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An Oak Meadow Product Review

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , — dailynews @ 4:00 am

FYI – Oak Meadow K-6 curriculum was revised in 2015.

Revisions/improvements include:

  • The addition of assignment checklists, planning pages, and material lists
  • Factual information was updated
  • Learning assessment rubrics were added (to help parents track their student’s progress)
  • Coursebook covers were changed – they are now more heavy duty, and the pages are spiral-bound so books can lie flat (that’s nice!)

We asked for, and received, the Oak Meadow Second Grade program. The Second Grade program includes the subjects of Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, Arts & Crafts, Music and Health. When our box arrived (yes, it arrived – as in real books!), we were pleasantly surprised by the quality and the quantity of the materials.

Specifically, we received –


  • 1 spiral bound soft cover book, Coursebook Grade 2 (it provides all the instructions and assignments for the full year of second grade) and 1 spiral bound soft cover book Resource Book, Grade 2 (it includes extensive instructions about teaching each subject). These are the core of your year, and both are chocked full of important info.






  • 1 soft cover book – Fables, An Oak Meadow Collection (a collection of 16 classic fables). Selections include “The Gingerbread Boy,” “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse,” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.



  • 1 soft cover book – Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling. Oak Meadow presents a special slim edition, which includes Kipling favorites, such as “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin,” “How the Leopard Got His Spots,” and “The Cat Who Walked By Himself”.

You can see that the materials are geared towards Second Grade students – the materials contain information that young students will want to read and learn about (yah!).


FYI – the above publications are also available in digital form. Click here for information on digital access, printables, and more; or click here to see the full line of digital curriculum.

Also included in the Second Grade box (Yes, there’s more!):

  • 1 balsam airplane kit
  • 1 chunky Oak Meadow pencil (for your child – probably their favorite item!)
  • General instructions for the teacher/parent
  • Information regarding the Homeschool Support program for families who are using Oak Meadow curriculum on their own (without enrollment)
  • Info regarding Oak Meadow’s Foundation in Independent Learning program – a parent/teacher training program for parents who support independent learners
  • Info on how to connect with Oak Meadow via their blog (which is very good), their free educational journal Living Education (again, very good!), and via their social media outlets (Pinterest, Instagramand more).

As mentioned, we were very impressed with all that we received. The books are certainly geared towards Second Grade students, and the parent/teacher resources are extensive. It’s clear that the curriculum accommodates visual, auditory, and physical learning styles – which is a plus. And everything you need for the year is included (how convenient). It would be very easy to use this for homeschooling as-is, or supplement as you’d like.

And FYI, you can view a sample lesson here.

After reviewing everything (we were impressed!), we forwarded the Oak Meadow materials to a homeschooling Mom of a second grader (our kids are older) and her feedback is below:

  • Oak Meadow curriculum is easy to use which I truly appreciate. Assignments are clearly marked and explained in detail. There is a weekly planner, an assignment checklist, and a materials list for each lesson which helps me plan our week in advance. I’m homeschooling multiple kids, so I admit, things can get hectic, and on occasion, I can get overwhelmed. So, I truly appreciate the planning and checklist materials.
  • Learning assessments are included at the end of each lesson. These are good for understanding your child’s progress, and recognizing strengths and areas where more support is needed. I’m not a “test” type person – but I found these assessments to be very helpful. There were occasions when I thought my son “got it” – but the assessment showed me “not so much”. So I knew where to spend extra time.
  • Both my child and I enjoyed the focus on animals and nature for the reading and writing assignments. As the parent/teacher, I saw how well the writing and the reading assignments were integrated and I appreciated that as well.
  • Social Studies is taught through the use of fables and folktales – the subject matter is geared towards the child, and the topics are important. Again, something that I appreciated.
  • Math – I like that my son is already learning multiplication. I don’t think I started multiplying in second grade.
  • Science focuses on nature-type assignments – which children of this age really respond to (as do I!). Again, I appreciated/likedthis.
  • Art, crafts, music, and health are included subjects. These are important subjects that many public schools have had to eliminate. I’m glad that I have the time to do them as they are so enriching. We will have the opportunity to copy and illustrate poems, make books, perform puppet plays, grow indoor plants, and more.

