Too Busy for Success.... pitfalls to watch out for in homeschooling our teens!
Jeannette Webb, 2/29/2012
Editor's Note from Susan Richman: We loved having Jeannette Webb, from Oklahoma, as our Keynote Speaker at last summer's 2011 PHAA High School at Home Conference-- her down-to-earth wisdom has been gleaned from helping both her own two homeschooled teens get into their top-choice colleges and from her current work as a nationwide consultant to homeschoolers applying to college. She is the founder of Aiming Higher Consultants, a high school planning and college consulting firm dedicated to helping homeschooled students reach their potential and successfully apply to their dream colleges. Learn more at www.aiminghigherconsultants.com. As parents and students are now starting to plan for the coming school year (already!), and especially as registration for our AP Online courses (which Jeannette's own teens took part in) is now open, her message is especially timely. Learn to not 'over-do'-- and you'll all be much happier for it!
As a high school counselor and college consultant, I see it every week, sometimes every day. As a woman, I see it constantly in the lives of those who cross my path. And it is as painful as it is pointless. There is such a high price to living this way and it can cost us our health, our family cohesiveness, and on a more minor scale, admission to the college of your student’s dreams.
The thing I’m talking about is a culture addicted to busy-ness. This social disease takes many forms. We call it distraction in our kids and multitasking if we are engaging in it ourselves. It is the state of never being fully present. It is akin to having an umbilical cord to whatever it is that gives you a high – iPhone texting, Facebook messaging, computer surfing, overfull class schedules, a gazillion church committees, a long list of homeschool group responsibilities, too many volunteer assignments. The list is endless.
Too much of anything, even good things, fractures our concentration so we do nothing well. It dilutes our days to the point that all the little minor things keep us from ever doing anything major.
Here’s the interesting thing. We labor under the false assumption, as ambitious parents (you may substitute “concerned” if that feels better), that our kids need a jam-packed activity schedule to impress a good college or qualify for a significant scholarship. We have been mistakenly informed that we must submerge our student in a killer academic line up. To be sure, you need quality activities and a rigorous academic profile to do well in competitive college admissions. However, I’m here to tell you that overkill is deadly.
Good colleges are not looking for well-rounded students. They are interested in making up a well-rounded class of diverse and interesting students. Please notice the word interesting. Interesting happens when....
Homeschoolers FLL Robotics Team from the Quakertown PA area earns major win-- heading to international competition!
Allison Janney, homeschool student, 2/26/2012
Editor's Note from Susan Richman: Over the years I've heard from many homeschool groups taking part in the First Lego League Robotics program-- and all have been incredibly grateful for this unique experience. I was delighted to hear of the wonderful experience of this team from the Quakertown PA region in the eastern part of the state-- and to see their grateful hearts as they have worked together so very well as a team. I know we all wish them the best, and that they will be able to fund their team trip to the international competition this April 2012.
If you don’t like long stories, we suggest skipping this. However, for the few readers that might still remain, we should add the disclaimer that although this is a long story, it is not quite long enough to count as one of your 25 books for the PHAA diploma English requirement. So if anyone is still interested in reading this, then we shall ask you to solve a math equation: What does 8 homeschool kids + 1 robot equal?
In the fall of 2010, eight homeschooled teenagers formed an First Lego League robotics team and over the two seasons the team has been existence, we have really seen God at work. God brought the team together in less than twenty-four hours. Some of us had never met before. God also provided all registration fees, robots, parts, pieces and many other things. Consequently, we picked Jireh, which in Hebrew means the Lord provides, as our team name.
As an FLL team we must: build and program an autonomous robot (If you don’t know what this means then, as a homeschooler, you should grab a dictionary!); research a real world problem in a specified area of science and come up with an innovative solution; and work well together as a team. Of course, being homeschooled, our moms quickly turned the research project into a unit study and we can all quite easily rattle off the summary of last year’s research. “We aim to prevent medial epicondylar apophysitis using the principles of neuroplasticity and biofeedback.” This year the team chose something easier-- preventing food spoilage during a power outage by designing a refrigerator ice pack which utilizes UV-C pulse light and endothermic reactions.
Last season, through God’s grace, the team did very well (taking first at the local level and second at the regional level). Of course, since we were homeschooled, we were asked some rather interesting questions at the competitions, my favorite being, “Isn’t so nice that you get to get out and see people?” Yes, I know how it is, we spend all day in our pajamas, cruelly locked in a dark closet, without TV and…I’m off topic.
This season our team saw God move mountains. At the local event our team placed first but at regionals everything fell apart. Although the research and the team work judging sessions went well, the robot game just went horribly. The first match our light sensors stopped working and the second match our fully charged battery died. In robot scores, the team was just about last place. Quickly we changed batteries, attempted to fix the light sensors by shoving a tire in one and were frantically rewriting code when we were called up for our third and last round of the day. We knew we were going in with an untested battery, untested code, and light sensors that worked sporadically even if the tire stayed wedged in place. The team was on the competition floor and we were praying, “God, it’s up to you because there is no way this should work.” All too soon we were up....
Santorum tells Ohio audience that he intends to homeschool in the White House
Howard Richman, 2/20/2012
An article in the Los Angeles Times reports that Senator Santorum told a Columbus Ohio audience that he would homeschool in the White House. Here is a selection:
Reporting from Columbus, Ohio— Republican GOP hopeful Rick Santorum may be the most prominent homeschooler in America. So it might not have been surprising that, on Saturday, he told a conservative Christian audience that he intended to homeschool his children in the White House....
In the nation’s past, he said, “Most presidents homeschooled their children in the White House.… Parents educated their children because it was their responsibility.”
The article ends with Santorum's supposed homeschool scandal:...
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Revives Phony Santorum Scandal
Howard Richman, 2/15/2012
[This blog entry that I wrote was originally published today on the American Thinker website. Click here to read it there.]
The Democrat-leaning Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is trying to revive the so-called "scandal" that the Democrats trumpeted during their successful campaign to unseat Rick Santorum in 2006.
Other news outlets are starting to pick up the Post-Gazette's claims. For example, in an article published on February 14 and linked to by the Drudge Report ("Santorum's Electability Pitch Undermined by 2006 Senate Reelection Loss"), Bloomberg reports:
Santorum's 2006 loss came after he was accused by Democrats of being hypocritical for moving his family to suburban Virginia, yet still claiming a property tax deduction and tuition reimbursement in Pennsylvania. The school district where his Penn Hills home was located paid $55,000 to reimburse the online education of his children through the state's Cyber Charter School program, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The state repaid the district in a legal settlement after a Democratic school board member challenged the reimbursement.
Here's what really happened. From 1996 through 2001, Senator Santorum and his wife Karen homeschooled their children privately in Pennsylvania, submitting their affidavits and portfolios each year to the Penn Hills School District for review. Each year, they saved the Penn Hills School District the cost of the Santorum children's education.
Beginning in the fall of 2001, the Santorums enrolled their children in Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, a public school founded by one of Pennsylvania's public school districts which provides free internet-based education to children across Pennsylvania....
Homeschooler Marine Science Program-- May 9-11, 2012, Wallops Island -- near Chincoteague & Assateague Islands
Marine Science Consortium, 2/15/2012
Editor's Note from Susan: Many wonderful field trip opportunities for homeschoolers come through on my email regularly-- but this one really seems truly unique and wonderful! So special that the Marine Science Consortium is organizing this spring (and follow-up Fall...) program just for homeschooling families. I hope that any of you who attend will post about how it went! And I've certainly known a number of homeschool kids who've been especially intrigued by marine science.
Homeschooler Marine Science Program
This is a 2 day overnight Marine Science Adventure course for Homeschoolers at the Marine Science Consortium. The consortium is located on Wallops Island, near the islands of Chincoteague and Assateague on Virginia Eastern Shore. It’s a gorgeous area and a fun science based camp for students and parents/teachers. This Marine Science Adventure Camp is just for Homeschoolers and their families.
Please Pass this field trip opportunity on to any interested homeschooling families
Marine Science Consortium’s Homeschooler Marine Science Program
Don't have a laboratory in your basement or an Oceanic Research Vessel in your backyard? Don’t worry, here at the Marine Science Consortium we understand the challenges parents face when they teach science in the home. The Marine Science Consortium is your resource for bridging the gap between marine science curriculum and student understanding. Our Homeschoolers Workshops are tailored for the budding Marine Biologist in your home. Our workshops provide hands-on observation of marine environments and life forms and time to socialize with other young marine biologist.
Since 1968 The Marine Science Consortium has educated and inspired thousands of children, youth, and adults about the marine and coastal ecosystems along the Mid-Atlantic Region through place-based, hands-on experiences. The bays, marshes, beaches, maritime forests, and off-shore waters of Virginia's Eastern Shore are The Marine Science Consortium's classroom. Whether you are an individual interested in learning more about coastal and marine systems or seeking to pursue a career in marine sciences, The Marine Science Consortium offers a wonderful variety of opportunities to meet your educational and/or research goals.
Registration is Now Open
Register for Homeschooler Marine Science Adventure programs by clicking on the links below. These programs fill quickly!
Marine Science Consortium Website – Program Information: http://msconsortium.org/#/homeschoolers-marine-adventure/4537567584
Direct link to online program registration form (registration is first come first serve a fills quickly):https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?hl=en&formkey=dEtVQ3FkdnAtVDJTTUZNc2o0TkE5U1E6MA#gid=0
Homeschooler Program Cost
(prices include all instruction, fieldtrips, transportation to fieldtrip sites, materials, meals and lodging)....
Registration now open for our 3 spring testing sites in PA-- Kittanning PA, Indiana PA, and Harrisburg area
Susan Richman, 2/14/2012
You can now register online (or print out a registration form) for our three Spring Testing Sites in Pennsylvania. Just click on the Testing Services link at the top of this page-- or just click here. You'll see we'll be testing at the following locations:
Online registration fee is still just $30 per student (PLUS a handling fee of $3.95 per total order). You can also 'come at the door' for $35 per student.
Here are some simple ideas to help make your testing day with us go smoothly, and help your children know what to expect:
1) Discuss test taking manners-- such as being very quiet and polite during the whole morning, especially while directions are being read. Silence is expected during the timed portions of the test, although students can raise their hands to ask questions if necessary. Students need to be able to read silently rather than orally, so as not to disturb other students.
2) Let your child know he can *not* ask questions such as “I can’t read this word-- can you tell me what it is, please?” or “I don’t understand how to do this math problem-- can you help me?” This is a test to see how well your child can do on these tasks without any help....
Homeschoolers and Socialization // reprint from Tri-Valley Times, CA
Marisa Chow, AP Online student with PA Homeschoolers, 2/6/2012
Editor's Note from Susan Richman: I was so delighted to see this article published in the Tri-Valley Times,written by one of our wonderful PA Homeschoolers AP Online students. Marisa Chow is a Contra Costa Times Teen Correspondent, taking part in a wide range of journalism projects with the newspaper. She is also a top student in my own AP US History course this year, after completing AP World History last year. She is also taking AP English Literature with our daughter Maya as her teacher. I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet Marisa and her brother Evan (wooo, can that young man play amazing jazz piano!!), and their mother Julie Chow, at our annual AP Party here at our farm in Western PA for all our AP online students. And this was quite a 'trek' for the Chow family, as they live in California, near to San Francisco. And I can definitely attest that Marisa and her brother were among the most socially out-going and friendly teens at this very lively weekend party! So Marisa definitely knows what she's talking about here-- and once you see all that she's involved with, you'll see why. Thanks, Marisa, for helping spread the word that homeschooling does not mean that kids never know another person beyond mom!
Teens: Home schooling aids, rather than inhibits, socialization
Home-schooled students like me are occasionally subject to one awkward question: Do you ever socialize?
There's a misconception about home-schooled students: They can't socialize normally because they're cooped up in their houses every day.
This is only true if you assume home schooling is exactly what it sounds like: studying at home, only at home and never interacting with others in the "outside world." This is a false assumption. Not only does home schooling include activities outside of the home, it also allows -- and even encourages -- students to socialize with people of different ages, backgrounds and perspectives.
Having been home-schooled for my entire school career, I've seen how active home-schoolers are outside of their homes. Many families who home-school are part of local home-schooling co-op groups that hold their own field trips, performance nights, graduation ceremonies, etc. They also might join with other home-schoolers and form classes of their own by hiring educators or parents with expertise in that field to teach a specific class. In past years, I've taken Latin and rhetoric classes in this way.
Whether it's sports, dance, music or art, extracurricular studies are another avenue for home-schoolers to interact with others. Since last year, my siblings and I have been leading a student chapter of the Contra Costa Performing Arts Society, a regional music organization, and we've held concerts and been on field trips with music students from all over the Bay Area. Many home-schoolers compete in speech and debate clubs, participating in multiple tournaments each year all over the state. Other home-schooled friends of mine are politically involved by making calls and canvassing for presidential campaigns. In addition, home-schoolers play on organized sports teams through park programs and sports clubs. In these activities, we often interact with public and private school students as well.
Home-schoolers also tend to socialize with a variety of different people....