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11/5/2009 9:54:57 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter -- November 2009

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter
November 2009--Sharpening Teen Study Skills
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Dear Friends,

We hope this edition of the Homeschooling Thru High School newsletter
finds you gearing up for a November filled with thanksgiving and joy.
In the midst of homeschooling your high schooler and the busyness of
your days, we encourage you to do a little extra math: count your many
blessings! Remember that blessings come in the form of both joys and
trials, but all are sent to increase our faith, boost our
perseverance, and mold our character.

As you seek to provide a quality education to your teens, we suggest
you include time to improve your teen's study skills. Many times,
parents think that good study skills are naturally acquired, but
that's often not the case. Study skills such as note-taking,
outlining, pacing your time, organizing study materials and
schoolwork, increasing reading speed, and maintaining motivation for
studying are, for the majority of teens, learned skills that must be
taught. The high school years--or earlier--provide an opportune time
to polish up these areas of competency.

Note-Taking
During the high school years, many of our teens are capable of
independent study. Make the most of this ability by encouraging them
to take notes on the material they are studying and discovering. As
an instructor, you may not do much lecturing, but your teen will
benefit from learning the finer points of note-taking. In the future,
whether your teen is taking a college course, listening to a sales
presentation, or interviewing a prospective real estate agent
regarding the purchase of his or her first home; your teen's
note-taking skills will come in handy. Some practical ways to give
experience in this area are to have your teen take notes during the
pastor's sermon each week, or while watching a speech given by a
politician in person or on TV, or during those college visits that are
coming up! All of these opportunities will enable your teen to
organize data, discern important points, and perhaps even come up with
personal shorthand symbols and words that speed up his intake of
ideas.

Use of the computer can also enable your teen to quickly note
important information, since teens can often type faster than they
write. Having his notes transcribed will allow him to quickly save the
information in an organized fashion. Those high schoolers planning to
attend college will find that many students take a laptop to class to
use for note-taking.

Although not every item relates to the one-on-one teaching used in
homeschooling, the College Board,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7163 , provides helpful note-taking
ideas if your teen is tackling an outside co-op, community college, or
distance learning course. Also, Cornell's Note-taking Strategies,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7164 , gives additional tips.

Outlining
Closely aligned with note-taking is the ability to outline. Use your
teen's readings in courses such as science and history to provide
practice for improving outlining proficiency. This skill is important
not only to organize study materials, but it is also useful when
brainstorming writing ideas or compiling research for a paper or
project. For a good review of the components of an outline--why and
how to create an outline--as well as samples of outlines, see these
websites: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7165 ,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7166 . Also, most high school
grammar books include a section on outlining, so you may want to spend
several days reviewing this information with your teen.

Remember, when outlining as a form of note-taking, it's not necessary
to adhere to a formal system. Instead, a method may be developed where
there is a main point followed by bullets or dashes for subpoints. The
main purpose to stress is getting information down in a systematic and
understandable way.

Pacing Your Time
Have you ever thought of time management as a component of study
skills? It is! Much of your teen's academic success during the high
school years will be related to how well he can budget the hours in
his day. (A recap of general time management skills was covered in a
previous high school email newsletter.)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7167

Implementing time management in studying course material will allow
your student to comprehend and retain the material. It will also
prevent the need to cram for tests or quizzes. Cramming may allow
your teen to score well on the test, but it will not prove effective
in maintaining a good base of knowledge for future use. So, encourage
your teen to come up with a plan,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7168 , which will allow her to be
efficient in completing assignments, regularly reviewing her notes,
and closing any gaps in the time set aside for studying. Practicing
these skills during high school will cause them to become good habits,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7169 , to take with her after
graduation.

School calendars and assignment books are tools that your teens can
use to keep on track in meeting deadlines. Whether it's reading the
passage for a lit discussion tomorrow, the essay due next week, the
science fair project due next month, or preparation for a college
entrance test next year, having a schedule will encourage him to
complete the work within the time he has set.

