UTCH eHomestyle News August 2018 Summer Edition

Also in this Issue:

Save the Date!

UTCH Fall Kick Off

Saturday September 8, 2018 @ Liberty Park - Southeast Corner
Come meet other Christian homeschool families, join UTCH (free for the 2018/2019 school year) and be encouraged! Bring the whole family!

3:00 - Ice Cream Social
4:00 - Choose One:
UTCH 2019 Graduation Meeting
New Homeschoolers Meeting
Fun and Fellowship with other Christian home educators

Free Days at Local Educational Places

The following ZAP-supported organizations offer discounted or free admission days at various times throughout the year. Dates are subject to change, so check with your favorite organization for details!

Discovery Gateway

Hogle Zoo Wild Wednesdays (generally offered the last Wednesday of the month, November-February)

Loveland Living Planet Aquarium $5 off Monday Family Nights

Natural History Museum of Utah

Red Butte Garden

Salt Lake Acting Company

Tracy Aviary $1 Winter Wednesdays (1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, November-February)


UTCH membership is free this school year. Remember to join soon and invite your interested friends, too. See http://www.utch.org under the membership tab.

Telescopes and Eyebeams (STEM)
by Kyle Holton

We take for granted our capacity to see the world. But how does that actually happen? When we look out our windows and see a brilliant sunset with all its colors, a full harvest moon or the fuzzy, cosmic clouds of the Milky Way, can we trust that what we see is an exact representation of the external world? How do our minds make sense of the constant flux of images that pass through our eyes? Does vision extend outside of our eyes, or do images enter into our heads via our eyes?

The world of human perception is wide-ranging and fascinating. From ancient photons of interstellar space to the mechanics of the eye to optical illusions, there are numerous lessons and units that will offer an interesting hook for all types of learners.

But interesting questions remain. For example, why do we often feel the stares of others, even when our backs are turned? Further, though the eye works like a lens, this doesn't explain our visual understanding of the world around us. Our eyes may provide the data to look at a tree, but how do we know it is a tree? Vision is a mystery that science is only beginning to fully understand.Getting a close-up look at this subject makes for a great unit study or research topic. Here are three ways to peer into the fascinating world of vision.

History of Vision: From Eyebeams and Lasers to Lenses and Telescopes

Any comic book fan knows that every superhero exhibits some superhuman feat. From super strength to flight powers, the heroes of Marvel or DC Comics are the stuff of fantasy, and many of them had special eye powers. From Cyclops to Superman, these heroes could use their eyes to cut through steel or suspend objects.

Such fantastical skills actually reflect the dominant paradigm in the ancient world for how vision works. Our modern description of the eye as a lens was not accepted until the work of Johannes Kepler in the 1600s.

Key Investigative Questions

  • How did our understanding of the eye help create the telescope?
  • What role do paradigms play in the development of scientific understanding?
  • How does the extramission hypothesis still influence modern cultural ideas?

Suggested Resources

  • Cultural beliefs about vision provide a wonderful entry into the world of optics. Check out the various resources of comic book heroes with optic superpowers. Students may also find beliefs about the "evil eye" to be an interesting introduction to the extramission theory of vision. BBC and Live Science have done in-depth reports on cultural beliefs regarding the evil eye—excellent resources for a research project.
  • For a wonderful overview of the history from extramission to intromission paradigms of vision (see sidebar), check out the entertaining, educational video on VRV.co called "The Science of Seeing."
  • Stanford's Early Science Lab, Web.Stanford.edu, also provides a brief page detailing the "History of the Eye."
  • ScienceNetLinks.com has a unit on the anatomy of the telescope called "Looking Into Space" which is part of a larger unit on optics that contains a wealth of information, activities and experiments.

Philosophy of Vision: Do We See With Our Eyes or With Our Minds?

Investigating the history of the eye expands our understanding of visual perception. Although the cultural beliefs about the evil eye may seem bizarre, extramission allows us to see how some people may operate under a different paradigm of visual perception. Indeed, vision is a powerful sense that we trust to make sense of our lives. But can we trust everything we see?

