Friday, April 29, 2005
There are certain challenges associated with working from home and homeschooling so it was nice to read about another mom who is working this out.
Check out her post on being a work-at-home mom (also known as a WAHM).
We have been waiting for over 50 years to see some positive results from that ruling.
First of all, merely sitting next to someone of a different race and having the same textbooks that they have is not enough to provide a quality education. Family factors are undoubtedly very important as well. In fact, blacks had higher literacy rates when families were more intact even in the face of Jim Crow racism. The implication is that intact families can do more to improve a measurement like literacy than court rulings can. Black families in particular are fractured and sending kids off to public school with it's complete lack of focus on family values is doing nothing to help the situation.
For years before the black reliance on public schools, blacks learned in a Christian setting either at home or in the local segregated school house. I believe that a large part of the problem in the African-American community today is due to a lack of Christian influence in our households. Racism may play a role in some factors but in issues such as our higher rates of abortion, out-of-wedlock births, drug use and crime, lack of morals and values in many adults and no one teaching our youth morals and values are to blame.
50 years is long enough to prove that families must improve themselves and take control of their children's education. Although this is true for all parents, the burden is especially upon those for whom public schools have completely failed throughout history.
My children will not be sacrificed for the sake of political correctness.
I responded that it was indeed time for parents to stop waiting for the "system" to change or do something for them and I said that this is particularly true for black students who fare so much worse than others. The little girl in handcuffs was black.
My comments got ripped apart by one woman who felt that I was saying that homeschoolers were better than other children and she stated that homeschool students were actually worse off than others because they are too sheltered.
But the most interesting part of her response was her opinion of public schools. She hates the moral relativism of schools, feels that schools discipline policies are lacking and she admits that she was bullied in school.
I was floored by this. At least if she was going to oppose homeschooling, I thought she should have something good to say about the alternate system in which she feels we should keep our children.
But no. The current system sucks but she has no solution readily available.
The article that I have referenced above written by David Kirkpatrick of the U.S. Freedom Foundation states that for years groups have underestimated the ability of public education to resist change. In another article he says he can sum this up in 6 letters: NEA and AFT, the two major teacher's unions.
My main advice for those who are just starting out is this: realize that there is much information available but do not let yourself get overwhelmed. Eventually, your focus will narrow and you will find the approach and resources best for you. Just keep an open mind and keep investigating your options until you discover what is best for you and your family.
Most of all, as a new homeschooler, I have found the moms who have homeschool blogs to be very helpful and responsive. If you have any questions, you should feel free to contact any of us.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
As a new homeschooler and one who is encouraging more people to homeschool, these kinds of discussions about categorizing different types of homeschooling is concerning.
I see the point of "veteran" homeschoolers feeling that you have fought hard for the gains of homeschooling over the years.
I understand that cyber charters funded by the state are not the same as homeschool families buying curriculum and planning their family's education.
However, I feel after reviewing all these posts that the overall sense that an outsider or new homeschooler (such as myself) gets from this discussion is that one set of homeschoolers are the "real" homeschoolers, meaning those that are completely free of government interference and the rest are somehow beneath that level of wholesomeness.
The fact is that many (especially urban, less-educated individuals) may feel very intimidated by homeschooling entirely on their own, especially in the beginning.
For instance, many of the parents I have met here in Ohio who are homeschooling through state-run cyber-charters are urban, low-income African-Americans who before the existence of state cyber-charters felt that they did not have the option of any type of homeschooling for their children because that was very intimidating for them.
These parents may not be as sophisticated as some "veteran" homeschoolers but we all want our children to reach their potential in a safe, nurturing environment.
While I agree that one should be clear which types of homeschooling are state-supported and controlled (and I find it impossible to believe that anyone could sign up for a cyber-charter and not realize that), the tone of "real" vs."fake" homeschoolers will only hurt the overall movement to encourage parents to take more control over their children's lives.
I do not know about you guys, but I would like to welcome "cyber-charter" and other homeschoolers into the fold.
Hopefully, by doing so, we can educate and empower them and help them to understand the larger political battle at stake in this country.
By alienating them, we make ourselves look bad and we could make them retreat from homeschooling altogether.
And that would be a shame.
My heart goes out to Jana and I hope she continues to consider the option to keep her children at home to educate them, state-supported or not.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Homeschooling, the national phenomenon that is growing at the astounding rate of 4000% in 20 years and it is growing very quickly in the African-American community as well. Black children today are 5 times more likely to be homeschooled than they were just 5 years ago. Although African-Americans only represent only about 3% of all homeschoolers, the rates at which they are coming to homeschooling is increasing. Black parents who homeschool, like most other homeschooling parents, are concerned about safety and effectiveness of public schools, lack of proper moral or religious instruction and negative peer influences. Additionally, though, some African-Americans are also concerned about the lack of adequate amounts of African-American history taught in the schools as well.
