Blog Buzz: Too much of a good thing? via Online Education For Kids
The controversy about education continues to rage in our country. As we, in our complacency, continue to rank lower than most modernized countries around the globe. As a proponent of homeschooling, many would tell me to mind my own business. Yet, as a patriot of our great republic I want to see America’s children grow [...]
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I am happy to be posting this week’s carnival of homeschooling, but since this past week was thanksgiving weekend, alot of our regulars were off giving thanks and didn’t submit posts. But never fear, there’s still plenty to share. We’ve found a couple of new bloggers to add to our carnival, and I want to introduce you to some of my favorite homeschool vloggers, and encourage you to give that a try too.
The United States has never ranked at the top of international education tests, since we began comparing countries in 1964, yet has been the dominant economic and innovative force in the world the entire time. Despite this fact, a popular annual education report has once again stoked fears of America’s impending economic mediocrity with fresh stats on how far the U.S. “lags” behind the world in college attainment, pre-school enrollment, and high school graduation.
There are few people who really know what they’re getting into when it comes to getting married. We all have an idea of what marriage is all about. We have hopes, dreams and expectations of what it will look like. We watch movies, TV shows and even observe marriages in the world around us to try and get a glimpse of this thing we call holy matrimony. But we don’t really know until we’re there, do we?
Blog Buzz: 10 Creative Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season with Your Teen via LetsHomeschoolHighschool.com
The holiday season is full of parties, shopping, special events, baking, and traveling. Sometimes we are so wrapped up in all the festivities, we forget that celebrating with our very own family is one of the most important things we … Read more
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Blog Buzz: What do rich parents do that poor parents don’t? via Penelope Trunk Homeschooling
Yefet went on a trip with Melissa. It was so exciting to watch them leave because they always do amazing things while they’re together. But I couldn’t help thinking, while I was dropping them off at the airport, that my kids are growing up like rich kids. It’s the last thing I expected after moving…
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My wife and I are not exactly fire-breathing homeschool zealots. Homeschooling is not for everybody, and we have friends in Waco whose kids do just fine in public and private schools. But for us, and for many paleo evangelicals and their fellow …
My middle son will be graduating in the spring and we took advantage of obtaining dual credits to fulfill both his high school requirements and accumulate some college credits as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time or money to continue with his private piano lessons. He loves playing, and was a bit heartbroken to give up his weekly private lessons with his favorite teacher.
We’ve tried some different things to keep him challenged and playing and when eMedia offered us a free copy of their Piano and Keyboard Method software to try, we thought it perfect timing. This would be my son Benny’s first experience with a “virtual” instructor.
Benny has been playing for six years so we chose to review the Intermediate level CD ROM that works on both Win/Mac (he has a MacBook Pro). The software is initially installed on the computer taking up 534.5 Mb, after which the discs are not needed. If first impressions were a prediction of how well Benny would do with eMedia, we were golden! He liked it immediately. He got started right away with the first lesson (there are 150+) and was playing Rachmaninoff beautifully. eMedia selected to teach some wonderful pieces by many of music’s elite composers: Liszt, Beethoven, Chopin, Berlin, and Mozart.
Here’s Benny’s thoughts:
This program is very easy to use, and extremely informative. Everything is broken down in to simple terms and phrases, so even those with only basic piano knowledge will be able to understand. The pieces are just the right difficulty for the recommended level (intermediate), and I never found the selections boring to play.
If a student is having trouble with a piece, sections can be highlighted and played at a normal or slower tempo to help master the troublesome areas. Everything from the theory to the tonal shading is well explained. I found the instructor Vadim Ghin (a graduate of Juilliard) to be insightful and a great teacher. This has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with piano, and I would eagerly recommend eMedia’s Intermediate Piano and Keyboard Method to anyone wanting to continue with piano instruction using a non-conventional method.
I would add that the ideal student for this type of instruction is one who is relatively independent and doesn’t need constant reminders to do his lesson or practice. Although Benny did enjoy his experience, he is more driven to play pieces of his own choosing. If he hears a song he likes he will find the music and teach himself. We will hear him play the piano for an hour or more, tirelessly practicing till he gets it perfect. I guess we learned he is not really at intermediate level after all, but something more.
He is advanced. He is passionate about music, and happy he learned in elementary school to play the piano.
You will be impressed with the amount of material that is included in this program. It has digital recording capabilities, a digital metronome, orchestral accompaniment, and other cool add-ons. The price is very reasonable ($59.95). That was what 2.5 lessons with our private instructor cost me. Let me send you now to eMedia to find out more about what, and how your student will learn using the Intermediate Piano and Keyboard Method.
Alert! eMedia is offering my readers a special 25% off discount now through 12/31/13. Just use coupon code EMD-HM1 when checking out to receive 25% off your order. Some restrictions apply. Valid on all eMedia branded products.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for this, my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed here are my own, and my son’s own. We disclose this to you in accordance with the FTC regulations.
