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  • Did you miss the LIVE Interview with Eragon Author, Christopher Paolini?
    Read below for instructions on how you can hear the recorded interview.
  • Feature Article:
    7 Reasons Why Homeschoolers Need To Go To Camp
  • Marketplace:
    Summer Camps and more...
  • Your Guide to Homeschool.com:
    Local support groups, message boards, online classes, and homeschooling supplies.

LIVE Interview with Eragon Author, Christopher Paolini

For the first time ever, Homeschool.com will be doing a LIVE interview and we want you to join us. This Wednesday, May 19th, we will be interviewing Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon. Although he is only in his early twenties, his book is #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and he has made guest appearances on both the David Letterman and Jay Leno shows. Christopher attributes his success to the fact that he was homeschooled.  You can read more about Christopher in last month's newsletter at Homeschool.com.

Christopher is an inspiration to homeschooled teens everywhere and we invite both you and your older children to listen in as we interview Christopher and find out:

  • What type of homeschooling did Christopher do? Unschooling? School-at-Home?
  • Did he follow a particular curriculum?
  • Is his household TV-free?
  • How did his parents encourage him? What can we learn from that?
  • What advice does he have for other aspiring writers?
  • Can he give us a sneak preview on what will happen in Part Two?

The LIVE interview has ended but you can still listen to the recorded interview by calling (580) 431-2836.

Or Listen Over the Internet
Christopher Paolini Interview - Part 1
Christopher Paolini Interview - Part 2

Christopher Paolini Interview - Part 3

P.S. If you have not yet read Eragon, it is available from Amazon.com for $13.26.
You can also hear an excerpt from the audio version by clicking here (requires Real Player).

   Feature Article   

7 Reasons Why Homeschoolers Need To Go To Camp

Summer is almost here and we know that many of you are considering day and overnight camps for your children. So we spoke with camping expert Jim Wiltins and asked him to tell us how parents can be sure that the camp they are considering for their child is a good one. Jim Wiltens' occupations have included research in marine biology, NAUI SCUBA instructor, university coach, and analytical chemist. At present he is owner/director of Deer Crossing Camp Inc., a wilderness summer camp. Jim's writing includes five books and hundreds of articles. His column on how to motivate children appeared in parenting publications across the US and internationally. He is a three time recipient of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism award for the best column in a parenting publication. He works with Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) students throughout California, as well as corporate audiences (www.jimwiltens.com). People who have attended Jim's lectures call him "the adventure guy." His adventures include high altitude climbing in the Andes, underwater cave exploration in the Yucatan, kayaking the headwaters of the Amazon, and paragliding over Africa. Although he is not a homeschooler, Jim's son and wife travel with him on many of these adventures. Check out his newest adventure at www.thecaravanoflight.com.

Jim has had a great deal of experience working with homeschooled children and he has noticed that homeschoolers seem to benefit from the camp experience even more than schooled children and he has identified seven reasons why he believes homeschoolers should go to camp.

"My high-energy and very active son was in his element at Deer Crossing Camp. The choice of physically challenging activities tested his strength and endurance and he was happily exhausted at the end of each day. Jim Wiltens' motivational talks at mealtimes and the positive coaching by camp counselors inspired my son. He continues to use the techniques he learned there to achieve his personal goals."

– Diane Flynn Keith, Author of Carschooling and Editor of www.Homefires.com

1) Benchmarks (also known as "rites-of-passage")
In the book All Grown Up and No Place to Go, the author talks about how our rushed society has blurred benchmarks that lead children through adolescence towards independence. As Jim explains, "Camp offers kids supervised benchmarks. An obvious benchmark is that new campers experience their first semi-independent living experience in a unique environment without parents." At Deer Crossing, for example, they offer a program that allows kids to climb a ladder of skills leading to more responsibilities and freedom. For example, as part of their out-tripping program, beginners can elect to go on an easy backpacking trip, but they still learn leadership and packing skills that, in returning years, can lead to major ascents where they are more involved with planning, food preparation, map reading, and leading under the supervision of professional mountain guides. Jim advises that when you are looking for a summer camp make sure the activities are designed with a progressive structure. This empowers a camper to go from beginner all the way to instructor/guide if that's their goal. Look for a camp with both depth and structured programming that will lead to clear benchmarked experiences for children.

2) Balancing wants and needs
The movie/mall/radio/Internet/concert/media blitzkrieg encourages a voracious consumer appetite in children. What children buy is never as satisfying as what they still need to get. Summer camp re-establishes balance quite simply--a rural or wilderness environment pulls the plug on the pervasive technological sellers, offering a new peace to children. As the great explorer Admiral Byrd put it, " Half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need." Summer camp gives children a perspective that can clear up some of that confusion." At Deer Crossing Camp they have a store called the Sierra Mall. Said Jim with a grin, "It's a box the size of a suit-case."

