Ho Be m gin e Pa sch ning ge oo 8 lin g



ESCHOOL agazine.com

Yes, My Grown Homeschooled Children Are Odd -- And Yours Will Be Too! Page 18

Celebrating Our Children and Ourselves Page 14

How Much History Do Kids Need? Page 16

Ad & Article Index Page 4

©2010 Learning By Grace, Inc. and other copyright holders. All rights reserved.


Ace Ministries .............................. 17 American Science Surplus ........... 47 Apologia....................................... 29 Apprentice Doctor ........................ 55 Art Instruction School .................... 2 Bilingual Press ............................. 71 Birdcage Books ....................... 23,66 BluTrack....................................... 83 Bright Lines Paper ....................... 16 Building Blocks ........................... 83 Cedar Valley Publishing ............... 47 Center on Congress ................. 10,11 Children’s Software Online.......... 34 College Plus ................................. 54 Continental Academy ................... 16 Crafty Secrets ............................... 59 Creative Crafthouse ..................... 21 Creekbed Tech......................... 46,76 Curriculum Design for Excellence32 Databased Intelligence, Inc.. ........ 48 Dee Walden Learning Solutions... 85 Design a Study ........................ 23,79 Dianne Flynn Keith ...................... 61 Discovering Music.net ................. 40 Earth & Sky Magazine ................. 57 eHarvey ........................................ 18 E-Tech .......................................... 36 Excellence In Education .............. 20 FACE............................................ 79 Find the Fun ................................. 80 Fire Station Buddies, Inc.............. 64 Folkstyle Productions................... 15 Fraction Kits................................. 86 Gotham Writer’s Workshop ......... 26 Haan Crafts ............................. 68,85 Harris Communications ............... 22

Ad Index

Article Index
Is Your Child Employable .............. 6 Homeschooling Intrigues Me - Where Do I Start? by Greg and Moira Bell..... 8 Primary Sources and a Virtual Congress....................................... 10 Why Can’t Saltwater Fish Live in Fresh water? by Connor Bernstein......... 12 Celebrating Our Children and Ourselves by Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis, M.S.14 How Much History Do Kids Need? by Scott Powell ................................. 16 Yes, My Grown Homeschooled Children Are Odd by Diane Flynn Keith .... 18 When All Else Fails, Play a Game! by Carolyn Forte ............................... 20 Do Smart People Play Chess or Does Playing Chess Make People Smart ............................................ 21

Hemisphere Travel ....................... 56 Herbal Healer ............................... 27 Hewitt Homeschooling Resources73 Hilaria & Ludi .............................. 86 History at our House .................... 50 Home Tutoring Plus ..................... 72 Homeschool Spanish Academy.... 71 Hugg A Planet .............................. 61 iPrep Press.................................... 40 Ivy Bound..................................... 34 Keen Skills, Inc. (QuickCert)......... 7 Kitchen Specialties....................... 60 Kits For Kids ................................ 12 Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum ..... 16 Laurelwood Books ....................... 28 Learning By Grace ......................... 3 Lekha Publishers .......................... 67 Literacy Unlimited ....................... 74 Little Pim Company ................ 30,46 Maestro Learning, Inc. ................. 84 Maine Cloth Diaper Company ..... 23 Math Mammoth ........................... 72 Michigan Tech University ............ 87 Microscope Store, The ................. 13 Middle School Science Activities 78 Monart School of Arts.................. 24 Montessori Services ..................... 52 Moonjar ........................................ 13 Mother Board Books .................... 66 National Institute for Genealogical Studies .......................................... 58 Needak Manufacturing................. 19 NEMC National Educational Music Company ...................................... 40 New Jammies ............................... 14 Noodle Head Inc .......................... 14

Online Science Mall..................... 77 Our Learning Folio ...................... 70 Pearson VUE ................................ 88 Peterson Direct ............................. 53 PhonicsQ ...................................... 30 Portland State University ............. 39 Practical Learning Online ............ 34 Professor in a Box ........................ 49 Rod & Staff Publishing ................ 31 Schola Publications, Inc. ......... 18,68 Schoolside Press........................... 81 ScienceWorks ............................... 85 Scotto’s Place .......................... 30,77 Sea Mineral .................................. 79 Sierra Madre Games .................... 84 Sing N Learn ................................ 83 Soft Star Shoes ............................. 45 Stanford University ...................... 37 SuperCamp................................... 78 Swansbury, Inc. .............................. 6 Talking Fingers .............................. 9 Tattler ........................................... 26 The McHale Report...................... 35 The Oaks Private School.............. 67 The Writing Musician .................. 41 Toy Garden................................... 74 Troy University ............................ 61 University of Nebraska ................ 38 Wall Words ..............................62-63 Websters Academy ....................... 15 Wholesale Chess .......................... 76 Winsor Learning, Inc. .................. 75 Woodloch Resort .......................... 44 Wordsmiths Jensen Grammar ...... 80 Workbox System .......................... 35 Writing C.L.A.W, Inc. .................. 47

Scheduling a Charlotte Mason Day by Sheila Carroll and James Carroll . 22 Non-Judgmental Drawing: The Monart Way by Mona Brookes................. 24 Art Instruction School .................. 26 Writing With Sharon Watson.com 30 AHA! Unit-based Instruction by Dr. T. Roger Taylor and Dr. Beverly M. Taylor ........................................... 32 Ivy Bound SAT and ACT Prep ..... 34 You Bought it, Let’s Use It! by Sue Patrick .......................................... 35 The Increasing Prevalence on Online Learning in Education .................. 36 Michigan Technological University PreCollege Outreach ......................... 40 Flink Learning by Emerson Sandow......................................... 42

Woodloch Resort .......................... 42 History of US Series by Joy Hakim Review by Michael Leppert ......... 43 Waiting for “Superman” by Stacey Kannenberg .................................. 46 Dr. Maria Montessori by Linda K. Foster............................................ 52 What Do You Mean by “Normalization?” ......................... 53 Hemisphere Educational Travel by Michael Leppert ........................... 56 Giant Energy Bubbles in our Milky Way Galaxy by Beth Lebwohl and Deborah Byrd.............................................. 57 Genealogy: A New HomeSchooler Opportunity by Louise St Denis, National Institute for Genealogical Studies 59 Our Learning Folio ...................... 70

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Dear Readers:
After all these years of producing The Link and now Homeschool Magazine.com, it is still exciting to send our magazine to so many homeschooling families and those interested in alternative education. While I realize that homeschooling is not “for” everyone, more than ever, I believe it is the best way to raise children. Not only does it provide for the best academic environment, because it imparts to children an interest in life and finding out about all sorts of things, it also weaves the deep and close fabric of family that has been significant to the human race throughout history. I am proud to be a part of this homeschooling world and to be able to bring great information to all of you who wish to read our publications. In this issue, we are pleased to offer you useful and interesting articles from a variety of original sources. Diane Flynn Keith, homeschooling mom of two grown sons and well-known editor of HomeFires.com, puts your “socialization” issues to rest with “Yes, My Grown Homeschooled Children Are Odd -- And Yours Will Be Too!” Carolyn Forte, homeschooling mom of two grown daughters, owner of Excellence in Education and educational game expert, presents “When All Else Fails, Play a Game.” Conner Bernstein, 15-year-old homeschooled entrepreneur offers his Science Experiment. Homeschooling dad & history teacher, Scott Powell, answers the question: How Much History Do Kids Need? We also have articles on genealogy, Congress and art. Finally, we offer a new piece by regular writers, the Learning Success Coaches™, Mariaemma and Victoria. Please e-mail me at mary@homeschoolmagazine.com, if you have suggestions for articles or topics you would like addressed, or have written an article – and we do pay for articles we publish. I will be pleased to consider them for the future.



ESCHOOL agazine.com

Editor-In-Chief: Mary Leppert mary@homeschoolmagazine.com Managing Editor: michael@homeschoolmagazine.com Publisher: Mary Leppert Layout: Lennon Leppert Advertising Sales: mary@homeschoolmagazine.com General Office: info@homeschoolmagazine.com Editorial & Advertising Offices: 3541 Old Conejo Rd, Ste 112 Newbury Park, CA 91320 Main Number: (805) 499-3306 Toll Free: (855) 499-3306 Fax: (805) 499-3303 Web: www.HomeschoolMagazine.com HomeschoolMagazine.com reserves the right to refuse advertising space at its sole discretion. To Receive a copy of HomeschoolMagazine.com in the mail for free, send your address to: subscriptions@homeschoolmagazine.com


Mary Leppert

HomeschoolMagazine.com’s mission is to provide information and resources to anyone interested in homeschooling, regardless of religious or nonreligious beliefs, teaching philosophy or any other agenda. While we do our best to scrutinize all ads and material submitted, we cannot make guarantees; therefore, we do not accept responsibility for ad content or product quality. We reserve the right to refuse any and all advertising at our discretion. The entire contents of this publication, including artwork and all editorial, are copyright 2010 by HomeschoolMagazine.com. All rights are reserved.

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Page 5

Is Your Child Employable? A
lthough the nationwide unemploy ment rate averages about 10%, that rate for 2009’s high school graduates is as high as 35% (according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor). This startling statistic is a wakeup call that our school-aged children have to do more than earn an education so they can someday perform the job they want; they also need to learn how to find, secure and keep it. T h at’s wh at m a ke s QuickCert’s new Employability Skills Training so timely. Developed and taught by a 30-year Human Resources vet, the 12-lesson course provides students with the knowhow they need to secure long-term employment; and includes insider tips on resume preparation, job seeking, interviewing, acceptable work habits, coping with criticism and career management. Plus, the course’s interactive exercises will ensure your child has his or her own resume and networking list ready to go by the time it’s over. With more than 15 million people out of work, your child needs every edge he or she can get to be competitive in a tight job market. Sharp employability skills can help him or her stand out to hiring managers filling a limited number of jobs … so can strong and demonstrable computer skills. “Young adults new to job hunting have it tough,” says Ku r t Hoer nlei n, QuickCert CEO and father to Barry (a recent high school grad). “Not only do they have to find a job,” Hoernlein continues, “but, then, potential employers put them through a battery of tests to prove they have both the knowledge base – and the ability to use the tools – to do it.” No matter the type of job, at the overwhelming majority of corporations those “tools” include Microsoft Office’s Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access. These writing, database, presentation and emailing computer programs are sometimes taught as school curriculum; but not always. And when they are, it’s not necessarily done so with on-the-job use in mind. For these reasons, QuickCert also provides training for Microsoft Office’s entire suite of applications (either

individually or in a combination pack). T h e E m ploy a bi l it y Skills and Microsoft Off ice Training courses range from $99 - $299, are designed for self-paced learning and are available through the Internet or on DVDs. This makes learning inexpensive, flexible and convenient; whether you prefer to guide your child through each lesson or let him or her learn around other studies and recreation. Find out how QuickCert can help prepare your child today for the career he or she wants tomorrow. Call one of their Career Advisors at (888) 840-2378 and mention this article; or get started with a free demo lesson by visiting www. QuickCert.com/HomeSchool.

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Homeschooling Intrigues Me - Where Do I Start?
By Greg and Moira Bell
(20-year veteran homeschooling parents of seven)


owadays, it is rare to meet an American parent who hasn’t at least heard of home schooling. Those looking at ho m e s cho ol i ng f r om t he out side rout i nely express two chief conc e r n s: 1) “ H o w c a n homeschooling parents tolerate being with their kids 24 hours a day?” and 2) “What about socialization?” SO W H AT IS HO MESCHOOLING R EALLY? In a nutshell, homeschooling is the process whe r e by r e s p o n si ble parents choose to train, equip, and launch their ow n c h i l d r e n a s r e sponsible, literate, and skillful on-going adult learners. It differs from traditional public/private schooling in that parents are the direct overseers of the child’s l e a r n i n g p r o c e s s . It results in family glue rather than family fracture, fostering real-life maturity, from a young age, and can be customized to the learning style of each child. It fosters genuine social g races th rough interaction with people of all ages. It is bursting with real-life problem-

solving opportunities, wh ich a r e t hei r ow n best tutorial. Yo u m ay s t a r t h o meschooling thinking about “academics” and “subjects”, but as you progress, you’ll discover that the essence of successful homeschooling is less about “schooli ng” a nd more about “ h o m e ”. Yo u m i g h t realize that families are the building blocks of human life and see that each child is constituted differently right from the beginning and their s t yle of nu r t u r e a nd needs are unique. AT HOM E W I T H MY KIDS ALL DAY?!! Much of the surliness that kids exhibit toward parents and siblings is an outcome of spending too much t i me ever y day receiving the verbal a nd e mot ion al abu se of other children in an i n st it ut ion al set t i ng. When your kids realize they have innate value and uniqueness that is not being th reatened, they change for the better. SOCIALIZATION What’s the real question behind “What about socialization?” Are we laboring under the notion that kids need lots

of time with their age mates to develop important social skills? What do well-socialized kids look like anyway? • Are they the teens you see hanging around the mall? • The kids who take weapons to school and use them? • The kids who discuss last night’s sitcoms as though the actors and situations are real? • Those subdued with d r u g s t o m a ke t h e m “manageable”? • Those that pressure each other to look, act, speak, and believe just like the rest of the adolescent herd? When we’re willing to face the facts, it’s obvious that a well-socialized person is one who can respect and interact w it h t hose older a nd younger than himself; m o r e k n owle d ge a ble and less so. Some say that children need to be with a room full of age mates all day to learn to “face real it y” a nd toug hen up. This does not harmonize with the “real world” adults inhabit. You do not work with others your age, or social or economic backg rou nd; why should children? C R I T I C I S M YO U

MAY FACE Be prepared for the unleashing of adult peer pressure if you decide to pursue homeschooling. This is a hot issue and one that causes people to react defensively about their own school choices, no matter how gracious you may be. Try not to be shocked when you’re hit with unsolicited judgment. It’s wise not to announce a decision to homeschool until you’ve done the research you need to become firm in the idea and observe for awhile. You will be char t i ng your own course. What other people think homeschooling is may be quite unlike your experience. Many critics are silenced when they see your children thriving and learning. If you’ve ha d ch ildren in school and are br i ngi ng t hem home, give yourself and them a g r a c e p e r i o d of 6 months to decompress. When your kids realize they have you all day, ever y day, and sense that your attention is t u r ne d t owa rd t he m , they will need you less! Don’t envision yourself chained to your kitchen t able, t e a ch i ng m at h facts ‘til you’re blue in the face.
continued on page 50

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Primary Sources and a Virtual Congress
– New Resources from the Center on Congress
ive students the real story about historical events. Help them understand how our government works and what it’s like to be a Member of Congress. Find new, engaging resources to teach about Congress, representative democracy, and citizen participation. The Center on Congress at Indiana University (www.centeroncongress. org) has developed a rich collection of resources – interactives, lesson plans, primary source sets and more – that gives students unique access to primary sources, bringing government and history to life – and takes them inside the workings of our government to experience first-hand what it’s like to be a member of Congress through the Virtual Congress. To help educators learn more about these resources and how to use them, the Center is offering a series of webinars throughout spring and summer 2011. The Center’s Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) project (www.tpscongress.org) is designed to help teachers access and use the digitized online primary source materials of the Library of Congress – documents, photographs, maps, speeches, cartoons, letters, songs, journals/ diaries, autobiographies,


• Interactive learning modules • Facts of Congress short videos • Videos on compromise and how Congress works • Lesson plans • Teaching with Primary Sources • Virtual Congress • and more… Visit

“Our mission is to improve the public’s understanding about Congress and to encourage civic engagement.”


artifacts, and more. TPS resources, offered free of charge to all educators, are organized in collections around five themes: Public Criticisms of Congress: A Look at American Political Cartoons – Get a historical perspective on the place of political cartoons in our representative democracy, explore public criticisms of Congress, and develop your own views about Congress. Critical Thinking: Analyzing Congressional Floor Debates – Examine the main components of an effective, thoughtful argument in Congress, analyze examples of Congressional debates, and learn how to present a case on a particular issue. Consensus Building and the Virtual Congress – Delve into consensus building in the legislative process by examining historical examples and experience the process firsthand by taking on the role of Members of Congress within a virtual world – the Virtual Congress. Still in development are two more themes: The Impact of Congress: A Look at the First Congress, 1789-1791 – Examine bills passed in the first Congress that still impact our lives today; and Importance of Citizen Participation: American Social Move-

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ments – Explore the roles citizens have played in key 19th and 20th century social movements and get involved in an issue important to you. Homeschool educators can use the Center’s TPS site in several ways. Let’s take a quick tour. When you go to www. tpscongress.org you can enter the site as a teacher or as a student. To begin, enter as a teacher and you’ll be taken to a “TPS Home” page. Then you will be invited to preview the resources in each theme. Select a theme and access videos, lesson plans, and student interactives – all of which you can either use or download right away. Back on the TPS Home page, you will also be invited to register. Registration is simple and free, and it allows you to use the TPS site and resources in a unique way. Although you can use the TPS resources without registration, by registering you will get a password-protected space on our server — accessible to you and your students any time of day from any computer with Internet access. Registration provides a simple and powerful way to choose, assign, and grade the student activities available on the TPS site – a personalized workspace from which you can: Provide students with their own workspaces to do and save their work.

Create lists of activities to assign to students or groups. View, grade, and mark up your students’ work online. View and customize lessons that are aligned with state standards. Registering on the TPS site also gives you and your students access to an exciting new resource – the Virtual Congress. The Virtual Congress is a fully functional online 3D replica of the U.S. Congress. In the Virtual Congress, you and your students can take a virtual tour of the Capitol and experience role playing as members of Congress: Proposing your own ideas for legislation, discussing them in-world with other student-members, and trying to find common ground in order to move your proposals along. In the Virtual Congress, your students can meet up in a safe, password-protected online world with students around the community, region, or country to learn what it’s like to be a Member of Congress. When you take a tour of the Virtual Congress, you will find information signs that lead to collections of primary source materials providing historical background of the various locations in and around the Capitol – the Capitol Building, the Rotunda, House and Senate committee
continued on page 85

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www.centeroncongress.org For more information: congress@indiana.edu



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Page 11

Why Can’t Saltwater Fish Live in Fresh water?
By Connor Bernstein
In this article I’m going to discuss a topic that I thought about a lot when I was younger. Have you ever wondered why, exactly, saltwater fish can’t live in fresh water and freshwater fish can’t live in salt water? When I was creating my Insta-pets kit (see end of article) and watching the little guys swimming around in their saltwater tank, I decided to find out why the amount of salt in their water was so critical to their well-being. As most of us know, there are two main types of fish: Saltwater and freshwater. Saltwater fish can’t survive in fresh water, and freshwater fish can’t survive in salt water. In nat ure, they live in different environments (t he ocea n vs. a stream, for example) and in captivity, we keep them in different types of aquariums. If a saltwater fish somehow makes its way into a freshwater aquarium, it will die after only a few hours. Most fish can survive in just one type of water. These are referred to by scientists as stenohaline. There are also euryhaline fish, like salmon, that can survive in salt water OR fresh water. Why are fish so picky about what kind of water they live in? Read on to find out. The key to the answer is osmosis. To explain osmosis, let’s start with a cell -- the building block of life. Cells are responsible for the vital functions of all living things. We’re made of them, plants are made of them, and so are fish. Before I talk about osmosis, let’s take a look at two important parts of a cell: the cell membrane and the cytosol. Think of the cell membrane as the “skin” that

surrounds a cell and think of the cytosol as the substance that fills the cell and surrounds its contents. The cell membrane’s job is to keep ever ything inside safe, and to keep a balance between the levels of chemicals (mostly salts) in the cell and in the

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surrounding environment. It’s made up of water and lots of different kinds of

tion below to get a better idea of how osmosis works:

water fish get rid of salt because they live in such a


dissolved chemicals that a cell needs to work properly. Cells like to keep the concentration of chemicals on the inside the same as on the outside. For example, if a cell that was previously surrounded by a fairly diluted solution (like fresh water) is suddenly exposed to a salty solution, the cell membrane will allow most of the water inside the cell to leave. This makes the cell shrink, and increases the concentration of salts in the cytosol so that the concentration inside the cell becomes equal to the concentration outside the cell again. Confusing? Think of it this way: The cell membrane lets water move through it from areas of low concentration (less chemicals, more water) to areas of high concentration (more chemicals, less water). This helps keep the concentration of chemicals the same on the inside and outside of a cell. Check out the illustra-

An example of osmosis: Water is moving from an area of low concentration of salt, outside the cell, (notice the cell is smaller) to an area of high concentration of salt, inside the cell. Once the process is finished, the concentration of salt is the same on the outside and inside of the cell (now the cell is larger because there is more water in it). Before is on the left and after is on the right. Fish need a cer tain amount of salt in their bodies to stay healthy. Too much or too little can cause problems. Since fish’s natural habitats are always changing, due to weather and other forces, they have to be able to adapt to small changes in salinity by controlling how much salt is present in their bodies. This is called osmoregulation, and it’s one of the functions of the kidneys, for both fish and people. The gills and kidneys of salt-

salty environment. Freshwater fish concentrate salt in their bodies because they live in an environment where salt is harder to come by. Saltwater fish’s cells naturally contain a very high concentration of
continued on page 28

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Page 13

Celebrating Our Children and Ourselves
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By Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis, M.S., Learning Styles Specialist for School & Life Success he New Ye a r has begun! For many of us that means leaving behind the holiday parties, perhaps making New Year resolutions and, in general, looking forward to new beginnings. Perhaps we are getting ready for the next round of parties and celebrations: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, graduations, etc. We love to celebrate! As we move into 2011, I challenge parents (and teachers!) to really cel-


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ebrate their children for who they are. Every single one of our children has unique gifts and unique contributions to make to our world. If children are not celebrated and ack nowledged for the wonders that they are and for their unique contributions, they will not be able to discern their natural gifts and talents and their true “calling” during their growing-up years. Too often, children are evaluated in terms of how they perform in school, and only those who do “well” receive acknowledgment. Children quickly lose heart when day after day they don’t do well on assignments, or fail a test, or are told they are not measuring up. Or, they become unmotivated and even depressed when urged to go in a direction that is counter to their talents and natural gifts -- in many cases, the adults in a child’s life force the child into a career or life of the adult’s choosing. The adults in a child’s life need to be mentors, guides, coaches…helping that child discover who he/ she is. We are to celebrate our children in our hearts as well as outwardly with support and encouragement.

How can we celebrate all of our children and ensure that they see themselves as the marvelous individuals they are? Here are a few ways: 1. Celebrate your children for who they are, NOT for the quality or quantity of their school work. 2. Get into the habit of pointing out what is RIGHT about your children. 3. Acknowledge their interests, talents, and the contributions they make to the family. 4. Encourage them to pay attention to their own positive characteristics and actions. 5. Teach them to recognize their accomplishments. Compare these two sets of comments: “When are you going to get it right?...Well, if there’s a way to mess it up you’ll find it...You’re so clumsy...I know you’ll lose it...You’ll probably forget like you always do...” “Wow, thanks for remembering to pick that up...I noticed you put your ring in a safe place... Thanks for helping your brother...That was tricky and you managed to get it done...I admire your willingness to do a few math problems even though you really dislike math...”

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If children live with the first set of comments, it’s not a big surprise if they themselves say things like: “I’m so clumsy...I’ll lose it for sure...I can’t do it...I never finish things, that’s just the way I am...” Children who live with the second set of comments learn to be confident and to pay attention to what they do right. You are liable to hear them say things like: “Well, it’s hard but I can try it...Next time I’m going to do it this way...Maybe I can make a plan so that doesn’t happen again...I know I can do it...I did it!” Remember that school is not life. In the end, in the real world, it won’t matter whether your child conquered dangling participles or still doesn’t get Algebra...what will matter is whether your child believes in himself, whether she is confident about her own abilities and what she CAN do. It is our job as parents and teachers to bring out the star in our children and show them where they shine. What do you love about your child…that delightful laugh, boundless energy, terrific memory, knowing just what to say to put others at ease, love of animals, a green thumb, being the life of the party, ability to fix anything, an amazing imagination…? These are examples of characteristics to be celebrated!

So now, how about you? How do you celebrate yourself ? Do you acknowledge your many daily accomplishments? Do you focus on your strengths, talents, and gifts? Have you found your calling in life? If you didn’t discover it while growing up, get started now -- it’s never too late! Be a model for your children by celebrating yourself and them, in little ways and in big ways. Create celebrations that bring out the stars that are shining inside all of us. Make 2011 the best year ever by truly celebrating the people in your lives that matter the most. Happy celebrating! ©2010 by Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis & Reflective Educational Perspectives, LLC Mariaemma PelulloWillis is a Learning Styles Specialist for School & Life Success. She is co-author of Discover Your Child’s Learning Style, Midlife Crisis Begins in Kindergarten, and Learning Style Profile Online. She is cofounder of LearningSuccess™ Institute, offering Life Launch High School, customized programs for homeschool/independent study, and LearningSuccess training for parents and teachers. m@learningsuccesscoach.com, 805-648-1739

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Highlighted Paper

How Much History Do Kids Need?
By Scott Powell, History at Our House
n my opinion, children should start learning history as early as six years of age, and no later than eight. They are ready to learn it then, and they need to start creating the foundation of knowledge that enables their intellectual growth through elementary, middle school, and high school. It’s that growth that I’d like to discuss this time around. Once kids start learning history, they need to keep learning it, regularly, rigorously, and over the duration of their academic career. Each stage of this process allows students to progress through natural levels of awareness and ultimately to emerge as historicallyminded adults. The proper goal of early history education is to help children develop the “history habit.” To put the matter plainly, to learn history children first have to develop an interest in it. For that to happen it must be presented in a manner that is compatible with their level of thinking and their natural interests. History has to be taught as an exciting story, with characters and story lines as amazing as any work of fiction. But children must also learn to appreciate the unique value

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of history, which stems from history’s stories not being fiction, but fact. They must be encouraged to glean for the first time that history has universal lessons about life to offer, and that actors and events from the past helped shaped the world around them in tangible ways. When this is done right, students can become extremely invested in history at an early age. For instance, when discussing the history of Athens recently, I had seven year old students unselfconsciously saying that what they were learning was “cool.” (When was the last time you heard a student call history that? We were studying the Athenian Golden Age, which by any proper standard certainly is one of the coolest things in the world–ever!–but do most kids think so?) Students were learning for the first time what a democracy is by studying the example of Athens. When this same class of lower elementary students learned that Athens had lost the Peloponnesian War against Sparta, I could hear voices cracking. (Yes, I have actually seen tears shed by young students in history classes,
continued on page 72

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am sick and tired of defending homeschooling from the question, “What about socialization?” Members of the modern homeschool movement have insisted for thirty years that homeschooled children are wellsocialized. We laughingly refer to socialization as the “S word.” We deflect the socialization question by insisting it’s a myth. And yet, it persists. We trounced the academic argument long ago. Very few people challenge the notion that homeschoolers are intellectually curious, self-directed learners who match or exceed the academic prowess of their school-going peers. So, why do you think we can’t shake the socialization issue? I’ll tell you what I think. The truth is, homeschoolers are not well-socialized. There. I’ve said it. Someone had to. I say this with the greatest respect and affection for the homeschooled or unschooled. Nevertheless, in my experience, homeschoolers deviate from the norm. They are not wellsocialized in the traditional school sense. They are odd ducks swimming in a big, standardized social pool.

They stand out from the crowd, and a trained eye can spot them a mile away. Now, please understand that for years I’ve been a champion for homeschooling and have countered the socialization argument with rational explanations and practical examples of how homeschoolers are well-socialized. You know the drill: Homeschool parents model appropriate social behavior and teach their children how to interact and get along with others. Homeschoolers interact and play with other children and students through homeschool support groups at Park Days, in co-op classes, and on field trips, etc. Homeschooled children participate in (and win!) math olympiads, spelling bees, geography bees, science competitions, and debate teams. Homeschoolers join choirs, orchestras, book clubs, athletic events, and they even go to homeschool proms! Homeschoolers take classes and compete academically in community college, adult education programs, museum events, online forums, summer school, and at camps, etc.

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Homeschoolers participate in community activities such as Scouts, 4-H, Little League, Pop Warner Football, AYSO soccer, theater classes, martial arts classes, dance classes, etc. Homeschoolers volunteer in the community. Homeschoolers play with neighborhood kids from both public and private schools. I’ve also pointed out the advantage homeschoolers have because instead of being socialized by interacting with the same 30 children in a classroom, who are the exact same age, on the exact same academic track, from the same geographic and socio-economic area – homeschoolers get to interact with people of varying ages, abilities, ethnicities, and socio-economic diversity on a day-to-day basis in the real world. I’ve pointed people toward the always-positive research studies that have been conducted on homeschoolers over the past three decades by the U.S. Department of Education and other government and private organizations. Here is a random compilation of findings from the reports: Homeschoolers are not isolated. Homeschool parents actively encourage their children to take advantage of social opportunities outside the family. Homeschooling families

are more likely to be civically engaged than families who send their children to public and private schools. Homeschoolers display fewer behavior problems than do other children. Homeschoolers have higher levels of parental interest and communication, peer independence, a sense of responsibility, and lowered anxiety levels. Homeschooled children have higher achievement and mastery levels. Homeschooled children have good self-esteem. Homeschooled children are more socially mature. Homeschooled children have better leadership skills than other children. Homeschooled children who attempt higher education are successful. Homeschooled graduates experience no prejudice regarding employment. Homeschool graduates function effectively as members of adult society. One research study even concluded, “The socialization of home-educated students was often better than that of their schooled peers.” The research proves homeschoolers surpass standard social expectations, and in exceeding them, they fall short of social mediocrity. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there’s nothing “normal” about our kids. Your homeschooled child is odd com-

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By Carolyn Forte of Excellence in Education here are days when nothing seems to work. The children can’t concentrate on math and complain loudly about the writing assignment. They constantly invent excuses to leave their work. Even their favorite books and story CD’s are met with glazed eyes and whines of discontent. You can bluster and bully, trying to force some “learning” into their heads – or you can recognize the obvious: “Today is not a day for formal academics.” When faced with this situation, many homeschool moms will dig in their heels and demand compliance, turning the day into a contest of wills of Olympic proportions. I remember many such days when my blood started to boil with frustration. I knew I faced a choice: Continue to fight the reality of childish biorhythms, accomplishing nothing more than ruining everyone’s day, or take charge of the situation by changing gears and doing something else. Happily, I learned early to take the second option. There are many possibilities for a change of pace: Bake some cookies and take them to a friend or neighbor, take an impromptu field trip, go to the park for awhile, plan

When All Else Fails, Play a Game!


and cook a special dinner for Daddy, or play a game. Most children love games and a clever mom can sneak a lot of learning into an otherwise hopeless morning by inserting games and activities into the day. Often, physical activity is what is needed. Children need much more activity than adults, a fact which is often overlooked by parents. A physicalactivity-break is needed at least once every hour until children reach age 12-14. Simple games like hop scotch, Frisbee, catch, jacks, marbles, juggling, jumping rope, foursquare or shooting baskets are wonderfully refreshing for both mind and body. Childrens’ bodies were not designed to sit still for very long; if we try to fight the creator’s design, we’re asking for trouble. Active games develop both mind and body. Accurately catching a ball or picking up jacks develops and refines hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills – an important component in penmanship, math and any writing activity. Games can teach many of the skills practiced in workbooks – without the complaints. A few minutes spent playing a game with dice or cards can accomplish more than the same amount of time working with flash cards. This is
continued on page 74

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Do Smart People Play Chess or Does Playing Chess Make People Smart
chess first began.” Nobody really knows just how old the game of chess is. However, Mrs. Graham said, some experts claim that chess is more than 2,000 years old. Some evidence suggests that chess, in its earliest form, was played in India in the 6th century AD and from there spread around the world. Of course, over the years, the pieces and rules changed somewhat. In the 15th century, chess began to more closely resemble the game we now play, she added. But chess really started taking off in the 1800’s when tournaments, chess clocks, championships, and titles like Grandmaster were introduced. Chess is now the most popular game in the world and growing especially fast among children, as schools and parents recognize the social and intellectual benefits associated with the game. There are hundreds of millions of players in thousands of clubs around the planet. Women and girls are learning chess in record numbers. Younger and younger players are achieving Grandmaster status and a few are not even teenagers yet, she said. The overall skill level of chess players is also incontinued on page 86

ith all the technolog y out there, it is a bit ironic that Chess, arguably one of the oldest games in the world, is still leaps and bounds ahead of today’s electronic games in helping youth improve their cognitive skills and learn real lessons about life, according to Lyndia Graham, manager of Wholesale Chess. “Chess not only teaches children critical analytical skills, but it teaches them about choices–that each action is followed by a natural—but very real– consequence and that each of those choices must be carefully considered” she said. “Chess can help the IQ, memory, pattern recognition, analytical skills, overall comprehension, as well as develop patience.” “It is an ideal game to use in a homeschool setting because the implications of choice and consequence can be casually discussed and reinforced in a positive, but fun setting,” she said. “Bad choices — or chess moves — have immediate consequences and will impact the rest of your game — or the rest of your life. There are rules of play that must be followed, or the end result is not what you want. It’s an age-old lesson as relevant today as when

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Scheduling a Charlotte Mason Day
By Sheila Carroll and James Carroll
magine that it’s Monday morning. It’s about 9AM, and after finishing their chores, your children sit down at the kitchen table and begin school. Because they have learned that all real learning begins with discipleship, they study the Bible with you. Following that, each knows they must check their schedule of readings and written work to be sure of the learning for the day. Your children look forward to this because each book they read is full of interesting and memorable events of history, science, nature or


D o e s t h is s c e n a r io sound possible to you? It is. Charlotte Mason understood how children really learn and laid out a set of principles to make it possible to inspire children to learn by their own self-effort. To bring this wonder about, the teaching parent must first understand his or her role. “The children, not the teacher, are the responsible persons; they do the work by self-effort.” There is a table at the end of this article outlining a 4th grade student’s day and week. Don’t rush to it. First take in the principles that lead to the creation of

“Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.” —William Butler Yeats
people. As they complete a section of work they come to you for oral narration. Science, by your choice, is a family learning time and so the books are read aloud together and the whole family narrates. History is also a family affair, in fact, the book you are currently reading is so interesting the children are talking about how they can “hardly wait” till after lunch for family read aloud. such a schedule. Charlotte Mason taught that when books are many, varied, and living, the child is able to take up the ideas in them like a plant taking nutrients from the soil. The result is “full happy living, resourcefulness, expansiveness, expression, power of initiative, serviceableness— in a word, character.” Charlotte Mason believed children learn best when given abundant, highquality books; time in the

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outdoors; and are taught gently using methods such as narration, short lessons, and “masterly inactivity.” The Basics of CM What is the “bottom line” for a Charlotte Mason curriculum in my homeschool? The answer is: 1) Understand the principles of CM; 2) Consistently apply the principles; 3) Plan your school day to support those principles. It really is that simple. To learn the principles of a Charlotte Mason education, visit our website for the Seven Keys to Learning and for Charlotte Mason’s 20 Principles. The foundational principle for a Charlotte Mason education is that a child is a person. Children are born complete and full of endless possibilities. Children are not incomplete adults; they become adults. They do not lack maturity, but rather guidance, nurture, and opportunity. Your role as their teacher is to provide these things. When you grasp this single truth it will change your understanding of your homeschool and your children. My Own Story For three years I waffled in my consistent use of Charlotte Mason’s principles such as narration. I also “curriculum hopped”. But I wasn’t seeing the results I thought possible; Bridgett had a very short attention span. Finally, in

my daughter’s 4th grade, I went all out with CM. She is now the equivalent of a sophomore and what we call an Independent Learner. Very self taught and self motivated. She is re-reading, on her own, books such as Nariño and Lord of the Rings. When in Jr. High, she checked out of the library and read over 100 books on horses. She made horses her focus, and they still are. She is raising one and riding in competitions. Your child or children have some subject(s) they will connect with like that and out of it other subjects will blossom because they will be seen as useful in pursuing more information about their favorite subject. Give them the freedom to find those subjects. Once, in Jr. High, we began using some textbooks, such as the Apologia Science Textbook series, but retained the living books reading for history, geography, picture study and composer study. Ms. Mason once recounted her response to a question which included the phrase, “I use your method more or less . . .” . Mason said, “Then you will achieve the results I promise . . . more or less.” The Magic of Short Lessons Recently a mother asked for guidance in preventcontinued on page 68


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Non-Judgmental Drawing: The Monart Way
By Mona Brookes
ply come from what one has been told is “good” Author: Drawing with o r “ b a d ”. W h a t yo u Children and Drawing for think is bad art might Older Children and Teens be seen i n Nat ional Founder: Monart Drawing Museums and is worth Schools millions. his article needs W hen I talk about to be understood non-judgment, the avf rom t he ba sic erage person assumes premise that I do not I am referring to critibelieve that there is “a cism. But if there rer ig ht way t o do a r t ” ally is no such thing and that “everyone can a s “go o d ” o r “ b a d ”, learn to draw”. I realize then I see no need to that there is a right way i m p o s e o p i n i o n s o r to do many subjects; preferences on a child. l i ke pl ay i ng a s o ng, When I explain this to solving a math problem, a child who is fishing or reading a language. for compliments, they However, if you f re - truly understand, seem q ue nt a r t ga l le r ie s I relieved, and quickly challenge you to tell me become more creative what is “really” right or and confident. Yes, I am wrong or good or bad actually suggesting that a r t. T here is end less you refrain from praisvariety in preferences ing a child’s drawings. and judgments in the You can praise a child visual arts. Sometimes for the way they work, eduarts_HSM_onethird.pdf 12/7/10 11:34:00 AM these preferences simbut if you praise t he actual drawing it begins to control the student’s experience. They lose focus on their experience and get consumed w it h lo ok i ng for t he praise. When teaching a dva nce d t e ch n ique s l i ke p e r s p e c t ive a nd shading, a teacher needs to show the student the correct skills, but once those skills are learned the student should have the right to disregard t h e m , t h e s a m e w ay many famous artists do. As a serious art student, I knew I had to f ind out the teachers’ prefe re nce s a nd p e rfor m i n t hat st yle i n order to get good grades a nd receive pr aise. I eventually noticed that the same piece of work could end up with praise or criticism from different teachers. It wasn’t until after graduation that I was finally free to explore what I really liked and find my own creativity.


