Page 1


The Middle School Years Page 3

How To Be Happy Anywhere Page 30

Phonics vs. Sight-Reading Page 32

May / June 2012 $6.50 USA/$15.50 INTL

The Middle School Years

By Vicki Bentley, HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens consultant


you homeschooled your child through the primary grades, you may find that you initially experienced moments of self-doubt, but you managed through the first year (or two, or three) and gained confidence to educate your child at home…until now! It is not uncommon for parents to second-guess themselves all over again as their children approach the early teen years and the parents feel inadequate to prepare their children for high school. And if you are just beginning to homeschool at the middle-school level (for our purposes, grades 4 to 8), you may be jumping in already at the second-guessing stage.

who would be willing to help in this area. The constructive criticism of a writing club can be positive motivation for some students at this age level. Your goal as a parent is to eventually work yourself out of a job! Life skills and time management training will serve your student well in the future, both immediate and long-term. Young people at this age can usually be given increasing control over their schedules as well as some input into subject matter choices. This may take a bit of patience on your part— and training in diligence and thoroughness on your student’s part—but it will eventually be worth it.

Take heart—you can do this!

Let Him Explore His Passions

The subject matter will be more complicated as he enters junior high school, but remember that it is not your job to teach your child everything there is to learn; it is your job to: Teach him how to learn; Reinforce basic knowledge and basic tools of learning; Instill in him good character; Encourage him in the way he is to go; and Provide materials and opportunities for further learning. Know Your Strengths and Limitations Evaluate your own skills and knowledge, and be willing to utilize other resources as needed to meet your student’s higher academic needs. Some options include: Textbooks designed specifically for homeschoolers, written to the student in a conversational tone with all explanatory material included, or written with scripted teaching material for the parent “Living” books Tutors (including relatives or parent trade-offs) CDs Videos Supplemental classes (either local or online) Tutorials Co-ops Hands-on experiences or internships

One benefit of homeschooling is the flexibility to incorporate opportunities for your child to pursue his passions, interests, and talents. Many students dabble in entrepreneurship and develop talents or hobbies that could blossom into future ventures.

Strengthen the Basics I call these the 4 Rs: Reading, (w)Riting, ’Rithmetic, and Responsibility! At this stage, you’ll want to review and strengthen his arithmetic skills and computation speed so he has a solid foundation for algebra and geometry in high school. Composition will be transitioning from the report-writing stage to the essay-and-analysis stage, so this is a good time to reinforce his reading comprehension, grammar, and basic composition skills. If you don’t feel comfortable evaluating his writing at this level, you may know of a friend or tutor

Look Ahead to High School While some students use these years to solidify earlier concepts, others are ready to move into some high-schoollevel work during junior high years. Many families will begin high school studies in the eighth grade, giving the student an extra year for in-depth studies. Wherever he falls on the timeline, you’ll want to check out HSLDA’s Homeschooling thru High School webpages ( highschool), bookmarking your favorite pages from our high school coordinators!

Keep the Lines of Communication Open This may be a time of great transition for your young person—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It can be a challenging age, but she needs your affection, communication, and understanding even more than ever. It is not uncommon for students in this developmental stage to have spiritual questions; don’t take them personally but do take them seriously. What a wonderful opportunity to mentor and disciple your child! Vicki Bentley, author of Home Education 101 and a veteran homeschool mom of many, offers help and encouragement through Home School Legal Defense Association’s Toddlers to Tweens. This article is adapted from the Home School Legal Defense Association Toddlers to Tweens website at For more information, see

May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook


Brilliant Publishing LLC 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown, PA 17036 Telephone: 717.571.9233 Fax: 717.566.5431


Publisher’s Letter Every day I try to live my life to the fullest. Squeezing in just one more thing to complete and mark off my never-ending to-do-list. However, just recently I realized …Success in not the key to Happiness… Happiness is the key to Success. So if one more day slides by and I do not finish something I am okay. After all tomorrow is another day and I must first be happy in what I am doing before my day or life for that matter can truly have an impact. I often remind myself that I should never just settle for what comes along, because the minute I do I will quickly be reminded of how miserable it is to do so.

AccoUNT ExEcUTIVE Alex Chambers

EDIToRIAL Editor In Chief

MaryAnne Morrill

Senior Editor

Michelle Donofry

Social Media/Asst. Editor

Molly Anika

Style / Asst. Editor Charity Plata

Subscription Service / Back Issues:


We have again filled this issue with many brilliant articles on seizing the moment and living your life to its fullest as you lead the home education lifestyle with all its ups, downs and sideways! I hope you will enjoy all of them. Meanwhile, remember always to make time for you and enjoy these summer months as they truly do fly by way too fast!

Vicki Bentley, Rachel Spurgeon, Robin Finley, Super Healthy Kids, Daily Infographic, The Container Store, Dr. Barton Goldsmith, Carolyn Henderson, Ashley L. Hill, Sarita Holzmann, International Association for K-12 Online learning (iNACOL) Monica Irvine, Martin Lindstrom, Pennsylvania Home Educators Association (PHEA), Andrew Pudewa, Cyndi Ringoen, Amy Roskelley, Paul Stone, Traci Suppa, Donna Vail, Sandra Volchko

Please also note we are starting an e-newsletter not just another thing to spam you but a real informative email that will be sent 2x a month filled with more ideas and tips for homeschool success. If you would be interested in receiving such a letter please let us know via email.


Until next time always remember…

Education Matters!

Maureen Williams, Publisher 717-608-5869

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Maureen Williams 717.608.5869

Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

Art Director

Jeremy Tingle The Homeschool Handbook is published bi-monthly by Brilliant Publishing LLC, 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown, PA 17036 Telephone: (717) 571-9233, Fax: (717) 566-5431. Postage paid at Michigan City, IN and additional offices. POSTMASTER please send address changes to The Homeschool Handbook, 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown, PA 17036. Volume 3 Number 03. The Homeschool Handbook subscription rates: one-year $19.95 USD, Canadian $59.95 USD, Foreign $89.95 USD. All subscriptions are non-refundable. Copyright © 2012 Brilliant Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. the publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any advertising or editorial material. Advertisers, and/or their agents, assume the responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on the advertisement. Editorial contributors assume responsibility for their published works and assume responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on published work. No part of this publication can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher. All items submitted to The Homeschool Handbook become the sole property of Brilliant Publishing LLC. Editorial content does not reflect the views of the publisher. The imprints, logos, trademarks or trade names (collectively the “Marks”) displayed on the products featured in The Homeschool Handbook are for illustrative purposes only and are not available for sale. The Marks do not represent the implied or actual endorsement by the owners of the Marks of the product on which they appear. All of the Marks are the property of the respective owners and are not the property of either the advertisers using the Marks or The Homeschool Handbook. MEDICAL DISCLAIMER No warranty whatsoever is made by the publisher and there is absolutely no assurance that any statement contained or cited in any article touching on medical matters is true, correct, precise, or up-to-date. Even if a statement made about medicine is accurate, it may not apply to you or your symptoms. The medical information provided is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist/chemist, and so on). None of the individual contributors, LLC members, subcontractors, advertisers, or anyone else connected to Brilliant Publishing LLC and The Homeschool Handbook can take any responsibility for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or adopt any of the information presented in this magazine. Nothing included, as a part of this publication should not be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine.

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What’s in

Your resource, support & inspiration for a successful Lifestyle 3 8 10

The Middle School Years Homeschooling Through Summer “Teaching” Latin

solutions 12 14 16 17

Principles for Homeschooling Success Table Manners, Part 2 Getting Things Done Pare Lorentz Center at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library

curriculum 18

Public Cyber Charter School – Is it Homeschooling?

20 22 23 24 26 28

Fast Facts: Key K-12 Online Learning Stats

Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

Celebrating the Journey: Rediscovering Me Encyclopedia Dad Sentence Diagramming: Tool or Torture? How Reading Fiction Helps Kids Develop Empathy

inspiration 29 30


Learning to Love Reading

Meaning of the Folding of The Flag How To Be Happy Anywhere



volume 03, issue 03

at home education & lifestyle. special feature 32

Phonics vs. Sight-Reading

health & hearth 34 35

How Much Sugar Do Your Kids Eat? Baked Onion Rings

organization 36

30 Minute Organizing Projects

extra activities 38

Summer Painting

columns 40 41

Infographic – The Higher Education Bubble Product Spotlights

resources 42

Index/Resources List

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May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook



Homeschooling Through Summer

By: Donna Vail

More and more homeschool families are discovering

the benefits of studying year-round. Life is about learning and when you embrace it as a lifestyle endless possibilities and adventure await you. In everything we do we make increasing knowledge and skill part of the equation so we are constantly exploring, discovering and learning about our world. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying we are all work and no play. We do make time for fun and are particularly fond of summer spending hours by the pool. Because we are studying year-round we have the flexibility for short breaks throughout the year allowing time to take an extended trip if we


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

so desire. Remember, learning can always be incorporated along the way especially when travel is involved. In the past we’ve taken a three-week trip to California alongside my husband as he was doing business. While my husband was in the office for two of the three weeks, the children and I were touring the organic farms of Solvang, the missions and presidio of Santa Barbara. Someone miraculously let us in the Getty museum even though we didn’t have reservations. We then toured all the way down the coastline to San Diego including a day trip into Mexico. In the evenings when my husband got off work we enjoyed family time hiking the foothills and beaches for amazing

coastline adventures. There wasn’t a subject that we didn’t touch while on this trip. “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” –Rudyard Kipling

We’ve also temporarily moved our family to my husband’s parent’s home so we could take care of his father while his mother went through hip replacement surgery and rehabilitation. My husband was able to work from their home and I kept things going just like at home. It was wonderful to share in the daily routine with his father and he really enjoyed seeing the grandchildren learn and experience the adventures of everyday together. Now that Julian’s father is no longer with us, I often reflect back on that time with deep fondness. Because we chose to incorporate education into the fabric that shapes our lives, I am ever so conscious that learning is occurring in all its wondrous ways at all times. The freedom and flexibility by not being restricted to someone else’s schedule is a blessing in itself and my children don’t experience the dread of school starting again or having to make up for time lost because we’ve taken off. Living a lifestyle of true freedom protects you from feeling guilty for having fun or the stress of having to make up because you’re behind someone else’s timeline. This is part of my burnout prevention plan. Instilling a love for learning ensures your children can continue the learning throughout their life. I am a student for life and love to learn. It’s only natural that we live this way as a family. My children learn that you don’t stop learning just because it’s the weekend, holidays or summertime. Whether we are in our math book or not, the learning opportunities are taken advantage of because we are always curious and anxious to learn more. Now my children are saving time and no longer have to suffer through reviewing previous lessons to get back up to speed for having been off all summer. This consistency builds confidence, which keeps their brain’s logical gears in constant motion like a well oiled machine. A strong start makes for a more fulfilling day and more balanced temperament. These are all part of the success principles that they learn throughout their growing years and that we’ve incorporated into daily living. When children learn this as they are growing up it becomes second nature rather than something they have to relearn and struggle through as an adult. Fun is for all the time not just when you have off or limited to summertime. While we will soon be spending a lot of time in the pool on those hot summer days, we will have a strong start on the day with feeding our brain and thinking logically. My children are privileged rather than missing. They will be able to flow right into life because they are already living life as it is, in the real world.

