Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Parenting in an Electronic Age

When I was little, the rules about how far I could go were geographic. I wasn't allowed to cross the street or go so far from home that I couldn't hear the dinner bell. I was allowed to cross and play in the alley. There was also a half hour of TV rule on weeknights which was strictly enforced. 

Today of course, most of the limits are technical and virtual. What sites can you go to? How long can you spend on the console? On Youtube? How old do you have to be before you can have a Facebook account? Can you Skype with people that you don't know from school?

Frankly, parenting in a digital age is a whole new world.

Can I go to school at home?  Can I try to science experiment that I learned on Youtube?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Teachable Moments, Christian Homeschoolers, Standards Based Curriculum

Many Christian homeschoolers decide, often after a few years of homeschooling, to be a little less dogmatic in their choice of curriculum and for some subjects, they start to integrated standards-based (ie, non-Biblically-based) curriculum.  I believe that this is because they are no longer as worried about their children's spiritual development and instead, feel that they need to deal more with their academic and cognitive development.  Not to put to fine a line on it, the kids get bored and want something else.

These secular curriculum often include materials that they extreme Christians do not believe in and when confronted with it, they have a "teachable moment" which gives them something to talk to their kids about.

The science curriculum says the world is millions of years old which is at odds with what we have learned in the Bible....

The social studies curriculum teaches a Native-American myth about the creation of the world and a happy hunting ground.....

Read about how the Christian homeschool parents discuss these teachable moments.....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Beka Curriculum

The A Beka curriculum has been used by homeschoolers and Christian schools for awhile.

Considering the A Beka*® curriculum? Already using A Beka® online tutoring and thinking about what to use with it?  Looking to supplement A Beka® math? Many parents who homeschool their children find that one of the hardest tasks is selecting which homeschool curriculum to work with. The web is full of homeschool resource lists, homeschool material discussions, and homeschool resource reviews. Sifting through the various homeschool options can be confusing as parents try to find the best or blend of curricula for their child.

The word, vocabulary and spelling list for A Beka are widely used.  On SpellingCity.com, I've noticed:

Fourth Grade Abeka spelling lists
More listing of A beka spelling lists to follow!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mommy Rhapsody

Does your mom or wife sound like this? Ok, she might not sing like this and be that theatric but still, univeral themes beautifully delivered.... Bravo moms....
Mommy Rhapsody from Church on the Move on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Christianb Homeschooling

hoosing the Best Homeschool Resource

Many Christian homeschooling families use Time4Learning as a convenient, online home schooling curriculum that combines education with interactive fun.  There remain many Christian families who have questions about using a secular homeschooling curriculum. There is even a forum with Christian homeschooling discussions for parents.  Here are excerpts of who two Christian homeschool mothers talk about these issues:

MamaMary - Evangelical Homeschooler in Florida on a Christian homeschooling discussion: 

My concern with T4L is that it is "secular". That isn't necessarily a problem, but I am worried about things like evolution, holidays we don't celebrate, and the like being a problem in a secular curriculum. Has anyone else been through this? How are you doing with T4L?


This is such an excellent question! I am sorry that I somehow missed it until now. I think every family is going to give you a different answer. As a believer I encourage you to seek out the Lord in prayer and ask HIM what He wants your homeschool to look like. In our home, our family, we believe that our faith is not separate from what we're learning. God IS history. (aka: His Story) We believe in a literal 6 day creation and disagree with the theory of evolution. So how does that line up with Time4Learning?

I use Time4Learning for Math and Language arts and "some" language arts extensions. I use A.C.E. or Landmark Freedom Baptist Curriculum for history or science. When my children are young I "ONLY" teach them from a biblical worldview. Until they are older and able to discern. As they approach middle school I begin to share what other people believe, but continue to share why it may or may not line up with scripture. Finally when they get to highschool I teach worldview classes using wonderful curriculum by Josh McDowel and they learn what every main theory out there and then why it's debunked when lined up with scripture. I make the kids tell me what they believe and why they believe it.

I LOVE that Time4Learning is so flexible anyone can use it no matter what their worldview! (smile) Take the parts that enhance your life and leave the parts that don't line up. My children made more gains in math when we switched to Time4learning in "2007" than all the years we used those big expensive programs everybody loves. I LOVE Time4Learning.

For my husband and I, we believe that God gave us our children as a gift to be raised up in Him. Because I know that one day I have to stand before the Lord and be held accountable for what I taught my sons I take it very seriously. I would never consider giving them the "option" of believing anything apart from God. I want them to see that EVERYTHING revolves around the Lord of Glory! He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end! The truth is though, that eventually they have to take it and own it for themselves when they become adults.

Here are our families verses:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

"And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever." 1 John 2:17

When I am making decisions I always view my answers through these specific verses as they are the heart of what our family believes.

Christian Homeschool Mother - Kerry of NC

You will be extremely happy to know that you have nothing in common with me. You glide along through life like a leaf down a crystal stream. You tend to steer in the direction everyone else is steering, and the road ahead of you is well lit and mapped out. Your children have been welcomed with open arms by everyone they’ve met, and your home is a bastion of peace, harmony, and good will. Best of all, your homeschooling experience has been the most rewarding and inspiring era of your life, and you’ve never doubted your calling for even a moment. See? I told you that you have nothing in common with me.