Despite the changes of the Civil Rights era, many black parents are not convinced that their children will get the best education possible in a school setting. African-American families tend to be concentrated in urban areas and it could be for this reason in part that African-American families are more likely to feel that their children are not getting an adequate education than white families. Continued political battles over options such as school vouchers have left many urban black families wondering what they can do to take the education of their children into their own hands. A startling rise in school violence that has shaken our country shows its impact most heavily in the daily violence that occurs in urban school districts. Drugs, gangs and bullies represent additional obstacles to learning in urban school districts that have caused many black parents to consider homeschooling.
African-American families in suburban school districts are also increasingly dissatisfied with the educational experiences of their children. Public schools in general continue to fail many African-American students and recent studies have shown that even in exclusive suburbs, there is an achievement gap between black and white high school students. This gap is thought to have many possible causes. Some causes may include racial insensitivities or low expectations towards black students by teachers, negative peer pressure to avoid academic excellence by other black students or lack of parental involvement. All of these possible causes of black underachievement can be overcome by homeschooling. By returning education the home, African-Americans have a chance to level the academic playing field for their children. In generations past in which blacks predominantly received their education at home because of segregation, rates of literacy in the black community were actually higher than they are now. In many ways, homeschooling reflects a return to a history of self-education among blacks.
Ironically, some in the black community argue that parents are ignoring their responsibility to the community at large by pulling their children out of local school systems. Although such sentiments may be noble, increasing numbers of black parents are not willing to wait another 50 years for the American legal system to produce a dramatic change in the educational success of their children. Parents are unwilling to sacrifice their children’s futures for the sake of keeping the status quo. Most parents feel their primary responsibility is to their children and that by producing responsible, law-abiding citizens to become future leaders they are in fact making a very important contribution to society. There are many other ways that African-American families who homeschool can continue to contribute to school reform. Attending local school meetings, contacting politicians and voting for candidates who support school reform are some ways black homeschooling families can stay active in the American educational system. Every family, whether homeschooling or not, has a serious stake in American education. The very future of our country depends on the education of our children.
There are some hotspots of growth of African-American homeschoolers around the country. Much of the growth in African-American homeschooling families is originating from the suburban communities of Atlanta, Richmond, Virginia and Prince Georges County, Maryland echoing the rise in homeschoolers among the affluent and well-educated nationwide. Mocha Moms, a support group targeting African-American stay-at-home moms, has been credited with contributing to the rise of homeschooling among African-Americans. With their local groups that pool resources, some of the Mocha Moms choose to homeschool. Other resources specifically to encourage African-American homeschoolers are proliferating and interested families will most likely begin by joining local support groups, researching on the Internet, buying homeschool magazines and checking out books on homeschooling from the local library.
The time is now to begin changing the future of America by ensuring the best education for all of America's children. Start homeschooling today!
Monday, April 25, 2005
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Good thing I do not have to travel far for the online Homeschool Convention over at Spunky's.
Very good stuff over there.
I found the article on Feminism and Homeschooling very interesting but there are so many more.
I am going to make some chai or something else hot to drink.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
The record labels have pounced on this one- CD's will be labeled with C for chastity to promote recording artists who have pledged to remain chaste until marriage.
I am impressed that the record labels recognize and support this growing trend.
I look forward to the day that teens themseves will begin to demand true abstinence teaching in schools nationwide.
Teens and sex. The statistics are staggering and parents need to know.
Teens are encouraged to be sexually active by our society. Media influences, peer influences and our public schools all seem to promote a "if it feels good, do it" mentality for our teens. Unfortunately, teens, with their "It can't happen to me" attitude, found often at this developmental stage, are very vulnerable to such permissive messages. Even worse, many teenagers do not have anyone in their home refuting these messages with healthier choices.
As a psychiatrist, I started noticing more teens who were sporting emblems of pledges of abstinence. When asked about these, the teens I was working with universally expressed their relief at being able to be celibate. That's right- just like this author who sat in on an abstinence class, I found that teens just plain did not know or had never stopped to think that abstinence was even possible. Especially the young women who had started sexual activity early, sometimes as young as 11 or 12-years old, were so relieved to know that they did not have to continue to be sexually active. Their parents never told them! Sadly, some had learned early on about the emotional and health dangers of sexual activity. I am sorry about the price that some of them had to pay.
From the horrors of having an abortion that they felt they could share with almost no one, a heavy shame that they may bear for the rest of their lives, to diseases such as herpes and AIDS that have no cure, the price of sexual activity for teens can be very high indeed.