So what’s holding you back from taking the yearround leap? At first glance most parents feel like it would be too much work and the parents want a break. This is true when you are teaching your children based on an antiquated system spending long hours each day “doing school.” However, when you incorporate mentoring and selfeducation, everyone is empowered to learn and discover life’s harmonious balance. It’s in the place of peaceful living the whole family loves more, lives more and learns more. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” - William Butler Yeats

Parents Inspired to Action: Look at how you want to structure your life then add in your work and academics. This is how you begin living intentionally instead of waiting for someday. Life is now. Explore the opportunity to incorporate self-education and mentoring into your homeschool rather than teaching. As you provide, guide and step aside you will see your children flourish and be relieved of the number one cause of burnout. What can you let go of…what no longer serves you? Activities that are not fulfilling, television time during the week, tasks that can be delegated. Make a list and start by changing one at a time. Keep, toss or delegate. Remember, you want to create more time to do what you really love.

Children Inspired to Action: Meet with your children to discuss changing the schedule. Be sure you are ready with a list of benefits and how this will improve your every day experience. Remember, they’ve only known having school days and holidays so they will need time to learn the difference between the school they’ve experienced and a lifestyle of learning and true freedom. Ask your children for ideas on what they would like to do each week to explore other places, projects or activities. Older children can help with researching/obtaining the details to bring to your planning meetings. Show them what a lifestyle of learning looks like. Bring in classic books to read together, start a nature journal, and focus in on special interests allowing time for projects and developing any special skill sets necessary.

Donna Vail is the Founder of An Inspired Education, a company devoted to empowering families around the world to a lifestyle of true freedom through homeschooling, inspiration and entrepreneurship. Donna and her husband have homeschooled their six children for the past 16 years and now help today’s homeschoolers find their way. For more about her company, visit

May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook


lifestyle By: Carolyn Henderson



By: Carolyn Henderson


ago, when I was young and impressionable because I wasn’t over the age of 40, I called the niche market publishing company where had I bought an elementary series on learning Latin (“It’s fun and easy!” the front of the book promised). Not for a moment was I deluded into thinking that Latin would be easy, and I also questioned the “fun” part, but 10 pages into the book I was lost, totally lost, because the instruction was cryptic, the pace too rapid, and the exercises insufficient to enforce the limited amount of teaching in each chapter. I also had the strong feeling that, although Latin is reputed to be difficult indeed, the problem did not lie with the language itself, nor, incidentally, with me. The man on the other end of the phone was brusque. “You need a background in Latin in order to teach this,” he said. “The book’s description emphasizes that it is easy and designed for the non-Latin learner,” I replied. “That’s the child,” he said. “You, as the teacher, need to know your subject.”


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

“I was educated in the public school system,” I countered. “No public schools teach Latin these days.” “That’s no excuse. It is your responsibility, as a homeschooling parent, to acquire the classical education that you need so that you can impart it to your child.” I don’t know why I bothered staying on the phone after that, but I did, feebly protesting, “But I have three other kids, and one of them is a baby.” “That’s not my problem.” That’s for sure. Whatever problems this man possessed, and in retrospect I see that he had a wide selection, caring for and about others, especially children, was not one of them. The intriguing thing is, while I spoke, wrote, and understood Spanish – a living language that people actually use – I felt compelled to foist upon a hapless 8-year-old a dead tongue with which I had no experience or background, using resources that falsely promised to transform a convolutedly complicated subject into something that theoretically – but not in reality – was simple, pleasurable, entertaining, and painless.

Why was I doing this to myself? Easy – because at the time, all of the catalogs and homeschooling resources were aggressively asserting a certain way of teaching, issuing subtle, yet dire, warnings that any child who reached the age of 13 without reading all of Thomas Paine’s pamphlets, or singing their way through Shakespeare’s sonnets, or performing Greek plays in the afternoons with their siblings, would be rendered incapable to function as a successful adult. By these standards, I myself was a failure, something the man on the phone whom I sincerely hope never marries or begets progeny had made all too clear. That was then, when I had four kids under ten and the fear that I would incontrovertibly mess up somehow; this is now, when the youngest is preparing for college while in high school, and all four express themselves verbally and orally with skill and confidence, read everything they get their hands on, and tackle life with maturity and poise. None of them, incidentally, speaks Latin. There is no “right” or “wrong” curriculum; no one way of teaching that unilaterally works; no mandatory program of study that you must follow with your children in order to be

deemed (by whom, incidentally?) that you have successfully fulfilled your requirements as a homeschool parent…feel free to teach your child Latin, Greek, Polynesian, Spanish (with or without the vosotros), sign language, or knitting. As with any decisions you make that affect you and your family, find what works for you. While it’s fine to listen to, and learn from, other people’s experience, keep in mind, always, that that’s what it is – other people’s experience. These other people either do what they do because, ideally, that’s what works best for them; but all too often, because they themselves have been pressured by others into believing that this is the correct path. Puto, putas, nos cogitare. (Thanks, Google translate.)

Carolyn Henderson is an 18-year veteran of homeschooling and the manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art, the online and studio gallery she operates with her husband, artist Steve Henderson ( More of her writing may be found at her Middle Aged Plague site,

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May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook



Principles For Homeschooling Success By: Paul Stone


is common for those new to homeschooling to proceed with fear and trepidation. There are so many unknowns. After many years of homeschooling, publishing my own curriculum and operating a user group with nearly 800 members, I have compiled some principles that will greatly simply your homeschool and make your life easier. The effectiveness of your school will also increase dramatically. Those who follow these principles report that their children have advanced two full grade levels each year. Your mileage may vary. When you first begin homeschooling you will struggle. Your children will struggle. This is true of all new homeschoolers. This period, the transition from public to homeschool is typically called “detox”. It is difficult for both parent and student. Give yourself and your children some time to grow into this new way of thinking and learning. It is well worth the effort. Worksheets: The typical worksheet encourages the following behavior: Read first item on the worksheet. Look at the “blank”. Read the assigned material looking specifically for the right word to “fill in the blank” and ignore the message. Hunting for canned answers is not what homeschooling is about. First we must learn how to learn. Here are some basic principles: Principle 1: It is your school. You make the rules. You know your children best and love them most. Nobody is in a better position to teach your children than you. Principle 2: Keep it simple. The most common problem I have encountered is people making it harder than it needs to be.


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

Principle 3: There are only 3 subjects: reading, writing and arithmetic. Almost every other academic subject can be learned from reading excellent books. Principle 4: There are two kinds of books: Textbooks and Trade books. Textbooks are written for an audience that is forced to read them (boring). Trade books are written for an audience that is free to leave any time they want. They are usually much more interesting and they cost much less as well. Principle 5: Turn any book into a textbook. Take notes while reading. Have the reader “play the teacher” by writing questions and their answers (including page numbers) as they read. Use these questions as review questions later. (Label trick questions and trivia as such.) Keep a dictionary on hand to “capture” unfamiliar words as your own. Keep a quote journal to record those “gems” encountered while reading, rather than just letting them slip into oblivion. Write a short summary after reading each day to reinforce what was read. Write a book report at the conclusion of any book. This will help the reader remember it and help improve writing skills. Teach the family something that was learned each week. A subject is really learned when it must be taught, and it builds presentation skills.

Principle 6: Tests are administered in public schools for two reasons: Diagnostics: To determine how effective the teaching has been and to determine where the children need more instruction. Communication: Tests are used to give children grades. Grades are used to communicate performance to parents. When the parent is also the teacher and the class size is very small the need for diagnostics is almost nonexistent and the need for communication between the teacher and the parents is nonexistent. Annual testing (norm referenced standardized tests) for diagnostics is important. It is important for you to know how your children are progressing, to determine if and where the “holes” exist. Principle 7: College Entrance: Contact the colleges and universities your child may be interested in attending annually to discover their policies for admitting home schooled students. Remember these policies can change without notice. Principle 8: Never accept information from a third party regarding college admissions. This information is frequently wrong.

Bad information can have a tremendous impact on your child’s ability to get in college. Too much is at stake. Always go directly to the horse’s mouth. Principle 9: Mentor, Mentor, Mentor: Give your child projects to do. Let them lead the project while you provide shadow leadership from the background. Every project has a goal (statement of work), tasks (things that need to be done), a schedule (when they need to be done) and a budget. Each task has a resource, usually many resources. (Learn about project management before trying this.) Review progress with your child on a regular basis. Document what went well and what could be improved. Leadership skills will become formidable. May the Lord bless you and your efforts as you adapt these principles for use in your homeschool. The transition may be painful and slow. The rewards are worth every bit of the pain.

Paul R. Stone is the President of Accelerated Achievement LLC, please visit the Web Site: for more interesting information.

