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  • © Holly Craw and Home-School-Community, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holly Craw and Home-School-Community with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Covenant Homeschool Resource Center: Setting the standard, providing resources

NSHSS: An honor society that welcomes homeschool students of excellence

Homeschool students are not eligible to join the National Honor Society due to the criteria established by the organization. However, there are two similar groups that welcome homeschoolers.

Eta Sigma Alpha is an honor society started by homeschoolers for homeschoolers. Arizona has two chapters, one in Lake Havasu City and one in Phoenix. The Omicron Beta Chapter in Maricopa County has over 30 students who gather monthly for service projects and educational speakers. Qualifying students will have a composite score of 90th percentile or higher on a standardized test such as the Iowa or Stanford, or predetermined scores for the PSAT, SAT or ACT. This article gives a detailed description of the organization and the membership process.

National Society for High School Scholars (NSHSS) is open to all 9th-12th graders who have a 3.5 cumulative GPA for the high school years, or designated college entrance test scores. Potential members must be nominated by high school teachers or counselors, and homeschool students need a nomination from an approved educator who can verify their documents.

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NSHSS: An honor society that welcomes homeschool students of excellence 

Back-to-school sales, Teacher Appreciation Days offer bargains for homeschoolers

That was Easy! Staples and OfficeMax honor homeschool teachers with special days and great school bargains. Credit:  Holly Craw

It is the hottest part of the summer in Phoenix, and the hottest back-to-school sales are already happening at a variety of stores in the valley. Local Staples and OfficeMax stores have sales that can excite homeschool moms who are looking for rock bottom bargains. They also have Teacher Appreciation Days coming soon, and homeschoolers qualify for the extra bonuses.

Some examples from this week’s ads, which are good through Saturday, July 14, include classroom essentials for nearly free.


  • Max Rewards that cover nearly all the cost: 500 sheet copy paper and 20-pack batteries ($.01 after reward)
  • Special coupons: $5 off purchase of $25 or more
  • Other offers: Up to 10 free folders after $5 minimum purchase
  • Rewards card: MaxPerks Rewards for Teachers (get back $10 credit for every $75 spent in a quarter) with additional bonuses for recycled cartridges and ink and toner.
  • See this week’s complete ad here.
  • Teacher Appreciation Days: Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22, 2012
    25% discount on your purchase, including sale items, a free reusable tote bag, limits of 20 each of sale items instead of regular limits of one or two per customer.

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Back-to-school sales, Teacher Appreciation Days offer bargains for homeschoolers 

Phoenix teen starts first homeschool Interact Club in Arizona

Interact Clubs focus on leadership development, service projects and international understanding and good will.

Leadership, community service and real life experience are qualities that college admissions officers seek in new applicants.  The Interact Clubs for youth are subsets of the Rotary International organization, and are designed to give young people these opportunities.  These clubs number nearly 11,000 around the globe, with a total of more than 200,000 students from 109 countries.

Daniel Martin, a homeschool junior in Scottsdale, Arizona, heard about Rotary International and their program for teens. He went to an informational meeting, and then attended the Interact Presidential Retreat in February.  Since there was not an Interact group for homeschoolers in Arizona and very few around the country, Daniel launched his own club in March.  Currently, 14 homeschoolers are involved, and there is plenty of room for more.

The purpose of the organization is to develop leadership and practical service projects for the community, one of which must be an activity that furthers international understanding and goodwill. Interactors develop a network of friendships with local and overseas clubs. They learn the importance of:

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Calendar of awareness days, special holidays is palate for creating unit studies

Ideas for homeschool unit studies can be gleaned from a variety of sources.

Homeschoolers often get involved with unit studies, whether as a full curriculum focus or as a short term break from other learning modalities.  Often, homeschool families or support groups join together for classes using a thematic approach. In the Phoenix area, Covenant Home School Resource Center has offered various literature based courses over the years such as Prairie Primer, Where the Brook and River Meet, Five in a Row, Let’s Read Math, or an integration between science and art classes.  Other homeschool groups in the valley have used Weaver, Konos, Sonlight or comprehensive studies that combined history, language arts, Christian worldview and science.