Parents need to familiarize themselves with the research to pass it on to their children. Each year 3 million teens contract sexually transmitted diseases. These diseases can be spread through oral sex, contrary to what most teens seem to think. Gonorrhea of the throat is very unpleasant indeed. Especially Christian teens are using oral sex as what they see as a better moral alternative to intercourse. STDs also contribute to infertility and cervical cancer, facts often ignored by the MSM.
Just giving teens the advice to use birth control is not good enough. Pregnancy is one of the least troubling consequences of teen sex! We can not forget that one of the STDs teens are exposed to has no cure and leads to death. A local suburban high school in my city has one of the highest AIDS rates in our state. Scary.
And the sex-ed folks have consistently avoided discussing the emotional aspects of sexuality. (Emotions related to sex-what a novel thought!) Teens who have been sexually active are 3 times more likely to become depressed. I can tell you from my experience as a psychiatrist that 9 times out of 10, a teen who tried to commit suicide did so because of some drama related to the opposite sex, usually someone they had been sexually active with previously.
Studies have shown that American parents overwhelmingly want their children to learn about abstinence and to remain celibate through the teen years. But often parent's desires for their children and what they actually do as parents to help secure the desired outcome do not match. It may not be easy, but parents need to talk frankly with their teens about the serious risks of sex and what the options are.
With all this data who could be against teaching abstinence for teens? From what I can tell only the mainstream media (MSM) and groups with a vested interest in the continuing sexual activity of teens (such as Planned Parenthood which provides abortions and birth control to teens.) Read more about the war against abstinence here.
As usual, certain very vocal minorities are influencing what teens across the country are learning despite the wishes of most American families.
But all parents, especially Christian parents who feel very strongly that premarital sex is wrong not only for the reasons listed above but because it is against God's commandments for our personal purity, need to talk with teens about sex. Even if your children are not in school, they probably socialize with other children who may or may not share your values about sexuality.
What is the best way to talk to teens about sex?
Here are some tips from teens:
--lay out the facts. They want to know that you know what you are talking about.
--be very explicit about your expectations. Not just "Honey, you should think about delaying sex" but "I would like to see you stay celibate until marriage, even if that means that you marry early."
--Do not talk about your own experiences as a teen. This one surprised me. Teens want to be treated as individuals and they want you to address the issues current in their lives.
--Encourage them to seek out like-minded friends and groups
--Emphasize that sexuality talk will be an ongoing dialogue. As you find interesting articles, discuss them. Encourage your teen to do the same.
--Let your teen start a blog about their opinions on sexuality and other important issues. They may find others with similar values. Start by checking out Spunky Jr's blog here.
For more tips, go here.
Feel free to print out this post for your reference.
Friday, April 22, 2005
The show was populated primarily by daycare centers with a few "real moms" thrown in there.
What a sad experience for me. I knew that despite the other great topics I am working on for the blog (abstinence and sex with teachers in schools), I had to write about this first.
First, I could easily tell which were the "real moms" and which were the "outsourced moms" (to use Spunky's term). You want to know how I could tell? The real moms were all sitting on the floor with their kids and the outsourced moms were sitting in chairs that were placed along the wall of the room.
Next was attitude. I was amazed at the very unpleasant attitudes of the outsourced moms so early in the morning! What had the children done to make them so irritable so quickly?
Well, for one thing, the kids seemed to interfere with the social life of the outsourced moms. From talking on their cell phones to discussing some apparently juicy gossip (Can you believe...!), these people seemed disinterested at best.
Perhaps the socialization of the children was responsible. I am sure that it warms the hearts of those homeschool opponents who believe the poor homeschooler is being deprived of socialization. From pinching and pushing each other to distracting each other during the performance while the outsourced moms either watched from the sidelines or yelled "Cut that out!" in a very nasty tone, this is the model of socialization that we should all want for our children!
By contrast, I noticed the real moms talking to their children during the performance saying things like "Isn't that silly, butter on his head!" or "What do you think will happen next?" I noted no such banter with the outsourced moms.
Next, I noticed differences in physical interactions between child and "caregiver" between the two groups. Only 2 of the caregivers had any physical contact (holding on lap, holding hands, hugging) with children. Each of those concentrated that attention on 1 child each. The other 30 or so children in each group and their outsourced moms had no contact at all.
Meanwhile, the real moms were being inundated by the physical presence of their children. The children were either sitting in between the moms legs or very close to the child. After the show, the real moms all grabbed their children's hands.
The outsourced moms had the children hold each other's hands at least once the show was over.
One other very interesting fact: the daycares were 100% segregated. Some were all black and the rest were all white. I have noticed that trend in our area before but today's juxtaposition of the two groups was striking. What do kids learn from that type of "socializing"?
Overall, I feel sad for many of today's kids. I believe that they need real parents especially when they are so small know that many of the points that I mentioned seem subtle but let's take a look at how our society is doing overall since we instituted wholesale warehousing of kids in America. Drug use, suicide, homicide, depression are skyrocketing. What will it take for this madness to end?