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May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook




By: Monica Irvine



Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

Part 2 Hello

and welcome to Part 2 of Table Manners Etiquette. Today we are going to dive into the “dos and don’ts” of dining etiquette. May I suggest that you and your family plan a mealtime for the intent of learning and practicing dining etiquette? We do this so there is a designated time to discuss what is proper and what is not. Of course, when children can actually “see” what we’re talking about, it helps their memory and this learning environment gives them a time where they can feel safe to practice without worry of ridicule or admonition. Remember, we want mealtime to be a pleasant experience for everyone. We don’t want to become the “etiquette police” at the dinner table. I would encourage you to review all the skills at these designated learning mealtimes and then afterwards, simply compliment your children when you observe them using these skills. We never want to embarrass our children, especially in front of others. If your child is exhibiting disturbing behavior at the dinner table that simply must not continue, politely excuse yourself and your child from the dinner table and privately discuss the unacceptable behavior. As we sit down at the dinner table, we begin demonstrating with our words and our actions the proper way to dine. If I may, I would like to give you an example of how this conversation and mealtime would progress. I would begin, “Welcome my beautiful family. I’m so glad we have this time to practice our etiquette and have a wonderful meal together.” The first thing we do when we sit down at the table is to thank the cook or the host for the meal we are about to enjoy. Something like, ‘Thanks Mom, dinner looks great!’. Next, it’s important to honor the traditions of the home you are in. For instance, if the family we’re visiting blesses the food before eating; it is polite for us to participate, regardless of our religious views. If the family we are visiting does not bless the food, it would be rude to suggest that they need to do so. If we wish, we may simply say a silent prayer to ourselves. We follow the customs of the family we are dining with, politely and without judgments or comments. We never begin to eat until everyone is served or the host announces for us to please start. It would be rude for us to ‘dive into’ our food while someone at the table is still hungrily waiting to be served… difficult, yet necessary and polite. As

every bite. This helps us ‘slow down’ and enjoy our meal. we begin to pass the food, let’s remember a few things. If Parents, this is a lot of information as you can see. It serving yourself, take a sensible helping of food. We can really takes some time for our children to perfect these skills. always get seconds once everyone has been served. Hold Use pieces of bread to allow the children to practice cutting the serving plate for our neighbor or gently place it beside until they feel confident to move on to real meat. As your them. Warn our neighbor if a plate is warm or heavy. Be children gain confidence in these skills, the whole family aware of others at the table by asking if anyone needs the will enjoy “dining out� more and your children will have butter, salt-n-pepper, gravy, etc. If someone asks for the less anxiety about being around other adults at the dinner salt, pass the pepper with it. We always want to keep the table. Please join us in the next issue for the final phase of salt-n-pepper together. We never stretch our arms out our dining etiquette in Part 3, where we will cover breaking across the table, because we don’t want to knock anything and buttering bread, “I don’t particularly like this�, removing over, get our sleeve in others’ food, etc. We try to keep our unwanted items from mouth and more. arms and elbows “in� and as still as possible, so we don’t bump our neighbors. If we would like something, we simply say, ‘Would you please pass the butter?’ or ‘May I please Monica Irvine, a certified Etiquette Instructor, have the peas?’ owns and operates The Etiquette Factory. The American style of dining is the way in which it is polite A master motivator and dedicated instructor, she to eat while in America. It is always courteous to be aware is the author of several books on etiquette and also of different dining etiquette as we travel to other countries. operates Etiquette Summer Camps. As a home school mom herself, Monica is passionate about We of course, will concentrate on the American style of giving parents the tools they need to successfully dining. We start by cutting a bite size piece of food with our teach proper etiquette in the home.  For more information please knife in our dominant hand and a fork in our opposite hand. visit We pierce the food with the fork, tines down and then cut the food with the knife as we press down on the base of the handle with our pointer finger. We keep our elbows in close to our bodies. When cutting is done, we place the knife down on the side of our plate and switch the fork back to our dominant hand. We place the food in our mouth with the tines of our fork facing up and we remove the food with our lips, not our teeth. As Guide your child into delightful discovery we get older, it is not polite to cut up all as they learn to read & write! our food at once, but while we’re young, it is perfectly acceptable. We eat a little of each item on our plate. It is improper to eat all of one item and then ‘move on’ to the next. Dining is supposed to be a leisurely experience, so please no ‘wolfing down’ our food. As we pause during our meal to perhaps speak or take a sip of water, we lay our fork at 4:00 and our knife either on the side of our plate or at 6:00. This signals our host or waitress that we are still dining. When we are completely finished eating, we lay both utensils at 4:00 with the handles hanging over the edge. This signals we are indeed finished. We always lay our utensils down between Primary Arts of Language (PAL) provides everything you need to

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May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook



Getting Things Done Why

does it seem that we never have enough time to get all the things we need to get done, yet we can always make time for what we want to do? What a great trick it would be if we could convince ourselves that we actually wanted to do the things we need to do. Often I’ll think about what’s on my to-do list for much longer than it would take to simply get the jobs done. Eventually, I reach the point as I’m thinking about a task that I perceive as undesirable where I finally say to myself, “Let me just get it over with so I can get it out of my head.” This form of procrastination is quite normal. We each have only so much energy, and we all need some relaxation and time to have fun. Unfortunately, life and just being human can get in the way. It’s how you handle it all that can make the difference between enjoying this experience and feeling frustrated with your life. When what you need to do becomes overwhelming, it can be hard to discern between what to do first and what to do next. The easiest answer to this confounding question is to do whatever is immediately in front of you. Once you complete that task, the next one will appear. The trouble is we usually ignore what’s in front of us and look for a distraction. When this happens, you must repeat to yourself, “No distractions. I need to stay on task,” and then return to the job at hand. Sometimes it’s hard to get an entire task completed in one sitting. Believe me, there have been a few columns written one paragraph at a time. It’s fine to break your challenges


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

By: Dr. Barton Goldsmith

into bite-sized chunks, and in many cases, it will make doing the job much easier. Remember that this isn’t a race you can’t lose by making yourself more comfortable. Of course, when you know you have so many things to do, you may find it difficult to rest until they’re done. Trying to relax while your to-do list is spinning in your mind isn’t going to work. However, if you can get a little done now and remind yourself that you will do more in upcoming days, you will find it easier to release the tension. For those who are really stuck and can’t seem to move their lives in a positive direction on any level, there may be more serious issues going on. If this sounds like you or someone you care for, please consider seeking some professional help. If freezing up is related to depression, it’s important to do something about it as soon as you can. Making your life the best it can be is not for the faint of heart. It does take effort. Sometimes you have to grab yourself by the scruff of the neck and pull yourself up, so you can achieve the happiness that you most certainly deserve. It’s up to you. For more than two decades Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and government organizations worldwide have relied on Dr. Barton Goldsmith to help them develop creative and balanced leadership. His columns appear in over 500 publications. He may be contacted through his web site .

solutions Contributed By: Traci Suppa for the Pare Lorentz Center

Pare lorentz Center at the franklin D. roosevelt Presidential library Home-based educators now have free online access to a comprehensive, multimedia collection of history and social studies teaching resources focusing on the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the life and times of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. The site includes an interactive timeline, distance learning opportunities, video curriculum guides, and a film library containing Lorentz’s body of works and other historical footage. Filmmaker Pare Lorentz created groundbreaking documentaries for the New Deal agencies of the Roosevelt Administration, shedding light on environmental and social problems in the 1930s and 1940s. The Lorentz Center brings to life emergent themes and pivotal moments in American history, including: • The Great Depression

• The Surprise Attack on Pearl Harbor

• The New Deal Programs

• Japanese-American Internment

• Social Security

• The Tuskegee Airmen

• Conservation of Natural Resources

• The Creation of the United Nations

• The Presidency and the Supreme Court

• The Legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt

• World War II

Educators have immediate, 24/7 access to Lorentz documentaries, documents, and other multimedia tools, including: ▪ FDR: Day-by-Day Online Interactive Educational Timeline This interactive calendar provides a multimedia chronology of the Roosevelt presidency. Historical appointment calendars, documents, photos, audio and film are catalogued by date. ▪ Video Curriculum Guides Short videos -- Pare Lorentz films and other archival footage -- complement archival documents, study questions, and other online teacher resources from the FDR Library. ▪ FDR Presidential Library and Museum channel on An extensive library of FDR footage and newsreels is easily searchable in one place: the FDR’s Library Channel on ▪ Distance Learning/Video Conferencing Opportunities Connect your classroom to the Library’s Education Specialist, documents, artifacts, and still and video images. Pare Lorentz (1905-1992) provided inspiration to generations of documentary filmmakers. His most noted works include The Plow That Broke the Plains, about the devastation following the Dust Bowl, and The River, which celebrated the Mississippi River as a major corridor for commerce. Based in Hyde Park, NY, the Pare Lorentz Center is housed at The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. The center’s mission is to apply the audiovisual techniques pioneered by Lorentz to teach history and social studies, and to perpetuate his use of the documentary format in inspiring social and political messages. We invite you to visit

All I want is a grammar program that will... • Be logical and sequential. • Not take years and years to complete. • Leave me PRECIOUS TIME for teaching writing and literature. • Not start every year at the beginning. • Get to the end of the subject (there is an END, right?) • Actually TEACH my child so that he MASTERS it!

Don’t get frustrated! Check out a different approach! Videos, sample pages, teaching timelines, and more available at

Make a difference today! May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook



Public Cyber Charter School –

By: Pennsylvania Home Educators Association

Is it Homeschooling? Cyber

schools have gained in popularity over the last several years as yet another educational option, adding to what can be a confusing mixture of educational choice terminology. For example, Pennsylvania has the following options: public school, private school, non-public religious day school, home education, homebound instruction, private tutoring and now cyber schools. In order to protect the freedom of parents to direct the education of their children regardless of their educational choice, a clear distinction must be maintained between the different options. This essay seeks to focus on the distinction between cyber schools, especially public cyber charter schools, and home education. 

