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Learning is More Important than Teaching

Learning is More Important than Teaching


As homeschool parents, our goal is NOT to teach; our goal is for the kids to LEARN. I could have taught my kids "at grade level" and they wouldn't have learned a thing. Instead, I gave them curriculum at their ability level, and then they had to learn what they didn't already know. I believe that older teens MUST learn how to teach themselves. If our children go to college, they will be expected to learn all the textbook material on their own. College lectures are most often supplemental to the textbook - not the same content. If our children don't go to college, they will still have to teach themselves computer skills, online banking, or how to buy a car. My kids taught themselves advanced math (pre-calculus) and calculus. They taught themselves physics. I know they learned the material because I gave them the tests. I didn't know what the calculus symbols meant, but I knew my kids' answers matched the answers on the key! I could have taught them biology and chemistry (because I'm an RN and I know that stuff) but they taught themselves instead. It worked out better for us when they taught themselves, and I just checked up on them from time to time. Alex taught himself economics, doing graduate level work in economic thought (we were later told by his Colege professor) while he was still in high school. He even taught himself psychology and business law, and earned fabulous grades on the college level CLEP exams in these subjects. Here's my point: a child will teach themselves subjects they are interested in. It works out great for a kid who is working on an intensely academic, college prep curriculum as well as a kid who is in a relaxed homeschool environment. Learning is more important than teaching. I have seen SO many notes addressed to me about "getting it all done" that I just want to put in a plug for prayer and quiet time. I found that when I was consistent in adding them to my day that I could "get it all done." When I wasn't consistent, I got frustrated; either I was expecting too much, or was frustrated too easily. When I spent time with God, things went more smoothly in our homeschool. Do you think learning is more important than teaching? Please share in the comments!

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Please note: This post was originally published in November, 2007 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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High School Math Ideas

High School Math Ideas
Kim wrote to suggest some math resources.  You may want to look at PLATO and MyMathLab to see if they will fit your children.




Hi, Lee.  I read your article on math choices for high school students (and parents) and I would like to add another option which isn't well-known amongst homeschooling circles (yet) but is highly touted and becoming increasingly used by public high schools and many colleges (all levels). Both are available to homeschoolers; they are online programs such as PLATO http://www.plato.com/ and MyMathLab (Pearson) http://www.mymathlab.com/.

PLATO is a completely online-line program which works wonders for those students who 1) need a self-paced program  2) want a "just the facts, ma'am " type of program  and c) are impatient with poor explanations by sub-par instructors.  While in public school my daughter used PLATO for the last part of her junior year; for the first time in her high school career she felt as if she were actually learning math in a clear, coherent, systematic manner.  Her grades and enthusiasm for math soared. [ PLATO is also used by colleges for students to review math (remedial math) as well as take advanced courses, on up Calculus level.  Recently the program added a component for AP Calc preparation.  [I purchased a subscription through the Kentucky Virtual Campus]

Because PLATO is very similar to the nationwide number #1 college Math program, Pearson's MyMathLab/Course Compass, it is extremely easy for a student to transition from one program to another.  In my daughter's case, I had her utilize PLATO (Algebra 2) in the first half of her senior high school year.  PLATO prepared her so well in just a few short months that when she took her SAT in December 2010 she scored high enough to go directly into College Algebra.  Now she in enrolled in an online College Algebra Course using Pearson's MyMathLab (as I said, a smooth transition) and she is getting straight As in College Algebra.  Because she is doing so well she is now going to pursue her dream (the sciences) because she knows online college Math courses using MyMathLab are available up through Calc III.  No more incomprehensible professors with mediocre teaching abilities for her!

Thus, I would encourage students (and parents) to look into PLATO and online college courses (for credit, no less!) utilizing Pearson's MyMathLab.

Kim in Florida

PS.  When you are applying for colleges, you will need a great homeschool transcript.  The good news is you can “do-it-yourself” and save thousands.  Discover the Total Transcript Solution.
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Homeschool Transcript- Keeping Grades in Large Families

Homeschool Transcript- Keeping Grades in Large Families
How do you keep up with grading when you have four, five or more kids? When my kids were younger, I never really graded at all. Our state (WA) does not require parents to grade, so I didn't. I would grade math tests, just to make sure they knew the stuff, but I didn't KEEP those grades anywhere. Once they started high school, I didn't change my way of doing things with homeschool. I just started keeping track of how I evaluated them, without changing what I actually did with them day to day. Here is an article that I wrote about grading:
http://www.squidoo.com/homeschool_grading

You can see on my Comprehensive Record Solution that I only used tests to grade for some classes, but not others. Here is an example of a class I did NOT use a test to grade - it was History, but my English classes looked very similar:
http://www.thehomescholar.com/pdfs/Sample_Course_Description.pdf

Blessings,
Lee
Get your daily dose of wisdom from my blog on your e-mail reader
(http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheHomescholar)

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Homeschooling Curriculum - Let's Talk Latin!

Homeschooling Curriculum - Let's Talk Latin!


How is Latin even possible? I printed samples from Latina Christiana, and I'm feeling overwhelmed. Declensions? Conjugations? Possum? Sum? Help!

Be brave, little Piglet! (Quote from Winnie the Pooh, from all who are wondering - my brain also stuffed with fluff!) I remember having those EXACT same fears when we started Latin! I would look at the book and, well, it was all Greek to me!

As you take it one step at a time, it begins to make sense. Really, it's just like following complicated directions in a recipe or something. Just take it one step at a time, and then it begins to make sense. I promise! Plus, remember the advice that Dori gives in Nemo and "Just keep swimming" and you'll get it figured out.

That being said, I did use Latin Road, and they do assume that 1) you're homeschooling and 2) the teacher is a mom who doesn't know Latin. That may have been why it was OK for us. I did look at Wheellocks' Latin and couldn't even BEGIN the first chapter in that one. I believe that Latin Road is for 5th and up, but you'd have to check the website.



Are you ready to get serious about homeschooling high school?  Send me an email and let’s talk!

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Home School Education - Is the AP or CLEP Exam Better for Homeschoolers?

Home School Education - Is the AP or CLEP Exam Better for Homeschoolers?

>>>>Can you compare AP and CLEP exams? Why did you choose CLEP?<<<<AP tests are much longer, more expensive, and have ambiguous essay questions that irritated me. I chose to use CLEP exams because they took MUCH less time per test, were a little less expensive, and they were all multiple choice. You know "math & science Lee", always looking for those right-or-wrong answers! AP tests are longer, so they have lots more questions. Since the CLEP exams are shorter and have fewer questions, their questions are all obscure. You have to know the detailed stuff in order to pass it. Of course, that's also why it's college level.


AP exams take a tremendous amount of study, as does CLEP. The difference is partly that if you take the AP exam, you also have to study how to take an AP exam! It's a real skill to write those essays and stuff...If you buy an AP prep book, you can see what I mean. Practice, practice, practice! For a CLEP exam, it's just like taking a very in-depth IOWA basic test - much more familiar looking. But that may be just me :-)

Blessings, Lee
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The HomeScholar
www.TheHomeScholar.com
"Helping parents homeschool through high school"
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Homeschool Transcript - How do I give a credit in Bible to my homeschooler?

Homeschool Transcript - How do I give a credit in Bible to my homeschooler?

>>>>A client writes: I want to give my kids credit for Bible...but I haven't asked them to write a single thing down this year. What do I do?<<<<When we did Bible, I just had them read books, mostly. No tests. Rare papers. Sometimes one of them would teach Sunday School classes, or read scripture at church.


May I suggest that Bible may be one good area to count hours? Just estimate how many hours per day or week they spend reading and talking to you about these issue. 1 hour a day or 5 days a week would be a whole credit. 2 hours per week might be 1/2 credit (rough estimates are OK.) Once in a while, when I wanted "proof" I would ask them to write their English paper on something about their Bible or the books they were reading. They did it INSTEAD of an English paper, though, not in addition.

