Public Education

This blog provides information on public education in children, teaching, home schooling

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Good Reasons Why You Should Choose Home Schooling for Your Kids

By Mandy McCormick

Home schooling has received a lot of criticism over the years. The sad fact is that most of the criticism is not coming from experts or experienced educators but from ordinary people who did not study the matter. Because of these criticisms, many parents have been discouraged from getting this form of education for their children.

If you are a parent then you should not count out the possibility of providing this schooling for your children just because of what you hear from others. For all you know they are just parroting the words that they in turn have heard without really knowing what they are talking about. You should look into what home schooling can do for your children on your own.

To help you to become an informed parent, I have listed here some of the advantages of this. You might see a similar list and it would contain a lot more, but for simplicity's sake I have decided to cut it down to four advantages which basically cover everything. Here are some of those advantages:

Personal Convictions- Whether we admit it or not, our own convictions and beliefs would play an important role in the way that we raise our children. This would go into how they are educated as well. We want our beliefs to become part of the way that they are taught.

This is why people with strong religious or philosophical convictions opt for home schooling for their kids. That way, they can impart the strong convictions that they have to their kids and they can mold their education so that it can be centered on their beliefs. Critics of this would see this as a negative but others see it as something that's very positive.

The Right Kind of Socialization- Critics of home schooling would say that a child undergoing this form of education is being denied the advantages of being able to socialize with children of their own age. Because of that, they are unable to properly develop their skills when it comes to social interaction.

While it might be true that being able to play and talk with children of their own age is beneficial to them, it is not really that much of a necessity. It is also beneficial to expose them to people of other age groups. They could get role models from those older than themselves and they could play role models in turn to those younger than them. You can do this when you opt for this.

Academic Performance- Perhaps the biggest advantage of this schooling is that children who undergo it usually perform better than children who undergo traditional education. That has been proven by statistics that are available for study.

More Time with Family- When children undergo with this they spend more time with their family. That is something that's missing with the usual form of education, which strengthens the socialization of children with their peers at the price of their relationship with their family.

These are just some of the advantages that you can get from home schooling.

Need home school resources to help you home school your children? Lighthouse Home School Resources offers the latest curriculum that you will need. We have a complete line of the most popular resources available anywhere.
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Homeschooling Due to School Violence Discussed

By Lance Winslow

Not long ago, there was yet another Columbine-like mass school shooting in Connecticut. Consider if you will the violence in our schools, the behavior of the kids, and the lack of ability of the school system to give our children the proper education for our technologically advanced society. After this most recent shooting many people said we needed more gun control of assault rifles.

Well, if we are going to charge the tools used by an individual to carry out a crime, then we must take away everyone's car, so they don't use it in a bank robbery. We must close all the school so no one has a place to congregate. And while we're at it we should close all the malls and movie theaters as well. Are you beginning to see my point and how shallow that argument is for gun control?

Still, if we can't trust our schools to protect our children, maybe we shouldn't send them to school anyway. First, I'd like to say that our schools are doing a lousy job of educating our kids, and many of the kids and young adults coming out of our colleges do not have the skills, temperament, mindset, education, ability, talent, or anywhere close to the experience needed to make it in our technologically advanced society.

You know this is a problem, and it's not something I need to tell you. Rather what I'd like to suggest today is that perhaps you do your own homeschooling, and rid your kids of these terrible violent challenges in our schools. Not to mention the proverbial "bullying" or prisonlike atmosphere when your child gets a rotten teacher who doesn't care, and is only there due to their tenure.

Indeed, I suppose there are many moms who do homeschooling in that small town of Connecticut where the elementary school Sandy Hook shooting took place. Their kids are alive, well, and safe. They won't have the emotional scars to deal with that those other kids will who did watch their classmates, teachers, and the school staff shot up, and killed. May I ask why we send our kids off to school in the first place?

If the schools are not doing a good job teaching our children, and if there is a chance that they could be hurt or killed in the violent act, then why on Earth would we send them to such a place? There also challenges with child molestation teachers from time to time, and other crazy things which happen. Who needs that for our children? If you love your children, you might consider not sending them to school at all. Why would you wish them to be brainwashed by an authoritative system that can't even protect them?

