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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.

Dec. 5, Fultondale: Homeschool Christmas Skate Party

                        Homeschool Christmas
            Skate Party!!

Date: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Time: 1:00-3:00pm
Location: Funtime Skate Center
3508 Decatur Hwy 31, Fultondale, AL 35068

Details: Please bring a snack & drink to share. Open to ALL homeschoolers! Paper products are always welcomed-cups, plates, napkins. Thanks!

Cost: $4.00 per skater ~ in-line skates cost more
Mark your calendars for 1st Thursday of each month Sept-May, 1-3pm. December-Christmas party, February-Valentine's Party(bring valentines to share & box to collect cards in), May-End Year Party. On party dates please bring a drink, snack & paper products.

Dec. 3 (Deadline Nov. 26), Bham: Chanukah Festival of Lights and Southern Fried Chanukah

December 3, 2013 5:00 - 7:00 PM - Chanukah Festival of Lights and Southern Fried Chanukah. As part of Everest Studies in World Culture and Religion, we are studying Judaism in the month of December. Birmingham's Levite Jewish Community Center (LJCC) is hosting the Chanukah Festival of Lights where we will learn about Chanukah while eating Latkes and participating in a "Dreidel War." These events are free of charge and open to the public. If you would like to attend the Chanukah Festival of Lights as part of our group, please email Danielle at 4neerdowells@gmail.com by November 26.

There is also an optional "Southern Fried Chanukah" dinner on the same night. Tickets for the dinner must be purchased from the LJCC website by December 1st - $10 per adult plate, $6 per child plate. Each family is responsible for registering for the dinner on their own. http://www.bhamjcc.org/events/2013/12/03/events/festival-of-lights-southern-fried-chanukah-celebration/

3960 Montclair Rd
Birmingham, Al 35213

December 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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Dec. 7, Huntsville: Gingerbread House Workshop

Gingerbread House Workshop at Huntsville Botanical Gardens:
Make & Take Winter Wonderland 

Saturday December 7, 2013: 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 

JUST added: 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

New location: Murray Hall 

Bring the kids for a little holiday fun! Children age 5 and up will be able to make their very own hand-decorated Gingerbread House. Each child is asked to bring an adult along to share in the fun. You are also welcome to bring any specialty candies you like.

Seating is limited in the workshop and slots are sure to fill up fast. Register online at www.hsvbg.org or by calling Misty Hertzig at 256-837-4104.

The cost is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. 
Sorry no refunds or cancellations less than 72 hours prior to the event.

An Education Initiative

Huntsville: Swim Lessons


My name is Paula Smith. I will begin teaching swimming lessons for Homeschoolers at the University Fitness Center on the UAH campus in January. I have 38 years of experience in teaching swimming and hold a BS degree in Health, Physical Education and a MS degree in Exercise Physiology.  Classes are for all ages. The classes could also help teenagers get their Physical Education credits for graduation. Classes will be taught during the day. 

My cell number is 256-527-9911. Email: smith3390@aol.com

Thank you,

Nov. 23, Huntsville: Basket Weaving Make & Take

Huntsville Botanical Gardens

Saturday November 23

2:00-4:00 p.m.
Anderson Education Center Classroom

Basket weaving class designed for beginners! Using easy step-by-step instructions we'll weave baskets just the right size for a loaf of holiday bread! 

Taught by Connie Allen 
All materials provided.
$30 Members, $40 Non-members

Register online or contact our Education Department for more info at 256-837-4104 ormhertzig@hsvbg.org.

An Education Initiative

Nov., Huntsville: Huntsville Botanical Gardens November Homeschool Classes

Rot & Roll - Biology in the Garden

Students gain a deeper appreciation for the benefits of composting by learning best practices used when making compost. Students are also introduced to basic worm care in an array of composters.

K-2: November 19, 12-1:30 p.m.
Anderson Education Center
Students are introduced to the life cycle of an earthworm. They will discover how worms change garbage into compost and how composting with worms helps the environment.

3-5: November 20, 12-1:30 p.m.
Anderson Education Center
Students compare different types of composting methods. They will learn how to make a compost bin using inexpensive materials, and the science behind the process. They will also learn how to maintain a compost bin using worms, yard waste and scraps from the kitchen.

