Monday, April 30, 2012

Free Giveaway

I just learned of this giveaway today and I just had to share it with all of you! Memoria Press is giving someone a whole set of books!! The information is below:


Famous Men of RomeFamous Men of GreeceFamous Men of the Middle AgesFamous Men of Modern Times

Choose from Rome, Greece, the Middle Ages, or Modern Times!

Have you ever felt lost among the myriad of characters and events of history? Try the systematic, comprehensive, and substantive approach of Memoria Press' Famous Men series. Rather than merely memorizing dates and names, the Famous Men series guides your student through the world of the great people of Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, and Modern Times. Through emphasizing the most important characters, your student will acquire a solid framework for reading the classics and understanding major historical events. Don't miss this chance to begin your classical journey with Memoria Press' most popular classical history program!

To enter, simply visit Memoria Press

Homeschool Podcasts

This will show you how behind I am on the 21st century! Luckily you don't have to be a technological genius to homeschool! I was searching for some homeschool posters and various things to improve my "classroom" and came across several sites that have homeschool podcasts! Okay, I knew you could find a podcast on pretty much every topic imaginable, but homeschool, wow! It blew my mind the wealth of information these people are dishing out on a podcast, for free!!
While I haven't had time to listen to every single podcast on every single website, I will include the websites I feel are the most beneficial, especially for the new homeschoolers and those still debating on whether they should or shouldn't homeschool: has phenomenal podcasts. They cover everything from homeschooling styles to homeschooling high schoolers to celebrity homeschoolers! Definitely worth your time to listen to every single podcast!
The Homeschool Show also has fabulous podcasts. You will hear several interviews with Misty Spinelli, a homeschooling mom. She discusses how to get started, how to choose your curriculum, learning styles, and many other topics.

There are a ton of websites and podcasts on iTunes, both about homeschooling or any other topic you would like to research. Simply go to Google and type in your topic followed by podcast. For example, for locating homeschool podcasts I would go to Google and type "homeschool podcasts". To locate podcasts on iTunes you simply type in the topic you would like to learn about and a long list of audio, video, and podcasts come up.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

How To Keep A Science Journal

Keep in mind that this will work with any subject, I just chose science because my children aren't thrilled about science, and they're definitely not a fan of writing, but when I tell them "okay, we're going to do a science project, but the only way we will do it is if you write your findings down for me when we are done", they tend to get a little more excited about writing, and science! You can tailor this to whatever subject you would like.
Does your child hate writing? Or reading? Or documentation of any kind? And let me guess…you probably need something of this sort to hand in as proof that you’re homeschooling, right? Here’s a quick and easy way to handle the documentation issue minimal fuss and hassle. And this method will even score you points toward your science curriculum requirements along with setting up a life-long habit, which will serve your child even greater in the future, which is really what we’re after. There are three simple steps to this process: Grab, Title, and Record:
Step 1: Grab a notebook. You don’t need a fancy quad-ruled, glossy bound, gold-letter embossed notebook, either. Just find a regular spiral-bound notebook from the store and scribble your child’s name across the top. (You can even staple ten blank pages together and call it a notebook if you really want to.)
Step 2: Title the top of a fresh page with the name of the lesson or experiment. For example, from Unit 1, you’d write: Gravity. Easy so far, right? Add the date and time to the top corner and number your pages (in case you need to reference them later on. Trust me – it’s a lot easier to number as you go).
Step 3: Record by describing what you’re doing. If you’re reading about gravity, jot down a few notes about what you picked up. This is where you want to capture your Ah-HA! moments. If getting your child to write is harder than changing a car transmission in a snowstorm, then grab a video camera and record them as they work and talk their way through the experiment. Just have them describe what they are doing as they do it (you can probe them along with questions if they get stuck for words). For shyer kids, don’t have them look at the camera – in fact, if you focus the camera only on their hands as they work through an experiment, their shyness usually will vanish.
A lot of scientists and engineers carry around a voice recorder, so when they have a GREAT IDEA, they can quickly capture it with words by hitting the ‘record’ button (even while driving!). This allows them to quickly capture and talk about the idea without fussing with the slowness of a pencil and paper. They later play it back and jot down notes and expand it when they have more time. If you love to write and draw, simply write down the experiment or reading bullet points and illustrate with pictures, describing it with real words that make sense to you. Don’t worry about it not being ‘formal’ or ‘correct’ – this is your journal, not for anyone else.
For example, if you’re launching the potato cannon (which we’ll actually be doing later on), and you finally figured out how it worked, we’d rather see you write “I shoved the stick in, which squashed the air, and POP!” instead of “…as the lowermost potato slug was moved in an upward direction, the pressure increased as the volume decreased until the structural integrity of the uppermost potato was breached, at which time the…” Use words that really speak to you in your own terms. You are not writing a textbook, but rather capturing the essence of the experience you’re having as you learn science. Get it?
Also, if you have any questions that pop up along the way(especially ones that require more time to search for the answers), write them down here as well. Highlight or *star* each question so you remember to go back and get them answered when you have more time. If you’re recording your progress on a science experiment, get your picture taken as you are doing the experiment and paste it in the notebook. Add a caption about what you are doing, what you found, etc. Most scientists will also record any data they took for the experiment alongside the picture of their set up so it’s all in one place.
An excellent idea many families have reported using is at the end of the unit, the parents will become the student and the kids teach the lesson back to the parent until the parent gets it. This may take a bit of work of the kid’s part, but most of the time, you’ll find kids are determined and creative at getting their point across because they are so excited and passionate about what they have just learned. (Don’t believe us? Try faking ignorance and see what your child comes up with.)
And that’s it! Do you think this is something you can do? If so, you’ve just boosted yourself to the top 10% of the students worldwide that actually take the time to capture and record their work. If you just hear or read something only one time, you will only remember 12% of it after about a week. However, when you capture and record notes about what you’re doing, the retention after a week shoots up to over 65%. When you take it one step further and teach it to others, you’re now over 85% retention after the first month.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Long-Term Side Effects of Not Supporting Your Child's Love Of Science

