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About:Seven shopping points for a homeschooling or homeschool program.
About:Seven shopping points for a homeschooling or homeschool program.

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DON'T LEAVE IT UP TO CHANCE. WHO IS TRAINING YOUR CHILD? www.homeschoolprogram.org
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Now here's a touchy subject:  ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In one of our other posts, we talked about how parents in yesteryear were able to find large areas of responsibility for each child to manage and excel such as taking care of the animals, garden, sewing, cooking, etc. The parents assigned specific tasks based on strengths and weaknesses, not just to help the child excel, but it was more efficient for the family. The child felt a sense of value to the family, but also had an area he excelled. 

Now we put all children in a classroom all day. They must excel in academics or not excel in anything, because that is where they spend most of their time. Sure there is sports in later grades, but by that time, the damage is done. Just because a person has ADHD does not mean he will be good at sports either.

Maybe we can just hold back the kids with ADHD a grade, so they might do a little better academically? That will really help with their self-image, not! It might help them be better at sports though!

What can be done? Homeschool or at least find a school with a mastery-based individualized curriculum. Most individualized curricula will first diagnose for any crippling learning gaps, then use small units to fix those problems first. The child will be able to do the work. He will get better scores, maybe for the first time in his life. He will not have to see how he compares to a class full of other students his exact age everyday.

The right education plan for children with ADHD is only part of it. Some still need assistance from mental health care. A recent article stated 56.9% of those with ADHD as children go on to have a psychiatric diagnosis as adults. However, it would be interesting to see if that number is reduced if using the right education plan.

Homeschooling is one option, especially using an all inclusive homeschool program to make it less work for you the parent. The cost is often no different than transportation and other expenses required for free public school. If homeschooling is not an option, most smaller Christian schools use mastery-based individualized curriculum.     

We changed our website link to include www so it restarted our +1's.  Please help us out by +1'ing a post, G page, or website.  We are about a third of the way through adding our info to our homeschool related website.  We will have a reminder post when we are close to finishing all the good homeschooling information.

We will have information on accredited homeschooling, online homeschools and online Christian schools, homeschool achievement testing, high school and college prep info, real parent stories about homeschooling, and much more.  My wife and I are excited that we are finally getting this done!

Here is a little bit about us.  There are quite a few different convictions, preferences, and perspectives when it comes to the topic of homeschooling. It helps to know a little about who is writing something when reading. We hope once you read this, it will entice you to read more of our posts or visit our websites. 

My wife and I have picked up a few things from being homeschool parents and also educators. Both of us were a teacher or administrator for about 25 years in three states and in another country. Yes, we homeschooled even though we were teachers!  We also administrated a homeschool association for several years with a campus day once per week. Some of our children finished college, so we have some experience in that area as well.

The outcome of our four children taught us more about homeschooling than anything else.  Instead of conjecture, we could see what worked, and occasionally what could have been done better. Yes, we made mistakes, so this isn't a brag post. We also have many lifelong friends that gave us insight to their homeschooling experiences as well.  We also know their adult children to evaluate their methods.  In case you do not read any other of our posts, a biblical curriculum was the single most successful tool parents did for their children. We also have friends that administrated local homeschool associations in different locations.

We have experience with do-it-yourself curriculum, multiple curriculum publishers, homeschool associations, homeschool programs, software based curriculum, and online schools. We have even developed course curricula, so we understand educational standards. P.S. Our courses are now outdated, so we do not sell curriculum! You will see us have a bias toward using accredited homeschool programs or online Christian schools.  We do that mainly because it possesses the best structure for the most people in today's situation, and allows parents to keep their convictions and values. Even then, many parents will fail, so we hope to provide info that might prevent failure.

We might get a little preachy, but we have witnessed hundreds of families blow it.  Most of them needed someone to get a little preachy to them. Our posts will normally be topic oriented, so remember to keep things in context with the overall picture.

We are in the process of adding our experiences and perspectives to our website network, plus on this Google+ page. We hope you will add us to your circle and maybe +1 some of our posts. 

