Welcome to

Welcome to

All rights reserved by Everest Academy
Everest Academy is a ministry of Everest Family Church in Hayden. We offer freedom along with quality resources, information, activities and support to those homeschooling in Alabama. We believe that the parent has the best interests of their children at heart. We believe that the parent is the first and only teacher that a child needs. In keeping with this philosophy, we wish to be a very hands-off cover school and allow the parent to lead and guide their children in the direction and at the pace they feel is best suited to their children. We ask only for what the law requires while offering support along with quality resources to aid families in their efforts.

July 13, Bham: Contra Dancing

Contra Dancing is traditional New England folk dancing. Americans have enjoyed contra dances since Revolutionary times. They combined ideas from French and English country dancing with their own way of having fun and came up with contra dancing. It's a social dance akin to square dancing which has retained its simple, open, community-oriented spirit.

Our next dance is on Saturday Evening, July 13th at the Bham downtown YMCA. The band, Flying Jenny, will be playing.

The website is www.FOOTMADbirmingham.org, where just about anything you want to know about Contra Dancing could be found.   Admission is $10 for non-members, $8 for college students and members, $4 for Students aged 13-18 and free to those 12 and under. First Timers receive a get-in-free coupon to their next dance this year.

It would be lovely to have members of the Homeschool Community at our dances.

Please let me know if you have any questions,
Linda James
Public Relations Person for Birmingham FOOTMAD

Springville Homeschool Co-op: Guitar Lessons

This course is an introduction to the basic elements of reading music on the guitar. We will use different styles of songs for certain teaching points. Cover the same notation that all instruments read, all the major music schools use standard music notation. It prepares you to play. Teacher will have prepared lesson plan. Each week the student will review the previous week's material, and time to cover new lesson material before leaving session. Students will learn to play rhythmically in-time with others. All skill levels welcome.

Students need:
* To provide a guitar - acoustic or electric each week ( if electric bring cable or cord, do not bring
* Bring to class each week binder w/music (will receive on first lesson)
* Bring guitar pick (will receive on first lesson)
* Practice throughout each week at home.

If parent is interested in learning to play the guitar along with their child, they can register.
Please bring guitar to registration so teacher can see if instrument is playable and will stay in tune.

Fall Schedule - registration July 12th 1:00 p.m., and July 19th 1:00 p.m. In Springville,Al.

Classes start August 30th - Nov. 15th in Argo,Al.

Guitar Instructor: Dolores Traylor (205) 629-6815 or L59@windstream.net

**To sign up for lessons join on Facebook - Springville Homeschool Co-op
Laura Cheney - director

Record Keeping

Hey Homeschoolers! I am working on making a resource for new homeschoolers where they ask the questions and veteran homeschoolers give the answers. My goal is to provide advice, resources, and most of all to show that there is more than one way of doing things. 

Please contact me with your answer to the following question. I have already included answers that folks sent me on Facebook. Please let me know if you do not want me to include your name in the posting. Please give as much info as possible including links, details, explanations, etc... I will add your answers to this page so that new homeschoolers will have a resource to refer back to again and again.

You can contact me at everestacademy1@gmail.com with your questions and answers.  Please put "Blog Challenge" in the subject line.  

Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question:  Does your cover school require that you keep records of your grades, attendance, curricula, or any other kinds of records? How do you keep these records?

My Answer:  I keep minimum records for my family.  When both of my kids hit high school age, I started keeping a "transcript" for them.  Generally I would sit down every few months and just jot down whatever they had been doing.  I may/may not decide to use the information on their final transcript, but I would rather have it down in writing so that when it comes time for final transcripts, I am not trying to remember what they had done for the four years prior.  Currently I have my 14-year-old write down everyday whatever she did that day including documentaries, field trips, book work, exercising, etc.  

Everest Answer:
  • Attendance Record - No yearly reporting.  State law requires that the principal teacher (you) keep up with attendance.  Please do so.  Everest only requires that an attendance record be turned in when withdrawing from Everest Academy or graduating (or upon request).  Everest only needs to know days of unexcused absences from learning. We require 160 days of learning out of 365 possible days. That being said, there should not be any unexcused absences. You keep up with your attendance and only turn it in when you need a transcript generated (at graduation or if transferring). You may keep up with attendance however you see fit. For your convenience, here are two options: Excel Grades & Attendance  and Attendance Form.
  • Grading - No yearly reporting.  Everest only requires that a grading report be turned in when withdrawing from Everest Academy or graduating.  How you keep up with grades is a personal choice. Everest only needs grades when you need an official transcript generated. Excel Grades & AttendanceHomeschool Tracker, and Homeschool Skedtrack.  *Please note:  We do not have an account with these websites.  Please sign up as an individual family.  

Well, since we belong to an awesome cover school (Everest) the only requirement is 160 days of learning per 365 days. So, barring some ongoing national disaster on our front lawn we should not have to keep up with much paperwork for the cover. However, I am a bit OCD so I keep records for my own sanity. Each 7th week I prepare an outline for the next 6 weeks. I have a form for each week with what we plan to accomplish each day. Then each day I have a spreadsheet from 7am until 7pm. When we finish a subject for the day, I mark it off on the weekly calendar and write on the daily what we did and for how long. These go in a 3 ring binder. Each 6 weeks I file everything for that 6 weeks in a manila envelope or two. As we finish workbooks I also have an envelope for them. My daughter and I need a schedule and lists or we would get nothing accomplished. If we tried to be unschoolers we would end up being couch potatoes. As for curriculum, I go to the school supply and look through books, workbooks, games, etc. and just pick what I think we need. Also, we use the internet (mostly Enchanted Learning). This has only been our first year but so far this has worked for us.

Our cover school (Hope) requires report cards and attendance records quarterly. We, too, need structure to get things done or we will go off on a tangent and return only to find the year completed and no math done. (Flylady would call me a SHE, sidetracked home executive)

The most laid-back Mom I knew, when I questioned her, had a secret--she planned ahead. So, we plan the days we will school and the holidays we plan to take before the year starts. We plan the curricula we will use for each class, lay out how we plan to finish the curricula over the year, per quarter and then per week.( Another inspiring lady told me to start with the big picture, then keep breaking it down into smaller and smaller bites)

We never follow it exactly, but we start with a plan so that when we graduate from high school, we've covered all the bases for college entry.

Well now "the unschooler" will weigh in... :-) No records, no grades, no attendance chart... I have a really cool administrator :-) who requires nothing more than the law requires... which is to send in a letter of intent to the local school board, once - unless you move to a new district.

I do keep an informal journal and jot down what we do, where we go, etc. I also note the weather - strange, I know. ?? :-)..... I keep up with "days schooled" only in case we are questioned. To us, every day is a school day because there is ALWAYS the opportunity to learn something!! Sometimes I do this daily, sometimes weekly... just depends. I learned a long time ago that for US, pre-planning and over-organizing took the fun and spontaneity out of our lives, and true learning did not seem to take place as easily. Obviously you must pre-plan for some things, but most days we just do what we need to/want to do, no plan, no schedule (I don't like that word - bad word, bad!! :-)

You always crack me up. From our posts we almost sound like polar opposites. But we both get a lot accomplished. If anyone questions the way to do things the "right" way - the two of us are great examples of how it doesn't matter how you do it - as long as your children are happy and learning - you are doing it the right way.  And we get along great with each other too, imagine that :0

Wouldn't the world be boring if we were all just alike?? I have no desire to be a Sheeple, and I love it when someone is trying something in a way that is all their very own. I learn so much from everyone else's point of view! You all amaze and inspire me...........

Our cover school (Everest) only requires what the law requires and asks that I please don't send copies of records to them, records take up a lot of room..LOL But, I do keep track of everything that we do and the days they are done on at Engrade.com . I print out a 9/10 week report to just have on hand if ever questioned what we have done or covered, just for my peace of mind mainly and so the kids can see just how much they have actually done.

Our cover school only requires we keep attendance and we do not send it in. We have school 365 days a year. They are always learning something. Of course, there's the usual math, science, history, vocabulary, writing, etc. But there's also working with dad on fixing a push-mower or helping mom in the garden. And, of course, we can't forget the always popular, laying in a hammock reading a Bassmaster Magazine (and falling asleep) reading class. We don't keep grades exactly. Jake and I know when he understands a math problem or whatever and then we move on. If he's having problems we work on it until he's not. We don't particularly like our school super-structured. If science has gotten interesting and an experiment is taking longer than we thought -- who cares. Let's keep on doing science. I love homeschooling.

July 11 (Deadline July 9), Elberta: Organic U-Pick Blueberries & Farm Day

Sorry this is such short notice, I spoke with the farm yesterday and there is only 2 weeks left to pick the blueberries. Just post as soon as you can :)

U-Pick ORGANIC Blueberries and Farm Day at Hillcrest Farm in Elberta, AL 

(30497 Hixson Rd., Elberta, Alabama 36530)

July 11th, 2013 at 8:30am

Please join us at Hillcrest Farm in Elberta, AL to pick some yummy, organic blueberries. I know 8:30 is early, BUT the heat will scorch us if we show up much later. Come feed the chickens, tour the farm, and pick some YUMMY blueberries with us :) Blueberries are $1.50 per pound, which is a STEAL!

***You must register with me to attend the event. They want to ensure there is plenty of supplies for us. They need to know a head count by 7/9/13***

Please RSVP to Jen Rogers: 
Phone: 205-983-4028

Favorite Homeschooling Book

Hey Homeschoolers! I am working on making a resource for new homeschoolers where they ask the questions and veteran homeschoolers give the answers. My goal is to provide advice, resources, and most of all to show that there is more than one way of doing things. 

Please contact me with your answer to the following question. I have already included answers that folks sent me on Facebook. Please let me know if you do not want me to include your name in the posting. Please give as much info as possible including links, details, explanations, etc... I will add your answers to this page so that new homeschoolers will have a resource to refer back to again and again.

You can contact me at everestacademy1@gmail.com with your answers or questions.  Please put "Blog Challenge" in the subject line.  

Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question:  What is your favorite book about homeschooling and why?


"Homeschooling: One Family's Journey" by Greg Millman - This book provides a real-life, practical view of homeschooling from an everyday, average income, unschooling family's perspective. Even if the reader doesn't share the same preferences or principles as the authors, there is inspiration galore. The format is engaging., the layout makes sense, but the copy is not dry and clinic like that found in many "how-to" books. Highly recommend.

"The Well Trained Mind" - It presents a way of schooling that is orderly, logical, and rigorous. I feel like by following it, my children's education will not be haphazard. It fits our family's personality. It is also flexible enough to adapt to my children's individual needs.

"The Well Trained Mind" - The book was extremely useful in helping me gather my thoughts around a philosophy of home-education. It also lines out what your child should learn, when he should learn it, and where to get the resources.

"The Well-Trained Mind" - This resource gives you a 12-year plan that allows you to be the teacher and not rely on preset everything. Will give your child the equivalent of a private school education for a fraction of the cost.

"POC4U" - This one resource made our homeschooling so much better because it matches, level, best learning styles and more to the suggested curriculum for the student. Plus it costs less than $15.00.

Favorite Homeschool Book?! I'm think I've read them all, but The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell really freed me up from a lot of "have to!" She also helped me see the importance of requiring my children to be responsible for their own education. But then, there's Karen Andreola's A Charlotte Mason Companion. Nature studies, quiet reflection, living books, and experiencing all of life as education helped move our home education out of the "sit behind the desk and finish the workbook" to an opportunity to participate in life and learning everyday. But then, there's Ruth Beechick! Those three little books: A Strong Start in Language, A Home Start in Reading, An Easy Start in Arithmetic. What a treasure! Do this! Say this! Play this game! Love them! They help remove the "I'm not a teacher" mentality and give you the tools to teach your child the basics. These books and her You Can Teach Your Child Successfully help you gain the confidence to finish strong.

July 10, Homewood: Feng Shui Program

Homewood Library event July 10th at 3pm with certified Feng Shui consultant, Katie Rogers 

How Your Bedroom Can Get You Want You Want -- A Feng Shui program with Teens in Mind

Did you know that how you arrange your bedroom can affect your sleep, your studies, your self esteem, and yes, even if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend? 

Did you know that the colors you wear can determine what people think about you? Or how well you do on a test? 

Come learn the secrets of feng shui in this workshop geared towards teens. Bring a photo of your bedroom, so you can go home and make changes that very day!

No RSVP or registration required.  Meet in the Homewood Library Auditorium.  

Standardized Testing

Hey Homeschoolers! I am working on making a resource for new homeschoolers where they ask the questions and veteran homeschoolers give the answers. My goal is to provide advice, resources, and most of all to show that there is more than one way of doing things. 

