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Struggling with Writing?

Struggling with Writing?
I quit "teaching" literature in 5th grade and let my daughter pick books (from a list of classic literature) to read with no formal  instruction. She enjoyed this approach and has been a voracious reader over the years. After reading Hamlet, she decided she enjoyed Shakespeare's tragedies and comedies and read several of them. At 16, she just took the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP exam and scored very well. She now has 6 English college credits!  I...
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Determining Homeschool English Credits

Determining Homeschool English Credits
Are you ever unsure about how many English credits to give your students? Does your student spend more time on English assignments than they do on any other subject? These are common conundrums and you are not alone! Can composition and literature be documented as two separate credits? My student spends an hour on composition and an hour on literature each day. In answer to this I will tell you that there are some classes that simply...
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Longer Essay Could Mean Better SAT Score - ABC News

Longer Essay Could Mean Better SAT Score - ABC News
ABC reports the secret to a better score on the SAT:  write more.  It's an interesting theory.  I believe it has merit. My own son knows that his own SAT essay had factual errors. When he left the test, he was so frustrated because he had mixed up his historical characters and cited the wrong president for a particular event.  He knew he had written it wrong.  He was convinced he would receive a poor score. ...
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Course Descriptions for Fun Stuff

Course Descriptions for Fun Stuff
I often get questions about how to create real classes for unusual interests like writing music for movies.  How do you create classes for fun?  More importantly, how do you write a boring course description about fascinating non-classroom learning? My Gold Care Club member asked for me to look over her course descriptions.  When I saw this one, I flipped!  This is just WONDERFUL, and a great example of how to take a student's interest and...
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Online English Class Ideas

Online English Class Ideas
Math and science may scare some people, but I was intimidated by English. I think math and science are wonderful, because there is always a right answer and wrong answer. Unfortunately, English isn't that way. English can be very difficult to teach and difficult to correct. How do you know writing is "right" or "wrong" when it could be just the voice of the writer? I finally decided that my job as a homeschool parent was...
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Does the SAT Have Analogies?

Does the SAT Have Analogies?
Do you remember the dreaded analogies in high school?  Here are some examples from our past: Cat is to meow as dog is to bark Poverty is to wealth as hunger is to food . Designed to encourage critical thinking, analogies used to be included in the SAT test. But wait!  Analogies aren't on the test anymore!  For the past few years, the SAT has eliminated all analogies, and has something even MORE fun instead!  When...
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Compensate For Learning Challenges

Compensate For Learning Challenges
In a school setting, children are often given an accommodation for their learning challenges.  In the adult world, people learn to compensate for their weaknesses all the time.  If you have a child that struggles with writing, you can help them learn to compensate as well. Dragon Naturally Speaking is speech-recognition software.  In a nutshell, you  speak into a microphone and the Dragon Naturally Speaking program will type it for you.  It says "users the power...
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Homeschool Curriculum - Too Many Choices!

Homeschool Curriculum - Too Many Choices!
One mom asked me a simple question:  what should she use for writing instruction.  She asked about some specific programs, so I asked her if she had purchased anything.  She owned Sonlight Language Arts, Write Shop, Write at Home, and Institute for Excellence in Writing.  "Which one is the best?" she asked. Here is the problem:  too many great options.  All of these programs are well-reviewed, and I have heard great reports (and some negative reports)...
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FREE Homeschooling High School Resource!

FREE Homeschooling High School Resource!
How do you teach writing a quick essay like the one on the SAT?  I like " 501 Writing Prompt s" by Learning Express.  It's short, inexpensive, concise - perfect for my family!  Thanks to a tip from a reader, I have found out that the book is available FREE for a short time!   ( This book is no longer available.   Please find it on Amazon for under $10  here .) I want to encourage...
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Plagiarism Primer for Parents

Plagiarism Primer for Parents
One great way to instruct your children about the dangers of plagiarism is to have them do a short research paper on the topic.  I encourage you to have them research plagiarism online, and then write a one page report on what they learn.  It's not hard to learn enough about plagiarism in a short amount of time, and just taking a short time to do a little research is often all you need. For parents,...
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Christmas School!

Christmas School!
When our kids were in high school, we cut WAY back during December.  We just did the very CORE subjects, doing just the things that needed to be done in order to make progress during the year.  That means we worked on math and foreign language every day, mostly. They loved reading, so nothing I could do would make them stop reading their beloved books.  It was fun for them. The entire month of December we...
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How Much Should My Homeschooler Write in High School?

How Much Should My Homeschooler Write in High School?
Ann emailed me to clarify her email address for my newsletter, and asked this question for my blog: As long as I'm writing, how many papers do you think a 10th grader and 12th grader should be writing in English? We were signed up with (an online program) and they required 24 plus a term paper. I'm trying to do it on my own this year, and I have no idea what is a typical number...
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Oh! The Places You'll Go!

Oh! The Places You'll Go!
Niki asks: We plan to take the kids and travel for the better part of the year.  I am concerned about "losing" this academic year and falling behind, especially in math and science.  Do you have any suggestions or advice for us regarding planning for that year and/or using the natural learning opportunities that come up that year and creatively including them in a transcript? I don't think you can prevent a child from learning.  Just...
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