A Little Bit About Me

I’m honored and pleased to be featured in Voyage LA, an online magazine featuring LA’s most inspiring stories.  If you’d like to learn  more about me, my experience, and my reasons for opening a homeschool curriculum and consulting business, take a moment to read this interview.

Meet Penny Ross of Tools for the Home Educator in Torrance

One of the challenges about starting Tools for the Home Educator has been the tension between not wanting to draw too much attention to myself and yet, understanding that the business is based on me and my knowledge of the homeschooling market.  I hope that this article will help to build my reputation while avoiding braggadocio.

Can I help you as you educate your children at home?

 

Save

Homeschooling Differently in December

Have you ever considered translating your holiday preparations into education-speak and counting them as “school”? We need to remember that learning happens in many different ways and can easily be accomplished outside the curriculum box. December lends itself well to holiday-themed project -based learning, especially for our younger students:making-791111_640

  • Baking translates to Home Economics, Nutrition, or Math
  • Making gifts and crafts becomes Art, Home Economics, or Community Outreach
  • Addressing Christmas Cards can count for Penmanship or Spelling
  • Looking up places on a map where you are sending cards or receiving them from is Geography
  • Holiday shopping teaches Math, Finance, and Budgeting
  • Singing, listening to, or playing Christmas Carols on a musical instrument is Music
  • Walking around the mall or out to your car on the outskirts of the parking lot is P.E.
  • Investigating holiday traditions and Christmas customs can become Social Studies or History
  • Learning more about Christmas, Hanukah, and other faith-based holidays translates to Bible or Comparative Religions or Social Studies

Continue reading

What’s the Worst of This Election?

ballot-woman-300px

Sadly, the worst part of this election is not the choice between Trump and Clinton (even though this is the most disagreeable choice in all the years I’ve been voting for president).

Unfortunately, we cannot blame this horrible choice on the Republican and Democrat parties or on the current government.   The choice between Trump and Clinton is not a bad decision foisted upon us by someone else.

In America, anyone who meets the constitutional qualifications for president can declare his or her intention to run.  In fact, 17 Republicans and 5 Democrats did just that.  Through a lengthy process of primary elections and caucuses, the field was narrowed to 1 Republican, Donald Trump, and 1 Democrat, Hillary Clinton.  And just who did the winnowing?  The voters, that’s who!  Yes, it was the majority vote of our peers that has given us this horrible choice. Continue reading

Overcoming Post-Holiday Lag

Welcome-Back-to-school-1-300pxJet lag is that crazy disorder experienced by travelers when the mind knows it is in one time zone while the body is certain that it is in a different one.

A similar condition affects families at the end of the Christmas break. Known as post-holiday lag, it results when a student’s body is returned to school while its brain continues on holiday vacation. Homeschoolers are as susceptible to this disorder as any other type of student. But with a few simple steps of preparation, wise homeschool moms can lessen the impact of post- holiday lag upon their students.

A day or two before the family’s planned return to the school routine, all should begin easing off the sugar and junk food that has likely dominated holiday eating habits. This is also the perfect time for some brisk exercise – plan a family hike, bicycle ride, or other fresh-air workout together. And, finally, get everyone to bed at a reasonable hour.

On the first day back to your school, you can signal the change in routine with a wonderful read-aloud. Find a book you can all enjoy and read two or three chapters that first day. You want to get far enough into the story so that your students eagerly anticipate reading more tomorrow. Continue reading

How does the Mandatory School Vaccination Law (SB277) Affect Me?

nursePlease note that this article intentionally does not address the pros or cons of vaccinations. My objective, as a homeschool consultant, is to help families prepare for the requirements of the new law; it is not to offer advice regarding medical decisions for their children.

Beginning July 1, 2016, all children attending a campus-based school in California will need to be vaccinated against 10 specific diseases. SB 277, recently signed into law by Governor Brown, eliminates the Personal Belief and Religious Exemptions which had been utilized by parents who selectively vaccinate or who do not vaccinate their children.

Listed below are three common school scenarios with details of how each will be impacted by this new law:

#1 – My Children Attend a Campus-Based School.

These children must be vaccinated by the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year unless granted a medical exemption by their doctor. Their schools will be checking for the mandated shots at time of initial school entry, transfer to a new school, and at 7th grade.

If vaccinations are an issue for your family, then parents can request a Personal Beliefs Exemption (PBE) from their medical professional prior to December 31, 2015. The form, CDPH 8262, should be turned into the school office as soon as possible. Continue reading

Too Many Homeschooling Programs! How do I choose?

books with question markIt seems that the number of homeschooling programs is growing faster than the number of homeschooling families! Here in California, types of programs include PSPs (private school satellite programs), home-based charter schools, online charters, learning centers, co-ops, hybrids – and innumerable variations of each. The sheer number of choices can quickly overwhelm you! Just how are you supposed to choose, anyway?

Before you succumb to glitzy brochures or persuasive recruiters, here are some questions you can ask to help you determine the best program for your particular family in this specific season of life: Continue reading

Often Overlooked in the Prep for College

If you have a college-bound student, I suspect the end of their homeschooling journey is quickly filling up with tests, applications, essays, transcripts, and more. And as for you parents, add in the FAFSA and other financial paperwork to your to-do list.

However, as we get ready to send our precious children off to college, we are often more concerned about whether they are academically prepared for higher education than whether they have the necessary life skills to survive without us.

Here is a checklist of some prep skills you can work on throughout their high school years: Continue reading