How and Why to Find a Mentor and Back to School Giveaway

How and why to find a mentor

As a homeschooler, have you struggled with any of these questions?

  1. What are my state requirements?
  2. How do I get started?
  3. What do I teach and when?
  4. What methodology is best for my family?
  5. What do I say to critics?
  6. How do I schedule our day?
  7. How do I motivate my kids to do lessons?
  8. What curriculum do I choose?
  9. What about learning and teaching styles?
  10. How do I handle special needs?
  11. How can I homeschool frugally?
  12. Do I need to worry about Common Core?
  13. Where did I put my coffee?

Well, ok. That last one is probably just me.

Whether you’re new to homeschooling or a few years into it, chances are you’ve looked for a homeschooling mentor of some kind. Homeschooling is a challenge and it is such an important undertaking! It only makes sense to find homeschoolers who have “been there, done that” to come alongside us and help navigate the sometimes murky waters.

Finding A Mentor
 

Benefits and Limitations

As with any mentors, homeschooling mentors have limits. Nobody knows you, your family, and your child as well as God does. Not even you. Going to Him first with every concern is far wiser and more effective than relying on any mentor. Checking anything your mentors say against God’s Word and His leading in your life is also critical.
No book, site, or individual is going to perfectly encompass all the needs and goals of your family. To simply follow what someone else does because they appear to be doing well is not a good choice. However, it is worth the time and effort to find that handful of mentors and reliable resources that fit your needs relatively well and can help you navigate the plethora of homeschooling issues and information.

Face-to-Face Mentors

Face-to-face mentors are hard to find. It’s sad, but true. I once asked a leader in the large homeschool support group I joined a few years ago if they had some sort of mentorship program or if she could connect me with another mom to help me get started. She said no! They had tried, but the more experienced moms ended up being too busy and the relationships never lasted.
Even so, it can happen! I think they are worth the effort (and the vulnerability that comes with it) to keep looking for those mentors. I have recently refreshed my search for one or two for myself.
Here are a few things to keep in mind on your own search:
  • Observe – If possible, find other homeschool moms that you’d like to learn from. Look for some with kids one or two levels above yours, and some who are nearing the home stretch. Perhaps they have a strong Charlotte Mason flair you’re interested in. Maybe they seem to keep things moving with 6 kids, or they’re just pleasant and easy to talk to. Local support groups are a great way to find homeschoolers and scout for mentors!
  • Approach – The best mentors develop naturally. Instead of saying “hey, can you mentor me?” try asking if you can buy them a coffee and pick their brain about homeschooling, or come to their house and be a fly on the wall for a few hours. Email them asking some resource recommendations or what their homeschool day looks like.
  • Be Considerate – Homeschool moms are busy. Be considerate of their time and make sure you aren’t using them as a crutch or your only source of information! I find that asking general questions (“what is your homeschool day like?”) or troubleshooting (“how do I deal with letter reversal in handwriting?”) are the best ways to learn from them without sapping their energy.

Online/Book Mentors

Of course, there is a vast sea of blogs, sites, and books all about homeschooling that are meant to mentor and support you. Ask around and find out what the favorites are. In the past few years, I’ve figured out what my favorite go-to sources are for troubleshooting homeschool problems or general ideas and inspiration.
Just remember that it’s much better to have 5 or so books and resources you rely on instead of allowing input from hundreds a day to reach your ears. Who has the time and brain capacity for that? Not me! I know, because I’ve tried. Keep in mind that we are looking for “mentors,” not seeking to gather all possible opinions.
Here is my short list for online sites, books and blogs I follow loosely for information and encouragement. Yours will look different, and that’s ok!
  • Doorposts – This is more of a parenting and discipleship resource, but we all know how integrated those are with homeschooling! This is our favorite biblical parenting resource, hands down.
  • Educating WholeHearted Child (and other materials by the Clarksons) – I read and enjoy many homeschooling books, but this is the one I always come back to. It is packed full of good helps, information, guidance and encouragement!
How about you? What are you looking for in a mentor? What are your favorite “mentors” online or in books?
 
TaunaMTauna loves her family and loves God. She is a homeschooling mama that has been married for 8 years and has 4 young children. She writes at Proverbial Homemaker.com, so named because, as she says, “me becoming a wife, mom, and homemaker proves that anything is possible with God.”

 

 

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Begin Your Homeschool With A Bang

begin your homeschool year with a bangBegin Your Homeschool Year with A Bang! with Felice Gerwitz

Episode #216

It appears that as parents we have competition with the back to school crowd, you know your kids may have friends who are shopping for new clothes, back packs, lunch boxes and school supplies that their schools require. I know I’ve been asked to donate to the back to school funds for needy kids – teachers association and the like.

So what is a homeschool parent to do?! Let me share my back to school routine with my kids and how exciting it was each and every year! Even in the high school years!

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Show Notes – Episode

  • Create a party atmosphere – why not? Lead up to the day with some hints and some hidden surprises. I’ll share some of these surprises later on…
  • Create a banner –super easy to do on the computer AND as a bonus – I’ve added one to this post –podcast – look under VHM or PODCAST # and I’ve added several. One you can have the children color and one if you want to splurge with a colored printer. I always added the children’s pictures to the banner –and their grade.
  • Hand out the new books – each child gets their books (or you may have a family book pile) … go through them, introduce the topic and make it sound exciting! “This year we will learn about the stars and the oceans! How fun!”
  • Hand out new supplies. Crayons, markers, art books, pencils, pencil sharpeners, etc.
  • Have a fun project ready to go – either a craft… like decorating a box where they will keep their school supplies, even if it is a plastic see-through case, you can purchase fun stickers for the kids to use to make it their own…or a fun science activity. Something spectacular is fun… see my podcast on fun science activities –Summer activities for Kids.
  • Remember to get some work done the first day. It might be an open ended story the kids need to finish (younger kids can dictate it or you can write it on a marker board or large sheet of paper to use as copy work.)
  • Be careful of the reproducible monsters. Too many worksheets – it is a disaster to grade or to keep track of…
  • Use photos to keep track of the year – make Friday night pizza or (whatever night) and
  • Give a year end notebook. This is the place where you will put work samples to keep track of progress in the year. The children can label the dividers, decorate the notebook or label it in some way.

Essential Oils For Fitness

essential oils for fitnessEssential Oils for Fitness with Felice Gerwitz

Episode #215

Essential oils are important for fitness results. I am a perfect example, because of the increased benefits I’ve received. While exercise is a new addition on my to-do list, essential oils have enhanced my life and well-being for several years. It is amazing to think of a life without the benefits, now that I use them daily. Wellness and exercise include a healthy lifestyle. Eating right and exercising go hand in hand, and now with the benefits of essential oils you will see a vast improvement.

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Show Notes: Essential Oils For Fitness

  1. For centuries many cultures used essential oils for wellness and fitness
  2. Athletes use essential oils in their training regiment
  3. Essential oil benefits are backed by research
  4. Peppermint oils help with cardiovascular performance in athletes
  5. Lemongrass oils help with energy and weight
  6. Lemongrass helps to burn more calories
  7. Lemongrass with basil, clary sage and coconut oil
  8. Eucalyptus helps mood and energy (this can be added to a spray bottle with other oils)
  9. Add geranium, peppermint, bergamont (my favorite) to spray bottle 4oz water with Eucalyptus
  10. Lemon oil – my favorite in bottled water. Promotes immune system support, lymphatic drainage and fat loss
  11. Lemon drops in water, help with hydration, encourages you to drink more
  12. Deep Blue – is great for sore or stiff muscles – brings immediate relief.
  13. Fennel – a great benefit, add to lavender and use for calmness
  14. Fennel – sweet flavor, helps fight sweet tooth

Additional and suggested resources: Essential Oils For Fitness

Felice Gerwitz (disclosure) my DoTerra Account. Order at a discount by signing up! Here is more information.

Pinterest – Lists of essential oils and their benefits here

Essential oils: Pinterest list here

https://doterra.com/US/en/blog/healthy-living-doterra-for-athletes

 

Six Secrets Hidden By SAT & ACT Test Makers

six-secrets-hidden-by-sat-act-test-makersSix Secrets Hidden By SAT and ACT Test Makers by Jean Burk

Podcast #58

Do you want to know six secrets that the test makers don’t want you to know? In this episode, Jean Burk shares her insights after years of successful teaching the SAT and ACT test prep to thousands of students. Her techniques successfully raise scores as much as 600 points! This is part three of an ongoing series on a total of twenty-three insider’s tips and hidden secrets that test makers hope you won’t learn.  Listen to podcast one here and podcast two in the series here.

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Show Notes: Six Secrets Hidden By SAT & ACT Test Makers

  1. You really need to know how to interpret the percentiles of the SAT score – what does that mean – where does that fall? Students can find out the percentiles – official chart from the National Merit Corporation

CollegePrepGenius.com/PSATscores – pages 6-9

If you don’t know your starting point you don’t know where to begin or how to improve.

http://ultimateradioshow.com/psat-test-myths/

http://ultimateradioshow.com/events/psat-dont-forget-it/

  1. Your state can miss out on a scholarship opportunity. Some states only promote the ACT they don’t promote the SAT – which means the PSAT which is designed by the SAT When they redesigned the new SAT – 1600 ACT – 36

Depending on what state you live in and how student’s do will determine the percentile for your particular state –

CollegePrepGenius.com/predictedPSATscores – you can find the predicted scores for every state that will give you ranking sin your state.

  1. You may not want to take so many standardized tests but taking both tests can pay dividends! If you take both the SAT and the ACT – you may have an advantage scoring well on both formats – can mean better opportunities – can elevate your chances of admittance as well as scholarship money. If you get high scores on both – they may give more money on the SAT or more money on the ACT

CollegePrepGenius.com/satactconversionchart

Give you the idea of the scoring for both – there is an optimal rate

There are 13 opportunities 6 times for ACT and 7 times for the SAT

Overview of the tests – Knowledge Based are on CollegePrepGenius.com

  1. Little known secrets – SAT essay judge confesses he spends 20 seconds grading the essays – papers are scanned and sent to judges all over the nation – they only have time to 5-6 key points they are looking for … they are going to skim it in 20-30 seconds. They have a college degree and have taught reading. They use an objective grading system that is standardized. Some read 3 per minute – it is a matter of how well you can answer questions under pressure. CollegePrepGenius.com has a proven template the students can use – this new analytical essay from the SAT –not asking for opinion – you have to take their info and put it back on the paper and find concrete points to use in your essay. THREE examples – look for numbers – survey or statistic or report with a date –

 

  1. If you are in the know there is another secret chance to take a test – the residual ACT – a secret chance to take the test in non-conventional time s in the year. Most SAT are taken on a Saturday – so it can be a hindrance. It is given on the campus of most colleges it is offered weekly or monthly. These include the ability to pay at the college, you can receive your score back quickly – a day or a week. It can only be used for that school. These are official ACT – advantage, just one point on ACT – increase you another 20K in some campuses.

 

  1. Removed the guessing penalty – ACT and SAT are both the same. You may want to reconsider advice from companies if you are not sure about an answer, just guess. Look at this logically – SAT has 4 options – ACT has 5 options. SAT 75% wrong or ACT – 80% wrong. Don’t be quick to guess on a question. Learn how to answer the questions correctly. Time is not their friend. Most students take too long on the questions, can’t get through the test. CollegePrepGenius.com – strategy go through 2-3 times. Key is if you come across a question and you can’t answer it quickly – skip – star and move on… get to as many as you can and come back to the ones that you skipped. Your subconscious is working on it so you can see the answer later. You will have answered way more questions than you could ever have answered. You saved so much time now you can spend a couple of minutes on the questions you don’t know.

 

Best Homeschool Planning Tips

best homeschool planning tipsBest Homeschool Planning Tips Episode #214

The best homeschool planning tips are the ones we often forget. With this simple outline your year will begin with a great start! Often, what we do is we get laser focused on school and forget we have a life. We are so excited we have our books – our schedule laid out and then when the afternoon rolls around we are FREAKED OUT we don’t have anything planned for dinner. In this episode I cover three simple guidelines.

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Show Notes: The Best Homeschool Planning Tips

  1. The best advice I can give you about planning your school year is don’t forget about the REST of your life.
  • God
  • Spouse
  • School
  • Meals
  • Laundry
  • Meals
  • Doctors
  • Field Trips
  1. Do take time to plan your entire year – yes, your year
  • Do you seasonal themes especially if you school younger children – older children love this too.
  • Do plan breaks and save days for field trips as they come up
  • Do plan time for family chores
  • Do plan time for meal prep – mega cooking and FREEZE or can
  • Utilize cooking in your schedule –

 

3. Think through things once and forget it!

Just like the crock pot recipe commercials would say the set it and forget it – the same thing with your planning.

  1. School Schedule. Times!
    1. Break fail – after lunch very hard to get back to work
      1. Finish math – or writing projects
      2. Science experiments
      3. Read
    2. Year End Notebook
      1. Keep work samples for each subject ALL YEAR LONG
      2. Put in pocket sheets and clear vinyl slip sheets to keep things like pictures, samples of math, writing, history, and science papers. Art projects etc.
  • Tests and progress
  1. Go out bag. Put in all the things you will need. Pick it up and go. If you have older kids put a laminated card on the outside and someone can double check the bag to be sure nothing wandered out or was not replaced. (Tell forgetting diaper bag – had the baby!)
    1. One for field trips
    2. One for the park
    3. One for church
  2. Chore chart –
  3. Meals
  4. Laundry Day

 

 

 

Lists For Back To School

back to school lists One of the greatest inventions was the idea of keeping track of things with a list, and what better way to celebrate Back to School, than with a series on lists! I’ve tackled organization with the disclaimer that I’m not naturally an organized person. In the series on organization I’ve taken back and overturned the chaos of messy piles and will soon be looking at a newly organized and CLEAN home! I’m excited.

In fact, I mentioned to my sister-in-law the other day how excited I was to have one top shelf almost cleared off. Okay, I admit — I’m a work in progress. I’ve decided that what works for me is cleaning in small bursts. If I can clean one section of a room and keep it clean, then clean another section in a weeks’ time I have a clean room! The key is keeping it clean.

But, we were discussing homeschooling … so, the list can be massive but take or delete what you’d like. I’ve created a podcast on the topic here as well. See what you think. The lists are over on the podcast post- on VintageHomeschoolMoms episode 96  – Amazing Lists For Homeschooling – so don’t forget to download yours.

An overview of the topics of the podcast began with listing making in general for your homeschool.

Lists for back-to-school

Select Your Curriculum and Order It:

By this time many of you have your curriculum; however I know many of you are still ordering books as we speak! There are many great book selections from Cathy Duffy on her website of homeschool reviews. She wrote a series of books on the topic of the Top Homeschool Picks. My own books have been selected in two of her books. So, once you’ve selected your books – order them! I know many of you enjoy free products, but if you do get these, be sure to keep them in a file so you can find the when the time comes.

Organize Your Homeschool Space:

Atmosphere – atmosphere – atmosphere – let your learning space be a place that is conducive to learning. Be sure to check for clutter, keep books contained and be sure to pick up after each school day. Whether you school in the kitchen, on the dining room table, back porch (as we did one year while our house was being remodeled), or you have a specific room for school, make sure it is organized.

Organize Your Supplies:

I love office supplies – seriously, I could spend hours in office stores. However, discount stores are much more reasonably priced when it comes to school supplies. Every year I purchased the kids new spiral notebooks, pencils, crayons, markers, colored pencils; and when they got older, mechanical pencils, pens and highlighters. We keep all of our saved work (the ones we will keep to show for evaluations) in a big 3-Ring binder book.  That is handy all year so as I see papers that are worthy of inclusion I will ask the kids to place them in the book. You will have to help the really little ones. I also purchased a good 3-Ring Notebook-all-in-one that has multi-subjects and multi-pockets. Once the kids were in high school we no longer needed this type of binder. It just didn’t hold enough papers. They prefer spiral notebooks anyway to keep all their notes within. I like to surprise the kids with one, two or three special things. Like the year I purchased time-line notebooks, or special school supplies and holders. It is after all the first day of school when I pass out the new books and supplies, so I like to make it special.