Such studies can be intense and overwhelming, and are often best done with a group of student participants and a group of parents sharing the load.

So what about the family that just wants to study something with a little more depth or wants to nurture the special interests of the children?  Is there a way to do a unit study in bite-sized pieces to whet the appetite but not become burdensome?  Absolutely.

One great tool for exploring the art of tying several subjects together around one topic is a calendar of holidays—those that are recognized as awareness or special interest days by a small set of enthusiasts or given national or international status.  Sheila, aka Brownielocks, created the site Brownielocks.com as a compendium of all the known and unknown, bizarre or ordinary, designated months, weeks and days.  She is constantly adding new days as they come to her attention, and she also has wonderful sections on trivia, historical notes, fun activities, origins of words or traditions, humorous words and anecdotes, and much more.

How to use Brownielocks.com to create a unit study

  • Explore the Table of Contents to see what treasures are there for later use.
  • Pick the current month of days and find a couple (one for each child?) for starters.
  • Search the Internet for history and activities related to the day and incorporate some of these ideas into your plan.
  • Brainstorm with your children what you want to study and ways to put into action some of the topics and related information.  Perhaps you will want to do some artwork or charts to show key points about the day or attend some local events.  If the issue is health related, find a way to encourage your family or neighbors to take steps to improve their lives.  If it is a social awareness matter, is there a way to write letters or make a presentation to key people in the community who need to know?  Is there a certain food that fits with the day?
  • Once you have done some brainstorming, pick a few of the best or most doable ideas and sketch out a plan for how each piece will be accomplished.
  • Keep track of the plan and the implementation with a journal, photos of the projects, video recording of the discussions or other methods that fit your family’s style.
  • Be creative and have fun!  Let the kids help make the plan and carry it out, and let them try out some of their own ideas.

Recognizing some of the holidays that others have developed will give your family a broader sense of the issues that others face and can help create compassion for them.  The days can also provide a framework for establishing some family traditions that are just fun.  Homeschoolers are free to think outside the box, and unit studies become a great palate for skill building in many new directions.

Calendar of awareness days, special holidays is palate for creating unit studies – Phoenix Homeschooling | Examiner.com.

Phoenix homeschool summer choir camp and voice lessons offered in June

Curtis Greenberg of Phoenix is offering a unique homeschool summer choir camp

Music provides a great foundation for intellectual development, and is often a key component of the curriculum for homeschooling families.  The Phoenix area offers many instructional and performance opportunities for a variety of instrumental and vocal applications, many of which are presented by individuals.

Curtis Greenberg of Glendale has an MA in Choral Music and a BA in Music Education.  He has been teaching in the valley for many years, and spent a year in Germany teaching at a school for children of missionaries.  He is offering a number of music classes this summer, specifically targeting homeschool students.

  • Private or group lessons for Voice
  • Beginning or Intermediate Piano
  • Classes can begin the 1st week of June
  • Cost:  $20 per half hour lesson at his home
    5117 W. Vogel (51st Ave. & Olive)
    $23 per half hour lesson at your home
Another great option is the Elementary Summer Choir for students entering 1st-6th grades:
  • Two week camp
  • Practice for an hour every day M-F for two weeks
  • Give a performance on the final day.
  • Cost: $110.00 including music
  • 2:00-3:00 PM June 18-29th
  • Location to be determined in Central Phoenix

Pay rates and terms are negotiable to need.

Contact Curtis Greenberg, BA Music ED; MA Choral Music at 623-394-0979  or curtisgreenberg@aol.com

Don’t let the summer get away from you.  Sign up now for a wonderful music experience to give your homeschooler added academic and fine arts skills.


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How homeschoolers transition to college: Be part of a college research project

The topic of homeschooling is often the subject of student research papers at college.  While not done on the scale of studies by Brian Ray of National Home Education Research Institute, these papers are important for several reasons:

  • The papers are typically shared with the class as a whole, bringing more awareness within the university/college setting of the unique features of home education.
  • Sometimes professors will take a student’s work and expand the findings with a more in-depth study
  • The research done is added to the larger picture of information and statistics, giving more substance to the body of data on the subject of homeschooling.

