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Archive for June, 2010

Effect of Meals on Learning

source: http://simplycharlottemason.com/store/samples/Early-Years-sample.pdf

1. Good nutrition can affect your child’s brain as well as body.
“The brain cannot do its work well unless it be abundantly and suitably
nourished; somebody has made a calculation of how many ounces of brain went to
the production of such a work—say Paradise Lost—how many to such another, and
so on. Without going into mental arithmetic of this nature, we may say with safety
that every sort of intellectual activity wastes the tissues of the brain; a network of
vessels supplies an enormous quantity of blood to the organ, to make up for this
waste of material; and the vigour and health of the brain depend upon the quality
and quantity of this blood-supply.
“Now, the quality of the blood is affected by three or four causes. In the first
place, the blood is elaborated from the food; the more nutritious and easy of
digestion the food, the more vital will be the properties of the blood” (Vol. 1, pp.
24, 25).
2. Give your child a variety of healthful foods to help nourish his brain and
replenish his body cells.

“The food must be varied, too, a mixed diet, because various ingredients are
required to make up for the various waste in the tissues. The children are shocking
spendthrifts; their endless goings and comings, their restlessness, their energy, the
very wagging of their tongues, all mean expenditure of substance: the loss is not
appreciable, but they lose something by every sudden sally, out of doors or within.
No doubt the gain of power which results from exercise is more than compensation
for the loss of substance; but, all the same, this loss must be promptly made good.
And not only is the body of the child more active, proportionably, than that of
the man: the child’s brain as compared with a man’s is in a perpetual flutter of
endeavour. It is calculated that though the brain of a man weighs no more than
a fortieth part of his body, yet a fifth or sixth of his whole complement of blood

“Even for tea and
breakfast the wise
mother does not
say, ‘I always give my
children’ so and so.”

www.SimplyCharlotteMason.com 21

Proper Physical Care
goes to nourish this delicate and intensely active organ; but, in the child’s case, a
considerably larger proportion of the blood that is in him is spent on the sustenance
of his brain. And all the time, with these excessive demands upon him, the child has
to grow! not merely to make up for waste, but to produce new substance in brain
and body” (Vol. 1, p. 25).