Rather than taking away everyone's guns because some deranged individual shot up some kids in school, why not take away all the schools, save the money, and tell the teachers unions "we don't need you anymore?" I'd say this latest shooting is yet another good reason to homeschool your kids. Please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on the Future of Education. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;
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Finding the Right College Career Advisor

By Andrew Stratton

Choosing the right college career advisor is an important decision. Even if you choose to work with an established company, you still want to find a person that has specific insight into where you want to head and what you need to do to get there. If possible, take some time to meet with the professional in advance and bring along a few questions that will help you decide if this is the person that you want helping you plan out your future.

Experience in the Industry

There are some people that do a great job as a college career advisor. They have plenty of information on how to get into the workforce, how to create a good resume, and even how to set up a perfect interview. However, if you are looking to begin work in a specific industry, there may be things that set this job apart from some of the others. You need someone that has worked in the industry in the past or currently holds down a job in a similar field.

This college career advisor will be able to tell you exactly how the workforce is currently doing, what other applicants are doing to set themselves apart from the others, and what steps you can take to get a head start. A teacher may not understand what it takes to work in the field of engineering, for example. Your goal should be to find someone that has something specific to offer you.

A Successful Reputation

You want to learn from the best and your college career advisor should be someone that has found success in his or her current industry. This is the type of person that will be able to provide you with advice. You want to follow in the footsteps of the best. At the initial consultation, don't be afraid to ask the professional about his or herself. You need to know where the job has taken this person and consider whether or not this is the same path that you want to follow. The more information that you have about this person's professional life, the better.

Someone to Relate to

Even if a person has a lot of experience in the industry and is at the top of his or her field, if you cannot relate or communicate with this person, there is a good chance that this is not the college career advisor for you. You are going to be spending considerable time with this person learning about how to put together a resume and cover letter or discussing which types of internships and programs will best suit you and your future plans. If you cannot work with this person and keep things moving in a positive way, it may be time to look elsewhere.

A college career advisor from can assist you in a number of ways.
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The Basics About the National Physical Therapy Exam

By Will Crane

The National Physical Therapy Exam (or NPTE) is the measuring stick by which all new physical therapy graduates are measured. To get into PT school, you had to overcome many course exams, and most schools require the GRE to even apply, but the NPTE is in a league of its own.

As of 2012, there are 24,848 students enrolled in 211 PT programs throughout the USA according to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Each of these students must graduate from a CAPTE accredited school and take and pass the NPTE in order to begin their career as an entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy.

The NPTE is an exam that is designed to not just test the basic recall memory of PT students. From personal experience, I can tell you that the questions on the NPTE really stretch your skills of clinical reasoning and putting multiple subject materials into on problem. The entire exam is comprised of multiple choice questions that can trick even the most seasoned veterans.

Who Designs the NPTE?

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) creates and maintains the test in a fashion that is constantly updated and improved. The exam's purpose is to evaluate each potential clinician to make sure they have the basic skills required to practice effectively and safely. With an ever-growing body of evidence, it is increasingly important for the test to reflect current practices in the field of physical therapy.

How is the Test Administered?

The NPTE is administered through the chain of Prometric testing centers throughout the country. Each candidate must first obtain an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter that verifies that a student has completed the appropriate PT training. This registration can be performed at the FSBPT website.

How do I Register?

All registration must be completed through the FSBPTwebsite. The description can be a little confusing, so here goes the simplified version:

1- Obtain a licensure application from your state board of licensing. This link will take you to a page listing all the contact information of each state board. There is typically an application fee and a licensure fee (total approx. $100 depending on the state)

2- Officially register for the NPTE on the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website

a. Fees as of 11/2012 are $370 for both the PT/PTA exams

b. Some states have fees for the Jurisprudence Exam, but most are free and "open-book" as a part of the state licensure application.

c. You must provide accurate information about who you are and where you went to school.

3- The state will then approve your eligibility for the exam and submit it to the FSBPT.

4- FSBPT will then send you an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter which you will use to actually schedule a testing date with a Prometric testing center to sit for the exam.

5- The NPTE is now using FIXED-DATE testing, meaning that you can only take the test on 4 possible dates.

6- Study Hard! If all goes well, and you pass with flying colors, FSBPT will transmit the score directly to the state where you applied. If you pass, the state will then issue you a license number and send you a physical copy within a couple of weeks. To find out faster, I called my state authority directly and was given my score.

