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26th Annual Greater Pittsburgh Homeschooling Workshop and Curriculum Fair-- pre-registration deadline March 1st!
Sue Ann Means, 2/28/2011

The pre-registration deadline is March 1 pre-registration for the
26th Annual Greater Pittsburgh Homeschooling Workshop and Curriculum Fair
is March 1( must be postmarked by).
There is still plenty of room to register at the door the day of the conference, fees will be slightly higher.
Date: March 12, 2011
Time: 8 AM until 3 PM
This year's theme:  FREEDOM & JOY in HOMESCHOOLING
Todd Wilson author and founder of Familyman Ministries
 will be the keynote speaker http://www.familymanweb.com/
Book Vendors confirmed:
ABeka Books, Boy Scouts of America, Classical Conversations, Commonwealth Connections Academy, Cornerstone Christian Prep, Creation Science Fellowship, Erie County Homeschoolers Diploma Assn, Familyman Ministries, Fantazier Writer Illustrator, Gideon Study Center, Grace Christian Dance, Heaven's Family, Honey Tree, Lengue-Learn Communications, Little V Books, Math U See, Pa Homeschoolers, Snapology, Usborne Books,
Zeezok Publishing
Fifteen different workshops to educate and inspire both the novice and experienced homeschooling parent. For more details on workshop titles:
Download pdf for brochure with registration form here:
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Lies Homeschoolers Believe - Learning to live the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Your house is a disaster, your kids seem out of control, and you wonder how you'll ever make it through another day of school. Your "get up and go" has "gotten up and went". You used to think homeschooling was the best thing since sliced bread, but now you’re feeling like burnt toast. Take heart - you're not alone! No one homeschools because it's easy....


Comments: 26

The Legacy Project, 2/23/2011

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: One of my very favorite projects that my AP US History online students do each year is a History Interview. They find someone who's older-- often a grandparent, or an elderly neighbor or friend-- and ask them about some key historical events they remember. Many chose to interview a veteran-- this year I even had a student complete a professional level video interview of a man who survived the Bataan Death March during World War II. One of the sweetest parts of the project is how close my students feel to these special older people after their interviews-- and there have even been sad times when the grandfather interviewed about his time serving our nation overseas during World War II died before the end of the school year. These students then felt a particular level of gratitude that they had made the time to really talk with their grandparent, hearing stories they'd never known before, and feeling a new bond. Knowing the power of this type of exchange, I was delighted to find out about this national essay contest-- I hope many homeschoolers will enter. With any contest, my core criteria for deciding whether or not it would be 'worth it' to enter, is to decide if the activity the contest involved was inherently worthwhile-- without any outside prizes involved. And that is definitely the case with this contest, open to student ages 8 to 18. And my guess is that many students will end up writing two essays, instead of just one-- one that's just 300-words long, to fit the criteria of this contest, and a second that is quite a bit longer, to really bring out all that was learned through the interview.  

The Legacy Project is running its 11th annual Listen to a Life
Essay Contest.
The biggest reward for students -- like last
year's Grand Prize winner 10-year-old Vann Barnette -- is what
they learn about themselves, their family, and even history when
they listen to the life stories of a grandparent or grandfriend.
The national contest, run in partnership with Generations United
in Washington, DC, receives thousands of entries from across the
country. Barnette won last year's Grand Prize of a Lenovo
ThinkCentre computer for himself and $25,000 of Orchard
educational software for his school. This year's contest is open
to students 8-18 years of age.

Barnette, a grade 4 student at Strawberry Hill Elementary School
in Anamosa, IA, learned about a pivotal moment in his maternal
grandfather's life when he interviewed Gerald Udell, 74. He
starts his essay by writing, "My Grandpa has done a lot of things
such as getting a PhD and testifying in front of members of
congress. Despite these accomplishments, the proudest moment of
his life is when he made an old man cry."

He goes on to tell the story of his grandfather's experience....


Comments: 10

Philadelphia Science Festival-- coming this April.... all over the city! and it's mostly FREE!!!
The Franklin Institute, 2/21/2011

Editor's Note from Susan: It's always wonderful to see the learning opportunities available in our state that homeschoolers are welcome to join. None of us has to feel like we have to 're-invent the educational wheel' when so many good events like this one are offered. This spring Philadelphia is hosting its first Science Festival, at varied sites all over the city region. I hope many families in Eastern PA get to take part in these exciting activities-- a great way to work some hands-on active science learning into your homeschooling, and to see what the various universities, museums, and more have to offer. Let us know what you learned-- or tell us about how your family uses your local science or nature centers for extra interest!

