What to Teach When Homeschooling Third Grade

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Third grade builds on knowledge and skills gained in third grade while exposing children to increasingly more complex topics. Here’s a simple guide for what to cover and develop in third grade:

What to Teach When Homeschooling Third Grade

 

Third Grade Language Arts

Third graders work on building their knowledge of grammar and usage concepts, including prefixes and suffixes, plurals, similes, and homophones. Children at this age typically benefit from gaining practice with using dictionaries and other reference books, working with abbreviations, and learning how to use punctuation for dialogue. Third grade also focuses on spelling and reading fluently at grade level and identifying important parts of stories, such as settings and main characters.

Third Grade Writing

Third grade writing typically focuses on the improvement of writing skills, including stories that place events in a logical order and informative written passages that demonstrate the ability to reason and use grammar rules in writing. Children at this age can also benefit from using feedback on their writing to revise and improve written pieces.

Third Grade Math

In third grade, understanding of math concepts should continue to grow. Your child should gain practice solving word problems, including those involving time, work with simple perimeter and area problems, tell time to the nearest minute, and measure volume and length. At this age and stage, your child should be able to understand that fractions are parts of a whole and compare them based on size, identify two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes, and compare shapes based on their characteristics. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division continue to be a focus, with numbers growing larger as the year progresses. Your child should also understand place value up to 1,000.

Third Grade History

Third graders often focus on learning about cultures and traditions around the world and comparing them with cultures and traditions of the United States. Your third grader should also learn about the history and branches of the United States government, and key people and events from around the world. Your child may also benefit from studying and exploring the geography of the earth, including forests, deserts, mountains, and oceans.

Third Grade Science

Third grade science builds on life science, physical science, and earth science topics covered in second grade. Third graders often study the eras of the earth and basic astronomy topics, plant and animal life cycles, sources of heat, states of matter, and ecosystems. Your child should also learn about some scientists who have made important contributions to scientific knowledge.

Third Grade Health

Third grade health often covers topics related to healthy growth and development, personal hygiene, medicine, and safe use of household chemicals. Your third grader should also learn about common injuries and how to prevent them, the dangers of smoking cigarettes, and peer pressure.

Third Grade Art

Third graders continue creating and exploring art using different mediums and tools. They may also view art, learn about famous artists, and observe art in its various forms.

For more details on what to teach when you homeschool third grade and the other 13 grades, check out our Year-by-Year Teaching Guide for Homeschoolers:

Click the arrow in the widget below for a preview of what’s included!

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Ten Rules for Homeschool Convention Etiquette

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I believe every situation calls for some etiquette, and homeschool conventions are no exception. Often, vendors represent small, family-run businesses, and sales at conventions provide their largest source of revenue. When customers follow these ten simple rules, everyone benefits.

Ten Rules for Homeschool Convention Etiquette

The next time you enjoy a homeschool convention, I encourage you to practice these ten demonstrations of courtesy. As you do so, you can be sure that you will bless and encourage the vendors and your fellow attendees.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #1

Make sure checks or credit cards are good, or pay in cash. Most vendors are able to authorize credit cards at their booths. However, if your credit card does not go through, valuable time will be lost in rectifying the situation, so make sure your accounts are in good shape before you go to a convention. If a check bounces, fees are charged and both the vendor and the customer have to deal with the account balance problems. Many vendors prefer cash, which sometimes helps vendors pay for immediate needs associated with convention expenses, such as such as food, gas, hotel expenses, etc.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #2

Handle all products carefully and respectfully. The vendor’s inventory is expensive and should be handled gently. If items are damaged, vendors may not be able to sell them. One way to appropriately inspect books would be to open them up gently, not spreading them completely open, thereby keeping their spines intact and preserving the “new” feel of the book. Of course, it is always best to peruse sample copies when they are available.

After reviewing a product, put it back in the same location where you found it. If you don’t know where it goes, hand it back to the vendor, or ask where to put it back in its proper place.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #3

Don’t shop before the vendor hall officially opens. Many vendors are scrambling to “set up shop” right up until the moment the convention sales officially begin. Honor the starting and ending times posted for sales, and don’t rush the vendors. They are eager to serve you, but they need to get organized first.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #4

Diligently supervise your children at all times. Take advantage of the wonderful children’s programs that convention coordinators have provided for your children. The convention sponsors may also offer babysitting services, or the hotel may provide those services. You can also share “babysitting duty” with another mom: one of you watches all the children while the other mom shops; then you trade off. If you prefer to keep your children with you, be sure to keep them within reach—literally—at all times, for their protection and for the protection of the vendors’ products as well.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #5

Shop, don’t study. Vendors understand that you would like to browse through a book before buying it, but to stand in front of the booth and read through the entire book is rude. Not only will the booth be less accessible to other potential customers while you are there reading, but it’s likely that the book will look “used” after you have read it from cover to cover, and no one else will want to purchase it. If you are thoroughly “sold” on a product, buy it and use it at home.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #6

Keep the traffic moving, as much as it is in your power to do so. Don’t congregate with friends (new or old) directly in front of a booth, especially with your shopping carts or strollers in tow. Vendors are dependent on person-to-person sales, so be polite and congregate elsewhere; avoid creating traffic jams that can rob vendors of business.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #7

Remember that the vendor needs to talk to as many potential customers as possible. Vendors love to talk with you, especially when homeschooling is the topic, but remember that the time they have available to interact—hopefully with everyone at the convention—is limited. Be friendly, ask your questions, and step aside so that the next guy can ask his questions.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #8

Expect to pay for good customer service. Vendors who don’t deal with high-volume inventories are often more willing to discuss their products and personally answer your questions. If a vendor “sells” you on his product, buy it from him—not from the high-volume-sales vendor on the next row, who was too busy to answer your questions. Pay for what you get, and don’t take unfair advantage of helpful people—instead, support their businesses with your purchases.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #9

Support the speakers. Most speakers at homeschool conventions receive no compensation for their contributions to the event. In fact, many speakers are required to pay a fee in order to conduct a workshop, demonstration, or class at a convention. Take advantage of the information and encouragement the speakers can offer, and if you like what you hear and see, seek out their booths and consider trying the products that impress you the most.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #10

Please honor the established closing time at the convention sales. When the vendor hall is closing, make your purchases and leave on time, like the way you “kindly make your way to the circulation desk” (sound familiar?) when the public library announces it “will close in fifteen minutes.” You can be sure that most vendors are very tired after a long day’s work and are eager to get off their feet too. Make your final purchases . . . and come back tomorrow, bright and early.

Most convention vendors love what they do or they wouldn’t be there. Many regard the hours they spend interacting with, and explaining their products/services to, potential customers as ministry. I encourage you to practice these ten rules of etiquette to enhance not only your shopping experience but the vendors’ experiences too!

See you at the conventions!

 

Linda Brodsky and her husband Mark have owned Brodsky Ministries for more than ten years. They sell curricula, T-shirts, U.S.-made toys, natural health products, and more. Their children can be found at homeschool conventions painting faces and making balloon sculptures. They have five children on earth, three in heaven, and are praying for more. Visit their website at www.brodskyministries.com.

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free TOS apps to read the magazine on your Kindle Fire or Apple or Android devices.

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25 Alternatives to a Traditional Book Report

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The words “book report” can elicit groans from students at any age. Writing a summary of a book isn’t necessarily the most effective way to demonstrate learning in the digital age. With summary book websites online, the traditional book report is no longer an enriching task. Here are 25 alternatives to the traditional book report for students to demonstrate their comprehension and deeper understanding of a book.

25 Book Report Alternatives

  1. Interview a character from the book. Write a series of questions and answers from the protagonist or antagonist. You can even try focusing on a flat character.
  2. Write a diary or journal from the main character’s point of view. This can be done in a physical format or through blog posts online. Try a student-friendly blog site like kidblog.org or edublogs.org.
  3. Create a stop-motion video of major scenes from the book. Here are some tutorials on using stop motion in education.
  4. Draw a comic book version of the book.
  5. Give a book talk convincing someone to check out this book from a library.
  6. Write a script for a scene or scenes from the book. Cast famous actors as the characters.
  7. Create a playlist of songs that go with important moments or characters in the book. Explain the reason you chose each song.
  8. Design your own Google Lit Trip for the novel.
  9. Make a book jacket for the novel. Look at traditional book jackets for inspiration.
  10. Write the climax of the story from a different character’s point of view. (If it’s in the third person, try telling it in first person or vice versa.)
  11. Write an alternate ending for the story.
  12. Make a picture book or children’s version of your novel.
  13. Choose one of the themes (lessons) of the book and write about how it relates to current events.
  14. Write a narrative poem based on the plot of the novel.
  15. Make a scrapbook for one of the characters in the book.
  16. Explain why this book should or should not be read by students in your grade level. Back up your argument with specific evidence from the text.
  17. Create a glossary of vocabulary words from the book. Use images and specific sentences and context from the novel.
  18. Read a related book (same author, related theme, same series) and compare and contrast them in a short essay or Venn diagram.
  19. Create an online Jeopardy game based on themes, characters, plot questions, and other elements from the novel.
  20. Write a resume for the main character of the book. Use what you know about the character to make inferences to their experience and qualifications.
  21. If the main character is a child, write a short story about an event that happens in their adult life. If the main character is an adult, imagine an event that happened in their childhood and write about it.
  22. Create a social media profile (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat) and some posts for a character in the book. Use these templates or create real pages that comply with terms of service.
  23. Design the setting in Minecraft. Build a character’s home, neighborhood, city, or even country.
  24. Make a family tree for the main character of your novel. Create some artifacts (birth certificates, newspaper articles, scrapbook entries, photographs, etc.)
  25. Write a letter to the author suggesting changes in the novel.

