Archive for 'Homeschooling through high school'

Review: Knowledge Box Central Presidential Election Process Lapbook

The Library of Congress - (Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President. Seated portrait, holding glasses and newspaper, Aug. 9, 1863) (LOC)I’ve changed the way we are doing homeschool radically this year. This is due in part, to my battle with breast cancer. Knowledge Box Central is a company that has reasonably priced, high quality lapbooks for sale. My 12th grader turns 18 in September and will be able to vote in the Presidential election this November. Our family turned to the Presidential Election Process Lapbook  for learning about this important event.


What I liked

The lapbook is inexpensive. At just $5.00 for the e-book version, you can’t go wrong. I like the pdf format–if you make a mistake, just print out another page. The lapbook comes complete with enough information for lessons on the election process. The instructions are easy to follow, even if you are challenged in the crafting department. We used the grades 6 through 12 version.


What needs improvement

I would like to see better references included in the information. As a professional researcher and writer, Wikipedia is not considered a reliable or first-hand source. A better reference for the election process is the actual U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights which is found at the National Archives website. We used this as our source instead of the Wikipedia references included with the lapbook.


What my kids think

I used the Presidential Election Process lapbook with my 7th and 12th grade boys. They were engaged and had a great time researching the answers to the questions for the lapbook. My kids had a blast putting the lapbook together. It is not easy to please both boys with the same curriculum, and the Presidential Election Process lapbook was a definite hit. I plan to use other lapbooks from Knowledge Box Central.


Would I recommend it

I was extremely satisfied with the price, value, and content of the lapbook. The e-book format gives you flexibility to use it with multiple children without having to make another purchase. You can incorporate the lapbook into any style of homeschooling, including Charlotte Mason a traditional school approach and unschooling.


We added copywork and dictation to the lapbook to create an entire cross-curricular discipline on the election process and the U.S. Government. I highly recommend this lapbook, especially since this is a year when we elect a new president.


If you use this or any other Knowledge Box lapbooks, drop me a line and let me know. Thanks.



Posted on 7 August '12 by , under Government Lesson Plans, Homeschooling through high school, Reviews. No Comments.

Review of One Year Adventure Novel

Lynda Altman

Lynda Altman, writer


I had my doubts about the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum until I tried it. We are using this program for my high school senior and my 7th grader. The program will guide your child through the process of writing an adventure novel over the course of a school year.

An Overview of One Year Adventure Novel

This is a curriculum for middle and high school students. I think it is too involved for an upper elementary school student–even a very gifted one.


The first part of the year is spent having your child learn to get the ideas out of his head and onto paper. He will learn to organize ideas and thoughts and improve the creative writing process.


This is not a grammar and spelling program. It does not focus on sentence structure and writing mechanics. If you are looking for that sort of program go with something else.


The second part of the curriculum walks your child through the process of organizing and writing a novel. This may seem like a daunting task for a novice writer, but if you follow the steps laid out n the CDs, it is not difficult.


The One Year Adventure Novel is an all inclusive curriculum. Lessons are on the CDs. The map and workbook have everything laid out for you. Your job as a parent and educator is to make sure the lessons are completed on time and you need to be a good listener. Another thing I like about the program is that you can purchase more than one workbook if you have multiple students or if you have younger children that will use the program later on.



The curriculum does everything for you. There is no preparation for lessons on the parent’s part. A parent or other adult will need to be a good editor/director. This means that you listen to the ideas and help your child get them out onto paper in a clear and concise manner. It will also mean that you need to learn to lighten up with grammar, spelling and sentence structure until your child is ready to produce a finished product. The goal of the program is to get him to write a novel. The all-in-one design is especially helpful to me while I am homeschooling and fighting breast cancer.


The curriculum is well organized and it is perfect for students who work well independently. I found it was helpful for me as a writer to watch the lessons. I am always looking to improve my writing.



There is a lot of work involved with the curriculum. If your kid does not like to write, this may not be what you are looking for. You will need to assess why your child does not like writing. If it is because they have a hard time getting good ideas on to paper, this program will help. If you kid just hates to write and would rather compose music or do anything else, then you may want to skip this one.


The first part of the year goes slowly. If you are looking to get right into writing a book, you have to wait. The first half of the year is important to the creative process. Take your time with the program and do all the lessons.


Hope you found this helpful. Leave a comment and let me know.



Posted on 26 July '12 by , under Cancer and homeschool, Homeschooling through high school, Reviews. No Comments.

Writing Professionally Changed How I View Language Arts

When I look back on the first pieces I published, they read like a high school essay. I always thought my writing was good. Every English teacher I had gave me an A on my writing assignments–even in college. It wasn’t until I started writing professionally that I realized everything I was taught, was wrong.


Writing is not about spewing forth what you think the teacher wants to see in an assignment. I always did this, I put forth beautifully written essays that said nothing, showed no voice. All my essays proved was that I could write an essay that conformed perfectly to the rules of essay writing and that I was really good at knowing what the teacher wanted to read. This is not good writing, it is good structural format and the writing was excruciatingly boring. There was no voice. It was mechanical.


