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By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, April 27, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
       ***SPECIAL SERIES - High School Homeschooling***
   Vol. 10 No 33                           April 27, 2009
                      ISSN: 1536-2035                              
   Copyright (c) 2009 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

  Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

  If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!
  And please visit our sponsors!  They make it possible.




  Guest Article
  -- Writing for a New Generation
  High School Answers
  -- Readers' High School Hindsight
  Winning Website
  -- Interactive Chemistry
  Reader Question
  -- 'Less Traditional' High School?
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Guest Article

  [Editor's Note:  Some of the links in the following article may not
  necessary be suited for all readers' families.  Review and utilize at
  your own discretion.]


  Writing for a New Generation
    by Kerry Jones


  Can you see the writing on the wall?  Several major newspapers have
  folded in the last year due to lower subscription rates and the
  proliferation of online news sources.  Even cable news outlets have
  regular segments where they check in with blogs and Twitter for
  up-to-the-minute information on breaking stories.  And with devices
  such as Amazon's Kindle selling so quickly that that customers with
  backorders are looking at months, not weeks, to wait until they are
  restocked, we can assume that the willingness of people to receive
  information digitally is more than just a passing phase.

  While we as homeschooling parents have been shopping the curriculum
  fairs for more information on six-trait writing and the perfect
  paragraph, our kids have been busy devouring a whole new world of
  writing that has very little to do with anything we were instructed
  about in our college English courses.  Blogs and microblogs have
  overtaken the traditional essay as the way to communicate information.
  Wikis have created a new way of thinking about what is true and
  accurate, and have created an entirely new collaborative writing
  experience.  Chat rooms, texting, instant messengers and forums have
  created a world where waiting to find out what you want to know seems

  As difficult as it is to let go of the old, and embrace the new, we
  would be doing our children a disservice by not preparing them for
  this new paradigm shift.  If it makes you nervous, then don't think
  of it as 'high tech', but rather 'forward thinking'.  Where traditional
  writing focused on organization, word choice, and voice, writing for
  today's media emphasizes content, compactness, and conversational
  tone.  Although I haven't yet discovered a writing curriculum that
  adequately addresses how to help your student make the shift toward
  writing for this new age, I have discovered some helpful online tools
  and websites that can help them at least get their feet wet in the
  digital pool.

  -- Plinky is a fun and interactive writing website that provides a
  new prompt, question, or challenge each day for you to respond to.
  What makes this different from most other writing prompt resources
  is that it adds a social aspect to the process because members can
  read other responses to the same prompt and even comment on them.
  And your answers can also be quickly exported to your favorite social
  networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and major blog hosts.

  -- LiveJournal is part blog/part journal/part social network.  What
  you want to be private, can be.  What you want to share with the
  world, you share.  And by connecting with friends' accounts, you
  can keep up with whatever they are writing about as well.  This is
  a must-have link for any reluctant writer of middle school or higher
  age in your household.


  -- Almost any popular form of media you experience today is probably
  the result of some sort of collaborative effort along the way.  Film,
  television, radio, and web productions are almost never created in
  isolation.  That is why it is important for today's young writers to
  experience what it means to take part in a group project.  This might
  seem difficult for homeschoolers, but thanks to an innovative new
  website called Glypho, it is now easy to do.  Glypho is a fun way for
  kids and teens to work together to create a novel by adding chapters
  to other peoples creations, or starting a work of your own and seeing
  what someone else envisions for it.


  -- For teens who have the blog bug, but aren't sure where to begin,
  BlogWritingCourse.com offers an eight week complete introduction to
  blogging, called Blogging 101.  By the end of the course, new bloggers
  have a complete blog of their own including a custom header, sidebar
  widgets, and an extensive understanding of everything from tags to
  blogging safety.


  -- Phoneku is just as high-tech as it sounds, but with an educational
  twist.  Poetry 160 is a movement that has been growing in both Europe
  and the Americas for several years now.  It is a form of poetry
  written in text-message style within the confines of the standard
  160 character limit of most SMS systems.  There have been many text
  message poetry competitions held worldwide.  Now there is a whole
  website designed for texters to try their hand at this fun, creative,
  and 'connected' way of expressing themselves.


  So what if you are willing to accept that your son or daughter is
  captivated by the fast paced world of digital media, but you aren't
  quite ready to let go of the traditional conventions of 'good writing'?
  One compromise might be to sign them up for an online writing course,
  like the ones offered by Time4Writing.  Your homeschooler gets access
  to the latest technology in education, while you relax in the fact
  that a certified writing teacher is providing one-on-one instruction
  in everything from basic writing mechanics to SAT essay preparation.