Me . . . well, my life has been slightly different. My leaf tends to get stuck against every wet rock of the stream, my steering has been out of alignment for as long as I can remember, and the road I am on has been steep, winding, and many times even closed for construction. My children, both with special needs, have been stared at, frowned upon, and pitied in their turn, and my home can feel much more like an open battlefield than a fortress at times. And frankly, I’ve been tempted to quit homeschooling more times than I’ve been tempted to cheat on my diet, and that is saying a lot. However, while my life in no way resembles yours, you needn’t feel sorry for me one bit. I like my life . . . actually, I love it - - every little bit of it - - because God made me especially for it.
 ...Read the rest on the post about Christian homeschooling....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Keyboarding - A 21st Century Skill to Learn

For parents, it's obvious that keyboarding skills are vital in todays world. 
Learning typing is the focus of these keyboarding games. Learning keyboarding skills is vital for today’s learners and tomorrow’s earners. These free typing games are a great way to build typing skills. Keyboarding games teach important skills through a variety of online typing lessons and typing games.....

Keyboarding Games
Match Game
Typing Game Level 1
Match Game
Typing Game Level 2
Arachnid Falls
QWERTY Warriors
Type Type Revolution
Typing Tidepool
The Typing of The Ghosts
Typing Speed Test
Cup Stacking
Numpad Kennys
Typing Monster

The following is  excerpted from Typing Education on Todays Learners. They cite:
Who Should Teach Keyboarding and
When Should It Be Taught? 
By Margaret J. Erthal
This Articles on Teaching Typewriting & Keyboarding from: Utah State Office of Education

Keyboarding is the manipulation of the computer keyboard by touch. Performance expectations described in the National Standards for Business Education include students' ability to:
  • Develop touch keyboarding techniques; ·
  • Enter and manipulate numeric data using the touch method on a 10-key keypad; and
  • Develop touch keyboarding skills at acceptable speed and accuracy levels.
Keyboarding is a psychomotor skill and resembles playing a musical instrument such as the piano: the fine motor muscles must respond to the brain's instructions. Eye-hand coordination is necessary for the fine motor muscles to locate and strike a key or ivory.Sound pedagogical procedures are inherent in learning and becoming proficient at touch keyboarding (Erthal, 1996). Various groups have suggested that keyboard learning should be taught prior to using a computer, especially since students need formal instruction to acquire keyboarding skills using the touch system (Prigge and Braathen, 1993; Nieman, 1996).Benefits of acquiring keyboarding skills include the enhanced use of time and effective use of computers (Elementary/Middle School Keyboarding Strategies Guide, 1992). Everyone who will use computers needs to develop "touch" keyboarding skills. The emphasis is on the skill of entering alphanumeric data for the primary purposes of obtaining, processing, or communicating information (Schmidt, 1985).Research shows that children with keying skills are able to compose faster, are prouder of their work, produce documents with a neater appearance, have better motivation and demonstrate improved language arts skills (Nieman, 1996).

Students below the third grade, typically, do not possess the dexterity and hand size to manipulate the keys effectively. The suggested age for effective keyboard instruction is 10 to 12 years of age (Elementary/Middle School Keyboarding Strategies Guide, 1992).Children in grades four to six gradually exhibit greater smoothness and command of small-muscle expression, which is reflected in better coordination in activities (Prigge and Braathen, 1993). Correct keying should be used and reinforced from the beginning. Students should use the right index finger to key "Y" for yes and "N" for no; the right little finger to enter; the right thumb for the spacebar; and the mouse to point and click. Students need formal instruction to acquire keyboarding skills using the touch system before they use the computer for more than simple, single-key responses. Once students complete the initial keyboarding instruction, reinforcement activities are necessary. Keyboarding skills improve little or abate without consistent reinforcement (Elementary/Middle School Keyboarding Strategies Guide, 1992). If correct techniques are taught with initial computer use and progressively added each year, the level of keyboarding ability is continually strengthened (Davidson and Kochmann, 1996).A plan needs to be in place to assure the continuous development of keyboarding skills after the initial keyboarding instruction (Sormunen, 1991). Texas, Minnesota, New York, and Virginia have mandated keyboarding classes along with instruction time, speed, and accuracy standards. Keyboarding instruction begins from grade five and continues on to later grades. The goal is to prepare students for information retrieval and word processing (Nieman, 1996).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Writing Courses Online

Time4Learning  teaches writing as part of an integrated languages art curriculum using writing software integrated within a full interactive language arts curriculum. The key differences is that Time4Writing courses are personalized eight week tutorials with a teacher who gives weekly personal feedback to the students on their writing.  Time4Learning is an interactive comprehensive automated language arts and math  curriculum. 

Time4Writing is a sister service of Time4Learning. Time4Writing  teaches writing courses for elementary, middle school and high school students. Time4Writing's certified teachers provide eight week tutorial courses for:
  • Students who don't get enough writing practice and feedback from their schools
  • Students who want additional writing instruction to prepare for high stakes tests
  • Homeschool families that like the external evaluation and guidance on writing
  • Students who need extra writing practice to help sharpen their skills
  • Students who lack confidence in their writing
  • Students who enjoy writing and need constructive feedback to improve

If you are interested in finding out what courses are available and how they work, click to find out about Time4Writing's online writing courses.
Time4Writing courses cover the basic mechanics of writing, as well as sentence, paragraph and essay writing. The material consists of guided lessons, activities, quizzes and writing assignments.
Students will be able to communicate with their teacher via the virtual campus. They will have 24 hour access to eight weeks of material and can work on their own daily schedule.

In addition to phone and email support, teachers are available to parents via email and will keep them updated on their child’s progress with a mid-course and end-of-course report. Students also receive a certificate of completion.