Archive for the ‘Homeschool’ Category

Curriculum

August 10, 2007

geraniums.jpgRandi at I have to say… has had a lovely Back to Homeschool Week. Today is the last day and I’m finally chiming in. I’m about the 80th person to link to her question, so it may be just for us!

I’ve been a Charlotte Mason fan since I first heard of her about 10 yrs ago or so. My children were 98% grown by that time, but I wished I’d had the opportunity do this from the beginning. We had a short stint with homeschooling (before learning about Charlotte Mason) with a purchased curriculum – I don’t even remember where it was from, but it was boring and we all hated it. When my youngest son was in his last year of high school, we made the decision to homeschool him and I was happy to start with Charlotte Mason. It was pre-internet, every family has a computer days, and I was going by her books.

One of my fondest memories with my youngest son was reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to him. He’s grown up now and living his own life with children of his own.

And now, at this time in my life I have the opportunity to homeschool my 12 yr old step daughter. Charlotte Mason, here we come! After doing much research – and isn’t hs’ing easier with computers and the internet? – I settled on Ambleside Online

Her last year of public school was 6th. We’ve started AO in Year 4. She’s an extremely intelligent girl, and was totally bored in public school. She loves to read, and so the AO choice is a good fit. I love the fact that she is reading Good books and Scripture every day. Her handwriting has improved. She is blossoming and I think a lot of it is due the exercise her mind is getting.

I had my doubts about her reading Plutarch – it just seemed so archaic and wouldn’t it be too hard? No. It isn’t. “Too hard” is good for her, well anyone really, and it stretches her and makes her think. I’m very pleased with the way we’re doing things and very appreciative of the AO website and all the effort put into it by others.

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To Workbook, or not to Workbook

July 1, 2007

I was recently, well, yesterday and today in fact, tempted to leave the disciplines of the Charlotte Mason homeschooling methods and subscribe to an online homeschool service. It was quite reasonably priced. It would be much easier. Just sit my child down, plug her into the computer and let her go! (yes, easier on ME)

Then I read this and was gently reminded that children grow on IDEAS, not FACTS. Which is why I’ve loved the CM method for years now, even when not homeschooling anyone.

I don’t remember anything from my US History class in high school, not one thing. But several years ago, I read some books by James Alexander Thom and I remember nearly everything he wrote. Living history. As I looked up the link, I realized I’m a bit behind in reading his books, there are some new ones.

So, since school starts again tomorrow (only a short summer break) I’ll be right where I’m supposed to be. And so will she.

Karen

The Case for Homeschooling

June 30, 2007

I read an excellent editorial piece by Michael Pakaluk. I’m including the link, but also copying it here. Links aren’t around forever, and this is a good piece.

“Should I homeschool?
Over 2 million children are now homeschooled in the United States. On standardized tests, homeschooled children outperform matched peers in the public schools by a wide margin, and they are comparatively more successful in getting admitted to competitive colleges.

Strikingly, homeschooled children do not show the “black/white� test-score gap that is the bane of public and private schools. Likewise, homeschooled children perform equally well regardless of gender.

In light of these ever more widely appreciated facts, perhaps you have considered homeschooling your own children. If you have, a good place to look for assistance would be the Web site of the Home School Legal Defense Fund. But here I simply wish to state the case for homeschooling. Why should you consider it?

From my own experience, I count the following reasons as the most important:

1. It’s efficient. A homeschooled child typically finishes in 2-3 hours the work done in an entire day of public schooling. He can spend the rest of the day reading, playing sports, doing hobbies, practicing a musical instrument, and even helping out with chores.

2. It’s inexpensive. A mere fraction of the tuition of a typical private school is sufficient to pay for a homeschooler’s supplies, books, music lessons, foreign language instruction, gymnastics instruction, pilgrimages — and a cultural excursion to Paris or Rome.

3. Homeschooling tends to develop good habits of reading. Because of the influence of electronic media (television, radio, iPods, Internet, cell phones, video games), few public school students are now developing good reading habits. In contrast, homeschoolers display almost an opposite trend: on average they read widely and voraciously. Yet reading is the most important single determinant of the quality of a child’s education.

4. Homeschooled children more easily become friends with their parents. It’s natural of course for children to grow up admiring, respecting, and eventually becoming friends with their parents. But this natural process is frequently blocked when children are sent to common schools, where, because of peer pressure, they are taught to view their parents as overbearing, uncool and unreasonable.

5. Homeschooling requires that the father play the role that he really should play in his children’s education. The experience of homeschoolers is that the mother’s efforts during the day need to be reinforced by the father’s assistance in the evening — perhaps by his teaching a more rigorous subject, by checking homework. This ‘‘reintroduction of the father’’ into education proves tremendously helpful for children to become serious about their studies.

6. Unity of studying and religious belief. The best education is one in which there is no strict compartmentalization. Homeschooled children are free at any point of the day to consider the relationship between faith and reason, between what they believe as Christians and what they are learning about the world. In contrast, the practice in public schools, where children are effectively taught that there is something “wrong� in speaking publicly about God, does tremendous damage to children, and leads them to suppose that there is no truth in matters of religion.

