Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Homeschool High School? Yes, You Can!

Should I homeschool high school? I don’t have a college degree – how can I teach high school subjects? What about social activities, diplomas and graduation? Will my teen get in to college? My teen doesn’t want to go to college – now what?
If these are some of the questions you have about homeschooling high school, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to attend “Homeschool High School? Yes, I Did It,” seminar by veteran homeschool mom and author, Cindy Downes.
Cindy has been involved in homeschooling since 1981. She taught her two children at home from PreK through 12th grade with only a high school diploma. In 2007, both Cindy and her homeschooled daughter, returned to college as adults. Cindy graduated in 2009 with a journalism degree from Oklahoma State University. Her daughter is a junior at NSU and plans on getting her Masters Degree in English. Her son owns his own computer graphics business and lives in Hollywood, CA.
Cindy will share her family’s adventures from both high school and college. Her goal is to encourage you that, with God, you can homeschool high school, too!

Sponsor: SCHEF Mom's Fellowship
Time and Date: 6:30 pm. April 26, 2010
Place: Hillcrest Baptist Church, 902 N. Washington, Stillwater, OK
Contact: Stephanie Ochsner  Email:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Oklahoma Land Run by Una Belle Townsend

One of the best ways to get children interested in studying history is to read them age-appropriate, historical fiction. This gives children a context through which they can better understand historical events.

The Oklahoma Land Run by Una Belle Townsend provides such a context for a study of the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889. The book is about nine-year-old boy, Jesse, who must drive the family' wagon in the big Land Run race because his father has injured his arm. Children will relate to Jesse's courage, fears, and resourcefulness as he undertakes a tough mission for the good of the family.

Throughout the story, readers are introduced to just enough facts about the Land Run and Oklahoma to excite interest in learning more. Best of all, the illustrations are absolutely delightful, making this book a joy to read for both young and old.

A must-have book for those of you teaching Oklahoma HIstory, as well as for parents who are looking for enjoyable children's literature that also teaches.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review of PAC Biology and American History

I don’t know how I missed this resource in my earlier years, but I did. PAC (Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum) has been developing curriculum designed to motivate under-performing and under-challenged high school students since 1993. According to their Web site, “In 1996, PACS was recognized in USA Today newspaper among the nation's 58 most effective programs for recovering at-risk teens.”

I was recently provided samples of Biology (Principles, Theories & Precepts of Biology) and American History (The People, Places and Principles of America) to review. I am impressed with these products and highly recommend that you look them over.

The Biology curriculum consists of six chapters of texts and six companion student activity books, equivalent to one high school biology credit. A second course, Precepts of Anatomy and Physiology, can be added for a second Biology credit.

There is no lab work included with the curriculum; however, the PAC Web site has a list of companies that sell lab equipment. I recommend purchasing lab equipment and using it along with the textbook.

American History is available in a one- or two-year course of study, each year worth one credit in American History. The first year covers Discovery into the Civil War; the second year continues through President George W. Bush.

You will need the teacher’s resource kit for answers to chapter quizzes, as well as for additional tests and answers for both these courses.

Here’s what I like about this curriculum:

The text is interesting and easy-to-understand, but challenging at the same time. Even though the textbooks are black and white, I found myself wanting to read more because of the way in which they are written. Vocabulary is introduced, as needed, and is defined to help students understand the concepts.

The textbooks are designed to inspire kids to think for themselves. Facts are presenting for both sides of many hot-button issues, giving students the information needed to make up their own mind and then defend it. Although both sides of the issues are presented, the reading material supports traditional parental values, along with the reasons why these values are important. This is not a “Christian” curriculum, but it is based on Christian values.

All curriculum publishers pick and choose what they cover in their textbooks. As you know, you can’t possibly cover it all, so you are limited to what the publisher of your curriculum decides to incorporate. I believe the topics included in these two courses by PAC are essential and have no problem recommending them.

 Problems of the curriculum and how to overcome them:

The course is set up so that the student independently reads each lesson and then completes the activities, which include multiple choices, fill in the blanks, and labeling diagrams. Unfortunately, I have learned from experience with my own daughter that those kids who are excellent readers can learn to quickly skim the material presented and locate the answers without actually learning what they need to know. Other students, like my son who wasn’t a fast reader, quickly become overwhelmed with the amount of reading required.

Normally, I don’t recommend this type of teaching method because of these problems. However, I believe that the information presented in this curriculum is so outstanding that I would find a way to use it that works for your kids. If your children tend to be like mine, my recommendation would be to read the information together as a family and then work through the activities together. This will take more time on your part, but it will be worth it, both for you and your child.  You’ll both learn something worth while.

Homeschoolers can purchase single textbooks with answers, as well as single chapters within a course. They also offer the text portions on CD-ROM and PDF format at a discounted price.

 • Biology - full course kit includes texts, activities, and teacher resource kit: $111.35
 • American History Year 1 full course kit: $120.30; Two year: $189.86

For more information, see the PAC Web site

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Educational Videos

There are lots of free educational videos that can be used to teach a variety of school subjects.  Here is a lit of the ones I know about.

If you know any others, please post them in the comment section.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Add some fun stuff to your homeschool.

School is more than textbooks. Why not add some fun stuff to your daily schedule?

Computer Skills

I just finished updating my Web page on teaching computer skills. Don't forget this important skill when homeschooling.