Friday, March 16, 2012

How Math for Homeschoolers With Special Needs?

Math can be a challenge for children with special needs, leaving many homeschooling parents-not to mention kids-feeling overwhelmed. However, there are many math games and activities that can make learning math concepts easier and more enjoyable. Using a variety of games, especially those that are hands-on, can help children with learning disabilities retain more of the concepts being taught. Grasping the meaning of the math lesson is also essential to successful learning, as math tends to build on the lesson that comes before it.

So where do you start? And with so many to choose from, how do you know which math activities will work for your child? First of all, you need to keep in mind that all children learn differently. Therefore, they will need lessons that are tailor-made to fit their particular learning needs.

When it comes to choosing math for homeschoolers with special needs, try to seek out activities that you can center around their interests and fit to their learning styles. For instance, you can personalize math lessons or activities by including a favorite hobby or game-turn a favorite board game into a math lesson. You can use real events or experiences and even include some of your child's own ideas. Try making a trip to the grocery store a lesson on decimals or addition.

Math games are a great way for your child to practice his skills. He may have so much fun that it may be difficult to convince him that it is actually a math lesson! Math games and other resources are readily available online and in many curriculum packages. If cost is a factor, there are many activities that you can put together on your own. Just do a simple search online for "free math games."

Some of the more popular math games include sequencing games, picture-to-count sets, and math bingo. Other fun, hands-on activities may include humorous word problems using fun props like toys, puppets, etc. that you or your child demonstrate the problems and solutions to each other. Math memory and concentration games are also popular learning tools for kids. Flash cards can be used for a variety of games and are easy to make yourself.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How Do You Know You Are Capable?

Do you feel overwhelmed in your job as a homeschool parents. Many parents do. I have heard from so many people asking how they can know that they are capable of homeschooling their high school student. There are a few encouraging verses from the Bible that can help relieve some of those concerns.

Psalm 1:39 13-16 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful..."

Your child was given to you. You are the perfect parents for your child and your child is the perfect child for your family. Together, the two of you were meant to do this and that's how you'll know you'll be successful.

Think about Philippians 4:13 where it says "I can do all this through Him who strengthens me." That will include homeschooling high school. Also, 1 Peter 4:8 says "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." When something goes wrong, you can know that you can still homeschool high school because the love that you have for your child is going to cover everything.

This child has been given to you; you have been given to your child. You are the perfect partnership for homeschooling high school. You know that you are capable because God will provide what you need to do the job that you have been called to do. And you know that when these steps occur, it's going to be okay because the love for your child is going to cover all of it.

The scriptures say a lot about raising a child, but it does not say anything about forking your child over to the government for their education. It's all about the parent and the child. Even when it talks about rendering unto Caesar, it is not talking about your children. Your children have been given to you.

Also in scripture, God often provides step by step answers to problems that are faced. When Jesus changed the water to wine at the wedding at Cana, He did not tell His servants to change the water into wine; that would have been slightly overwhelming.

Instead, he gave them three steps:

   a. Fill jars with water.
   b.Draw water out of jars.
   c.Take a drink to the master.

At no point does Jesus say to graduate your child today and get them into this college. He's telling us to take one step at a time. So when you learn from me about college preparation, think about all the things that I talk about but realize that you do not have to do them all today.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Homeschool Transcript Tips

Making a homeschool transcript does not have to be a difficult thing. For those new to homeschooling high school, I want to start by putting you completely at ease about this from the very beginning.

A transcript is simply a piece of paper written in Times New Roman 12; it's just a regular paper with no notary on it. It can be printed on normal computer paper or if you would like you can buy a pack of parchment paper to use, but that is completely not necessary. There is nothing scary about it and you can do it at home.

The thing you do need to know about the transcript is that however you make it, it will look good. Without a doubt, if you put it out on print, it will look good and you will be amazed at how great your child looks.

The reason they look so great is that making a transcript is your chance to brag legally about your child. It's your opportunity to say everything wonderful that they've ever done; things that you wouldn't necessarily tell your friends because they might think that you are bragging.

Transcripts do tend to look a bit foreign to us. When I ask about your homeschool, you might talk about the pond and the nature study as well as the great unit study that you've done recently.

While that is a wonderful education, it doesn't make a lot of intuitive sense to colleges. Colleges think in terms of words and specific numbers. When preparing your transcript you need to be able to put your wonderful homeschool experience into the words and numbers that colleges understand.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Solution for Homeschooling Multiple Children

The Problem: New home schooling families are often overwhelmed with just the idea of homeschooling all of their children at the same time. Some will begin homeschooling one child one year and adding another the following year. That, in itself can add the problem of having to plan your schedule around the school's schedule because at least one family member goes to school. One of the big benefits of homeschooling is to be together as a family and to schedule life around the home and the education of the children. If the family "brings school" home and sets up a school schedule with textbooks for each subject for each child, teaching multiple children in a family would be very tedious and overwhelming.

The Solution: Unit studies --- This is a method of study that allows most of the curriculum to center on a topic of interest to one or more members of family.

For example, in the state of Washington, the home school law delineates eleven required subjects for students K-8: Math, Reading, Writing, Grammar, Spelling, History, Social Studies, Health, Science, Occupational Education, Art/Music. If your state does not specify subjects or classifies them differently just modify your list. Most of these subjects can be covered well by using this method. Exceptions include: math, grammar and early reading skills. In those cases you would need curriculum that follow a "scope and sequence" - a list or chart that shows what will be covered and in what order. Since math builds on skills, order and practice are important. I would include these subjects in a unit study so that your children understand that knowledge and skills are not separate, but unified.

Steps in Forming a Unit Study:

1. Choose a subject. Keep in mind the longer you want to stay on a subject, the broader the topic.

2. Use a "Mind Map" or "Web' to brainstorm the different parts of the unit.

3. Based on # 2, decide how long to study this topic. For beginners and younger children, I would begin with a two-week unit study. Later, larger topics / longer studies may be planned. Older students could use this method and follow the scope and sequence of an American History book to "complete" this required high school subject with a series of unit studies.

4. Make a list of subjects and plan activities to cover each of the subjects.

5. Gather materials - personal library, public library, Internet, local attractions etc.

6. Evaluate - during longer studies, you should periodically evaluate what has been learned and what remains to learn. You may decide to shorten or lengthen the unit study.

7. End the Study with a Culminating Activity - this could be a notebook, video documentary, display or a play for Dad and other family or friends.

Homeschooling parents can use the unit study method to keep everyone learning about the same topic using age-appropriate materials you own or you can get from the library. While there are many products available that have ready-made unit studies, I personally like the flexibility of planning my own unit studies. In my opinion, aside from academic excellence, the greatest benefit of the unit study is building family unity.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Can I Begin at the Highschool Level for Homeschoolling?

I am often asked if it is okay to start homeschooling at the high school level when you have never homeschooled before? The answer is a definite, YES!

It's perfectly fine and actually I am seeing this happen an awful lot as public schools are having more and more difficulty. A growing number of parents are trying to find the best possible education for their children. Yes, it's perfectly possible.

When you are a beginning homeschooler it is sometimes nice to have someone to hold your hand and help you through the process because it can be a bit scary until you get your feet wet. I usually recommend for beginners to take a look at Sonlight curriculum. That is the curriculum that I used when I started homeschooling and it really helped me figure out how much schoolwork was a normal amount each day as well as what I needed to cover.

Sonlight is a literature-based curriculum, and it is not right for everybody, but I do like recommending it as the first place for people to look at when they start.

It is very easy for you to begin homeschooling high school. The only difficulty is if you want to put your children from homeschooling back into a public school. The reason for that is that public schools care very much about accreditation, unlike homeschoolers and unlike colleges. While homeschoolers can continue all the way to high school and get into college without difficulty, sometimes the public schools have a great deal of difficulty accepting your transcript as a homeschooler.

One thing that you should make sure of is that at the high school level you are pretty much committed. If you don't feel like you can commit then you should make sure that you are going to commit for the first two years and then have your child perhaps do dual enrollment or some other option afterwards.

Yes, I believe that homeschooling is a great option for your high schooler and it is very possible to begin homeschooling in high school.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Twelve Ways For Cyber School Students To Refocus

Ever have one of those days where you have a bunch of stuff planned, but then you sit down to start doing them, and your brain seems to reject anything productive? That's me today. Mark your calendars because this is the worst brain fart I've had during Cyber School. Really though, I made it about a month without a really bad focusing problem so I'd call that a success!

It started yesterday when I decided to finally sit down, and work on the Sunday school lesson (I am teaching at my church this weekend). I got the fun stuff done, but anything remotely work related like reading a couple of chapters in the bible started to feel like a situation where you have to lick your elbow to save your life. I just couldn't do it and it frustrated me. So I stopped, went upstairs to read a bit, and went to bed.

That's my usual method for getting through stressful situations like mind block, just get away from it for a little while, then revisit it once your mind is clear. But what do you do when the stressful situations and mind block are because of school? You usually can't just get up and give it some time to process. No, you have to get it done in only a short amount of time or you are penalized with something like a tardy or a bad grade or other important stuff doesn't get done!