“But, given pleasant surroundings and excellent food, and even then the
requirements of these exacting little people are not fully met: plain as their food
should be, they must have variety. A leg of mutton every Tuesday, the same cold on
Wednesday, and hashed on Thursday, may be very good food; but the child who
has this diet week after week is inadequately nourished, simply because he is tired
of it. The mother should contrive a rotation for her children that will last at least a
fortnight, without the same dinner recurring twice. Fish, especially if the children
dine off it without meat to follow, is excellent as a change, the more so as it is rich
in phosphorus––a valuable brain food. The children’s puddings deserve a good deal
of consideration, because they do not commonly care for fatty foods, but prefer to
derive the warmth of their bodies from the starch and sugar of their puddings. But
give them a variety; do not let it be ‘everlasting tapioca.’ Even for tea and breakfast
the wise mother does not say, ‘I always give my children’ so and so. They should
not have anything ‘always’; every meal should have some little surprise. But is this
the way, to make them think overmuch of what they shall eat and drink? On the
contrary, it is the underfed children who are greedy, and unfit to be trusted with
any unusual delicacy” (Vol. 1, pp. 27, 28).
3. Give your child enough food to help him grow and flourish both physically
and mentally.
“The child must be well fed. Half the people of low vitality we come across are
the victims of low-feeding during their childhood; and that more often because
their parents were not alive to their duty in this respect, then because they were not
in a position to afford their children the diet necessary to their full physical and
mental development” (Vol. 1, pp. 25, 26).
4. Eat regular meals at usual intervals throughout the day.
“Regular meals at, usually, unbroken intervals—dinner, never more than five
hours after breakfast; luncheon, unnecessary; animal food, once certainly, in some
lighter form, twice a day—are the suggestions of common sense followed out in
most well-regulated households” (Vol. 1, p. 26).
5. Limit rich or fried foods and make sure your child drinks enough water.
“But it is not the food which is eaten, but the food which is digested, that
nourishes body and brain. And here so many considerations press, that we can only
glance at two or three of the most obvious. Everybody knows that children should
not eat pastry, or pork, or fried meats, or cheese, or rich, highly-flavoured food
of any description; that pepper, mustard, and vinegar, sauces and spices, should
be forbidden, with new bread, rich cakes, and jams, like plum or gooseberry, in
which the leathery coat of the fruit is preserved; that milk, or milk and water, and
that not too warm, or cocoa, is the best drink for children, and that they should be
trained not to drink until they have finished eating; that fresh fruit at breakfast is
“Regular meals at,
usually, unbroken
Though some details may have
changed since Charlotte lived,
the principles of healthy eating
22 www.SimplyCharlotteMason.com
Proper Physical Care
invaluable; that, as serving the same end, oatmeal porridge and treacle, and the fat
of toasted bacon, are valuable breakfast foods; and that a glass of water, also, taken
the last thing at night and the first thing in the morning, is useful in promoting
those regular habits on which much of the comfort of life depends” (Vol. 1, p. 26).
6. Keep meal times pleasant.
“Again let me say, it is digested food that nourishes the system, and people are
apt to forget how far mental and moral conditions affect the processes of digestion.
The fact is, that the gastric juices which act as solvents to the viands are only
secreted freely when the mind is in a cheerful and contented frame. If the child
dislike his dinner, he swallows it, but the digestion of that distasteful meal is a
laborious, much-impeded process: if the meal be eaten in silence, unrelieved by
pleasant chat, the child loses much of the ‘good’ of his dinner. Hence it is not a
matter of pampering them at all, but a matter of health, of due nutrition, that the
children should enjoy their food, and that their meals should be eaten in gladness;
though, by the way, joyful excitement is as mischievous as its opposite in destroying
that even, cheerful tenor of mind favourable to the processes of digestion. No
pains should be spared to make the hours of meeting round the family table the
brightest hours of the day. This is supposing that the children are allowed to sit at
the same table with their parents; and, if it is possible to let them do so at every
meal excepting a late dinner, the advantage to the little people is incalculable” (Vol.
1, pp. 26, 27).
7. Use meal times to practice good manners and reinforce good habits.
“Here is the parents’ opportunity to train them in manners and morals,
to cement family love, and to accustom the children to habits, such as that of
thorough mastication, for instance, as important on the score of health as on that
of propriety” (Vol. 1, p. 27).

Homeschooling During the High School Years

Source: http://www.homeschool-articles.com/home-schooling-during-the-high-school-years/

Home schooling during the high school years can be a fun and rewarding time for both the child and parent. This time can be used to keep, maintain and even deepen a relationship with your child during a high stress time of their lives. This can be a time to build a trust with your child so that they are willing to listen to council that you would like to share with them during this time of their lives. Also, as a Christian parent it can be the time to guide your child in their Christian walk and to help with any questions that they have so that their relationship with the Lord is their own; which will help them as new choices and decisions come their way in the upcoming years.

As your child enters the high school years record keeping becomes very important. You will want to start recording the things that your child accomplishes so that you can report them for college admission considerations. This is the time to start looking at the requirements of the top three college choices that your child is thinking about attending. This will help in knowing what they require from incoming freshman. Also, check your state requirements in what they recommend a high school student to have before graduation. Some things that we learned along the way is to start a record writing down every book read during the high school years either for school or free reading. Keep up to date with your records; this will help if you need to present them for scholarships or grants.

Keeping track and recording your child’s extracurricular activities are just as important as recording the grades of the academic classes. For homeschoolers this is important because sports can also be counted as physical education credit as well as extracurricular. Colleges are interested in a child’s outside activities only to show that they are a well rounded person, sports, 4-H, part time job it isn’t important to a college what a student is involved in just that they have a well balanced life and are active in academic as well as extracurricular activities.

During this time of your child’s development it is important for them to start learning life lessons while they are still in a safe environment and still have you as a sounding board to hear from them and have some input towards their dreams and decisions. This is a great time to teach about finances, if they have a vehicle its time for them to pay for the bills that occur from that vehicle; hopefully there isn’t a payment on it; but there will be insurance that has to be paid, gas, maintenance such as new tires and oil changes. All of this is to teach them that as they get ready to step out on their own there are financial things that they will be responsible for and this is a step towards learning this responsibility.

This is a busy, exciting time for your teen. They still have their school work to keep up with; they are busy with extracurricular activities as well as many of them having jobs to help them earn the money they need for their special purchases. Its also a time for teen parents to start paying more attention to record keeping to help our teens take the next step in their educational process as well as being there to listen and give sound advise as your kids contemplate what they will do next in their lives.
Shawn Snyder is a WAHM with 3 grown children and a loving hubby who gives her the freedom to follow her dreams. She has an online business selling personalized children’s products. And a passion about raising the next generation of adults with love, respect and some good old fashion work ethic. Visit her blog at The Odd Couple Blog.

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10 Ideas to Uncover Your Home Schooled Teen’s Interests

source: http://www.homeschoolthroughhighschool.com/10-ideas-to-uncover-your-home-schooled-teen%E2%80%99s-interests

“Hey Mom. Did I take chemistry?”
“Yes, honey, you took it last year.”
“I did? Are you sure, ’cause I don’t remember it”

The above conversation took place while a friend’s daughter, who did high school from home, was filling out a lengthy college application. The mom and I chuckled as she related it to me saying, “Guess that was time well spent.”

We all know that not everything in life is fun and we do well to impart this truth to our kids as we home school them. No matter how much we may enjoy something, there will be aspects of it that we don’t enjoy, but, oh well…that’s life!

Having said that, let’s consider the other side of the coin – courses designed or chosen specifically because they appeal to the interest(s) of our child. After all isn’t the freedom to decide what to study one of the major advantages to home education!?

Studying a subject that is of natural interest usually lends itself to more enthusiasm, more self-initiative and better retention. However, as our kids reach high school age interests often change. Determining what those interests are can be a puzzle, both for the parent and the teen.

If you can relate, here are 10 ideas to help you find those “hidden” interests as you home school. Don’t jump at the obvious; dig to determine if there is an underlying thread or threads. What presents itself at face value, may only be a sign of the deeper attraction.

Above all else, pray! Seek Wisdom to uncover the Designer’s design for your teen that will help you “set the course” as you home school high school. (For ease of writing, I will alternate between “he” and “she”.)

1. Give your teen a piece of paper and ask him “If money were no object, and you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?” Have him list the activities that first come to mind.
2. What kinds of TV programs does she choose to watch? What kinds of music does she like to listen to? What types of books or magazines does she enjoy reading?
3. What topics do people (of any age) seek his advice on? Are there any topics for which he seems to be the “go to” person?
4. Does your she gravitate toward children or babies? Does her interaction come naturally?
5. Take him to a large bookstore and give him $20 dollars (if the budget doesn’t allow, use a pretend $20). Giving him all the time he needs, let him loose to choose books, magazines, music….whatever interests him. Talk about his choices. What exactly was the appeal? (Remember not to jump to the obvious – ask questions)
6. Consider any hobbies she is or has been involved in or has expressed interest in.
7. What does he do in his “free time”? Does he prefer being indoors? Outdoors?
8. Has she ever won any awards, trophies or recognition for something? What was it?
9. Does he volunteer any where? Why? What does he like about it? What doesn’t he like?
10. Pay attention during “natural” conversations noticing any topic that lights up her face or makes her conversation and body language become more animated.

As you go through this process, talk to others who know your child well – siblings, friends, grandparents, etc. What interests have they observed. What can they imagine your teen doing after graduation?

As you continue homeschooling through high school (or even if you’re just beginning) having a handle on your teen’s interests can help you determine what direction to head them in..