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Krisztianna-Age 12

Holla n a nd K r isztianna created totally different results from the inspiration of the st uf fed A r t y toy and observing other graphic materials. Hollan used only marker and Krisztianna blended marker and colored pencil. Monart became very well known for unbelievably skilled results from very young children to beginner adults, the side benef its that were seen in academic perfor mance, and the fact that everyone could be so successful. It was hard for people to believe that children in the same class could have such a variety of results from the same instructions or that such young ch i ld r e n c ou ld d r aw from objects as well as graphic materials. Most

people never knew that the silent classrooms and the safe non-judgment al envi ron ment were just as responsible for these results as the structured and academic-based lesson plans. A f ter yea rs of expo sure with home school groups, I am more than excited that those lesson plans are now expanding into a Drawing thru the Alphabet workbook for 3-to-8-year-olds. So, where do you start if you intend to draw with children? 1. Start with two-dimensional f lat images, with children under 8 or beginners of any age. Avoid p e n c i l , w h ich e n c o u r a ge s c o n s t a nt erasing and sloppy visual observations. Use markers, which encourage closer visual atten-

tion before committing to the page and create colorful drawings that everyone loves. Learni ng to d r aw is about learning to see! Avoid crayons, colored pencils, and cheap markers, w h ic h c r e a t e b u m py lines or streaky, immature affects. 2. Once a ch ild is over 9, and has some conf idence with twod i me n sion a l i m a ge s , they can begin learning the skills of accurate perspective and threedimensional shadi ng. Pencil and pastels are t he most appropr iate media in this case.

Jed-Age 6, using Markers. 2 dimensional work inspired by Laurel Burch designs.

Michelle-Age 14, using oil pastel. 3 dimensional work done from observing a vase of sun flowers.

3. When a child is unhappy with a drawing, don’t try to praise him into liking it. That does not work. Tell them the truth. Artists never like everything they do. This gives them the opportunity to solve problems and explore options. 4. Ma ke s u re t h at children under 8 also have free time to draw by t hem selve s. St ick Figure Drawing is ext remely i mpor t a nt to language development a n d s el f- e x p r e s s io n . Monar t is a Realistic D r aw i ng prog r a m. It is a completely different subject. It does not i nt e r fe re i n a ny way with the child’s cont i nu e d e njoy m e nt of t he sy mbol ic i m age s that they will draw by t he m s elve s. Mon a r t st udent s who ca n do unbelievably realistic d rawings still d raw stick f igure drawings by themselves, until 8 or 9 years old. Symbolic st ick f ig u re d r aw i ng stops around that age and does not eventually lead to realism. Except for a rare few, people need structured information to learn realistic drawing. Do not ever compare the two types of drawing. Children can, and will, happily do both, if given that non-judg mental environment. M.B.

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hen we think of “distance education” as part of homeschooling, we might not realize that Art Instruction School, with their ubiquitous “Draw Me” ads, is one of the oldest distance educators in the country. AIS was founded in 1914 and began its distance art instruction programs shortly thereafter --long before the Inter net or even a-radio-in-everyhome level of technology! The Bureau of Engraving, Inc., (not a government agency) founded A IS i n M i n ne ap ol is , as a bricks-and-mortar school to train illustrators for the burgeoning printing industry – especially its own segment of that indust r y. T he Bureau’s methods and materials were so successful that soon all of the advertising, newspaper and general printing industry were seeking their teaching and training. The AIS building could not accommodate or serve the needs of interested, prospective art students from all over the nation, so they began their distance education art instruction. The Bureau realized that cartooning was in high popularity and the

demand for cartoonists would be growing, so they added cartooning, color work and perspective d rawing, as well as other specialized art classes to their curriculum. Today, AIS is recognized as the top home study art school in the country. Much of this success is a result of AIS graduates, such as Charles Schultz of “Peanuts” cartoon fame, successful fashion designers, landscape, portrait, wildlife artists and art teachers in all walks of life. In terms of the actual process of their lessons, each new subject begins with a package delivered by mail or UPS, containing a large-format, easyto-follow, personalized textbook that takes you through the art lesson in detail. When needed, new art tools and supplies are included with the lesson. Throughout the textbooks you have plenty of opportunities to practice the assignment activities. When you are satisfied that you have completed the assignment and done your best work, you send it in, using the envelope provided, just like academic distance
continued on page 79

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Why Can’t Saltwater Fish Live in Fresh water?
continued from page 13

chemicals so that they don’t shrink when exposed to the salt water they live in. When a saltwater fish is exposed to fresh water, all of that water floods into their cells in order to dilute the chemicals inside and keep a balance with the surrounding environment. Two things can happen when water f loods in: Some cells fill up with so much water that they burst (scientists call this cytolysis), while others just stop working because the chemicals inside them are too diluted. Both of these things will kill the fish. The opposite happens

to freshwater fish in a saltwater environment - water flows out of their cells, dehydrating the fish and disrupting cell function. Here’s how osmosis can affect the size of blood cells:

An example of osmosis in blood cells: On the left are cells in a solution with more salt in it than there is inside the cells (a hypertonic solu-

tion); in the middle are the cells in a solution with the same amount of salt in it as there is inside the cells (an isotonic solution); on the right are cells in a solution with less salt in it than there is inside the cells (a hypotonic solution). Most fish are stenohaline, and will die when exposed to the wrong environment (salt water vs. fresh water). But what about euryhaline fish like salmon, eels, and some trout? Salmon, for example, can survive in both fresh and salt water because of their life cycle. Salmon are born in freshwater streams, but then migrate into the ocean where they mature and spend about 1-5 years. After that, they
continued on page 45

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Do Your Children Know What They Believe?
“This engaging series is a wonderful tool to help Christian parents keep family discipleship front and center. This is one curriculum choice in a class by itself.” Debra Bell Co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling “This is a vital resource, extremely well done, and one which I predict will become a standard text in many churches, homes, and schools. I highly recommend the entire What We Believe series.” Alex McFarland President of Southern Evangelical Seminary
Our children are bombarded daily with competing messages. Every song, movie, book, TV show, blog, and game is full of ideas—ideas about God, people, truth, beauty, and right and wrong. Not all of these ideas are true. Some are deceptive and even destructive. The What We Believe series helps children learn to discern the truth by using God’s Word as a lens through which to view the world around them—to see everything the way God sees it. Easy to use at home or in the classroom, this multi-part study of biblical worldview introduces young people, ages 6–14, to the basic truths of the Christian faith. Through engaging stories, creative discussion topics, and fun activities, they will come to know what they believe and why they believe it while building an unshakable faith to last a lifetime.
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Q. I’m concerned that my student(s) won’t be ready for the essay portion of the SAT. What can I do to prepare them for it? A. First, your student needs to understand that the SAT essay is a persuasive essay. That means he has to choose a side. He has to support a view. He has to try to convince that hypothetical audience that he is right. Expository essays that explore the pros and cons of each view will not earn a high mark. Second, your student will benefit from practice. Basketball players practice free throws so that when the opportunity arises in the big game, they will step up to the line with confidence and hear the swish. Give your students some “freethrow” practice. How? Inside the New SAT, written by the staff of Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, advises the following schedule for the 25-minute SAT essay: Think about the topic (2 minutes) Organize your paragraphs (5 minutes) Write your essay (15 minutes) Fix your mistakes (3 minutes) I recommend giving your

student a quotation based on a topic (just as the SAT test gives) so he can practice thinking about the topic (brainstorming ideas and examples) and organizing his paragraphs (putting his points and examples in order). Do this several times with several quotations/ topics -- without his ever writing the essay. Breaking the tasks down, first untimed and then timed, will allow your student to get used to the rhythm of the process without getting bogged down in the writing. Check to make sure he is actually supporting a view and choosing points that will persuade readers to that view. After he has gained some proficiency in thinking and organizing, add the writing portion to the practice session. Later, add the three minutes to the end of the session so he can fix his mistakes. Third, I recommend going to the College Board’s Web site, http://sat.collegeboard.com/practice/satpractice-questions. It has practice questions and aids to help your student write a better persuasive essay. Sharon is the author of Apologia’s popular Jump In Middle School Writing Curriculum. She homeschooled her children for 18 years and has taught high school composition, fiction writing, and literature.

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AHA! Unit-based Instruction The Recipe for Homeschooling
By Dr. T. Roger Taylor and Dr. Beverly M. Taylor


hy Teach via Unit of Study? Among the many reasons parents choose to leave the public, private or parochial schools is the perception that there is very little, if any, rigor or substance in much of the instruction. This has been referred to as teaching “an inch deep and a mile wide” vs. an inch wide and a mile deep. The cognitive domain in Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956) centers on the skills of knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Burns (1984) found that 75-95% of activities assigned by teachers to their students focused on knowledge and comprehension, the two lowest levels of the taxonomy. By definition, this form of instruction is without depth, where concepts are answered with a yes/no, true/false, or which of the following is correct: a,b,c,d. This type of instruction has resulted in public school districts, such as the Chicago

Public Schools, spending hundreds of millions of dollars only to generate the lowest achievement results in the past 30 years. Unit of study instruction focuses on in-depth understanding, meaningful project-centered learning, higherorder thinking skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation, creative thinking, and character/ethics education, which are woven throughout the fabric of each lesson. The disciplines of literature, history, mathematics, science and social studies are integrated so that learners understand the relationship among the disciplines based on a thematic topic or Big Idea. The curriculum unit of study is differentiated by integrating media, literature, fine arts, cultural literacy, social studies, science and mathematics to create an environment where learners are successful in understanding the connections among disciplines rather than memorizing facts within each discipline. (Taylor, 2004) The Recipe Take one Big Idea Add the following disciplines…history, science, mathematics, literature Mix with higher-level thinking skills, moral/ethical dilemmas, creative thinking

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Add a pinch of state and national standards Integrate the arts, music, media and technology Sprinkle with communication skills, cooperative learning and project-centered learning Fold in formative and summative assessment…divided into self, peer and teacher Bake for four weeks Makes a motivated, intellectual, creative, ethical and productive learner Choosing the Big Idea or Theme The Big Idea is often centered under the umbrella of social studies; however, science, mathematics and literature are all equally powerful in anchoring the theme or Big Idea. Themes can focus on a specific time period such as medieval times, U.S. Revolutionary War, U.S. Civil War, World War II, the 1950s and the Industrial Revolution or on a specific Big Idea in science (aeronautics, micro-organisms, animals and their habitats, oceanography, plate tectonics and the solar system), mathematics (quadratic equations, exponential growth, palindromes, patterns, and geometric shapes) and literature (character-building and man’s search for meaning through literature, study of authors, loss of innocence in literature, WWII and the English Renaissance through literature or specific pieces of literature such as “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “The Door in the Wall,” “Johnny Tremain” and “Macbeth.”) Add the Disciplines In unit-based instruction, there is a series of in-depth lesson plans connected to content within that specific unit. The lesson plans are created to be interdisciplinary and connect to other teaching units during the day. For example, if the theme is the Holocaust, the history unit is based on World War II, the literature unit may include “Diary of a Young Girl, the Anne Frank Story” or Elie Wiesel’s “Night.” The science unit may focus on genetics (Hitler was trying to create the super race) and the mathematics unit may center on chromosomes, DNA and probability. Each unit of study for the theme Holocaust is interdisciplinary, thematic and integrated among the content areas. A fun and interesting title for the Unit of Study creates an interest in the theme. When creating your own unit of study, think of a title that is engaging to the learner. A suggested title for the holocaust theme is “No Light in the Attic: Let’s be Frank. It’s up to you.” A popular unit of study for younger children is fairy tales. Since many of the fairy tales we know come from the Middle Ages, this is a perfect time to align instruction so that the history unit is taught in parallel with the fairy tale unit. During the Middle Ages, the five simple

machines/tools were perfected and, therefore, they become the focus of the science unit. The mathematics unit of study centers on linear measurements of distance and time. The units make interdisciplinary connections and tie the curriculum together. Title? How about, “Once Upon a Friend: Living Happily Ever After with Pipers, Pigs and Princesses?” Higher-Level Thinking Skills and Project-Centered Learning With unit-based instruction, each lesson becomes totally relevant to the student’s life and experience because there are connections between and among the disciplines. Each lesson is project-centered, with school to career connections so that learners never have to ask, “Why do I have to learn this?” Each lesson has writing woven into the content so that students learn creative writing, grammar and syntax within every lesson instead of being taught in isolation. Because of the relevance and depth in unit study, the ultimate result is not only a highly-educated, knowledgeable student but, also, one whose mastery learning and critical thinking skills will maximize results on admissions exams, such as SAT and ACT. Each lesson is aligned with state and national standards so that exemplary performance on standardized tests is assured. Even though standards are not mandated for homeschooling, it is recommended to use the state standards as a guideline and comparison. Creative Thinking Ultimately, the love of learning is nurtured and developed in unit-based instruction. While much of traditional school learning is rote and non-engaging, the best unit of study is compatible with how the human brain functions. For learners who are naturally creative, each lesson includes six levels of creativity to satisfy the learning style of these students while demanding that learners who think more in a linear manner open their minds to more creative and divergent thinking. In addition, students who are the creative thinkers must stretch their minds to think in an inductive/deductive manner. The hands-on project-centered approach is equally creative and academic, as is the moral/ethical dilemmas woven into each lesson. Multiple Intelligences and Assessment “If students do not learn the way you teach, teach the way they learn.” (Taylor, 2008) The Eight Intelligences of Howard Gardner (1983) are integrated into each lesson so that verbal/linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical/ rhythmic, visual/spatial, body/ kinesthetic, interpersonal,
continued on page 64

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vy Bound wishes to introduce parents of homeschool teenage children to the services t h at we p r ov id e. We are familiar with home schooling and believe we can help, by providi ng a dd it ion al a ssis tance in required exams for college acceptance or for academics, especially with math and the sciences. Iv y Bound is a test prep f ir m specializi ng i n SAT and ACT pre pa r at ion desig ned to improve a student’s college acceptance and scholarship potential. We now have more resources than any other national company for helping students excel in these tests. Not only do our tutors have a top 1% score in these tests, but we have developed our own materials spec i f ic a l ly t o e n h a n c e st ude nt s’ t e st t a k i ng strategies. Our instructors are intelligent, talented, and trained in our program and method of teachi n g. O u r e x p e r ie n c e allows our instructors to quickly evaluate a student’s strengths and

weaknesses, and mold the lesson plan to focus on the needed areas of improvement. There is a definite strategy involved in studying for and taking these tests. While that strategy may differ across individual st udents, there is always a way to help each st ude nt r e a l i z e t hei r maximu m test-t ak ing potential. We prov ide classes as well as individual, and semi-private tutoring. Parents have the f lexibility of the tutor coming to your home o r o t h e r l o c a t io n of your choice convenient for you. O u r t utor s w i l l wor k w it h you r schedule to ensure you get the greatest benefit from each session. With a combination of our excellent curriculum and teaching strategies, we are confident our program will instill the confidence needed to achieve the best test score the st udent is capable of produci ng – that is our goal. Our test prep advisors will be happy to answer any que st ion s or prov ide more information. I.B.