Today my 'To Do' list looked something like this

1. School= Finish an English report, three lessons of math and some sociology

2. Put up a blog post

3. Contact a bunch of churches around the area about the Christian club at school

4. Clean up a bit

5. Tennis practice, leave house at 2:30

After Tennis there were a couple other social events I had made a commitment to go to allowing me only the time between 8am and about 2pm to work. That gave me about six and a half hours to complete everything, keeping in mind that school work took me about two and a half hours today and contacting churches took out about another hour in my day. That leaves me with about three hours to clean and finish my blog post. Along with that I also need to feed myself and get ready for tennis. Also I am a girl so getting ready is a slightly lengthy process.

My day was booked! I couldn't take any time to slack off or take long breaks. So how did I get through? Well I did what any desperate to be done with work kid would do, I pushed on through completing some work only to the level of proficient rather than to an advanced level.

It wasn't very fun today. A lot of the tests and lessons I had to do today were extremely simple and easy, but more than once I'd find myself totally out of it just staring at the screen willing something, anything to put the correct answer there so that all I would have to do is click the 'Finish' button.

Somehow I got through, and then decided I could give myself a couple minute breaks to play a Wii game called 'Just Dance.' I don't mean to brag, but I got the high score in each dance.

The dance game helped a little, and is probably the reason I am able to write this post, I couldn't help but wonder what are some other little tricks and ideas to help us focus better. So I have compiled a list from three different articles:

1. Create a good learning environment with minimum distractions

2. Practice concentrating by doing things like listening to your breaths and heart beats

3. Use the number five. For example five more minutes or five more problems

4. Create a routine around your most productive and least productive times of the day

5. Set Goals/ Bribe yourself- If I finish these last 5 problems I can eat a piece of cake (I recommend not always using food)

6. Write out a 'To Do' list so you can work on things one at a time.

7. Make sure your body is healthy- enough sleep, good diet (less sugars), exercise, etc.

8. Set some time in the day to allow your mind to wander and think through things

9. Cup your hands around your eyes to give you tunnel vision so distractions are blocked.

10. Develop an interest in what you are doing

11. Limit the time where you have to focus a lot

12. Don't procrastinate because it distracts your mind from other activities

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How Teaching Math With Interactive Online Tools?

Teaching math can be a challenge, especially if you're trying to teach kids who are struggling. Today's math curriculum requires kids of all ages to learn and retain particular skills at each grade level, making it essential to ensure that they master each idea as it comes so that they don't get lost or confused when higher concepts are introduced.

Offer An Engaging Environment

Kids respond well to learning environments that are fun, interesting and engaging. When you give kids the opportunity to work in such an environment, teaching math can become much easier. One way to do this is to take advantage of the growing use of technology in education by introducing online math games to student curriculum. These games are accessible from any computer with an Internet connection and so can be used in the classroom or at home to supplement math education. Though using games to teach math skills isn't a substitute for the traditional educational environment, it can be helpful to kids who learn better with audio-visual tools than with standard print materials.

Encourage Mastery of Skills

Math is one concept that requires kids to master one skill before moving on to another. If you don't teach math skills such as number recognition, counting and basic addition and subtraction to kids at a young age, they won't be able to understand the concepts that they encounter as they move on to higher grades. By encouraging kids to pay attention to each concept as it comes and learn how to apply it to many different kinds of math problems, you give them the tools that they need to excel at math throughout their academic careers. Teaching math this way requires diligence and patience since each child will learn at a different pace. Online math games take this into account by giving kids the opportunity to move on when they're ready, rather than forcing them to continue before they've fully grasped the current lesson.

Include Positive Reinforcement

All learning processes come with both successes and failures. Kids need to learn how to accept when they have trouble with a concept and be willing to put in the effort necessary to understand it. Online math games and interactive learning aids give kids a chance to go back and work on anything they find hard by giving them an easier, more inviting way to address their struggles. By taking difficult concepts and presenting them with the aid of colorful settings and friendly characters, games help to ease kids' fear of failure and offer support as they work through things that might otherwise baffle them if presented in a textbook or on a worksheet.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Five Reasons to Choose A Web Design Course Online

Web design continues to soar in global popularity. From commercial to personal sites, website design is widely utilized and always in demand. Due to the global financial crisis, however, several UK-based firms and designers have had to raise prices in order to make ends meet. As a result, many customers are now opting for courses online. This is a cost-effective way to learn HTML, while effectively creating captivating sites within a set time and budget. There are several benefits associated with taking courses online. These include unlimited access to design software, along with freedom of artistic expression and other related factors.

Comfort And Convenience

Unlike overcrowded classrooms, students can take courses online at their home or office. They can also work and learn at their own pace and convenience. Online courses are very intricate in nature. Since they cover a myriad of topics and subjects, one needs to pay close attention in order to secure a favourable outcome. For courses that offer certification or degrees, students may have to pass stringent requirements and tests. Still, taking these courses at home or the office allows students to set their own schedules and sessions. From digital illustration and web marketing to graphic design, students can also sign up for a range of courses that effectively meet their needs.