Consider this quote written by a shipmate of Ernest Shackleton, the expedition leader of the ship Endurance, written when Shackleton was young:

“When he was on the subject that…. appealed to his imagination, his voice changed to a deep vibrant tone, his features worked, his eyes shone, and his whole body seemed to have received an increase of vitality…. Shackleton on these occasions… was not even the same man who perhaps ten minutes earlier was spouting lines from Keats or Browning….”

Sometimes, the God-given bent is easily discovered, sometimes not. Sometimes you may be surprised to find it’s something entirely different than you expected. Keep digging and praying.

Let me know if these ideas help you in uncovering your homeschooled teen’s interests, or any ways you have used to find your teen’s bent as you do high school from home.

Homeschool Method # 1 – Part 3

source: http://charlottemasoneducation.com/nature.html

Nature Studies

Charlotte Mason wrote extensively on various educational philosophies and she held to an unusual emphasis of taking children outside every day to be in direct contact with nature. She really means every day, and she lived with the less-than-perfect weather of England. The objective is to help the child learn to be observant. The parent can relax, sit on a blanket, bring a project or a book along, and make this a leisurely outing, casually point out scenery around your children. Charlotte suggests we ask them “Who can see the most and tell the most about . . .” any plants, insects, or anything nearby. This appears to be a form of narration to me. With as little talking as possible and absolutely no lecturing, attempt to have them notice the geography of the area, the position of the sun, the weather, and the clouds.

In order to foster the power of observation you need to take your children to places where they will find things worth observing. Charlotte wanted children to have beautiful memories of their childhood stored for their old age and thought too many of us have blurry memories due to the fact we did not slow down and really look at things. To remedy this, she suggests that on rare occasions we have the child take a mental photograph of some scenic landscape. Have the child look, then shut their eyes and describe the scene. If it is too blurry in their minds, have them open their eyes, look again, and make a second attempt.

Getting outside this often can be difficult, I know. I live with rainy coastal conditions, and I tend to not be an outdoor person. However, there is refreshment and a literal re-creation involved that makes this worth the effort. Living in an urban or suburban area is going to make finding a natural setting more difficult. Our family has done a fair amount of nature observation in our cultivated suburban yard, and one advantage I can think of is that I know the names of the trees we’ve planted. If planning regular trips out of the city seems impossible to you, start small, and don’t be discouraged. Cities always have parks and arboretums. Maybe you can plan a family vacation with a new outlook of getting to more natural places.

A side benefit of observation is recognition. Charlotte Mason wrote, in “science or rather nature study, we attach great importance to recognition.” Some examples Charlotte provided are plants, stones, constellations, birds, field crops, and leaves. On the other hand the schools using Mason’s philosophy say they were “extremely careful not to burden the verbal memory with scientific nomenclature.” How then does the recognition process develop? By being careful to “teach the thing before the name” as an article in Charlotte Mason’ periodical put it. Children easily learn the name when the item is present and they need a name for it. So we teach them the correct term like pollen or antennae instead of “sticky-up-thing.”

Nature Walks

One afternoon a week take the children out for a nature walk. These are not instructive walks because we want them to observe with very little direction from us. One reason is that science should be studied in an ordered sequence, which is not possible with the randomness you will encounter out walking. The parent may be asked questions, and it is permissible to answer; that’s why it is recommended we adults work on our nature knowledge somewhat. There is nothing wrong with not knowing and looking it up at home in a field guide. You can invite a naturalist to come with you, provided you can locate one and they agree to follow the Mason’s method (e.g. , not lecturing the children) to some degree. I have used private property for these walks, with permission, and often the owner enjoys supplying a little information about the plant life or animal life of their area. Try to visit the same area quarterly to note how the seasons have altered the life.

Tree Observation

A good time of year to begin observing trees, according to Edward M. Tuttle, is in the winter when the trees are bare. He wrote an in?depth article for Charlotte Mason on how to study trees. This approach could be used on trees in your yard as well as trees in the forest, I believe. You can sketch the tree, noting the branches and the bark. Mr. Tuttle also wisely suggests we observe what birds and insects live in the trees we are visiting. He suggests we find out what purpose trees are used for, such as syrup, nuts, or the wood.

Mr. Tuttle also suggests getting sample pieces of woods in lengthwise and crosswise cuts and then comparing the natural state of it to the “finished” state of being oiled and polished. You could try collecting samples from your local lumberyard. One source I’ve found for mail?order wood samples is a company called Woodcraft. They offer a Wood Identification Kit that includes fifty 4?x 9? samples (for under $30.00). It comes with a list of species, botanical names, and country of origin. You can write for their catalog at 210 Wood County Industrial Park, P. O. Box 1686, Parkersburg, WV 26102-1686 or call them at 1-800-535-4482. They have retail outlets in various major cities throughout the country, which you’ll find listed in the catalog.

Other ways to Study Nature

Some other science ideas are pressing and mounting flowers on cardboard. Write their names and where and when you found them. I recently saw a photo-album used to store pressed flowers. Having a field guide to identify flowers and flowering trees is very helpful. A calendar devoted to nature observation could be kept with simple entries on when the leaves first fell or the fruit tree in your yard first ripened for the year. Children should know the leaves of their neighborhood. For example they can begin to notice that some leaves are heart shaped, some are divided, and some fall off in the winter. With time they will be able to distinguish between petal, sepal, and other flower parts. They will see on their own that some creatures have backbones and some do not. Give them a pocket compass and possibly a microscope. We like using the magnifying glass better. Buy the best one you can afford and check it at the store — they seem to vary in how they focus. Charlotte says to teach children to notice winds and tell them the wind is named by what direction it comes from; for example, yourself being an American because you are born in America — you do not become a Canadian when you go to Canada. Have them walk a distance and then measure how far they’ve walked.

City children can try to feed and observe city birds such as sparrows. They can place a caterpillar in a box with a netting over it and watch it spin. Keeping an ant farm is suggested, and we had a good one this past winter. Have them go to the pond, gather some frogs’ eggs, and place them in a large glass jar. After the tadpoles begin to form legs, take them back and release them at the pond. It was suggested children keep silkworms but I have no personal experience with that. The point is, even in the city, they should get their knowledge of nature first hand and get into the habit of being in touch with nature.

Homeschool Method # 1 – Part 2

Charlotte Mason Method Continued…

Be flexible and vary the order to avoid the drudgery of a strict routine.

Balance structured and relaxed homeschooling to avoid burnout and chronic guilt

Can use sticker for each accomplishment or simple check/cross out of each task in the sked; creates motivation for kids to finish
Natural rewards can motivate kids. E.g. 20 mins of math’s reward is whole afternoon leisure/play

Make sure that your “child never does a lesson into which he does not put his heart.”

You can sked the 20 min lesson just before his favorite activity to motivate the child to finish the task

Put the activity near him but unreachable so that he will be motivated to finish the task before doing the activity, e.g. chess board game

Provide interesting materials the child can learn from

If child is still not motivated to learn, then use the demerit system. Remove a privilege

Short lessons give the parent and student more time to do what they want to do

Watch out for Part 3

Homeschool Method # 1 – Part 1

The Charlotte Mason Approach Part 1

You can morph these techniques to your heart’s content. Apply one or two at a time.

What is the Charlotte Mason Approach?

Let’s say, you received 2 party invitations. The first is printed on grey paper in black ink. It contains boring information including the location, the theme and food.

The second card on the otherhand has an interesting layout and colors . The card promises to be fun and promotes wonderful delicious food and lively music. It appears to be an exciting and interesting time and now you do not want to miss it.

Now picture your children and ask yourself which invitation to a home schooled education do they want to receive? A boring way to present something or a far more intriguing interesting way ? That is one of your tasks.

Out with the boring. In with the love of learning.

