• Curriculum

    Published on 12-27-2013 10:16 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Curriculum,
    3. General Homeschooling

    By Julie Bogart, Cincinnati, Ohio

    A fundamental confusion exists around how to teach writing. I’ve spent two decades looking for just the right metaphor to explain how a parent facilitates writing growth. Then the other day, on the phone, I stumbled upon a perfect one.

    Let’s look at learning to sew using a sewing machine.

    A sewing machine makes it possible to create all kinds of sewing products—anything from hemming a pair of pants, to constructing a crazy quilt, to producing an evening gown. The machine doesn’t do it for you. You have to know how to use the machine, and you have to develop skills: how to sew straight seams or drop in a sleeve or gather a drape. You need to learn to create casings, and to use the zigzag, and what the tension dial does.

    When learning the skills needed for sewing, students start with scrap fabric. They don’t pick a dress pattern and then sit down to the machine. First, they practice threading the needle and bobbin, they sew lots of straight lines and turn corners. Each seam is backstitched at the end so that it doesn’t unravel.

    No one can learn all she needs to know in one sitting or even one year of sewing. There are levels of skill that are gained over time, as dexterity, comfort with the machinery, and familiarity with the properties of sewing are internalized and mastered. It is possible at each stage of development to introduce a little project that suits the skill level of the sewing student. At first, these might be things like bean bags (squares) or a string dress (no pattern, but the dress uses casings).

    As the student gets comfortable, making an A-line dress for a doll from a pattern becomes possible ...
    Published on 12-18-2013 12:39 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Curriculum,
    3. Homeschooling with Technology,
    4. General Homeschooling

    Looking for fresh teaching ideas and trusted materials? Consider JPASS. JPASS gives homeschoolers personal access to JSTOR, the same high-quality academic resource that millions of students and scholars depend on at colleges and universities. The new JPASS collection includes more than 1,500 academic journals from the JSTOR library, available to you anywhere, anytime.

    If you don’t have access to JSTOR through a school or public library, JPASS might be a perfect fit. Here are a few examples of how JPASS helps homeschoolers create innovative lessons across disciplines and mediums:

    Supplement historical films with secondary reading

    Link JSTOR with the 2013 film, 12 Years a Slave. You can provide background articles on slavery and the Civil War, then assign a critical analysis of Solomon Northup’s original narrative, published in the highly regarded literary journal Callaloo.

    Sam Worley, "Solomon Northup and the Sly Philosophy of the Slave Pen," Callaloo, Vol. 20, No. 1 (1997): 243–259.

    Keep your modern literature curriculum up-to-date

    Include works by author Alice Munro, the most recent recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. JPASS includes ...
    Published on 12-02-2013 09:28 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Curriculum,
    3. Secular Homeschooling

    by Keith Howe, Moving Beyond the Page

    When our daughter gets a perfect score on a spelling test, we praise her for it. When our son finishes a science test with all the right answers, we make a big deal out of it. Most structured school settings do the same thing. However, when we only praise children for getting the right answers, we send the message that knowing the right answers makes them smart. As any researcher in the field of gifted education will tell you, there is much more to giftedness than scoring well on a test. ...
    Published on 11-19-2013 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Curriculum,
    3. Homeschooling with Technology

    By Chris Yust, Homeschool Programming, Inc.
    November, 2013

    In this digital age, you may find your children spending quite a bit of time on the Internet. They may be working in online classes, researching topics for papers, updating their Facebook and Twitter pages, or just surfing the web. Regardless of what your children enjoy doing online, chances are they have shown some interest in creating their own websites. Fortunately, basic website design is something that just about anyone can learn with no expensive software!

    Getting Started
    When you view a website, you are using a piece of software called a web browser. The most common web browsers on the market today are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. These browsers all speak a common “language” called HTML. HTML code is mixed in with the main content of the web page to add color, style, images, and many other fancy features. While HTML may seem mysterious at first, the language itself is something that can be easily learned and understood by computer-literate children.

    Tools of the Trade
    Great, your eager students are ready to learn HTML. What do they need? A big fancy computer? Special software? Nope! Simple web pages can be created in any text editor program that comes already installed on your computer, like Windows Notepad or Mac’s TextEdit. This means that all you need is a personal computer, some basic computer skills and your imagination! You don’t need to set up a web server or install new software.

    Writing the Code
    So now you that have your text editor program open and you’re staring at a blank screen, what next? HTML code is just a series of “elements” that tell the browser how to display your web page. There are three elements usually included in your file. First, the “” element tells the browser that you are starting your HTML code, so the opening tag should be the first line in your file. At the very end of your file, you will “close” the element with the tag .
    HTML Code:
    In between these “html” tags go ...
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