Expert Tuition

Industry experts usually teach web design courses online. Therefore, students have unlimited access to the best in web design applications and courses. Teachers also offer assessment tests to monitor skills and progress. Whether it's creating templates, adding colours, or integrating HTML codes, each step in the process is carefully crafted to secure timely results. As technology evolves, web design courses online feature all the latest design tools and programs. This allows students to maintain an edge in this competitive, challenging, and growing market.

Building A Marketable Portfolio

While some take courses online for personal enrichment, others simply want to enhance their skills and learn new techniques. In the UK, there are several web enthusiasts that want to build a career in this high-end industry. Therefore, taking web design courses online can help them build a strong and marketable portfolio. No matter which sector of the industry they choose, applying learned skills is always a productive and worthwhile endeavour. If you are serious about forging a career in web design and online marketing, taking web design courses online offers the perfect platform for true market success and longevity.

Distance Education

As a form of distance education, online courses are designed to meet all your educational and budgetary needs. With online courses, students never have to worry about commuting to physical venues. They can also set their own hours, especially if they have daytime jobs or other responsibilities. These courses not only teach web design, they also help students learn about Internet marketing and social media integration. These are important tools in increasing online visibility, while attracting potential customers to business-related sites and forums.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Payments for Your Class Safely With PayPal

The concept of online payment has achieved a new dimension with the introduction of integrated payment gateway - PayPal. In recent years, PayPal has become the most easy-going payment method that supports flawless transactions. It is also considered to be the best medium by which the class organizers accept payments and fees from students. This article is going to show how you can accept payments securely and conveniently through PayPal.

One of the most important aspects of online payments is to ensure optimum security during the transaction process. PayPal is the most widely used and trusted payment system for your online class payments. It helps you make payments through debit or credit cards or bank account transfers through the PayPal website. The class registration software is directly integrated with PayPal payment system, which helps organizers and the attendees' process class payments by a single click of the mouse. This is likely to eliminate the complexities of manual payment processing as well as the problems associated with it. It also facilitates real-time authorization and processing of all those payments made through PayPal. Besides, being an online procedure, it also ensures secure transfer of funds.

Attendees using PayPal for making class payments can get real-time authorization once the transaction is processed. PayPal is known to be a low-cost medium for accepting credit card and bank account payments. You can easily integrate it with your website. The PayPal IPN provides an easy gateway for customers to pay using PayPal and also helps organizers have a merchant account in the PayPal site. It helps you process class payments through the Cloud-based payment platform with PayPal as one of its gateways.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How Online Math Help Aids Students of All Skill Levels?

Elementary level math involves mastering many skills and memorizing a great deal of information in a relatively short period of time. Math facts, the relationships between numbers, basic arithmetic and advanced calculations must all be learned before kids can move on to middle school. With all of these things to learn and retain, it's understandable if your child requires a little math help.

Aiding Struggling Students

Many kids lack proficiency in basic math concepts, making it difficult for them to develop a full understanding of new ideas. For these kids, online math games can be a great help. Both entertaining and academic, online games offer an adaptive learning environment that works with kids to help them reach their full potential. It can be much easier to get your struggling student to accept math help by giving them a game to play than by sitting them down with extra written homework. Through games, math becomes more interesting and learning can take place while engaging your child's natural inclination toward play.

Challenging Advanced Learners

Other students find math to be easy and may quickly become bored when they have to sit through a lesson that they already understand. If your child falls into this category, they may benefit from math help that challenges them with new ideas rather than reviewing established concepts. Online games can be used for this as well, since the learning environment is designed to adapt to your child's specific academic needs. Through the use of a rigorous curriculum in line with today's academic standards, online math games can introduce your advanced student to new ideas anytime he or she is ready. This provides kids with an edge in the classroom that can be valuable at any grade level.

The Benefits of Progress Monitoring

As a parent, it's important to stay involved in your child's academic career. Parental involvement helps to reinforce the learning that takes place in the classroom and encourages kids to put their all into their schoolwork. When online games are used as an interactive tool for math help, it's easy to keep track of your child's progress. These games engage your child at his or her current skill level so that new concepts can be introduced at just the right time. Getting involved in this process lets your child know that you care about how well he or she is doing, which in turn boost confidence and can help to improve academic performance.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Homeschooling High School Is Importance of Junior Year

Junior year is one critical moment in time when you are homeschooling high school. In freshman and sophomore year you can kind of "fly by the seat of your pants", but in junior year there are certain tasks that you need to do. On the first day of senior year you really want your child to start to apply for colleges. This sounds easy enough and only applies to senior year except for one minor detail. If you don't know where you're going to apply on the first day of senior year, it's kind of hard to actually do the applying.

