Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling - Week 44

Since it is Halloween, here's some holiday fun.

Much of the western world is celebrating Halloween. This is a time of tricks and treats, scary stories, and things that go bump in the night. Children enjoy dressing up. Many houses have scary noises and sights in their front yard. So we’ll run with a Halloween theme for this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling.

By the way, this is a picture of my middle daughter. She was born two weeks before Halloween. You can tell just how much she enjoyed her costume.


Children knock on doors and yell the familiar “Trick or treat.” The option is given to the adult to either suffer some trick or pay off the children with a treat. There are many tricks to homeschooling. These are the good kinds of tricks.

Kelly, who has just started homeschooling, shares what she has learned in Starting with a Frazzle from Pass the Torch. She has learned a lot in one week.

The Learning Umbrella reminds us about The importance of goals in explaining how setting an end goal changed what she was doing.

One of the important homeschooling tricks for parents is figuring out what and how to teach their children. Alasandra reminds her readers Why it's Important to Teach Facts NOT Feelings.

From Trust The Children is a good reminder that we need to give children down time. It is tricky to find the right range of work and play. Breathing Out -- Breathing In gives some guidance in finding that balance.

Dana of Principled Discovery reports that Math shouldn't be fun. She found a recent study which suggested confident and happy students don’t do as well in math as those who lack confidence and enjoyment of the subject.

Tricks and insights

Homeschoolers are constantly improving and learning how to be better parents and teachers. They are willing and eager to explain the tricks they have learned.

Grizzly Mama in A Day In The Life Of A Sick Grizzly Mama found that you may not get as much done when you are sick, but even in those imperfect days you will have some very nice teaching moments.

Kate of I Think, Therefore I Blog had a similar epiphany in A Much Needed Break as she found that even when she was sick there was a lot of learning without textbooks and classes.

The Thinking Mother explains there are The Two Roles of a Homeschooling Mother; Planning/Scheduling and Actually Doing It. She has some ideas on how this affects what we do as homeschoolers.

Tricks and little children

Homeschooling with a wide age range of children can be a challenge. Kendra shares some ideas she has picked up in Tools at Preschoolers and Peace. I enjoyed her summary of the post: “I once knew everything about parenting. Then I had six children...”

Contentment Acres has some great ideas on how to keep a toddler busy while you homeschool older children in Homeschooling with a Toddler.

Treats - general

There are dozens of benefits to homeschooling. The “treats” include more time with children, being able to do more fun activities, helping children to realize their full potential, and building character.

From far off Australia, Bruggie Tales recounts a recent lesson in Family Maths. My husband greatly enjoys the way this family shares treats.

From My Domestic Church is a nice discussion about the fruits of homeschooling in Socialization. After 12 years of homeschooling a mother is pleased with how her children socialize.

Deanna of Marcy’s Musings also writes about Homeschoolers and Socialization and reports that she has found her children actually have the advantage over regularly-schooled kids when it comes to socialization.

Again and again many homeschool parents will talk about, write about, and explain how their families are stronger, largely because of all the time the family spends together. Julee Huy from Homeschool Daze Blog writes about a We Love Daddy Party which builds greater family unity.

Treats - learning

An important aspect of homeschooling is having a vision that learning can take place in so many places.

At The Common Room the Headmistress explains how Playing Taboo With a Wide Age Range helps the whole family to learn.

From the Little Blue School is a fun post on What did we learn at Disney World? Homeschoolers recognize that we can learn outside a classroom setting. And often we learn more.

Tami of Tami’s Blog talks about her recent trip to the beach and how she incorporated it into their studies in We took our homeschool on the road.

In a Fabulous Fall Field trip some children get great exposure to how education use to happen. Malissa's Merry Go Round recounts the trip Stony Hill School where Flag Day was started.

Homeschoolers are everywhere. Beverly Hernandez writes about California's First All Homeschool Marching Band from About Homeschooling.

From Why Homeschool is our entry this week on how homeschooling has More of life in the "real world."


In the United States we are also gearing up for an election. This afternoon Henry took our older two daughters out so they could pass out brochures on a candidate we support. Our middle daughter was a bit fearful by some of the scary decorations. There were hanging skeletons and heads in glass globes.

At Halloween almost every house has pumpkins. At Crafty Mama’s Homeschool are some ideas on how to integrate pumpkins into the curriculum in Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere.

From Apollos Academy the Tutor shares her daughter’s concern about bad decorations in Our Budding Environmentalist. Her daughter not only did her part, but went the extra mile to try and improve the decorations.


Halloween is known for scary stories and things that go bump in the night. Some people seem scared to teach their own children. They recognize many of the problems in public schools, but are too frighten to step into the unknown of homeschooling.

In What got us thinking about homeschooling Kat of No fighting, no biting shares what prompted her to seriously consider homeschooling.

