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Obsessive/Compulsive Mathematics

My husband asked me, "Do all homeschoolers finish the math book?" The answer is "OF course not!" The truth is, some homeschoolers have their child do every single problem in every math book before moving on. Other homeschoolers skip many problems or even chapters each year without giving it a second thought. I encourage people to come down firmly in the middle of this controversy. What's important is NOT how many problems they do, or how many days of school you have. What's important is that the students are learning. If they can learn math with only 1/2 the problems, then that's great! Don't punish them with additional math problems that might beat the love of numbers right out of them. On the other hand, it's not helpful to move on before a child understands the math concept they are on. Balance is key.

Blessings,

Lee

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The Great California Homeschool Earthquake?

The media seems to be saying this is THE BIG ONE.Here is a link to the Fox News story, but I've heard the same on other news programs.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,335808,00.html

"California parents who don't have teaching credentials no longer can home school their children, according to a recent state appellate court ruling."

But here is a summary from a California Homeschool group:
http://californiahomeschool.net/howTo/updates.htm

"The law in California has not changed. This is the opinion of one court. CHN strongly believes this opinion is incorrect, and homeschooling by using one of the alternatives to public school currently available under California law remains legal. The implications of this ruling and possible actions are currently being discussed by CHN, along with HSC, CHEA, Family Protection Ministry and HSLDA. "

And another summary from Homeschool Association of California
http://www.hsc.org/Appellatedecision

My internet friend, Julie, expressed it this way:

"People are getting phone calls from relatives that they are doing illegal activities. I went with my kids to cook a meal for the homeless at our church, something we do once a month, and I was hit up with the questions about legalities. " and "While leaders are paying attention and being vigilant, it isn't any reason to panic."
Julie in San Diego
http://www.livingmath.net/

I know that it is concerning to hear these inflammatory statements on the news, but I don't think there is a need to panic. It might be a great time to write your own state legislators, and let them know how important homeschooling is to you. It's a great exercise for kids as well - a good civics lesson. But keep in mind that California law has not changed, and state and national agencies are currently working on the problem. Let's watch, and keep our eyes on reputable sources. Try to avoid listening to news reports from agencies and people that don't really know homeschool laws.

Blessings,
Lee
www.TheHomeScholar.com
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Never Ending Record Keeping

Never ending record keeping

Are you writing your own comprehensive records for your student? Frustrating, isn't it! One thing to remember about the Comprehensive Records - you're never done until graduation. It's like homeschooling in that you never really "finish." You can add touches and change things.... At some point you have to add final grades and final graduation dates. So don't worry that it doesn't feel complete. You won't until your student is finally away to college. Even if your student takes community college classes, you'll still be adding things to the transcript. Try to relax and have fun with it as you constantly edit, review, and revise. And if you need some help with the process, I'm here for you!

Blessings,

Lee
Are you a friend or fan of The HomeScholar? Please let me know at MyBlogLog!
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Rethinking Failure

Recently I've shared with some of my homeschool "failures" like literature analysis and nature studies. I didn't even mention art and Washington State history! Everyone feels like they have failed at some points. I think it may be an issue with motherhood in general: a chronic feeling of guilt.

Now that my kids have graduated from homeschool, I can see that these "failures" weren't really failures at all. Many times it was me adjusting my homeschool to meet the learning style of my children. I perceived them as failures because I wasn't able to get them to love learning by meeting MY learning style. Love of learning came when I met THEIR learning style. Now with my 20/20 hindsight, I can say that I didn't "fail" at literature analysis, nature studies, art, or state history. Instead, I adjusted the way I taught to match my children's way of learning - and that is a success.

Someday when you are looking back on your homeschool, you may find that some of your "failures" were actually successes as well! Just something to think about the next time you're feeling guilty....

Blessings,

Lee

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(http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheHomescholar)

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I am The Weakest Link

I am The Weakest Link

Although I took calculus in college.... OK, that's not completely true. I actually took calculus TWICE in college because I failed it the first time! Allow me to start again....Although I have taken calculus repeatedly, I don't actually know any calculus right now. In fact, from the time my kids were in Algebra 2, I was completely lost. My boys both used Saxon Math with DIVE CD's for Advanced Math and Calculus, and we supplemented that with The Teaching Company course called "Calculus Made Clear." The boys managed to learn calculus without me. I watched them do the assignments. I smiled when they told me about complex concepts. I nodded wisely as they would work out tough problems, I observed them use the solution manual to work out each problem. I did everything supportive I could ... except teach.

