Archive for May, 2013

Beware Of The Myths

I am currently reading a book by an author that is a former homeschool mom. She is touching a historical period that not only have I studied but happen to be researching at the moment. Her book within six pages is complete rubbish. I will finish this book and continue to do something I loathe to do, write notes on the pages. She completely obliterates history and misleads. She continues the perpetuation of myths that are known to be false. She basically says a group of people are savages in not so many words. She fails to understand them nor did she ever try to understand their culture. To her, they were not Christian therefore they were “wild”.

When you read a book be careful. What you read may not be true. I do not think this author is trying to mislead. She has kept with the myths that have been carried on since the Victorian era or even earlier. She displays a religious bias that prevents her from understanding the period. Too bad. If she were to spend the time and effort doing PROPER research, she could have constructed a wonderful book.

Please, do not believe all you read are told.

Now back to this book.


#5 What Type Of Learner Is Your Child

Early on, the Educator understood Youth 1 was not the standard learner. It was a talk at the Chap convention that clued the Educator as to what type of learner Youth 1 was. Youth 1 was an audio, hands on learner. No the visual type. Once we understood this, Youth 1’s curriculum was tailored to meet what was required. Youth 1 was read to and allowed to walk around the room or play with something. It took me the longest to understand this concept. Now I understand… I think.

Youth 2, our youngest child, is a visual learner and does not excel with Youth 1’s methods. Youth 2 does not like to be read to and the style for Youth 2 is polar opposite. This is where I began to understand. Youth 2 can read a concept and get it. This doesn’t make Youth 2 smarter, only a different learner.

When you enter homeschooling, it may take a while for you to know what type of learner your child is. You need to observe and study your child. If your child is not doing well with one method then switch. Yes, allowing your child to doodle or play with some object may be the key for your child’s comprehension. Always understand what is good for one child isn’t best for the next.

It is alright to use the same curriculum with your children. The presentation may have to change. It is amazing as we work with our two children the way they are taught is different. You need to keep aware of how each child is different. Modifying your method isn’t hard work; making your child learn a way not best for them is.

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Homeschool Spanish Academy

Our family has done various foreign language programs with little to no success. We have tried Latin, German and Spanish. What started out as good progress ended up as a miserable failure. Our last two ventures have been with Rosetta Stone. Two different languages were tried with the thought that maybe the first language just was not well received. It failed.

Homeschool Spanish Academy caught our attention at the Chap Convention. It wasn’t because of all the brochures or eye catching items. There wasn’t much to attract us other than it was a language curriculum. We were introduced to Ron Fortin, CEO and Founder, as well as Mike Tucker, Chief Technology Officer. The third member of their group was in Texas, their home base. It was their first venture outside of Texas since their start up a few years back.

They use bilingual instructors “from Guatamala” who are fluent in English. These one-on-one instructors are paid and receive benefits. English are their second language; they are educated, too. How do you interact with these instructors? Skype. You set up a lesson time, and you will interact with the instructor in spanish. All documents will be in pdf, and you are able to share between student and instructor. The options presented to us were 1, 2 and 3 lessons a week for 7 weeks or a 15 week version. You can schedule your class with any available instructor at any time provided the slot or instructor is available. First come, first serve.

On the surface,this is an ideal way to learn a language. You are speaking with a person in their native tongue. This should help the student to learn. there is also the one-on-one interaction that keeps the focus on the student. The student will have homework, quizzes and tests. In a way, this method is tailored to the student with human feedback unlike Rosetta Stone. The flexibility is very nice.

What are the downsides? You are working with technology. Your computer needs to be able to handle Skype and have a microphone and speaker system. Reliability of Skype and internet connection could be an issue. I think scheduling could also be an issue if this company has not prepared for their expansion.

Another area of concern is cost. One class a week for seven weeks is $104.99. Two classes a week is $179.99. Each class is 50 or 55 minutes long. That is a hefty price for a class. A full 15 weeks with two classes is $314.99. That is considered a semester. If you push it into a year, you are looking at $630. This is difficult to justify. Even their 10% baiting was no where enough to catch my interest. The 30% at the show was agreeable. If I sign up with them, I would need a “WOW” factor during the semester. I’m just not sure I would see it. I like their idea but think the cost may be too much for most families especially when you have a large family. I do believe there is a discount, but it is not enough in my opinion.