What is a Passing Score?

This is probably the hardest question to answer. The short answer is 600/800.

The long answer is this:

The exam has 250 questions on it, but only 200 are scored. They add 50 extra questions to "test" their testability to make sure they are not too hard or too easy. When you are taking the test, THERE IS NO WAY to distinguish these unscored items from the scored questions. Therefore, answer every question like it counts!

Each question is then scaled into the perfect 800 score. The FSBPT then tweaks the passing score of 600 up or down to give some leeway for a test that is "too easy," or "too hard."

The bottom line is that you have no way of knowing if your test is "easy" or "hard," so I would recommend not worrying about the details. Just do your best and study all of the available material. Check for the current pass rates published by FSPBT.

Study Options-- go to
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Tips for Taking the National Physical Therapy Exam

By Will Crane

Nothing is more important at this stage of your career than preparing for the National Physical Therapy Exam. After all, you've been a physical therapy student for 3 long years, and you're ready to move on to the next step of your life. It's just a little exam-how bad could it be?

Format of the Exam

The NPTE is a 5 hour exam that attempts to test every facet of your clinical reasoning skills. It has 250 multiple choice questions that will tax every ounce of critical thinking you have. The passing score is 600/800, or 75%, but there is some variability to this score. The Federation for State Boards of Physical Therapy (who administers the test) will adjust the passing score slightly to account for exams that are generally harder or easier than normal.

The questions for the exam are constantly changing to reflect current best practice in physical therapy. Of the 250 questions, 50 will not be scored and are "pilot questions" that will be judged on their difficulty and may be included as scored items on future exams. There is no way of distinguishing between the 200 scored items and the 50 "test" questions. This means that you could miss 50 questions and still receive a perfect score! Don't count on it, though.

Preparing for the Exam

If you're reading this during the last semester of your third year of PT school, you're probably going to wish that you had started studying a little sooner. If you're in your second year, you're probably going to ace the thing because you've started studying early. Really, the most important part of your preparation is starting early. The test gives you 5 hours to test your knowledge of 3 years' worth of classwork. In fact, I realized when I was preparing for it that there were some things that we had only had very brief exposure to, such as patient safety details and ethical dilemmas. While we had some experience and knowledge to draw from, we hadn't really been exposed to a test that integrated things like that into the anatomy and physiology of physical therapy. Thus, gaining exposure to these sorts of questions and exam formats is critical.

Now, if you search the internet for the best PT exam study guides, you'll come up with about 6-10 solid programs that do their best to train you for the test in a variety of ways. The hard part is trying to figure out which one is the best fit for you. Some use just a textbook with sample questions and review guides, while others integrate a weekend review course into the study material. It's a big decision trying to figure out whom to go with, but if you don't want to have to buy all of them on your slim student budget, go to this review guide to compare all of the systems.

If you learn nothing else from reading this, just remember- Study Early and Often!
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How Homeschool Teachers Can Build on Student's Pre-Existing Knowledge

By Dr Rebecca Keller

Pre-existing knowledge is always a factor in how a student learns something new - it's just how we, as humans, are wired. Even babies, with their very limited knowledge, use what they already know to learn new things, such as basic concepts about spatial relationships, movement and facial expressions. Previously learned information functions as a filter through which all new information must flow. During this process it is categorized and connected - sometimes accurately, sometimes not - to fit into the existing framework of knowledge.

Knowing that all students - even our own kids - have very personalized ways of thinking about things based on prior experience and knowledge, the homeschool teacher can use it to his or her advantage in the classroom. Here are three ways that students' pre-existing knowledge can positively affect homeschool teaching.

Environmental Influence

The setting in which a child learns influences how information is processed. For instance, if you have set aside a particular room in your home for teaching or perhaps even a dedicated space where science experiments take place, that association is important to your child. It is up to you, as the homeschool teacher, to ensure that the associations with this space are positive and do everything possible to encourage investigation, exploration and "what if" questioning.

Another way you can use the learning environment to your advantage is by taking your child out on "field trips" to places associated with science and other school subjects, such as a museum. Your child's pre-existing knowledge tells him or her that this place is for both fun and education and that association is a positive one upon which you can build by using innate enthusiasm.