Look at the stars.
Taste chocolate in a new way.
Solve a mystery.
Be dazzled by a dancing flower.
Discover the physics in baseball.
Go on a "flavor trip."
Kick back with a luminary.
Stroll through a park.
Roll with the robots.
Interact with some of the world's top scientific minds.
Find your augmented reality.
Create an earthquake?
...all for free during the Philadelphia Science Festival!

This April, Philadelphia's universities, cultural institutions, research centers, and schools will come together as a single, united voice to celebrate science.

Organized by The Franklin Institute, more than 105 festival partners have spent the past year hard at work planning exciting events and special programs that will take place all over town!....


Comments: 5

Portrait of the Artist as an AP Studio Art Student A Journal
Dianne Settino, AP Studio Art teacher, 2/18/2011

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: This is the 2nd year we have been able to offer AP Studio Art in an online format, and Dianne Settino and her husband Linus Meldrum have really put their whole heart into leading these wonderful interactive classes. To help both parents and students gain an idea of what to expect from this unique course, read this imagined AP Art Studio student diary. And consider joining in for the coming school year! For full info on all of our Advanced Placement online courses, click on the AP ONLINE CLASSES link at the top of this website. Registration for the 2011-2012 school year will open in early April.



Below is a fictional diary giving a little peek into the life of an AP Studio Art student. The course is grueling and exhilarating, all at once. The AP Studio Art course does not involve an 'exam'-- instead it requires the mammoth task of creating two portfolios of 12 works each-- a Breadth Portfolio, and a Concentration Portfolio. The total 24 works must be digitally uploaded prior to the May exam deadline.  And the 5 best works are sent for on-site grading as the Quality Portfolio. The 3 grades ( B portfolio + C portfolio + Q Portfolio)  are totaled, and averaged for the final grade on the 1-5 AP scale. When students finish an AP Studio Art course they have most definitely completed a journey, a quest, and made a physical product/record of their growth as an Artist. The great thing about  AP Studio Art is that the student has not only completed the process, they have a distinct product to show for all the hard work – a body of work that can serve as a college admissions portfolio or an art exhibition.

Our weekly cycle of assignments and work is simple. In the fall we post an assignment. The students respond by posting sketches. The sketches are critiqued. The students post their finals. We critique their finals. Each student is given personal critiques and their unique gifts and problems are addressed.

Both AP Drawing and AP 2D Design follow a typical college semester calendar. The students have a long between-semester break that is well deserved. We allow our students to schedule their work around religious Holy Days, family vacations, mission trips and of course serious illness. Seniors with required college application specific art projects are allowed to incorporate those works into our class work. We try very hard to help each young artist with their own specific needs and gifts.

We have had students as young as 15 take our AP Drawing with wonderful results! And now.... for the fictional student diary, chronicling a year of artistic growing and learning!


Breadth Portfolio assignment # 1 was posted today. I will spend an hour doing a bit of research to help me decide how to approach my composition. Then I have to work through the time-specific preparatory sketches. I'm a little nervous but the last two weeks has helped me learn to put down my ideas much faster in a visual form.


It’s midnight! I just posted my prep sketches. I can't wait until tomorrow to read my critique....


Comments: 15

PHAA 2010 grad, Hope Pasztor, at NYC Fashion Week as special blogger!
Susan Richman, 2/17/2011

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: I was delighted to receive a note from PHAA 2010 grad Hope Pasztor's father about this article from their local newspaper, The Sentinel from central PA . Hope, who took part in many of our AP Online classes, was chosen to attend this week's big 'FASHION WEEK' extravaganza in NYC as a special blogger for the fashion website Chictopia.com. She has maintained her own fashion blog site for many years-- and is such a good writer on many topics that last year several of her essays written for her AP Economics online class (led by my husband, Howard Richman) were accepted for publication on national conservative opinion websites. Hope also gave the closing student speech at the PHAA Graduation Ceremony last June 2010, and gave talks at several sessions at the 2010 PHAA summer High School at Home Conference.

Hope in NYC having a wonderful -- and stylish! -- time!

Here's a section the article from Hope's local newpaper in Carlisle PA:

She hasn't reached her 19th birthday yet, nor has she made it through her sophomore year of college.

But for Hope Adela Pasztor, the world is at her heels.

Vintage heels, that is.

With her fashion blog - Pink Champagne - attracting more than 550 followers and her landing a coveted gig reporting on Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in the Big Apple over the next few days, the Carlisle teen seems to be well on her way to the fashion industry career that she's always dreamed of.

‘Pursue your dreams'

"I was just kind of looking back on my life....


