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Friday, January 29, 2016

Our Introduction to Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education

This week, we decided to try something new..   We decided to totally throw out almost all of our scheduling and planning and rewrite the entire thing.  And rather than doing a traditional style educational style, we figured we would try the Charlotte Mason method of learning.

The CM method is something that any homeschool mom has heard of but doesn't have any real clue what it is (unless they are already doing it.. lol)..  Basically, you ditch the textbooks and the worksheets and all the boring stuff and you instead read books that have actual educational value to read to your kids (called "living books").  This education method was first developed by Charlotte Mason, a British educator in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Let me tell you, I wish I would have tried this sooner..   I'm seriously kicking myself in the butt for not looking more into this method two years ago, especially when I had the website bookmarked.    

The kids have really taken to this new style and I honestly feel like they learned more this week then they had in previous months. We've studied poetry, folk songs, a worship song, and our Bible.  We've done math, history, English, science and even copy work without any balking and tears.. It has been a REALLY great learning week.

Here are just a few of the week's highlights.. We did much much more than this through the week.   

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education
Our Comparison of Bird Eggs
First, we began reading the book Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White whom also wrote Charlotte Web.  We're currently reading a chapter a day and the kids are really enjoying the story and I am seriously impressed with the amount of educational tidbits the book presents. This had led to some really awesome discussions and questions regards not only swans but eagles as well,  We've incorporated math lessons in with the book as we've measured out the 6 foot width of a Trumpeter Swan's nest and the slightly smaller 5 foot Bald Eagle's nest. We also learned that a Trumpeter Swan's egg measures roughly 5 inches long and so we then Googled the length and width of various bird eggs which we then drew, cut out and compared to each other.   

All this talking about eggs and nests of course resulted in us looking up information in regards to Swan nests and then Eagle nests (as the Cob mentions Eagle nests).. This created a platform for us to start watching a couple of cameras on the internet and we watched a few eaglets hatch and a pair of bald eagles who are currently making their nest.  We're going to really enjoy watching both of these cameras daily and watching as the eaglets grow and watching the other pair start their family.  The kids ask to see both sets of eagles several times a day.

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education
Screenshot from the Eagle Cam we are watching..

The kids are starting to listen to musical pieces by Franz Schubert, starting with the "Trout Quintet", We will probably concentrate on each piece of music for two weeks at a time.  We're also reading the book  Franz Schubert: The Story of the Boy who Wrote Beautiful Songs and while the kids are not finding it to be the most interesting of books, they have been learning a bit about Schubert's life. 

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education
While next week we're going to probably jump into the lessons in regards to the artwork of Jacques Louis David, this week we tested the waters with one of Michalangelo's most famous pieces - "The Creation of Adam" and we discussed what a fresco is and we talked about the Sistine Chapel. We also discussed the various theories as to who the character God has his arm around is (ultimately the children decided it was Eve).  

On Wednesday, we had three turkey vultures who decided to roost in the the trees in our front yard.. The kids thought this was absolutely awesome and enjoyed going out and actually observing them, especially when one of them showed off his massive wingspan.. WOW!!

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education
Showing off his impressive wingspan

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education
Turkey Vultures in a Pine Tree

Both kids successfully memorized their memory verse for this week.. Since we were starting at the beginning, we went with Genesis 1:1 "In the Beginning God Created the Heavens and the Earth".   I was very proud of both of them.

Today, as their "treat" for doing so well (we would have done it anyway, but don't tell them that), we did a nature walk..   Alyssa's school was having a science fair (which in my opinion was highly disappointing and not at all what I was expecting for a science fair) so we got Dad to drop us off on his way to work.. Afterwards, we walked home which had us walking through various undeveloped areas.. We had a blast check out various trees, plants and such..  The highlight was finding a cute lil carpenter bee checking out a cut down tree..

I have no doubt that Nature Hikes will quickly become the highlight of our school week.. 

