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September 22, 2014

Helpful Advice from Homeschool Programming, Inc.

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Bringing Computer Science to Your Classroom

By Chris Yust, from Homeschool Programming, Inc.

 

You probably already have the basic subjects covered in your classroom.  Reading, writing, math, history, arts, science, geography, social studies…all of these things have an endless variety of resources available to you!  None of them are likely that intimidating to teach either; after all, those topics were part of your own fundamental education.  But how are you going to handle Computer Science?  Today this critical subject is more important than ever, yet many teachers and homeschool parents are not sure how to get started!

Imagine providing a subject in your classroom that your students can’t wait to study.  Tell your kids they can learn how to create their own computer games, apps, and websites, and watch their eyes light up.  You will not have to twist any arms to get those homework assignments finished.  Instead of sitting around playing video games, your students could be learning the skills necessary to write their own!

Growing Up in the Digital Age

Kids in school today have never known life without the Internet, laptops, cell phones, and a dizzying array of computer games.  Your students may be more techno-savvy than you are!  Using email, word processing programs, web browsers, and social networking tools are probably second nature to your plugged-in children.  But how much do they really understand about what is going on underneath the covers?

Who is writing all the software that your kids are using?  Computer scientists or programmers are the ones driving these innovations!  Computer programmers understand the tools, languages, and techniques needed to create new software.  While this may sound like an arcane, difficult subject, in reality computer programming is very accessible to every student.  Modern, easy-to-use programming languages and robust, free development environments can be used by anyone with the proper training.

Find a Lifelong, Rewarding Passion

You might think that all computer jobs have been outsourced overseas.  That’s simply not true!  Research from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows there is a real shortage of trained software engineers to fill the computing needs of local technology companies.  Throughout the recent economic downturn, computer jobs have seen steady growth and salary increases.

Some of the more widely used computer languages in academic and professional settings today include Java, C#, HTML, Visual Basic, and C++.  Skills your students build in these languages will not be thrown away as they move to the next level in school or business.  A solid foundation in these languages can support a nearly limitless variety of applications from personal computers to robotics to mobile phones.

Your Most Popular Subject

Odds are that your own computer science experience is somewhat limited.  You might never dream of trying to teach a programming language to your students based on an old FORTRAN course you suffered through 30 years ago.  Fortunately, today, self-study courses from Homeschool Programming can guide your students step-by-step through the programming process with minimal teacher involvement.  You don’t need a fancy computer lab.  If your students are already comfortable using a computer then they are ready to learn how to write their first program.

The KidCoder and TeenCoder courses for 4th-12th grade students cover a variety of topics such as:

KidCoder: Web Design Series – Use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create web pages

KidCoder: Windows/Game Series – Learn Visual Basic to write your own programs and video games

TeenCoder: Windows/Game Series – Use object-oriented concepts to write programs and games in C#

TeenCoder: Java/Android – Learn Java and Eclipse, study for the AP CS A exam, and write Android apps

You can provide a quality Computer Science education for your homeschool student even if you’re not an expert yourself.  Let’s spark a passion for Computer Science in your student today!

About the Author

Chris Yust has 17 years of experience as a software engineer and is co-author of the KidCoder and TeenCoder computer programming courses for 4th-12th grade students. Find out more about computer programming and website design for kids and teens at www.HomeschoolProgramming.com!

 

September 19, 2014

An Extravaganza of Experts? YES!

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All good things must come to an end….even extravaganza events!

Visit  Homeschool.com’s Extravaganza of Experts while you can–homeschooling and educational experts  are standing by to help you take your homeschooling from ordinary to extraordinary!  Just -

  • Listen to up to  TWENTY excellent 30-minute interviews, at your convenience.  Pick and choose which ones interest you the most.
  • Use the comment area to…ask a question…share what you have learned…make suggestions…and more.
  • These knowledgeable experts have offered to answer your personal questions–but they’re only available for one week (September 15-21, 2014)!

Fun–and fun learning is forever learning!

September 18, 2014

There’s MORE – Extravaganza of Experts!

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Have you had a chance to visit Homeschool.com’s Extravaganza of Experts?

Visit now, and listen to up to 20 educational experts — find out how you can take your homeschooling from ordinary to extraordinary!

September 17, 2014

Extravaganza of Experts – Day 3!

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You asked for it, and now we have it! Homeschooling and educational experts that can help you take your homeschooling from ordinary to extraordinary! Check out Homeschool.com’s Extravaganza of Experts!

  • Listen to up to  TWENTY excellent 30-minute interviews, at your convenience.  Pick and choose which ones interest you the most.
  • Use the comment area to…ask a question…share what you have learned…make suggestions…and more.
  • These knowledgeable experts have offered to answer your personal questions–but they’re only available for one week (September 15-21, 2014)!

We are so grateful for the experts’ insights! Want to know a few of their suggestions?

  • Marilyn Mosley suggests you spend 25 to 35% of your curriculum time on your child’s interests. She also suggests you find 2 to 3 mentors in the community for each of your children to help them develop their talents and interests.
  • Mona Lisa and Kip Harding suggest you ask your children from the very start, “What do you want to be or do when you grow up?” and then help them explore that career.  It sure worked for them!  One of their daughters is the youngest med school graduate in the in the U.S., and another daughter is the youngest architect!
  • Architect Prakash Nair tells us that schools are now being redesigned so that they are more like homes, and he gives you great examples of why your home is the perfect place for extraordinary learning to take place.
  • Howard Berg believes that entrepreneurship is the future.  He says that by the time your children are 36 years old, they will have already had six jobs. He thinks that if you want extraordinary, you should help your children develop entrepreneurial skills.

Interested in learning more?  It’s easy!

Just go to http://www.homeschool.com/Extravaganza-Of-Experts/default.asp !

September 16, 2014

Experts…and MORE Experts!

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 Homeschool.com’s Extravaganza of Experts!

There are SO Many Experts! 

Prakash Nair

Marilyn Mosley

Julie Jenkins Sathe

Mona Lisa & Kip Harding

Lee Giles

Bobbi DePorter

Howard Berg

Rachel DeMille

Jeremy Stuart

Elizabeth Price & Kimberly Kulp

Benny Lewis

Joanne Calderwood

Lee Binz

Matthew Gollub

Joe Romano

Crystal Paine

Austin Pruitt

Shaila Ittycheria

Our very own Rebecca Kochenderfer!

Pick your favorites, and listen to their extraordinary advice.  Ask questions.  Leave comments. Learn.  Have fun!  :)

September 15, 2014

Day 1 of the Extravaganza of Experts!

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Homeschool.com’s Extravaganza of Experts

Join us — check out the TWENTY interviews with homeschooling/educational experts!

Listen at your convenience.

Ask questions through Facebook
(These experts are standing by – for one week only – to answer your personal questions and to help you take your homeschooling from ordinary to extraordinary!)

Enjoy!

September 12, 2014

Extravaganza of Experts!

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , — dailynews @ 12:50 pm

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Would you like to take your homeschooling from ordinary to extraordinary? Homeschool.com  interviewed 20 experts and asked them for their advice on how you can take your homeschooling to a higher level — with ease and joy.  We also asked them if they would answer your personal questions for one week. They said yes!

Join us Sept 15-23 for Homeschool.com’s “Extravaganza of Experts.”  

September 11, 2014

5 Reasons to Use Weekly Thematic Units

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Five Reasons to Develop and Use Weekly Thematic Units

by Renée Heiss

By developing and using weekly thematic units, you can add fascinating topics to required subjects–thus making your homeschool classroom much more interesting and fun–for you and your students.

For example, you might determine that your weekly theme is going to be rainbows. Your math manipulatives could be arranged in rainbow order. The books you read might be about rainbows. The science lesson would definitely cover rainbows and prisms. Throughout the week, add rainbow stars to your rewards chart. Hang rainbows from the ceiling that your children have created. And naturally, you would wear a rainbow of clothing throughout the week and ask your children to do the same.

More than the simple fun that this involves are these advantages to you and your children:

  1. It helps your children learn to develop connections. If your lessons are disconnected and about many different topics throughout the week, the month, and year, you children won’t see the continuity. However, when you use a thematic unit each week, which may be a sub-unit of a larger theme, you help their brains to constantly make connections during class time and beyond the regular instruction day.
  2. If you feel that your creativity has become stifled by standards and requirements, the use of a themed unit will free you from this feeling. Whenever you force the connection between two unrelated topics, the right brain takes over and controls your thoughts. For example, if you introduce a theme on insects during your curriculum, you’ll begin to see the many different ways you can incorporate that topic that you may not have originally considered.
  3. You can easily adapt unique assessment strategies because you have a theme upon which you can base a test, essay, or journal entry. Going back to the rainbow theme, you might recommend that your children use rainbow-colored pens, pencils, or crayons for their assessments. Nobody ever said that you must use only black or blue ink!
  4. Thematic units allow children to develop their own learning strategies. When you present a singular topic on Monday, by Friday you’ll find that your children will be clamoring for more and more ways to develop that theme using the established curriculum.
  5. Thematic units can be time-savers because you can teach two topics at one time. That includes adding character education to every aspect of your curriculum. When you integrate character education into math, science, and literature, you show your children that integrity can occur in every aspect of their lives.

Weekly thematic units can be fun and interesting to create. Develop your list of topics with your children and then pick one each week or month as your curriculum focus. Watch as their interest spirals throughout the week, the month, and the year!

 

Renée Heiss is the author of the SHINE! series of themed learning modules based on the books published by Entelechy Education, LLC. She is an award-winning retired educator and author of the books that feature The EnteleTrons, a unique trio of characters who teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), character education, and language literacy.

For more information, go to

http://entelechyed.com/shine__for_home_school

September 10, 2014

Explore Lulu Jr.

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

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Explore Lulu Jr.  & How Writing Stories

Benefits You and Your Child

 

Deciding to home educate your children affords many advantages, from the flexibility of choosing your own schedule based on your needs, to the endless hands-on learning opportunities in museums, galleries or just outdoors, and, finally, crafting your children’s learning experience to fit their needs and goals. One of the more favorable advantages, however, is being in control of your child’s curriculum and exploring skills that are most important to you and your child.

One skill that’s an important part of early childhood education is creative writing. Professor Gail E. Tompkins, a professor of literacy and early education at California State University and author of numerous books touting the benefits of learning composition skills from an early age, has consistently underscored this statement and has outlined seven unique benefits for children writing stories. These are:

  1. to provide entertainment for the child and others
  2. to foster artistic expression
  3. to explore functions and values of writing
  4. to stimulate imagination
  5. to clarify thinking processes
  6. to search for and identify the child’s identity
  7. to improve reading and writing skills

Facilitating the exploration of your child’s imagination through storytelling and creative writing has typically taken the shape of a journal, telling stories on ruled pages at a predictable tempo. But, as with many areas of education, this is becoming a trend of the past, especially for younger students that are exposed to technology at an early stage.

Lulu Jr.’s Education Programs offer free, online book-publishing programs designed to support writing and language arts curriculum through project based learning, communication and collaboration. The result is a finished book either authored independently by your child or authored collaboratively with your other children or their friends. Either way, the experience will inspire creativity, strengthen literacy skills and build self-esteem. To learn more about these programs, visit www.lulujr.com and click on the Teachers tab.

There are many other experts in childhood education joining Professor Thompkins in her support of introducing children to creative writing early. The benefit for the child and parent are perhaps most clearly summarized by the words of Pam Allen, a world-renowned literacy expert, author and motivational speaker. Allen states, “By engaging in the act of writing, we are engaging in the valuing of life, valuing one another, and valuing the precious moments we share. Writing will also bring you closer to your child because it will give you access to his wonderfully complex inner life.”

September 9, 2014

HomeschoolProgramming.com -Web Design for Kids

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Web Design for Kids!

By Chris Yust, from Homeschool Programming, Inc.

(HomeschoolProgramming.com)

In this highly technological age, you may find that your children spend quite a bit of time on the Internet. They may be working in online classes, researching topics for papers, updating their social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, or just surfing the web.  Regardless of what your children enjoy doing when they are online, chances are they have shown some interest in creating their own websites. Fortunately, basic website design is something that just about anyone can learn with no expensive software!

When you view a website, you are typically using a program called a web browser. The most common web browsers on the market today are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.  These browsers all speak a common “language” called HTML.  While these letters may seem mysterious, the language itself is something that can be easily learned and understood by computer-literate children.

Tools of the Trade

OK, so your eager students are ready to learn HTML.  What do they need? A big fancy computer? Special software? Nope! Simple web pages can be created in any text editor program that comes already installed on your computer, like Windows Notepad or Mac’s TextEdit.  This means that all you need is a personal computer, some basic computer skills and your imagination! You don’t need to set up a web server or install new software.  If you need a quick primer on using Notepad or TextEdit, click here to watch a brief video.

Your First Web Page

To get started, run your Notepad or TextEdit program.  Once you have your text editor program open and you’re staring at a blank screen, what next? HTML code is just a series of “tags” that tell the browser how to display your web page. There are two tags that must be included in your file. The “<html>” tag tells the browser that you are starting your html code and it must be the first line in your file. At the very end of your file, you will “close” the tag with the word “</html>”.

<html>

</html>

In between these outermost “html” tags go two more important elements:  the “<head>” and the “<body>”.  The <head> area can contain information about your web page that is not displayed in the browser, so you can ignore that for now.  The “<body>” area contains all of the visible content that you want to appear.  Anything you type between the “<body>” and “</body>” tags will be displayed on your web page. So, if you wanted to make a web page that said “Hello there!”, you could create a file containing this text:

<html>

  <body>

Hello there!

  </body>

</html>

Now you can save your file with a name that ends in .html (like “myWebPage.html”). Then just find your file using the Windows Explorer or Mac OS Finder, double-click on it to launch your web browser, and marvel at your first ever web page!

Learning Options

Our super-simple example doesn’t add any fancy colors, formatting, pictures, or other things you’re used to seeing on a public web page.  That’s ok, you’re just getting started.  There is much more to learn!  You can find out more about HTML tags by searching through the many different tutorials that are available online.

If your student just wants to dabble a little then a freebie tutorial may fit your needs perfectly.  But finding well-organized semester or year-long programs geared for kids can be tougher task.  Fortunately, Homeschool Programming offers the KidCoder: Web Design self-study courses, fun for 4th-12th graders. Students can learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with step-by-step instructions and hands-on activities.  Put this class on your schedule and your students will thank you!

About the Author

Chris Yust has 17 years of experience as a software engineer and is co-author of the KidCoder and TeenCoder computer programming courses for 4th-12th grade students. Find out more about computer programming and website design for kids and teens at www.HomeschoolProgramming.com

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