Monday, August 17, 2015

The August edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Yes, Summer is Really Ending Already

The August edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Petticoat Government.

The carnival starts with:

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Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling for August!

It's been summer. Supposedly a period of lazy, hot days of doing nothing much, right? Um, yeah.

Besides welcoming an exchange student from Germany into our home, finishing up math curriculum from last year, and tutoring a teenager in math, we've also been learning about other countries all summer. Right now, we're learning about Taiwan (the grass jelly drink is not going over well, but rice is an eternal favorite in this house). 
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Enjoy!

Carnival of Homeschooling 

Monday, August 10, 2015

We are finally going to experience public school

Our children have never attended a public school.  When our oldest daughter was ready for kindergarten, something like 17 years ago, we decided to try an experiment and homeschool her.  The longer we homeschooled the more we liked it and found value in it.

A little over a month Janine saw a post on Facebook from a friend asking if any family was interested in hosting a Japanese student for the school year.  We talked about it for a couple days and then said yes.  Nine days ago we picked the student up at the airport.  It is a bummer, but we were told that homeschooling was not an option.  So Janine has entered the lion’s den working to enter the Japanese student at the local high school.

So far we’ve had couple minor issues which reaffirmed our good feelings about homeschooling.

The first was being told that solid blue and red shirts were not allowed.  On the first day a school official told Janine that to avoid problems with gangs the school had a policy of not allowing students to wear solid red or solid blue shirts.  It was a real challenge for us to explain the reasons why to our Japanese student.

Another thing we’re struggling with is the school has said the student can only have three unexcused absences.  Our family likes to go on trips during the school year.  A main reason this student has come to America was to learn about American culture.  We don’t think this should be just a school experience.  We want to travel around and share the wonders of nature.

This should be a learning experience.  School doesn’t start for another week, but already I’m a bit worried that the next nine months will have a number of frustrations and challenges.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Reminder - Please send in a post or two for the August edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling

This is just a quick reminder, you have three days to send in up to three posts about homeschooling for the August edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling. 

The August edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling will be at Petticoat Government.

You can send in up to three posts about homeschooling via with an email to: CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com

Please include:

 Title of Post(s)
 URL of Post(s)
 Name of Blog
 URL of Blog
 Brief summary of the post(s)

Please send in the entries by August 10th at 6:00 PM PST.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me. 

Carnival of Homeschooling

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The July edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Journey edition

This month's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Home Spun Juggling.

The carnival starts with:

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Some of my favorite moments spent learning with my kids have been during walks at parks and nature preserves. There is something about walking under the trees and along the trails that brings out the best in us. I think it's the fact that every step is important. Even if you run, you need to run carefully to avoid stumbling. You need to pay attention so you don't walk off the trail and get lost. You need to be present to each moment. You need to appreciate the journey.
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and the carnival follows with an amazing number of links!

Enjoy.

Carnival of Homeschooling 

Monday, July 13, 2015

A homeschooler trying out a private school


My youngest daughter, who turned 15 recently, shares why she is going to attend a private school this fall:

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I have been homeschooled since kindergarten. This has been a great gateway to many opportunities, like travel and making friends in different grades. I love the flexibility. Last year I did all my classes online, and had a math tutor. That was my freshman year.

This fall I will be doing something different. I will be taking classes twice or three times a week at a nearby private school. I’m looking forward to the group learning.

I will still be doing other classes online for subjects that I’m not doing at the private school.  I will be doing English and Science at the school, with an extra computer programming class. The other classes I will be doing either online or through books or other programs.

When you homeschool you get to do what works best for you, even if that means mixing and matching programs. I like this because people aren’t in cookie cutter shapes.
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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Please send in a post for the July edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling

This is just a quick reminder, you have a week to send in up to three posts about homeschooling for the July edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

The July edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling will be at Home Spun Juggling.