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education
Sycamore Balls

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education
Our Desert Study Grounds

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education
Ravens Flying Overhead

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education
Really neat cloud formations that I'll make the kids work on identifying next week

Charlotte Mason, Homeschooling, Nature Study, Classical Education
Our Sideway Trees (because of our really strong winds)

Recently Cut Pine Tree - so we got to check out the Sap and the tree's bark and core

Guess what they will be having to identify next week ;)

Pine Trees with the Sun

Ashleigh studying the pine needles so she can draw them in her Nature Journal

A grove of fir trees in the middle of the desert

All Smiles on his Nature Hike
Carpenter Bee that we studied for a few minutes. 


Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Real "Throwback Thursday"



Forty years ago, a baby was born and the world has never been the same!!

Okay, okay.. I admit, my birth really very little impact on the world in these 40 years, but who knows what might result because I was part of this world. It might be well beyond my existence, that somewhere down the road, 50 to 100 years from now, one of my descendants will be one of the first to colonize Mars or will discover the cure for cancer.  Maybe one of my daughters will become President or my son will become a modern day Moses and will leave God's people back to the promised land.  There is no telling what someone who shares my blood will do in the future as a result of a baby girl being born on January 28th, 1976.

What I can tell you is that tonight, I will go to bed 39 years old and I will wake up the big 4-0.  I can tell you that there will be plenty of jokes on Facebook in regards to my being "Over the Hill" and black balloons.  But it just means that people care enough to acknowledge that I'm still here..

I can also tell you that I most likely will feel absolutely little difference between how I feel now and how I will feel tomorrow.. I will wake up, still tired because I didn't get near enough sleep, I will wake up and make a pot of coffee and I will do our school lessons as my kids have no clue it's my birthday.. lol

I always thought 40 was going to be this huge deal..  But in all honesty, it's not what I thought it would be.. I look in the mirror and notice the lack of wrinkles but instead the smooth skin that belies my true age.  (People wouldn't put me a day past 38  j/k).  Even when I forget to dye my hair, I do not have any grey hairs. I still have all the body parts I was born with. I still have all my teeth (with exception of my baby teeth). I do not take any prescription medications and while my blood pressure is a bit higher than I would like, it's lowered considerably since I stopped smoking and is only a few points away from being back to normal range.

I still like to go camping and enjoy the great outdoors.. I haven't been assigned to a rocking chair on the porch just yet although I have no doubt one day I will be that crotchety old woman yelling at kids to stay off my lawn.  I know I'm going to have a heck of a good time once I'm there, I'm not there yet.

So I'll take the 40 and hope that I feel as good if not better when I turn 50.  And how amazing will that be??  Half a century..  Maybe I'll celebrate it jumping out of an airplane (with a parachute of course) or zip lining down Freemont street in Las Vegas.  Maybe I'll climb half dome in Yosemite.   Or maybe I'll celebrate it just like I'm doing now, typing on a blog enjoying the quiet of the night after a long day with the kids.. Either way. I thank the Lord each day for giving me another day to enjoy and for knowing what he had planned for me long before I filled graced the Medical Center in San Diego, California with my presence.

Here's to another 40 years..

 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

M is for Memories


Memories,..We all have them, I'm about to turn 40 years old in a couple of days which means I have roughly 35 years of memories (give or take some years for what I remember of my childhood.. lol) that are all cataloged in my mind.   Some of them are good... Some of them are GREAT.. Some of them are sad and some of them are altogether unhappy and maybe best forgotten.  But, they are there.

Memories of my childhood.. Growing up in a dysfunctional home, a mother who is schizophrenic and an alcoholic to living with a father who's a pedophile and a step mother who saw me as competition rather than a child in need of help.    

Memories of when I met my first husband, when we got married and when we had our daughter.  The later years of our marriage was wrought with tears and bitterness, sad memories for sure but still something I would never wish to forget.

Memories of becoming a strong young woman determined to provide a better life for my daughter.

Memories of the friendship that evolved over many years between myself and Charlie, a friendship that changed to more years later..   Our beautiful wedding, the birth of our two children, his joining the military, moving to California.

Memories of our family of 5.. Playing games, going camping, going to Disney World and visiting family members..  Playing board games or making homemade pizzas or opening presents on Christmas morning.

Memories of those family members who have been lost.. The tears that were shed for my grandmother, for Charlie's grandfather, for my ex husband's grandfather, my uncle.    People who have touched our lives and will never be forgotten.

