Month: October 2016

Learn About Homeschool Curriculum Reviews

50All parents want the best education for their children, perhaps none more so than homeschooling parents. With so many homeschool curriculums available on the market today, it has become necessary to find reviews that can help parents make the right decision on choosing the best curriculum. You must know where to find homeschool curriculum reviews so your child can get the best possible home education.

You can contact curriculum publishers and ask for samples of their materials. Review these samples and see if they fit your personal home schooling philosophy. Compare the samples to determine which ones are best.

It’s a good idea to find out the curriculum being used by public and private schools in your area. Some of the curriculum materials may be available to homeschoolers. See how they compare with other curriculums.

Talk to other parents of homeschooled children and ask about the curriculums they are using. Find out what they like or don’t like about their child’s curriculum.

A reliable homeschool review is a valuable tool that can help you choose the best curriculum for your child. A number of sites provide curriculum reviews for homeschooling. Most of these sites focus on the advantages of the curriculum being reviewed and not so much on the negative side, but they are still very helpful in finding the information you want. The following homeschool curriculum review sites are suggested:

Home School Christian Reviews: This site provides home schooling product reviews, including curriculum author interviews.

Home School Reviews: This site provides reviews of specific homeschool curriculum posted by various people who have actually used the curriculums. You can expect honest feedbacks on what they like or don’t like about the curriculum. However, you must remember that a curriculum someone does not like may be exactly what you are looking for.

Cathy Duffy’s Home School Curriculum Reviews: You will find reviews of the major home school curriculums as well as lesser known materials. The reviews are detailed and frequently offer concrete examples from the materials. The benefits as well as actual and potential problems of the curriculums are also cited.

Living Math Reviews: Parents looking for effective math-related home school curriculums can use this site to check out the best ones available in the market today. This site gives good advice and is highly recommended.

After checking out different homeschool curriculum review sites, you should be able to make your choice more easily. Know the learning style and type of structure you want before you begin your search for a curriculum for homeschooling.

4 Proper Reasons for Students to Use Calculators

49For young math students, there is a debate about how often they should be allowed to use a calculator.  On one side of the argument, people say that handheld calculators should not be used at all until a certain age; at an arbitrary level, now students have “earned the right” or are “old enough” to use calculators for their math homework.  Looking at the other extreme, some home school or classroom teachers let their students use calculators for everything.  What is the proper way to use calculators when teaching (or learning) math?

There isn’t much debate about what can happen when kids to use the calculator too much, too early.  They become dependent on it, and they get mathematically lazy. If allowed to grab the calculator for a simple operation: 13 X 3, students can get sloppy and after making a mistake, assume the answer on the screen is the correct one.

There are reasons, however, why math students should use calculators.  This can be enabled by classroom teachers or home school teachers correctly to enhance four aspects to the developmental learning of math.

Calculator Use Tip #1:  Calculators can help in demonstrating concepts

Being able to key in complicated numbers and operations is sometimes an advantage to learning number patterns or rules.  The calculator can be used to prove that larger answers result when multiplying by increasing numbers; smaller answers result when multiplying by amounts between zero and one.  Teachers can show patterns to repeating decimals and their relationships to fractions.  When exploring linear equation function graphs, students can input different slope values or coefficients to see how the graphs change.  The speed of the tool greatly enhances the discovery of patterns or numeric rules.  This will be an advantage in the study of Algebra, for example.

Calculator Use Tip #2: Calculators can help to apply real world applications

When students need measure dimensions and apply concepts of area and volume, for example, they can use a calculator.  In the real world, things are not measured in whole numbers; dimensions are in reality messy to work with and inexact.  In learning a concept, students should first work with simple numbers.  Then they move on into decimals and fractions as they encounter examples of real measurements.  Studying area, kids will have to work with rational amounts, and solving problems will force them to make calculations quickly and as accurately as possible.  The calculator can help with this, and, as part of the learning, students will discover the value of decimal places and significant digits.