I primarily added value by confiscating the answer key when I gave them tests, but they did great on the tests even without it. The hardest part was correcting their tests. I didn't even know what the symbols meant! Using skills I had mastered in Kindergarten, I just made sure their answers looked exactly like the answer key. They basically taught themselves Calculus! Unbelievable!

The upper subjects like Calculus and Physics can be very intimidating, but it IS possible. If you are facing an obstacle, whether it's upper math or whatever, be brave! You will be amazed at what your kids can learn! Give them the opportunity and see if they can fly!

Blessings,
Lee
--
The HomeScholar
www.TheHomeScholar.com

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The Flip-side of Co-ops

I was speaking one day to a group of homeschoolers. During the Q&A time, one mother said to me, "Do I have to use co-ops for high school or is it possible to do it myself?" I was surprised. Of course you don't "have to" use co-ops. Co-ops can sometimes serve a purpose in home education. A lot has been written about the plus side of co-op classes so I probably don't need to reiterate these, but you might want to consider the "flip-side" of co-ops when you are planning your classes next year.
  • The commute time: It takes time driving back and forth
  • Time away from home: You will have less time doing your home-based homeschool activities
  • Less time for fun: There is less time for extra-curricular and other fun activities
  • Homework: You have to finish homework that the co-op assigns, which may lead to extra fussing with your kids to complete the work
  • Germs: In any classroom environment, germs are rampant
  • Expense: Homeschooling can be expensive, and adding the cost of co-ops can be rough
These are just a few things that people in co-ops have shared with me. Parents always know what is best for their children but I wanted you to have the benefit of others experience. If high school co-ops are in your future, you might plan to address these issues with your family.

Blessings,

Lee
Get your daily dose of wisdom from my blog on your e-mail reader
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Too Many Credits??


I deal with the problem of "too many credits" now and then (I'm actually working on one right now.) You can handle it a few different ways.




  • You can keep only the most recent credits.

  • You can lower the credit value of all classes.

  • You can eliminate classes that could also be considered an "activity" instead (so ballet would be an activity and not a PE credit.)

  • You can pick and choose some classes to drop off the transcript if you have more than the usual requirements. (Drop the 5th history class.)

  • You can combine classes together (British Literature and Ancient Literature make one European Literature class.)

  • You could also explain the situation - tell the school that this is what your child did, document that it is high school level, and let them see what your child is really capable of.


Blessings,Lee

www.TheHomeScholar.com
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Respecting your Young Men

Respecting your Young Men

A while ago, a portion of one of my newsletters was plagiarized. I consulted my in-house "lawyer in training" - my son Alex. Every time I think of our interaction that day, it really warms my heart. On Sunday, during our "Love and Respect" Sunday School class, I think I finally realized why Alex's help was so important to me that day. He was protecting me - which was demonstrating that he loved me. In the book, it talks a lot about cycles, and how love LEADS TO respect, and respect LEADS TO love. So I started thinking about what I did to show my son respect that day. I think that the moment when I asked his opinion of the situation, adult to adult, was the moment that he knew I respected him.We won't even think about all the times I completely *fail* at the love and respect cycle, but I did think it was interesting to see on situation in which it worked. I hope it will encourage you.



Blessings,

Lee

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Does General Science Count?

If your child is in 9th grade, and they take General Science, then in my opinion it's a high school credit - simply because your child is high school age. I figure that if a kid takes remedial anything in a public high school, they still put it on the transcript, right? Just label it "general science" so you're all above-board about it. If Physical Science was taken in 10th grade, then again it's a high school credit, and label it physical science. Biology and Chemistry are more obviously high school level.

One other detail. Most colleges need to see only three years of science, so if your child ends up with four years of science, you'll have a bonus year! (Yeah!) So if you want to, you can leave off 9th grade science, and say General Science 10, Bio 11, Chem 12. That's fine too. Whatever you choose isn't that significant. Colleges will often pick and choose which classes will fulfill their requirements. If you have more than enough science, they may not include it anyway. I view it like Driver's Education - just put it on the transcript and if the college wants to use it then they will, and if they don't, they won't.

By the way, the books don't really agree about credits like this - they all have a unique opinion on what is a credit and what isn't. I think you have the freedom to decide for yourself whether you want to call it a credit or not.

Blessings,

Lee

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Money Saving Timeline Idea

For a home-made timeline, I bought a roll of paper at an office supply store. It was a lot cheaper, and because the paper was in a roll I didn't have to tape regular printer paper sheets together. The rolled paper came in handy for some other homeschooling things as well. We used it for math games, and for creative writing story outlines. Sometimes I had the kids write the name of the book we were reading and put it on the timeline. They were really not much into drawing pictures (big surprise there,) so I would also often just print small images from the books we were reading, or off the internet and put those on the timeline.Blessings,

Lee

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A Credit or Not A Credit? That is the Question.