Life experiences make us who we are - those memories, good and bad, all contributed to the person I am today.  I wouldn't trade one experience, not a single one, regardless of the pain it caused..


Blogging Through the Alphabet” style=

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday, Counting Pinecones


Turkey Vultures In My Yard





Thursday, January 21, 2016

Captive DVD (Review and Giveaway)



When was the last time a movie captivated you?  Then maybe you need to watch "Captive".


I can honestly say, this movie did exactly that for me..   Originally, this movie held very little interest for me and it was barely a blip on my radar when it came out in theaters and the reviews weren't so great on it either.  However, once I actually sat and watched this movie, I realized how absolutely slanted those reviews were and that I almost missed out on a REALLY good movie. Be sure to read til the end because I'm going to give one lucky reader their own copy of this movie.



Based on a true story, Captive is the true story of Ashley Smith, a single mother struggling to break free of a drug addition after losing custody of her child.  She is taken hostage in her own apartment by fugitive Brian Nichols, a man charged with rape, assault of a prison officer, murder of a judge and of a federal agent. For more than 6 hours, Ashley finds herself locked inside her apartment with Nichols, passing time by reading aloud passages from the book "The Purpose Driven Life", given to her that day by her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor.

Alyssa and I sat down together and watched this movie one night when Charles was still at work and the other two kiddos were in bed.  We both enjoyed it and couldn't stop talking about it and shared our enjoyment with Charles once he got home from work. The movie has many positive messages to be learned, such as how one action, whether it be positive or negative, can affect the actions of others and how God's love is with us, even when we fall so far from his glory.


Both Kate Mara and David Oyelowo deliver stellar performances as Smith and Nichols and the chemistry between them on screen was amazing.  While I'm sure Oyelowo will be remembered more for his performance of Dr Martin Luther King Jr in Selma, this is without a doubt a spectacular performance from him as he really is a master at portraying emotion on the screen.   Supporting actor Michael Kenneth Williams also shines in the  roll of Lt. John Chestnut, the lead investigator in the search for Nichols.

I highly recommend this movie, even to those who are not Christian, as it's a wonderful story of how one situation can cause someone to do things they normally wouldn't and how kindness can go a long way.  It's also a great display of how the Lord looks out for those who call to him, even when we have fallen so far from  his grace.

Would you like to add this amazing movie to your home movie library?  Well, thanks to Flyby Promotions, one lucky reader will be receiving a copy of this DVD along with the HD Digital copy. Open to residents of US and Canada  that are 18 and older.





"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”



About The Movie:

Based on a miraculous story about the power of faith, Captive is an "amazing, inspiring" drama about the spiritual collision of two lost souls, Brian Nichols (Golden Globe Nominee David Oyelowo), on the run from police and desperate to make contact with his newborn son, takes recently widowed mother Ashley Smith (Kata Mara) hostage in her own apartment.  Fearing for her life and desperately hoping to see her daughter again, she turns to Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life for guidance.  Ashley and her captor face a crossroads where they discover hope and light in the midst of despair in the moving film that Dick Rolfe, CEO, Dove Foundation hailed as "powerful." 

DVD Release Date: January 5, 2016
Runtime: 96 minutes
Rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic elements involving violence and substance abuse) 

There are over 30 minutes of bonus content on this DVD including Journey Through Darkness: Filming Captive and Faith and The Purpose Driven Life.  Also included with this DVD is a Digital HD copy that can be instantly streamed and downloaded.  




Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Stellarium Mobile Sky Map




My family has always been big in astronomy.  I remember spending my hard earned allowance savings to purchase my first 4.5 inch reflector telescope from the Discovery Store when I was still in high school along with a sky chart and a book about the night skies.  Many years later, I shared that love of astronomy with my husband became even more involved with it than I was and who later started Chuckwalla Observatory.    Now, we enjoy sharing the love of the night skies with our children.

A weather Satellite Passing Over
One of the greatest tools that we use for nighttime observations, outside of the telescope itself, is the Stellarium program from Noctua Software.    If you've followed this blog for a while, you'll probably remember when we highlighted the use of this program during a solar eclipse in October of 2014.  At that time, we were using the PC version of the program, however, it is also available in a mobile version for Android and Apple devices.  While the PC version of Stellarium is a very application heavy program geared for serious backyard astronomers, these mobile versions strip away features that most casual stargazers would not need, making it a very useful app to have.  This app basically puts an entire Astronomy library at your fingertips. 

Key Points of the Stellarium Apps for both apple and android devices are:
* a very intuitive touch-screen interface
* the integration of GPS positioning
* the control of the direction of view using the device accelerometers
* a catalog of over 600,000 stars displayed as a real time zoomable sky map
* a catalog of many nebulae and galaxies, with pictures for some of them
* asterisms and illustrations of the constellations for several sky cultures
* realistic Milky Way
* realistic landscape and atmosphere with sunrise, sunset and light pollution simulation
* 3D rendering of the major solar system planets and their satellites
* night mode (red)

Stellarium is a very powerful planatarium app that shows the sky in a realistic 3D display. By simply
aiming your phone in the direction of the sky that you are viewing, you can quickly use Stellarium to help you identify or locate objects in the night sky with ease.   With a catalog of over 600,000 stars, planets, galaxies and other deep space objects, it's a great program to have for when the kids ask "Mom, what's that". Pointing your mobile device in the desired area of the sky will reveal the stars and planets visible in that direction.  Touching a specific object on the sky map will provide more information about the object, such as magnitude, distance from earth, and type of object (such as variable star, for example).  Clicking on planets or moons will also provide information such as what phase it currently is in and what percentage the surface is illuminated.  More detailed information is also provided. 

Real Time timelapse allows you to watch as the objects move above you in the sky which is great for introducing students to the ecliptic path of planets or to see how objects much closer to Earth such as the moon, sun and planets move across the sky much faster than objects further away and outside of our solar system.  Stellarium also shows current locations of many man made satillites currently circling the Earth and we have used it on many occasions to pinpoint the International Space Station's path overhead, making it much easier for the kids to find and view the ISS as it passed over our house.  

Constellation Art with focus on Orion Nebula
This program also allows for you to fast forward/rewind to see how objects in the sky will appear either at a future point in time or in the past.   We use this feature most often when we are planning for a meteor shower viewing, so that we can know ahead of time where the moon will be located in the sky, what phase the moon will be in at the time and where the showers radiant will be in the sky.   This is also a great way to show students how the skies change with each season. 

There are many other educational aspects to Stellarium that can be used in a homeschool environment.  

Many times, it is hard for children, especially younger children, to view the stars in the sky and picture a lion or a warrior from the pinpoints of light.   There have been so many times that my kids will look at the big dipper, for example, and still not understand how it's a representation of a bear.  With Constellation art turned on, Stellarium puts a gorgeous skin over the sky chart, providing a great visual for students to actually see rather than just imagine. Key identifying stars are labeled on each drawing making it a great way to learn constellation identification.  The artwork itself is pretty gorgeous and the kids really enjoy finding each one based in the sky on a picture they really like on the sky chart. 

Deep Sky Objects such as planets, galaxies and nebulas are easy to zoom into for a closer view.  There is also a search function that allows you to quickly go to their location for objects not yet visible in the sky.   Once again, the visuals are stunning, although not as high definition as what is available on the PC version.  This makes for a handy tool when you're out in the middle of nowhere camping and Google is not an option.  

Another educational feature of Stellarium is the StarLore feature.  Many cultures, ranging from the Aztecs to today's Western culture, have had different stories and beliefs when it came to stars and the night skies. Skylore allows you to quickly switch to between various cultures such as the Aztec, Chinese, Norse and different Native American tribes like Navajo and Inuit and view the skies as they did.  This proves to be very interesting when comparing constellations that we are very familiar with to other cultures. For example, Orion to us was the Cat's Cradle to the Polynesian people and the Fisherman to the Norse. 


There are many other astronomy applications out there and we have tried many of them but we always seem come back to Stellarium as we find it to be far superior to other applications on the market.  It runs smoothly on our phones as well as on the Kindle Fire (although there is no GPS abilities with the Kindle).  We've used it for tracking both Solar and Lunar Eclipses, identifying planets and stars in the sky and finding the ISS as it streaks above our house at night.

Using Stellarium (PC Version) as part of our Homeschool during a Partial Solar Eclipse


While the PC version is a free download (available for Windows, Apple OS and Linux), there is a small cost for the Mobile versions. You can find the Stellarium Mobile Sky Map for $2.49 at the Amazon App Store, $2.49 at the Google Play Store and $2.99 on Itunes.   More information about the PC version can be found on Stellarium's Website at  http://www.stellarium.org/en/.

This posting is part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew's App Schooling (iOS and Android Apps) Roundup.  Click the banner below and check out what Apps other homeschool families are using in their homeschool. 
Our favourite Apps for Homeschooling iOS and Android

Monday, January 18, 2016

Verse of the Week


With the start of the new year, we decided that we wanted to try something a bit different when it came to the Bible.  So far, it has been a wonderful decision and I thought that I would start sharing some of what we are doing each week along with the verse for the week.

My oldest daughter, who is 16, has really given me a bit of attitude when it comes to time with the Bible.  This really became an issue when we were doing the study by Heidi St. John and my daughter was extremely disrespectful during it. Seems her Dad (my ex) has really put it in her mind that religion is false and unnecessary.   I wanted to change that for her but wasn't exactly sure how to approach it until I discovered the world of Bible Journaling. 

Journaling has really seemed to strike an interest with Alyssa as it taps into her creativity as well as giving her and I a set "mom and daughter" time together each night.  However, it also allows me to introduce various scripture to her and have her reflect on those scriptures as she tries to determine the best way to draw out what she's hearing.  It's also been really interesting to see how she and I differ as to what we choose to focus on with each passage or how we visually interpret the same verse.

A prime example of this was when we journaled Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NKJV from BibleGateway.com)


Alyssa chose to focus on verse 14, in regards to being held captive and that the Lord will bring you back from captivity, where as I focused on verse 11..   I never paid much attention to verse 14, to be honest. By seeing what she focuses on and how she interprets the scriptures, I'm finding that I also learn as well.


Another example was journaling Matthew 28:5-6. (NKJV from BibleGateway.com)


One again, I found it interesting the imagery we used to show the same verse. Alyssa focused on the angel while I chose to focus on the empty tomb.     I look forward to continuing this journaling with her and I'm hoping that it will help her develop more of a relationship with the Lord as she interprets his word for herself. 



Each week, I'll start sharing a few of the verses Alyssa and I concentrate on and allow yall to see how we each decided to interpret those verses.. I hope yall enjoy it as much as we are enjoying doing it..




Weekly Linkup

Do you blog about a particular scripture or just about Christian Fellowship each week? If so, I would love to have you join me and my friend Tasha at ABC's and Sweet Tea and link up to help spread His word.


Counting Pinecones



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Frozen - Revisited (Throwback Thursday)



It is so crazy to me to realize that this particular post has come up for my Throwback Thursday.  It seems like almost yesterday I wrote this article, never expecting it would have as many viewers as it did.  The whole thing stemmed from a phone call my husband was having with his father over how well the kids were doing being homeschooled, only to say something along the lines of them eventually going to public schools.  Yeah, it was a punch in the gut when I heard that and I felt like maybe my husband didn't have the faith in me to educate our children like I thought he did.Since that point, many things have changed.  One - it took me FOREVER to figure out how I made the picture below so that I could try to replicate it. I no longer had the same photoshop brushes or the font and was completely too lazy to go try to find them again. *shrugs*   Two, my husband has proven that the incident below was just a misunderstanding and that he does wholly support our homeschooling the kids for as long as it takes.  Which leads to why this is a perfect article to update:  Misunderstandings occur. People accidentally say the wrong things. They mean one thing and they say another. In this case, my husband explained he was just thinking that eventually I would want to put them in Public school so that I could have my time back, not that he thought that I was incapable of homeschooling them for their entire education.  He also thought that I might have issues teaching higher math classes. We nipped that in the bud pretty quick. It was something we were able to discuss together and I was able to show him how it would work out.  So while this original article was intended for loved ones to understand how what they say can hurt us, as homeschooling parents, let this update serve as a reminder that we are all human. Rather than get upset, we should sit down and talk about any concerns. After all, it takes a village to raise a child and all immediate family members do have a vested interest in the education and well being of your child :) Friday, January 9, 2015

When Family Is Inadvertently Unsupportive To Homeschooling





It's a scenario that has reared its ugly head at one point or another in every homeschooling family's life..

