Month: August 2014


Top 5 arguments against homeschooling

At Home Education Council of America, we speak with tens of thousands of homeschoolers throughout the year who share with us the concerns and questions they get from friends, neighbors, family members, and others about their decision to homeschool.

Because most of the country has been conditioned to believe that public school is the single most authoritative figure on what an education should look like, and the single most authoritative figure on how a child should be raised, it's no wonder that when a parent makes the decision to take control of these two factors, their friends and family are in a bit of shock.  Public school is a "comfort zone" which people have acclimated to.  But the public school academics are consistently failing – just a quick glimpse at the standardized test scores says it all.  And who ever said that public schools have the right or they are the authority on raising children? When did that responsibility get taken from the parents?

While our members have shared with us some bizarre arguments that have been given to them against homeschooling over the years, let's look at the top five which present the most popular opposition:

1)  Won't they be weird and unsocialized?  Believe it or not, the most popular trump card against homeschooling is socialization. And this is probably because socialization is not something tangible that you can measure, so it's an easy trump card to throw. Understanding what socialization is and isn't will help to dissuade that mindset. The interesting thing is that public school is the WORST place to learn how to socialize. Socialization is not learned at school, there is no class in any public school to teach children how to "properly" socialize. They are thrown into the midst of 25-30 children, usually with only one adult present, and expected to learn from inexperienced children how to properly treat each other. This idea of socialization in public school has consistently failed over and over again. A simple procedure such as reviewing the dictionary definition of socialization will reveal that socialization skills are best learned in the home. However, they are learned by modeling people who the child is around the most. Therefore, if you want your child to be well socialized, then put them around people who are civil and know how to treat others well. People who have empathy, compassion, and are not on brain control meds because they eat a diet of 90% processed sugars and synthetic food.  People who are not constantly separating themselves into social groups based on their current cool factor.  Do homeschoolers have social activities?  You bet!  So many that we get emails from homeschoolers constantly asking how to limit the number of social activities their children attend. 

Let's talk about weird for a very brief moment.  The handful of shy and socially awkward homeschoolers are but a mere sliver of the homeschool population.  There are millions of homeschoolers in the United States.  Millions.  The majority of them are so "normal" that most people upon meeting them for the first time, don't even know they are homeschooled (because they would expect a shy stereotype).  There are some seriously weird kids in public school.  You can decide what weird means to you.  That is all.

2) What about the high school experiences?  The second most popular trump card is the high school "experience". Won't they miss out on all of that? Don't they need friends? Don't they need to learn how to be in the "real world"? Well, no. High school isn't the "real world". People who stay in the teenage mindset rarely do well in life – career, college, or business. And we don't know of any person who can reflect back on their life and say that they succeeded in business, college, or career based on the number of friends they had in high school. Most people with high dollar careers didn't have many friends in high school, because they were focused on academics and getting OUT of high school. Instead of being constantly told by their peers that adults are lame and uncool, teenagers should be around adult mentors who can guide them and teach them how to manage and run a business, develop a skill or talent, or encourage them to continue their studies in college. They need to learn how to shake someone's hand and look them in the eye.  They need to learn how to communicate with people of all ages.  To understand human beings and fully function in society, they need to be around people who love children so they too can learn that children and families are not a disgusting distraction in the quest for wealth and fame, but a gift from God. That's the real world.

As far as the "experiences", we adults need to stop trying to relive our high school years vicariously through our children. Most kids in high school dread the prom. Figuring out what to wear, finding a date, the fashion competition, the peer pressure, the cost, etc. It's one of the most emotional experiences of high school and if you ask girls or boys who are not on the prom planning committee, they will probably tell you it's not their favorite part of high school. However, that said, homeschooled kids CAN go to prom. They just need to be asked by someone at the high school. We have yet to see a high school that didn't allow a date to attend who wasn't an enrolled student. In addition, most state homeschool organizations host a statewide prom every year and have done so for decades. They also hold amazing graduation ceremonies.  With cap and gown and the Pomp and Circumstance playing and everything wonderful that the world expects with a graduation ceremony, minus the drinking and the parties (unless they want to, then they can probably find those too.)

3) Won't they be unable to go to college?  It is a known fact that homeschooled kids do better in tests, college placement, and all academic areas than their public schooled peers. So people don't really use the "won't they be smart enough to get into college" card anymore.