These 25 ideas will have your student excited about reading and sharing what they learned from their latest book!

Of course, there is nothing wrong with writing a traditional book report, either. Check out this link for a lesson for middle schoolers on writing a book report.

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Hands On Math Activity: Estimating Area

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Here’s a hands-on activity you can do with your child to directly apply the concept of area to the place she knows best – her house. In addition, it is a good review of math skills and measurement because she must use a measuring tape to measure each room.

Hands On Math Activity: Estimating Area

Challenge your child to guess the largest and smallest rooms of the house – she might be surprised at how big her room really is!

What You Need:


  • Measuring tape
  • 
Paper and pencil
  • Clipboard (optional)
  • Real estate section of a local newspaper

What You Do:

  1. Begin by taking a walk around the house and asking your child to take some guesses. Which room does she think has the smallest area? Which has the largest area? Which bedroom has the smallest area? Which bathroom has the smallest area?
  1. Explain to your child that she will be measuring each room in the house to check if she guessed correctly. Offer a small prize depending on how many of her guesses are correct.
  1. Give her a sheet of paper and ask her to write the following on the top: A = L x W (Area = Length x Width) 12 inches = 1 foot. Then set her loose to roam the house, measuring and recording the length and width of each room.
  1. When she’s finished, help your fourth grader find the area of each room by multiplying the length and width. Point out that the area is reported in square feet. Compare the results with her guesses. Hopefully, she has earned a prize. If not, a small “participation” prize for her effort will keep her motivated to learn more!
  1. Now it’s time to tie this into some real-life learning. Have your child tally the total of all the rooms. If the weather allows, and you have a house with a yard, consider going outside and measuring your house and hard perimeters while you’re at it! Then, open the real estate section of your local newspaper and check out what you find. Which houses are closest to yours in size? Which houses would YOU most like to live in, and how big are they? Are the biggest houses always the most expensive? How big is your child’s dream house, and what does it contain?

What’s Going On:

To understand the concept of area, your fourth grader needs to grasp several underlying skills, such as measurement and multiplication. Next year, students will take these concepts even further as they learn to calculate percentages, decimals, and interest payments. Keep it real and relevant, and these big ideas will make sense in a deep, enduring way. And who knows? Maybe your young mathematician will even end up in that dream house after all!

This fun hands-on math activity was provided by the good folks at Education.com. Education.com offers guided lessons, printable worksheets, teaching tools and more for parents and educators. You can learn more at Education.com and follow them on Facebook.

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Stomp Rocket Science: Free Lesson Plan and a Giveaway

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After being cooped up all winter with textbooks and indoor activities, even moms get spring fever! With the sun starting to make its debut and the weather turning warmer, now is the perfect time to get out from behind those text books and get some hands-on science lessons outdoors.

Give Spring a Science Boost with Stomp Rockets

Maybe you remember Stomp Rockets as a kid, or you’ve seen them in the store? After all, they have been around for almost 25 years. If you have’t played with them yourself, you can tell it’s going to be fun, just from the name. Stomp Rockets!

Stomp Rocket Ultra LED is 100% KID powered: Run, jump and STOMP to launch these rockets up to 150 feet in the air! Click to turn on the powerful LED light inside, and these Stomp Rockets will really shine in the night sky, so it’s fun to play outdoors after dusk and on gloomy days too. Light up the night with vibrant color. The LED lights inside these rockets make them bright enough to double as a flashlight! Stomp Rocket Ultra LED is strong and durable, and great for active, outdoor play. Stomp Rockets have won lots of awards from industry experts, including iParenting Media, Dr. Toy and Creative Child Magazine. Includes a Stomp Launcher and 4 foam-tipped Ultra Stomp Rockets with bright LED lights inside. Refill rockets also available (item #20502). For kids ages 6 and up.

As if running, jumping, stomping and launching rockets into the air wasn’t just great all by itself, there are a TON of science experiments and concepts to learn from all of this fun.  Concepts include force, gravity, trajectory and so much more.

You can do a quick Google search to find some activities but did you know there is a corresponding curriculum you can use with your Stomp Rockets???

Use the “Stompin’ Science” book with Stomp Rocket Launch Sets to make science a blast! Kids can learn about things like gravity (what goes up must come down), trajectory, force and more by running, jumping and STOMPING to launch rockets — so learning is fun, interactive and active! Plus, the “Stompin’ Science” book makes teaching easy. It contains lessons for students of all ages and grade levels. Great for teachers, homeschoolers and parents who’d like to have some educational fun with their kids.

Here’s a peek at the lessons included in this book:

  1. Top Secret Toy Testing (grade K-8)
  2. Exploring Force and Motion (grades 3-12)
  3. Exploring Force and Mass (grades 3-12)
  4. Angling for a Stompin’ Good Time (grades 3-12)
  5. Speed Rockets (grades 3-8)
  6. What Goes Up ….. (grades 3-8)
  7. What Goes Up … May Not Come Down (grades 8-12)
  8. Up, Up and Away (grades 8-12)
  9. Get a Blast of Energy (grades 10-12)
  10. Analyzing Projectile Motion (grades 10-12)

Those are just the lesson plans. There’s another 16 pages dedicated to science fair projects!

Aren’t you super excited to get outside and use your stomp rockets to teach science now?!?!

To give you even MORE motivation, I’ve got a two special treats for you!

First, I’m give you lessons plans to teach Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion using your Stomp Rockets. This lesson plan has 3 adaptable experiments you can do in your own back yard and note booking pages to use too. This lesson plan is free, but for a very limited time only, so be sure to grab yours while you can (link at the end of this post).

Here’s the other special treat (I’m giddy with excitement!) …. one lucky Modern Homeschool Family reader is going to win his or her own Stomp Rocket set and science project guide!

Enter to Win Stomp Rocket Science

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If you just can’t wait to get started using Stomp Rockets and the lesson plans, you can find them on Amazon Prime:

Stomp Rocket Science Lesson Plan with Printable Worksheets and Notebooking Pages

As promised, here’s the lesson plan. Don’t forget, it’s only free through May 3rd, so download yours now!

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What the Research Says About Homeschooling

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This article is authored by Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., President, National Home Education Research Institute.

Parent-led home-based education continued to be common, if not the norm, for most of the time for most children’s lives through the nineteenth century. Things changed quickly, however, during the late 1800s and into the twentieth century. Homeschooling was nearly nonexistent, perhaps only 13,000 schoolchildren in the United States by the 1970s.1 Then a stunning change began around the early 1980s such that just over 2 million students in grades K to 12 were estimated to be homeschooled in the United States during the spring of 2010.2

Much of public opinion is very positive toward this private educational practice. However, genuinely curious people and ideological skeptics and opponents of homeschooling continue to ask questions about home-based education. Research continues to answer some of these basic questions.

How do Homeschoolers Score on Academic Achievement?

Major nationwide studies and multiple smaller-scale studies are consistent in their findings that the home educated are performing above average in terms of academic achievement. The most recent nationwide study (conducted by Dr. Brian Ray and the National Homeschool Education Research Institute) found that home-educated students in grades K to 12 were scoring well above public-school students in all subject areas—reading, language, mathematics, social studies, and science—on standardized academic achievement tests.3 Ray’s findings are in concert with those of the preceding nationwide study done by Dr. Lawrence Rudner.4 In repeated studies, home-educated students typically score at the 65th to 80th percentile on nationally normed standardized achievement tests. This is 15 to 30 points higher, on average, than public-school students, whose average is the 50th percentile

Questions About Homeschool Achievement Research

A number of valid questions arise about research on homeschool student achievement. For example, do only the children of wealthier parents do well? No, regardless of the homeschool family’s income, they tend to score well above the public school average. In public schools, however, income is strongly correlated with student achievement.

Second, do home-educated children of certified teachers do better than the others? No, the teacher-certification status of the parents has very little or no relationship to the students’ scores. While nearly all public-school teachers have government teaching certificates and only about 10 percent of homeschool parents have ever had such certificates, homeschool students consistently outperform public-school students.

Home-educated students whose parents are high school graduates (with no additional formal education) are scoring above the general national average on achievement tests. On the other hand, public-school students with similarly educated parents score below the national average.