Do you remember all my stories about Alex and economics and Kevin and chess? They just did all this reading for fun (totally freaked me out, actually.) Now with Alex, I gave him CLEP exams in economics, and figured out real fast how many credits of economics he had learned. With Kevin it wasn't so easy. Surprisingly there is no CLEP exam in chess! (LOLOLOLOL!!!!!) I still gave him credit for it. No tests (duh!) and no written work. I kept track of the books that he read, and the chess classes that he taught. When I wrote his course description, that was all it included :-)

You CAN cut out the busy work. Stop thinking in terms of how SCHOOLS evaluate learning, and think about how YOU evaluate learning. From what you say, it sounds like you do most of your evaluation by oral report, right? Oral reports are a perfectly acceptable way to evaluate. Alex's college final in French yesterday was an oral report. It's really fine to do that!

If you want "proof" and you just must have proof, then write a list of the books they read, and write the topic of your discussions. "Nature of Hell, 1 hour" or "Nature of Grace, 1 hour." If that makes you feel better, than more power to you! Then you'll have "proof" in case you ever wanted to use your proof. I just don't recommend that you change what you're doing, because what your doing is working!

Does that help?

Blessings,
Lee
--
The HomeScholar
www.TheHomeScholar.com
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Homeschool College - Should you use E-mail or Snail Mail to Say Thank You after a College Visit ?

Homeschool College - Should you use E-mail or Snail Mail to Say Thank You after a College Visit ?
>>>>A mom asked if she should send an email or snail mail thank you note after visiting a college....<<<<
I think that the answer is BOTH. If you don't intend to go to the school, then sending them an email thank you note is fine. But if you DO intend to apply to the school, then I would send both an email and a snail mail thank you note. Some colleges keep a record of how many contacts you make, that is, how many "touches." For that reason, it can actually benefit you to write a snail mail letter. Use my answer for a school assignment! You can have them write it today.

Blessings,
Lee
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Homeschool Transcript - Do Colleges Accept Homeschool Grades?

Homeschool Transcript - Do Colleges Accept Homeschool Grades?

>>>>A friend had a question about homeschool grades.<<<<I have a page on my blog about grades and credits that might help:
http://thehomescholar.blogspot.com/search/label/Grades%20and%20Credits
Keeping track of grades and credits can start in 9th grade. Grades 9-12 are considered high school, and those are the only grades and credits that colleges want to see.


Most (but not all) colleges will accept homeschool grades and credits, given by a parent, typed on their home computer using nothing fancier than a Word document. In my experience, most (but not all) colleges will use your credits as real credits *if* you have test scores to back them up. If you don't have some evidence that your grades and credits are true, then colleges tend to look only at your test scores, and look at the transcript as if it's just a list of classes, rather than real numbers they can use for scholarships or whatever.

I hope that helps!
Blessings,
Lee
--
The HomeScholar
www.TheHomeScholar.com
"Helping parents homeschool through high school"
Sign up for my free email newsletter
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Homeschooling Curriculum - Art Instruction for the Artistically Challenged Homeschool

Homeschooling Curriculum - Art Instruction for the Artistically Challenged Homeschool
>>>Did you plan the art studies or let them do it as they wanted? I debate a lot about whether its worth setting aside the time for art study.<<<

Bridget,
Art was really, REALLY my weak area, so I actually set aside time for art study, otherwise we would never do it! We never had a problem getting math or science done, just art, LOL! I scheduled it for 2-3 times a week, 1-1/2 or 2 hours at a time, depending on the year. Even so, it was something that we sometimes just didn't do. (Art is so messy, you know.) We did the book "Art Fun" the first year, the Feed My Sheep for two years, then Draw Today. We also did some pottery classes, and that was fun. I have some art games that they played, and there were some books on artists that I had them read over the years. If your kids just "do" art, then maybe you don't really need art study. We NEEDED art study, because my kids didn't ever DO it otherwise. In high school I taught them art mostly from an art history perspective, and art appreciation. I suppose in high school, it's good to have some art appreciation course, but maybe other kids just naturally end up studying art without any help at all. Hey, Alex studied economics without any help! Kevin studied Russian History, of all things, without any encouragement! Just not art....