Working professionally, I learned that in order for writing to be good–it needs a voice. In traditional schools and language arts programs, nothing is done to help young writers find their voice. All the writing prompts in the world will not get you there, voice comes with experience, and experience comes from writing–lots of writing.


How do you get kids to write? Mine hate it, many of yours probably do too. The best thing you can do to get your kids writing is to back off. Forget grammar, sentence structure and spelling. Forget about the rewrite. Set aside time every week or several days a week for them to write in a journal. The only rule is that they have to write at least one sentence worth of words. The other rule is–you cannot look at it if they do not want you to see it. Respect that, eventually it will change.


When you give a writing assignment, place the heaviest emphasis on voice. You want to know why your child feels the way they do about the subject. You cannot teach feeling and voice, you have to coax it out of them. If you ask them to write about a passage they have read and they say, “it was dumb.” Go with that, tell them you respect their opinion but you want to know why it was dumb, boring, stupid, or “I hated it.” What exactly made your child feel that way. If you get something positive–great. You have a lot to work with. Ask your child what excited you, how did it impact you, what was it that made it so interesting.


Good writing is about voice, feelings, and being able to convey that emotion to the reader. Encourage your child to write from the heart. When this is accomplished, their writing skills will soar.



Posted on 22 July '12 by , under Free lesson plans and ideas, Homeschooling 101, Homeschooling through high school. No Comments.

Planning for Fall 2012

This coming homeschool year will be a challenge for me. I am still undergoing treatment for breast cancer and I have to allow travel for treatment into my homeschool planning. I have started planning for fall 2012 because it is going to take a lot of work and organization on my part to keep everything under control. My biggest challenge for this year is budgeting time and money. For the 2012-2013 school year, I am homeschooling a high school senior and a 7th grader.

High School

Ideally, I would like to dual enroll my high school student in the local community college. There are fees and costs associated with this and I am not sure that I can afford it. Student loans are not available for high school seniors. Scholarships for high school students do not exist. It is already a struggle for me to make ends meet, I will have to see what I can do. Looks like I will need to find more writing clients so I can swing this expense.

I was a slacker this past year with record keeping and it is going to take a lot of work to get the high school transcripts in order. My breast cancer surgeries and chemo took up the better part of this past school year. It is crunch time. I plan to get the transcripts in order prior to starting school officially in July.

My final challenge with my high school student is to get him ready to take the ACT in the fall. He is almost ready, but there is still work that needs to be done.

7th Grade

Planning for the 7th grade for 2012-2013 is another challenge. I will be using lots of free curriculum, Hippo Campus is a great resource. The Home School Buyers Co-op is another resource for free curriculum. We are focusing on getting ready for high school and preparing for college. Homeschooling has taught me that I need to start preparing in middle school for college. Keeping records begins now.


Keeping to a strict time and financial budget is a must for me. Planning for the fall will require me to balance writing full-time, cancer treatment, and homeschooling full-time. Without a decent planner, I would be lost. My first goal was to go over the household expenses and come up with a budget. That was an eye-opener. With the financial budget in place, I have to work on a time budget.

Time is a commodity that seems to slip away. I know that I will be driving to and from the homeschool co-op and performances at the Walton Arts Center. My cancer treatments, once every three weeks, are two hours away. On treatment days, I cannot work and I am not there to supervise home school. Careful planning is required on my part to keep everything on track.

This year I will need to replace my car and a couple of computers. Right now, this is not in the budget, so I will have to hold several garage sales and keep things very tight in order to find money for this. I do not do car loans, anything I buy will be for cash. There is a lot of freedom in not being a slave to a car payment.

I expect to have all of the planning for fall done by the end of this month. We start homeschooling again in mid-July. With all of my planning, I expect this coming school year to go a lot smoother than years past.



Posted on 20 June '12 by , under Cancer and homeschool, Homeschooling through high school. No Comments.

Freebie: Learning Resources from Patrick Henry College and HSLDA

Here is a freebie for all of the thrifty homeschoolers out there. Not specific to Arkansas–any home school family will be able to use at least one of the resources listed on the page. They are in pdf format, so you will need Adobe Reader or another pdf reader to view the files.

Courtesy of HSLDA and Patrick Henry College, a full page of free learning resources geared toward high school students. The material is Christian based. Feel free to share the information with your family and friends.

Hope you find this useful.

Posted on 6 July '11 by , under Free lesson plans and ideas, Free or Almost free resources, Freebies, Homeschooling through high school. No Comments.

Tim Tebow Bill Passes Senate – Referred to House Education Committee

SB774 passed the Arkansas State Senate today. It was read and sent to the House Education Committee. As soon as I have the bill number for the house, I will post it here.


Posted on 29 March '11 by , under Homeschool Politics, Homeschooling through high school, Politics. No Comments.