I’ve certainly enjoyed using the Oak Meadow materials. And I like that you can purchase these and use them independently, or enroll in their online program. I think we’ll always go the independent route, but I can see how some families might appreciate teacher support and official school records. It’s always nice to have options.

(By the way, Oak Meadow is accredited through the The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), and by the New England Association for Schools and Colleges (NEASC).


A Product Review of Carole P. Roman Books


Carole P. Roman is a prolific author of educational/fun books that might be of special interest to homeschoolers. She has written 35+ books, received 100+ awards, and has 3,000+ online reviews of her works. That’s a lot!

Specifically, she has two series – If You Were Me and Lived in…Culture – a series for kids 3-8 years old, and If You Were Me and Lived in…History for kids 10 -15 years of age. The culture series includes books on what it would be like to live in China, Scotland, Kenya, South Korea, Russia, Greece, Italy, France, Peru, and more (so far, 18 have been published). The books cover the subjects of the countries’ food, language, clothes, toys, and more. The history books describe what life was like during different time periods around the world. The time periods include Renaissance Italy, Elizabethan England, Ancient China, Ancient Greece, the Old West, Colonial America, the Middle Ages and more. Covered topics include the political climate of the time, clothes, food, customs, religion, etc.

These books are great for a homeschool or co-op library. And there are plenty of opportunities to develop lessons/teaching moments around the books. For instance, you can take trips to the market, practice speaking the language, chart the differences between a child’s life in the book and your own child’s life, etc. Parents can even arrange for pen pals with the culture books.

Things I like about the culture books:

  • The number of books – you can have an entire mini-library with all of the titles.
  • They follow the same format, so a child can anticipate the subject matter that is next.
  • They teach about cultural diversity.
  • They are visually appealing.
  • The subject matter is geared towards young children – ie., what your name might be, what you might call your Mom and Dad, foods eaten, games you might play, etc.
  • Every book starts out with a map of the country – where it is on the globe (very important), and ends with a Pronunciation Page (extremely helpful).
  • You learn new things. For instance, did you know that: Instanbul has been named the European Capital of Culture (even though it’s not even the capital of Turkey!), Egypt is a transcontinental country (it’s located in both Africa and Asia), the Roman Empire stretched into almost 48 modern day countries (HUGE!), and more!

Things I like about the history books:

  • As these are for an older age group, there are 50+ pages per book – so there is more info than in the culture books.
  • They follow a similar format, covering the topics of occupations, food, clothing, recreation of the time – and of course, pertinent history.
  • Again, you learn new things, such as: in Ancient Greece girls didn’t go to school as they were not considered citizens; thatched roofs, although charming, also housed fleas, rats and other wildlife; it took the Mayflower 66 days to arrive in America, while the Speedwell had to return to England because of leaks, etc., and more!

In addition to the non-fiction series books, the author has also written the Captain No Beard series (Captain No Beard tackles problems on the high seas and dispenses valuable lessons at the same time), and other books such as Can A Princess Be A Firefighter, Whaley’s Big Adventure, and more. All are fun – and all are worth a read.

Carole’s books are available on Amazon


Time4Learning Product Review



Time4Learning offers online, interactive, project-based curriculum for Pre-K – 12th Grade students in the subjects of Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, and electives. In addition to Time4Learning’s award-winning comprehensive curriculum, it also provides lesson plans and teaching tools for parents, as well as detailed reporting for easy record-keeping. Really, they have all the bases covered. Plus, Time4Learning can be used with different student types, learning styles and teaching methods and it can be used for homeschool, afterschool and/or summer use.

With Time4Learning, grade levels can be set independent from one another for each subject. In addition, elementary-middle school students can have access to at least 2 (and in most cases 3) grade levels of curriculum for each subject. This means they can move ahead or review at their own pace.

For a grade by grade curriculum overview, click here. To check out their interactive lesson demos, you can click here.

