The Home Educator Summer 2014

Page 1



Are America’s

Top Ranked Colleges

Telling Us to


Why Do Conscious

Homeschoolers Flourish?

Get Schooled On



&A 6Q Executive Editor, Claudia Valdes,

answers questions submitted by readers

Your Young Adult 12 Launching The Empty Nest Syndrome Experience of Mind 16 Habits Dr. Aixa Perez-Prado, local homeschool mom

and university professor, shares the first of the 16 Habits of Mind, Listening With Understanding and Empathy

Diaries 18 Homeschool “Are America’s Top Ranked Colleges Telling Us To Homeschool?” Do Conscious Homeschoolers Flourish? 20 Why “Academics are important but a loving environment is paramount.” On: Blimey Cow 22 Focus Editor-in-chief, Marlo Planas, interviews Josh Taylor, of the hit comedy YouTube channel.

The mission of The Home Educator is to create a publication, in collaboration with the community to be inclusive and reflect the cultural, racial, religious, philosophical, socio-economic, and stylistic diversity of the Homeschool Community in South Florida. To provide support and guidance and serve as a unifying force in the community. To dispel myths, increase awareness, and report accurate information about homeschooling. “There is no school equal to a decent home & no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.” -Mahatma Gandhi


Marlo Planas


Claudia Valdes


Alyssa Whitehouse


Andrea Rotella . Dr. Aixa Perez-Prado . Christy Schultz Brenda Rufener . Maryana Newton . Marlene Montaner Yashica Brown-Rogne . Samantha Eve Morris Josh Taylor . Avivit Ben-Aharon . Katie Gonzalez Jannet Dannon-Mairena . April Cokley-Jung . Ely Bistrong Phone 786.303.1382 |

Photo © Ely Bistrong

For information on where to find The Home Educator, or to become a distributor, call 786.303.1382 or email Comments and suggestions are welcome. The Home Educator is published quarterly / four times per year by The Home Educator, LLC. It is distributed as a complimentary magazine, free of charge throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and the Palm Beaches. The Home Educator is not responsible for statements made by advertisers or writers. We make every effort to ensures the accuracy of information we print, but cannot be held responsible for any consequences arising from omissions or errors. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is forbidden. Copyright 2014 by The Home Educator, LLC. All rights reserved.


Linda Barg Manzini



Regional Director Marketing and Business Development

Homeschool Guru

Cell: 305.335.4684 Office: 954.318.0747 Fax: 954.318.0878

Jumpstart your college career with dual enrollment

10 Homeschool 2 My Dream School

Homeschool grads, Andrea Rotella and Maryana Newton share their journeys through homeschooling to the University of Miami and Mars Hill College.

Offices located in South and Central Florida to better serve you.

15 Discovering Florida

The Nature Teacher and homeschool mom, Christy Schultz, shares her favorite summertime nature spots and where to find a tourist tree!

29 Speech Therapy

Therapeutic Interventions for Young Adults

30 Book Review

Easy Summer read, “For Better and For Worse” reviewed by Marlo Planas

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30 Movie Review

For those rainy summer days, documentary “La Educacion Prohibida”, reviewed by Marlene Montaner

Edward Waller | 954-448-3693 |

32 Calendar of Events

Not sure what to do this summer? Check out our events calendar and explore activities for homeschoolers in South Florida!

33 Spotlight on Homeschool Groups

Classical Conversations and Parent’s Association for Teaching at Home (PATH)

34 Rudi’s Creative Corner


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Letter from the Editor


Summer is officially underway! If your family is anything like mine, summer doesn’t mean that you stop homeschooling, it just means that your unschooling tendencies get kicked up a notch and formal lessons happen when there’s nothing else on the calendar. Real camp is interspersed with Camp Mom and messy science experiments abound. Congrats to all of the graduates who are moving on or moving out, and moving closer to their dreams! A special congratulations to all of the parents, tutors, and caregivers who have embraced this challenge of reclaiming the education of the next generation! I hope your summer is going well and that you’re leaving fingerprints of suntan lotion, and drops of icy condensation on these pages. We live where others vacation, so you might find it hard to believe it when I tell you that The Miami New Times recently published an article which named Miami as being the 2nd worst place to raise children! Florida also wins the prize for Most Stressed State in the Nation. Various factors were looked at, such as quality of education, playgrounds per capita, affordability, number of residents with healthcare, housing, and commute time. Before you start packing to move to North Dakota or anywhere less stressed than here, I should mention that Florida is also the 4th largest homeschooling state in the U.S.!

Commutes? We can time our outings to when morning traffic clears. Quality of Education? Well, just look at our scores and success rates. Health care? When someone has the sniffles, they nap and get all the home remedies they need. We can share meals and choose quality foods. Playgrounds? We know of all the best ones and get them all to ourselves on most days. Affordability and housing? Well, we’re working on this one but, many of us relish simplicity & sustainable lifestyle choices. We have this major advantage of being able to raise our children in this intentional community of like-minded families and to lend support to other parents who don’t see a way out of the rat race. Without ever knowing these grim statistics about where we reside, we knew that there was a call to be answered and we just went ahead and did what our intuition told us to do! And the best thing? There are stats to prove that we hit the nail on the head (www.nheri.og). I applaud us, Florida Home Educators! And while it’s not always a walk in the park, you have tens of thousands of other parents to turn to for support and, well, just go walk in the park. Peace, Love, and Learning, Marlo

So here we are, a community of families, raising 76,000 (approximately) kids, doing our part to combat the bad rep that Florida has earned itself. . SUMMER 2014



Q: Does my homeschooler qualify for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program? A: Yes! If there’s funding available, a student who is home educated in Florida can apply and be evaluated for a Bright Futures Scholarship! The Bright Future Scholarship rewards home educated high school students for their academic achievements. However, The Bright Futures home education requirements differ slightly from public and private high school requirements, I highly recommend home educators plan ahead. Eighth grade is not too early to start planning for Bright Futures! To be eligible, a student must have earned “a standard” Florida high school diploma, unless, the student completes a home education program according to s. 1002.41.” [Section 1009.531 (1) (b), Florida Statutes ] In lieu of diploma, all home-educated students must be registered with the district where they reside for grades 11 and 12. Homeeducated students must meet the General Requirements for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program. In addition, the documentation listed below is required for home-educated students who wish to be evaluated


SUMMER 2014 .

for a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship. There are five basic steps that must be completed prior to high school graduation: 1. File the Initial Student Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA). During their last year in a home education program (after December 1st of the last year and prior to graduation; for those who graduate mid-year must submit a FFAA no later than August 31 prior to the student’s graduation) students must complete the online application which gives Tallahassee the information needed to start processing their Bright Futures paperwork. Do you believe your student will not qualify for the Bright Futures Scholarship? Apply anyway, you will find there are many other grants and scholarships available to Florida residents. It only takes a few moments to fill this out. On a side note, many of these awards are available to continuing college students. If you are thinking of going back to school, be sure to apply as well. 2. Acquire adequate test scores on the SAT or ACT.

Your home educated student may continue to take the SAT or ACT through June 30th, although tests must be taken by January 31st for mid-year grads, of his last year of his home education program in order to be considered for the beginning of the current academic awards year. Test scores must be authorized to be released to a minimum of one state university or college in order to be available in the system for the Bright Futures office to retrieve. For home educated high school students currently graduating, minimum test scores to qualify for Bright Futures are as follows but are subject to change. Florida Academic Scholar Homeschooled SAT: 1290/ACT: 29 NO Transcripts Needed Florida Medallion Scholar Homeschooled SAT: 1220/ACT: 27 NO Transcripts Needed Or Florida Medallion Scholar Homeschooled SAT: 1170/ACT: 26 and a weighted 3.0 GPA in the 16 required college preparatory academic credits, documented through official sealed transcripts from the four sources listed in the Transcripts section below.

