can be used to enhance K-12 teaching and learning.
Examples of Resources Specifically for Teachers

**Lesson Plans**

Teachers have been sharing knowledge of successful lessons for as long as we can imagine. Teachers in the same school or maybe even district often share ideas to help them improve their teaching practice. The Internet has taken the sharing of knowledge to a whole new level. Today, a teacher from Los Angles, California may come up with a wonderful idea and share it with teachers across the globe via the Internet. This one simple exchange could most likely be seen by thousands of teachers within a few short weeks.

You will find two types of invaluable sites for lesson plans on the Internet: Lesson Plan Depots and Lesson Plan Directories.

Lesson Plan Depots- This category would include websites that have large collections of exclusive or original lesson plans.

Exemplary Web Sites include:

1. AskERIC Lesson Plans- http://www.askeric.org/Virtual/Lessons/

2. Lesson Plans Page- http://www.lessonplanspage.com/

3. NY Times Lesson Plan Archive- http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/archive.html

Lesson Plan Directories- This category includes websites that have been reviewed or have recommended links to outside lesson plan sites.

Exemplary Web Sites include:

1. Lesson Plan Search- http://www.lessonplansearch.com/

2. Lesson Planz- http://lessonplanz.com/

3. Teachnology- http://www.teach-nology.com/teachers/lesson_plans/
**Rubrics**

Rubrics have been becoming more popular in the educational world as the need for alternative assessment grows. The Internet can provide you with a variety of example rubrics for just about any content or skill area as well as the tools for creating your own customized rubrics.

Exemplary Web Sites include:

1. Makeworksheets- http://makeworksheets.com

2. Rubric Generators- http://www.teach-nology.com/web_tools/rubrics/

3. RubricStar- http://rubistar.4teachers.org

4. Why Rubrics- http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/teaching/rubrics/
**Learning Games**

Students can learn best when they are motivated. Educational games can keep students engaged for hours. The Internet has the wonderful ability to produce learning challenges that connect multiple levels of intelligence through the use of multimedia. Technology provides the medium to stimulate today’s generation of visual learners.

Exemplary Web Sites include:

1. Brain Pop- http://www.brainpop.com

2. ExamBuddy – http://www.exambuddy.com

3. Fun Brain- http://www.funbrain.com
**Web Quests**

A Web Quest is an inquiry-based activity where students are given a task and are provided with access to on-line resources to help them complete the task. It is an ideal way to deliver a lesson using the web. Web Quests are discovery learning tools; they are usually used to either begin or finish a unit of study. Over the last five years, the TeAch-nology.com staff has seen a great deal of Web Quests.

Exemplary Web Sites include:

1. IWebQuest- http://www.iwebquest.com/

2. The Web Quest Page- http://webquest.sdsu.edu/

3. Web Quest Generator- http://teachers.teach-nology.com/web_tools/web_quest/
**Worksheets**

Printable worksheets have long been a staple in the teaching profession. The Internet is filled with worksheets. Many worksheets can be found in a high quality format ranging from Kindergarten levels through the college ranks.

Exemplary Web Sites include:

1. Getworksheets- http://getworksheets.com

2. Makeworksheets- http://makeworksheets.com

3. Teachervision- http://www.teachervision.com/lesson-plans/

4. Teachnology- http://www.teach-nology.com/worksheets/
**Newsletters**

Many wonderful free resources are available to teachers over the Internet. Daily, weekly, and monthly electronic newsletters are available by simply supplying your email address to the writers of the newsletter.

Regardless of the grade level the newsletter targets, newsletters can provide many good ideas. We often receive comments from users telling us that even though they are secondary teachers, they find a great number of ideas from elementary teacher newsletters and vice versa.

Exemplary Web Sites include:

1. Education World- http://www.education-world.com/maillist.shtml

2. Preschool Education- http://www.preschooleducation.com/newsletter.shtml

3. Teachnology- http://www.teach-nology.com/newsletters/
**A Final Thought**

We provided you with a sampling of resources that are easily accessible and easy to use. However, as teachers have better access to the Internet, we believe educational resources will continue to grow and reach higher levels of sophistication. The future of educational technology seems endless!
(c)2003 Teachnology, Inc. http://www.teach-nology.com/

Reducing the Cost of Office and School Supplies

Ben Franklin once said, “A penny saved is a dollar earned.” Here are some tips for saving some pennies and maybe a few dollars by reducing the costs of those supplies for school or the office.

Tip 1. Take inventory of what supplies you already have and keep them all in a designated area, so you can find them when you need them.

Tip 2. A three-ring binder from the last school year or tossed by a business or one from a conference can be salvaged and disguised if necessary with stickers or contact paper.

Tip 3. Many businesses give away pens, pencils and other school supply goodies. Be sure to stash these with your supplies.

Tip 4. In late summer, stores offer sales, rebates and coupons on school and office supplies. Try to stock up on what you will need, to avoid paying full price later.

Tip 5. Children usually come home from that first day back at school with a list of needed supplies. Avoid frustration and wasted money by waiting for that list before purchasing more specific school supplies; otherwise, you may find yourself with unneeded items or items that aren’t quite the right thing.

Tip 6. If you will need a backpack, check out garage sales during the summer. Be sure to buy a sturdy, good quality one, however, because these items take a lot of abuse during a school year.

Tip 7. Many office supply stores will give discounts if you buy something in bulk. In order to purchase enough to get a bulk discount, buy enough printer paper, ink cartridges, etc. to last you for the year, or get together with friends, family members, or business colleagues who need the same supplies that you need

Tip 8. Check out the prices of the office supplies you need at the discount clubs such as Sam’s or Coscos. Sometimes, you can find good prices on office needs there.

Article by Naomi Knudsen Would you like to KEEP more of your hard-earned money? Subscribe to Money-Wise Newsletter a free weekly ezine where we share money saving tips and strategies, Contests, humor, and encouraging articles. Subscribers receive 2 helpful ebooks!