After using the product for about two weeks, I was really impressed with Time4Learnng for the following reasons –

  • They soffer 3,000+ multimedia lessons, printable worksheets and graded activities. This includes K-Grade 3 Science lessons from Interested in seeing a Science4Us product review? You can – just click here.
  • The multi-media lessons are educational AND entertaining, and the colorful graphics, are appealing.
  • The program offers interactive, project-based activities – ones that kids really enjoy.
  • Printable worksheets are available and are a plus (a change of pace is always nice).
  • The scope and sequence is both thorough and challenging.
  • The Toolkit which accompanies courses is very helpful. For instance, the Toolkit that accompanies a Geometry course includes a calculator, a conversion chart and 4 pages of postulates and theorems.
  • As mentioned previously, students have access to up to 3 grade levels of lessons for elementary-middle school students (this is a HUGE). This means children can move up or down a grade level in any of their subjects = the program is easy to adapt.
  • Students can review and repeat activities at will – this is great for the more difficult lessons, especially for high school subject matter.
  • If a student wants to skip ahead to the quiz, s/he can do so. I appreciate this, as no one wants to waste time. A student-paced approach is always a plus.
  • Immediate feedback is provided, which is great for correcting errors and misconceptions.
  • Time4Learning provides a fun assortment of educational games – and you as the parent can determine how much time can be spent in/on “the playground”.
  • Time4Learning provides lesson plans and teaching tools for parents (parents can preview lessons – and brush up when needed (when was the last time you multiplied fractions?)
  • The parent’s forum allows parents to connect and ask questions of one another – which is a very nice bonus.
  • There is an automated system that grades lessons and provides reports.
  • The Parent Admin page is a breeze to use.
  • Easy site navigation – your kids will have it down in no time!
  • The Time4Learning Getting Started Guide is particularly useful for new members.

Time4Learning is certainly affordable – the monthly membership is $19.95 for the first child and $14.95 for each additional child (elementary-middle school) and $30.00 a month per child for high school. And the company offers a two week money back guarantee. Since Time4Learning is web based, there is no software to download, no CDs and nothing additional to purchase – so no hidden costs or fees.

I was curious as to whether other parents like Time4Learningas much as I do – and from reviews/comments on the internet – they do! In fact, many parents comment that they limit the time their kids can be on Time4Learning – as their kids really like Time4Learning and want to be on it all the time! Kids loving a curriculum so much, that’s all they want to do! Sign me up!

Q & A with Author Susan Wise Bauer

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , — dailynews @ 4:00 am


Wise Bauer, Susan photo


Q&A with author Susan Wise Bauer, whose bestselling resource The Well-Trained Mind came out with its Fourth Edition this August!

  1. What about this book sets it apart from other homeschooling texts?

I think it’s our commitment to offering both a big picture vision of the purposes of K-12 education, along with plenty of nitty-gritty details.

Back in the early 1970s, when my mother started home educating us (that’s my brother, my sister, and me), there weren’t that many curricula choices—no conferences, no used curricula sales, no support groups, and not that many educational publishers who’d even agree to sell teacher’s guides to parents.

Now, there are ZILLIONS of curricula. So many options, so many methods, so many extracurricular activities, so many pros and cons… parents who decide to home educate are drowning in choices.

The only way to make intelligent choices about curricula is to know where you’re headed—what your goal is. The Well-Trained Mind lays out a very clear goal for your graduating senior. Classical education is centered around the trivium, which is not just a pattern of K-12 education, but a life-long pattern of learning: Learn how to find the information you need; learn how to evaluate its value; and then, make up your mind about it. So the goal of classical education is to graduate a student who knows how to locate important knowledge, analyze it for truth and falsehood, and then express an intelligent opinion about it.

That’s a student who’s ready to head off for college.

Knowing that you’re aiming to shape those particular qualities in your graduating senior helps you to make intelligent decisions about what (out of the huge teeming mass of available resources) you’ll buy, use, and focus on. That’s a big part of what we offer parents.

But at the same time, we give practical, down-to-earth, day-by-day details. It’s wonderful to have lofty goals for your student, but what grammar book, which math program, what science text do you use? How much time do you spend? How much work do you expect your second, fifth, eleventh-grade student to do? How do you teach phonics, award grades, tackle ancient history, fill out a transcript? We give specific details on how to do all of those things. You don’t have to follow our lead in these details; you can choose to do things your own way. But we’ve provided concrete, hands-on guidance in case you feel adrift.

  1. What are the key differences in the revised fourth edition of The Well-Trained Mind, and why are they important?

All the recommendations are updated, of course. Books and curricula go out of print (particularly elementary ones—they seem to get outdated very quickly) and new ones are published, so we’re always looking for resources that are both good and easily available. We’ve updated the recommendations in each edition of The Well-Trained Mind, but this fourth edition also has four major changes from earlier editions.

