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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 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.  

Thanks!
Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

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

Answers:

"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.

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.  

Thanks!
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.

Answers:
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.  

Thanks!
Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

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

Answers:  
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:

Hoover: Piano Lessons

PIANO LESSONS IN BLUFF PARK AREA OF HOOVER, AL

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

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.  

Thanks!
Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

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

July 12, Huntsville: Burritt on the Mountain Adventure


Please join us for an adventure in the Whimsical Woods.
We will be having a guided tour/class & game based on fairy tales. 

Date: Friday, July 12
Time: 9:00 am 
(Optional: bring a picnic lunch to enjoy afterwards)

Location: Burritt on the Mountain
3101 Burritt Drive, Huntsville, AL 35801

Details:  We will be doing both the educational story venues and the game before lunch. Anyone who wants to is welcome to stay for a picnic lunch and to play afterwards. 

The story venues with lessons include Little Bo Beep’s sheep also had a job to do. They grew all that wool so she could stay warm, but what do you do with the wool? You will help Little Bo Beep prepare the wool to turn it into clothing and blankets. Peter Cottontail isn’t just for little kids. Learn the art of growing a garden in a small space. This will include the plant life cycle. Also learn about urban wildlife that will probably visit your garden too. Snow White’s friend will greet you at the sluice. You will learn the history of coal mining and pan for gems in the sluice. Watch out for the Wicked Stepmother! 

The game is based on children's literature of the 1800's. The favorite hero has left, and those playing the game (our children) go from story to story trying to find a new hero. At each station they are given a new jewel for their crown, and at the end of the game, they are each given a button identifying them as heroes because they have demonstrated the various traits of a hero as they've gone though out the game.

Cost:  $11.00 per person, adults and children. Children under 2 are free. 

Sign-up Deadline: June 12
Payment Deadline: June 19 

Contact: Kari Mackay ~ HSVHomeschool@gmail.com
Please include how many adults & children (+ their ages), and payment information will be provided via email. 


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

June 26, Spanish Fort: Homeschoolers Family FUN Day at Eastern Shore Centre

Homeschoolers Family FUN Day at Eastern Shore Centre

Date of Event: June 26th, 2013

Arrival Time: Meet in front of Premiere Cinema @ 9:45a

Location of Event: 30500 State Highway 181, Suite 451, Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527


Description of event: Come out and meet local homeschoolers for a FUN day that won't break your wallet!

First we can meet up in front of Premiere Cinema in the Eastern Shore Centre at 9:45a, there will be a $1 per person kids movie showing.

Then we can move over to Eastern Shore Lanes and let the kids bowl their two free games. (If you haven't registered or have more questions about kids bowl free, info here: https://www.kidsbowlfree.com/center.php?alley_id=6156).

Then we can end the day at the splash pad at the Eastern Shore Centre!!

Cost of Event: $1 per person for movie, kids bowl free two games ***additional fees if parent(s) want to bowl***, and splash pad is FREE!!

Event open to ALL homeschoolers!

***No Sign-up/Deadline required***

Contact info: Jen Rogers, phone 205-983-4028 or email: hippiemamajen@yahoo.com

Dancing

All information below was provided to Everest Academy and correct and up-to-date when posted.  You know how that goes though...Things change, and people forget to update information.  If you find outdated information or a dead link, please contact Deb Spradlin at everestacademy1@gmail.com.  Please note that all resources are open to all homeschoolers regardless of church school affiliation.  If you would like to add your homeschooling resource to this list, please contact us at everestacademy1@gmail.com.  


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Least Favorite Curricula

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.  Please put "Blog Challenge" in the subject line.  

Thanks!
Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question:  What is your least favorite curricula and why?