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You Bought it, Let’s Use It!
By Sue Patrick, Creator/Developer of Sue Patrick’s Workbox System


ow much “extra” cu r r icu lu m do you have? Not so long ago, homeschoolers didn’t have much curriculum to choose from. In the past, if I asked a homeschooler what curriculum they were using, no matter what it was, I was familiar with it. Now, there is so much out there, there is no way I can be familiar with it all. The more curriculum that is available, the greater the chance we have of buying too much and having it sit on our already too-full shelves. I have another question for you. Do you consider yourself a “professional” homeschooler? What I am referring to is a homeschooler taking their job seriously. I work very hard at homeschooling and make it no less of a priority than when I was in the corporate world. In fact, I consider it more important and I dedicate myself to it like no other job I have had. With that dedication comes making it such priority that the work I put into it is not extra work, but simply the work required for this position. My position as a homeschooler is a real job. Dedicating yourself and your family to homeschooling should be

viewed as a commitment -- a commitment to follow through like no other task. It is not part of a to-do list. It should not be something your family does simply because they are not doing anything else. It is what you should do first. There is an entire industry out there that loves homeschoolers simply because they are “available” during the day when the rest of the school-age population is not. Why are they so available? Your children will benefit from your example of putting your homeschool first and dentist appointments and Tae Kwon Do lessons later. I bring all this firm commitment up because as I speak with homeschoolers all over the world, two questions are universally asked of me regarding my Workbox System, as well as curriculum. 1. How long does it take to prepare for school every day? 2. I n e e d a c u r r icu lu m t hat t e a che s _____________, do you know of one? Both of these questions are revealing the need for homeschoolers to think about teaching their children with the greatest advantage we have in homeschooling. Rather

than teaching in a way that makes sense to that child, they are seeking out the least time-consuming curriculum, or searching for curriculum to take care of teaching an academic detail and not a discipline. I am never going to choose a curriculum based on how little time and effort will be required of me. I am also never going to search for an entire curriculum to teach a detail such as tenses in grammar, the periodic table in chemistry, or graphing in math. Homeschoolers will greatly benefit from rolling up their sleeves and learning to discern how their child benefits most
continued on page 48

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The Increasing Prevalence on Online Learning in Education
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n li ne lea r n i ng is a broad and dynamic area of education whose significance is receiving increasing attention. Bill Gates recently predicted that in five years much of college education will have gone online. In keeping with this prediction, the Gates Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation, together with nonprofit educational organizations, have invested $20 million in accelerating the development and use of online learning tools for post-secondary online courses, with another round of grants for high school programs scheduled for next year. The United States Department of Education has been developing a National Education Technology Plan, aimed primarily at kindergarten to high school education, which urges the use of technology for individualization of learning experiences for students and for professional development for teachers. This attention that online education has been getting in both the private and public sectors is justified by the increasing numbers of students enrolling in on-

line courses and programs. According to a Sloan Consortium study, 50,000 students at the K-12 level were enrolled in wholly or partly online courses in 2000, a number which had risen to more than a million by 2008. The International Association of K-12 Online Learning has predicted that 10% of courses will be computer-based by 2014, increasing to 50% by 2019. This trend is reflected in the increasing number of studies examining the effectiveness of technology in improving education. In its report, “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies,” based on twelve years of comparative research funded by the Department of Education, SRI International concluded that online learning on average bested face-to-face teaching by a modest, but statistically significant, margin. A study by the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon, which compared students engaged in a hybrid model of digital and classroom instruction in a college statistics course with students enrolled in the conventional course, demonstrated that the students’ scores in the hybrid courses were as high

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or higher, even though it lasted half as long. While not all studies have found positive benefits from online learning, with results varying for different populations of students and online learning models, underlying economic realities coupled with the convenience of online education for students and institutions ensures these trends will continue. Accounting for this Trend While the reason for the growth in popularity of online education differs for different populations of students, generally speaking, online learning attracts students because it presents broader opportunities by eliminating obstacles.The reach of online education is unfettered by geography, allowing students access to courses and programs they otherwise might not have had. It also creates learning communities that bring together students from all over the world who share similar academic and intellectual interests regardless of their location. Real-time online instruction also brings together students that are not only from different places, but actually in different places, giving a unique and otherwise unattainable perspective to class discussions. Online learning typically provides flexibility in scheduling and enrollment options, thus allowing stu-

dents to pursue academic programs that are best suited to their individual needs and goals. The time students do spend engaged in online learning is thus more productive and effective. Online learning often resolves scheduling problems that preclude students enrolled in brick and mortar schools from taking the courses they need to meet their educational and intellectual needs. It also allows students to find academic challenges beyond what might be available in the curricular offerings at their local schools. Online learning also has the potential to better accommodate students whose particular learning styles or exceptional talents and interests cannot be accommodated through existing educational offerings. The growth in online learning is supported by continual developments in the technology; particularly developments in video-based web conferencing and social networking facilitate the growth of increasingly interactive models of online learning. Mo d e l s of O n l i n e Learning The possibilities for online learning span the spectrum from fully asynchronous, fully synchronous to blended learning models, which combine online instruction with face-to-face class time. Decontinued on page 38

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The Increasing Prevalence on Online Learning in Education
continued from page 37

ciding on which model best suits a student’s learning needs depends both on the student’s purpose in pursuing online learning and the kind of learning experience a student seeks. Another central question to consider is what role the technology plays in the learning experience, whether it is being used to facilitate teacher-student interaction, for asynchronous delivery of course content, or as an intelligent agent. For students who seek a core educational experience online, a school at which they can be engaged in a school community and also earn a degree, a

fully accredited, diplomagranting institution like the Education Program for Gifted Youth Online High School (EPGY OHS) at Stanford University presents a good option. EPGY OHS offers a full, rigorous academic program for students in grades 7-12, which includes a Core curriculum as well as a broad offering of Advanced Placement (AP) and university-level courses across disciplines. EPGY OHS uses a synchronous course model, bringing students together with their instructors in real-time seminars using web-based video conferencing software. Online

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work during the academic year is supplemented with an optional summer residential session on Stanford campus. EPGY OHS also offers part-time and single course enrollment options for students seeking to supplement the core educational experience they receive elsewhere. Florida Virtual School (FLVS), founded as the country’s first, state-wide Internet-based public high school, which today serves students from kindergarten through twelfth grade, is a supplemental online program whose course model combines asynchronous and synchronous learning. FLVS offers courses in core subjects, world languages, electives, honors, and Advanced Placement. Students work independently in the courses and have regular contact with teachers over email and telephone. It is free of charge to Florida residents and for a fee to out-of-state students. More asynchronous online learning models are content-centric, focusing heavily on course development by subject matter experts. In this model, the learning experience is reminiscent of traditional distance learning. This approach is generally supported by dominant publishers and companies that provide course manage-

ment software. Some online courses utilize the computer as an intelligent agent in differentiating instruction for students. The Stanford University Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) offers courses in Kindergarten-Algebra mathematics and elementary-middle-school level English that make nontrivial use of the computer to instruct and differentiate instruction. Similar approaches are taken by the ALEKS program, which is grounded on research done by Professor Jean Claude Falmange at the University of CaliforniaRiverside into knowledge spaces, and by Cognitive Tutor, growing out of work in cognitive science done by John Anderson. These three programs, and others like them, are frequently offered both directly to students and indirectly through schools, with varying amounts of tutorial support available. Identifying Viable Online Learning Options As online learning becomes increasingly main stream and as online offerings continue to proliferate, it will be increasingly important to distinguish the viable educational opportunities among them. Accrediting associations, such as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) have been applying the same standards

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the quality of traditional educational institutions in their evaluation of online schools. T he “WASC Supplement for Schools with Online Learning as the Primary Delivery System,” which is based on publications generated by the North American Council for Online Learning (iNACOL), the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), and the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA), identifies the quality of curriculum (its cultivation of critical skills of analysis, comprehension, communication and research as well as its meeting of state standards), adequate assessments of student performance, the academic qualifications of instructors, the nature and degree of student-teacher interaction, and academic integrity as among the central criteria upon which online educational institutions are evaluated. In addition to these, WASC considers whether an online school offers adequate and adequately maintained technology platforms and training in their use and how it addresses issues of student socialization. Commercial companies, such as K12, are also increasingly entering the online education arena, often working with charter schools. Moving forward, some programs will use the technology to control

costs and maximize efficiency. Ideally, these measures aim at increasing access, but consumers will need to be wary that such objectives are not pursued at the expense of the basic quality of education students receive. Other programs will use the technology to drive quality. Here, the difficulties will be in controlling costs to ensure that high quality education is available to all. Regardless of how these issues are addressed by online education providers, online learning is an endeavor whose time has come, and as with all developments in education, will raise new questions and challenges even as it addresses current ones. Further reading and resources: Allen, I. Elaine and Jeff Seaman, “Class Differences: Online Education in the United States, 2010,” Babson Survey Research Group, Sloan Consortium, 2010. U.S. Depar t ment of Education, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, Washington, D.C., 2010. (w w w2.ed.gov/ rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/ finalreport.pdf) InternationalAssociation for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL): www.inacol. org

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hen was the last time you had the opportunity to walk on water? Students attending the recent Einstein Project Science Expo in Green Bay, Wis., can tell you all about it; they spent the day dashing, running, and dancing across the surface of a non-Newtonian liquid called oobleck, a sticky white substance that will grab your feet and hold them fast if you dare to slow down. Oobleck is just one of the exciting hands-on experiences that Michigan Technological University’s Mind Trekkers STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) road show uses to illustrate what a blast science can be. They also give students the chance to make (and taste) liquid nitrogen ice cream, see “dragon’s breath” (graham crackers frozen in liquid nitrogen), make their hair stand on end by touching a Van de Graaff generator, ride a hovercraft powered by a leaf blower, try a Rubens’ Tube (a physics experiment that demonstrates the relationship between sound waves and sound pressure by making flames dance to music), and more. T he Mi nd Trek kers team—Steve Patchin,

director of outreach and engagement for Michigan Tech’s Center for PreCollege Outreach, and his group of high-energy staff and Michigan Tech student volunteers—attends expos and events throughout the region and across the nation—wherever large groups of impressionable young people gather. Their goal is simple: To get kids hooked on science. According to Patchin, the experiments aren’t just fun—they’re educational to students in a meaningful way. “It’s a once-in-alifetime opportunity for students to discover for themselves the fun and excitement of science and technology,” he says. STEM education is an extremely important topic in our country right now. Some of tomorrow’s most important careers—those in engineering, healthcare, alternative energies, and more—will require individuals who are thoroughly educated in STEM. Yet research shows that student interest in these areas, as well as understanding about career opportunities, is on the decline. There is currently a call to redefine STEM education, to change the way it is taught so that students engage with it. Michigan Tech’s Center for Pre-College Outreach

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is answering that call. Recently formed in an effort to meet the growing demand for dynamic K-12 STEM outreach, the Center encompasses a variety of Michigan Tech initiatives. By involving students in hands-on activities, the Center is working to show students that there’s more to STEM than periodic tables and flashcards—science is all around, and it’s exciting. Mind Trekkers, however, is only one piece of the puzzle. The Center offers a variety of ways for students to explore, enjoy, and engage with Michigan Tech’s innovative STEM programming. Scholarship Programs They’ve examined rising sea levels to study global warming, built a laser communication device that can project audio signals across the room, and even studied green energy initiatives by devel-

oping a handmade batch of biodiesel fuel. Who are they? Not the scientists and researchers you might be picturing. They’re participants in Michigan Tech’s Women in Engineering (WIE) Summer Youth Program—and they’re all high school girls. WIE at Michigan Tech is a unique learning experience—a weeklong summer exploration focusing on careers in mechanical, environmental, electrical, chemical, civil, geological, and metallurgical engineering, as well as mathematics, engineering technology, technical writing, and computer science fields. It features a combination of discovery-based learning opportunities, team projects, and oneon-one time with talented role models and peers. Students not only have the chance to perform handson research in 10 fields of engineering, including

the laser communication and biodiesel projects mentioned above, but also strengthen their team and group work skills, experience university residential life, learn how to succeed in engineering and science undergraduate programs, and interact with role models. WIE is a competitive scholarship program open to young women academically talented in math and science, with associated costs funded by endowments—and it’s not the only one. Michigan Tech also offers the Engineering Scholars Program (ESP), a program similar to WIE but designed for academically talented high school st udents f rom u nderrepresented engineering and science populations (including minority and economically disadvantaged students). Michigan Tech’s newest scholarship program, the National

Summer Transportation Institute, was created two years ago to stimulate interest and create knowledge about the opportunities and careers available within the transportation industry. Similar to WIE and ESP, the program is built around group work, hands-on learning, and lots of field trips—last year, students toured the Mackinac Bridge Authority, the Soo Locks shipping canal in Sault Ste. Marie, and more. The students who attend these programs are enthusiastic—both about being at Michigan Tech and about learning in general. “I was excited about coming here, but it’s even better than I thought,” said a participant of last year’s WIE program, a 16-yearold junior from Flint, Mich. Her group visited Michigan Tech’s foundry and learned firsthand about
continued on page 84

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Flink Learning By Emerson Sandow Using the Internet for learning and fun is widely popular in the homeschooling world. A brand new idea, Flink Learning, has a developed a tremendous website that will enhance your experience by offering both of these elements in a secure environment. Flink Learning has been in development for 3 years and has only been live for a couple of months, but it is already becoming popular with teachers who have used it and homeschool parents

the place to play, make, learn and share for Free!
will appreciate it, too. You and your child can choose from thousands of teacher-created games, ebooks and tutorials covering a broad range of topics and best of all -- you can create your own as well! Flink Learning offers top-quality, professionallooking graphics, so your child’s experience with working with the visual aspects will also be enhanced. It is very satisfying to create a visual piece that does not look homemade. A Flink Learning sub-

scription (free of charge) engages children at grades K-5 with ready-to-play learning games. And only Flin k Lear ning gives parents, teachers and kids the ability to easily make and share a wide variety of interactive learning games with their professionallooking graphics. Ever yone who sub scribes automatically becomes a member of two online communites: The Private Community which is your’s or your family’s own material and The Flink Learning Community, which is comprised of every Flink Learning subscriber. As a member of the broader community, downhill and cross-country, along with other winter activities are offered in full force at Woodloch. If an activity requires snow, Woodloch has it. And their Package Specials are incredible deals. One is “Kids Stay, Eat and Ski for FREE” This is midweek and the kids have to be 12 and under, but imagine how perfect this package is for homeschoolers who can often get away in midweek! And the “Value Ski Package” offers a low midweek price for an entire family. And high-speed Internet access is available throughout the entire resort, so you don’t have to be “isolated” if you don’t want to. Woodloch also offers environmental programs

you have access to all of the activities in the Community section. You can form a private community with other specific families, too, so if you have a smaller group of your children’s friends within the larger support group you belong to, that smaller group can have a private community of its own. If one of your child’s friends has created a phonics activity game and your child has created one for math, you can copy the phonics activity and paste it into your private community and vice versa. You receive a url and bookmark it and that is where your
continued on page 87

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ucked into the Poconos Mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania, is the Woodloch Resort. The Kiesendahl Family has been operating Woodloch since 1958, and because it is a family business, they know how to ensure that Woodloch caters to family vacation needs and interests. Their Mission Statement is “Woodloch’s staff will strive to treat each and every guest as if they are company in our own homes.” Woodloch is often referred to as a “cruise on

land” because it offers activities such as a Broadway style theme show, 18-hole golf course, spa treatments and a wide array of games and diversions to maintain a high level of enjoyment for all ages and interest levels. In summer, you can enjoy kayaking, sailing and boating on Woodloch’s own Lake Teedyuskung or out of Woodloch to the nearby Delaware or Lackawaxen Rivers, which offer world-class fishing and bird watching – and not just little birds, either, but Bald Eagles, as this area is one of their prime nesting locales! Of course, being in the Poconos, skiing, both

for group trips, so if your support group is in the geographical area, you may want to consider a field trip or even overnight adventure in the beautiful woodlands and mountains – especially considering Woodloch’s Eagle Nesting Platform construction plan, which will provide great opportunities to see these incredible birds up “close”! Woodloch is located close to New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Philadelphia and not far from most of the rest of the mid-Atlantic region. Please visit Woodloch’s website, www.woodloch.com, for complete information and give your family a special treat in 2011 with a trip to the Poconos!

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History of US Series by Joy Hakim
Published by Oxford University Press Customer Service Department 2001 Evans Road, Cary, North Carolina, 27513 Phone: 1-800-445-9714 custserv.us@oup.com 10 volume set, plus Sourcebook/ Index www.joyhakim.com Ages 10 to adult

By Michael Leppert his excellent set of U.S. History “storybooks” is fun to read to your child and discuss for hours! Long after your history “lesson” time should end, you may find yourself wishing to push further into knowing what Ms. Hakim is going to present next. These attractive, sturdy, hardcover books will last through repeated readings to many children and even grandchildren! The inside covers are maps relating to an important topic of the book. So, Book 1, The First Americans, contains a U.S. map of some of the American Indian tribes’ original lands. Book 2, Making Thirteen Colonies, has a simplified “map” of the Mediterranean area; Book 8, has a simplified map of the world titled “Immigration: 1820 to 1920” showing how many people from each country came to the United States. These and the excellent photographs and illustrations sprinkled throughout each volume, provide interesting topics for discussion and supplemental


information that can be used as a study tangent itself by the imaginative parent-teacher. In fact, this series could be the centerpiece for a Unit Study on one or more of the periods covered. The photos and side-bars tie-in intelligently and beautifully with the text, offering much information for discussion and deeper study. Some other titles in the series are: Book 3, From Colonies to Country, 1735-91; Book 6, War, Terrible War, 1855-65 and Book 8, An Age of Extremes, 18801917, which covers the era of the so-called “Robber Barons”, Carnegie, Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford and others, who shaped much of our country’s current industrial and general economic landscape and set the tone for our modern idea of free markets, free enterprise and the government’s developing role in protection and regulation. The author refers to her method as stor ytelling and her books come alive with historical information that forms a tapestry-like view of life past. As we know, this is how life present occurs – the threads of people’s ideas, desires, hope and dreams with their striving for satisfaction, all intertwining, knotting, sometimes breaking, but always pushing forward creating the fabric of life as we live within it. Because Ms. Hakim writes of the past just as we live the present, her books breathe

and provide a keen and unusual insight into how these events and people actually lived and died; worried and celebrated; hated and loved. She does not merely recount serial events or people, but offers clues as to their deeper existence and how that existence has come to be ours. The play on words “History of US” is accurate. We are not reading about people separated from ourselves, but those who actually came before us and made our present day world possible. To accomplish this, the series often offers some little-known information as well as that which is commonplace, so that the reader can gain a great deal of knowledge. Joy Hakim writes with clarity and ease so that nothing is lost in complex sentences or archaic “high brow” styles. She speaks as plainly as if she were your welltraveled aunt or friend, coming to visit with entire photo albums of her travels, to spellbind you with her most recent exploits – except that in this case, they may have occurred 200 years ago! Do yourself and your child a great service and acquire this excellent series and read them aloud. It will be a great pleasure and you will barely be able to wait until the next history lesson time to come ‘round! Please see the website www.joyhakim.com to see and read about each volume. MjL

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Why Can’t Saltwater Fish Live in Fresh water?
continued from page 28

migrate back to the same freshwater streams they were born in so they can reproduce. Their bodies have adapted to use osmoregulation to either retain or get rid of salt depending on their surroundings. O s m o s i s i n Yo u r Kitchen If you want to see osmosis in action, here’s a quick and easy experiment you can try at home! As always, make sure you have an adult’s permission first. Materials: About 5 tablespoons of table salt Large glass that fits your vegetable (a large drinking glass works great) Fresh, crisp carrot or stalk of celery Instructions: Measure about 5 tablespoons of table salt into your glass, and fill it with water. Stir to dissolve most of the salt. Drop in a fresh carrot or stalk of celery (or both). Before you put it into the salt solution, notice the size of the vegetable and how it will break if you bend it too far. Leave your carrot or celery to sit in the glass overnight. When you check on it in the morning, you’ll notice that the carrot is smaller

and very bendable. Likewise, the celery should be bendable, too. Why did this happen? Check out the drawings above of osmosis and blood cells. As the vegetable absorbed more of the salt water, the fresh water left its cells, making the cells smaller. This shrank the whole vegetable, and made it lose the firmness you noticed earlier. The vegetable will bend a lot further before it breaks. More information For another cool osmosis experiment and some links for further reading about osmosis and fish, check out my website at www.kitsforkids.com/ homeschoolmagazine. About Connor Connor is the 16-yearold founder of Connor’s Science Un iverse for Kids, LLC. Connor’s Science Universe was founded in 2004 to show kids of all ages how much fun science can be, through kid-designed science kits and free classroom visits to struggling schools. To learn more, please visit www.kitsforkids.com. P.S. An Insta-pet is a brine shrimp, from my Awesome Insta-pets™ science kit.

