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August 25 2014 - Newsletter

Advertisement: “The First Freedom Student Competition is a national essay and video contest offering 9th – 12th graders an opportunity to compete for $2,500 awards as they examine the First Amendment and the history and implementation of religious freedom in America and the world today.  Details:”


Homeschooling Surges Due to Common Core
(from WND Education - Brave New Schools)

(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.
New figures from the state show there were 60,950 home schools in the 2013-14 school year, a 14.3 percent increase from the prior year and a 27 percent increase from two years ago. The state estimates there are 98,172 home-schoolers, marking the first time that North Carolina’s home-school enrollment has surpassed the number in 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
reading readiness has to do with the whole body
by Laura Grace Weldon

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
by Molly Green

. . . 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
Lyla Wolfenstein

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
By Mary Hood a.k.a. The Relaxed Homeschooler
“This is the day that the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

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...

Spring/Summer 2014 - Newsletter

We Will Not Conform: Portrait of a Home School Family - See more at:

We will not conform. We will not conform. We will not conform. No, it isn't a chant or a mantra. It's a statement of fact. Something that we as grassroots activists should be used to by now. How about another group of folks who could be considered full-time protesters? Another group of people who might be used to not conforming for even longer than the tea party groups have been around. How about a group of dedicated home schoolers? This is the portrait of a home school mom and dad.

The home school moms and dads are those parents who decided to throw off the yolk of traditional education and have already chosen not to conform. They decided to keep their children at home, for whatever reason; but no matter if you publicly educate your children or privately educate them, we all ultimately want a well-educated child.

A home school family consists of parents who decided to go against the grain and took their child's education in their own hands, quite literally. I should know, I'm one of them.

I am fortunate enough to live in the great state of Texas, where home schooling is still legal. Home schools are considered a private school, and we aren't regulated by the state or required to take standardized testing. We are free to purchase our own curriculum or to design our own. Then, we are free to choose our own path to graduation. In other words, home schoolers have freedom in Texas! Cool, right?

So, what am I getting at? I'm saying that all of that could change. Not through state standards, but through the introduction of Common Core. Since its introduction into mainstream schools, the move has begun to change ACT and SAT tests to meet the Common Core standards. This means that home schools may be forced to teach according to those same standards. Here is proof from one of my previous blog posts that this can and will happen:

The Common Core will impact home schools and private schools in at least three ways. First, designers of the expanded statewide longitudinal databases fully intend to collect data about home school and private school students. Second, college admissions standards will be affected: Common Core standards for college readiness will be used by institutions of higher learning to determine whether a student is ready to enroll in a postsecondary course. Third, curriculum and standardized tests are being rewritten to conform to the Common Core.

Unless we act. Home schoolers, like grassroots activists are usually at the ready when called to action. I was fortunate enough to be one of five bloggers that were invited to attend the Glenn Beck event called We Will Not Conform: LIVE Making Common Core History that was held last night in theaters across America.

We Will Not Conform was put together by the Glenn Beck team and hosted with other big names in politics and national grassroots leaders, who are no strangers to not conforming. Names such as Michelle Malkin, Dana Loesch, David Barton and Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks. The event was held in an effort to taking one of many 'first steps' to raise awareness and ultimately defeat Common Core.

So what now? The Glenn Beck folks put together a plan for any activist to initiate and employ in their respective communities. For the link, click here. We need to start a discussion with your neighbors and friends and your families for that matter so we can stop the march towards common kids and Common Core. We need to recognize the strength of our own voices and our own actions. Listen to Matt Kibbe's words of encouragement for us all when he said, "Parents represent a voting block that is unstoppable." To be unstoppable, though, we have to get started. As one of the grassroots leaders said last night, "How to defeat Common Core, get the facts, get organized, show up."

- See more at:

Homeschoolers Take on Common Core

Long before eight states began rejecting Common Core school reforms, the sweeping new academic standards were considered enemy combatants in Lesley Hodge's Loveland home.

