Manthano Academy Educators

Debi White (Educator & Director)
Education: M.Ed; BA English (Minor: Classics, Latin Emphasis), Educator since 1981
Teaching Experience: College Instructor, Public and Private School Educator, and Private Suzuki Piano Teacher
Personal Information: Married since 1981; 2 children: 1983, 1988; Son-in-law: 2008, Daughter-in-law: 2010; Grandson: 2010
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Researching, Playing piano/guitar, Biblical hermeneutics, RZIM, Moderate social networking
White teaches English, Latin, history, and religious studies.



Tara Cannon (Educator & Assistant Director)
Education: BS Biology (Minor: Global Studies), Educator since 1998
Teaching Experience: Environmental Educator for museum, Co-Education Director for nature conservatory, Librarian, Tutor, Youth and Adult (Church) Religious Studies
Personal Information: Author, Married since 2008; 1 Child, November 2010
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Playing piano/guitar, Gardening, Biblical hermeneutics, Hiking, Moderate social networking
Cannon teaches science and math.


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Desperate To Learn

While making the 30 minute drive from the grocery store to home, I landed on our local NPR station.  A young man was discussing a time he was a prisoner in solitary confinement; he was only 16 years old at the time.  Though the system denied him any leisure reading, a fellow inmate discreetly slid a book of poetry under the door.  From the sound of the program, verse changed his life.  He claimed he had never before been exposed to relatable literature.

At that  moment, my inner cynic showed up.  “Surely he had a public library or school library where he grew up.”  But then I realized, perhaps he had never been bored enough to read.

For some, it seems reading is synonymous to nourishment.  This kind of person cannot survive without a daily dose of literature.  From my experience, most of these folks were raised in a home that emphasized the importance of reading, they saw their parents reading, and ate dinner with a dictionary at the table.  But for the rest of population, reading is simply something to do.  And with all the external stimuli, who has time to invest in reading?

Through our hand-held technologies and other electronic devices, we are constantly stimulated.  Though we may pride ourselves on our multi-tasking skills, it turns out the very notion of multi-tasking is a lie; we’re simply switching from one task to another.  And our brains are busy and full.  Where is the wonder?  We are too busy to learn.

The young prisoner literally had nothing to do in solitary confinement.  Unable to check his phone for the latest text or refresh his email inbox.  He was desperate.  He had the time and space to be desperate.  Are we desperate to learn?  Can we quiet our brains to be immersed in a book?  Do we seek out wonder, abandoning our appetite to be networked?

Response:  What can we do to promote a healthy relationship with technology in our students?  

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Library Love

The library is by far one of the most valuable resources for homeschoolers.  Filled with books, magazines, newspapers, audiobooks, dvd’s, and volumes of reference materials, this is one place you can set your pocketbook aside and truly enjoy.

Books – What you see is not all you get!

The obvious resource the library has to offer is books.  Reference books, nonfiction books (new and old), historical fiction, mystery, science fiction, and so many more.  If, however, in your hunt for the perfect book on the rare topic you come up empty handed, most libraries offer an InterLibrary Loan program.  Once you request a specific book, the library petitions other libraries for permission to borrow the book.  While sometimes the library charges a small fee (anywhere from $.25 for the cost of shipping), most will provide it free of charge (as long as you pick it up and return it on time).  This is also a great way to testdrive new curriculum you’re considering purchasing.

Magazines & Newspapers

Most libraries offer a wide selection of magazines and back issues can oftentimes be checked out.  Larger districts will have newspapers from the major countries in the United States which is perfect for the geography lessons.  In addition to what you see at the library, most districts have a vast array of magazine and newspaper articles dating back to the 1800’s available in their Electronic Reference database.  Perfect for primary sources!  Typically you can access this information from your home computer with a library card number and PIN.

Computer Labs & Study Rooms

In the dead of winter when you and your kids are growing weary of staying home everyday, head over to the library.  All libraries have computers available and most have study rooms.  Sometimes the change of scenery is just what is needed to get that brain working again.  Some libraries offer a certain number of printed pages for free each day with a library card and PIN; be sure to ask your librarian.