Organizing School Materials
As homeschoolers, your teens have the freedom to do math at the
kitchen table, study history in the family room, read literature while
relaxing in the bedroom, or conduct science experiments in the
basement! While this flexibility is certainly an advantage of
homeschooling, it can wreak havoc when trying to keep track of and
organize school supplies and materials. Therefore, assist your teen
in designing a central study place,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7170, that is conducive to learning.
Stock it with supplies such as pencils, paper, rulers, calculators,
and reference books (such as dictionaries, thesauruses, etc.--although
these days the computer may take the place of these items) within easy
reach. In addition, help your teen arrange his schoolwork neatly in
binders.

Think about involving your teen in the record-keeping of his high
school work. Have your teen set up a file system (either in hard copy
form or on the computer) that lists materials used in a course,
perhaps a log of hours, and a folder that includes major tests,
quizzes, papers, or projects. During our high school homeschooling
years, both of us had our teens do a lot of the necessary filing and
record keeping. We found that keeping up with this on a daily or
weekly basis is a better approach than saving all of the filing until
the end of the school year!

Increasing Reading Speed
Increasing reading speed (while at the same time retaining and
improving comprehension) is important because it saves your teen time.
An increase in reading speed--not only for coursework, but for
pleasure reading, newspaper reading and even reading to obtain facts
such as perusing directions--can add time to your day. If your teen
is college-bound, she will appreciate this skill when bombarded with
reading assignments. Virginia Tech and the University of Texas
websites offers free information related to increasing reading speed.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7171
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7172

As an interesting project, your teen may want to take a free speed
reading test. http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7173 (Please know
that we are not necessarily recommending a speed reading course or
class, but merely want to provide you with information that will
enable you to investigate this area further if you wish. A simple
internet search of speed reading courses will generate many additional
resources.)

Maintaining Motivation
Your teen will more easily maintain motivation in any task if he is
organized in his approach to it. The same holds true for assignments
and projects. Often the most difficult part of the assignment is
getting started. So suggest that your teen take a large project and
break it down into doable pieces which will make it easier to tackle
and complete. As he begins to see progress, he will be motivated to
move to the next section until all is finished.

Boredom can be kept at bay by interspersing smaller assignments with
larger ones. Checking off an assignment gives a feeling of
accomplishment. It's easy though to let those shorter assignments keep
your teen from addressing the longer ones. Another way to keep
interested in a task is to mix up the study methods used. Your teen
may spend part of his time quietly studying, but then add some time to
studying out loud as if he were instructing a class. If your teen is
more visual, then using diagrams or drawings will help to keep her
focused and interested. The College Board has some additional
innovative ideas to consider. http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7174

We trust that the tips provided above will be useful to you and your
teens. Study skills practiced become habits, and habits take time to
develop. So, don't expect that all of these suggestions will be
incorporated at once. However, teaching them over the course of the
high school years ensures that your teens will be better prepared for
their post-high-school pursuits.

To end the year next month, we want to encourage you by offering you
suggestions in the December newsletter to combat fears,
discouragement, and exhaustion during the Christmas season.

Studying to show ourselves approved to God (2 Tim. 2:15),
Becky Cooke & Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Coordinators

New online academy helps prepare your teen for college!

Patrick Henry College Preparatory Academy is a distance learning
program for homeschooled high schoolers that offers excellent academic
instruction with a fully integrated Christian worldview. Visit their
website http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7175 to find out more and
sign up for the college preparatory U.S. Government and Politics
course.

Quote of the Month:

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study
mathematics and philosophy.
--John Adams

Diane & Becky's upcoming speaking engagements:

Capital Baptist Church Homeschool Co-Op, Annandale, VA (Becky)
February 18, 2010; March 18, 2010

HSLDA Third Annual High School Symposium (Becky & Diane)
Friday, April 9, 2010
Details forthcoming--Mark your calendars now!

Christian Family Schools of San Diego, CA (Diane)
May 7-8, 2010
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7176

Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, Des Moines, IA (Diane)
June 18-19, 2010
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7177

Valley Home Educators--Modesto, CA (Becky)
July 30-31, 2010
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7178

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