Monthly Archives: September 2011

It’s Time to Register for the PSAT

ExamIt’s that time of year where high school students who are considering applying to college should be looking into what standardized tests they want/need to take this year. The one test that is the most complicated for homeschoolers to register for is the PSAT. For some reason, the PSAT test administration is arranged by the school itself, so you cannot just go online and register for it like you can for all of the other standardized college entrance exams. Instead, you need to contact your local high school(s) and see if they will allow your student to test there. I have heard that private schools can be more homeschool friendly in this regard, though none of my three older children had any trouble with the local school (other than it was weird to show up at the school on a Wed. and try to figure out where to go).

The PSAT is administered only one time a year. This year, schools will be administering the PSAT on Wednesday, October 12th OR Saturday, October 15th (the school chooses one date). If your student is going to take the PSAT this year, you should start contacting your local high school(s) ASAP.

The PSAT is a good practice test to prepare for the SAT, but more importantly, if taken during the student’s junior year, it can get him entered into the running for a National Merit Scholarship. While, not the largest scholarship, monetary-wise, a National Merit Scholarship looks really good on college applications and I have heard via the grapevine that it can help pave the way for other scholarships.

Your student should also enter in your state’s homeschool code on the test form so that the test results will be sent to you and not the school that administered the test. Your student should also be wary of “helpful” test administrators who try to get him to change his code to the “correct” school code (some administrators have been known to actually change the code on a student’s form, thinking the student made a mistake).

Labels: High School
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Montessori Mondays–Apple Sensory Tub

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I’ve been a bit quiet about our homeschooling the last month or so because we never start “school” around here until at least one week after the public schools go back, which was September 6th in our district. So today was our first official day of homeschooling. As Dora is officially in “preschool” now, I’m trying to introduce her to some structured “academic” learning, but practical life and sensorial work will still be our main focus this year. So I thought it would be fun to start participating in Living Montessori Now’s Montessori Mondays.

Our September sensory tub was apple-themed. I used red aquarium gravel for the base. I included artificial apples, cinnamon sticks, fall colored bells, gems, and pom poms, and red and green rubber spikey balls.


A big difference between this year’s tub and last year’s apple-themed tub, was the variety of activities Dora did. Of course, she did the requisite sensory exploration and gravel pouring. She also, however, strung the bells on to one of her lacing strings.


She spooned the gems, rather than just dumping them.


She even used the “reverse tongs” (they open when you squeeze, which is the opposite of  most tongs) to tong the spikey balls.


As you can see in the bell stringing photo, a lot of gravel ended up on the floor. This happens with all of her tubs. I know some children are able to contain the mess, but Dora gets so focused on pouring and scooping, that things gets spilled in the process, even with trays. I’m going to invest in a Montessori mat to see if we can contain the mess some more, but right now I feel that the amount of time I spend cleaning up these messes is well worth what she gets out of working with the gravel, beans, rice, etc. It does help that I have her work in our guest room, which is not used much, so I don’t have to clean up every day (I can just shut the door and not look at it Smile ).

I’m linking this post to:

Labels: Montessori, Preschool, Summer, This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Free Entrance to National Parks on September 24th

In celebration of National Public Lands Day and Worldwide Day of Play admission will be free to all 395 National Parks. To further enrich your experience, there is even  curriculum for some of the parks. Did you know that many of our national historic sites and natural wonders are National Parks also? For instance, the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, Antietam National Battlefield, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Cape Cod National Seashore, Death Valley National Park, and Aztec Ruins National Monument are all National Parks and would make wonderful field trip destinations for some interesting history or science lessons. I find that one of the joys of homeschooling is having the flexibility to incorporate more field trips into my kids education.

Labels: Field Trips, Freebies
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

2011 Lego Smart Creativity Contest

This year, the Lego Smart Creativity Contest has a page just for homeschoolers! This contest is a little different than many contests as the entrant is the homeschool educator, not the student. From the site:

Each contestant will have exactly 150 seconds (2.5 minutes) to create a video that showcases how they use LEGO® Education materials within their homeschool curriculum to engage students and create tomorrow’s innovators…

…Prizes will consist of LEGO Education gift certificates valued at $2,500 for the first place winner and $5,000 for the grand prize winner! All winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to the Education Summit hosted by LEGO Education and National Instruments in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 16, 2011, where they will participate in a panel discussion about their entry and the use of LEGO Education materials in their classroom…

…To participate in the 2011 LEGO Smart Creativity Contest you must be a registered K-12 homeschool educator residing in the United States. Contest registration begins August 1, 2011, and ends October 14, 2011. No late registrations will be accepted.

The most important thing to note right now is that the deadline for entries is 5 p.m. CST on Friday, October 14, 2011.

Labels: High School
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff