Welcome to this issue of The Way Home

"I Know What’s Best For My Education": A Lesson In Uncertainty
by Melissa Coffey

The Top 10 Methods for Successful Writing
by Jonna Lilly

Loewen Tours
Sing n Learn“Make Learning Fun With Music” by Michael Leppert

Dear Readers: 

Spring is nearly here and the weather is cold.  Some days here in Southern California it is 50 and then 85 the next day.  It always gives me the feeling that things are not always as they seem.  It could be freezing out and Wisteria plants are about to bloom.  We can have hot blowing winds and yet it is still winter here in California.  We could be cleaning the house or cooking and the kids are learning.  We could be doing algebra and the kids are dreaming about their next theatre project.  That is the nature of homeschooling and I think the very nature of life.  Things are usually not as they appear.  The non homeschooling world is full of labels and titles and pieces of paper and homeschoolers to varying degrees are trying to escape that world while at the same time striving to prove to everyone that they are still in it and doing the "right" thing.  Spring is change and with each change comes a new birth.  Happy Spring and Happy Homeschooling. 

Thank you for reading

---- Mary Leppert


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Loewen ToursLoewen Tours

When homeschoolers want to travel they are the first to do the research and try to plan the perfect trip. Luckily, we've found a tour company that has done the work for us. The Loewens are a husband and wife team from Canada and are well traveled veterans. They have traveled extensively in North America, Japan, and many parts of Europe. They are educators and have designed the tours to be rewarding life experiences, rich and thought provoking, yet a lot of fun. Your student will learn without even realizing it.

The groups for each tour are kept small for one on one attention. This also allows the group to have real European experiences. The Loewens have taken special care to produce an authentic experience. Tour goers will use the train, bus and trams to travel as if you lived there. Each hand selected site will actually be visited and experienced, and time will be spent to take it in and enjoy it. Students will enjoy authentic local food and culture. Homeschoolers will have a one of a kind experience and learn more in one tour than some learn in a lifetime. There are many upcoming tours to choose from. The next two tours are coming up in September and October.

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"I Know What’s Best For My Education": A Lesson In Uncertainty
by Richard J. Prystowsky

During our college’s first two weeks of the Fall 2005 semester, I dealt with an incident at our college that caused me to reflect on the relationship between my homeschooling life and my college work life.
For years, when our kids were young, I felt that my growth as an educator resulted largely from what homeschooling was teaching me about healthy learning paths and from what my mainstream educational life was teaching me about unhealthy learning paths. I had become, one might say, a radical homeschooler who was nearly one hundred percent committed to following unschooling paths. Slowly, however, my certainty about radical unschooling began to waver. As I’ve grown older and have continued to reflect upon what I think I know, I feel more and more akin to the persona in Bob Dylan’s song “My Back Pages,” who sings, “Ah, but I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now.” Let me explain.

During the first week of classes, a young woman student paid me an office visit. She was, to say the least, irate. She had hoped to take a Calculus I class from us, as well as an engineering class in Statics. The prerequisites for Calc I are college trigonometry and college algebra; the prerequisite for Statics is the first course in a three-course sequence in engineering physics. Last spring, this student had taken a college trigonometry class, in which she had earned a “D.” She had never taken a college algebra class. For some reason, although she clearly had not satisfied the prerequisites for Calc I, she wanted to take that class anyway. Somehow, through an error on someone’s part, she was allowed to enroll in Calc I. Her being a currently enrolled Calc I student helped her successfully challenge the prerequisite for Statics and thus win a seat in that class, too.

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Sing ‘n Learn – “Make Learning Fun With Music”Sing 'n Learn
By Michael Leppert

Typically, the very best homeschooling supply companies are those that are owned and operated by homeschoolers themselves. We understand subtle nuances that are significant to homeschooling families, but that other companies might not even notice. Sing ‘n Learn is such a company. It was founded by a homeschooling couple, Fred and Sarah Cooper, who were on the cutting edge of the modern homeschooling world, beginning to teach their oldest son in the mid 1980s and their second son shortly thereafter. Both boys never attended school until college.

The Coopers quickly learned the value of coupling music with pieces of information to be learned and they created their company to supply such products. They now offer over 900 products from over 100 publishers. They produce some of their products themselves and others they obtain from outside. But in all, they maintain their mission of using music, as well as auditory products such as stories, as the means of making learning fun.

The underlying premise of Sing ‘n Learn is amply demonstrated in T.V. and radio commercials, where a jingle heard a few times may stick in one’s head for years – even decades. Imagine the power of music coupled with lyrics that carry information of value instead of inane advertising copy! The power of music is not harnessed for education in public schools, but homeschoolers can take advantage of this great tool, through Sing ‘n Learn’s large catalog! They include songs for every subject you would teach in a usual school curriculum.  For example, they include math with classical music, U.S. Presidents and First Ladies, Scripture memory, and many other products in over 90 categories such as history, grammar, geography, phonics, science, etc.  Their products can be used to teach the basics -- reading, math, history, grammar, etc. for Pre/K-8 and then at the high school level, they offer Chemistry, Physics, Life Science, History, Earth Science, Biology and much more.  Sing ‘n Learn also offers a lot of other products besides music such as Spelling Power, Easy Grammar, and Winston Grammar.  But no software – they are all recordings, mostly CDs and a few videos and DVDs.

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The Top 10 Methods for Successful Writing
by Jonna Lilly
Assume for a moment that your teacher tells you to write a 300-word essay, due next Monday. What do you do? Cringe? Smile? Laugh? Cry? For most students, writing engenders extreme emotions; some love it, while others hate it. If you are in the latter category, you will soon learn some highly successful secrets to help your writing. Who knows? You might learn to enjoy the writing process or at least not dislike it as much!

10. Know your audience

Before one can even begin the process of writing, it is imperative to know who will be reading your work. Why? To ensure that your message effectively reaches its intended recipients, you must decide first whom your audience is. There are two basic audiences: General reading public and specialists.

As the name suggests, “the general reading public” is comprised of nearly everyone who can read and write. Your 80-year-old grandmother is a member of the general reading public, but so is a corporate executive at IBM. Because there is such a wide disparity in the group, everything from the educational age level to knowledge-of-the-world level, it is best to write in a simple style, with no flowery words or phrases, basic sentence structure (subject + verb), general vocabulary, and general topics.

On the other hand, writing for specialists is completely different. This group is composed of people who have specialties in specific areas of knowledge. For example, an accountant for American Airlines would have specialized knowledge; so would a botanist at the local university.

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