Friday, January 24, 2014

Guest Post ~ Homeschooling and the Internet

Homeschooling and the Internet
Beginning in the late 1990s the Internet created new opportunities for students and their families who wanted to facilitate learning in an asynchronous (independent) environment. These opportunities began with online colleges which started to offer courses via the Internet in 1999. By the first years of the 21st century high schools and then elementary schools were including elearning in their curriculum.

Online education opened up new doors for families who wished to homeschool  -- or "unschool" -- their children. The percentage of school-age children who were homeschooled  increased from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 2.9 percent in 2007, representing  a 74 percent relative increase over the eight  year period. Although no formal statistics have been compiled since 2007, informal studies set the percentage of 2013 homeschooled students at 3.8% of the school-age population.

Parents give a variety of reasons for homeschooling their children. The most common reason seems to be a desire to provide religious or moral instruction, followed by a concern about the school environment (such as  drugs, safety, bullying,  negative peer pressure),  dissatisfaction with the methods or level of instruction, the child's health or special needs, finances, location (distance from the school) and a desire to educate the child within the family unit. Many parents feel that by providing their child with a nontraditional approach to education, they will enhance the child's interest in learning, ability to acquire information and  capacity for independently study.  

Today online education is a dynamic component of almost all homeschooling frameworks.  Homeschooling families have discovered the benefits of elearning which allows them to refine their children's education, present the curriculum in a vibrant and interactive format, encourage project-based and independent learning and promote creativity.

The United States Department of Education has begun to study the benefits of online learning in the schools. Their report, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices of Online Learning  was based on the results of 50 independent research projects and concluded that online learning is a more effective technique than traditional face-to-face instruction. Multi-media and web-based applications have gone a long way towards improving online classrooms and the scholastic results of students who learn partially or fully online shows marked improvements.

Homeschooling parents have taken note of online learning opportunities. eLearning tools and methodologies are helping to increase the numbers of families who are exploring home-based instruction.  Whereas, in the early years of distance learning, homeschooling parents tended to focus on the drawbacks of computer-based instruction -- reliance on technology, a reduced emphasis in the parent-child face-to-face interactions, the students' lack of familiarity with traditional book learning -- the discussion has now shifted from whether to include online learning in the home-based instruction to how to best include online learning in the homeschooling environment.

In reviewing some of the benefits of distance learning for homeschooling students it's clear that most students can complete a portion, or even all, of their coursework through online resources and tools. Early elementary-aged children generally need more supervision but by the 5th or 6th grade students can receive asynchronous assignments from their parent or other homeschooling educational professional and complete those assignments either semi-independently or totally independently. Many homeschooling families have become involved in groups which focus on how homeschooling parents and students can collaborate and support each other. These interactions enable homeschooling students to work together on assignments -- in person or via skype, webex or another web application. The students can work in pairs or in small groups as they expand the scope of a lesson and increase their own social interactions.

eGames are a popular tool for personalized homeschool learning. eGames are designed to respond instantly to whatever the player does. eGames are arranged in series of increasingly difficult challenges which fit the sequencing of the curriculum (i.e. after completing the fractions level a student will move up to the algebra level). eGames promote independent learning in an atmosphere of vibrant information exchange.

At the end of the day, regardless of whether a child is educated in a classroom or at home and regardless of which methodologies or tools are used, the facilitator will always be the key to any successful educational model. Lowell Milken an educational leader and chairman of homeschooling giant K12 reminds homeschooling and classroom-based educators alike that "The most direct and enduring way to reach the mind and imagination of the learner is through the mind, imagination and character of the outstanding teacher."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Historical Fiction

The Pagan Lord (The Saxon Stories, #7)The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

England is at peace and Uhtred is unwanted after he kills a priest. His eldest son is accepted into the priesthood and is now known as Father Judas. Uhtred leaves to go Viking and hopefully reclaim Bebbanburg. Uhtred fails to reclaim Bebbanburg but kills his Uncle (AElfric) and takes his cousin's wife and son hostage. Alfred's bastard Osferth falls in love with her and Uhtred gives Osferth the boy.

Meanwhile Cnut has devised a scheme to usurp Mercia from Aethelred (Aetheflaed's husband). Uhtred hurries back to foil his plot. He finds where Cnut hide, his wife and children and takes them hostage. He then pretends to kill Cnut's daughter. Cnut follows Uhtred and eventually corners him. Just when all looks lost Pyrlig shows up with his Welsh warriors. Still outnumbered Uhtred's forces are managing to hold when King Edward shows up and Cnut and his men start to flee. Uhtred challenges Cnut to a duel. Cnut is killed and Uhtred is in a coma.

The ending of the book makes it sound as if Uhtred died, but in the Historical Notes Cornwell reveals that Uhtred will live.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Carnival of Homeschooling Robert E. Lee Edition

Robert E. Lee riding Traveller
Robert E Lee was born on January 19, 1807 in Stratford, Virginia.  His father, Colonel Henry Lee, also known as "Light-Horse Harry," had served as a cavalry leader during the Revolutionary War and gone on to become one of the war's heroes, winning praise from General George Washington.

Check out Did it Right Today @ Homeschool Atheist Momma

Quick Start Homeschooling offers {Day 15} How Do Homeschoolers Get In To College?

Simple Homeschool shares Kara's Homeschool Day in the Life.

Take a look @ Revolutionary War Unit Study over at Learning Curve.

Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 6- and 9-year-old)

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Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 6- and 9-year-old)

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Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 6- and 9-year-old)

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Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 6- and 9-year-old)

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Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 6- and 9-year-old)

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Robert E. Lee age 31
At 18, he enrolled at West Point Military Academy, where he put his drive and serious mind to work. He was one of just six cadets in his graduating class who finished without a single demerit, and wrapped up his studies with perfect scores in artillery, infantry and cavalry.

Congrats to Rebel Homeschool College Acceptance!

Read Merry Sickmas. 4 “Sick” Lessons Every Homeschool Mom Should Learn @ Homeschool Cheer

Rest for the Weary offers Getting a handle on homeschool burnout: Physical needs

A 10-year-old Boy’s Top 5 Books of 2013 is presented at Simply Convivial.

Mary Curtis Lee

After graduating from West Point, Lee married Mary Custis, the great-granddaughter of George and Martha Washington. Together, they had seven children: three sons (Custis, Rooney and Rob) and four daughters (Mary, Annie, Agnes and Mildred). Lee served with distinction during the Mexican-American War,  and later served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.

Check out Homeschooling Is Not for Everyone, and Neither Is Public School

When Crazy Meets Exhaustion tells Why I Will Never Homeschool My Kids

Schoolhouse Review Crew offers 8 Tips to Help You Start a Homeschool Support Group

The Blog of Questioning ask Is wanting to homeschool my children that radical of an idea?

8 Tips to Help You Start a Homeschool Support Group - See more at:

Why I Will Never Homeschool My Kids
Why I Will Never Homeschool My Kids
Why I Will Never Homeschool My Kids
Robert E. Lee 1863
After turning down an offer from President Abraham Lincoln to command the Union forces, Lee resigned from the military and returned home. While Lee had misgivings about entering a war on the slavery issue, when Virginia voted to secede from the nation on April 18, 1861, Lee agreed to be the leader of the Confederate Forces. In April 1865 Lee surrendered to Grant at a private home in Appomattox, Virginia.

There's No Place Like Home offers Weekend Review: Our First Week of Unschooling

So how are they doing? over @ Notes From A Homeschool Mom. I could really relate to this post. My eldest son has finished College. He has a Masters degree in Computer Science and landed a job right after graduation in his field. My youngest son is currently working on his Masters in History and is doing well.

Harvest Moon shares  William Wordsworth - Poet/Poetry Study

There is A Moment of Calm over at Home Spun Juggling.

Robert E. Lee, President of Washington College from 1865-1870
After the war,  Robert E. Lee served as President of what is now Washington and Lee University.

Little Giant Steps advises you to Save Your Child Academically

Knitted Thoughts shares Writing Cures Loneliness

Why Homeschool 's contribution Teaching our children some of the really important lessons

Thank you for visiting this weeks Carnival of Homeschooling, to find out who is hosting next week click here.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Book Review - Fantasy

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There were 10 heralds but 9 survived the Desolation and choose not to return to the place of pain and fire (breaking the Oathpact), they just walked away leaving their blades behind. The 10th Herald Taln was left behind to bind the Oathpact.

Kaladin was a dark-eyed son of a doctor (Lirin). On Roshar eye color determines your status. Light-eyes are rulers. When the Brightlord of their village dies he leaves soul stones to Kaladin's family so that Kaladin can study to be a doctor. The new Brightlord (Roshone) is angered by this as he wants the wealth for himself. Brightlord Roshone tries to turn the village against Kaladin's family. When Brightlord Roshone and his son are injured in a dangerous hunt, he blames Kaladin's Father for his son's death. To get even he drafts Kaladin's younger brother (Tien) into the army. Kaladin chooses to go with him to protect him but is helpless to prevent Tien's death. He then tries to protect the young men in his squadron but when they are run down by a Shardbearer he is helpless to save them. When the Shardbearer attacks Brightlord Amaram his guard flees but Kaladin brings the Shardbearer down saving Amaram. Traditionally the killer of the Shardbearer gets the Shardblade and Shardplate (which are priceless and convey wealth and prestige on the owner) but associating it with the death of his squad he doesn't want it and gives it to another member of the squad. Unfortunately Amaram wants it for himself he kills the survivors of the squad and sells Kaladin into slavery to cover up his theft of the Shardblade and Shardplate. Kaladin finds himself a Bridgeman owned by Highprince Sadeas (who uses bridgemen as fodder against the Parshendi). When Kaladin figures out a way to use the bridge as a shield against the Parshendi arrows Sadeas has him left out in a highstorm to die, but Kaladin lives. More determined the ever to keep the men of Bridge 4 alive, Kaladin secretly trains them as soldiers and they prepare to escape. Their chance comes when Sadeas betrays Highprince Dalinar (The King's Uncle) by leaving him stranded on a plateau surrounded by Parshendi. Unable to leave Dalinar and his troops to die, Kaladin and his men (Rock, Moash, Skar, Drehy, Sigzil (Wit's servant), Lopen, and Teft) go back for them. Against the odds they are able to save Dalinar, his eldest son (Adolin) and some of his troops. Dalinar promises to protect Kaladin and his men from Sadeas. When they get back to camp Dalinar confronts Sadeas about his betrayal and demands he sell the bridgemen to him. Sadeas refuses until Dalinar offers his Shardblade in exchange for all the bridgemen. Dalinar then offers Kaladin and his men positions as his honor guard.

Highprince Dalinar has been seeing visions of the past during highstorms. Not sure if the visions are real or if he can trust them he considers abdicating and letting Adolin take over. But in the end Dalinar realizes the "Blackthorn" in needed to unite his people (the Alethi) . Armed with the knowledge that King Elhokar cut his own saddle girth. Which allowed Sadeas the chance to manipulate him, he demands the Elhokar make him Highprince of War.

Szeth (the assassin) is ordered by Highprince Taravangian to kill Dalinar.

Shallan gives up her plant to steal Jasnah's fabrial in order to really work with her. They discover that the Voidbringers are the Parshendi.

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