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PHAA Graduate Ruthie Snoke publishes first novel!
Ruthie Snoke, 10/7/2013

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: I was delighted to receive the following email from PHAA graduate Ruthie Snoke, sharing about her new novel that's just been published. My own girls knew the Snoke family well through their time together on a homeschool volleyball team, and it's just always great to hear about the unique endeavors of homeschool alumni! I'm always amazed at the initiative homeschoolers are taking in forging ahead in their lives, truly working to use their gifts to help others and spread the learning that was so valuable to them growing up. Ruthie also has an excellent website, where she shares not only about her new book, but about her acting classes, poetry writing, and more. Ruthie is a graduate from Wheaton College (2011), with a major in English and a minor in theater, and has just started a graduate program in NYC. 
I'm writing because I just completed self-publishing my first novel, and my mom suggested I contact you and let the wider homeschool network know! I think this is a book that will be meaningful to other homeschoolers, and perhaps provide some inspiration to aspiring homeschool writers (that it's possible to get your work out there!)
The book is a novel told in first person, and it's from the perspective of a girl named Ede, who lives in a medieval-type world. I created the world myself, but based it heavily on a blend of different cultures from our own world, so it's a unique blend of fantasy that feels like historical fiction, somewhat in the style of Ursula LeGuin. The book deals with themes of growing up, hurt, forgiveness and change, and I would recommend it for high schoolers. It has themes such as adultery in it, and though it is in no way explicit, there are some parts that parents may want to make sure their student is ready for.
Here is the synopsis:

"Trapped in the restricted city of Bell, Ede lives in a world of stories. But when her husband begins talking about... 


Comments: 33

Are your kids curious about investing? Here's a great help-- created by a homeschool graduate!
John Pilch, PHAA grad 2011... developer of investment curriculum!, 5/1/2013

         Editor's Note from Susan: I was delighted to meet John Pilch at the recent Greater Pittsburgh Homeschool Workshop. He was staffing a vendor table with a curriculum on investing-- I wondered if he was the developer.... or maybe was just helping a parent. I was very grateful to hear he had indeed created this helpful course to let students learn about the stock market and strategies for investing-- and was even happier to find out he was a 2011 PA Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency graduate, and that he began investing in the stock market himself when just 15! He's now a student at Penn State University in the Smeal College of Business. Neat to see homeschool grads really moving into their fields of interest, AND to see them working to give back to the homeschool community in unique ways by sharing their growing expertise. Thanks, John-- and best wishes on your www.2Young2Invest.com website!

           The more one learns about the power of investing, the more he realizes the importance of starting early. Benjamin Graham, a famous investor of the 20th century wrote, “There is a great advantage for the young capitalist to begin his financial education and experience early. If he is going to operate as an aggressive investor he is certain to make some mistakes and to take some losses. Youth can stand these disappointments and profit by them.”


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Fundamentals of Investing in the Stock Market is an introductory curriculum that examines the basics of investing and of the stock market using examples, illustrations, case studies, and exercises. It is designed for students interested in business or for students who desire to manage their personal finances effectively. Ideally, the course will instill in students a passion for investing that....


Comments: 15

“Write from the Heart” Expands with Senior High Classes
Denise Botsford, 4/3/2011

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: Denise Botsford, a homeschooling mother from Indiana PA, has been offering online writing classes to junior high students in her Write from the Heart program -- and has now expanded into the senior high years as she's collaborated with another teacher. I've personally evaluated students who've taken Denise's classes, and they all feel very positive about all they have learned from this engaging format for honing real writing skills. Denise wrote an article for our print newsletter several years ago about her unique approach in her online classes-- and it's great to get an update now! I hope you each take a look at Denise's excellent website at www.denisebotsford.com -- even if you might not sign up for one of her courses, you can still gain much by checking out the page Students in the Spotlight.This is where Denise has published work by her students (to protect privacy, no last names of students are used) that subsequently won awards in various writing competitions-- these might be great models for your kids to read and enjoy. And I'd highly recommend also taking a look at the Multi-Genre Research Projects from past students-- these are really inspiring and will let you see a whole new side to 'writing a research paper'. 

During these past six years I’ve often felt like the groom in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”  The unsuspecting Ian simply wanted to be united with his beloved Toula.  He didn’t anticipate the far-reaching effects his wedding announcement would have, or the velocity with which his plans would accelerate.  When I started Write from the Heart in 2005, I merely wanted an online writing audience for my own beloved children; I thought that along the way I could help out some other families as well. I never expected the speed with which Write from the Heartwould spread from a small class of 17 students to an audience of national—and now multi-national—appeal. But, just as Ian adjusted to his loud, new relatives and took pleasure in their flamboyancy, I too have adjusted to and taken pleasure in the many twists and turns along the way!

The first surprise I experienced occurred halfway through the first year when I realized how short-sighted my original plans were.... 


Comments: 5

Teens and health and safety-- fabulous resource in 'The Survivors Club'
Susan Richman, 12/13/2010

When I'm consulting with families about homeschooling at the high school level, sometimes parents ask what they should use for health and safety education-- especially safety. My 'old' answer used to be, "Well, you'll be teaching them to drive at some point?? There's your safety credit." But now I have something extraordinary to add to that.

Last spring when I was about to head off on a weeklong evaluation trip, seeing lots of wonderful homeschooling families way over in Eastern PA, my husband kindly borrowed a whole set of CD audio books from the library, hoping I might enjoy one of them on the long drive. Looking them over, I passed over the novels, the non-fiction US history books, the biographies, and instead zeroed in on something that I wouldn't have thought initially that I would have found intriguing. It was Ben Sherwood's new book The Survivors Club.

 Listening to the open chapter, talking about how to survive an airplane crash, I was hooked-- the writing was vivid, the stories and interviews with experts in the field (including those who'd survived plane crashes...) were rivetting, and I couldn't wait for my upcoming 6 hour drive east. I ended up listening to the book through about three times-- and every homeschooling family I met with on the trip got to hear about the latest chapter I'd just heard.

And I realized that a book like this, along with using the accompanying website at www.thesurvivorsclub.org,  would make one of the best homeschooling safety and health courses I could imagine-- and I knew this would be much more engaging for teens....


Comments: 18

Driver Education Options-- now there's an online driver training course...
Susan Richman, 2/24/2010

Susan Richman helped all four of her kids learn to drive. She is the editor of Pennsylvania Homeschoolers, and serves as a Home Education Program Evaluator for many families in PA. She also leads AP US History online for homeschool students all across the nation.

Many of us have taught our kids how to drive-- and many might agree it's among the scarier things a parent does! I remember wondering why I was suddenly getting 'tension headaches' that first week I was helping our older son Jesse learn to drive-- and then began noticing that involuntary gripping of the dashboard, and my foot ramming the imaginary brake on the passenger's side of the car. Helping our kids learn to drive can be a wonderful bonding time, too-- time to talk, do something real together, and really show your teen you believe they are ready for this adult skill. Along with the challenge of helping our kids with this major life task, most of us are also looking for ways to help trim the upcoming car insurance bill with a new teen driver in the house. We want our kids to become safe drivers-- and we also want to save some money if possible.

There are many ways to get helpful insurance discounts....


Comments: 0

English on the Internet-- with Laurel Tree Tutorials... developed by a homeschool grad!
Rebekah Randolph, 2/12/2010

Mrs. Rebekah Randolph, owner and instructor of Laurel Tree Tutorials, was homeschooled K-12 and graduated with a PHAA diploma. Rebekah then earned her B.A. in English from Hillsdale College, where she graduated summa cum laude and as a member of the honors program. She worked as a teacher’s assistant for Debra Bell and as a writing tutor at Hillsdale before launching her own online English classes in 2006. Since then, she has enjoyed working with homeschooled students all over the United States—and even some abroad! Rebekah lives in Millersville, Pennsylvania with her husband (and their large library).

Laurel Tree Tutorials was created to meet a marked need in the homeschooling community: too few writing classes. As I interacted with homeschooled high school students, I realized the weakness of their composition skills and how much they were missing as a result. No matter what you choose as your career, whether businessman or engineer or homemaker, you will probably need to write. In this “Information Age,” the ability to communicate clearly is a huge advantage in college, in the workplace, and at home.

So in 2006 , I started offering online composition classes for homeschooled high schoolers. My students came from all over the country, thanks to the flexibility of online learning. Word spread about Laurel Tree Tutorials and I soon expanded my course list, adding literature to writing and reaching out to younger students as well. I now offer a variety of writing and literature classes for grades 6-12....



Comments: 1


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