We all have that one “friend” or family member who has their opinion of homeschooling and is quick to share it with you. We've all heard the unsubstantiated remarks about socialization, lower test scores, lack of accountability and even the snide comments about our own educational level as a parent.

But those aren't the comments I'm talking about today. Instead, I would like to talk about the comments that come from the people we least expect it from – the people who are suppose to be (and for the most part are) on our side. The ones who say they are 100% on board with the idea of homeschooling but inadvertently turn around and say something that cuts deeper than anything your brother in law's wife could have said behind your back. Today's writing isn't so much for you, the homeschooling teacher, but for those family members.

Why did you say that?

I have a wonderful husband. Two years ago, when we were told that the school on base could not accommodate my son and would have to send him to a school 30 miles off base, my husband agreed that educating Garrett in our own home would be optimal. I admit, I'm not a special needs teacher and I have absolutely no formal instruction in educating kids. However, we both agreed that I knew my son best and would have a better idea of how to engage him and educate him. My husband was also on board when it came time to send our youngest to public schools and instead decided to keep her home and let the two learn together.

So imagine my surprise when the other day, overhearing a conversation between him and his parents on the phone, I heard him tell his father that we would most likely be putting the kids in public schools soon.

WHAT?

This was news to me. I didn't get that memo obviously, because as far as I knew, I had absolutely no plans of putting my kids into the public system.

At first, I was hurt by his comments. Did he lose faith in my ability to teach our children? Did he think I was doing a poor job?

Finally a few days later, I sat and I asked him about it (of course, after I huffed and sighed and had him ask me 100 times “Whats wrong” only for me to reply “Nothing!”). What was his reasoning in saying something like that?

His answer : “I know that eventually you're going to put them into public schools because you're not prepared to teach them higher level maths”.

My husband was going to sell me out over Trigonometry and Calculus.

What you say can hurt


When it comes to these types of comments, a spouse or family member might think their comments are with good intentions and not realize how much their comments can hurt us, especially a mom who is new to homeschooling who is struggling to find her niche. We're at a point where we are questioning everything: Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Is science and history really important in the lower elementary years?

We are already questioning every little move we make so when a well intentioned family member makes a comment or asks a question that taps into our already growing lack of confidence in what we are doing, it sends us into a tailspin of self doubt and emotional sabotage. Suddenly we're sitting there questioning if what we are doing is the best decision for our children or if maybe public schools are the better choice. It's one thing to have Snooty PTA Mom Suzi to say that lack of socialization due to homeschooling will cause our children to become hardened serial killers: it might bug us but we're not really going to take it to heart. It's a completely different situation when it's our spouse, friend or family member who's opinion we hold in high regards.


What not to say


    How will you teach higher level subjects (math/science) when you did not take those types of classes yourself?

This is probably the easiest question to answer my husband when we had this discussion.. Simply put: I probably won't. I know my limitations. I hated higher math in school. I got as far as Algebra 2 and that was it for me. However, the local community colleges are more than happy to let me hand over my credit card to allow my home schooled child to attend a class on Trigonometry or Calculus if they get to that point. There are also plenty of educational websites that for a monthly fee, claim they can teach my children higher math concepts. However, right now my kids are in 1st grade and are working on 10+X=24 which I can handle just fine. Plus, we are never too old to learn ourselves. There are plenty of things I failed to learn in my years of school that I'm learning right along side with my kids so who knows, maybe I'll also learn Trigonometry as well.

 
    Don't you feel the children are missing out on socialization with other kids their own age?

