Homeschooling and Illiterate?

Homeschooling isn't easy. As Michael Douglas said in The American President, "You gotta want it bad."

Amidst the flurry of Republican candidate Rick Santorum and homeschooling a few months ago, a writer commented on the poor education homeschoolers were getting. More so, that it was hard to even evaluate since "many home-schooling families choose not to comply with the law by submitting to state home-school regulations, or even report their home-school activity to the state."



Michael Jordan Education

A friend used this term recently: Michael Jordan Education. He used it to describe Michael Jordan’s game strategy of holding off until the last quarter to give it his all, perform at his peak, and make an impact. Why squander valuable energy in the first quarter when the last quarter is where games are won or lost?..


Friday Fun: Public School Meets Home School

"Let me get this straight. You see the same people every day for 13 years by going to school here?" (Long pause) "Yes..." How many of you have had this conversation?!?


To Test or Not to Test? Standardized Testing in your Homeschool...

So you’re on the homeschool train, chugging along and enjoying life when someone asks you, “Which camp are you in when it comes to standardized testing?” Now, you’re doing the homeschool thing in the first place, so you’re probably a bit of a rebel. You may be the kind of person who says, “What can standardized testing tell me that I don’t already know?” Or perhaps it’s more like, “Standardized testing is a poor tool to evaluate my child, along with 50 million others. I pulled him out of school to avoid this kind of mass evaluation.” 

So why should I even consider putting my child through standardized tests? 


Public School Sports, Academic Achievement, and the Tebow Bill

Homeschoolers in Virginia experienced a bit of a setback this week when Virginia's Senate Education and Health Committee rejected a bill that would allow homeschoolers to participate in public school sports and other activities. Dubbed the "Tim Tebow" bill due to the namesake's participation in high school sports as a homeschooler, this shift in policy brings some interesting sources of conflict to light from homeschool critics...


Your State Stinks at Science

Always sad to hear how America is continuing to fail in math and science, but still, this is a pretty bleak outlook, state by state. What will it take to get us back on top? It's not going to be NCLB or Common Core State Standards. Homeschool science allows that curiosity to grow, unfettered by a timetable, and completely tailored to your child's interests. Engineering? Computer programming? Climate change? Sure, take some time and explore! Homeschooling provides an environment rich with freedom that's hard to find elsewhere...


Sleep is for the Weak!

Teenagers today are moody, bipolar, full of angst, disrespectful, and lack any sort of impulse control, from binge eating and drinking to watching TV when they feel like it instead of preparing for a life-changing test. 

Or are they?

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, authors of NurtureShock, point out that all the above characteristics that we typically associate with adolescence are in fact also symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation. Interesting. That certainly might explain why an apparent switch is flipped once teens enter high school. Suddenly, they become mere shadows of what they were earlier, with no explanation. Some striking discoveries of these authors included the following:

  • One hour less of sleep pulls students back two grades (ie. a sleepy sixth grader will perform on par with a fourth grader).
  • Catching up on sleep on the weekends isn't the answer. One hour of "weekend catchup" will cause a student to perform 7 points poorer on IQ tests.
  • Tired people can't access long-term goals so impulse control is lessened in times of sleep deprivation.
  • Odds of obesity go up 80% for each hour of lost sleep.

Further, public schools are "forced" to start their school days earlier than is necessary for high school kids due to bus schedules, sports practice, and commuting teachers. However, data presented in NurtureShock indicates that bumping back start times for schools have enormous gains for students: fewer car accidents, increased levels of motivation, fewer instances of depression, and increased academic performance.

With homeschooling, parents can set the start time for their children based on what's best for their children, not what's best for the school. Here's another argument for why homeschooling just... works!

buy it now on Amazon


The Importance of Sleeping In

Think your teenager is just being lazy by wanting to sleep in? Well, research shows that teenagers not only need nine hours of sleep (or more) per night, they also have a rhythm that operates in direct contradiction with the typical school day. A teenager's sleep pattern shifts during these adolescent years toward later times, meaning their bodies are more in line with an 11:00pm bedtime. Considering the optimal nine hours of sleep, that puts most teenagers at a significant disadvantage when school starts at 7:00am.

Consequences of sleep deprivation include: limited ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems, can contribute to illness due to a weakened immune system, can lead to aggressive behavior, and can give you cravings for unhealthy foods like sweets and fried foods, causing weight gain. There are suggestions that sleep organizations provide to combat this dissonance between biological clocks and school logistics, such as taking naps, establishing a sleep schedule, and keeping a diary. Additionally, school start times are limited by bus schedules, after school activity schedules, and resistance from teachers, students, and parents.

Luckily, homeschool families are able to tailor their school day to their children's needs. Parents, what time do your kids get up in the morning?


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Why bother leaving the house?

Cool TED Talk from Ben Saunders on the value of getting out of the house. With so much of the world being streamed to our iPads and TVs, it may feel like there's nothing left to discover. Ben reminds his viewers to get out in the world and get your hands dirty, even if it's been done before. Why, you ask?

"To experience, to engage, to endeavor, rather than to watch and to wonder — that's where the real meat of life is to be found."

Recess matters? Of course!

While this should come as no surprise to anyone, a recent policy has come out from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that confirms the importance of recess.

Unstructured playtime gives children a break from routine tasks and allows them to rest, play, imagine, think and move, according to AAP. Children are more likely to perform better at cognitive tasks after recess.

Homeschool: The Original Flipped Classroom

  Wikipedia describes the flipped classroom as "a form of blended learning which encompasses any use of technology to leverage the learning in a classroom, so a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing." Homeschoolers, while...

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