What exactly is a co-op? Does your family need a co-op? How do we go about choosing a co-op? This week we will be hearing from Susanne Brown, administrator of Upstate Homeschool Co-op, which happens to be the largest co-op in the country! For all your co-op questions, look no further!
This week we’ll be looking at homeschooling from a legal perspective. What do we need to be aware of? How can we know what’s illegal in our states? What are some pitfalls that homeschool families fall into? Mike Donnelly with HSLDA joins us to share some insight.
In this fallen world we live in, the internet can naturally be a scary place. However, that doesn’t give us reason to fear! This week I’ll share with you what precautions my family has taken in regards to internet safety, and I hope this will give you some ideas for how to best protect yourself and those you love from the dangers of the internet.
We’re right in the middle of winter, and as a result, we’re indoors…a lot. Are there creative ways to make learning fun during this season and break up the mundane for ourselves? Let’s chat about that. Bring your creative juices, because this week we’ll explore fun ideas to incorporate in our learning.
In February, we’ll take a look at how fun learning can be – no reason to fall into a rut with Valentine’s Day in sight! I also want to talk about the importance of discernment. We live in a fallen world filled with lies, but the good news is: we have the truth. We’ll also be joined by a special guest from HSLDA to discuss how we homeschool legally. Lastly, we are going to talk about co-ops. Do you need them or do you not? There are many good options out there– let’s talk about that! Make sure to join us in February!
The holidays are past (well, except Valentine’s Day!) and your family is back into the swing of homeschool. As you come to the middle of this semester some of the novelty may have worn off those shiny curriculum books. You might be juggling a kindergartener, third grader, AND your high school student – right when your ninth grader starts to struggle with his college preparatory studies. What do you do? Below are three common problem areas for high school students and some ways to address them.
Critical Thinking and Argumentation
You might be thinking, “My child has no problem being critical or argumentative!” Fortunately (or unfortunately!) we’re not talking about a bad attitude here. Critical thinking is the ability to sift through information and come to an objective conclusion about it. Logic and argumentation are part of critical thinking; they are the practical applications of a critical mind.
Want to know the big secret of standardized testing? They are all about critical thinking! Standardized tests are really testing a student’s ability to discern the correct answer from four incorrect ones. This means a student needs to know how to eliminate what is invalid and in some situations, make a case for the right one.
Unfortunately, many students get hung up on “getting the right answer”. They try to memorize facts rather than learn how to see the big picture in their studies. If your student struggles to understand the “Why” behind his studies, or can’t explain how he comes to certain conclusions, consider incorporating some logic into his summer studies. The Fallacy Detective is an easy read and a great start for light summer curriculum.
Reading Comprehension and Retention
Closely tied to critical thinking is reading comprehension. This is actually a test section on the SAT. While both male and female students can struggle in this area, it is particularly common among boys. Students who have difficulty with reading comprehension tend to read very slowly in order to grasp the concepts on the page. In order to answer any questions about the text after reading it, they rarely can jump right back into the relevant paragraph – they have to start completely over, searching the text for the answer. This causes the student to take much longer to answer questions than a standardized test would allow.
To improve reading comprehension, the student needs to learn to “skim” the text. He can start by looking for the opening line, concluding sentence, and the conclusions of each paragraph. Each of these will give a summary of what the text is about. If he struggles with speed reading, the app Acceleread provides word games to improve sight and speed reading ability.
Math: some kids love it; some hate it! During our own high school years, my husband and I both completed Saxon math. My husband is now an engineer, and his analytical mind appreciated the structure of the Saxon curriculum. For me, that structure didn’t provide enough information and follow-up. I struggled with math from 9th grade into college – and it definitely affected my ACT score!
If your student is struggling with math, consider looking into another curriculum that fits his or her mode of learning. You could also hire, borrow, or barter for a tutor (I was tutored by a fellow homeschool student in exchange for apple pie!); sometimes hearing the concepts from another perspective helps the subject “click”. But remember: the math on standardized tests is as much about critical thinking as it is about the equations themselves. A good test prep book will help equip your student in all areas.