 In Pennsylvania, home education is regulated by Act 169 of 1988. A copy of that legislation and discussion of its application can be found at HomeEdLaw.html . With home education, the parent or guardian retains control of the educational program. They assume complete responsibility for the expense and provision of their child’s education. They have full liberty to choose curriculum and plan how their days are spent. Home education is not to be confused with “homebound” instruction, which is a form of public education


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

offered to students who frequently miss school due to illness or behavioral problems. 

 Cyber schools primarily use a computer-based curriculum and accountability methods via Internet access. There are two options for parents using cyber schools: public and private. With a private cyber school or a distance correspondence school, the burden of expense for materials is borne by the parent. As a consumer, the parent retains the right to control the program. However, when the state provides the curriculum free of charge, it is done so at state expense through the cyber school’s application for a charter. These cyber schools are referred to as “public cyber charter schools”. The state rightfully insists on accountability for the use of these government funds and for the education of the students enrolled in their school. The student’s education is not ultimately overseen and directed by the parent as with homeschooling, but rather the family is accountable to a teacher in the employ of the cyber school. The public cyber charter student is a public school student even though he may do all of his schoolwork at home under the direct supervision of a parent.

The public cyber charter option is an attractive alternative for many families, especially in Pennsylvania where home education is highly regulated. Public cyber charter schools may indeed provide a way out of difficult school classrooms or burdensome home education requirements. However, it must be understood that participation in a public cyber charter school is not homeschooling or home education as the terms are generally understood and legally defined. They differ in essence and ultimately in accountability. Since home educators take full responsibility for their children’s education, they maintain the position of authority as sole directors of that education. On the other hand, public cyber charter students, though under the influence of their parents and in the confines of their home, are fully accountable to the state. Their curriculum has been provided by the state and they are accountable for their progress to teachers employed by the state. They are responsible to meet standards and objectives outlined in state regulations. A public cyber charter school is not the equivalent of home education. The tendency to blur the distinction between home education and public cyber charter school will erode the

freedom parents enjoy to direct the education of their children, regardless of the educational method chosen. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain the distinction between home education and public school conducted in the home. Instead of following the trend to blur this distinction, the public school family should be aware that those who home educate are helping to retain the freedom of educational choice for all families. As long as home educators exist to take full responsibility for the direction and expense of their children’s education, they remind the state that children are not “mere creatures of the state”. Public cyber charter families, as well as families using any other educational option, enjoy a measure of control over the direction of their children’s education because home educators insist upon maintaining that control. Should the state manage to entirely regulate the educational process of every child, whether or not the state is paying for that education, everyone will lose. Preserving the essence of home education preserves parental rights in educational choice. © 2005 Pennsylvania Home Educators Association Please direct all comments on this issue to .

Cyber schools primarily use a computer-based curriculum and accountability methods via Internet access. There are two options for parents using cyber schools: public and private.

May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook



Fast Facts: Key K-12 Online Learning Stats

• 4  0 states have state virtual schools or state-led initiatives.1

• T  he types of online courses with the highest enrollments in school districts are credit recovery and dual-credit. 2

• 3  0 states, as well as Washington, DC, have statewide full-time online schools.1

• T  he most common provider of supplemental online courses to school districts are universities. 75% of districts offering online learning options for their students indicate that all courses were developed by an organization other than the school district. For districts larger than 10,000 students, this drops to 63%. 2

• T  here were an estimated 1,816,400 enrollments in distance-education courses in K-12 school districts in 2009 – 2010, almost all of which were online courses. 74% of these enrollments were in high schools. 2 • T  his estimate does not include students enrolled in most full-time online schools which were approximately 200,000 students in 2009-2010 and 250,000 students in 2010 – 2011.1 • T  hese figures represent phenomenal growth as a decade ago, it was estimated there were 40,000-50,000 enrollments in K-12 online education.3 • T  he top reasons why school districts make online learning opportunities available to their students is to provide courses not otherwise available at their schools, and providing opportunities for students to recover course credits from classes missed or failed. Credit recovery is especially important for urban schools with 81% of such schools indicating this is a very important reason. 2 • T  he College Board estimated that in 2010 only 33.7% of school districts offered AP ® or IB courses in English, math, social studies, and science.4


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

• 7  4% of school districts with distance education programs planned to expand online offerings over the next 3 years. 2 • T  he most common location for students accessing their online course is their school, with 92% of students accessing courses from school and only 78% of students accessing courses from home. 2 • A  s of late 2011, no state has a full suite of full-time and supplemental online course options for students at all grade levels.1 • F  lorida, Minnesota, Idaho, and Wisconsin stand-out as states with a wide variety of full-time and supplemental options for students across most grade levels. • In April 2006, Michigan became the first state to require online learning for high school graduation. Since that time, Alabama, Florida, and Idaho have added requirements.

Full-Time Online Charter School Enrollments 160,000 140,000

100,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Center for Education Reform Data, January 2012

45 250Full-Time 40 35 160,000 30 200 140,000 25 20 150 120,000 15 100,000 10 100 80,000 5








0 60,000 50

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 40,000 State Virtual Schools / State-led Initiatives 0 20,000 2000 2001 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Full 2002 Time Schools 0

2000 for 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 20062012 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Center Education Reform Data, January

Number of States with Statewide Online Learning Options 50 45




25 20





30 24


longer. Educational Resourceshave (OER) createthe a 45 statesOpen and the District of Columbia adopted pathway Core to deliver engaging, customized, and up-toCommon StateOnline Standards (CCSS) representing an Full-Time Charter Schools date content to students much faster and more cost historic shift in this country to emphasize higher-order skills 7 effectively than today. 250 and the application of knowledge so that all students are challenged to higher levels, are prepared to be successful in200a global, knowledge economy. This states-led work has References changed the the K-12 country’s expectations 1 Watson, J., et. al. conversation (2011). Keepingabout Pace with 150 Online An Annual Review of Policysystem and itself toward forLearning: all students and the education Practice. Evergreen Group. attainment of Education globally-competitive, world-class knowledge 100 cms/wp-content/uploads/KeepingPace2011.pdf. 6 and skills.


40 39 Enrollments Online Charter School


1 levels. • grade 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) representing 150 „ Florida, Minnesota, Idaho, and Wisconsin stand-out as an historic shift in this country to emphasize higherstates with a wide variety of full-time and supplemental order skills and the application of knowledge so that all 100 options for students across most grade levels. students are challenged to higher levels, are prepared 50April „ Into 2006, Michigan became the first state to require be successful in a global, knowledge economy. This online learning for high school graduation. Since that time, states-led work has changed the conversation about the 0 Alabama, Florida, have country’s expectations for all students andrequirements. the 2011 education 2000 2001 2002 2003and 2004 Idaho 2005 2006 2007 added 2008 2009 2010 system itself toward attainment of globally-competitive, „ The current U.S. average per pupil6 expenditures for a fullyworld-class knowledge and skills.

online model is $6,400 and for a blended-learning model is Traditional models have an budgets, average per • $8,900. W ith rising costsschool and cash-strapped thepupil 5 expenditure of $10,000. shelf life of a typical textbook is being stretched even

Number of States with Statewide Online Learning Options Full-Time Online Charter Schools



• T  he current U.S. average per pupil expenditures for a fully online model is $6,400 and for a blended-learning model is $8,900. Traditional school models have an 250 „ As of late 2011, no state has a full suite of full-time and average per pupil expenditure of $10,000.5

supplemental online course options for students at all 200



Key K-12 Online Policy Full-Time Online Charter Schools Statements


15 10

50 B., 2 Queen, and costs Lewis,and L. (2011). Distance Education „ With rising cash-strapped budgets,Courses the shelf life for Public Elementary and Secondary School Students: 2009-10 of a typical textbook is being stretched even longer. Open (NCES 02012-009). U.S. Department of Education, National Center Educational create a pathway to deliver 2000 2001 Resources 2002 2003 2004(OER) 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 for Education Statistics. engaging, customized, and up-to-date content to students 7 much faster Virtual and more costTrends effectively than today. 3 Clark, T. (2001). Schools: and Issues. WestEd. 4 Lee, Jr., M., et. al. (2011). The College Completion Agenda 2011 Progress Report. College Board Advocacy and Policy Center. 1default/files/reports_pdf/Progress_Report_2011.pdf. Watson, J., et. al. (2011). Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning: An Annual Review of


Policy and Practice. Evergreen Education Group.

5 Battaglino, T., Haldeman, M., and Laurans, E. (2011). The 2Costs Queen,ofB.,Online and Lewis, L. (2011).The Distance Education Courses for Publichttp:// Elementary and Learning. Thomas Fordham Institute. Secondary School Students: 2009-10 (NCES 2012-009). U.S. Department of Education, Center for Education Statistics. the-costs-of-online-learning/20120110-the-costs-ofonline 3learning.pdf. Clark, T. (2001). Virtual Schools: Trends and Issues. WestEd.

5 0 2007




State Virtual Schools / State-led Initiatives Full Time Schools

Keeping Pace, 2007 – 2011


46Lee, Jr., M.,of et.Chief al. (2011). TheSchool College Officers. Completion(2012). Agenda 2011 Progress Report. Council State College Board Advocacy and Policy Center. CCSSO Innovation Lab Network College and Careersites/default/files/reports_pdf/Progress_Report_2011.pdf.

Task Force,M., January 23, 2012. 5Readiness Battaglino, T., Haldeman, and Laurans, E. (2011). The Costs of Online Learning. The Thomas Fordham Institute. publications/2012/20120110-the-costs-of-online-learning/20120110-the-costs-of7online-learning.pdf.

6 Council of Chief State School Officers. (2012). CCSSO Innovation Lab Network College and Career-Readiness Task Force, January 23, 2012. 7

iNACOL, The International Association for K-12 Online Learning, is a non-profit organization that facilitates collaboration, advocacy, and research to enhance quality K-12 online teaching and learning. For more information, please visit

Interested in becoming an iNACOL member? Go to

May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook



By: Rachel Spurgeon

Learning to Love Reading Do you remember that indescribable feeling you experienced as you opened that brand new book? What about reading deep into the night, unable to put a book down; or feeling that you were inside that magical world?

