Archive for the ‘Wordpress’ Category
8 October 2014
On top of the list of priorities for a homeschooling family is the nurture of values. 15-year old Eliza Tan shares how her own journey as a homeschooled daughter of parents Joseph and Debra Tan enriched her as a person and a Christian teen.
My Homeschooling Journey
By Eliza Tan
MY HOMESCHOOLING JOURNEY STARTED WHEN I WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD. I originally went to kindergarten and attended a private school. When my parents first took me out of school, I admit, I was hesitant about homeschooling at first and kind of resentful at my parents for, I thought, taking me away from my friends.
But if there’s one thing homeschooling has taught me, it’s delayed gratification. I am now 15, and looking back, I realize that I was getting influenced by my school friends, and not in a good way. Although my parents weren’t satisfied with the education system, I would say our homeschooling decision wasn’t that much academic, but it was made mainly to develop my biblical worldview, my values, and my character. It’s not impossible for a public schooler to build strong character, and it isn’t easy to do that in homeschooling either. But in homeschooling, you get more one on one time and you’re able to monitor more aspects of your children’s interaction especially at a young age—of course not bordering on over-protection.
For example, my parents realized that social media is a great influence, and when I was younger, I wasn’t allowed as much freedom as I have today. Now I understand why I had to wait for that freedom, because earlier, I would’ve made a lot of mistakes and be unnecessarily exposed online without my parent’s protection. My parents have taught me how to use media in an edifying way. I definitely appreciate that they don’t give me full freedom all at once before I’m able to handle it, but gradually release it more and more when I’m ready.
Homeschooling has also brought us a lot closer as a family. We get to spend much more time together, do more projects together, and we share our struggles with each other. So often, kids are closer to their friends than their own family and siblings. It’s often saddening to see kids and teenagers seek advice from people just as lost as them and shun the people who love them most. I’m not saying that I’ve not been guilty of that, but spending more time in conversation with my parents has made me open up a lot and also ask and take their advice more easily. I’m very close to my sister, too. We’ve actually done two movies together, and we’re working on another one now. I can see that my parent’s teaching and the time they’ve invested into building a strong parent-child relationship has protected me from certain downfalls in regard to compromising on my values and giving in to the influence of unnecessary peer pressure.
Currently, I’m attending an online Christian school based in America called The Potter’s School (or TPS). “Potter” refers to the Potter and the clay, not Harry Potter. TPS offers live classes—classes happening in real time. I’ve been in TPS for two years now, and I finished my second year of high school, the American Grade 10, in May. The unique thing about them is that they teach from a strong biblical worldview, and not without professionalism. Their classes, in addition to my parents’ teaching, have revealed to me how God relates to every area of life, and I am very grateful for that.Right now I’m taking a classical high school course with TPS that follows the classical method of education, and I’ve found that very beneficial. Being classical, my assignments are full of reading tons of primary sources and my classes have greatly stretched my thinking. My Starting Points worldview class helped me in understanding more about Christian doctrine and theology, deepening my faith, and having a fuller comprehension of God. Classes like my logic and literature class have also expanded my thinking and further developed my literary and writing skills.
TPS has very strict due dates and schedules, too, so no slacking and allowance for late assignment submissions except in the case of an emergency. They also make sure the parents stay informed and involved because they believe that parents have the primary responsibility for their children’s education. TPS is one of the methods you can use for a curriculum. There are a lot of other curriculums out there; you can even mix and match. Over time, my parents have adjusted the curriculums I take to suit my needs and my learning style. I love the fact that TPS classes are live because I like the interaction with my teacher and classmates. And from here, I’ll just take it on to my next point.
One of the most frequently asked questions to homeschoolers is “how do you have friends?” I think there is a misunderstanding in the applied assumption here: being homeschooled doesn’t mean we stay in the house all the time, and just because we don’t see our friends everyday doesn’t mean we’re isolated from society. There are a few extremes. There’s over ‘protection:’ no exposure and no training in this area, and there’s the other extreme of having too many activities. I think the misunderstanding also lies in the definition of socialization. Many people don’t realize it, but their definition most often is spending time with people around your own age. Often in school, children follow the crowd—it’s hard to have their own opinion and stand up for their faith because of the pressure to fit in. In real socialization, children should, instead, be able to interact with people of all ages. This causes them to grow and prepares them for the adult world, where not everyone is the same age. With homeschooling and homeschooling communities, the great advantage is that children get to mix with people of other ages, and not just stick to their own age group.
