Posted by: chrisdavis | July 21, 2014

Preparing Your Child for High School Math

Many public schooled students come to high school-level math lacking the foundational math concepts they need to succeed. This is largely due to the fact that public schooled students are encouraged to use calculators from an early age yet the student may never understand the meaning of important math concepts.

As homeschool parents, it is critical that our students have learned these foundational math concepts until they are able to work with them easily.

The concepts of which I am speaking are addition & multiplication facts; percentages, fractions, & decimals; and what math function to substitute for words in a word problem such as “and”, “more than”, “more”, “is”, etc. The time to make sure these facts are firmly impressed on your child’s mind is the Middle School grades. During these grades, you will fill in any gaps your child has in these areas. Fortunately, lots of materials exist to help you (see below).

Here is an example of the simplest of Algebra word problems: “Three of the same number and six is twenty more than that number. What is the number?”

Now, I will rewrite the question and underline each word that represents a command to perform a particular math operation: “Three of the same number and six is twenty more than that number. What is the number?”

Would your child know what to do with those underlined words? “Of” means multiply; “and” means add; “is” means equals; “more than” means add. So the equation would look like this (if we call “number” N): 3 x N (or 3N) +6 = N + 20. The answer is 7.

On my website, (under the drop-down menu for ages 11-13) I have placed some good, and inexpensive, materials to help you determine if your Middle School child has grasped the math concepts necessary for entering higher level (high school) math. If not, these materials will get him ready. As for math problem words, simply google “math clue words” for a long list of freebies you can use to help your child get “inside” the vocabulary of word problems.

Chris Davis


For extra credit, here is a little brain-teaser for you and/or your student:

The following is written as a simple addition problem. Rewrite it as an algebraic equation and solve for ABC if A, B, & C are different numbers each being less than 10 and greater than 0. Don’t put your answer in the Comments box, below (so you won’t give it away to others). Instead, send me an email with your answer and how you solved the problem. Send it to


Here is the problem. Solve for ABC:





Now, visit my website to see what I recommend for every grade in every subject (with an additional list of books especially for boys).

Posted by: chrisdavis | July 5, 2014

Harvard Understands

When Harvard University decides to offer its courses online, you know a “new day” has dawned in higher education!

With a $30,000,000,000 (yes, that’s $30 billion dollar) endowment, Harvard could easily afford to stay aloof in its Ivory Tower of educational institutions. But, Harvard has decided it makes both financial and cultural sense to join 3rd tier colleges that have been offering its courses online for years.

Until now, those 3rd tier colleges have given online education a reputation that has not exactly been sterling (although the world’s largest online university, Liberty University, has done much to enhance that image in recent years).

Harvard’s entry into online education has changed everything. No longer can any college resist offering its courses online or dismiss online education as substandard.

Congressman Ron Paul recently wrote, “Online education can be sold profitably for a tenth the cost of an Ivy League university. From now on, what the colleges sell is a myth: overpriced, brick-and-mortar education that is no better than online education.”


Paul goes on to say, “Don’t be hypnotized by bricks and mortar. They are not worth the money at the undergraduate level, except possibly in a few natural sciences. Not in the liberal arts. There is no good reason to attend traditional schools in the first two (overpriced) years.”


A college makes most of its income from its lower division courses (the first two years) which courses are often no more than repeats of the last two years of high school. For the student who actually knows why he is going to college, these “required courses” are often a huge waste of a student’s time. Instead, let your student take CLEP exams and, if done right, he can enter college as a Junior the day he graduates from high school and begin taking classes that actually matter!


All this information is included in my new book, available now at in both paperback and Kindle.






Posted by: chrisdavis | May 27, 2014

Need Encouragement? Check This Out!

Spend a little time looking over this Infographic to see how the average homeschooler compares with the average public schooled student.

Is it possible to say, “Making the decision to homeschool will give your child a greater chance to succeed academically than if you sent that same child to public school”?

Take a look and decide for yourself…

Also, look over my recommendations for the materials to use when homeschooling your child(ren).

You should also consider taking your family to experience Israel next year with other homeschooling families. Check out itineraries and prices.