Why not check them out:

Chap Convention II

If you were at the convention yesterday and saw an individual walking around with their zipper down for most of the morning, it was me. To make matters worse was my fly was very open. I was the person walking around looking at beakers, drawing material and humming. Yep, that was me. My appearance improved late morning as I discovered the unlatched doorway and corrected the situation with a chuckle and shrug of my shoulders.

This was the first time in about four years that I have attended the convention. There are some striking differences from years past. One big difference was the size; it was smaller this year. The Educator disagrees with me, but I believe the reason for the Educator’s disagreement is due to the fact the Educator has gone for the past ten years or so. Years past have always found me curious about different curriculum such as Captain Jack math. Most of these curriculum were not very good, but they provided me with ideas an insight. There were many of these types of vendors. This year is different.

Gone was Captain Jack as were many others. I found this disappointing. Many of these people had nice ideas. Gone was the lady selling a Pennsylvania curriculum. She had devised a very nice plan for those in Pennsylvania or wanted to study PA. I didn’t see the homemade chemistry courses. These spots were taken up by several groups. One group that was in plenty were the Christian colleges. When I was last here, I wondered when they would come. It could be that I wasn’t focused on colleges at the time. There were plenty of Christian camps. I don’t recall seeing as many. There were the biblical study booths, too. These still perplex me. Why should I be interested in your study when I have my religion and their biblical studies. These three groups were in plenty but without many people visiting. The colleges had the most visitors of the three.

There are two groups that consistently had the people. Mainstream curriculum such as A Beka, Sonlight and Rosetta stone. The others were the old staples that possessed a variety of items. The key ingredient were the child items such as toys and games. Millers had the paper and art material. They were popular. It was here I found a book and coveted some beakers. I couldn’t find the correct drawing material.

I see that this convention no longer holds the power it once had. I have little interest in biblical study or summer camp. Education is the key for us. Chap seems to have lost sight of this. Maybe it is the cost for a booth that has driven some out. This may be the reason I see the bible groups and summer camp groups. They did not come close to garnering the groups of people that the educational booths did.

The Educator and I did find some interesting curriculum. I’ll have to post about Homeschool Spanish Academy. Write At Home was there as usual. There was book seller representing Lamplighter publishing. These are out of publish books from the 19th or 18th century.

Before I end, I should say I have nothing against these groups offering bible study or summer camp. The people I know who come to this event are looking for two things: curriculum and the speakers the event has. Yes, I omitted the speakers. I don’t think I ever sat in on one, and some of them are very good. This is based on the Educator. The bright side of this event are the new products I got to look at.

Chap Convention

Every year in Harrisburg, there are thousands of homeschoolers eagerly walking around selecting curriculum. I see cars from Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia and even North Carolina. Did I mention Pennsylvania, too? Like my family, these people travel long distances to this two day event to shop for supplies and listen to the experts talk.

Tomorrow will be the first time in a few years that I will have gone. The Educator goes every year with or without fellow homeschoolers. For me, the distance is a bit too long to take time off. This year I shall go. My eagerness is for the little toys I can’t find or unique instruments. The curriculum is another area I enjoy viewing.

This year we do not have a lot of curriculum to look for. Youth 1 is entering the senior year with two classes at the local university. Youth 2 will be riding on Youth 1’s old curriculum. We will be looking for unique and fun items for the two instead of main curriculum. If we find something that “WOWS” us then we will invest in it. This is the life of a homeschooler – flexibility.

I enjoy observing my fellow educators wandering around looking for curriculum. It is even better when we bring curriculum we no longer need and give it to the family that struggles to afford curriculum.

If you are going tomorrow, you will likely see me. I’m the person just moseying around with a child-like look when I see a neat toy.

Categories: Education, Homeschool Tags: ,