Pam Sorooshian


By Ronald E. Johnson, C.Ph.D.

Lt. Colonel Bushue (SAC) taught me a valuable life lesson: identify what
you want to do, assess options, make a plan, outline your steps to get
there, obtain needed resources, and focus on daily priorities that lead
to goal achievement. That is the strategy for most successful military
operations. An effective home school program follows a similar
prescription. Without a clearly defined home school plan, life can
quickly "turn south", especially with teenagers.

Here are some practical strategies my wife and I applied with our
seven children. Had these procedures not been in operation, my family
would have experienced unnecessary stress and disappointment in our home
school efforts.especially during the extended times when I was required
to be away from home.

1. First, decide how you want to conduct your home school. You
have five basic options:

a. Virtual schools These are via the internet and can be
expensive and frustrating if you have multiple age-grade levels among
your children who need access to the internet and computer. Some
virtual school providers offer turn-key packages. Others offer
basically on-line guidance and assistance for standard textbooks.

b. Packaged programs These are school-in-a-box products:
everything you need to complete specified courses, some of which require
a great deal of academic expertise from Mom. The range of "Mom
friendliness" varies dramatically!

c. Eclectic This simply means that the parents pick and chose
curriculum from a wide range of resources, including encyclopedias,
literature books, magazines, CDs, unit studies, field trips,
conferences, and hardback textbooks. The advantage is that students
experience a great deal of emotional and academic stimulation. The
disadvantage is that students are often victims of lack of parental
organization and scheduling.

d. Lock-step This means that children are taught in grade level
textbooks and/or computer software as in public schools. Mom prepares
lesson plans for each course for each child (usually very late at
night), and "teaches" lessons during the day. The advantage is
availability of a planned scope and sequence. The disadvantage is that
Mom has to give constant, step-by-step, hands-on, undivided attention to
each child.

e. Guided individualized learning This approach allows the
parents to plan the academic prescription for each child. Then, place
them in curriculum that is designed to be completed with minimum
parental, hands-on oversight. The advantages are that the mother is
free to supervise multiple grade levels and subjects simultaneously,
students experience accelerated learning, and Mom is relieved from the
requirement to be an academic expert in subjects that are challenging to
her knowledge, skills and confidence. The disadvantage is that the
students must exercise a great deal of self-discipline to stay focused
on print or computer software that requires the students to "figure it out."

2. The second decision concerns values you want to incorporate in
the instructional materials for each child. Your options are basically

a. Secular textbooks/software, as used in public schools

b. Religious textbooks/software, as used in church schools

c. Virtue-based books/software, as used in both religious and
secular schools.

3. The third area concerns the system you will implement in your
home. Your options are these:

a. Hire a service organization to order your preferred materials
and keep all student records for a fee.

b. Work with a home school support group regarding book procurement
and records.

c. Set up your own program in which you order materials, keep
records, provide guidance, and maintain transcripts.

4. The fourth concern is to asses your strengths and skills to
implement an effective home school program that fits your home (rather
than the homes of friends). You should consider the following questions:

a. Do you feel confident and capable of preparing and teaching
daily lessons in all subjects for all the grade levels of your children?
If not, select individualized materials.

b. Do you want to use the internet? If so, each child will need
access to a computer.

c. Do you want to use programmed curriculum that does not require
you to plan or teach each lesson to each child? If so, you may use the
computer and/or individualized books.

d. Do you plan to provide hands-on instruction for each child every
morning and/or afternoon? If so, be sure you are a person with great
organizational skills and can multi-task without stress!

e. Do you want/need guidelines for a daily system that provides
academic oversight of your children? If so, you must be prepared to pay
for outside services that are either on a one-time or on-going basis.

f. Do you want/need to belong to a local home-school support
group that provides assistance with book procurement, tutorials, field
trips, graduation ceremonies, report cards and transcripts? (highly
recommended!) Check the internet for "home school support groups" in
your geographic area. These are usually listed under city, county or
state classifications.

g. Do you want an eclectic approach in which you provide oversight
while your children read specific books, participate in field trips,
engage in tutorials, take lessons from other teachers (music, art,
chemistry lab, archery, etc)? If so, be prepared to make adjustments
for inefficiency, lack of self-discipline, and boredom. The eclectic
approach is sometimes beneficial for specific periods of a child's
development, but if it is the primary system, it often results in
students not being prepared for the rigors of college studies. Nor does
it allow the student to transfer course credits to regular schools in
the event the home school experience is no longer an option.