Especially in the early years when we were more vulnerable, my parents protected us by carefully selecting the right types of friends and groups for us, and by helping us to develop the right mindset through teaching us how to stand alone and to avoid bad company. My parents have also taught us to want friends not so that we can be popular, fit in, or to fulfil our own self-interests, but to focus on serving others and putting their interests first in relationships.
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” That doesn’t necessarily mean segregation, but certainly calls for wisdom. Hebrews5:14says, “…solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”My parents have really guided me in this area of discernment by discussing things with us around the dinner table, during family devotions, and often in the car. We’d talk about current issues, the Bible, books, problems, and so on all from a Christian perspective because the Bible is relevant in the world today.
For instance, movies are a great, great influence. Most of the time, mainstream movies don’t have biblical morals and messages. My parents used to review movies before showing them to us, if they decided it was appropriate enough. After the movie, we’d have discussions on what we thought about it—what we think is the worldview and the message of the movie. The discussions shaped and sharpened my thinking, and Itruly appreciated that. Nowadays, I usually research on a movie before we decide whether to watch it or buy the DVD. And this filtering goes with all other things too, like books, music, and so on. I didn’t agree with a lot of my parents’ views in the past, I thought they were being too strict sometimes, but now I seriously see the repercussions of viewing an inappropriate movie, for example. It’s not that we don’t watch every movie we don’t agree with—sometimes it really is that bad that we don’t watch it at all—but sometimes we decide it’s okay to view it if we process and filter the movie’s message and worldview. I think conversation in the household is vital to building strong relationships. My parents have encouraged me to open up by providing a safe environment to ask questions and discuss any issue at all.
Personally, my interests are in biblical worldview and media, namely photography and film. I’m very excited to see how I can blend the two together in areas such as Christian films and documentaries, and taking photos with a message. My homeschooling experience has inspired me to have the right motivation and focus for my interests. My parents have also coached me in the process of discovering my purpose and calling, not just in career, but being secure in my identity in Christ and understanding how God created me, knowing my strengths, and learning how I can make an impact. Homeschoolers may very well end up in the same careers as non-homeschoolers, but we have more time and opportunities to develop a life message, a purpose, and a calling.
Homeschooling isn’t a magic pill; it’s not an end in itself, but a helpful means to an end—our ultimate end of glorifying God through our lives – in our thoughts, words, deeds, attitudes, and relationships. It’s not a guarantee that with homeschooling, your family will definitely grow closer, your kids will definitely know how to converse with people of any age, and your kids will be super smart with superior education—of course not. But in homeschooling, you have a greater chance to influence your child’s life by the choices you make and the steps you take. But of course, in order to take the rest of the steps, you have to take the first.
Eliza Tan is 15 and has been homeschooled for seven years. She has just completed her second year of high school (Grade 10) with The Potter’s School, an online Christian school. Her ambition is to attend a Christian college in the US. Eliza enjoys photography, videography, and researching issues related to apologetics. Eliza is the eldest daughter of Joseph and Debra Tan. Joseph is the Principal Consultant of Good Monday Consulting and a certified Character First trainer. He also heads Answers Academy, in association with Answers in Genesis.
Other Homeschooler Profiles you might be interested in are found here:
11 April 2012
Posted by DAVID BC TAN under: Wordpress.
THE 5 TOP APPS FOR HOMESCHOOLERS
By Mia Smith
A LOT OF GREAT Android and iOS apps exist to help children learn, especially homeschooled children. If you are a homeschooling parent in search of new, innovative ways to teach your child, read on to learn about some great apps you can use in in your activities.
25-in-1 Free Educational Games is exactly what its name states. For absolutely free, you will get to sample twenty-five of the most popular games that app maker A&R Entertainment has for children. The app has an overall rating of 5/5 on Apps for Homeschooling. Kids love how fun it is, and parents love the educational value. The games range from puzzle games to spelling games, and drawing games to math games. If you are new to the world of educational apps, this will give you a nice sample of the many options available to you.
Alge-Bingo is a great app for older kids, as it helps review the concepts learned in algebra. The app is very fun, and you will want to play it just as much as your kids. By solving algebraic equations, kids are able to participate in a game of Bingo. Points are awarded for correct answers and subtracted for wrong answers. There are several levels, each of which is increasingly difficult.