Most kids love the idea of science – of building things, creating inventions, and getting stuff to work by using their own two hands. Kids have a natural passion for science. The problem comes in when the parent feels they can’t meet this need in their child and they struggle to fulfill it. We’re going to take a look at what happens long-term when you don’t meet this need, and how you can avoid these pitfalls by following three simple steps today. But first, let’s take a look at what passion really is.

Having a passion for science isn’t a switch that gets flipped on one minute and off the next. Rather it is the result of small and consistent actions taken every day. If these actions empower your child and nurture their curiosity, then you’ll see the interest spark into a flame of passion and creativity. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of textbooks and teachers out there that do the exact opposite – they slowly chip away at a student’s passion, not consciously aware that they are doing it, until one day that passion for science disappears altogether.

This article is the result of interviewing dozens of people who have had this experience specifically in science, and the issues they face today as adults. All of these folks have one thing in common: they once had a brilliant spark of interest for science, but ‘something happened’ along the way. These people are from all over the board: auto mechanics, grocery store managers, hair dressers, stay-athome moms, newspaper journalists, and one even was still flipping burgers. They feel an innate regret about being turned off to science, not knowing why or how it happened.

We are going to take a look at the effects of not feeding a child’s passion for science, some of which might be new for you to think about. I share this with you now you can learn from people who already know what the road ahead looks like. If you find you’re doing some of the things here, don’t feel bad – someone may have not told you about this before. We’re also going to look at the three simple things you can do to avoid this type of future for your child. Are you ready to get started?

Wasted Resources
Have you ever tried to teach a child something that they don’t even want to hear about? It’s harder than pulling teeth! In fact, it’s virtually impossible to do. The reason is that your job as an educator is to provide content in a way that has a greatest probability of reaching your student. The problem is that you still only go halfway. Like it or not, it’s really up to the student whether to learn the information. The real tangle comes in when your student needs to hit certain goals (state standards, written exams, college entrance, job application, etc.), and simply isn’t motivated to do so. Since most parents truly care about their child’s future success and available opportunities, they quickly step in with five-star curriculum, private tutors, and other resources that cost time and money. But no curriculum in the world is going to help a student that just isn’t into learning. And now you have a dusty bookshelf full of unopened science books and a kid who hasn’t a clue about what their major should be on the application. Now that’s a setback.

