Category Archives: Christian Education

New Day Academy announces 2020-21 programming

New Day Academy is a cottage school program for homeschooled middle and high school students in Louisville. Students attend Monday-Thursday, 9-12:30, and take classes in English, math, anatomy, U.S. government, communications, and character. Class size is limited to 12 students. Students will complete most reading and writing assignments at home, and engage in discussion and projects in class. New Day Academy is located near the Louisville Zoo. Tuition is $2000 annually, and families will be responsible to purchase supplies and curriculum. Extended day options are available at an additional cost. New Day Academy is run by Heather Walton, a certified teacher with diverse teaching experience, as well as a school administration background. Ms. Walton previously founded a full-time school, and has teaching experience in public, Christian, and homeschool education. For more information, visit https://apluseducationalsolutions.com/new-day-cottage-school-program/ or call 502-438-4680. There are currently a few spots left for the coming school year.

Mid-year homeschool blahs? It may be time for a “New Day”

homeschool curriculum

By Heather Walton

January is traditionally a time of new beginnings, new resolutions, and for many, new vision. However, in the academic world, it’s not the beginning of the year, but rather the half-way point. Whether you approach this time of year as the beginning or the middle, it is an excellent time for reflection, assessment, and realignment.

Perhaps you aren’t as enthusiastic about your homeschool goals, curriculum, or routine as you were in August. Maybe you don’t homeschool at all … yet. Or, if you’re like me, you generally take this time of year to consider which things you’ve been doing you want to continue and which you’d like to change.

For example, in reflecting on my homeschool year, there are parts that I believe have gone very well, such as converting from some workbook-type activities to almost 100 percent reading real books and requiring narrations in all subjects (except math, though that may be coming). Another thing I am satisfied with is our “together time,” in which we sing a hymn or two, read Scripture, read classic literature, and do picture study.

However, I feel we could do better in a few areas. For instance, I have not incorporated composer study well into our “together time,” and I need to do a better job of keeping our environment tidy. As a result, I have developed a plan for the children and me to tidy as we go, attending to a few problem areas and regular chores at various times throughout the day. After all, education isn’t just about academics; if my children can’t keep an orderly house or understand that they need to contribute to the home, they won’t be prepared for life.

I am a homeschooling mom, but I don’t only homeschool my own children. I have two additional full-time students and one part-time student. As an educator by profession, I have been called to teach. I know not everyone who would like to homeschool is able to do so, so I enjoy being able to partner with families to educate their children according to a Biblical worldview. If you find yourself needing a full-time homeschool solution, I would be glad to discuss that with you.

If, on the other hand, you would simply like your middle or high school age student to meet with other students a couple mornings per week to discuss real books and do some hands-on learning in a group setting, check out New Day Academy, a cottage school program I’m starting Jan. 14. This program features Charlotte Mason philosophy and a Biblical Worldview. Students will have assigned readings from living books, and they will complete written narrations. We will meet on Tuesday and Thursday meetings for discussion and activities. Students may attend Tuesday or Thursday or both. The days compliment each other while being independent of one another. If you are interested in joining New Day Academy’s cottage program this school year, please let me know by Jan. 6. Those who enroll this year will have first option to enroll again in the fall.

January may be a great time for you and your family to make an educational change that will breathe energy into your homeschool and into your home.

For more information, contact Heather Walton, 502-438-4680, heatherpwalton@gmail.com, or complete the form below.

Defining education then and now

By Heather Walton

alt-5b51feb34c621-5439-8e988795982d8b2f6e682380a3b0adb6@1xEDUCA’TION, noun [Latin educatio.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties. (http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/education)

This is how Noah Webster defined education.

Today’s dictionary defines it this way:

Definition of educate

transitive verb

1a: to provide schooling for
//chose to educate their children at home
b: to train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession
2a: to develop mentally, morally, or aesthetically especially by instruction
b: to provide with information : INFORM
//educating themselves about changes in the industry
3: to persuade or condition to feel, believe, or act in a desired way
//educate the public to support our position
What stands out as you examine these definitions?
There are quite a few differences, but what I notice most are two things, and I would venture to say that these are two sides of the same coin. First, there is a not-so-subtle shift in the view of education. In 1828, education included all aspects of child training, but today it is primarily limited to schooling. I am pleasantly surprised, though, that today’s Webster used the example, “chose to educate their children at home.” The fact that people can choose to educate their children at home, versus not educating their children at home, is telling. There was a time in our country’s history when all parents were expected to educate their children at home, and some outsourced the academic portion of education to the local school. Today the norm is to expect the school, and sometimes the church, to do the educating, and some parents also consciously choose to educate their children at home for some things, such as character training.
Another standout is that Noah Webster assumed parents would provide a “religious” education for their children, and what he meant by that was a Christian education. Often Webster employed Bible verses as examples in his dictionary.
Today’s definition does include moral training, but it’s not presented with the same importance as it was in the 1828 version. The older version seems to include academics but the emphasis is on child-rearing and formation of character. Today the emphasis is on academics, with an eye on career readiness. It’s not until the second part of the definition that moral training is referenced.
There is no accident here. These two facets are intertwined. As America gradually traded Christianity as its primary religion and basis of ethics and morality, for another religion, known as humanism, many words and concepts were redefined. It has been said that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” The signers of the Humanist Manifesto I would likely agree. In 1933, this group, which included the father of modern American education, John Dewey, set out to transform the culture, and they were successful at redefining the American way of thinking. These men, and their disciples, have successfully banished Christian ideals from the public square, and traded them in for the new religion of humanism. With a new paradigm comes new vocabulary.
Today’s idea of education typically brings up images of academics, which are relegated to their own sphere of life, and thought by most to be best left to professional educators. Students and families who practice religions other than humanism are to keep their ideas out of the schoolhouse, especially if their ideology is Christian. But this wasn’t so in the past. For the vast majority of Americans, everything fit within the paradigm of faith. Even those educated at school learned religion at school — yes, even at public school. Even more importantly, families understood the Deuteronomy 6 mandate for parents to teach their children diligently as they went about the business of daily life. Education was a natural part of life, and it didn’t merely incorporate academics. Character and habits were the top discipline, the Bible and life were the key curriculum, and the parents were answerable to God alone for their children’s upbringing.
There has been a dramatic shift in our culture’s definition of education, and this is reflected in the change in the dictionary entry.

Top Tips for Home Educating Any Child

 

curriculum_000

by Heather Walton

If you are considering homeschooling, just starting out, or burning out, check out the following tips for homeschooling any child.

  1. Relax. You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to do it all right now. You don’t have to do it all at the same time. Enjoy your children’s childhood with them.
  2. Make a list of goals for each child and check it at intervals. Include spiritual, academic, social, emotional, physical, and life skills goals. Check them at predetermined intervals, such as monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly.
  3. Curriculum is a tool. Make it your servant. You are not its slave. You do not have to have prepackaged curriculum. If you choose textbooks or packaged lesson plans, you do not have to do everything that is recommended by the publisher.
  4. Balance is important. Homeschooling takes a lot of time and energy, but you also need time for other things, like housework, errands, and exercise. You may even have a part-time or full-time job. Trying to work on academics 6-8 hours per day is likely to burn you and your child out.
  5. Delegate when possible and practical. Which chores you can teach your children to do? Do you need to partner with tutors or homeschool enrichment programs, such as cottage schools or cottage schools? Are there things that other family members, such as Dad, grandparents, or your older children, can teach or model?
  6. Education is not just academics. You can count a variety of things, such as life skills (grocery trips, chores, etc.), social skills training, creative arts, specialty lessons, swimming, exercise, nature walks, therapy sessions, service, theater and museum visits, and more.
  7. Don’t isolate yourself. Find a homeschool support group, in person or online. There are lots of local and national groups on Facebook and elsewhere. Some are even specific to certain ideologies and methodologies. Meet other homeschool families for outings or just to hang out. It helps to know you’re not the only one. On difficult days, you have someone to reach out to for encouragement. You also can bounce ideas off each other.
  8. Invest in homeschool PD (professional development). Give yourself permission to buy books, watch videos and download materials that will help you learn more about homeschooling. You may even want to attend homeschool conferences. If you don’t have a budget for this, there are many blogs and other resources available online for free. Taking time to educate yourself will make you a better homeschool teacher.
  9. Know your state’s laws and follow them. Ask veteran homeschoolers in your state how they comply with the regulations.
  10. Join HSLDA and your state homeschool organization. These groups work hard to keep our homeschool rights intact. They also have many resources available, including consultants in a variety of areas and legal support. I would not consider membership in these organizations optional.