Use a wide variety of meaningful subjects to the children via books, masterpiece artwork, poetry, websites and various other interesting materials as supplement to the textbooks.

Goal is to foster the love of learning. Remember, boredom is the opposite of the love of learning.

Let the child narrate whatever he/she read about the topic; it can replace the test; better than the test because it shows what the child understands.

Show the time sked per subject and activity/task. This is a good training in habits and concentration.

Tell the child to do the day’s work in the day so he will be free to enjoy the rest of the day’s leisure.Keep this in mind: If I play and have fun now the joy of it will be somewhat lessened if I will have the undone work on my mind.

Develop the habit of short concentrated lesson at a specified time daily to make the child concentrate.

When he/she is bored with the lesson it is time to put away and present a new topic or subject.Then go back to old lesson after a fresh mind. The lesson must be made bright and pleasant to the child.

Always vary the lessons to keep mind fresh and avoid boredom.

Choose the subjects that are light/routinary then serious or vice-versa. E.g. Writing then Math or History then Story-telling/Reading.

Part 2 to follow….

Do IAAP students have exams that IAAP would administer for grading / credit purposes?

None. The parents will be the ones to give the semestral exams. The exams can be based on the their textbooks’ tests, quizzes and exercises.

How effective is home schooling?

Very effective because I have homeschooled my 3 kids since Nursery to Grade 3. They learned how to read, write and add from me. My kids are at par or even above the level of performance of students in regular schools.

As cited in http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp, here are proofs of academic excellence of homeschooled kids in the U.S.A.

“…study by Dr. Lawrence Rudner of 20,760 homeschooled students … found the homeschoolers who have homeschooled all their school aged years had the highest academic achievement. This was especially apparent in the higher grades. This is a good encouragement to families catch the long-range vision and homeschool through high school.”

From the study called Strengths of Their Own “…show that when parents, regardless of race, commit themselves to make the necessary sacrifices and tutor their children at home, almost all obstacles present in other school systems disappear.”

A study in 1990 by the National Home Education Research Institute in USA entitled “A Nationwide Study of Home Education: Family Characteristics, Legal Matters, and Student Achievement” surveyed 2,163 homeschooling families.

The study “demonstrated that only 13.9 percent of the mothers (who are the primary teachers) had ever been certified teachers. The study found that there was no difference in the students’ total reading, total math and total language scores based on the teacher certification status of their parents.” (That means a parent is very qualified to teach his/her child.)

“The findings of this study do not support the idea that parents need to be trained and certified teachers to assure successful academic achievement of their children.”

“Dr. Brian Ray, president of the Home Education Research Institute, reviewed over 65 studies concerning home education. He found that homeschoolers were performing at average or above average on test levels. ”

“In 1986, researcher Lauri Scogin surveyed 591 homeschooled children and discovered that 72.61% of the homeschooled children scored one year or more above their grade level in reading. 49.79% scored one year or more above their grade level in math.”

“Similarly, in 1986, the State Department of Education in Alaska which had surveyed homeschooled children’s test results every other year since 1981, found homeschooled children to be scoring approximately 16 percentage points higher, on the average, than the children of the same grades in conventional schools.”

“In Arkansas, for the 1987-88 school term, homeschool children, on the average, scored in 75% on the Metropolitan Achievement Test 6. They out-scored public school children in every subject (Reading, Math, Language, Science, and Social Studies) and at every grade level. ”


These statistics point to one conclusion: homeschooling works. Even many of the State Departments of Education, which are generally biased toward the public school system, cannot argue with these facts. Not only does homeschooling work, but it works without the myriad of state controls and accreditation standards imposed on the public schools.”

Will there be socialization activities conducted by HAP?

For those who are in or near Metro Manila, we have to coordinate with all parents if they want to be have common socializing activities. It all depends on the place where we can meet half way. Meanwhile, they and parents who are outside the Philipines can sign their kids up in extracurricular activities near their place. Example, an art class or a singing class in Quezon City and the like