SAT* Workshop and Teenage Proofreaders

I’ve been putting together a worktext to go with the three-hour audio workshop I recorded in April, and all the pieces are finally coming together. The thing that has taken the longest is getting the live audio mastered into the proper format, but it’s happening today, and I believe I’ll have it duplicated and ready to go for the HEAV convention, which is less than two weeks away!

One thing I discovered- or actually re-discovered– I realize it every time I write a book or article- is that it’s nearly impossible to proofread my own work. Because I know the material so well, I tend to read what I think I wrote. Someone with a fresh eye can catch small typos and transpositions that I’ve overlooked, just as I can catch the errors in other people’s writing.

My first choice for front-line proofreading is always one of my own boys. If you write anything at all, I suggest that you ask one of your students to proofread it for you. They may or may not be naturally gifted in English, but it’s amazing how much they can catch. I am always touched by the amount of care and thought they put into the process. Even if the subject isn’t intrinsically interesting (66 pages of test prep tips, techniques, and strategies for the SAT isn’t exactly Lord of the Rings!) they know it’s important to me, and they invest the time to do their best. Read more

What Should You Buy at the Homeschool Convention?

Will you be going to a homeschool conference this summer? If you’re teaching your children at home, I highly recommend taking the time to do this– it will be a source of education and encouragement that can keep you inspired for the entire year (if you bring home the right things). Investing in “mommy education and inspiration” is one of the very best things you can do for your children.

What are the top five things you need to provide an excellent education?

  1. A vision for what you want to accomplish
  2. A plan for moving toward the goal
  3. The best resources available
  4. Wise counsel
  5. Supportive family and friends

Do you have all these ingredients? If not, a trip to a homeschool convention can help. If you can’t make it to a physical convention, a virtual convention such as the Ultimate Home School Expo is a good alternative. Of course, you won’t be able to purchase the supportive family and friends, but by sharing what you learn, you may be able to inspire them with a vision for the future that will help them move forward as well. Read more

How to Manage Withdrawal from Excessive Media Exposure

Changing a bad habit isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever do, but it can be done. If you’d like to help your family withdraw from the daily media barrage, it will help if you have a specific plan for how to do it.

One of the easiest ways to begin is to wait for a natural transition time– the end of the school year, a family wedding or house move, a vacation, or anything that breaks into the normal routine. Have a family meeting and let everyone know that a change is coming, when it will arrive, and what you expect life to look like once the change occurs.

In A Thomas Jefferson Education, Oliver DeMille suggests a useful method for “detoxing” the family when switching from institutional education to something more nurturing. Read more

The Core Curriculum Teaches Connections

Whenever the weather permits, I eat lunch outside on the patio in the edge of the woodland. At this time of year, there are spiderwebs everywhere. It doesn’t matter that I come out every day and sit in the same chair, I still have to brush away an accumulation of delicate webs each day.

I hadn’t been sitting there for more than a minute or two today when I noticed that one fine strand of web had already been spun from arm to arm on my chair, rather like an airy version of the festive ribbon that outlines special seating sections at a wedding. Inevitably, my thoughts turned to the gossamer threads that link ideas and subjects, and from there to the single greatest benefit of the classic core curriculum.

Although many students never suspect it while they are in school, knowledge is not naturally divided into separate subjects. Math walks hand in hand with science, and both affect the course of history. Literature and the arts both reflect and forecast trends in the culture from which they arise, creating an enduring portrait of what is, and sometimes, what is to come.

The core curriculum, defined as the organized exposure of students to the basics in and the links between each knowledge area- history, literature, the arts, science, mathematics, language; touches the young person’s palate with variety, and ideally, introduces great ideas. Like a healthy diet, the core curriculum offers a varied smörgåsbord of intellectual nourishment, resulting in a healthy, robust mind. Read more