Chris Davis

Posted by: chrisdavis | May 12, 2014

The Tyranny of the Transcript

Many homeschoolers have heard John Taylor Gatto’s quote, “If you want to educate a child, find out what the public school does and do something else.” (For those of you who still don’t know who Gatto is, John taught public school for 30 years and was eventually was awarded New York State Teacher of the Year).

“That’s all well and good, John. But, I am a homeschooling parent and there are simply some things I am required to put on my child’s transcript each of his 4 high school years. How can you say, ‘…do something else’? Like what?”

Not to despair: The largest section of my new book, Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally is dedicated to answering that very question. In the book, I take each high school subject and show how you can “do something else” in history, science, foreign language, etc.

A simple example: Why do so many public schooled children take Spanish? Is it because millions of teenagers long to learn Spanish so they can become adults who are capable of reading, writing, and speaking Spanish? Let’s be honest, now. With few exceptions (and there are exceptions) they take Spanish because 1) They have to take 2 years of a foreign language to graduate; and, 2) Spanish is considered the easiest foreign language to pass.

Is there an alternative to taking Spanish? Yes, and I don’t mean taking French or Italian or any other “normal” language…

What about History? Yes, there are alternatives to this subject as well as every other subject required for graduation.

If the high school transcript is driving your homeschooling, put on the brakes and change gears. Check out my new book: Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally. Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book format.

Chris Davis

Posted by: chrisdavis | May 4, 2014

What Would You Call It?

ImageTake a look at the image to the left. What would you call it?

Most would call it “acorn” because that is what we have always known it to be called. These things are all over the ground where I live (East Tennessee) because their trees are all over the place here.


Now, may I suggest a different name? Oak Tree.

“Oh, no,” you say. “That is not an oak tree. It is the seed of an oak tree. The seed of an oak tree is called an “acorn”. You may call it an oak tree when the seed germinates and looks like an oak tree.

“Really?” So, a thing’s reality is what it looks like now—in its present state? I should not call it what it is intended to be until it actually becomes that thing?

ImageTake a look at the image to the left. What would you call it?

Most people would not know because few people are familiar with olive trees. Olive trees don’t grow around here.

Now that you know it comes from an olive tree, what would you call it?

“Pit,” you say.

Now, may I suggest a different name? Olive Tree.

“Oh, no,” you say. “That is not an olive tree. It is the seed of an olive tree. The seed of an olive tree is called a “pit”. You may call it an olive tree when the seed germinates and looks like an olive tree.

“Really?” So, a thing’s reality is what it looks like now—in its present state? I should not call it what it is intended to be until it actually becomes that thing?

Growing trees:

I don’t need to ask someone how to grow an oak tree from an acorn. I know that if I just push an acorn into the ground, around here and it will grow into an oak tree.

But the pit is different. The one in the image above came from one of the oldest known olive trees in the world which stands in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. Since being given an olive from that tree, I have wanted to grow my own olive tree from it; however, I cannot find anyone who will tell me how. No one wants to be responsible should they end up killing it. So, I have just kept it all these years.

ImageTake a look at the image to the left. What would you call it (delete the horse for a minute)?

Most people would call it “boy”.

I would suggest a different name: Man of God/husband/computer programmer.

“Oh, no,” you say. “That is a child. You are using grown-up words. You may call him those things when he grows up.

“Really?” So, a thing’s reality is what it looks like now—in its present state? I should not call it what it is intended to be until it actually becomes that thing?

Growing adults:

What do you “call” your children? Do you call them what you see with your natural eyes or do you call them what you see with the eyes of faith and prophetic understanding?

Consider this:

The “acorn” already has within itself everything needed to become a fully functional oak tree.

It needs one thing only…

The “pit” already has within itself everything needed to become a fully functional olive tree.

It needs one thing only…

The “boy” already has within himself everything needed to become a fully functional man of God/husband/computer programmer.

He needs one thing only…

The one thing all these need is Environment, an environment purposefully created to form them into what they were originally created to be.

That is why we find oak trees growing in rich, moist soil; why we find olive trees growing in dry, sandy, rocky soil. And, why we find your children growing in your home and not in someone else’s home.

May I suggest that you begin calling each child what God shows you he, or she, is to become and not what you see with your natural eyes?


