Thursday, May 30, 2013

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at The HSBA Post.

Lisa starts the carnival with:

Welcome to The Homeschool Post’s edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling! Since this carnival is full of a variety of topics we’ve decided to call it the “May Mashup”.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cate Academy Year in Review - Kindergarten

Here's a overview of  what Kindergarten looked like at Cate Academy (homeschool) in 2013:

At the most, we spent 30 minutes of "seat time" a day, in comparison to the 60 minutes or more a day of "bike time."  We are pretty "unschoolish" in kindergarten, but not true unschoolers because I regularly require a page or two of workbookish stuff and other written exercises.

List of Activities and Resources:

- lots of playing in the back yard

- learning to ride a bike without training wheels

- lots of bike riding

- tactile learning

- speech therapy twice a week

- lots of Legos

- gymnastics class

- Sky High (trampoline jumping place)

- science class at Rock-it Science

Science project

 - Get Ready for the Code – Book A 

- Get Set for the Code – Book B 

- Go for the Code – Book C 

- Explode the Code 1 

- Bob Books 

- Peterson Handwriting 

Notice the smiley face on the letter "g."
(I smudged his first name for safety).

- Wide variety of children’s books

- The “Fun Class” at homeschool co-op
(This usually includes a story about a country or animal and a craft project taught by a mom at co-op.) 

- Children’s choir at homeschool co-op

- Art Class at homeschool co-op
(We hired an art teacher to come in once a month.  This consisted of a variety of painting and drawing techniques.) 

- Spontaneous Educational Opportunities

Spring Clean Up

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Reminder: Please send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at: The HSBA Post.

This will be the 387th 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.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

Friday, May 24, 2013

Life Humor 1.I

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:


Two students are piloting a plane, when they discover that they must make an emergency landing.  Luckily enough, there is a nearby (unused) airstrip, so they decide to land there.

As they fly over it, one says, "that's an awfully short runway; I don't know if we can land on it."  The other points out that there's no choice, so they have to try.

They bring the plane in as slowly as possible, touching wheels right at the beginning of the runway, and immediately hit the brakes.  The plane slides to a halt with the front wheels hanging off the runway's end.

One student turns to the other and says, "We made it, but this is the *SHORTEST* runway I've ever seen."  The other says,  "Yeah, but it must be at least two miles *wide*."


During the recent Karpov-Kasparov world chess championships they came to an adjournment and left for their hotel.  In the lobby of the hotel several chess enthusiasts could be heard bragging,

"I could beat Karpov with no problem".
"Oh yeah, I could beat both of them at the same time."
"That's nothing, I could beat both of them blindfolded!"

Finally, the hotel manager had had enough and threw them all out of the hotel.
"But why?" a bystander asked.

"Because," the manager replied "I hate ... chess nuts boasting by an open foyer!"


Once upon a time there was a man who owned a pen that he cherished. He would use this pen at any available opportunity. He loved having to sign his name because it gave him a chance to use his pen. If he had nothing to do he would always be found doodling with his pen. He kept it for years and years and used it often.

Sadly, one day it ran out of ink and there was no way to refill it. He couldn't bring himself to throw it away. He wanted to find some way that he could still get some kind of use out of it. He came upon a brilliant idea. He had the pen melted down into the shape of an urn so that when he died his ashes could be placed inside the urn and thus he could spend eternity with his pen.

The moral of the story?.........

A Pen He Saved is a Pen He Urned


Soviet Premier Brezchnev is visiting France.  They show him Versailles, they show him the Louvre, they show him Notre Dame. He is not really impressed.  Finally they show him the Eiffel Tower.  "What do you think of that?"  Ho ho!  He looks up, thinks for a moment, and says, "There are nine million people in Paris."


"Do you think one watchtower is enough?"


 A rabbit was out hopping one day when he came across a bottle.  Nudged it a bit and the cork fell off.  A genie floated out.  "You get one wish for opening the bottle"  (A cheap genie, must have been cutbacks that year.)  The rabbit thought a bit and said "I've always enjoyed music."  (A cultured rabbit.)

 "Could you make be a piano for a symphony?"

 So this become a case of "Hare today, grand tomorrow."


Remember, even if you win the rat race -- you're still a rat.


 Instructions on a package of fresh tortellini: "... boil for 8 minuets ...".  Dance While You Cook!