New Amendments to Arkansas Bill SB774

I have been following SB774 also known as the “Tim Tebow” bill. This bill, if passed, will allow Arkansas homeschoolers to participate in public school sports and activities. Right now, homeschoolers cannot participate in public school sports or any activity governed by the Arkansas Athletic Association.

Amendment number 1 was withdrawn on March 16, 2011. Amendment number 2 was adopted, read and reported as correctly engrossed and sent back to the Education Committee.

I have an issue with amendment number 2. It changed the wording on page 2, line 36 to the following:

“Demonstrate educational progress by scoring at grade-level or above on a norm-referenced standardized test in mathematics, English, science and social studies, each semester that the student participates in an interscholastic activity;”


The above wording could mean that homeschoolers who want to participate in sports on a public school team will be subject to standardized testing every semester that they want to participate in sports. Additionally, the bill requires testing in subjects other than math and English, something that public school kids are not subjected to.

I think that this is putting way too much regulation on homeschoolers. Currently homeschoolers in grades 3 through 9 take standardized tests in math and English. The state of Arkansas pays for this testing. If homeschoolers are supposed to test every semester if their kids want to participate in interscholastic activities then the state should pay for the additional testing and public school students should have to be subjected to the same requirements.

Let me know what you think

Posted on 20 March '11 by , under Arkansas homeschool requirements, Homeschool Politics, Homeschooling through high school, Politics, Testing. 4 Comments.

College Week Live: A Great Resource for College Bound Homeschoolers

Check out the largest college fair on the internet. College Week Live is happening November 3 & 4th. Arkansas homeschoolers will have a chance to check out 300 schools by virtual tour, chat with admissions counselors and find out about financial aid. It is worth taking a look. This is a free event. For more information about College Week Live click here.


Posted on 1 November '10 by , under College Info, Events, Free or Almost free resources, Homeschooling through high school. No Comments.

Goodbye Lincoln ACE for Elementary/Middle School

After an exhausting first quarter, we have decided to abandon the Lincoln ACE program for my youngest son who is in the 5th grade. The program this year is not working for us. Too rigid and too much emphasis on teaching to the benchmarks. I was told directly from my kids teacher-advisor (paper grader) that because he has not completed 25% of the curriculum to date he must focus on only spelling, math, language arts and literature. Science (which he loves), art and music will be set aside for now. Why? Because in Arkansas they only test on reading/language arts and math. So much for mastery, so much for work at your own pace. It has really become public school online. 

High school is another story. I need for my sophomore to be in Lincoln ACE for several reasons. It is working for him – for the most part. We finally got him into the Algebra 1 Odessy program although he is a full 8 weeks behind because Lincoln ACE had to work out technical problems. So for now, and probably for the rest of the school year we will remain in the online high school.

Still trying to get the school to send my oldest son’s transcripts to NWACC. Put in the request in May 2010, July 2010, and last I was told they were mailed from Lincoln to NWACC on October 8th. Still no record of the transcripts at NWACC. Asked not so nicely again today. So my kid’s college account is on hold until Lincoln ACE gets their act in gear. If this is not resolved soon, a phone call to the Department of Education may be required.

Keep reading. Follow our adventures with Teaching Textbooks for math, The Jason Project for Science, Wordly Wise for spelling/vocab and most likely Learning Language Arts through Literature for language arts. We have Meet the Masters for art, Discovery Streaming for everything and we will cover music from a variety of angles.

Stay tuned for our Jason Project adventures – science labs start tomorrow.  The focus is different forms of energy.


Posted on 21 October '10 by , under Homeschooling through high school, Lincoln Ace adventure, Online schools. 2 Comments.

Tim Tebow Law: SB 842 Goes to State Senate in January 2011

Arkansas State Senator Gilbert Baker (R), will bring what is known as the “Tim Tebow Law” to the State Senate when they resume sessions in January 2011. The bill SB 842 , if passed, will allow home schooled students in Arkansas to play and compete on public school teams. This includes sports, band, choir, debate and other types of competitive and intramural clubs. The basis behind the bill is that home-schoolers pay taxes to the local school district and their children should be allowed access to the school’s activities. Another reason for the bill is that Arkansas schools may be losing out on talented individuals who are currently banned from participation solely due to their home-school status.

Home schooled students who choose to participate in public school activities covered by SB 842 will be required to adhere to the same academic and behavioral standards as public school kids. Norm-referenced test scores for tests taken within the prior 9 months are required to prove academic standing. Parents must pay any participation fees if the same fees are required of public school participants. Homeschool students may participate in activities at their base school, the school assigned to their residents.

For more information, see Senator Gilbert explain the “Tim Tebow Law” in this  video clip:

Tim Tebo Law Explained

I think that this is a great opportunity for all homeschoolers. Read the bill by clicking on the link above. This bill gives homeschoolers a chance to participate in public school activities without adding undo burdens on homeschools that do not wish to participate. Let me know what you think. Discussions are welcome.


Posted on 20 October '10 by , under Homeschool Politics, Homeschooling through high school, News, Politics. 2 Comments.

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