Archive for August, 2010

Top Parenting Resources: Are There Other Alternatives to Holding Students Back?

Different parenting resources present disagreeing data about whether or not holding a child back another grade in school after failing standardized tests helps improve academic performance. While some argue that giving a child another year to “catch up” is a positive alternative, many specialists and parents claim retention can do more damage to their child’s learning and social development.

According to Karl Alexander, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, grade retention “at any age raises the risk of dropping out of school later,” and has a negative impact on all areas of a child’s academic achievement and socio-emotional adjustment. Another study conducted by the University of California also found that students who have been held back another year attribute being retained for their “poor peer relationships, poor self-esteem and their continuing struggles at school.” This is why it is imperative that you consider the following alternatives before deciding to hold your child back another year:

Alternative #1: Diagnostic testing and supplemental curriculum. Through proper diagnostic testing, you’d be able to accurately identify your child’s academic level, as well as skills. This allows you and the school to clearly determine if your child is in the right grade level, using the appropriate curriculum. If you feel there is a need to “beef it up”, don’t hesitate to go over a variety of supplemental curricula that’s available to you. Once you find one that best fits your child’s needs, integrate it with your child’s school work because this can help emphasize things learned in school.

Alternative #2: Remedial classes and additional course work. Coordinate with your child’s teacher to identify your child’s academic weaknesses, and find out if additional course work can help earn the extra credits she needs. Encourage her to join study groups and if at all possible, hire an effective tutor who can provide one-on-one help in understanding new lessons and completing school work. Consider enrolling your child in summer classes or, if his school offers them, extended day and extended year programs. Many parenting resources support that getting children involved in homework clubs and after-school programs can help increase their learning success in the classroom.

Alternative #3: Extra-curricular activities. Get your child involved in other non-academic activities. Help him make new friends by participating in sports activities like football and basketball, or joining groups such as choir, scouts and dance. Exposing him to things outside school can help boost his academic performance, establishing a good foundation for long-term academic success.

How to Emotionally Prepare Homeschool Kids for College

I'm A Graduate Now What? College Preperation Resources!

I'm A Graduate Now What? College Preparation Resources!

College is a big step for any teen, homeschooled or not.  And while skeptics argue that homeschoolers and college don’t go together, research shows that on average, homeschooled teens can “match and often excel beyond their traditionally schooled counterparts in terms of grades” (Sorey and Duggan, Journal of College Admission, 2008).

Homeschooling kids and college fair pretty well in higher education, that’s really not much of a surprise.  But as with any major transitions, proper preparation is necessary.  Before sending your teens off to college, consider the following tips:

Tip #1:  Introduce the idea of college in a positive light. Don’t make it seem like it’s the end of the world, crying and weeping each time the word “college” is mentioned.  Watching your dear homeschoolers move on to the next level of academic success is a wonderful, joyful thing.  You want your kids to experience this exciting time not with fear but with confidence.  You want them to leave your home thinking college is a fun, learning time; the perfect time to make mistakes, as a matter of fact, so they are able to take on whatever life throws their way in the future.

Tip #2:  Teach them important life skills. From financial responsibility to time management, prioritizing and budgeting, to balancing of checks—nothing is too irrelevant when you’re preparing your teens for college and adult life.  Let them work in high school or during summer breaks; let them earn their first car, and hone in on the value of hard work.  These practical skills are going to be their tools for success, remember that.

Tip #3:  Begin to clip their wings. I know this is much easier said than done.  I mean, exactly how do you expect a parent to let their kids go and decide for themselves?  Not without a fight, I tell you!  But as we all know, we’re going to have to let our children learn from being independent—from the good and the bad that come at the cost of freedom.  This will prepare them for the real world.

Once your homeschooled teens are ready for college, let them try traditional on-campus life even for a semester.  Encourage them to build positive friendships to make college life an experience they will never forget. Additionally, make sure your homeschooler is prepared for college with these college preparation resources.

Homeschooling Kids 101: Educating Skeptics

Buy Homeschool Parenting Resource Books

Buy Homeschool Resource Books

The kids are about to start homeschool and everything is ready!  You and your husband have bought homeschool resource books, spoken to a few homeschooling families, and even selected the most appropriate homeschool curriculum for your children . . . Everything is in place and you’re eager to move on to the next challenge: informing your family and close friends.