6th-8th:November 20, 12-1:30 p.m.
Boeing Education Classroom
Students focus on the nutrient cycle and the connection between healthy soil, healthy plants, and healthy people. The class includes instructions for making a worm bin at home.

$8/student Member; $10/student Non-member

To register go to www.hsvbg.org or with questions call (256) 837-4104 or email mhertzig@hsvbg.org

Nov. 22, Huntsville: Seed to Sprouts Program

Seeds to Sprouts: Pilgrims seeds
Friday November 22, 2013 from 10-11am  
Boeing Education Classroom

Meet other parents while nature comes alive for you and your little one, ages 2-5, at 10 a.m. on selected Fridays. Enjoy stories, lessons, hands-on activities and guided tours.
$8 for first child, $5 for each additional sibling in the same family.
Parents free with membership or Garden admission.
No registration required. 
Take advantage of our Frequent "Sprouters" Program and earn a free class for every three paid classes that you attend. Pick up your card at the next class.

Contact our Education Department for more info at 256-837-4104 or mhertzig@hsvbg.org.
                                                         An Education Initiative

Nov. 16, Huntsville: Rosemary Bread Make & Take

Saturday November 16
10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Anderson Education Center Classroom

Learn how to make rosemary bread just in time for the holidays! Bread samples, fresh rosemary and recipes included! Join the Basket Weaving class on November 23rd and make your own bread basket!

Taught by Soozi Pline, Director of Education 
All materials provided.
$15 Members, $20 Non-members

All Materials Included, register online www.hsvbg.org
Questions:  Contact the Huntsville Botanical Gardens Education Department at 256-837-4104 or e-mail mhertzig@hsvbg.org

An Education Initiative

November iServe Project: Holiday Mail for Heroes

iServe Homeschool Service Club is for homeschoolers in the Greater Birmingham and surrounding areas who are interested in cultivating a desire to volunteer and serve in their community.

We plan hands-on service opportunities for our homeschool students, which vary by locations, dates, times, etc., according to the service opportunity coordinated, but all events will be in the Greater Birmingham area or surrounding communities in Jefferson, Shelby, St Clair, and Blount counties. We strive to coordinate opportunities for all ages, 0-99, but occasionally there will be restrictions for the venue or type of volunteering needed. 

Our November project will be making cards for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, sponsored by the American Red Cross.
Please click on this link, iServe Club, for more details about join iServe.

November 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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Benefits of Gaming

Written Dec. 10, 2010

Let me start off by saying that I used to despise video games. They seemed like such a waste of time to me. Dalton was started at an early age playing "the game" by his grandparents and my husband. My husband has now evolved into not liking game playing time either. We have had major conflicts over the years involving issues pertaining to length of time played. As with anything else, when something starts interfering with the peace in my home, I research it. Surprisingly, I found many many studies documenting the benefits of game playing. I wrote them down as I went along.

Here is what I found:
  • Systems analysis
  • Patience (you have to accomplish "this" to make "that" happen)
  • Manual dexterity
  • Visual memory
  • Interactivity
  • Complex cultural experiences
  • Logical reasoning
  • Clearly articulated rewards
  • Decision making
  • Prioritizing
  • Trial and error
  • Scientific method = probe, hypothesis, reprobe, accept order, hypothesis
  • Immediate problems/long term objectives
  • Hierarchy of tasks
  • Rich aesthetic experiences
  • Understand and construct multidimensional characters
  • Empathy
  • Alleviate stress
  • Physical Rehab
  • Spatial vision improvement
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Problem solving by cause-and-effect
  • Sparking imagination and creativity
  • Positive effects on cognitive health
  • Quick decision-making skills
  • Strategic aptitude
  • Physical activity
  • Technology aptitude
  • Social skills
  • Improve language
  • Improve social studies
  • Improve scientific reasoning
  • Improve math skills
  • Many games are based on history, city building, and governance
  • Strong analytical ability
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased adaptability
  • Increased attention capacity
  • Fast and accurate information processing