And from the Dow Blog is another account of a homeschool mother who explains why her family decided to homeschool in Why We Homeschool.

In Wired for Noise Mama Chaos questions the validity of children having to learn to do School before school. She wonders why children have to learn how to do school at ages three and four.

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. From APMFormulators is a post on Parents who Study Pediatrics Naturally.

Who, Witch, Why, Where, When, and How

Spunky of SpunkyHomeSchool might be able to help me out with the above title since she wrote Teaching Grammar and Writing.

Who – Dani of Bureaucratic Daycare writes about Christian parents who are concerned about a humanistic public school education in A Godless Education.

Why - Scott Somerville submitted Spunky’s post about why she switched to Tapestry of Grace.

Where – Laurie Bluedorn explains where to get school stuff in New Internet Auction Site Launched to Help the Homeschool Community at Trivium Pursuit.

When – The NerdMom has some thoughts about when it is time to switch to homeschooling in 7th Heaven and Schooling from the Nerd family.

How – The Homeschool CPA explains how it tends to be more expensive to homeschool our children as they hit the high school years in The Cost of Homeschooling.

Things that go bump in the night

Seeing as how late it is, we’ll end with a post about sleep. Patti, of All Info About Home Schooling writes about teenagers and sleep in To Sleep, Perchance to Grow

If you have enjoyed this carnival, please spread the word. Please mention the carnival on your blog, and other appropriate places.

Go here for the archives of previous carnivals.Next week the carnival will be held at SpunkyHomeSchool.

If you are interested in submitting a post for a future carnival, click here for information.
For those interested, the Carnival of Education will be coming out on Wednesday.

We'd like to thank everyone who has helped out. Thank you to all the participants in this carnival. And thanks to all those who help promote the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Monday, October 30, 2006

More of life in the "real world"

When it comes to the question of socialization, often homeschoolers are criticized for not preparing their children for the "real world."

So, here's a glimpse of the "real world" through the eyes of child at school.

Videos Of Assaults Found On Middle School Student's Phone

This lovely story decribes how groups of middle school children are beating up classmates and taping the assaults on their cell phones.

Police have launched an investigation into a series of attacks being carried out by middle school students after videos of the assaults were found inside a cell phone confiscated from a 13-year-old Portola Middle School girl last week, El Cerrito police Detective Cpl. Donald Horgan said.

From looking at the videos on the phone, Horgan said that it appeared that middle school students had been sneaking up to other students and slamming into them while other students filmed the attacks on their video cell phones, Horgan said.

The article states that none of the attacks had been reported. None of the victims told their parents. I can understand that. When I was in school, I never told my parents about the things that happened to me either.

Many parents see articles like this and say, "Well, that doesn't happen at my school or to my kid."

My response is this. How would you know?

Anger management class ordered for student

Assault charges against a Roseville elementary school girl who beat up a classmate on a school bus for getting "all A's" will be dismissed if she attends anger management courses, a judge has ruled.

Besides attending anger management classes, the 11-year-old from Alumni Memorial Elementary School was ordered to stay out of trouble in the future. If she does, court officials expect the assault charge to be wiped off her record.

"Like most people, before this hearing I didn't even know this was offered. I thought anger management was something for adults," said St. Pierre, the girl's attorney in the juvenile case. "But it's offered through public libraries, and we were told there have been successful cases in treating even 5-year-olds for anger problems."

This article continues with details of another student assualt.

So, when was the last time you were beaten up at work? Or a bunch of mom's at the park decide to assualt another mother so they can record it on their cell phones for later viewing entertainment?

Yet, this is the abuse that some insist that children need to experience as an integral part of childhood. I want strong, capably children, but is leaving them in bad company unprotected the way to achieve that end? I don't think so.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

These people would never get invited to the Dr. Phil show

This is a nice article about a succesful homeschool family.

Are homeschoolers prepared for the real world?

OZARK-Clever resident Patti Hobbs' eyes light up and the smile widens across her face as she begins talking about her six children. When Hobbs first ventured into the homeschool world nearly 20 years ago, many probably considered her family an outcast. Homeschoolers were thought to be socially immature and academically inferior. However, the Hobbs children, like so many homeschooled children in today's age, have proven those statements wrong.

Nate and Ben Hobbs have both graduated with honors with bachelor's degrees from the University of Missouri-Rolla. They are both currently enrolled in the doctorate programs at different universities.

(Heavy sigh) To bad we won't ever see homeschoolers like that on tv. The article ends with this conclusion:

There are exceptions to every rule. However, it appears that overall, homeschoolers are getting along just fine in the world. They are blending in with public and private school graduates and entering the same professions. They are involved with civic, community, political and religious affairs. And the number of children being homeschooled is on the rise.

I'm glad to see positive articles about homeschooling in the news.