Following is a study by an Arizona student regarding how well homeschoolers make the transition to college.  This is a great topic, and one that could help dispel many of the myths about homeschool students.  If you are or know someone who was homeschooled prior to attending college, it would be great to have you pass this story along to your friends.  It would be terrific to provide Miss Emily Leach with a large number of responses which fully reflect the many varied paths that homeschoolers take to get to college and how they deal with the changes.

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New study confirms homeschoolers outperform public schoolers and unschoolers

A Canadian study shared in a press release from Concordia University yesterday confirms what American researchers have known for several years:  Homeschool students score better on standardized tests than public school students. This new research, conducted by Concordian and Mount Allison Universities, added another twist, however, and compared homeschoolers with a structured curriculum with those who use an “unschooling” approach.  The former were found wanting.

As early as the mid 1990s, Arizona legislators had discovered that homeschoolers typically scored in the 70-85 percentile on the then-required Iowa test, while the state school pupils averaged around 40-50th percentile.  This discrepancy held true for years as Arizona educators tried out different assessments.  Homeschool students were dropped from the mandatory testing in 1995, and Arizona become one of the first states to allow freedom to homeschool without government intervention.

Highlights from the Concordia University and Mount Allison University study press release

  • This is among the first nonpartisan studies to investigate home education versus public schooling.
  • 74 children living in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were compared: 37 homeschoolers versus 37 public schoolers. Participants were between 5 and 10 years old and each child was asked to complete standardized tests, under supervision of the research team, to assess their reading, writing, arithmetic skills, etc.

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Homeschool parents: Prepare your child to be a true leader-free webinar

CollegePlus! is a cutting edge organization which is helping homeschoolers move through college classes by getting credit by examination, thus slashing college costs and time investment.  Besides a mentoring program to guide students through the CLEP tests, CollegePlus! also offers online workshops to hone skills and equip families for the steps needed in college admissions.

With the school year just around the corner, a series of free webinars on Leadership may be a great tool for parents and teens to use for planning the year’s activities. Homeschoolers in Phoenix are encouraged to participate. The press release for the series follows.

Homeschool Parents: Prepare Your Child To Be A True Leader

As a homeschooling parent, you want the best for your child. You haven’t sacrificed time and money to raise strikingly average children. But how do you fully equip your child to  be a leader in a world that is constantly changing?

On August 2, 2011, CollegePlus! will launch an exclusive webinar series for homeschool families.

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Suddenly Homeschooling is a must-read for families who need to start right now – Phoenix Homeschooling | Examiner.com


Book title:  Suddenly Homeschooling:  A Quick-Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in 2 Weeks
Author:  Marie-Claire Moreau, Ed.D.
Publication date:  July 12, 2011
Publisher:  Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing
Where to purchase in Phoenix:  Barnes and Noble, Metro Center

According to the Homeshool Specialist at the Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools, the place for filing the homeschool affidavits, school bullying is currently the number one reason for parents to call the office about starting to homeschool.  Since the situation often merits quick action, families may find themselves in public school today, but at home in charge of the education tomorrow.

This puts a lot of pressure, and perhaps fear, on parents who are determined to do the best for their children that they can.  Fortunately, Marie-Claire Moreau is releasing her new book, Suddenly Homeschooling, as a step-by-step guide through the process of being prepared to teachyour kids at home in just two weeks.

This manual is a joy to read.  Moreau has put all the key issues, which are the heart of Getting Started homeschool workshops, into a concise, readable, and very practical format.  Having parents do the research into each phase will prepare them for the task of teaching in several ways:  They will have a more complete overview of the branches of home education, they will have a more hands-on understanding of the types of materials and approaches to learning and what is likely to work for their children, and they will probably have a deeper commitment level to the process because they have uncovered some aspects of teaching which excite them.

The accompanying resource list and glossary of terms will be the icing on the cake in terms of a complete and doable preparation for the glorious privilege of teaching our children at home.

Dr. Moreau starts the book with an overview of what will be accomplished during the two week “boot camp”.  These tasks are the chapter titles, so it is easy to stay on track in the guide.

  • Day One–Get Connected
  • Day Two–Learn State Homeschooling Laws
  • Day Three–Get Completely Legal

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