You can send in up to three posts about homeschooling via either of these methods:

1) You can send an email to: CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com
Please include:

 Title of Post(s)
 URL of Post(s)
 Name of Blog
 URL of Blog
 Brief summary of the post(s)

2) Or use this Google Doc

Please send in the entries by July 13th at 6:00 PM PST.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me. 

Carnival of Homeschooling

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The June edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Retirement Edition

Mama Squirrel is hosting this months edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling at Dewey's Treehouse.

She starts the carnival with:

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When Henry asked me to fill in as host for this month's Carnival of Homeschooling, I couldn't say no. I have been part of the Carnivals going back to at least #3 (I checked), and this is the 472nd edition. Also, this is the week that we finish homeschooling forever at the Treehouse. Our last eighth grader will be attending a bricks and mortar school in September, and the Treehouse Academy is closing its doors.

So welcome, old and new friends, to the Retirement Edition! To those of you who aren't even contemplating that stage yet, may you have many more long and happy years of homeschooling.
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Enjoy the carnival!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, June 08, 2015

Homeschooler reports on her first year at college

I asked my second daughter to write about her first year at college.  Here is her report:

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I have recently completed my first year of college. I had a fantastic year; I was blessed with wonderful roommates, phenomenal teachers, and an amazing congregation on my church. All in all, it was a fantastic first year. Because I have always been homeschooled this was an interesting experience and it helped me recognize the inherent college preparation that is part of homeschooling.

First, I know how to teach myself. Because I have several siblings and we are all in different grades I had to be able to motivate myself and understand things from the reading. I had wonderful professors, but when there are large classes they can’t do a lot of hand holding or explain things in individual ways to students. I already had the skill set necessary to learn new things. I can read critically, utilize google, and come to class prepared.

Secondly, I knew how to study. My roommates and friends were somewhat amused my constant use of flashcards, pictures, and other studying techniques during the beginning of the semester. However, during finals, people were often asking to borrow them. During my second semester of school several friends asked me to teach them how to study which was a little surprising to me. Because I had been homeschooled, I was very self-motivated. I wasn’t reliant upon compulsory attendance, repetitive homework, or other people for my learning. I knew how to learn and I knew how to remember it.

Another way being homeschooled prepared me for college was in basic life skills. Because I was often at home, I was often called upon for household chores. I knew how to do laundry, dishes, keep the house clean, and cook for myself. When a friend confided in me that they were somewhat worried about cooking for themselves away at home I was rather caught off guard. It didn’t even occur to me how my earlier education hadn’t just been academic. Homeschooling prepared me for life.

Finally, homeschooling taught me time-management and self-control. Homeschooling promotes a certain sense of freedom and responsibility. I was able to choose when to do somethings, but I was accountable for how I was using my time. By the time I left for college I was accustomed to scheduling myself and ensuring I was still able to do the things necessary. I wasn’t reliant upon parental motivation. For some, the first semester of college is a shock because the student is on their own for the first time, but because I had gradually taken more responsibility throughout my homeschool education I didn’t feel like there was much of a difference.

In conclusion, because I was homeschooled I feel like I was better prepared for attending college and succeeding academically.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Please send in a post for the May edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling

This is just a quick reminder, you have five days to send in up to three posts about homeschooling for the June edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Mama Squirrel will be hosting the June edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling at Dewey's Treehouse.

With her children having graduated from homeschooling she has selected a theme of "Retirement Edition."

You can send in up to three posts about homeschooling via either of these methods:

1) You can send an email to: CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com
Please include:

 Title of Post(s)
 URL of Post(s)
 Name of Blog
 URL of Blog
 Brief summary of the post(s)

2) Or use this Google Doc

Please send in the entries by June 8th at 6:00 PM PST.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me. 

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

This month's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

Chareen is hosting this month's Carnival of Homeschooling at Every Bed of Roses.

She starts the carnival with:

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Welcome to the 471st edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling where home school families share their home school wisdom with us from all over the world via their blogs.
This month we have over 70 links to homeschool support letters, advice, encouragement, free printables, unit studies, round up posts and much much more. Grab a cup of your favourite beverage and take a trip around the world wide web for the best of the best encouragement and resources in the homeschool blogging world this month.
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Enjoy!


Carnival of Homeschooling

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Please send in a post for the May edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling

This is just a quick reminder, you have four days to send in up to three posts about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

The May edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling will be held Every Bed of Roses. Entries are due on May 8th, at 6:00 PM PST.

This will be the 471st edition.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, on the 9th of February.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me. 

Carnival of Homeschooling

FYI: There will be no Carnival of Homeschooling for April

Some things have come up and the host scheduled for April wasn't able to pull together the carnival.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Life after homeschooling

When we started homeschooling fifteen years ago it soon became the norm for us.  Homeschooling became a way of life.  In many ways we defined ourselves as homeschoolers.  At times it seemed like we would be homeschooling forever.

But now with two of our children out the door and the third who will probably follow in three years, I’ve started thinking more about life after homeschooling.  As our son is only eight years old we expect to be homeschooling for another nine or ten years, but things will be different when we settle down to one, and then eventually none.

Even though we’ll stop homeschooling I think we will always be homeschoolers.  I like to think Janine and I will keep the love of learning alive in ourselves.  This love of learning was one of my first reasons for taking the risk to homeschool.  I had graduated from a good high school and earned a BS in Physics.  But at 23 I saw education something you only did when you had to, not something that was worthwhile in and of itself.  It wasn’t until I was close to 30 that I rediscovered the love of learning.  And as my children started asking a million questions and eagerly soaking up knowledge I realized that a large part of the reason I stopped being excited about education was the regimented approach public schools take to teaching.  It took a few years to rediscover my love for learning.

It will be interesting to see how life evolves as our children leave the nest and move on.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Please send in a post for the April edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling

This is just a quick reminder, you have four days to send in up to three posts about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

The April edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling will be held Sprittibee.  Entries are due on April 13th at 6:00 PM PST.

This will be the 471st edition.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, on the 9th of February.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me. 

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, March 23, 2015

Good reminder about how to really help someone

From Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

Correction does much, but encouragement does more.
                              -Goethe

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Some good thought about parenting

One of my brothers found this article: Guest opinion: Keep Calm and Parent On, by Adam Strassberg.  The city of Palo Alto has had several recent suicides.  Adam gives some great advice for parents.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

This month's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - March Madness

Susan is hosting this month's Carnival of Homeschooling at Corn and Oil.

She starts the carnival with:

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Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling – March Madness. Homeschoolers could relate to the sense of madness we feel at times fussing over our children’s well-being and education. NCAA basketball is another frenzy starting the middle of this month. St. Patrick’s Day is one week from today and three days later, spring is officially sprung. This sort of madness can be fun and reflective.
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Enjoy!

Monday, March 09, 2015

The Curse of Grade Level Standards



One of the things that I like most about homeschooling is that my children are not artificially constrained by “grade level” academics.  

In a typical school, the children with advanced academic development are constrained to go along with the class.  Children with a slower (and often normal) academic development are pressured to “perform” above their current capabilities.  A few lucky children in the classroom match the academic expectations, at least in some subjects.  It is a rare occasion for a child to perfectly match the classroom demands in all subjects and physical requirements.

What is the opportunity and emotional cost of this style of education? From discussions I’ve heard from my friends with children who have attended school, I believe the cost is very high.

I will use my own children for examples of how successful children can be without grade level imposed upon them..

My oldest daughter was a late reader and late at developing math skills.  I admit that I made a lot mistakes with this first kid because I was trying so hard to “keep up” with their friends at school.  It helped that when I was beginning to despair and resort to some really coercive measures in 2nd grade that my mother-in-law pointed out that my husband didn’t read fluently until the 5th grade.  Once I redefined her development as “normal” for her, things got a lot better.  Two years later when we did standardized testing, I was delighted to find that she had jumped from a Kindergarten level of reading in 2nd grade to a 12th grade level of reading in 4th grade. 

