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The Dance Connection-- Discover, Create, Celebrate, SHINE!
Editor's Note from Susan Richman: I am always delighted to hear from parents who have long 'graduated' from their homeschooling years-- and who are now offering their special services to those in the homeschooling community. Deborah Bruckman-Bardun has been a dancer, teacher, and choreographer for many years. Having been a home schooling mother herself, she, her daughter Kristel (homeschooled from 8th grade through graduation from high school, after experiencing bullying in school), and her sister, Charlene Bruckman-Levine are the co-founders of The Home Schooler’s Clubhouse, located in the North Hills area outside of Pittsburgh. Deborah, Charlene, and Kristel wanted to create a place exclusively for the home schooling community and their children to learn, explore, and create in a nurturing and supportive environment. Thus, HSC has been created, with great thought, especially for them. Located at 9142 Perry Highway, Pittsburgh PA 15237, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their excellent website at www.homeschoolersclubhouse.com. You'll see that besides offering a full range of dance classes, they also offer a *party* service at their studio, including dance activities for the group!
I certainly know many homeschoolers whose children have really blossomed through involvement in dance programs-- it's a terrific example of the type of fitness and arts program that you just can't find within a regular elementary or high school curriculum... but it's out there in the wider community! I've met homeschoolers shining in classical ballet, modern dance, square dancing, swing dancing, 'Jane Austen' era ballroom dancing, and much more. Even if you live far from the North Hills of Pittsburgh, I hope this article helps you decide to add dance to your program on some level. And I know Deborah's thought below on the negative impact of too much TV viewing or computer use will resonate with many homeschooling families-- my guess is that homeschoolers are among those few in the nation that have found ways to curtail TV over-use in their homes. Enjoy this article-- and then get up and dance about for a few minutes with your kids!!
The Dance Connection-- Discover, Create, Celebrate, SHINE!
Dance is one of the great forms of art. It is hailed as the oldest of the arts, owing its antiquity to the fact that people dance for the sheer fun of it, for the joy of moving in a way that fits both the inner spirit and the contemporary world. Today, dance is not regarded as merely an art form, but rather an athletic activity. Dance has taken its place beside athletics in the development of the physical being. Every portion of a dancer’s body must be developed for strength, absolute control, and execution on command. The professional dancer requires a long daily workout to achieve this and as such, dancers are also athletes.
The benefits of dance, as opposed to other activities, are immense. It not only encourages physical development, but has been proven to....
Thanksgiving thoughts while cleaning up my side of our home office....
I never go shopping on 'Black Friday' after Thanksgiving... instead for the last several years I've set aside the day for a major cleaning up or re-organizing day in my home. You know, those jobs most of us rarely 'get to'... like a huge overhaul of the attic storage area, or repainting woodwork, or re-organizing all my bookshelves. This Friday my plan is to really, really work on blessing our home office, one of the busiest rooms in our home right now-- and one of the most cluttered I'm afraid.
So... today I'd finished the work I'd planned to do for my AP US History class, and I just couldn't wait to get started just a bit *early* on our office. I thought I'd just begin a little, by clearing off the top of my desk and my file drawers. I already have boxes and bags of old unnecessary papers to recycle or burn-- but one of the piles to sort through made me stop and linger. And here's where I come to the Thanksgiving part. One of the things I always save is *thank you* cards and notes from the many families and students that I've worked with over the years. They are all in a nice brass box on a shelf just to the left of my computer-- and the container was overflowing and filled above the brim. I had no thoughts that I'd toss any of these treasures... but I did decide to reread them all. And my heart is so full now, of gratitude for all these people who have touched my life over many years of working with homeschooling famlies in so many ways.
There were letters from my AP US History students, thanking me for the way that the course had helped them stretch in new ways and see our nation's history from different viewpoints. Some specifically thanked us for hosting our annual year-end AP Party at our farm, where they had the chance to really meet many of their virtual classmates face to face-- kids from Texas, California, Washington, Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and more. Others thanked me for being ready and willing to write them needed college or scholarship recommendation letters. Rereading these cards and notes made me realize, once again, about the many lives all of us leading our AP Online classes have touched. It's so special to be able to help these wonderful young people move on in their lives. And just today....
Editor's Note from Susan: We all need to help our kids learn about varied health issues, including the dangers of alcohol and drug use. Some of you might want to look into this neat contest to help you do this. Let us know if your kids decide to enter! I was pleased that homeschoolers in PA were specifically invited to take part, too. One nice thing about many academic contests is that they often include free educational materials related to the theme of the program-- here's a link for the DrugFreePA curricular materials related to this contest, which could be interesting for families to look over even if your kids don't actually enter the competition. The materials focus on helping kids discern how advertizing media can try to influence their choices and decisions related to this issue. You can also find past winning public service announcements (PSA's) from this contest, on YouTube. If anyone has other ways they've found helpful in discussing this topic with your kids, do post below. I'm sure for most of us, simply *modeling* an appropriate message is a main approach-- but having ways to have a more in-depth conversation is also a great idea.
The Pennsylvania National Guard Counterdrug Joint Task Force, Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs and Drug Free Pennsylvania are launching, for the 5th year, a statewide contest designed to find highly creative middle and high school students.
The Sound Off: Pennsylvania's Drug Prevention Television/Radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) Contest will provide an opportunity for youth to send a positive message to their peers and communities that drugs and alcohol do not have to be part of their activities.
The contest is open to all public, private and home-educated Pennsylvania students in grades 6-12. If necessary, the winning team will professionally produce the PSA that will be aired on television or radio stations throughout the state....
Newly Updated PA Department of Education website re/ homeschooling....
Editor's Note from Susan: Sorry it's been so long since a new posting has gone up!! Howard and I are just now (almost!!) feeling caught up on things after our Fall Testing trip around PA. We've also been *very* grateful and happy that our wonderful daughter Maya (Molly) and her husband just welcomed in their first little baby in Israel where they live-- the baby's name is Nitsah (rhymes with 'pizza' ;-), and means 'little flower bud' in Hebrew ), and the new family is just doing wonderfully! And I've never been so *grateful* for our hi-tech ways of communicating-- getting to see the baby on Skype has been a delight! Amazing times we live in ;-). We'll now be getting back to regularly updating things on our website, and being more in touch with homeschoolers. Thanks for your patience!
Just the other day I went to use the PA Dept of Education (PDE) website link on our right-hand sidebar and realized it was non-functional-- the PDE has changed their website extensively, and they now have a whole new section for homeschooling, and I wanted to give you the link and let you know some of the excellent new resources you can find there.
Their opening 'general info' page is at this link titled Home Education and Private Tutoring HomePage. From here you'll also see helpful sidebar links for: educational options, evaluators, private tutors, diplomas, statistics, laws and regulations, and 'overview of homeschooling'. Explore all these sections-- you'll find valuable information, and I feel most is very accurate and helpful and concise.
The section on homeschooling diplomas may be especially helpful-- it spells out....