A Credit or Not A Credit? That is the Question.

Deciding how much theater makes up a high school credit can be tricky. The general concept for all courses is 5 hours a week for a full year of school, so you can calculate whether that's enough for a credit or for a half credit. There is no real "absolute" right and wrong answer. I really like right-and-wrong math questions, so I never felt really comfortable guessing on credit value. I always did the "5 hours per week" rule. If it's easier, you could add it up all the hours together to decide the credit value.Most books say that 120-180 hours is a credit. Because sometimes performance week in theater can add an easy 40 hours, you may have an easier time just waiting until you have the total before you decide how many high school credits it's worth. Remember that colleges are only looking for 1 credit of fine arts; and fine arts are a combination of music, art, theater and dance. If you think it's enough, that's great. If not, consider other supplements to make up the difference.


 


Blessings,

Lee

Here's more info on grades and credits.

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Left brain vs. Right brain: It's a no-brainer

It's kind of twisted, really. I just love science! I am a nurse, so I have a big science and math background. But I just love it! When we did microscope work, I would find myself going in to look at the microscope by myself! I'm just curious... you folks who don't like science, do you like art? Because I hate it! It is so messy, it would get my house so many crazy colors. My kids just didn't "get it" with art. And art takes so many materials! You have to buy so much stuff just to paint one thing!We all have our weaknesses. I figure the things I don't like are the things I really have to force myself to teach. The things I do like I will easily remember to teach, probably more than is necessary! (You should see the extra stuff we would do with the microscope!)

Blessings,

Lee
www.TheHomeScholar.com
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Fun with Maps!

My kids used to have so much fun making maps that I wanted to share an idea with you. We found this in the book "Make it Work Maps."



We used a topographical map - the kind with a line around every 1000 feet of elevation. We enlarged a section of the map. Then we traced the line patterns, one at a time, onto cardboard and cut it out. We glued the cardboard pieces we'd cut out onto a cardboard base as we cut them out. We stacked up the layers of cardboard until it made the mountains and valleys shown on the original map. Then we covered the whole thing with paper mache (newspaper and flour-water) and painted it with green hills, white snowcapped peaks, and blue rivers and lakes. It was tons of fun for the kids, and they got a real feel for topographical maps.

Blessings,

Lee
Get your daily dose of wisdom from my blog on your e-mail reader
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Thinking about Community College?

This post focuses on dual-enrollment in Washington State (called "Running Start".) I think you will find some useful information here regardless of where you live.

Running Start is relatively easy to access as a homeschooler, even at a young age. 1) take the COMPASS test at the community college 2) take your transcript and COMPASS test results to the local high school and talk to the Running Start counselor there 3) they will sign a paper allowing you to access Running Start 4) take the paper into the community college admission department. It's pretty easy (more time consuming when kids are under 16, but still do-able.)Advantages: Dual enrollment can provide college credit, which can save many thousands of dollars on a college degree. It can provide external documentation of a student's academic achievement, especially in difficult subjects like lab science and foreign language.

Drawbacks: Community colleges will often have lower academic standards than regular universities. Classes will be a mix of academically capable and academically struggling teens and adults. Teens are usually in the minority. "Public school" environment with former drop-outs and students of questionable character. "Adult learning environment" that is sometimes akin to watching an R-rated movie. Community colleges have told me to warn homeschoolers that their student population may include "adjudicated individuals" who have been through the court and prison systems.

If you are thinking about Running Start, I recommend using the "buddy system." One friend had great success by using just evening programs, rather than daytime classes and using the buddy system.

Blessings,

Lee
www.TheHomeScholar.com
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Time to Panic?

I don't want you to feel like you "should" panic, but I want you to know that this is the time of year when most of my phone calls are panic - related. Parents are starting to think about grades and about what they will teach next year, and sometimes it get so overwhelming that they panic.

Panic is a normal, natural part of being a homeschool parent! Panic is good feedback - it says that you care enough to do a really good job. Panic can help you remember to evaluate your homeschool, and make changes if needed.

I had moments of panic. I sometimes cried at night. I sometimes worried about the most insignificant details! You're not alone, and one day you'll be done homeschooling and will finally realize how successful you were.

Relax. Evaluate your homeschool. Remind yourself that you are a "love-giver" and not just a "care-giver" and that can make all the difference!

Blessings,

Lee

Are you a friend or fan of The HomeScholar? Please let me know at MyBlogLog!

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