Astronomy in “The Hobbit”

Written with Permission
By Jay Ryan

J.R.R Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle Earth is populated by many unusual races, for which the author created elaborate panoply of languages, poetry, cultures, and back-stories. Since Middle Earth is a medieval, pre-industrial society, Tolkien did not neglect to depict pre-industrial techniques for measuring the passage of time. In our modern society, we rely on artificial clocks and calendars to keep track of time for us, but our friends from Middle Earth had to rely on those natural timekeepers used throughout our own pre-industrial history . . . the Sun and Moon. (more…)

Paperwork for the Home School Family

Written with Permission
By Malia Russell

Taxes. Medical bills. Permission slips. Calendars. Rosters. Phone trees. Papers to grade. Schoolwork to file. Artwork by children. Prayer journals. Bills. Bank statements. Ads. Junk mail. Newspapers. Magazines. Legal paperwork.

No wonder the word paperwork has a bad reputation. It seems benign as it quietly seeps into our happy homes. Then it gets stacked, piled, filed, pushed, dumped, hidden, and crammed until it can no longer be ignored. Finally, in frustration or out of necessity, we spend half a day struggling with paperwork. One curse of the electronic age is the speed with which we can take a single message, mass produce it, and send it all over the globe. Unfortunately, paperwork is one area we simply cannot afford to ignore.

Although I have not yet found a solution to eliminate the constant deluge of paper found in our homes, I have found that there are some things you can do to make handling all that paperwork a little easier. (more…)

Apps in Home Education

Written with Permission
By Sharra Badgely


Mobile technology is growing like never before. In 2012, continued growth in technology is forecast as people worldwide continue to adopt emerging technologies. Do you currently own a mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet, or e-reader? Or do you plan to buy a mobile device in the coming year for use in your homeschool and household? If so, you are part of the growing community of digital natives who experts estimate will download a possible 50 billion apps in 2012.

Many beneficial apps are available for educational use. Students can learn, play, and communicate with digital media as never before. As most homeschooling families can testify, learning is truly fun, and educational apps provide a high-interest mechanism to stimulate learning. Thousands of educational apps are available in the Apple App Store and Android Market, and each month we will highlight a few of our top picks.

Here is a listing of a few apps: (more…)