Information Organization

When teaching children, it is important that the methodology help them properly organize new information to fit with pre-existing knowledge. This helps them transfer the new information learned to future, unique situations.

This can be achieved through a building block process of learning where the student is given a strong foundation of core concepts. Only after those core concepts are firmly in place should advanced learning occur so that students know how and where to organize complex information. The solid foundation becomes the pre-existing knowledge to which new information is added over time.

Social Norms

And finally, the way a teacher manages the homeschool classroom (consciously or unconsciously) also has a bearing on the application of pre-existing knowledge to new concepts. Teachers who rule their classrooms strictly and do not encourage exploration set that norm. It could be that you expect so much from your children they are reluctant to ask questions when they don't thoroughly understand a concept you are teaching. When it comes to science, this is often reflected by parents setting a goal of rote memorization (the periodic table, the solar system, etc.) when it's really much more beneficial to help your kids learn scientific inquiry. When you make this the expectation in your homeschool classroom, it will come easily to your students and allow them to expect the freedom to experiment and investigate science.

Pre-existing knowledge always plays a part in learning. Homeschool teachers who discover how to take advantage of this fact by providing the right environment, a learning structure that encourages organization and a set of expectations congruent with exploration will do the greatest good in helping their children learn.

Real Science-4-Kids frames science in a way that encourages kids to examine opposing models. To find out more about our curriculum, which provides a framework for teaching the process of learning, check out our website. You can see the full text of all our textbooks online for free, so you can decide for yourself if our homeschool science book bundles are the teaching aids you want for your child.

Find out more about the worldview neutral Real Science 4 Kids curriculum created by Dr. Rebecca Keller, herself a homeschool mom, and other home school teaching resources on our Real Science blog.
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Distance Learning for Homeschool High School Students

By Lee Binz

As many high school students consider their options after graduation, more and more are choosing to pursue distance learning. One of the most versatile of the distance learning methods is the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), which allows students to achieve college credit by demonstrating their knowledge through testing. However, this program is not restricted to graduates; many students pursue CLEP credit while still in high school, and go on to enter college with multiple credits already earned.

Although CLEP credit is accepted by a majority of universities, it's important to check the policies of the school your student is interested in attending, so that you comply with their requirements. Testing centers are located at many major universities and in many cities, and you can find the one closest to you by visiting the CLEP website.

There are several ways to find out whether your student knows enough to take a CLEP test. One way is to follow behind your child and track what they have learned naturally from their studies. Many prolific readers acquire knowledge this way. Our youngest son, who read economics books all the time, learned this way, so we gave him a sample economics CLEP test, and he passed it. Then we knew that he could pass the actual CLEP test and get credit for what he knew.

Another way to know whether your child has the required knowledge to earn credit is to plan ahead. With this method, you decide in advance that you want your child to learn a specific class, like Psychology. Purchase books, resources and study materials, and let child study for the subject test. Once you are sure that they can pass it, register for them to take that CLEP test at your local testing center.

There are two different study guides that will be helpful to you, both in learning about CLEP and determining whether your child is ready to test. The first one is the "CLEP Official Study Guide" which gives you a very general assessment. It has one sample test in each of the different subject areas available. This book will give you a quick assessment of whether your child can pass a particular CLEP test.

After you determine that your student will pass a subject test, in depth preparation is the next step for test success. The second book, the CLEP study guide for the particular test subject, is the next resource you will want. There are different brands available, but the one that I preferred was the "REA Study Guide." These seemed to be the easiest to use, and they received the highest rankings for being the most accurate.

Make sure that your student is ready to take the test before they try, because once they take it, they must wait 6 months before taking it again if they don't pass the first time. For complete information on CLEP, check out their website at

Lastly, don't forget to give your student high school credit when they pass a CLEP test! If they have demonstrated a college amount of knowledge, they should definitely get credit for it on their high school transcript.

If you need more help with creating a homeschool transcript, my Total Transcript Solution will show you how to create an AMAZING homeschool transcript that will impress the colleges! In addition to a transcript, having great homeschool records when applying to colleges can help gain college admission and scholarships.

Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, is a homeschool high school expert. Both her two boys earned full-tuition scholarships at their first choice university.
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