Monday, September 29, 2014

California homeschoolers - remember to file your R4 form

An easy option for California homeschoolers is to form a private school.  All the students in the private school can come from your family.  As a private school the State of California gives you a lot of freedom.  Part of the process of being a private school is each year you have to fill out what is known as the R4 form.  It is supposed to be filed between October 1 and October 15.

We take advantage of this option and each year Janine files the form.  I've forgotten who is the school principal of Cate Academy.  I think I was the principal at one point.  She may even rotate the position every couple years.

I have heard of California homeschoolers who have forgotten to file, but I've not heard of anyone getting into trouble in the last test years over forgetting to file.  Even with this history, I think it is best to try to follow the law.

So if you are using the private school option to homeschool in California, remember to file the R4 form.

Saturday, September 27, 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, which will be held at Notes from a Homeschooled Mom.

This will be the 457th 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, September 25, 2014

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

C T is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Petticoat Government.

She starts the carnival with

Welcome to the 456th Carnival of Homeschooling! This carnival's theme is "Ozymandias."

Doesn't it just make you happy to say the name "Ozymandias"? My voice becomes sonorous and commanding, and I envision stark desert scenes, which I love, having mostly grown up in the American Southwest.

Written in the early 1800s, the sonnet "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley deals with many themes in its short 14 lines. Among them are travel and history, the effects of time and the natural world, artistic creation, hubris, recording one's deeds, and the collapse of human power.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, September 22, 2014

My daughter's essay on: Why Homeschooling is a Viable Educational Option

My daughter wrote the following essay for her college writing class:


When you hear homeschooling, what do you think? Some people think about kids that eschew technology, stay inside, and hide from the rest of the world. Other people think about academic geniuses who are too gifted for a typical education. The real answer is neither of those. Homeschooling is an effective education option where the parents are diligent educators and the children take responsibility for their education. Yet, homeschooling is often overlooked because of the many misconceptions and a lack of knowledge about how it can function well. I will refute several common misunderstandings about homeschooling and present some of the benefits.

There are many misconceptions about homeschooling such as homeschoolers are not socialized, can’t get into college, and can’t survive in the “real world.” Having been homeschooled myself, I think I have enough firsthand experience to realistically address these assumptions.

 The one criticism I hear most frequently is that homeschoolers are completely inept around their peers because they do not have any social opportunities. True, we don’t spend eight hours a day sitting in a room with our peers, it doesn’t mean we don’t get to experience social situations. Personally, I don’t think sitting in a room with someone for eight hours really counts as a social opportunity. Second, I would argue that homeschooling means we get to choose our social situations, which is much more reminiscent of real life. There are many extracurricular activities open to homeschoolers in their community or through homeschooling groups. I had the opportunity to participate in sports, music, choirs, and countless extracurricular activities with kids my age. Most homeschoolers have many opportunities to make friends with many different types of people. Homeschooling, when well rounded, won’t limit social development.

Another common stereotype is that homeschoolers can’t get into or do well in college. Without a high school transcript it does make things trickier, but it’s not impossible. Each school has slightly different conditions, but an increasing number are quite open to homeschoolers. Responses from a recent survey stated the following:

“In addition to Harvard, prominent schools like Yale (CT), Princeton (NJ), Texas A&M, Brown University (RI), the Carnegie Mellon Institute (PA), the Universities of Arizona, Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii and many others all have flexible transcript criteria, accept parental evaluations, and do not require any accreditation or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). At Kansas State University and others like Lipscomb University and Middlebury College (VT), transcripts are optional.” 1

Some states’ schools have more picky criteria, but normally this can be remedied by taking placement tests or submitting community college transcripts. With any college application process, important factors are always ACT and SAT scores, extracurricular activities, and in the place of high school GPA, a community college transcript or placement tests. These are all equivalents to opportunities students have in public school, so by no means will homeschooling limit a student’s college options if they strive for a well-rounded education.