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Don't forget to send in your submission for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

My wife and I will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling next week.

Have you written something especially interesting, profound, or funny about homeschooling recently? Please send it in.

Entries are due by 6:00 PM (PST) on Monday evenings. Go here for information on how to submit your entry.

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Selections from Astronomy Picture of the Day - 27 Oct 06

It has been awhile since I've posted about the Astronomy Picture of the Day web site.

Hidden Galaxy IC 342 is beautiful. I always get lost trying to imagine just how big is the universe. A picture of a galaxy helps a bit.

The Antennae Galaxies in Collision is also breathtaking.

Something like Markarian's Chain of Galaxies takes me up an order of magnitude.

A nebula is much smaller. This picture of An Orion Deep Field is very striking. As is The Prawn Nebula.

A fun place to wander around is the Astronomy Picture of the Day Calender. From here you can select a month and see a the snapshots of a month's worth of pictures.

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Parental Involvement Deters Teens Drug Use

One of the things that attracted me to homeschooling was the opportunity to increase parent-child interactions. Good relationships take time. As a society, parents underestimate their influence upon their own children. On the other side, sometimes homeschool parents over estimate their influence upon their children. So, what parental factors most influence teen behavior?

This study about teen drug use caught my eye and answers that question.

Parental Involvement Deters Teens Drug Use

The surveyed teens were asked about identified risk factors for teen drug use including peer and sibling use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco, parental monitoring, and how they perceived their parents' tolerance of drug and alcohol use on a 5-point scale.

For every point increase in parental tolerance of alcohol use, the frequency of teen use of alcohol increased by 80 percent.

For every point increase in parental tolerance of marijuana use, there was a 33 percent increase in the frequency of marijuana use.

The frequency of drug use dropped by 14 percent for each degree that teens perceived their parents as monitoring their activities.

Along this line of investigation, I found Parents Make a Difference on the Project Cork web page. Here are some of their conclusions.

The quality of family relationships and the amount of time adolescents spend with family is a more important influence on adolescent's substance use than is the kind of family in which teenagers are living, whether it is with both parents, a parent or step-parent, in a single parent home, or live with non-family members.

Adolescent's perceptions of the parenting style in their home are linked to adolescents' substance use. Teens who view their parents generally as authoritative (know what they are talking about), as not permissive (who have standards and clear expectations), and as less authoritarian ("do it because I say so") do better in school and also are less likely to use substances.

Experimentation and use among elementary age children is associated with parenting styles that encourage risk taking, by parent's substance use.

Adolescent drinking behaviour is found to be largely unrelated to the socio-economiccircumstances of the family. A supportive family environment is associated with lowered rates of alcohol use.

This quote from researcher Stephen Bahr best sums up the results:

"..... influence of peers is strong, but it is mediated by characteristics of parents..."

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

One of the lessons we are trying to teach our children

As parents there are a lot of lessons we want our children to learn. Some lessons are more important than other lessons.

This came in from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day:

Better to do something imperfectly
than to do nothing flawlessly.
-Robert Schuller
From the Masters
16 Oct 2006

I think it is one of the more important lessons.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More College Grads Living with Parents

Since we are sort of been on a college theme, here's another article about college. This article support some of the arguments from The US Doesn't Need More College Graduates.

More College Grads Living With Parents

* Half of this year's graduates have moved back home and 44 percent of last year's graduates are still there, while 34 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds get cash from mom and dad — an average of $3,410 a year.

Exactly, when are these so called adults, going to actually take on adult responsibilities?

I haven't lived with my parents full time since high school. When I was in college, I only lived at home during the summer until my third year. I did live with other family members one summer and for about six months after I graduated. Then I shared a small apartment with 2 roommates.

My husband lived at home while he attended college. A few months after college, he moved into his own apartment which he shared with various roommates. After he worked for a few years, his parents suggested that he buy a house. By the time we got married, Henry had rented rooms to 20 or so different roommates.

A few years after we were married, one of Henry's old roommates came to visit with his wife and children. While preparing dinner, the former roommate commented that he used to have an apron just like the one I had one. I replied that, "It came with the house." We had a good laugh. I asked him if he wanted his apron back. He said no. Another funny thing, when we got married there were bits and piece of 10 different sets of plates, cups, and flatware in the kitchen. Henry could set the whole table with out matching one plate, cup or utensil.

I don't buy the argument about the high cost of housing being the reason to move home. It's about expectations. Young adults want right now what their parents took a lifetime to build. Also, as the first article mentions, more unmotivated students are getting diplomas and are working in low paying jobs that don't need a degree. Because they are burdened with college loans, they are finding it difficult to be independent.

As part of our home education curriculum, we are teaching our children that adulthood is not achieved by age, but by self-sufficiency and autonomy, and that money doesn't grow on trees.