A fourth question is this: Are only the “best homeschool students” being tested and therefore the “average score” is high? It is difficult in social science research, such as that on homeschool families, to be sure that perfectly representative samples are involved. There are several pieces of evidence, however, that the finding of high achievement applies to the population in general. For example, in Ray’s nationwide study, he found that both students whose parents knew their scores before participating in the study and those who did not know their scores were performing well above average.5 Furthermore, in states where all homeschool students are required to be registered with the government and be administered academic achievement tests, their scores have consistently been well above the public-school average.6

These findings naturally lead to one more question about research on achievement: Is government control related to high academic achievement? Research has repeatedly shown that there is no correlation between the degree of state regulation or control of homeschooling and homeschool students’ achievement.7 Many have argued that the government needs to regulate this form of private education to make sure children learn. No research evidence supports this claim. Home-educated children in states with low regulation score just as well as those in high-regulation states. Regardless of high or low regulation, their scores are above the public-school average. Furthermore, research by Dr. Brian Ray and Dr. Bruce Eagleson found no relationship between the degree of state control over homeschooling and home-educated students’ scores on the SAT college-entrance exam.8

What About Homeschool Socialization?

Now thirty years into the modern home-education movement, homeschool parents still hear the question, What about socialization? The term socialization is usually not well defined and often refers to a perceived negative that home-educated students are not attending institutional classroom schools with same-age peers for thirteen to seventeen years of their lives and experiencing the peer pressure and collective milieu found in those settings. Multiple researchers and their studies repeatedly find, however, the home educated to be developing as well or better socially, emotionally, and psychologically than institutionally schooled children and youth.9

Research time and again finds that homeschool students and their parents are very engaged in their communities, including activities such as sports teams, co-operative classes, church activities, and community service. Further, homeschool children typically interact with a broader range of ages (of children and adults) than do most institutional school children.

Why Are the Home-Educated Doing So Well?

Recurring positive research findings associated with homeschooling beg the question, Why are they doing so well? As a man who has taught in public and private schools, served as a university professor at the undergraduate and graduate levels, tutored children and youth in a variety of settings, and been a student himself, the author poses series of questions, and answers, that might explain why the home educated do so well.10 Ask any “professional educator” the following questions:

1. How would you like a class size of 3 to 6?
2. Would you like to be able to individualize or customize the curriculum and pedagogical approach for each of the students, according to his or her talents, needs, desires, and dreams?
3. How would you like it if you could essentially tutor each one of your students?
4. Would you like it if you could depend on the student mastering the knowledge or skill before moving on?
5. Would you enjoy being able to be flexible and change the curriculum or pedagogy if needed?
6. What if you regularly had time to stop for the teachable moment?
7. What if there were essential value consistency between you and your students, or their parents?
8. Would it be beneficial to have large amounts of social capital—for example, trust and love—in your classroom?
9. How would you like it if the biggest distraction during your day was, typically, a 7-year-old arguing with a 10-year-old about whose turn it is to wash the dishes?
10. How would you like it if you almost always had time to thoughtfully and carefully work out, according to a solid and dependable philosophical framework, with each student how to face dilemmas, challenges, issues, temptations, and difficult relationships in life?
11. What if you cared so much about, loved each of your students so much, that you would teach for free (i.e., no “salary and benefits”) all next year?

Do all of these opportunities that are naturally systemic to home-based education mean all parents will fully take advantage of all of them? Not necessarily. It appears, however, that most parents and teens are putting the potentials to good use.

But How Will Homeschoolers Do in the “Real World” of Adulthood?

Dr. Ray’s study of over seven thousand adults in the United States who had been home educated was the first large-scale study suggesting graduates of homeschooling are doing well.11 For example, this study found those who had been homeschooled are more civically engaged than other adults, shown by the fact that they vote; attend public meetings; write or telephone editors and public officials; participate in protests and boycotts; contribute money to political candidates, parties, and causes; and work for political candidates, parties, and causes at a higher rate than do their American adult peers. The newest research on adults who were home educated also reveals positive findings. Dr. Michael Cogan found that college students who are homeschooled earn higher first-year and fourth-year GPAs when controlling for demographic, pre college, engagement, and first term academic factors.12 The body of research on homeschool graduates is still relatively small but is revealing positive things associated with home education.

Who Homeschools and Why Do They Do It?

Research continues to show that home educators are from all social and racial/ethnic backgrounds: parents with a tenth-grade education, others with Ph.D.s; the wealthy and the less well-off; agnostics, Christians, humanists, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, and New Age devotees; families with eight children and those with one; married couples and single parents; those in the inner city and those in the wilderness of Alaska; sales clerks, public school teachers, doctors, and plumbers; and parents who never stopped being the main and daily educators of their 15-year-old son from his birth, and parents who removed their daughter during the seventh grade from an institutional school setting.13

Every year the variety of home educators broadens and expands. Research published by the U.S Department of Education, for example, discovered that 23 percent of home-educated students in the spring of 2003 were black/non-Hispanic, Hispanic, or “other,” while families from such minority groups were much rarer in homeschool groups about a decade earlier.14 The main reasons for homeschooling are to (a) customize or individualize each child’s education, (b) accomplish more academically than in an institutional school, (c) provide a safe learning environment, (d) offer consistently parent-guided social interaction, (e) enhance strong family ties, and (f) transmit the values, beliefs, and worldview of the parents rather than those of the public-school system or of others. The last reason—the philosophical and political one—naturally leads to the next section of this article.