By the time she started community college at 16 ½ years old, she handled math well and earned A’s in almost all her classes [She received a B in Voice which, considering that her father can barely carry a tune, is pretty darn good.]  She did NOT do as many advanced math classes as some students in high school, but that option was and is still open to her now that she is ready through community college and university courses.

This helped her younger sister a great deal.  My second daughter didn’t read fluently until 5th grade and was even later at developing math readiness than her older sister. Because I had seen the jump in her older sister’s capacity to read and do math when ready, I stopped worrying and pushing.  Around the age of 16, she turned a corner developmentally.  When this burst occurred, she didn’t have bad high school transcript because of her slower pace to weigh her down during the college application process. This daughter also earned A’s in community college and was accepted to a prestigious university.

Surprisingly, my 3rd daughter taught herself to read and does math at the level typical of the schools in our area with little effort on my part.  If she had been in a traditional classroom, she would have gotten A’s.  The school system wouldn’t have been as damaging to her as it would have been for her sisters.  Although, she would have missed out on the freedom to pursue her own interest.

Our youngest child is developmentally on an entirely different track.  By “school standard,” he is grades behind.  I’ve had to be more creative (and that is a post all its own).  We celebrate every milestone and have really enjoyed seeing him bloom at his own pace and in his own season. Because we have little preconceived notions about what should happen when, he does not carry emotional baggage associated with academics.  

This was evident at an IEP meeting at the school last year. [Even though we homeschool, we utilized the testing and evaluation services that the public school provides.] The school psychologist said that they have never seen before a kid with his level of impairment that didn’t have “social impairment.” They described him as “socially sophisticated.”

Their report said that “…he came to the testing situation willing and appeared at ease….He initiated conversation….He was very cooperative and well-behaved.  He seemed happy, often wearing a smile on his face.  He wobbled his upper body and head sometimes after giving out an answer as if he felt self-satisfied…..He was never shy or hesitant to speak.  He made comments and expressed his feelings about the tasks at hand……Overall, he was a happy, compliant, attentive and engaged.  It was a pleasure working with him."

I do not think any of those things would be true if our son had gone to school and had been pressured to follow the grade level expectations.  He does not see himself as being behind or as being “broken.”

In an ideal world, every child would have access to an individual educational plan that matched his/her needs.  That is easy to do on a homeschool setting.  

When I was a child in a traditional school (1970’s), about half of the teachers used a flexible learning plan that accommodated many levels of students. For example, each student worked his/her way through a set of reading/science assignments at his/her own rate.  In 4th grade, I made it through the entire set.  I don’t know what my class mates did.  I do remember some discussion amongst ourselves about who got to Silver and Gold.  I don’t remember their being any sort of stigma attached to which “color” group you were in. 

In 5th grade, I was allowed to work ahead in the math book.  I finished it and was allowed to work through two more math books.  I can’t imagine that happening today in classroom with “common core” or other grade defined standards imposed.

We still value academic progress and are putting effort toward that goal, but we don’t worship it.  We have bigger and better goals than that.


Interesting opinion from New York Times: Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts

I like Justin McBrayer's column titled: Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts.

He makes several good points.

He starts with:

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What would you say if you found out that our public schools were teaching children that it is not true that it’s wrong to kill people for fun or cheat on tests? Would you be surprised?

I was. As a philosopher, I already knew that many college-aged students don’t believe in moral facts. While there are no national surveys quantifying this phenomenon, philosophy professors with whom I have spoken suggest that the overwhelming majority of college freshmen in their classrooms view moral claims as mere opinions that are not true or are true only relative to a culture.

What I didn’t know was where this attitude came from. Given the presence of moral relativism in some academic circles, some people might naturally assume that philosophers themselves are to blame. But they aren’t. There are historical examples of philosophers who endorse a kind of moral relativism, dating back at least to Protagoras who declared that “man is the measure of all things,” and several who deny that there are any moral facts whatsoever. But such creatures are rare. Besides, if students are already showing up to college with this view of morality, it’s very unlikely that it’s the result of what professional philosophers are teaching. So where is the view coming from?

