By Karen Roebuck
Language arts classes were always my strong suit. I never had a problem with workbooks and traditional methods. I loved to write. But my son? Well now, he’s the complete opposite. Getting him to write more than his name has been a constant struggle. He would rather play with his LEGOs®. But his love of LEGOs wouldn’t help him learn language arts, would it?
Then I entered the world of social media through Pinterest and discovered so many LEGO pins that I had to create three boards—one for fun stuff, one for math, and one for language arts. Come with me as we take a virtual tour of my pins for language arts.
Who has a child like mine, who hates to write spelling words over and over? Enter LEGO Spelling! While I have only one pin in this area, its ideas could be used with any list or curriculum. In her ten-day LEGO Learning series, iHomeschool Network owner Amy Stults shows how to use LEGO and Duplo® for spelling, learning alphabetical order, and following instructions.
by Barbara Dragon, NHN Officer Emeritus
As the 2017 Nevada Legislative session approaches, homeschool parents and advocates must stay engaged in the debate over “government funded school choice” and the impact on homeschool freedom, Education Liberty, or Ed Liberty for short.
We must understand and proclaim the Biblical truth that ALL parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their own children, not the state. But when private schools/parents accept “state funding” the government takes control, not the parent!
Background: During the 2015 Nevada Legislative Session, State Senator Scott Hammond requested a Bill Draft Resolution (BDR) for a government funded alternative education option for Nevada K-12 students. The Friedman Foundation (renamed Ed Choice in 2016) assisted Senator Hammond in the writing of SB 302, the Nevada Education Savings Account bill. What makes Nevada’s ESA unique from existing smaller programs in four other states (Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee) is that it is “universal”, meaning it is not “means” or “needs” tested and is available to all NV public school students enrolled for a minimum of 100 days regardless of family income level or school failure rates.
Authors of SB 302 proclaimed, “It allows parents to remove their children from their assigned public schools and access a portion or all of their children’s public education funding to pay for services like private school tuition, curriculum, learning therapies, tutoring and more.” [i] This new program passed the 2015 NV Legislature along strict party lines (all Republicans in support, all Democrats opposed).[ii]  Currently, state legislatures in Texas, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and even President-elect Trumps’ new administration are mulling government funded ESAs to expand “school choice” in 2017 and the Nevada ESA program is the model for many of the proposals.
An Education Savings Account (ESA) program is different from a “voucher” they say, since money from the state’s Distributive School Account (DSA) is not being paid directly from the state to a religious private school (Blaine Amendments in many state constitutions prohibit the use of public funding for sectarian purposes). Rather, the money (between $5,100 to $5,700 in NV) is to go from the state’s Distributive School Account into the Education Savings Account in the name of the child, whose parents then choose from government “approved” resources where to spend the money so that the child receives an education as compelled by state compulsory attendance laws.[iii] This, proponents say, means the parent, not the state, is choosing the education modality for the child and the parent is then “empowered” to choose a private religious school or use religious materials for the education of their child. The NV Supreme Court upheld this in Schwartz v. Lopez.[iv] However, this new “empowerment” called “school choice” is still controlled by government when compared to self-funded, private homeschooling that is rooted in the parent’s right to direct the education of their child, free from government control, in other words, Education Liberty.
 NOTE: Two lawsuits were filed in NV District Court in late 2015 against the new ESA program. Both lawsuits were heard before the Nevada Supreme court and a final decision was handed down on September 29, 2016. Although the court ruled that the ESA law does not violate the Blaine Amendment in the Nevada Constitution and allows the Legislature to use public dollars to fund an ESA program, the Legislature did violate the NV Constitution by passing the ESA bill prior to passing the education funding bill. The NV Constitution requires that the public schools be funded before any other budget item is approved in our bi-annual sessions. Further, the court seemed to imply that money allocated by the Legislature to the public schools cannot be used to fund an ESA for a Nevada school-age child. This has been a pivotal element of the Ed Choice ESA school choice initiative. Consequently, a new “funding source” will need to be found and approved by the Nevada Legislature in 2017 if the program is to see the light of day. Further, a new funding source may impact the rest of the mechanics of the NV-ESA program and raise a new threat to private and home school autonomy. 16-30306 NV SC.Schwartz v. Lopez 09.29.16
By Deborah Wuehler
‘Twas the night before co-op, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring . . . except me and the mouse!
For all of a sudden I remembered what I’d said, so I grabbed my computer and jumped out of the bed.
I promised last month that I’d teach about something, and then I got busy and now my heart’s thumping!
Up I arise and start my researching—I am reading and browsing and crafting and lurching.
I know in my heart I would not have been scared, if I had previously planned and was already prepared!
Lame holiday poem, I know, but that homeschool twist rings true with many of us, doesn’t it? Do you ever feel unprepared? You are not alone. One of the common laments I hear is, “I am not prepared!” I hear it about teaching high school or teaching co-op. I hear it about raising teenagers and teaching algebra. I hear it about that first year of homeschooling and the terrible twos and about Christmas. I even say it myself about each year ahead. Why are we so unprepared, or feel like we are never quite prepared enough? I have some ideas. Let’s look at seven areas.
By Rebecca Keliher
It’s a busy season, and there is much to be done. When our children are small, the key to busy seasons is simplification. Ultimately, we just have to choose what is necessary and what is an optional preference. During the holiday season, for instance, we might not get to do all of the baking and crafts and decorating we enjoy. It might not be a great year to serve Thanksgiving dinner in a food kitchen. Busy seasons that are not calendar-related offer the same restrictions. With a new baby in the house, a long-term illness dragging us down, an extended family member needing care, or a high-travel season around the corner, we have to choose what to give up and what to keep.
BUT BUSY SEASONS CHANGE!
The best part of watching our kids grow, though, is the realization that what was necessary last year might change this year. This is especially true with high schoolers in the house!
When you reach the high school stage of home schooling, busy seasons take on a whole new meaning. Instead of being limiting, they are seasons of opportunity, both for you and for your high schooler. This is a chance for you to lean on your teen for help while also allowing him to show responsibility, develop skills in many areas, and grow in his own journey toward adulthood.
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