What I have noticed in my home regarding gaming is that it is an instant-immersion adventure set in different places, situations, story lines, and times.  I have noticed that Dalton will look up the facts and compare them to the game he is playing.  The game usually has historically accurate clothing, backdrops, music, etc.  Dalton has told me that he has learned more historically accurate information from games than he ever has from books (and he has read a LOT of historical books).  I have also noticed that he uses the games as a "jumping off point" to get involved in different topics.  As Dalton has gotten older, he has started learning about computer programming "languages" and "modding" which has led him to a greater understanding of not only how to use a computer but about the inner workings of computers.  Dae has also delved into the video-gaming world.  She mostly plays on-line games such as "Toon Town", restaurant-building games, and Wii games.  She has learned a lot of real-life skills such as typing, cooking, drawing, computer skills, health information (using the Wii), reading, writing, spelling, science, history, geography, cultures, and on and on and on...

I have now restructured my thinking on video gaming and have definitely seen the many benefits.  I hope this brings some peace of mind to a frantic mom out there worried about their child(ren) playing the game "all the time"!

How Video Games Blind Us With Science - This led Steinkuehler to a fascinating and provocative conclusion: Videogames are becoming the new hotbed of scientific thinking for kids today.

Medical News Today - According to a new study inCurrent Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, regular gamers are fast and accurate information processors, not only during game play, but in real-life situations as well. 

How Video Games Are Good For the Brain:  Most games involve a huge number of mental tasks, and playing can boost any one of them. Fast-paced, action-packed video games have been shown, in separate studies, to boost visual acuity, spatial perception, and the ability to pick out objects in a scene. Complex, strategy-based games can improve other cognitive skills, including working memory and reasoning.

Live Science article on World of Warcraft and Unschooling - "We know several kids who learned to read while playing these games," Traaseth said. "If you want to classify some of the things we're doing when we play World of Warcraft, the list could include math, reading, sociology, economics, creative writing and communications."

Reading, writing and playing The Sims - Bushnell now spreads the word about how video games can help kids learn. Games, he asserts, teach you creative problem-solving. They teach you to formulate hypotheses (“First I have to get the key from the magician so I can open the door”), to test these hypotheses (“Game over”) and revise them (“Oh no, I have to drink my elixir to get to the magician!”). Games can even teach you the fundamental principles of scientific research.

BRAIN CANDY: Is pop culture dumbing us down or smartening us up? At the same time, players are required to manage a dizzying array of information and options. The game presents the player with a series of puzzles, and you can’t succeed at the game simply by solving the puzzles one at a time. You have to craft a longer-term strategy, in order to juggle and co├Ârdinate competing interests. In denigrating the video game, Johnson argues, we have confused it with other phenomena in teen-age life, like multitasking—simultaneously e-mailing and listening to music and talking on the telephone and surfing the Internet. Playing a video game is, in fact, an exercise in “constructing the proper hierarchy of tasks and moving through the tasks in the correct sequence,” he writes. “It’s about finding order and meaning in the world, and making decisions that help create that order.”

Digital Journal  The report found how teens enjoy video games: "Even when they are not playing games with others, teens talk and engage with others about games—by posting comments on discussion boards and websites or by writing reviews and walk-throughs that assist newcomers to a particular game by showing them how to play the game."

Very interesting talk on how games can change the world:

Photo by AFP

Online Gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

    Online gamers have achieved a feat beyond the realm of Second Life or Dungeons and Dragons: they have deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had thwarted scientists for a decade.
    The exploit is published on Sunday in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, where -- exceptionally in scientific publishing -- both gamers and researchers are honoured as co-authors.

    Their target was a monomeric protease enzyme, a cutting agent in the complex molecular tailoring of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV.

    Figuring out the structure of proteins is vital for understanding the causes of many diseases and developing drugs to block them, but a microscope gives only a flat image of what to the outsider looks like a plate of one-dimensional scrunched-up spaghetti. Pharmacologists, though, need a 3-D picture that "unfolds" the molecule and rotates it in order to reveal potential targets for drugs.

    This is where Foldit comes in.

    Developed in 2008 by the University of Washington, it is a fun-for-purpose video game in which gamers, divided into competing groups, compete to unfold chains of amino acids -- the building blocks of proteins -- using a set of online tools.

