When we ask our Calvert Families about their favorite aspects of homeschooling, one item that is always at the top of the list is FLEXIBILITY. This is especially true for parents who have experienced the world of public or private schooling. While the flexibility of homeschooling can be an adjustment for some, most homeschooling parents enjoy the following aspects of learning at home. Sleep In Gone are the days of setting the alarm for 5:30 a.m., so you can get the kids up, make breakfast, spend 20 minutes finding Johnny’s left shoe, leave the house by 6:45, and battle the carpool lane for 30 minutes. Many of our Calvert Families follow modified daily schedules. If Suzie needs a few extra hours of sleep in the morning and doesn’t start her school work until 9:00 a.m., that’s ok. If Johnny does his best math work at 8:00 p.m. in the evening, that’s ok too. As a homeschooler, you can follow a daily schedule that works best for YOUR family. Make Your Own Calendar As a homeschooler, you’re not tied to a calendar created by local school officials. If you want to take President’s Day off, but do schoolwork on the 4th of July, go for it! Many of our Calvert Families follow modified school year calendars. Some follow a 2 weeks on/ 2 weeks off approach, some school year-round, some take a long winter break and school throughout the summer. As a homeschooler, you can decide what’s best for your family. Make Time for Things that Matter Go visit grandma during the middle of the school year. Spend time with loved ones. You don’t have to wait until summer break to travel. Take the school work with you or make up for it over the summer. If mom or dad have time off from work during the “normal” school year, make that a vacation week from school too, and spend time together as a family. Learn Something New Because homeschool students can complete their lessons at their own pace, most students spend less time on school work than the typical 7-to-8-hour school day. This frees up time to pursue new hobbies or explore areas of interest. Create a family gardening project, learn a new language together, teach the children how to cook or bake, or start a home improvement project. If Johnny has always wanted to learn to play the guitar, now is a great time to do so. We often hear from Calvert Families who enjoy their flexible homeschool schedules because it allows their students to receive a rigorous education while pursuing competitive dance, sports, music, acting, and more! Play Hookey No more crowded Saturday afternoon movie theaters or long lines at the aquarium! Take a weekday afternoon off and go have some fun. You can always do math and science on Saturday afternoon! If your current school environment isn’t the best fit for you and your child, now is the best time to switch to Calvert Education.ENROLL NOW and make this a great school year. Call 844-899-6017 to speak with an Enrollment Advisor. ♦
Matthew Poston’s alter ego is a cartoon professor named Mr. Science Teacher, but his passion for his students and his subjects is absolutely real.
Poston, a former high school teacher for twelve years, started MrScienceTeacher.com as a way to connect with science and math students who fall a little behind and need a bit of a boost. When Poston was teaching in the classroom, he saw a lot of students who were almost getting it, but not quite. Intimidated, they would end up dropping classes or getting poor grades. Poston realized a lot of talent was being wasted; he felt sure that if these students could be reached out to in a non-threatening environment and taught step-by-step, they would find they could master the subject. Enter Mr. Science Teacher.
MrScienceTeacher.com provides a structured way for homeschooled and traditionally schooled high school students to supplement their learning. Classes are offered in a video format; each video takes students through a concept step-by-step, repeating the lesson several times with different problems. Courses are set up as semesters, with one lesson and homework assignment per day. Students track their progress and earn a letter grade with a quiz after every five lessons, a midterm, and a final exam. Each student gets their own “gradebook,” where they can see the breakdown of their individual and cumulative grades. In addition, each student has access to a “personal zone,” where they can manage their personal calendar, make notes, edit profile information and view past support tickets.
Currently, MrScienceTeacher.com offers a high school chemistry course. Physics and physical sciences are due out next year, with high school math classes to follow.
In addition to the video classrooms, MrScienceTeacher.com offers subscribers access to one-on-one tutoring and individual homework help. A student can book an appointment with a tutor and then have a session via Internet video. For quick questions, the Homework Help tool is invaluable. A student can ask one question for $4.99, three for $9.99 or five for $14.99. The student then has five days to ask the questions. The questions are generally answered within twenty-four hours. For more urgent questions, a response to one question can be had in one hour for $7.99. If Mr. Science Teacher determines that a question cannot be answered, a full refund is given.
Right now, a one-year subscription is just $79.99. That includes up to five Homework Help questions for free, options such as, no time limits and/or unlimited attempts on tests, and up to three additional months for free, if needed, to complete the course.
Matthew Poston is dedicated to helping his students really “get” high school science and math, and it shows in the thoroughness of the web site’s features and in the content of the lessons. “I want to help students. I want to answer their questions. I want them to know I’m interested in their success, and I want to help them get a quality education.”