A former attorney and mother of a home-schooled teenager, Hodge is hard pressed to limit her criticism of the educational changes hitting Ohio public schools with full force in the coming school year.

But she is laser focused on the single largest impact Common Core will have on her daughter and the 1.8 million students – 3.5 percent of all American K-12 students – whose parents eschew public and private schools for home instruction.

Initially, Common Core will have little impact on home-schooled students.

But in a few years, when home-schooled teens walk side-by-side with public high school students into ACT and SAT college examination rooms, they may be at a distinct disadvantage for not having studied a Common Core curricula.

"Common Core standards drive curriculum, curriculum drives testing … Children will be taught to the test and it affects us home-schoolers because our children have to take those same college entrance exams as everybody else," said Hodge as she joined thousands of area families at a recent home schooling convention in downtown Cincinnati.

"Everything will boil down to what (home-schoolers) provide on a test and then that will determine where they go to college and I believe that ... (at) some point, some committee will say, 'Well, your child shouldn't have this career because your child is not qualified.' "

Hodge and many of the other 25,000 attendees at the Midwest Homeschool Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center see themselves on the front lines in a battle of parental and child rights vs. a near-nationwide mandate of learning standards.

"This is also a battle for control of who gets her (daughter's) mind and her heart. I'm still her parent. She is still a minor and she is under my authority but the state is encroaching on that more and more," said Hodge.

"This is the hill that I will die on. This is my child's right to privacy and my right as a parent to have authority over my child until she leaves my home."

Although the far-reaching school reforms aren't directly aimed at home schooling, Common Core holds a last-stand status among many such parents.

"It is a hot topic," said Dennis Dean, spokesman for the convention's sponsor, Great Homeschool Conventions.

Homeschoolers, What Does Success Mean To You? by Judy Aron

David Brooks, senior editor of The Weekly Standard, once posed this question: "If your kid was accepted at Harvard, but you secretly thought he or she would be happier at Bennington, would you have the guts to turn Harvard down?" This to me is a really intriguing question, as it highlights the very reasons why we homeschool.

As homeschoolers we have said no to the pressure-filled meritocratic system that organized schooling has come to represent. A meritocratic system rewards achievement for achievement's sake. It is an environment that fosters kids not to take risks because success is so important, and failure is so detrimental in many ways. Kids learn that if they stick to the things they are good at, rather than the thing they have a passion for or an interest in, then it is easier for them to succeed.

Is Homeschooling The Right Thing To Do? by Shirley M.R. Minster

Is homeschooling still the right thing to do? Were we right in bringing our child home from school? Questions that focus on a child’s education can be the most difficult to answer. Parents worry that what they do today will have an effect on their child’s future. Self-doubt creeps in and whispers, “Did we do the right thing? What happens if we were wrong?”

Let’s start by looking at the reasons why you began homeschooling your child. First of all, you were concerned about the change in his behavior. If he believed that his schoolmates did not like him, his self-esteem took a big hit emotionally, physically, and mentally. The emotions began to overshadow everything and depression became the norm because of his sadness and utter loneliness. Read more...

The Parent's Essential Active Role in Unschooling by John O. Andersen

I strongly believe in unschooling; the "curriculum" of freely following one's interests.

Yet, when it comes to unschooling children, parental involvement is a must. This is because children often won't know they have an interest in something until after their parents give them a glimpse of the many fascinating ideas and pursuits the world offers.

Wise unschooling parents expose their children to the community, to complex issues, to a broad spectrum of people, to the greatest minds, and so forth. There is a variety of ways they might do this. Here are a few concrete examples: Read more...

The Myth of Under (and Over) Achievement by David H. Albert

“Each one of you is perfect as you are. And you all could use a little bit of improvement.”
-- Zen Koan

We are all underachievers.