A Downward-Spiraling Habit
Kids learn by modeling others. You see it when a baby starts to walk, when your child learns to write, and your teen slaps on a new attitude. Unfortunately, there are many habits we pick up that are not chosen consciously. The habit kids pick up when their passion isn’t fueled is that they learn to give up on their dreams. And that’s not the worse part. Kids that never learned to stand up for what’s important to them, to grab hold of a dream and see it through (no matter kind of feedback they get from the world) leave themselves wide open for living in reaction instead of pro-action. If your child doesn’t have a clear plan for their life, I guarantee someone else will, and it may not be in alignment with their own personal goals. Kids in this category live life by reacting to events instead of causing the things they want most out of life. They rarely (if ever) feel the gold that comes from beating the odds, achieving something that no one else though possible. And if they give up on their passion for science, what will they give up next? Kids are learning so much more than just ‘science’ when you fuel their passion for it… they are learning how to follow their dreams, trust their intuition, and getting resourceful about finding ways to make it all happen. It’s a bigger life lesson than just learning the subject.

More Effort for Less Money
Folks that drag themselves out of bed, slug through a pot of coffee, and push themselves out the door are hardly in a place where they can spot new opportunities for themselves and feel the juice of life. On the other hand, people that jump out of bed with a “Yes! I get to go to work today!” start their brains in the morning in a much more resourceful state and feel as if new opportunities just flow to them. People that do their passion make more money for the effort they put out, take less sick days, and feel healthier because their daily actions are in alignment with who they are. When you ‘do your dream’, it takes one tenth the effort to get ten times the rewards. But I don’t have a dream! If you ever hear someone say: “I don’t know what I want to do” or “I don’t know what I like”, it’s a clear signal that tells you they are in a state of fear because they are afraid of getting hurt. They tried something in the past that didn’t work out, and they decided not to try again. It’s easier to kill this monster while it’s little by teaching kids how to be flexible and resilient: when they try something and it doesn’t work out, simply change your approach and try again. If that doesn’t work, change your approach and try again… and again… and again until you get the result you’re after. What can I do to avoid these traps?

Here are three simple things you can do to avoid these traps and fuel your child’ passion for science. As you go through each one, think of how you could put this into action for your child:

1. Pick a science topic that really sparks an interest in your child AND challenges their brain at the same time. For example, if your child is crazy about airplanes, don’t just toss paper airplanes around the room – get them inside a real airplane with their first flying lesson so they can really get a taste of what their future can be like if they keep studying this area in science. If your child loves astronomy but your budget is too tight for a telescope, visit your local star-gazing event hosted by an astronomy club, or find an interview with an astronaut they can watch online. The key is that you need to hook them and show them what’s possible.

2. Make it safe to make mistakes. Do you learn more when you make mistakes or get something right? Most people agree they learn more when they make mistakes. The trouble comes in when you truly care about your child and don’t wantnthem to make the same mistakes you did – you already know how painful it is, and you’d rather have them feel the success, right? Here’s the problem with this approach: do you like being told what to do? Probably not… and neither does your child. In fact, you make it easier for them to resist your guidance when you approach it this way. So take a step back, shrug your shoulders, and consider what the true cost is in the moment. Is it more important for them to ‘get it right’ or learn how to learn from mistakes? Kids that learn how to use their mistakes also make fewer of them in the future.

3. Never give away the ending. You’ll see this one in textbooks and classrooms all the time. What scientist in their right mind will do an experiment when they already know the ending? The solution to this one is simple – when your child performs an experiment, just omit the last line where it says ‘what to expect to occur’. Your child might pick up a few things that the textbook left out, anyway. Remember: small, consistent action taken daily gets you much farther than trying to do it all in one big gulp all at once. Once you set up the framework (the three steps mentioned above), the shift will follow naturally, and your child’s interest in science will have room to grow and flourish.

If you like this article, you’ll want to check out more resources for parents, including:

· How Do I Motivate My Child to Learn on their Own?
· Six Keys to Successful Education
· What Exactly IS Science?
· Common Misconceptions in Science
· Seven Biggest Mistakes Made in Teaching Science
· How to Keep a Scientific Journal
· Secrets from Successful Teachers
· Easy Steps to Award-Winning
Science Fair Projects
· What Does My Child Really Need to Learn in Science?