That is why much of junior year is spent figuring out what colleges your student is going to apply to. You do that by making sure that your child takes the PSAT, and the SAT or ACT. These tests will tell them the approximate test score that they have so that they will know which college they will fit with. You can also go to a college fair so you can get an overview of colleges you may want to attend.

Another important task of junior year is to identify a school that you want to visit and then actually visit the college. Otherwise, you may discover it is not anything like the name that they have on the side of their buildings or what you see in their marketing brochures. You have to make sure that the college is a good fit for your child.

When you are homeschooling high school, pay attention to the college search during junior year and then you can be really successful.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Some Homeschooling Statistics That Might Surprise You

Attending school every day just isn't like it used to be when we were kids. Kids are growing up fast in a fast paced world, and the influence of peer pressure, bullying and drug and alcohol influence has become a reality in our nations public and private schools.

Parents seeking an alternative education method for their children are turning more often to homeschooling as a viable education option. This article is intended to provide some interesting homeschooling statistics that detail homeschooling facts, percentages of students being homeschooled and primary reasons why parents opt to homeschool their kids. If you are at a crossroads of deciding upon the proper education method for your child(ren) hopefully this information will assist you in making your decision.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) survey revealed that approximately 2% of children ages 5-17 were homeschooled. Homeschooling for this survey is defined as students who spend less than 25 hours a week in school and were at least partially schooled at home.

    Approximately 2 million students in this country are currently homeschooled.
    Homeschooling doesn't necessarily mean a life of exclusion. Many sports facilities have special sessions held during normal school hours, to benefit and attract home schooled students and parents alike.

The top three reasons parents choose to homeschool their children are as follows:

    Concern about the school environment (30%), desire to provide a religious and/or moral educations for their children (27%) and dissatisfaction with the academic instruction (17%) provided at local schools.

Parents reported the most important reason for their decision to homeschool was to provide a religious/moral education for their child, followed by concern for the school environment, and finally lack of satisfaction with the academic instruction was the final reason quoted.

Homeschooling statistics are tracked by the U.S. Department of Education. Below are some interesting statistics about the education level of the parents who have decided to homeschool their children.

    Most parents have some college classes or vocational education.
    25% have Bachelor Degrees.
    22% have Masters or advanced college degrees.

Homeschooling statistics show the gender population of homeschooled students to be equally split between males and females. The majority of homeschooling households had 2 parents and 2 or more children. Geographic demographics of these families are split down the middle, 50% of households residing in cities and 50% live in rural communities.

43% of students homeschooled are in grades K-5, 28% in grades 6-8, and 29% in grades 9-12. Of the students who are homeschooled, 82% of those student are exclusively schooled at home with no outside education, while 18% are attending a school part-time, approximately 9 hours per week. While public schooled children have 49% of parents that are dual income, 56% of private schooled children have dual income families, only about 25% of homeschooled students belong to a dual income family.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

3 Ways to Motivate Learning

Use Travel to Motivate Learning

During the summer and other holiday times, families frequently travel. Homeschooling families have the flexibility to travel at other times. As well, in preparation for these trips, encourage your children to discover information about the place of destination and other places along the way. "Research" can continue during the trip by stopping at tourist shops and other places. Upon return the child can write a report in the form of a paper, design an exhibit, a make scrapbook/photo album or compile a notebook. Some students have electronic ways to report on their travel - i.e. blogs, and power point presentations. At one time I had a student in one of my home school classes that spent some time in Louisiana during the fall. He learned much about the state and history of that area. He did a report for the class when he returned. If you belong to a travel club, you can get help in planning your itinerary. Depending on the age of the child you may also want to consider using the library or Internet to explore points of interest. Holidays and travel are just examples of how LIFE is our classroom and curricula. Happy Homeschooling!

Use Holidays to Motivate Learning

The holiday that instigated this tip was October 31. Research on the Internet can provide cultural notes explaining the origin of Halloween and Day of the Dead (Los Dias de los Muertos in Mexico) on November 1. They take us back to the Celtic tradition that had the dead returning to earth to wander around the land of the living. The Celtic towns in old England would light bonfires and feasts to honor the dead. All Hallows Eve or All Hallos Day became Halloween as celebrated today. In Mexico, death is seen as the beginning of life rather than the end. They honor the dead on the Day of the Dead or All Saints' Day on November 1. Many are unaware that October 31 is Reformation Day. On this day in 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses (or statements) on the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany. These statements, meant as a catalyst to bring about reforms within the Church of Rome, began discussions that ultimately led to the rise of Protestantism. Reformation themes are Scripture Alone, Grace Alone and Faith Alone. What a contrast of ideas! Researching the holidays can motivate students at a time when children have a hard time focusing on learning. As you discuss different ideas about these holidays, Christian parents can guide your child in determining which and to what extent these ideas are Scriptural.