If anyone has any question about the level of academics in homeschooling, all they need to do is attend a homeschool convention and examine the curriculum choices which are present in the vendor hall. We have hundreds and hundreds of "boxed all-in-one curricula" to choose from which far surpass public school standards. And if we want eclectic or have children with special needs, there are thousands of options available for us in every subject. Homeschoolers also include art, music, and developing of talents – things which the public schools cut out years ago due to budgeting. And yet, a homeschool family makes it work on very little money. 

As far as the actual process of getting in to college, homeschoolers have no difficulty.  Colleges and universities love to see homeschooled applicants because homeschoolers generally have taken their education into their own hands so they are academically oriented, and they generally are enthusiastic about contributing to the college campus community.  They can apply for scholarships, take the ACT and SAT exams, and are all around a great benefit to any campus.  At HECOA, we specialize in helping students prepare for college.  There are some really great people who are also helping with this process.  So not a problem.

4) How can you teach your children if you are not a certified teacher?  The answer to this question is as simple as:  the proof is in the pudding.  The answer to number 3, above, talks about test scores.  Most homeschooled parents are not certified teachers and yet their children consistently score better on tests than publicly schooled peers.  No one, absolutely no one, has a child's best interest at heart at a deeper depth than a parent.  Therefore a parent is typically going to try harder – even if they don't know a particular subject – to make sure that their child has every opportunity to succeed academically.  Some of us do it the hard way – and force ourselves to teach subjects which are difficult – and it ends up fine.  And most others hire tutors – remember homeschooling gives you the opportunity to choose HOW your child learns, it doesn't mean you have to know everything.  We are on the ball with modern technology.  Things get done.

5) Won't you be sheltering them from the real world?  The answer to this can be found in number 1 and 2 above.  To add to those, we would just reiterate that school is not the real world.  It doesn't prepare children for careers, entrepreneurship, college, or parenting.  All of these skills are not learned from children.  They are learned from adult mentors.  Mentors who are in the real world and have left high school behind them.  As far as thinking outside the box, homeschoolers are notorious for learning without walls.  As opposed to publicly schooled children who are taught WHAT to think, homeschoolers are generally taught HOW to think.  We think this produces an adult who can handle more of the real world challenges.

As mentioned, we get many examples of questions.  These are just the ones that come through the most.




Not Back to School Celebration

Teaching High School Writing

2Does the thought of teaching writing to your high schooler frighten you?

Are you worried that you might not have enough experience at the high school level?

Well, this is a very common topic of which we receive emails every month about – how do I teach high school writing when I didn’t go to college?  Or I wasn’t very good at writing myself?  How do I make sure they are properly prepared for college?

Teaching writing to a high schooler is something that does require some research, but it isn’t difficult.  Fortunately, there are countless resources at our fingertips to help us with this topic.  It really begins with teaching children how to think.  Most public institutions teach children what to think rather than how to think.  This leaves very little room for creativity and expression.  So by the time they get to high school and are expected to create an essay on their own and express their own thoughts, they are not sure they have any thoughts of their own!

This is where homeschooling provides a great advantage for high school students.  They have more flexibility in developing thoughts and ideas and getting it on the paper.  Moreover, there is more time to think about style and conventions and correct their own mistakes.  So a parent’s experience in this area isn’t really as applicable as the parent having the desire to be a mentor for their teenager rather than a drill instructor.

One fantastic resource is Julie Bogart, author of the Brave Writer curriculum.  While Julie has numerous services and products, she is also a very generous and wonderful mentor who has agreed to share several seminars for our attendees in the  2014 Not Back to School Summit.  The summit featured a total of 30 speakers, and more than 65 homeschool workshops and seminars, all were completely FREE to attend live, and all completely ONLINE for your convenience!! While only the live sessions were free, the replays are now available for our upgraded Plus members to view as often as they like.

Julie Bogart is the creator of the innovative Brave Writer Writing and Language Arts Curriculum. For 15 years, Brave Writer instructional manuals and online classes have enriched the homeschooling lives of over 16,000 families. Brave Writer exists to foster a nurturing relationship between homeschooling parent and child while creating a safe environment for writing growth. The Brave Writer program brings a fresh point of view to the writing process. Rather than emphasizing format writing as the key to success, Brave Writer’s materials and instructors facilitate the emergence of authentic writing voice in your children. Once children have access to the language, insights, and ideas locked within, they easily learn a variety of writing genres, including the rigorous academic formats of high school and college. Julie’s professional background includes freelance writing, magazine and book editing, and ghost-writing. She’s authored and supervised the development of all original Brave Writer materials, as well as having homeschooled her five children for 17 years. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Julie opened her vault of writing knowledge and shared some awesome ideas to help you teach writing and have a wonderful homeschool experience.  This was during our 2014 Not Back to School Summit.  Her three  workshops are as follows (you will need to be logged in to access them since the event has ended):

The Secret to Breakthroughs in Writing –
aired Sept. 9th –

Programs, curriculum, homeschool gurus—they all miss it. Yet it’s so simple! You’ll walk away from this seminar knowing exactly what to do to change the dynamic around writing in your family…for good. In fact, you can turn your writing program around in one step, once you know what it is and follow through. Your entire paradigm about writing instruction will shift once you understand the fundamental principle that creates the desire to write and the pride in having written.

Take a Risk: Have the Homeschool of Your Dreams! –
aired Sept. 17th –

The fantasy homeschool that lives in your imagination is a good one. It’s haunted by a little invisible spirit called “The Ghost of Public School Past.” Her name is Mrs. Cox, she holds a red pen, she whispers in your left ear: “By this age in school, your child would already be…” Make it stop! That voice leads you to do all kinds of schoolish activities in the name of “taking education seriously.” It also leads to all kinds of unhappiness, tedium, and feelings of failure. What would happen if you could “brush her off your shoulder”? What can you do to gain confidence to follow the fragile, bright vision you have of how life at home could actually be? Let’s explore a new kind of homeschool paradigm together.

Don’t Let High School Writing Scare You –
aired Sept 23rd –

The essay format lasts for about 8 years (high school and college). It’s designed to make the lives of teachers and professors easier—to make grading simple. If you and I had dinner together, I could teach you to write an essay on the back of a napkin! What’s missing in most writing programs for high school is the thinking component. Let’s look at how to develop the rhetorical imagination of your teens so that they have something of worth to put in all those essays, and so that they can take that quality thinking into their lives beyond college.




Thomas Jefferson Education

How did Thomas Jefferson gain his education?  How is it that someone who did not have formal school become a famous statesman, diplomat, and later President of the United States of America?

Looking inside the lives of famous historical figures, we can often gain more insight into how our current public school system is a failure.  While today's institutionalized schools are set up to place children on a conveyor belt, the learning environments of past successful men were much different in that they cultivated a system of inquiry and intrigue in knowledge.

One reason Thomas Jefferson was so successful academically is that he had great mentors.  Not necessarily brilliant people, but people who sought brilliance.  Another reason could be his environment – living in a peaceful home, surrounded by a multitude of great books and opportunities to explore and learn.

You can model your homeschool after Thomas Jefferson or any other historical figure that you choose to – just spend some time learning how they gained their knowledge.

To help understand more about Thomas Jefferson and his remarkable education and life, Oliver DeMille has written a book which has helped tens of thousands of homeschoolers, entitled "A Thomas Jefferson Education".  He has generously accepted the invitation to share the teaching philosophy of what is popularly known as "TJed" with you!  Not only does he discuss what TJed is and how to apply it in your homeschool, but he gave three presentations, one of them specifically addressed to fathers.  The dads play a critical role in setting the foundation for learning in the home, and this is a must see for any family that is homeschooling.  Finally, he discusses the 5 habits of highly successful homeschoolers – and it has everything to do with mentoring children.

The presentation is included in our full series for the 2014 Not Back to School Summit – with 30 speakers and more than 65 workshops and seminars – all online!

Oliver DeMille is the founder of the highly acclaimed Thomas Jefferson Education ("TJEd") model of learning and the presenter of the online educational series Mentoring in the Classics. He and his wife Rachel are the parents of five daughters and three sons. The DeMilles’ insights are formed not only by dealing with the unique needs, learning styles and gifts in their own home, but through their experience in mentoring and consulting with schools and families on virtually every level, and around the world.

Oliver is also a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling Author and a popular keynote speaker at corporate and educational events. We are thrilled to have him join us in the summit!

Oliver  presented THREE amazing sessions for our Plus members as follows (you will need to be logged in to access them):

What is TJEd/Leadership Education?
Sept 11th –

You’ve heard of TJEd (Thomas Jefferson Education), which is experiencing major growth in the United States and internationally. In this workshop, Oliver DeMille addresses the 3 central ideas at the heart of TJEd and settling for nothing less than a truly great education. Knowing the 3 will increase the quality of your homeschool, whatever style you use.