Academic and Policymaker Angst Over Home-Based Education

Despite consistent and broad research evidence that homeschooling is associated with positive outcomes, behaviors, and traits, it appears an increasing number of academics and policymakers are expressing concerns about parent-led education. For example, Dr. Rob Reich clearly implied that the home educated will not be as decent, civil, or respectful as state-schooled students.15 Dr. Christopher Lubienski claimed the following: “The accelerated movement toward home schooling reflects a serious threat to the collective good . . .”16 More recently, Dr. Kim Yuracko expressed that there should be more discussion about whether and how “. . . a liberal society should condone or constrain homeschooling, particularly as practiced by religious fundamentalist families explicitly seeking to shield their children from liberal values of sex equality, gender role fluidity and critical rationality.”17 Further, she argued “. . . that states must check rampant forms of sexism in homeschooling so as to prevent the severe under-education of girls by homeschooling parents who believe in female subordination.” In 2008, Dr. Reich argued for more state control over home education to protect his posited interests of the state, the parents, and the children in the education of children.18

On a related note, it seems more policymakers are willing to explicitly allege that too many parents use homeschooling as a way to hide evil actions against their children and that a major purpose of schools or school laws is to keep all children under the eye of the state and to try to “catch bad people” before they commit evil deeds. For example, some in Florida recently suggested law or policy might need to be changed regarding homeschooling because some parents allegedly pulled their children out of public school so they could hide their abuse.19 Many persons miss, however, two major points here. First, the Florida Department of Children and Families already knew about the matter and admits that it needs to work to repair the “. . . total systematic failure of the child welfare system.”20 Second, in a free nation, education or schooling laws, if they should exist at all, should be used to encourage literacy in citizens and should not be used as pre-emptive dragnets to control families’ lives in order to try to detect or catch “evil people” before they do bad things.

Most of the arguments against home education or for state control over private home education also essentially ignore three things. First, there is no empirical research evidence to support their claims that homeschooling causes or will cause negative effects for individuals or for society. Second, pushing for state control does not truly give the child more control or protect his rights more; it simply gives the state more power than either the parent or child and gives the state ultimate power over the child. Third, a nation like the United States that considers the people “free,” is a constitutional republic based on Biblical Scriptural concepts, and considers parents able to freely conduct their families’ lives unless there is compelling evidence that they are harming their children should not be considering ways to infringe on parents’ fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their children.21

In Sum

Research continues to show very positive outcomes and behaviors related to homeschooling. Although research on home-based education does not cover all possibilities and nuances to be considered in scientific endeavors, no empirical evidence exists that homeschooling is generally harming children or society. Finally, research cannot answer the question, Should parents nurture and educate their children in the context of parent-led home-based education as the norm? Ultimately, only divine revelation can properly answer that.

Brian D. Ray is an internationally known scholar and president of the nonprofit National Home Education Research Institute in Oregon, U.S.A. (www.NHERI.org). He earned his Ph.D. in science education from Oregon State University, M.S. in zoology from Ohio University, and B.S. in Biology from the University of Puget Sound. He has been a professor of science and education at the undergraduate and graduate levels, has been a classroom teacher in both public and private schools, and has taught homeschool students. Dr. Ray does research and speaking internationally and provides expert testimony to legislators and in courts that focus on homeschooling (home-based education, home education, home schooling) research and pedagogy.

Endnotes:

1. Lines, Patricia M. (1991, October). “Estimating the Home Schooled Population” (working paper OR 91-537). Washington DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education.
2. Ray, Brian D. (2011). 2.04 “Million Homeschool Students in the United States in 2010.” Salem, OR: National Home Education Research Institute. Retrieved 1/7/2011 online www.nheri.org/HomeschoolPopulationReport2010.pdf.
3. Ray, Brian D. (2010, February 3). “Academic Achievement and Demographic Traits of Homeschool Students: A Nationwide Study.” Academic Leadership Journal, 8(1). Retrieved February 10, 2010 from www.academicleadership.org/emprical_research/Academic_Achievement_and_Demographic_Traits_of_Homeschool_Students_A_Nationwide_Study.shtml. Also see research at www.nheri.org.
4. Rudner, Lawrence M. (1999). “Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students In 1998.” Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 7(8), and retrieved 1/21/2010 from epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/viewFile/543/666.
5. Ray, 2010, see above.
6. Oregon Department of Education [Office of Student Services]. (1999, May 20). “Annual report of home school statistics” [1998-99]. Salem, OR: Author. Also retrieved 7/14/2010 from www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=2081. Tennessee Department of Education. (1988). “Tennessee Statewide Averages, Home School Student Test Results, Stanford Achievement Test, Grades 2, 5, 7 and 9.” Nashville, TN: Author.
7. Ray, 2010, see above. Ray, Brian D. (2000). “Home Schooling: The Ameliorator of Negative Influences on Learning? Peabody Journal of Education, 75(1 & 2), 71-106. Ray, Brian D. (1997). Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America: Academic Achievement, Family Characteristics, and Longitudinal Traits. Salem, OR: National Home Education Research Institute (www.nheri.org).
8. Ray, Brian D., and Eagleson, Bruce K. (2008, August 14). “State Regulation of Homeschooling and Homeschoolers’ SAT Scores.” Journal of Academic Leadership, 6(3). Retrieved December 7, 2010 from www.academicleadership.org/article/State_Regulation_of_Homeschooling_and_Homeschoolers_SAT_Scores.
9. Medlin, Richard G. (2006). “Homeschooled Children’s Social Skills.” Home School Researcher, 17(1), 1-8. A summary of research on this topic may be found in the following: Ray, Brian D. (2009). Home Education Reason and Research: Common Questions and Research-Based Answers. Salem, OR: National Home Education Research Institute, available at www.nheri.org.
10. The author presented many of these points in Ray, 2010 (see above); Ray, Brian D. (2000). “Home Schooling: The Ameliorator of Negative Influences on Learning?” Peabody Journal of Education, 75(1 & 2), 71-106; and, Ray, Brian D. (1997). Strengths of Their Own—Home Schoolers Across America: Academic Achievement, Family Characteristics, and Longitudinal Traits. Salem, OR: National Home Education Research Institute (www.nheri.org).
11. Ray, Brian D. (2004). Home Educated and Now Adults: Their Community and Civic Involvement, Views About Homeschooling, and Other Traits. Salem, OR: National Home Education Research Institute.
12. Cogan, Michael F. (2010, Summer). “Exploring Academic Outcomes of Homeschooled Students.” Journal of College Admission, Summer 2010, 18 25.
13. Ray, 2010, see above.
14. United States Department of Education. (2009). “Homeschooled Students.” (Participation in Education, Elementary/Secondary Education, Indicator 6, 2009). Retrieved January 19, 2010 from nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/2009/section1/indicator06.asp#info.
15. Reich, Rob. (2002). “The Civic Perils of Homeschooling.” Educational Leadership, 59(7), 56-59.
16. Lubienski, Christopher. (2003, January 17). “Does Homeschooling Promote the Public Good?” CQ Researcher [Congressional Quarterly], 13(2), p. 41.
17. Yuracko, Kim. (2007, April 14). “Education Off the Grid: Constitutional Constraints on Homeschooling.” Northwestern University School of Law, Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 07-11. Retrieved April 29, 2008, from papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=980100.
18. Reich, Rob. (2008). “On Regulating Homeschooling: A Reply to Glanzer.” Educational Theory, 58(1), 17-23.
19. Lawrence, David, Jr., Martinez, Roberto, & Sewell, James. (2011, March 10). The Nubia Report: The Investigative Panel’s Findings and Recommendations. Retrieved March 16, 2011, from www.dcf.state.fl.us/newsroom/publicdocuments/southern/barahona/Barahona%20Independent%20Review%20panel/Final%20Report/Final%20Report.pdf.
20. Retrieved March 16, 2011, from www.dcf.state.fl.us/initiatives/barahona/more.shtml.
21. Florida Department of Children and Families. (2011). Barahona case. For more information, see www.ParentalRights.org.

Copyright © 2011 by Brian D. Ray. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, Summer 2011.
Visit The Old Schoolhouse® at www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com to view a full-length sample copy of the magazine especially for homeschoolers. Click the graphic of the moving computer monitor on the left. Email the Publisher at Publisher@TheHomeschoolMagazine.com.

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Free Beauty and the Beast Activity Sheets

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Whether or not you’ve seen the new 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast (and you really should, it’s excellent!), you and your family can enjoy these free printables.

Just click any of the images below to get your free printables.

Free Beauty and the Beast Activity Pages

Free Beauty and the Beast Coloring Pages

 

Here’s a clip from one of my favorite songs:

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Visit the official BEAUTY AND THE BEAST website here: http://movies.disney.com/beauty-and-the-beast-2017

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is now playing in theatres everywhere!

