- 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
Summer Camps and more...
- Your Guide to
Local support groups, message
boards, online classes, and homeschooling supplies.
LIVE Interview with
Eragon Author, Christopher Paolini
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?
- 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
- 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.
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
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.
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
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
P.S. The reasons all make sense to me. We signed up for
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.