Calculator Use Tip #3: Calculators can help in estimation

When doing a measurement problem where the distances are inexact, the calculator can help with the answer, but how does the student know it is correct?  This is an opportunity for estimation skills.  If the rectangular board measures 12.67 inches by 3.14 inches and you need to find its area, how do you know that your answer cannot be the number showing on your calculator: 72.345 ?  Estimate by rounding the dimensions to 13 by 3 inches, and realize that your answer should be slightly more than 39 square inches.  Using calculators is a prime opportunity to reinforce the skill of estimating your answer first, then doing the calculation.

Calculator Use Tip #4: Calculators will be used in the work of work

Isolated in the classroom or at home, math students often wonder how their current unit of study applies to their real world.  By being allowed to use the calculator properly in their math class, they will gain an appreciation for the great tool it is.  Calculators speed up the problem solving process, but cannot think for themselves.  They are only as accurate as the person whose fingers pressed the keys and used the proper operations.  If correctly developed, the use of calculators in school will teach children the real world skill of using the right tool for the job.  When working for a boss or for themselves in their own business, students in the future will need to properly analyze a situation, figure out a strategy for solving a problem, use the proper tools, develop a way to check the answer, and clearly communicate the results.  Handheld calculators or computer applications or programs will be an integral part of this process.  The classroom experiences with a calculator will help students to become comfortable and competent with this powerful learning tool.

Like any tool, calculators are only machines that might be misused.  But if students are taught how to use them in ways that improve their future success, these technology tools will not be a crutch.  Test to see if the math student can get the general idea of the concept by estimating the answer or can verbalize the problem solving sequence.  After that, they can use the calculator to do the number crunching or experiment with different outcomes.  A good teacher can then expect his students to be able to justify their results.  The calculator is an integral part of this learning and thinking process.

Homeschooling Programs

48Choosing the right homeshooling for your child is important since it would greatly influence the foundation of intellectual and other aspect of growth for your child. Hence, it is suggested that parents choose only the best and most appropriate homeschooling program for their child.

Types of Homeschooling Programs:

Deciding on a home school program is dependent on the core values that you want to teach your child. You may integrate spiritual beliefs or non religious to your child’s homeschooling programs. Such programs consist of Christian or secular homeschool programs.

Besides the spiritual aspect of education, the learning levels of your child is also important. Preschoolers’ homeschool programs evolve around discovery and basic learning skills and ABCs.

As for middle schools and high school kids, homeschool program focuses on academics, spiritual, physical education and more. The approach is different in each levels of homeschooling education. What to look for in a good homeschool program Parents should be wise in choosing the best homeschool program for their child.

There are various things to consider on deciding for the best program.

First is the homeschool program’s quality. Assess if the curriculum they use is world class, cutting edge and uses state of the art education resources.

Second, is the availability of the homeschool curriculum. Is it available 24/7?

Third, check if the curriculum that they’re offering is State accredited. Are they giving out diploma to graduating students?

Fourth, consider your child’s learning styles and your homeschool core values, philosophy and methodologies as well.

Finally, be certain that the lessons in the program can also be utilized for self teaching. This will permit the child to practice dependency. Choose a program that is innovative to make to encourage learning retention.

According to several credited homeschool websites, the following are the best in the field.

1. Saxon – part of Harcourt Archieve. Saxon’s Homeschool curriculum edge is on the basic subjects such as Math, phonics and early learning. 2. Center for Living – they provide homeschooling materials to public, private and parochial schools. 3. Curriculum Associates- their material is centered to Reading, language and mathematics. They also offer test preparation , study skills and assessment exams. 4. Bridgeway Academy – provides extensive homeschool programs from kindergarten to high school. They also have biblical world – view curriculum. 5. iQ Academy – award winning, tuition free curriculum for grades 6-12, innovative education approach. 6. ACE Lighthouse Christian Academy- self instructional, educational assistance and accredited diploma 7. Citizens’s High School- accredited high school completion program. 8. Global Student Network – cost effective comprehensive online curriculum. 9. Keywtone National High School – accredited, national private school for middle and HS students who want a flexible and customized education. 10. K12 – easy to use, comprehensive and customizable.

In summary, parents’ role in their child’s homeschooling education is indeed vital. Choosing the best program for your child is a big responsibility. In return, your child’s learning capabilities will greatly develop and improve.

Home school versus formal education

47The debate among many people is whether homeschooling kids is better than formal education. The former would be fruitful if home school is done the right way. Children adopt a customized curriculum provided by their parents whereas in a private school, they are forced to learn whatever is taught by the teachers. Each child is unique and the style of learning differs from one child to another. Some children are good at grasping information from textbooks and a theory based method would be useful for them but some of them prefer practical method of teaching where it’s easy for them to remember and this kind of an approach is also more interesting to them.

Parents who home school their kids should provide a more pleasing and healthy learning environment for their kids. Apart from academics, children learn to bond with their family, which is an advantage in home school. Good habits can be instilled in them. Apart from concentrating on academics, children have ample time to develop their talents. Everyone learns from each and every task that we do, whether it is routine or a onetime task. Children can go for music classes, swimming, skating etc. They can do well in their academics as well as extracurricular activities whereas there is a time constraint in private schools. Some schools demand children to be more focused on academics than extracurricular activities, as they need more grades.

More often when parents weigh the options of home school and formal education, one major issue is that kids don’t get an opportunity to socialize if parents home school them. At school, children can play together and participate in competitions. It’s easy for them to socialize but peer influence can change the attitude of your kids easily and it’s difficult for parents to know if their kids are being influenced in the right or the wrong way. Children can always interact and get along with other kids who are being homeschooled by their parents. They tend to become more co operative and disciplined. Kids who are homeschooled will get more attention and discussing about their academics and extracurricular activities becomes easy, as children feel more comfortable in such an environment.

Sending your child to a private school is expensive. Course fee, educational trips, projects, cost of resources, transportation are expensive whereas when parents home school they know what exactly their children need and based on that they can buy the required materials. When your kids join the other homeschooled ones, educational trips will be less expensive and sometimes you need pay even a penny. Some people believe that children who are being home schooled will have difficulty in getting college admissions which will lead to less number of career opportunities but that’s not true as most colleges prefer homeschooled children as they are more disciplined and self motivated to learn new things. In home school, every parent struggles to get their children in the right track in the beginning but ultimately they learn how to home school their kids.

Do You Really Want Time to Improve Your Parenting Skills?

46“I feel so blessed every time I realise the lettuce I’m about to use is pre-washed and I just picked up 20 bonus seconds.” I love this saying by Hamish Blake because it gets at the heart of how we like to rush everything so we can do more stuff and make more money.

It’s like a coffee slogan I once saw, written on a blackboard for coffee-obsessed Australians to see. It read ‘Drink coffee – do stupid things faster with more energy!’ Of course, we value things done faster because our society says we need to buy, buy, buy until we’re happy. Today’s society tells us to value energy because we can accomplish more, faster. And fast is good, because, time is worth a lot of money.

In fact, ask yourself what price you would put on 24 hours? Really do this.

How much did you say?

Then, if you could pay for time, would you want to spend the time you just purchased improving your parenting skills? In the 21st century, most parents don’t have time to improve their parenting skills.

Homeschooling also gives parents plenty of time to improve their parenting skills if parents want to. It gives the family valuable time to practice relationships and build trust. Trust is really important for obedience as children need to want to obey, something only formed when relationships are good and children realise their parents have their best interests at heart. Therefore, without time it is hard to establish good relationships and discipline as children don’t always believe parents have their best interests at heart.

If a parents fail to spend quality time with their children, their relationships deteriorates and things can get tense. When things get tense, parents don’t feel like discipline is effective, as children negatively. Some know this will be the case, so they don’t wish to go further and upset the relationship. They avoid confrontation in the form or discipline or instruction.

Nothing can make up for time. ‘Quality time’ is quantity time. As one unknown person said, “Good relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience, and two people who truly want to be together.” This quote is definitely extendible to the whole family because good relationships need to be formed in an agar of patience with love as the nutrient.

When children know you love them, displine is possible and children see it in their best interests – even if it hurts them. Without time, discipline is impossible and relationships suffer. This sounds so obvious, but if this one simple rule – essentially a rule of love – were to be obeyed by parents, relationships and discipline would be less painful and less fracturous than they are now.