Sunday, September 27, 2009

Homeschool Students: Desirable Characteristics and Suggestions


This article may be published on web sites and
in publications as long as it's reproduced in
its entirety, including the resource box at the end
of the article. Thanks!

College Professor Critiques Homeschoolers
copyright 2009 by Greg Landry, M.S.

I teach sophomore through senior level college
students - most of them are "pre-professional"
students. They are preparing to go to medical
school, dental school, physical therapy school,

As a generalization, I've noticed certain
characteristics common in my students who were
homeschooled. Some of these are desirable,
some not.

Desirable characteristics:

1. They are independent learners and do a great
job of taking initiative and being responsible
for learning. They don't have to be "spoon fed"
as many students do. This gives them an advantage
at two specific points in their education;
early in college and in graduate education.

2. They handle classroom social situations
(interactions with their peers and professors)
very well. In general, my homeschooled students
are a pleasure to have in class. They greet me
when the enter the class, initiate conversations
when appropriate, and they don't hesitate to
ask good questions. Most of my students do
none of these.

3. They are serious about their education and
that's very obvious in their attitude, preparedness,
and grades.

Areas where homeschooled students can improve:

1. They come to college less prepared in the
sciences than their schooled counterparts -
sometimes far less prepared. This can be
especially troublesome for pre-professional
students who need to maintain a high grade
point average from the very beginning.

2. They come to college without sufficient
test-taking experience, particularly with
timed tests. Many homeschooled students have a
high level of anxiety when it comes to taking
timed tests.

3. Many homeschooled students have problems
meeting deadlines and have to adjust to that in
college. That adjustment time in their freshman
year can be costly in terms of the way it affects
their grades.

My advice to homeschooling parents:

1. If your child is even possibly college
bound and interested in the sciences, make
sure that they have a solid foundation of
science in the high school years.

2. Begin giving timed tests by 7th or 8th grade.
I'm referring to all tests that students take, not
just national, standardized tests.

I think it is a disservice to not give students
timed tests. They tend to focus better and score
higher on timed tests, and, they are far better
prepared for college and graduate education if
they've taken timed tests throughout the high
school years.

In the earlier years the timed tests should allow
ample time to complete the test as long as the
student is working steadily. The objective is for
them to know it's timed yet not to feel a time
pressure. This helps students to be comfortable
taking timed tests and develops confidence in
their test-taking abilities.

3. Give your students real deadlines to meet in
the high school years. If it's difficult for students
to meet these deadlines because they're
coming from mom or dad, have them take
"outside" classes; online, co-op, or community

Greg Landry is a 14 year veteran homeschool dad
and college professor. He also teaches one and
two semester online science classes, and offers
free 45 minute online seminars..

Friday, September 25, 2009

Free Download: Classic Early 20th Century Children's Books

The U.S. Library of Congress has some free downloads for turn-of-the-century illustrated classic children's books here.

The Story of the Three Little Pigs, London & New York, Frederick Warne & Co., 1904

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Recipe: Homemade No Yeast Donuts

I made some bean burgers for dinner, and decided to use up the leftover pan oil to make some donuts. From my favorite Amish cookbook:

3 - 3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter or oil
1/2 cup cream(I used whole milk)

I ended up adding more flour because I used some leftover beet juice to color them pink. This is so easy, just mix everything together and shape into circles. I roll mine into a ball, flatten and poke a floured finger through the middle. I made a few letters for my preschool daughter as well. Make sure your pan oil comes up to at least the half way mark on your donuts. I heat my oil to medium, but every stove is different. You don't want it to get too hot, or it burns the outside, too cool and the middle doesn't get done. Don't make them too thick or they don't cook evenly.

Watch them carefully as they fry in the oil, flipping them with some tongs when they look brown. Place cooked donuts on plate with paper towel, and sift some powdered sugar over the top.

These donuts taste a bit like funnel cakes.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Jean Plaidy Queens of England Series

  Jean Plaidy's Queens of England series has recently been republished and repackaged. I grabbed the first one I saw on the public library shelf as my daughter whizzed by me to climbed up to the water fountain where she usually drenches herself. I'll be reserving the remaining books online. The first one in the series is Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of my favorite queens.

Some have been republished with different titles, and you can read all fourteen of them in order. I am beginning with Loyal in Love: Henrietta Maria, Wife of Charles I (A Queens of England Novel)

Jean Plaidy is known for her meticulous research, and her writing style is very engaging(like a good drama) and never dry. Plaidy's series are great for high school students looking to have history come alive with these accurate historical fictions.

Jean Plaidy Republished Novels

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Archaeologists Find Relics of Medieval Saint

"The team of Bulgarian archaeologist, Professor Nikolay Ovcharov, has discovered relics of a medieval saint at the fortress of Perperikon in the Rhodoppe Mountains.

The remains of human bones were found inside one of two bronze crosses as the archaeologists were excavating two churches.

... Perperikon, the ancient Thracian city, had later become one of the most important centers of Christianity in the entire region. One of the two churches discovered at Perperikon is the oldest in the region, dated back to 4th and 5th centuries, the rules of Emperor Arcadius (395-408 AD) in the Eastern Roman Empire, and Emperor Honorius (395-423 AD) in the Western Roman Empire, after the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD."

Read article here.

Castles for Sale.

Just for fun - European castles for sale.

Homeschooling with Working Parent(s)

"As the number of homeschoolers in the United States grows, the number of creative approaches to homeschooling grows too. What happens when both parents need to work? What about single-parent households? These instances do present some very real challenges. For working parents, it does take a bit more effort to manage the daily care, teaching and planning required to homeschool. But if you are dedicated to the idea of homeschooling, you can make it work. "

Read the rest here.

Video and transcript: Homeschooling for Working Parents

Christian Mommies: Busy, Working Parents - 22 Ways To Homeschool Your Kids

Working Parents Homeschooling Support

Many links: Homeschooling While Working information and support

Message board topic: Homeschoolers with working parent(s)

Single Parent Homeschooling Tips

Over 100 Homeschool Resources for Christian Single Moms

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Christian Preschool At Home

My daughter is almost four and is just now getting interested in workbooks or formal learning. We are using the Rod & Staff's Preschool series($9.00 for set). My son used this series as well, so it's been fun to revisit it. Great memories! These are wholesome "old fashioned" black and white workbooks published by conservative Mennonites. Simple rural living features prominently in these workbooks. When you click through to the link, each individual book can be viewed for content.

For older preschool children and kindergarten:

Sample lessons here.

More preschool posts here.

About Me

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I'm a homeschooling mom of two, a teen and a little. I hope this collection of mine helps you as much as it has helped us. I have an Etsy shop here: And a blog: