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Senator Toomey sponsoring bill that would make it easier for grandparents to help their homeschooled grandchildren
Howard Richman, 11/17/2014

Here's the text of a press release from Senator Toomey's office:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) wants to make it easier for all parents to save for their children’s education.

He is supporting the 401(Kids) Education Savings Account Act, which increases the annual contribution a person can make to a Coverdell Education Savings Account to $14,000 each year. Currently, the Coverdell ESA can be used to cover K-12 education expenses as well as college costs. Sen. Toomey’s legislation would permit parents who homeschool a child to use these accounts to offset the cost of books, supplies, and equipment. Further, this measure permits an account holder to roll unused funds into a Roth IRA or to be used to purchase a first home....

 

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German Homeschool Family Can Stay!
Howard Richman, 3/5/2014

On March 4, Homeland Security reversed course. After spending years reversing the asylum that had been granted by an immigration judge to a German Homeschooling family, they suddenly decided to let that family stay in the U.S. where they can homeschool legally. 

If Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their six children were deported to Germany and they continued to homeschool, the German government would have broken up the family.  The Obama administration might have been worried about the adverse publicity that would have resulted. More than 125,000 people signed the online White House petition that I told you about in my April 2013 blog posting about this case....

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Comments: 24


'Black Friday' Sale on items in our online store! Games for learning, fun geography book, 'Math by Kids!'.....
Susan Richman, 11/25/2013

Seeing all the announcements of 'Black Friday' sales coming up, we've decided to put some items on special sales for the next MONTH. Check out our online store (just click on each title!) for full details. Might make fun gifts for your kids!

 

  • Math by Kids!  by Susan Richman. This fun 'workbook' is a compendium of original-- and intriguing!-- math word problems created by homeschool kids from all over the nation. We used to have a regular 'feature' in our old print newsletter, featuring original math problems homeschool kids had written -- and this book was a collection of the very best ones. Good for all age kids-- problems from 5 year olds up through VERY advanced (and clever!!) high school students. Many of the kids taking part also enjoyed some of great math contest programs available, like MathCounts and the Math Olympiad and modeled their problems on those engaging multi-step non-routine problems. Many problems are also similar to problems found in the popular Figure it Out math workbook series we sell in our online store. Full explanations for all problems included in the book. These are not 'boring' math problems-- and if the book is really  a success, then your kids will start creating their own problems, too!  Regular price $6.95, now just $3.48 on sale!!! (see the 'Our Publications' section of our online store)
  • The Scrambled States of America (hardback book), by Laurie Keller. This book is a *favorite* of most kids who see it-- from preschoolers through late elementary years. Our 9-year-old grand-daughter from VA was reading it aloud to our 2-year-old grand-daughter from Israel when they were all together here at our farm in Western PA this October-- and the little one was enthralled!! Very humorous-- and makes learning about the states and where they are located light-hearted and engaging. Delightful and whimsical illustrations! Regular price $9.95, now just $4.98 on sale -- limited supply!!! 

  • SET: The Family Game of Visual Perception. This terrific and fast-paced game has won over 25 'Best Game' awards! Our kids LOVED this growing up-- and we were introduced to it by another homeschooling family, of course! Takes creative analytical thinking-- one year our son Jacob attended a special summer math enrichment college program, and his special team project there was to analyze this game! Most kids get MUCH faster than their parents surprisingly quickly! Can be played solo or in a group of any size. A great game for a range of ages! Was $11.95 on close-out sale... NOW just $5.98 while supplies last!!!! Just the right size to fit in a stocking, or to give as a little gift on a night of Hanukkah, too!
Hope you find something fun for the children on your 'list' this year!! Check out the other 'close-out' items in our Online Store (link above), too!! Hope you all have a very happy holiday season!
Susan Richman, Editor, PA Homeschoolers

 

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Hearing on Tuesday -- Homeland Security Prosecutes German Homeschooling Family
Howard Richman, 4/21/2013

In November 2008, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike sold their grand piano (Uwe is a piano teacher) and fled to the United States with their five children. In Germany they were paying fines and being threatened with having their children taken away from them. The facts of the case are not in dispute:

[Uwe and Hannalore] began homeschooling their children in September 2006 primarily for religious reasons. Their decision was in knowing violation of the compulsory school attendance law [of Germany]. Several times in the following months, the applicants were warned verbally and in writing that they were in violation of the compulsory school attendance law. They were fined. Police forcibly escorted the children to school one day. The adult applicants were warned that they could lose custody of their children in they continued to refuse to send their children to school. Legal proceedings resulted in the adult applicants being found guilty of violating the compulsory school attendance law. By the time the applicants left Germany, their fines had risen to approximately 7,000 Euros.

After fleeing to the United States, they requested asylum, which was granted to them by an immigration judge on January 24, 2010. According to the The Christian Post:

In his ruling, Judge Lawrence O. Burman acknowledged that not every country can be expected to follow the United States’ Constitution. But in the case of the Romeikes, formerly of Bissingen, Germany, Burman said the rights that were being violated were “basic human rights that no country has a right to violate.”

“Homeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress,” the judge stated in his decision, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which represented the family in their case.

Though Germany is a democratic country and a U.S. ally, Burman noted Tuesday that its policy against homeschoolers is “repellent to everything we believe as Americans.”

The Department of Homeland Security appealed the immigration judge's decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and on May 4, 2012, the BIA accepted their argument that since German law prevented everyone from homeschooling, the Romeike family did not have a legitimate case that they were being persecuted. Specifically, the BIA held:...

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Comments: 15


New Online Store wth 21 products at 25% off at PA Homeschoolers
Howard Richman, 3/24/2013

We just updated our Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Online Store in order to simplify the store in order to make your buying experience easier.

We are phasing out most of our books, games and CD's. All of the following products are on 25% sale in our new Closeouts section:

Product   Sale Price
CDs for learning to sing in harmony CDs for learning to sing in harmony $9.71
clepguide CLEP Guide $18.75
Figure It Out - student workbook Figure It Out - student workbook $3.75
Figure It Out - teacher's guide Figure It Out - teacher's guide $6.00
French in Action - book for free online videos French in Action - book for free online videos $7.50
Homeschoolers Journal Homeschoolers Journal $8.21
Little Hands Card Holder Little Hands Card Holder $2.96
Math Olympiad Contest Problems by George Lenchner Math Olympiad Contest Problems by George Lenchner $19.31
Math Video Courses from Chalk Dust - used Math Video Courses from Chalk Dust - used $111.75
Mathematics a Human Endeavor Mathematics a Human Endeavor $44.96
Pretty Darn Quick - word game Pretty Darn Quick - word game $7.46
Quick-Word Handbook Quick-Word Handbook $2.25
Rat-a-tat Cat - math game Rat-a-tat Cat - math game $7.46
SAT guides from the College Board SAT guides from the College Board $16.49
Scoring High for the Iowa - student workbook Scoring High for the Iowa - student workbook $12.71
Scoring High for the Iowa - teachers manual Scoring High for the Iowa - teachers manual $18.71
Scoring High for the Stanford - student workbook Scoring High for the Stanford - student workbook $12.71
Scoring High for the Stanford - teachers manual Scoring High for the Stanford - teachers manual $18.71
Scrambled States of America - book Scrambled States of America - book $7.46
SET - logic game SET - logic game $8.96

We continue to have a flat $3.95 shipping/handling fee, no matter what the size of your order. So order as many of these closeouts as you want. After the first item, shipping is free!...

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Comments: 14


March 10th-- Greater Pittsburgh Homeschool Workshop in South Hills of PGH
Sue Ann Means, 3/6/2012

Editor's note from Susan: Howard and I are really looking forward to seeing many of you at this year's Greater PGH Homeschool Workshop-- it's always a terrific event, full of good fellowship, true learning, great vendors, and many opportunities to connect and learn with other homeschooling families. Howard will be giving a workshop on the PHAA high school diploma program, and I'll be doing a workshop for both parents and evaluators called Making Evaluations Matter, which will focus on how to make evaluations meaningful and helpful for all involved, and to serve as ways to encourage both parents and children in their homeschooling and to forge positive relationships that can really make a difference over time.
Hey everyone this Saturday March 10th is the The Greater Pittsburgh Homeschool Workshop.
Spread the word through your e-mail contacts.
There is plenty of room to register at the door on the day of the workshop.

"I'm looking forward to seeing you there!" Sue Means
Registration fee:$15 per adult, $25 a couple, $8 per teen.
Doors open at 8am  to register  - keynote  begins at  8:55 am
Where:  The Bible Chapel  300 Gallery Drive, McMurray, PA 15317
Who:  Homeschoolers and those who are considering homeschooling
 
We are blessed to have Mark Hamby of Lamplighter Publishing as this year's keynote speaker.
 For more information see the conference  website 

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Comments: 13


Santorum tells Ohio audience that he intends to homeschool in the White House
Howard Richman, 2/20/2012

An article in the Los Angeles Times reports that Senator Santorum told a Columbus Ohio audience that he would homeschool in the White House. Here is a selection:

Reporting from Columbus, Ohio— Republican GOP hopeful Rick Santorum may be the most prominent homeschooler in America. So it might not have been surprising that, on Saturday, he told a conservative Christian audience that he intended to homeschool his children in the White House....

In the nation’s past, he said, “Most presidents homeschooled their children in the White House.… Parents educated their children because it was their responsibility.”

The article ends with Santorum's supposed homeschool scandal:...

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Comments: 4


Our website store is now back and 'open for business'!!! hooray!!!
Susan Richman, 9/7/2011

I'm very happy to announce that our online store, which down for needed updates and repairs from yesterday through right now, is now all fixed and 'open for business' once again. Thanks for your patience! 

Final tuition payments for AP Online classes can now be made online-- and registration for Fall Testing. 

Many families new to homeschooling in PA may want to order our popular and helpful Guide to the Homeschool Lawor Guide to the PA Homeschoolers Diploma. 

We wish everyone a  wonderful start to this new homeschool year! 

Sincerely,

Susan & Howard Richman

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Comments: 10


4th Annual Back to School Fair-- Harrisburg Area Homeschoolers Association
Jamey McClintock, 7/20/2011

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: The HAHA group definitely has the best acronym of any homeschool organization! And they put on a wonderful summer event to help area homeschooling families get geared up for the new school year-- hope you can attend!

Below is information about the Fourth Annual Back to School Fair that is sponsored by the Harrisburg Area Homeschoolers Association.  As we consider this event a great opportunity to provide area homeschoolers with lots of helpful information and encouragement, we hope you will share this invite with the homeschooling families you know.  

Additionally, if you were interested in setting up a table for your homeschool organization, we would be glad to have you participate.  Pre-registration for that is required an can be done by visiting the HAHA website and clicking on the link that says "Business Registration."

Join us for our 4th Annual Back to School Fair

Saturday, July 30, 2011

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Christian Life Assembly

2645 Lisburn Road

Camp Hill, PA  17011

Activities include:   a curriculum sale, a workshop about homeschooling through high school, and the opportunity to gather information from local businesses that provide services and products for homeschoolers.

Invited businesses include....

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Comments: 14


Perks for Parents! Surprise blessings of the homeschool journey
Susan Richman, 6/18/2010

[Reprinted from Issue 107, Winter 2010, of the PA Homeschoolers newsletter.]

I’m getting set now to chant a new Torah portion in our synagogue in a few days—in Hebrew, reading from an actual parchment scroll. This is exceptionally challenging to do—especially as I didn’t start learning Hebrew till the year 2000, at age 49. And why did I have the courage to take on this daunting task at that point in my life, a time when some adults would think studying a whole new language would be totally out of the question? I had the guts to do this because I’d already helped all of our four kids learn French during our homeschooling years.

And I was one of the worst French students in my high school class, too.

This is what dedicated homeschooling can do for you—it can truly open up whole new learning adventures not only for our kids, but for us as parents....

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Comments: 7


Appeals Court Upholds PA Home Education Law
Howard Richman, 5/18/2010

[Reprinted from Issue 104, Winter 2008-2009, issue of PA Homeschoolers]

In the Spring of 2004, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) began filing suits in Pennsylvania state courts on the behalf of homeschooling families under Pennsylvania’s Religious Freedom Protection Act (RFPA) of 2002. The idea of the initial suits was to open up an alternative to the compulsory education law that would apply just to religious homeschoolers.

However, when writing up the court case, HSLDA decided to try to get the entire home education law declared to be unconstitutional, holding that the PA Home Education Law (Act 169 of 1988) violated people’s Civil Rights, especially their right to Freedom of Religion....

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Comments: 2


Using the WWW to connect, create, to learn...
Susan Richman, 5/17/2010

[Reprinted from Issue 103, Summer 2008, of the PA Homeschoolers newsletter]

I still remember the summer when my boys were just 6 and 3—and Molly was soon to arrive, back in 1983. My husband Howard had proudly brought home a computer for the summer on loan from the public school where he worked then as a reading specialist, and he was planning on learning how to program learning games and more on it. At that time I saw computers as basically being ‘pacman’ games that cost $1000, and I couldn’t see any reason why I would ever want to use one....

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Comments: 3


"But What About the Prom?" ... and those other socialization questions
Susan Richman, 5/7/2010

[Reprinted from Issue 102 of PA Homeschoolers magazine]

Ok, I’ll admit it: I myself asked this question. It was one of the very first times that I’d ever heard about homeschooling, back when our now 30-year-old son Jesse was just a 2-year-old. I was visiting my mom’s home, and saw John Holt, an early homeschool advocate, on the old Phil Donohue TV show talking about homeschooling. Almost involuntarily, one of the first questions that popped into my mind was, "But what about things like… high school proms?" (One of my second thoughts, of course, was "Hmm, now this sounds very interesting," and the rest is history.) Now, mind you, my ‘prom question’ was an especially foolish one coming from me, as I hadn’t had particularly meaningful ‘prom memories’ from my own high school years—but teens and dancing just seem like one of the necessary types of socializing. And how would homeschoolers find those types of opportunities? Would homeschoolers be missing out on a lot, especially as teens?

And so we began homeschooling and those questions about socialization opportunities were always there. They’d come from worried grandparents, from checkout ladies at grocery stores, from new friends who weren’t homeschooling-- and they came from us. Most homeschooling families do worry about this question, more than they probably like to admit-- and this can be especially so at transition ages, when kids now need something different. Most homeschoolers would probably agree that positive socialization options usually don’t just pop up on their own-- you have to plan for them, be ready to drive for them, and take the time to make them happen. In our kids’ early years, the best friendship and socialization times were probably through family friendships with other homeschoolers-- this works well, as then the parents are equally invested in making sure there are regular get-togethers and playtimes, because the parents like to spend time together too....

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Comments: 7


Homeschoolers Guide to the Recession
Howard Richman, 4/7/2010

[This article originally appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of the PA Homeschoolers magazine]

My wife and I sponsor online classes that prepare homeschooled high school students to take Advanced Placement exams so that they can earn college credit. I teach AP Macroeconomics, but we have teachers working with us that teach many other subjects.

At the beginning of this school year I was talking on the phone with Rachel Califf, the teacher of our AP U.S. Government course. I remarked that the registrations for her course were coming in heavier than ever. She pointed out that there was a presidential election coming up and interest in politics was higher than ever.

Economists don’t like to be upstaged, so this year they produced a worldwide recession. It certainly has increased interest in economics, hasn’t it?

Economists haven’t blown it this badly since 1929 when the Federal Reserve let credit almost disappear from the American economy. Since then, economists have learned how important it is to keep credit supplied to the economy. But they still haven’t learned how important it is to keep debt from growing, and that’s what caused the current worldwide recession....

 

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Peace of Mind for You and Your Spouse: Appoint Guardians for Your Children
Jake LaForet, 2/8/2010

Jake LaForet is a PHAA (PA Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency) graduate from 1996, now working as a lawyer in Pennsylvania-- and married to another PHAA graduate, too! I first knew Jake when he was a first-year homeschooler and I had the honor to serve as his end-of-year evaluator-- I could see right away that he was a very gifted young writer and encouraged him to submit several works for my early book Writing from Home: a Portfolio of Homeschooled Student Writing. I was delighted to hear of his new work reaching out to homeschooling families in PA with his specialized services, and I knew these perspectives would be very useful for all homeschooling parents to hear-- Susan Richman, Editor

“LaForet, Jake!” the Master Sergeant barked after a brief consultation with his clipboard. His eyes swept the seated assembly of weary troops before locking onto me as I stood and laboriously made my way through the tangled thicket of plastic chairs, bodies, equipment, and rucksacks. With a satisfied grunt, his eyes dropped back to his clipboard in search of the next name on the combat deployment list.

With a stagger, I disengaged myself from the last row of chairs and walked briskly across the hangar floor towards the first station in the Air Force mobility processing line. Each station checked to ensure I was ready to deploy: Finances checked my pay status, the Military Personal Flight checked my orders, security clearance, and dog tags, while Medical checked my shot record and medical clearances. The Wing Chaplain pressed a pocket-sized camouflage Bible into my hand and offered a few words of encouragement.