Blessings,
Lee

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Homeschooling Curriculum - HELP! It's my First Year Homeschooling!!

Homeschooling Curriculum - HELP! It's my First Year Homeschooling!!
>>>This is my first yr to hs. I think I get a handle on what needs to be done for a 4th grader and then I find something else out. On top of trying to weed through all the curriculum choices. I am about to give up. I am so frustrated and overwhelmed. I just want it spelled out for me.<<<



All the choices are so overwhelming! And many of the choices are wonderful, which makes it even harder to decide! I began homeschooling when my kids were in 3rd and 5th grades. We started with Sonlight Curriculum, just for those reasons you stated: I wanted everything spelled out for me! Sonlight was a great start, because it sort of "held my hand" while I was learning to homeschool. It taught me what subjects I might want to teach, reminded me not to forget things, and showed me how much to do each day. Plus it's a great curriculum But really, I only started to use it so that someone would "hold my hand" while I started my first year of homeschooling. It's a little pricey, but lots of things are pricey, and investing in your first year will help you get off to a great start. Their website is:



http://www.sonlight.com/

Hope that helps!

Blessings,

Lee
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Home Schooling Resources - What about teaching homeschool grammar?

Home Schooling Resources - What about teaching homeschool grammar?
>>>>Dorette asked a questions about our Sample Comprehensive Record. "Did you ever do any "intensive" grammar course with your boys? I see that you did a Latin course that includes grammar. Was that enough?"<<<<
Dorette,
Before beginning Latin, we did a one-time through course called "Winston Grammar" that I just loved! It's a hands-on, no-writing grammar program that was perfect for my boys. It does not teach writing, it only covers parts of speech (noun, verb, articles, etc.) It was very helpful, though, because it gave us a common language that we could use to discuss their writing. I could say, "this sentence has two adverbs" and they would know what I meant. After doing Winston Grammar Basic, we moved straight into The Latin Road to English Grammar, and that was the only other grammar we used. It was enough grammar, yes. The boys had excellent scores on the SAT test. Of course, how well they WRITE is the real judge of a grammar program, though, and I had them doing some writing every single day.

Other people like to cover Grammar every year, instead of one time one year, and that's fine. Personally, I felt that we covered enough grammar in their writing each year. I do warn people about it duplicating courses, though. If you are doing Winston Grammar, don't do Easy Grammar and Editor in Chief as well, because the student can get frustrated.

This brings up an interesting point, though, about our Comprehensive Record Solution. You can't really tell by looking at it, unless you know our family quite well. My sons started Latin when Kevin was in 7th grade and Alex was in 5th grade. They continued it for 3 years, and completed the program entirely. I put Latin on the transcript for both children, because I knew that it was a high school level course and that they had succeeded in learning a high school amount of material. We put each high school credit under "early high school credits" instead of 9th, 10th, or 11th grade. It may help you to see how those "early high school credits" worked in our family. I am confident that I did the right thing. Alex has continued Latin in college, and he's getting straight A's, taking senior level Latin courses. Not only did I put that 5th grade class on his high school transcript, the colleges accepted it (possibly because he graduated early, though) AND he went on to successfully continue the course in college.


I hope that helps!
Blessings,
Lee

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Homeschooling Curriculum - How do I "do" Current Events?

Homeschooling Curriculum - How do I "do" Current Events?
>>>>How do I incorporate current events into our homeschool?<<<<
Hi Michele,

In 7th grade we were doing Apologia Biology, Sonlight 100, French, Algebra, SAT prep, and piano. For current events, I bought World Magazine, but that's because my kids are very *into* current events. I think the easiest and most fun way is just to get the newspaper daily. The last two years, I have used a yellow highlighter to circle any articles that they are "required" to read, and I found that they would read other things in the paper as well. You can also ask them questions that they have to answer: What time is low tide today? (Of course, that only works along the coast!) We also listen to a responsible news commentary show during lunchtime. That really helps them to get interested in the topics of the day, and we can discuss the callers opinions. I haven't had them do any written summary, because we do a lot of writing in our homeschool anyway. I usually make current events "required" twice a week. I have found that by using the newspaper, they seem to enjoy reading it on their own more often than I assign. I confess that I sometimes HIDE the newspaper when the stories are especially gross. Hope that helps.