7. Homeschooling tends to foster a lively patriotism. The reason for this, I think, is that homeschoolers often regard themselves as reasserting, in their own lives, the reality of rights that are prior to the state: the right of parents to educate their own children; the right of religious believers to seek an education which is integrated with their faith. Homeschooling parents will therefore turn to the Founding Fathers as sources of inspiration. Homeschoolers believe what the Founding Fathers taught, and they teach these things to their children as truths that are vitally important to believe.

8. Homeschooled children can enjoy the innocence of childhood longer. Let me put the point bluntly. If you would prefer that your child not learn about (say) oral sex and condoms, then nowadays you should consider taking your child out of common schools before the third grade (more or less), because by that age there will be children in the class whose parents let them watch sit-coms which regularly deal with such things, and who will talk about them in school.

9. Homeschooled children socialize better. Yes, the truth is actually the opposite of the common criticism, that “homeschooled children do not socialize well.â€? Homeschooled children learn to deal easily with people of all ages — babies, parents, friends of parents, and the elderly. They acquire a mature, “adultâ€? mentality from an early age. (I know I’m in a homeschooling household when I sit down to talk with a friend and find that his teenage children actually want to sit with us and listen to our conversation!) In contrast, there is absolutely nothing less well-suited to good “socializationâ€? than placing a child with hundreds of other children who are exactly the same in age. Remember that “homeschoolingâ€? has been the norm for nearly all of human history; compulsory education in common schools is a recent phenomenon, dating from about 1850.

What am I advocating then? Am I advocating that all children should be homeschooled? No, the parents’ decision about their children’s education should be made on a case-by-case basis, and reviewed each year. What suits some children will not suit others. What works in some households will not work in others.

What I am saying is that homeschooling is a very good thing, and that every parent should give it careful consideration as possibly the best option for their child.”

While there are exceptions to every rule, in my own experience, I’ve found all of this to be true.

Karen

On Homeschooling

June 2, 2007

I guess when it’s a writing day, I write. After not writing here for nearly 3 weeks, here you have 2 posts in one day. Well, if it’s in me, I have to write it out of me.

When I lived in Idaho, homeschooling was such a common thing, no one thought twice when you said “My kids are homeschooled.” here is Missouri, I guess it’s not so common. Although I’ve only lived here for 2 1/2 years, I don’t know anyone who homeschools. Until i went to the homeschool group, and met lots of moms are doing what I’m doing.

I guess I was surprised when ‘the normal thing’ I thought I was doing was met with resistance from interested parties. I prayed about this for about 2 years before ever feeling like “This is the time, now is the time for homeschooling.” When I talked to Mike about he was very enthusiastic. It was something he wanted, but just didn’t think we could do it. And how could he ask me to do it? With all that I already do, he couldn’t in any place of love, ask me to add that to my list.

I also know, I’m not a kid person. I love my children, I love my grandchildren, but I’m not that kind of mom who joins the PTA and takes kids on field trips. I like to see ‘my’ child in the school play, but when their part is over, I’m ready to go home. God had to change my heart, and He did, giving me the desire to homeschool our last daughter.

But I wasn’t prepared for the resistance that came from other people. And I will say in all love and with respect, people who love our daughter, but they know very little about homeschooling. There is the stereotypical homeschool family. All of them social misfits and either super educated or barely knowing how to read. There is the belief that hs’d children are locked away in the house, never to see the light of day or socialize with other children. There is the stronger belief that children should be socialized by their peers. Have you seen their peers? The green hair, the sloppy clothes, the sassy attitudes, the peer pressure, the dumbed down public school curriculum that allows all but the most challenged children to progress to the next grade level. Why would I want those people to socialize my child?

Children should be socialized by a variety of people. From the 2 yr old to the 89 yr old. Children kept within their peer groups are generally sporting the ‘entitlement’ attitude. The ‘entertain me’ attitude. And the ‘parents are stupid’ attitude. (and there are always children who are the exception to the generalities) Well, I know kids like that and I don’t much care for them. Why would I want my kid to be like that?

I recently had someone tell me that only 80% of home school kids go on to college. And at the time, not knowing the statistics but thinking the public/private school couldn’t possibly be higher, I let the comment pass. Now, after studying the stats, I know that 25-34% of kids who graduate public school have the skills and are prepared to go to college. About the same number actually attend college. I need to find that person and thank them for – inadvertently I’m sure – proving my point.

As for the ‘lock your child away in the house never to see the light of day’ way of thinking, well, I’ll tell you our daughter does more outside the home than she did in public school. She’s gone more places, and done more things than before. 2 percent of U.S. students are home schooled. Yet, in a recent geography bee, 22 percent of the national finalists and 40 percent of the final 10 students were home schoolers. Why? The simple answer is this – parents are tired of their children being taught to the test, being taught water down, boring curriculum and want their children to actually know a few things. What’s the point of learning something long enough to take the test and pass it and then forgetting it? Why bother? 