Comments: 7

Central Lancaster County Homeschool Music to present "Jane Eyre: Brave Enough for Love" March 10-12, 2011
Lorie LaSala, 2/15/2011

Editor's note from Susan Richman: It's been such a wonderful development to follow the growing number of programs across PA that have developed major musical theater programs. Lori LaSala, the founder and director of the Central Lancaster Co. Homeschool Music program, has been a dedicated leader of this group for many, many years, leading choirs, orchestra programs, and a yearly major musical. For full information on all that CLCHM offers to area homeschoolers, see their website:  http://sites.google.com/site/clchomeschoolmusic2/ 

Below is a photo from the CLCHM 2008 production of The Sound of Music:

CLCHM is busy at work again, this time producing the wonderful show, Jane Eyre, Brave Enough For Love.  This show closely follows the book and has the most gorgeous music you could ask for.  See what the power of forgiveness can do.  See what happens with faith in God.  And see what happens when you put 58 hard working, talented homeschoolers together on the stage!

Please join us for this hauntingly beautiful show. Performances are March 10- 12....


Comments: 4

"Stories for the Homeschool Heart" -- voting going on now for www.about.com Readers' Choice Awards!
Patti Maguire Armstrong, 2/14/2011

Editor's Note from Susan: I just received this in my inbox this morning, and thought many of you might want to cast your vote for this uplifting book on the About.com section on Catholicism.  Sounds like a book that many would find very encouraging, and it's exciting to see it doing so well in this awards program. See: http://tinyurl.com/46jhq5b to vote today!

My co-author and I are appealing to the homeschool community for support.  "Stories for the Homeschool Heart" is one of the finalists in the about.com Readers' Choice Awards. We've overcome great odds becoming a finalist and were told it's a long shot that someone so small as us could win. However, my co-author, Theresa Thomas, cancer survivor, Catholic columnist, and mother of 9, and I are going to give it our best shot.

This book is about God's inspiration, faith, and educating our children (all children regardless of where they go to school) for eternity. Homeschooling is the theme, but most of the stories are uplifting and interesting for anyone. As a matter of fact....


Comments: 5

Fox News feature article on the evolution of homeschooling....
Fox News, 2/9/2011

Editor's note from Susan Richman:   Fox News is currently doing a series on American education, called Educating our Children. Today's article focuses on homeschooling, and how homeschooling and grown and changed, now offering many group opportunities for learning and for sports. Here's a short part from the article:

...But it’s not all about reading, writing and arithmetic. Chard said he worries home schooled students may be lacking in less tangible subjects, things like developing social or coping skills.

Programs have sprung up over the years to help with that. In Texas, the state with the largest number of home schooled kids, there are athletic leagues and learning “co-ops” where kids may attend classes with other children on a variety of subjects....


Comments: 4

The Power of One Single Subject....
Monica Lynn, 2/7/2011

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: One of my very favorite homeschool evaluation families in Western PA had an especially strong Spanish program. Their secret? Meeting weekly with a Spanish tutor, who had deveoped an especially rich language-learning approach. These girls were singing in Spanish, writing essays and little books in Spanish, reading folks tales and poems and real literature, and developing real conversational ability, along with developing firm grammatical understanding. Their tutor really encouraged meaningful daily practice and work at home, ensuring they would make progress. I'm so pleased that this family's tutor, Monica Lynn, is now sharing here with all of us about the value of foreign language learning. Monica is a Spanish native from Barcelona, Spain, who has lived in Spain (17 years), France (7 years) and the USA (19 years). She is fluent in Spanish, French, English and Catalan, (her “four native tongues”), and also understands some German and Italian. Monica has spent several decades teaching languages to students of all ages and proficiency levels. She currently teaches out of her home in the Cranberry Township/Wexford Area north of Pittsburgh, and is available to teach additional private and group classes. She can be reached by phone (724.612.1999) and by email (tedmonicalynn@gmail.com). I hope to hear some responses back on ways that your homeschooling family has benefited from learning another language-- even if you are just in the beginning stages of this process! And I hope that Monica will be sharing further with us on how she organizes and structures her language classes, helping families see ways to incorporate all aspects of language in their learning.

Question: What single academic subject could help you in at least eight life altering ways such as...
... growing intellectually; helping your SAT’s scores; better understanding your own language, your own culture and even yourself; increasing your chances of being accepted to your first choice college and of being offered certain jobs or promotions; expanding your study abroad options; increasing your global understanding of international events, as well as culture including movies, music and literature; communicating with people from other countries; enhancing your international travel quality?

Answer: A Foreign Language, indeed.
Here is how learning a foreign language can enrich your life in all those ways....


Comments: 7


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