By Angela Hansen
Founder & Director, American Academy of Strategic Education
Sign up for 1-day free trial
Most people would agree that students who have been homeschooled typically excel academically, however some critics continue to challenge homeschoolers on being ready for the real world stating that homeschool students need more socialization. As a mother of two homeschoolers, I can attest to the fact that my kids do need more socialization not because they lacked socialization skills but on the contrary, because they love to socialize!
Generally speaking, homeschoolers overcome the potential for “lack of socialization” through heavy involvement in learning centers; social and academic clubs; after school music, art and language lessons; sports participation; and regularly attending field trips. Most homeschool students grow up extremely involved with other children.1 Homeschool students participate in more fieldtrips, spend more time planning their own education, have unique opportunities to pursue their interests and to apply their talents, and work with a wider age span of children and adults—all “real-world” opportunities.
If you consider the critic’s argument that homeschoolers lack “real world experience” and compare the homeschool student to the traditional school student, it might just be that homeschool students learning experiences are more in line with the real world. Thomas Smedley wrote his master’s thesis for Radford University of Virginia on “The Socialization of Homeschool Children.” Smedley found that in an effort to conform to their immediate peers, public school students are socialized horizontally and with a short-term focus. On the contrary, homeschool parents tend to socialize their children vertically and focus on teaching accountability, service, maturity, and with a long-term aim.2
University of Michigan’s Assistant Professor of Education, J. Gary Knowles, conducted a study that concluded that most homeschool students were prepared for the real world. Knowles surveyed 53 adults who were homeschooled. He found that 2/3 were married, which is the norm for adults their age. None were unemployed or on welfare. He found more than 3/4 felt that being homeschooled had helped them develop relationships with people from varying levels of society. More than 40% attended college and 15% of those had completed a graduate degree. Nearly 2/3 were self-employed, 96% said that they would want to be homeschooled if given the opportunity to do it over again. He stated, “Many mentioned a strong relationship engendered with their parents while others talked about self-directed curriculum and individualized pace that a flexible program of homeschooling permitted.”3
While we believe the best resource a homeschool student has is his or her parents and our academies, we have found a few other great free and almost free resources that we wanted to share with you. We hope you enjoy! If you have any ideas to add, please let us know.
Sign up for 1-day free trial at American Academy
Interactive lessons on the topics of science/nature, history/culture, art, and people/places.
This is a free site from Scholastic.com. Through real world examples presented in a multimedia format, StudyJams helps students understand the underlying concepts of math and science so they are better able to solve individual problems. For Grades 3-8.
ABCya.com offers free educational computer games and activities for elementary students. Grade level lessons incorporate areas such as math and language arts while introducing basic computer skills.
Great array of games including math games, reading games, and games for both kids and parents to play.
The all-things-gifted site, full of resources, articles, books and links to help and support parents, teachers, and gifted children alike. This is a free site.
FREE OPEN COURSES ONLINE
Open Coursware Consortium
Free, open educational content—high quality university-level educational materials. These materials often include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content.
Free, high-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects such as algebra, calculus, physics, statistics, U.S. history, biology and more.
This free site offers educational resources available for homeschooling and supplemental education for kids Pre-School through High School and beyond. Subjects include math, science, social studies, English and more.
GeoGebra is free and multi-platform dynamic mathematics software for all levels of education. It joins geometry, algebra, tables, graphing, statistics and calculus.
This a free web site for students, parents and teachers. It helps with the foundations of all math—addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
How to Smile
Howtosmile.org is a free-access collection of 3,500 of the best hands-on science and math activities for all ages. Based at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of the Science, SMILE makes STEM fun and educational, and draws activities from leading science centers, science and science education organizations, universities and national agencies.
The Exploratorium is located in San Francisco—but this site is of interest to everyone, regardless of location. Topics cover every day science, the earth, the human body, living things – even the science of baseball. This is a free site.
NASA for Students
http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/index.html and http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov
Nasa.gov is a great site for students K and above and includes educational programs, Nasa e-clips, podcasts, and MORE. Starchild is geared toward a younger audience interested in learning about “space stuff”. Both sites are offered free of charge.
Middle School Chemistry
You can download all of the lessons from Middle School Chemistry for free. Middle School Chemistry is a resource of guided, inquiry-based lesson plans that covers basic chemistry concepts, along with the process of scientific investigation.
This is a free site with over 1,000 science fair project ideas in more than 30 different areas of science. Great for home experiments too.
Starfall is a free site that provides a systematic phonics approach in conjunction with phonemic awareness practice for kids Pre-School—2nd Grade.
The website offers many free resources including podcasts, daily writing tips, exercises to try at home with your children, a forum where you can post questions, plus much more. In addition, the website sells a variety of products.