Use Teachable Moments to Motivate Learning

Those of you who were in Washington State on February 28, 2001 experienced some very unsettling teachable moments. Our 6.8 Earthquake shook long and hard. Talking about why we fared so well for such a strong quake can be a science lesson and a Bible lesson. You can talk about how to respond in different kinds of emergencies. You can talk about why spaces are left in sidewalks and bridges. Children can learn to help the needy. Children can learn to pray for those affected by disasters. How we react can be the best lesson of all: Do we trust our Sovereign God to take care of us or not? One student asked me to pray that an earthquake would never happen again. I could not promise to do that, but I did remind her that God protected us. He does whether we are in historic Seattle buildings, the State Capitol Building in Olympia or in homes that suffered no damage. Hebrews 13:5 reminds of His promise, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." He will enable us in what ever the circumstance of life. (I Corinthians 10:13). We have teachable moments everyday; some are more memorable than others are.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My daughter was homeschooled for the last two years in high school and was accepted at Harvard, Yale and Princeton! She's currently at Harvard and is thriving!

Here are a few tips I used to help her achieve great success!

She took Latin through AP Latin. It did wonders for her vocabulary, which helped her ace the reading comprehension section on the SAT exam. I promised her she could study any other language once she finished with Latin and that she'd pick it up more easily when she did.

Your GPA will for all practical purposes be disregarded by admissions. It is just too difficult for college admissions to verify that your exams were proctored, timed and not open book. Know this and realize that your SAT scores will be weighed even more heavily. You must ace the SAT or ACT exam.

Take AP courses. The standardized, timed and proctored test for AP courses will prove you mastered the material and can do difficult, college-level work. You will want to get 5's on your AP exam so make sure you leave time to take several practice exams! Princeton Review is usually the same level of difficulty as the actual exam and Barron's practice exams are usually the most difficult. Barron's are great for when you finish the College Board exams and the Princeton Review exams for those students aiming for the perfect score!

Online schools do not emphasize the need to finish the syllabus weeks ahead of the AP exam in order to study and prepare for it. The exam is the first weekend in May so start the course early in late August and finish by April. You will have left yourself a whole month for practice exams!

Balance your course load. Don't take so many AP's that you can't do your best in all of them. My daughter took one sophomore year, 3 junior year, and 2 senior year. She only took 3 AP exams, getting 5's on all 3 and was named an AP Scholar! She didn't take AP exams senior year; she was already into Harvard!

Prepare for the SAT or ACT during the summers, BEFORE junior year!

During the school year you will be too busy with schoolwork and extracurricular activities to also study effectively for the SAT. You need to take 8 SAT practice exams! Correct each one before you take the next exam to learn from your mistakes. Preparing before junior year will also help you ace the PSAT exam given junior year in October!

Send a brag sheet to anyone writing a college recommendation for you so they are aware of all your accomplishments. Don't assume they know!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Steps to Success With Oral Reading and Long Division

Improve Fluency of Oral Reading

Oral Reading fluency can be improved by using the NEUROLOGICAL IMPRESS METHOD (NIM) or SIMULTANEOUS READING.

The parent / teacher

    sits on the reader's dominant side
    follows the text smoothly with a finger as she and the reader read the text together
    slows only a little while the reader speeds up to match the parent's reading

In this way, the reader hears, sees and says the words in the text. Doing this 15 minutes twice a day for a period of months can make a big difference.

Once at Evangelical Christian Academy in Madrid, we were preparing one of my 4th grade students to spend more time in his classroom and less time in the Learning Resource Center (special education resource room). He had a strong background in phonics, but he still read on the second grade level. His mother read with him once a day and I read with him once a day. After doing NIM for a few months, he was reading on 4th or 5th grade level. He was ready to participate more with his 4th - 6th grade class of missionary children.

Breakdown Learning into Small Steps

Breaking down learning objectives into small steps may help avoid overwhelming students. LONG DIVISION is notorious for escalating frustration because there are numerous steps. Assigning names to each of the steps keeps the students moving from one step to another. There are a number of programs that use this idea. For example one such method uses the Long Division Family to keep the student moving from one step to the next:

Dad reminds you to Divide (/)

Mom reminds you to Multiply (x)

Sister reminds you to Subtract (-)

Brother reminds you to Bring down

To divide 18 by 2, a sample script would go something like this:

Dad says, "Divide 2 into 1. How many times does 2 go into 1?"

You say, "0 times." So you write zero on the above of 1.

Mom says, "Multiply 0 times 2. How much is 0 x 2?"