    To the astonishment of the scientists, the gamers produced an accurate model of the enzyme in just three weeks. Cracking the enzyme "provides new insights for the design of antiretroviral drugs," says the study, referring to the lifeline medication against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is believed to be the first time that gamers have resolved a long-standing scientific problem.

    "We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed," Firas Khatib of the university's biochemistry lab said in a press release. "The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems."

    One of Foldit's creators, Seth Cooper, explained why gamers had succeeded where computers had failed.
    "People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at," he said. "Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results in this week's paper show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before."

    Thoughts on Curriculum

    Thoughts on Curriculum

    Ahhhhh!  Curriculum!  That is the question of the day!  What should I get?  Where?  Is it expensive?  It can be...  Does it have to be?  No!  With Everest Academy, you are free to use whatever resources you would like to educate your child.  Some folks go all out and buy a whole brand new curriculum and spend a ton of money.  Some homeschoolers go to the library and spend $0 on their resources.  The choice is completely up to you!!!

    You can go all out and get all the bells and whistles...  Do I recommend that?  No!

    My rule of thumb is to NOT go out and spend a ton on curriculum.  Why?  You want your children to have the best, right?  Well, spending a ton of money does not necessarily mean you are getting the best.  It means you have spent a lot of money.  When you go out and spend a ton of money on curriculum, you feel like you have to use it...primarily because it cost a lot of money.  What if your  child hates it?  Then you are being counter productive.  Find the best resources you can find at the best cost that you can find them in order to be flexible.  When you are flexible, you can help your child love to learn.  So, what DO I suggest? 

    First of all, check out your local library.  This is my first and favorite resource.  This is ALWAYS my first stop when I am looking for a new resource.  It is a free resource that has endless possibilities.  You can virtually find everything you need here not only for subjects such as history, science, and literature, but my family has also used the library for subjects such as speed reading, sign language, typing, 10-Key, foreign language, Algebra, and on and on.  Most library systems have a library cooperative where they will send materials to your local library.  Also, check to see if your local library has a book club, teen club, crafts, tutors, and computer lessons.  Most libraries also have an area where they will sell used items such as books, magazines, CDs and movies.  I know that the Birmingham Public Library and Homewood Library both have an awesome used material area set up, and I have bought many quality resources there.  Not only do libraries carry books, they also carry books on tape, magazines, CDs, DVDs, VHS, etc... 

    Next, check out the local thrift store.  I have never been in an American's Thrift Store and not found quality educational materials and usually for under $1.  Don't just check out the book section either.  I have found the best resources in the toy department over where you find the games and puzzles.  Also, make sure to check out the magazine rack and the CDs. 
    Talk to other homeschoolers.  They are a great resource for quality educational materials.  Who wants all of those books hanging around for years?  There are usually umpteen used curriculum sales in the spring, and many homeschoolers bring materials to park day.  Don't forget to check out Ebay. 


    Don't forget to check out the boob tube...  Yes, that's right...  the T.V.  There are some great programs offered these days.  It's not just Sesame Street anymore.  You can find programming for Pre-School all the way through adult.  Check out stations such as The History Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery, etc...  Of course, I am not suggesting that all your child do is watch T.V., but what I am suggesting is looking to see what is offered and how it might benefit them.  Most channels and even individual shows offer wonderful websites, activities, and lesson plans.  Don't forget Netflix!  Netflix is a goldmine of documentaries, historical fiction, movies based on works or literature, etc...

    And finally, the Internet...  Geez, you are really missing the boat if you do not have Internet access.  You can find everything you need for a quality education for free on the Internet.  If you find a site that you have to pay for, research a little more.  You can usually find the same thing or better for free. 

    Need more guidance?

    Nov. 11, Fort Payne: New 4H Club

    Fort Payne Area

    There will be a meeting on Monday Nov 11 at 3:00 at Livingstone Academy 1851 Industrial Lane Fort Payne. This will be a meeting to figure out what the kids want from their 4-H club. It should last for about a hour. The coordinator is also trying to plan meeting for the second Monday of each month around the same time. It is for grades 4th-12th. She is also wanting to try to get a couple of competitions started up. There is no cost to join. The coordinator is Amanda Townsend, her email is amanda.townsend09@gmail.com. Phone-931-492-0675.