Imagine having to wear glasses that made everything you see upside down. Would you be able to drive a car? Eat a bowl of cereal? In a now-famous experiment, Professor Theodor Erismann used glasses that inverted the visual landscape upside down to test how we make sense of the world. After ten days of wearing the glasses, his subject, Ivo Kohler, began to see the world rightside up.

Key Investigative Question

The experiment raised key questions about our visual experience of the world: When we look at the world, are we seeing an objective, realistic representation, or are we seeing a world altered by our own physical and cultural filters?

Suggested Resources

  • Watch a 12-minute silent film on YouTube documenting the upside down glasses experiment. Search "Erismann and Kohler: Inversion Goggles" and see the comments where one viewer translated the German film captions to English. For a more modern video and discussion of the experiment, check out Good Mythical Morning's video "Upside Down Glasses Challenge", also on YouTube.
  • Would you like to run the Erismann experiment yourself? Making inversion goggles is surprisingly easy. All you really need are a handful of Legos, a few rubber bands and two right-angle prisms. Check out "How to Turn the World Upside Down" at PopSci.com to make your own (type "Popular Science" and the article name into your internet browser)!

Can You Believe Your Eyes? Educational Fun with Optical Illusions

The world of optical illusions also provides a unique way to engage this topic. Why is it so easy to trick our eyes? For example, take our experience with color. Is the sky blue because it is blue, or because we call it blue?

Key Investigative Questions

  • Can we be confident that our visual perception is in agreement with everyone else's?
  • What physiological aspects of the eye result in optical illusions?

Suggested Resources

  • The University of Washington (https://tinyurl.com/ybwvbav5) has assembled an excellent curriculum for exploring the biology of optical illusions. The resource offers activities, investigative questions, optical illusion examples and assignments.
  • A few years ago, the infamous "blue and black or white and gold" dress photo went viral. People disagreed with the color scheme of the dress, causing hours of debate and confusion. In his article "Lessons from 'The Dress': The Ambiguity of Visual Perception", Dr. Pascal Wallisch explored the problem of visual perception and how our visual sense is more than just an optic machine.
  • For further exploration in color, check out the popular podcast by RadioLab on Colors. The program explores the biology of color but finds surprising mysteries along the way. For instance, it may surprise you to realize that the animal with the most color receptors lives at the bottom of the ocean in darkness.
  • Finally, for older students who want to ask deep philosophical questions (even diving into quantum theory), consider reading, "The Sense of Being Stared At" by Rupert Sheldrake. Although trained from the elite schools of Harvard and Cambridge, Dr. Sheldrake is a controversial scientist who thinks the extramission hypothesis isn't completely wrong. A chapter from his book (which is provided on his website Sheldrake.org in the article "Sense of Being Stared At") gives a wonderful overview of the history of vision, but also delves into the philosophical problems of human perception. In particular, check out the last section of the chapter where Sheldrake explores possible modern developments in quantum theory that may help support the veracity of a modified extramission theory.

  1. Pray, pray, pray! If we seek God for wisdom (James 1:5) and follow His guidance, He has promised to direct our paths (Prov. 3:4 & 5).
  2. Set goals. "If you don't know where you're going any road will get you there."
  3. Think about why you are home educating. Write down your reasons. They may change over the years, but they will help you narrow your choices.
  4. Think about the purpose of education. Why should children be educated? So they won't be a burden to the state (lawmakers viewpoint)? So they can earn lots of money? So they can take care of their families? So they can serve God? A great definition for "education" comes from the Webster's 1828 American Dictionary: "The bringing up, as of a child; instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties."
  5. Think about your philosophy of education. How do children learn best -- memorization or exploration? Should we start early or wait "until they are ready?" Do they do best if left to their own devices or with guidance and structure?
  6. Read, read, read and talk, talk, talk to others who have home schooled, but don't be swayed by every wind of "truth" that blows. Keep your goals and philosophy in mind.
  7. Avoid comparing. We usually compare our weaknesses to others strengths and, of course, we come out short.
  8. Teaching materials are the least important part of your home school. Attitudes and godly character on the part of parents and children alike is far more important.
  9. Remember, God has given these children to you as a special gift and stewardship. He chose the right parents for the right children. He knows your strengths and weaknesses, and your children's strengths and weaknesses. You are the only ones that can decide what is right for you and your children.
  10. There is no perfect curriculum.
  11. Whatever curriculum you choose, remember, curriculum is only a tool. "Any curriculum will work if you do."
  12. You don't have to assign every page and every problem. Assign about half the problems. If the child has mastered the concept, he doesn't need the practice. If he needs review, you can come back and use the problems previously skipped.
  13. If you don't like the material, you won't use it even if everyone else says it is the best.
  14. Avoid programs that require a great deal of teacher preparation. This can be textbooks with detailed teachers manuals to wade through, or unit studies that require you to pull together a great amount of material.
  15. You are always learning. Don't feel like a failure if a curriculum does not work. If you are new to home schooling, consider using a curriculum with a little more guidance the first year or two until you understand what works best for you, your student and your situation.