Additionally, once they reach college, homeschoolers are proving that they can handle the coursework. According to an article analyzing a recent study in U.S. News Education, “Students coming from a home school graduated college at a higher rate than their peers-—66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent—and earned higher grade point averages along the way.” 2

Lastly it is often thought that homeschoolers can’t survive in the “real world.” What constitutes the “real world”? First, it is true that homeschoolers do spend a lot more time at home or in controlled situations, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In a lot of ways homeschooling prepares students better than the typical classroom because it gives them more of an opportunity to see life outside of the classroom. In a functional homeschooling situation, the homeschooler can observe competent adults and learn life lessons from them. There are so many things that are important about how the world works that can only be learned by watching or doing, not through passive learning in a classroom. I’ve learned real life skills such as cooking, managing finances, working a job, and dealing with difficult situations thanks to my homeschool lifestyle. Contrary to popular belief homeschoolers, can deal with the world because they are properly prepared by their family.

In addition, there are many overlooked, beneficial aspects of homeschooling. Homeschooling can be a very positive education experience. It provides an opportunity for building closer family relationships, learning life management skills, and personalizing education.

First, homeschooling helps improve and maintain closer family relationships. Let’s face it, school takes up a lot of time. In between classes from eight to three, extracurricular activities, and homework, it’s a wonder that family dinner is ever squeezed in. I’m not saying that homeschooling isn’t busy, but there are more opportunities to spend time with family. For instance, you can do homework and classes around one another. I did homework with my sisters. My mom had to supervise the education of four kids in very different grades and learning positions. As a result of this she would delegate sometimes. I remember my older sister going helping me with math fact sheets when I was in grade school. My younger sister and I helped our little brother learn to read. Homeschooling didn’t just mean that my parents were deeply involved in our education; it meant that we were all involved in helping each other learn. We were excited about learning. My family spent a lot of time around each other a lot. I am really close to my siblings. I would not trade my family relationships for the world. If anything, to me, being homeschooled is worth it just for that reason alone.

Second, homeschooling teaches life management skills. With kids in different grades, the parents have to let the children take a certain degree of responsibility for their education. The older I got, the more responsibility I had for my education. My mom let me plan my own schedule and take initiative for which subjects I wanted to study. She trusted me to make good decisions and to stay focused. Additionally, because of this flexibility there were more opportunities for employment during high school. Since I wasn’t tied to my schedule, it was easier to adjust for exceptions or other opportunities.

I was able to work throughout my high school career. I worked as a nanny ($8-10 per hour) or a clerk ($9 per hour) most weekday mornings. These were great opportunities for learning and money making. I would not have had the chance to save nearly as much money for college without such a flexible schedule. I learned valuable time management skills because I was getting an education, involved in extracurricular activities, and working all at the same time. Because of this unique opportunity, I have not had the common freshman short coming of lacking self-control. I can get my homework done, stay focused, and not waste time because I have been responsible for my time management for years.

Third, homeschooling provides an option to personalize education. Usually in public schools, the teacher either has to adjust the course material to the lowest common denominator in the class and let the other students get bored or teach to the quicker learning students and let others fall behind. It’s definitely a tricky balancing act I don’t envy. With homeschooling, you can take it at your pace. Sometimes, that means flying through course work quickly. Other times it means adjusting your schedule and really taking time to master the material. Homeschooling provides a way to accommodate for quirks and find a learning method that works best.

In my case, it was about adjusting for me being slightly dyslexic and a very late reader. My mom was able to make the best educational choice for me by utilizing books on tapes while slowly covering phonics- many times. Had I been stuck in a classroom with thirty other children it is unlikely that I would have gotten the patience I needed. It’s much more likely that I would have been put into a remedial class and come to view myself as less able to learn. Because I was homeschooled, I wasn’t comparing myself to thirty other kids who could read better than I could. I wasn’t even aware of how delayed my reading was until years after I had overcome it. I didn’t lose my love of learning or become discouraged because I had time to bloom in my own season.

Homeschooling is a worthwhile education option that can provide a quality education if well implemented. The benefits of strong family relationships, time management skills, and an individualized education enabled major educational and social growth in my life. As more people become aware of the advantages of homeschooling it will gradually become an accepted educational decision.

Works cite

1. Klicka, Christopher J. “Homeschooled Students Excel in College”. Home School Legal Defense Association. September 20, 2006. Web. Np. September 17, 2014.

2. Sheehy, Kelsey. “Home-Schooled Teens Ripe for College”. U.S. News Education. Np. June 1, 2012, Web. September 17, 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, which will be held at our blog Petticoat Government.

This will be the 456th 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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Carnival of Homeschooling - Introduction to programming concepts

I've been writing code for most of my career.  I've written in a variety of programming languages.  For most of the last fifteen years I wrote in Java.  Recently I've been using Python.  While each languages has its unique features, most languages share some basic, common concepts.

In this carnival I'll tie in various programming concepts to the posts.  I hope you enjoy it.

Carnival of Homeschooling


Often a program will try to do some simple task hundreds, or thousands, or even millions of times.  The loop might be for a fixed number of times, or run until some condition is met, or even just run as long as the computer is up.  Sometimes homeschooling seems a bit like an endless loop.  On the down side we may feel like we are in a Groundhog Day.  The upside is as we repeat a task several times the net effect can be a deeper understanding of the material.

In Ancient Egypt CT sharing how they are having fun learning about Egypt as they start over with Volume 1 of the Story of the World.  Posted at Petticoat Government.

Even in a simple loop the work can be a little different.  Carol writes about 20+ years of family read aloud chapter books and shares her growing list of chapter books.  Posted at journey-and-destination.

Mental Models

Both when a programmer comes up with a design and as he writes the code, he has a mental model of it should all work.  Many bugs have occurred because the mental model is different that the actual code.  We can spend hours trying to understand why the code is not doing what we expect.

Skeletons and Pilgrims! is about how to make a bone model and explore skeletons.  Posted at Solagratiamom.

I don't GET designer purses, and I don't GET boxed curriculum either is about recognizing what is your own mental model about what is important to you.  Posted at Notes From A Homeschooled Mom.

Unfortunately other people can have flawed mental models about homeschooling.  Barbara Frank writes one flawed mental model in When Bias Against Homeschooling Results in Job Loss.  Posted at Barbara Frank Online.

Basic Practices

There are some basic practices which make it easier to write good code.  One important one is to spend time on the design before jumping in and writing code.  Another good practice is to comment the code which both forces the programmer to really think about what the code is doing and makes it much easier for others to modify or improve.

Annie Kate shares some of her best practices in 6 Tips for a Successful School Year.  Posted at Tea Time with Annie Kate.

A good approach to programming is to break tasks up into small components and write a few lines of code for each task. Sometimes a programmer can feel he is directly millions of little ants.  In Ants - Outdoor Hour Challenge  shares their study of ants by using using the Handbook of Nature Study and the Outdoor Hour Challenge website.  Posted at Harvest Moon by Hand.

An important part of programming is understanding the end goal.  Why are you doing what you are doing?   Susan answers the question Why Do We Homeschool?  Homeschooling can be scary and challenging - so why do it?  Check out Susan's answer, posted at Susan Raber Online.


Normally the hardest part of being a programmer isn't writing the code.  It is finding and fixing bugs.  Often more money is spent debugging code than in writing it in the first place.

Karen writes about some of the problems with homeschooling in A Very Damaging List Against Homeschooling.  Posted at My Own Mind.

Many parents turn to homeschooling because of problems with public schools.  Jamie writes about The ADD/ADHD Epidemic.  Posted at MomSCHOOL.


Once a program starts running, the next step may be to get it to run fast, or run using less memory, or less bandwidth.  Good code development includes balancing the multiple demands for resources, which is also a topic of economics.

From Germany we have a post of Teaching Kids the Basics of Economics which reviews a book designed to teach math, but ends up doing a good job at teaching economics.  Posted at Highhill Homeschool.

An important part of programming is knowing what doesn't have to be optimized.  It probably doesn't make sense to spend six months to speed up ten lines of code that will get used only once and save a small fraction of a second.  Likewise homeschoolers need to know what is important to optimize and what is fine just to leave alone.  A Little Classical Unschooling is about Cristina's recent experience with her daughter as they review changing how they homeschool.  Posted at Home Spun Juggling.

Having fun

Sometimes programming can be a ton of fun.  Whether it is writing some clean code, or writing a game, it can be a great feeling to master a problem.

Christy has fun in sharing Lesson ideas using Superman comics.  She writes about how Superman makes a great theme for learning history, philosophy and language arts skills.  Posted at Christy's Houseful of Chaos.

After most major releases of software there will be some kind of celebration.  Mama Squirrel ends Homeschooling and the walls of Jerusalem with "More to plan the party and blow the horns."  Posted at Dewey's Treehouse.

Programming is not for everyone.  And likewise Math is not for everyone.  Denise has a fun post in Quotable: I Do Hate Sums.  Posted at Let's Play Math!

If you have enjoyed this carnival, please spread the word. Please mention the carnival on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other appropriate places. You can also help promote the carnival by adding the carnival images. Learn how by going here.

Go here for the archives of previous carnivals.

Next week the carnival will be held at Petticoat Government.

If you are interested in submitting a post for a future carnival, click here for information.

We 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.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Friday, September 12, 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, which will be held at our blog Why Homeschool.

This will be the 455th 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, September 10, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Songs Stuck in my Head

Cristina is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Home Spun Juggling.

She starts the carnival with:

Ever get a song lyric stuck in your head? That is my life. Songs spin around my brain like a soundtrack accompanying my life. Situations are set to music, or a song springs unbidden to mind and stays there until I stop and listen or look up the lyrics to figure out why my subconscious wants me to hear this right now. I always learn something from the experience. And so I invite you to join me for a lyric-inspired  
Carnival of Homeschooling: 
Songs Stuck in my Head edition!


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, September 08, 2014

The PEPSI reasons for homeschooling

In a high school history class I had a teacher say that when trying to understand why people did things, one framework to use was PEPSI which stood for Philosophical, Economic, Psychological, Social and Ideological.  Often people are motivated by one or more of these.

Here are the PEPSI reasons we homeschool:

Philosophical:  We believe that the primary responsibility of educating our children lies with us.  Since public schools are doing such a poor job this alone would be enough of a reason to homeschool our children.

Economic:  Homeschooling is an inexpensive way to get a quality education.  The quality of American public schools has declined over the last several decades.  There are still a few pockets of good public schools but they tend to be in expensive neighborhoods.  So if you want your child in a good public school you often have to buy an expensive house.  Another option is to send your child to a private school.  Around where we live they have private schools ranging for $10,000 a year to as much as $40,000 a year.  Homeschooling is much cheaper.

Psychological: We are very distrustful of our government.  There are many groups with agendas the push into the government school curriculum.  Some of these world views are harmful.  When children go off to government schools you have very little influence in what they are taught.

Social: One of the few remaining concerns people voice about homeschooling is "What about socialization?"  This is one of our main reasons to homeschool.  Public schools are a horrible place for children to learn appropriate, mature responses to social situations.  Too often thirty students with a teacher is more of a Lord of a the Flies situation than a setting for learning adult responses for social interaction.

Ideological: In some ways this brings us back to where we started.  We believe that God will hold us accountable for how our children are educated.  We want to make sure our children are well taught, in all areas that they need, academic, social, their own character and so on.

So there you have it, these are the PEPSI reasons for homeschooling!

Saturday, September 06, 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, which will be held at:  Home Spun Juggling

This will be the 454th 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, September 04, 2014

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up - The Ages and Stages Edition

Jamie is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at momSCHOOL.

She starts the carnival with:

These are the magic years…everything is new and exciting. Making the most of creativity and firsts… it’s an amazing part of life that is the foundation for lifelong learning.

Introducing our youngest children to learning in a way that is fun and exciting gives them a beginning we will never regret.


Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, September 01, 2014

Public school would have ruined another kid

Years ago my wife wrote about how School would have ruined that kid!  The main point was that our older two daughters were very late readers and such late readers don't typically do very well in public schools.  I followed up a little later that our late readers were turning out fine and had developed a love for reading.

Our son has even more pronounced issues.  At seven-years-old he struggles to talk, and is only getting the basics of reading down.  In a public school he would be in second grade and be given a number of labels, like late reader, slow, challenged and so on.

Since we homeschool we are able to let him go at his pace.

Recently on Storynory he has been listening to stories about a young girl who becomes a professional singer.  Today he spent over an hour writing out songs.  You have to be a bit of a detective to figure out the words, and sometimes I have to ask.  Very few of the words are spelled correctly, but I've noticed an improvement over the last month.  If he were attending any of the local public elementary schools I'm afraid he would have become self conscious and stopped trying to write.

Later today he spent another hour in our living room building a fortress out of chairs, carpets, blankets and so on.

My son is working hard and is making progress.  I think by the time he is twenty he will be caught up with his peers and will do just fine in life.  I don't know where he will end up, but it will be fun to see.

I am so glad we homeschool, that we can help him according to his needs.