• Secular Homeschooling

    by Published on 08-17-2015 12:37 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Secular Homeschooling,
    3. Homeschooling Styles,
    4. General Homeschooling
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    As I write this tonight, I’m sitting in the ICU waiting area outside an area where the son of one of my best friends is suddenly, unexpectedly, fighting for his life. This friend and I met each other a little over six years ...
    by Published on 08-10-2015 11:12 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Curriculum,
    3. Secular Homeschooling,
    4. General Homeschooling



    Welcome to Homeschool Geek Week!

    My name is Amber Benton. I prepared a short introduction for my husband David and myself over on our blog. (He's the real geek).

    We have a fun week planned for you and I am looking forward to the conversation here at Secular Homeschool. You can join in the conversation on the forum, over on the blog, or on social media. We have prepared the week's schedule on the blog but I will post it here as well. Of course we can always chat about anything that interests you! If you want to see some of the things we talk about in our local meet ups you can take a look at the long list on this post.

    A Contest
    We have created a special design challenge just for you and we are giving away a free prize. Click over to Welcome Secular Homeschoolers to read all about it. Just follow the instructions to enter - you will have until 8pm on Friday and we will announce the winner here and on the blog on Saturday.

    CONSTRUCT!
    We would also like to take a moment to invite you to sign up for our free newsletter CONSTRUCT!




    The Proffessor's Syllabus

    Monday
    Iterative Design
    The Professor will aslo release his weeklong design challenge this morning!

    Tuesday
    The Modern Maker Movement
    The importance of making and the relationship of craft and tech.

    Wednesday
    How To Be A Coder
    How does a coder think? Learn to program without a computer.

    Thursday
    The Robot
    Robots, robotics, and robotics education.

    Friday
    A Study in Artillery
    David and the boys will share five of their favorite artillery projects.


    A Brief Personal Note
    If you have seen me speak before, engaged with me on social media, or read other things I've written you may wonder why I'm here at Secular Homeschool. First of all, I'd like to thank you for making me feel welcome! If you want to read a bit about why I'm here and or find out more about Big Green Chair read What is Big Green Chair and click on Our Story.
    by Published on 08-03-2015 12:27 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Secular Homeschooling,
    3. General Homeschooling
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    To interact with Kelly's post on the forum, click here.

    I do customer support for Time4Learning.com, an online homeschool curriculum. A section of our parent forum is devoted to working parents. Two questions dominate the discussions topics: Can you work and homeschool? Can you work FROM HOME and homeschool?

    I've worked from home for close to ten years now. During that time, four of my six kids have graduated from our homeschool, attended college, and gone on to jobs or careers they enjoy . . . so I guess you can! I'm a pretty ordinary mom, and we've had our share of ups and downs along the way. I'd like to share a few things that have helped me manage these two demanding roles, and I hope you'll add your ideas and questions, too.

    Scheduled Flexibility

    I function best with a schedule, and I've found that to be true for my kids, too. With a growing family, our schedule changes often. What worked last year might not work today, so I'm constantly re-evaluating. When I would make a schedule change in the past, I worried that I might never "get it right". These days, I've come to accept that responding to the changes in our family situation IS getting it right! During the eighteen years we've been homeschooling, ...
    Published on 07-30-2015 09:53 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Secular Homeschooling,
    3. General Homeschooling
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    by Kerry Jones

    One of the most interesting discussions among education choice proponents, homeschoolers, and even public school data pullers is...just how many homeschoolers are there in the United States right now? Since only a handful of states track actual homeschooler population data, most of the estimates are GUESStimates.

    Most who have attempted to estimate the population of homeschoolers declare it to be somewhere ...
    by Published on 07-27-2015 05:32 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Secular Homeschooling,
    3. Homeschooling Styles,
    4. General Homeschooling
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    As a former high school English teacher in a traditional New England classroom, a current online elementary and middle school teacher for Time4Writing, and a stay-at-home mommy of two “after-schoolers,” ages 5 and 8, I’ve met my fair share of reluctant writers. I’ve witnessed the struggle and the tears (and even shared them). I may have even been the unintended target of a few misdirected, projectile pencils launched in frustration.

    Well, aside from learning to be very quick on my toes in real-time (I often feel like the Muppet, Swedish Chef), dodging pencils (or chickens), I’ve tried out some simple recipes for the reluctant writer in my own test-kitchens (at home and online)—and fun ones! In turn, I’ve seen the resulting smiles from pride in one’s work and new-found creativity. Now not every tip will be a hole in one (er, um chickie in the pot), but many of them WILL work. For my students—and my children—the short term goal may be just finding and assembling ingredients onto the dish (moving meaningful words onto the page—or screen), but the long term goal, and reward, is becoming a tried and true celebrated chef (a truly confident writer).

    My menu of recipes below will illustrate ways to get from here to there:

    Appetizers are up! Dig in to these pre-writing favorites!

    1. Fish Soup (Let’s go Fishing for Ideas!)
    Instructions:
    Set up a small bowl or box on a table. Cut out paper fish templates. The idea is that writers will fish for ideas for any kind of writing activity. You can include rules, such as only being allowed to throw the fish back twice. On the fish, you can include words/ideas or actual topic sentences (depending on your skill/writing goals). For the most reluctant writer, you might choose words or ideas to encourage free-writing in a writing journal. Words on the fish might include: my pet, the beach, the summer, favorite movie, etc. For a more focused writing project, you might choose “the park,” “my friend’s house,” “the kitchen, or “the car ride” as possible settings for a narrative paragraph or essay on the writing prompt, “An important life lesson I learned was….” Alternatively, the fish can include topic sentences for an expository how-to paragraph, such as: “Writing a song is fun and easy to do,” “Minecraft is a challenging game that requires skill,” or “Making loom bracelets is a fun and easy way to pass the time.” The ideas are endless. You can even craft your own fishing poles out of branches collected during a nature walk, using letter magnets as bait and coins taped to the back of each fish.

    2. TED Tartare (Reflect and Respond!)
    If your student is having a hard time brain-storming ideas, how about showing them how screen time can be productive? There are lots of TED talks available on a variety of topics that will interest your less than eager writer. Some of these talks are even given by kids—how inspiring! With just a couple of clicks, you can search for topics that specifically interest your child. Here are a few talks to view together: TED Talks for Kids. Afterwards, have your learner respond by writing about what they learned, reflecting on how they felt inspired, or better yet, writing about what they would say in their own TED talk. Ask, “What are you an expert on?” Have them write that script! Their confidence will soar.

    3. Deep-Fried Debate (Exert your Inner Expert!)
    Don’t even tell your children that this is a pre-writing activity. Many kids just love to talk and have an opinion on EVERYTHING, so hand over the reins and man the spotlight! Here are some topics: where to go on vacation, the best toy, the best book series, the best sea creature, the coolest dinosaur, or what to
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