Homeschooling for Dads!
Sept. 12th –

The 4 surprising things dads can do in less than 2 hours (total) a week. When dads know and do these 4 things, it makes a huge difference in the education of each child! Every dad needs to know them!

The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Homeschoolers
Sept. 13th –

There are many types of homeschooling, and each family ideally individualizes what is needed for each child. But there are 5 habits that are simply essential if you want your kids to get a truly excellent education. These habits are used by people from many different styles of homeschooling, and without them any homeschool struggles. Learn what they are and how to apply them in this exciting mini-seminar! These 5 Habits will revolutionize the quality of your homeschool, making it both easier and much more effective.







Am I Smart Enough to Homeschool?

Are you afraid that you are not smart enough to homeschool your children?  Do you think that only certified teachers have your child's best interest at heart?  Is your mind filled with doubts about your abilities?

There are millions of homeschoolers in this country – only a very, very small fraction of them have a teaching degree.  And one has to wonder why someone who went to college and got a teaching degree, decided against sending their children to the very institutions that they, the parent, studied to be a part of.

Additionally, only a very, very small fraction of homeschooled kids who want to go to college don't get in.  Most homeschoolers consistently score above their public school peers in college preparation exams.  At Home Education Council of America, one of our special areas of expertise is helping families with planning for college and career.  And it does not require the parent to have any kind of college background to achieve this goal!

Everything you need – from curriculum to social outlets to creative hands-on lesson ideas, is available at your fingertips.  What you cannot find online is something that is within you as the parent – which is heart and purpose.

True education begins with heart – and no one has more of a vested interest in your child than you do as the parent.  With heart and purpose, anyone can homeschool.  All you need are those two foundational basics – heart and purpose – and the rest can fall into place quite nicely.

In all the millions of homeschool families today, very few had a perfect homeschool when they began.  There will be a trial and error period as you adjust to this new way of life.  Afterall, many new homeschoolers were conditioned to function according to the public school model – which has consistently failed since its inception.  But many will agree that, if there is to be a trial and error period, it's better to have it at home than in the hands of an institution which is focused on test scores.

To help you understand more of how to build a solid foundation from the beginning, Greg Denning has stepped forward to lead a 2-part workshop.  This was held during our month of the 2014 Not Back to School Summit – with 30 speakers and over 65 homeschool topics.

Greg was out on his own at the age of sixteen. The following years were tough, with hard life lessons about what matters and what doesn't, and how to create a life worth living. With grit and a clear vision of the life he wanted to build, Greg was able to graduate college, serve a mission for his church and marry the woman of his dreams. Together they have six incredible children, whom they homeschool and have traveled with to twelve countries (and counting); worked with leprosy affected in India; started a non-profit organization teaching self-reliance principles in Guatemala; explored beaches and ruins in Mexico and Central America; and driven overland from Alaska to Panama. The Dennings are always on the lookout for a new escapade, are incredibly passionate about education and believe raising a family is the greatest adventure in the world. They currently live in Costa Rica.

Greg's two workshops were free for the live sessions, but now have been moved to our upgraded Plus member archives.  You can log in and stream them for an unlimited time:

How to create a homeschool methodology that actually works and get results that matter –
aired Sept. 19th, 2014

Parents are so focused on short term results — covering every subject, in the right order for the child's grade level, making sure they pass the tests, and don't fall behind their peers — that they're stressed out, frustrated and ready to send their kids back to school. Something’s not working right. What parents need is to create a homeschool methodology that actually works, and produces results that really matter (hint: it has nothing to do with test scores).
What Every Parent Ought to Know About Homeschooling Their Child (2 parts)
both parts are on this page:

In this 2-part workshop, you will learn:

1. Am I Smart Enough to Homeschool My Child?

2. Am I Using the Right Curriculum?

3. Am I Inadvertently Teaching Confusion?

4. Will My Child Be Socially Inept?

5. How Can I Maintain Stamina & Sanity?
Greg will expound by talking about the principles of creating a solid homeschool environment, one that inspires learning and character development, providing a real solid view of the 'big picture' (with actionable steps) — something that parents need a good reminder of, especially at the start of a new school year.



Family Chunk Clock for Homeschool

Is your schedule a mess?  Do you have difficulty trying to fit everything in?  Are your household chores going by the wayside as you try to maintain balance in homeschooling and maintaining a home?

