July 30, 2014
101 Things To Do This Summer – Version 2014!
15. Make summer themed bandana pillows for your bedroom. They don’t have to be pink—they can be camouflaged!
21. Learn about bats–why they are important and why they are beneficial. Did you know that a bat can eat as many as 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour? Try building a bat house.
29. Discover what it takes to swim like a champion!
And there are 101! To check out the entire list, click here.
You can also check out our Summer Fun magazine–as every article is based on the 101 Things To Do This Summer list!
July 29, 2014
Best Online Resources to Help You Write Better
This is a guest blog post written by Robert Morris
Some authors would tell you that they don’t need more than a typewriter to bring their imagination to life, but the truth is, they could make their work much easier by utilizing online resources.
Below are 12 online writing resources that every homeschooler should try–
This is an online tool for setting goals. This isn’t a tool that allows you to create a simple list of goals; it helps you define what the most important goals are in your life and what makes them that important.
You commonly find interesting information on the web, but don’t have the time to read it immediately. Pocket helps you save all pages that you want to view later, and enables you to access them even without an Internet connection, as it syncs the list to your computer, tablet, and phone.
3. Ninja Essays
Truth be told, you cannot always get the information you need from Wikipedia. Sometimes you need a real expert to tell you how sound your plot is. At Ninja Essays, you can hire experts from all fields of study, so you can always be sure your story is within the limits of logic.
This website gets even better: you can also hire professional editors for an extremely affordable price.
This app makes to-do lists more fun and easier to use than ever. It takes only a few moments to set the tasks for your day, and you feel motivated to complete them in order to get rewarded. Any.do has become part of the routine of all writers who started using it.
Visualising your story can help you take it further and make it more relatable for the reader. MindNote is the app that helps you do that. It enables you to create great mind maps that help you elaborate a central thought and keep the story focused around it.
If you are struggling to keep yourself organized (just like any other writer, really), then Evernote can help you overcome the habit of creating a mess out of your great ideas. You can use Evernote as your personal librarian, but you will mainly benefit from the note-taking feature.
You can use the pinning concept to collect inspirational pictures that help you do your job more effectively, and you can also gather visuals to help you build future characters.
8. Writer’s Dice
This is a great online tool that moves your story from a deadlock. You throw the dice and get conjunctions that help you move further by providing a simple, but effective inspiration.
9. Story Plot Generator
This tool gives you the key aspects of a story and generates thousands of possible combinations in different genres. That’s certainly enough to get a writer’s creative juices flowing.
10. The Brainstormer
The Brainstormer is a slightly more complicated version of the Flash Fiction Prompter. It provides you with a great number of plots, twists, and themes that get you inspired to write a great story.
If you want your work to be believable, you have to base it upon verifiable truth. If you are writing a novel about an archaeologist, you don’t want to be ashamed by critics who say that the story counteracts all historical facts.
Wikipanion is an app that connects you directly to Wikipedia servers and provides you with all information you need.
12. Flash Fiction Prompter
This simple prompt generator gives you a character, plot outline, and a setting that you can use as a base idea for your writing projects.
There is always space for improvement. The right writing tools will make you better!
Writers should try new things that will inspire them to write more and write better. Why would you limit yourself to the traditional typewriter when there is such a great world of opportunities out there?
July 28, 2014
Bubbles- Science and Fun!
Bubbles aren’t just kid stuff any more. Computer scientists at Bristol University in England are studying bubbles as a new kind of surface for displaying information. They’re devising different sized bubbles on which to project short-term images to use in teaching, office communications, retail, entertainment and much more.
Sunny day or rainy day, outdoors or indoors, bubbles are perfect fun for summer learning in science, math, and art. They’re inexpensive, easy to create, colorful to watch, and fun to blow and pop! You can chase them around to get exercise (health science), marvel at how light makes rainbows on their surface (physics), and watch them float in the warm breeze (atmospheric science).
Visit the Howtosmile.org blog to discover great bubble activities
July 25, 2014
Do you have a student that’s going to be a high school senior? If you do, the summer before entering his senior year should be fun….but it should also be a time to prepare for the college application process. Here are some helpful hints from an expert in college admissions–
1. Do something small (almost) every day
Achieving your summer goals doesn’t mean making those goals a part-time job. Break tasks down into their smallest parts and just accomplish one small thing on weekdays, Monday through Thursday or whatever works for your schedule. Give yourself lots of time off and don’t feel like you ‘could’ be doing more. Overdoing it will only cause you to procrastinate, which will take you further away from your goals.
2. Prioritize enjoying your summer
In creating your set of goals to prepare for applying to college in the fall, remember that this is your summer! If you have camp or a social event or just some fun planned, lower your college goals for that week. Remember that the summer is about creating memories and spending time with friends and family. Making the most of it may mean saving some tasks for when you get back to school full-time in the fall. That’s okay. You have it on your list and know what you will need to do.
3. Use the time to gather things and information where you may have some ‘downtime’
Maybe you need to request more information about a particular school or program. Perhaps you need to ask someone for a recommendation or have them provide you with their opinion or feedback, and it might be some time before you get that information back from them. Requesting this during the summer will not only impress the person because you’re planning ahead, it will take a lot of the pressure off of you because you aren’t waiting until the last minute.
4. Take the time to think about the strengths and weaknesses of your application package
What do you see as your strengths in different areas: personality, academics, and extracurriculars (including employment)? What aspects of your life and experiences will you want to highlight to the admissions officers? Also, what are the weakest areas of your application package? Is there time to make up for these things? For example, maybe you really should take another shot at the SAT to improve your score. Summertime brings many opportunities to volunteer, and you may be able to strengthen your resume while also earning a little money or have some other benefit such as travel.
5. Sit under a tree and reflect on your future
Okay, you don’t need to literally sit under a tree. However, the laidback days of summer can be the perfect time to break out of the mode of hyper-accomplishment and really think about your own path and what you want to do with your career. If you come from a family of doctors but have a passion for accounting, now is the time to find the courage to let everyone know. Wanting a ‘hands-on’ job could mean being an archeologist or it could mean being a dentist. Maybe what you wanted when you were younger doesn’t fit your developing personality and skill set. College is a huge investment of both money and time, so taking some hours to make smart decisions is time well spent – even if it looks like you’re ‘doing nothing’.
6. Stay connected
It can be easy for homeschooled kids to lose touch during the summer. Friends in the neighborhood who go to traditional schools are available to hang out more, brothers and sisters want to spend more time with you, and your homeschool friends may have full schedules with their own families and neighborhood friends. However, don’t neglect your friendships with other homeschooled kids. Keep in touch via social media, make a phone call or make plans to get together.
Ryan Hickey is the Managing Editor of Peterson’s & EssayEdge and is an expert in many aspects of college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in various admissions capacities for nearly a decade, including writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants.
July 24, 2014
AP Classes vs. Trade Training:
Which One is Right for Your Teen?
If you are homeschooling a high school student, it’s time to discuss his/her future. What does your student want to do beyond high school? This will impact what type of courses s/he takes during high school. Is your student strictly academic or more interested in trade training?
If your student is degree-minded with hopes of earning a traditional four year degree, AP courses can help narrow down a college career path. Taken in conjunction with the high school curriculum, these courses consist of college-level subject matter and also earn your teen college credit. If your student is driven and wants to streamline his/her college career, taking AP courses can do that. AP courses can also help develop better time management skills and even strengthen your teen’s work ethic.
Benefits of AP
- Cost Savings: AP classes are free, however, to earn the credits, students must pass the AP exam which costs $89. The courses also enable students to test out of many prerequisite courses–translation: saving money on tuition.
- College Prep: Advanced courses prepare your child with the knowledge and skills expected of college students. They also offer a sample of the rigorous schedule so they can plan accordingly.
- Admissions Advancement: According to Collegeboard.org, 85 percent of selective colleges and universities report that a student’s AP experience favorably impacts admission decisions. The research also shows that AP courses on your transcript demonstrate intellectual curiosity and hard work.
Currently more than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the country offer college credit, advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP exam scores. To find out if your student’s college or university of interest accepts these credits, visit the College Board AP Credit Policy search page.
For students wanting to learn a trade/wanting to enter the work force fairly quickly, a traditional four-year post secondary education may not be the ideal path. Trade training might be the way to go.
Benefits of Trade Training
- Hands-on learning: If your student is a hands-on learner and enjoys learning by doing, trade school might be the best fit. Look for schools that offer work experience options relative to your program and career goals.
- Career advancement: Trade programs target specific career plans geared toward success in a particular vocational sector. Most trade schools offer certificates in high-demand career fields such as healthcare, business or computers, giving your student the necessary confidence and knowledge to quickly advance in the workforce.
- Flexibility and cost savings: Most trade schools offer self-paced courses, something homeschoolers are used to. Overall tuition is lower than it is for traditional four-year colleges, and monthly payment plans may make it easier to transition into a career field without the added burden of student loans and high-interest debt.
Help your student choose the right trade program that best suits his or her skill set. Be sure to ask questions such as “How many of your students are placed in their career field after graduation?” and “What career guidance is offered pre-and-post graduation?” Additionally, inquire about the school’s retention rate, as this will give you insight into the administration’s dedication towards their students.
AP or trade courses?
It depends on your student!
July 23, 2014
Schools.com recently released their Prep Rally podcast series, which provides guidance from top university professionals. Recent segments feature professionals from Marquette University, University of Maryland and Pamona College and the Prep Rally podcasts cover such topics as:
- Degree programs
- Unique course offerings
- Admissions criteria and tips
Certainly worth looking into if you have a high school student!
July 22, 2014
How digital education in the homeschool setting can provide individualized learning
Author: Linda Noack, Homeschool Mom
Why do people home educate their children? It could be because of inflexibility in a family schedule. It might be for financial reasons. Maybe home education addresses an area of learning that is not available in the local public or private schools. It could be to allow a student to progress at a pace that is in-line with their unique abilities. But one strand that runs through all the theories behind parents choosing home education… parents want to make sure their children succeed no matter what the reasoning behind the educational delivery choice.
For me and my family, home education came about for a lot of different reasons. But one of the opportunities was to encourage my children to learn as much as possible about anything they desired. As a family, we wanted to travel and see the world, and rather than be tied down to a brick-and-mortar school, we could take the home education with us. We wanted our children to understand that English is one language, but the world speaks hundreds of languages. We understood that the cultural aspects of understanding another language open up opportunities in ways no one can understand until they experience it.
We chose to learn the Spanish language only because it was the language with which I was most familiar. At that time, we used books and CDs, but without fluency of the language in the home, it was hard to teach Spanish thoroughly. It required a lot more time and effort to achieve success. On the elementary level, it was not difficult, but when it came to fluency, the success only became measurable when my children enrolled in comprehensible college foreign language courses during their high school years to finally conquer world language.
Lately, I have been thinking and asking questions. How can a home educator cover all the bases to teach foreign language without being fluent or, in some cases, have never spoken a word of the language? How does the home educator deliver course work to excel the student to a level equal to the time required to spend on the specific course? How can a home-educated student ask questions on the pronunciation of a word they read in a book? How can the educational system address the individuality of students where a digital learning environment can assist?
This is the difference between when I was homeschooling my children and now: digital learning opens up avenues for the home educator in ways that were not possible a decade ago. We all know that every child is unique, and every child learns using different methods. With digital coursework, the educator no longer needs to be proficient in a specific discipline or foreign language to make it an educational success. And, with the digital world language courses designed by Middlebury Interactive Languages exclusively for K-12 students, a home educator can confidently provide a base knowledge of a foreign language that will benefit a student for the rest of their life.
Middlebury Interactive’s digital language courses are designed to educate students in a manner that is successful in its application. For example, there are audio, video and recording capabilities. The assessments are paired with practices, scaffolding at a pace the student can understand and absorb. Students learn culture and a language at the same time. There are no expensive books involved or that will become outdated. The digital course is economical, but more than that, the results are priceless.
In the progression of technology in education, more offerings are becoming available to educators on a daily basis. For an educational institution, whether it is a private setting, public school, charter school or as home education, technological advances make it possible for more individuality in the education of our children. With these technological advances, opportunities open up in home education, which result in a successful delivery for home educators of any teaching level.
July 21, 2014
2. Buy several pairs of inexpensive sunglasses (think the Dollar Store) and decorate them.
14. Go camping—even if it’s in your backyard! If you happen to have a trampoline–trampolines make great sleeping surfaces.
26. Learn about compound interest and start a savings account. Check out What Happens When You Double a Penny Everyday for 30 Days .
33. Spoil your pet for a day. Give your dog a bath, play ball with him, and take him for a walk. Likewise, cuddle your cat, pet your hamster, talk to your bird, etc. Spoil your pet several times over the summer. Turn it into a habit!
And MORE! For the entire 101 Things To Do This Summer, click here.
You can also check out our Summer Fun magazine–as every article is based on the 101 Things To Do This Summer list!
July 18, 2014
As homeschoolers, we can make the time to teach those things that we think are important, including the fine arts. The website LanguageAndArtCenters.com has some really good info regarding the importance of including subjects such as art and music–
The importance of art in child development–http://www.languageandartcenters.com/#!art/c5xp
The benefits of music education–http://www.languageandartcenters.com/#!music/c1tyc
The benefits of dance–http://www.languageandartcenters.com/#!dance/czr3
And their benefits of homeschooling are right on the mark! :)
July 17, 2014
Older Posts »
Homeschool.com’s 101 Things To Do This Summer list is chocked-full of educational and fun things to do. Maybe your kids will be interested in some of the following–
7. Lie outside at night and watch the sky for shooting stars. Find out why shooting stars aren’t really stars at all. http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question12.html
30. Make S’mores. If you can’t roast the marshmallows over a fire, make BroilerS’Mores. OR, better yet, make Solar S’Mores! Be sure to get parental permission.
41. Learn to skip stones. There’s a science behind it.
51. Swing on a tire swing or a rope swing. Don’t have one? That’s an easy fix!
Want to see the entire list? It’s here.
And you might want to check out Homeschool.com’s Summer Fun magazine as well–as every article ties to the 101 Things To Do This Summer list.