The Back to Homeschool season has come and gone, and you’re probably into your homeschool groove. Are you at the point where you’re considering additional curriculum and maybe fun supplements? Just in case you are, we’ve compiled a list of interesting homeschooling resources you might want to consider. They are in alphabetical order. Today – Part II (Part I was published as yesterday’s blog post).
Global Village School is a homeschool program serving K-8 and High School students. Registered as a private school in the state of California, GVS enrolls students from around the globe. Curriculum only is also available. Using a mix of online and physical resources, the curriculum is creative, progressive, flexible, and enlivening.
House of Nubs – Wings Up™ is a new program from the House of Nubs, a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting childhood resiliency via the inspirational stories of rescued animals. Young fans can follow the journey of the animals via the House of Nubs Web Series on YouTube. This program is perfect for kids in Grades 1-4. You can learn more at http://www.houseofnubs.org/wings-up.html.
HUE HD provides colorful, affordable technology to inspire creative learning and teaching. You can learn more about the company here and you can shop their cameras, software and more here.
Math Without Borders offers high school math, Algebra through Calculus, specifically for homeschooled students. The company provides video lessons, video solution guides, demonstrations, and more, to complement the very best existing Math textbooks (they use Foerster for the Algebra sequence and Chakerian, et.al. for Geometry). You can check out their reviews here!
At Northpoint Virtual Academy, 6th-12th grade students have access to over 100 dynamic courses that can be started year round and completed at a pace individualized for the student. Students can complete courses in a 3, 6, or 10-month term and families can pay for each course using affordable, monthly payment plans.
Minimum teacher prep, maximum retention and lots of fun!
The Picture Smart Bible helps people internalize the Scriptures through the act of drawing.
Each book of the Bible is illustrated on one page and has a matching, traceable Student Sheet. The teacher “script” is a synopsis of the Bible book with complete instructions.
Reading Eggs is offering a special 4 WEEKS FREE ACCESS to their program to help your child get a head start in reading. You can try their online reading program and see how your child’s reading improves in just weeks. You can register at http://readingeggs.com/teach/. Hurry though – the offer ends October 31.
*This offer is valid for new customers only.
Red Apple Reading helps children ages 4 to 8 become successful readers – with serious learning that’s seriously fun! Membership includes: online and app access to 1,000+ interactive games and videos, self-paced lessons in letter sounds, phonics, vocabulary, sight words, and comprehension, offline materials, magazine, progress tracking and more.
ScienceWerkz is a dynamic set of science apps (29 or more) that engage users using animations, videos, drag and drop activities, games, and more. The apps include the subject areas of General, Life, Physical, Chemistry, and Earth Science. Plus, the apps works OFFLINE. Tablet or computer. 5 apps free. Subscribe to get the rest for $6. You can learn more at www.sciencewerkzapps.com.
S.C.E.E. offers diagnostic testing and educational materials for children Grade Levels K-12. Along with quality, mastery-based academics, this self-instructional curriculum instils traditional values, Godly character, and Biblical principles. You can learn more at www.australiahomeschooling.com.au.
TutorComp – Tutoring at your home and at your convenience.
TutorComp provides quality, online, one to one live tutoring for U.S. students (using any curriculum) in Grades 3-12. If your homeschooler is having difficulty grasping a subject, or if you don’t feel comfortable explaining/teaching a subject, TutorComp can help. And you can try their RISK-FREE demo session here.
Veritas Press helps your children prepare for life by educating them in the ways they naturally develop with the desired result of producing a bold educated servant of Christ, ready to succeed in whatever calling God has for them.
Writing Whatever offers a complete online writing course (sentences, paragraphs, essays, and more) for students in Grades 7-12. Inspired by Khan Academy, the 60 lessons offer a short video, full text, assignments (with answers), and forums for discussions, with immediate and transformative results.
Hope you like the resources!
3 Science-Based Lesson Plans for Kids Who Hate Science
There are many reasons some kids hate science. But, it is possible to inspire a love of science in these kids with carefully selected lesson plans and experiments. Here are three science-based lesson plans for kids who hate science. I hope that these activities will turn around kids’ attitudes toward such an important (and fun!) subject.
- Mystery Markers
One of the best ways to inspire kids who hate science is to show them the science of everyday objects, such as markers. Kids may not realize that most colors are composed of several different dyes. For the Mystery Markers lesson, you’ll need a bowl of clean water, strips of paper towels, and markers of 3 or more different colors (try to include black and non-primary colors, such as orange).
Have your child draw a wavy line about an inch from the bottom of a paper towel strip with one marker. Repeat using a new strip with each color until the child has used all of the colors. Ask the child to make a hypothesis about what will happen when he dips the strip into the water.
Next, instruct the child to dip a strip into the water so that the paper towel’s bottom edge is submerged, but not the wavy ink line. The child should hold the strip in place until the water begins to absorb into the towel, making the ink mark spread. Have the child observe the strip and note his observations. Then, ask the child to make a new hypothesis for the remaining strips. Finally, repeat the dipping process with each strip. The child will see that the various dyes in each color are revealed.
Explain that the water molecules bond with the ink molecules, spreading them out on the paper towel. This process of separating the dyes, as with separating the components of any mixture, is called chromatography. To extend the lesson, dip strips ahead of time and have the child guess which marker was used.
- Transparent Plants
Some kids hate science because they can’t visualize the concepts. One science-based lesson plan for kids like this is Transparent Plants. Transparent Plants is a fun and easy way to teach the plant lifecycle and parts of plants to elementary-age children.
You’ll need CD cases, potting soil, water, and lima beans. First, have the kids fill the CD case with a little potting soil. Be sure the hinges of the CD case are at the top, so they will stand up without allowing the dirt to fall out. Next, plant the bean high in the soil, so the roots will not grow out the bottom, and tape the bottom shut. Use a water dropper to water the bean through the opening at the top of the CD case and place it in the sunlight.
Kids will observe the plant grow, and they should measure its growth and record the changes they observe in their plant every few days. It’s also helpful to supply the children with journals or bean growth sheets so they can easily track the plant’s growth. After about a week, give the students markers or paint pens to label the parts of the plant directly on the CD case.
To extend this science-based lesson, you can turn it into an experiment by asking children to plant some beans with the concave side down, to make a letter “n,” and some beans with the concave side up, to make a letter “u.” Kids can then compare the growth of their beans and discuss the differences in their plants, based on how they oriented their bean when they planted it.
- The Physics of Pool Temperatures
Science lessons don’t have to take place solely in a classroom setting, and one of the best ways to get kids excited about the subject is to head to every kid’s favorite spot: the swimming pool. It’s best if you can get to a large pool, though this lesson can be adapted for a kiddie pool. Grab paper and pencil, your bathing suit, appropriate safety gear, sunscreen, towels, a pool thermometer, and a couple pairs of goggles to learn about the Physics of Pool Temperatures. (Don’t be afraid to make adjustments depending on your child’s swimming abilities!)
If possible, first visit the pool in the morning to stick your toes in the water and check the temperature. Have your child record the time, outside temperature, and water temperature on a piece of paper.
Return to the pool in the afternoon when the sun has had some time to shine. Test the water again and record the time and temperature. Next, jump right in! Swim around to different depths and see how the temperature varies. Using your goggles, swim to the deepest section of the pool and check the temperature. Record all the information you gather. If you’re at a public pool and there’s a child’s pool present, compare the differences in temperature between the large and small pools. Discuss thermodynamics and why different volumes and levels of water may differ in temperature, as well as how the sun and time of day affects it.
By using common objects and showing kids the science that is around them in everyday life, you most likely will spark their interest in science. The more fun science activities you conduct with them, the more they will use their natural curiosity to ask questions, make hypotheses, and want to know why things work in the ways that they do. In the process, you may just inspire a love of science in the kids who hate it.
Jamie Strand is a former homeschool kid and unashamed science nerd. He’s a community college professor and proud father of two daughters who wants to inspire a passion for science and math in today’s young people. That goal drove him to start SciCamps.org with help from a good friend. When he isn’t teaching, Jamie can often be found digging for fossils in the backyard with his daughters, exploring the local nature preserve, or binge watching Star Trek reruns.
Image via Pixabay
The Back to Homeschool season has come and gone, and you’re probably into your homeschool groove. Are you at the point where you’re considering additional curriculum and maybe fun supplements? Just in case you are, we’ve compiled a list of interesting homeschooling resources you might want to consider. They are in alphabetical order. Today – Part 1. Tomorrow – Part II.
Why not learn, laugh and have fun along the way. At 4Knowledge-4Fun, you can find a variety of educational materials and toys selected for kids newborn through age 14. 4Knowledge-4Fun carries workbooks, flashcards, DVDs, games, and much, much more. And the gift-giving holidays are right around the corner!
American School offers accredited high school courses and diploma programs at an affordable cost. Students can work toward their diplomas in the General High School Program or College Preparatory Program, both of which contain 18 units of credit; or they can take individual online or paper-based courses for enrichment. Really, they offer something for everyone.
Center Stage Guitar Academy has developed a guitar lesson program specifically designed for kids. Their Guitar For Kids is a special package of guitar lessons designed for children ages 6-11 years old. The 24 lesson course teaches kids the fundamentals of music. You can learn more here.
Get your homeschoolers college-ready with College Ready Ultimate Supplement Courses.
The courses include 1. Mastering Emotions 2. The Writing Course 3. Mastering Goals 4. Mastering Time and Procrastination 5. Mastering Reading Comprehension 6. Mastering Focus 7. Mastering Problem Solving 8. Mastering Relationships 9. Mastering Communication and 10. Mastering Memory. These courses are appropriate for ages 8 to 80.
“As experts in productivity, systems, home-education, and learning we decided to make the training we gave our 5 successful homeschool & college graduates available to families just like yours.” –Dr. & Mrs. Fred Ray Lybrand Jr.
Demme Learning has published the Math-U-See curriculum for over 25 years. Math-U-See is renowned for its unique approach to mastering math using integrated manipulatives, lesson-by-lesson instructional materials, and student practice and review materials.
Demme Learning also offers Spelling You See, with its own unique approach to learning and teaching spelling.
You can learn more about each product (and you can shop too) when you check out their online store .
Family Pastimes games make learning fun – and co-operative games produce less rivalry (yah!) and less aggressive behaviors, so they require less direct supervision by parents.
Family Pastimes has plenty of options for every subject and level. You can visit their site and find resources in: Books, Early Childhood, Elementary School, Gifted Resources , Geography, Social Studies, Summer Enrichment, Thinking Skills, and more.
Forest Trail Academy is an accredited, online, K-12 school renowned for its commitment to providing students with high quality education and developing them into holistic learners. Students have access to a wide range of courses designed to engage students and facilitate interactive learning while encouraging them to pursue lifelong learning as an integral part of their holistic development.
With back-to-school season upon us and more than 160,000 children missing school every day in the U.S. out of fear of being bullied, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s States with the Biggest Bullying Problems.
To identify the states where bullying is most pervasive, WalletHub’s analysts compared 45 states and the District of Columbia across 17 key metrics, ranging from “bullying-incident rate” to “truancy costs for schools” to “percentage of high school students bullied online.”
||Top 10 States with the Bullying Problems
||Bottom 10 States with Bullying Problems
||District of Columbia
Best vs. Worst
- The District of Columbia has the lowest percentage of high school students who were bullied on school property, 12.08 percent, which is 2.2 times lower than in Nebraska, where the percentage is highest, 26.28 percent.
- The District of Columbia has the lowest percentage of high school students who were bullied online, 7.86 percent, which is 2.7 times lower than in Idaho, where the percentage is highest, 21.08 percent.
- Maine has the lowest percentage of high school students involved in a physical fight on school property, 4.85 percent, which is 2.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where the percentage is highest, 13.81 percent.
- Kansas has the lowest percentage of high school students who missed school because they felt unsafe at school, 3.80 percent, which is 3.4 times lower than in Louisiana, where the percentage is highest, 13.10 percent.
- Vermont has the lowest percentage of high school students who attempted suicide, 5.88 percent, which is 2.2 times lower than in Louisiana, where the percentage is highest, 13.10 percent.
To read the full report and to see where your state ranks, you can visit:
The Time4Writing curriculum helps homeschool students build skills and master the art of writing from elementary through high school. They do this by providing a full spectrum of 8-week online writing courses. All courses include one-on-one instruction and feedback with a certified teacher.
So how does it work? Once enrolled, students complete their work online through an easy to use interface and submit their completed assignments to their assigned teacher who then grades and provides encouraging feedback through the student’s online account. Students can send messages to their assigned teacher in order to ask questions about assignments or to discuss progress. It’s like having a personal writing tutor! Parents are kept in the loop throughout the course and even receive regular reports on their child’s progress.
Want more info on how Time4Writing works? You can view their two-minute tour.
The elementary online writing courses start at the pre-writing level with a beginner course on grammar. Other elementary writing courses cover topics such as the parts of speech, punctuation, subject and predicates, sentence structure, sentence types and different types of paragraphs. Advanced elementary writing courses teach how to write an essay, as well as how to write narratively and informatively. A homeschooler who has completed all of the elementary level courses should have a strong writing base and be ready for the bigger challenges of middle school writing.
We reviewed the Narrative Writing Course. We liked:
- That Time4Writing offers a large variety of courses – at every level – so it’s easy to find one that your child needs/wants to take.
- The certified writing teacher and personalize instruction – it was great. Our reviewer writes, “As a homeschool Mom, I liked that my daughter was able to take instruction from someone other than myself.”
- The convenience – courses are available 24/7. Our reviewer has a large family and homeschools multiple children at a time. So this flexibility was especially nice.
- There is a quick response time from instructors (within 24 hours excluding weekends/holidays).
- Time4Writing is very affordable.
The middle school online writing courses make sure your student is ready for high school. They start at the beginner level with a basic writing mechanics course which focuses on writing fundamentals such as sentences vs. fragments, subjects and predicates, subject-verb agreement and capitalization. Intermediate courses include writing enhancements, paragraph writing and a middle school essay writing course that is designed to strengthen the student’s ability to write a well-structured essay. The advanced middle school writing course teaches students to find their voice.
The high school online writing courses allow homeschoolers to strengthen their writing skills and fill in any gaps before heading to college or the workplace. Beginner level courses include “Grammar, Usage and Mechanics” and “High School Paragraphs” which focus on sentence structure, proper punctuation, capitalization, subject-verb agreement, paragraph structure, types of paragraphs, and proofreading. Intermediate courses include paragraph and essay writing courses that develop skills and introduce students to the essay writing process from the pre-writing to revision stage. For students who are college-bound, there is also a course on Writing Research Papers, where they learn all about citing sources, MLA style, research, and revision.
To see a list of all the Time4Writing courses, click here.
If you’re not sure which class is right for your child, Time4Writing provides an online Course Placement Tool to assist in the decision making process. This is very helpful.
Key benefits of Time4Writing courses include –
- The courses provide personalized writing instruction and encouraging feedback.
- The courses motivate aspiring writers to fine tune and develop their skills.
- The courses can be used to fill in writing skills gaps.
- Kids can work at their own pace – they just have to finish within an allotted time period.
- Convenience – students can start the classes any day, and the lessons can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere with a computer and an internet connection.
- Quick response – Teachers respond within 24 hours (excluding weekends).
- Parents are kept informed of their child’s progress and have a dedicated parent administration page.
- Time4Writing offers a satisfaction guarantee, which allows you to cancel or switch courses at any time if you are not satisfied with the product within the first 14 days. Wow-this is nice!
Time4Writing – you might want to check it out!
FYI – Oak Meadow K-6 curriculum was revised in 2015.
- 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).
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 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 Science4Us.com. 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, whose bestselling resource The Well-Trained Mind came out with its Fourth Edition this August!
- 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.
- 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, welltrainedmind.com.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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 http://www.foresttrailacademy.com.