You say, "0" So you write 0 below the 1.

Sister says, "Subtract. What is 1 take away 0?"

You say, "1" So you write 1 under the subtraction line.

Brother says, "Bring down. Is there a number to bring down?"

You say, "Yes, 8" So you bring down the 8.

Dad says, "Divide. How many times does 2 go into 18?"

You say: "9" So you write 9 above the 8.

Mom says, "Multiply. How much is 2 times 8?"

You say, "18" So you write 18 under the 18 at the bottom.

Sister says, "Subtract How much is 18 take away 18?

You say, "0" so you write 0 under the subtraction line.

Brother says: "Bring down. Is there a number to bring down?"

You say: "There is nothing to bring down so I am finished with this problem."

Once your child is familiar with the process, you can gradually reduce the number of words you use. Eventually, the process will be internalized and he will complete long division step by step.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homeschooling High School and College

Many people do not realize that colleges are recruiting homeschoolers. We often think that because we are homeschooling, we are pretty different and unusual. We wonder how we are going to convince the colleges that they want our children. It usually ends up being the other way around. Colleges are looking for homeschoolers, although they find us a little hard to locate.

If you look through your homeschool magazines you will find ads that are placed there by colleges. If you're on Facebook, you will see advertisements for colleges that want your homeschool kids. They are everywhere.

One of the ways to ensure colleges will recruit you is to tell them that you're a homeschooler. The easiest way to tell them is to have your child take the PSAT when they are a sophomore or a junior. It will ask them what their high school is, and you can have your child enter the homeschool code. Colleges will begin to send your child mail, telling them that they want them at their college.

Visiting colleges will become vital as the colleges start approaching you. It is critically important that you take your high school students to visit the colleges where they think they might attend.

Colleges change over time. I remember talking with one of my friends about the college that my children were attending and how my son had organized a Jane Austen themed dance. She was just shocked because when she went to that same school nobody was allowed to dance. This particular college had changed over time.

Even though I have been so happy with the college experience of my children, our college will also change over time. Even if you know the reputation of the college, you will still want to visit it because it can change. Even if it has been good in the past, it can change into something you don't appreciate. On the other hand, you may go for a visit and find out you like it even more.

You really can't tell everything about the college by looking at the college brochure. You certainly want to read everything you can about the college to see if it's even worthy of a visit. If you think it may be a good fit for your child, then you definitely want to visit to make sure what you have read is true.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Three Ways Parents Can Help Students Get Better Test Scores

As a kid in grade school I remember my father telling me to go to my room and study. Which for me meant going to my room and playing video games. As a parent we often pin the future of our children on every test that they take in grade school. We have all felt that if our students could simply get better grades they would have a brighter future than we had. While their future success in life is not likely riding on the line with every test, every test is still important.

Kids today balance a demanding schedule of after school activities like band practice, sports, and time with their friends. Without pushing your kids away or asking them to trade their social life or other activities for a better GPA you can help them get better grades with these 3 tips.

1. Help them prepare their study area. You'll be surprised at how quickly they want to take over this task for themselves. If you set aside one half hour of study time a day and help them prepare their study area for that time period it will be an effective and efficient study time. Some of the things you should help them get together for their study area is some soft background music, a drink of water and a lite, non-messy snack. Every student will enjoy getting their lite snack and their own music ready. You'll need a clean and quiet area with enough space and good lighting.

2. Teach them to map out two concepts maximum for each half hour study session. Every student has a tendency to try to cover an entire subject in one sitting. Parents can help their students identify which two topics to cover. Breaking the study session down into two specific concepts instead of entire subjects will help the student retain the information they study. The more the student retains from each study session, the easier it is for them to pick up their books for the next study session.

3. Help them keep a routine. Consistency is the key to success in weight loss, business and test scores. One half hour every night at a similar time will help your student develop a pattern and pretty soon they'll begin to start their study routines without your prodding.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How Plan Your Home Education Program Based on Learning Styles?

Ultimately, many parents bring home, the very elements of the educational program that have caused their children to struggle in school. Why? There are a number of possibilities:

For one, parents feel more secure in duplicating the "experts." School has been the predominate form of education in our country for so long that we are afraid that we are going to miss something important. Remembering why you decided to homeschool and what is important to you guards against this problem. Also, keep in mind that there are almost as many ways of homeschooling as there are homeschoolers. Your goal should be to find a balance between setting up a school classroom in your home and unschooling. The right answer for your family may be different from other homeschooling families you may know.

Whether you are a veteran homeschooler or are preparing for your first year, you will want to do some evaluating before you start purchasing curriculum. You should consider your own learning style and that of each or your children. Discovering how you and your child learn is essential in the teaching process. Am I saying that you should only teach to your child's preferred learning style? NO! However, if your child is struggling, you should teach difficult areas using his or her style. In other areas, the child should use other styles. If this plan does not result in success, you need to seek other advice.