HP ePrint Home & Biz is a useful app that will allow you and your children to print things on your HP printer, directly from your iPod, iPad, or Android device. This is great for printing out pictures taken with the device to use in a scrapbook or other project. The app itself is free. You can save on an HP printer by using some great HP coupons that are currently available.
ABCKit is an app that helps small children learn their ABCs. This fun tool allows children to learn their ABCs in English, Spanish, and Catalan. Children listen to the ABCs, look at the ABCs, and write the ABCs themselves. This alphabet-learning tool is a great introduction to learning for small children, as well as a great introduction to the Spanish alphabet for kids of all ages. The adorable images will keep both child and parent smiling.
5. Chore Pad
Chore Pad is a great app for use in a homeschooling curriculum. The app allows you to keep track of your children’s chores, noting who has accomplished what. This app has been given the Golden App Award by Apps for Homeschooling. The app allows you to set up a system allocating points for each chore a child accomplishes, or optionally deducting points for those they did not accomplish. Then, once a child reaches a certain amount of points, they can use their points towards a reward that you have programmed into the system. Getting your kids to do their chores has never been as easy as it is with Chore Pad.
About the author:
Mia Smith resides in Florida and was a homeschooler for part of her high school years.
6 April 2012
Posted by DAVID BC TAN under: Wordpress.
Nick Bertke aka Pogo is the 23-year old Australian genius behind a number of amazing remixes such as this one. His work has attracted over 40 million views on YouTube. You can visit his site here and see for yourself how he sequences the pieces together to create a completely new sound.
The stuff he does has been quite controversial because the footage and sound samples are obtained without permission apparently. Check out his website here.
17 February 2012
Posted by DAVID BC TAN under: Wordpress.
[A friend shared this link with me and I am sure it’s a piece that will have you wondering why more parents aren’t homeschooling their children. You may not agree with everything the author says, but there’s a lot that strikes home. ]
9 Essential Skills Kids Should Learn
Post written by Leo Babauta.
Kids in today’s school system are not being prepared well for tomorrow’s world.
As someone who went from the corporate world and then the government world to the ever-changing online world, I know how the world of yesterday is rapidly becoming irrelevant. I was trained in the newspaper industry, where we all believed we would be relevant forever — and I now believe will go the way of the horse and buggy.
Unfortunately, I was educated in a school system that believed the world in which it existed would remain essentially the same, with minor changes in fashion. We were trained with a skill set that was based on what jobs were most in demand in the 1980s, not what might happen in the 2000s.
And that kinda makes sense, given that no one could really know what life would be like 20 years from now. Imagine the 1980s, when personal computers were still fairly young, when faxes were the cutting-edge communication technology, when the Internet as we now know it was only the dream of sci-fi writers like William Gibson.
We had no idea what the world had in store for us.
And here’s the thing: we still don’t. We never do. We have never been good at predicting the future, and so raising and educating our kids as if we have any idea what the future will hold is not the smartest notion.
How then to prepare our kids for a world that is unpredictable, unknown? By teaching them to adapt, to deal with change, to be prepared for anything by not preparing them for anything specific.
This requires an entirely different approach to child-rearing and education. It means leaving our old ideas at the door, and reinventing everything.
My drop-dead gorgeous wife Eva (yes, I’m a very lucky man) and I are among those already doing this. We homeschool our kids — more accurately, we unschool them. We are teaching them to learn on their own, without us handing knowledge down to them and testing them on that knowledge.
It is, admittedly, a wild frontier, and most of us who are experimenting with unschooling will admit that we don’t have all the answers, that there is no set of “best practices”. But we also know that we are learning along with our kids, and that not knowing can be a good thing — an opportunity to find out, without relying on established methods that might not be optimal.
I won’t go too far into methods here, as I find them to be less important than ideas. Once you have some interesting ideas to test, you can figure out an unlimited amount of methods, and so my dictating methods would be too restrictive.
Instead, let’s look at a good set of essential skills that I believe children should learn, that will best prepare them for any world of the future. I base these on what I have learned in three different industries, especially the world of online entreprenurship, online publishing, online living … and more importantly, what I have learned about learning and working and living in a world that will never stop changing.
(On to the Nine Skills – read the rest of the post here.)