Organize Your Books:

messy homeschool shelves organized

Shelves – Before and After They Were Organized! http://www.HomeForLearning.com

How exciting – new books! I love to get the new school books for the year, even if it means I’m pulling books from the shelves and placing them on another! Many beloved books are keepsakes, and we’ve added them to our library. These were used for many years ago, by their older siblings. Organizing the books on one or two shelves helps the children to have easy access. I am going to admit that after many years of homeschooling my bookshelves are a wreck! I organize reading books for literature, books I will read to them and I give them their school books such as Math to keep at their own desks. It makes it easy for me to see whether or not they’ve completed their reading lists by a quick view of the shelves as well as their check-off lists. Here is a picture of one set of shelves that are going to be organized and another set that is almost completed!

Organize Your Year:

You’ve got the books – now take out a calendar and look at how long it will take you to complete the books on hand. For example, if a science book has 300 pages you would divide the number of pages by the number of school days. Here in Florida we school for 180 days so do the math! Be sure to leave holiday days – for example, if you are taking days off for vacations, Christmas holiday break, etc., you want to plan for these times as well. Once you do this with all your books you can move onward.

Unit Studies – or Theme Studies:

For unit studies, I always gave myself six-to-eight weeks to complete the study. Many times it didn’t take us that long, so we filled in the time with extra reading, field trips and fun television shows or videos that kept us on track. Other times, if it was something mom didn’t like studying – like insects, we’d motor through the unit study and move on to the next one. I’d also give myself some planning time in-between to find additional books or plan out my days. However, I knew exactly what we’d study for the entire year or I could loose valuable time trying to make it up on the go!

homeschool scheduleOrganize Your Day:

Years ago I was very frustrated that the kids were having difficulty completing their work. My husband asked me to create a simple check off list. When they were younger it included time –so for example where math was it would say 30-min. All the kids had to do was check off Math when they did the work. Every week they turned it in for special stickers, a movie night, or something else fun we had planned. No checkoff list meant an extra chore. You can give this to your children as a guide and keep one for yourself. This is a high school example, but you can do this same type of thing with elementary students or middle school.

Once you get your books the ideal is to divide pages by the number of weeks in the school, for you textbook people and create a schedule like this chart.

Here is another version to download: Example Check Off Lists-2

You can give this to your children as a guide and keep one for yourself. This is a high school example, but you can do this same type of thing with elementary students or middle school.

You can give this to your children as a guide and keep one for yourself. This is a high school example, but you can do this same type of thing with elementary students or middle school. I have a daily check off list I give my children as well – for a copy go here: blank copy and another one here: Example Check Off Lists – Younger and older ones here: Example Check Off Lists-Older

Whatever format you use – even if you un-school – it is nice to keep track of your progress – and it helps the children become familiar with check-off lists!

Organize Your Child’s Work station:

We’ve homeschooled on the kitchen table, on the back porch, out of a book bag on the way to doing errands, in the car on audio cassette and CD (by the time mp3 came along, my kids had outgrown “car learning”, and in a desk in a designated room. We’ve done it all in the years since I first decided to homeschool. So, what is the common thread in homeschooling in various places? Keep your stuff together! Some homeschool moms keep clear bins with plastic lids and contain their school stuff there. Other’s school out of a closet or shelf. Whatever you do give your child ample space to spread out.

What is on your list? Share yours with all of us!

Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Deposit Photo – photo credit – stuartm

Best Last Minute Summer DIY Tips

Best Last Minute Summer DIY TipsThe Absolute BEST Last Minute Summer DIY Tips with Felice Gerwitz

What are the best last minute summer DIY Tips? In this episode of Vintage Homeschool Moms, Felice Gerwitz shares her passion for all things DIY and some quick gift ideas to make for the holidays that are just around the corner. Use recyclables you have on hand or with a minimum of cost, create beautiful items you will treasure. The best thing? The kids can help!

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Show Notes: The Best Last Minute Summer DIY Tips

  1. Get Organized.
    • Now is the time to just relax – for me that means doing something creative. If you or your children love to create crafts for gifts make a list of some people on your list.
    • Look around the house. From the podcast I created on getting organized fast here,  you may have things you were going to throw away that you can recycle. What about an old frame, some mason jars or a plastic bin that can be recovered or painted?
    • Trash day. My kids use to ride bikes up and down the road to see what neighbors were throwing away and sometimes came home with treasures. The awesome wrought iron and wood bench (my son refinished with new wood) that sits in front of my pond is one of those treasures. Look around on trash day.
  2. Gift Making
    • Useful items. Picture frames with a treasured memory, hand painted to match any decor specifically for a family member.
    • Tool holders: kitchen utensils, pencils, crayons, etc.
    • Shelves. Floating shelves are all the rage. Ask dad, mom, grandpa or even grandma (not me–but some of my friends are really handy!) to help. Here are some directions on how to make floating shelves.
    • Mixes. A great help for when you begin homeschooling again. Make muffin mixes, sour dough, cookie mix, biscuit mix from healthy alternatives. Use organic ingredients, make them vegan or gluten free. There are many great recipes.
    • Painted pots. Hanging pots with an inexpensive fern or recycled wood look great.
  3. The Best DIY Ideas For Families
    • Gift Cards. My favorite ideas revolve around hand rubs, neck rubs, car washes, etc. When kids were younger it was “watch the baby” for 30 minutes, etc. Give in a homemade envelope or box.
    • Create Job Calendar: These involve paper and clothes pin. Listen to the podcast for specific directions.
    • Meal Schedule
    • Vacation planning
    • Pizza night
    • Last minute getaways or field trip ideas

 

Exercise and Joy

exercise joyExercise and Joy with Felice Gerwitz

Podcast #212

What does exercise have to do with joy? Being joyful is a result of exercise and can help our mood and stamina. In this episode, Felice explains her findings – what has worked for her and what she still struggles with in her exercise routine. Many of you are now motivated to exercise. And, for that I am grateful. Now I need motivation from all of you. Post your exercise stories in the comment section below.

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Six SAT and ACT Secrets Revealed

six SAT ACT Secrets RevealedSix SAT and ACT Secrets Revealed Episode # 57 with Jean Burk

Here we go another fast-paced series. When completed there will be 23 total. Be sure to

We have an insider’s perspective to the truth about the SAT and ACT, popular belief is that it tests what you know. However, Jean Burk debunks this and shares with you the information you know.

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Visit our sponsor – College Prep Genius

Show Notes: Six SAT and ACT Secrets Revealed

  1. Score choice – super score
  • Score choice – you get to pick the scores you want to send to the colleges – the scores will sit there until you send them into a college
  • Super score – most colleges take the highest scores from separate tests
  • Score choice – what Math great score time one time – and Reading another time
  • Start taking the test early in middle school  — need to practice  to figure out what they need
  • Colleges do not care how many times you take the SAT or ACT – colleges get their rankings based on scores – should never been a one shot deal – with your scores can massively increase your chance to receive college. Colleges want your overall highest scores

ACT – CollegePrepGenius.com/actsuperscore

SAT – CollegePrepGenius.com/satsscorechoice

SAT – CollegePrepGenius.com/superscore

 

  1. ACT – no big deal made to changes with ACT
  • Subtle ACT change that flew under the radar that can benefit the students. Sept 2016 changed ACT – changed allotted time for essay – 40min long –  adopted a new grading system that mimics the SAT scoring perfect 12 – persuasive essay before it is written before the test date

Great info on ACT Essay changes on the test.

  1. Every college takes ACT or SAT – why that is important to know – there is pushback that sometimes you are told that one college takes one or the only. Twenty years ago that was the truth, but no longer. Now there is no difference, they have a formula they use. If the college prefers one over the other they will convert the score
  • Certain areas promote only one test over the other – PSAT – is so important for scholarships as well

CollegePrepGenius.com/satactconversionchart

Good easy overview of both tests

Knowledge Based –

  1. Why you should always write the SAT essay even though it is optional… why even do it? There are 5 reasons why
  • When you write the essay you submit a more complete profile –since most people don’t take it. Can open more doors
  • There are colleges that will exempt a student from writing classes if they write the essay and do well.
  • Admissions counselor will use the essay on the positive deciding factor – you have written the essay and the other student has not – your essay counts in your favor
  • When you sign up for the SAT online – you can opt out of the essay – IF a college requires the essay you have to sit for the entire SAT again – you can still opt in for the essay – if they have enough room you can still write the essay –
  • SAT essay is standardized – proven template to get a perfect score 25 minutes

 

Write you essay in a short time – you have time left over, I can leave early you get a zero for working out early. You must stay the entire time.

CollegePrepGenius.com/requiredSATessay

 

  1. The ACT essay is also optional – for the same reasons you should write
  • The ACT essay is a separate cost
  • One for ACT and one for the essay

 

  1. Colleges are looking to brag about you – you make the colleges look good and they can
  • To improve their reputations
  • Look into merit scholarship awards. Important PSAT – Preliminary SAT

CollegePrepGenius.com/nationalmeritschools (page 20-22)

Minimum number of National Merit scholars they are looking for – gives you the opportunity to talk to them. They list the kids who do well in their brochure.

Make sure you check reputable sources – well-meaning friends, you get the wrong information. If they give you the wrong advice.

 

 

An Author Teaches Her Kids to Write

An author Teaches Her Kids to Write | a WriteShop Review by Felice Gerwitz

An author Teaches Her Kids to Write | a WriteShop Review by Felice Gerwitz

History tends to repeat itself and sometimes in very good ways! When I homeschooled my young children I found they were prolific writers if it was topic that they enjoyed. For example, my kids wrote stories about finding pets and keeping them. In fact, the children in their carefully- crafted stories had the most amazing mother in the world! Why? Because she allowed them to keep each and every pet they randomly found in the yard, and she welcomed them with open arms. This was the antithesis of their “real” mom!

Now was the time to work on their nonfiction abilities.

All of my children have struggled in this regard. They enjoy making up stories, rather than researching and writing a factual account, so I came up with a purpose, a family newsletter. This was a combination of factual writing, as well as poetry and interviews. Thus, the “Cousin’s Newsletter” was born. There were cousin contributors: Katie from Texas, Marie and George from Tennessee, Kathleen from Virginia, and Christina and Neal from Florida. Four of the children were homeschoolers and two were not  so there was a nice mix of school and home types of articles. This was in the ‘90s when computers were just becoming household words and there were still lots of copying and pasting manually to get pretty borders and print out copies that were then mailed to all the family members. It was quite a project so we strove to complete two Cousin Newsletters per year.

Still fiction was a favorite and years later my daughter Christina and I went on to write three novels together.

I felt that Christina was one of those people with a story in her blood! Fast forward to the future and now Christina is homeschooling her little ones. She balked at the idea of using any writing program with her little ones, but then was presented with an opportunity to review Writeshop’s primary curriculum; here is what she had to say:

 

“I recently had the opportunity to use WriteShop Primary (Book A) written by Nancy I. Sanders with my first and second graders. I love the well-written writing program that was well organized and effectively incorporated many of the foundational writing concepts that I wanted them to become proficient in utilizing while still in their formative years. My girls especially enjoyed the layout and presentation of the activity worksheets, while I appreciated that they were learning the basics of writing in a fun and relaxed setting.

Imagination is something my children are not lacking, however, before using this program, their stories or papers often lacked structure and flow.

This book offered a brainstorming section in which they organized their thoughts and even an editing and revising section, which allowed them to analyze their own writing with my guidance. Each activity set was well presented and organized, which allowed me to easily grasp what was going to be covered each day. Overall, both my children and I enjoyed using this program and look forward to continuing with it throughout the school year.”

Catch our reluctant writers episode with Kim Kautzer, the contributor and executive editor of Writeshop Primary. You’ll enjoy hearing how to identify reluctant writers, as well as gain practical tools and tips from Kim.

Do your children have writing struggles? Or do you have great advice for us on ways you encourage your children to write? I’d love to hear from you.

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