September 4, 2014
The Discovering the Real Me courses are offered free of charge from UpliftingEducation.net. The lessons are scheduled for about an hour a week for the 1st through 12th grade school year but you are free to use it in whatever way you feel is best. This curriculum can be an opportunity to discuss virtues with your child. Many families enjoy making time each week to complete the Discovering the Real Me lessons because it helps them make a habit of communicating on deeper issues of life while giving each child in the family their special time. The online curriculum focuses on issues specifically addressed for each age group but you are free to use any level for similar aged children. For more information or to enroll, go here.
Three Basic Goals of Life and Education
There are three basic goals of life and education that systems of education need to be aware of and address if they are to educate responsibly. Bearing these goals in mind shapes education to fulfill its deepest purpose: to produce well-rounded, capable, and benevolent people who are a boon to society and to themselves.
Developing a mature heart and character is the first basic goal of life and of education. Yet it is not an end in itself. Ultimately the goal of developing heart and character is to become a person capable of altruistically loving others. True love cannot be separated from virtues such as respect, responsibility, fairness, honesty, loyalty, unselfishness and others, as these are concerned with the way to properly relate with others. We may say that virtues facilitate the flow of love in human relationships. Thus a person of virtue is a mature person capable of beneficial and loving relationships, which are further contexts for fostering human development and growth. To develop loving relationships, especially in the context of a family, then, is the second basic goal of life and education.
As people develop their knowledge, skills, and technical expertise, they have the potential to be of enormous benefit to the larger society. With their maturity and sense of social responsibility, such people can balance their natural desire for personal success with the larger purpose of serving their society. A strong conscience and a well-developed capacity to love make for a more ennobling contribution to the human community. We consider making a contribution to society to be the third basic goal of life and education.
The pursuit and fulfillment of these three life goals: 1) Becoming a person of mature character 2) Establishing loving relationships and family, and 3) Making a contribution to society — point the way to valuable and productive lives. By designing our educational system with these three life goals in mind, we can help our young people to find true satisfaction and fulfillment in life while realizing their full potential as human beings.
The Discovering the Real Me courses from UpliftingEducation.net emphasize the development of heart and conscience within the context of attaining the three basic life goals. Educating children to be better and happier human beings is the essential goal of education, even as they learn the technical expertise needed to serve our world to the best of their abilities. Discovering the Real Me seeks to correct the imbalance in current education by devoting special attention to the development of the inner human being, the core of which is heart.
The Discovering the Real Me lessons are built around stories. Now, with the Uplifting Education student portal powered by Schoology, parents and students alike can share their stories and comments related to each week’s lesson. The elementary school curriculum focuses on classic fairy tales which were designed to take children on a voyage into a more peaceful and righteous world. The middle school curriculum uses realistic life situations and utilizes moral dilemmas and decision-making in order to lead the students to make better choices in their lives. The high school curriculum presents stories and situations with themes of the development of virtues such as mutual respect, taking responsibility, developing empathy and compassion, and learning how to be productive citizens.
As mentioned previously, the Discovering the Real Me courses are offered free of charge. For more information or to enroll, go here.
September 3, 2014
This is a guest post from Buncee.com
Bouncey? Buncee? Yes, buncee. It’s a noun and a verb. Buncee: (n) a web-based creation tool where you incorporate all forms of multimedia onto a shareable, digital canvas. Buncee: (v) creating a buncee about a topic.
Visit the Buncee website by clicking here.
Edu.buncee.com’s simple cloud based, online creation platform allows children, their parents or their teachers the ability to create anything from digital stories and multimedia research reports, to presentations and projects, all while operating within their own virtual classroom.
By dragging and dropping elements, users can combine backgrounds, stickers, and animations with any form of multimedia to make a digital, shareable creation. With photos, videos, drawings, audio, links, and buncee artwork, your children’s experiences and lessons become engaging travel scrapbooks, digital stories, research projects, and more. Simply put, we give you the tools and you make the choices; the power is in your hands!