Yet, sadly, most children in today’s society don’t view reading as an adventure but as a chore. They see that book as something they have to read rather than something they get to experience. If you teach your children to read only out of duty and obligation, you are handicapping them for the rest of their life. Not many things compare to the freedom that flows from the pages of a book, and it is your privilege as a homeschool parent to expose your children to the adventure of reading. Encouraging your children to love reading begins by incorporating reading into your daily schedule. Fifteen minutes here or there adds up in the end. My parents instituted a reading habit for our family that was not hard to schedule. When we were little, they would read to us before we went to bed; but as we got older, we were allowed to read for a half hour in bed before turning out the light. There was always that designated time that they set aside for our reading time. Personalize it for your family; make it a priority in your family life. Another way to make reading an enjoyable part of your children’s life is to have books readily available. It’s very hard to read when there are no interest-catching books easily accessible. If you’re willing to spend some money, take your children to a bookstore where you can find books for all ages and all interests. I remember my Dad taking us to a bookstore where we spent three hours reading books and finding new authors. Browsing thought a secondhand bookstore or thrift store is another way to develop your home library. Many of these stores have discounted prices on books that would otherwise be unaffordable; almost all of the books in my personal library I bought for less than two dollars at a thrift store. Yet, even if you have an extremely small budget, one of your greatest resources is your public library, through which you have complete access to almost any book that’s ever been printed. During the day, you can most likely find at least one member of my family somewhere at the library with their nose in a book. But, many children find reading boring, uninteresting, and a waste of their time. Often, this is because they see reading as an unnecessary and impractical part of life. But any educated adult will argue, saying that one of the most important aspects of success is proper reading skills; homeschooling parents need to teach their children about the relationship between reading and learning. When your children ask a question, don’t just feed them information. Tell them to look it up or point them to a book that has the answers. Seeing that reading has a purpose in their lives will encourage their sense of learning. Homeschooling allows you to know what interests them and help them to satisfy their curiosity. Once they realize that books are important and relevant to their life, reading will excite rather than bore them. By making some small adjustments to your daily life, it is possible for your family to raise children who read for enjoyment. Reading opens the mind to ideas and inspirations that can change the world. In the pages of a book, the reader can go anywhere: they can explore the deserts of Africa, travel back in time to ancient Egypt, or discover the deepest parts of the sea. But children need parents to lead them into the magical and captivating world of reading. Rachel is a homeschool graduate, presently pursuing a degree in Christian counseling. She helps homeschool her younger siblings and in her free time enjoys reading, writing, and photography. You can visit Rachel at Photography by Rachel, read her blog at Enjoying English 101 or email her at


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012


Celebrating the Journey: rediscovering Me

Following is an excerpt from Ashley’s new book about the important part education has played in her life. “The power of education lies in the ability to apply the information in such a way to revolutionize the world for the better. Education can open the mind to new ideas, open the door for new opportunities, and most importantly, help us get closer to the truth. Education is a freedom that no one can take away from you.” My passion for education began as a child when my parents would tell me that education opens the door for opportunities. I started attending college fairs in the 8th grade because I wanted to make sure I take advantage of the different programs available in college. My mother worked in education for years and she would tell me stories of kids who were throwing away their education to make friends or be popular. I was determined not to be someone who would waste an opportunity of attending college. I never doubted that I would attend college. My parents set that expectation for the household and I adopted that expectation. I wanted to make sure that I was prepared for college, so I took advantage of the (Post Secondary Enrollment Options) PSEO program. I attended a local campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and took college classes and high school classes at the same time. I earned college credit while getting the college experience. I was accepted into Kent State University and started as a second-semester freshman because of my previous college credits. In reflection, I enjoyed the PSEO program because I had the opportunity to adjust my expectations before officially starting college with my peers after high school graduation. I was certainly challenged in my courses at the Hamilton campus at Miami University but I also had a chance to prepare for increased responsibility and workload. In fact, a program requirement was that I had to maintain a 3.0 grade point average in each class. I felt the pressure but I used that pressure as motivation for me and I was able to maintain a 3.0 grade point average. My time management skills were put to the test because I worked a part-time job at a crafts store in addition to

being captain of my high school drill team. I believe that any exposure to the college environment before attending is beneficial and can have positive effects in the future. I certainly was better prepared in some aspects for college because of the PSEO program. Additionally, I attended Kent State University in the summer prior to my official fall enrollment through the STARS program. The STARS program allowed me to stay in the dorms and take courses for six weeks with various enrichment workshops. Since I was very familiar with the Kent State University campus prior to the fall semester, I had a chance to become familiar with my home for the next few years, the science, chemistry, and math buildings. In my second year, I found out about an internship program in the biological sciences department that would work with other disciplines to conduct research projects. I applied for the position, which would pay for me to stay the following summer on campus while I created and conducted a research project. I was so excited to be able to work closely with my professors. That experience truly opened my eyes to the endless possibilities as a result of education. Ashley L. Hill is the CEO of the ALH Group and her new book, Celebrating the Journey: Rediscovering Me is designed to inspire young ladies and women everywhere to reach their goals. She brings her knowledge, expertise, and compassion to helping junior and high school students and their families to successfully prepare for college. For more information visit please visit http://www.

Celebrating the Journey: Rediscovering Me ALH Group announces June 2012 book launch for

- By Ashley Hill, CEO of ALH Group

“I never thought I would be “that” girl. That girl has goals and dreams but became entangled in the fight of her life. That girl has begun her journey of recovering what was once lost - her joy, her peace, her passion, her self-esteem, and her desire to make the world a better place. That girl is me.” - Excerpt from Celebrating the Journey: Rediscovering Me

May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook


curriculum “Platypuses can’t be mammals if they lay eggs!”

encyclopedia By: Andrew Pudewa




Encyclopedia Brown is famous for what he did know, Encyclopedia Dad is famous for what he doesn’t know. Knowing so little, how did I earn that nickname? You may have guessed it—by my pernicious habit of stopping whatever I’m doing, leaping out of the chair, and bounding over to the bookshelf to grab a volume. Most commonly, this occurs at dinnertime—so much so in fact, that I’ve threatened to replace the dinner dishes in the buffet hutch with the 2002 World Book set. “Platypuses can’t be mammals if they lay eggs!” My children issue the challenge. I leap. I search in Volume “P.” I find proof! Platypuses are indeed rare mammals that do indeed lay eggs! For some strange reason, this type of exchange just makes my day. My fascination with encyclopedias began at a young age, when I got my own set for my own room at ten years old. Quickly, “A” became my favorite, because of all the uniforms, weapons and insignia of the Army. “M” was second best, because of Money (Did you know they used to print $10,000 bills and Salmon B. Chase’s picture was on it?). Other volumes popular with me were “S,” and “N–O.” While other kids were hiding under their covers with a flashlight and a Hardy Boys mystery, I was secretly perusing navy ships and plastic overlays of human anatomy. Sadly, however, all that encyclopedia browsing didn’t seem to give me a lifelong encyclopedic knowledge of everything. In fact, the older I get, the more I know that I don’t know much at all. Fortunately, I’ve also realized that I won’t ever know everything anyway, so I’m okay with it. But, I do want my children to see me wanting to know things.


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

Enthusiasm for learning can be contagious. Therefore, I retain my habits of browsing. Really, it’s like a quick tour of the universe, moving at light speed. Just think where else can you go from reading about the Gutenberg Bible (and seeing a page of it!) to the history of Bigamy, then quickly on to Bigfoot and ending with the battle of Bighorn all in the span of three minutes! Who needs racecars or rockets when you can zoom through space and time like that? So it’s not an uncommon occurrence for me to—in the middle of a sentence—stop talking and walk straight to the World Book to find a fact to support my statement. For example, not too long ago we were in a debate about whether there is a googol (that’s a 10 with 99 zero’s after it) of molecules in the whole earth including everything on it and the atmosphere. I said no, there aren’t that many molecules in the whole earth, but at least one of my children refused to believe me. So I attacked the problem with a calculator and a pile of encyclopedias. To find out the number of molecules in the whole earth, first you have to find out how many molecules there are in one cubic centimeter of earth. So, you need “M” for Mole and/or Molecule. Then, needing to know how many atoms there are in a molecule of carbon (the most common element), I grabbed “C” and “E” for Element just in case. Then, I had to know the mass of the Earth, so having “E” handy was a good idea. To calculate cubic kilometers of a sphere with a 25,000-mile circumference required some now- dusty geometric formulae, so “G” was the fourth volume added to the pile. The volume of the atmosphere was tough, but it doesn’t add up to that much, really.

Now as it turns out, the earth doesn’t even have close to a googol of molecules of matter, even if the whole thing was made of uranium, so the question became, “How about the entire solar system?” I got “S.” It was a fortunate thing I started with Sun rather than Pluto, as I quickly learned that the sun has 95% of the matter in the whole solar system, which made everything simpler from then on. So how big is the sun? Well, it could hold about 1.3 million earths, so that made things really easy. Thank heaven (and whoever developed the idea of not having to write out all those zeros) for exponentiation! So, according to my calculations, the entire solar system—even if everything were made out of carbon—wouldn’t have a googol of atoms in it! (I believe somewhere around 1071, give or take a dozen zeros. If someone tries this calculation and proves me wrong, please let me know!) Of course, by the time I had discovered this awesome fact, I was not only alone at the table, I was the only one in the house! I wanted it to be dramatic, so I taped a few pieces of paper together and actually wrote out the 10100, 1071 and 109 to show how big the number really is. When I finally found the kids all playing in the sunshine and presented my findings, they were notably unimpressed. One of my children was angered at the very idea of a googol, grumbling, “What’s the use of a number if there’s no way to use it?” So, I went back to get “G” and find out what kind of crazy guy would

name a useless number (It was the crazy mathematician’s son who dubbed it “Googol”). All in all, it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon…for me. Now some may claim that I could have done the whole thing faster (and probably more accurately) with the Internet. They may be right. However, there’s a richness in the experience of searching through six volumes of the World Book to answer such a question, which just can’t be replaced by typing a few words into the other Google. My kids may tease me about my encyclopedia-grabbing habits, but I know they’ll grow up with a sense of the value—and fun—of browsing, using and keeping handy a traditional set of actual, heavy, paper, honest-to-goodness encyclopedias. Andrew Pudewa is the Director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and a homeschooling father of seven. Presenting throughout North America, he addresses issues relating to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music with clarity and insight, practical experience and humor. His seminars for parents, students, and teachers have helped transform many a reluctant writer and have equipped educators with powerful tools to dramatically improve students’ skills. He and his beautiful, heroic wife, Robin, currently teach their three youngest children at home in Locust Grove, Oklahoma. For more information please visit

May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook



Sentence Diagramming:

Tool or Torture?

