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    Published on 08-27-2014 02:55 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Curriculum,
    3. General Homeschooling
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    Your child proudly hands you his or her latest piece of writing. Maybe it's a short, choppy paragraph about his obsession, Minecraft. Maybe it's her rambling horse essay that plods on and on and on. Or maybe it's a poignant, well-thought out anecdote about a recent swimming meet, but it's filled with spelling and punctuation errors.

    After you smile and say, "Good job, sweetie! Thanks for sharing that with me," you ask yourself: How do I grade this? Should I even grade it at all?

    The truth is, whether or not to grade your student's writing depends on a number of factors. But, before we look at times when grading might be appropriate, let's expel some common myths:

    MYTH #1 - Correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar equal good writing

    Writing is about the Mind Life. Punctuation, spelling, and grammar are the mechanics of writing and cannot lead to quality writing no matter how well they are mastered. No one ever finished a novel and said, "The comma placement was exquisite. The use of periods moved me. The utter care to spell every word correctly changed my life."

    Mechanics support the ability to convey the mind life in writing which is why we work on them. However, if someone amputated my hands and gouged out my eyes,

    ...
    Published on 07-07-2014 01:23 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Curriculum,
    3. Secular Homeschooling,
    4. Homeschooling Styles,
    5. General Homeschooling
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    This is another great blog reprint from unschooling blogger, Idzie Desmarais. Idzie has graciously allowed us to reprint her blog post from her blog, I'm Unschooled. Yes, I can write! Thank you Idzie!

    Idzie Desmarais is a (grown) unschooler, feminist, green anarchist, (confusedly) queer, pagan(ish) woman who makes her home in the Montreal area. She spends her time reading fantasy novels, writing, cooking up lots of tasty food in the kitchen, and dreaming of the homesteading intentional community she wants to help found someday.


    The Value in Writing for an Audience, Not a Grade

    After not reading any non-fiction books in quite a while, I picked up Better Than College by Blake Boles this afternoon and started reading. Instantly, something sparked a blog post idea. Blake writes:
    Instead of working on homework, papers, and presentations destined to be seen once and tossed into a trashcan, self-directed learners turn much of their hard work into useful products for other people.
    I don't know about "products," per se, but definitely something useful and appreciated.

    Reading that, I had a thought that somehow had never occurred to me before. Most young people view non-fiction writing as something primarily done to get good grades, something that is only useful insofar as it pleases a teacher or professor and thus leads to good marks.

    I've never written a five paragraph essay. Count paragraphs, you say? Construct an essay based on a rigid outline? Why would I do that? I've worked within word or space or time constraints numerous times, writing articles for magazines or talks for conferences. But I've never written an essay expected to adhere so closely to a specific outline, nor have I ever written something designed to please just one specific person. ...
    1. Categories:
    2. Curriculum,
    3. Secular Homeschooling
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    The threads that get viewed most often on our forum here at SecularHomeschool.com often have to do with secular science curricula...looking for it, bemoaning the lack of it, begging for input on finding it. In the past, secular homeschoolers have been underwhelmed by the available offerings in the science curricula arena.

    However, in recent years, several new secular homeschool science options have come on the scene making it not nearly so difficult to find a homeschool science program that will work for your family. I thought it might be a good idea to spotlight some of the newer curricula as well as the tried and true programs that are available, so you will have a centralized place to start looking.



    Science4Us (Grades K-2)
    This secular program is geared toward the early elementary set - - a nice bonus, since many homeschool science programs ignore the youngest learners. You can check out their kindergarten science curriculum, first grade science curriculum, and second grade science curriculum. They offer life science, earth/space science, and physical science for elementary. Science4Us combines the best of online, multimedia instruction with hands-on activities that are geared toward active learners.
    Read Science4Us reviews in the SecularHomeschool.com curriculum directory

    Time4Learning (Grades PreK-12)
    Time4Learning has a comprehensive multimedia science curriculum at all grade levels. You'll especially want to explore their junior high coursework in earth/space science, life science, and middle school physical science as well as high school coursework in biology, earth/space science, physical science, chemistry, and physics.
    Read Time4Learning reviews in the SecularHomeschool.com curriculum directory

    Centripetal Press (Grades 6-9)

    The Cram-Pass-Forget Cycle: it's how we all got through high school and college. Cram for the test, pass it, and forget most of what you studied within two weeks. This depressing cycle goes on every day with students flying through textbooks, covering more material than they can assimilate, jumping through hoops to get a grade, and the Cram-Pass-Forget cycle continues.
    Centripetal Press science curriculum strives to break this cycle with mastery-based materials to dramatically increase retention, integrating relevant subjects and fostering the wonder innate to the study of the world. Read more at their Textbook Philosophy page.

    Supercharged Science (Grades K-12)
    This is a program that combines videos, live tele-classes, reading and exercises. The administrator of the course is a former NASA employee and has a Masters in Mechanical Engineering, so she is clearly passionate about science.The reviews Iíve read make it seem like the parents have as much fun ...
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