The tools we offer in one screen, or as we call it the “one and done” screen, allow for the ease of creating any kind of message or story. Within seconds, you and your children can create a one slided holiday project or create a 10 slided multimedia rich presentation buncee for lessons and research reports.
Watch a video of the creation process here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlMZ-lv9Tnk&index=5&list=UUuTVhQXu3Ukin_-rL5yD-Uw , and take a second to look at the examples below to see what you and your students can create!
Why is buncee the perfect tool for homeschool education? It is a creative way to learn while practicing 21st century skills and having fun. That’s it! This fun, educational tool helps students develop the technological skills required in today’s new world. This is our children’s world, and combining the way they play with the way they learn is the key to a successful education. Buncee’s value is in its ability to instill the most essential 21st century skills in your child, all while feeling like play.
Ken Kay, CEO of EdLeader21, defines four skills students need to develop in his “7 Steps for Becoming a 21st Century School or District.” These skills, the 4C’s, are Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Communication, which are all utilized and strengthened when using buncee. How? Well, bunceeing promotes these values, especially creativity, in a very unique way, as students learn while having fun.
Crafting a buncee is in itself a creative activity.Arranging stickers, animations, and quotes in a buncee, selecting the artwork and designs, and deciding what media to insert calls for creativity and imagination. By practicing these skills, your children will not just be consumers of content, but creators of content! What’s even better is that due to its accessibility, you can buncee all the time. You can buncee on the train, and you can buncee in a plane – assuming there is wifi :). As Maya Angelou once said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
If your children are working in groups, all the better. Group work on buncee means collaboration. While creating, your students will have to distribute specific roles, make design decisions, provide feedback and constructive criticism, and learn to work as a team, building off one another. Whether they’re making a digital story with personal photos, or choosing one of Gooru’s history or science videos for their research report, your children will need to collaborate together to sculpt the best product they can, just as they will in any profession of our 21st century world.
Critically thinking and analyzing media is a unique talent, but successfully converting these analyses into a creative product is an even more unique talent. As we’re exposed to infinite amounts of media on a daily basis, making sure your child is a smart, critical thinker is truly important. When creating on buncee, children will have to determine what kinds of media will add to their message and be of value to their audience. From Google images to YouTube videos, students’ media choices should help their buncee shine while still delivering their message.
Born from the idea that the best and most necessary kind of communication is both personal and creative, buncee is at it’s core a communication tool. Buncee’s CEO created the tool when wanting to send a personalized digital thank you note to the doctors who worked with the Daniella Maria Arturi Foundation, her medical research foundation that raises money for the research of Diamond Blackfan Anemia. She needed a tool that was flexible, that enabled her to visually communicate the message she wished to convey, and so came buncee.
As buncee hopes to help the world communicate creatively, we understand the importance of incorporating and strengthening the 4C’s in all users! Effective communication through digital media is important, but what is most important, though, is that creating on buncee is fun!
September 2, 2014
How do homeschoolers measure up academically? From the infographic on this page–pretty darn well!
Please share this infographic with others–we’d like to get the word out. :)
August 29, 2014
This website is chocked full of great info–fyi–http://askatechteacher.wordpress.com/.
She also has a new site– http://askatechteacher.com/, although I really like the easy navigation of the wordpress site.
Just thought you’d like to know. :)
August 28, 2014
Ever wonder about the following?
Why do raisins dance in soda pop?
How can I make an underwater volcano?
How can I change an iron nail to copper?
How can I make popcorn kernels dance?
If you weren’t before…..I bet you are now! You can check out these fun experiments at
They offer even more experiments at
August 27, 2014
Darn…..summer is coming to an end….
Want some fun last-minute summer activity ideas? It’s not too late!
Visit the DIY Homeschooler–http://diyhomeschooler.com/category/activities/ ! Watermelon Science sure sounds interesting and fun. And fun learning is forever learning!