First, the fourth edition pays attention to how recommendations might differ for children with processing and learning difficulties. It seems that these children make up a much higher percentage of home educated students than in previous years. As home education has become more visible and additional resources have become available, many more parents are reacting to very individual needs by choosing to remove struggling children from the classroom entirely. So we wanted to give more guidance on evaluation, adapting the classical curriculum, and alternative recommendations—some of which are in the book, but more are online at our new website,

Which leads me to the second major change…

We’ve shifted quite a bit of our information online. We started with the quickly outdated appendices (lists of publishers and suppliers, home school groups, and so on), but we’re also now including alternative recommendations online. In the book itself, we list our top picks for all the different subject areas. But there are many more books, programs, and resources that are compatible with the goals of classical education! So on our website, we’re listing great resources that we found too complicated, expensive, specialized, or quirky to recommend in the book, but which have enthusiastic support among many veteran home schoolers. Plus, we’re offering guides to online enrichment activities, apps, and other web-based learning tools.

Third—we’ve completely revamped our maths and sciences chapters. Classical education has often been criticized as stronger in the humanities than in the maths and sciences. Working with highly qualified experts and experienced teachers, we have overhauled our approach to provide a much more rigorous and coherent maths and sciences education.

And finally…in response to our readers, we’ve reorganized chapters into two parts—first, how to teach a subject (methods, goals, expectations, etc.); and second, what resources to use (recommended texts and curricula). This makes the book even more flexible, since parents can use the principles of teaching even if they choose to use other specific texts or programs than the ones we suggest.

  1. What strategies might best serve parents and educators when it comes to preparing students for standardized tests?

The first strategy: Realize that a standardized test has almost no relationship to real education.

Standardized tests are the ultimate expression of the artificiality of our education system—and that system has little to do with the goal of classical education, which is to guide a young mind (and personality) towards mature, thoughtful self-knowledge and self-expression (a goal that requires a great deal of knowledge about the outside world). Standardized tests don’t necessarily measure the child’s knowledge or skill; they may not coincide with what you’ve been working on; and they require specific test-taking skills that your child will have to practice when he could be doing something else with real learning value.

But…for home educators, standardized tests are a great equalizer. Because grading standards vary so much from school to school, standardized test scores have become the ultimate proof that you’re doing a good job educating your child. Students with a good grounding in the foundational skills of reading, writing, and mathematics generally test well.

So that’s your first task: concentrate on those core language arts and mathematics skills.

Second, practice test-taking. Even if your state doesn’t require yearly testing, take the tests anyway. (We have a list of the different tests and how to take them—you can administer some yourself—in The Well-Trained Mind.)

Tests are a reality of educational and professional life (you even have to take a test to get a driver’s license), and constant practice will eventually dull test anxiety. Plus, you can use the test results to target weak areas that need more study, as well as to praise the child when scores show that he has made progress. If the child consistently tests poorly in a particular skill, you might want to consult a professional evaluator to see whether the child has a learning problem, or simply needs more time in that area.

Third (an important corrective), don’t put too much weight on the results. Even at its best, standardized testing is merely a tool for evaluating instruction. It should be used to plan the next step in the educational process, not to “evaluate” the student’s intelligence. Never make an important educational decision on the basis of one test.

And finally: If we’re talking SATs or ACTs, study directly to the tests. No matter how much actual education has been going on, that may not translate into test results. Getting an approved study guide and sample tests, and spending three to five hours per week working on particular test-taking skills, is the most productive and effective way to raise scores.

Could the student be doing something more worthwhile—like reading, or writing, or baking bread, or contemplating the philosophy of Marcus Aurelius?

Absolutely. But part of adulthood is learning which hoops to jump through (because they’ll get you closer to what you really want) and which to disregard. Standardized tests are one of those hoops worth jumping through.

Just remember that they’re hoops.

  1. There is a wealth of advice in THE WELL-TRAINED MIND, but if you could give parents and educators just one piece of advice, what would it be?


Okay, that was a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy joke, but it’s also true.

At the Well-Trained Mind Press, where we publish resources for home educators, we are constantly reminded, by the parents who call us for advice and assistance, that educating your children is an incredibly fraught business.