The Forum Speech and Debate Club 2018-2019

Who are we?

The Forum is comprised of local Christian homeschooling families who are interested in helping their children become skilled and gracious communicators, able to address life's issues from a biblical worldview in a manner that glorifies God. This is accomplished through club participation and study, practice and competition in regional and national tournaments through the NCFCA, the National Christian Forensics and Communication Association. For an explanation of the different speech events and styles of debate, please see: https://www.ncfca.org/what-we-do/

The Forum meets for Speech on Monday afternoons at The Bridge Community located at 260 East Pages Lane in Centerville. The first class will be held on Monday, September 10, 2018.

Ages 8-12
2:00-3:30: Junior Speech

Ages 12-18
1:00-1:55: Apologetics
2:00-3:30: Speech - Platform, Interpretive, Impromptu and Extemporaneous

The Forum meets for Debate on Wednesday afternoons at Berean Bible Church located at 8630 South 60 East in Sandy, Utah. The first class will be held on Wednesday, September 12, 2018.

Ages 12-18
2:30-4:30 Team Policy Debate
2:30-4:30 Lincoln Douglas Debate


Apologetics: Russ Anderson, 801-668-0758
Junior Speech: Laurie Norman, 801-918-8320
Speech: Terri Kerr, 801-699-0086
Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Matthew Nadeau, 385-630-8189
Team Policy Debate: Terri Kerr, 801-699-0086

Club Coordinators:

Laurie Norman, altabirdski@gmail.com, 801-918-8320
Terri Kerr, terrikerrphoto@gmail.com, 801-699-0086

Details for Junior Speech

This is a fun, introductory class for Speech. There will be weekly assignments based on age and ability and a variety of presentations expected. Some of the NCFCA tournaments offer an optional Junior competition and The Forum will try to offer a showcase in December. There are no club dues to participate in this class and there is no workbook required. Please contact Laurie Norman for more information.

Details for Speech

This class will cover both the memorized speech formats and the limited preparation style speeches used this upcoming season in NCFCA competitions. This class requires the updatable Competitor's Handbook from the Institute for Excellence in Writing:


Optional parent's and coach's guides are also available, if desired.

Details for Apologetics

The Apologetics class will cover the NCFCA topics on the basic tenets of the Christian faith. This class, led by long-time AWANA leader Russ Anderson, will prepare students to defend their faith in the format of a limited preparation speech. In addition to the Speech handbook listed above, this class also requires the Fearless Apologetics Student Workbook:


Please contact Russ Anderson before class begins in September to let him know you are interested in participating.

Details for Debate

Debate classes will be split into the two styles of Debate offered by NCFCA:

Lincoln-Douglas, a one on one values debate or Team Policy, a two on two policy style debate.

Although most NCFCA competitors start off with speech events, many quickly gravitate to the challenge and fun of debate. Participants in The Forum are encouraged to participate in both speech and debate classes if at all possible but are also welcome to only attend one or the other. Debate class is not offered for junior competitors.

General Club Details

Parental Involvement: Parents, we need your support. Your presence is critical to the success of your own children and of the whole club. As a homeschool parent, the best way to teach your children speech and debate is to participate in class so that you understand the particulars of each event and how the NCFCA expects your student(s) to accomplish that event. Parents are also needed to listen and to give feedback in both Speech and Debate as we often have break-out sessions to practice. Please plan to stay at Club with your student(s) at least twice monthly. If you are new to the club, it is recommended that you come every time for several weeks. There is a lot to learn for new families!

Fees: Club dues for The Forum are $50 per family with $25 payable at the first club meeting and $25 payable in January to one of the coordinators. A limited number of scholarships are available.

Email: Most of our communication takes place over a Google group which we use to send email messages to all of The Forum members at once. We suggest that both parents and students have an email address where they can be reached. If you are not participating in all the classes, some of the messages sent may not pertain directly to you but may have important information about upcoming events, deadlines, weather delays, etc. Please contact Laurie Norman to be placed on the email list.

Attitude: Students will need to sit through classes respectfully, take notes and do assigned homework. If a student is in a class, he/she is expected to participate in that class. Cell phones are not allowed unless requested by your teacher.

Competition: The National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA) is the oldest and most established homeschool forensics league in the country. NCFCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing communications-based competitive activities, such as speech and debate, to homeschooled high schoolers. NCFCA places particular emphasis on excellence in academic and personal integrity as students learn to communicate more effectively.

Although affiliation with NCFCA is not required to participate in The Forum Speech and Debate Club, The Forum HIGHLY recommends affiliation so that every student can compete in our regional NCFCA tournaments in the springtime. These are by far the most popular part of the club's activities as students prepare and compete with other students from across our region and form lasting friendships.

During the upcoming 2019 spring season there will be at least three qualifier tournaments in our region, a regional tournament, plus optional open tournaments in various parts of the country. To compete in our Salt Lake City Regional Tournament in May you must qualify at one of the earlier tournaments.

NCFCA has an early-bird discount price of $125 per family if you affiliate in August or September. Prices increase to $150 per family after that. Registering early helps our region. The number of Nationals slots available to our region will be based on the number of families registered early. More information is available at http://www.ncfca.org

Schedule: The Forum Club meets regularly during the school year on Monday afternoons for Apologetics and Speech and on Wednesday afternoons for Debate. Video-conferencing of these sessions may be available. Additionally, The Forum often meets during the summer months and also offers summer intensive speech and debate camps. The Forum may try to offer a round-robin style speech and debate tournament in December.

Classes start the week of September 11, 2018. Club will not meet the week of Thanksgiving and will take a Christmas break from December 24, 2018 until January 6, 2019.

The Forum Club will resume on January 7, 2019.

In the springtime, The Forum Club will not meet on the Mondays immediately following a Region 3 Qualifier tournament. We will share these dates via email when they are made available.

Statement of Faith: The Forum affirms the statement of faith used by the NCFCA:

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets; and we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.



Support/Contact Groups

Carbon County
Jodie Wells
Davis / Weber
Sharalyn Paetz
Iron County
Samantha Solo
Sanpete County
Sara Larson
North Sanpete
Jason & Kristen Maxfield
Sevier County
Kelle Lambers
Mark & Tina Roberts

Jeanette Rhyne
Uintah County
Joanna Wardell
Utah County
Suzzanne Cutler
meets 2x/month, topic discussion & field trip, inquire for specifics
West Valley
Michelle Edwards
meets 2nd Sat. of month from 10:30-12:30
Contact Michelle for more information

Utah Christian Home School Co Op Information

West Valley Co-op
Autumn Hartman

UTCH Davis/Weber Cooperative
Learn about the cooperative at www.dwcoop.net info@dwcoop.net for a reply

Laurie Norman altabirdski@yahoo.com

UTCH Volunteers

UTCH Membership Secretary Peter Reymer

Field Trip Coordinator
Jennifer Johnson

Digital Newsletter Layout
Micheal Fenton

UTCH Newsletter Editor
Cynthia Edwards


UTCH eHomestyle News

Mailing address:

PO Box 3942
SLC, UT 84110-3942

Telephone: 801-432-0016 (voice mail)

Do you need to email a particular individual who serves within UTCH?, then go to the contacts form and select the contact from the drop-down menu.

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