3) Cultivating the "other" intelligence
Books like Emotional Intelligence point out that a high emotional quotient (EQ) is a better predictor of life success than a high IQ. This is why savvy homeschoolers seek socialization experiences outside the home. People sense–how to interact, communicate, negotiate, and understand others–is an EQ skill promoted at summer camp in a big way, and it is all due to a unique feature. "Over-night camps," said Wiltens, "are one of the few places where children live away from home on a 24 hour basis. Under this schedule, campers quickly become genuine. This is what occurs in families. In a family, a child understands a few people very well due to the intense interaction. A good camp, like a family, expands that knowledge. At Jim's camp, campers discuss which activities are to be offered during the day (negotiation). In the afternoon, a camper in the captain's position in a sailboat gives directions to his crew (leadership). Later in the afternoon, a group of children brainstorm to come up with skits for campfire entertainment (group problem solving). In the evening, kids gaze at the stars while sharing their feelings about the day's events (empathy)." A variety of activities and challenges on a 24 hour schedule results is a unique learning experience that improves people sense.

4) Huckleberry Finn spirit
Homeschooled children are often independent and self-reliant when it comes to academics but sometimes there's a fine-line between nurturing and over-protection. When parents are always in the wings, kids have a subliminal sense of dependence. "You remember Huckleberry Finn," said Wiltens, "The character who dealt with all kinds of challenges. At summer camp kids soak up that Huckleberry Finn spirit. It lets them know they can survive and thrive away from home. Parents recognize this when they comment that their returning camper looks two inches taller."

5) Planet protector?
Will your child be a planet protector? Research shows that concern and love for nature is nurtured by early positive childhood experiences in the out-of-doors. "At camp," said Wiltens, "we think of each positive camper experience as a way to make friends with Mother Nature. When I see kids glowing with pride after a backpacking trip, hear them laughing around a star-ceilinged campfire, or share their adrenalin rush whoop when rappelling down vertical rock, I know that these feelings are anchored to the environment they occurred in." This is important, because we protect what we love.

6) Are you prepared?
In the tween (10-12) to teen years, children start shopping for a personal identity. In this search, role models, outside the family, become urgently important. Think of summer camp as a proactive move to introduce your child to super role models. "When I interview applicants," explained Wiltens, "I tell candidates that I'm not looking for counselors, I'm looking for role models who can inspire by example."

7) Immunization against college shock syndrome
Some children have never been away from home for extended periods until they leave for college. Many of them suffer from college shock syndrome. The stress of decisions without parent support, new environment, new schedules, new food, and new responsibilities can overload first year students to the point of dropping out. On the other hand, children who have experienced the dormitory of summer camp for two weeks, overcome feelings of homesickness as children, and dealt with a diverse mix of people in a 24 hour living situation will experience less stress in their first critical year of college. Summer camp is a college preparatory investment.

P.S. The reasons all make sense to me. We signed up for summer camp.

   Market Place   

Great Summer Programs

Deer Crossing Camp is located on Loon Lake in the High Sierra of California near Lake Tahoe. Campers aged 9-17 come from around the globe to participate in an exciting wilderness program. Features that make Deer Crossing unique include: a lake at the front door, 100 square miles of wilderness at the backdoor, in-depth instructional programs that can take campers from beginner to expert levels, lots of personal attention, and an international staff focused on working with good kids who want a challenge. Some of the activities included at Deer Crossing include: windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, archery, backpacking, rock climbing, white water rafting, arts and crafts, out-trips, llama packing trips, campfire and more... Go to www.deercrossingcamp.com or
call (209) 293-2328.

Announcing the Digital Media Academy! (DMA) is a nationally recognized immersion program offering Stanford-accredited, weeklong digital art and media courses in the summer of 2004. DMA offers 25 different courses in varying skill levels in the areas of: Digital Video Editing and Production, Game Design, 3D Modeling and Animation, Web Design, Digital Imaging and Publishing amongst others. DMA courses are project-based and designed for teens (currently 8th grade and older), making for a unique, collaborative environment that is focused on the desire to learn. To find the location nearest you, visit http://www.digitalmediaacademy.org or call toll-free (866) 656-3342.

MathPlayground.com offers a challenging math program for children, ages 7 to 13. Their problem solving packets contain engaging, multi-step word problems that connect math concepts with everyday situations and help children develop critical thinking skills. The problem sets are graded and video solutions are available online. For more information, please visit: http://www.MathPlayground.com/solveit.html or phone 1-781-237-0899

Super Camp is not your average summer camp. These 10-day programs are held at college campuses throughout the U.S. and offer teens the opportunity to develop dynamic study skills – perfect for homeschoolers! Visit http://www.supercamp.com/lp/homeschool.htm for a free CD and information packet.

The American Institute for Foreign Study
The Summer Institute for the Gifted runs summer residential and day programs for gifted and talented students in grades 1 through 11 at college campuses across the U.S. Program locations include: Amherst College, Bryn Mawr College, Fairfield University, Oberlin College, Princeton University, Purchase College, UCLA and Vassar College. For more information contact Amanda Ritz ([email protected] or call toll free: 1-800-727-2437 ext.5159). Visit their web site at: http://www.giftedstudy.com for a list of colleges in your area.

HawaiiActive.com features Hawaii's finest activities and attractions. This friendly and personalized service can help you plan once-in-a-lifetime activities for your family – like surfing lessons or swimming with wild dolphins. You book your activities online and receive an email confirmation in seconds. If you are one of the lucky ones traveling to Hawaii this summer, you'll find a great list of activities at www.HawaiiActive.com.


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