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How Do I Prepare My Child for AP Calculus?
Susan Gilleran, 6/27/2010

Susan Gilleran will be leading AP Calculus with PA Homeschoolers for her 5th year, and her classes always get rave reviews from students. She earned a BS and secondary teaching certificate in Mathematics from Wayne State University, and an MBA from Lawrence Technological University. She taught high school mathematics before moving to the business world at Ford Motor Company for 30 years where she was an Information Technology Manager.

This will be my fifth year teaching the AP Calculus course for PA Homeschoolers. I have also completed two five day College Board summer institutes. One of the institutes was dedicated to teaching AP Calculus AB and the other addressed AP Calculus BC.

I am often asked the question “How do I prepare my son or daughter for AP Calculus?” It’s an excellent question and a common dilemma. I decided to use two of the most well prepared students, a brother and sister, who took my BC class as an example of a path to follow from first grade through pre-calculus. Then I’ll give some extra suggestions for pre-calculus alternatives.

I asked the brother and sister’s mother if she would share the choices she made for her son and daughter’s math classes. Here’s what she had to say....


Comments: 13

Constituting America-- website and contest encouraging students to read the Federalist Papers
Susan Richman, 6/22/2010

Note from Susan Richman, Editor: I received this email from the 'Constituting America' program, which is sponsoring a special contest for students right now-- deadline in two weeks! Even if you don't have the time right now for taking part in the contest, do check out this great site on active reading of the Constitution and the Federalist Papers-- the site has an active 'blog' section, daily videos, and much more. I'm sure these resources will be very valuable all through the school year as you help your kids learn about our government and its foundations. Let us know if you take part!



Comments: 8

Participating on a team in the Lego Robotics competition
John Cahill, 6/20/2010

[7th grade John Cahill participated on the Beaver Botics, a mixed team of school kids and homeschooled kids that competed in Lego Robotics competitions during the 2009-2010 school year.]

Six weeks of robotics, building, programming, etc., happened to be the most fun I ever had in an educational project. Two times a week for two hours each day for six weeks we met before the final competition. I, with four other teammates, constructed three robots and wrote eight programs for our three robots to perform in the competition....


Comments: 16

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....


Comments: 7

Enrollment Climbing in PA Cyber-Charter Schools
Howard Richman, 6/16/2010

According to the most recent statistics (for 2008-2009 school year), enrollment in Pennsylvania Cyber-Charter Schools has continued to grow as shown by the graph below:


The biggest five cyber-charter schools that year were PA Cyber, Agora, PA Virtual, Commonwealth Connections, and PA Leadership, as shown in the following graph:...


Comments: 16

Program for July 16 2010 High School at Home Conference
Howard Richman, 6/14/2010

Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency
High School at Home
15th Annual Conference
Friday July 16, 2010
Hotel Carlisle, Carlisle PA

(schedule as of 6/14/2010, subject to change)

 THEME: Gaining Vision, Gaining Tools

8:45-9:00 Registration and snacks in main ballroom....


Comments: 4

AP Art History-- A Multidisciplinary Approach to Educational Growth
Mary Lanctot, 6/8/2010

Mary Lanctot has been leading our AP Art History class on line since our youngest daughter Hannah took the course her senior year, back in the 2004-2005 school year -- and I warn you, this course was so involving and intriguing that Hannah continued with art history studies in college, and eventually ended up majoring in fine arts with a focus on painting (along with sociology, and work in Judaic studies ... but don't worry-- she also has a fine fulltime job for the fall, after just graduating this May!). Mary is also the mother of three always homeschooled young people-- her youngest is graduating from her high school years now. Mary is a dynamic, encouraging, and very motivating teacher-- highly recommended!  -- Editor, Susan Richman

 It is difficult for me to speak quantitatively and rationally about the discipline of art history.  I can effuse enthusiastically at length, or offer up brilliant and beautiful masterpieces that literally take one’s breath away.  But even these attempts at communicating the depth and breadth of this potentially life-changing curriculum fall far short of revealing its true power. 


As a college student, I was a passionate academic being.  Every semester when the thick, newsprint course catalog came out (along with the requisite thrill of choosing next term’s offerings), I would gawk in joyful paralysis at the resplendent array of opportunities, giggling at the sheer volume of possibilities—a newly-born gourmet standing with only a single plate at the mother-of-all buffet-tables.  I changed my major nearly every semester.  How could I possibly decide between literature, religious studies, history, anthropology, psychology, art…?  Even though, I promise you, I read the course booklet as thoroughly as any of its editors; not once had I stopped and perused the art history offerings. 


Comments: 3

Why Take AP World History?
Gloria Harrison, 6/5/2010

Gloria Harrison has taught online AP World History for eight years through PA Homeschoolers AP Online. She graduated from the Translators & Interpreters Institute in Portugal in 1969. Having traveled with her diplomat parents since the age of three, she went to school in a different country every three years on the average, thus immersing herself in the language, geography, culture, and history of those countries. She married a U.S. Navy serviceman, and continued her travels for the next 25 years. In all that time, they were stationed in the United States only once. She continued to take a great interest in the countries they lived in. She currently lives in southwest Pennsylvania with her two cats.


I've been teaching AP European History with PA Homeschoolers for the past nine years and AP World History for the past eight.  Yet I never cease to be surprised that I end up with about half the students in World History than with those in Euro.

In a way, that is an advantage both for me and for my students.  I have more time to spend one-on-one with the World History (generally known as WHAP) students, via email or message board discussion.

Still, why do so few students actually take AP World History?  Perhaps because their perception (and that of their parents) of it is inaccurate? ....


Comments: 6

Teaching Mary Science....
Becky Laughlin, 6/3/2010

Becky Laughlin has just completed her 10th grade year of homeschooling, and is now one of my evaluation students. I was so delighted to read this major paper of hers this year, sharing about how she planned out her younger sister Mary's science program for the year. This was a fabulous leadership project for Becky-- and a wonderful year of very active science learning for Mary! I wanted others to be able to learn about this family 'co-op' program-- you just may have a very skilled teacher to help you out with your younger kids living right under your own roof! Becky also received a credit for learning about teaching this year-- Susan Richman, Editor PA Homeschoolers

     This summer we decided that I would take over teaching science to my little sister, Mary, for the year.  The main book I used was from the elementary Apologia series.  Although half of the book was on birds, it also covered flying bats, flying dinosaurs, and insects.  In addition to the zoology book, we used a wide variety of books and videos from our home and local library.  Doing such a variety of projects and activities made it easy for me to enjoy teaching a subject I love anyway, and it showed Mary, who started the year thinking all subjects would be hard and boring, that science can be quite interesting and even fun. 

     We did a variety of experiments and activities that where suggested in the zoology book.  One example was called the pup experiment.  The point of this experiment was to show how hard it is for a bat to find her one baby among hundreds in a dark cave.  For our experiment, Mary only had to find one scent from around twenty.  We gathered cotton balls, put some different scents on them, and then Mary picked one to be her "pup".  I blindfolded her and she had to sniff each cotton ball until she found the one that was hers.  Mary sniffed her "pup" several times before she decided it was correct....


Comments: 16


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