August 26, 2014
Computers are everywhere: in our homes, our cars, and our pockets. Developments in cloud-based infrastructure and the forthcoming “Internet of Things” will soon connect every aspect of our lives. With our economy now reliant upon automation and networks, it becomes increasingly important for young people to acquire the skills necessary to actively participate in the future. Unfortunately, these technological concepts are often difficult to grasp, and sometimes a little boring. A new series of youth-oriented videos and tutorials seeks to change that. It’s called The Hello World Program
. Using puppets, papercraft, and animation, the project seeks to create an approachable and positive learning environment for students taking their initial steps in computer science, programming, and web development. The title is a play on the first program a beginner will often write, telling the computer to
print the phrase “Hello, World!”
The Hello World Program is the creative collaboration of brothers Jared and JR Nielsen. Growing up in rural Utah proved to be a serendipitous opportunity for the siblings. With few neighbors and structured
activities, they filled their time making puppets and short videos with their father’s camcorder. Before the Internet, they learned things the old-fashioned way: through trial-and-error and visits to the library.
“We taught ourselves the skills necessary to create our own media. Now we want to share what we know with the world,” says Jared. The brothers recognize the importance of play when tackling a new subject. Their primary goal is to make learning computer science educational and entertaining. Says JR,“The Hello World Program is the show we wish we watched as kids.”
The Hello World Program curriculum is divided into four integrated categories: computer science, Linux, Python, and web development. The host of the series, Unique ID, introduces audiences to general concepts in computer science such as, “What is a Computer?” and “What is a Robot?” In “Superusers! The Legendary GNU/Linux Show”, super friends Adelie the penguin and Aramis the gnu lead young heroes on adventures while instructing them on the basic commands necessary to master any Linux operating system, from Raspberry Pi’s to web servers. In “Daisy’s Web Dev Diary”, Daisy the fox builds web pages with her friends while guiding viewers through the basics of the foundational language of the World Wide Web, HTML. “The Nielsen Brother’s Byting Python”, a forthcoming
segment based loosely upon Monty Python’s Flying Circus, takes a completely different approach to teaching the Python programming language with humorous sketches and witty wordplay. One of the
aims of the Hello World Program is to remove the economic barrier associated with educational access.
These tools are not only free, they are rapidly gaining in popularity and provide a powerful foundation for any to student to build upon.
Not everyone needs to be a computer scientist, but every computer user, which is just about everyone, should understand the basics. The Hello World Program proves that it can be fun. You may also want to visit Dototo
t, the Nielsen brothers parent company, where they provide tutorials on all aspects of their media production, from puppet-making to video editing. According to the brothers, “Our goal is to empower young people to make their own media and engage critically with contemporary advances in technology.”
August 25, 2014
MySchoolYear.com: an easy to use and comprehensive record keeping system
Since 2002, MySchoolYear.com has been enabling homeschool teachers to track, organize, and record all of their student’s education from kindergarten to high school. Homeschoolers themselves, the husband and wife team have always put simplicity in the design while still maintaining a large feature set. MySchoolYear.com has numerous lesson planning tools as well as some uncommon but highly useful portfolio tracking options like volunteer work and organization involvements.
With such a long history in the homeschool record keeping realm, MySchoolYear.com has used a simple design and helpful wizards to help members quickly understand the system and start using it while not being confused with unneeded options and cluttering the screen with an abundance of input controls. Homeschoolers need to be teaching and not fighting with an overly complex system.
To start, sign up is quick and easy, and everyone gets a free month long trial. After the trial, you easily subscribe for a price much lower than its competitors – helping your wallet. Once you sign up, so long as you maintain your subscription, your locked-in annual price will never go up. A tremendous help for long-term homeschooling on a budget.
After signup, MySchoolYear.com walks its members through an initial setup of students and terms. After that, it is off to the races. The navigational structure is color coded and the sections are comparable to a traditional school so it quite easy to navigate. After initial setup, you then proceed to create each student’s classes and lesson plans.
The lesson plan tools include Create-A-Plan, Share-A-Plan, copying plans, and rescheduling. Create-A-Plan has two options: Quick Split and Rapid Repeat. Quick Split is used to break out materials in evenly divisible lesson plans. For example, you can break out a 483 page book into 36 lessons plans of 13-14 pages a piece. Rapid Repeat allows you to create repeating assignments like reading units 1, 2, 3, and so on or create commonly scheduled events, like “soccer practice” or “piano lesson”. Regardless of which Create-A-Plan option you use, MySchoolYear.com walks you through a step by step wizard to help select options like materials, grade type, days to schedule class, any days off, and Share-A-Plan before generating your lesson plans. It takes less than a minute to create an entire year’s worth of lesson plans.
The Share-A-Plan tool allows you to use the same lesson plan for multiple children. This feature is great for students enrolled in the same grade (like twins or triplets) or enrolled in the same class. You only enter the lesson plan in once, but the system creates it in both students’ classes. For multiple students, the Copy Plan feature allows to select any or all of one student’s lesson plans into another student’s class. An awesome time saving tool when younger students start entering grades and classes that their elder siblings completed.
And for those homeschoolers that assign dates to lesson plans, the rescheduling tool is a life saver. We all know life happens, kids get sick, appointments run long and the assignments for the day are not completed. Not a problem. MySchoolYear.com allows you to easily reschedule your assignments so that you stay on track. Just a couple of clicks, and your homeschool is back in order.
Speaking of staying on track, the student’s profile page gives great visual feedback on where each student stands with respect to class assignment completion as well as days and hours attended. To stay on top of things, MySchoolYear.com offers 2 different automated options for date and hour tracking. It also has automatic grading options with default and customized settings. All of the automation is simple to use and saves you time and energy.
Of course, no record keeping system would be complete without downloadable reports. MySchoolYear.com has numerous reports including lesson plans, transcripts, report cards, standardized testing, event attendance and the list goes on.
While this article does not contain all the features of MySchoolYear.com, it would be much better to signup yourself and take advantage of its free trial. If you do happen to run into any questions, MySchoolYear.com has numerous tutorial videos, helpful forums, email and a toll-free phone support.
Use MySchoolYear.com for your recording keeping needs; you will be glad you did.
August 22, 2014
Need Encouragement? Read a Book!
(Homeschool Inspirational Readings)
Written by Erin Kaufman
This is an inspirational and helpful article–and is one of the many informative articles in Homeschool.com’s newest e-magazine–Back to Homeschool
Every homeschooler needs a good support system. There is nothing better than being encouraged and instructed by people who have already been down the same road. As homeschooling increases in popularity, it is now becoming easier to find others in your area that can be your support system. But sometimes those groups are either not available, or they are not the right type of group for your homeschooling philosophy.
If the right type of support system is not available to you, one of my favorite resources to find encouragement is a book. There are so many wonderful books geared toward homeschoolers that can provide you with tools, instruction, and a boost in morale without ever leaving your home. Many books are written specifically for a certain homeschooling philosophy, but there are many others that can benefit any type of homeschooler. I would love to share with you a few books that I have enjoyed and would encourage any homeschooler to read.
Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
It may sound strange to list a parenting book as one of my favorite homeschooling books, but when you think about it, so much of our homeschool time is also parenting time. We don’t turn off the parenting clock as homeschoolers; it is always running. Therefore, I find that encouragement in parenting is crucial to our homeschool running well. Simplicity Parenting is all about keeping our children’s lives free from too much, whether that be too many activities, too many toys, too much schoolwork, or too many decisions. Most of us have felt at times that there is just too much going on in our lives. This needlessly stresses out not only us, but also our children! This book guides you in the steps necessary to take back those carefree days and create a more calm and secure environment in your home.
As a result of reading Simplicity Parenting, we have changed several things about our home and the way we school. Our focus now is on the basics. We get our school done in an efficient amount of time so our children have the opportunity to just play. We recently completed a massive de-clutter of our home, which has helped us all focus and stay on task. I no longer need to take breaks from schooling in order to clean up large amounts of toys. I am no longer distracted by too many books on our bookshelves. We keep what is used and what we need, and the rest is now out the door! Our lives feel calm now, and that is enough to make any homeschooling mom happy!
For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
Although this book lends itself well to the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education, the concepts presented can encourage any homeschooling mom. The main idea behind this book is that children need a love of learning. If you feel as if you taught them nothing else (which I am sure would never be the case), but they love to learn, then you will have succeeded! Children are much more capable of many things than what we give them credit for, and they deserve to have their minds challenged. They are people, not parrots. For the Children’s Sake describes how we can create an atmosphere of education for our children where every opportunity can be taken to learn something new. This book also discusses how important it is to let children learn through play. Playtime seems to get a bad rap these days, but it should not be that way. Children learn so much when they play and explore the world around them.
This year our homeschool looks more child-focused that it ever did before. I am meeting my children at their level and challenging their minds to grow, instead of pulling them along behind me as we trudge through our schoolwork. Books have become a central part of their education (and mine too!). Each book they read takes them to a place they have never been before and introduces them to so much more than I could tell them about. We travel around to different times and locations through our readings. We read the classics and learn new vocabulary words every day. Play time is now scheduled in our days just like schoolwork is. I am amazed at what they learn just by exploring their world. Their play time provides them a wonderful opportunity to unwind from schoolwork and apply some of their new knowledge.
Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp
If you talk to any homeschooler about what they fear, I would imagine most of them fear leaving gaps in their children’s education. It can be overwhelming when you think of all of the subjects that need to be taught. Home Learning Year by Year walks you through each grade, from preschool through high school, and explains exactly what your child needs to learn. Each subject is listed along with suggestions for possible curriculum and book lists when available. There are also specific standards of what a child in that grade level needs to know.
We live in a state where we must report our intended curriculum for the upcoming school year to our local school district. I am always concerned that I will leave a subject off that is required. With this book, it is so easy to read through the appropriate grade level and find the resources we need to teach the necessary subjects. There are so many books and resources that I never would have found without Home Learning Year by Year. I find myself using this book several times a year to encourage and reassure myself that we are on the correct path and learning what needs to be learned.
These three books are only a small sampling of the many books homeschoolers can turn to for encouragement. Below you will find a list of some others that you may enjoy, depending on your homeschool philosophy. Just remember, you may not have a local homeschool support group, but you can find encouragement through a good book!
*Homeschooling And Loving It! by Rebecca Kochenderfer (a great general primer on homeschooling, with her own family examples mixed in)
*A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola (a great “how-to” if you are interested in Charlotte Mason)
*The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer (a guide for classical education – there are three editions and I prefer the first since it provides more detail of how to put things together yourself)
*Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson (a great how-to homeschool resource with some great book lists and help for planning)
*The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (discusses the importance of reading aloud to your children and suggests many books that are great to read aloud)
*The Three R’s by Ruth Beechick (an encouraging tool to show you how to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic in the younger grades)
*Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt (a guide in how to use books and how to choose good books in your home)
*101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy (helps you choose curriculum based on your child’s learning style and includes the author’s top picks)
*Joy in the Journey by Lori Hatcher (a homeschool mom shares encouragement based on her own homeschooling journey)
Written by Erin Kaufman. You can visit her blog at http://wateronthefloor.wordpress.com/
August 21, 2014
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Homeschooling High School – And Enjoying It!
Written by Trish Madonia
This is just one of the MANY interesting/informative homeschooling articles in Homeschool.com’s newest e-magazine–Back to Homeschool
Homeschooling high school can seem daunting, but I’m here to tell you that it’s challenging – and fun!
We need to start the conversation about homeschooling high school by discussing the regulations. KNOW your state’s regulations before anything else. I find it helpful to have a basic outline of my state’s requirements for all four years in front of me, and sketch in curriculum I think I want to use, as well as electives I feel are important. I do this in the summer before 9th grade. After that, our challenge as parents lies in following the law without squashing our children’s love of learning! To me that’s a much more difficult challenge than covering those pesky subjects such as algebra and chemistry.