Blessings,
Lee

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Home School Education - Feedback on Homeschool High School Plan

Home School Education - Feedback on Homeschool High School Plan
>>>>A mother wanted feedback on the classes she was choosing for high school. Here is what she had planned:<<<<

Bible- Sonlight
Core 200-Sonlight History
Literature-Sonlight
Science-Apologia Biology
Writeshop-English
Photography class at co-op once a week
Smart Money class at co-op once a week
Algebra 1- Teaching Textbooks
She worried that it would be too much - too little! She asked if she should add Spanish, and what to name her Bible class.

Shawn,
Every student is unique, of course, but your plan looks great to me. I think that as long as your student works reasonably well, it should all go OK. If you want to add Spanish, I would just make sure to stick with only 15 minutes a day, and not try to do any more per day than that. I
think it sounds like a great freshman year!

I counted Bible as...... Bible! In Christian schools, they will list credits for Bible. I gave my boys 1/2 credit for their Bible courses each year, because they did about 1/2 hour of work each day. Christian colleges like to see that the Bible is covered as a subject. Secular colleges like to see "electives" that provide a variety to the course work. You COULD have the Bible course be part of your literature, but Sonlight Literature is plenty for that. I did combine my Literature and my writing course to make ONE English credit, not two. It did make my English credit pretty beefy, but it seemed somehow unnatural to me to separate writing from reading - maybe because of the years of elementary school or something, I don't know. If you want to be sure it's two credits, you can estimate how many hours it will take to finish it. Generally 150-180 hours is one high school credit, so two credits would be a total of 300-380 hours of work to be two full credits. I did actually give two English credits one year. That year we did Sonlight history, literature AND their entire English program, and at the SAME time we did Learn to Write the Novel Way. That was nuts! It was crazy! What was I thinking! LOL! I made sure to never do two complete English programs in one year ever again! LOL!

It is overwhelming to look at the big classes like high school level courses. Remember, though, that "literature" is really just "reading good books", so it doesn't seem like much work. My kids felt the same way about Sonlight History, that it was FUN and not work. Remember, too, that high school is supposed to be harder than younger years. It's part of becoming an adult, this working harder business, kwim? I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, though. High school is fun! Try to make sure that your daughter knows "THIS IS HIGH SCHOOL" so that she's expecting it to be a bit more challenging.

Remember, each student is unique. For my kids, this schedule would have been perfect. I hope that helps to soothe your nerves.


Blessings,
Lee
ds Kevin 18yo
ds Alex 16yo
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Home School Education - Is it possible to homeschool college?

Home School Education - Is it possible to homeschool college?
>>>>One woman was expressing frustration with community college, and said that he son asked if it would be possible to "Homeschool college." <<<<

Hi Debra,
Ironically, one of my squidoo lenses is "How to Homeschool College"
http://www.squidoo.com/How_2_Homeschool_College/
I would encourage you to buy the book "Accelerated Distance Learning." Another good one is Bear's Guide to Earning College Degrees Non-traditionally" by John Bear. Both books are available on my Squidoo website for purchase. Check this you-tube to give you a jump start:


You Tube on Affording College
http://youtube.com/watch?v=evJeAAJedbY
The presenter, Gary North, suggests 7 alternatives that will help defray college costs. He has a website with additional information. www.lowcostcolleges.com



I hope that helps! Let me know if you have more questions!
Blessings,

Lee
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Homeschool Transcript - How to Give Homeschool Grades

Homeschool Transcript - How to Give Homeschool Grades
Sometimes it is hard to figure out how to give homeschool grades if you don't always give tests. This article suggests an approach.

read more | digg story
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