By Mary Hood, Ph.D. (Speaker at The Link Homeschool Conference Feb 27-Mar 1, 2015)
By now, most of you have probably heard something about Common Core. Many parents first noticed something was different when their small children began having difficulties with the math problems associated with the curriculum that is linked to Common Core. Even children who had been getting very good grades in math in the past were suddenly failing. As a result of night after night of meltdowns, many parents have recently made the decision to pull their children out of the public schools to teach them at home. A lot of these parents would never have dreamed of homeschooling just a short time ago.
Common Core, though, is much more than just a “new” way of doing math that makes it difficult for parents to help children with their homework!
So what, exactly, is it? By definition, Common Core is a set of national standards in language arts and math instruction. When I first heard about it, and started hearing an outcry from public school parents, I thought they probably were overreacting. After all, what is so wrong about having a consistent set of standards?
Then I started researching it, and realized it was about a lot more than just a set of standards. At that point, I thought it probably was just a phase. I’ve been around education for fifty-some years, and have seen many instructional fads come and go.
Then I researched it a little more, and wound up quitting my job in order to have more time to help combat Common Core and assist the newcomers making the switch to the field of homeschooling!
There are several things that I find uniquely repulsive about Common Core, when compared to other so-called “fads” in education.
1. First of all, it is a nationalized approach to education. The 10th Amendment specifically states that anything that isn’t mentioned in the Constitution is reserved to the states and the people within the states. It is illegal for the federal government to step into education in this manner. Not only the 10th Amendment, but also the Department of Education’s own organizational documents forbid such an intrusion on a national level.
The backers of Common Core claim it is a state-led initiative, based on the involvement of two organizations, the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. In reality, these are both Washington, D.C. based trade organizations. The governors were asked to agree to get involved with Common Core before the standards were even written, in order to receive large grants of money. Even if the governors were highly involved in the actual creation of the Common Core standards — which does not appear to be the case — they do not have the power to make sweeping changes to the entire educational system of their respective states without the involvement of the legislators. The idea that this was a state-created initiative is simply a fiction, set up because the framers know that, if it is a federal initiative, it is blatantly illegal. Once the money was in place, the legislators, understandably, have had a hard time making the decision to give back large chunks of funding.
2. The standards were written with very little involvement from K-12 educators, and virtually no involvement from parents. They were written and implemented over a very short time period, with no pre-testing to determine their validity. They are copyright by a private organization. Because of this, when parents, or even teachers, have problems with the implementation of the programs, they will likely be told there is nothing they can do about it, because the standards themselves are copyrighted.
3. The people who wrote the standards apparently know nothing about child development. They have blatantly ignored everything that true professionals understand about how young children think. The youngest children, those in grades 1-3, are being asked to do things that they simply cannot do, involving abstract thinking that is not developed until much later. As soon as the standards came out, the Alliance for Childhood issued a joint statement signed by hundreds of early childhood professionals, saying that the standards were highly inappropriate, in regards to literacy and math instruction. They were ignored.
4. Any parent knows that, even within a family, each individual child has different levels of readiness, unique styles of learning, and different needs and goals. If it is inappropriate to have exactly the same goals and standards for each child within a single family, how much less appropriate is it to expect every child in the nation to be on the same level at all times? The standards completely ignore differences between geographical areas, and ignore all individual differences among children. Gifted children are having their needs ignored, and are being used as peer tutors, rather than being challenged. IEPs for those with learning difficulties are also being ignored. This is not only a travesty, but it is illegal in itself.
5. Although Common Core is supposed to simply be a set of standards, it is giving rise to a nationalized curriculum. If someone showed you a chocolate cake, and told you that in a year they were going to come test you on your ability to bake one that is exactly the same, with the same texture, same taste, same ingredients, etc., how many recipes could you choose? Only one! Although the framers of Common Core claim that the teachers have wide leeway to create their own materials, in reality few teachers or administrators have the ability or the time to create such curriculum on their own. The temptation is strong to use the materials which are being offered to them.
6. There is a huge amount of profit being made by private individuals and corporations involving Common Core. All the new textbooks, the new computers and software, and the new tests and new test prep books that are being created are going to be costing state governments and taxpayers millions of dollars.
