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"Boxadoo" -- a new homeschool digital portfolio tool! BETA testers needed ;-)
Joanna Herndon, 8/20/2013

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: This sounds like a very interesting new product that many in Pennsylvania might especially want to explore. A small but growing number of homeschooling families in PA are now creating digital portfolios on their computers, rather than physical notebooks-- and I'm sure this trend will grow. In thinking about this option, I'm reminded, too, of the young friends of mine now in college who have been compiling *digital portfolios* of their work in education studies, demonstrating all they've been learning and doing and creating over their 4 years of study. This homeschooling family who has developed 'Boxadoo' is specifically looking for families ready to help them *test* their product-- can't think of a better group than homeschoolers in Pennsylvania to help with this project! Could give your family a whole new motivation for working on portfolios *early* this year! Let me know if you opt to take part-- and how you find this particular option, designed with homeschooling families in mind. And if you help out in this testing stage, you'll earn a 20% discount on the very reasonable annual fee of $49 for a whole family. Take a look!

Hi, my name is Joanna Herndon, homeschool mom of 4 from Wesley Chapel, Florida. My husband, Jason and I have created a homeschool management tool called Boxadoo that we would like to share with the homeschool community. Boxadoo is an online tool that allows you to create a portfolio, record grades, upload photos, videos and manage events. We are currently working on sign-ups for our BETA that will take place in the next few weeks. We are excited to sign up homeschool families and allow them to check out the features and hear feedback during this initial BETA testing. If this is something your homeschool community might be interested in or benefit from, please pass this information along!You can find us at www.boxadoo.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/boxadoo. On our website, we will be collected email address for those interested in participating in our BETA. Please feel free to check out the site and email me if you have any questions!

Boxadoo right now features the following... 


Comments: 106

Homeschool grad moving on to international living.... a mom shares the story
Ellen Stewart, 8/16/2013

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: Ellen Stewart of Johnstown PA is the mom of many children, all adopted (many internationally)-- she is no stranger to traveling to China or Russia or Korea to meet and welcome her new children. Now she's experiencing having her 4th child, Molly, move on to living abroad-- and shares thoughts that I'm sure will resonate with many of you. I definitely encourage you to check out Molly's wonderful blog-- I thought I'd just read the opening entry, but found myself moving through every post! It's actually really surprising -- and gratifying! -- to me just how many homeschool graduates have chosen to spend extended time living abroad in their early adult years. I have another blogsite to share in a few days from a graduate who spent time working in a medical mission in Africa, one of her dreams since childhood. I know other students who lived abroad in Taiwan teaching in preschools, or who are teaching US history in mainland Chinese high schools, or who've made their home in Uganda, and as many of you know our older daughter has now lived in Israel for over 5 years. What's that we all used to hear that by homeschooling, our kids might never 'leave home'??? Maybe the old saying about 'giving them roots, and giving them wings' is true-- we've done both! 

I held her as closely as I could for as long as I could.  She still had the same smell that I remembered when she was a baby.  Molly had grown up in to a lovely young woman and was preparing to board a plane for Bolivia for her first teaching job in an international school.  She was tired.  I was crying.  I gave her a kiss on the cheek then released her.  She was free.

When I began homeschooling over two decades ago, the days seemed long, tedious, redundant, and tiring.  We had many fun times, but there was always the daily rhythm that carried us from math to English to history like a wave through the day.  The water was finally crashing on the shore.  Molly had graduated years before and secured a teaching degree along with her master's in English as a Second Language (ESL).  She had lived in town and would pop in for frequent visits with her family.  She had worked for an insurance company for a few years before landing a job as a therapeutic staff support (TSS) person in the local school system.   Now she was going to a new continent on the other side of the equator.  She would learn to speak Spanish.  She would teach ESL to the other teachers in her English speaking school.  She would learn to manage classrooms of junior high students.  The curriculums would be built with her own hands.  

It was interesting to get an email from Molly mentioning that she would be speaking with the Social Studies teacher.  She wanted to coordinate her work teaching Language Arts with the history lessons the children received.  That's what we used to do around our kitchen table.  Now that experience would be transferred to a school in Bolivia.  