Socialization seems to be the go to argument for everything. We're so obsessed with socialization: even our dogs have to be taken out for play dates for socialization! My daughter has been in public schools since Kindergarten and before that she attended day care and so I have had the opportunity to observe this “all important” socialization. It's not all its cracked up to be. My daughter gets to sit around with
her friends and discuss “hot guys”, listen to music that is sexually explicit, get teased by teenage boys in regards to her breast size, and only gets a C in Algebra because she can't hear the teacher over all the kids running their mouths during class time. This is dependent on whether or not they have a phone in school - if they have a phone, socialization is nothing more than talking about those subjects via text messages and social media.  If anything, my daughters education is not enhanced but instead suffers because of “socialization”. School should be a place of learning. There are plenty of opportunities outside of the learning situation for kids to make friends and interact with others (church youth groups, homeschooling groups, ect).

    They won’t get to do extra-curricular activities.

Someone is always going to bring this one up. Maybe Dad was the quarterback on the high school football team and has dreams of reliving his youth through his son. You're sister was in the band and believes that playing an instrument is an important skill. Guess what? Just about anything a school who attends public schools participates in, my children can also participate in. Not only that, but my kids have the opportunities to participate in even more electives then what most public schools offer. My kids can take art classes, music classes, and instrument lessons just like any other kids: my son is learning to play the bagpipes for example. Sports such as football, soccer, and baseball are offered at local YMCAs and youth recreation programs. Homeschooled kids are at dance recitals and baseball practice right along side public schooled children every day and homeschooling moms and dads are rushing from one activity to another just like the PTA moms.

    They’ll never learn to compare themselves to their peers



And what is the problem with this? Lets face it, kids don't sit with each other comparing how many hours they studied, how many novels they read last month or what enrichment programs they are interested in. Instead, they listen to each other insulting, bullying and belittling others based on their weight, looks and clothing. They are talking about who's the best kisser, who's lost their virginity and who the class prude is. Kids are developing eating disorders and committing suicide over these “comparisons”. I would much rather my children learn a healthy dose of self-confidence to help them as they grow into adulthood. I would rather my children learn that failure is a stepping stone for success – that it is okay to try something and fail and then try again until you learn and succeed. I also want my kids to know that here in our learning environment, they are safe from ridicule if they do fail. They then learn the self confidence they will need later in life to not be afraid of failure and continue on until they achieve their final goal. Public schools have eliminated any idea of healthy competition anyway. Thanks go the “Everyone’s a winner” mentality, children don't learn the rewards of hard work in order to take top price. They learn at an early age that even if you put in minimal effort, you still get recognition.


    They can’t graduate from home school. How will they get into a college without a diploma?

Yes, they can.. And yes, they will. Yes, it's a time consuming project for the homeschooling parent but each class we teach our kids at the high school level translates to high school credits on a transcript. Once my kids complete a course of study that both the state and I feel is equivalent to what the graduating seniors at the public school have accomplished, then I will issue them a diploma. I'll even let them pick out whatever colors for a cap and gown and we will have senior pictures taken for the wall.  Also, many colleges and universities allow high school students to take one or two college courses per semester to go towards both high school credits and college credits. 





What you DON'T say also hurts



Finally, a point I should make is that sometimes its not what someone says but what they don't say that hurts. When I put my heart into teaching my children and my spouse shows little to no interest in what we have done, it hurts. The slight might not have been meant but that doesn't make it hurt any less. Add that to the fact that I'm one of those who needs affirmation of some sort from my husband and this creates a problem. I want/need to hear my husband say I'm doing a great job with the kids, that he feels that the education I am providing for them is at least adequate (preferably more than adequate) in his eyes. There are days I feel like I'm putting the kids on display (Hey Ash, tell daddy what the colors on the flag represent! Garrett, tell Daddy what the capital of Brazil is!) only to have little response as far as those needed words of affirmation go. This is disheartening to the homeschooling parent. However, I know that my kids know more about a large variety of subjects then their public school peers (they even know more some topics then my public school taught 10th grader, who cannot tell you where the state of New York is on the map). I plan on keeping it that way. So my affirmation will come not in the words I'm not hearing right now but will come in the form of two young adults who will be well rounded, well educated and hopefully successful in the real world.

But just in case you are a loved one of a homeschooling parent – try to make a point of telling them they are doing a good job and ask the kids what they learned today. Those two simple things can make a world of difference.
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