Life Cycles, College Courses, Ford’s Theater, Teen Tech Project, and More
From the Editor
By now many of you are probably wrapping up your year and planning for next year. I find May to be a satisfying month – checking off boxes, filling out transcripts and course planners, and reviewing how much was actually learned over the course of the year. I always find the blank slate of a new year to plan invigorating, but this year for the first time that only consists of guidance with college enrollment. My eldest will be entering her final year at UVA in the fall, and my youngest is graduating high school early and continuing at the community college.
One of my primary goals for my girls has always been that they know how to learn. Almost everything I use in my daily life was learned outside of the confines of a classroom, and a love of learning along with a knowledge of where to find resources will serve a student much better than a brain full of facts and figures. Nevertheless, for anyone continuing any kind of formal learning, knowing how to absorb information in a classroom is an important skill to master. TheHomeSchoolMom has partnered with The Great Courses to give away a copy of How to Become a SuperStar Student.
The course includes 18 lectures – 12 for students and 6 for parents – on such topics as understanding your unique intelligence, developing effective habits in class, managing time and organizing spaces, developing a creative mind, and more. The video course from National Teacher of the Year Michael Geisen gives students the tools they need for success in high school, college, and beyond. Don’t miss your chance to enter to win a free copy of the DVD course!
Enjoy the newsletter!
Mary Ann Kelley
Recent Blog Posts
Teen Tech Project: Building a Computer
This brought back fond memories, since two of my three sons undertook this same project during their teen years, and my oldest actually did the same after he graduated.
In our case, each son saved his own money for parts and was driven by the desire to have a PC optimized for his specific purposes, rather than sharing the older, slower, family computer.
I can’t pretend to have expertise to share about building a computer, and I didn’t at the time. However, I was able to make an arrangement with the owner of a computer shop. My middle son — the first to embark on the build-your-own-computer project — would sweep, do errands, and work around the shop in exchange for the owner’s advice and guidance.
As it turned out, we hit the jackpot in finding a mentor. He was careful not to give our son easy answers, but sent him to research which parts would be compatible and best for his end use. He asked leading questions to get him on the right track. He was pleasant and supportive, but he didn’t do any thinking for our son.
He then donated time and space in his shop for the actual assembly, leading our son through best practices, including avoiding the dreaded static electricity.
Years later, this son helped younger brother when the build-a-computer bug hit him. I was interested to see he employed the same strategy as the computer shop owner, not telling his brother what he needed or should buy, but encouraging him to read up on various components and study how they would work together. Then they’d discuss the pros and cons.
The years around our kitchen table have been full of talk about processors and graphics cards and motherboards, and our family computing power has been boosted multiple times by boy-bought, boy-built computers.
As my sons have pointed out, building a computer is not as complex as designing chips, but the projects have certainly been an education. Not only did they learn a lot about computer hardware, but they also had to read deeply to understand specs, and they had to think critically to compare the attributes of various parts. Then they had to put their own money on the line, meaning their decisions were financially important.
Thinking back on this teen homeschool technology project, I realize that it demonstrates a lot about homeschooling in our family…