Online Christian schools are becoming one of the most popular forms of homeschooling. Parents can homeschool, yet have built in academic support, accreditation, achievement testing, and much more.  It allows for the benefits of both homeschooling and school.  Read more by clicking "Homeschool" at the top of this post. Here's two good opportunities for this:

www.SoutheastAcademyOnline.com/overview.htm
www.WesternChristianAcademy.com

INDIVIDUALIZED, MASTERY-BASED EDUCATION:  When a student is consistently getting high scores, he or she will be happy.  When foundations have been fixed so things make sense, he or she will be happy.  When the student is not noticing how he or she is doing compared to other students, he or she will be happy.  If the student masters a concept and can move on, so he or she will not get bored by having to wait, he or she will be happy. If the student needs more time, he or she will not feel stupid, thus will be happy. 

What is individualized, mastery-based education?  First, what it is not.  It is not having to teach or learn at the pace of the entire class.  It is not holding back a student when he or she has already conquered the concept.  It is not moving ahead before a student masters the concept.  It is not passing a section of material with a lower score.

Now, what it is. All prerequisite learning has been mastered.  It is normally dividing a year's worth of each subject's material into at least 10 separate, measurable units.  It is requiring a mastery-level score on a unit before proceeding to the next unit.  The learning is done at the student's speed and ability.  The curriculum is the main teacher, so the adult can focus on supervision, help, motivation, and overall progress.

The need for mastery: Let's take mathematics for example.  A student could have a "teacher of the year" trying to teach division in math, yet still have a student struggle.  If the student did not master addition, subtraction, and multiplication first, then division will always be difficult for that student no matter how good the curriculum or teacher. Addition, subtraction, and multiplication are needed to complete division problems.The foundation concepts must be mastered first, so the student can concentrate on the new concepts rather than be distracted and frustrated with always getting wrong answers due to issues that really do not deal with the new concept.  Sometimes to move forward, a student needs to go backward first!  Taking the time to repair the foundation takes more initial time, but that time is often made up by the repaired student's ability. The younger the student, the faster a foundation can be made up. A mastery-based passing score is usually required to be higher than traditional approaches. Students receiving a score lower than the mastery score are required to repeat that unit until they achieve the necessary score. How would you like a brain surgeon that only got 7 out of 10 things right or even 6 out of 10 things right?  Most individualized curricula provide a diagnostic that is used first to go back and repair holes or gaps in the student's knowledge, before continuing chronologically. 

The need for multiple, measurable units in each subject: If a curriculum has too few assessments in a subject, it is overwhelming for a student to repeat a larger assessed area if necessary. It is easier for the parent or teacher to pinpoint the need for help with smaller units of work. An individualized curriculum does not use a pass/fail for the semester or year. It is more of a pass/fail with much smaller units, so the individual unit can be re-taken without penalizing the student an entire year.  Or worse yet, the student does not get promoted without learning an important concept in that subject. Smaller units also work better with diagnosing past problems.  Rather than repeating an entire year of a subject to repair it, the student may only have to complete a couple small units to fix the problem.

The need for a customized learning speed:  As mentioned in other posts, traditional classrooms can intimidate a student.  If the teacher asks, "Does everyone understand this?", do you think a student is always going to raise his or her hand?  To a student, it is like admitting he or she is not as smart as others.  Students will bluff their teacher long enough until it is difficult for the teacher to determine where things went wrong.  Even students using an individualized program in a classroom will seldom ever be working on the same concept as others, thus feel less intimidated to ask for help.  All of us have different reading, comprehension, and critical thinking speeds. It is only natural that some of us may need more time to complete something.  Should the student that gets it have to wait?  Should the student that needs more time lose out?  Many times, a student needs less time in one subject and more time in another.  Sometimes, a student moves along with most of a subject's concepts, yet comes across a concept in that subject that needs more time than other students.  Students given time when needed to ensure mastery is actually faster in the long run.   Some students may actually graduate early or be able to take additional subjects to broaden their knowledge with an individualized program.

Students still need close supervision and rewards to maximize their ability with individualized programs, but it is the most efficient educational structure.  Although the curriculum is the main teacher, occasionally the student will request help.  Generally, students are gently trained in the beginning to review the small unit of material to find the answer.  First, "Can you show me where it talked about that?"  Then "Can you show me the paragraph it firsts talks about it?"  Then "Can you read this to me?"  At this point, the student will usually smile and say, "Oh, I get it!"  More importantly, it trains the students you will always make them go back to get the answer, so they eventually learn it is just as easy for them to go back than ask for help. Some programs offer teachers on call to help with concepts that aren't resolvable, such as the two I recommend on the About page.  Most parents are able to supervise their student with the support of a quality, individualized program.  Some programs offer online structures that automatically score student work and tests.  Be careful to use programs that have been in existence over 12 years, so you know they have the bugs worked out!  There are many new programs without the strength of experience!