5. The fifth concern (and perhaps the most important one) is
selection of curriculum. Be sure you select curriculum appropriate for
each student in the home. One size and format usually does not fit all
children! One will need almost constant hands-on attention. Others
need only to be pointed in the right direction and turned lose to
complete academic prescriptions. Children are usually predominately
choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, or melancholy, and either right or left
brain-dominant. Thus, they will perform more effectively when allowed to
learn from the curriculum and a system that "caters to" their
temperament and brain dominance. Right brain students tend to do better
in hands-on systems that allow a variety, mobility, and freedom to set
some priorities. Caution: sanguine and right-brain children tend to get
side-tracked easily and often, therefore need/require parental oversight
that ascertains completion of specific daily lessons. Phlegmatic
children tend to be laid back and easy going.never getting too concerned
about completing daily school assignments. Left-brain dominant students
(often choleric and melancholy) usually do well with structured
curriculum that allows the student freedom to set specific daily pages,
projects, lessons and assignments with minimum parental oversight.
Thus, one particular type of curriculum may not be adequate for all the
children in the family.

6. Another concern is that of keeping students focused. Most
children need at least four hours per day of focused learning. Stretch
and/or "chore breaks" of ten to fifteen minutes every hour help break up
the day, and avoid the tendency for boredom and fatigue. Soothing
instrumental music played softly in the room reduces anxiety and impact
of distractive noises (vacuum cleaner, highway traffic, crying baby).
Loud talking or media noise should be avoided. Using an academic
contract and daily goal chart helps the student learn to set his/her
daily pace to ascertain that course work is completed by pre-determined
times and dates. Parents should be available to monitor student
behavior and progress, and to teach or tutor specific lessons or
subjects as needed or scheduled. A good reminder is "A child left to
himself will bring his mother shame."

My boot camp sergeant taught me a valuable sequence that has kept me
focused throughout life. Here are his requirements which I recommend
that parents establish in their home-school program:

a. Get up at a set time each morning,

b. Make your bed immediately after the feet hit the floor,

c. Put away sleeping attire and then dress appropriately for the day,

d. Line up shoes under the bed and hang excess garments on the
clothes rack,

e. Report to breakfast at a set time, participate in appropriate
discussions, eat quietly, put away dirty dishes, and write down orders
for the day,

f. Report for duty promptly, fulfill responsibilities and address
needs that develop.

These concerns are legitimate. However, they are not to be viewed as
barriers to parents who are timed about attempting to home educate their
children. My wife and I home-schooled our seven children at various
times during their lives. We have not regretted that decision to be in
control of their education. Every day was not necessarily easy or even
pleasant. But the final result was worth the effort.


Dr. Johnson served with the Strategic Air Command in Arizona and Alaska.
He graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA, M.Ed, Ed,S.,
and earned a C.Ph.D. from the International Institute after completing
post-graduate studies at the University of Illinois and Southwest Texas
State University. He and his wife, Nancy, live on their ranch in
Zephyr, Texas. He is founder and president of Paradigm Accelerated
Charter Schools and Curriculum.

For more information about Paradigm home school curriculum and programs,
visit or correspond with Dr. Johnson at
Learn@..., P.O. Box 3159, Early, Texas 76802 or PH:325-649-0976.


Ack! Sound of gagging........

Sandra Dodd

-=-SO he wanted to raise soldiers not kids right?-=-

Yes, Ma'am!

[from another thread]

-=-I'm a he. -=-

Sorry, Sir!


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Hey! He forgot unschooling!!

I couldn't get that Shouting in a Monotone Voice of a Drill Sergeant out of my head while I was reading this. This is incredible and a real reminder and wake up call(via bugle)that we unschoolers are certainly forging a different, and better, path.

Favorite part: "Make your bed immediately after the feet hit the floor. Put away sleeping attire and then dress appropriately for the day." (Sleeping attire?? As Bill Murray said in Stripes, "Don't you think this guy's overdoing it a bit?")


--- In [email protected], Pam Sorooshian <pamsoroosh@...> wrote: