Issue #6, February 21, 2004





“Hurry, hurry we’re late!” This refrain is heard in school households daily; perhaps even among homeschooling families it is heard as we rush out to one of our many ‘fun and educational’ activities. But think carefully, is it also the still, small voice in your head saying “my child does not understand how to do long division and they should have ‘gotten that’ by now”? Perhaps for your child the example is reading level, or science, or history, the point remains the same. Why hold your child and by reflection yourself to some arbitrary outside standard of achievement? You are homeschooling your child to help them learn and grow on their own best time-frame, no hurry involved. We spend a great deal of time focusing and working towards who our child is going to be, perhaps too little on who our child already is; the creative, dynamic, bright, funny and sweet person who is already here, and right on time!



Many people can see that, academically, home education is likely to be an improvement on classroom teaching, if only because children have the chance to learn at their own rate, with one-to-one attention.    Research in the USA and elsewhere shows that home educated children tend to achieve academic goals easily, are welcome at university or vocational courses, and are easily able to think for themselves and learn anything they want to learn with confidence.

But there are often reservations about socializing, or 'socialization'.   Are home educated children isolated from other children? Are they able to make friends with a wide variety of people?   Will they be able to fit into society as adults if they haven't been through the ups and downs of school life?  Do they become too dependent on their parents, and reluctant to go out to meet new situations and people?  What do we mean by socialization anyway?

Being sociable

People, on the whole, are social creatures.   Being sociable is part of our nature.  If we allow children to develop in their own way, they will begin to relate to other people when they are ready.  Clearly children do need to meet people in order to be sociable, but home educators don't tend to be isolated from the community!  A child is just as likely - if not more so - to be sociable with one or two people he meets at home than with a class of 30 children who just happen to be the same age as he is. More importantly, he is far more in control of his social life than he would be in school. Parents - who know their children best - can observe, and encourage, and introduce a shy child to other people at relaxed times, in safe environments rather than forcing them into situations where they may become withdrawn, or angry, or upset.

Social skills

Social skills include culturally appropriate manners, knowing how to greet different people, and joining in conversations.  They are the ways we learn to relate to people in order to build relationships, and to be able to communicate and spend time enjoying company.  Our children will primarily learn their social skills and cultural expectations from their parents and those they see around them, so the most important thing you can do is to model the kind of behavior you would like to see. 

Home educated children are likely to meet a wide variety of people during the week. They may well find it interesting to see how, even within one neighborhood, there are many different ways of behaving.  If you are comfortable with your own social skills, it is easier to discuss those of other cultures, and to adapt when appropriate.   Social skills are important so that you put other people at ease, and while some broad skills are culturally expected, many will vary from family to family even within the same culture group. 



You are a slave.
Your body, your time, your very breath belong to a farmer in 1850s Maryland. Six long days a week you tend his fields and make him rich. You have never tasted freedom. You never expect to.

And yet . . . your soul lights up when you hear whispers of attempted escape. Freedom means a hard, dangerous trek. Do you try it?

The word "poet" derives from ancient Greek, where it meant "to make." Before people wrote, they made poems. And still today, people who don't write, make poetry. Even more fundamentally than a writer, then, a poet is a maker, an inventor--in language.

Project Environment: Kids In Action

This site has four main objectives: 1) to educate kids about the environment and the positive and negative effects they can have upon it; 2) to provide both online and at-home activities to reinforce environmental awareness; 3) to highlight the members of SAVE, a group of high school students who have built an environmentally friendly house and whose goal is to educate students and community members about creating and maintaining a healthy environment; and 4) to allow kids to share the ways they have helped the environment themselves.

Get started!


Personal Exam Self-Tester 2.88
Create quizzes for self-training or for use in the classroom.
OS: Windows (all)
File Size: 4.94MB
License: Free to try, $20 to buy

 ASL SLanT: Sign Language Teacher 1.06dna
Learn and practice American Sign Language.
OS: Windows 95/98/NT/2000
File Size: 437K
License: Free

 Maze Magic 1.0
Create unique maze worksheets for your children.
OS: Windows 95/98/Me/NT
File Size: 3.49MB
License: Free to try, $10 to buy


 Liquid Dream 1.0
Log your dreams and track themes with this journal software.
OS: Windows (all)
File Size: 2.9MB
License: Free

Publisher's Description

Liquid Dream is a dream journal designed to teach you how to consciously participate in your personal dreamscape. It allows you to find common themes, characters, objects, locations, and anchors throughout the history of your dreams. It also plots graphs showing repetitive occurrences and dreams, and presents your dreams on a calendar.


  • Before advancing in mathematics, make sure that your child knows his or her multiplication tables.
    Some helpful tools may include the use of flashcards, oral recitation, singing the times tables, and writing them out.  Also, word problems with pictures or realia
    (real life models) sometimes help.  (For example, you can use a carton of one dozen eggs to demonstrate an array of two groups of six eggs equals twelve eggs.)


  • Have your child distinguish between the different styles of writing: descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and expository.  Your upper elementary - high school students can benefit from writing in each of these genres.



  • Remember, learning should be interesting, inspiring, and fun!





2004 Arbor Academy, Inc. and the Arbor Academy  logo are registered trademarks of Arbor Academy, Inc. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.


About this newsletter
ArborLink is published monthly as a free service to Arbor Academy subscribers



Homeschooling Conferences

CHN's 2004 Family Expo

The Riverside Convention Center in Riverside

June 11-12, 2004


Ways of Knowing Trail
Visit a rain forest in the village of Epulu in central Africa to get to know the people and animals who live there. Some local kids will help you learn the secrets of the Ways of Knowing Trail.

