Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Post Olympic edition

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

She starts the carnival with:

The Sochi Winter Olympics ended a couple of days ago. Many of us watched various winter sports such as ice skating, hockey games, snowboarding, skiing (sometimes with a gun), along with the curious art of curling. Fitting every day lives into those 17 days of competitions, many non-Olympian homeschoolers also found a gainful way to educate too. Looking back at the Putin-powered Olympics, we’ll celebrate some Olympians who educate at home to keep up with their athletic passions and schedules. The real life homeschooling experiences shared by our Carnival participants also display the distinctiveness of a home educated family life. We’ll keep doing what we do every day, whether it’s surrounded by snow and elite physical training or those of us just taking a nature walk through a park. Enjoy!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Humor: "Just Don't Go" of Parody of "Let It Go"

My wife came across Just Don't Go:

The weather man did a great job.

For reference here is the original version of Let It Go:

For some reason once I get this song in my head it can take hours, or sometimes even days to get it out of my head.

We also like the Alex Boye version:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Our oldest will be leaving the home soon

Our oldest daughter will be leaving our home in April.

Here are a few of her thoughts about homeschooling and moving out:


Some months ago I was asked by my dad to write a couple paragraphs about a homeschooler entering the workforce.

Now I have been asked to write on leaving home for the first time. This April I will be leaving home and traveling over halfway across the country. Faced with the tremendous change I have reflected on how being home schooled has prepared me to leave home. I will be echoing much of my workforce post; many of the points are the same. Homeschooling has made me self-driven, self-reliant, and probably more capable in laundry, cooking, and other homemaking skills then the average young adult.

Homeschooling has made me self-driven. One style of home schooling we went through was a weekly checklist. Mom would make up a checklist of all the school things we were supposed to accomplish in a week. Then she trusted us to schedule our own time. From this I learned how to budget time and stay focused.

As homeschoolers we often got to do weird or unusual projects. One year a group of us decided to organize a youth conference. Except for the parents driving us around, none of us could drive; we put the whole thing together ourselves. We held planning meetings, decided on a theme, found speakers, arranged for food, and picked out music all by ourselves. The youth conference was fun and several kids drove a couple hours to attend. This and other opportunities taught me to be self-driven.

One side effect of being home schooled is in your home all the time (except when you are not). When you are home your mom often has you help around the house. I have helped with sick younger siblings, done laundry, cooked, cleaned dishes, been shopping, cleaned more than the average young adult simply because I am home more.

Being home schooled has given me the skills I need to leave home and take care of myself.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Please remember to 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 here at Corn and Oil.

This will be the 426th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

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

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The snowman edition

Sarah is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at SmallWorld.  She has some lovely pictures of snowman.

The carnival starts with:

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling! I'm glad you're visiting here at SmallWorld at Home. Let me introduce myself for those who are new here. I'm halfway through my 14th year of homeschooling, currently with an 8th grade son and an 11th grade daughter. Our oldest son—who was homeschooled all the way through— is finishing his senior year in college.

But enough about me; you're here for the Carnival! We have a little something for everyone on this homeschooling journey with this carnival, from kindergarten to college. And here in the South we actually some real snow this year, so I'm including lots of snowman photos from fellow local homeschoolers. For some of these kids, this was their first snowman-building experience. Just a few days after our big snow, we have daffodils starting to pop up. Such is life in the South.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What do we do without technology?

My mom forwarded this story on to our family:

We had an outage at my place this morning and my PC, laptop, TV, DVD, iPad & my new surround sound music system were all shut down. Then I discovered that my iPhone battery was flat and to top it off it was raining outside. I went into the kitchen to make coffee and then I remembered that this also needs power, so I talked with my wife for a few hours. She seems like a nice person.

I worry that this may be true for some families.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Homeschooling and my relationship with my neighborhood school

All of my children have been homeschooled and have never been enrolled in a public school k-12 class.  My children did attend a parent participation preschool through the continuing education program, but technically I was the student.   However, I still have had many contacts with the public school over the years.

We’ve had many foster children enrolled in public schools.  I still drop off and pick up two of our former foster boys at school from time to time to help at their parents.

Our son has also received speech therapy at my neighborhood school from the age of 3 to nearly 7 years old.  We would still be receiving speech therapy at the school, but the district found a way to get out it on a technicality, something to do with the fact that we homeschool by registering that we are a private school.   This change in policy was motivated by the recent budget/staffing cuts. The staff at my neighborhood school would love to continue to provide services if the school district would allowed it.

Recently, I requested a full evaluation for my son from my neighborhood school.  The school district is obligated to provide this service even if the child is not enrolled at the school. I found the information in the evaluation very useful and appreciated hearing their recommendations.  In some ways, it was easier for the staff than a typical IEP (independent education plan) meeting.  They could make recommendations but they were not obligated to provide services since he is not enrolled at the school.  Since I was only looking for recommendations, they were able to speak freely.  If I had been interested in enrolling our son in school, the meeting would have been less relaxed since then the school would have been burdened with the legal requirements of their suggestions for the IEP.

The bureaucratic red tape was still pretty amazing.  The special education teacher wanted to indicate that our son qualified for special education service even if he would NOT be receiving services since he is not enrolled at the school.  The school psychologist insisted he didn’t qualify because a child has to fail first before special education services can be offered regardless of how obvious the child’s needs.

I found it interesting how surprised the special education teacher and the school psychologist were  by son's demeanor.  Our son has a significant speech impediment which was characterized in their evaluation as moderately severe.  However, he has no behavior problem or social anxiety.  The report said that he "came to the testing situation willingly and appeared at ease....answered questions when asked and initiated conversation....."  The school psychologist was impressed by how animated he was when he talked and how "adult" his facial expressions seemed.

I explained that he had three teenage sisters that spend a great deal of time with him.  Also, he has never been teased about his speech and there is a teenage boy with Tourettes who attends our homeschool co-op.  Struggling or being different is just normal in his world. They were impressed but still seemed to think that it would be harder for him when he hit the "real' world.  After the meeting was over, it occurred to me what I should have said.  Both the special education teacher and the school psychologists were foreign born and spoke with an accent. One of them had a very heavy accent.  I wish I had asked her when was the last time someone teased her about how she speaks. I doubt it has happened recently.

I sat in on an IEP meeting for one of our former foster children.  The child did not qualify for services under the district rules even though he badly needed accommodations.  A certain staff member talked openly about how she could thwart the district rules by claiming to provide a different service under a different regulation when the intent was to provide the services that had originally been denied. 

I admit that sometimes my interactions with the school have been a little awkward.   I may come across as condescending since there are so many aspects of public schooling that are so broken. Sometimes, the school staff and parents seem overly defensive to me.  I realize that parents and staff alike are trying to make the best of it but I keep wondering why so many people are content to put up with it.   Other times, the roles are reversed and I feel a little defensive when dealing with school staff.  I have gotten that tone of voice that suggests that homeschooling is equivalent to child neglect.

Still, I have really like the school staff that I have worked with over the years.  I especially love the secretaries at my neighborhood school and how they treat me son.  I have noticed many school staff going the extra mile to do what they can in spite of district policies. 

I don’t know how to “fix” public education.  I respect the people who try (as long as they don’t raise my taxes to pay for it.)

We are just going to assume you are a slut

‘Who’s The Daddy?’ Homework Assignment Prompts Parent Complaint is sad on a couple accounts:

First the homework assignment is painting a picture that it is OK to sleep around. 

Second, I am surprised that only one parent complained.

Hat tip: A few from Facebook - Carolyn, Spunky

Thursday, February 13, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Lincoln’s wisdom edition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at

Gary starts the carnival with:

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling – Lincoln’s wisdom edition.

Tomorrow (February 12) is Abraham Lincoln’s 149th birthday. He was the 16th President of the United States, only just starting a second term when assassinated in 1865. He remains one of the most influential and beloved figures in US history. Perhaps this was in part because of his wisdom and wit which lives on in his quotes – quotes sprinkled throughout this edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling along with the collected wisdom and humor of this weeks carnival participants.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, February 10, 2014

The answer is YES!

Today I’m going to review a few of the reasons why I think more parents should be homeschooling. I believe that 75% of the children in public schools would benefit from being homeschooled and 95% would be no worse off. (How is that for a brash statement?)

Fairly often when the question of homeschooling comes up some parent will wonder if they should homeschool and then list reasons why they don’t think they should or why they couldn’t. I admit it is hard to line up the pluses and minuses. There is no simple algebraic equation will takes a set of inputs and gives a simple one quantity answer. Education is a messy business. There are lots of factors to consider.

There are situations in which some children may be better off by going to public schools. If the parents went through our government schools and graduated functionally illiterate, then maybe the parents couldn’t handle the educational load need to teach their children. Sometimes as a single parent there may not be enough time in the day to hold down a job and to educate your children. And there are a few children with special needs who can benefit from specialists at public schools.

But the academic rigor of government schools has fallen and continues to fall. Homeschooling gives parents a chance to make sure their children have a chance at a decent education.

It seems like half the news articles these days about education will mention bullying. For a variety of reasons our society is a lot more tolerant of bullies than we used to be. Now the victim will suffer for months and years with the bully getting a slap on the hands. As parents we need to protect our children. Sometimes the right thing to do is to yank your child as fast as you can.

People often attack homeschoolers as having missed out on some mystical “socialization” like without government schools children will grow up to socially inept, when the reality is that too often the “Lord of the Flies” environment of public schools are turning out children who have weak social ties and struggle to make connections.

My answer to most people who ask if they should homeschool is an emphatic YES!

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Please remember to 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 here at

This will be the 424rd edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

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

Thursday, February 06, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at The Foodie Army Wife

Constance is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at The Foodie Army Wife.

She starts the carnival with:

Today I am honored to host the 423rd Carnival of Homeschooling. Yes, you read that right. The 423rd. This Carnival was started back in 2006 as a weekly event connecting homeschooling families and sharing with one another. Now that I think about it - that is right about the same time I started blogging, and when we began "homeschooling for good".

A lot has happened in that amount of time...for example.

We've moved 5 times.
Lived in Alaska.
Chased the Northern Lights.
Went through 3 deployments.
And we graduated 2 of our kids.
Some things haven't changed. We still have a school mascot who thinks he needs to "help" with school time.
Though he has gotten a little bit bigger.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, February 03, 2014

Watching our children grow up

As our older two daughters grew older they increased their focus. They became more disciplined about staying on top of tasks and managing their time. They were pretty responsible about owning their education.

But our young daughter was often distracted. She seemed to have a harder time staying on task. She might finish an assignment and then take a “short” break which ended up being an hour or two. Our impression was she just wasn’t as responsible about doing her school work as her sisters. Though to be fair part of it may just have been that we were subconsciously comparing her at 10 to her sisters who would then be 14 and 16.

This has changed noticeably this year. Our youngest daughter, at 13, has stepped it up a level or two in being on top of her school work. She is much better about making sure she gets her assignments done. Both Janine and I have noticed the change. She will even do school work in the evening, without any prompting from us! And recently she’s been asking me to help get her out of bed at 7:00 AM so she can get a jump on the day.

She isn’t perfect and still gets distracted at times. But I no longer worry. She is heading in the right direction. She wants to be responsible.

We've long know that some children need extra time for their brains to develop before they start to read.  I really didn't start reading until I was nine or so.   Maybe we just need to relax and realize that some children will mature into young adults at different rates than others.

I’m so glad that homeschooling allows us the chance to work with our children at their pace.