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Dear Readers:

Since it is the commemoration of the beginning of the Independence of our country, we felt it appropriate to publish an article my wife, Mary, and I wrote a few years ago for our homeschooling magazine, The Link Homeschool Magazine. It is called “Samuel Smith, an American” and we hope you find a resonance with it. Our second article, “A Liberal Education” by Robert Livingstone, is taken from a 1955 essay for the Great Books Foundation and sets forth a variety of significant ideas about “average” people being consumers versus thinkers in the modern era. We wish you a happy and rewarding 4th of July and thank you for reading our publications.

Michael Leppert

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Since 1995, The Link Homeschool Magazine has been the premier non-religious/non-secular alternative education publication in No. America. We respect all philosophies and styles of homeschooling and home-centered life. Hard copy and digital editions are FREE and we never rent or sell any of our lists.

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Real Authentic Women

Assessment by Valerie Schuetta, M.A. Reading Specialist

As a Reading Specialist, I am always looking for fun, engaging activities that will enhance my students’ success in reading. The students I work with are considered high-risk for reading failure, so it is important to me that they are highly motivated and engaged in the lesson. The lessons I present consist of letter and sound activities, sight words, a phonemic awareness lesson, and reading for fluency. I especially like teaching phonemic awareness because it is the one component of reading that I feel you can have the most fun with and the activities can be very engaging, especially to younger students.

As any Reading Specialist knows, if a reading program is to be effective, especially for beginner readers, phonemic awareness should be at the top of the list, and for good reason. If a child is going to become a successful reader, how well he or she does with phonemic awareness will significantly improve their success in reading. I am always searching for new ways to teach phonemic awareness, especially lessons that appeal to the different learning styles.

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Smart Tutor

Museum Section

Samuel Smith, an American
By Mary and Michael Leppert

Before you read this story, please suspend your sense of the unrealistic, as the past and present are being mixed for effect. If you would, just relax your mind for a moment, vividly picturing as you read.

Samuel Smith is 6 feet tall, weighs 195 solid, muscular pounds and is 43-years-old. Samuel wears rough clothes and boots, as befits one who works for a living, and he has a strong, calm gaze that has seen faraway things. His thick, brown hair never quite stays combed, but sticks out on its own, especially when he works and perspires. Samuel is quite literate, having read The Federalist Papers and understood them enough to discuss and debate them with his neighbors. The time is 1790, in the United States, nearly 20 years after the Declaration of Independence lit the fire of war between the Colonies and the Mother Country, Britain.

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Family Tools

Learning Rivers

Zion Academy

American Cap & Gown
By Michael Leppert

P.O. Box 115
Springfield, NJ 07081

One element of homeschooling that adult friends and family wonder about when parents decide to homeschool is the traditional element of graduation and the feeling of closure these ceremonies bring. To ensure that their children experience this wonderful feeling of completion of a major task, many homeschool support groups, Independent Study Programs and charter schools around the country, provide graduation ceremonies for the traditional events – Kindergarten, eighth grade and high school graduations, as well as award presentations and other year-end ceremonies to mark completions of various projects.

American Cap and Gown is the leader in ceremonial graduation products, including diplomas, soft and hard diploma covers, for kindergarten and older grads; year-date pendants; a wide assortment of medallions and ribbons for all ages that honor outstanding academic performance, sports achievements -- and even one especially for homeschoolers, complete with a red, white and blue ribbon!; tassels that can come in a variety of color combinations (even teddy bear varieties for kinder grads); colorful collars and of course caps, tams, gowns and V-stoles for all sizes of grads. They even offer Kente cloth gowns, caps and stoles for African-American grads who wish to display their heritage!

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AMerican Cap n Gown

A Liberal Education
by Robert Livingstone, Foreword by Michael Leppert

The following is an essay taken from the 1955 edition of the Great Books Primer, published by the Great Books Foundation. I found the Primer at a “Friends of the Library” sale for a quarter! As a homeschooling father, I am constantly striving to increase my knowledge and intellectual understanding. I feel I owe it to my son to make the attempt, even if I fail on occasion. Many homeschooling parents feel the same way and my question is: “Why shouldn’t everyone?”

I wanted to share this essay with you because without intending to, Mr. Livingstone cogently analyzes the negative condition -- and therefore, the beginnings of a solution -- to what I feel is a modern American tragedy: The comfortably-accepted idea that “average” people should be consumers, but not thinkers; breadwinners, but not philosophers; workers, but without the expectation of possessing a fully-functioning brain. When I was in high school, I did not understand why it was accepted that the blue-collar, factory-working fathers and the white-collar office-working people, could come home from work night after night, sit in front of the tube after dinner until sleep overcame them, and then stumble off to bed. They read only the newspaper -- never a book.

I recall comparing notes with my friends about their fathers (and mothers) relating to this phenomenon and only once did I encounter a father who actually read and thought. He was a barber and a sculptor. Years after high school, his son and I were band-mates, rooming together, and the son read me a sophisticated, polished letter from his dad describing his artistic frustration and some of his aspirations. It was shocking to me to hear someone from my father’s generation write in a style and about a topic I could closely relate to! It was the first clear, personal proof I had that that generation actually had “soul.”

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Peterson Handwriting

Math Without Borders

Nelson Academy of Agriculture

Nostalgia and Now – Handwriting and Technology
By Nan Barchowsky, http://www.bfhhandwriting.com/

As I see items in the media about the future of handwriting, the quotation immediately comes to Mind: “Technology propels us into a period of transition.” Communication has a major role.

Handwriting evolves throughout history. The discoveries of the printing press -- and much later the typewriter -- were momentous. Handwriting survived both. It may again survive.

Nostalgia aside, the sort of looped cursive commonly practiced today may become obsolete; replaced by something better-suited to our evolving time. Handwriting must be easier to learn and teach than either print-like script or looped cursive and it should retain legibility.

Current research proves that children gain greater cognition with alphabetic shapes formed by hand, than they do with keyboarding. As a hand moves around the lines that shape letters, images are implanted in motor memory to be used for writing and for reading.

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Barchowsky Hand Writing

NUV Academy

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