Many of us have these challenges.  Sometimes we start off the year with a great plan, and then as we try to implement the plan it seems to fall apart.  By Christmas, we are dreading the thought of visitors as clothes are strewn all over the house and kids worksheets dominate the kitchen table.  Let's not even think about making cookies or gifts – weren't our baking utensils being used as musical instruments anyways?

For most people who write to us, lists and binders with organizers for every detail of your life generally don't work.  That is because there is something called LIFE which is real and tangible and happens.  It happens to everyone – no one is excluded from reality.  One person's reality is different than another person's reality, but the point is – everyone has reality.  And lists are not reality.  Schedules are not reality.

Reality is when your toddler climbs up onto the kitchen counter, and then falls down and smashes his nose and you need to run to urgent care.  Reality is when your child wipes his poo all over the bathroom – on the tub, on the door, on the towels and floor.  Reality is when your husband calls and says he's coming home early because he has the flu – and he NEEDS you.  Reality is when your teenager changes their mind 14 times about what to wear to the movies, and they need you to review each and every outfit while you are trying to juggle the screaming toddler and the boiling pot of macaroni on the stove.

So what do you do when reality changes your beautifully organized schedule?

Well, we have invited a highly coveted speaker to help you figure it out.  Mary Ann Johnson has generously accepted the call to participate in our 2014 Not Back to School Summit – and she delivered over and above our expectations with her amazing presentation on the Family Chunk Clock.

It's an effective tool for scheduling around tasks rather than time.  Many parents have reported back to us after the live presentation on how much this system has changed their life and the dynamics in their home.  Mary Ann was also generous in providing handouts for this presentation which you won't find anywhere else.  In addition to the presentation on the Family Chunk Clock, Mary Ann presented her incredibly powerful SPARKS webinar, and an awesome presentation geared for children ages 8-12 on taking responsibility for their own education.

Mary Ann Johnson is the President and founder of Home School Coach Limited.  She is a writer, teacher, mentor and coach. Her company focuses on teaching parents to connect with their children in simple ways and to have more confidence in their parenting through personal change. She has taught thousands of children over 40 years and helped hundreds of parents find greater satisfaction and joy in their family relationships. Mary Ann and her husband Don have seven grown children and 12 grandchildren ranging in age from 1 to 25. One thing on Mary Ann’s bucket list is to sleep in a hut on a sandy beach where warm breezes blow.  She is known for her Family Chunk Clock seminars and her Sparks! presentations.

Her seminars have now been moved to our upgraded Plus member archives and you can access them below (you will need to be logged in):

SPARKS – The Fire for Inspiration –
aired Sept. 10th –

This class will help you recognize what inspires and excites your child and then how to use that knowledge to share powerful love of learning moments with them.  When you know how to spot sparks you can then use them to help your child embark on some amazing learning adventures. Sparks are also the gateway to precious connection moments with your children. This class is designed to introduce you to the world of sparks, how to spot them and how to use them to connect with your child and inspire a love of learning.

The Family Chunk Clock
aired Sept. 18th –

Do life’s distractions get YOU off schedule? Why don’t lists and schedules work for most families?  The family chunk clock is unique because it is organized around tasks rather time. It works because it doesn’t matter if you get up late, have an emergency phone call after breakfast or just want the day off! It is powerful because it is a system designed to help you RETURN when you get off course. It works because it is about how your family time feels rather than ticking off a list of tasks.  This class will introduce you to a new, highly effective way to look at time management in a busy family.

Taking Responsibility For Your Own Education
aired Sept. 25th –

A class for youth ages 8-12 on what it looks like when you take responsibility for your own education.  Parents should attend this class with their child, however, Mary Ann's gentle and direct approach will have your child feeling like they can really take charge, and will give them the tools to do so!  At the end of this presentation, parents are given everything they need to teach this class to their children, or in co-ops or groups.






How to Homeschool Science

Do your science projects keep getting pushed aside?  Do you wish you could be more creative or have more energy to teach this subject?

Many parents love teaching science, while others struggle with finding time and creativity to make it happen.

Some of us are so busy trying to get all the worksheets and reading done for the other subjects, that by the time we get to science our energy just fizzles out.

We want to make sure we do it "right", so rather than rush through a science topic we just set it aside for another day.

But science is primarily about exploration.  So doing it "right" is a stigma we place upon ourselves that isn't really necessary. There are so many great and creative homeschoolers who have blogs and pinterest posts, who have already experienced what you are going through.  You can search online for any science topic and come up with great ideas that take little time to prepare and explore.