DISCLAIMER- There are as many ways to cover high school as there are families. This is my second time around and my younger son’s high school looks nothing like my older’s! What follows is a) my opinion and b) how our family tackles high school. I hope to help and inspire others who want to take on this challenge, but your journey will and should look different from ours. This is due to the uniqueness of each child and every family.
When my son was young we followed a literature based curriculum. It was such a blessing to us – the learning occurred effortlessly, meaningfully and with joy! Then came high school. I was terrified that I wouldn’t “cover” everything. We started out with separate texts for each subject, working for about an hour per subject each day. It didn’t take long to see that this made no sense for our family. So we went back to using great literature as a spine. I have many great books at the ready and I let my son choose which ones he wanted to read. Back came the enjoyment and excitement to “school”! Now, we look up vocabulary, discuss situations from the reading, and take note of the wonderful wording – the cultural and historical modes of speech. We read about the countries and regions where the stories take place – the geography, the culture, and the history. This I carefully document under the various subjects to eventually include on his transcript. We do use separate texts for science and math but it’s easier to tie those subjects to real life – nature, relationships, wildlife, health; word problems, measurement, evaluation of data and abstract thinking. And in case you’re wondering, we use the internet and our personal library to figure out what we can’t figure out! I’ve discovered that algebra is actually pretty cool. This is the beauty of homeschooling – you can do what works, throw out what doesn’t and try something else. I also love learning alongside my son; not only is it exciting to learn new and interesting things, but you immediately know what your child finds interesting and you can follow his/her lead. That is what makes learning meaningful – not memorizing random facts to pass a test.
So that is how we handle the required subjects. But there is so much more! I feel that the high school years are the time to prepare our teens for life. So we cook together, clean together, talk constantly about situations my son might come up against regarding character, relationships, responsibility, driving, drugs, alcohol – the list goes on and on. We also have the time and freedom to allow our son to follow his passion – music – his likely life’s work. Homeschooling high school gives him the time and flexibility to practice, play musicals, gig until late – everything that goes with a budding career. This was actually one of our initial reasons for homeschooling this son – to allow him the freedom to pursue music and not be tied to the school calendar.
There are also electives to consider. Here’s where homeschoolers can really shine! You can gear your electives to your child’s passions or needs before college. I will have Life Skills as one year’s elective. You can decide what skills you feel are important and put in the required time to teach them. Examples can be banking, automobile maintenance, cooking, cleaning, mending, menu planning, budgeting, first aid…even public speaking. My son is also interested in film so he’ll do a course in filmmaking, as well as music theory and jazz history. He was able to fill a history requirement this year with a course called Discovering Music: 300 Years in Interaction in Western Music, Arts, History and Culture (by Carol Reynolds). I use the internet to look for curriculum that corresponds with my son’s interests.
Finding what will work for your family takes time and research. Does your son or daughter want to go to college? If so, start looking at colleges and their enrollment requirements. 9th grade is NOT too early! If your child wants to learn a trade, find him/her opportunities to get involved while still in high school. They’ll have a time and experiential advantage. I fully intend to take advantage of dual enrollment community college classes as my son nears graduation, and will look for on-line courses if I feel unable to help cover a required subject. I don’t ever think I can teach him everything, but I do know that we can figure it out together. I keep careful records of everything we read and cover, and that will make creating his transcripts easy.
Finally, are you worried about what your teen might be missing by being homeschooled through high school? I can tell you what they are NOT missing – love, acceptance, respect, socialization, moral leadership and freedom to pursue their passions as they see fit. Education is as much about a child’s heart as it is their head. I feel that this is more than enough reason to take on the challenge of the high school years.
Bio–Trish Madonia lives in Clinton NY with her husband Scott and sons Schuyler and Scottie. Her family has homeschooled for 10 years, and Trish has a passion for helping new homeschoolers gain confidence in this important venture. Aside from homeschooling she loves to spend time with her family, teach private music lessons to children, and ride horses.