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Young Naturalist Award Competition

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 6:07 pm

Do you have a child that loves nature? Can they not get enough of natural science? Well, the Young Naturalist Awards is conducting a competition for students in grades 7th through 12th. This competition is an invitation for students to perform a scientific investigation that would lead to a new understanding about the question an individual student has posed.

Competitors get to select, plan, and conduct their own investigation. They should include observations, questions, data gathering from the field, and finally their analysis. All of this would be submitted to YNA by March 1, 2010 in the form of an essay. The competitor should also include drawings and/or pictures.

There will be twelve winners, two from each grade, chosen out of all entries. The winners will receive cash awards and be flown, along with a parent/guardian, to New York City on an expense paid trip to the Museum for an award ceremony and for behind the scenes tour.

You can find the complete rules, winning essays from last year, and all the particulars at

To discuss this further, join us in our forums at

Written by: Susan Harris News Editor

What is the Number 1 Question to Ask Your Homeschooler?

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 6:20 pm

Dear Homeschooling-in-the-News Reader:

Hello, my name is Rebecca Kochenderfer and I am the Editor of I have been homeschooling for 19 years now.

I wanted to check in with you and make sure that you are building your child’s curriculum around his or her interests. Remember, the school-at-home approach to homeschooling, where the kids are practically chained to the table doing work they hate, has the highest burn-out rate. Neither the parents nor the children can keep this method up for long. So I encourage you to ask your children over and over, “What do you want to learn? What are you excited about? What is your #1 goal.”

I think this last question is the most important. For 19 years now I’ve asked my children, “What is your #1 goal right now?” Their answers have always surprised and inspired me. “I want to learn to drive every kind of boat.” “I want to write a book.” “I want to get ’on pointe’ in ballet.” “I want to be the first 8th grader to pass the AP Biology exam.” “I want to move to Hollywood and see if I can be an actress and model.” So ask your children today what their #1 goal is. Don’t wait. Ask right away. Then move heaven and earth to help them achieve that goal. It will change their lives and yours too.

For a discussion on this topic and others, please go to our discussion forums at

Proudly forwarded by:
Susan Harris News Editor

So Many to Choose From; How Do I Decide?

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 10:05 am

In the past week, I have already received two announcements for upcoming homeschool conferences for the spring/summer 2010 season. Now, since it is only February, and the official conference season doesn’t start until May, some may think they can just put it on the back burner and think about these things in the upcoming months. Personally, I would not advise that. Let me explain why along with giving some examples.

If the conference being announced is a state wide organization, these tend to have a lot of attendees. In addition, if they are multiple days, it may require a hotel stay (if you live further away). This means the hotel rooms around the conference will fill up long before the month the grand event occurs. This is true in my fair state of Virginia (okay so it is really a commonwealth). One of the major state homeschool organizations here is Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV). It occurs every June. They have graduation ceremonies, workshops, keynote speakers, and a HUGE vendor area. They also have a large used curriculum sale that occurs through out that weekend. Workshops start on Thursday evening (which are free to all) and continue through Saturday evening. The major hotels around this event sell out within weeks of the registration opening. Registrations start in January. So, if you wait until May to decide to attend, you might have difficulties finding accommodations. Oh, this event reported that it had over 7,000 families attend last year.

Another difficulty you may find is coming up with the fees. Most conferences contain a price tag with it. For the above, the fee is $55 for members and $70 for non-members. That does include the entire weekend for couples. Now, if you wish your child to participate in the children’s program that is an additional fee. The same applies to the teen program. Add that to food and hotel costs, it can add up quickly. Does that mean you shouldn’t go; no, not at all. The return value can far outweigh the cost of attending.

So, what should you do when these conference announcements come in? Read through the literature. See what they are offering. Is there something of interest for you and your family? Compare that announcement with any further announcements for other conferences being offered. For example, I stated I have received two announcements; one was from HEAV and the other from IHM (Immaculate Heart of Mary). In this situation, they are both on the same weekend. So, I would need to decide on which conference would better fulfill my needs and that of my students.

How do I do this? Again, look at what they are offering, both in workshops and in vendors. Again, let me use my situation as an example. IHM would have the Catholic materials that I like to utilize and it is a free conference (although I would need to pay for food and hotel). The HEAV conference would offer vendors of non-Catholic materials, which I also utilize. They each offer workshops, although HEAV’s is much more extensive. IHM is smaller and offers more intimacy and chances to speak easier with vendors and speakers one-on-one without being crowded out by other homeschoolers that need questions answered as well. Yet HEAV offers many more workshops from which I could choose. Not to mention they offer a graduation ceremony that IHM does not (this would not apply to me this year-unless I allow my son to graduate a year early). In addition, I need to start thinking about what I plan to teach next year. Do I need to change my method? What are the interests of my children? Where do they plan to go after high school?

I also can take the time to discuss choices with my friends who may be attending. Do I want to take the entire family OR would I like to do a getaway with a fellow homeschooling mom? This may also influence decisions as to which conference to attend.

Another thing to think about is the size of the conference (kind of hinted at above). For me, I don’t do well in large groups of people UNLESS I have plenty of room I can maneuver around and space around me. I can lead a workshop fine since I am upfront and everyone else is seated away from me. However, put me in a crowd, especially if I am up against a wall and I have problems. So, the shear size of an event may be too overwhelming for some, especially newbies to homeschooling. You may want to consider a smaller one to begin with.

Now, once you narrow down these two choices, as others come in, you can compare the one you chose with the others. Just don’t wait too long to make a final decision.

Please stop by our forums to discuss this topic with us at

Susan Harris News Editor

12 First Aid Skills Every Parent Should Know

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 7:45 pm

Most of us know how to stop a simple nose bleed, but what if it becomes more serious? What do you do if a child spills scalding water on them? has created a list of the top 12 first aid skills that every parent needs to know. So, what types of things make their list?

At the top of the list is to know when to call 911. Sometimes we try and handle things ourselves or don’t think it is as bad as it is, but there does come a time, and we need to be able to recognize it, when we need assistance from the professionals.

One of the items to make it on the list is how to save someone that is choking. A common mistake when a person starts coughing do to a mis-swallow, is to hit their backs. You should not do this. As long as they are coughing, they are breathing. If you hit their back, you could actually cause the object to lodge in their throat.

Second place is to learn CPR. It literally can save a life. Remember CPR has gone through several changes over the decades so what you learned back in high school may not (probably is not) what is recommended today. So, it is a great time to brush up and even have your kids take classes as well.

Nose bleeds, burns, nausea, diarrhea bee stings, splinter removal, and even treating head lice is on this list. has the entire list and give links to each of items for further detail. Check it out at

Please stop by our forums to discuss this topic and further ideas of how to help the families of Haiti. You can find us at

Susan Harris News Editor

Wednesday’s Helpful Links

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 7:24 pm

Today is another episode of Wednesday’s Helpful Links.

Just a reminder, not all links will necessarily apply to you, your style of homeschooling and/or with your beliefs. I am not promoting one website over another. I am simply presenting some links and allowing you to choose what you would like to utilize. Since my readership is vast, some links will apply to you while others may apply more to your neighbor down the street.

Do you still have a need for a calendar? How about creating a few of your own or have the kids do it? You can get free printables from You can choose holiday themes, different characters, blank ones, etc.

Last week I mentioned McGuffey Readers, well today I have a link to McGuffey spelling lists and practice up through the 8th grade. These spelling lists are based on McGuffey’s Eclectic Spelling Book.

Do you have a scientist in the house? Well this next site offers a weekly newsletter with an experiment included for free. Now, there is content on the site that is for members only, but you can still glean a few freebies or perhaps you would like to broaden your scientist’s horizons. If so, go check out

With Phil, the weather forecasting groundhog, seeing his shadow this past Tuesday, we need to remember that our feather friends could still use our help in keeping them fed. What better time to remember this than National Bird Feeding Month, which happens to be February. To learn how to attract and observe feather friends, even specific ones, please visit

I would love for members to send in links to things they have found so that I can pass them along to other homeschoolers as well. Please feel free to send them and your homeschooling success stories to [email protected]

Please let us know how you liked this article on our discussion forums at

Written by: Susan Harris News Editor

A Chance to Win a Trip to Space Center Houston

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 7:25 am

NASA is offering a chance to see behind the scenes activity at the Space Center Houston location. This is a never before offered opportunity. They are going to allow a family of four to come and see what actually goes on at their space centers during a two-day trip. They will cover the airfare and the hotel accommodations as well. This is in conjunction with the release of the new book by Frank Cottrell Boyce called Cosmic.

Cosmic is a wonderful book about a 12 year old boy named Liam. He experiences the thrill of space exploration and takes the reader along for the trip.

This contest is open to all residences of the United States that are between the ages of 8 and 14 as of January 21, 2010. All entries must be submitted by February 23, 2010. So, quickly get those entries in.

Please visit the official rules and entry submission site at

This is one giant step for children everywhere. Oh, and by the way, why not check out the book Cosmic while you wait for the announcement of the winner?

To discuss this further, join us in our forums at

Written by: Susan Harris News Editor

Essay Contest for a Scholarship to CollegePlus!

Filed under: Daily News — dailynews @ 6:54 am

CollegePlus! is an on-line Christian based college program. Many of their students graduate with their degrees in half the time of a traditional mortar building college. They combine schooling with work and volunteering. You can find out more about this unique approach to college at their website

Right now, they are offering a chance to win one of two scholarships. Both are valued at $2699 which covers the first year of tuition. This contest is open to all high schoolers age 15 and up. Everyone who enters will receive an automatic $250 scholarship to CollegePlus!.

The essay can be in the form of a traditional written essay OR it can be a video essay. The video essay opens this contest up to a whole group that either can stand writing or perhaps it just isn’t their strongest suit. There are additional bonuses for those doing the video format as an essay. They have a chance to receive an iTunes gift card and they have a chance to win a Flip Mino HD digital camcorder.

All submissions must be to CollegePlus! by midnight central standard time (CST) on Monday, February 22, 2010. The winners will be selected on Wednesday, February 24, 2010. So, there will not be a long waiting period to find out who won.

So, what is the topic of this essay? “How Would You Revolutionize Higher Education?” This is a chance for our students to express how they would revolutionize the higher education system. We all know that homeschooling works for the typical grades for school (k-12). Then the choice is to send them to a college that returns to the traditional format thought of when you say “school”. Is this a good way to educate our children when they graduate high school? What does your child think? What would they like to see?

To find out the rules for this contest and how to submit either the written or video format, please go to

To discuss this further, join us in our forums at

Written by: Susan Harris News Editor

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