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Help in Preparing for the SAT Essay -- Our Online Course!
Karen Boyd, 7/27/2010

Karen Boyd has been leading our PA Homeschoolers SAT Essay Prep class for a number of years, building on her work with her own two always-homeschooled children (now adults), and her many years serving as a home education program evaluator in Pennsylvania. She also served on the Board of Directors for PHAA (Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency) for many years, helping guide the organization right from the beginning and always giving wise counsel. I love Karen's 'email signature quote': "Writing is thinking on paper.” William Zinsser    

Please consider registering your high school student for my four-week class on writing the SAT Essay.  This class helps students prepare for the  essay portion of the October SAT.  However, students who will be taking the SAT at future dates are welcome to join us.  

Students from coast to coast and from four continents have found this class to be helpful in many ways.   First, it provides practice and guidance in writing a timed essay.  Many students report that it helped them feel confident about taking the SAT. The class provides accountability and other people to comment on their writing....


Comments: 4

Thinking of having your high schooler travel abroad?? Did you ever think about....
Eileen Lenz, 7/25/2010

Eileen Lenz is a homeschooling mother from the Greater Philadelphia region-- and her oldest son Isaac has taken part in many of our AP Online courses and is in our PHAA diploma program. Enjoy this look at the unexpected surprises that can happen when we send our kids off on summer adventures abroad-- I know these stories will help you avoid similar problems! And I hope many of you post about your own kids' summer experiences abroad on travel/study programs or missions programs, where unexpected 'surprises' came up-- and how you handled them. AND I know we'll all hope that Eileen posts a comment below to let us know if Isaac gets his box of nuts and seeds she mailed off! And for further info on this particular summer study program, see www.goabbeyroad.com

Several years ago at the PHAA High School at Home Conference in Carlisile, PA, I heard Peter Van Buskirk speak about college admissions. He said, 'Make the summers count'. Last April, as my oldest son completed his junior year of high school I urged him to do just that, make the summer count. After several weeks of research Isaac and I found the Abbey Road Program in Florence, Italy. At first I thought the program was too expensive but when I considered the costs of organizing a 5 week cultural immersion the expense seemed justified. Besides, the program looked amazing. Students and staff would live together in apartments overlooking the markets of San Lorenzo. Isaac could study studio art as a major and minor in film.

Also there would be weekend excursions to Siena, San Gimignano, and Cinque Terre. Isaac has been In Florence for 3 weeks. He's having a great experience but there have been surprises.

1. Clothes. We did not pack enough. Florence is hot. So hot that the kids change their clothes several times a day....



Comments: 5

Dancing with Cinderella.... when our homeschoolers move on into the wider world
Denise Boiko, 7/21/2010

Denise Boiko and her husband Ron homeschooled their two children from K-12, with their daughter Julie (Stanford University '10) now in an MD/PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh and their son Steve returning to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles this fall as a sophomore engineering major. Denise is the author of a new 400-page book, Homeschooled & Headed for College: Your Road Map for a Successful Journey, which details the entire college preparation and application process for a homeschooler. The book is available on her website www.HomeschoolRoadMap.com.

Denise Boiko.JPG 

            One of my favorite songs these days, reflective of the life stage I am in after 16 years of homeschooling and now having both my son and daughter in college and grad school, is “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman. In case you're not familiar with it, this sweet, moving song describes a daughter, at various ages, asking, “Daddy, dance with me!” It spans the years from her preschool days as she prepares to attend an imaginary ball at the castle, to prom time with that special young man, and finally to practicing for dancing at her wedding. The father declares in the refrain,”So I will dance with Cinderella, while she is here in my arms...” He goes on to reflect that he knows what the Prince in the fairy tale never realized: that “all too soon, the clock will strike midnight, and she'll be gone.”

            Well, I'm a mom, not a dad, and our daughter Julie reminds me more of Marie Curie than of Cinderella, but just the same, that refrain is all too real as it runs through my mind and heart these days. Julie recently graduated from Stanford University and headed off to the great state of Pennsylvania to attend medical school at the University of Pittsburgh....


Comments: 101

Summer Fun & Fitness Ideas-- for the whole family....
Susan Richman, 7/12/2010

I was browsing about online this morning, and came upon a program that USA Today is running this summer-- it's their Family Fitness Challenge, where families are encouraged to do unusual and different activities together... like trying hoola hooping, making a funny dance video of themselves, going on an overnight camping trip (even to the backyard!), and more. The article I read had some great quotes from psychologists who pointed out some truths that many of us homeschoolers have known... that kids can sometimes be in TOO many structured activities, involving lots of driving and chauffeuring, lots of stress over getting there at the right time, having the uniform all ready, practicing in between official practices, and more. Though many of these are wonderful activities, it's also nice to have a *balance* of less structures times, when kids can, well, just play. And when parents can join in the fun without feeling they have to be looking at the clock or the rearview mirror in heavy traffic... So I thought homeschooling families might love these ideas from USA Today-- see this link:

www.usatoday.com/news/health -- and you'll see the feature.

One point hit home with me--

And when you break out of the ordinary, the experience may end up "an entry in the family scrapbook," says Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University in Philadelphia and former president of the American Psychological Association. It's the coming together to try something new and different that underlies the bonding phenomenon, he says....


Comments: 3

Mega Study Tips Link-- including a link to a PA homeschool dad's blogsite!
Susan Richman, 7/6/2010

I just received a nice email tonight from Cate Newton, a woman who works with the very interesting website www.GuideToOnLineSchools.com -- this site covers info on colleges that offer online courses and degrees, and a whole lot more. Cate had noticed our articles here on test taking skills, and thought our readers might be interested in their compilation of the very best 'study skills' and test-taking strategy sites online from various colleges. I was impressed with the links-- and these ideas are from major universities such as Penn State University, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, James Madison University, Dartmouth College, and many, many more-- and there are also article links to the College Board, news magazines, and therapists who helps clients deal with test anxiety, and more. It's a treasure trove-- I think all homeschoolers with high school kids will find something very useful here. Cate wrote:

My interest in study skills sparked an article we just published on our website, Guide to Online Schools, here: http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/tips-and-tools/study-help . I noticed that there was an absence of quality resources for students, especially in the realm of study guides. So we found the best note-taking, test anxiety and general study tips resources on the internet and compiled them into an all in one, easy to navigate article. The article would be a great addition to your resources. I hope that you and your students find the resources helpful. Let me know what you think.

I was really delighted when one of the links in this huge compilation was to the blogsite of Dennis Jerz, an associate professor in the English department at Seton Hill University in Greensburg PA-- because just yesterday I'd met with his wife and 6th grade son for their homeschooling evaluations!....


Comments: 7

Homeschoolers and 4H-- some new programs related to the sciences!
Amber Shollenberger, 7/1/2010

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: I was delighted to get this note from Amber Shollenberger, one of our PHAA homeschool grads-- it's always exciting to see what fields homeschoolers move into in their lives. Amber and her older sister were both very involved in 4H during their growing-up years, taking many state awards for projects with sheep and wool especially-- so I loved hearing that Amber is now working fulltime for the national 4H office.  

Dear Dr. and Mrs. Richman,

I’m not sure if you remember me, but I was a 2005 PHAA graduate. Both my older sister, Ashley (2000), and I graduated through PHAA ceremonies in Harrisburg, PA. I went on to obtain my B.A. from the Penn State University in 2009, and today I work for the National 4-H Council in Chevy Chase, MD (right outside of Washington, D.C.).

I am contacting you today to see if there if there are any opportunities to connect homeschoolers in Pennsylvania with 4-H, specifically with 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD)....


Comments: 4


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