Please contact me with your answer to the following question. I have already included answers that folks sent me on Facebook. Please let me know if you do not want me to include your name in the posting. Please give as much info as possible including links, details, explanations, etc... I will add your answers to this page so that new homeschoolers will have a resource to refer back to again and again.

You can contact me at everestacademy1@gmail.com with your answer or questions.  Please put "Blog Challenge" in the subject line.  

Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question:  What is your philosophy on standardized testing?

My Answer: Everest does not require standardized testing; however, if you are interested in this option for your child, please look here for more info: http://www.alabamahomeschooling.com/2010/01/standardized-testing.html.

I believe it is important to get children acquainted with them because they will have to take them to get into college. That said, I do not believe they can accurately represent the knowledge the child possess.

My philosophy on standardized testing is that it gives teachers who teach a multitude of students a way to compare them to others across the school, school system, state and country. They are unnecessary for homeschooled children as the parent knows right where they stand. Unless, of course, the parent wants to compare his/her child's progress to others. I don't think it is important for us.

For K-12, I think it is a flawed but probably necessary evil.

Truthfully, I don't know much about it. I printed up the info you posted several weeks ago, but have not had a chance to dive into it yet. I guess it's good to have the same testing for everyone, so you can see where you are strong and where you are weak (compared to the norm)... but at the same time, I'd like there to be a difference between the testing for public schoolers and the testing for private/Christian, or homeschoolers ~ as I think the "standards for being normal" are very low out in the public arena, and the standards for us are much higher. 

Don't like it. Don't use it. I think it is pointless in that it does not show you the child's level of knowledge; it only shows the child's ability to manipulate a test. We use hands-on and LOTS of discussion.

It's great if you want your child's education to be standard. So, I'm not a big fan.

I think that standardized test are necessary for college, but not necessary for my family now. They are basically I.Q. test letting a teacher know the appropriate grade level a student can do. I feel as a homeschooling mom, I mix and match grade levels according to strengths and weaknesses already and don't feel there is enough of a disconnect there to need a standardized test to show me. However, I have thought it would be nice to put into the school record.

I don't really have one yet since I just have a second grader but from my own experience I know that it is not always an accurate representation of a child's knowledge.

I suppose it is a nice way to gauge how your child is performing against everyone else out there in the big wide world, but after a few years in the public school system we were left with a bad taste about the whole thing. IF it is used merely as a "check-up" i.e. the child just takes the test with no preparation and sees how they do - great. If it is treated as the goal for the year and weeks and weeks of instructional time are taken up in preparation for it (public school) then I despise standardized tests!

It can be a good “check up” to see how your kids compare but only if you have a child who is works well with tests. We’re hitting 7th grade this year so I guess we have to start thinking about them.

I don't believe in its relevance. I helped write part of one in CO many years ago and what was required to be in it was ridiculous!

I believe standardized testing is a waste of time. It only assesses a small handful of knowledge and tends to give a good idea of what the test taker doesn't know rather than what the test taker does know. It has caused teachers to teach children how to take tests instead of giving children meaningful, real learning and teaching children how to think. Obviously, I do not like standardized testing one bit. 

I grew up a horrible test taker and standardized tests stressed me out terribly. We have not yet gone through testing with our 9 and 5 year old and I suspect it will be stressful for my oldest when we do. I feel unfortunately, they are a necessary evil. When colleges are looking at potential students, they have to be looking at apples to apples I suppose and how else do you do that. I wish it wasn't the case, as I do not feel that it is an accurate representation of what a student knows---or certainly how "smart" they are.

My oldest child is in 4th grade. I have yet to do standardized testing. I'm not against it. I just have not felt the need to do it. I am confident in the curriculum I use, and I do not move on to something new until he fully understands everything previously taught.

While I don't think standardized testing gives the full picture of a child's abilities, I do think it is helpful in comparing their progress from year to year, plus it helps me to see how my child compare with other students in their grade level.

I have mixed feelings on standardized testing. I did well taking tests in school, as long as they were in essay form. I feel that standardized testing can be tricky for the test taker. Most of the time there is more than one answer that fits the bill, but there is a slight difference that may make one answer more true than the other. I feel that this can lead to frustration and discouragement. We will most likely avoid such tests until deemed necessary, and then prepare accordingly. Our tests will be oral or written, and will most like be in project form. I don't think a one size fits all approach to testing is good for anyone. This is one of the many reasons we have decided to homeschool.