Again: When a student is consistently getting high scores, he or she will be happy.  When foundations have been fixed so things make sense, he or she will be happy.  If a struggling student is not noticing how he or she is doing compared to other students, he or she will be happy.   If the student masters a concept and can move on, so he or she will not get bored by having to wait, he or she will be happy.  If the student needs more time, he or she will not feel stupid, thus will be happy.

Like our thoughts? See our other posts by clicking "Homeschool" at the top of our post! As always, read our other posts for context. Look at our About page to see recommendations for a homeschool program.

Can homeschooling save your child? The National Center for Juvenile Justice clearly shows an increase in juvenile court caseloads from where we were in 1960. A CDC.gov 2010 survey stated that almost 1/3 of high school students were in a physical fight in the previous 12 months with 1/3 of the fights on school property. There were 17.5% that claimed to have carried a weapon in the previous 30 days with 5.6% carrying on school property. Approximately 6% claimed to have carried a gun in the previous 30 days. There were 7.7% that reported being threatened by a weapon on school property in the last 12 months. The FBI's UCR database shows that 41% of all arrests are people 24 years old and under. Statistics for youth across all areas are going the wrong way. Youth crime is increasing and adult crime is decreasing.

Negative juvenile behavior has been a matter of the ages, however many feel we are in uncharted waters and heading to disastrous results. Several changes in our world have taken place recently, many for the first time in man's history.

Education practices have changed drastically in relationship to history. With the introduction of public education, all children are placed in a system where academics must be their strength, whether they are naturally good at it or not. A young person that might have excelled in a non-academic area is less likely to experience that today. With traditional education, children that have to work harder for academics have been placed in classrooms with identical age levels for thirteen years. All the struggling student learns is that he is stupid, a failure, and a disappointment by comparing himself to others his exact age. This causes many children to act out or get into trouble.

The United States has seen a decline in church involvement. Other than a grandparent's example, a church has been one of the main sources for parent training through recent history. Children are able to hear from someone else, beside their parents, how they should honor their parents. Young parents are able to learn parenting skills from both the church and the older parents attending the church. Parents also learn how to be better examples to their children. There is also some built-in accountability for parents by being a member of a church.

In 1962, school prayer was banned in the United States. The next year, all religious activities were prohibited. In less than ten years, the theory of evolution replaced almost all references to a "Created" universe, which many believe undermined the belief in God. The posting of the "Ten Commandments" in the classroom was also prohibited. Without consistent religious training, children's morality can be affected. Sunday has a hard time competing with the rest of the week. Character then becomes more relative than absolute. For many, eternal accountability is an encouragement to do right.

The "Quiet Revolution" of women working outside the home began in the 1970's. In 1900, 15% of women worked outside of the home. Today, it is 75% and growing. Also due to the increase in daycares and preschools, we can see parents are giving up a substantial amount of caregiver time for their early adolescence children. For busy parents, it also means older children are not supervised as much after school and during school holidays. Both parents working have also impacted the traditional family dinner table. Statistics show teens that frequently have dinner with their families are at a lower risk for substance abuse.

Only 63% of American children grow up with both biological parents. That is the lowest figure in the Western world. The United States has the highest rate of divorce in the world. Each year, about half of all marriages occur between couples where one or both have been previously married. This indicates a large number of children are in a single parent home for at least some part of their life.

There is a truth from Moses that still stands today. "Do not bring any detestable objects into your home, for then you will be set apart for destruction just like them." Deuteronomy 7:26. A person would think that parents would not allow their child to be exposed to detestable objects right in their home. However, in the last generation, technology has created several ways for this to happen. Even if the parents stay on top of this at their home, other homes the child might visit may not think that way and be impacted there.

