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Home School Tips

When it comes to Home School, we've been there, done that, now serving 452 tips in 29 categories ranging from Choosing the Right Group to Why Homeschool Your Children?.

3 Great Homeschooling Apps Worth Learning About

1. Homeschool Helper on Android or iPhone

Homeschool Helpers is an app specifically designed to make homeschooling easier. It records grades for up to 14 subjects per student and for multiple years. Parents can even manage book lists, organize field trips, keep task lists and track attendance and report cards.

2. ABC Mouse

ABC Mouse offers a full online curriculum for children from preschool through kindergarten. Children have fun and play games while learning about the alphabet, geography, animals and word families on this brightly colored interactive app. ABC Mouse helps children learn the basic skills they need to be successful learners.

3. Math Blaster HyperBlast on Android or iPhone

This educational app makes learning math feel a lot less like school and a lot more like fun. It has 30 levels of math games that cover addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. It’s fast-paced, kid-friendly arcade-style games will motivate even the most resistant of students to learn their basic math facts.


Connecting With the Homeschool Crowd: How to Find the Best Conventions!

There are many great homeschool conventions that occur all over the county. These conventions can connect you to other parents who homeschool their children and help you feel like part of a community. Let's look at how to find the best homeschool conventions.

Attending a great homeschool convention can be as easy as doing a few minutes of research online. Finding homeschool organizations in your area can be the best route to take in order to find these great conventions. Many cities, and even smaller towns, have homeschool organizations that are always accepting new members. Once you've joined you will have access to all of the activities associated with the group--including the conventions!

If you don't want to join a homeschool organization you can still look up different homeschool based conventions through the internet, your community bulletin board, or local church. From there you can find out which conventions appeal most to you and then set a date to go visit. Attending these conventions can be great for your child's education.


Ten Homeschooling Quotes You Won't Learn in a Public School

1. “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” –Albert Einstein

2. “Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.” –John W. Gardner

3. “The number of kids with learning disabilities is a measure of the rigidity of the education system, not the students.” –Shamus Young

4. "Schools place emphasis on early reading not because it is the best way to learn but because it is the most efficient way to run assembly line learning." –Joyce Fetteroll

5. "No one is as qualified as the parent to know how much or at what pace he should teach the child, what the child's requirements are for freedom or guidance." –Murray N. Rothbard

6. "Because schools suffocate children's hunger to learn, learning appears to be difficult and we assume that children must be externally motivated to do it." –Wendy Priesnitz

7. "One father is worth more than a hundred schoolmasters." –George Herbert

8. "Large-scale education was never about teaching kids or creating scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system." –Seth Godin

9. "My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself." –George Bernard Shaw

10. “My grandmother wanted me to have an education, so she kept me out of school.” –Margaret Mead

How do I create curriculum for home schooling?

Integrate Many Subjects Into One Project

When homeschooling your child, you can pick a project to work on and then spin off dozens of academic topics from the original activity. For example, if you and your child chose the project of buying and taming a pet parakeet, you could expand that experience into the following areas:

Geography and Biology, in studying where in the world parakeets originated and how they live in the wild.

Math, by recording and then graphing how often the bird engages in a certain behavior, over time. Or, by weighing how much food it eats each day and calculating the cost of feeding it.

Animal Behavior, as you teach the child to record and shape the bird's actions.

Nutrition, as you and the child study what the bird needs in its diet and why.

Reproductive Biology, if you decide to get a pair of birds and breed them.

Art, making all sorts of photos and drawings and paintings of the bird.

Poetry and writing about the bird, and how the child feels about the bird.

Online networking with other pet owners, and sharing photos.

Responsibility, in having the child be responsible for the bird's care and well-being.

This is just a sample of the unlimited possibilities offered by flexible home schooling.

What kind of homeschooling method is playful learning?

Playful Learning

Playful Learning incorporates hands-on activities into standard lessons. Math, science, reading, writing, social studies, art, music, and nutrition can be taught using this method.