7. The standards that many tout as being “rigorous” are actually further dumbing down the curriculum. Much literature is being replaced by informational reading. The math standards are actually significantly lower than those that were in place in most areas prior to the implementation of Common Core. When the proponents state that their goal is to make children “college and career ready”, they fail to mention that they are talking primarily about being ready for non-selective junior colleges and technical careers. The standards do not appear to promote a philosophy of education that results in well-rounded, educated adults, but appear to be slanted in favor of the development of a workforce. In addition, middle-schoolers are being asked to select “tracks” that will guide their high school course selection. How many people really know what they want to do when they are 13 or 14? This is known in educational philosophy as “vocationalism”, and is the opposite of the kind of education we have typically had in America, where the majority of teachers and parents have desired an education that includes a great deal of classical literature, music, and art, in order to turn out well-educated, well-rounded individuals. Vocational specialization should be left until such a point when the students themselves are ready to make informed choices about their career paths — not done during the young teenage years!
8. Many parents will find that their own values are being challenged by the implementation of Common Core. Their own concerns with various aspects of the curriculum are being ignored, and their own ability to help their children with their homework is being compromised. Those with belief systems that are not reflected in the curricula have been leaving the schools in record numbers in order to educate their children at home, or in the private schools of the nation.
9. The Common Core standards have led to the implementation of a massive testing program. There is a great deal of student data being gathered, which is threatening the privacy of the families involved.
10. The standards are leading to a de-professionalization of the teaching profession. Large numbers of experienced teachers are leaving the system, and it appears that many of the newer teachers are being reduced to being “script readers”. The specifics are difficult to ascertain, since there is a lot of secrecy surrounding the creation and implementation of the various programs, and with the continuing education classes that the teachers are being asked to attend. This veil of secrecy, in itself, should be enough to worry parents!
So what should our response to all of this be, as homeschoolers?
First, we need to be vigilant, to become informed, and to help the public school parents fight this situation. It is leading to tighter controls on public education, and if it is not stopped, will eventually lead to intrusion into our own freedoms.
Second, we need to remember that it is our own goals as parents that should be driving our instruction, and not worry too much about what the standards are in the public school system.
Parents will, justifiably, be concerned about the possibility of testing programs changing to accommodate the Common Core standards. While this is certainly a valid concern, it is likely that most homeschooled students, who will still be reading quality literature and having a broader education than the ones who are tracked into specific career paths, will outperform their public school peers on these tests. When the tests change, the preparation books will also change. If, as homeschoolers, we turn out well-educated, well-rounded individuals, and also teach them test-taking procedures through prepping them for these new Common Core-laced tests, I’m sure they will do just fine.
As a Christian, I also believe strongly that God is ultimately in control, and I refuse to be fearful. I hope you don’t succumb to such fear, either, since, in the words of Winston Churchill, “The only thing to fear is fear itself!” MH
Dr. Mary Hood is a nationally-known homeschool conference speaker, author and mother of five grown homeschooled children. She is recognized as “The Relaxed Home Schooler®“. She is the author of such books as “The Relaxed Home School” and “The Joyful Home Schooler“. She will be a featured speaker at our 2015 Conference in Westlake Village. She has spoken at many of our previous conferences and appeals to all homeschooling parents, regardless of religious or non-religious point of view. See her website for more information: http://www.archersforthelord.org/
By Eileen Healy, MA, LMFT (Speaker at The Link Homeschool Conference Feb 27-Mar 1, 2015)
“I know I need to teach my child English, math, history, spelling, and the other core subjects but why do I need to worry about teaching him/her about social emotional intelligence?”
Social emotional intelligence has been proven to be more important to teach our children than any of the core subjects. Why is that? Our children will need a certain proficiency in their core subjects but need to relate and adapt to the rest of the world outside the home. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand one’s own emotions and the emotions of others and to respond to those emotions in a healthy way. Children with a high emotional intelligence know how to manage their emotions and how to respond to others in a healthy way. Your child will need to know how to intra-relate and interrelate to himself and others throughout his life. Research continues to report that a high emotional intelligence in a child is the best predictor of success in life for a child — even more than a high IQ.
Research has shown over and over the last twenty years that a person’s emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important than a person’s IQ. How many times have you seen or worked with people who overreact at the simplest problem? Individuals who express anger or lack of self-control are individuals who have a low emotional intelligence. Children who cannot cope or struggle with the ups and downs that life throws at them on a daily basis and become overwhelmed by small things; who overreact to situations that are not in their control, are children with low emotional intelligence. Other children avoid these children with low EQ. Low EQ children have trouble making and keeping friends. Although these children may have the potential to be leaders, rarely do other children choose to follow them. When a parent or a teacher works with a child to increase his/her emotional intelligence, even the highest EQ children benefit and become stronger.
Think of the qualities we look for in our friends, our companions, the leaders who we want to follow and be associated with; the qualities we want in our bosses and the qualities we want in our spouses. These qualities are all a part of high emotional intelligence: Good communications, high self-acceptance, ability to solve problems, strong decision-makers, ability to manage their anger, willingness to take responsibility for their actions and accept responsibilities; the ability to understand their emotions and emotions of others and to be in healthy relationships.
Building and strengthening of these qualities is what children experience when they learn in a high emotional-intelligence environment. It is important to create a social-emotional learning environment that is not limited to two half-hour or forty-five minute sessions a week, but is pervasive in each of the core subjects and becomes integrated in every area of learning during a child’s day.
You can begin to create a social emotional learning environment today as soon as you put down this article. It is easier and simpler than you think to implement, and your children will begin benefiting almost immediately. In fact the entire family’s emotional intelligence will begin to increase. This means you will find more peace and harmony within your family, family members will feel emotionally supported by one another, and more emotionally connected.
The research has shown that children who learn within a social emotional learning program environment increase their academic success a minimum of 11%. As you learn to implement a social emotional learning program that is pervasive throughout your day and becomes part of your family’s life, your children have the potential to increase their academic success by 27% to 40%.
You can listen to this NPR podcast – an interview of two distinguished individuals, Maurice Elias and Marc Brackett, who have been researching the benefits of a high emotional intelligence for over 20 years. The title of the podcast is: Reading, Writing,”Rithmetic…and Respect?
The link is: www.sciencefriday.com/playlist/#play/segment/9190. If you are interested in additional information on social emotional intelligence please go to www.eitraininginstitute.com. E.H.
One-hundred-forty years ago, Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, Italy. She grew to found an educational philosophy and institution that has been consistent and remained intact all over the globe! Throughout her life, Dr. Montessori was an iconoclast, breaking the traditional bonds that were imposed on women and she lived her life on her terms.
Maria Montessori was born August 31, 1870. Her father was a civil servant and her mother was an avid reader and highly educated for her time. Maria was precocious and strong-willed, with plenty of confidence and she had a thirst for knowledge and education. This allowed her to excel in school.
Seeing Maria’s passion, her family moved to Rome, where better educational opportunities existed. Here, Maria became interested in engineering and she entered an all-boys tech school at 13 years of age. Her grades were so high that upon graduation, she was accepted into the prestigious Regio Instituto Technico Leonardo da Vinci. Maria excelled once more in her studies of math, science and languages. For the next few years, Maria brilliantly prevailed against the anti-woman sentiments of the times, to become Italy’s first woman physician.
Maria, now “Doctor” Montessori performed her internship at the University of Rome’s Psychiatric Clinic, where she became interested in psychology and human behavior. Her internship included regular work in insane asylums, with mentally deficient children. Maria felt strongly that this mental deficiency was less a medical issue and more of a pedagogical problem. She developed methods to treat these children and over time, she was proven correct.
While directing an institution for the poor children under five years of age, Maria developed a revolutionary kind of school and her methods became the Montessori system. The basis for her method was that children absorb knowledge from their physical environment and that the ideal environment should not shape the child, but reveal him/her. Soon parents and teachers were striving to learn Dr. Montessori’s methods.
In 1909, Maria published her Scientific Pedagogy as Applied to Child Education in the Children’s Houses. Prior to Montessori’s time, it was assumed that children could only learn through instruction — being lectured by an adult.
Her “discovery of the child” startled the early education field. She believed that learning begins at birth and that the first few years of life are the most important. She also believed that children pass through various phases of development that correspond to specific motor skills and cognition. During such times, children have spontaneous interests in gaining knowledge and should be free to learn as much as they can, following their interests.
In her observations of the children in her charge, Dr. Montessori found that younger children work better together in small groups, also assisting each other. Older children could learn teaching and nurturing and the function of the teacher was to provide materials and guide from the background. She believed that a child’s natural curiosity would provide the motivation for gaining knowledge if s/he were in an environment that provided the necessary materials and equipment and hands-on freedom to work. Maria found that young children were very hand-oriented, so their school rooms should be furnished with bright colors, pleasing textures and the children should be free to touch and pick up anything in the room.
Today, Dr. Montessori’s belief that with the right environment and the freedom to explore it, children learn academic subjects as easily as they learn to walk and talk, has provided much groundwork for homeschooling and intelligent parenting. Her philosophy has influenced parents and teachers throughout the world and Montessori Schools can be found in any developed country. E.S.
[Delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963.]
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
[Ed: While this Great American document was written to be a speech, and is nearly a poem, it stands on its own to be read silently as well. The reasoning behind it moves logically from point to point. However, when heard in its original form, it demonstrates the power of thought in the hands of a master orator, such as Dr. King, for it possesses a dramatic, musical quality that adds to the content, inspiring the listener and remaining in his mind long after its delivery.]