Why homeschool a child with special needs?

homeschool mom girl 2By Heather Walton

Sometimes parents wonder if they should homeschool a child with special academic, social, or emotional needs. Even if they believe they can properly educate a neurotypical child, they may feel intimidated about working with their children who struggle. Others are considering homeschooling specifically because they have a child who is having difficulty in school. Though homeschooling any child has its challenges, an individualized education can be a delight and a blessing, both to the child and the parent. Here are several reasons to consider home education for a struggling learner:

  1. You can create a program that targets your child’s specific needs. You can remediate those areas of challenge, while also giving him opportunities to do things he’s good at, so he experiences success.
  2. You eliminate the social stigma that comes with being “different.” Often kids (and even teachers) will look down on a student who struggles academically or socially. Unfortunately this is par for the course in many schools.
  3. You can work with your child when she’s at her peak time of day to be successful. You don’t have to keep the same schedule as the schools do. Your state may require a certain amount of hours, but that doesn’t mean you have to work at the same times as the local schools operate.
  4. You can incorporate the educational components that most schools leave out, such as life skills and social skills. These are important for all young people to learn, but even more for struggling learners. Home education provides you the opportunity to spend necessary time on instruction in these vital areas.
  5. Children who need to see therapists and tutors have more time in the schedule to do so, and it counts as part of your home education plan. Often parents of children with special needs spend afternoon and evening hours shuttling exhausted kids to appointments.  However, the sessions would likely be more effective, and the family less frazzled, if they could be fresh for these appointments.
  6. No more fighting over homework after an already long schooldays. Since you can create a tailor-made education program for your child, no need for homework, and hopefully you can have an enjoyable learning experience with your child.
  7. Avoid bullying. Many kids, especially kids who are perceived to be different by their peers, deal with bullying, which is so destructive to a person’s self image. Today, more than ever, bullying presents huge risks, including and up to suicide. It’s not something to mess around with.
  8. Avoid social pressure to conform. Let’s face it: Everyone wants to fit in, and kids with special needs are often tempted more than neuortypical children to do whatever it takes to be accepted.

These are several great reasons to homeschool a child with special needs. The list could go on and on, as reasons are as diverse as are the children we love. Now that we have explored some reasons to homeschool your child, stay tuned for tips on how to successfully work with students who have challenges.

 

Kentucky Homeschool Rights in Jeopardy: Let Your Voice Be Heard

HB574, an act relating to homeschool, was submitted to the House on February 27 by Representative Chris Harris, and is currently awaiting discussion in the House Education Committee. We have not seen a bill that so aggressively attacks our freedom to home educate in more than eight years. If this bill became law, it would…

via Legislative Alert: HB 574 Aggressive Encroachment on Private Home Education — Christian Home Educators of KY Blog

A+ Education Solutions offers a range of educational services

I started A+ Education Solutions in 2013 because I had a strong desire to help students who need a little extra help to reach their goals. In the process, I started a cottage school that morphed into a more traditional model of a school, partnered with my husband as he pastors our church, moved, had a baby, had a couple of children leave the nest, taught at another wonderful Christian school, and most recently, realized that I need to return home and center myself there. Through all of it, my mission for a vocation has not changed: I believe God has called me to creatively facilitate Christian education for a diverse population of students.20170612_074936

Though I no longer run Jubilee Academy, the model I began there still lives in my heart. What is that model? Well, for starters, it’s a kinder, gentler model of education — an individualized model, where students are seen as real people who have struggles, but who also have much to offer the world. God created each of us with unique gifts, and those gifts are meant to be shared with the world. However, some people buy into the cultural lie that academics and athletics are the prized intelligences, and that others are inferior. Can you imagine a world without artists, mechanics, electricians, fast food servers, and on and on? Two of the most important jobs in the world are plumbers and trash collectors. Think about that for a moment.

But we all have to get through the academics, at least for 13 years. Some of us really struggle, though. And we just need a helping hand, maybe just for a season, and maybe all the way through. Sometimes the student needs direct help, in the form of tutoring and assessment. Other times, the student needs indirect assistance, such as an IEP advocate at school or homeschool support for his parents. A+ Education Solutions is here to help with these needs. Rates are reasonable and assistance is personalized to your family’s needs. Because I’m focusing on health and family, slots are limited, but there are a few left and I am happy to put others on my waiting list. For more information, email heatherpwalton@gmail.com or text/call 502-438-4680. I look forward to hearing from you!