Answers:
  • Saxon Math - Too much drill and review work.  However, it may work well for someone else whose children need repetition and review.
  • Saxon Math - We tried that the first year and my son, who is great with math cried and begged not to do it.  It has LOTS of problems to work which can be overwhelming to one of my kids, but when tmy son, who is really good with math broke down I knew it was just too much.  They use a spiral approach which I know is good for some kids, but for us is was VERY boring, confusing at times, and very overwhelming at others.
  • Latin's Not So Tough - It took me some research but, I had it confirmed that there are no context clues. Not only that but there is only ONE right answer listed in the answer key even if there are several possibly right answers.
  • All of them - Most of my children are ADD and no matter how much time we spend on workbooks nothing sticks and frustration ensues. For me, avoiding headaches and burnout means avoiding curriculum.
  • ABEKA  (hock pooey) - DULL!   Too much busy work and too heavy of a work load for the average student.  This to me would be like "Advanced/Gifted classes"
  • Abeka - Abeka uses too many books for one subject.  An example for history there is the student & teacher book, a map book & key, a test book & key.
  • Switched on Schoolhouse -It starts great.  The novelty of having your curriculum all in one place, on the computer, to be graded by a little guy inside your PC, is wonderful.  This wonderful feeling lasts about a week and a half.  That's when you realize that your child is stuck on a question in every subject because aforementioned little checker guy doesn't understand that just because there is an extra space in the answer, the answer is still correct.  Or maybe your student accidentally capitalized "Spring" or perhaps they typed a fraction as "two-thirds" instead of 2 / 3 with all the spaces in the correct spot.  Or, even worse, maybe they've found one of the one thousand trick questions that AOP decided to use.  I loathe curriculum that tries to make my child feel ignorant.  What is the upside of a child trying and trying to find the answer, only to walk away feeling dumb?  If that isn't bad enough, the material is painfully boring.   I've tried to read aloud the material in order to spark some interest and I find myself irritated and falling asleep.  Nothing about this fosters a love of learning.  Top all this off with a ridiculous price tag and Switched On Schoolhouse gets a failing grade.
  • Switched on Schoolhouse - SOS is easy because it does the planning and most of the grading for you, but the material can be difficult and we found errors.  Sometimes the answer key matched what they typed in but still counted it wrong a few times there would be a wrong answer.

Favorite Curricula

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.  

Thanks!
Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question:  What is your favorite curricula?  Why?  

Answers:
  • Shurley Grammar is one of the few true "Skill Building" grammar curricula. Whatever grade level you choose, it starts at the foundation and builds on it. A seven year old can easily diagram colorful sentences within weeks. A highschool student who has struggled with grammar can fill in the holes and have a strong foundation within a year. The kids love it and if you simply do as the book says, your children will learn grammar, no matter how 'bad' you are at it. Shurley Grammar teaches an internal dialogue that your children will use to deconstruct any sentence. It gives them confidence in their ability and takes the stress out of parts of speech. It also teaches editing skills, which is greatly needed in higher education, as well as vocabulary, literary terms and excellent writing skills.
  • The Well-Trained Mind and other material written by them - It's easy to use, focused, and plays to my "less-is- more" philosophy.
  • Teaching Textbooks - I'm not real strong in math and as my kids grow in their math skills this is a program that they can do pretty much on their own. It is a book and a CD. If the child needs more instruction than the book offers then they can use the CD which will teach the lesson, and will even work each problem in the book if they need help with working the problems.
  • Switched on Schoolhouse - For my older children who can be given direction and allowed to go at their own pace with just followup and review....it allows me more time to spend with my special needs kiddos.  The tutor on the program is very thorough and my kids like it.  It is very portable when we are in Dr's offices and etc. Headphones and you are set.
  • The Story of the World:  History for the Classical Child - I can get my son to read it, and I don't mind reading it either. We only have the text "Volume 2: The Middle Ages - From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance," but I've been looking at buying the accompanying activity book and test book. This book covers history that is left out of public schools - and it is interesting and easy to read. I've found that materials that interject humor and adventure to be a much better choice than the much drier, traditional texts. This book begins with:  "What if you owned a magic carpet? You could fly around the world--and back in time..."  Andab then proceeds to "fly" all over Europe and Asia during different times in the middle ages to see what can be seen. It includes literature (e.g. an abridged version of Beowulf), legends, folklore, etc., and, as a result, is very engaging.  I'm going to check into all of Susan Wise Bauer's "classical child" materials.
  • Story of the World - Amazing history resource (especially the activity books) using real literature and real books as a basis for teaching. Projects lend to the overall understanding and comprehension of topics. Love using this in connection with The Well-Trained Mind.
  • ABeCeDarian by Michael Bend - It teaches beginning writing, reading, and spelling all in one workbook. No extra papers needed. Super simple approach that children who have trouble reading and/or seeing can use with ease. You must go to the ABeCeDarian website to get it. The website has sample pages.

Teaching Personal Finance & Economics

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.  Please put "Blog Challenge" in the subject line.  

Thanks!
Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question:  At what age do you start teaching your children about personal finances? How do you teach them about personal finances and the economy?

My Answer:  Hmmm!...  Let me ponder this one.  Personal Fiances:  We have always taught our children to live "below their means" and learn the difference between "wants and needs".  When our son hit 15, he got a job which he worked until he went to college.  He had his own money, checking/savings accounts, and bills to pay.  He also read several books on finance and economics.  Now at 20, he is actively learning about the stock market and wants to start investing.  Our daughter is now 14 and has a part-time "job" working for me where she earns her spending money.  Next year, at 15, she will get a job outside of the home.  She has a savings account.    Both children were always given an allowance that they could save/spend as they chose.  They both make very wise decisions financial decisions.  The Economy:  This subject is where my hubby comes in.  He is very politically minded so has regular discussions with our children about "the state of the economy".  My son did read a book called Freakonomics which I did just recently notice there is a documentary on Netflix with the same name.  FYI, I have not watched it yet, so you be the judge of its suitability for your children.   http://www.freakonomics.com/ .  We also read a book called "Penny Candy" and did a course online called "The Crash Course" http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse.  I have also posted other resources here:  http://www.alabamahomeschooling.com/2010/01/economics.html .