The excellent book Home Alone America by Mary Eberstadt is a must-read. I view this issue as not a public school or homeschool one but an American one. See my review of this book on Amazon.com.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
This is a dream-come-true for us as we want to let the whole world know about homeschooling and how proud we are of our homeschooler (and homeschooler-to-be) and we want to you to do the same.
Check back for more updates. We are looking for a grand opening around the end of April.
Until then, don't forget to check out the Online Homeschool Convention over at Spunky's.
Looks like a lot of thought-provoking and informative speakers.
Run, do not walk to the Online Homeschool Convention today!
No time to post. Gotta get reading...
Rumor has it that there may be as many as 50 featured bloggers. So cool.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
But then Alyssa woke up too early from her nap, I was upset because then I could not get any writing done, I cleaned up instead which felt good. Then, I actually made up a creative idea for dinner and it was a huge hit (even with my picky kids).
Over the weekend, I came up with the idea of a BBQ Hamburger Pizza in part because of a great recipe posted on Andrea's blog. I used BBQ sauce instead of tomato sauce and added crumbled, drained ground beef then topped with chopped onions and mozzarella cheese. It was quite tasty (even my-very-honest-if-he-does-not-like-my cooking husband said so!)
Then I made some meatloaf which we pretty much ate for lunch and dinner. A little tired of the meatloaf, I decided to try an experiment. I created almost the same pizza as the BBQ Hamburger but instead of ground beef, I used the meatloaf instead. What a great way to deal with leftover meatloaf (you know, like after the ground beef was on sale and you bought a large quantity.)
Dinner was good but then Chase had watermelon for dessert. Watermelon is a diuretic and Chase has been known to prefer playing to remembering to go potty from time to time so he had a small accident on his way to the bathroom.
Without any prompting or scolding (I never scold him for that as he feels badly enough about it on his own) he said "Mommy, it's not my fault. It's my private area's fault. It let the pee out." I tried my best to keep from laughing.
Then it was bedtime which is activation time in my house. See my Wonder Twins post on my Joyful Parent blog. Sam and Chase were running around in some male bonding frenzy so much that Chase got sick to his stomach and then he promptly reported that he needed to eat more dinner since his dinner was all gone. So past his bedtime, he is eating soup, Alyssa is pretending to be a monster (something she learned from big brother) and just sighed and accepted the fact that we would all be going to bed late tonight.
On that note, I am off to bed...
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Homeschooling is growing and it is no accident. I see a God who is so troubled by what he sees happening in American society that he knows a radical, fundamental change is needed in the fabric of our institutions and in our families. Homeschooling will provide the impetus that is needed to cause true, spiritual change that is needed in America today.
One troubling trend in our society is the disintegration of the family. If you think that I am only talking about divorce and out-of-wedlock births, you are wrong. The truth is that even our "intact" families are often comprised of selfish parents with misplaced values and a improper emphasis on material gain. The material gain I speak of is sometimes subtle.
Recent surveys of Christian parents showed that the majority are far more concerned with their children's academic achievements than with their spiritual development. Certainly, striving for academic excellence is not a frivolous worldly pursuit yet we must ask ourselves where we place worldly knowledge in our value system. Parents continually search for self-fulfillment at the expense of their children and the children are bitter, disrespectful and ungrateful. All parties have excuses of why their bad behavior is OK.
The media and government programs reinforce stereotypes to further break families apart. Teens are expected to be surly, parents presumed to be prudish and babies are just demanding, crying sponges of neediness that are no fun at all to be around. Housework is endless tedium with no redeeming features and marriage is merely an annoying inconvenience and unnecessary relic from the past. Any attempt to protect your children is viewed as "stifling" them and akin to child abuse. Teaching them religious values is viewed as cult-like indoctrination.
We can not go on like this! Homeschoolers dare to buck these trends. By acknowledging the importance of family and how much we actually enjoy our children we are setting a much-needed example for other families. As people appreciate the tremendous financial and personal sacrifices made to homeschool, they may start to question their own dependence on two incomes. Children are held to high expectations and they look to their parents for protection and guidance in many homeschooling families. Housework is a treasured skill to be passed down to our children and providing a sound spiritual foundation is setting them on the right path for life. Babies are viewed as a gift from God and perfect in the way that they are made and marriages are viewed as the foundation for a godly family.
What I am describing of course is an average homeschooling family and although every homeschooling family will not fit the exact picture I describe, the numbers are high enough and growing quickly enough to make a difference. The key is that Americans will see that there is another way for those who dare to follow a different path.
Next up: How the growth of homeschooling will change America's beleaguered educational system.
Just because Johnny spends almost every waking moment on the private computer that he has in his room does not seem to cause most parents any concern. Only when grades start to slip or friendships seem impaired do parents feel moved to investigate what their children on doing online.
