Friday March 7, 2014
According to a study in Science Daily from last fall, researchers got a surprise when they compared the health of homeschoolers and traditionally-schooled children.
"Based on previous research, we went into this study thinking home-schooled children would be heavier and less active than kids attending traditional schools," said Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD, the study's lead author. "We found the opposite."
As researchers discovered, both groups got about the same amount of exercise, but homeschoolers were still less likely to be obese than the traditionally-schooled kids. The deciding factor? Homecooked meals. Kids who ate cafeteria meals got way more calories, sodium, and sugar at lunch than homeschoolers.
If you're having trouble finding time to prepare homecooked meals when you're also homeschooling, try some of these Cooking Tips for Homeschoolers. Research shows, it's worth it!
(Hat tip to the Free Range Learning Facebook page for the link.)
Image: Jamie Grill/Getty Images
Thursday March 6, 2014
Stories in The New York Times and Washington Post report that the College Board, maker of the SATs and other standardized tests, has faced reality. Nobody ever liked the Writing section the company tacked on in addition to Reading and Math (especially the hand-written essay), and many colleges simply ignored those scores.
So starting in 2016, students will only have to take the two original sections. To lessen complaints that it's weighted towards wealthy kids whose parents can afford expensive test prep programs, free online SAT prep lessons will be also available through Khan Academy.
I don't put much stock in standardized tests, and many educational experts don't either. It'll be interesting to see if these changes can quell the backlash against the over-testing of kids in school.
Have your kids taken the SATs, ACTs, or other standardized tests? Are you happy to see these changes?
Image: Creative Commons/Flickr user Alexandratx
Wednesday March 5, 2014
Parents who send their kids to school and those who homeschool share a lot of concerns. But sometimes it's the differences that come out in ways that can be ... unpleasant ... for one or the other.
Not long ago, a friend on Facebook complained that discussions about school problems always seem to draw a comment along the lines of "And that's why I homeschool!" She's right -- homeschooling is not, and never will be, the solution for everyone. (Although for many families it can make some issues disappear overnight.)
But homeschoolers also have a few choice phrases we'd rather not hear again, either. To find out what they are, check out my new article, "What Not to Say to a Homeschooler (And How to Respond When They Say It Anyway)." And please share your least-appreciated remarks in the comments below!
Image: Howard Sokol/Getty Images
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Building on my post from yesterday about an LA Times op-ed piece, a new article in the Atlantic says addition is hard for little kids, but calculus is easy -- if you teach it the right way.
The article quotes pioneering math educator and curriculum designer Maria Droujkova, who has talked to adults and worked with students to find out what really works. Droujkova says:
Studies have shown that games or free play are efficient ways for children to learn, and they enjoy them. They also lead the way into the more structured and even more creative work of noticing, remixing and building mathematical patterns.
Homeschooling gives parents the freedom to throw out stifling worksheets and introduce kids to the wonder of math. You can find resources to take your kids where math is fun in my article How to Homeschool Math.
Image: Kathy Ceceri