Here are some techniques used with this homeschooling method:

For writing and reading, students learn how to make a book using a twig, rubber band and notebook paper. The handmade books are used for nature journals, short stories and printed photos.

Math is taught using the clothes pin technique that involves jars with different numbers of small objects and index cards that students clip with clothes pins according to the count.

For art related activities, students are presented with an open space that is fully equipped and fully accessible. Items include stamp sets, stickers, paints, and craft materials, which are made available to a student without a stringent set of instructions so to encourage playful learning.

A science themed area equipped with magnifying glasses, specimen jars, rulers, blank observation notebooks, water trays and sand-filled containers. Students are given free reign for experimentation using the items.

In Playful Learning, students explore subject matter after they are given a specific idea or topic to think about. They are encouraged to ask questions and to test out ideas using materials and their natural surroundings. Unlike traditional homeschooling models that involve worksheets and sitting in a single desk throughout lessons, Playful Learning by nomenclature makes learning fun and more like playtime than class time.

How can you document home schooling on a professional level?

Create a Home School Portfolio to Document Your Schooling

One of the best ways you can document home schooling is through the creation of a home school portfolio. A home school portfolio is representative of the education your home schooled students receive every year. Your portfolio can include samples of completed school work, copies of exams, photographs of educational excursions or activities, essays and reports students have written, school records, etc. Anyone interested in the educational background and achievements of a home schooled student can find the information they need by perusing a student's portfolio.

Setting Up a Home School Portfolio

The initial setup of a home school portfolio requires some work, but once established, it can be easily updated to keep up with your child's school progress. Older primary and high school students can easily update their portfolios on a regular basis by adding the best samples of their school work to represent what they are learning. They can also use their artistic and creative skills to customize their portfolio to give it a unique, personal touch.

The creation of a Home School Portfolio begins with selecting a sturdy binder that can hold a substantial amount of transparent plastic sheets. Decorative binders work very well for younger children as they add life and color to the portfolio. Older children may want to create their own portfolio cover and personalize divider pages to reflect their taste and preference. High school students will need a more professional looking binder as their portfolio will eventually be the "official" representation of their high school education.

The inside of your portfolio should be well organized for easy reference and display. Your portfolio can be divided into three parts:

• Academic Achievements
• Extracurricular Activities
• School Records

Under the academic achievements section, students can put samples of their best school work for the year. This would include sample reports, essays, projects, quizzes, etc. from each of the four core subjects (Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science). You should also include unit tests, semester exams and year end exams from each of these subjects.

Under the extracurricular activities section, students can document excursions, outside classes, vacation holidays or community service through photographs of the same. School excursions could include trips to museums, national parks, science fairs, art fairs, musical attractions, etc. Outside classes may include taking art, music or dance lessons, karate classes, arts and crafts, participating on a sports team and more. All of these activities are learning experiences and as such can be documented as part of your portfolio.

Because of the flexibility of home schooling, students are able to participate in a number of extracurricular activities to round off their education. In addition to academics, many home schoolers incorporate such skills as culinary arts, carpentry, electrical repair, sewing, keyboarding, computer literacy, etc. into their curricula to enhance their learning experience. Such skills can be documented within your school records as representative of your overall education.

School records will include class attendance, monthly progress reports, quarterly or semester progress reports and year end reports. High school students, in particular, will need to ensure their progress reports are accurate and up to date. By perusing the Internet, you can find various samples of progress report forms that you can use to document the progress of your home school students. School records along with the rest of your home school portfolio will reflect the quality of your children's education each year. As such, your records should be kept on a professional level so anyone can clearly see the progress that is made.

Home school portfolios will provide you with excellent documentation of your children's home schooling. It will serve as a constant reminder of the quality of your children's education. By looking through their portfolios at the end of each year, your children will be encouraged and inspired by the progress they have made which will challenge them to greater works in the future.

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Guru Spotlight
Barbara Gibson