However, sometimes you just want a great text as a jumping off point.

In our member archives, we offer insight on what "needs" to be taught at different levels of a child's development.  And throughout the year, we bring many different perspectives to the table by inviting experts and homeschool moms in the trenches to share ideas and lesson planning tips with you.

One speaker in particular, Dr. Rebecca Keller, has generously offered SIX  workshops to help you gain insight and ideas for teaching science. The workshops were broadcast free during our Not Back to School summit in September 2014.

Dr. Keller has been a homeschool mom for over 15 years, is the author of Real Science-4-Kids and CEO/founder of Gravitas Publications Inc.  She earned a PhD in biophysical chemistry from the University of New Mexico and pursued postdoctoral work at the University of New Mexico and the University of California, Berkeley in molecular biology and neuroscience. Dr. Keller began writing science books for kids when she started homeschooling her own children and through her books, and hopes to bring science to homeschool families that is fun, engaging, and easy for parents to teach.  Real Science 4 Kids is a very popular science text among our members because it does not lean in only one direction as far as choosing to be either secular or religiously based.  Dr. Keller leaves this argument up to the parents and simply sticks to the scientific facts and processes.  So both religious families as well as secular families love the approach!!

Her six workshops are now available for unlimited streaming for our upgraded Plus members, and the information is invaluable (you will need to be logged in):

The Unbreakable Bubble: Fostering Scientific Discovery –
aired Sept 10th

Can you put your finger through a bubble… without causing it to burst?  Learn to enter your child's natural inquisitive world, without bursting their bubble.  Children are born observers, asking why and how… turning objects over and inside out… taking things apart. However, many teaching methodologies burst a child's passion for observation, a key element to scientific discovery. Dr. Keller will show you how to use open inquiry to launch scientific exploration and cultivate creativity.  Are you ready to question like Einstein?

Science Is Fun! Learn to “play” like Einstein with the ABC’s of science
aired Sept 11th –

Learning content is important. Kids need to know about atoms and the difference between force, energy, and work. But learning content covers only one aspect of doing real science. Dr. Keller will discuss the difference between explicit and tacit education and will show you how to help your kids have fun learning the ABCs of science while learning to think and “play” like Einstein.

Yes! Teach Kids Chemistry and Physics in First Grade!
aired Sept 16th –

Most elementary and middle school science books give kids a sampling of random topics. Kids learn a little about the solar system, how a plant grows, and the human body but they never learn the basic building blocks of science: chemistry and physics. Without some knowledge of chemistry and physics, kids simply cannot understand real science and will struggle with upper level science classes. Dr. Keller will show you just how easy it is to teach kids chemistry and physics to your child and how this helps build the foundation they need for advanced science classes.

The Internet: Resource or Distraction or Both?
aired Sept 18th –

Using the internet has become an integral part of learning for many homeschool families. Today, students can take online classes, read online books, and watch online videos all as part of their educational experience. However, do these activities really help students learn, or do they simply distract students making it difficult to focus? Dr. Keller will show you the latest findings on how the internet affects learning and how to help your family get the most from the internet and ways to help your kids learn without being distracted.

Through the Thinking Lens: How to Teach Critical Thinking in Science
aired Sept 23rd –

Learn how to build a critical thinking lens with your students. This lens will help your students examine in detail the scientific claims and counterclaims made by scientists. By learning how to evaluate scientific data your student will gain a better understanding of how scientific process and thought occurs and will have deeper knowledge of scientific theories.

Creationism, Darwinism, Intelligent Design – Oh my! Opposing viewpoints in science and why they are important
aired Sept 24th –

Science education is becoming more and more polarized as both Christian and secular families try to “protect” their kids from opposing viewpoints. Dr. Keller will explain how this approach to science education has tragic consequences for kids from all faiths. Dr. Keller will show you how to help your kids examine opposing viewpoints and gain a richer understanding of science without compromising your family values and beliefs.


You can get all SIX of Dr. Keller's workshops for FREE as well as all of the 30 speakers and 70 workshops, by registering today for the 2014 Not Back to School Summit!





Learning by Doing

Children learn best by doing.  That is an undisputed fact.  Sitting them down with textbooks and videos and worksheets will only teach them to regurgitate information.  However, when they can learn with hands-on activities the retention is unparalleled.  Homeschooling offers the chance to take learning to higher levels and have that unparalleled retention.

One way to do hands-on learning is through simulations.

Simulations are like pretend play.  One example is setting up a post office in your home, with neighbors, or in homeschool co-ops, and having your child sort "mail" and deliver it to the proper box.  They will be more excited to read and get the information right than doing this on a worksheet.

You could set up simulations for nearly every topic you are learning.  From history to science to math and English – think of ways to set up a pretend scenario so your child can act out the details in the topic.  They will certainly remember that experience much more than a paragraph read out of a book!!  Simulations also help with speech elocution, self-esteem, and confidence.  So they are a great tool for children with social challenges.

But simulations are actually more than child's play.  Afterall, we are training children to be adults.  So during a simulation, the child learns to actually take on various roles.  They learn to problem solve and to really analyze situations in much more detail than merely pretending.  Older children can take part in sophisticated debates and behavior situations.  Nothing prepares us for life better than simulations!

Check out this video produced by UPS (credits to

How do we learn how to create effective simulations for our children?

One expert in simulations is Martha Levie.  We have invited her to share some really great ways to do simulations as a family in our 2014 Not Back to School Summit.

Martha Harsh Levie is the wife of Allen Levie, and the mother of 7 little Levies (pronounced like the jeans, Levis).  Martha was educated at home and at a private school, now she teaches her own children at home. She graduated in Statesmanship and Literature from GWU in 1999.  She is not only an expert in simulations, but she is also an expert in elocution (the study of formal speaking in pronunciation, grammar, style, and tone.)  Martha is crazy about books by Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Louis L’Amour. She loves to celebrate birthdays and holidays, climb trees and mountains, read, cook, travel, act with her children, study political philosophy and when September rolls around she has weak spot for fall leaves and college football. Martha and her family live in Provo Utah.

She taught TWO incredibly eye-opening seminars, which are now available for upgraded Plus members (you will need to be logged in):

Elocution –
aired Sept. 24th  –

“Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.” –John Adams.  We teach our kids to read, think and write, but speaking is often missed. Speaking changes the way you read, think and write. Let me teach you how to model transformational speaking with your children using a special formula.   This presentation includes training in the art of elocution, but it goes much deeper.  When you speak, you want to be able to affect the people with whom you are speaking.  And Martha teaches you how to do that in this amazing seminar.  Come, dare to speak.

Family Simulations: Learning by Doing –
aired Sept. 29th –

Education at home is not just about teaching children. It’s about the whole family learning, changing and experiencing life in a new way. Simulations are “pretend play” for the whole family – only much, much deeper. Instead of just reading about things why not experience it as a family. From pretending to be a city council, a bakery or even the President of the United States, there are endless possibilities. When you take learning beyond the pages of a book and make it real your family will see an increase in desire and change. Come learn how simulations really work and how they will change your homeschool forever.




Help for Todays Education Refugees

Have you been thrown into homeschooling and don't know where to start?

Tens of thousands of new families are facing the task of providing education at home for their children this year.  They are joining the millions of families who have already taken on the responsibility of teaching their children.  And many are really struggling with how to begin, what curriculum to choose, whether to choose a curriculum at all, and how to structure their day and their new life.

Some are refugees – fleeing from a system that is in the depths of its final dark turning, and others have faced specific challenges with learning disabilities, bullying, or economic circumstances which have made them rethink education.

Whatever your circumstance, Home Education Council of America is here to help you.  We provide a multitude of resources for our members to help with lesson planning, organization, choosing curriculum, special needs, social outlets, and more.

To help with this year's influx of "refugees", HECOA has put together an amazing  conference – the 2014 Not Back to School Summit – with 30 experts and speakers and more than 65 sessions on homeschooling and parenting.

One of our fascinating speakers was Marie-Claire Moreau, a veteran homeschool parent and a recognized advisor, coach, and mentor to homeschooling families across the country.  Having homeschooled preschoolers through high schoolers who have attended college, Dr. Moreau devotes her efforts to empowering other parents to do the same.  The author of homeschool articles and books, Marie-Claire specializes in supporting families who find themselves homeschooling unexpectedly; those with little time for preparation; and is perhaps best known for speaking to the hearts of parents homeschooling under difficult or unusual circumstances.   Marie-Claire provides resources, information, encouragement and support to families raising the next generation of scholars via home education, through her website:

Marie's free live presentation has ended, but the webinar replay is available for upgraded members (you will need to be logged in):

