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Home Educator's Family Times
August 25 2014 - Newsletter
IN THE NEWS
Homeschooling Surges Due to Common Core
(RALEIGH NEWS AND OBSERVER) — North Carolina’s home schools are growing at a record rate and are now estimated to have more students than the state’s private schools.
Last school year, there were 95,768 students at the state’s private schools, a total that’s been dropping annually since the 2007-08 school year
Climb, Swing & Snuggle
Today’s children sit more than ever. Babies spend countless hours confined in car seats and carriers rather than crawling, toddling or being carried. As they get older their days are often heavily scheduled between educational activities and organized events. Children have 25% less time for free play than they did a generation ago, and that’s before factoring in distractions like TV or video games. Read more...
Molly’s Frugal Homeschooling
“. . . I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).
I can’t imagine a verse that speaks better to the heart of frugality than Philippians 4:11; can you? Learning to be content with whatever I’ve been given has been a lifelong endeavor. I can be willful in my determination to be a wise and thrifty steward, but if I’m not practicing contentment, I’m likely to give into the temptation to spend more than we have or buy more than we need. And if there’s something that tempts the heart of a homeschooling mama like me, it’s a stack of glossy homeschooling catalogs or the aisles at a curriculum fair. Read more...
Unschooling: Dabbling, Digging Deep, and Quitting
At the heart of unschooling, and really at the heart of growing up, is the process of determining what it is a person loves to do - where and with what to spend one's time. Children come into this world with no preconceived notions of what is or isn't valuable, or what is or isn't "supposed" to be enjoyable. Read more...
Trusting God with the Present
Many people fail to live abundantly in the present, despite God’s clear promise, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). These people are too hung up thinking about their past or worrying about their future to enjoy the time they have now to spend with their friends and loved ones. Read more...
From Some Previous Issues
A Good Education PRESERVES Your Child
All too often, when parents think about their children “being educated,” their thoughts travel toward, “Who can best do this thing (education) to my children?” If said parents are thorough and wise, they consider all of the many alternatives available to families today, from homeschooling to boarding school, from public to private schools, tutors, and more.
True Education Preserves the Essence of Your Child
But here’s something this homeschooling parent discovered about thirty years ago. A good education, an education that honors the very meaning of the word – “to bring out that which is within” – has very little, if anything, in common with doing something to or for children, no matter how noble the goal or how much money one chooses to throw at the endeavor. You see, true education starts with and absolutely requires an approach and an environment in which we preserve that which already exists, that which is your child’s essence. Read more...
"This dreary version of early-childhood education isn’t just disrespectful of children; decades of research show it simply doesn’t work well — and may even be damaging." ~ Alfie Kohn
A very scary headline about kindergartners
By Valerie Strauss, Updated: February 6 at 8:00 am
Rob Saxton is Oregon’s deputy superintendent of public instruction. Jada Rupley is the early learning system director within the state Department of Education. Together they wrote an op-ed in The Oregonian that was published online with this headline:
Kindergarten test results a ‘sobering snapshot’
What could possibly be sobering about test results from kindergartners? What kind of tests are they giving to kindergartners anyway?
It turns out that every public school kindergartner in Oregon was given a kindergarten readiness test last September to see how many numbers, letters and sounds they knew. The Oregonian reported that kids on average entered kindergarten knowing 19 capital and lower-case letters and seven letter sounds of at least 100 possible correct answers. Read more...
THE SOCIALIZATION ISSUE - from a Homeschooled Student's Perspective
by Krista Noble
As a 24-year-old university graduate, I’ve experienced many changes since my days as a homeschooled child and teenager. But I remember those days vividly. I chuckle when I think of a conversation that replayed itself again and again throughout my homeschooling career.
The conversation usually went like this. My sister and I would be tagging along with my mom as she shopped at the grocery store. Due to our flexible, homeschooled schedule, this sometimes occurred on a weekday. Frequently, a concerned adult would inquire as to why my sister and I weren’t in school. Read more...
OKAY KIDS, TIME FOR BEDLAM!
by Debbie Harbeson
Many thoughtful books on the subject of homeschooling have been published in recent years. Some are full of ideas about learning and take the reader into the depths of philosophical thought. Some are full of specific resources and advice about how to homeschool. This isn’t one of them.
Highly intelligent people wrote those books. I’m not one of them.
Let me give you some background. My husband John and I have two children, Melissa and Keith. I was a full-time mom from the time my first child was born. I didn’t want to miss a thing motherhood had to offer. Read more...
Itty Bitty Blessings
Some days I feel like packing my kids off to school. I love baking cookies with my two boys, and listening to my daughter practice piano. Reading stacks of picture books from the library is a treat for everyone. And I enjoy the flexibility. But some days just don't go as planned.
For example, the other day I envisioned myself getting up and fixing a hot breakfast, then cleaning up while the kids played companionably together in the playroom. The house would be fresh and clean, and I would be eager to face the day. But this is what really happened. Read more...
The Truth about boys (and girls) and what to do about it
Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails? Sugar and spice and everything nice?
What are little boys and girls made of, after all? Before the sixties, this question sparked little controversy. You had a daughter, you raised a girl. You had a son, you raised a boy. But then along came the feminist movement, poking holes in all our preconceived notions of “girlness” and “boyness.” “We need to raise boys like we raise girls,” said Gloria Steinem—thus blessing “girl” behavior as the norm, and boy behavior as aberrant. Read more...
Be Realistic About Your Child's Attention Span
by Helen F. Neville, BS, RN
Convinced your toddler's attention span is no more than a few seconds? Guess what: you're probably right.
Although your face might keep a baby interested for a couple of minutes, a toy or book may hold your toddler's attention for as little as 30 seconds. If you're playing with the toy together or helping your child "read" the book, expect two or three minutes before it's time for something new.
That's the advice from Helen Fowler Neville, a pediatric nurse and author of "Is This a Phase? Child Development & Parent Strategies, Birth to 6 Years", who explains three components to attention span: Read more...
Single Parenting: Discovering Joy & Contentment
As single moms living in a high-tech society, it is so easy to become automatons. Self-dependent, self-sufficient, self-protective; to the nth degree we women have mastered the art of solo status...in ways that are the most costly. Sure, we live in families, we may share an office, attend neighborhood gatherings, yet simultaneously we remain apart. Only as people venture forth with prudent self-story telling for the purpose enriching someone else's life will others offer simil Read more...
Knowing When To Back Off
by Barbara Frank
Sometimes new homeschooling moms ask me when they should teach their kids to read, or when to sign their children up for music lessons. New homeschooling moms naturally have a lot of questions, and some of them are “when” questions.
I think one of the most important questions a homeschooling mom can ask is when to back off, because sometimes we moms are so eager to do everything right that we overdo it.
For example, let’s say your child is learning how to subtract fractions, and it’s not going well. You can see that he’s coming close to the point of losing it. You try to explain the concept in a different way but he’s still not getting it. Instead, he’s getting teary-eyed. Read more...
Parents Must Decide
by Shirley M.R. Minster
When a child is born, he joins a small, loving community consisting of parents and perhaps siblings. Security grows as the dependent infant learns to rely on his parents. When he is cuddled, love grows between the cuddler and him because the distance from one to the other is very short so the bond grows strong. When he is a toddler, the distance gets longer, but the bonding process continues. The tyke knows that Mommy and Daddy are watching over him, providing limits that keep him safe as he explores his ever-increasing world. This security translates to love between parent and child. Read more...
Children Need Grandparents (and Grandparents Need Grandchildren)
by Linda Schrock Taylor
There must be thousands of families that would remove their children from public schools in order to homeschool them, if the parents had a better support system within their extended family unit, and especially if that support came from the grandparents of the children.
I hear from grandparents who fervently hope that their children decide to homeschool the grandchildren; who would love to be invited to be a part of the process.
I hear from young parents who wish that they could homeschool but feel that they cannot live on one paycheck. Many fear that they lack the skills to school their children, growing up as they have - themselves undereducated victims of the State school system. Read more...
From Previous Issues
The First Year of Homeschooling
Reasons to homeschool hit a high in the reactive category. School’s dumbed-down academics were mentioned frequently, as was the opposite end of this spectrum; the inability of a classroom situation to address children’s different learning styles, creating problems for those who don’t learn in “the school way.” Many raised concerns about overt lessons or covert insinuations about values brought home more families, whether or not they were homeschooling for religious reasons. Parents made note of school bullying by both students and teachers, personality-altering peer dependence, disenchantment with learning, stress and resulting irritability, scheduling and transportation issues and, of course, safety concerns.
“I was reacting to the overwhelming pressures on children these days – both morally and otherwise,” Amy Cooper explains from Wilmore, Kentucky. “We could probably be called ‘reverse snobs’ in that we avoid – at all costs – the ‘latest and greatest’ in clothing, entertainment and everything else.”
Let’s Think About It
think: ‘to picture in one’s mind, to consider, to contemplate, plan’ (The World Book Dictionary)
Whether educating oneself or others, the process should always include thinking. That should be as obvious as the nose on one’s face, but adults do not seem to consider it often enough. Then frustration enters the picture. Adults perceive that actions are proof of what children believe, but this is not a good indicator. Actions may speak louder than words, but words are the better basis for good communication.
How a child processes what he hears plays a part in how he responds. For instance, I have coined a phrase called fishtank thinking. I call it this because it reminds me of how fish get their food. First fish flakes are poured onto the water and then they sink. A child hears the words someone says, needs time to process the words (flakes floating on the water), and then responds to the words. If a child is in a classroom or other situation where he must always respond immediately, he will exhibit signs of frustration, anger, or anxiety. Read more...
Socialization: Our Biggest Gripe With Homeschooling
by John O. Anderson
Yes, it has been a huge problem for our children. But with experience, we’ve learned to bring it largely under control.
You see, we live in Portland, Oregon. Before we moved here, we suspected it was a good place to homeschool. Talk about understatement! After a few years in this area, we’ve got lots of hard evidence that if there ever were a contest for America’s homeschooling mecca, Portland would easily make the short list. Read full article...
Play Pays: The Rich Benefits of Tree-Climbing, Firefly-Chasing,
Madeline Levine, Ph.D.
“It’s too bad that the old-fashioned notion of summer as endless free time—to climb trees, chase fireflies, build a fort in the woods, maybe set up a lemonade stand—has fallen by the wayside,” says Levine, author of the New York Times bestseller, Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success. “This is what kids need—they need it far more than they need a high-priced summer camp or some other program aimed at cramming a little bit more learning into their exhausted brains.”
Play is serious business, insists Levine. We tend to see it as wasted time, but it’s actually anything but. Play is the work of childhood. It’s a classroom in which children develop a whole set of skills that really matter in life. Indeed, research shows that children who attend play-based preschools, as opposed to academic preschools, do significantly better in school down the line.
One Busy Guy
Leaving Home by Jon Remmerde
One of our goals as parents was to help our daughters, Juniper and Amanda, achieve maturity and independence. We worked toward that goal through all the years we enjoyed living together as a close family, with most of our education guided by our family, by all of us working toward knowledge and wisdom together.
When Juniper and Amanda did go into the world on their own, Laura and I were ready, because that was the fulfillment of what we’d been working toward. Well, in truth, I was more ready than Laura was. Maybe that was partly because of some differences in the emotions of a mother and a father. Maybe it was partly because I knew deep in the area where all knowledge resides in me that the need for adventures on their own stirred early in our daughters. Read full article...
ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM BRICK WALL SYNDROME?
by Melanie Antonacci
I know I am not the only homeschool mother out there with this affliction! I am sure every single one of you has suffered or is currently suffering from what I call Brick Wall Syndrome! My case is chronic, although it does go into remission from time to time. It is painful, and sometimes ugly. Symptoms vary from one person to the next. It is brought on by a glazy eyed child with a faraway look possibly in tears, saying, “I don’t get it!” after you have explained ”it” for the ump-teenth time!
Royal Academy now offers more personalized services and a virtual classroom experience
Royal Academy Education, Inc. a Maine Recognized School and Homeschooling service provider, is opening a second office in New England in order to service the needs of its growing operations worldwide.
Penny Cote, MA and Shirley Minster M.Ed, Administrators of Royal Academy Education & Home Education & Family Services, have partnered to enhance educational services to current home educators and build upon technologically advanced opportunities in the digital world. According to Penny, “a world of knowledge is at our finger tips; with the right tools we are able to guide an exceptional educational process for a student anywhere in the world, real time; we are doing that today through our Virtual Online Personal Presence classes and tutoring.” Read more...
From Our Previous Issues
Homeschooling for Safety
I’m not used to hearing homeschooling being recommended by people like Dennis Miller, but in the wake of the awful event at Sandy Hook, I can see where shaken parents all over the country are looking at their children and thinking, “How can I protect them?” when dropping them off at school each day no longer looks like a safe thing to do.
The Tenth Intelligence by David H. Albert
That best portion of a good man's life,
I have on occasion wondered what it might have been like to go through life as a Robin.
I never had the opportunity to find out. In the second month of the first grade at P.S. 131, my public elementary school in New York City, we were separated into “Bluebirds and Robins”. (I have since discovered that in other schools there were also “Sparrows”, who were “Special Ed” children before Special Ed was invented, those destined to ride “the short bus.”*) I don’t remember any test being involved; we were just told we were either Robins or Bluebirds and that was that. Read Full Article...
Addicted to Experts by Linda Dobson
Book Excerpt from The Art of Education
"We have a right," our forefathers cried once upon a time, “to think for ourselves." We have surrendered that right, not to a dictatorial, hostile monarchy overseas, but to our own government's institutions. And oh, the tangled web these institutions have woven.
A web, because their "experts" pervade every area of our lives today. Tangled, because they work hand-in-hand. Woven, because they get closer to marriage every day we remain asleep.
It all begins in school, folks. By law, it is required that you attend. (That you learn is not required, that school be the best place for you to learn is not required, just that you attend.) Read Full Article...
A Child’s Place is in the Kitchen; How Cooking Advances Learning
by Laura Grace Weldon
It’s easier to cook when our kids aren’t in the way. Besides, bubbling pots and sharp knives are hardly child friendly. But there are many reasons why our children belong in the kitchen. One is the way their learning advances as they stir, chop and converse with us. What may seem like average culinary tasks are actually rich educational projects for them.
Yes, it takes longer when Mason snips cilantro, Sophie reads the recipe aloud and Mia mixes. A lot longer. And you’ve got places to go, probably places to take your darling children like T-ball practice or that great science program at the museum. That’s how we parent our kids these days — we eat and run to keep up with our busy child-centered lives. But research shows that exactly the sort of learning that happens during hands-on,purposeful experiences (like cooking together) is highly valuable. There’s a lot less research showing that our beloved children benefit from rushing to adult run programs.
More From Previous Issues
Stretch Like Elastigirl!
By Barbara Frank
In the movie “The Incredibles,” a pair of retired superheroes marry, have a
What Kids Learn From Chores
Like so many parental expectations and requirements, getting your kid in the
Here are some of the benefits kids derive from assigned chores.
Much Too Early by David Elkind
(Editor's Note: Children must be protected from early institutionalization - and
Children must master the language of things before they master the language of
In one sentence, Froebel, father of the kindergarten, expressed the essence of early-childhood education. Children are not born knowing the difference between red and green, sweet and sour, rough and smooth, cold and hot, or any number of physical sensations. The natural world is the infant’s and young child’s first curriculum, and it can only be learned by direct interaction with things. There is no way a young child can learn the difference between sweet and sour, rough and smooth, hot and cold without tasting, touching, or feeling something. Learning about the world of things, and their various properties, is a time-consuming and intense process that cannot be hurried.
"The earlier [that schools try] to inculcate so-called 'academic' skills, the
Some of the most ambitious and expensive educational evaluations conducted in this country have looked at programs growing out of Head Start – that is, programs begun in the 1960s to help disadvantaged young children. One of those efforts, known as Follow Through, was originally intended to provide support for children after they left preschool. Threatened by the Nixon Administration with a loss of funding, Follow Through was hastily reinvented as an experiment
We hug them, love them, teach them, and share with them - wiping away tears, assuring them that monsters are not in the closet or under the bed, even helping them through algebra. We are our children's caretakers and we care for them so deeply and completely that we sometimes forget to care for ourselves. If we get too stretched out and burned out, we aren't as effective at taking care of others very well.
One of the things that I learned through my early years of homeschooling and being a full time mom was that I had to take care of MOM first. One of the best analogies for this is the statement that is made when you are going through the safety talk before takeoff on an airplane - when the oxygen masks drop in an emergency, the adult should put their mask on first, then assist the child with theirs. We can't help them if we are incapacitated - that's my interpretation. And this holds true in all that we do, particularly when it comes to parental well-being and the individual feeling of fulfillment. Read article...
It seems to me that the overall opinion about teenagers is that they are to be dreaded and endured. I've come across this attitude more than once. As a parent, I have to admit that I have had my share of moments of dread. To be fair, though, I also have to admit that bad moments are not all there is to parenting teens.
Most of the time our teens are simply normal everyday kids. They have their sore spots and they have their moments of stardom, but the rest of the time they are quite unremarkable. When we lose sight of this fact, we tend to focus our attention on the extremes, thus leaving teens feeling as though they are only worthy of our recognition when they are either shining or having a rough time. I've lived with teens long enough to know that this is a trap that is easy to fall into. Read article...
Shedding the Adult Agenda by Barbara Frank
I’ve always admired unschoolers for their relaxed approach to learning. Yet while my own style of homeschooling has become much more relaxed over the years, I will never be called an unschooler because I am incapable of being one. It is simply not in my personality.
Do the math: I’m a first-born (yes, there are Kevin Leman books on my shelves), public-schooled, Missouri Synod Lutheran (Lutherans live for and by their routines), child of a career military man. Let’s face it, I was never meant to be an unschooler. Read article...
Let's Write! Writing Prose With Flow
National Writing Institute (by Dave Marks)
The following exercise is designed to teach in about five days, students who are in grades six through ninth, that: 1) ideas in sentences can be connected; 2) ideas can flow from one sentence to the next; and 3) they can make ideas in their writing flow from one bit of information to the next one.
This exercise speaks directly to the student and you shouldn’t have to read it or interpret it to your children. Give it to them and tell them that everything that they might need to do it is contained within it. Don’t help them with it until they get stuck. Read article...
Homeschooling and the All Important Family
The homeschooling movement is absolutely exploding with growth. Since 2000, the homeschooling population has been growing at the astounding rate of at least 10 to 20 percent per year. Literally millions of families are homeschooling in the United States alone. What is it that draws so many people to this trend? Through all the talking and listening I have done with hundreds of diverse homeschoolers across the country, one common theme has emerged as the most important advantage to homeschoolers: family unity. This element of homeschooling is of the utmost importance to homeschoolers, who consider it the cornerstone of (and the greatest boon to) their children’s social development. Read article...
"Homeschool Split-Personality Disorder" ... A Recovery Program by Diane Flynn Keith
Do you vacillate between child-led, developmentally appropriate, interest-initiated unschooling on one hand, and traditional, structured, academic-based education on the other? These mood-altering swings in methodology creep up unexpectedly on homeschooling parents and are often exacerbated by events beyond their control. I know. I am recovering from homeschool split-personality disorder.