Free language education in Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese and Italian.
HISTORY and GEOGRAPHY
http://ww.nationalgeographic.com/kids and http://education.nationalgeographic.com
Wonderful content, amazing pictures—and who doesn’t like the National Geographic? Plus, it’s a free site.
ART & MUSIC
http://www.homeschoolpiano.com and http://jazzedge.com
Lessons follow a 6-step cycle that makes it easy for students to master the piano. Students have online access and learn at their own pace in the comfort of their own home or wherever they have internet access. No special equipment is needed. You can view the lessons as much as you like on any computer, tablet, or phone. Drum lessons are also available.
Online Drum Lessons
Click here for drum lesson info.
Harmony Fine Arts
Homeschool art and music plans, written by Barb. Read how she includes art, music appreciation, and nature study in her children’s educational programs. Free, and items for purchase are available on the site.
SUPPLEMENTARY/FUN PRODUCTS and WEBSITES
Free, easy-to-use online, iPad and iPhone book creator for parents, educators and kids to create their own personalized books in pro-quality print and e-book format. Their exclusive edCenter platform gives homeschool parents a safe and secure environment to collaborate and work with their kids online. Their Young Author Press program helps young authors turn their creative writings into published books with ISBN-13, which allows students to be recognized as published authors worldwide.
Internet Marital Arts (IMA)
The site offers online martial arts courses which include web-based instructional videos, training, monitoring, and an online belt testing program for individuals age 6 (beginner friendly) and older. Students can train on their own schedule, and train anywhere while having access to instructor feedback—it’s the cyber martial arts learning solution.
How Stuff Works
Fun site for everyone. Topics include engineering, environmental science, forces of nature, innovation, and more.
Teach With Movies
Lesson plans based on movies and films, such as The Sound of Music, Diary of Anne Frank, Mulan, and more. Teach With Movies provides the curriculum materials but not the movies themselves. 350+ guides—this was a subscription site and is now free.
A free and fun colorful website with animation and games introducing touch typing to children ages 7 to 11.
Songs for Teaching
Thousands of children’s songs, lyrics, sound clips, and teaching suggestions. Songs about science, mathematics, social studies, the fine arts, life skills and more. You can listen to the songs online for free or purchase songs that you like.
Thank you for your interest in American Academy of Strategic Education.
American Academy creates a perfect setting by paired the perfect academic environment with the perfect social environment to create the perfect educational setting:
How it works:
From the parent’s perspective – we have made this really easy for parents. Sign them up and drop them off! Most homeschooling families’ homeschool for different reasons. There is no right way to do it. So we decided that our academy needed to offer consistent support and maximum flexibility. And that is our goal. We want to be here for you when you need us, and we want to work with your particular needs.
For families who homeschool because your child is a high-achiever and isn’t being challenged, or for the student who needs more time to grasp a concept, for students who prefer smaller settings, or students who need less noise and chaos, or for students who need a more flexible schedule for athletics, travel, health concerns. For parents who love to teach their children but whose children need more social stimulation from peers who will challenge and stretch them academically, or parents who love to homeschool their children but who also have work commitments. Maybe you homeschool because you want to select the curriculum, have more guidance of the things that influence your children, have less government involvement in educating your children—whatever the reason you homeschool, we want to be the solution to your homeschooling needs.
From the student’s perspective – we want to help you reach your maximum potential academically and socially. Let’s look at this from your perspective:
Each Learning Period consists of 45 minutes of independent, academic study time and 15 minutes of social, interactive, creative-exploration free-time.
The first 45 minutes of each Learning Period is dedicated to Academic study time. During this time, students work quietly on academic content with the support and supervision of a certified teacher.
The remaining 15 minutes of each hour is set aside for Free-time activities which consists of playing games such as Ping-Pong, chess, or board games; reading books; creating, inventing, and making projects using the tools and materials from the Student Workshop.
What if a student is registered for a Club period?
Students participating in a Club spend the first 45 minutes dedicated to working toward the goals that the club members established in their first couple of meetings. Each week they discuss the club’s subject area, they work on the goals that the club members have set in order to reach the club’s culminating event at the end of the semester. This is a time for socializing in a productive way, working together with their peers to solve real-world problems. This is where the application of what they are learning comes into play. This is where they realize that their education MATTERS, and what they know can make a difference in the real world.
Parent’s register students for a one-hour time slot once a week for the length of the semester. During that time slot, students can participate in a club if one is offered during that period, or in academic study time for the first 45 minutes of the period and free-time to learn and explore socially during the last 15 minutes of that period.
We are happy to help. Call us any time at (949) 371-5785 or submit your inquiries here.