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Make Foreign Language Learning a Full Part of Family Life--f rom early on!
Christine Pritt, 5/24/2010

Christine Pritt is a busy homeschooling mother of six children, living in Maryland. Several of the family students have already graduated from homeschooling (one moving on to Harvard!), and many of her older children have taken part in our AP Online classes over the years. I was always amazed to learn of the high level of foreign language ability all the Pritt kids had-- they were often taking multiple AP foreign language exams, doing extremely well on all of them. I wondered what the Pritt family 'secret' was-- and I was delighted to find out how Christine learned right along with her children, by starting early and immersing them in a world of active language listening and learning. I hope this article inspires many of you to think 'outside the box' about language learning-- and to gain confidence that you too can help your children really develop enjoyment in gaining this window on the world. And if you might be wondering what 'French comics' her kids might be addicted to-- you might want to take a look at this linke to a TIME Magazine article on the creator of the very popular Asterix cartoons http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1931169,00.html . My kids loved these when growing up  learning French, and we had them in both book form and in video cartoons. I had to laugh, too, when Christine mentions that all of their 'kids' films were in foreign languages, as I remembered how my own daughter Hannah's first introduction to The Lion King cartoon film was via the FRENCH dubbed version she received as a prize for her fine showing one year in the National French exam for the early elementary level! (see www.frenchteachers.org/concours for info on this great program)

Many aspects of homeschooling have brought us pleasure and joy, but none so much, I think, as learning foreign languages with our children. 

Some people think our success in teaching our children languages is due to our own backgrounds, but this is not true.  I spoke a little German before I homeschooled, but I never really learned the grammar until I taught my children.  Anyone can do this with consistency, patience, and most importantly, interest.  Learning with our kids is one of the best fringe benefits of this job!....

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Comments: 5


Learning from Giving
Tracey Earhart, 5/20/2010

[Reprinted from Issue 104, Fall 2008, of PA Homeschoolers magazine]

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The above photo shows Hannah Earhart delivering food

From the beginning of our homeschooling, serving our community was a natural overflow from our many projects we had done with our church. It just made good sense to us, to have our kiddos involved in community service projects as young as possible. There were lots of opportunities. Local churches take turns supplying the volunteers in our community through a ministerial alliance. Helping at the local food bank was one of the areas. Our oldest son and his younger brother filled boxes and handed out food and unloaded supplies- he was in 4th grade, the younger was in kindergarten. We did that several times a year. That was 14 years ago. As time went by, we even took the very youngest along usually in a back pack.. Once when our daughter was just about 2, she sat up on the table with an older lady from our church and helped to put the soup into the boxes of the recipients. Having a young bright face- pacifier and all – handing them their soup and saying ‘tank you’ , brought smiles and laughter to everyone. The volunteers encouraged our children, and happily assisted them, while those in charge of the food bank delighted in seeing " youth’ in their midst- knowing the next generation was learning to serve the needs of the community at such an early age. Our three children helped to serve a thanksgiving dinner at the local Salvation Army. At 4 years old- our youngest was more than capable of delivering a turkey dinner with a huge smile. It made a beautiful difference for the recipients. Many times the recipients have come by to tell me, or the staff, how glad they were to see the kids helping. It warmed their hearts....

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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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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


Summer science fun: ‘Your Spitting Image’ web site
Susan Richman, 5/12/2010

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: I don't 'pass on' every neat website I hear about, but this one just sounds too unique and fascinating to pass up-- and a great new way to cover science, health, forensics, human physiology, and new hi-tech developments in crime solving. Let me know what you think of this one! Who would have thought that there might be a 'National Museum of Dentistry :-).

'Your Spitting Image' website reveals what your mouth says about you

BALTIMORE, MD (May 12, 2010)— Did you know that the average person creates enough saliva each day to fill a soft-drink bottle? Teeth can survive fires reaching 2012 degrees F? Or a person can be identified from the DNA in saliva left behind on a postage stamp?

Your Spitting Image (www.dentalmuseum.org/ysi) is a new, interactive web site from the National Museum of Dentistry that reveals some surprising things that your mouth says about you. Find out how forensic dentists use dental records and DNA analysis to solve real missing person cases, discover the telling secrets revealed by saliva, and find out how your mouth is a window to health for your body.

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This engaging web site with interactive activities and teacher guides can be used in the classroom or at home for upper-level elementary through high-school age kids.

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Comments: 8


Homeschooler Daniel English of Pittsburgh wins Blackwood Theater Organ Scholarship!
Susan Richman, 5/11/2010

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: Many homeschool students try out for scholarships to recognize their gifts and talents -- and it's always heart-warming to hear of a wonderful win like this one! Our congratulations to Daniel English for this major accomplishment. We hope his award will inspire other young homeschool musicians:

  Harrisville, Pa. (May 10, 2010) – Daniel English of Pittsburgh has been awarded a $4,500 scholarship from the Blackwood Theatre Organ Society. English was one of five Tri-State high school seniors awarded the 2010 scholarships, which totaled $20,000.

 

            The Blackwood Theater Organ Society is a not-for-profit organization created to encourage students to pursue instrumental music performance careers. Over the past ten years, the Society has awarded more than $126,000 in scholarships to high school seniors planning to pursue an instrumental music performance degree in college....

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Comments: 4


Doing spring evaluations lets me see all the wonderful community service work homeschoolers are doing!
Susan Richman, 5/10/2010

Susan Richman works in the spring as a homeschool evaluator, meeting with families to look over their homeschooling portfolios, and talking with both parents and children-- and has been doing a lot of traveling about the state meeting with wonderful homeschooling families... here's an 'update' on some of the special things kids have been doing in community service-- often as written up by the student or parent.

 

Yes, I'm in the midst of homeschool evaluation season-- and although it's always challenging to keep up with writing up my narrative reports after seeing students, it's always uplifting to hear about all the wonderful things so many of these families are doing, especially related to community service. I'm going to let you in on some special things I've seen kids doing to serve others-- maybe you'll be inspired... and maybe you'll post below in a comment to share about how your kids are learning to reach out to others in unique ways!

 

One of my new favorite evaluation students is a 5th grader who is spending a couple of hours most weeks reading aloud for the blind in her area....

 

 

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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


Results of PA Homeschoolers Western PA Co-ed Volleyball Tournament, May 3
Howard Richman, 5/5/2010

The CHESS Masters were undefeated in the senior division throughout this year's tournament schedule, which began with a fall tournament in Downingtown sponsored by the United Sports Training Center and continued in the spring with three tournaments sponsored by PA Homeschoolers, one in Eastern, one in Central, and one in Western PA. 

PA Homeschoolers will be sponsoring the same tournaments again next year. Each team has to play six players, including two boys and two girls. Both home educated students and cyberschool students are invited to participate.

There were 20 teams at the Western PA Tournament at Monroeville Sports. They hailed from Mercer County (Timberwolves), Beaver County (Salt & Light), Pittsburgh East area (Mustangs), Harrisburg West area (TNT), Harrisburg East area (CHESS), Lewisburg area (Leopards), and Berks County (Air Raiders). There were two age groups: Seniors (18 and under) and Juniors (14 and under). Here are the final standings of the Western PA tournament:...

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Comments: 4



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