Tag Archives: homeschool

Don’t Let Your Child Cheat

Dear homeschool parent,

This is something I feel compelled to share. In my 25+ years teaching in a classroom, and my 3+ years teaching online classes for homeschoolers, I have seen a disproportionately large number of homeschooled students cheating in online classes. I have spoken with several other teachers of online courses for homeschoolers, and some have reported cheating by as many as 25% of their students. Most incidents of cheating involve the student either plagiarizing a paper, or looking at the answer key while taking a test unsupervised at home.

Plagiarizing a paper is harder for parents to catch and prevent. But stopping your child from cheating on tests should be easy.

Believe me, I understand how it can happen. An otherwise good child is taking an online course. He is struggling, the other students seem to be understanding the material better than he does, and unlike most of his previous courses, he is (perhaps for the first time) not allowed to learn at his own pace. He is being required to complete a test over material he knows he has not mastered. He also knows where the answer key is kept, and can look at it because his mom is busy and she trusts him. The temptation becomes too strong, he caves and decides to copy the answers, and does not tell anyone.

Thankfully, he is probably bad at it. When children cheat in this way, they tend to use words and phrases directly from the answer key, even when the answers could have been worded in many different ways. They also aim at 100%, of course, not realizing that a perfect score from a struggling student will set off a warning light to the teacher.

Parents, when the teacher claims that your child has apparently cheated on a test or assignment, listen to him! No good teacher will make such an accusation lightly. It is very uncomfortable to charge a student with cheating, and most teachers will err on the side of giving the student the benefit of the doubt.

When I discover a student has cheated on a test, I first send an email to the parent. I express my concern as a possibility, along with the evidence of the cheating. The child is allowed to make a defense, which is usually pretty flimsy. Almost every time, the child admits to cheating. Some confess everything immediately, some at first confess to cheating to a certain degree (“I only looked at the answers for the first few questions”), and some initially deny it, only to admit it later when they realize that the evidence is overwhelming, or (Lord willing) when their conscience smites them. According to other teachers I have spoken with, the only students who steadfastly refuse to confess in the face of overwhelming evidence are those students whose parents “can’t believe Jimmy would do such a thing.” When they are caught and confess their sin, they should be forgiven, fellowship should be restored on all sides, and they should be given a zero on the test or paper.

Here are three easy rules to follow when your child needs to take a test for their online class:

Keep the answer key inaccessible to your children.

Be in the room with them as they are taking a test, and pay attention to what they are doing.

Have them give you the test to send in.

Getting caught cheating is a hard blessing on both parent and child. The child learns that the truth behind the biblical proverb, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” He also learns that there are consequences to cheating. And the parents learn that their child is a sinner who can fall to temptation, just like the rest of us.

Mr. Nance,

My son is in high school, and we want to use your Fitting Words curriculum. If he works through the Fitting Words text in tenth grade, would it be appropriate for him to work through it again as a review in eleventh and/or twelfth grade?

What would you advise? Thank you in advance.

Fitting Words: Classical Rhetoric for the Christian Student was designed to be taught as either a one-year intensive course, or a two-year regular course. In the front of the Fitting Words Answer Key are one- and two-year schedules. I would suggest that your son work through the curriculum over two years, tenth and eleventh grade.

In the first year the topics covered are:

Unit 1: Foundations of Rhetoric
Unit 2: Invention and Arrangement
Unit 3: Understanding Emotions: Ethos and Pathos
Unit 4: Fitting Words to the Topic: Special Lines of Argument

In the second year the topics are:

Unit 5: General lines of Argument (a review of logic)
Unit 6: Fitting Words to the Audience: Style and Ornament
Unit 7: Memory and Delivery

For twelfth grade, I would suggest a thesis paper (or papers, perhaps including a research paper) and defense, applying what they have learned in the first two years.


The Value of Propositional Logic over Categorical Logic

Logic Video Session Info

If you are using the Introductory or Intermediate Logic videos to teach your students, you may want to know the duration of the sessions. That information is now available on this printable document: Video Session durations.

Here are some quick facts:

Introductory Logic Videos
Total duration 10 hrs, 52 min, 33 sec.
Average session 13 min, 7 sec. (excluding the test and optional sessions)
Longest session 33 min, 21 sec.
Shortest session 5 min, 33 sec.
Total number of sessions 45.

Intermediate Logic Videos
Total duration 12 hrs, 30 min, 42 sec.
Average session 14 min, 14 sec. (excluding the test sessions)
Longest session 49 min, 54 sec.
Shortest session 4 min, 35 sec.
Total number of sessions 51.

You’re welcome.

What comes after Logic? Rhetoric!

Introductory and Intermediate Logic together provide a complete foundational logic curriculum. Informal, categorical, and modern propositional logic are all included. The next step in your student’s classical education is to begin to apply what he has learned in logic to effective speaking and writing. This means your student should move on to the study of formal rhetoric, the capstone of a classical education. Rhetoric applies the tools of logic – defining terms, declaring truth, arguing to valid conclusions, and refuting invalid ones – to the persuasion of people. Rhetoric puts flesh onto the bones of logical analysis, that we may breathe arguments into life through the wise use of fitting words.

Fitting Words: Classical Rhetoric for the Christian Student is a complete formal rhetoric curriculum. Presented from a thoroughly Christian perspective, Fitting Words provides students with tools for speaking that will equip them for life. Drawing from Aristotle, Quintilian, Augustine, and others, and using examples from the greatest speeches from history and scripture, this robust curriculum guides Christian students in the theory and practice of persuasive communication.

The complete curriculum includes:

  • Student text with 30 detailed lessons
  • Student workbook with exercises for every lesson
  • Answer key for the exercises and tests
  • Test packet with nine tests, review sheets for every test, and speech judging sheets
  • Video course in which the author introduces and teaches through every lesson
Logic with James B Nance

Audit Intermediate Logic

Would you like to be a fly on the wall in my logic class? Want to improve your understanding and/or teaching of logic by watching me teach and interact with my students, discussing the lesson after the class, and having the recorded class sessions available? If so, click HERE to audit Intermediate Logic for the 2017 school year!

What’s included for Auditors? First, you have access to all the live classes. During the discussion, you will not be called upon as I do with my regular students. You are free to watch in the background by muting your mic and camera, but you also have the option of appearing to ask a question or make a comment if you’d like.

After the regular class time has ended, students leave the virtual classroom while auditors are invited to stick around for a few minutes to ask “Teacher Questions”! This is when you would have me all to yourselves as teachers. Turn on your webcams and mics, and discuss the lesson, teaching logic in general, or whatever questions you might have.

We will meet together live for online recitations Monday/Thursday from 8:00-9:30 AM (PST), or Tuesday/Friday from 8:00-9:30 AM (PST). The spring semester starts January 5/6, 2017, and goes to May 18/19, with a Winter Break in mid-February and an Easter Break in mid-April.

I hope to see you there!

Hard Words for Homeschool Moms

While teaching my classes online, speaking with customers at conventions, and swapping stories with my son who is also a teacher of homeschoolers, I have observed a troubling tendency among homeschooling mothers of teenage sons, a tendency pervasive enough that I feel compelled to say something. I do not want to unduly offend, but I want to speak to the problem as I see it. Here it is: Continue reading Hard Words for Homeschool Moms