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

A Credit or Not A Credit? That is the Question.
Deciding how much theater makes up a high school credit can be tricky. The general concept for all courses is 5 hours a week for a full year of school, so you can calculate whether that's enough for a credit or for a half credit. There is no real "absolute" right and wrong answer. I really like right-and-wrong math questions, so I never felt really comfortable guessing on credit value. I always did the "5 hours...
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Left brain vs. Right brain: It's a no-brainer

It's kind of twisted, really. I just love science! I am a nurse, so I have a big science and math background. But I just love it! When we did microscope work, I would find myself going in to look at the microscope by myself! I'm just curious... you folks who don't like science, do you like art? Because I hate it! It is so messy, it would get my house so many crazy colors. My...
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Fun with Maps!

My kids used to have so much fun making maps that I wanted to share an idea with you. We found this in the book "Make it Work Maps." Amazon.com Widgets We used a topographical map - the kind with a line around every 1000 feet of elevation. We enlarged a section of the map. Then we traced the line patterns, one at a time, onto cardboard and cut it out. We glued the cardboard pieces...
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Thinking about Community College?

This post focuses on dual-enrollment in Washington State (called "Running Start".) I think you will find some useful information here regardless of where you live. Running Start is relatively easy to access as a homeschooler, even at a young age. 1) take the COMPASS test at the community college 2) take your transcript and COMPASS test results to the local high school and talk to the Running Start counselor there 3) they will sign a paper...
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Time to Panic?

I don't want you to feel like you "should" panic, but I want you to know that this is the time of year when most of my phone calls are panic - related. Parents are starting to think about grades and about what they will teach next year, and sometimes it get so overwhelming that they panic. Panic is a normal, natural part of being a homeschool parent! Panic is good feedback - it says that...
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Homeschoolers and Military Academies

Homeschoolers and Military Academies
All the military academies accept homeschoolers! Military academies look for students with three strengths: academics, athletics, and leadership. Their admission criteria are stringent, but they tend to value all three strengths equally. When I was at a recent College Fair, all branches of the military seemed equally enthusiastic about homeschoolers, and even gave me some specific advice on activities in our area that they like to see in their candidates. If your child is interested in...
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Raising Men vs. Raising Boys

Raising Men vs. Raising Boys
There is a watershed moment in high school when it comes to parenting boys. When they are younger, your focus is raising an obedient and confident child. Once they get into high school, you have to somehow transition into developing respect for your son as growing man. Check out the book "Love and Respect." Instead of reading it as a "husband and wife" book, think about how it pertains to young men. How can you show...
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What to do with a Hands-on Learner

At the high school level hands-on learning often means using real-life experience: science experiments, geography experiments, etc. We used YMCA Youth & Government for our American Government credit. Speech & Debate, or Toastmasters can be a good English or elective credit. By the time a student is in high school, it may be a good time to encourage the student to help you choose curriculum. That doesn't mean it's a free-for-all with your money, though. What...
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Another School Shooting

A poem my husband wrote after Columbine: Another Day at Homeschool No one got shot today, No one was threatened, No one packed heat in the lunchroom, And the only knife spread jam on white toast. None were disenfranchised, No jocks, no freaks. None donned black trenchcoats, Though we always dress warmly when it rains. The CD wasn't too loud, (Mozart, not Manson), And the fingernails tapping Sweetly on the piano weren't painted black. The bed...
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It Sure Beats Discussing Cap'n Crunch

I am sure many of you have already heard of this idea, but it's one of my favorites! Put a large map on your dining table and cover it with a clear plastic tablecloth (I got mine at Target for $4) It worked great! Once we found this strategy, we would buy maps and educational posters at garage sales, usually included in the big boxes of old National Geographics you can get for cheap. We had...
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Losing it in Math

Hi Lee, Thanks for the e-mail. Even though I'm a few years away from high school yet I know it will come before I know it. I don't know if you can offer any help but I thought I'd ask any way. My oldest is 11 and technically will be entering 6th grade next year which is middle school as you know, my concern is that I'm at a point where I no longer am comfortable...
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Spelling Woes? Try Spelling Power!

When you begin Spelling Power, you start by assessing what how well your child spells. Then you start your child at that level. When my child was in 3rd grade, he tested at level G (about 7th grade level,) so I started him there. So the words are exactly as hard as they should be for your particular child regardless of how well, or how poorly, your child spells. There is an alphabetical list of 5000...
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Composer of the Week

One year I purchased a Costco 10-CD pack of great composers. Neat, because each CD was a different composer. My idea was to have a "composer of the week." We would just play a CD during lunch and maybe during math. I found portaits of the great composers on the web, that I would print. We read about them, sometimes online and sometimes from library books. Another idea for music appreciation is "How to Listen to...
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Teach Poetry to Homeschoolers

I recommend a series of poetry books for children called Poetry for Young People. The series has Poe, Elliot, Shakespeare, Hughes - there are perhaps 10-12 books in the series. You can get them at the library, but here is an example from Amazon: Amazon.com Widgets By using real poetry, they learned early that poems don't always rhyme, etc. It was fun. I know I learned a lot :-) For more fun, we also used the...
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Making School Fun!

I tried to incorporate games into our homeschool whenever possible. My kids didn't enjoy many of the hands-on projects that we did, but they do love playing games. After a while I gave up trying to find unit study projects that they enjoyed, and I focused more on what they loved - games. We played math games, art games, economics games. They would giggle when I wrote on the assignment sheet "Play 30 minutes of Masterpiece"...
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