  Although our instinct as parents is often to resist change --
  especially if we don't quite have a grasp on what it means for our
  children -- the truth is that the digital age isn't just a passing
  phase.  We can either bury our heads in the sand and continue
  pretending that erasers are better than spell checkers, or try to
  embrace the new trends in writing and help prepare our children for
  the inevitable -- a whole new way of thinking about writing.


  Kerry Jones is a freelance writer and online marketing consultant in
  North Carolina.  She has two sons, and has been homeschooling since
  1999.  She writes a blog about her adventures homeschooling with
  technology which you can check out at http://topsytechie.wordpress.com
  and she teaches an online blogging course for new bloggers at
  http://www.blogwritingcourse.com/  You can also visit her webpage at
  http://homepage.topsy-techie.com-a.googlepages.com/ to
  her articles about homeschooling in the digital age.


  Do you have comments to share?  Please do!
  Send your emails to:  mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net



      High School Answers

  Each issue in this section I will share a few of our readers'
  responses to a question.  Currently our question is:

  "For those who have graduated at least one child/student, what is
  is the single most important thing you wish you had known before
  you began the high school years?"


  "Not to wait til high school!  My daughter wrote a book called 'The
  Homeschooler's Guide to Preparing for College' precisely because
  there were things we coulda, shoulda, woulda done if we only had
  known!  She ended up being accepted to Vanderbilt University but it
  coulda, shoulda, woulda been a whole bunch easier and more relaxed
  had we known about these opportunities before she started high school.
  She would have had more time to plan and to execute these things.
  She would have had more time to study and plan and we wouldn't have
  had as much last minute running around!  We also wouldn't have spent
  a small fortune on college prep books that weren't worth it." 

  If you are interested, her book can be found here:

  -- JoJo Tabares

  "There are MANY things I wish I'd known about high school home
  school before treading those waters!  But with two now successfully
  navigating the waters of college and paying NOTHING for it in 'out
  of pocket' dollars, I'd capsulate it into ONE idea and say DON'T BE
  AFRAID TO BE YOUR CHILD'S ADVOCATE!  Learn all you can about how to
  prepare your child for college, both academically and economically...
  and then keep learning.  Begin early -- because some scholarships
  are granted early in the senior year of high school that can never
  be achieved later.  Even if your child decides not to pursue college,
  the clock cannot be turned back for many scholarships if he DOES
  want to go to college.  You've lost nothing in preparing him, but
  have lost THOUSANDS if he does and was not prepared.  Don't assume
  you have to teach your child everything, but teach him how to LEARN
  from everything!  Focus on his natural, God-given talents, abilities,
  and passions... but don't let those become an excuse for negligence
  on other ESSENTIAL life-skills subjects.  Learn to direct other
  subjects INTO his natural passions.  Think 'outside the box' on how
  he has done some extraordinary things, not in textbooks.  Record
  those with GRADES as well as 'extra curricular' interests.  You can
  boost your child's GPA (thus enabling him for better scholarship
  competition) by merely serving as his ADVOCATE as you record how his
  'special interests' met requirements for certain subjects.  He has
  probably done 'hard things' above and beyond the level of requirements.
  Be sure to reflect honors credit in those subjects where it is
  acceptable and record details in his portfolio that represent his
  leadership, initiative, and critical thinking.  In completing
  applications for employment or college scholarships, focus on FACTS
  that represent his CHARACTER and ACHIEVEMENT.  As a family on one
  income with five children, we knew we could not afford college for
  our children.  Thus, my 'job' has been to be my children's advocate
  at home and abroad, helping them achieve a college education by
  EARNING it with their character and achievement.  No one else knows
  your child like you do.  Don't be afraid to represent him as you
  know him and let others see the potential from which they can benefit
  as well -- as employers and institutions of higher learning!  Your
  child can help THEM -- but you will need to help them see that on
  paper as well as in the character you have helped develop in your
  child." -- Crystal in SC


  "We have graduated one child (still have two to go).  I wish I hadn't
  worried so much about SAT/ACT scores.  First of all, my daughter is
  going to junior (community) college, and these scores become obsolete
  after 28 units.  We don't qualify for government grants, so the scores
  are unnecessary.  Her grade point average (which is verified on her
  transcript) is what has gotten her financial aid on the local level
  (from the college and a small private scholarship).  So, concentrating
  on being a good student with her required curriculum was the important
  area, not how she did on the big tests.  The study skills she developed
  as a homeschooler are helping her maintain a good grade point average
  at junior college, which helps her continue to receive her scholarships.
  This will help her receive financial help when she transfers to a four
  year Christian college.  I know that excellent SAT/ACT scores can help
  students get government aid if their families qualify, but since we
  didn't, and she only did average on these tests, it was a lot of
  unnecessary pressure." -- Kathy in CA