It’s fraught because parenting is fraught. If you’re a good parent, you rarely feel that you’re doing an adequate job. You’re painfully aware of all of your inadequacies and shortcomings. That’s because parenting is one of the most difficult and vital tasks on earth. Of course you don’t feel that you’re doing it well.

(If you think you’re doing it well, you probably have very young children. Wait until they’re   twenty.)

When you home educate, schooling gets all tied up with parenting: It’s so very difficult to do it properly. And it’s so hard to know that you have done it properly.

I understand that. My children are now 25, 23, 19, and 15. I can see a little more clearly (at least for the older kids) what I did wrong. And I can tell you that every decision I made that I now regret, I made out of fear: that they wouldn’t achieve enough, get into college, get jobs, be okay.

            Looking back, I can tell you that every decision I made out of fear was a wrong decision.

You’re nurturing a person. People are unpredictable, surprising, perplexing. There’s nothing that you can do to guarantee that they’ll turn out “right.” (Conversely, when they do turn out “right,” it will probably have much less to do with you than you now think.)

Educate to the best of your ability. Make sure they can read and write and calculate well. Breathe. Don’t be afraid. Enjoy your days.

Do your best. And don’t panic.

Online Homeschooling: Is it for you?


Online Homeschooling: Is it for you?

This is a guest blog post from Forest Trail Academy.


The use of online homeschooling as an alternative to traditional schooling environments has been increasingly rapidly. There is absolutely no question about the several benefits online homeschools have to offer. However, the main question is this – Is it right for you? More importantly, is it right for your child?

What is Online Homeschooling?

The drawbacks of conventional schooling systems are well-known. Our education system has been struggling to overcome them for decades. However, we have never really had a lot of success in overcoming these challenges until now. With the help of online homeschool high schools, we can now deliver high quality education to virtually any location and at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, the added flexibility that accompanies online homeschool curriculum is unparalleled by brick-and-mortar classrooms.

The following points will help you understand what online homeschool programs are all about and how they can be beneficial to you.

1.   Online homeschools are accredited

Parents who are worried about switching to online homeschool programs can set their minds at ease since reputable online homeschools have all the necessary accreditations. Accredited online homeschools offer you a standard of education that is of high quality. Their online homeschool curriculum adheres to standards set by federal and state regulations. In most cases, students are provided with a quality education that is at par with their counterparts in traditional brick-and-mortar schools, and in some cases, surpasses them.

2.   Online homeschool programs are flexible

This is especially useful for children who find it hard to keep up with the rest of their class. Since not all children are the same, the conventional manner of imparting education to an entire classroom has its drawbacks. With online homeschool courses, children are provided with the freedom to learn their course material in a manner that is best suited to their individual aptitude. They are free to alter the pace of learning as they see fit and can spend as much time as they need to in order to properly grasp concepts.

Since all they need is a computer and a good internet connection, there are no restrictions on study times either. Parents are free to schedule study time around their work schedules and are able to devote the necessary time and attention to ensure that their children are keeping up with their online homeschool curriculum requirements.

3.   Accredited online homeschools are also affordable

Studying in a homeschool high school doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. While online homeschool programs are delivered using cutting-edge technology platforms, they are extremely affordable. Most accredited online homeschools also offer viable financing options.

Parents are additionally provided with the option of choosing courses that offer online homeschool curriculum that can be combined with regular school curriculum or they can opt for an education that is based completely online.

4.   Online homeschool programs are engaging

Boredom is a significant factor contributing to students losing interest in their studies and in turn, resulting in most dropping out of school. Online homeschooling programs are extremely engaging and offer students a wide range of tools ranging from interactive platforms to sophisticated apps.


When you consider all the above advantages offered by online homeschooling, it is easy to see how beneficial it can be to you and your entire family. For more information you can visit




3 Important Life Skills That Art Classes Teach

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: — dailynews @ 4:00 am

logo art

3 Important Life Skills That Art Classes Teach

This is a guest blog post from ArtAchieve

An art lesson is about much more than creating a satisfying piece of art. After all, art students probably won’t become artists, but they WILL learn valuable life skills.

Underneath all the art skills that an art class teaches, there lies another set of skills – LIFE SKILLS.  It’s these LIFE SKILLS that make teaching art so exciting. The list of life skills kids can learn in an art class is long, but here are three skills for a starting list:

Art Classes Teach Kids to be Makers  

I got my college education learning to analyze things: Shakespeare’s plays, the cells in plant tissue, and the philosophy behind a proposition. I was learning to think critically, to take things apart in order to understand them.

