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Virtual Science Fair, Science Buddies, Too Late to Change?

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, February 21, 2011
Vol. 12 No. 12, February 21, 2011, ISSN: 1536-2035
© 2011, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net

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Notes from Heather
-- Reader Feedback
Helpful Tip
-- Virtual Science Fair
Winning Website
-- ScienceBuddies.org
Reader Question
-- Too Late to Change?
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information


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Notes from Heather

Reader Feedback - Working from Home


"I just wanted to add a caution about working for any company that asks you for a payment up front. While it may sound legit, from my past personal experience, any company asking YOU for payment for an application to work for them, is just a pathway to disappointment and waste of money.   I pray you find something but please use caution as there are a lot of scams out there now." -- Julie S.


Your feedback is always welcome! -- mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net

Helpful Tip

Enter the Google Online Science Fair - Deadline April 4, 2011

Google is sponsoring its first virtual science fair!  The global science fair is open to students ages 13-18.  For full guidelines, visit the Google Science Fair website:


Winning Website


"The award-winning, non-profit Science Buddies empowers K-12 students, parents, and teachers to quickly and easily find free project ideas and help in all areas of science from physics to food science and music to microbiology. Whether your goal is to find a fun science activity for your kids or win the international science fair, ScienceBuddies.org puts comprehensive, scientist-authored tools, tips, and techniques at your fingertips."

Free membership! 

Last Issue's Reader Question

Too Late to Change?

"Thank you for taking my question. Our family has homeschooled off and on for the past 14 years. Being unaware of any method of instruction other than a traditional classroom style, we purchased traditional curriculum and created a mini-classroom at home. After a few years in a rural one-room schoolhouse, our children have returned home to school. During their years in rural school I was introduced, via the internet, to a variety of new homeschooling styles. Learning about other methods of learning, which would fit our children and home situation much better than the traditional style, seemed like a miracle to me. After a couple of adjustment years back at home, our upper elementary aged child is eagerly embracing these new methods of learning. For our 14 and 17 year olds the adjustment has been quite rocky. As much as I know the alternative learning methods would bless these children especially, I am wondering if their training in traditional methods has been too deeply ingrained to change now. Should I continue to attempt adding new methods or am I merely beating my head against a wall too solidly built to tear down? Will adding new procedures create more stress than it relieves for the 11th grader? I would appreciate any advice or thoughts on this. Thank you SO much in advance." -- Becky

Our Readers' Responses

"Hi, Becky --  When my oldest, now graduated, was almost 13, I switched teaching methods with her.  At the time she was our only child.  It was very different, at first, but I continued because I knew that was what would be best for her.  She did not put up an resistance vocally, but may have not liked the changes.

I would ask your 11th grader what he/she doesn't like about the changes vs. what they do like about traditional schooling methods.  Usually, the alternative lessons take less time to complete than traditional work and that was what won my daughter to the new methods.

I would encourage you to make the changes you feel are best for your children.  They may not understand the 'whys' right now, but if you are convinced that they will benefit from the new style of learning, that is what matters most." -- Jodi


"Becky -- If your older children are involved in the decision making, I believe they will be open to trying new things.   If they are resistant, explain to them the advantages to the new approaches.

Especially focus on aspects that will seem better to them, such as fewer textbook assignments, less writing, more flexibility, faster progress, etc.   Show them some of the material or articles that motivated you to change curricula.  If you know any families who are using these methods, get together with them, and let them tell your children what they like about them.   You could ask them to try one change at a time for period of six weeks or so, and then agree to go back to the old way if they don't like it.   You don't have to change everything at once.   They will adjust better with more gradual changes.

They could help you decide where to start.   You could start with your old methods and supplement with the new, and then gradually increase the use of the new material." -- Mary Beth


"I am a psychologist and a homeschooling mom.  You may have heard the joke, 'How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?' The answer, 'One, but the light bulb has to want to change.'

At 14 and 17, it's especially important to get your children to buy in to whatever you have planned.  I would tell them about the approaches and the advantages and disadvantages of each and then ask them what they would prefer.  I wouldn't act disappointed if they choose a traditional approach.  After all, the older students are, the more reasonable a traditional approach becomes.  If they pursue advanced education, they won't be doing unit studies. :-)

God bless you.  You might want to check out a website I'm developing to help homeschoolers motivate themselves and their students:  www.motivatedhomeschooler.com ." -- Melanie Wilson

Answer our NEW Question

"Hello, all -- My question stems from curiousity of what my fellow homeschoolers are doing in there homes about TV.   In the eyes of society, I will be 'new' to homeschooling because my daughter will be staying home with me next fall instead of going off to the brick and mortar for kindergarten.   However, after years of reading, I realized that we have been homeschooling all along since infancy.   I have a toddler as well.   And, I am curious about the rules exist in your homes regarding television.

In my house, we have never been big fans of TV.   Yes, we use it to view informational DVDs and other programs.   And, yes, sometimes my children watch 30 minutes to 1 hour of shows on PBS, but other than that we do not really watch a lot of TV.   Sometimes, my children are rewarded with a movie night where we watch a Disney movie - or something along those lines - together as a family.

There are a lot of negative effects that I have seen in my children stemming from staring at the TV.  Mainly, I felt disturbed by walking into the room and calling there names to be not answered and seeing the look of glazed eyes as they are lost in the sensory overload of the TV.   Also, in my heart, something makes me sad about a child sitting in a room and doing nothing but sitting and 'watching' for hours on end.   Both of these elements have caused me terrible conflict over the years as I contemplate simple requests of friends and family to just 'put in a movie for the kids'.   To me, that is not okay.

My family is very active to say the least.   As a parent, I have always made a point to be engaged with my children.   Because of the aforementioned I have been very conflicted about what little television we do watch.   Therefore, I am curious about what happens in your homes.   Perhaps I should not be so overly analytical about what little time we do spend watching it.   Perhaps, if the children are supervised and the programs are carefully selected, then the viewing of such programs are not as harmful as my subconscience is telling me and I should stop all my fretting.   I feel that reading your responses would put my mind at ease knowing what is going on out there in other homeschooling homes.   Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?   Please weigh in." -- Jess


Would you like to share your thoughts and experiences with Jess?

Please send your email to hn-answers@familyclassroom.net.

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Next - Televsion in Our Lives - How Much is Enough?
Previous - More on Working from Home, Milestones in Science and History

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