Answers:
We began actively teaching our son at about 6, but have always had open discussions about finances and budgeting around him. I really like the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Jr. method and use a modified version. Also, we listen to talk radio quite a bit in the car and often take those topics into our discussions and lessons.


I have been teaching my kids personal finance since my daughter was 4-ish and my son 6-ish(just a maturity level and interest thing). I have explained taxes with our real life taxes(sales, income, property, etc), we have talked about budgets and if we do xyz, we won't be able to do abc. By allowing them to make some of the choices with our family money they have really been able to grasp finances at a young age. I have involved them in the grocery shopping/budgeting, the "fun money" spending, garden budget, etc. The kids have become very aware that we have a set amount of money each week/month and when it is gone it is gone. Using real life for education goes much further than books(at least in my house).


I had my son do a consumer math program in 9th grade, but from the time they are old enough to understand I talk to them about money. I have always been honest with my kids on the state of our finances within reason of course, the goal is not to scare them when things are bleak, but be open that things are tight. We have talked many times about the economy and how it effects everyone over time. I guess I don't have a set age its just part of us and not a huge deal really.


We try to teach personal finances everyday as a life skill. Current events are discussed which allows the student (and family) to see how those events will affect day to day decisions concerning finances. We have "paid" jobs around the house too. This helps them see the value of money. Formal economics is usually taught in 10th or 11th grade for us. For this, we use an economics text book.


We started teaching our children about finances at about age 3. When they were younger, we took three baby food jars and labeled them Spend, Save, and Tithe. We printed them chore charts with specific jobs and paid them a nickel for each completed assignment. At the end of the week, we sat together, tallied the money and divided their income into the designated jars. 10%tithe, 40% save, 50% spend.


Our two girls were 11 and 12 when they started keeping a checkbook. They get allowance and keep track of their income, deposits in the bank and birthday and special occasions money. We also play with "money" and discuss what things cost. We did "math in the mall"& Grocery Cart math by Jaye Hansen.


We enjoyed those and I also take the girls to the grocery store and other places to explain what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. We read labels, compare prices. Hands on learning of finance is the best way to go.


When he was 8, I taught him how to fill-out a bank deposit slip & took him to the bank with me. Then I taught him how to take the money that was deposited & use it by writing checks & using a debit card. Then we opened him a savings account & talked about interest. I also had a yard sale & let him help with the money.


Our children are always made aware of the necessity of money, the priviledges we are blessed with, and the responsibility to help others. They learn about world economy through penpal communication with our sponsored families in Mexico and Romania, as well as unit studies about those and other areas of the world. We also hosted a Korean exchange student for a year and that was a fantastic learning experience for the whole family! Local economy and personal finance lessons are integrated through daily community experiences, learning to save for wanted items or family vacations, and participation in family grocery budgeting/couponing and shopping. Our high school graduation requirement will include the formation and running of a successful business of their choice for one year or more.


Recently, our ten year old decided he wanted to earn money for children in Haiti. He made flyers offering to bring neighborhood trash cans up the long hilly driveways in our area for a quarter a can. I watched him spend one very long and sweaty afternoon hauling thirty-five trash cans up driveways where he then taped his flyer to the outside of the can to try to earn business. Not a SINGLE person responded! That was a hard lesson in both business and humanity.


Around 8 years old about personal finances. The economy I havent decided yet.


We started teaching our children to tithe after they got saved. They don't really have a lot of personal money right now, but if someone gives them money we teach them to give 10 % to God. We don't give them an allowance because we want them to do their chores to help out the family, not to receive a reward. As all of us moms know, when we grow up we do not get paid to do things around the house. However, we have what we call going "Above and Beyond". If either my husband or I see one of our children going above and beyond what is expected or asked we reward them somehow. The rewards vary from money, to going to the park, to picking something they would like to do. It's like at work, if you go above and beyond on your job you may receive a promotion or a bonus.


We talk about personal finances and the economy a lot. My kids are 14, 10 and 8 and we watch news shows and listen to talk radio everyday. My two older ones help with the family budget, balancing the checkbook, making deposits and writing checks. Already, they talk about whether or not they're going to use 'credit' when they're older and how they're going to approach savings. They also have a decent grasp on the economy and have developed some pretty stubborn opinions on what our politicians should be doing about it.


We are planning on giving an allowance to our children and teaching them about paying tithing and also allowing them to buy the things they are always asking us for, but never get. Our children are 7 and 9 and we will begin this our next paycheck.