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What to Teach When Homeschooling Second Grade

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Second grade builds on knowledge and skills gained in first grade while exposing children to increasingly more complex topics. Here’s a simple guide for what to cover and develop in second grade:

What to Teach When Homeschooling Second Grade

Second Grade Language Arts

In second grade, children are usually developing greater understanding of the use of language. This includes basic grammar rules, definition of second-grade level vocabulary words, and basics like capitalization and punctuation rules. At this age and stage, children can typically use both nouns and verbs correctly and have an understanding of action and descriptive words. Children at this grade level can usually read grade level books silently and aloud, using phonics to decode unfamiliar words.

Second Grade Writing

Now that your child can write simple sentences, he or she is likely ready to write longer sentences and even short stories. Your child’s short story should have an easy to identify beginning, middle, and end, and use correct punctuation and capitalization. Spelling and penmanship should show some improvement over the previous school year.

Second Grade Math

In second grade, your child’s understanding of math concepts should continue to grow. He should be able to solve word problems, skip count by 2s, 5s, 10s, and 100s, and write and identify four-digit numbers. He or she should also be able to tell time to the nearest five minutes, work with whole numbers on a number line, estimate sums of 10 and 100, and use English and metric units of length in measuring objects.

Second Grade History

Second grade is an appropriate time to teach about important people in United States history, important celebrations and observances, traditions, and the roles families play in society. It’s also a good time to teach about communities and roles in communities. Children at this age and stage should also explore maps, including local, state, and world maps.

Second Grade Science

Second graders typically learn about life science, physical science, and earth science subjects, including such topics as matter and energy, animal life, plant life, cycles, and pollination. Second graders also focus on subjects such as weather, gravity, rocks, and soil.

Second Grade Health

Second grade health often covers topics such as the bones and muscles of the body, personal hygiene, and the importance of rest and proper nutrition. Second graders may also learn about germs and illnesses, safety rules for everyday activities, and ways to deal with bullies.

Second Grade Art

Second graders continue creating and exploring art using different mediums and tools. They may also view art, learn about famous artists, and observe art in its various forms.

For more details on what to teach when you homeschool second grade and the other 13 grades, check out our Year-by-Year Teaching Guide for Homeschoolers:

Click the arrow in the widget below for a preview of what’s included!

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Free Printable Easter Activity Sheets

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Easter might still be a few weeks away but we’re celebrating early by giving you these printable Easter activity sheets for FREE, so you have time to incorporate them into your lesson plans.

Your child can practice Easter vocabulary, reading and word identification with the three fun printable activity sheets.

Just fill out the form below to download them. If you’re looking for more free stuff, be sure to visit our store on Gumroad.

Free Printable Easter Activity Sheets

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How to Help Your Child Prepare for the SAT

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High school juniors across the country are preparing to take the SAT in the next few weeks. At this point, you may be wondering what you could possibly do to improve your score.

How to Help Your Child Prepare for the SAT

Here are some steps to follow in the next few weeks to make the most of the remaining time.

14 Days Out — Get a current snapshot of your skills

If you haven’t already, take an SAT practice test. Your score and skills analysis will give you a clear starting point for planning. Organize a study plan with these steps:

  • Identify your good areas that you want to make great. Every student has a strong suit; figure that out and optimize it.
  • Identify the areas that need the greatest improvement, and, here’s the key: find the few highest-impact skills in those areas that will produce the biggest impact. Focus on those high-impact skills.
  • Prepare a detailed study schedule that charts your expected personal growth over the next two weeks, including specific goals for your areas of focus.

A well-trained tutor can help use the practice test data to focus your efforts so you can improve during the time that remains.

10 Days Out — Work on time management

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with some of the test construct and high-impact skills, you need to start to think about time management. How are you breaking up your time for the reading passages and questions? How much time are you spending on the easy and medium math questions versus the hard questions? These nuanced time-management decisions can have a big impact on performance.

7 Days Out — Take another practice test and assess progress

At this point, take another practice test. Assess your growth in your scores and skills. What has grown? What hasn’t? Now, target the skills that need the most attention and focus there for the remaining days.

1 Day Out – Summarize & Review

With the end in sight, it’s time to consolidate your lessons learned onto one sheet. What high-impact skills are most important for you? What grammar rules, math formulae, reading strategies are the most helpful? And what time management approaches optimize your performance best? Write these down for review and bring them along in the car ride on test day morning. And be confident! The key is that you have insight into your own personal performance and you know how to personalize your own test-taking approach to meet your specific needs. That’s the key to success.

About Matthew Pietrafetta
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO of the test preparation company Academic Approach.

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