You’ll find these and more articles as a part of the Parent Resource section in the K-12 online eScience learning program by SuperCharged Science
To learn more, visit SuperCharged

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Your Child's Learning Style

Before planning your curriculum and lesson plans, be sure to identify what type of learner your child is. Creating a curriculum in the wrong learning style can cause even the best of students to struggle. Finding your child's learning style is a very easy, and can be a fun, project. If your child has been in a public school, or even a preschool environment, you are probably already familiar with your child's learning style. If not, simply play around with each style and see which style best suits your style. Hands-on learner: These students need to be able to touch things, smell things, and interact with things. This learning style can be great for hyperactive children or children who are easily bored. Suggestions for hands-on teaching are: science experiments, even kindergarten level can incorporate simple science experiments; toy soldiers to symbolize battles for history class; dress up for history lessons; preparing and eating foods from geographical locations; using marbles, food, even blades of grass for mathematics. Anything that allows your child to touch items is wonderful. The great thing is, you're free to use whatever items you want. It's your classroom, have fun with it! Visual learner: These students need to see things. In Language Arts, it is not enough for them to simply read the book. The child will need to take notes in order to remember the story. Suggestions for visual learning are: sketching a model of the planets, watching videos on science, math, other subjects and taking notes or drawing appropriate sketches while watching, listening to books on tapes and taking notes during the tape. To improve your child's listening skills, simply hold a conversation with your child about a topic. For example, read a few pages, even a whole chapter of a book, then ask your child what they think the author was talking about in the book. For older children, have them read a chapter then discuss the chapter with you. Auditory learner: These students learn simply by hearing things. Most traditional schools follow this learning style simply because they have so many things to teach in such a short amount of time to an entire classroom full of students. For them, auditory teaching is the simplest and fastest way to teach 30 students in 30-45 minutes. Unfortunately there are thousands of children who simply cannot learn this way. For the students who are auditory learners, here are some suggestions: for younger children, read their Language Arts books to them; for older children, allow them to read the book aloud into a tape recorder or other recording device so that they can go back and listen to it later as a review; find appropriate videos for your subject, example: a video on Antarctica for Social Studies; allow your child to read their textbooks into a recorder. To help improve your child's visual skills add in diagrams, maps, and various reading materials. No matter what your child's learning style, it's always helpful to add in movement during the school day. Almost every child is going to get bored just sitting at a desk or table for 5 hours a day. The following are some suggestions on how to get your child up and moving while still learning (hint, not only can you count this as hours in your original subject, you can also count this as Physical Education too!): 1- Draw hopscotch board on your sidewalk. Rather than counting the boxes when moving, have your child spell out their weekly spelling words as they hop. 2- Create a treasure hunt. Place a history question on the student's desk. Place the answers all over the walls and have the children search for the correct answer. When the child finds the correct answer the original question, as well as the next question will be on the back of the correct card. At the ending location have a small prize for the child. This not only gets them up and moving and learning, but also praises them for being smart! 3- Use the outdoors as your math classroom. On nice, sunny days take your children out in your yard, or even to the park, and have them use nature as their calculator. Blades of grass, rocks, even leaves can work as numbers. At the park you can also use the plastic slide as Physics....remember how your hair stood straight up everytime you got off the slide...yep, static electricity...physics!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Filling our your Notice of Intent

While I am not familiar with every single homeschool law in every single state, I am familiar with the laws in North Carolina. In North Carolina, as with many other states, you are required to submit a Notice of Intent to Operate a Homeschool. Don't let the sound of that scare you. All it involves is answering a few questions about the type of homeschool you will run.

****The example below is strictly for North Carolina, so be sure to check with your state regarding the questions on the Notice for Intent in your state.****

Filling out your Notice of Intent to Operate a Homeschool:

First step: Choose whether you are Opening a New Homeschool or Reopening a Homeschool. Simply means, if this is your first time homeschooling, you're  Opening a New School. If you've homeschooled in the past you're simply Reopening a Homeschool. For most parents, this is your first time homeschooling so choose "Opening a New Homeschool". All of my steps will involve Opening a New Homeschool.

Second step: List the County in which is your homeschool is located.

Third step: Choose the name of your homschool. You may name your school anything you like. What I did was come up with some names I liked, then each of my kids came up with names they liked, and then we took a vote on what sounded like the best school name.