A few weeks ago, I learned that students are exposed to this sort of thinking well before crossing the threshold of higher education. When I went to visit my son’s second grade open house, I found a troubling pair of signs hanging over the bulletin board. They read:
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Just another reason to homeschool!  :-)

Hat tip: Instapundit

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Please send in a post for the March edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling

This is just a quick reminder, you have a little less than a week to send in up to three posts about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling.

The March edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling will be held Corn and Oil.  Entries are due on March 9th at 6:00 PM PST.

This will be the 470th edition.

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.

As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, on the 9th of February.

I have a reminder mailing list. If you would like email reminders, please tell me. 

Carnival of Homeschooling

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

This month's Carnival of Homeschooling is up: Homeschool Mom Pet Peeve


Constance is hosting the February edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling at her blog Cosmopolitan Cornbread.

She starts the carnival with:

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Years ago on my old blog, I went on a little rant one day. I was in a mood, and I had seen a comment on facebook that really set me off, and I shared my frustrations on my blog.

It prompted a ton of hilarious comments, and I thought I would share my outburst here for your enjoyment:
As you are all aware, I am a homeschool mom. I have to share that I have a “pet peeve.”
I read lots of e-mails, messages, articles and such every day. Can I tell you that there is little that drives me more nuts than someone talking about…
…there trip to the store and how they had to drag there kids with them and blah, blah, blah…
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Check out the carnival to find out exactly what is her pet peeve.  (Though you may already know.)

Enjoy.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, February 09, 2015

A little update on Baby Bop

Our long time readers may remember that about eight years ago my family started doing foster care.  We had about twenty children come into our home, a few came twice.  One young boy came into our home when he was fourteen months old.  He ended up not going home and we eventually adopted him.

When we started writing about him Janine called him Baby Bob.   But he is no longer a baby; he is almost eight an a half.  And very much a boy.

He has a few areas he struggles in.  He stutters a bit and for the last couple years has made very little progress in reading.  He loves to listen to stories.  He can soak up hours of StoryNory.com.  And for maybe close to two years I've been reading him stories like Black Stallion, Hardy Boys and more recently Tom Swift.  His auditory processing has greatly improved and he is clearly following the story.  Fairly frequently he'll interrupt to say things like "Tom shouldn't do that."

These last two weeks we've had a major breakthrough.  Kind of on a whim, I decided to have him try to read "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish."  I had him read ten and twenty pages each night before I read another chapter of Tom Swift to him.  Baby Bop struggled.  It was hard.  When he got stuck I'd help him.  After we finished it the first time I had him read the whole book again.  This time it was much easier.  He still struggled, but he could see the progress he made in just one week.  But the most exciting thing was that over this weekend on his own initiative he sat down to reread it a third time!!!  There were still a few words he struggled with, but he really did a great job.

The major breakthrough is really that he has changed how he sees himself.  Before he didn't see himself as a reader.  Now he is talking about when he is going to read The Enormous Egg.

I am so glad we have been able to homeschooling.  He wasn't pushed into reading a couple years before his brain was ready.  By letting him develop on his own, he is now moving into the exciting world of printed words, with self confidence and eagerness.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

OK to submit up to three posts to the monthly edition of the Carnival of Homeschool

With the recent change to the Carnival of Homeschooling now coming out monthly, one of our frequent participants asked if the restriction to submit only one post was still in effect.

I thought about it for a bit and talked with our current active hosts.  I have decided that it is OK to submit up to three entries each month.  But the posts should be new entries, posts which have not been in previous carnivals.

If you have any questions, just ask.

Thanks.

And remember, the entries for the first monthly Carnival of Homeschooling are due February 9th, at 6:00 PM PST.


Carnival of Homeschooling