Bright Futures does not take into account the writing score of SAT or ACT, but only the critical reading and math scores. 3. Transcripts. Please understand a parentgenerated transcript will not be accepted for Bright Futures evaluation. However, if your student has satisfactory test scores to qualify for the Bright Futures award, then NO transcript is necessary. If your child’s SAT/ACT score is such that it requires an official transcript to be eligible, you will need to obtain an official transcript(s) from the following: • Florida Public High School • FDOE-Registered Private High School (see the School Choice page on FDOE website) • Florida Virtual School • Florida State University or College; if your student was dual enrolled (which I strongly recommend) Your child must achieve a minimum weighted 3.0 GPA in 16 college preparatory core academic credits. • 4 English (3 with substantial writing) • 4 Mathematics (Algebra I level and above) • 3 Natural Science (2 with substantial lab) • 3 Social Science • 2 World Language (sequential, in the same language) You are able to use multiple resources to accumulate the 16 core credits – remember to submit separate official transcripts from each provider. 4. District Confirmation of Registration. Remember that in order to qualify for The Bright Futures Program as a home educated student, the student MUST be registered with the county in both 11th and 12th grades and be able to provide verification through the district to the state. If the student was not registered as being home educated with the district for grades 11 AND 12, but has

the minimum transcript information from a Florida public high school, Florida Virtual School, dual-enrollment coursework from a Florida state (community) college, university, or FDOE-registered private high school, test scores, and the required community service hours, he/she may be able to earn an award as a Florida GED Diploma recipient. 5. Community Service Hours Documentation. A home-educated student must complete community service hours during high school and by high school graduation. Each award requires the following completed and approved community service hours: FAS – 100 hours FMS – 75 hours Contact your homeschooling district representative now to determine how they want you to submit your hours. If you are not registered with the county as a homeschooler and have chosen to school under a private school, you will still need to complete the Florida Student Financial Aid application and your school will be responsible for filing the Bright Futures paperwork with Tallahassee. Be sure to speak with your school administrator to see what they need from you to begin this process. The Bright Futures Scholarship program changes with each legislative session. For more information, important updates, and to find out what rules apply to a specific graduation year, please visit the Florida Student Financial Aid website: http://www. bf/newsrenew.htm After you submit the FFAA, you will receive a User ID and PIN. You are responsible for tracking your application, certifications, and award status online and for keeping OSFA informed of any demographic or institutional changes.

Q: What is the college application process for a homeschooler? A: Every year more and more colleges and universities have opened their doors to homeschoolers. They are more familiar with the differences in learning styles and methods and most have admissions officers who specifically review homeschooled students’ applications. First and foremost, record keeping is extremely important during the high school years. As a part of the admission process, you have to provide an accurate account of the courses, classes, exams, etc that your child has completed in high school. Most colleges and universities require either SAT or ACT test scores. I always suggest to my clients, if they haven’t already done so, to enroll their student into a Duel Enrollment Course program at their local college or university. It is great way for the students to transition and get an idea of the college life, although not all colleges and universities accept the college credit, it is great for transcripts and as a life experience. Most Universities and Colleges are very accepting and understanding of the differences between a homeschooled student and your average “brick and mortar” educated student. They seek out and welcome homeschoolers for they understand that, homeschooled students tend to be excellent college students and tend to have higher GPA’S and test scores. Homeschool graduates have been earning high marks at the most prestigious colleges for many years now. Please see the short list of colleges and universities that accept home educated students on Pg 27. . SUMMER 2014



The Home School Guru Jumpstart Your College Career

After mentoring parents and teens on their homeschool journey and college quest, I am finally able to practice what I preach. With two daughters gearing up for college I now know first hand the late night anxieties and worries, that little voice inside whispering questions like, Are they ready? Can I afford it? Will they qualify for a scholarship? My answer to all of them is DUAL ENROLLMENT. For students who are college-bound, most parents dream, hope and pray that their children will get a scholarship to help offset the exorbitant costs of higher education. What if I told you that your child already has access to free college courses without a scholarship or loans? What if I told you that your homeschooled teen can take classes at colleges and universities right now for FREE, and that they can get credits toward an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or one or more vocational certificates and get credit towards their high school diploma at the same time? It’s true! If you are looking for a way to get more bang for your education bucks, and your homeschooled high school student is mature and ready to tackle a college course, dual enrollment may be just the option to meet your family’s needs! Besides transportation and basic school supplies, the only expense to homeschoolers involved in dual enrollment is the cost of instructional materials and textbooks. Dual Enrollment or Early Admission? What’’s the difference? There is a difference between Dual Enrollment and Early Admission. The dual enrollment program allows high school students in grades 10-12 to earn credit toward high school completion and a career certificate or an associate or bachelor’s degree at the same time, on a part-time


SUMMER 2014 .

basis. Early admission is a form of dual enrollment that allows only high school seniors to enroll in college or career courses at colleges and universities on a full-time basis. Sign Me Up Begin by calling the college admissions office to find out the requirements for course registration. Each college sets its own policies for admitting high school students, provided they satisfy any course prerequisites and meet the following requirements: Colleges may have a minimum age requirement; usually 16 • Homeschooled students must provide proof of enrollment in a home education program • Students will need to obtain approval from the parent and/ or high school administrator (may or may not be the same person) • Students wanting to enroll in career courses must demonstrate readiness for career-level coursework • Students must hold a 3.0 unweighted GPA for college credit courses (transferable to state universities), 2.50 for an Associate in Science Degree (not transferable) or a 2.0 unweighted GPA for career certificate courses (Vocational Certificate) • Students must pass the appropriate college placement test (SAT, ACT, or PERT); and • Any other eligibility criteria as required by the college or university. Record- Keeping: Documentation is extremely important during the high school years, On your homeschooler’s high school transcript, list the course title, number of credits awarded (for an

academic course, it would be one high school credit even though the college may award three college credits), and the final grade earned. When your student eventually applies to college, an official transcript from the college where dual enrollment courses were taken will be required. Is this for every child? Dual enrollment classes are collegelevel presented on an adult level, the amount of work expected to is greater than in high school classes. It is important that your high schooled child is dedicated to their studies and understands what is anticipated before enrolling. Students have to be self-disciplined and motivated to study outside of class, which is why dual enrollment has very successful rate amongst homeschoolers. Please remember, dual enrollment courses become a part of your child’s permanent college transcript and are calculated into his or her permanent high school GPA. Students who receive a failing grade may have difficulty meeting future admission requirements at colleges and universities and difficulty qualifying for financial aid and scholarships like Bright Futures. Keep In Mind: According to the FAQs published by the Florida Department of Education, Dual enrollment college credit will transfer to any public

college or university offering the statewide course number. However, if students do not, upon high school graduation, attend the same college or university where they earned the dual enrollment credit, the application of transfer credit to general education, prerequisite, and degree programs may vary at the receiving institution.” In short, this means if your student is considering applying or transferring to a four-year college, contact the four-year institution to find out if the community college course he plans to take will transfer. Some four-year institutions have a limited number of transfer credits they will accept, and others do not accept dual enrollment credits at all. Each college is different, so don’t hesitate to call the admissions office and ask your advisor about whether or not your credits will transfer to other schools, in the future. The 2014–2015 DUAL ENROLLMENT COURSE—HIGH SCHOOL SUBJECT AREA EQUIVALENTCY LIST is available on our website *For a step-by-step guide to dual enrollment at Miami Dade College, by founder of H.O.M.E., Jannet Dannon-Mairena, please visit To book a session with Claudia call 954-683-0822 or email Claudia has been very active in the community for over 15 years and currently mentors parents & teens in homeschool record-keeping and founded Our Creative Minds. . SUMMER 2014 . SPRING 2014 259



BY ANDREA ROTELLA I feel very fortunate to have been home schooled for nine years. I had countless friends and participated in many school groups, including South Florida HEAT, where I played soccer for five years. With the love and support of friends and family, I was able to build self-discipline, confidence, and leadership skills. After graduating from high school, I studied at Broward College for two years and graduated with honors. I never thought that college would be so different than what I had imagined. I missed seeing friends every day, all the interactive activities, and encouraging support groups. I was able to use characteristics that were created in high school and I was not afraid of any academic challenges. The best part about being home schooled was that


SUMMER 2014 .

I began to discover who I was before college. I had a strong sense of what I wanted, which learning styles worked for me, and how to achieve my goals. Towards the end of my second year at Broward College, I had the opportunity to transfer to the University of Miami, my dream college. I was thrilled when I received my acceptance letter and I was grateful for all the years I was taught to strive for excellence, but mainly to develop a love for learning. Since home schooling allowed me to work at my own pace, I knew what classes would work for me and what type of schedule I needed in order to be successful. I do not believe that a traditional high school setting would have given me the same opportunity; however, attending

Broward College was beneficial because it helped me to slowly adapt to a college environment. Having completed my first year at the University of Miami, I can honestly say that I have no regrets. Throughout high school, students frequently ask themselves, “Am I ever going to use this in the future?� The characteristics I developed from being home schooled are applied every day within my home, campus, church, and friendships. It prepared me to confidently accept any challenges and opportunities that may come my way, and these qualities led me to the college of my dreams. Home schooling does not only prepare you academically; it prepares you for life.


“Homeschooling helped me considerably with self-discipline as well as time-management, which as any college alumni can tell you, is everything in college.”

BY MARYANA NEWTON A little history about me; I was homeschooled through middle school (fifth grade through ninth grade). After homeschooling, I was enrolled in a public school for the remainder of my high school career. I am currently in my junior year of college at Mars Hill University in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. My experience has been extraordinary as my background in homeschooling has had an immense impact on my college career. I am double majoring in Art Therapy and Psychology with a minor in Religion Philosophy. As one would expect, the task of double majoring is not for the faint of heart. Homeschooling helped me considerably with self-discipline as well as time-management, which as any college alumni can tell you, is everything in college. To double major and minor, with the hopes of graduating a year early, I have had to take significantly heavy course load as well as work through college. Because of this, it is of utmost importance that I am always on top of my work, paying attention in class, and keeping up with my schedule. Homeschooling helped me so incredibly much with this, as so much of homeschooling is based

on individual learning, personal time management, and understanding of material. Another area in which my unique background has helped me is in the course material itself. Being a part of a liberal arts curriculum is so similar to the programs I was involved with while homeschooling. For fifth and sixth grades, I was very involved in the liberal arts aspect of my community and also a part of a writing club. After sixth grade, I enrolled in the Global Village School, which offered online teachers, a more structured curriculum, and textbook materials, but was still very much liberal arts focused. The experience of facing the SAT, application processes and GPAs was a little more overwhelming. This was one instance in which I was very grateful for my public education experience. That is not to say, however, that one could not do it without public education. Many of my homeschooled friends were a little more nervous about such standardized tests and such, but once they completed them, it was apparent it was not as difficult as expected. The application process was slightly nerve-wracking. However, many colleges are very open minded and very interested in unique prospective students

(thought the public education system will never admit that). My parents were incredibly helpful in the application experience; so as a word of advice, sometimes it’s best to swallow the pride, and turn to your parent. Once I reached college, I was more than embraced and completely accepted regardless of the fact that I was homeschooled, especially, once I showed that I was so familiar with the liberal arts concepts and had so much real-world experience; I was many times requested as a “study buddy.” My experience as a once-homeschooled teenager, to a successful college student has been a whirlwind of experiences that, though at times were overwhelming, I would not trade for the world. I learned such valuable lessons in school and in life. Most importantly, I learned to embrace having a unique past, loving who I am, and being proud of being different. ■ Maryana’s parents, Rebecca and Tom, are the proprietors of Dancing Sun Cabins in Hot Springs, North Carolina. Please visit the link, “Homeschool Experiences”, on their website . SUMMER 2014



Launching Your Young Adult The Empty Nest Syndrome Experience


Photo © istockphoto

The launching process is a daunting task for both young adults and their caregivers. Parents spend the majority of their child’s first 18 years of life preparing them for what’s to come when they leave their respective homes and start their journeys as young adults in college. This is especially difficult for parents whom homeschool their children and aren’t familiar with the feeling of an “empty nest”, as they are faced with renegotiating boundaries and redefining household roles while encouraging autonomy. At this point, parents commonly ponder the notion of, “what do I do now?” Empty Nest Syndrome (ENS) is a label that describes a wide array of emotions that parents experience when they have launched or are in the process of launching their young adult children from the home, and are literally left with an “empty nest”. These emotions range from sadness and loneliness from being without their children, to spurts of happiness from a sense of fulfillment and then guilt for experiencing the mix of emotions.

These emotional symptoms are so common that practitioners labeled this phenomenon, “Empty Nest Syndrome” (ENS). To be clear, ENS is not a clinical disorder nor diagnosis, but rather a term used to help parents acknowledge this life cycle stage and identify effective strategies to help them cope with this perceived loss. The aforementioned emotions are a normal part of the launching process, as parents are indeed coping with a profound sense of loss. It’s important for parents to be aware of the emotions they are experiencing, as research indicates that ENS makes parents more vulnerable to negative outcomes such as depression, marital conflict and substance abuse. So the question is this… what can parents do to cope with ENS? Well, the good news is that this is the time when parents get to focus on themselves and reestablish who they are as individuals and as a couple. Remember the days before having children when the choice of entertainment, travel and meals were at your sole discretion? Parents…that time has come once again! When parents launch their children, they are provided the opportunity to redefine themselves, reconnect with one another as a couple, and rekindle passions and interests that they may not have had time for while raising children. Parents can adequately cope with ENS by keeping yourselves busy, looking for new personal and professional opportunities and engage one another in interpersonal activities. This approach of seeing the glass half full not only helps to avoid exacerbated symptoms of ENS, but also truly will enhance the quality of your lives and relationships.

Parents spend approximately 18 years molding their children into independent young adults with morals, values and good choices. This is the time when parents get to see the fruit of their labor blossom, albeit at a distance. But don’t fret parents; your young adults will still need you… just in a different way.

guidance, and be comfortable sharing your feelings and concerns. If you’re in need of additional support, contact a mental health practitioner.

KEY CONCEPTS 1) Launching as an Individual Experience: If you’re launching your child(ren) then you did a good job parents! Accept that you have prepared your child to be independent, and when the time has come in which they are ready to leave the home, support them in their decision. Focus your energy on how you can help your young adult succeed in this new life cycle stage and remember, it’s a scary time for them too.

Your child(ren) are going out into the world to make meaningful contributions and continue to grow. Let that positive feeling of a job well done carry over into your new stage of life and enjoy the process of redefining yourself, just as your children are! ■

2) Communicate: Communicate your feelings to your partner, as they may share in your feelings and concerns; and you can be a huge support for one another. Communicate your feelings to your child, so they feel comfortable expressing their concerns with you and understand where you are coming from (This will also help put things into perspective for your young adult when they notice that you call/text 10 times a day to make sure they are okay). Let your young adult know that you are a phone call away, but you trust them to make good choices and want them to have the opportunity to grow and be autonomous while figuring things out on their own.

Remember parents, if you are launching your young adult, you did a great job!

About the Author: The author, Samantha Eve Morris, is a registered Marriage & Family Therapist (IMT#1973) in private practice and a Student Doctor of Behavioral Health. Samantha utilizes strength based therapeutic approaches that are individualized to meet the needs of the children, adolescents, teens and families that she works with. Samantha works with clients on a wide array of clinical concerns including behavioral issues, ADHD, anxiety, boundaries, life cycle changes, substance abuse, divorce and the blending of families. Samantha is available for daytime and evening appointments (786) 426- 9953, Family Psych Central, LLC

3) Resources: Remember that ENS is common and the chances are high that you and your partner know others that have had similar experiences. Reach out to family and friends for support and . SUMMER 2014


Your neighborhood Farmer's Market and Nursery! Marando Farms brings you amazingly fresh produce, an extensive nursery, and an organic, locally grown and pesticide free farm! Conveniently located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale and less than 20 minutes from anywhere in Broward County, we also serve many customers from Miami/Dade and the Palm Beaches.

At Marando Farms we are passionate about sharing our agricultural knowledge with others. We offer hands-on, interactive Þeld trip tours that are both educational and fun. Programs will be customized and age appropriate for groups from Pre-K through adult. Schools, homeschoolers, clubs and all others are welcome. Tours are conducted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and some weekends. "$4 per person (10 person minimum) "School and youth chaperones free. 1401 SW 1st Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315

Empowerment Drumming Can: • Foster Teambuilding • Improve Morale • Reduce Healthcare Costs • Decrease Turnover • Increase Job Satisfaction • Reduce Stress • Boost the Immune System • And so much more!

6 wk program for a team of up to 20 Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. Valid through 8/31/14

Alan Reyna 786.344.3450 . 14 SUMMER 2014





One of my favorite trees of the natural and native South Florida landscape is the Gumbo Limbo. The Gumbo Limbo, Bursera simaruba, is sometimes locally known as the “tourist tree”. The tree received this moniker because of its red and peeling bark, which somewhat resembles the red and peeling skin of unfortunate northern tourists that forgot to apply sunscreen while visiting hot and sunny Florida. The Gumbo Limbo tree is native to Florida, but originally arrived on the wind and in the scattered scat of migrating birds and animals traveling from places, due south, like the West Indies - the Bahamas, the Caribbean, the Yucatan peninsula, Central America, Northern and Western South America, where it is also native. Over centuries, the scattered seeds spread north to reach the rocky outcroppings of the oolitic limestone bedrock that makes up the Florida Plateau.

The Gumbo Limbo loves salty, windy climates and is perfectly adapted to South Florida. The tree is so used to strong, forceful winds, that if its branches are shed or broken in a storm, even in a hurricane, the broken branch may sprout into a new tree if impaled into the soil below. The tree is very fast growing and will be a large tree in just a few years. The branches are strong and not easily broken, however. Another adaptation is its peeling bark. The peeling bark prevents epiphytes (air plants), mosses and lichens from taking up residence and allows the green chloroplasts of the trunk to expose themselves to sunlight as an aid to its own food production (aka photosynthesis). The fruits of the Gumbo Limbo are well loved by birds, especially our local Mockingbird. Look for the fruits of this tree in March and April. In the past, the sap of the tree was used to make turpentine and was even used as medicine. The legend goes that the name “Gumbo Limbo” may have come from an African phrase meaning “slaves bird lime”. The African slaves boiled the sap into a sticky substance and spread it on the trunks of trees to catch songbirds (Nelson, 1994). Sit and observe who visits this tree, especially if it is laden with fruit. Plant one in your yard to invite native animals to set up residence

or just sit under its shade and enjoy the day. You can find Gumbo Limbo trees as far north as Tampa in most upland areas. They especially love the coastal areas, maritime hammocks, and southern tropical hardwood hammocks. ■

Local Parks with Gumbo Limbo Trees John Pennekamp State park Hammock trails in Key Largo

Castellow Hammock The Redlands, Miami-Dade Natural Area (really beautiful old and large trees)

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center Boca Raton Christy Schultz is The Nature Teacher (ECO-Every Child Outside). She is striving to make Florida Nature Study a regular part of your life learning and homeschooling lives. . SUMMER 2014




of Mind especially from our children.”


istening with

Understanding and



so much to learn,

Photo © istockphoto

1 L

“...we all still have

SUMMER 2014 .

The sixteen Habits of Mind (as identified by Costa & Kallick, 2000), each representing intelligent behaviors that facilitate learning, relationships and general success, are all equally important to develop in ourselves and in our children. But I have to say that I am partial to a few of the habits, and ‘Listening with Understanding and Empathy’ is certainly among my favorites. It is also among those that I think are most teachable and most essential to learn as early as possible. We homeschoolers certainly know the value of listening, and yet we may find it quite difficult to do it with our own children. After all, we have so much to say! Listening to our children automatically guarantees that we are not speaking, and that is difficult for some of us – myself included. We tend to think that we have so much to teach them; we

know so much more than they do, and if they would only listen then they could learn something useful! While it is certainly true that each and every one of us knows many facts and has accumulated a great deal of knowledge by the time we become parents, we all still have so much to learn, especially from our children. When we give our children the chance to speak to us, and we truly listen with understanding and empathy, then we can learn from them. We can learn what they need, what they want, their dreams, their frustrations and their passions. We can learn how to be better parents and how to be better teachers by simply ensuring that we listen to them when they are trying to tell us something, no matter how trivial it may seem or how much schoolwork needs to get done. As with all Habits of Mind, ‘Listening with

Understanding and Empathy’ takes practice. It needs to be practiced daily and luckily it can be practiced anywhere.

who spends very little time with the family at this point, recently sent me a picture text message that read something like this.

One specific technique I use with my kids is a ‘listening circle’. This is an invisible circle that surrounds us when it is time to take a listening break. In that circle, each of us can express whatever he or she needs to say without interruption and without any technological interference (iphone, tablet, etc.). Our rules are that we look at the one who is speaking, don’t interrupt or judge, and do our best to understand. This is a special space that is created when one of us determines that it is needed, and sometimes just to make sure we are all on track. Other techniques for listening with understanding and empathy are described below.