By: Robin Finley

I taught grammar every one of my 34 years in the classroom, and I always used sentence diagramming. Every year, almost like clockwork, I could count on some student asking, “Mrs. Finley, why do we have to diagram?  No one ever made a dime diagramming a sentence!”  I always responded by saying that I made several “dimes” diagramming sentences, but I knew that, in his or her view, that “didn’t count.” So I learned to reply by telling the student that I could try to explain why we diagram, but that he wouldn’t understand my answer.  However, I would continue, there would come a day in the not-too-distant future when I would remember his question and I’d promise to show him why we diagram.   In the late 1800’s, when English grammar was extensively taught in public schools and all universities, two professors from a university in New York, Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg, came up with what has come to be known as classical sentence diagramming.   They had struggled to express these complex relationships and had become increasingly frustrated with their inability to express them clearly using only words.  They felt strongly that there had to be a way to use a picture, or a


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

what Mr. Reed and Mr. Kellogg were doing when they came diagram, to represent the relationships between words in up with sentence diagramming in the first place. They a sentence.   In 1877 they co-wrote and published a book were struggling to find a way to EXPLAIN the grammar called Higher Lessons in English where they introduced concepts.  Sentence diagramming - drawing a picture of the their method using horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines.   relationships rather than using words – simply makes the The Reed-Kellogg method was used extensively in whole thing easier to understand when you’re learning it. schools for the rest of the 19th and most of the 20th If you examine curricula, which don’t use diagramming at centuries.   It wasn’t until the 1970’s that English grammar all, you’ll usually find that they also don’t teach “advanced teachers sought new ways to diagram.   I was exposed to grammar,” meaning the verbal phrases and subordinate the Reed-Kellogg method in high school and used it again clauses.   That’s because it would be almost impossible to as I was taught grammar in college during my senior year in get those ideas across using only words.    The phrases and 1970.  It made complete sense to me, and so I used it as a clauses might be introduced, but without being able to draw means of teaching grammar concepts everywhere I taught.   a picture of what’s going on, I remember trying mastering those concepts to use what was called isn’t going to happen. “transformational Remember how I told grammar” in 1972, but you that I would always it seemed to me clumsy remember that student’s and arduous.   As my question and get back to Arkansas grandmother it?   Well, it was always on was fond of saying, the day I introduced Noun transformational Clauses, a pretty difficult grammar was going concept.   Before the “around Job’s barn” class arrived, I’d write five to express something (Drawing above from Reed and Kellogg, Graded Lessons in English, p. 60) sentences on the board, which could be done each with a noun clause.  I’d underline the clause in every easily using the Reed-Kellogg method.   sentence.  In the first sentence, the noun clause was acting As I’ve examined many different grammar curricula over as the subject; in the second sentence it was the direct the years, I’ve noticed that sentence diagramming, when object, and so on. it’s used at all, is usually viewed as an “end” in itself.   In Since nouns do five different “jobs,” I wrote five sentences. other words, you learn the grammar and THEN you learn to Underneath each sentence I did a diagram.   When the diagram.   To my way of thinking, that’s a bit like someone students were seated, I’d say, “Today we’re going to learn going to an architectural school where they talk about about noun clauses.  I want you to study the sentences on architecture for three years and don’t let you use any the board and let me know when you understand what a blueprints until you’re a senior!   noun clause is and how you diagram it.”  A period of silence I often used to tell my students, “Let’s suppose I asked you would ensue, and then I’d begin to hear, “Oh! I get it,” and to build me a $100,000 house for which I’d pay you a million “Yeah, I see.”   When I could tell that the class had the dollars.  Would you take the deal?”  They’d usually look at me concept of noun clauses down - without my having to do any as if I’d taken leave of my senses and say, “Sure!”  But then I’d teaching at all - THEN I’d turn to the student who had asked tell them there was just one condition: if there was anything the original question and remind him.  “This,” I’d say, “is why wrong with the house - anything at all - they wouldn’t get a we diagram!” dime.  AND they were not allowed to use any blueprints.  I was just going to TELL them what I wanted, down to the placement of every electrical outlet, and they could write it Robin Finley is a veteran middle and high school language arts teacher.  She began writing down.  Given the “no blueprints” condition, would they still her course in grammar, punctuation, and usage in take the deal?   After a few seconds of thought, they’d say 1981 when her Language Arts department refused no, especially those kids whose parents were involved in to purchase any grammar books for her classes, contracting of any kind!   The students said that there was grammar having been deemed “useless” in the simply too much room for misinterpretation and confusion improvement of their writing!  She lives in Raleigh, NC, with her daughter Erin Karl, the other half of the AG team, Erin’s when you only have words; whereas, with a blueprint you amazing husband Rob, and Maddie and Tripp, her two beautiful could be very precise as long as you were careful. grandchildren (and her pride and joy!).  Robin enjoys nothing So, fine, you say.  Diagramming is useful, but why can’t more than sharing her materials and her teaching techniques you wait and teach it later after you’ve introduced the and skills with home teachers in her workshops. concepts of parts of speech and sentence parts.  Remember

May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook



How Reading Fiction Helps Kids Develop Empathy By: Sarita Holzmann

You probably know that reading helps children develop

vocabulary, become great writers, and receive information in a way they actually remember. But did you also know that reading, particularly fiction, helps children become more empathetic? Empathy, in turn, helps our children develop a heart of compassion for a broken world. It helps them look beyond the “stuff” of life the rest of the world runs after and focus on what is truly important. Empathy helps us and our children see beyond our own feelings and be aware of others that God puts in our path. In other words, we have good reason to strive to raise our children to recognize and identify with the emotions of others. Over the last few years, several studies in Psychology have pointed out how reading fiction helps this goal. As Dr. Keith Oatley of the University of Toronto writes, “Through a series of studies, we have discovered that fiction at its best isn’t just enjoyable. It measurably enhances our abilities to empathize with other people and connect with something larger than ourselves.”1 That’s because the very act of reading fiction takes us outside of ourselves and into the mind of another person. In real life, we may get occasional glimpses into other people’s


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

minds. A friend may tell us exactly what she’s thinking or how she feels, and we can respond accordingly. Usually, however, we just have to guess at people’s thoughts, emotions and motives. Children aren’t born with this ability to guess at people’s inner worlds; it’s something they must learn. And first, children must learn that other people even have emotions and desires distinct from their own. Fiction helps teach this because it gives a free pass into other people’s minds. We might see how a character feels when someone makes fun of him, how he reacts to a scary situation, and how he shows his family that he loves them. What a valuable resource! Oatley writes: “We set aside our own plans and concerns for a while as we take up our book; we then take on the plans and concerns of a fictional character, and empathetically imagine what that character might feel.” 2 Reading fiction (good fiction, at least) takes us out of our own thoughts for a while. We enter into another’s world and experience life through his eyes. We consider his predicaments. We hope that things work out for the hero. Some homeschool moms say they’ve actually found themselves praying for a fictional character before. In other words, fiction helps us imagine what others are thinking and feeling and trains us to feel empathy for them. How does it do that? Since “novels can be thought of as simulations of how people react to combinations of social forces,” reading them helps us “construct a mental model of the person to know what’s going on inside their heads.” This ability seems to transfer over into real life. You can read more about Oatley’s studies at But whether or not you know the science behind it, know that those precious times reading with your children are building skills to last a lifetime. Keep on reading! 

“Changing Our Minds,” Winter 2009. Accessed March 2012 at http://


“The Psychology of Fiction,” September 2011. Accessed March 2012 at Sarita Holzmann is the co-founder and president of Sonlight Curriculum ( She cherishes a legacy of family-centered, literaturerich home education and seeks to provide families with the rich resources they need to raise life-long learners.

Meaning of the Folding of The Flag Have you ever noticed at military funerals that the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times? Â At this time of the year with Memorial Day, Flag Day and the Fourth of July upcoming or having just past, it seemed like an ideal time to remember the meaning of the folding of the American flag. While not official and not required, the statement has gained status as the traditional meaning of the folds and was found in many governmental and military manuals and recited at numerous military funerals.

WHY THE AMERICAN FLAG IS FOLDED 13 TIMES — The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.Â



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— The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life. — The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.  — The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.  — The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.�  — The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.  — The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.  — The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.  — The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.  — The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.  — The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

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— The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. — The thirteenth fold or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust�. After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.


There are some traditions and ways of doing things, which have deep meaning. In the future when you see our flag folded you will know why.

May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook



How To be Happy anywhere

By: Martin Lindstrom


my job I spent 300 days traveling the world last year. I met a lot of happy people. Who they are and where they live will surprise you. The other day, as I took a taxi ride across Manhattan, the driver was pondering the state of the world. “I can’t believe all these disasters happening everywhere,” he said. “If it’s not a flood, it’s a tsunami. There are fires and hurricanes and earthquakes… then there are riots and bombs and wars and shootings.” He kept shaking his head as he muttered, “What is this world coming to?” On the one hand, it’s difficult not to agree with him. We need look no further, after all, than the latest headlines to see the world has turned into a pretty horrifying place. But then again: Is this really the case? Let me explain. My job as a brand guy has a few advantages. One of them is that I get to see a lot of different places–I spent 300 days away from home last year–and my research takes me into a lot of private homes. And the upshot… I’ve begun seeing people in a new light. I’ve begun to question why some people find happiness wherever they may be, and others don’t. Recently I visited one of the poorest districts in Medellin, Colombia. The town’s very first escalator had recently been installed. The technology was so unfamiliar, it required strategically located spotters with the sole purpose of instructing people how to ride it. I was thoroughly absorbed watching the looks on the faces of the kids who were transfixed by the site of moving stairs. When I asked them about happiness, they waved their hands in the air and laughed. They dismissed happiness as a Western thing, and suggested we stop talking about it and just get on with the business of living. I had a similar encounter in a remote region of Thailand, where even though electricity was scarce, there was a general sense of wellbeing in the village. Kids happily played in the streets; a sight one rarely encounters these days in Western suburbs. A kindly older woman told me that happiness is when the family is together. Given the fairly intact nature of the rural village, people looked pretty content with their lot.


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

Another journey took me way into the Australian bush to a place where a toilet capable of flushing would be a novelty. Kids were busy kicking around a football on the street, but almost all took time out to speak to me, curious about who I was and what I was doing there. A young man told me that he felt happy when he helped others. He tried to perform one act of kindness a day. This young man had only seen television twice in his life. But it was when I got the chance to visit some of the 60 million newly built homes in China that all this really hit, well, home. Each new home was wired for the 21st century. Every room had television screens hooked up to high-speed Internet and each home came equipped with the latest in electronic gadgetry. In fact, the entire block was connected to a community intranet designed to help the neighbors stay in touch. I couldn’t help noticing that there was an important element missing: smiles. I didn’t see one of them. I pursued my questions of happiness with a young Chinese family who had only been living in the city for two years. There responses were measured. They said, “We’re doing fine, but there is still so much to achieve before we will become truly happy.” It seems the family aspired to all the things they were seeing being won on

the daily online video shows. “I’ve seen what you can get, and we still don’t have many of the things. So, we need to work harder. Then, I’m sure, one day we will get there. The city was orderly. There were no children playing outside. I’d been instructed to wear a mask, wrap my shoes in plastic, and sit on a cover on the chair. Everything was to stay clean and uncontaminated. Almost all the homes I visited around Beijing and Shanghai shared the same idea that sanitary living meant living a longer life. An old boss of mine once instructed me never to reveal my salary to anyone. He maintained that it was a necessary secret because, if people knew what others earned, it would only lead to unhappiness. He was right. I came to realize that the more informed we are, the less happy we become because of our tendency to get caught up in constant comparisons. Working on this principle, it seems that the more limited the access to electronic media, the more time people spend together as friends and family and the higher the happiness quotient seemed to be. (Of course, this is just one man’s obser vation: There is no shor tage of studies and best-selling books on the subject.) Meanwhile, my Chinese family, who had the chance to compare their life with others, seemed unhappier than ever. Using a bar set by the mass media, they felt they’d failed to achieve their full potential. Now I know what I should have told my despairing taxi driver. The reality is that there have never been as few wars as there are today. Humankind has never been as healthy or as wealthy. Our contemporary technomedia wonderland means that whenever a disaster occurs, almost anywhere in the world, we know about it within hours. Only recently, we heard about a cruise ship sinking of the coast of Italy, a shooting incident in Belgium, and a bushfire in Western Australia. Our brains are not really wired to accommodate such a proliferation of bad news, regardless of it happening thousands of miles away. One disaster after another compounds, and increases feelings of helplessness. Does that mean that on some level we’ve lost our way? Absolutely not…But what

it does mean is that we need to realize that with the everincreasing media outlets, we must be vigilant in maintaining our own personal view of happiness. No matter how high you set your goals, you may never actually get there. So, what is my definition of happiness? A good friend once said to me, “Happiness is not measured by the number of days you live but, rather, by the number of days you remember. I’ll buy that. One thing is for sure…I won’t be forgetting my time with all those happy people.

“They dismissed happiness as a Western thing, and suggested we stop talking about it and just get on with the business of living.”

Martin Lindstrom, a respected branding and marketing expert, was selected as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by TIME magazine. The founder, CEO and Chairman of the LINDSTROM company (Sydney), Martin speaks to a global audience of approximately one million people every year. His latest book; Buyology – Truth and Lies About Why We Buy – a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling book has been translated into 37 languages and is on almost all major best-seller lists worldwide.

May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook


special needs

Phonics vs. Sight-Reading 
 The most important piece of information you need to know

By: Cyndi Ringoen, BA, BS Neurodevelopmentalist,

The controversy between Phonics and sightreading has been a long-standing argument, with phonics usually winning out in homeschool circles. But, despite a strong stance in favor of phonics, many parents find themselves at a standstill in terms of their child actually being able to learn the phonics and then read. It is fine to stand up for phonics, but if you can’t make it work, then it is time to learn more in-depth about the brain that processes phonics. The brain has two main pathways with which to process information. They are the visual and auditory systems. Each of these has both a long and short-


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

term memory capacity. It is the auditory short-term memory that I would like to address in this article. When phonics was introduced many decades ago we lived in a different type of society. It was an auditory society. The children grew up with family dinners, listening to radio and listening to stories of the old days from their grandparents. Children in this rich auditory environment had the opportunity to develop excellent auditory processing ability (short-term memory). Today we live in a very visual society-the likes of Nintendo, VCR’s, TV, billboards etc. None of these things is necessarily negative, but it contributes to the development of children with stronger visual processing ability and reduced auditory processing ability. Phonics is an auditory learning system, and it is imperative to have a sufficient auditory short-term memory in order to learn, utilize and understand reading using the phonics method. So, if a family is convicted that a child must learn reading by phonic, then they also must provide the opportunity for the child to develop a well functioning auditory short-term memory so that it can be utilized. A two year old should have a shortterm memory of 2, a three year old of 3 etc. up to seven years old. Average in our society for a 7 year old to adult is 7. In order to begin to utilize phonics beyond memorizing a few individual sounds, a child must have an auditory short-term memory close to 6. If it is below this, you will see a child,

depending on how much drill they have had, who can say all the sounds of the phonemes, and possibly put a few together into words, but at the end of the sentence or paragraph cannot understand what they have just read. To test the auditory processing ability of your children, say slowly in one second intervals, in a monotone either numbers or objects. You say 5-8-1-7 and have the child repeat it back, if they can then say 8-4-3-9-6. The child must be able to say a 4-digit sequence back correctly 75% of the time on the first try to be considered at a short-term memory of 4, and it is the same for each higher digit. Children who have an auditory digit span of 4 may (with drill) learn all the sounds of the letters, but they will not be able to efficiently utilize phonics to sound out words. The reason for this is that the short-term memory is a reflection of holding pieces together. For phonics to work you must be able to hold individual auditory pieces (sounds) together and then transform them into a word. When a child gets to a digit span of 5 they will begin to be able to sound out words more efficiently, but by the time they get to the end of a sentence and/or paragraph the comprehension will be lost. It is not until a child has an auditory digit span of 6 that all of the phonics starts being utilized in an easier manner. So if you are convicted to teach your child phonics, you must first exercise their brain and build good auditory processing ability. Do the above exercise several times a day

Cyndi Ringoen, ICAN Certified Neurodevelopmentalist, mother of 6 children and 12 grandchildren. Working in the field of Neurodevelopment since 1983, as a homeschooling parent, foster and adoptive parent, volunteer branch director and certified neurodevelopmentalist with degrees in Developmental and Applied Psychology.  She is the owner of CAN-Do Inc. and currently travels the U.S. conducting functional neurodevelopmental assessments and writing individualized home programs for parents to implement with the children. For more information please visit or email Cyndi at

for a few minutes; you will gradually improve the brain’s ability to process. Each gain of one digit is equal to a developmental year, so it is an activity that will take consistency for improvement to happen. To insist on teaching a child phonics before they are developmentally ready is to set the child and parent up for a lot of frustration and laborious struggle. Focus instead on using your time and energy on expanding the child’s auditory short-term memory. And some parents, once they understand the brain’s role in learning phonics, decide to utilize flashcards for sight words while they are building the processing ability. This enables the child to view reading as pleasurable, and then later adding the phonics to build the reading skill.

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Triangle Education Assessments, LLC 2521 Schieffelin Rd., Ste 102 Apex, NC 27502 • Ph. 919.387.7004 Toll free or fax order: 1.877.8.GET TEST (1.877.843.8837) May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook


health & hearth

How Much Sugar Do Your Kids Eat?

By: Amy Roskelley


had sugar on my mind lately. I was purchasing some foods with sugar in them for a nutrition class I was teaching yesterday, only to surprise myself with how much sugar some of the common foods have that our kids are eating.  (my kids happened to be pretty excited when they saw my stash of junk food) What I realize, is that being informed is the most important thing.  Simple comparisons of food labels can save your kids

from pounds and pounds of sugar each year. Swap one granola bar from another, and you can save 15 cups of sugar per year, if they are eating one every day. To make these calculations on your own, simply use the total number of sugar grams from the label and divide by 4.  That will give you the teaspoons of sugar in any given product.  So if a product says 16 grams of sugar, there are 4 teaspoons of sugar in it.

Here are some of my shocking discoveries! Cereal Honey Smacks has 15 grams of sugar per Cheerios has 1 gram of sugar per cup, 3/4 cup! Remember when it used to be called or 1/4 tsp. “sugar” smacks. That’s probably why!

Drinks This glass of water has 0 grams of sugar, 0 teaspoons of sugar, and it’s free!

This 20 ounce orange soda has 74 grams of sugar! That is like drinking 18.5 tsp. of sugar!

Yogurt Although this plain yogurt has 7 grams of sugar on the label, all the sugar is milk sugar, and not refined processed sugar. You know this by reading the ingredients and there is only milk and no added sugar in the list of ingredients. Hooray for Chobani plain yogurt!

This yogurt has 26 grams of sugar! If 7 of those are from milk sugars, there are at least 19 more grams of sugar that has been added.  Imagine pouring 5 teaspoons of sugar in 6 ounces of yogurt.

Miscellaneous I wanted to throw in this store bought muffin with 32 grams of sugar, because it has more sugar than a TWINKIE!

snacks At 13 grams of sugar (3.25 tsp.), this snack is not going to give kids lasting energy.

16 grams (4 tsp. of sugar), this may as well be a piece of candy.

So now you know! Always check your labels. If you are buying cereal, get cereal under 3 grams of sugar. If you are buying yogurt, don’t purchase presweetened yogurt.  If you want to buy a muffin… make them yourself.


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

Best Choice: This Quaker low sugar granola bar only has 5 grams (1 tsp.) of sugar.

Amy Roskelley, founder of, is a mom of three and graduated from Brigham Young University’s Health Promotion program. She counseled Department of Health employees on healthy lifestyles for ten years. has won the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Blog of the Month in January 2011. She lives in Lehi, UT with her family.

health & hearth

d e k Ba



RECIPE TYPE: APPETIzER Author: Super Healthy kids

Prep time: ............. 10 minutes

Cook time: ............ 20 minutes Total time: ............ 30 minutes

Ingredients 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 2 large onions 2 eggs, beaten


- Combine breadcrumbs, seasoned salt, and garlic powder, and set aside. - Combine eggs, and beat till frothy - Slice onions into rings. - Dip onion rings into egg mixture, and then into breadcrumbs. - Arrange in single layer on a baking sheet (sprayed with cooking spray). - Bake in oven at 375 for 20 minutes.

For more kid friendly healthy recipes, please visit

May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook



30-Minute organization Projects

By: The Container Store

Do you have just 30 minutes that you can devote to one

area of your home? You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish in this short period of time! Below are some of our favorite quick home organization projects that you can do in just 30 minutes that will really make a difference!

Create a family communication center Organize the “hub” of your home to gain maximum efficiencies for your family. Set up a family communication center in an area where the “stuff” piles up, either in the kitchen or near the most-often used entryway. Include a calendar to keep track of everyone’s activities, colorcoded by family member. A magnetic bulletin board hold notes, photos and lists. Incorporate a multi-pocket sorter to organize incoming mail for everyone in the household. Don’t forget an outgoing basket to hold books or videos


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

that need to be returned, or receipts needed to pick-up dry cleaning. Choose from a multitude of styles and finishes for space-saving solutions to get your family organized.

Organize your junk drawer Everyone has one. Junk drawers hold all of life’s little necessities and are often crammed to the max. Dedicate just 30 minutes to organizing one drawer and you’ll be amazed at the sense of accomplishment you’ll gain! To get started, pull all of the contents out and decide what stays and what goes. Not sure? If you have a junk drawer in the kitchen, it should only hold the items you use when you’re in the kitchen. If necessary, set up a drawer or even a decorative box in another room (like a bathroom or home office) to hold “necessities” that are generally used in those

rooms. Choose from drawer organizers in a variety of sizes and materials to make space for items that belong.

Set up a cleaning station When you’re in the midst of cleaning, you don’t want to waste time digging for the window spray deep in your lower cabinets. Create a customized cleaning station on a garage or pantry door or mounted to a wall in a laundry room to store all of your supplies and keep them easily accessible. As an added bonus, you’ll end up with more space in your lower cabinets for items like extra trash bags or a recycling bin.

Make a project box for kids Kids love to be where the action is, so create a portable project box that they can fill with art and craft supplies and take to any room in the home. Include items like construction paper, crayons and a notepad that can keep your kids engaged while you tend to things that need to be done around the house. It’s also a great solution for keeping kids entertained while traveling. Choose a container with handles for easy portability and use smaller containers inside to create compartments.

Keep your arts and crafts organized Do you love to be crafty but just don’t have enough space to do it? Look for storage space in unsuspected a spare closet, under a bed or in the corner of a bedroom. By identifying a specific area in your home to house all of your craft-related supplies — even if you don’t have the luxury of a full room — you’ll be able to keep the rest of your home neat and tidy.

Store and protect cherished memories From treasured family photos to irreplaceable children’s artwork, families generate a lot of special memories that

need to be protected. Dedicate several minutes at a time to go through your photos and organize them by date or occasion. Choose attractive boxes or binders to which you can add pages to store them. Go through your child’s artwork with your child and choose the ones that mean the most that you’ll keep.

Revamp your magazine storage For many of us, between the magazines we subscribe to and the catalogs we order from, periodicals can quickly pile up in our homes! Take a few minutes to set up an organization system for your favorite titles. Commit to storing only the most recent issues (six months is a good guideline) and recycle the rest. If there’s a certain story you want to keep beyond the six-month period, tear that page out and file it... there’s no need to keep the entire issue.

Organize your media Keep your family’s favorite movies and music within easy reach on an entertainment center or bookshelf in the den. Others that are used less regularly can be stored in another area or on a higher shelf. When organizing media, decide what you really want to keep, and donate items you don’t to create more space. The Container Store stands for ‘organization with heart’ and recently celebrated its 13th year on FORTUNE magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For.” The Container Store continues to give back to the community with a focus on supporting nonprofits that promote women’s and children’s wellbeing and health. For more information and ideas, please visit May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook


extra activities


Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012

*Eco-Friendly Sidewalk Paint This Homemade Sidewalk Paint is so easy to make and is eco-friendly too! It can be made in different colors and wipes right off with water!


- ¼ cup corn starch - ¼ cup water - 8 drops of food coloring in different colors - Small containers (one for each color) - Paint brush(es)


In a small container mix the cornstarch and water. Add food coloring. Repeat to make as many colors as you can. If you want white paint don’t add any food coloring! You’ll notice when you paint it looks a little watery, but when it dries the colors will be vibrant. If you are using this paint outside on a warm sunny day it will dry almost immediately. Hose it off, or just use a wet rag. Since this paint is made with natural ingredients it will not harm your plants, grass, or any of your outdoor drains. Happy Painting!

*Popsicle Paints

Make sure you make a lot because they may melt before you’ve finished having fun with them! Just make sure the children you are doing this craft with know that these “popsicles” don’t go in the mouth!


A container to make your paints in like an ice cube tray (as in the picture) or a real Popsicle container. - Water - Food coloring - Popsicle sticks - Cling rap (optional)


Fill your container with water and add 5 drops of food coloring in each section. Make as many colors as you wish. Insert the popsicle sticks into each section. They don’t need to be straight. If you are using an ice cube tray you can cover with cling wrap and insert the sticks through the wrap to keep them straight. Freeze until solid and then you’re ready to bring them outside. Paint on paper, paint the sidewalk or fence, and make some wonderful creations! Sandra is a Registered Nurse, a Mother of two, and the founder of www.busybeekidscrafts. com, a free resource for children’s crafts and activities. Sandra created this online resource to share with the world creative and inexpensive ways to spend quality time with children while at the same time teaching them valuable skills.

May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook


product spotlights 40

For more interesting infographics, please visit www.dailyinfographic. com or find them on Facebook at ( This inforgraphic can also be viewed at Homeschool Handbook | May / June 2012


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IMPaCTInG CulTure: evoluTIon-free reSourCeS

My Father’s World has had the privilege of influencing secular publishers to edit the content of their books. Walking along side these publishers, MFW’s editorial team has been able to change evolutionary language to more neutral language acceptable to most audiences. The following My Father’s World resources have been revised: The World of Animals, MFW edition; The World of Science, MFW edition; Illustrated World Atlas, 2011 edition; Great Animal Search, 2009 edition; Living World Encyclopedia, 2009 edition; Learn about Pyramids, 2010 edition or newer; and History of the World, MFW edition. Check out these wonderful books today! For more information or to order, visit

More InTereSTInG THan Your TeaCHer

By: Stuart Wright More Interesting Than Your Teacher is an accessible take on many of the important lessons about the world around us. Typical textbook theories are replaced with fun and fascinating explanations, with all entries being accompanied by colorful illustrations. You’ll revisit subjects such as history, science, geography and math, learning the lesser- known facts and figures relating to a huge range of amusing, profound and surprising topics. Did you know that only five per cent of the world’s surface is habitable? Do fish ever go to sleep? What is the largest number in the whole world? These are just some of the quirky nuggets of insight informing More Interesting Than Your Teacher, an accessible source of information that will appeal to anyone who ever had to stifle a yawn in the classroom. Please visit for more information or email Stuart at

MY faTHer’S WorlD froM a To Z, SeConD eDITIon

My Father’s World is pleased to announce the recently released second edition of our highly celebrated, much loved kindergarten program, My Father’s World From A to Z. This complete kindergarten curriculum retains the core program families have been enjoying since 1990, with some enriching additions. We are thrilled to now include grid lesson plan charts for each unit, more easy-to-do hands-on activities, expanded Bible lessons, and thematic math sheets. An extensive booklist for each unit with many new Book Day storybooks (new in 2011) is included. Updated Student Sheets can be used with either first or second edition Teacher’s Manuals. For more information, including how to upgrade your first edition manual, or to order, please visit


May / June 2012 | Homeschool Handbook


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The Homeschool Handbook Magazine ™


My Fathers World®

Contributors: 3

The Middle School Years

Vicki Bentley


Homeschooling Through Summer

Donna Vail


“Teaching” Latin

Carolyn Henderson


Principles for Homeschooling Success

Paul Stone


Table Manners: Part 2

Monica Irvine


Getting Things Done

Dr. Barton Goldsmith


Pare Lorentz Center at the FDR…

Traci Suppa


Public Cyber Charter School – Is It…



Fast Facts: Key K-12 Online Learning…



Learning to Love Reading

Rachel Spurgeon


Celebrating the Journey: Rediscovering Me

Ashley L. Hill


Encyclopedia Dad

Andrew Pudewa


Sentence Diagramming: Tool or Torture?

Robin Finley


How Reading Fiction Helps Kids…

Sarita Holzmann


Meaning of the Folding of The Flag

Various Sources


How to be Happy Anywhere

Martin Lindstrom


Phonics vs. Sight-Reading

Cyndi Ringoen


How Much Sugar Do Your Kids Eat?

Amy Roskelley


Baked Onion Rings

Super Healthy Kids


30 Minute Organizing Projects

The Container Store


Summer Painting

Sandra Volchko


Infographic: The Higher Education Bubble

Daily Infographic

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Impacting Culture: Evolution-Free Resources

More Interesting Than Your Teacher

My Father’s World From A to Z, 2nd Edition

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