[You may forward this message. You may also subscribe to this blog. And, you may pick up a copy of my new book at Amazon. The title is Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally and is available in either paperback or as an e-book. If you read it, please provide a review on Amazon—thanks]. CD



Posted by: chrisdavis | April 29, 2014

Context, anyone?

Textbooks inform; context educates. If we want to educate and not just inform, we must first think in terms of creating contexts.

Education is commonly thought of as sitting at a desk and reading from a book, and/or listening to a teacher. The subject being taught does not have to mean anything to the student. The best we can do to make him learn the material is 1) make it as interesting as possible; or, 2) threaten him with a bad grade if he fails to learn it.

I have a suggestion for every parent…Once you have decided your child really needs to learn a particular concept or subject, instead of reaching for a textbook or searching for the “best” curriculum on that subject, ask yourself, “Can I create a context so learning this subject flows naturally from that context?

[from Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally available in paperback or as an e-book from]

Posted by: chrisdavis | April 26, 2014

What Is Sensible?

One day your adult child says, “I am doing exactly what I have always wanted to do with my life.”

What else could he, or she, say that would make you more proud and think, perhaps, you had done something right as a homeschool parent?

As a youngster, my middle son, James, encountered a quote that became a life-driver to him. It went something like,

“If I will spend a few years doing what others will not do, then I can spend the rest of my life doing what others cannot do.”

I have met people all over the world who are not doing what is in their hearts to do. Instead, they are doing something someone told them would be sensible.

What is sensible? What sensible thing should your child end up doing with his, or her life? What could be more sensible than what God created him, or her, to do?

You might be saying, “Duh!”

Yet, I watch homeschooled kids plodding through textbook after textbook and wonder what their parents really believe about all this.

Maybe your child is not spending “a few years doing what others will not do…” because your child is spending those years on irrelevancies that rob him, or her, from becoming amazing at what God created him, or her, to be doing in life.


[This idea is fully explored in my new book, Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally, which can be found on in both paperback and e-book versions].

Posted by: chrisdavis | April 21, 2014

Whoops. Sorry about that!

For those of you who tried to access my website to see what materials I recommend for homeschooling, I apologize that the site has been down for the past few days.

Try again by going HERE. I believe it works now…


Posted by: chrisdavis | April 17, 2014

Buying Next Year’s Curricula

‘Tis the season for most homeschoolers to purchase their curricula for the next school year.

How about you?

I just received an email from a friend and fellow pioneer homeschooler. She has been attending homeschool bookfairs and she wrote the following sad note:

“I have been attending lots of HS conventions lately and the focus is on earning credit hours…”

Most of you know that one of my favorite people is John Gatto, who spent 30 years as a New York inner-city public school teacher. After being presented with the NY State Teacher-of-the Year Award, Gatto had this to say to homeschooing parents:

If you want to know how to educate a child, find out what the public school does and do something else.

The problem is most homeschoolers would not know what else to do.

That is why I wrote my latest book, Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally. In the book—and in the spirit of Gatto’s comment to us homeschoolers—I take each subject and provide practical ideas of how to do something else.

Am I suggesting you don’t need to follow the pattern of the public schools even though most curricula (including homeschooling curricula) does just that!

That is exactly what I am suggesting. Why? Because you have been called to do something higher than simply preparing your children for a job or for college. Jobs and college are byproducts of the higher things we have been called to do with our kids.

Here is a quote from my book:

“High school graduation requirements drive most homeschooling parents to take the [traditional] Scope & Sequence seriously even if they have not taken it seriously until High School. After all, how can a child graduate until he has satisfied the requirements for graduation?”

In my book, I answer this question…

The Kindle version of my book is less than $10.00. Please do yourself a favor and read it before you spend lots of money on graded, subject-specific curricula. The book is available at Amazon in both paperback and as an e-book.

You can also visit my website ChrisDavisRecommends where I have placed all the curricula and homeschooling materials I recommend:

Have a great summer (and consider joining me in Israel this year)
Chris Davis


Posted by: chrisdavis | April 14, 2014

Incorrect address

I apologize for sending the wrong link to the movie about Common Core. This should do it and It is definitely worth watching: 

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