And while many of them will surely support your brave decision to homeschool kids, some might be a bit skeptic.  You should expect this, and not allow it to cause unnecessary stress.  Be thankful your children are surrounded by people who actually care about the kind of education they receive.  Take their concern as an opportunity to educate them about homeschooling.  This is the most effective approach in building a strong support system.  You may follow these three easy steps in educating skeptics in your family and group of friends on homeschooling:

Step #1:  Inform and educate those in doubt. Answer their questions on point, and try not to focus the conversation on what’s wrong about the public school system.  Be objective and clear when providing information, as clarity is always the best persuader.  Share the things you learned from researching and talking to other homeschooling kids and families.  From the new movement’s history to current status, share as much information as they want you to.  Let them know of famous homeschoolers from different periods of time, and use these successful figures to show how a different education system can also lead to remarkable, ground-breaking accomplishments.

Step #2:  Address all concerns. Issues about socialization and teacher qualifications are most frequently asked, so prepare to go at length when discussing these points.  Mention how you plan to incorporate social interaction with your child’s homeschool curriculum, and be ready to answer questions like “what about prom, sports, college?”  You will need to take a stand, and rightfully so, as the parent, and explain how you feel about these things.  When it comes to cultural diversity and being able to interact with other races and groups of people, talk about the trips you plan to take as a family, and how you feel such an experience will educate your children.

Step #3:  Prove skeptics wrong. You cannot please everybody, you know that.  What you can do, however, is to turn your homeschooling kids into homeschooling ambassadors.  Keep a portfolio of their work and progress, and show them to family and friends—both skeptics and supporters—when you get a chance.  Sharing your homeschooling kids’ success is good because not only does it help boost your child’s confidence, it also serves as testament that you made the right call.

But remember, your decision to homeschool your child is yours to make as a parent.  And although you will always find a skeptic in a bunch of supporters, this shouldn’t derail you from your goals.  Educate the skeptic, and if your efforts still do not bring your the results you want, do yourself and your family a favor and shrug it all off.

To get the help you need on homeschooling your child, visit our parent resources section for  homeschool resource books.

John the Baptist Remains Found

Purchase John The Baptist Interactive DVD

Purchase John The Baptist Interactive DVD

John the Baptist, a major religious figure who baptized Jesus Christ and led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River was claimed to be found last week after the monastery’s basilica was opened on Sunday, August 1, 2010 in Bulgaria. Archaeologists  claim they have found the remains of John the Baptist while excavating the site of a 5th century monastery on the Black Sea island of Sveti Ivan. A reliquary – a container for holy relics and made of alabaster, contained fragments of a skull, a hand, and a tooth.

Further tests on the fragments are still to be performed, but Archaeologists are lead to believe the remains are in deed John the Baptist‘s because of a Greek inscription on the reliquary referring to June 24, the date when Christians celebrate John the Baptist’s birth and the proven reliquary 5th century dating.

The monastery on the island where the remains were found was dedicated to John the Baptist.  The relics are believed to have been donated to the monastery by the Byzantine Church.

Source: CNN

Why Homeschool?

Find Homeschool Resources Here

Find Homeschool Resources Here

Why Homeschool? Homeschool education is perhaps one of the biggest and most monumental reforms in our education system since mass public schooling took effect about a hundred years ago.  As the practice of homeschooling children gains more support from families, many have become increasingly disappointed at the decline in quality of public and private school education in the U.S.  And who can blame them?  Think about it for a second.  Why is it that when our kids take those aptitude tests that measure our rank—in terms of intelligence—in the world, they always score near the bottom?  If our public and private schools systems work, how come our kids never score better than an average Asian or European kid in math, science or literature?

For those who ask “Why Homeschool?” I say “Why not homeschool?” Let me give you two most important reasons why homeschooling children may be a better choice for your family:

Reason #1: Homeschooling encourages children to learn from their mistakes. One of the problems with traditional schools is that they tend to emphasize how it’s ultimately wrong to make mistakes.  The more errors your children incur in their exams, the lower their final grades become.  Everything is quantified by numbers, and if theirs don’t meet the school’s standards, there are serious consequences.  The homeschool movement, on the other hand, teaches children that mistakes can lead people to discoveries.  This foundation then is able to hone a culture that isn’t scared to make mistakes and create a generation that recognizes opportunities amidst problems.

Reason #2:  Homeschooling turns the world into one big classroom. It encourages curiosity and inspires creativity.  Learning is facilitated by different people, like an artist your child meets at the museum, the doctor at the hospital, or the baker at the store.  While day school system forces children to sit in class for 6 to 8 hours, 5 days a week, homeschool education teaches them to explore and discover at their own pace.  The world becomes their classroom, boundless and never-ending, exactly the way learning and education should be.

There are many more reasons why homeschool is preferred by a growing number of families in the U.S. today.  And it varies, depending on the parents’ priorities when it comes to educating their children.

Tell us your story.  Why does your family prefer homeschooling your children?  What do you think are its benefits?  Would you recommend homeschooling to other families?

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