Tag: Homework

How do I get kids to join a tutoring class that is taught by high school students?

My high school friends are looking forward to making money through teaching students in our community.

However, after asking people to attend, there were concerns to be addressed like

  • How can I trust freshmen to teach me?
  • Is it worth it?

How do I handle such advertising over text without being pushy?

Written 29 May

Reach out to the homeschool community.

There are many homeschool groups on social media, and they routinely seek opportunities for collaborative learning.

For example, I am currently attempting to form a math circle in our community, and would be thrilled to involve high school students. I would also be willing to pay a high school student to organize, as I believe there would be benefits beyond that gained from tutoring. Additionally, it could allow parents to share costs.


Should I let my child go to an online high school?

He will still get his diploma, but I am hesitant. What are the advantages and disadvantages of online high school?

Written Oct 7, 2016

Why online high school?

Does your child have a particular reason for wanting to go to online high school? Is it because of academic reasons, or bullying, or introversion, etc?

If your child is very motivated to study; has the capability to work on or ahead of schedule; has an interest in a particular area out side of the normal curriculum …

then online school MAY be an appropriate choice.


There are different types of online school.

For example, our state and local school district each offer online high school. These programs essentially mirror the curricula available in the brick-and-mortar school. They both have teachers who monitor, assess, grade, and are available for advice. They both are accredited and offer high school diplomas. They are both FREE to residents.

There are also online schools available which offer all of the above. However, they charge for tuition.

There are several other online options (such as Khan Academy or Coursera) which can provide an excellent education. Many of these are available free, or for a nominal fee. They are not accredited, and do not offer a high school diploma.


These have mostly been mentioned by other authors, and include schedule flexibility, and possibly greater curricular choice. Additionally, consider:

  • better sleep schedule. It is well documented that learning is facilitated when the student is well-rested. Additionally, there is research that teenagers sleep cycles really are optimized for sleeping later.
  • flexibility in scheduling vacations. This depends on the specific schedule of the online school.
  • the ability to do things during the week, when everybody else is locked up in school.
  • ability to pursue unusual hobbies or passions. For example, music, art, sports, etc. Online study can allow your student to practice for hours, or attend performances or competitions, etc.
  • ability to study a particular area in depth.
  • ability to participate in extracurricular activities, such as band, sports, etc. As an online (or even homeschooled) student, you can generally participate in these activities (check with your school for details).


  • the online high school packages offered by the school district tend to be just as rigorous and time-consuming as regular school. I know some folks who have experienced this. Check to find out if there are others in your area who have done this, and ask them about it.
  • the teachers may not be very responsive. Again, this is what I have heard from others who have done it. Same as above, check with others in your area.
  • if your student is not able to complete the work on time, then this could be a disastrous approach. Think carefully about this one. If you decide to try the online route, have a bailout strategy. You can always send your child back to regular school, ANYTIME. (This may also be a good threat to hang over their head, to keep them on track).
  • To do this effectively may require you to spend time monitoring and assisting to make sure things go well – especially in the beginning.

My opinion

If you select the online option offered by your local school, you are essentially just duplicating the school’s curriculum in your home. I am not convinced that the standard curriculum, and the way it is taught in our schools, is effective. Therefore, I do not see the advantage of duplicating the school in my home.

If your goal is to get into college, be aware that a high school diploma is not necessarily a prerequisite. Check on the admissions criteria of the colleges you are interested in, and tailor your child’s curricula to achieve your goals. If you pay attention to what the colleges are looking for, you may be surprised – and come to the conclusion that there may be better options than the prepackaged online high school curricula.


Ultimately, the decision is yours. Only you know your child’s personality and learning habits. Carefully research the options, and determine the best method to meet the goals of you and your child.

What is the right way to study History?

Written Oct 5, 2016

Well … that depends on what you are really asking.

If you are asking how to study History for a test, then the answer is to find out what you are expected to know; what you are expected to understand; and what are the criteria for passing. Therefore, you should ensure that you have a clear understanding of what the teacher expects. Once you know that, you can formulate a study plan – take notes, answer practice questions, etc.

If you are asking the more general question about studying History as a means of understanding our past, then there are various approaches:

  • Start with an overview of world history
    • Textbook
    • Videos on Youtube
    • Coursera (or other MOOC)
  • Focus on a large theme, or civilization. For example:
    • Greek or Roman Civilization
    • China
    • Ottoman Empire
    • US History

As you learn more about aspects of history, you can continue your studies. You can read, or watch videos or lectures. You can also start studying original sources. For example, you could read books written in the period of interest. Perhaps you could visit areas of interest (such as the Roman Forum, or Herculaneum).

What does being homeschooled mean? What are the pros and cons?

Written Aug 31, 2016

In simple terms, being homeschooled means that the family has chosen to remove the child from traditional school, and assume responsibility for his or her education.

In the US, state and local policies determine how this is done administratively (sometimes as simple as submitting a letter to the school district), and reporting requirements.

Homeschooling Pros:

  • Parents can choose the method and/or curriculum for educating the student.
  • Freedom of schedule – there is no longer a requirement to get up at a certain time to attend classes (unless you choose to). Freedom of schedule also means that you can go on vacation anytime – avoiding the school break crowds.
  • You can select the environment, and people your child socializes with. (Your child is not required to spend hours each day with a group of children of the same age). This may help avoid an environment prone to bullying, peer pressure, etc.
  • Homework” is a choice, not a requirement. Homework: An unnecessary evil? … Surprising findings from new research
  • Family time – opportunities to spend more time together as a family.
  • More opportunities to get out and do “real-world” stuff.
  • Opportunities to dig deep when pursuing topics of interest. This also allows you to pursue topics like music, art, coding, etc., with the intent of leading to a career. You could spend thousands of hours practicing to become a concert pianist, for example, rather than studying calculus and other “required” subjects.
  • There are studies indicating that homeschooled students perform better on standardized tests.
  • Many colleges and universities are now seeking homeschooled students.

Homeschooling Cons:

  • Requires more time and effort from the parents. This can be an issue for parents who work outside the home. It could be mitigated by having other family members (such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings) monitor the student.
  • Requires more effort to review and select curricular and teaching materials.
  • There is a study indicating that homeschoolers who follow an unstructured curriculum do worse on standardized testing. Therefore, student progress and engagement must be monitored by the parent.
  • It is more difficult to participate in structured activities which are normally scheduled at traditional school (such as sports teams, chorus, band). However, many school districts allow homeschool students to participate in extracurricular activities (check with local school district to see if this is offered). Otherwise, you may have to organize, or pay for, these activities.
  • If you select a structured curriculum, you may have fairly significant out-of-pocket costs.
  • Some homeschool students report missing traditional school opportunities such as homeschooling, or even hanging out with their peers. (This can be accomplished in a homeschool environment, but takes more effort).


No big surprises. Homeschooling provides huge advantages concerning education choices, but comes with potentially significant cost and time penalties. Educational results are fairly common sense – the more effort made, the more likely the outcome will be better.

Anyone considering homeschooling should think carefully about the time, effort, and cost investments. They should think carefully about their goals for homeschooling, and the approach that will be used for learning.

From personal experience, I can also recommend ensuring that BOTH parents (if applicable) agree on the approach to learning. After one year of homeschooling our daughter, we still get into long discussions (arguments?) about how (and what) she should be learning.

You should also keep in mind that (at least in the US) you can always re-enroll your child in public school at any time.

Hope this helps!