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Forever, For Always, No Matter What.

Jen starts the carnival with:

I'm hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling again. This is the time of year when most of us are beginning to wrap up the bulk of our year, although the learning never really ends! We look forward to new curriculum and new adventures for the upcoming school year.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, May 20, 2013

Our summer plans

For our children one of the few downsides to homeschooling is that there is no clear break from schooling to summer vacation. In public schools there is a “last day of school.” After that day school is all over and summer vacation starts.

For our children the transition from schooling to summer vacation is ranges from a fairly clear transition to a slow wind down. Our six-year-old son will have a traditional last day of school. We’ll go from our kindergarten routine of an hour or two of schooling each day to a fairly true vacation where we'll let him play much of the summer.

But at the other extreme our second daughter will be winding up school for several weeks. She finished up her American Sign Language class last Wednesday. Her junior college history class finishes up this Friday. Then over the next couple weeks she will wrap up her online high school courses and her Saxon Math. She will gradually slip into summer vacation.

Our third daughter will be kind of in-between. Once she is done with her online courses she’ll be mostly done, but we do plan to have her do Saxon Match through the summer. She is struggling a bit with math and we want to make sure she masters the subject.

We don’t give our children three months of play time in the summer, especially as they become teenagers. We want them to be doing useful things, they just don’t have to be classical academic endeavors. I’ll have our daughters read some useful books and I’m thinking of leading them through a programming class. My father has suggested Udacity’s Python class, which I still need to check out.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is up

One of the Carnival of Homeschooling frequent hosts, Mama Squirrel, is hosting the lastest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival at Dewey's Treehouse.

Stop in and browse for awhile.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Huge disruption in higher education

There are seismic shifts happening in higher education. One of the big changes is the move to online education. Several universities have started offering online courses. Georgia Tech is now offering a full online degree, for a sixth the cost.

Georgia Tech Takes MOOCs to the Next Level opens with:

Georgia Tech announced yesterday that it is teaming up with Udacity, one of the leading providers of massively open online education, to offer a full graduate program in computer science. For a mere $7,000 dollars—or 1/6 the cost of the equivalent program offered on campus—students who meet the prerequisites can fulfill the requirements of a master’s degree entirely through open courseware.

This is a big deal. As the Washington Post notes, even MOOC-friendly colleges like Stanford, Harvard, and San Jose State have been reluctant to actually grant credentials for their online courses, preferring to use them as a teaching aids rather than as the foundation of a program. There have been the usual concerns about quality control, as well as worries that an all-MOOC degree could dilute the value of Georgia Tech’s traditional degrees, but Georgia Tech claims it has taken these concerns into account:

There is a huge demand for cheaper degrees.  There is no fundamental reason why the cost have higher education has to grow two and three times as fast as inflation, as it has over the last several decades.  So as a few universities start granting degrees for online education many will take advantage of the cheaper product.  Because online education scales so easily, many students will switch to universities like Georgia Tech.  This will be a great benefit for the students as they will be able to graduate without a suffocating debt.  And more students will be able to get an education with a cheaper price.  It does mean that some of the unviersities existing today will go the way of factories who depended on water wheels.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Good thought about helping people out

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

If you wait until you can
do everything for everybody,
instead of something for somebody,
you'll end up not doing anything for anybody.
                 -Malcolm Bane

Reminder: Please send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at: Forever, For Always, No Matter What.

This will be the 386th 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.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Life Humor 1.H

From the Henry Cate Life Humor collection:


     Man goes to doctor.  Says he's depressed.  Says life seems harsh and cruel.  Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain.  Doctor says the treatment is simple.  The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight.  Go and see him.  That should pick you up.  Man bursts into tears.
     "But doctor . . . I am Pagliacci.


Wrong Arm of the Law

A judge admonished the police in Radnor, Pa., for pretending a Xerox copy machine was a lie detector.  Officials had placed a metal colander on the head of a suspect and attached the colander to the copier with metal wires.  In the copy machine was a typewritten message: "He's lying."

Each time investigators received answers they didn't like, they pushed the copy button.  Out came the message, "He's lying."  Apparently convinced the machine was accurate, the suspect confessed.


Sample cause-of-death reports from early 1800's in Missouri;

"Went to bed feeling well, but woke up dead."
"Died suddenly, nothing serious."
"Cause of death unknown; had never been fatally ill before."
"Don't know; died without the aid of a physician."
"Death caused by blow on the head with an ax. Contributory cause, another man's wife."


Q: What do you call a cow that can't give milk?
A: An utter failure.


A man walks into the sheriffs office...
"I want to become a deputy!"
"Fine.  I want you to catch this man."  Hands the man a wanted poster.
"Last seen wearing a brown paper hat, brown paper shirt, brown paper pants, and brown paper boots.  What's he wanted for?"


OK, so this guy who's been painting lines down the middle of the road decides that the outdoor life is for him, and takes off to the Great White North to be a lumberjack.  And after he's out there for a little while, he becomes an average, everyday lumberjack.  One day, he's sitting there reading the Lumberjack Times, and sees an ad for a chain saw. So he thinks to himself, "Self, this ad says that using this chain saw will triple my output.  I could sure use the money.  I'll go check it out."

And check it out he did.  He trucked on up to the Lumberjack store, and bought the biggest, bestest chain saw he could find.  The salesman reminded our Lumberjack friend of the 10 day, money back offer that came with the chain saw, and showed him to the door.

Well, the first day the lumberjack used his new toy, he only was able to cut down about half of the trees he normally did.  Well, he thought, it was merely because he wasn't used to it yet.  The next day, he got up extra early, and worked an extra two hours, and only cut down about 3/4 of what he normally did.  He was getting kinda discouraged now, but decided to give it one more try.  Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), the third day he barely managed to cut down what he normally did, working twice as long as usual to accomplish this.

After recovering from his exhausting day, the following morning he set off to cause severe bodily harm to the unfortunate salesman. Arriving at the store, the lumberjack walked through the nearest wall and demanded to see the kind  soul who had sold him the chain saw.  The quivering salesman approached, and  the lumberjack launched into a detailed description of how the chain saw failed to live up to its reputation.  The salesman listened raptly, and told the lumberjack,

"Well, I don't really understand how this could happen, but let's take a look at it.  It's possible you've got a defective model there."

So, the salesman takes a hold of the chain saw, yanks on the cord, and starts the beast up. 

Whereupon the lumberjack says, "What's that noise?"


An airliner was going from New York to Los Angeles. After it had been in the air about an hour there was a loud BOOM and the plane shook violently. Naturally everyone became quite nervous. After about one minute the pilot came over the PA and very nonchalantly said "Ladies and Gentlemen, what we just experienced was nothing to be alarmed about. Our number one engine just went out. But I repeat there is no problem. Our numbers 2, 3, and 4 engines can easily carry us on into LA. However we will be a half hour late.

Eventually everyone calmed back down. About an hour later there was another loud BOOM and the plane lunged again. Thirty seconds later the pilot came over the PA again and said "Ladies and Gentlemen, we have just lost our number 2 engine. But I assure you, there is nothing to be concerned about. Our numbers 3 and 4 engines can easily carry us on into LA. However we will be an hour late.

Sure enough, about an hour later there was yet another BOOM. The pilot immediately came over the PA and said "Ladies and Gentlemen our number three engine just went out but again let me reassure you that there is still no danger. Our number 4 engine is plenty powerful enough to get us to LA. However, we will be 3 hours late.

At this point a passenger, disgusted, leaned over to the guy sitting next to him and said "Man, I hope that number 4 engine doesn't go out or we're gonna be up here all day!"


Some of our best posts from June 2007

Janine and I have been blogging about homeschooling for over seven years. If you missed some of our early posts, you have missed some of our best thoughts. Here are some highlights from June of 2007:

Janine wrote about a Father's impact on education.

With an informed understanding of public schools as a group public school teachers are less likely to trust public schools.

The importance of a large vocabulary reveals that if children don't know certain words they might not even be able to have certain thoughts.

A classic reason why public schools are having trouble explores the problem with so many laws.

In May and June of 2007 our family took a 4 week field trip.  The Benefits of travel is a list of some ways travel helps children.

Reading the classics via email was about a cool service: Daily Lit.  This allowed me to eventually read Anna Karenina.

Book review: The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson  The Long Tail is a good book.  I've had my daughters read it.

June of 2007 was the first time we watch A Little Momsense:

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up -

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at NerdFamily Blog.

The NerdMom starts the carnival with:

Hi everyone and welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling. For those of you who aren’t familiar with CoH I am sure you are asking what this is;). A carnival is a collection of articles in a post on 1 subject. This one is homeschooling and we have some great posts!

May is a great time to discuss homeschooling. As a current homeschooler, I am using this time to reflect on the past year and plan out next year. I am also talking to a lot of non-homeschoolers who are contemplating what they are going to be doing next year for their children’s education. But enough of me jabbering, lets get to fabulous submissions we have for this week!


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, May 13, 2013

Homeschooling in action - the bus ride

My middle daughter wrote this up:

Middle sister and Baby Bop here! I’m helping Baby Bop write a post about our bus trip last week.

Here’s another awesome thing about homeschooling: You can do it anywhere, on the bus, in the car, or at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

Last week Mom was busy so I babysat Baby Bop. I have American Sign Language on Wednesday so Baby Bop rode the bus with me to the junior college. My older sister gets out of class about the time my class starts so Baby Bop swapped and then rode the bus back with her. Baby Bop was quite excited about the idea of the long bus ride!

We walked to the bus stop and got there a bit early, so we watched the cars drive by and looked for trucks and Herbie (VW Bug’s). His favorite was a very white VW Bug that he said looks like Herbie.

While on the bus Baby Bop drew pictures and wrote his name. He also would write words and ask me to read them. Sometimes his combination of letters didn’t actually make a word at which point he would claim it was Chinese and demand I read it to him. I think some of the people on the bus found us quite amusing.

Other exciting this this week has included: a trip to the dentist, a trip to the airport to pick up family, and a trip to Sky High. (A cool trampoline place)

We love the flexibility that homeschooling has given us!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Reminder: Please send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at: NerdFamily Blog

This will be the 385th 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.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - "First Teacher" Appreciation

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Corn and Oil.

Susan starts the carnival with:

Parents are children’s first teachers and that important reminder should always prevail. Our little ones gain contact with grandparents, siblings and other family and friends to help teach communication and socializing skills. Many youngsters now go into an institutional school environment at ages as early as three. Today is Teacher Appreciation Day and with no disrespect to the people working hard in the school classrooms, this 384th Carnival of Homeschooling will celebrate the first and most important teachers.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, May 06, 2013

The Art of Deligation

The longer we homeschool, the more I've come to rely on outside resources, classes, tutors, and co-ops to create our homeschool program. I feel like a contractor who hires a plumber, electrician and carpenter to build a house.  I personally don't pick up a hammer much anymore.  I organize the activities and spend a lot of time driving around in my car or in front of my computer sending emails to set up the next activity.

While preparing this list, I've realized that one of the reasons that we utilize more outside resources is that we can afford them now.  Though, many of these options are very inexpensive, or even free.  I'm also surprised at just how long the list has become.  When I started working on this post, I could only think of a half a dozen or so outside resources.  At last count, I was up to 17 outside options that we have utilized in the last year.

Here's what delegated "homeschooling" looks like at our house.

Cate Academy's "Outside" activities:

Sky High - This is a trampoline jumping place. They have a "Homeschool" discount.

Tutor (Occupational Therapy) - I won 5 hours of tutoring at a silent auction.  I discovered that Beth has a degree in Occupational Therapy.  She works with Baby Bop (Kindergarten) on a variety of OT type activities for an hour once a week.

Speech Therapy - Baby Bop goes to speech therapy once a week at our neighborhood school. (I was informed that next year the school will no longer provide services to homeschoolers and private school students, but that is another post).  Baby Bop also goes to Speech Therapy at CSLOT.  This service is provided to us free of charge because Baby Bop is a former foster child.

Rocket-it Science Class - Baby Bop and Wreck-it Ralph (Pre-K) attend an one hour class once a  week.

South Bay FREE Scholars - I take Daughter #3, Baby Bop and Wreck-it Ralph to park day a couple times a month.  My older girls are too busy to go to park day anymore, but they used to go when they were little. This homeschool support group meets once a week at rotating parks.  I only seem to make it there half the time though because of all our other activities.

Singers Heart (Voice Lessons) - Daughter #2 will be auditioning for a Junior/Senior church choir group.  She is taking a few months of lessons to prepare.

Parks and Recreation Classes - Baby Bop and Wreck-it Ralph take a pre-rec gymnastics class through Santa Clara City Parks and Recreation. Over the years, our kids have taken a variety of classes such dance, art, theater and karate.

SOL Co-op - SOL (Scholars of Light) is a co-op group that I helped start 9 years ago.  We started in a bungalow apartment behind the house of one of our families.  Then we moved to a garage behind the house of another family and then to a community room at a local park. Next we floated around to various churches and homes of members in the group.  We now pay rent and meet at a local church.  Unfortunately, this church required us to get group insurance which drove up our costs.  Still, it works out to be $6 a month per child. 

The co-op activities include rotating classes, such as art, art appreciation, chess, creative writing, science experiments, drama, beginning choir and a preschool class.

SOL Advanced Choir - Scholars of Light (SOL) is a sub-group of the co-op for the older children.  Daughters #2 and #3 sing with this group. SOL choir perform at a local senior living center once a month.  Recently, we began singing at the care home where my 97 year old aunt lives.  It happens to be only a few blocks from our rehearsal location (which is the home of one of our families). 

Sounds of Joy Band Ensemble - Our little band ensemble group includes homeschooled children, their parents and other adults from the community.  The band ensemble  moved with us to our currently meeting place with the co-op.  The band rehearsal is before co-op which saves us a trip.

Math Tutoring - We have an excellent math tutor.  She teaches math at the local high school full time and tutors a few students on the side.  Once a week, she comes to our home to tutor all the girls.  She also helps with science homework and Daughter #1's college math and writing assignments
Online classes - Daughter #2 and Daughter #3 take online classes in History, Science and English.  We've had so-so success with the online classes.  This year, things have gone very well with the addition of live online classes.  Interacting with the teacher and the other online students has helped the girls feel more excited about what they are learning.  If they have to miss a live class, they can always watch it later to catch up.  I believe that this style of learning will be the wave of the future.

We haven't branched out much yet, but every day there are more classes available online, many of which are free.

Community College Classes - In our area, there is a program available to high school juniors and seniors to attend community college for free under the concurrent enrollment program.  Our oldest daughter was able to complete a semesters worth of college credit before she started college full time.  Daughter #2 is currently takes 2 classes: Sign Language and American History. Our oldest daughter is in the history class with her sister.  They catch the bus together on Friday mornings.  After class, the younger daughter then catches a bus to get to our co-op classes.

Sports Leagues - I can't not tell you how happy I am that it is NOT soccer season right now.  In the fall, soccer takes over our life.  However, I'm grateful that the kids get the exercise and can experience team sports.  This should be an easy year with only 2 kids in soccer (since Daughter #1 and Daughter #2 have aged out).  Of course, if Wreck-it Ralph is still with us, then we will be back to 3 kids in soccer again.

Music Lessons - We were lucky enough to find a violin/piano teacher that comes to our home.  That way I can still get useful things done at home while my kids are having lessons.  We are taking a break right now because we didn't register fast enough and our teacher's schedule filled up.  We are  preregistered for the fall.

SAT/ACT Tutoring -  Even though I expect my children will go to community college before attending a university, I like to keep their options open.  Our oldest daughter did both SAT and ACT prep classes through a private tutor.  These small classes (6 or fewer students) taught in private homes were significantly cheaper than classes offered by a test prep corporations.  Even though my oldest daughter (who scored well enough to get into the university of her choice) didn't need an ACT or SAT score for community college, I felt that the tutoring helped prepare her for college test taking.

Children's Community Theater -  Last year all three of our girls were in a production of Pirates of Penzance done by the CTC (California Theater Center).  The reason we choose this program is that there were no Sunday performances.  Also, thanks to their summer program with all day classes, Daughter #3 no longer asked to go to school. 

Two years ago, Daughter #3 participated in a musical production offered at the Coyote Grange.  They offer a variety of classes for homeschoolers.  The down side is that it is a 35+ minute drive each way. Even with sharing the driving with a carpool, that adds up to a lot of driving time.

And now you know why I have a bumper sticker on my car that says: "I don't know why they call it homeschooling.  I'm always in my car."

Friday, May 03, 2013

Reminder: Please send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Please remember to send in a post about homeschooling for the next Carnival of Homeschooling. The next Carnival of Homeschooling will be held at: Corn and Oil

This will be the 384th 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.

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

Carnival of Homeschooling