I tell my kids that if they want nice things, they will have to earn it.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dr. Phil's hatchet job

I came across this post from a blogger who was in Dr. Phil's audience for the the so called "homeschool" episode. The level of manipulation was staggering.

For example, the homeschool guests were told that they couldn't bring anyone younger than 18 years old. Dr. Phil brought in bus loads of students from surrounding schools to be in the audience. Nothing like stacking the deck.

For another episode on breast feeding, Dr. Phil taped eight days at the home of a breast feeding family. They used 30 seconds of the footage on the show, all of it negative.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

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The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - week 43, learn about Benjamin Franklin

Beverly Hernandez of About Homeschool is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling. Beverly ties in the variety of posts into different aspects of Benjamin Franklin's life. Drop in an learn more about homeschooling and Benjamin Franklin.

This week's Carnival of Family Life is at Everything Under the Moon.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education, , ,

Carnival of Kid Comedy, week 29

Welcome to this week's Carnival of Kid Comedy. It is our pleasure to bring you a number of entertaining posts about the funny things children say and do. Without any further ado, on with the show.

Funny things children say:

Kim has been busy with a film festival, so she submitted one of Melissa Wiley's posts: Sometimes It's Hard to Make a Positive ID at Here in the Bonny Glen. Melissa's daughter saw something. It was brown, but what was it?

Bruggie Tales tells us the result of children watching Star Trek at a young age in Clingon Assault.

From Trinity Prep School is a delightful picture with the perfect caption: Mommy, Look....We Found Kitties!

Parah tells us about her son's first brush with logic and cattle in Logical Cattle.

At Stand Up For Kids In Mississippi is the account of a son and driving in Comic Relief: The Demon Car.

From Contentment Acres a mother admits she had trouble understanding what Caelb meant when he said he didn't like Poe-Key-Toes.

While Holding It Down a mother asks You Bit a What? Active imaginations are often a source of trouble.

Just Call Me Jamin! tells about a 12 year old son explaing the value of candy in The Glorius Night of Candy Giving.

From the High Desert Hi-Jinks is Fuel for Thought. I'm amazed that children can come up with responses like this so quickly.

Karen Edmisten found out why Romona was awake in Why we were up as early as we were.

Funny things children do:

This is one of those times when at the moment it may have been stressful, but later it is easy to look back and laugh. At Questions for the Wise Rebeca tells us of her son who dialed 911 on the microwave in Carried on the Wind.

At Our Seven Qtpies we read that a young girl recognizes a plus of going to the hospital in Never boring in a home with kids!

In Musings from the Mahan School for Little Women is a video of a girl and Spaghetti. This girl will be forever typecasted as a comedian.

From Echoes of Cold Moon Zen Kitty shares More on "The Older Women Are On The Prowl" as she writes about her daughter being courted at five.

David writes about His Youngest at Working it out. It would have been fun to have seen the panda.

From Flock of Sllies, Silly Old Mom writes about her daughter and a book catalog in Kid, Meet Candy Store.

The Thinking Mother writes about Playing In a Cloud. There are times when life has a bit of magic.

At Lil Duck Duck a mother exclains The Things I do for this child. All that work to see Clifford the Big Red Dog, and what does he end up doing?

And finally we humbly submit our post in Here Comes the Bride as Janine tells two of the classic stories from our family.

We hope you have enjoyed this week's Carnival of Kid Comedy. Please tell your friends. If you would like to submit an entry for next week's carnival, go here, or you can send email to: Carnival.KidComedy at gmail dot com.

Update I: The Carnival of Kid Comedy will be held next week at Life in a shoe.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Here Comes the Bride

Since we are hosting the Carnival of Kid Comedy, I've been trying to think of some funny things our kids have said or done. So, this goes back a few years.

When my oldest daughter was about three years old and my second daughter was about one, Henry's brother got married. This occasion included a photo session after the nuptials, in which the bride and groomed posed with family and various members of the wedding party. The photographer directed people to stand in a certain way and so forth as he set up for each shot.

The next week my daughter decided to "marry" one of the little boys at preschool. My daughter took George to the play structure and directed him how to stand. After posing him, she took George by the hand, marched over the mothers watching and announced, "He's my husband and I'm his wife."

My daughter then directed George to another play structure. While walking away with George, she explained to the mothers that "We are going to the doctor's office. I'm going to have a baby."

After this little interchange, George's grandmother turns to me and says, "So, what's been going on at your house?"

This reminds me of another conversation between my second daughter and the next door neighbor boy when they were both four years old. As a reference point, my neighbors are from India. This conversation took place around the same time as the "God" conversation that I mentioned in this post.

My daughter: Are you going to marry another Indian?

Neighbor boy: (He shrugs and looks confused.) I don't know. I never think about it?

My daughter: (Very seriously) I think about it all the time!

It is funny how girls are different than boys.

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Rules of Writing

My mother-in-law forwarded this to me with a little note saying that "it might help children remember some writing rules."

So here it is, a fun way to teach grammar and punctuation rules.

"Rules of Writing"

- Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.

- Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

- And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

- It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

- Avoid cliches like the plague.

- Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.

- Be more or less specific.

- Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

- Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

- No sentence fragments.

- Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.

- Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

- Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

- One should NEVER generalize.

- Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

- Don't use no double negatives.

- Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

- One-word sentences? Eliminate.

- Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.

- Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

- If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.

- Puns are for children, not groan readers.

- Who needs rhetorical questions?

- Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

And finally...

- Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Reminder, send in your submission for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Beverly of About Homeschool will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling next week. You have the whole weekend to think of what you what to submit. Entries are due by 6:00 PM (PST) on Monday evenings. Go here for information on how to submit your entry.

Also, were' coming up on the end of the month, so you might also want to start thinking about a submission for the next Unschooling Voices, a carnival for unschoolers. Joanne, of A Day in Our Lives, has put out a request for your posts.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Request for submissions for the next Carnival of Kid Comedy

My wife and I will have the pleasure of hosting the Carnival of Kid Comedy next week. Have your children said or done something funny recently? Have they made an amazing observation? Have other children recently amused you? Please think about writing it up and sendingit in. Entries are due Monday night at 11:59 PM CST.

You can submit a post here. Go here for more information

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How college influenced my career path- Part 3

More answers to the question. See part 1 and part 2.

Soon after starting my first non-temp job, my boss suggested I actually take a computer programming course from the local community college. He assured me that with my experience I would do fine, even if I hadn't taken the prerequisite class. This was the same friend who got me the job. He was also Henry’s friend and former roommate. I had taken an introduction to computers class in college that mentioned basic programming, but that was it.

So, I went to the first class and didn't understand a thing that was said for an hour and thirty minutes. Before starting the class, Henry had volunteered to tutor me. (We knew each other from church.) I had turned him down. I think I'm pretty smart, so I didn't anticipate needing help. After the first class, I called him in a panic. We started "studying" together almost every night after work.

We spent a lot of time talking, but not enough time studying. Pretty quickly we started discussing marriage. After doing poorly on the first few tests, I dropped out of the class, and we decided that since we were going to get married, we should date instead of "studying." We were married exactly one year from our first "study" session.

While we were engaged, I took a few classes at a nearby university with the intent of pursuing a masters degree in marriage and family counseling. I needed a few more courses before entering the masters program. I found the course work nauseatingly politically correct. The department head was a lesbian with an agenda. She was also an awful teacher. The other course I took from another professor was actually pretty good and had useful information. After the course work, I decided that I didn't have the temperament for politically correct psychobabble.

I stayed at the start up company until it went out of business when my first daughter was six months old. After she was born, I worked part time from home. They forwarded the tech calls to my house. I would sit on my couch, nurse my baby and talk to customers.

One day, I had a customer pick up on the fact that I was nursing while talking on the phone. He stops mid sentence and asked with surprise, "Is there a baby there??" He then continued on with some pride in his voice, "I'm a pediatric surgeon!"

Since that time, I've been a full-time mom. I later wrote the installation manual for a software program Henry created when he had a home business, but that’s been about it for technical writing.

At this point I began, my next career. I care for children (nanny), direct manual labor (manager/slave driver), keep the house clean (maid), plan meals and food storage (nutritionist), prepare the meals (cook), decorate and remodel (interior designer), manage the finances (accountant), manage our retirement portfolios (financial planner), file the taxes (tax consultant), instruct our children (teacher), drive them around (taxi driver), file the homeschooling paper work (principal), provide clothing for our family (fashion consultant) and plan our many trips (travel agent). I’m not really quite sure what to call it, but I love this job.

So, how did a college education influence my career progression? In the workforce, a college education made it easier to get in the door and it made it easier to get raises. Companies often have salary guidelines. A degree makes it easier to ask for more money.

However, most of my promotions were NOT related at all to skills I learned in college. I learned computer skills by temping. I got the temp jobs because I could type. I learned to type in junior high school.

Picking up software programs easily was just something I did naturally. My writing skills were the same. Writing and computer skills mixed well for a career in technical writing.

My abilities were my gifts from God. They were magnified by the type of home in which I was raised. I grew up in home where learning and books were celebrated. My mother's idea of a fun time was to visit an archeology dig or a museum. The sight of old books and sharpened pencils makes me happy. Working hard and taking initiative was something I learned from my dad. The people skills grew by working as a checker at Kmart between my 1st and second year of college. (I highly recommend spending at least a few months as a checker for every young person.) These personal interaction skills were later honed by serving as a missionary.

The only tangible thing I took away from college was a piece of paper that got me in the door at work. However, there were still many important intangible things I gained from a college education. The year I studied social psychology helped me make sense of myself and the world. The religion and philosophy courses helped me make sense of the universe. The courses I took in economics and business made me a better consumer. Living in an apartment with room mates taught me about human nature.

I wished I had learned more about cooking and sewing in college. I had to learn those skills the hard way, trial and error. Also, a college degree is a safety net in case I need to re-enter the work force if Henry dies or is disabled. I have no plans to re-enter the job market, otherwise. I like my current job too much.

College also had a down side. I came out of college exposing socialist propaganda and embracing the classic “chip on your shoulder” feminism. As soon as I hit the “real world,” I realized that much of the world view I had been taught in college was utterly false.

So, this is the advice I give my daughters about college:

Choose the college you attend carefully. Don't worry about a college major at the beginning. Take the courses you are interested in. Just keep moving along until you stumble across your gift. Focus on gaining the skills you need to be self sufficient. Prepare yourself to teach your children the truth.

It does makes life easier if you get that piece of paper, but don't make the piece of paper your ultimate goal. Make gaining knowledge and wisdom your ultimate goal.

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How college influenced my career path- Part 2

More answers to the question: How did college help my career? See Part 1.

The summer before my last year of college, I visited my sister in San Jose, California. I was supposed to stay two weeks and then return home to a summer job that I already had lined up in Wyoming. She suggested I try to get a job with a temp agency here in California. I easily got a job. So I stayed for the whole summer.

In Silicon Valley in the late 80s and early 90s, temp jobs were very easy to find and paid well. I worked for two different temp agencies who would send me to work at various tech companies for a few days or weeks at a time. Usually, it was to fill in for an administrative assistant/receptionist who was sick or on vacation. On my second or third job I ended up staying with the same company for the rest of the summer.

This job was for a new R&D department. They were hiring a permanent admin but she couldn't start for a few weeks. The phone rang maybe twice a day and I typed one memo. Since I had nothing to do all day, I played with the computer at my desk. I taught myself how to use Dbase and WordPerfect. I also made friends with the admin to the president/owner of the company. She pointed me to other openings in the company.

When my two week temp job was over, I moved over to fill the position of administrative assistant for the company’s new lawyer. He wanted everything done on computer and the old secretary with technologically phobic, so she left. This job was supposed to last only a few weeks until they hired a full time replacement. This lawyer was very picky. It took him the whole summer to find someone he liked. In the end, they hired the old admin to come back now that all the computer upgrades were done.

While implementing all the new computer upgrades, I worked very closely with the technical support department. I could have gotten a job in the tech department but I made more money as a temp admin to a lawyer.

At the end of the summer, I went back to school and graduated. After graduation, I returned to California and temped some more before taking time off to serve as a missionary. So, I still had not really begun a career.

Two years later when I got back into the job market, I returned to temping. A college degree probably had some benefit on my resume, especially with a two year gap in my employment history. However, I think it was typing speed that got me hired.

I bounced around week after week to different companies learning more and more software. Eventually, I ended up spending a year and a half at Intel as a temp. My last few months, I worked in the international marketing department. The Spanish I learned as a missionary got me that job. I had also taken two years of French in highschool and two years of French in college. I couldn't speak any french, but I could read it. I had to move on because they have laws about how long you can work as a temporary employee before the company has to pay a tax penalty.

My next temp job was at Novell where I worked as an admin in the Education department. There, I ended up writing the manual and then teaching the class for new employees on how to use the company email. The experience I gained from teaching the gospel as a missionary helped me teach email classes. I admit that it felt funny teaching a class without first having an opening prayer.

A few months later, a friend from church got me a job at a startup company that he worked at. With the skills I gained temping, I got my first (and only full time job) with benefits. I started by answering tech support calls for a printer accessory. There I moved in to testing of new products and writing installation manuals, in addition to answering calls. By that time, I was 24 years old and was making good money. I had no debt and was entirely self sufficient.

College gave me some advantage on paper, but that was about it.

For the rest of the story......see part 3.

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How college influenced my career path- Part 1.

In response to my post about college, christinemm asked "I am curious what your post-college work experience was with relation to your college degree. Did you feel that it helped you to have that degree?"

I graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in psychology. I spent my career in technical support and technical writing. I'm sure the logical connection just jumps right out at you. (That's sarcasm if you can't tell without the right voice inflection.)

I will admit it. I went to college to get away from home and to get as far away from the kids I knew in high school as I could get. Going to college was all about escaping from my own life.

At college, I expected things to be better than the harassment I endured in high school. And, it was wonderful. If fact, since high school, I’ve never really been harassed, had my thing vandalized, or received a prank phone call. In many ways, college was the beginning of my adult life. As part of this new beginning, I expected to find a husband and become a full time mom. I had envisioned myself maybe working for a short time before starting a family, but not more than that.

My original major was medical technology. The first course I took towards that end was taught by an awful teacher. I hated it. I also never saw any of that stuff under the microscope that was supposed to be there.

At the same time, my first psychology course was wonderful. I loved the class and the homework seemed so easy. So, I just took the courses I liked and didn't even think about my major. At the end of three years, I met with a guidance counselor to see what kind of credits I still needed to graduate in anything. I found out that I was 1 credit short from a degree in psychology. Since I had a scholarship, I did half of the next year and graduated early.

Of course, that caused another problem. I had planned to meet my husband in college and get married by the time I graduated. When it became evident to me that was not going to happen, that's when I started thinking about a career.

For more see part 2 and part 3.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling is up - week 42, the answer to everything

Shannon is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at HomeschoolHacks. As Douglas Adam reveals in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is "forty-two." In this week's carnival Shannon answers many of the questions about homeschooling. Drop in and enjoy.

This week's Carnival of Kid Comedy is at Life in a shoe. (We'll be hosting Kid Comedy next week, so start noticing the funny things your children say and do.)

And we joined the sixth Travel Carnival hosted by Trip Hub. We entered our post about checking out Anchorage for only $32.

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Is Geraldo more ethical than Dr. Phil?

It is a funny world. I'm surprised to find that on homeschooling I have more respect for Geraldo than Dr. Phil.

Earlier this month Geraldo At Large had a short piece on unschooling. I thought it was fair and balanced.

Spunky reports that the Dr. Phil episode on homeschooling is a hit piece. Niether fair nor balanced.

What a sad, funny world.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Monday, October 16, 2006

Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women

So this one caught my eye.

A new book, Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women, takes on the myth that men are intimidated by intelligent women.

You can read more about it here.

By ages 35 to 39, a higher percentage of high-achieving women have walked down the aisle than their less accomplished sisters.

Women who are panicked about their marriage prospects are more likely to give off negative or desperate vibes to men, and SWANS who believe that men will be intimidated by their education or success may find that it's really ego and attitude - not their success - that are getting in the way. .

It is nice that some one has put this myth to rest. My husband has a funny story about something like this. Before I met Henry, he dated a lot ot women. (He estimates it was about 500.) Anyway, he once went out with a nice woman who came across like a dumb blond. While on a date with this woman, he had flash forward moment where he could picture them married to each other with children. In this flash moment, he imaged that she turned to him while driving home from church and said, "Honey, do we have 3 or is it 4 children?" He never asked her out again.

Henry mentioned that intelligence, and height were important to him. I never worried about intelligence scary away a potential husband. I did worry about height. I am almost 6 feet tall. When I was in school and I was taller than every boy, it effected how I looked at myself. All the popular girls were short. None of the women's clothing in stores was long enough in the legs or arms back then. So, we often shopped in the mens department. That negatively impacted self image as well.

This has influenced my decision to homeschool. My tall daughters like being tall. And, they don't care what is "in" or what the popular kids do. Staying away from school definately made that possible.

Now back to the article. I was struck by how self absorbed and emotionally needy some of these "swans" sounded. It reminded me of the recent uproar over the "don't marry a career woman" advice in Forbes magazine.

I agree that it is not success, but attitude that scares away a potential spouse. Both men and women are wise to avoid a spouse who puts career before family.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Forty eight hours and counting

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be hosted by Shannon. Shannon has long blogged at PHAT Mommy. She has recently started up HomeschooHacks, and will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling at Homeschoolhacks.

Entries are due in forty eight hours, Monday evening at 6:00 PM PST. As always the host would appreciate entries coming in early. Details on what and how to submit are here.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Students rack up 10-15 hours of sleep debt a week

This news article, Women Voters Appeal for Later School Start, caught my eye.

Here's a few excerpts:

Students rack up 10 to 15 hours of sleep debt a week by getting six to seven hours a sleep a night, which is the equivalent of pulling one all-nighter. Anecdotal evidence from middle- and high-school parents also showed older students are not getting enough sleep. Stone said this raises concerns for their health, well-being and ability to reach their learning.

Sleep patterns change at adolescence, which does not mix well with early school start times. Students cannot necessarily go to bed earlier because their bodies release the drowsiness-inducing hormone melatonin later in the day, Himmel said. A Connecticut Board of Education study done in 2003 revealed that adolescents are more alert later in the day while younger children are more alert earlier.

Sleep deprivation can bring several health problems, according to the league's research. Students who don't get enough sleep can suffer from irritability, moodiness, emotional instability, aggressiveness and stress, said committee co-chair Peggy Dannemann. Sleep deprivation also can take a toll on cognitive function. She said students can have a harder time paying attention and a slower reaction time, or succumb to involuntary naps to catch up on their missed sleep.

Sleep-deprived students also tend to rely more on stimulants such as caffeine and have a higher rate of drug use...

"A tired child is an accident waiting to happen," Dannemann said, adding that 55 percent of the 100,000 car accidents caused by drowsy drivers each year are by 16- to 25-year-old drivers.

...44 percent of high school parents drive their children to school specifically to give them more time sleeping and 32 percent of high school students drive themselves to school for that reason.

Now this is the part of the article I thought was very interesting:

Opinion from the schools' professional staff, however, was mixed. Saxe Middle School had 71 percent of its staff wanting later start times, but only 34 percent of New Canaan High School staff agreed.

It will be interesting to see what the school board decides. Will the 34% of New Canaan High School staff against the time change be counted more important than scientific data and the 84% of New Canann High School parents who support the change?

This topic resonates with me. In highschool, I had many sleep related problems. My high school started at 7:30 am. Early morning swim practice started at 6 am and marching band practice at 7 am. I would get up at 4:45 am, to leave my house by 5:30 am to make the 20 minute walk to the swimming pool.

I made myself a little nuts. I would sometimes forge notes from home so that I could sluff school and come home to sleep in the afternoon. Even after I was no longer on the swim team, I would still periodically skip school to come home and sleep. I would also sleep through classes. Luckily, I had some good teachers who would only wake me up if we were covering material I didn't all ready know.

Most of my sleep problems ended when I was no longer in highschool. However, I have some residual side effects. I get very anxious and can't sleep the night before I need to get up early in the morning. I also got in the habit of sleeping anytime I stopped moving.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Making Sense Out of Craziness

There is so much pointless violence in the news recently, that it is hard to make sense of it. Rational thought has been replaced by unrestrained emotion. I still find my self asking "why."

We recently had our own little brush with craziness. On Sunday we drove from our home to my in-laws home for dinner. The majority of the trip is spent on freeways and expressways. We have tradition that Henry reads to the kids from one of the Black Stallion books while I drive. (I get car sick, so I can't be the reader.)

Because it was Sunday afternoon, the traffic was light for a California freeway. A car came up behind ours, tailgated for a few moments and then flashed on its lights to get my attention. Since I was keeping pace with the traffic, I thought that was odd. I guessed that the drive must be eager to exit, since the lane I was in could both exit or continue on the freeway. I was puzzled when the driver pulled out of my lane and into the faster lane just has we approached the exit. The driver made an obscene gesture as he spend past our car. The car then continued on in the faster lane.

I puzzled over this little exchange. I was driving about 63 mph in a 65 mph zone, in the right lane which is traditionally the "slow" lane. If the driver wanted to driver faster, why was in in the slow lane? I discussed it at dinner with Henry and his parents. Some one suggested that maybe I had cut the other driver off, but I can't figure out how that could have occurred. Twice during the trip I merged on to another freeway. I remember thinking to myself, that with this light traffic, it was so much easier to merge. Once on the multilane freeway, I stayed in the traditional "slower" lane and kept pace with the surrounding traffic.

Someone else suggested that maybe he didn't like my bumper sticker. I have a faded bumper sticker with the name of a candidate from an election a few years ago. This type of boorish behavior did fit the stereotype I have of a particular political organization, but it still seems a bit of a reach. How likely would it be that driving down the freeway, someone noticed a small, faded bumper sticker and decided to harass a woman driving car full of children on a Sunday afternoon?

The last theory was maybe it was a case of mistaken identity. We do drive a rather nondescript Toyota Camry. There are a lot of them on the road.

Maybe it is pointless to try and make sense out of nonsense, but it's the psychologist in me. Why was he so angry? Why did he think that being angry made it ok to harass another driver? Why was it so important to him that I observe his little tantrum? How did he feel as he drove away?

This minor incident reminds me of so many tragedies caused by people who have become a slave to their anger. What in our society drives this kind of thing?

The theme from the Shadow comic hero popped into my head: Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Maybe it's not that complicated after all.

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The Carnival of Homeschooling, week 41

The Carnival of Homeschooling this week is being hosted by the Nerd Family.

The Carnival of Kid Comedy is hosted at Life in a Shoe.

And the Carnival of Family Life is at Of Noble Character.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

The first Catholic Homeschooling Blog Carnival

The first Catholic Homeschooling Blog Carnival is being hosted by Love2learn Blog. In the opening paragraph it says: "Catholics who homeschool have a unique set of challenges and we hope this blog carnival will be a way of supporting and encouraging each other in the love of Christ and His Blessed Mother!" If this interests you, check it out. I was amazed at how many entries there were.

This carnival will be monthly. Entries for the next carnival are due before the 25th. Go here for information on submitting.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Contributing to the next Carnival of Homeschooling

The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be hosted by the Nerd Family.

Think about what you have blogged about homeschooling. Consider submitting it.

Entries are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM PST. As always the host would appreciate entries coming in early. Details on what and how to submit are here.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,