But there is another kind of thinking.

Call it design thinking, or maker thinking, or creative thinking, it’s all pretty much the same thing. It’s the thinking that builds things, that creates new things. It’s inventive thinking. Art teaches this second kind of thinking very well.

Art Classes Teach Kids to be Handy

Having spent most of my life doing design work for the theater, I’ve learned to weld, create faux finishes, draft construction drawings, build things, and do some electrical wiring. I’ve learned that it’s fun to take broken things – tools, furniture, toys, whatever – and fix them. Learning the joy of using our hands is a valuable skill. One of my scenic design students, now a lawyer, paints to relax. Another is asking for a table saw for his wedding; he loves to build things. In addition, art students quickly learn that there are “tricks” to doing things more easily.

A 6th grade teacher called one day to say that it was “such a gift” for her students to learn to use their left index finger to stop their pencil when doing pencil shading with their right hand. “It made things SO much easier!” she said. Her students had made a step in learning to be handy.

Art Classes Teach Persistence

Art classes teach us to persist when we draw a line or paint a stroke that we don’t like. Art lessons remind kids that “if you draw a line you don’t like, draw another one you DO like. In this way “mistakes” become new and interesting problems to solve.

I was reminded of recently this while painting a flower as an example for an art lesson. I had just added a background wash to the the picture, and something seemed wrong. The wash seemed flat, the picture looked garish, and it lacked unity. All the red was in the flower, and all the green was in the surrounding areas.

The flower with a green background

What to do?  The easy solution would have been to quit. But art classes teach us to persist, and in this case, as usual, the persistence paid off. After a few experiments, I decided to add orange to the wash, and suddenly the picture had unity and the green was warm and vibrant.

The flower with orange added to the background

Learning to think creatively, learning to be handy, and learning to persist are life skills that art classes teach kids whether we intend them to be taught or not. However,

  • If we remind our students that an art activity is an experiment, not merely a time to copy, and that it’s okay if the outcome surprises us,
  • If we model the joy of finding new ways to do things, and
  • If we remind students that they need to finish a project completely before they can decide whether they like it,

Then we begin to make the teaching and learning of these skills more intentional.

Plan for College – Sallie Mae®

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , — dailynews @ 4:00 am




Plan for College – Sallie Mae®

Learn How America Pays for College!

As you head back to homeschool and high school juniors and seniors begin making plans for their future, find out about the power of free money for your college bound students. According to Sallie Mae’s How America Pays for College 2016 study, scholarships paid for nearly one-fifth (19 percent) of all undergraduate college costs in academic year 2015-16.1

Plan for College, brought to you by Sallie Mae, is an online destination that features step-by-step tools designed to make the college planning process easier, including Scholarship Search, a direct route to making it easy – and free – for students to take advantage of more than 5 million college scholarship opportunities. That’s up to $24 billion in free money!

Plus…Sallie Mae awards $1,000 every month in the Plan for CollegeSM Sweepstakes.* Students can easily enter when they create a free registration for the Sallie Mae College Planning CalculatorSM or Scholarship Search.

Just thought you’d like to know.


1 How America Pays for College 2016 by Sallie Mae
* No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. See official rules

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: — dailynews @ 4:00 am




The California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom – is a non-profit that provides free teaching resources and other programs to support educators in teaching students where our food and fiber comes from. Homeschoolers throughout the U.S. can use the site.  And if you happen to homeschool in CA, you might be interested in the following:

  • California Agriculture in the Classroom Conference – Sept 22-24, 2016 in Sacramento


o   Hands-on workshops, farm tours, speakers, quality teaching resources, great networking and more—all about integrating agriculture and nutrition education into education.

  • Imagine this… Story Writing Contest –open to all California students in grades 3-8


o   The annual deadline is November 1. Winning stories are published in a book, and every student who writes a story will receive a free packet of seeds!

  • Literacy for Life grants –open to all California K-12 educators


o   The application deadline is October 1, 2016. Grants of up to $500 help educators create or enhance hands-on learning projects.

Just thought you’d like to know….

Top Community Colleges in the U.S.

