Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Learning Experiment...not just for the kids...

I think this is so cool and such a clever idea. I know that one side effect of this group blog course was the creation of the Blog Writing Course. And I quote from the web home school blog.....

I’ve been asked by a few people about the purpose and status of this blog so I thought I’d write up a quick summary of it’s history. We will probably relaunch this blog soon as some new variant. If you have any suggestions or would like to participate, you can contact us at Time4Learning.
This blog was started by Time4Learning as a learning experiment.
We asked half a dozen parents (actually, all moms) of students using Time4Learning to write on this group blog about the details of their homeschooling program. What their days were like and what they worried about. And were happy about.
More specifically, we wante to know what was working for them and what wasn’t in terms of their use of online educational materials.

--- it continued for awhile and concluded with......

What did we learn? We learned a lot of details and about other products that are used in conjunction with us. We learned that most homeschool curriculums are a home-made eclectic mix optimized for each child. And that there is different mix of planning, routine, and spontenity for each family. We were stunned to find out how unique and useful our service really is. My favorite posts:
The gifted child, with autism, with Time4Learning
How the Internet changes everything….for homeschoolers
T4L - How it helps everyone. Mom too.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Homeschool Literature

I wonder yet if there is a body of good homeschool literature. By this, I mean homeschool fictions. Books and stories written in which the setting involves a homeschooling family. Or some or all of the characters are involved in homeschooling.

I've found a few books, but not that many.

Pictured left is an excerpt from one of a few kids books written by Scott Stroud. I've read a review copy of Baby Kong. First rate. He has a second one which received awards but I haven't seen it. If you are looking for gifts, give him a look. He had a great publishing-website name too: HomesCoolKids.

Here are a short listing of homeschool literature that I found on a site called

Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie Tolan. Kids literature. Fine.The Applewhites book starts with a traditionally-school adolescent who is having alot of problems. He is sent as a foster kid to a rural homeschooling “unschooling” family full of some stereotypical characters. The cityboy “comes of age” through his experiences on the farm and with the family. For a review of the Applewhite .

Schooled by Gordan Korman. Kids literature. Bad. The homeschooled boy is a terrible representation of being a social misfit-homeschooler. The middle schoolers at public school are horridly behaving. The hippie homeschooled boy is basically tormented in school to the point where it would be impossible for the reader not to pity him. (excerpted from a review of Schooled by ChristineMM)

The Adventures of Lil’ Wolf, Twinkie, Toes, and Flower Girl in the Homeschool Forest by Jacqueline R. Campos. Editorial description from Amazon: Come and join in all the fun of the Wolf Family as they share their homeschooling adventures with you! It is never a dull day in the Homeschool Forest, with the gentle Flower Girl, lazy Toes, fun loving Lil’ Wolf, and the very clever Twinkie.

Other suggestions?


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Science education - need a new approach

The general approach to science in our schools is a bust. It doesn't attract enthusiasm or many students. And our need as a society for a scientifically fluent citizenship and for scientifically-strong professionals is vital.

The curriculum for science continues to get short-changed as the schools increase their focus on the more testable math and language arts. Starting in middle school and in high school, the science labs continue to get back due to budget cuts, lack of teachers, and the perceived danger of actual science labs with acids and bases and fire.

Fortunately, there is a solution: computer-based instruction. This can be personalized which will solve the problem of students progressing in science at dramatically different rates. We can do simulations of experiments with amazing capabilities. It can be inquiry based and socially relevant.

So far, there are bits and pieces of great curriculum but no consensus. Right now, I'm reviewing the Jason curriculum from National Geographic to see if it can be used as the basis for some sort of "Time4Science" (ie an online interactive science curriculum)