I've read a lot of negatives, so let me just put out this little positive. We move around a lot and some states require that you have your child tested every 3 years (3rd grade, 6th, 9th, & 12th). Not knowing if we'd eventually end up in one of those states, we decided early on that we go ahead and follow that rule. Pros: It does help us gauge how our kids would do IF they were suddenly dumped in the school system; it gives them experience taking tests that they might need later on (such as college, or even a driving test); It's also a solid record for anyone who might want you to prove that you actually DO something at home. But other than that, I can understand why and agree with a lot of people wouldn't want to do it.

Structured vs. Interest Led

Hey Homeschoolers! I am working on making a resource for new homeschoolers where they ask the questions and veteran homeschoolers give the answers. My goal is to provide advice, resources, and most of all to show that there is more than one way of doing things. 

Please contact me with your answer to the following question. I have already included answers that folks sent me on Facebook. Please let me know if you do not want me to include your name in the posting. Please give as much info as possible including links, details, explanations, etc... I will add your answers to this page so that new homeschoolers will have a resource to refer back to again and again.

You can contact me at everestacademy1@gmail.com with your answer or questions.  Please put "Blog Challenge" in the subject line.  

Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question:  Are you a structured homeschooler or interest led? Why?

We are pretty structured. We buy a full, out of the box, curriculum. My son likes the structure of knowing where he is in meeting a particular goal or number of lessons. Also, the structure allows me to have confidence I am covering everything I need and want to. If my son has a particular interest, we do "go down the rabbit hole" to pursue it outside of "the box."

We use a mix of both. We have our core curriculum in the AM that is more structured just in case they decide to go back to public school (plus reading and math skills are just essential life skills), the afternoon and evening( and sometimes random full days ;) are dedicated to interests and exploring new things.

We have structure, but we have been known to go off on rabbit trails if the kids have an interest in something. We are not full blown interest led because my kids prefer the structure really.

Structured - because I would think it would be easy to let subjects 'slide' if not following a schedule. I like to check boxes! However, I do get the kids input and will tailor classes for their interest and I definitely allow them to select extra-curricular classes. I get their input on core classes as to what would help them learn best. (For example, not taking math would not be an option, but I do show them different curriculum options and ask which they think would help them learn the best.)

I am semi-structured. We designate the hours of 7:00-10:00 am, 1:00-3:00PM, and 7:00-8:00 PM for school work. At this point in our lives, we school when my toddler is napping. In the past, I have purchased whole curriculums but have decided against that for this year. We enjoy unit studies and seem to learn more when we focus on a small amount of material, but study it thoroughly. I do have one specific book for math, but the let the kids choose what science and period in history they wish to study.

A little of both, I try to be structured, but Preston has ASD & some days we just have to go with how he can manage.

We are relaxed, interest-led homeschoolers who incorporate a daily rhythm to give our days a pleasant flow. We are very flexible so I would not say we are structured by most people's standards. We don't "do school" at home.

Both. We do not have a set schedule we follow. Some days are laid back and we don't do a lot of book work, but other days we have a set amount of work we do and try to get a lot done. I do not use a specific curriculum.  We pretty much follow our own way.

I am a little of both. I love organizing our studies. I talk to them to see what their interests are. I look at what we have, then come up with a plan of what to do and when. On Monday mornings, I give them an assignment sheet for the whole week. They are to get everything done by Friday. They come to me when they have questions or need me to teach them something new. They do the dreaded subjects when THEY are ready instead of when Mom is ready. This saves a lot of frustration for them and me.

I started out as a structured homeschooler because I honestly didn't know what I was doing. As the years go by, I realize that I'm drawn to a more 'interest led' atmosphere, but I confess that I'm not really confident about how to do that. My hope is to offer some structure in the areas that are tested on the A.C.T. and gravitate towards a more 'interest led' approach in all other areas.

We are relaxed homeschoolers. Mostly we are interest led, but I bring things to the attention of the children. We tried being structured, but it did not work in our home. We realized that there is no reason to recreate school at home. We are homeschoolers and have the freedom to learn in hundreds of different ways. Being structured in schooling takes some of that freedom away.

I have a 6th grader and a 2nd grader.  They both use computer based programs that we love! I have found it is easier to teach them individually than together. It makes for a longer day for me, but it seems to work better then doing both at the same time. I try to have a few minutes set aside 3 days a week where we come together and have some kind of lesson whether it is reading, art or Bible as a family. I just feel like it makes us closer to have that time to interact as a 'class'.

We use Switched on Schoolhouse which is computer based. Right up my sons alley. Last year we were very structured, and he had to work until he completed assignments for the day, but this year we will have a schedule. Work steady from 8-12 and then done for the day. If we have somewhere to go then either the computer goes with us or that work will wait until another day. Also planning more field trips. Last year we were so concerned with him learning what he needed for that "school year" and have come to realize after SAT's that we are so far ahead of the curve that now learning is going to be fun. Letting go of my "brick and mortar" public school mentality. :)

I call my method Individualization. One child takes half his high school classes online and uses textbooks and a strict structure for the rest of his classes. Another child is also in high school but works with unit studies and lapbooks in her classes. Still another child gets most of his middle school education through documentaries and books on tape. The youngest uses a mix of texts and workbooks, documentaries and computer based classes for his elementary school needs. Each child is different, therefore each education is different.

Unschooling perhaps you could call it.... you name it we use a little of everything. Some days are kind of rigid and others are at the creek doing science. We do not use many texts ... A lot of reading .

We homeschool M-Th utilizing F for weekly exams, play dates, and field trips. We homeschool from 9-3 with a 45 minute lunch break and a few 10 minute breaks. We are eclectic. We utilize "A Well Trained Mind" as a foundation but add and take away to meet our needs. We complete 7 subjects a year utilizing various curriculums, the library, and computer programs. We incorporate creativity and her personal interests.

This will be our 3rd year. The first year was a combination online curriculum and 2 classes were not. We used the library, books and videos and some TV documentaries for lessons. The second year all classes were online except 1 which was for her foreign language. This year all classes are online. But we still use workbooks the library, videos, etc for fun and also for extra information that may not be in the online curriculum to give more background to subjects, or for practice. We also are involved with 2 support groups. One is a home school group through our church and the other is through our cover school. So the kids can get together to do things like field trips and parties. My daughter is a Senior this year and didn't want to go to public school for high school.

We are eclectic Charlotte Masoners! We go to a co-op T & Th. We school at home M 9-1:30, T 9-12, W 9-1:30. We leave Friday for fun or if they don't finish their work. We use the bible & misc books for history, Apologia for science, Mastering Essential Math Skills, WriteShop, Apologia for bible study, footwork for handwriting, and a few other things. You can check out my blog for our complete list. www.sincerelyhome.blogspot.com

We use different methods for 2 kids. My 7th grader uses Switched on Schoolhouse which is computer based. My 4th grader uses Abeka curriculum. Doesn't like computer based learning. We school m-w with Thursday as co-op day. We also do school on Fri. We school 3 wks on and 1 week off. So far it is working out.

Right now we are interest lead. In our past, we were structured. In a nut shell, I saw that my kids were largely unhappy in the more structured lifestyle. We spent too much time trying to learn things that were not important to them. They wouldn't retain the information for very long. It was so very difficult. Lot's of time spent "making" various things happen. We were all unhappy. I followed someone else's idea on what and when my children ought to learn without every vastly understanding the implications of those various ideologies and agendas, nor my own. I just knew this was something I (we) were supposed to do and it it sounded rather reasonable. There were lots of promises made to my fears and insecurities through these ideologies and agenda. So I followed those things. Then the hard and deeper realization that they weren't my pawns either. This was their own life. Then I asked the life changing question, "why?" I found no good answers. Only more questions. I found that I had tried to force these young people into an agenda, or an idea without ever deeply realizing that they are already whole people to the degree that I would allow that idea to be lived out and "let" them live their life as so. This was their life, not mine. It was the only life they would ever get. I didn't want to live my life as a pawn. Why should I expect them to want to live for others agendas? This fascinating journey has been extremely rewarding for us. Once I put my fears aside for a time and observed them, I saw there were immense amounts of deep learning in many categories. I thought only "other" kids learned that way. It turns out, it is an innate human quality to learn. You can't not learn. And it happens all the time, even in the mostly unlikely places. I see my children with a good understanding of themselves, taking responsibility for themselves. And we are happy people. It works for us.