  Do you have a high school tip or some experience to share?  Please do!
  Send your email to:  mailto:HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

      Winning Website

  Dynamic Periodic Table of Elements

  This amazing page has the periodic table in an interactive set-up you
  just have to use to believe!  Select "videos" from the drop-down menu
  tab on the left and suddenly the chart links to videos on the individual
  elements -- and they are FUN to watch videos.  I wish I had something
  like this when I was studying chemistry in high school!  Try out all the
  different bells and whistles... a great way to learn your elements.

      Last Issue's Reader Question

  "I am wondering if there are any out there who have successfully
  homeschooled (or who are right now) a high schooler, but doing it
  in a less traditional way. Most of the advice I hear is oriented
  very much toward a traditional academic 'school' approach, and I
  am curious as to how a more hands-on or 'life learning' approach
  might look in high school. Is it even possible? How does one then
  earn a diploma?" -- Lisa W.

      Our Readers' Responses 

  "Yes, you can homeschool a high schooler in a less traditional way.
  A great resource is a book called 'Senior High: A Home-Designed
  Form+U+La', by Barbara Edtl Shelton.  She lays out how you can turn
  anything into an education credit by being organized, making up
  forms, and laying out what is required in order to earn a certain
  grade in that subject.  She also shows you how to create a transcript.
  Once your student has completed the course of study that you require
  them to do through high school, you can issue a diploma.  A great
  site to design your own is www.homeschooldiploma.com -- Have a great

  Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La


  "Lisa -- We did a mix of traditional and non traditional stuff for
  highschool with a lot of hands on learning, work experience, field
  trips, and participation in small, but great co-ops.  One of my
  favorite tools was the Unschoolers Network High School Curriculum
  Guide -- www.unschoolersnetwork.bravehost.com   It outlined what
  needed to be covered and gave interesting ideas, required subject
  areas, etc.  It is very unschooler friendly, as the author was a
  tried and true unschooler.  We also got our diplomas through the
  Network's diploma/transcript program.  These were accepted with no
  problem anywhere the kids needed them.

  All three kids finished 'high school' in three years, due to a lot
  of high school level kinds of projects they'd done in junior high
  that counted on their transcripts.  (They went on to take classes
  at the local community college and did well, much to my extended
  family's surprise.)  I used a lot of this and that, unit studies,
  and kept my focus on encouraging them to pursue interests, enjoy
  reading, be good communicators, know the necessary math, and provided
  them with resources to help them learn and be independent adults.

  If I had to do it over again, I would concentrate a little more on
  essay writing, whether or not they wanted to go on to college.  I
  would also add more volunteer work.  Two finished college; the other
  did not, but has a year's worth of credits and works as a freelance
  graphic designer.  The other two work somewhat in their fields of
  study.  Be encouraged -- they can make it through highschool just
  fine!" -- Karen Lange, http://www.karenlange.bravehost.com/


  "I can’t say enough about Barb Shelton's Highschool Form-U-La book.
  I was homeschooled and I WISHED my mom would have used this book.
  It shows you how to make sure your kids gets credits for highschool
  (if that's important to you), but it is based upon the teen's
  interests, so that you do get credit for it.  You can do it with
  ANY subject matter and design it with your highschooler." -- Annie

  Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La

     Answer our NEW Question

  "I've been homeschooling for many, many years.  I love my children
  and what I do, but I am tired.  I know God has given me this wonderful
  opportunity but I've never felt up to the task.  Can you give me some
  suggestions for putting new wind in my sails and the children's?
  Every time I see a book now -- or know I have to tackle another
  'learning issue' -- I get a knot in my stomach." -- J.S.


  Do you have some encouragement and/or practical advice for J.S.? 

  Please send your answer to:  mailto:HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

     Ask YOUR Question

  Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

  Send it to mailto:HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
  if we can help you out in a future issue!

     Need Immediate Help?

  Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center!  This is a live 24/7
  'chat' area where you can talk live to our homeschool counselors
  by typing in a box.  When you get there, just introduce yourself
  and let them know that Heather sent you!

  This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
  there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening
  ear and encouragement.


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