You may be confused about learning styles. Some talk about whether they are right brain or left brain. Others, being random or sequential. Are you visual, auditory or kinesthetic? Then, There are seven (now more) kinds of intelligences.

Each of these approaches is helpful to some people. Cynthia Tobias has done a good job of putting them all into perspective in her book: The Way They Learn. Most of the book deals with four dominant learning styles: concrete sequential, abstract sequential, abstract random, and concrete random. Then she uses Gregoric's work on mind styles to describe how we concentrate. Dunn and Dunn's work on environmental preferences help us design an ideal study area. Barbe-Swassing's works on the modalities (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) explain how we remember. We understand analytically or globally according to Witkin. She also summarizes Gardener and Armstrong's Seven Intelligences. Dr. Gardner has added more since coming out with the original seven. Tobias puts it together in a chapter near the end of the book. Monitor yourselves as you go through the five stages that Tobias outlines in chapter 11 of her book. No one is just one learning style. We are individuals! When we understand ourselves, we can use learning styles to learn things that are difficult, understand others and be encouraged when we are forced to work in an area that is not our strength.

Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Way to Get the Best Educational Consultant for Your Child

All parents want to provide the best education for their children. Parents who want to home school their child require support from an educational associate. An educational associate helps them create a balanced curriculum and assessment program- a complete educational plan for their child.

So, how do you find the most suitable educational planner? This process requires some due diligence in which the parents closely analyze certain characteristics. Here are some characteristics that you must look for in a professional educational associate:

1. Should Have Prior Experience working with Individual Students
It is essential that the educational associate you choose has some prior experience working with individuals. The experience helps them to deal with your child in a better way. They must understand that each child has his or her key strengths and weaknesses. This can help them develop a special customized educational plan for your child according to his or her learning pace and ability.

2.Should Have Experience in a Specific Area
In case your child takes special education services, you must choose a consultant who has thorough knowledge of all related laws for such services. In addition, you may ask specifications about the services to gauge the consultant's understanding of the specialty. This is important in order to provide top quality education for your child.

3. Should Have Adequate Knowledge about Academic Assessments
The educational consultant should have in depth knowledge about how to prepare and conduct student academic assessments. You want to ensure that your consultant is well aware of the criteria, pertaining to the learning capacity and pace of your child. You may ask them to elucidate the entire assessment process for your own satisfaction.

4. Should have some Certification in Educational Psychology
Your child may have special needs, so you need to make sure your educational assistant has adequate knowledge in that area. Educational consultants help deal with children who have special needs such as behavioral problems. The accreditation ensures that the consultant has prior experience in that specialty.

5. Should have a good chemistry with the Family
An educational assistant should be able to make the child and his or her family comfortable. This is important as it makes it easier for the family to share relevant information about their child. This information can be necessary to create a customized curriculum and assessment plan. Therefore, this can enable parents and consultants to work together to maximize learning potential of the child.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Seven Ways to Home School Your Child

Here are 7 ways in which you can homeschool your kid.

1. Use a structured course content

Some parents find that a packaged curriculum saves time as it is pre-planned. You could buy it at a curriculum sale or online. The lessons can take from an hour to six daily. Some curriculums have accompanying computer programs to aid you with grading and lesson planning.

2. Create your own course content

Check the state laws. You have a certain degree of flexibility in teaching but some states will require you to include science, math, language arts, and civic studies or history in curriculum and devote time to each of them daily. Creating curriculum by yourself will require you to find online material and get in touch with other parents who home school their kids. The personalized curriculum is cost effective and makes use best use of child's capabilities as it can be tailored according to his strengths and weaknesses.

3. Use a computer program or a DVD

DVD curriculum can homeschool your kid for you. The tutorials are available for every course.

4. Get the help of a public school online

An online public school has its own curriculum and materials. The child will learn from an online coach.

5. Homeschool your kid with an online private school

Some home schooling companies offer access to both public school and private school learning on their websites. The kids learn along with many other students around the world who are enrolled in the classroom from their homes. The teacher guides the kid online or through phone.

6. Use the unschooling technique

This approach takes into account child's interest in a particular topic. The curriculum is led by the child. The term was coined by John Holt in the 1970's. For instance, your child is interested Egyptian history. You could teach him from books, show educational movies or take him to a natural history museum and continue with the topic until the child is ready to move to another one.

7. Get the help of an educational advocate

An educational advocate works with you and your kid to formulate a curriculum for the child. Your child's progress is monitored by educational consultants. Some even plan field trips as part of home schooling to enhance learning.