We started out mainly structured, but we now do a lot of interest led studies. I research many different curriculums, free web sites, etc. then I show them to Ellesha and allow her to choose the ones she thinks are more appropriate to her manner of learning. We don't write anything in stone if we do choose one that doesn't seem to be working for her. We simply give it a chance then change to another one. We mainly work a little more structured on her core subjects and then do more of a variety on the others. We also use a variety of methods, for instance, we may have a textbook we use, but we also add field trips, web searches, library books, etc. If we had not started homeschooling in 9th grade I would have used more of an unschooling approach. I would also advise though whose children have been in the public school system first to give homeschooling a real chance. It's hard on the students to change from that mindset and it's hard for parents/teachers to allow their children time to unlearn these methods and enjoy learning. Too many times parents get frustrated and think they HAVE to teach like the public schools and they think themselves failures if their children don't automatically become A & B students with little effort. Give your children and yourself time to adjust and explore. Try unstructured first and allow them to search the internet, read books of their choosing (within limits of course), and gradually see how they learn best. Should you read and discuss subjects, do they learn better by reading things for themselves, do they need to see things written down or in pictures or can they "see" things in their mind. Most importantly ask your child for their input.
Have Fun!!!

Jasper: Sherry Morrow

Sherry Morrow ~ Jasper

Hi, I’m Sherry Morrow & I am the Activity Coordinator for the Jasper area.  I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart, Dennis, for 18 years. We have always home educated our children. We have a 17-yr-old son-Dakota, a 14-yr- old son-Dalton, an 11-yr-old daughter-Mary Kathryn, a 4-yr-old daughter-Sarah Beth, & a 9-month-old baby girl-Ella Rose. Life is busy at the Morrow house! We are actively involved in our parish, St. Patrick Catholic Church in Adamsville. I am a work-at-home mom, a pediatric telephone triage nurse for Children’s of Alabama.

We currently practice life-long learning, others may call it interest-focused learning, child-led learning or even unschooling, whatever you choose to call it, for our family, it works! Over the years we have tried different educational methods, everything from Charlotte Mason to Classical, boxed curriculum to eclectic, lapbooking to computer-based, & we have learned from them all. In this season of our lives, we are accepting & loving that we are learning everyday in the context of real-life.

We have learned a great deal about Dyslexia over the years, as 2 of our 3 oldest children have been diagnosed. They have made amazing progress with the proper learning opportunities they have been given. I am passionate about helping families find the resources that are a proper fit for them.

We have raised chickens for years, including hatching our own from an incubator. We have had varied successes with gardening & preserving our own food, it’s a work in progress. We survived an EF-4 tornado in April 2011, that destroyed much of our town & it changed our family & our mission statement! We are always on the lookout for ways to serve others. We like activities that we can do with our entire family. We enjoy camping, fishing, hunting, foraging for edible & medicinal herbs & weeds, bowling, Archery, blacksmithing, range-shooting, swimming, soccer, cooking, baking, chess, board games, card games, great books, great movies & field trips.

We would love to have you join us for the fun activities we have planned this year. I look forward to meeting new families & making new friends.

Sherry's Contact Information:

June 28, Bham: FREE McWane Teen Science Night

Date: Friday, June 28th
Time: 6:00 PM — 9:00 PM
Cost: No admission required

Inspired by the travelling exhibition “RACE”, this Teen Science Night will explore what current research tells us about our genes and the connection to ideas about race. Teen Science Nights create a science learning environment with a “teen-friendly” atmosphere. This event combines science experts, hands-on activities, music, food and fun to engage 8th–12th graders in emerging science trends.

For more information call Lawrence Cooper at (205) 714-8376 or click here to send him an email.

Hoover: Piano Lessons


Michele Mulder moved to Hoover in December 2010 from Montgomery, AL. She resides in Bluff Park with her husband and two sons. She home schools her youngest and her oldest attends Spain Park High School. 

