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March 2015

by Mary Ann Kelley

Poetry, Space Station, Roadschooling, and More

From the Editor

Last month in our Ask Jeanne column, a grandparent asked Jeanne how she could convince her son and daughter-in-law to not homeschool. In addition to Jeanne’s answer to her, we have added a Grandparent Guide to Homeschooling to TheHomeSchoolMom. You’ll find a variety of ideas to share with grandparents about how they can support your homeschool efforts and build relationships with their grandchildren at the same time.

Enjoy the newsletter!

Warm regards,

Mary Ann Kelley
Editor

Teaching Calendar

March 15, 2015 — Maine Admission Day – 1820

March 17, 2015 — St. Patrick’s Day

April 2, 2015 — Hans Christian Andersen’s Birthday – 1807

April 3, 2015 — Passover

April 4, 2015 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassinated – 1968

April 5, 2015 — Easter

April 13, 2015 — Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday – 1743

April 14, 2015 — Abraham Lincoln Assassinated – 1865

View the entire calendar »

 

Educational Resources

HD Tour of the ISS

Although this 25 minute NASA video is from 2012, it’s a hidden jewel for space enthusiasts. Suni Williams, the former Commander of the International Space Station, is the perfect tour guide.

“In her final days as Commander of the International Space Station, Sunita Williams of NASA recorded an extensive tour of the orbital laboratory and downlinked the video on Nov. 18, just hours before she, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency departed in their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft for a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan. The tour includes scenes of each of the station’s modules and research facilities with a running narrative by Williams of the work that has taken place and which is ongoing aboard the orbital outpost.”
Suni even shows the space ship’s facilities in answer to the age old question about going to the bathroom in zero gravity.

Go Math! Elementary Videos

This playlist of video lessons from Harcourt covers topics for Kindergarten through 6th grade. Additional resources are on the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt website, including digital workbooks, more instructional videos, and worksheets.

O Captain! My Captain!

Next month is both National Poetry Month and the anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. As such, it is a good time to highlight what is probably Walt Whitman’s most famous poem. Inspired by what Whitman Lincoln’s murder, “O Captain! My Captain!” was published in 1865 and Whitman was still revising it decades later. When his publisher sent him a proof of an upcoming publication that included a previous version of the poem, Whitman returned it with handwritten corrections, calling it “a bad perversion” of the poem. It is interesting to note that while many students may believe that successful writers produce immaculate first drafts, most writers spend hours revising their work, and a recent author friend said, “I would say that I’m not so much a writer as a re-writer. I edit everything, 1000 times. I can always think of a way to say it better. Occasionally a sentence or phrase will come out perfectly the first time, but it’s rare. And I wouldn’t trust it if it happened very often, because, as I said, I can always think of a better way to say it.
(Look for our blog post, “Poetry, Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War“, with more information.)

Recent Blog Posts

Grandparents Guide to Homeschooling: Field Trips

Improving Homeschool Field TripsAs I’ve written previously in the Grandparents Guide to Homeschooling series, there are all kinds of great ways to spend time with your homeschooled grandchildren — just having fun, sharing your skills, providing child care, and helping them learn. But the granddaddy of them all (pun intended), in my opinion, is taking them on field trips. Field trips combine so much of the rest of the good stuff. They are great learning opportunities, they can be fun and adventurous, and they provide a kind of hands-on help that homeschooling parents really appreciate from their own parents. And here’s the secret: they don’t have to be big deals — or, they can be. Read More…

Grandparent Guide: Sharing Your Time

Grandparent Guide to Homeschooling: Sharing Your TimeI wrote in the first installment of the Grandparent Guide to Homeschooling that grandparents can be a big blessing to homeschooling families — by sharing their time and resources and by providing informed support. Today’s post is about sharing time. Grandparents who are able to share time with their homeschooled grandchildren can make a huge difference in their lives and in the lives of the homeschooling parents. Read More…

Talking To Your Teen About College Debt

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Talking to Your Teen About College DebtI’m a fan of natural consequences, but sometimes the lessons are too big – with consequences that last a lifetime – for the maturity level of the child. One such example is when a child wants to take on significant debt in the form of college loans. Most 17 year old high school students do not have the life experience to be able to understand the impact that taking on tens of thousands of dollars in debt will have on their lives. While I encourage young adults to have freedom in making their own decisions, wise and carefully presented parental input is imperative in this issue. Most people would never consider advising a 17-18 year old to purchase a $80K house with payments def
erred for 4 years (and a home loan has collateral — if you go into default, they foreclose and the debt is gone), yet are comfortable with student loans that have even more of a financial impact. Read More…

 

Featured Article

Roadschooling: What To Keep In The Car

by

Roadschooling: My list of "extras" to keep in the carMany of us homeschoolers are automobile-dependent. Living in rural or suburban areas and in some small and medium size towns and cities, we find that our communities aren’t walkable, and there is no public transportation to speak of. There is certainly no school bus serving our family. Since our kids aren’t in the “big box” of school we have to drive to many of the activities and classes our kids participate in.

With three kids in a wide age range and with a diversity of interests, over the years I have found myself constantly traveling from one homeschool thing to another, also mixing in our regular errands.

I found that keeping “extras” in the car is a big help, so we didn’t have to turn around for forgotten items, and we were a little more ready for the minor crises of life.

My list of extras a roadschooling mom might keep in the car:

  • Diapers and extra clothing for Baby. Yes, this means in addition to what was in the diaper bag. Sometimes I needed to call on these supplies, either because I’d left behind my diaper bag or forgotten to restock it.
  • Dry clothes and old shoes for the toddler and preschooler. Not just because of typical “accidents”, but because of all the times we went to park days and found puddles at the end of the sliding board or other splashy episodes.
  • Trash bags and a towel. See wet toddler above. The trash bags provided a way to get the sopping clothes and shoes home.
  • First aid kit. We definitely used our share of bandaids, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic, and acetaminophen. I always kept some “skin-your-knee” size bandages in the first aid kit as well.
  • Roll of paper towels. Because ki
    ds.
  • Sports stuff. During our soccer years, there were extra shin guards; during our skating years, there were extra skate socks. I also still keep a needle for inflating balls in my glove box. You can stop any place that has air for car tires and pump up a ball — if you just have a needle. And yes, there have been quite a few years when we never went anywhere without a couple soccer balls in the car.
  • Art/activities tote bag for kids. Especially when my oldest kids were doing activities like music lessons, I carried a bag for my youngest with special art supplies, kids’ magazines, paper, scissors, tape, and glue. We were able to make the most of our waiting times by drawing, making, and reading together.
  • Music supplies. Today, my car has a plastic bag with extra guitar strings, picks, and pegs. More than once we’ve dug into the stash to replace a broken string at a desperate time.
  • Water. While we tend to be a fill-your-own-water-bottles family, I have almost always have a few bottles of commercially packaged water hidden deeply somewhere in the car. I don’t have to buy or replace them often, but they are there and tightly sealed if we need them. And we have needed them. (Don’t fill them to the brim during freezing temperatures — the water needs room to expand when it freezes.)
  • Books. For many years, I kept several books in the car, often a few from each library visit. Again, during downtime while one brother was waiting for another brother, we found reading time. With the advent of smart phones and tablets in our household, I’ve found that the books-in-the-car-just-in-case habit has given way to reading on a device.
  • Electronics. My husband is better at keeping this bag stocked than I, and when we’re traveling with him, we can count on him to have extra phone chargers, batteries for cameras and other gadgets, headphones, and splitters.
  • Toll money. I have a small coin purse I keep in my console, and I keep it stocked with quarters for tolls. There were also the years that I kept a $20 bill in there and mostly managed to forget about it, so it would be there for an emergency.
  • Extra car key. Keeping a duplicate key taped down on the underside
    of the car has saved me at least a half dozen times. Okay. A dozen times. (Don’t do this with the newer keyless remote entry cars that allow you to unlock the car with just a touch if the key is within range.)
  • Bug spray and sun screen. This tells you all you need to know about summers in Virginia, and I try to be prepared. A spring park day can turn out to be much sunnier than expected– and cue the mosquitoes.
  • Paper and pens — for grownups. As a writer, I try to keep the tools of the trade on hand.
  • Tea bags. Yes, really. I love my tea, and I have found that many places have complimentary hot water, often with their coffee set-up. I have enjoyed many an afternoon pick-me-up because I had Earl Grey tea bags stashed in the car. Sometimes a small pleasure gets a harried homeschool mom through the day.

Remembering to stock the car with what I am likely to forget or need unexpectedly has saved the day numerous times during my 17 years of homeschooling.

What do you keep on hand to ease your road schooling?

A popular speaker at homeschooling conferences, business groups, and parents’ groups, Jeanne Potts Faulconer has homeschooled her three sons in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Virginia. She is a former college faculty member, former editor and book reviewer for Home Education Magazine, a long-time editor for VaHomeschoolers Voice, and a recent news correspondent for WCVE, an NPR-member station. Jeanne teaches writing and literature for her youngest son’s homeschool co-op, and she is a student of how learning works — at home, in the music room, in small groups, in the college classroom, on the soccer field, and in the car to and from practice. Holding her Master of Arts degree in Communication, Jeanne conducts portfolio evaluations for Virginia homeschooler
s for evidence of progress. To read more of Jeanne’s writing, inquire about a homeschool evaluation, or ask her to speak to your group, see her blog, At Each Turn.

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