From the Editor
After a strangely warm then cold then warm March followed by full on winter weather at the beginning of April, spring has finally settled in here in Virginia. The warmer weather can mean distracted kids but makes for a good time to hit the road for field trips! The photo above is from Chatham Manor, an 18th century Georgian style mansion in Stafford, Virginia, that served as both a hospital and headquarters for the Union during the Civil War. Walt Whitman and Clara Barton both volunteered at the Chatham-based hospital after
the Battle of Fredericksburg, where the Confederates defeated Union troops and left over 12,000 Union casualties in its aftermath.
What neat destinations are within a 30 minute drive of your house? Instead of fighting distraction in the warm spring weather, capitalize on it with interesting and engaging field trips.
Enjoy the newsletter!
Mary Ann Kelley
“World History for Us All is a powerful, innovative model curriculum for teaching world history in middle and high schools. It is is a project of San Diego State University in cooperation with the National Center for History in the Schools at UCLA.” According to the website, World History for Us All:
- offers a treasury of teaching units, lesson plans, and resources.
- presents the human past as a single story rather than unconnected stories of many civilizations.
- helps teachers meet state and national standards.
- enables teachers to survey world history without excluding major peoples, regions, or time periods.
- helps students understand the past by connecting specific subject matter to larger historical patterns.
- draws on up-to-date historical research.
- may be readily adapted to a variety of world history programs.
Recent Blog Posts
Grade Level: When It Matters in Homeschooling
In a previous post, I encouraged parents not to obsess over grade level to the detriment of their child’s actual engagement and learning.
However — yes — I concede there are times you do have to think about grade level, and your child and your homeschooling efforts will benefit if you do.
When to Consider Grade Level
It’s important to think about grade levels related to:
- Meeting requirements to continue homeschooling. Some states in the U.S. require that your child show progress related to grade level in order for you to continue to legally homeschool. If you live in one of these states, you should talk to homeschooling advocates in your area about how to meet these requirements if your child will be perceived as behind grade level. In many states there are alternatives to standardized testing that will demonstrate that your child is making progress, or your child may have learning differences taken into account. (As an aside, I have many concerns about these kinds of state requirements, what they purport to do, and how they impact homeschooling, but that’s another essay.) In most cases, doing what you need to do to specifically and ethically meet these requirements may be less damaging than trying to push through years’ worth of curriculum that is too many grade levels ahead of your child.
- Meeting requirements for future goals. This one is tricky. Of course, most children will have goals to attend college, start a business, have a resourceful or creative life, and/or be employed. Most will want to have the education necessary to live and manage independently if they can and to take care of their own families some day.
Attention to grade level can help you know that next steps need to be taken so your child will be prepared to live an adult life. However, a child whom school administrators might consider to be behind several grade levels still has to start with the next step. That next step may not be skipping ahead to a curriculum with a grade level for the average child who is your child’s age.