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , — dailynews @ 4:00 am


With the U.S. community-college industry undergoing major changes — such as the prospect of a free associate’s degree and 22 states authorizing their community colleges to offer bachelor’s degree programs — the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s Best & Worst Community Colleges then drew upon its results to identify the States with the Best & Worst Community College Systems.

To help students weigh their community-college prospects, WalletHub’s analysts compared 821 schools across 12 key metrics. Their data set ranges from the cost of in-state tuition and fees to student-faculty ratio to graduation rate.

  Top 20 Community Colleges    
  1 Helene Fuld College of Nursing (NY)   11 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (WI)
  2 Ilisagvik College (AK)   12 Mesalands Community College (NM)
  3 Pamlico Community College (NC)   13 Moorpark College (CA)
  4 Cochise County Community College District (AZ)   14 Pratt Community College (KS)
  5 State Technical College of Missouri (MO)   15 Coastline Community College (CA)
  6 Fashion Institute of Technology (NY)   16 Northern Oklahoma College (OK)
  7 Rend Lake College (IL)   17 Whatcom Community College (WA)
  8 Lake Area Technical Institute (SD)   18 Barstow Community College (CA)
  9 Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NE)   19 Manhattan Area Technical College (KS)
  10 North Central Missouri College (MO)   20 Turtle Mountain Community College (ND)


  States with the Best Community College Systems    
  1 South Dakota   11 Georgia
  2 Alaska   12 New Mexico
  3 North Dakota   13 Nebraska
  4 Florida   14 California
  5 Montana   15 Iowa
  6 Wyoming   16 Arizona
  7 Washington   17 Arkansas
  8 Wisconsin   18 Mississippi
  9 Connecticut   19 New York
  10 New Hampshire   20 Maine

Just thought you’d like to know!

Homeschooling – A Boost in Life

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Homeschooling – A Boost in Life

This is a guest blog post from Beth Fine, Tennessee author of middle school mystery series Picaresque of Ímagine Purple.





Recently, on my way to Detroit to teach a library workshop for young writers on “Turning Adventures into Stories,” I met my god-family to have our own biblical adventure in Kentucky.

We went to Ken Ham’s newly-opened Ark Encounter to see a full replica of Noah’s Ark skillfully built by craftsmen and artists. Stalls and cages for animals filled the lower levels. Researched, archaic, yet ingenious techniques demonstrated how the Ark trapped/dispensed fresh water; collected/removed waste products; and stored/distributed food for animals and people alike.

We also went to the Creation Museum and viewed exhibits of creation vs. evolution models with full apologetics for each perspective. However, in an interview, renown atheist Richard Dawkins explained evolution as happening because, “Nature found a way, “a strange admission from an earth scientist!

Since my god-children grew up under home school instruction, took field trips to watch whales, served as pages in the state assembly, and participated in HS musical productions, they matured in wholesome, expansive atmospheres. As young adults, one served in the Marines and now studies journalism at Cedarville University. The other matriculates an online college so he can practice daily for the 2020 Olympic swimming trials.

The breadth of experience these two young men had, came not from great wealth but their parents’ approach to home school enrichment. Suddenly, I realized how their life preparation differed from the inner-city kids set to attend my workshop. Could I somehow enrich them with this library experience?

Once in Detroit, I saw faces hungry for attention and knowledge! I can say that because the library’s air conditioning broke down that week, but only one kid left. Those persevering to the end received a sleuth’s magnifying glass, an E-book, and a motto label: Have Fun. Get Smarter.™

After hearing my brief autobiography and a summary of my novel written in the fourth grade, the kids recognized story details from my real life as a Texas tomboy who lived near a bayou in the woods. They surmised a writer’s first rule: “Write what you know!”

Next, they learned the wagon-wheel method of displaying story details, explored possibilities why the main character disappeared, and discovered I had obviously posed a mystery to make readers wonder if the tomboy drowned, ran away, hid in a secret place, got lost, or was kidnapped.

Then, the children shared adventures, wagon-wheeled details, and borrowed outside hints to expand their concepts. I encouraged them to let imaginations fly freely to release the story within. Like flowers growing in sidewalk cracks, the results surprised me and clouded my working premise!

Beth Fine, Tennessee author of middle school mystery series Picaresque of Ímagine Purple.

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