Parent: Come out of your room and socialize with the family! Me: ‘sits with family’ Me: ‘gets insulted by entire family’ Me: ‘goes back to room’

When you practice these techniques, you are modeling them for your child and teaching them to use the techniques as well. I like to point them out sometimes, though not always, with my children to show them what I am doing and to encourage them to do the same. I give them the words for each part of listening and when I see them do the same with me or with one another, I acknowledge that they have done so and praise them. Although I have read, trained and written about the Habits of Mind for several years now, I am still working on developing these habits with my own children as well as with my university students. I would like to share an anecdote with you that shows you how much we can fall short of accomplishing our goals when we forget about practicing good habits such as ‘Listening with Understanding and Empathy’. In addition to the two younger children I homeschool, I have four older children – three teens and one in her early twenties. My creative, rebellious, complicated and challenging teenage son,

The moment I saw this, I understood perfectly how he felt and understood why. When he is finally with us, we are so busy telling him everything he is doing wrong, what he should be doing, expressing our frustration, disappointment, making demands, etc. that we don’t give him a chance to talk unless he is defending himself, and then he is immediately contradicted. We are not listening with understanding and empathy, because we are not even listening. We are not socializing with him, we are ‘schooling’ him, and that is the last thing he wants to experience. This child has taught me so much of what not to do, and how every child is an individual. These are hard and frustrating lessons but they are priceless. I have so much to say to him, but he can’t hear me yet because I haven’t listened enough. It takes time, patience, and constant practice, and I think it is worth it, so I keep on trying. As parents, we are teachers, and even more importantly we are learners. ‘Listening with Understanding and Empathy’ can help us to continue learning and keep us moving forward on our homeschooling and parenting journeys.


for Listening with

Understanding &

Empathy Pausing, Paraphrasing & Probing 1. Pausing - Encourage your children to talk by not jumping in and interrupting very long explanations (this can be difficult), and make sure they know you are interested and empathetic by giving them a chance to think after you ask a question or during a conversation. Embrace silence. You don’t have to fill every second of a conversation. 2. Paraphrasing – After you listen to your child, paraphrase what they have said to make sure you understand, and to show them your attempt at understanding. You can begin your sentence with, “So, you are saying…. So, you are worried about…. ” This is showing that you are not only listening but you are listening with empathy by putting yourself in your child’s shoes. This is very different from just saying, “I hear you,” and then giving them advice. This technique ensures that you are all on the same page. 3. Probing – When you listen to your child make a general statement such as; “This is too hard, I can’t do it!” Ask probing questions to help them clarify their ideas, and show you are listening and creating empathy. For example, “What is hard for you about this problem?” Keep asking questions to narrow down the topic, to show you care and are trying to understand, and are committed to helping them learn. This is very different from saying what may come naturally to us, “No, it’s not, it’s easy! You can do it!” If it was so easy, they would have done it already and not expressed this frustration. It is our job as parents/teachers to acknowledge this and ask probing questions to get to the heart of the matter and lend a hand. . SUMMER 2014





telling us to HOMESCHOOL? freshman. The article stated that faculty is frustrated due to the lack of college readiness - even in the most prestigious universities. Students were not short on good grades, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities, but they lacked readiness and special interests, according to faculty members at Duke University and Harvard. What is college readiness?

Photo © istockphoto

Good grades are a commodity. That’s what a friend and faculty member at Duke University told me. At quality schools like Duke and Ivy League institutions such as Harvard, everyone who is accepted boasts good grades and soaring standardized test scores. But, just because a student holds a high GPA doesn’t mean they’ve mastered the subject.

BY BRENDA RUFENER The rash of college and university faculty coming forward to share the lack of preparedness of entering freshmen has flooded the news media in recent months. Reports that the public school system is failing our children come as no surprise, and

18 SUMMER 2014


the complaints from faculty shine an even more embarrassing spotlight on the educational blemish. In 2013, The Chronicle of Higher Ed reported on the declining quality of student preparation among college

Faculty sees it in the classroom every fall semester. Students who aced their high school classes can’t make the grade in college. They just aren’t ready. They can’t write the academic essay. They can’t analyze classical literature. They don’t display critical thinking skills. And, they suffer, miserably. Top-ranked schools are privy to this information. Admission boards witness the high GPAs and scores but recognize there’s more – much more to a student’s success. Admission officers also know that good grades are handed out right

and left, earned or not. It’s the flaw that, as it stands, hasn’t been fixed. The new admissions process Will GPAs and standardized test scores go away? Not likely. But, we are already seeing the modifications – whether good or bad. Instead of waiting for the repair of a broken system, some of the nation’s top-ranked colleges are taking matters into their own hands. They want more. Something different and something unique. They know they will get the GPAs and scores, but they are in search of something else. A hook. Something that sets your child apart from the application pool of valedictorians and salutatorians who may or may not have earned their grades. There is more to college readiness than being able to check the right box and test well. What does this homeschoolers?


In homeschooling, creativity is respected, not undermined. The square pegs of the homeschool classroom are not squeezed into the round hole of public education, but allowed to explore. Children are free to tinker with computers morning, noon, and night and read books

“Children soak up what they see and take it with them to college. They are better prepared and ready to live on their own.” from dusk to dawn. Freethinking educators agree in cultivating a child’s passion for learning, not making a chore out of it. “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” – Albert Einstein Homeschooled kids are also being prepared for college outside academics and creativity. Life skills are valued in homes and seen as a large component of homeschool education.

In some homes, children watch their work-at-home-homeschooling parent balance career, school, and family. In other homes, finances, study habits, and self-care are modeled. Children soak up what they see and take it with them to college. They are better prepared and ready to live on their own. Homeschool parents and students do not require further endorsement that they are doing the right thing. But, it is nice to know that if college is the destination, passion and creativity combined with life skills will be valued and not ignored. ■ Brenda Rufener is an award-winning writer and homeschool mother of two daughters. Her writing is featured regularly in education and parenting magazines throughout the U.S., Australia, and Europe. She is the creator of the popular homeschool blog, Her new book, entitled Homeschool Diaries: For Better and For Worse, is available now on Amazon.


Many homeschooled kids are free to explore their interests, passions, and dreams. They have time to find their hook. Homeschooled children are not bound by standards, but able to focus attention on what they are passionate about.

Photo © istockphoto

In institutionalized learning there is little room for creativity. Most classrooms offer stifled and suppressed environments. Unless an army of rogue teachers breaks the barriers of a well-established system, this won’t change. Dead Poets Society and Freedom Writers teaching styles are rare. . SUMMER 2014


Photo Š istockphoto

W hy do Conscious Homeschoolers Flourish?


Why Do Children of Families, Who Have Conscientiously Chosen to Educate at Home, Flourish? Ask this question to 25 different families and one will receive many different answers. Though the responses vary, there is one component firmly planted. That component is LOVE. Children educated at home are encouraged to meet their optimum human potential in an environment designed to ensure their success. Home educators, like all loving parents, want the best for their children. Homeschooling fosters an ecosystem that allows a child to embrace his special heritage and culture and to establish and maintain an ideal self-image. This practice builds the whole child by aligning fundamental beliefs with the practice of living and learning. When a child understands that he is connected and is part of a movement to ensure a higher quality of life, the child understands that he matters; what he thinks and feels matters. A child is more likely to contribute his time, talents, thoughts and opinions in an environment in which he feels safely connected; thus increasing his likelihood to flourish.

