Saturday, February 8, 2014

Homeschool Environment

I would like to purpose a question.  With home schooling being a life style and not a matter of cutthroat school hours, what do you propose is the best homeschooling environment?

Any negative influence can affect a child’s ability to learn and love to learn.  As a family we have chosen to focus upon the positive, uplifting, educational and constructive verse anything negative or destructive.  The areas that greatly influenced our home are the following:

Media: TV, radio, movies, and Internet: Children are greatly influenced by what they see and hear. One of the greatest decisions we made was to turn the TV off.  The other was to turn the radio off.  Some of my fondest moments are when we are driving and discussing issues that are important to my child. Another great decision was to heavily monitor the Internet and set hours of use.  And lastly, we choose to not live by a double standard in our home.  We would watch only those movies we felt comfortable with our children watching.  The children's minds were free of emotional baggage that allowed them to learn. And WOW to the conversations! Something quite different from our own childhood.

Words: I recently saw a quote: "The words you say can be forgiven but they are never forgotten." These include the words we speak to others and the words we speak to our child.  The way we talk about our children to others helps our child to develop their self -identity.  What you say about them is what they perceive themselves to be.  So speak about them in a way you want them to perceive themselves.
The way we talk to our spouse affects how our children talk to each other.  If you are demeaning, unkind or ungrateful so your children can be. And if in a heated moment, we make the statement that one is “going to leave”, affects the child’s sense of security.
Also the words we use in speaking and encouraging them affects future results.  Using words that set up false or unrealistic expectations can be detrimental.  We need to be specific in our praise and we should be able to talk about the consequences good and bad of behaviors and actions.  It is kinder for us as a parent to explain to a child, than to have the world do the teaching for you.  They can be very mean about it. This is one of the reasons I like lists so much.  By having these lists, we not only see what we want to work on but what we have accomplished thus far.

Noise: Some people learn best with background noise and other don't.  With my eldest I could go about getting household things done.  She was very self focused and driven.  My second child, loved having me beside her and could not have any distractions before her.  My son on the other hand needed music or noise in the background to help him focus.  We found that Baroque music and earphone work wonders.

Location: For some children it is best to be on the floor in Pjs.  For others it is more productive to have them dressed and sitting at the table.  And for autistic children they have learned that they are focusing better sitting on a large bouncy ball.  In our house it all depended upon what was going on for the day and the distractions. What worked best for us, was a morning routine with getting dressed, breakfast, chores, family devotional and sitting at the table or by the fireplace. School at the skating rink did not work.

Stress: Our children not only need to see us productive, honest in our dealings and accomplishing what we said we do, but they also need to see us having fun, being grateful and enjoying life.  Some of my fondest memories are wrestling with my son, singing and dancing in the kitchen, taking walks in the rain, and building snowmen.  Homeschooling is a big task- Simplify.

Clutter:  By removing things that are not needed, it allowed me to simplify and not feel the constant self-inflicted guilt.  There are all kinds of ways to clutter up your life. I distinctly remember the first time I cleaned out all the stuff I placed under the stairs.  You know out of sight out of mind.  What an amazing sense of freedom to have that out of my life!  That was just the begining thanks to There is definite difference between disorder and disgusting.

These are some of my random thoughts. What things have you provided or changed in your homeschooling lifestyle that has brought positive results?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Utah Competency Testing and possible State Scholarships

So I have been doing some research on competency testing.  With my son academically advanced in math and beyond the much of the common core stuff,  I needed to see what options were out there. Others have wondered if they can bypass certain subjects they already have done and have them account for the "Utah" awarded diploma.  Here is my understanding thus far:  You can!

Granite School District testing center provides the materials also do the correcting of papers there.  The new lady administering the tests is Marie Orton and her number is  385-646-6042.


The new location is the Granite Connection High School at  501 East 3900 South, Salt Lake City, 84107.  Room 136.

Hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 11:00am to 5:00pm.  They have just started giving the Secondary Math I, II, and III.  The other subjects they test in are as follows:

Geography for Life
U.S. Government & Citizenship
Earth Systems Science
Algebra I
Geometry I & II
General Financial Literacy
Fitness for Life
World Languages
(new) Secondary Math I, II, and III

What is not listed there is English 9, English 10, or English 11 required for the diploma but are forthcoming in the future.  Subjects that are coming soon will be Health and Language Arts grades 9, 10, and 11 will replace the English 9, English 10, and English 11.

The best news was that there is no longer a fee!  It used to cost $85 per test!  So that was a nice surprise.

Students may be from outside the Granite district, but must be registered in a school. (The only reason you would do any of this anyways would be because you plan on utilizing the school system to acquire a diploma.)

They must submit a written request, or Student Application for Demonstrated Competency Testing to their school counselor for signatures (school counselor, school administrator, and parent/guardian). This must either be called in to the Testing Center or emailed by the counselor 15 days prior to the time the test is taken.

Each assessment may be taken only once per school year. In order to have it count for that school year, tests must be taken by April.   Students will receive a "P" for demonstrated competency--no letter grades are awarded.  They do count toward the diploma but not in the GPA.  They are responsible for any knowledge they currently have as there are no study guides.  When there are two parts to a test, they must wait after the first part to see if they have passed; if they have not, then they cannot take the second part.  In addition to the application, a picture ID must be brought to the Testing Center 10 minutes prior to test time.  Figure on two hours to complete the test.  Test results are mailed to student and counselor.

For any other questions, please feel free to contact Marie at 385-646-6042.

Now with that finished, CURRENTLY at this time (Feb 4th 2014) any person who tests out of any subject is not eligible for the state scholarships. We are hoping to change this in this next legislative session.

There are three known state  awarded academic scholarships at this point:
1. Centennial (Early graduation)- $1000 one time

2. New Century scholarship (based upon associates degree) - $1100 per semester for the last two years of bachelor degree

3. Regent Scholarship ( GPA based and with extra classes)- $1100 per semester for two years.