Cable television and video devices have become a natural babysitter in the home for most families. In the last ten years, TV programming and movies have become available with Internet devices as well. Along with all this access, the ratings for movies have changed with our culture. Movies in 1969 that were rated "X" are now rated "R". Movies that were rated "R" are now rated "PG-13". The exposure to violence and adult themes has been cited as affecting behavior in several well-known crimes.

Video games entered the world for the first time in history. In 1972, Atari began selling video game consoles. In 1980, IBM's personal computer became available. The video game industry took off. Once again, another tempting babysitter is allowed. Although there are several educational games today, most are not. Many of the more popular games are violent, disrespectful, and offer the player to be the "bad guy". The content is not the only bad influence. The addiction to playing games robs from important child responsibilities.

Rarely if ever in history has there ever been a time where parents knew less about technology than their children, until recently. Beginning in the late 1980's, a growing percentage of young people became more knowledgeable about computers than one or both parents. This trend seems to be staying with new technologies. This keeps the parents at a disadvantage for implementing family rules until after the fact, which can create attitudes.

In 1991, the Internet became available. Along with it, came chat and email. Chat has evolved into services such as Facebook and Twitter, but the historical change is that children can communicate with people the busy parent does not see or know. A concern is how young people will associate openly with a friend of a friend so quickly via the Internet. A recent news release from Facebook states they found the "Six Degrees of Separation on the Earth" is now 4.37 people to know anyone in the world. A teen's circle of relationships can easily develop without the parent's knowledge! With many Internet services such as virtual worlds, it does not even take a friend's introduction to meet a stranger. The ability for a parent to monitor a child's acquaintances is diminishing with technology.

Just in this last decade, cell phones have become so popular that even pre-teenagers have them. The ability for parents to communicate with their child has encouraged the practice. Texting and accessing the Internet can be hard to monitor if parents let their guard down. Young cell phone users can even access these communication tools while around parents, because the screens are small.

It seems overwhelming, but there is hope. Homeschooling is not going to be the single answer, but can be a major platform for success. It can keep children from comparing themselves to others their age in academics. When education for children is competitive, there has to be losers. Gifted students are not held up with the pace of a class. Homeschooling can protect the child from the random influences of a campus-based school. Some say that is sheltering too much, but come on, just think about it. Homeschooling can prevent the undermining of faith that takes place in public school curricula. Homeschooling creates the stability of a stay at home parent. If a person isn't just trying to keep up with the Joneses, and really needs the income, a person can look for a home-based job. Before homeschooling is going to really help, the parents need to get their act together and make parenting a priority.

For the parents of young children, parents need training, self-discipline, parent networking, and sometimes a financial sacrifice. For the parents of older children, it is a much greater challenge to turn things around. You have to make it a priority. Keep reading our posts for detailed help.

Many of these recent changes that can cause behavioral problems have a common thread of solutions. Love and involvement will greatly help in behavior problems. Consistency must be a priority, even over tiredness. It is important to implement rules or "understandings" long before they are needed. It is important to encourage associations with families or groups that have similar values. Parental control must be established when children are very young. Children want a leader more than a buddy. Forgiveness must be asked from time to time to keep a good parent-child relationship, especially when implementing rules after the fact. With technology and culture changes, we are bound to see many more practices that can affect juvenile behavior negatively. We should always be thinking ahead.

CDC Youth Violence Facts at a Glance 2010:
http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/yv-datasheet-a.pdf

National Center for Juvenile Justice clearly shows delinquency is increasing:
http://www.ncjj.org/pdf/jcsreports/jcs2008.pdf

2009 crime type statistics showing 24 years old and younger:
http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_41.html

Seculare changes in U.S. schools from 1962-1972:
http://wikipedia.org

Statistics about marriage and effects on children:
http://www.virginia.edu/marriageproject/pdfs/SOOU2005.pdf

Quiet Revolution - Women going to work:
http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/goldin/files/GoldinEly.pdf

National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse - Family Dinner and Substance Abuse:
http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/Publications_Reports.aspx#r26

Effects of Violent Video Games:
http://www.soc.iastate.edu/sapp/VideoGames1.pdf

Example of addiction recovery service including video game addiction:
http://www.addictionrecov.org/addictions/?AID=45

Study that included academic impact from overuse of video games:
http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/~dgentile/SRCD%20Video%20Game%20Addiction.pdf

Check out our great homeschool information in our posts and on our About page!
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