Fourth step: List the address of your homeschool. More than likely this is simply your home address, since most of us homeschool out of our own home.

Fifth step:  List your email address. This is simply so that North Carolina can contact you through email if need be. Sometimes they email you saying that your Notice of Intent has been received and that they will be verying your information soon.

Sixth step: List your home phone number. You do not have to give the state your phone number if you do not want to. That decision is solely up to you. For me, I felt it was best to give them my number in case they ever had any questions or concerns.

Seventh step: List the School Owner: This simply means, you is operating the school. If you and your spouse are operating the school together, you can list one parent as the owner and the other as the Chief Administrator. The Chief Administrator is the parent who will be doing the majority of the teaching, but again, if you and your spouse will be jointly homeschooling, simply decide who's going to be Owner and who's going to be Chief Administrator.

Eighth step: List the Chief Administrator. This will be whatever person you chose from step seven. If you are the only one doing the homeschool, this would be you, as well as you would be the School Owner.

Ninth step: List the full names of all adults who will be teaching your children. If it just you, list just yourself. If it is you and your spouse, list both you and your spouse. If you have another family member or friend who is going to also teach your children, include them too. Just keep in mind that every person teaching your child must have a high school diploma or equivalent, so if you know someone did not finish high school and did not get a GED, they are not allowed to teach your child.

Tenth step:  Well, on the application it's listed at Number 11, so for the sake of confusion we will list it as Eleventh step: Name the month and year that you will open your homeschool. Most homeschools still follow the public school system in that they begin in the fall and end the end of spring or first of summer, but you are free to start whatever month you choose.

Twelfth step: Choose whether you are going to be a religious or non-religious school. Keep in mind that you do not have to teach an entire religious curriculum in order to be labeled as a religious school. In fact, you are not required to do anything religious in your homeschool. Most parents do choose religious simply because they pray before starting school or pray before the lunch meal, but again, even this is required to be listed as a religious school. If you do not want anything to do with any type of religious affiliation, list yourself as non-religious. This listing is based solely on what you want to be listed as. Just like with the school name, there are no right or wrong answers.

Thirteenth step: This is where you just list the ages and genders of those who will be in your homeschool. In my case I have one 13 year old male and one 11 year old male. so I simply put a "1" in the box for male 13, and a "1" in the box for male 11.

After that you simply sign or electronically submit your application. Most parents choose to sign and mail in the application simply because you have to provide high school diplomas or GED completion papers for each adult who will be teaching, so rather than submit the form electronically and wait ofr the state to email you back with the fax number of where to send proof of diplomas, they simply sign the application, attach all the high school diplomas or GED completions, then mail the form in. Just makes the process go a little faster, but again, how you submit your application is totally up to you.

**It is also important to note that you can not be accepted, nor denied, your request. The Notice of Intent is merely the paperwork the state has to have on file in order to list you as a school and send you your school ID card. As long as everyone teaching your child has a high school diploma or equivalent, you request is granted and you can open your school.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What type of homeschool will you be?

Now that you've created your perfect classroom and became familiar with the homeschool laws in your state, you need to decide what type of homeschool you will be. Unlike traditional public schools, you, as a homeschool, get to choose how your children will learn.

There are three types of homeschooling.

1. Structured Learning- Structured learning is considered the cousin of public school. It is also where most first year homeschool parents begin due to the familiarity of traditional school. Structured learning generally has a set schedule. The school day starts and ends at the same time each day. Parents also tend to create a set curriculum. Whether it be buying textbooks (which we will discuss in another post) or researching lesson plans and curriculum ideas online and creating daily lesson plans, monthly unit plans, or even yearly unit plans. Structured learning is by far the easiest form of homeschooling, especially for those parents who were taught in public school or for those who had their children in public schools and are now removing them from public school and beginning homeschooling.

2. Unschooling- Unschooling is the complete opposite of Structured Learning. Unschooling generally does not have a set schedule, has no lesson plans, and is mostly child led. Parents normally focus on the basic functions of reading, writing, and math, but let the child control the rest of the learning process. Parents of unschoolers feel that their child's curiosity should control their learning environment, not a textbook or lesson plan. Unschool parents look to daily life as their classroom. If a child helps them cook a meal they list it as learning. If a child helps carry in groceries they list that as learning.