“Do you have a will?” one of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers asked....

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Valentine's Day Special... "Adventure by the Sea" ... part 2
Cassandra Frear, 2/5/2010

Cassandra Frear continues her thoughts on her 25th anniversary trip with her husband. We hope you can take a special moment today with your spouse-- a mini-vacation of a time of togetherness right at home (cozy inside, with the snow falling down on all of us tonight!). 

Adventure by the Sea: Cold Feet.... 

There is a point in the preparations for any trip where I get cold feet. It happens after my first excitement cools and before we pull out of the driveway. Getting ready is always more work than I thought it would be. And it makes me tired. That's when the trouble starts.

"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea," crept into my thoughts two days later. I felt too old and saggy for an adventure. My clothes didn't quite fit. I didn't like the way I looked. I didn't have anything suitable to wear. How did my wardrobe get in this condition?

 


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Valentine's Day Special... "Adventure by the Sea" ... part 1
Cassandra Frear, 2/4/2010

Editor's Note from Susan Richman:  Welcome to our first installment in our "Valentine's Day Special", our way of reminding all homeschooling couples to remember to value their relationship. In the midst of math manipulatives (all over the diningroom table), co-op classes (taking lots of evening planning time from mom), and science experiments (that fuzzy stuff at the back of the fridge??), we still need to also make special time for our life partner and spouse. We'll have a variety of postings-- one a day 'extra' in addition to our other regular article of the day. This opening entry is from Cassandra Frear, (see link to her uplifting blogsite http://www.applepieforhomeschools.com ) about a very special 25th anniversary trip she recently took with her husband. There are ideas for you to respond to at the end, too-- we look forward to your thoughts! Cassandra's story will continue throughout this time leading up to Valentine's Day-- so check back each day to get the next 'installment'! We'll also have some pieces from homeschooling parents about ways to nourish our relationship with our husband or wife. Happy Valentine's Day!

 

The sky is battleship gray. The wind thrashes the trees. I am watching the trees bend over on their sides and spring back, all the time trembling and flapping their arms. It's hard to believe that it's been a full week since we left for our anniversary trip. There, all was sun and sparkling sea and birdsong and gardens being prepared for spring. Since we've been back, the mountains have been wrapped in low clouds and steely sheets of rain.

 

Last night, driving home after buying groceries, I almost missed two turns. I was traveling at 10 mph. That's how thick the fog has been.

 

It was a bold move for me to take the trip, given our situation. I almost didn't....

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Comments: 1


New Research on Homeschoolers and Socialization
Dr. Gary Welton, 2/3/2010

Gary Welton is both a homeschool father, the teacher of one of our AP Psychology classes online, and a professor of psychology at Grove City College. He's been doing research into aspects of socialization and the homeschooling experience, and shares some of his team's findings in this article. 

Socialization as a Religious Phenomenon

Gary L. Welton
Center for Research on Positive Youth Development
At Grove City College

            Every home schooling parent has been asked the S-Question: “What about socialization?” The implications (real or imagined) of the question are less than flattering:

  • Students who attend schools outside the home are socialized better because they spend so much time with their immature peers, whereas students who attend school within the home are poorly socialized because they spend so much time with their mature parents.
  • Home school families do not interact with one another.
  • Socialization that occurs on the soccer field, during debate rounds, and in church doesn’t count (or is somehow inferior).
  • Students who attend school outside the home are always well socialized.
  • Your kids are so weird.

I would like to put the S-Question to rest by summarizing research I conducted along with my colleagues....

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Comments: 2


Welcome to our new online PA Homeschoolers magazine!
Susan Richman, 1/27/2010

Welcome to the opening of our newly expanded online PA Homeschoolers magazine! This is a new adventure for us, growing out of our over 25 years of publishing our quarterly print magazine Pennsylvania Homeschoolers. We’re grateful to have you as a reader—and hope you’ll come back daily to read more. And we hope you’ll email your friends to check us out here, too!

Why are we transitioning to a fully online magazine? Many reasons—first, we can offer this service for free, as we will no longer have the always escalating printing and mailing and time costs involved with a 32-page print magazine. We all know that most of us are now much more likely to browse about on a website or favorite blog than subscribe to a print magazine—it’s the special...

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