The library is truly the home educator’s best friend when it comes to accessing vast quantities of information for free (or very little cost).  Head over to your library to find out more information or contact a local librarian to setup a tour for you and homeschool network.

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Filed under Curriculum, Home Educator, Study Skills, Uncategorized

Homeschool Organization Hacks for Teens

Homeschooling your teen is drastically different than your elementary-aged student.  There is much more independent learning and progress is often gauged by a weekly instead of daily basis.  Here are some tips to help avoid conflict and keep the days running smoothly.

1.  Expectations and the follow-up: Though you may have homeschooled your child from day one, your child still has his own will and opinion on how he thinks things should be done.  At the beginning of each semester, lay out your expectations for the child–this may include how their time is managed, the material that needs to be covered, where they should study, and how you plan to assess their progress.  Then plan one day a week, either at the beginning or the end, to go over the expectations and how the student is doing.  If there is a lot of verbal miscommunication during these meetings (the teen years can be so challenging some times), consider using a weekly expectation evaluation sheet with your expectations clearly stated and a place to write observations about your student’s performance and ways to improve.  Once your child gets the hang of it, these meetings may become more infrequent.

2.  One Calendar:  With all of the extra-curricular activities, tests can be easily forgotten and swim meets overlooked.  The easiest way to avoid a miscommunication or simple forgetfulness is to have a master calendar for everyone.  Depending on the number of children you have, this may be a wall calendar or you may want to hang a large dry erase calendar.  Use different colors for different students and/or activities.

3.  Keeping It Organized:  Getting organized is one thing; keeping it that way is quite another.  After getting organized, immediately come up with systems to maintain the level of organization your family prefers.  Be sure to communicate your systems to everyone, and encourage everyone to help hold each other accountable.  If your students are all teens or you have have young ones and teens, the execution of maintaining a level of organization is something that can be expected of everyone.  Have a quick time to pick-up at the end of the school day (even if the students study in their respective rooms) and at the end of each week.  Keeping it organized is much easier if it is a group effort!

How do you stay organized?  What systems have worked for you?

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Filed under Homeschool, Organization

Prologue: Engaging the Learner

11:30!  Lunchtime!!

All 30 students grabbed their book bags and ran to the door.  After the last student left, I slowly walked to the classroom door and locked it.  Craving silence, beyond the norm of the silent hallway—albeit temporary, I reached over and switched the lights off.  Then, grabbing my coat—I covered my head with it, melted into the desk chair and lowered my head.

No lunch today, no eating, no thinking, no crying, no . . . anything. Just silence . . . please.  Yet, the ringing of Bloom’s Taxonomy persisted in my mind: create, evaluate, analyze, apply, understand, and remember.  How? How? How?  Unrealistic! Unrealistic!

My soul felt as though a steamroller was mooshing the life out of me, back and forth, over and over.

Surely, it will get better I assured myself.  ‘It takes at least two years to get in the groove of a new job,’ I doubly assured myself.  Wrong.  There was something really, really wrong—beyond getting in a groove or . . . getting better.

I lasted two years in public education.

Keep in mind, I worked for an excellent school district where I had the honor of working with overworked and under-appreciated saints/teachers who entered this whole idea of teaching with the same dreams as myself.

What does this have to do with homeschooling? 

Well, really . . . quite a lot.

Given the expectation of 25-30 students to 1 teacher per period (125 students per day), I realized in this arena, I couldn’t make Bloom grow.

Thus, out of sheer practicality, self-preservation, or maybe my heart just couldn’t lock out what I knew beyond question.   Basic truths.  Basic truths about the learner—and it was really bugging me . . . in my soul.

This was the primary reason I decided to become a home educator.

Now, I could focus on what the learner wanted, needed, and expected in order to bloom:

  1. A safe, relational, and consistent setting with their teacher
  2. Consistent standard of accountability measures supported by the parent
  3. Learner-centered curriculum with personalized inquiry strategies


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Filed under Bloom's Taxonomy Applied, Home Educator