Or so it seems to me. That most of the time we could do better as individuals seems obvious. Psychometricians often claim we are smarter than ever. I don’t know – I tend to think that while as individuals we may be getting smarter (better nutrition and all, though make sure to supplement those Omega-3s), our collective intelligence, in our neighborhoods and in the world community, is increasingly impoverished, and, as a society, we get dumber all the time. Read more...

Teaching Children Financial Responsibility

(from Busy Moms Central)

Are you wondering when you should teach your children about managing money? You should start as soon as they learn to count and understand the concept of more and less. Think your six-year-old is too young to learn about simple money management concepts? Think again. Teaching children about managing money early will lead to adults who are financially responsible. Young adults are bombarded with offers for credit and quickie loans that are easy to get and hard to pay off. Without a good understanding of how to handle their money, they are often caught up in a financial nightmare. As a parent, you can help your child avoid this situation. Read more...

Strolling: A Skill Every Teen Should Have by John O. Andersen

Power walking is so corporate. Fitness walking is so selfish.

Strolling is the wiser choice. Strolling is exercise, but infinitely more than that.

When you're good at strolling, it can not only be exercise, but more importantly, one of the finest forms of educational entertainment imaginable.

Strolling is a window to the wonders of botany, birdwatching, architecture, horticulture, geology, local history, meteorology, art, even sociology--to name a few.

A window?

Yes, because when you manage to slow down long enough to pause, listen, and focus, the wonders of the outdoor world can come to you in ways you may have never thought possible. Strolling is a deliciously subversive undertaking in a culture overwhelmingly biased in favor of speed. Read more...

Homeschool High School’s Most Essential Subject by Barbara Frank

What subjects should you include when homeschooling your teen through high school? Answering this question can and does fill entire books. Personally, I think at least some of the subjects should be related to your teen’s interests as much as anything else. But there’s one subject that should be mandatory: personal finance. Read more...

From Our Previous Issue

March 2014 - Newsletter

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

Washington Post

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...

Living With Interruption

by Barbara Frank

Boy, do I know about interruptions. Thirty years of raising and homeschooling kids has meant that I’m often interrupted. And while it doesn’t happen nearly as much now that we only have one offspring still living at home, the fact is that the others sometimes call just as I’m in the middle of something I had hoped to finish.

As moms, we learn early on that our kids will often interrupt us at the worst times. And if they don’t interrupt us for a while, we also learn that something’s up and we need to check and see why things are so quiet, right? Read more...

How Teens Can Buy Their Own Cars
Can your teen buy a car while only working a part-time job?

by Dave Ramsey

So you’ve got a teenager, and your teenager wants a car. What are your options?
You could do one of three things:
1. Buy a car for them.
2. Let them pay for the car on their own.
3. Do a combination of both.

Let's go through each option.

First, it may seem tempting to just go out and buy a car for your teenager, especially if you have the money. But Dave doesn’t recommend this. Buying a $30,000 car for a 16-year-old just doesn’t make sense. That $30,000 ride will be trashed in no time. Read more...



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
By Dawnelle Breum

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
by Barbara Curtis

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
by Michele Howe

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 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...

In the News

Christian Couple Fights Texas Officials After Homeschooled Children Forcibly Removed From Home

DALLAS – Four of seven children who were forcibly removed from their home in Texas have now been returned to their parents after the Christian couple spent two months battling the government in court over their right to homeschool.
Trevor and Christina Tutt of Dallas have several years of experience helping at-risk children through both CPS foster care and the ministry Safe Families. In addition to five biological children (three of whom are now grown and living outside their home), the Tutts have three adopted children and are in the process of adopting another child.

“We very much want God to bring our new children, the children that He wants to be in our family, so we are open to whatever children He sends,” Mrs. Tutt told in late 2011. “Because of our experience with our children, we are specially equipped to handle children with special needs. In fact, we look for children with those special needs because there are so many children out there languishing in foster care because people don’t want to adopt a child who has extra challenges. It isn’t for everyone, but it is definitely for us!”
Read entire article...

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