Molly was always a great writer.  I once told her that I didn't know what she would be when she grew up, but she would write whatever profession she might choose.   She began a blog about her experience entitled Something New 22 http://startofsomethingnew22.blogspot.com/.  In it, she describes her ventures into a new world, learning how to establish authority in a classroom, and wrestling with self-doubt during her bouts of homesickness.  

This would be a great blog for home schooled students to read!  It might give them a flavor for adventure, an appreciation for other cultures, and gratitude for America.  It might be a new door that they will walk through themselves one day.


Comments: 10

PA Homeschoolers FALL TESTING registration now open!
Susan Richman, 8/9/2013

We are once again hosting a series of Fall Testing Sites all across Pennsylvania, using the TerraNova achievement test. Please see full info by clicking here, or on the link above that says 'Testing Service'. The cost is still just $30 per student with pre-registration either online till October 21st, or by check mailed in post-marked October 18, 2013. Note: there is a $3.95 service/handling charge on all online orders. If you prefer to just come to a test site that day and do 'walk-in' registration, the fee is $35 at the door (this $35 fee also applies to online registration after October 21st). 

All testing days start promptly at 9:30am (so plan to arrive by 9:10am!), and we're so grateful to the churches and synagogues that have opened their doors to allow us to offer this service, where homeschoolers can be tested in a comfortable group setting with other homeschoolers.

The testing fee covers all expenses of the testing date, and includes the service of mailing your child's test results to your home directly, within usually 10 days of testing. Students should bring pencils for the testing day -- all other supplies (simple rulers, scratch paper, etc) are provided by us... and if you forget pencils, we'll have extras, too! Students in 5th grade and up can also bring calculators, which can be used for the math word problem section only (this is optional-- calculators are not required). 

Do check out the past articles we've posted here about preparing for testing-- see our right-hand sidebar links. 

Hope to see you at one of our Fall Testing Sites! 

Best wishes,

Susan Richman, Editor PA Homeschoolers


Comments: 125

CA4: The New Common Application for College
Denise Boiko, 8/3/2013

Denise Boiko and her husband Ron homeschooled their two children from K-12. Their daughter, a 2010 Stanford graduate, is now in medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and their son is a 2013 graduate of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Denise is the author of a 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.

The Common Application, which has been simplifying college applications since 1975, has rolled out a new version of its application, christened CA4, effective August 2013. Applicants planning to enter college as freshmen or transfer students in the fall of 2014 should be aware of these changes. Homeschooling parents, take note, particularly if you have already worked with the Common App in previous years and are expecting it to be the same. It's not!

Wait...Just What Is the Common Application?

If you are new to the college application circus, this is an entirely valid question that merits a bit of background. In short, the Common Application was designed to be a form that the student completes just once and then submits to as many member colleges as he/she plans to apply to. Currently, more than 500 colleges and universities are members. Thus, students have a wide variety of choices, and submitting the Common App cuts down on the paperwork quite significantly. In addition to answering the garden variety questions relating to personal and family information, extracurricular activities, and test scores, the student writes and submits one main application essay. Teacher recommendations are submitted “once and for all” within the application, and the school counselor or homeschool supervisor (often the parent) also prepares a report and a transcript that is sent out to the colleges the student has chosen. Individual colleges may require a supplementary portion to the application (here's where the application becomes less simple than originally expected), in which the student answers college-specific questions. These may be as straightforward as listing the student's intended major or reporting whether any relatives are alumni of the institution, or as complicated as writing one or several additional essays.

The Changes, in Brief...

Here is a rundown of the 2013 changes:

  • The site is now commonapp.org rather than commonapp.com.
  • Previous essay prompts have been completely revised, with a new enforced word limit and use of text-entry rather than document upload.
  • The extracurricular short essay has been removed from the main application and moved to college-specific supplements on the Member Page.
  • The Home School Supplement form has been removed....



Comments: 22


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