"Help! I'm Homeschooling!"  –
aired Sept. 20th –

Today’s homeschoolers aren't the same as the pioneers of the past.  Modern families turn to homeschooling for lots of different reasons.  In this talk, Marie-Claire paints a modern picture of homeschooling and describes the compelling reasons why families choose homeschooling in the 21st century.  Hear how homeschooling can be successful in all kinds of families — those with single or working parents, those where children have additional needs, homes where homeschooling may be just a temporary solution, and even in families where homeschooling is a last resort.  Reluctant homeschool parents will be led to understand ways to incorporate home education into extraordinarily busy lives, or under sometimes extraordinary circumstances.  Based on Dr. Moreau's 20+ year homeschooling experience and consulting with families from across the country, participants will leave the seminar feeling more equipped and ready to establish a legal homeschool in no time flat.





Increase Memory with Symbology

Did your child forget everything he learned yesterday?  How can you increase memory and comprehension?

Many parents write in to us asking about this topic – how to help their children remember what is taught.  And even parents themselves often have difficulty remembering important things.

There are so many aspects to memorization and numerous philosophies and teachings on the subject.  But one that is particularly interesting, and proves to be less intimidating, is the use of symbols to help you remember.

When you are driving, you see signs on the road with symbols on them.  The symbols tell you which direction to go in, when to slow down, what to expect up ahead.  And most people understand the symbols because they have seen them repeatedly through their life.

We see symbols on bathroom doors to tell us which one is for women and which one is for men.  We see symbols on food packaging that we recognize as safe, or even symbols we have learned not to trust.

Sometimes the symbols are not as easy recognizable because we have not had training in how to recognize the important ones.  The ones that help guide our path in spirituality and reason.

We have invited a true expert in symbology – Tresta Neil – to come and share with you how to teach symbology to help your children remember and retain more of the things which they learn. This presentation will extend to FIVE 90 minute sessions, all part of our September event, the 2014 Not Back to School Summit. This 5-day workshop is an amazing complement to the 30 speakers and more than 65 homeschool sessions, which were all FREE during the live event.

As a girl, Tresta's passion was pretending she was a mommy.  When she became a mommy of four children (within 4 1/2 years) she decided that if this (diapers, repetitive movies, huge messes, no social life, etc.) was what motherhood was all about then she wanted OUT!  So when Thom, her husband asked if she would homeschool their children she thought either he had lost his marbles or she had officially graduated from the "Nut House."  Now 15 years later she can't talk enough about homeschooling and she LOVES being a mother of eight children.  Thom and Tresta are co-creators of Keystone Connections, specializing in placing God at the center of ALL learning and building the love within the home. Her greatest passion is once again being a MOMMY along with learning symbolism and teaching!

NOTE:  This 5-day course is very heavy into biblical symbols.

Tresta's fantastic 5-day workshop is now available for replay for upgraded Plus members (you will need to be logged in):

Symbology, increasing your memory and comprehension
Five 90 minute sessions –

Why can’t he remember what I taught him?  He should know his times tables by now!  What is one thing you can do to increase memory and/or comprehension?  Learn symbology!! In this class we will learn basic, simple symbols, the practical uses and the individual application of basic shapes and colors.  You will discover the necessity of sequence and order.  Each class will be one and a half hours for five days, as if it is a continual story:

  • First day:  one simple tool:  storytelling
  • Second day:  two very big opposites that effect your decisions
  • Third day:  three: the catalyst in many situations
  • Fourth day:  four elements that make up our thought process
  • Fifth day:  five steps to solve any problem

These concepts appear to be simple and perhaps even shallow but I can guarantee that they are amazing and can be very deep.  You and your children will be blown away at the concepts these simple symbols can have in your life.   They will help increase comprehension in any age, bring greater understanding, improve memory and develop personalized application.  The principles taught are personal and can be life changing (for the better).  In preparation for this class you may read the first chapter in “String, Straightedge and Shadow” and for the fifth class watch Donald Duck: Mathmagic Land,

You will:

  • receive 5 ways to find symbols and links in everything you study
  • gain a greater love for math and science
  • learn a bit about the history of mathematics and the Hebrew language
  • learn how to think mathematically and in symbols
  • learn how music and math and the constellations are connected
  • learn how to use simple symbols to increase your comprehension

Beware:  This class may change how you see everything!  You will want to have a math compass, pencil, straight edge, and some paper for these sessions!!