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Dear Readers:

This week we offer you two more articles to aid you in your homeschooling journey. First, is an essay "Picking a Writing Program" by the late Dave Marks, developer of the acclaimedWriting Strands Program. On a lighter, but significant note, Emerson Sandow, a regular contributor to The Link Homeschool Magazine, offers "Answer the Phone . . . Speak!" discussing how isolated we are becoming because of our phones and tablets and whatnot. As always, thank you for reading our work!

Michael Leppert

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Real Authentic Women

SkaZooms – Great Toys for Your Home X-Games From JAX!
By Janet Esposito

We affectionately refer to my youngest son as The Safety Inspector. If a toy has some kind of structural defect, he will find it within seconds and break it. It is an incredible process to watch, mostly because of his speed, but it forces me to become a toy repair specialist and glue connoisseur. He loves toy cars, so I have a box of teeny tiny wheels, which of course, are neither interchangeable nor traceable to their car of origin. He loves skateboarders, but the boards alone do not interest him and the ones with figures are never balanced correctly. He loves action figures, but I also am the proud owner of a box of toy heads, arms, and other body parts that have obviously failed to pass the Safety Inspection. In my search for a solution, I found SkaZooms.

SkaZooms are a line of new toys that encourage both imaginative and active play. Each unique character comes with its own custom helmet and board that easily snap together. They glide quickly over any smooth surface, without batteries or those tiny wheels that constantly fall off. The entire toy is incredibly well-made, especially when compared to similar toys on the shelves. These are sturdy figures that are ready for real kids who love to play.


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Jax

Picking a Writing Program
By Dave Marks

When I talk homeschooling parents about teaching children to write, they often mention how hard they find it. It’s like there’s a huge empty space out there called "Teaching Writing" and there are no clear rules written anywhere to explain how to do what they know has to be done.

After 30 years teaching writing in schools and 15 years working with homeschoolers, I’ve been exposed to a few ideas that work and many ideas I know don’t. There may not be just one way to teach anything, but there are some ideas which, when examined, are ineffectual.

Acknowledging that teaching writing is very complicated, you’d have to agree that a simple solution to such a complicated problem can’t work. This should eliminate in your mind all those programs that tell you learning to write is easy or it’s simple to teach kids to write. It’s not.

There are some teaching programs it might be wise to ask questions about before you adopt them:


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American Academy

Runkle Publishing


The Speech Wizard

Shawn Manvell is a Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, Pediatric Feeding Therapy, and Assistive Technology Specialist. She owns a private practice in Camarillo California where she lives with her 5 year old daughter, two horses, two dogs and two cats. She holds a master’s degree in Communication Disorders & Sciences from California State University, Northridge. For over 20 years Shawn has dedicated herself to helping families with children who have special developmental needs. She has volunteered at United Cerebral Palsy, therapeutic horseback riding, and as a respite care provider for various families and agencies.

Shawn was persuaded to become a speech-language therapist through different occurrences in her life. A combination of experiences, events, and people influenced her career path decision, starting with childhood helping her younger brother’s delayed speech and language development, and continuing into her professional work now at her private practice. With each experience, Shawn has the fortunate opportunity to see, feel, and hear the differences she makes to positively impact children’s lives. With a lifelong dedication and passion to the field of speech-language pathology, she feels that she practices with the highest of standards to greatly improve people’s quality of life through communication skills. She is determined, as well as confident in her ability, to continue and expand the feeling of gratification and satisfaction that she receives from providing quality services as a speech-language pathologist and assistive technology specialist.

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The Speech Wizard

WallWords

Answer the Phone . . . Speak!
By Emerson Sandow

For some reason unfathomable to me, it has become fashionable to (1) not answer the phone and (2) not return phone calls. This is especially true in business, where somehow, people who make a living from communicating to others and being communicated with, think that they can just ignore phone calls and messages ad infinitum. Such an ignoring of phone calls places many businesses in a precarious position, since their e-mail programs – not they, themselves -- often determine what is “spam” to be rejected -- and what is not. Therefore, many people who try to communicate with a business will not be able to do so. I make it a habit to never patronize a business that does not have substantial contact information available and where someone answers the phone, at least on my second attempt. Those who do not answer the phone do not provide proper customer service, so I will not become a customer.

But, this same strange tendency to avoid contact is also rife in personal communications. We all have become so insulated with our little worlds of texting and Internet voyeurism, that we see human interaction as an interruption!

For those of us who grew up in a world of human interaction and personal contact, not only is this phenomenon perplexing, but somehow, it is not fatal. . . the foundation of our personality is built on interaction with other people and often intimate contact with them. However, for the upcoming generation, this intentional isolation may prove very harmful. Imagine if a massive, long-range power failure occurs. These isolated individuals will break out in a cold sweat at the prospect of having to speak directly with someone. They won’t have texting to rely on, so they might actually have to say “be right back” not “brb”. Will they even know how to utter such brief statements? These same people might have to sit in a group without constantly checking their phones for trivial messages and photos of a friend’s next meal. Que horrible!

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Analytical Grammar

Math Nook

Seela Science

Writing Strands

Unleash the Genius in Your Child

Every child can learn. Sometimes they just need an engaging teacher or personalized instruction. GiftedandTalented.com, the premier online courseware, developed by Stanford University, offers Kindergarten through 12th grade courses, in Mathematics, Language Arts & Writing, Physics, and Computer Science - over 20 courses in all. Whether your student is an advanced learner or just looking to score better on standardized tests, GiftedandTalented.com's extra-curricular courses are a great place to start.

Most importantly, GiftedandTalented.com courses include Stanford University-trained tutors who mentor students, guiding them through the courseware and coaching parents on study tips and learning strategies. Tutors are experts in their subjects and work with students through email, phone, chat, video conversations, and online digital classrooms.

What courses should students start with?

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Redbird

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