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n ly t h o s e l iving in the land of Metropolis might have missed all the recent national media buzz and hoopla over the release of Davis Guggenheim’s educational documentary Waiting for “Superman”. Waiting for “Superman” shares the plight of five compelling children who are hungry and eager to learn, but stuck inside the walls of a failing public school. We learn the heartbreaking saga of Anthony, Daisy, Bianca, Emily and

Francisco. They all have dreams and goals. They all agree escaping public schools is the only option for each of them to succeed but sadly, a lottery system is their only chance to get into a more successful charter school. The film highlights renegade reformer and “Superman”, Geoffrey Canada, who tried and failed to change the public school system. So he started his own charter school, The Harlem Children’s Zone, where his educators start with a child and family at birth and stay with them until they graduate from college. We are also introduced to the KIPP Academy, another successful charter school but we are also told in the movie that many charter schools are also failing schools. We meet another superhero, Michelle Rhee and her battle to change the system by cutting the central office and firing bad principals and teachers who were ineffective, inside an already failing system. She found education to be more about the needs of the adults. Since the September, 2010, release of the documentary, Michelle Rhee was let go from her position at the top of DC’s public schools. She became another victim of a

system resistant to change. The film, from the maker of An Inconvenient Truth, shares the grim and depressing news that comes as no big surprise to those in the homeschooling community: America’s current public educational system has been failing since 1970 and spending more and more money has not made any significant difference! As many immersed in the homeschooling world, maybe you sighed loudly and rolled your eyes over this “breaking” news, because it has been your mantra for decades; thus, your immersion in homeschooling. Were you a former public school teacher who was exhausted from trying to change all the things that didn’t add up at your school and instead opted for homeschooling for your own children? Or a former PTA/PTO parent who grew tired of constantly battling the public school system who avoided using simple common sense and practical solutions? Maybe you finally snapped and said, “I can’t help but do better” since the public system seemed to purposely make your child’s life difficult? The fall of our public educational system fuels


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the debate on whether it is our failing schools that is leading to the downfall of our great country and neighborhoods or is it the downfall of our great country and neighborhoods that is leading to our failing schools. Regardless, this crisis has created the successful homeschooling boom which, according to the National Home Education Research Institute, helps over 2 million-plus children and saves the American taxpayers an estimated $16 billion dollars each year. We are living in what should be called the homeschooling “I told you so” moment! It’s long overdue for homeschoolers and virtual learners to pat themselves on the back and congratulate, celebrate and validate all the brilliant educational thought leaders who did not wait around for “Superman” to do what needed to be done. Instead, the non-paid homeschooling teacher elected the hard way, becoming “Superhuman” to tackle, balance and juggle the education of the family from home. These brave leaders turned homeschooling from a cult-like stereotyped existence into a mainstream vogue movement, making it the fastest-growing segment in education. Let’s hear a special standing ovation for those that elected homeschooling back in the early days

when it was riddled with all those ridiculous stereotypes! The inconvenient truth for public education is that Waiting for “Superman” will add more homeschooling families to an already multi-billion dollar industry, that according to the National Home Education Research Institute, is already outperforming public school test scores regardless of the educational background of the teacher and has colleges lining up and drooling over the homeschooling high performers. So what does this mean for the future of public education and why is it important for homeschoolers to join forces with public school families to be a part of this united voice? America needs you! Homeschoolers are renegade thought leaders with something of value to say! Those that have battled the public school system and the organized teacher’s union in the past know what a magnanimous task this will be. Already the national media spotlight on public education has faded and all but a few sporadic cries for change have been silenced. For America’s future we need to all fight together for change and we need those who have already been in the trenches to rise up and lead the charge. The fate of our country will not be decided
continued on page 66


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You Bought it, Let’s Use It!
continued from page 35

in teaching style. Not your teaching style, but from you teaching in a way that your child learns best. We certainly do not have to teach to our individual children, but that is one of the huge benefits of homeschooling. Given that educational philosophy, no longer do you need to keep searching for the just the right math cur riculum or a writing curriculum that will finally coerce your child into writing. You could spend 10 times your budget that way -- and some of you have. How about opening your homeschool

cabinet and teaching with the curriculum you have? You bought it for a reason in the first place, so let’s use it! Use it in consideration of your child. If the only thing wrong is that your child doesn’t understand tense from the grammar curriculum you purchased, you don’t need another, you need to find a fun activity that works on teaching, and then reviewing tenses. I say “fun”, because that is what your child will be willing to do and that is what will really cement the material in his head. You could give him pencil and paper and have him work on sentence af-

ter sentence. First filling in the blank: 1. Billy _________ to the store. 2. Billy is __________ to the store. 3. Billy ... Filling in past, present and future options over and over will probably supplement the curriculum enough to help him understand. But what if instead of paper and pencil, you spray-painted a square tissue box and glued library pockets to all four sides.** Then, inside the tissue box are strips of paper with sentences and verbs underlined. He pulls out a strip of paper and sorts it in the pocket labeled “past, present or

future.” He is willing to do that activity every day and actually looks forward to it. He will review on any subject long after he “gets it” because not only does he get it, it is fun and it even seems like a break during the school day when he is really working on valuable review. Hands-on, visual, supplemental materials are motivating. They are motivating for your child because he can lear n things easily that he didn’t learn before. Even auditory learners will benefit greatly from visual materials. Many homeschoolers emphasize to me that their children are auditory learners and then e-mail

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me back, with total surprise, to tell me how much their auditory learners benefited from the visual materials. These types of supplemental materials are motivating for you because you will see how your children light up when they “get it.” While at first this may sound like more work for you, you will find yourself excited to think of new ways to present materials rather than assessing a curriculum on how little time it takes on your part. I believe any of the mainstream curricula will work for your child. There is no reason to buy Saxon, then Math-U-See, then Teaching Textbooks and more, just trying to find the right one for your child. They all teach math well. I certainly have my favorites. But if you have already spent the money, use it. Just find a way to make it make sense to your child.

That may mean something as little as scanning it into your computer so you can print it out with enlarged font size and white space, making it less overwhelming for your child.** Or perhaps you make an outline of the most important material in the curriculum -- the material that is pivotal to understanding the subsequent chapters. Use that outline to make supplemental projects or to highlight and explain it in ways your child will better understand. For instance, if the curriculum is teaching the three types of heat: Convection, conduction and radiant, who would really learn it well and remember it all by just reading it in a paragraph in the textbook? Create experiences with each type.** There is no substitute for hands-on experience in learning. Why make your child “memorize” the multiplication

tables? I made hands-on, fun manipulative activities to help them learn what multiplication really meant so that they were not just memorizing a fact, they were learning the meaning behind it all.** If your child is struggling with learning to tell time, there is nothing wrong with the math curriculum, she just needs a little supplement to help it make sense to her.** I have known people who have purchased every timeline available trying to find the one that “works.” They all work -- with repetition and fun ways to work on recall. I make interactive MS Word documents to quiz them on the material.** These documents are more enjoyable for children than using a black and white piece of paper and pencil to fill in answers. With the interactive Word document, they can go to the computer,

read the quiz question and click on a drop-down menu choice to select their answer. They will actually look forward to a quiz like this. _________________ **Please feel free to go to my website: www. workboxsystem.com and click on the menu item Homeschool Magazine Article Examples to see these examples and get a better idea of what I am talking about. You will benefit from visuals too! I believe you will be able to imagine how much your children will learn and enjoy their curriculum, any curriculum, with simple changes and additions like these. And with your great attitude of professionalism and priority in homeschooling, you will be able to roll up your sleeves and start using all that material you have already invested in. S.P.

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Homeschooling Intrigues Me - Where Do I Start?
continued from page 8

BEGINNING STEPS Where do you really start? Observe, read and ask questions of other homeschoolers. Attend a homeschool conference. They unveil the vast and rich net work of ideas and resources available to you. You’ll probably be impressed by the families and children you meet. Attend a support group meeting or park day. Inquire about your state’s homeschooling requirements (see www. homeschoolmagazines. com, State pages.). Study your child. This is important if you want to have a satisfying and successful homeschool adventure. Look at his/ her strengths, special interests, free-time activities of choice, and appa rent wea k nesses. Work through Dis-

covering Your Child’s Learning Style by Willis and Kindle-Hodson. K nowi ng how you r child takes information in will save you time, energy and money. VA R IO US H O M E SCHOOLI NG A PPROACHES You’ll encounter some major approaches to homeschooling in the market place. Read about those that resonate with you. It is not uncommon for new homeschoolers to buy a prepackaged curriculum in order to feel that they are covering all the bases. With time, experience, and g reater conf idence, you may want to pick wh at work s f rom al l these approaches. This is r efe r r e d t o a s t he “Eclect ic Approach”. Here are some popular homeschool approaches

and philosophies: Delayed Academics - based on the work of lifelong educators, the late Drs. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, encourages cultivating a heart to worship, work, and serve others before mov i ng i nto for mal academics. It advocates waiting until a child’s rea d i ness to lea r n is evident (often not until a ge s 9 -12). T h i s a p proach often explains a lot to parents whose son or daughter just can’t sit still at a desk in the early elementary grades. Charlotte Mason Method - Emphasizes “Living Books” (rich, f irst-person literature of all genres) and reall i fe ex p e r ie nc e s , i n cluding interaction with original sources in art, music, literat ure, and the natural world.

Classical or Trivium (“ t h r e e r o a d s ” ) A p proach. This view emphasizes thinking and com munication skills by learning fundamental factual knowledge (t h e “ g r a m m a r o f a subject ”); t he u nderstanding of the reasoning and relationships behind knowledge (the “logic” of that subject); and the ability to organize and assimilate this understanding to generate new discoveries or convey this knowledge t o ot he r s (cal le d t he “rhetoric”). P r i nciple Approach - Using the four “R’s” of r e s e a r c h , r e a s o n , relate, and record this is popular among cert ai n Ch r ist ia n homeschoolers who believe America was founded as a Ch r istian nation with a Christian form of

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government. They seek to raise young people well-grounded in Biblical principles who can govern themselves and pa r t icipat e i n r e pr e sentative gover n ment wisely. Unit-Study Approach - This method centers on one topic at a time and uses it as the theme to study all other disciplines. If baseball is the central topic, they study the history of the sport (and the world), it ’s ke y f ig u r e s , t h e math of baseball stats, the physics of pitching, etc. -- all as part of an integrated whole. W o r k b o o k s / Te x t books/School in a Box – Many publishers furn ish c omplet e cu r r icula offering textbooks, workbooks, interactive C D s a n d /o r o n - l i n e le a r n i ng. Ma ny lo ok and feel like “school” as we remember it. When children first leave an i n s t it u t io n a l s ch o ol , these programs can provide a good transition because they mimic school to children and new homeschooli ng parents. Unschooling - One of the most misunderstood ter ms withi n homeschooling, unschooling simply means not follow i ng t he c onveyor belt school model, believing that children are born curious and eager

to learn until they are blocked from doing so. Mistaken critics think that these families just let their kids run amok. SUMMARY The reasons to homeschool include getting away f r om u n s avor y scho ol e nv i ron me nt s to gaining family freedom, unity or teaching a special-needs child. Once you’ve researched, read, and decided that homeschooling is right for your family, take the plunge. • Purchase materials for a particular interest of your child’s, not just “school” books. • Homeschooling won’t magically transform your family overnight but it will soften a nd re sh ap e t he m i n healthy ways. • Allow for decompression f rom school and its negatives. • Find a support group yo u e njoy. T h e y i n clude moms networking nights, field trip generators, park days for fun and couples meetings. • Steadily improve the learning value in your home with good books, toys and games. • Relax - No matter where you start or how faltering your first steps may feel, your kids will not be ruined by your lov i ng i nvest ment i n homeschooli ng them. G&MB

Here are some materials that can help you in your homeschooling journey For more extensive Resource information, visit www.homeschoolnewslink.com, Product Information Guide and www. homeschoolmagazines.com. Homeschooling The Big Picture: Dumbing Us Down -- John Taylor Gatto (author of many other titles) The Homeschooling Almanac 2000-2001 & 2002-2003, Mary & Michael Leppert Homeschooling - Taking the First Step, Borg Hendrickson Homeschooling: The Right Choice, Christopher Klicka How to Stock A Quality Home Library Inexpensively, Jane A. Williams Legal Requirements State by State: www.homeschoolmagazines.com – See State pages National Home Education Research Institute, www. nheri.org Learning Styles: Discovering Your Child’s Learning Style, Mariaemma Pellulo-Willis and Victoria Kindle Hodson In Their Own Way, Awakening Your Child’s Natural Genius, and others by Thomas Armstrong The Way They Learn, Cynthia Tobias Recommended Catalogs: Excellence in Education (EIE) (Secular and religious) 626-821-0025, www.excellenceineducation.com My Father’s World (Christian) www.mfwbooks.com or www.homeschoolmagazines. com Rainbow Resource Center (primarily Christian) 888-841-3456 www.rainbowresource.com Harris Communications (Deaf teaching products) www.harris.com or www. homeschoolmagazines.com Delayed Academics

Better Late Than Early, and other titles, Dr. Raymond & Dorothy Moore The Moore Foundation, www.moorefoundation.com Charlotte Mason Method The Original Homeschooling Series - 6 volumes, Charlotte Mason c.1900 A Charlotte Mason Education, Catherine Levinson (253879-0433) Unit Studies: Design-a-Study (302-9983889), www.designastudy. com Starline Press, 877-543-5443, www.starlinepress.com Classical/Trivium Approach The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer Teach i ng t he Tr iv iu m, numerous resources, 309537-3641, www.muscanet. com/~trivium Principle Approach: Renewing the Mind, Paul Jehle Radical Christianity, Paul Godecke Unschooling: How Children Learn and other titles, John Holt Homeschooling For Excellence, David and Micki Colfax The Relaxed Homeschooler, The Joyful Homeschooler, Mary Hood Prepackaged Curriculum: A Beka (textbook approach) (Christian) 800-874-3592, www.ABeka.org Alpha Omega (workbooks) (Christian) 800-622-3070, www.homeschooling.com Calvert School (complete school in a box) (Non-religious) 410 - 2 43 - 6 0 3 0 , w w w. calvertschool.org Sonlight Curriculum (great books/read alouds) (Christian) 303-730-6292, www.sonlight.com Home Study International (Non-religious) 800-782-4769, www.hsi.edu

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Dr. Maria Montessori
By Linda K. Foster

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century ago, Dr. Maria Montessori founded an educational movement that has been remarkably consistent, despite time and location. Throughout her life, Dr. Montessori broke the traditional roles between male and female, teacher and student and lived her life as though she could and would affect it. Maria Montessori was born August 31, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, to a civil servant father and a mother who was an avid reader and unusually educated for her time. A precocious, confident and strong-willed girl, Maria followed in her mother’s footsteps in her quest for education, excelling in school and often proving herself a leader in games and conversation. When she was a young child, her family moved to Rome, to take advantage of better educational facilities. Maria decided to venture into the field of engineering technology, enrolling in a boy’s technical school at age 13. In this school, she received such high marks that when she graduated, she was able to enter the Regio Instituto Technico Leonardo da Vinci where she studied math, natural sciences, and languages, again excelling beyond all expectations. At the Regio

Instituto, she developed a love for biological sciences and tried to pursue a career in medicine. When she was denied entrance to the medical program of the University of Rome because of her gender, Montessori enrolled at the University to study physics, mathematics and natural sciences. Again, she excelled at the University and earned her Diploma di Licenza two years later. Her educational success could not be overlooked and she was allowed to study medicine. In 1886, the brilliance of her thesis impressed the all-male board of review and they awarded her a full medical degree, making her Italy’s first woman doctor. Next, Dr. Montessori interned at the Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Rome where she became interested in psychology and human behavior. This included regular work in insane asylums, with mentally deficient children. Montessori felt strongly that mental deficiency was more of a pedagogical problem than a medical one and that with special treatment, these children could be helped. In time, her methods resulted in improvement in their ability. In 1907, Dr. Montessori took charge of fifty poor
continued on page 54

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What Do You Mean by “Normalization?”
If you sometimes wonder whether your child’s Montessori teacher is talking about science or children, the answer is yes! In this two-part article, 12 key terms are defined by experienced Montessori parent, teacher, school founder, school director, and columnist Maren Schmidt M. Ed.

– Montessori Vocabulary Made Clear
tessori coined the necessary terms. Tod ay’s Montessor i teachers still learn from observing behaviors and assessing the individual child’s development. And even though they still use Dr. Montessori’s scientific vocabulary to describe the process, understanding Montessori is not as hard as it sounds. Montessori Vocabulary Made Clear These 12 definitions are representative of the key terms you’ll find defined in Understanding Montessori, by experienced Montessori parent, teacher, school founder, school director and columnist Maren Schmidt M. Ed. Note: in the interest of space, examples were edited out of some definitions. Normalization: The natural or normal state for a human being is characterized by four attributes: 1. A love of work or activity 2. Concentration on an activity 3. Self-discipline 4. Sociability or joyful work The understanding of normalization doesn’t require a leap of faith when you consider those moments you feel most alive
continued on page 78

• Normalization • Cosmic Education • Four Planes of Development • Freedom & Responsibility • Going Out • Absorbent Mind • Point of Interest • Practical Life • Prepared Environment • Sensitive Periods • Work • Work Cycle Understanding Montessori’s Terminology Montessori’s was one of the first educational theories to spring from direct, ongoing scientific observation of children. Dr. Montessori did not have a ready-made vocabulary with which to describe the behaviors and developmental stages she observed. As a scientist, Montessori expected teachers to use her same scientific methods of observation and analysis to help the children in their charge. In order to share her knowledge, Dr. Mon-

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Dr. Maria Montessori
continued from page 52

children of the streets of the San Lorenzo slum on the outskirts of Rome and opened the first Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House) for children under five years of age. She described the child’s mind as the “absorbent mind” because of its ability to learn and assimilate effortlessly and unconsciously from the surrounding environment. Based on her belief that a child absorbs learning from the physical environment in which s/he lives, she created the prepared environment of Casa dei Bambini, at the same time being quick to point

out that the “environment should reveal the child, not mold him/her. Casa dei Bambini developed in its first year into a revolutionary new kind of school that gained immediate worldwide fame for the Montessori system. Even Dr. Montessori herself could never have imagined the potential realized by the tiny students of Casa dei Bambini. The astonishing success of Montessori’s early efforts generated a large following, not only of parents desperate for her help, but of teachers desperate to learn her methods. In 1909, she published

her Scientific Pedagogy as Applied to Child Education in the Children’s Houses. Ironically, she did not derive her methods from any extant pedagogical wisdom. She had sidestepped the more traditional education path for women — teacher’s training — to pursue a career in science. Montessori believed in respecting children and their abilities to learn and her methods promoted her belief that children have an innate drive to learn. Prior to Montessori’s time, it was assumed that children could only learn through instruction -- being lectured by an adult. Her “discovery of the child” was an awaken-

ing in the advancement of early education. Dr. Montessori believed that education begins at birth and that the first few years of life (the formative years) are the most important. She believed that children pass through sensitive periods, phases of development appropriate to the learning of specific motor and cognitive skills. During these periods, children show their spontaneous interest in learning and should be allowed to learn as much as possible. Montessori discovered that children grouped with other children in a small range of ages, i.e., birth – 3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-11, etc.,
continued on page 83

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Giant Energy Bubbles in our Milky Way Galaxy
By Beth Lebwohl and Deborah Byrd
You might be familiar with images of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. It’s a huge spiral-shaped pinwheel of stars, spinning over vast timescales in the dark space of the universe. Although we live inside the galaxy, and although astronomers have learned much about it, the Milky Way can still surprise us. A recent discovery filled astronomers with wonder. A team of astronomers announced this discovery in late 2010. Harvard astrophysicist Doug Finkbeiner led the team that found two large, mysterious “bubbles” erupting from the Milky Way’s center. The bubbles appear to be filled with hot, charged gas. They extend north and south from our galaxy’s core -- above and below the center of the spiral -- and are so large that a beam of light would have to travel 25,000 years from one sharp edge of one bubble to the other edge. If you consider the two bubbles on either side of the galaxy, they look like a giant number “8” painted in the center of the galaxy. Doug Finkbeiner said he and his team don’t really understand what these bubbles are, and they’re not sure how the bubbles originated. He said each bubble is about a third of the size of the visible Milky Way and that the hot gas inside the bubbles produces gamma radiation. In fact, that gamma radiation has enabled astronomers to find the bubbles. “Gamma radiation is very high energy light,” said Finkbeiner. “These photons have about a billion times as much energy as visible light.” Dr. Finkbeiner’s team found the bubbles extending from the Milky Way’s core with the aid of NASA’s orbiting Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Launched in 2008, this telescope has the job of exploring some of our universe’s most extreme environments; places where nature harnesses energies far beyond what’s possible on Earth. Just as we can see in visible light, so this telescope can see in gamma rays. That’s how it was able to see the Milky Way’s giant bubbles of hot, charged gas. Finkbeiner said that the edges of the bubbles are very distinct. Their sharpness in contrast to the overall structure of the bubbles is a possible clue to their origin. In other words,
continued on page 65

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pared to the schooled population because they have not experienced ongoing school-based socialization and standardization. When you consider that the homeschooled population makes up only 3-6% of the entire school-going population, you may begin to understand just how different your kids are or will be. Interestingly, you can even pump them full of standardized curriculum and their homeschooled experience will still be so far outside the norm that they will always think and act differently than those who attend traditional schools. How could it be any different? They haven’t been indoctrinated in the same way. They have not been steeped in the popular consumer culture to the degree that most schooled kids have been. They are not adult-phobic and peerdependent. T h e y h ave n’t b e e n grouped and sorted according to age and academic track. They haven’t been expected to know their place and stay in the “class” to which they have been assigned. They haven’t been trained to respond to the bell and do assignments

without question. They haven’t had to surrender their individuality and will to an authority figure who may not have their best interests at heart. They aren’t subjected to judgment, grading, and the bestowment of rewards and punishments without the ability to object or appeal. They haven’t been conditioned to be passive and compliant or dependent on others to tell them what to do or how to spend their time. They are not powerless. They have the choice to remove themselves from bad situations or people and change the curriculum when it’s not relevant, interesting, useful, or meaningful. I don’t know about your kids, but mine were never taught not to question the control and power of authority figures. Heck, the very act of homeschooling questions the power and authority of government and societal norms. By choosing to homeschool, you have set an example for your kids to defy conventional wisdom and not to accept the status quo. What part of any of that is typical? Why would anyone expect that such a marked divergence from the norm would produce a

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person who is so common or usual – or so “wellsocialized” – that they fit right into the mainstream? Homeschoolers may develop skills that allow them to covertly blend in, but mark my words they will always be different. Others may ad m i re homeschoolers’ unique perspective or intellect, respect their individuality, appreciate their accomplishments, and even be attracted to their quirkiness -- but they will definitely know that something about homeschoolers sets them apart from the rest. As one twenty-year-old homeschool grad (who now attends Brown University) proclaimed to an audience at a homeschool conference recently, “Yes, I’m odd. So what? Get over it! I’m glad I’m not like everyone else!” We could all take a lesson from that young woman’s selfconfident mind-set. A homeschooler’s life experience and perspective is vastly different from a mind that has been shaped and formed by the social conditioning of school. My own sons (now adults in their twenties) are keenly aware of the fact that their experience set them apart from their schooled peers. They think differently. They don’t see the world through the same filters. They are perfectly capable of “fitting in” to any social setting when necessary, but

conventional notions and limitations on behavior or thought are not within their liberated comfort zone. Unless you are an adult parent who was homeschooled, you cannot begin to understand how your kid’s brain operates without the opiate of schooling. You can insist all you want that your children are wellsocialized, but the truth is they haven’t been assimilated. And just to throw another fly in the ointment, if you have dared to challenge government schooling or conventional private schooling, I suspect you aren’t normal or especially well-socialized either. Somehow you were impervious to social conditioning enough to think outside the box. You’re probably a little odd too. No offense, but most of the homeschool parents I know, are. I include myself among them. We’re either deliberate, accidental, or reluctant social misfits who imbue our children with a set of values and beliefs that resist the siren songs of government schooling, pop culture, and social engineering. Rather than worry that your kids won’t “fit in” or be “well-socialized,” celebrate their deviant behavior! Say it loud, “I’m odd and I’m proud!” Copyright 2011, Diane Flynn Keith, All Rights Reserved

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AHA! Unit-based Instruction The Recipe for Homeschooling
continued from page 33

intrapersonal and naturalist intelligences are developed as part of the learning process. With these multiple intelligences, learners are validated and reinforced in each lesson while they are simultaneously challenged and stretched to think in different ways. Assessment is included in each lesson so that each part of the teaching process has formative assessment and feedback to correct misinformation and to “fix it before it is broken.” The hands-on project-centered learning is validated by a rubric, which is determined before the project starts so that each step of the project is assessed to assure the ultimate product is excellent. At the end of each lesson there is a summative assessment not only from the teacher but, more importantly, a reflective summation of

performance from the learners. When using the integrated, interdisciplinary approach for unit-based instruction, there will be unique “AHA!” moments on a daily basis that excite even the most reluctant learner. Students become producers and creators of ideas rather than rote consumers of knowledge. It’s a key to life-long learning. Go to www.rogertaylor.com to view, download and print out sample curriculum units. Click on “Homeschoolers” on the homepage. Bloom, Benjamin S. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook 1: Cognitive Domain. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1956. Burns, Robert. “How Time is Used

in Elementary Schools: The Activity Structure of Classrooms.” In Time and School Learning, ed. Lorin W. Anderso. Osford, England: Croom Helm, 1984. Gardner, Howard. Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books, 1983. Taylor, Roger, Differentiating the Curriculum: Using an Integrated, Interdisciplinary, Thematic Standards-based Approach (Summer Resource Handbook) CDE, Inc. 2004. Taylor, Roger. (December 16, 2008). If Kids Do Not Learn the way you Teach, Teach the way they Learn [Webinar 02]. www.rogertaylor. com.

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Giant Energy Bubbles in our Milky Way Galaxy
continued from page 57

He said scientists didn’t spot these picture something that is exploding bubbles before now, because they outward into space. The edges of the didn’t have the right telescope. The explosion would indeed be very sharp gamma ray vision of the Fermi as the explosion pushed outward. “It Telescope was needed to make this looks to me like something that’s cur- discovery. rently exploding. It looks like a shock “Astrophysicists have been looking wave propagating out from some at gamma rays for years, decades,” he burst of energy,” said Finkbeiner. He said, “but the machinery gets better said scientists are throwing around with each generation. This current two ideas about how these bubbles gamma ray telescope is about 100 formed. times more powerful than its predeOne relates to the supermassive cessor. Using this telescope is like black hole thought to reside at the cen- putting on your glasses for the first ter of our galaxy. This gigantic Milky time.” Way black hole – which contains mass What was the discovery like for equal to millions of times the mass of Finkbeiner and his team? He talked our sun – might have “burped,” said about the moment his team realized Finkbeiner, spewing out light and they had found the bubbles. electric particles at incredibly high “Well, there’s a great quote from speeds. The remnants of this cosmic Isaac Asimov which is that the sound belch might be the mysterious Milky of discovery is not ‘Eureka, I found Way bubbles. it!’ but ‘Hmm, that looks funny!’ And Or, the bubbles might have nothing that’s really how it was! We were starto do with our galaxy’s central black ing at the computer screen and said, hole. Another idea is that a group of ‘Hmm, that looks funny…is that regiant stars near the center of the Milky ally an edge to something?’” It turned Way might have exploded all at once to for m the bubbles. Astronomers will be searching for more evidence of such an explosion, which might have happened long ago, although they are In 2010, astronomers discovered two large, mysterious not sure when. “bubbles” erupting from the Milky Way’s center. “What seems clear is that the out to be an edge to the bubbles. bubbles were caused by some huge “Discovering the bubbles was a energy injection at some point in the progressive thing,” said Dr. Finkpast. Whether they were caused one beiner. “But there was a particular million or 10 million years ago, we day when I went from thinking they don’t know,” Finkbeiner said.

weren’t real, to thinking they were real. And that just had to do with looking at the data, getting more data – because the telescope is always getting more data. Finding the bubbles

The Andromeda Galaxy - thought to resemble our Milky Way - as seen through a small telescope or binoculars.

was about analyzing the data more carefully.” Finkbeiner and his team published their findings in November 2010 in The Astrophysical Journal. Now other astronomers will also use the Fermi Space Telescope, and other telescopes, to study the region of space around the bubbles, searching for clues about their origin. In the meantime, the rest of us can gaze at old images of our Milky Way galaxy and imagine something new, something our eyes can’t see -- something the gamma ray vision of an orbiting telescope has seen for us. We can look and imagine and wonder what new surprises our universe might hold. Beth Lebwohl and Deborah Byrd are producers and hosts for the internationally syndicated science series EarthSky - A Clear Voice for Science, heard on 1,500+ radio stations across the U.S. and the world. Visit them on the Internet at www.earthsky.org.

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Waiting for “Superman”
continued from page 47

on a foreign battlefield; it will be determined in a battle over who controls America’s classroom. Failing to make these hard changes in our public educational system is already crippling America’s status as a superpower. Many leaders, such as Bill Gates, believe that if we continue to settle for failing schools we will not be providing competitive, skilled workers to operate in the highest-paying jobs in our country and thus, changing our world dominance. This move has already been happening

in the leadership positions inside Corporate America; those highest paid American jobs in America are not being filled with Americans. It’s time for the homeschooling and virtual schools community to be vindicated for those old wounds at the hands of public education and join forces with public school families that still hear “no, no, no” from those who were being paid plenty with taxpayer funds to say “yes, yes, yes” to make sure no child in America is left behind. It’s also time to finally silence that misguided public school stereotype always crying that public education is underfunded. The homeschooling family has already proven that they have the voice, the spirit and the DNA makeup to galvanize and create successful change in education without spending a dime of taxpayer money! Homeschoolers hold the key to education solutions that work. It’s about creating a system that really puts America’s families and children first in the equation from birth to college or trade school to career. This “birth to college” concept has been missing in public education but is part of the homeschooling DNA: Parents need to

be their child’s first and foremost TEACHER, engaging, empowering and inspiring their child every day to succeed. Many critics have conveniently missed the truth about Waiting for “Superman”. No one really knows how many countless, nameless administers, educators, parents and teachers have tried and failed to change the current public educational system. They have all failed because the top tiers of education -- those who are paid the most to care about education, care more about protecting their own jobs. They have enabled a powerful ally in the teachers union with the counterproductive stance that all teachers should be protected regardless of performance. Thus Guggenheim’s agenda is simple: Create a firestorm so hot that it smolders and burns down the current failing and crumbling foundation formally know as public education. The goal is that failure to change is not an option and we need an uprising so big that change is the only solution. It is not about teacher bashing; it is about a system that needs to crumble from the top. T he on ly way for Guggenheim to succeed in his quest for change was to keep it simple. He did. The film does not get into the politics of any of the issues except blaming a system

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set up to fail. Contrary to what you may have heard, it is not about blaming teachers! It is not about the success and boom in homeschooling! It is not even about the fight between public and charter; the need for special needs; teaching to each child; healthy lunches; exercising during gym; national standards on the table that are still immeasurable and endless other areas that are all important issues in education. Had the film introduced any or all of these issues, the masses would have had a field day debating instead of fighting as a united force. While watching Waiting for “Superman”, I cried at the injustice of living in the greatest country in the world, in the land of freedom and opportunity, yet the hypocrisy for these families and millions more comes down to a bounce of a lottery ball? In the film, Anthony has the best odds of that lottery ball being his ticket out of his failing public school. He is among 64 kids who vie for 24 spots and Francisco has the worst odds, with 792 applicants for 40 spots. Francisco’s mom broke my heart when she said, “That ball could mean the difference between my son graduating from college or going to jail.” It is actually cheaper on the taxpayer’s burden to send a child to college that it is to send

them to jail. We owe it to the future prosperity of America to help all children succeed and rise up and collectively stop the insanity that is happening within the walls of public education. As taxpayers we need to strip the waste from the top tiers of education and put our might, power and resources inside each classroom at home and school for all families and kids to excel. Kryptonite can hurt Superman in the same way public education has hurt America. Our leaders have known for the last 40 years that our public educational system has been failing! Let’s not let 2011 be more of the same. If only we can utilize the success of the homeschooling movement to stage a national intervention by helping all public school families stay home on that first day of school and hold out until public school finally crumbles. How long would it take to force public school to change when no students are showing up on the bus or inside the buildings? By leveraging the help and support of the homeschooling and virtual families to offer a temporary solution by organizing school help for America’s public school families. These public school families would be under the collective wing of virtual classes and homeschooling to empower, inspire and lead by

example to galvanize these public school families to be part of taking charge of education along with fixing each of their own failing schools. Maybe by harnessing the power of all homeschooling, virtual and public school families working together might we finally force public education to really change? St acey K a n nenberg “Ready To Learn Mom” was motivated to move off the sofa by Oprah eight years ago and get involved in education with solutions for change. She is an author, publisher and Mom CEO making a difference at www.cedarvalleypublishing.com.

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Scheduling a Charlotte Mason Day
continued from page 23

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ing “dawdling”. Another asked for help with her daughter who was unable to focus on one thing. Charlotte Mason wrote of the importance of securing a child’s full attention in order for them to learn and to establish the habit of finishing things. The answer lies in the length of the lessons themselves. When the lessons are short and varied, your child’s interest is always fresh and ready for what comes next. Charlotte Mason recommended lessons be no more than ten minutes in length for a child under the age of eight

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(Home Education, p. 142). After the age of eight, the lesson can be lengthened to twenty minutes. For children ten years of age and up, thirty to fortyfive minutes is sufficient. Care should be taken that if a child appears idle or not accomplishing the work with full attention, the work should be changed to something as unlike it as possible. Using short lessons is more than mere technique; Charlotte Mason calls this approach a “root principle”. By using short lessons, the child is permitted to bring the full power of his attention to bear on a subject. Doing on his own what is often coerced or persuaded, brings inner strength to the child. “To make yourself attend, to make yourself know, this indeed is to come into a kingdom, all the more satisfying to children because they are so made that they revel in knowledge.” (Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education, p. 77) If your child is “taking more time than necessary”, try these methods in your planning: • Use 20-minute lessons. If a 20-minute lesson is too long, shorten it. Set an egg timer for your child, so he has a clear sense of how long the lesson is to be. • Use material that is

appropriate. Requiring a shor t nar ration will demonstrate whether you need to adapt the material or find other material for the work you want to accomplish. A child cannot narrate what she does not know or understand. • Alternate disciplinary subjects with inspirational subjects. Charlotte Mason recommended a disciplinary subject be followed by an inspirational one. Dr. Jack Beckman, Professor of Education at Covenant College in South Carolina and a Charlotte Mason scholar, reminds us that, “Inspirational subjects touch heart and mind and are ref lective of things such as art, music, literature, history, etc. Disciplinary subjects are those in which teacher-student interactions are necessary as students are unable to apprehend their concepts, content, and/or skills alone – mathematics, languages, handwriting, certain aspects of science, etc.” • Establish the habit of finishing work in a timely way. Charlotte Mason said, “Habit is ten natures.” In other words, once the habit forms it is as if it were the child’s very nature to be that way. To read more on habit formation see Home Education, p.96-134. Full text can be found online at http://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/toc.html#1

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• Each new lesson should recall the last. When starting a new lesson ask your child to recall the lesson that came the day before. Recollection of the previous lesson gives a context for the new knowledge. Planning for Learning™ Living Books Curriculu m uses a 36 -week schedule divided into four terms. Each term is eight weeks of instruction, with the ninth being what we call a “flex” week. The flex week permits the student to complete unfinished work; it gives the teaching parent time to assess learning through end-ofterm narration questions, and also allows time for field trips. You can begin and end each term as best fits your schedule. For example, you may take
8:30–9:00 Bible Study (daily) Scripture Reading Heroes of the Faith Practical Work Math (daily)

a short break after the completion of a term, or conversely you may want to push ahead to have a longer break later in the year. Organizing by Day and Week Though a CM curriculum may at first appear to be relaxed in form, it is in fact highly structured. But it is structured along the lines of a child’s nature. The guiding principles are those inherent in every human being. To accomplish the task of teaching you must be clear where to begin and where you hope to end. The best way to do that is to understand the CM principles, have a regular plan and adhere to it, yet save some room for flexibility. For example, there are days when the weather is perfect for
OT Journal Entry X

some outdoor activity. Take the opportunity to go on a nature walk instead of the planned readings. Remember that most everything takes longer than you think it will. If you plan well and adhere to the principle of short lessons you will find teaching a pleasure. Flexibility is key. You and your child do not need to rigidly adhere to a schedule. There will be times when you forge ahead and times when you may feel behind. Do not worry, your long term goal is to finish the year. Keep that in mind if you have a few days that do not go as smoothly as you wish. Below is an example of a schedule from the Living Books Curriculum Teaching Guides. Other examples can be found on our website by downloadNT Journal Entry X X

ing our Sampler at: www. livingbookscurriculum. com. There are other examples of schedules found in A Charlotte Mason Education (Sourcebooks, Inc, 2000), More Charlotte Mason Education (Sourcebooks, Inc, 2001) both by Catherine Levison and When Children Love to Learn (Crossway, 2004) produced by Child Light Foundation Sample Weekly Schedule The following is a suggestion of how you might organize your week. Please note that, except for Bible Study and Math, not every subject is taught every day. If you are new to organizing your time in this way, start with our suggested schedule and then adjust it as you learn what works for you. Jim Carroll is a professor of Educational Psychology for Walden University. Sheila Carroll has master’s degrees in Children’s Literature and in Educational Leadership. She and her husband are founders of Living Books Curriculum, which produces a homeschool curriculum inspired by the work of Charlotte Mason. The proceeds of Living Books Curriculum provide their CM-based educational materials to families and schools in developing nations, through their non-profit organization, Education in a Box.


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Language Arts (daily) Dictation-Spelling 9:45-10:30 Storytelling Poetry Recitation Practice Grammar (daily) 10:30–11:00 Arranged 11:00–11:10 11:15–12:00 Arranged Afternoons Science: Astronomy (daily) Picture Study Copy work (10 min. daily) World History American History Music Study Book of the Centuries Nature Study (daily) Handcrafts X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Nature Journal X X X X X X X X



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Our Learning Folio
wo of the most i mpor t a nt nonteaching aspects of homeschooling are plan ning and recordkeeping. A well-thoughtout plan can make acquiring materials and t e a ch i n g t h e m mu ch easier and more efficient. After completion, the years and studied subjects slip by much too rapidly and before a parent knows it – it is time for high school or college admissions and time to create the often-dreaded

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t-r-a-n-s-c-r-i-p-t, which is a pretty scary endeavor for the ill-prepared. The creators of Our Learning Folio have created a webbased software program to help parents plan their instructional journey and begin preparing for the Day of the Transcript from Day One. Prior to creating Our Learning Folio (OLF), the team had developed two other software programs, Project Foundry and Senior Project Tracker. But homeschooling friends

of theirs asked them to develop a similar tool, but more homeschool friendly. The design team met with many, many homeschooling parents from varied backgrounds and all over the U.S. to gain feedback about what these potential everyday users wanted in suc a t rack ing system. The program would not be one to direct what was taught, but would stay focused on helping families to manage, organize and present the child’s accomplishments and work in any homeschooling philosophy or practice, whether Charlotte Mason or unschoolers. With O u r Lea r n i ng Folio, the family can create a showcase portfolio, weaving the child’s interests and accomplishments into an overview for admissions people to examine. This provides a clea r a nd complete view of the prospective student as a person as well as a scholar. Most colleges and universities seek students who have depth of personality and life experience, as well as academ ic prowess and OLF allows parents to show their child in his/her best light. This makes OLF’s portfolio deeper than a mere transcript template. OLF also offers parents a useful planning tool for field trips, activities, sup-

port group meetings, you name it. For example, a homeschooling group in the San Jose, California area that gets together to per for m histor ical r e - e n a c t m e nt s c o u ld use OLF to create and maintain a shared group calendar to manage these activities. By using OLF in this way, the programs creators hope it will aid families in developing communities and networks to enhance their homeschooling lives. Ou r Lear ning Folio also provides a Summary Report and the regular act of tracking helps to complete the Repor t. Therefore, five years in the future, the student can assemble a grand summary of his/her experiences. The creators state that a parent doesn’t have to use the tool every day, but as people use it and have children in the upper grades, the children will get involved in their own tracking and planning. The designers of OLF feel that education is preparing people to be self-directed, independent citizens and this hands-on application provides such independence. OLF is also very affordable and payments are flexible. Please visit the website, www.ourlear ningfolio.com for complete information. MjL

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How Much History Do Kids Need?
continued from page 73

ability shattered the balance of power in the entire Ancient world. Junior high students who are taught this same material a third time can take the sequence and see how it translates into various phases of development, such as the “Theban Supremacy,” the “Rise of Macedonia,” and “The Alexandrian Period,” and how these are periods that can be subsumed under a more abstract heading, i.e. the decline of Greece towards the Hellenistic Period, and ultimately how they all connect to the fall of Greece by later Roman conquest. Students at this level who have done the prerequisite work have had repeated exposure to the necessary facts and the instruction to order and make sense of those facts so that they can independently describe the general flow of history. Imagine a st udent equipped with this level of knowledge entering into high school. Given current educational standard, this is precisely what we must do–imagine–because students rarely know this much when graduating from college! But a student so-equipped is ready to understand what moves history. She is ready to grasp the intellectual roots of the progress of human-

kind. Having acquired the “history habit” at a young age, gained a strong base of knowledge through “upper elementary” history, then intensified and integrated that knowledge through junior high, she is ready for strive for the deeper insight into history that comes from studying the thoughts and actions of its pivotal characters. It is at the high school level that the student is ready to start reading the Inquiries of Herodotus to see why Greco-Persian Wars occurred, Pericles’ funeral oration to see what drove the Athenians to empire, Plato’s Crito and Phaedo, to see what motivated Socrates to accept the injustices of unlimited democracy, and Demosthenes’ Philippics, to understand more precisely how the Greeks responded to the growing threat of Macedonian power, etc. But this type of work can only be done with the necessary prerequisites in place. Reading Herodotus or Demosthenes without knowing Greek history may yield literary enjoyment, but their writing is focused on episodes far too remote from the present to motivate students who don’t understand why they matter. For such reading to provide real, lasting knowledge to a young student, that student must first

understand its relevance – which only comes from grasping the “big picture” first. With ten to twelve years of proper history instruction under their belts, students can emerge with a wide base of knowledge of the past, and an understanding of how its lessons and causal progressions are embedded in every aspect of life around us. They know history. They know what drives it. They know how to use that knowledge. And they are ready to explore the vast treasuretrove of humanity’s experiences independently. They emerge as adults guided by a keenly developed sense of historical-mindedness. S.P.


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How Much History Do Kids Need?
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about events that occurred 2500 years ago!) Emotional moments such as these demonstrate just how relevant history can be to a young audience. Indeed, such moments are what history at the lower elementary level is all about. I made sure to commiserate. (Whenever I return to study Ancient history, I always find myself saddened that Athens was not able overcome the limitations of its historical setting and achieve an even deeper imprint on Western civilization.) I explained that there’s nothing wrong with having favorites in history, and admiring certain individuals and cultures, but that history is about what actually happened, and we have to stick to the truth. When children experience these moments of great value-significance as they learn about the past, they are on their way to becoming successful students of history. They are fueled by lasting impressions and even armed with some specific knowledge, but most importantly they have a desire to learn more. They have the “history habit.” Once children have a taste for history, it’s important to continue providing for their intellectual growth. The second stage of a proper history program, which I call the “upper elementary” level, focuses on reinforc-

ing the material previously learned to help the students create a basic framework of knowledge. When students repeat the same material they once studied just three years earlier, they get to have their first experience of being historically-minded, i.e. of applying historical knowledge. They hear a story, which they learned not long before, and they are able to recall parts of it. In addition, they can anticipate what is coming. This is like watching a favorite movie again. The first time around, you get to experience the story as new and intriguing. The next time, you get to recall and predict those enjoyable aspects of it, but you also find yourself seeing things you hadn’t seen before, and reveling in a heightened appreciation of the whole. To use an example from Ancient history: The student hears the name “Epaminondas” and vaguely remembers it. She is reminded (by me) that Epaminondas defeated the Spartans–whom she remembers in greater detail, because they were so important to the story of Greece. She is also reminded that the infighting between the Greeks led to their takeover by Alexander the Great (who was Macedonian, not Greek) but her recollection is imperfect. Then she is further reminded that Philip of

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Macedon was taken as a hostage by Epaminondas as a youth and learned the art of war from the great general. Then it clicks. The student recalls that Philip was Alexander’s father. She sees the connection. She grasps a causal chain of events that unites all the different pieces of the story. (It’s not uncommon in my experience to have kids’ hands shoot up in class, or for them to interject and interrupt the lesson when these identifications strike them. It’s exciting to realize that you are beginning to understand how history unfolds!) This is the beginning of an integrated awareness of the past. Content previously understood is revisited and tied to new identifications. The old knowledge and new awareness complement and reinforce each other. When this occurs, students experience a sense of efficacy, of wielding knowledge as a tool, and–once again–a desire to learn more. This is the second stage in the development of historicalmindedness. Armed with this level of awareness, a student who enters the junior high history program is ready to achieve mastery over history’s essential content. This may seem like a bold claim, but it is possible, and I have seen it. I have seen students achieve this mastery, and the reason they did so

was that they had been properly guided since they were elementary-grade students. (Conversely, I must say, such mastery is never achieved without that prior instruction.) Let us look more closely at some of the elements of Greek history discussed above to elaborate on this later stage. Lower elementary instruction yields an awareness of certain unit facts such as that there was a man named Epaminondas, and that there was an event called the Peloponnesian War. It also familiarizes the student with the names of places such as Sparta, Thebes, and Macedonia. At the upper elementary level, this knowledge is reinforced and more carefully ordered. The sequence of developments from the Peloponnesian War (between Athens and Sparta)–to the Battle of Leuctra (371 BC), in which Thebes defeated Sparta by the innovative use of the phalanx by Epaminondas – to the hostage-takings by Thebes in Macedonia during their period of ascendancy – to the instruction of Philip during his youth as a hostage by Epaminondas – to the Battle of Heraclea of 338 BC (when Philip applied his knowledge to defeat the Greeks)–and finally, after the assassination of Philip, to the ascendancy of his son Alexander, whose prodigal military
continued on page 71

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When All Else Fails, Play a Game!
continued from page 20

partly because the game is fun and the child has no trouble paying attention, and partly because the game usually allows a learning curve while the flash cards demand that he already knows the material. All you accomplish with most flash card activity is speed. The most useful games allow a child to learn while playing. Speed comes naturally – in time. Math There is an ancient game called Shut the Box which is played with two dice and a box containing levers labeled 1 through 10. The player rolls the dice and flips down levers to equal the amount shown on the dice. He continues rolling the dice and flipping down numbers until he can’t continue. Whatever is left over is his score. Then another player takes a turn. At the end of the game, the lowest score wins. This game forces children to practice their number facts to sums of 12 without even realiz-

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ing it. There are numerous commercial variations on this game, from Chips, a little $6.00 game, using poker style chips in place of the levers in the box, double-sided wooden versions ($26.95) so two can play at once, to Double Shutter ($19.95) which has a double row of levers for higher numbers and more interesting play. You can devise your own home version with a pair of dice and some playing cards (in place of the box and levers) or you can purchase the commercial version of your choice. Shut the Box can be addicting. If you don’t tell your children that it is educational, they will almost certainly love it. You may even be able to talk your teen into playing with your six-year-old. This game will take the place of 50 worksheets. If you want your children to learn the addition facts to 20 instead of to 12, simply purchase a pair of 10-sided dice to use, instead of the normal dice. For practice with subtraction, allow your players the option of using addition or subtraction when flipping the levers. If you use Double Shutter with its double row of levers, it is even possible to practice multiplication by having players multiply the numbers on the dice roll. Again, if you substitute 10-sided

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dice, you can practice all 10 times tables automatically, just by playing a game. Actually, any game that uses a pair of number dice (with dots or numbers that you add to see how far you get to move) will teach your children addition facts. You can play Parchisi or Monopoly or any board game with a path to follow on a dice roll and it will help your children learn (memorize) the math facts. I’m sure many of you are thinking right now that this method is too slow. If you are a paperwork-loving parent/teacher, playing a board game like Parchisi doesn’t sound educational. The whole idea of discarding a day’s worth of math worksheets in favor of playing a game sounds irresponsible. Here’s a thought for you: Which is more educational as defined by learning and remembering the subject matter, a trip to Yellowstone National Park during which your child acts as the family navigator, reading the road maps and telling you where to turn, or a few days reading about the geography of the same region and filling in worksheets? Personal, practical experience will almost always be a more effective learning experience than textbooks and worksheets. Creative Writing Creative writing is another area which often elicits cries of protests from unen-

thusiastic children. Createa-Story ($44.95) is an easy solution to this common problem. This engaging, easy-to-play game, teaches the players all the essential components of creative story writing. By providing intriguing prompts, including the always-painful opening sentence, and encouraging cooperative interaction among the players, Create-a-Story pulls interesting original stories from children of all ages. But don’t spoil the fun by making your children write the story out each time you play. Most of the components of creative writing will be learned simply by playing the game and telling the stories at the end. Once the children feel comfortable creating a story, they can start to practice filling out the outline that is provided. Once the outline is filled in, with the help of cards from the game, writing the finished story is a snap. Have patience and let the learning happen naturally. Shakespeare’s genius didn’t happen all at once. Have fun with the game; let the story elements gradually become imbedded in your children’s brains. If you try to force it and hurry the process by asking for too much at once, you will spoil both the fun and the learning. Remember that creative writing is nothing more
continued on page 76

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When All Else Fails, Play a Game!
continued from page 75

than story telling. Most children will regale their parents with endless tales of their activities, dreams and ideas. But, put a piece of blank paper in front of the same children and they freeze up. Story games are a way to take the anxiety out of creative writing. With a game, you can gently introduce all the important elements of a story. This way, learning is a joy instead of a chore. Geography Geography can seem pretty dry if all it involves is copying maps and memorizing capital cities. For most children, geography is very abstract and, therefore, difficult to grasp. Make geography fun and memorable with games and activities. If your children are young, a good starter game is Explore! Photo Safari. The game board is a colorful physical map of the world with several dozen animals pictured on the appropriate continents. As a leader reads clues, players compete to find the animals described. Gradually, children learn the continents and many of the animals which inhabit them. It is important to have a map to look at when learning geography, so games which include a map as part of the play are very effective. You can devise your own map games to play

with placemats or even wall maps. Twenty Questions is always fun. It teaches children the logic of deduction while encouraging map study. Have one player pick a location on your map. The others can begin with questions to narrow down the choices: Is it North of the Equator? Is it East of the Prime Meridian? Is it a landform? Is it a body of water? . . . and so on. Always play with a map within sight until your children have a pretty good map of the world in their heads. A really fun beginner game for U.S. geography is Scrambled States. There is a card, which contains a stylized map for each of the states. The states have silly faces which are a part of the game. Four United States maps are provided for reference. Another card deck is used to give directions for each round. Players each have state cards in their hands. When a leader turns over and reads a direction card (Example: “A state that begins and ends with a vowel” or “A state with 4 or more syllables”) the players race to slap down a card that fits the description. Scrambled States is a big hit with children: It combines a little bit of skill with just enough silliness and surprise to make it very fun. There are a wide variety of directions, many

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of which require children to refer to the map (Example: “A state that is east of Kansas”). Although this is an easy game for beginners, it is fun enough for teens and adults to play, too, which makes it a great family game. It teaches states, capitals, locations in the U.S. and state nicknames. If you want a game with challenging strategy (for age 10 and up) that will teach you world political geography, try the 10 Days In … series. Choose from Asia, USA, Africa, Europe or The Americas. These games require strategy, a poker face and nerves of steel as you discard a country you need and hope no one takes it or covers it up before you can retake it, to place it where you want it. All the games have similar rules, but they use different modes of transportation that you can use to create a 10-day journey. A twoplayer game lasts about 20 minutes, but you won’t be able to stop at one game. Up to four can play – the more players, the more difficult the strategy. This game is great for teens and adults. I guarantee that if you play these games often, you will soon know political geography very well. Not only will you and your kids recognize the names of most countries in the world, you will know where they are. Games can be both a refreshing change of pace

and an effective learning tool. As a regular part of your homeschool routine, games will lighten your day, bring your family closer and yield educational fruit. Now, go play a game! C.F. Carolyn and husband, Martin, homeschooled their now-grown daughters and also own and operate Excellence In Education, an Independent Study Program and bookstore/learning center in Monrovia, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, where Carolyn developed a game-based curriculum. Please visit the Fortes’ website, www.excellenceineducation.com for much information.

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and more “you” than any other time. When we do what we love and love doing it because we have the skill and self-discipline to do the activity well, those are the blissful moments of being human. In a Montessori school we are trying to help the child attain a natural or normal developmental process, which is referred to as normalization. Four Planes of Development: Dr. Montessor i saw the human being going through four planes, or stages, of development with each plane having unique characteristics and opportunities for learning. First plane: from birth to six years Second plane: from six to twelve years Third plane: from twelve to eighteen years, and Fourth plane: from eighteen to twenty four years

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Going Out: The idea of going out is very different than the typical field trip that traditional elementary students take. Students in a Montessori elementary classroom will go out in small groups of two to perhaps six students into the community to gather information or experiences in an area of interest. For example, some schools are able to let students walk a few blocks to the city library. Other schools allow students to take public transportation to go to museums or college campuses to visit with experts in their field of study. Others have a system of parent volunteers who drive and chaperone students going out. A going out program is possible due to the child’s developing freedom and responsibility over a period of many years. Students must earn the right to go out. Continued in next issue of HomeschoolMagazine. com — Maren Schmidt with Dana Schmidt, Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents© 2009 by Maren Stark Schmidt; reprinted with permission of the publisher. Please see www.montessoriservices.com for f ur ther information.



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Art Instruction School – Distance Education Since 1914! continued from page 26 “ W hat I le a r ne d is learning programs. that when you call, you In a shor t time, the get real instr uction… g raded assig n ment is not just a quick answer. returned to you, typi- It is a valuable asset…I cally along with the next would be more advanced textbook. AIS returns if I had used this feature your assignment draw- from the start” – John, ing to you, and if the Buhl, ID instructor has comments “I am ever so glad to or remarks, s/he makes have enrolled in your them on a transparent most excellent course. I plastic covering, so your have never received so drawing is never marked fine an art education, to up or altered. You will date, as yours. I know I receive a letter grade on will carry these lessons the plastic covering, too, learned throughout my along with a personal ent i re a r t ca reer a nd letter from your Art In- life. I recommend your structor, discussing your cou rse to ever yone I work and progress. know that loves art.” – Once the student com- David, Chicago, IL pletes all the lessons in the Fundamentals of Art course, including a final exam, which is his/ her portfolio, AIS will AFFORDABLE, UNIQUE CURRICULA award the student a Certificate of Completion. A l l of t he I n st r uc tors at A IS have met the teaching standards established by the Minnesota Office of Higher Visit Our Website for: Education and are quali•Natural Speller fied to teach at the post•Comprehensive Composition •Critical Conditioning se cond a r y level. See •Maximum Math some test i mon ials of •Science Scope •Guides to History Plus satisfied students from •The Maya: Unit Study •Teaching Tips & Techniques the AIS website. •Workshop Audio Cassettes “I feel that I learned Movies As Literature a lot from my lessons… Grade level: 9-12 thank everyone for the Price: $32 time. I feel like that now I’ve taken your course, I will do better.” Larry, www.designastudy.com Benton, AR

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Genealogy: A New HomeSchooler Opportunity
continued from page 59

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ing the will left by one of your ancestors! Imagine looking through military documents describing your grandfather! Genealogy research is not just about dates and locations. It is also important to ‘fleshthe-bones’. By searching through a variety of records, you will be able to visualize your ancestor, the type of person he or she was, the type of life they led. This is how you will make your ancestors come back to life; this is when the rewards of climbing your family tree will be evident. Just like with any research project, there are steps and procedures to follow. Proving your research is very important. Certain documents are more credible than others. For example, a document that was created at the time the event occurred is much more reliable than one created years later about that same event. Memories fade, facts get distorted,

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stories get embellished --- and the information is recorded incorrectly. There is also proper research methodology. This could include how to accurately transcribe a document, or how to prepare an abstract of a document, and citing your sources is so important. And what are you going to do with the mountains of paper you will accumulate? How will you organize it all? I know, you just want to jump in and start finding those ancestors. But you know the value of doing it right the first time around, and, therefore, learning what you need before getting ahead of yourself, is quite important. So, where do you turn? There are genealogical societies and public libraries that offer seminars, and your local college or community center may have a class on genealogy. Here’s a solution right from your own home! In 1999, The National Institute for Genealogical Studies offered its first genealogy course online. Today, we offer over 175 online courses. But why would you want to take an online home study course in genealogy? Because it’s convenient! All courses are delivered entirely over the Internet, there is no need to interrupt your busy schedule

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to attend classes. You participate on your own time, and at your own pace. We have successfully married the traditional concepts of in-classroom and correspondence courses. You can sit at your kitchen table in your PJs, have a coffee, and learn how to do genealogy. There are courses on how to conduct research, how to search for land records, and what to look for when trying to find out who was in the household in the 1901 census, for example. The objective with our courses is that you learn how to use the resources that are available to you - not simply that the resources are available. You can find that out on your own, but we take you one step closer to your goal of finding your ancestors: That is, how to search the records. The courses have been developed by experts in their field. You are invited to go to our website www. genealogicalstudies.com and see how the top genealogists in the United States, Canada and the UK have designed the courses you would be taking. You can associate with other genealogists from all over the world. You are free to ask questions, and have a free interchange of ideas right in your own home. You will not feel alone in your quest for information about your

forefathers. You won’t have to wait until you are in the classroom for next week’s lesson to find out why your ancestor decided to go out west - you will know by simply logging on to the website and communicating with others who are taking the course. How do I know which courses to take? Maybe this question is best answered by asking, “What do you need to know? What do you want to find in your family history? Who do you want to find?”. If you want to know when your ancestor came to the US from Canada, or why they came to the States, maybe the best course to take would be one on migration. Or maybe you want to find out where they lived during the first years that they were in the States. If you have an idea, but are not quite sure, then a course on census research may be just the one for you. Decide what your genealogy objectives are, look at the topics, then join the two together. That’s the course you need! You are invited to go to the website and see what other people are saying about the online courses. You can e-mail the Institute for more information on the courses which interest you, or call the office to discuss your objectives. What types of courscontinued on page 82

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Genealogy: A New HomeSchooler Opportunity
continued from page 81

es and programs does the I nst it ut e of fer? Individuals may sign up to take a single course to enhance their knowledge on that topic. You know your ancestor was in the military, taking the military record course will help you understand those records. Four online ‘Live Meetings’ are available when taking the Short Term Intensive Courses so that you can discuss with your instructors your personal genealogy problems. Courses are available for the records of many different countries including the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, etc. There are also courses to show you how to get started researching, how to organize your research, how to prove it, how to read the old handwriting, how to understand genealogy and genetics, etc. There are also some courses that are general in nature, such as Creating a Family Website, or Planning a Fabulous Family Reunion. If you prefer a more formal education program, programs leading to a Certificate in Genealogical Studies in affiliation with the Continuing Education unit of The University of St. Michael’s College in The University of Toronto

are also available from the Institute. Having indivudal courses and certificate programs available, offers the flexibility needed to accommodate both the family historian as well as those who would like to get their professional designation. The certificate courses may be taken on a standalone basis by those who do not wish to complete the full certificate load. Completion of the assignments and the exam is required for the Certificate in Genealogical Studies. This is optional for those registering simply to enhance their knowledge. A student registers for a Certificate Program in the record courses most appropriate to their research goal or their personal interests. The Basic Level Certificate Courses are the first stage. Those aspiring to become professional genealogists, or those who wish to complete their family genealogy as a professional would also complete the Intermediate and Advanced Level Certificates. Here’s how the courses work. Each Monday morning, a new module of information is available. Students work with the lessons and the course material. Next is the interactivity between classmates and the instructor. Weekly assignments are submitted to the

Institute’s WebBoard, and shared with the instructor and other students. We encourage all of our students to read assignment submissions from other students, as valuable information can be found. There are also optional interactive online live meetings. Both the assignments and the live meetings enable students to learn not only from the reading materials, but also from real-life experiences other students and the instructor may have had. We suggest that students allow between five to eight hours each week to comfortably cover the material and complete the assignments. After 10 years of seeing the program go from a fledgling organization offering a few courses to a full-grown organization now offering over 175 courses, I firmly believe the National Institute for Genealogical Studies has revolutionized the teaching of one of my favorite hobbies -- family history! It has enabled people from remote locations to participate in genealogy courses, which are usually only available in larger centers. Ten years after offering its first course, mainly as a result of wordof-mouth testimonials, the Institute has students from Texas to the Yukon, from California to Newfoundland, from all over North

America to Europe and Australia and all over the world. Students enjoy the flexibility of our courses and are taking advantage of this convenient and practical way of mastering the techniques of genealogical research. After all, to do the very best family history research, you have to have the best courses on how to conduct the research available to you. Complete information on our courses and our programs may be obtained by going to the National Institute for Genealogical Studies website at www. genealogicalstudies.com. About the Institute The National Institute for Genealogical Studies is a Toronto-based international organization mandated to provide educational opportunities for anyone interested in genealogy, from family historians to professional genealogists. www. genealogicalstudies.com, 1-800-580-0165, admin@ genealogicalstudies.com. Ab out t he Aut hor Louise St Denis, Managing Director of The National Institute for Genealogical Studies, is an international speaker, the author of several books, and publisher of the Heritage Book Series with over 100 genealogy titles. Louise can be reached at stdenis@genealogicalstudies, or toll-free at 1-800-580-0165. ♦

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Dr. Maria Montessori
continued from page 54

would work together and also help teach each other. Older children would learn teaching and nurturing skills; younger children would see new ways of learning and playing. The function of the teacher is to provide didactic material, such as counting beads or geometric puzzles, and act as an adviser and guide, remaining in the background as much as possible. Dr. Montessori believed that a child’s innate power for learning worked when the child was turned loose in a safe, hands-on learning environment. Montessori found that given small, child-sized f ur nit ure, equipment, and supplies, children are naturally self-motivated to explore, experiment, and understand their environment. Young children are very hand-minded and materials should be geared accordingly. Dr. Montessori stressed the importance of beauty in the classroom and stressed the importance of wellmade and well-maintained materials. She believed that everything in the classroom had a specific use and there should not be anything in the classroom that the child could not see and touch. Over sixty years of experience with children around the world proved

Dr. Montessori’s theory that, given the right environment and the freedom to explore that environment, children can learn to read, write and calculate as easily and naturally as they learn to walk and talk. For those who have made the effort to understand, her concept of “freedom within limits” is as valid today as ever; good Montessori environments still offer the child an experience that builds competence and confidence with unsurpassed effectiveness—a timeless gift from one of the world’s great educators, Dr. Maria Montessori. L.F.

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Michigan Technological University Pre-College Outreach continued from page 41 gan Tech’s scholarship metallurgy by taking part programs, the summer in a hands-on demonstra- camps and explorations are tion of molten metal cast- set up for plenty of handsing. “I look at some of the on, innovative activities, stuff we’re doing and it’s group projects, and field like, I can’t believe they’re trips. Students don’t just letting us work on things learn about the subjects— like this!” they program computers, Summer Camps and solve mock crime scenes, Career and Adventure Ex- backpack through a scenic plorations wilderness area, cast molMichigan Tech’s WIE, ten metal, and more. ESP, NSTI, and other It may sound like serischolarship programs are ous business for a summer just one way for students vacation, but the students to get active and involved will be the first to tell you during the summer. In ad- that when learning is this dition, the Center’s Youth much fun, it hardly feels Programs division offers like work at all. more than 50 weeklong “Coming to this program summer camps (for stu- at Michigan Tech was one dents in grades 6-8) and of the best experiences I’ve career and adventure ex- ever had,” says 17-year-old plorations (for students in Angelo, of Atlanta, Ga. “I grades 9-11). met so many great people Programs are offered in a and made new friends. The wide variety of concentra- program not only equipped tions, including engineer- me with some great tools, ing, digital photography, but it tipped my decision to mobile robotics, aquatic attend college.” ecology, forensic science To learn more about and CSI, blacksmithing, Michigan Tech’s Center and more. And like Michi- for Pre-College Outreach, including the Mind Trekkers road show; Women in Engineering, Engineering Scholars, and National Summer Transportation Institute scholarship programs; and summer camps and career and adventure explorations, visit www. youthprograms.mt u. edu or contact the Center at 906-487-2219 or yp@ mtu.edu.

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Primary Sources and a Virtual Congress
– New Resources from the Center on Congress
continued from page 11

rooms, a Member’s office in DC and back home in their district, the House floor, and the Senate floor. Students’ experiences in the Virtual Congress can range from a one-classperiod tour of the various locations to a multi-session unit involving committee hearings and debate on the House or Senate floor. You can watch a short video overview of the Virtual Congress at www. tpscongress.org/teachers/ virtual_congress.php. Whether you are looking for some new online interactives to teach about the history of our government or to help students understand the role of critical thinking and compromise in the legislative process – or you would like to delve into a virtual experience of Congress – the Center on Congress Teaching with Primary Sources website gives you options that can meet your needs. Teaching with Primary Sources is part of the larger collection of resources provided by the Center on

Congress on their main website at www.centeroncongress.org. These resources include interactive learning modules, videos, lesson plans, articles, and professional development opportunities for educators. The Center was founded over a decade ago by former representative Lee Hamilton as a non-partisan source of information about Congress, representative democracy, and citizen participation. The Center on Congress TPS project is provided free of charge through funding from the Library of Congress. Nationally, TPS is managed and implemented by an educational consortium comprised of universities, libraries, and K-12 school districts. The Center on Congress has been a member of this consortium since 2004. To get more information about these resources, including upcoming informational webinars, contact the Center on Congress at 812856-4706, or congress@ indiana.edu, or visit www. centeroncongress.org.

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Do Smart People Play Chess or Does Playing Chess Make People Smart
continued from page 21

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creasing because of the Internet and computers. Players are able to play a game at any time online and can use computers to help them train and learn. There are huge numbers of software programs, some that even pit a player against famous grandmaster games. There are also many hand-held computer games for chess that give those die-hard electronic users a chance to have chess on–the-go without the need of a partner. If you see the benefits of chess and want to teach them to a child you don’t have to be afraid of not knowing what to do or how to play, Graham said. There are plenty of resources to help you. “Remember that you are passing on a wonderful gift to them,” Mrs. Graham said. “Learn or renew your skills right along with them. Make sure you use care, patience and respect while teaching. Also, try to be interesting! Use humor, funny voices, cartwheels — whatever it takes to make your chess students pay attention and have a good time.” Mrs. Graham suggests each child have their own chess set. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Most students use a roll-up vinyl board, plastic pieces, either weighted or not, and

an inexpensive bag for pieces to be carried in. “Wholesale Chess has a very basic chess curriculum that we recommend to work with beginners,” she said. The suggested curriculum is as follows. Only move to the next step when you know your child has a real understanding of what you have already taught. 1. How the pieces move and how to setup the board 2. How to capture pieces (its ok to capture the King before you learn checkmate!) 3. Check and checkmate 4. More advanced rules of castling, en passant, and pawn promotion 5. The values of the pieces and making good captures and trades 6. Developing your pieces and controlling the center 7. Using multiple pieces to attack and defend 8. Basic tactics – forks and pins 9. Basic strategies – controlling squares, diagonals, and files 10. Basic opening principles – control key squares, activate your pieces, get your king to safety To be a good chess parent or teacher you must be sure to get plenty of feedback from the student,

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Mrs. Graham said. “Make sure you know how your children feel about chess. If they are feeling burned out, then pressuring them may just turn them off more. If they are hungry for chess and you are not feeding that, they may become frustrated. “If you have a child who enjoys learning and playing chess, you should encourage that as much as is healthy,” she said. “Chess has great social and intellectual benefits that can affect other aspects of life, but remember that chess is a part of life, not the purpose of life. I suggest chess parents watch or read Searching for Bobby Fischer with their child. It is a great story. We also recommend the book, Survival Guide for Chess Parents.

“A nother impor t ant thing, perhaps the most important, is to always make sure that your child knows how much you love them regardless of whether they are winning or losing their chess games,” she added. “Never show disappointment at their performance — they are most likely frustrated enough on their own!” “Chess will certainly grow in the future,” she said. “Players will have to be more accurate in play, as computer training becomes more available. But most of us hope that the essence and fun of the game doesn’t change at all!” Please visit Wholesale Chess’ website, www.wholesalechess.com Copyright, 2009 by The Link Homeschool Publications. All rights reserved.

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Flink Learning continued from page 42

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child can go to view the phonics activity. Parents who subscribe to Flink Learning have 3 sources for material – 4,000 professionally created activities by Flink Learning; their own activities and what other subscribers have written. Children don’t have access to the 2nd and 3rd options, only parents have access and can police the content themselves. Sharing activities can be very important because sometimes homeschoolers have little time to teach, so one parent can create a math project and his community can create 4 or 5 other projects and they can share all of them. Or, they can use the already-existing projects. This is perfect for the already-existing atmosphere of homeschooling and, since subscribing is free, what more could one ask? Please visit www.f linklearning.com and see for yourself the potential it holds for increasing your homeschooling! E.S.

Start planning your summer adventure now at www.youthprograms.mtu.edu
www.mtu.edu • 1-888-773-2655 • 906-487-2219 Michigan Technological University • Houghton, MI
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Page 87

Now Homeschool Students Can Earn Undergraduate Credit for Subjects They Already Know.

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