I recently wrote an article about Internet safety for kids and I learned that over 90% of the time, the child does not purposely seek porn in the beginning. Rather, they are innocently caught in a website deceptions cleverly designed by porn operators to lure kids to the site. For instance, typing in "white house" to a search engine will get you unpleasant results. The same is true for other common research tools children may use to complete their homework.
Any child who uses the Internet is at risk of porn addiction and unsupervised use in private areas (such as a bedroom) heightens the risk.
So even if you feel your children are probably protected, you may still want to take a moment to teach your older children about the dangers of Internet porn. Let them know that even one curious look can lead to problems of mighty proportions. (The same goes for grown men as well).
I just feel that parents should be aware.
The Internet is a wonderful source of learning and information but like everything else, it must be used wisely for greatest benefit with the least harm.
Monday, April 18, 2005
And if all that was not good enough, I found a pretty cool set-up at Associated Content in which they will pay freelancers to write articles to be featured on various websites.
They just accepted 5 of my articles, Praise God. I could use some cash in my PayPal account about right now.
All you homeschool moms (and dads) who are freelance writers (real or aspiring) should check them out.
And if you mention that I sent you and you actually start writing for them, I could get $20.
Hope this is helpful.
And if all that was not good enough, I found a pretty cool set-up at Associated Content in which they will pay freelancers to write articles to be featured on various websites.
They just accepted 5 of my articles, Praise God. I could use some cash in my PayPal account about right now.
All you homeschool moms (and dads) who are freelance writers (real or aspiring) should check them out.
And if you mention that I sent you and you actually start writing for them, I could get $20.
Hope this is helpful.
Speaking of Alyssa, unfortunately, she has a superior memory for the traumatic. I was preheating the oven and the fumes from the oven cleaner must have set off the smoke detector because it started screeching "FIRE, FIRE" and beeping very loudly (as I hope it will do in a real fire).
Alyssa was so frightened by this that she did not want to come into the dining room where the noisy contraption had been (my husband temporarily took it down so I could finish cooking).
Otherwise, Alyssa's memory seems pretty poor. I must say several times each day "Did not Mommy tell you we don't put small pieces of tissue in our ears, we don't put our fingers in our nose or we don't pinch people." For some reason, she can not seem to remember any of these basic instructions.
Oh well. For the next little while, I will just take down the detector while I am baking until the fumes burn off. My poor baby.
Alright! If you are interested, check out her site here.
I applaud her courage and motivation and I wish to encourage her.
All of you with teens who may be interested, let your teens know.
These numbers lead me to scratch my head in amazement. It seems that so many are focused on fighting any reforms suggested by anyone else that they fail to address the enormity of the problems in today's schools. So many politicians do not like No Child Left Behind, they oppose vouchers and they do not support homeschooling. I am still trying to figure out exactly what these guys want and how much longer we have to continue to pretend our nation's children are learning in failing schools.
Very sad indeed.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Notice, I did not say too much TV because I have become convinced of the addicting nature of TV for most folks, adults and children, so I do not know if there is any safe amount of TV watching. The whole thing just has to go.
If you think that I am mistaken about the TV being addictive, what if I challenged you right now to get rid of your cable or satellite? Forever, for good to watch commercial TV no more? Videos or home movies would be OK but no TV programming. None, zero, zilch?
Is she crazy? How could we do that? What we do? I would really miss __________!
Many would be as upset as if I tried to take away their money!
Seriously, I know that it is difficult. I have been there. For two years, we lived without television. We gave in to seductive advertising from the cable company and we got a DVR so we would not feel enslaved to TV schedules or be subject to commercials. The DVR made things better but after some time, the televisions started to feel more like an intrusion. The TV habit steadily became more and more a part of our family life. But I will tell you (as will any family who has removed TV from their lives) it is SO worth it. It is truly a struggle in the beginning but as with any addiction, eventually you will find activities to replace it and those activities will inevitably be better than TV ever could have been.
Your family life will be much improved without television.
Try it. God will bless you and your family in unexpected ways. He has ours.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
I believed that teachers were uniquely qualified to teach based on their educational credentials and that the purpose of schools was to take uncivilized, empty-headed students like me and fill us up with knowledge that would one day be useful to us.(I am still waiting to discover when some of that stuff is going to be useful). I learned that the primary best way to learn was by listening to teachers talk with an occasional field trip thrown in there. Of course children belonged in school- it was just the natural order of things.
Then I had my son. Why on earth, after waiting so long to become a mother would I hand my son over to strangers to be the primary influencers in his life? As I became more and more attached to my son and learned more about him, abut me and about my values, it was difficult to imagine why I would send him to school, especially at an early age. I became convinced that the reason so many parents fall succumb to loud weeping when their children first go off to kindergarten is that it is very painful and probably not in the best interest of the child for a 5 or 6-year old to be separated from his parents and experiencing the rigors of academia.
These "radical" ideas of mine were all fine and good as they were discussed between my husband and I. But what on earth would the rest of the world think? This is where courage comes in to the picture. It takes a lot of guts, more than I initially had, to tell people that you are eschewing the venerable institution of the school. I did not want to have to justify myself and my reasoning to others nor did I feel that I could adequately describe to an outsider the depth of my love and admiration of my son. For a while, I kept my mouth shut. Unless someone asked specifically, I did not mention my schooling plans for my son.
That approach worked out fine while Chase was a baby but as he got older I knew that I was going to have to face the inevitable. To top things off, Chase was always tall for his age and has long had a habit of wearing his backpack with his favorite books in them everywhere we go so since age 3 people started asking where Chase was going to school.
Initially, I would mumble something about homeschool under my breath and run away from the scene as quickly as possible. Until one day after one of our encounters with the preschool police Chase asked me "So mommy, what school do I go to?" I answered "You go to homeschool. Mommy is the teacher and you are the student." After asking a few more questions about exactly what a student was, Chase was beaming with pride. "I am a student!" he kept saying excitedly.
Next time we were out and the schooling Gestapo stopped us, before I could answer the probing question, Chase loudly and clearly proclaimed that he was a student and he was "HOMESCHOOLED" just to be sure everyone could hear. And everyone did hear and look in our direction.
And you know what? Nothing happened. No one came and took my son away, no one arrested me and no one yelled at me. He was my son and I could educate him any way that I felt was in his best interest. These people did not even know me!
It was the courage of my son that infected me and changed me and made me more committed than ever to homeschooling.
Then I felt ready to approach friends and family with the truth about our views of education.
But that is a post for another day.
Check out my post "Praying for Guidance" at my Joyful Parent blog about worry and a better way.
So why don't I just make my life easier and "pray without ceasing"?
I do not know but I am working on it.
Friday, April 15, 2005
Safe and inexpensive with opportunities for student's to achieve academic and social excellence, all parents should view homeschooling as a viable alternative for the education of their children. Instead, too often I hear so many excuses from concerned parents about why they do not want to spend the money on private school but they have no respect for public schools.
There is another way and it is available to those who will take the time to find out more.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
I just wonder what he is thinking about when he is pensive like this. Some
fantastic make-believe world is most likely brewing in his head as he is
staring at his favorite toy of the moment- Dad's train from when he was a
child. For more on this, see the post "Trains" on my parenting humor blog at
By the way, I guess everyone can tell that I discovered Flickr! What a joy
to upload photos through their service.
I had tried Hello and Picassa through Google but I found them difficult to
I am figuring these things out as I go along but it is more fun everyday!
I believe that the only way to do that is to make homeschooling more accessible. Among the families in my circle of friends and acquaintances who are not homeschooling, homeschooling is viewed very favorably. These attitudes are reflected in recent national surveys about homeschooling. However, so many parents feel that they can not homeschool, despite the benefits of homeschooling, because of their own limitations or weaknesses.
Parents say that they are too disorganized or they fear that they will not cover all the needed materials. They worry that they will not know how to choose the right curriculum. I am one of these parents.
I know that you veterans out there may say "Just relax, it will all come together." and I want to believe you but it is not easy to imagine sometimes.
I am not too proud to get a little help, especially as a new homeschooler.
I have been especially impressed by the quality of the online interface in some of the online schools. My son loves the computer and does well with both online learning and workbook-type instruction. Most online schools include both types of instruction.
Still searching and praying....
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
So today we went to a presentation about the K12 curriculum. I had the chance to view the manipulatives, textbooks and art materials that are sent to the students as well as the online tracking and organizational spreadsheets to help parents and children keep track of educational progress.
I was impressed with the clean visual design and easy-to-use features of the online features and I liked the traditional texts that were used.
I am a new homeschooler- my son will be entering "kindergarten" in the fall. I know many veteran homeschool moms who say that a specific curriculum is not necessary for successful homeschooling and I do not doubt that. However, being a newbie (as well as a mom who tends towards disorganization), I relish the thought of some structure being associated with our family's home education.
My son too, seems to like structure and if I skip something in his homeschool preschool he will point it out. He also seems to enjoy the order of going all the way through a specific workbook (despite the fact that he has a tendency to step out of his clothes and leave them in the middle of the floor creating a constant disaster in his room) and he seems to learn better that way.
I have noticed other online schools being advertised in the homeschool magazines and I came across a press release about one of them here.
Decisions, decisions. As my husband wisely pointed out, we can start with the solution that seems best right now and switch if it disappoints or does not meet our needs.
Any homeschoolers out there using online schools of any form(Charter, parent-taught, teacher-taught)? Let me know what your experience has been.
I am very impressed by a teen who not only is thoughtful and eloquent enough to sound off about these very weighty issues but courageous as well.
Every nickel, every dime, every credential seems to come under such intense scrutiny when it comes to charter schools, the new kids on the block.
Perhaps if this same level of oversight and accountability were applied to all public schools, they would not be such a mess.
Monday, April 11, 2005
Today is a day of fatigue so it is easy to focus on the negative. But it is also sunny (although a little chilly) and life is so full of rich rewards.
Chase is in a play, play, play mode as I think we all have been since the time changed and it stays lighter into the late evening (hence part of my fatigue). We have not done much structured homeschooling the past few days but I am starting to appreciate the beauty of unschooling. Even in his play mode, Chase has asked me to spell out words for him to write on the board and he stops me in the middle of my work frequently to ask me to listen while he counts to 100 or to ask me "How does God make...."
A master storyteller, Chase makes up fantastic stories about Bibleman (and his toddler sidekick Biblegirl) and recounts stories of Jesus healing the multitudes.
Life is good because God is good and He is good all the time!
My knowledge has increased so much in such a short amount of time that I feel I must get the word out about the homeschool blogosphere to every homeschooling family as well as those considering homeschooling. Most homeschool moms I meet here in Ohio do not know what a blog is. I would like to change that.
Here is my latest discovery:
The concept of online conventions intrigues me so let me tell you about two of them.
Check out the Carnival of Education over at Education Wonks. Bloggers writing about any topic in education are welcome to add a relevant post to the carnival. Contributions are due by tomorrow at 10 pm.
The next deadline is for Spunky Homeschool's online homeschool convention. We bloggers get to be the esteemed speakers(er, writers) for the big event. E-mail your homeschool-related post to Spunky by April 20, 2005 for the convention on April 21, 2005. See her post here for all the details.
Get those keyboards going and submit your articles today!
Sunday, April 10, 2005
When will it dawn on parents that the educational elites are not infallible and their experiments are too costly for American society?
I am a homeschooling mom and I was really struck by the truth in your comments. It seems that you truly value your family time yet it seems that school authorities seem to have little empathy with the importance of families spending "down time" together.
I agree with your final statements about school being important (I would re-phrase it to agree that education is important) but family is most important.
Your voice deserves to be heard and I hope you and those who agree with you are respectfully received and your concerns taken seriously.
Have you considered homeschooling?
--Maybe she will contact me....
It is unfortunate that those who should share the basic values of Christian homeschoolers would oppose us. Very unfortunate indeed.
Saturday, April 9, 2005
Are You a Real Mom?
By Victoria Carrington, M.D.
Forget stay-at-home mom vs. working outside the home mom. I have created a completely biased test of who rules the moms and who the real moms are. Are you ready? Let the mud-slinging begin.
• Are never dressed, showered and made up before 9 am.
• Never eat a hot meal. By the time they get everyone else fed, the food is cold.
• Never use the bathroom without an audience, no matter the time of month. Her feminine products are found around the house being used to create interesting construction projects.
• Never wear clothing that is not decorated with some sign of motherhood. Spit-up, baby food, leaking breast milk or modeling clay are all possibilities.
• Pretend that they are deaf when they hear “she pinched me” or “he frowned at me”. Unless there are blood-curdling screams or actual blood, the real mom knows not to get involved.
• Forget how to make macaroni cheese on the stove or in the conventional oven. They only use the microwave packets.
• Have kids who believe that homemade cookies are always found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.
• Never dust. Real moms know that the best way to keep furniture dust-free is to let the kids climb on it
• Never wax the kitchen floor. Real moms know the only wax that belongs on a floor is from that of a stepped-on crayon.
• Visit the bakery section of the grocery store to bribe her crew with cookies before the shopping begins. She is careful to get enough sweet stuff such that their mouths are full for the entire trip.
• Never have an uninterrupted phone conversation
• Never have an uninterrupted conversation period unless they are far, far away from their children.
• Never have conversations without saying the word “potty” or other words associated with private, sometimes embarrassing bodily functions.
• Have learned not to be embarrassed by bodily functions.
• Know that no matter what happens, these crazy days will all be a memory one day and she will end up longing for these days to return.
• Try not to take things too seriously because things could be a lot worse.
Friday, April 8, 2005
Click on the headline for one family's story.
But something wonderful happened after Alyssa was born. Not only did I not love Chase any less but I seemed to love him even more! Of course, I also loved my new little one as well. Furthermore, my love has expanded to include this new unit, the two of them, as one.
It is hard to explain the feelings that well up inside of me when I watch them play, laugh or share together. It is a contented, peaceful feeling filled with hope for the future.
Of course they fight sometimes. But underlying every scuffle is a heartfelt love that is wonderful to watch.
Thursday, April 7, 2005
Why do I still feel tired?
Wednesday, April 6, 2005
A combination of the two factors happened yesterday in our home. After a freak snowstorm over the weekend, we were so excited yesterday for the temperatures in the seventies. I really did not complain too much about the snow because Chase and I took advantage of the late snowfall to make one last snowman. I am glad that we enjoyed the snow because the balmy summertime temperatures arrived yesterday.
Chase and Alyssa were so cute together, holding hands chasing birds in the backyard. Then Alyssa was pushing her lawnmower and Chase his vintage GI Joe sandloader (Dad's old toy)as I sat reflecting on what a blessed life I lead. It is not perfect but I have so much to be grateful for everyday.
May I never forget that. Maybe I can get everyone to take a nap today.
Well, that's my little girl! Finally it was nice outside (after Saturday's snowstorm) so we all spent much time outdoors yesterday. Alyssa seemed to like the mud at first but then she started fussing and wanting me to wipe her hands after each swipe in the mud.
Then, it was to the sandbox to play with brother. I had been dreading the time that she would want to join her brother in the sandbox. After all, a 1-year old does not understand that sand is not for eating, blowing or throwing. What's a mother to do? She was adamant and after all sand play is a good tactile activity for her. The main problem turned out to be her hands again.
She enjoyed running her hands through the sand but constantly wanted me to wipe the sand off her hands. Let me tell you it is not easy to keep sand off a child's hand when she is playing in a sandbox!
Overall, we had fun and stayed outside way too late (see next post). We even found one last little patch of snow and my husband made what he optimistically called the "last snowball of the season."
I am so happy that spring has graced us with her presence.
Thanks and praise to God for the changing of the seasons!
Wouldn't it be great if districts took advantage of the seriousness of the situation to make substantial changes in public school education to please their constituents?
Check out the article here.
Tuesday, April 5, 2005
Our family is so very blessed.
Are you including grandparents as much as you can in your homeschooling efforts?
Click here for the article about grandparents and homeschooling.
I do not even want to figure out my lost opportunity costs because I might faint or start crying or some other girlie thing like that.
The author makes her point clear at the end though. She thinks that homeschooling is worth it and so do I. It is difficult to put a price on the emotional, spiritual and academic benefits of home education.
I can not imagine making any other choice.
Click here for home education costs article.
Click here for the article on traveling and homeschooling.
What do you think?
Have any of you had experience with both the old and new Saxon?
Read her column here about Saxon Math.
This is despite the near-constant cry from corporate America that the public schools are not preparing productive employees for them.
Why do these corporations them continue to pour millions into public school but shun funding homeschooling efforts?
Hopefully, they will come to their senses soon. Homeschoolers deserve charitable support. We are contributing to a better future for America!
Click here for the article on charitable funding of homeschoolers.
How can we get such recognition in Ohio? Maybe I will start asking around. I have a feeling Ohio will much less receptive than Texas due to our overall political and religious climate.
Click here for the article about Home Education Week.
It should be obvious that Black parents such as myself are no different than other parents in that we want our children to succeed academically to the best of their potential and we would like their formative years to be free from ungodly influences as much as possible.
I say shame on those who make Black homeschooling parents feel guilty because we will not allow our children to suffer at the hands of violence and low expectations in the name of racial solidarity.
Homeschooling is the best choice for Black Christian families who want to have a very active role in guiding their children's moral, spiritual and academic development.
To read this article about the rise in Black homeschooling families, click here.
What are your thoughts?
Do you want your children to have greater access to publicly-funded school sports?
What is your state's/city's policy on this?
It seems to me that since homeschool families support public schools with their tax money just like anyone else, we should be able to use the sports programs available during the school year.
Read the homeschool sports article here.
You can have great Christian music from various genres playing in the background while you use the computer.
But the best news of all: it is completely commercial free! Commercials, lots of them, are my complaint about our local Christian station. Radiograce.org is a refreshing change.
And for you techies out there- my husband recorded 3 hours of the station and put it on my iPod. Now I can listen to the station as I am falling asleep or hook it up to our mini-speakers in any room of our house.
I recommend this application for your listening pleasure.
I am a news and information addict so I hope that you will benefit from my obsession.
Please send lots of comments with your own news.
I should be the selfless mother, devoted to my poor child's comfort but finally at 3am after more than 1 hour of being awake, I had to hand off the child to her Daddy.
I do feel better now. The crew even let me sleep in until a little before 9am. Nice.
I feel up to the challenge of tonight now. Let's see what happens.
Sunday, April 3, 2005
And Alyssa? Well, she was content to watch from afar. Surprising. I thought she might grab at it.
Ahh, the treasures to be found in Grandma and Grandpa's attic.