In addition to the home learning environment, homeschool support and co-op groups serve as bridges and lifelines for children educated at home and their families. Such groups have built networks of like-minded individuals that pool time, talents, resources and ideas to create outlets for socializing and sharing. Children who are educated at home have a social support community that overflows with opportunity for them. The support is tangible, personal and readily available. Parents put many hours into planning field trips, recitals and park days. Spelling bees and science fair projects are not foreign in the life of a homeschooler. Homeschool support groups and communities debunk the myth that children who are educated at home are socially inept due to the lack of interaction with others.

without instructions and is missing pieces, with the aforementioned vital component (LOVE) nonexistent. Children who are educated at home flourish because they are rooted in truth established by their families. These children are not reliant upon detached panels of curricula pushers who are more concerned with subject implementation and less concerned with the holistic development of a child. Academics are important, but a loving environment is paramount.â– About the Writer: Yashica BrownRogne educates her son at home. Questions or comments are welcomed at

It is true, however, that children who are home educated lack the “common-core� social dynamics of the traditional learning environment; a one-size fits all education that comes in a box, . SUMMER 2014



FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Josh Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Kelli Taylor


Josh Taylor 22

SUMMER 2014 .

INTERVIEW BY MARLO PLANAS If you aren’t current with the internet sensations of today, let me get you up to speed. Meet Blimey Cow, the hit comedy YouTube channel, produced by brothers, Josh and Jordan Taylor and Josh’s wife Kelli. From Hermitage, Tennessee, the Taylor kids have South Florida roots as mom, Laurie, is originally from Hialeah. The Blimey Cow channel was born in 2005 and later went viral with their hilarious sketch, “Seven Lies About Homeschoolers”. Josh and Jordan, raised in a Christian family, as homeschoolers; use satire to point out the idiosyncrasies of homeschooling, the conservative Christian church, dating, college life, and social norms. Jordan answers fan questions on episodes

of Messy Mondays and the trio also hosts The Blimey Cow Audio Network, which features the “Blimey Cow Audio Podcast” and “The Fellowship Gamer”, in which they discuss topical matters and popular board games. They’ve found a way to address the topics and issues of our culture while holding the interest of viewers of all ages. The Taylor family is a great example of young homeschoolers, who have both graduated college and are following their dreams and aspirations. We wish them the best and hope to see many more Messy Mondays, sketches, videos, etc. and laugh until our cheeks hurt. Here we have an interview with eldest brother, Josh, about homeschooling, his family, education, and the future.

Marlo: I know your mom and dad must be so very proud. Which episode is their favorite? Josh: I think my dad enjoys the one relating to spirituality the most, and my mom pretty much just likes them all. They’re our biggest fans. Their support means so much to us. M: Sometimes you get some trolls commenting on your videos, do you read through the comments? How do you feel when you read through them and find people analyzing them (the videos)? J: If it is constructive and thoughtful criticism, I welcome it. Unfortunately, most of it is just destructive criticism in the comment sections. Usually it comes from people who don’t quite understand what we are about. I’ve learned to just let is roll of my shoulders. Sometimes, I actually kind of enjoy reading through it. Weird, I know. M: With such a following, I can imagine that your inbox is flooded with messyges daily. Who reads through them all and selects the ones to be read? Is there a selection process? J: I read through them and pick ones that I think Jordan can have fun with! There’s no way to read through them all. I read as many as I can. M: Were you always homeschooled?

M: Where does the inspiration come from? J: Just life in general. I try and come up with topics that are relatable, and then approach them in a unique way. M: Who does the writing? J: I do most of the writing, but once we start shooting, what we end up with can vary drastically from what was written on the page. Jordan and I have learned how to be quick on our feet and figure out what things will work and what won’t. Jordan is great with that stuff. M: How much planning goes into each episode? Or do you just wing it? J: A lot of planning goes into each episode. I think that’s one of the best compliments we get- when people assume that the videos are just rants that aren’t planned beforehand. They are definitely planned. M: When you were a kid and someone asked you “What do you want to be when you grow up?” what was your response? J: I wanted to be a director and also a D.J. on the radio. Those were always my go-to answers. So, between our YouTube channel, and the podcasts we do, I’m getting to do all of the things I grew up wanting to do. It’s pretty cool.

J: I’d probably be trying to find a way to do podcasting full time. I enjoy board games quite a bit too, so I’d probably try (with limited success) to find a way to build a platform around board games, or maybe build my own game. I would probably learn to code too, so that I could make a video game. There is lots that I like to do. I’m definitely never bored. M: What’s it like sitting around the dinner table with the Taylor family? (I bet it’s pretty hilarious) J: We have never really been a family that sits around the dinner table that often. Normally because someone is usually always coming or going and we would eat at different times. With that said, I always look forward to Thanksgiving, not really so much for the food, but because we always make each other laugh so hard around the table. It’s a blast. M: What’s next? Any plans for world domination? J: We are just continuing our transition into doing this stuff full time- trying to find ways to make that possible. Every month, it seems we are closer than the last month. Hopefully by this time next year, we will be devoted to making Blimey Cow full time. M: Which colleges are you attending/did you attend? How did you choose which to apply to?

J: Yeah, I was homeschooled up until college! I really enjoyed it because it gave me the freedom to spend time on things that I really enjoyed doing, like making videos.

J: I graduated with Trevecca Nazarene University in 2010 with a degree in Mass Communication. They had a radio station that was broadcasts all throughout Nashville. I wanted to work there, so that was the school I chose.

M: We love how you have so seamlessly fused your faith, perspectives, pop culture, life lessons, and advice in your unique brand of comedy. It’s so authentic. Do you all have any acting training? J: No acting training to a speak of. I don’t think any of us are great or anything, but we know enough to get by. We are all definitely much more comfortable in front of cameras than we used to be.

M: What would you be doing if you weren’t doing Blimey cow? What are your other passions?

IN THIS PHOTO Jordan Taylor . SUMMER 2014





M: Did you always know that college would be in your future? Was it expected that you would go? J: I wouldn’t say “expected,” but I always wanted to. It was just the next thing you did. All my friends were doing it. I realize now that flaw in that logic, but I’m very happy I went to college. I made friends and had a lot of experiences that I wouldn’t have made and had otherwise. M: In one of your videos you talk about commuters? Were you a commuter or did you live on campus?

and have to put a pause on those dreams. M: Do you think that college is absolutely necessary for success? J: Absolutely not. There are certain fields where college is necessary, but it is not necessary for everyone.

J: I just always wanted to shoot videos. We started Blimey Cow when I was 17. Then, we decided to really get serious about it when I was 23. M: What is in store for the future of Blimey Cow?

M: What advice would you give homeschool high schoolers who are on the fence or nervous about going to college?

M: Do you plan on homeschooling your kids?


SUMMER 2014 .

to stay in touch between issues

M: How did you begin making the videos?

J: Yeah, Jordan, Amy, Kelli and I were all commuters throughout our college lives. We all lived close to our respective schools, and it was just a lot cheaper that way. Plus, living in a dorm with other dudes just never appealed to me, at all.

J: Don’t go into debt unless you have a plan. My heart breaks for these kids who think they have to go to college, even though they have no idea what they are passionate about. Four years later, they may be a little closer to knowing what things they want to invest their life doing, but now they are drowning in debt

The Home Educator Newsletter

J: We want to produce more video content. Hopefully, we will be able to produce full sketches, like we used to!

J: Kelli and I plan to homeschool any kids we have, yes! I loved my experience as a homeschooler growing up, and I want our kids to have that experience as well. Having the freedom to explore, think, and reason is invaluable.






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A SHORT LIST OF HOMESCHOOL-FRIENDLY COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES Arizona State University, AZ Auburn University, AL Barry University, FL Berklee College of Music, MA Boston College, MA Boston Conservatory, MA Brandeis University, MA Brigham Young University, UT Brown University, RI California State University, CA Colorado State University, CO Cornell University, NY Dartmouth University, NH Duke University, NC Eckerd College, FL Emory University, GA Fashion Institute of Technology, NY Florida Institute of Technology, FL Florida State University, FL George Washington University, DC Georgetown University, DC Harvard University, MA Humboldt State University, CA Johns Hopkins University, MD Kansas State University, KS Miami-Dade College, FL New College (University of South Florida), FL New York University, NY Northeastern University, MA Ohio State University, OH Oregon State University, OR Pennsylvania State University, PA Pepperdine University, CA Purdue University, IN Stanford University, CA Syracuse University, NY Texas A&M University, TX Tulane University, LA University of Alabama, AL University of California, CA University of Florida, FL University of Kentucky, KY University of Miami, FL University of Michigan, MI University of North Carolina, NC Vanderbilt University, TN Yale University, CT . SUMMER 2014




Speech Therapy Have an Age Limit?

Therapeutic Interventions for Young Adults BY AVIVIT BEN-AHARON, MS ED., MA CCC-SLP Good communication skills are essential for success in academics, jobs and relationships. Though we tend to focus on speech and language development primarily in babies and younger children, the art of communication continues to evolve through high school, college and life experience. Even so, most high schools focus on writing skills rather than social skills and often in college, professors lecture rather than discuss. Speech therapy screenings are generally offered in schools on the elementary level but not in high school where a host of new speech-related problems may present themselves. It is therefore not surprising that speech therapists are reporting an increase in self-referred clients in their late teens and early 20s. Some of these individuals had speech and language issues identified when they were children. Their parents either ignored the problem due to financial or other issues or held on to the hope that the problem would be outgrown with age. Others hired therapists but often discontinued the process due to the child’s lack of initiative or progress. But now as “grownups”, these same clients are ready and willing to modify poor speech patterns. Perhaps the access to video accessibility has heightened awareness of how we come across to others, or a poor job interview results in self-reflection. In any case, these young men and women are googling a way to remediate their issues and their initiative creates a climate for therapeutic success. While the goals are similar, the speech and language approach

in young adults versus younger children is noticeably different. Whereas with younger children, the parents are facilitators and are an integral part of the therapeutic process; young adults are held solely accountable for their progress. The therapeutic process is different as well, depending on age and developmental maturity. Games are often used in therapy sessions though frequently, instead of a board game, clinicians play “real life simulations” like rehearsing for a job interview or role playing social situations with young adults. In young adults, the therapeutic process concentrates on higher functioning social pragmatic skills. Therapists no longer remind clients to make eye contact. Instead they put them through exercises where they learn to remind themselves, often through the use of video. There is also a huge emphasis on non-verbal cues and body language as integral pieces in the communication process. Therapists also tend to take a more hypothetical approach by focusing less on the ‘who, what and where’ but on the ‘how and why’ in a conversation. In therapy, the person who initiates the therapy, along with the person holds the power of termination, define success. With young adults, instead of the parent defining therapeutic success, it’s the client who has earned the right to say “The End.” ■

BIO: Avivit Ben-Aharon, MS Ed., MA CCC SLP is co-founder and clinical director of Gr8 Speech Inc., which utilizes video conferencing technology to provide live, interactive, highly individualized services worldwide. Office: 954.247.8757 Mobile: 954.205.3496 Follow Gr8 Speech on Facebook


Book Review

For Better and For Worse (from cops to co-ops) By Brenda Rufener of the popular blog, Homeschool Diaries REVIEW BY: MARLO PLANAS

If you’re anything like me, you like to curl up at night with a good book after a long day. I read this book while everyone was asleep, which was not a great idea as I had a difficult time trying to contain my outbursts of “@%!# yeah!” and my fits of laughter. My husband actually asked me if I was alright on more than one occasion. For Better and For Worse is funny, light, and easy to read. You’ll be able to get a few chapters in while hiding out in the bathroom or sneaking chocolate in the closet. You may find yourself caught off guard and pleasantly surprised by the relatable anecdotes, and wise insights and advice sprinkled throughout.

From how to get kicked out of Lamaze class and homeschool co-ops to “How to address a cashier, turned child psychologist...”, Brenda will guide you through every step of the parenting and homeschooling journey. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one who can’t make a business call without “the apocalypse” commencing in my home. Have you ever thought that Public School is your “Frenemy”? Let’s just say that I’ve been there and maybe you have too. Have you homeschooled a child with an infant or toddler in the house? It’s not something that’s discussed so much, and you don’t really know what to expect until you’re knee-deep.

For Better and For Worse so clearly conveys the essence of the parenting and homeschooling lifestyles... the struggle is real. For Better and For Worse is available on Kindle and, at $2.99, it’s a steal. ■ Brenda Rufener is an award winning author and homeschool mom, of 2 daughters, for many years. Follow her popular blog, Homeschool Diaries, at “Homeschooling, especially in the first and second year, is similar to the first months of parenthood. There is a quest for balance. If you find it in your first year, you are one of the lucky few.” -Brenda Rufener

Movie Review

LA EDUCACIÓN PROHIBIDA (The Forbidden Education)

BY MARLENE MONTANER I recently saw a documentary called “Educacion Prohibida”. It is very much in line with what I believe about education; I think it is important to have a goal. I don’t know if that has anything to do with having a career. Society pressures you to be in competition and I don’t want my kids to take part in that. I don’t believe that you have to go to the best universities or to do “whatever it takes” to get there. Work, enjoy, educate yourself about what you are passionate about; but do it because you are passionate and not because you are “supposed” to do it. My sons decided that they did not want to go to college, and that they would learn about things that


SUMMER 2014 .

they were interested in. At first, their decisions made me panic because I know how it could be viewed in society and, of course, I think about their futures. But really, the only thing that I care about is that they are good people and that they are happy. They’ll only have that if they pursue their interests and passions. The system has caused our youth to be self-absorbed, only care about themselves, put a high importance on success (with the system measuring what it means to be successful or not), having a good position and money. That is not what I want for my kids. I don’t want them to join the “rat race” that has no end.

I recommend this impactful film. It gave me a different perspective on higher education. ***The full version of the film is available on YouTube and there is a version with subtitles.


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2nd and 4th Fridays, 10:15am-12:00pm PBC homeschoolers Park days at Seminole Palms Park (151 Lamstein Lane, Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411--behind the Costco on Southern Blvd.) pbchomeschoolersinc. Cheryl Trzasko

July 3 - P.A.T.H. weekly park days continue at Evelyn Greer Park, 8200 SW 124th Street, Miami, FL 33156. Contact: Katie Gonzalez 305-984-6478

July 9-11 - FREE Parent Practicum in Hollywood

July 25th, 3:00-6:00pm PEC’s Annual Fall Used Curriculum Sale at Jog Road Baptist Church, WPB August 2nd, 8:30am – 4:00pm Palm Beach County Homeschool EXPO sponsored by PEC at Palm Beach Atlantic Campus August 8, 10:15-12pm PBC homeschoolers Park meeting at Seminole Palms Park August 22 Student Council meeting PBC Homeschoolers Cheryl Trzasko Friday, August 15 PBC homeschoolers Come join the group at one of our park meetings to get more details on the first meeting of our new LEGO Club Friday, August 22 PBC homeschoolers Official Kick-Off Meeting for the new school year will be on. Come learn about the activities and clubs we have planned for the year, including soccer lessons, S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math) Club, Algebra Club, LEGO Club, Student Council, Yearbook Committee, and more. September 23rd PEC Parent Night Meeting at Jog Road Baptist Church, WPB

Thursday July 10, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. First Kids Summer Baking class at Bunnie Cakes. The class is offered every Thursday through August 21. Space is limited to only 10 kids, ages 3 to 9. Price is $30 and includes all the ingredients and their delicious, vegan take home treats! Kids will decorate cupcakes, make brownies and receive a certificate upon completion. 2322 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, Florida 33137


SUMMER 2014 .

Art and Culture Center of Hollywood $10 adults $6 kids (field trip rates are available)

July 15th, 12:00-2:00pm Classical Conversations info meeting For details and location, email

July 21- August 1 FAT Village Center for the Arts Summer camp term #4 - 716-7611

July 23-25 - FREE Parent Practicum in Miami

August 4- August 15 FAT Village Center for the Arts Summer camp term #5 716-7611

July 29th, 7:00-9:00pm Classical Conversations info meeting. For details and location, email Friday August 1, 7-9pm FREE Homeschool information Seminar, Deering Estate 16701 SW 72nd ave, Miami August 7th - P.A.T.H. weekly park days continue at Evelyn Greer Park, 8200 SW 124th Street, Miami, FL 33156. Contact: Katie Gonzalez 305-984-6478 Mid-August Registration begins for H.O.M.E.- Homeschoolers of Miami Enrichment. www. August 25th - Classical Conversations of North Miami begins the school year. For details and location, email Tuesday September 2 First day of classes for H.O.M.E.

*To have your events included in our events calendar, contact us at

Now- August 17 The Art of The Brick Exhibition: “Nathan Sawaya is a New York-based artist who creates aweinspiring works of art out of some of the most unlikely things. His recent global museum exhibitions feature large-scale sculptures using only toy building blocks. LEGO® bricks to be exact.”

September 4th - First day of P.A.T.H. enrichment classes. Wayside Baptist Church, 7701 SW 98th Street Miami, FL 33156. Contact: Katie Gonzalez 305-984-6478 New TEEN-MEET group for homeschooled Teenagers in Miami. Contact Hilary Smith at and Register today for a members-only calender of events.

Beginning in the Fall BROWARD HOMESCHOOL PSG Meetings 2nd Tuesday of each month. Check the website for updates. Victory Life Church 155 NW 112 Ave. (Old Hiatus) Plantation, FL 33325 Linda Ward 954-683-0987 4th Monday of each month BROWARD HOMESCHOOL PSG – MARGATE. Meetings will resume in the Fall. Check the website for updates. First Christian Church 1107 NW 66 Avenue Margate, FL 33063 Linda Ward 954-683-0987 Mondays (Unless rain or very cold). 10:00 am - 12:00 pm SOUTH BROWARD PARK GROUP- Come join other homeschool moms and their children and get to know one another. Linda Ward 954-683-0987 Sept 16th 12-3pm Homeschool Art Program begins for Grades 1-12 FAT Village Center for the Arts. 5 and 10 week options available (954) 716-7611 Sept 19th 9am-Noon Homeschool Art program begins for Grades 1-12 FAT Village Center for the Arts. 5 and 10 week options available (954) 716-7611


Classical Conversations Communities are parent-led Christian homeschool groups that have been equipping parents and encouraging students, ages 4-18, pursue excellence in education since 1996. This past year, there were 70,000 CC students worldwide. Even with this unprecedented growth, we have remained true to our core beliefs: • • •

Parents are the best possible teachers for their children. Each child is uniquely and wonderfully made. The people who know and love a child best are the ones most motivated to help that child succeed.

There are weekly meetings led by a trained parent-director who can answer questions and help lead new and veteran homeschool parents. We offer free conferences (Parent Practicums) to support and train parents in the classical method. We also provide webinars and online resources. CC communities also get together for fields trips, moms’ nights, workshops, evaluations and testing, as well as other events. Foundations- Our grammar stage program for students 4-12 years old includes math, science, history, Latin, English grammar, timeline, and geography, science experiments, fine arts, and public speaking. Essentials- This is the dialectic stage for students 4th-6th grade. It includes intense English grammar study, writing, and mental math skills. Challenge programs- For students ages12+. At this stage, group discussions become invaluable as students study logic and debate. Students learn to see how all knowledge glorifies the Lord and reveals aspects of His nature. As we strive to cultivate the art of conversation, our students to become lifelong learners and lovers of God’s creation. Challenge offers experiences such as science fairs, mock trials, debates, and formal protocol events, not to mention the study groups, movie nights, and other social get-togethers. CC graduates have been accepted to universities and colleges across the United States, including FSU, Temple, NCU, USAF Academy, and many more. The average SAT scores for CC Alumni is 1794 and last year, 66% were accepted to EVERY college to which they applied. Classical education is timeless and it respects your child’s natural development. It is not dependent on technology, the job market, or educational fads. Instead, we enter into great conversations that have been going on since the beginning of time. We believe in communities in which families can encourage one another to pursue truth, goodness, and beauty. To register for free conferences, visit For info about South Florida CC Communities, contact April Jung at Visit to find a community near you.

PATH began in 1985 and is the original home school support group in Miami-Dade. PATH is a non-profit, volunteer group of families. We are not religiously affiliated and we welcome everyone to join our group. We proudly describe ourselves as a group of families with varied cultural and religious backgrounds that get together to support our homeschooling mission. Our group currently meets in the Kendall area. PATH holds weekly enrichment classes with a wide variety of courses. Our schedule includes Writing, Math, Science, Latin, Art, Dance, Yoga, Chess, Etiquette, and many more! We meet on Thursdays and offer two 12-week semesters: September November and January - March, and a mini semester of 6 weeks in May/June. We have a weekly “park day” on Thursdays as well. Here, the kids get the opportunity to play together while moms and dads get the chance to share ideas, curriculums, accomplishments (and failures), and make life-long friends. At the end of the year, we offer Presidential Fitness Testing and Awards at the park. PATH hosts several field trips doing the year. This year we made sandwiches to feed the homeless, toured the Rock Quarry, visited the Miami International Airport, went to the theater, camped together in Disney’s Fort Wilderness, hung out at the beach, visited a Chocolate Factory, and much more! We end each year with a dance and potluck party! The end of the year party allows students the chance to perform their latest violin piece, sing a song, or recite a poem. As a member, you will receive emails regarding these field trips and activities. PATH offers discounts to several of these trips for our members. Students have an opportunity to practice their public speaking skills by participating in PATH’s Historically Speaking, held at the Pinecrest Public Library. During this event, students choose a historical figure and, wearing a costume, present an autobiography. Variations of Historically Speaking have ranged from Fictionally Speaking, Mythologically Speaking to Scientifically Speaking. Future programs will include Poetically Speaking, Mathematically Speaking, and Artistically Speaking. At the end of the year, we hold testing with the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) for a minimal fee to our members. PATH offers our members portfolio and testing guidance to help you comply with Florida laws. Ultimately, we are a group of like-minded parents who support you and your choice to school at home. If you are interesting in joining PATH, taking our enrichment classes or you have any questions, please contact Katie Gonzalez at or (305) 984-6478. (call or text) . SUMMER 2014



RUDI’S Corner e v i t a Cre



BY AUBREE Z., 11 Rudi’s corner is open to any child, homeschooled or not, who wants to showcase the creative work that they have done on their own time. It’s a place for their light to shine brightly. Please share art, poetry, short stories, photography, sculptures, etc.


SUMMER 2014 .