Michele Mulder Bio:
-Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sacred Music Piano Performance from Tennessee TempleUniversity -Certification in Music Education from the University of Tennessee
-Taught piano lessons for 13 years
-Served for 3 years as music teacher for grades K5 through 8th grade
-Children’s choir director from 1993-2010
-Served for 3 years as Adult Choir Director for Zion Presbyterian Church inColumbia, Tennessee
-Served 4 years as Piano Guild Chairman for the Columbia, TN area
-Served as the Children’s Music Director and church pianist at Eastwood Presbyterian Church, in Montgomery, AL for 8 years
-Received her Kindermusik Educator’s license in Nashville, TN in December 1998
-Taught Kindermusik for 10 years

Mrs. Mulder incorporates all of her past knowledge/experience of music and working with children to make piano lessons fun and interesting. She has experience with all ages and abilities. Adults also enjoy taking piano from Mrs. Mulder as a stress reliever and new hobby.

Phone: 205-568-6702
When: August 2013
Price: $13, 30 minute lesson once per week/Registration fee per year-$15
Ages: Children 5 and up, Adults welcome
Method: Traditional with flare! :)
Schedule: flexible

June 29, Bham: Avondale Park Bike Parade & Fishing Rodeo

June 29, 9 a.m.-Noon | Avondale Park will host a bicycle parade and a fishing rodeo for children. The Avondale Park pond will be stocked with hundreds of large catfish, and there will be awards for the largest fish caught and for the best decorated ride: bicycle, tricycle, scooter or wagon. Awards will be presented for the greatest distance for a watermelon seed spit, as well. There will be prize drawings every half-hour for valuable door prizes for all ages given by local businesses.Sponsors for the event are the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, with Stanley Robinson coordinating; the Friends of Avondale Park, with Bethanne Hill, chairing the event; and the Avondale-Forest Park Merchants Association, represented by Richard Stewart. Bici Cooperative, whose members will offer adjustments and some repairs for the cyclists, will also offer prize vouchers for refurbished bicycles.Those participating in the Fishing Rodeo should bring a fishing pole or rod and reel with some bait. For more information contact Bethanne Hill,bethanne.hill@me.com. Avondale Park| Free | 205-529-9319 | facebook.com/pages/Avondale-Park/117935008258657?fref=ts

July 6, Priceville: Authentic Uganda Dinner Experience

Just wanted to share here that we are having a FUN event, perfect for homeschooling, next Saturday July 6th @ 6:00.

It's an authentic Uganda dinner experience, to be served at Point Mallard Parkway Baptist in Priceville. 

ALL proceeds go towards digging the well on our property in Soroti District, Uganda!! 

Tickets are $10 per person, $5 per child or $30 per family. Tickets are pre-sold for head count purposes! Message me, or email: yesuasobola@gmail.com

Favorite Website

Hey Homeschoolers! I am working on making a resource for new homeschoolers where they ask the questions and veteran homeschoolers give the answers. My goal is to provide advice, resources, and most of all to show that there is more than one way of doing things. 

Please contact me with your answer to the following question. I have already included answers that folks sent me on Facebook. Please let me know if you do not want me to include your name in the posting. Please give as much info as possible including links, details, explanations, etc... I will add your answers to this page so that new homeschoolers will have a resource to refer back to again and again.

You can contact me at everestacademy1@gmail.com with your answer or question.  Please put "Blog Challenge" in the subject line.  

Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question:  What one website can you just not do without?

July 9 - 12, Cullman: Kids Hand Sewing Class

North Alabama Agriplex is offering a 'Sewing Day Camp' Tuesday, July 9, through Friday, July 12. Classes are from 9:00 am until 12 noon each of the 4 days and are for students ages 5 through 10 years.

This is a 'hand sewing' class. The $20.00 fee per child covers a take home book entitled "Sewing School', a sewing kit and handmade projects. Please contact the Agriplex for additional info and to register 256-297-1044 or cullmanag@gmail.com. Limited space available for this special event so register early!

Classes will be held at the Agriplex at 1714 Talley Ho Street SW, 
Cullman, Alabama - 35055

July Events

Everest Academy Events Listing
Come & Join In!!!
Everest Academy always has a ton of activities being organized. Please be sure to include who & what the payment is for on the comment line of your personal checks or in the comment section when using PayPal to send money. Everest has approximately eleven activity coordinators, so please make sure to pay attention to who is organizing the field trip.

Very important note!!! If you are interested in organizing a field trip, please feel free to do so! Everest would be happy to advertise it for you. The more activities we can offer to the Alabama Homeschooling community, the better!

Please review the Everest Academy Participation Policy before attending any of our events.
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