Blog Buzz: Homeschool Guide to Teaching Reading via momSCHOOL
As a homeschool mom, I think the scariest thing to teach my kindergarten children was always reading. Yet, I love to see the light come on when they finally are able to read! The problem is… it’s getting to that point that really can be overwhelming. I am currently on my last and final version […]
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Blog Buzz: The Secret to Successfully Breaking A Bad Habit via davisfnp
Ever tried to give up smoking, lose weight, exercise regularly, stop swearing, or quit yelling? Things seem to go well for awhile, then BAM! You start messing up and soon you are back where you started. Do you give up … Continue reading →
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Blog Buzz: Good teaching is telling stories via Penelope Trunk Homeschooling
I am certain that you cannot teach via test and that all people are teachers, not just Teachers. But I am constantly refining this thinking by asking myself, "Why don’t tests work? Why is the practice of teachers and schools inherently limiting?" I think I’ve found the answer in the idea of stories. 1. Math…
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Blog Buzz: 2013 Advent Math from Nrich via Let’s Play Math!
Click the images below to visit the Advent calendars, and your children can play with math every day until Christmas! You may also enjoy: Christmas Math Puzzles and Activities Days of Christmas with Vi Hart Nrich Advent Math from past years Primary Advent Calendar “This Advent Calendar has a new activity for each day in the […]
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The Huffington post has an interesting piece by Sarah Stewart Holland: I Might Not Send My Kids to College. Our own kids are reaching college age and yes, the potenital for life-crippling debt (for them, not us) is huge. See our 2 part post on Affording Homeschool to College.
Recently, I was at dinner with a group of friends, several of whom were mothers. As is often the case, the conversation had turned to the education system. We were discussing testing and home schooling and teachers, when another friend — who does not yet have children — asked me a question that caught me off-guard: “Let me ask you a question. Will you tell your children they have to go to college?” My response surprised me almost as much as the question. I told her five, even two years ago, I would have said “absolutely.” I wouldn’t have hesitated. Yet, here I was hesitating and giving a different answer. “I don’t know.”
Homeschoolbuzz had the opportunity to review IXL‘s online math membership program, where math practice is neither a bore nor a chore but productive fun. This has been such a wonderful experience for my 7th grader Will – he looks forward to his time on IXL and has developed definite math confidence since he started on the site. I think IXL is brilliant for creating a program that is easy to use, eye catching, rewarding, comprehensive, and enjoyable. IXL Math has been available since 2007, though this is our first time using it. They offer K–12 math education that covers 2,500+ math topics. Family Memberships cost $9.95 per month or $79.00 for the year. This price covers both the math (PreK – 12) and language (2nd – 4th grade), and allows access to all levels for all your children. IXL will give each child their own account and reports. In the seventh grade section there are 254 skills available to practice. Each grade has the same set up: a list of all the main math categories for that grade broken down into specific skills. For example, one of the seventh grade categories is decimals. Under decimals are the skills:
- Add and subtract decimals
- Multiply decimals and whole numbers
- Divide decimals
- Word problems
- Estimate sums, differences and products of decimals
- Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals
- Multi-step inequalities with word problems
- Multi-step inequalities with decimals
- Maps with decimal distances
- Simplify expressions involving decimals
Divide. Give the exact answer, written as a decimal 891.8 ÷ 7 =
Hit submit and if correct you see a giant green check mark with a positive statement like Keep it up! or Great job! Get the question wrong and you see:
Sorry, incorrect… The correct answer is:
IXL then step by step reviews with you how to solve the problem. IXL will keep generating a new, unique question for whatever skill your student is practicing, for as long as the student stays on that skill. They track the student’s score, and will automatically generate increasingly more difficult questions. Every week IXL emails a status report indicating the time your student spent practicing and what his score was. Log into the parent section of the site for a more detailed report: pie chart, bar graph, performance, skills mastered, progress, and identification of trouble spots. Also, IXL math conforms to the 2010 common core standards and indicates which practice sets are part of those standards. There was nothing Will or Gary and I didn’t like about IXL. I especially appreciated:
- no annoying sound effects
- optional games/incentives to unlock rewards
- cheers for right answers
- review for incorrect
- unlimited practice
- independence for student
- weekly email reports
At first Will was reluctant to try another “math” program, and appeased us and just seemed to be guessing at answers. But as he saw his score going down, he started to take interest in getting the answers right.
Once he analyzed why he got an answer wrong and paid attention to the explanation IXL provided he began learning new concepts he never quite understood. He also was driven by the running tally of his score on the screen. This makes it very game-like and he was proud of his achievements. He used to get terribly frustrated and give up on math. Now he actually looks forward to the challenge. IXL is a fantastic find for us, and is a phenomenal tool to use for review or remedial learning.