3 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

As an African-American, I celebrate black history month all year round. I am always teaching my child about their history which is one of the beauties of homeschooling. But when February rolls around, I get extra happy!

If you are looking for ways to celebrate black history month, here are three easy suggestions.

Take a Class

Did you know that you could enrich your child’s education on a platform called Outschool? There you can find a variety of classes on different topics such as “black history” and other academic topics.

Every year around this time I do a class on Hidden Figures in African American History. You can learn more about it by clicking here.

Watch a Movie

That’s right! Head over to your favorite streaming website and watch a movie featuring African-American heros. You have movies such as Malcolm X, The Jackie Robinson Story, 12 Years a Slave, Amistad, The Tuskegee Airmen are just a few to get you started. Then you have my personal favorite, Hidden Figuresa 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi, based on the non-fiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly. The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.

You could even extend the learning beyond the movie by getting a movie guide. Here is a Hidden Figures Movie Analysis and Film Review that I created for the movie.

Read a Book

There are so many non-fictional books which tell the story of African-American history in American and even beyond. For example, Hidden Figures was a book before it became a movie. Have your child read the book and then celebrate them completing it by watching the movie.

You can pick up a reader’s guide for the book here.

There you have it. Three simple ways you can celebrate Black History Month.

How will you celebrate today?

How Do I Start Homeschooling?

Have you ever thought about homeschooling but didn’t know where to start?

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In addition to unlimited email support in this course you will find:

  • Daily Action Items
  • Audio Tracks to you can listen while you work
  • Templates for Routines, Schedules and Calendars
  • Templates for Attendance, Report Card and Transcripts
  • Steps and Tools to Create Your Own Homeschool Curriculum

You will also find additional tools such as samples of lunch menus and other resources to get your home and school running smoothly.

All at the Back to Homeschool Special Price of $5!

Click here to claim your seat. This special expires so don’t miss it!

Five Test-Taking Tips for Standardized Testing

Basic Math

According to Kaplan, there are five keys to success when taking a standardized test.

Key 1 – Triage the Test

When you triage the test your goal is to move through the test at least three times.  The first time is to answer easy questions with quick answers.  If the question is taking more than 30 seconds it does not have a quick answer.  Make a note of it in your booklet (or scratch paper if you are not allowed to write in the booklet) and com back to it later.  The second time is to answer the questions that you know how to do, but are time consuming.  The third and last time is to work through the hard questions.

Key 2 – Elimination

If you know some of the answer choices are incorrect, eliminate them and look at the ones that are left.  Make an educated guess if you are still unsure.

Key 3 – Use a Letter of the Day

There will be some questions that you have NO CLUE how to do.  This is when your letter of the day comes in handy.  Before you begin the test, choose your letter (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc.).  When you get to a question that you know you don’t know how to do, choose your letter of the day and move on. Don’t waste your time on it.

Key 4 – Learn the Material Tested

There is no substitution for studying.  Most standardized tests, even state tests give you an overview of the material to be covered.  Learn it :-).  Get a tutor to help you!

Key 5 – Practice, Practice, Practice

The more you practice test questions the more comfortable you will become at testing and the better you will be.
To help you be ready we have created a test survival kit.  Click here to get yours today.  What do you do to help you prepare for a standardized test?


Special Needs – 1- Accommodations in an Online Environment

Teaching Tip Tuesday

As we continue to discuss accommodations for students with special needs one can’t help but think, how can you make accommodations in an online environment?

While I agree that not every child is cut out for online learning, you might be surprised at how well the online environment can support learners with special needs.

Take my student Haley (not his/her real name) for example.  Haley has been diagnosed with ADHD.  This means that Haley has difficulty with: following directions, following open ended writing assignments without clear requirements, turning in assignments on the correct due date, task completion due to issues with focus and time management, organization in general and finally not completing all questions or rushing through a test/quiz.

The online environment would be beneficial for Haley’s disability for three reasons.  First, it would help her with her tests and quizzes.  Second, it would help her focus.  Finally, it would help her with open ended writing assignments.

The online environment would help Haley with her tests and quizzes because since she has a habit to rush through the questions or not complete it, the teacher/parent can enable the show clock feature to show the time left in timed quizzes or tests.  If Haley has the accommodation of extra time, and in this case she does, restrictions could be set up to give her extended time.  Haley gets 50% extended time in my math class and her grades are soaring in the As.

The online environment would help Haley focus more simply because she would be doing her work at home or outside of the regular classroom environment.  Haley and her family would be able to control the environmental factors more, thus helping her to focus.

Finally, the online environment would help Haley with her open ended writing assignments if the teacher enables the rubric feature which allows the student to see precisely what would be graded and how it will be assessed.  Haley might also have the option to submit the assignment orally or by video.  In this case, Haley did not need that accommodation in mathematics.

There are a few challenges Haley might experience if not managed well.  She might experience trouble turning in assignments on the correct due date and time management issues.  As a teacher I post the assignments weekly and reminders.  There are several outside resources that she can use to support her.  If she has a smart phone, utilizing a digital calendar with reminders that pop up would be helpful as well as a schedule.

Haley seems to have managed potential challenges very well and continues to excel in my class with her extended time accommodations.

Are you considering online for your child?  What do you think might be the challenges they would experience?

2019 Standardized Testing Dates



The Study Hall Education Consulting Company will be administering the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) during the following dates:

  • May 20-22, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 3rd Grade – 8th Grade


The cost for our location, materials, results AND administration of the test is listed below for Group Testing. EPIC HSN members receive a 10% discount on all testing.

  • K5–3rd grade students- $100 for the first child, $80 for each subsequent child.
  • Grades 4–12 students- $80 for the first child, $60 for each subsequent child.
  • Special Needs students must be administered separately – $150 each child.

Preparation materials for the ITBS can be found at www.rainbowresources.com.


South Cobb Regional Library located at 805 Clay Road, Mableton, GA 30126.


To register please email Andrea Hall at ahall@thestudyhalledu.com.

Registration must be received at least 4 weeks prior to the testing dates.

Happy Pi Day

sliced apple pie on brown surface
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

Sometimes it’s hard to find math in the Bible but when you start training yourself to look, you’d be amazed of how much you’ll find.

Today is March 14 and as a mathematician I could not let the day go by without talking about pi. Pi is the Greek name of the symbol that represents the irrational number π that we truncate to 3.14. Today is 3/14…get it 😁.

But where did pi come from? The abbreviated version is that around 250 BC the Greek mathematician Archimedes created an algorithm for calculating it.  HOWEVER, civilizations including Egyptians and Babylonians were calculating it WAY before that.

In fact it’s in the Bible! In 1 Kings 7:23  it states “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about…and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about” (KJV).

You see pi is the ratio of the Circumference (the distance AROUND the circle) to the diameter (the distance across the middle of the circle).

In 1 Kings 7:23  the “ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about” lets us know the diameter is 10 cubits. The phrase “…and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about” let’s us know the Circumference is 30 cubits.

To calculate pi we would do C/d and get 30/10=3. It is also known as pi at 3.

What you will notice is that this number is not quite pi but perform this experiment with a variety of circles and you will notice a pattern of 3.14…. emerging.

Try it out and let me know!

Here is a link to local pi deals today!

NASA Renames Facility after a Hidden Figure in Black History


According to CNN,  The Independent Verification and Validation Facility has been renamed the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility in honor of Katherine Johnson, a hidden figure in African American history.

Katherine Johnson was one of the main characters portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures which was nominated as the Best Motion Picture of the Year which was based on the book by that same title by Margot Lee Shetterly. (Download a Movie Analysis and Film Review Here or the Reading Guide for the Young Readers’ Edition Here)

Katherine Johnson is the mathematician behind calculating trajectories for the shuttle launches.  She has published over 26 scientific papers and is considered a pioneer in space science and computing.

According to an oral history archived by the National Visionary Leadership Project:

At first she [Johnson] worked in a pool of women performing math calculations. Katherine has referred to the women in the pool as virtual “computers who wore skirts”. Their main job was to read the data from the black boxes of planes and carry out other precise mathematical tasks. Then one day, Katherine (and a colleague) were temporarily assigned to help the all-male flight research team. Katherine’s knowledge of analytic geometry helped make quick allies of male bosses and colleagues to the extent that, “they forgot to return me to the pool”. While the racial and gender barriers were always there, Katherine says she ignored them. Katherine was assertive, asking to be included in editorial meetings (where no women had gone before). She simply told people she had done the work and that she belonged. (Oral History Archive: Katherine Johnson”National Visionary Leadership Project. 2005. Retrieved December 29, 2016.)

Homeschool Coaching

Do you need some help with home schooling?  Whether you are new to homeschooling, a veteran homeschooler or just interested in homeschooling, I will come along side you step by step. We can go as slow or as fast as you want as I give you actionable items and tangible resources. In addition to monthly 30 minute coaching sessions and unlimited email support in this course you will find:

  • Action Items
  • Audio Tracks to you can listen while you work
  • Templates for Routines, Schedules and Calendars
  • Templates for Attendance, Report Card and Transcripts
  • Steps and Tools to Create Your Own Homeschool Curriculum

You will also find additional tools such as samples of lunch menus and other resources to get your home and school running smoothly.

To learn more go to https://thestudyhalledu.teachable.com/p/homeschoolcoach.

Hidden Figures in African American History

220px-percy_lavon_julianA lot of students know about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X and Rosa Parks.  However, there are so many hidden figures in African American history.  One hidden figure is Percy Julian.

Percy Julian is to soybean, what George Washington Carver is to the peanut.   He made several discoveries from the soybean one of which is how we synthetically make hormones such as progesterone and testosterone.

He was one of the first African-American chemists elected to the National Academy of the Sciences, in 1973. He was elected to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990, and in 1999 his synthesis of physostigmine was recognized by the American Chemical Society as “one of the top 25 achievements in the history of American chemistry” (http://www.biography.com/people/percy-julian-9359018).
Percy Julian received more than 130 chemical patents https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Lavon_Julian. n.d. 20 May 2016). However, that does not compare the number of lives he saved and health regained by countless individuals.

Julian said “I have had one goal in my life, that of playing some role in making life a little easier for the persons who come after me” (Lisa Yount).

Join us this February for Hidden Figures in African American History: A Book Study & Film Review  as we uncover other hidden figures in African and African American History while unlocking your child’s reading comprehension, writing and artistic skills.  To learn more click here.


My Passions Aligned

One of my passions in addition to teaching is creating!  From a child I could be found drawing or writing.  I loved to do both.  For a long time I wanted to be an artist or an art teacher when I grew up.   Then I thought about being an English teacher because I loved writing.  In the end I ended up being… a math teacher!  Weird huh!

But I really love teaching that too!

One of my biggest thrills is being able to teach the courses I design on Outschool.

foundations of algebra

Since I started my teaching career I decided that I wanted to get back to creating so I took my passion for writing and my background in mathematics and received a Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment in 2011.  Since then I have designed curriculum for school districts such as Fresno County School District, private schools like Oaks Christian Academy and public virtual schools like Georgia Virtual School.

Recently I re-launched my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  My mission is to create a love for learning, one equation at time.

There you can find book study guides, graphic organizers and other helpful handouts.

For example, we have a Reading Guide and Movie Analysis for the book Hidden Figures.


If you are looking for something in particular, let me know here.


I look forward to providing products and  services to help your child reach their academic potential!