When we pulled our daughter out of public school, and began a hastily put together program of whole learning from what we had around the house, she was like a sponge. That never became saturated. At 11 years old, I was appalled at the things she didn’t know. Things I learned in 3rd grade. Once she heard them, or read them, she knew them. She’s that smart. And totally bored in public school. So bored that she was shutting down and just ‘getting through the day’. What kind of life is that for a kid? Boring!

Now, she’s reading good books, learning math and the why’s and wherefore’s of all of it. She’s learning geography and writing. She’s learning about nature by being outside, and poetry by reading it every day. She’s learned to write legibly. Her science books are actually interesting and she’s eager to get to the next chapter. She’s learning about composers and artist’s and wanting to read ahead in books. She recognizes classical music as belonging to this composer or that one.

Yes, she still listens to country music and things that interest her. So much of our heritage is built on things of years, decades ago. How can you understand literature if you’ve never read the Bible, or mythology, or listened to music of the period? Much of literature simply won’t make sense.

We are giving her living books to read, not fluffy, entertaining short books that only encourage a child to be rebellious. We’re giving her real things to think about, so she can develop her imagination and not wait passively to be entertained.

Do I think I’m better than the teachers who went to college, when I didn’t? No, not at all. But I have a vested interest, a heart interest in THIS child. I have a responsibility before God to do the best I can do for her. I don’t have to contend with 25 other children in the same room. I don’t have to teach what the school district says to teach. As long as the basics are covered we are free to explore and learn about whatever we want to.

When you have your own children, and you see them being numbed by a too big classroom, no personal attention, bullies on the school ground, peer pressure to look and behave a certain way, you might think differently too. When you realize the potential your child has, but has no motivation to do something different because that way doesn’t’ get A’s – you might think differently too. And most importantly, if you feel that God has given you the privilege and the honor of teaching your own children and you don’t – you’ll miss out on one of the greatest experiences there is.

To see their eyes light up when they finally ‘get it’. To hear them say, “Can I read the next chapter?” To read the papers and stories they write, recognizing the brilliance of their minds – well, what is better than that?

We have our children for only a very short time. It goes by so fast. I know this well, as my oldest is 29. I only have this last daughter for another 7-8 years. I can’t let them go by in a daze, just riding along doing whatever comes along.

I want her to have motivation, develop her imagination, learn new skills with a purpose, and most of all – experience delight in her learning. And she is.

Ok I’m done, and now I’m giving Jack a bath and will stop writing 🙂 karen

Our Nature Walk Yesterday

April 21, 2007

It was a beautiful day, in the 70’s, slight breeze, just lovely. Mike was off work and we decided to go with Shannon and Riley on their walk. There are some walking paths along Shoal Creek and shortly they will be opening Wildcat Park, which will be a conservation kind of park. I don’t know the details, but it’s very beautiful.

Not being wonderful artists with the ability to capture our day on paper, we captured it via digital camera. nature-walk-copy.gif

This is the view from the bridge.

naturewalk-006-copy.gif

The walking paths

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and the very first time we’ve seen turtles ‘in the wild’! I’ve seen them at the zoo and at the pet store, but never in nature. When I first saw them I said, “Oh wow, that is so cool!” and Mike said, “Yeah, but not so cool when you get them in your fishing line.” hmmm never considered that… poor turtle!

karen

Drawn narration of Proverbs 1

April 15, 2007

Riley just finished studying Proverbs 1 and instead of the normal written or oral narration, Shannon asked her for a drawing.

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Explanation – The girl at the bottom is thinking, “Should I buy or steal it?” She’s standing across the street from Walmart. Between her and Walmart is a very busy road with all the traffic sounds. High above the traffic sounds is Wisdom, telling her “Exodus 10:15 Thou shalt not steal” And at the top of the paper she has written Proverbs Chapter 1 verse 1-23. Picture of verse 20-21.

Prov 1:20-21 “Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares;at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech.”

I was very impressed by this, and happy to see that even above the din of traffic, she can still hear the voice of Wisdom.

Karen

Progress in some departments

April 14, 2007

Well, sort of. I’ve reduced some piles of paper. I got some sewing done. Once I finish one thing, I feel better.

I’m now a Contributor to The Well-Drained Mind. A blog for homeschool moms – a place to find encouragement and affirmation. I believe that if you give, you get back. And writing is always therapeutic for me. Once I get it ‘out’ of my mind and onto paper, er, computer screen, I’m better.

I find I can write on the computer. I have the hardest time writing with paper and pencil. When I’m at the computer, the words just flow out of my fingers. Sometimes faster than I can type them. The paper… it just stares back at me.

On Tuesday we go to our homeschool group. When the new term starts later this summer, parents are asked to either teach a class or be a helper in a class. I’m really not all that much help. But I’m thinking more and more I’d like to teach a class in Creative Writing. I have no training, really only a few ideas about how I’d go about teaching it, but for some reason I really want to do it. You’d think the obvious subject I’d teach would be quilting. Go figure.

Well, I think Shannon has dinner ready, so I’m outta here! have a wonderful weekend!

Karen