3. Eclectic Learning- Eclectic learning is the middle ground between structured learning and unschooling. Some subjects, such as Math and Language Arts, may be structured and include lesson plans and textbooks, while other subjects, such as Science and History, may be unstructured and learned simply because of the child's curiosity to learn a certain aspect of the subject. Eclectic learning is becoming the most popular type of homeschooling, mainly because parents teach however they want, be it textbooks or life learning. Parents base their learning styles around how their child learns best. Some children do well with textbook style learning while other children learn best through hands-on, day-to-day normal activities.

The wonderful thing about homeschooling is that there is no wrong way to teach your child. You are free to use whatever method you want. You get to decide the style of learning that works best for your child. Do remember though, that what worked last year may not work this year. One year a child may do well in an unschooling environment, but the next year an eclectic or structured environment may be what interests your child. It is also important to note that what works for one child may not work for another child. One child may excel in an eclectic environment, while another child needs a structured environment. You, as a parent, know your child better than anyone. You alone get to decide what type of learning you and your child will use.

Whatever type of learning you use, have fun! If you're stressed out over teaching your child will be stressed out over leaning. Homeschooling is a great parent/child bonding experience, so above all else, have fun with their child, enjoy being not only their parent, but their teacher.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

U.S. Laws Regarding Homeschooling

Homeschool teachers do have some leeway in regards to curriculum choice, hours and days of operation, and even the name of their school, but the United States does still have certain rules that each homeschool must follow in order to be legal.

Laws do vary for each state, so be sure to check out your particular state before you open your homeschool. There may be rules regarding national testing, number of days you must operate, and whether or not you have to implement a national test at the end of each year. While the laws may seem a little intimidating at first, most are simple, easy to implement, and things you would do anyway just for organizational purposes and record keeping.

There are several websites available for you to find the homeschool laws for your state. Just do a simple google search for "homeschool laws". To be more specific you could include your state, (i.e. "homeschool laws in North Carolina". The following are a few of the websites I have found that give very detailed information regarding homeschool laws in each state.

As always, do not rely on others to give you the legal information you need. Be sure to do your own research. There are literally thousands of websites out there that give you very detailed information regarding your state's homeschooling laws. As an extra precaution, always cross-reference each site to ensure that they are providing the same information.

Beginning Your Journey

Homeschooling can be an exciting and adventurous journey between you and your children, but it can also be stressful and scary if you don't know where to start, how to plan, and how to effectively run your school. You have to remember that you are just like any other teacher. There are lesson plans, unit studies, field trips, all the things a normal teacher must deal with, but you also have the chore of deciding how you're going to teach, what subjects you're going to teach, what curriculum you're going to use, what hours you are going to teach, as well as how you're going to organize your home and create your classroom.
Before you start stressing over curriculum and organizing your home and buying every textbook you can get your hands on, take the time to sit back, imagine the kind of school you want to create. What subjects will you teach? Will you have electives (subjects your children want to learn about, on top of their general education?) Will you homeschool in the mornings, afternoons, or evenings? How long will you teach each day? The majority of the states do have guidelines when it comes to hours per day and days per year, so be sure to check with your states homeschool laws. What area of your home are you going to use for your classroom? Do you have a bedroom or office you are going to use or do you plan on using the kitchen table or maybe even just your living room couch. The great thing about homeschooling is that you really can teach anywhere! If it's pretty and you want to teach outside in the grass, you can. If you want to pack a picnic and spend the day teaching at the park, you can. This is your classroom, you are free to create it however you want.
I suggest having a pen and paper handy as you're envisioning your school. If not you're going to have a million ideas floating around and you may forget an idea later on. Write down every idea you have. Even if you have a specific color tablecloth you want to put down to differentiate between the homeschool table and the dining room table, write it down. If you envision using chalkboards, write them down. No idea is too outlandish when it comes to brainstorming. The biggest thing to remember is, this is your classroom. This is where you will prepare your children for a lifetime of learning. You create the kind of classroom you feel would most benefit you and your child. And remember, nothing is temporary. If you choose one idea and get tired of it in a month, you can always change things out. If you move to a new home, you just pick your school things up, move them to a new house, and then create your ultimate classroom in that home.
The most important thing to remember is, have fun!