 Start Adventure Now!



A Space Science Adventure
by the SETI Institute and Educational Web Adventures

Who's out there? Are humans alone in the universe? Scientists involved in SETI—the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence—are using modern technology to search for the answer to this age-old question.

What if you were hired to lead such a search? Explore what you need to know to design a SETI research project, then test your skills at searching for alien signals!

How will you search?

Where will you search?

What will you look for?






At its peak, the British Empire was the largest formal empire that the world had ever known. As such, its power and influence stretched all over the globe; shaping it in all manner of ways. This site is dedicated to analyzing the history of the British Empire: The triumphs, the humiliations, the good that it brought and the bad that it inflicted. For better or worse the British Empire had a massive impact on the history of the world.


Writing Skills

How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay

While the classic five paragraph essay is a form seldom if ever used by professional writers, it is commonly assigned to students to help them organize and develop their ideas in writing. It can also be a very useful way to write a complete and clear response to an essay question on an exam. It has, not surprisingly, five paragraphs:

  • an introduction
  • three main body paragraphs
  • a conclusion

We'll look at each type of paragraph, and at transitions, the glue that holds them together.


The introduction should start with a general discussion of your subject and lead to a very specific statement of your main point, or thesis. Sometimes an essay begins with a "grabber," such as a challenging claim, or surprising story to catch a reader's attention. The thesis should tell in one (or at most two) sentence(s), what your overall point or argument is, and briefly, what your main body paragraphs will be about.

For example, in an essay about the importance of airbags in cars, the introduction might start with some information about car accidents and survival rates. It might also have a grabber about someone who survived a terrible accident because of an airbag. The thesis would briefly state the main reasons for recommending airbags, and each reason would be discussed in the main body of the essay.

Main Body Paragraphs (3)

Each main body paragraph will focus on a single idea, reason, or example that supports your thesis. Each paragraph will have a clear topic sentence (a mini thesis that states the main idea of the paragraph) and as much discussion or explanation as is necessary to explain the point. You should try to use details and specific examples to make your ideas clear and convincing.


Your conclusion begins with a restatement of your main point; but be sure to paraphrase, not just repeat your thesis sentence. Then you want to add some sentences that emphasize the importance of the topic and the significance of your view. Think about what idea or feeling you want to leave your reader with. The conclusion is the reverse of the introduction in that it starts out very specific and becomes a bit more general as you finish.


Transitions connect your paragraphs to one another, especially the main body ones. It's not effective to simply jump from one idea to the next; you need to use the end of one paragraph and/or the beginning of the next to show the relationship between the two ideas.

Between each paragraph and the one that follows, you need a transition. It can be built in to the topic sentence of the next paragraph, or it can be the concluding sentence of the first. It can even be a little of both. To express the relationship between the two paragraphs, think about words and phrases that compare and contrast.

  • Does the first paragraph tell us a pro and the second a con? ("on the other hand...")
  • Does the second paragraph tell us something of greater significance? ("more importantly.....")
  • An earlier historical example? ("even before [topic of paragraph 1] , [topic of paragraph 2]")
  • A different kind of consideration? (money versus time).

Think about your paragraph topics and brainstorm until you find the most relevant links between them.

You'll also want some kind of transition from the last paragraph to your conclusion. One way is to sum up your third body paragraph with some reminders of your other paragraphs. You don't need to restate the topics fully (that comes in the conclusion) but you can refer to a detail, or example, or character as a way of pulling your ideas together and signaling that you are getting ready to conclude.



Classical Education

By Douglas Wilson
Printed in PHS #6, 1994

Classical learning is called "classical" because future leaders have been trained in its methods for centuries. In fact, some parts of the classical curriculum have been around for millennia.

Classical learning follows a particular pattern called the Trivium -- which consists of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. The students learn the grammar of each subject (that subject's "particulars"). They then learn dialectic, or the relationships of these particulars to one another, and then go on to learn rhetoric. That is, they learn how to express what they have gained in an effective and coherent fashion. The purpose of following this pattern is not to teach the student everything there is to know, but rather to establish in the student a habit of mind which instinctively knows how to learn new material when the formal schooling process is only a faint memory. The student is not so much taught what to think, he is shown how to think.

As Dorothy Sayers, author of the "Lord Wimsy" mysteries and a friend of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, points out in her famous essay, "The Lost Tools of Learning," the three stages of the Trivium match the developmental stages of growing children quite nicely. The very great value of this method is that it provides a rigorous education suited to basic human nature and tested over centuries, rather than one developed from the theories of educational faddists.

Another significant part of the value of classical instruction is that it teaches students the rigors of logical analysis. Our society abounds in buncombe; we desperately need to train people to recognize it, so that someone might take it away. In short, we need more epistemological garbage men. This requires training in logic and the apologetics of Christian worldview thinking. Classical education supplies this in a way not seen elsewhere.

Third, the student learns that our culture and civilization is an outgrowth of the classical, medieval, and reformation world. Modern students must learn that our culture was not purchased for them by their parents at the mall. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, by reading old books the student is protected against some of the sillier mistakes of modernity.


The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child; Volume 1: Ancient Times

The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 2: The Middle Ages

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home







The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 3: Early Modern Times

Oregon Trail 5th Edition

Zoombinis Logical Journey









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