Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Plague of A Students

A Plague of A Students

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"America has made the mistake of letting the A student run things. It was A students who briefly took over the business world during the period of derivatives, credit swaps, and collateralized debt obligations. We’re still reeling from the effects. This is why good businessmen have always adhered to the maxim: “A students work for B students.” Or, as a businessman friend of mine put it, “B students work for C students—A students teach.”

Yes, that's all well and good but now we have the 'F' troop in the White House!

Monday, April 26, 2010

DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience #4

The following DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience are being presented in a series to allow for digestion and discussion. After homeschooling/unschooling my own children for over 22 years I've discovered what worked and what didn't work for us was universal. Feel free to add your comments and concerns or ask questions.

#4 DO get organized. This means organizing all aspects of your life not just your homeschooling. Make a space in your home (not a class room) where you can keep most of your homeschooling supplies including books and writing materials. A corner of your child's bedroom will do for this. As your child grows this space will evolve with age appropriate supplies. When the children are young it can be used as a play area. Preteen children can use the space as a reading nook and teenagers can use the space as a home office or study space for college courses. Designate chores to keep the household running smoothly. As children outgrow school supplies and clothing organize a yearly tag sale to rid yourself of the clutter and bring in some extra income. It is much easier to stay organized when there is less 'stuff' everywhere. Use storage bins for the keepsakes. Get a file cabinet for all your important paperwork. Get individual file boxes for each child and teach them how to use it. Having friends and company over for visits is fine but try not to become the neighborhood hang out. A house full of constant chaos can throw organization to the wind. Make a schedule but try not to over-schedule your life. If you have 10 children and they each have a friend over for a weekend that would be poor scheduling. Take turns having a buddy over for a play day. Prioritize! Establish needs and wants and make sure your children know the difference. Communicate with each other about everything and include the details. No one is a mind reader. It's easier to stay organized when life is less hectic.

#4 DON'T bring all that educational baggage you learned in college as an education major to your homeschool. This is a real pet peeve for me. What you learned in college doesn't necessarily apply to real life parenting. Keep your educational theory to yourself and don't experiment on your own child to see if it works. As an education major you were trained to deal with a class room full of
immature, inexperienced, impressionable strangers. If you have decided to homeschool you need to leave that training at the door and focus on being a patient, nurturing parent who loves their child unconditionally.  You are teaching your child NOT a student. You both live in a home NOT a sterile classroom. I've discovered some of the best homeschooling parents are high school dropouts. They tend to be much more creative and far more open to various methods when teaching their children. Better yet, don't use that educational theory baggage you learned in college in your public school classroom either!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Glenn Beck is discovering for himself what homeschooling is all about

If he's this passionate about homeschooling now I can't wait to hear what Beck will have to say about it when his children are much older, especially if he and his wife continue to homeschool their children through their teen years. Some of the greatest benefits of homeschooling are the lessons you learn FROM your children. It is absolutely amazing what your children can teach you about life, patience, trust and unconditional love, not to mention how much you learn along side of them about science, math, history, language, politics and law. One thing I learned over the years while homeschooling was how little I learned from my own public school experience. I learned being institutionalized in an unforgiving vacuum called public school for 12 years of my life was a total waste of my precious time. Homeschooling rekindled my passion for freedom!

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DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience #3

The following DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience are being presented in a series to allow for digestion and discussion. After homeschooling/unschooling my own children for over 22 years I've discovered what worked and what didn't work for us was universal. Feel free to add your comments and concerns or ask questions.

#3 DO learn what your constitutional, parental and God given rights are. You should study the US constitution every day and teach it to your children. You'll be amazed at just how empowering it is. Always remember you have parental and God given rights as well. A great book for learning about your rights as a homeschooling parent is Home Education: Rights and Reasons by John W. Whitehead and Alexis Irene Crow. Losing your fear of the school authorities once you've gained this knowledge is quite liberating. Armed with this information makes you a stronger advocate for your child and your rights as well. Develop a passion for freedom!

#3 DON'T follow the advice of experts. The dirty little secret here is there is no such thing as an expert! My most recent example of this is when I took my ailing mom to the emergency room last week and the doctor sent her home after tests telling her her heart was fine. Three days later we were back in the ER and another doctor told her she needed a pacemaker which saved her life! Always get a second, third and fourth opinion if necessary. Over the years I've discovered some of the most dangerous people who have access to children are school officials, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, legislators and law enforcement officers. Don't be too quick to let them diagnose your child as learning disabled, ADD, ADHD, bi-polar, or in need of behavior modification. Relegating your child to an institution such as public school seems to bring out the worst in children. Free of this debilitating environment most children thrive and that is one of the main reasons homeschooling is so successful.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience #2

The following DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience are being presented in a series to allow for digestion and discussion. After homeschooling/unschooling my own children for over 22 years I've discovered what worked and what didn't work for us was universal. Feel free to add your comments and concerns or ask questions.

#2 DO read as many books, magazines and blogs as you can about homeschooling to see how other people are doing it or how they did it. Read as much as you can about your constitutional rights too. When we started homeschooling over 22 years ago there were few books about the subject of homeschooling. The first book I read was 'Teach Your Own' by John Holt. I was hooked on homeschooling after that. The best magazine at the time (and still is) was Home Education Magazine published by Helen Hegener in Tonasket, Washington. I craved every copy of this magazine and counted the days between issues. Now there is a plethora of books, magazines and blogs about homeschooling. Subscribe to as many as you can and be sure to look at my recommended reading list where you'll find books about homeschooling, as well as books about your parental and constitutional rights. Empower yourself with knowledge.

#2 DON'T let your detractors rock your homeschooling boat. This includes the main stream media that loves to tweak the movement by creating less than flattering stories about homeschoolers. I learned early on how the media is able to create jagged and inflammatory portrayals of certain segments of society. This is why I no longer grant interviews. Detractors also include school officials, legislators, social workers and law enforcement. Many of them have no idea what homeschooling is or what the homeschool laws are. Even if they did know they are quite capable of lying about both to get their way. Avoid them if at all possible...even if they're related to you.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience #1

The following DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience are being presented in a series to allow for digestion and discussion. After homeschooling/unschooling my own children for over 22 years I've discovered what worked and what didn't work for us was universal. Feel free to add your comments and concerns or ask questions.

#1 DO circle the wagons to keep the naysayers at bay. Surround yourself with like minded people who are supportive of your decision to homeschool. Stay away from the skeptic relatives and friends who will constantly undermine your every move and throw obstacles in your way. If they aren't willing to support you and your children then cut your ties and tell them 'no thanks' when they offer advice or try to make you feel like you're a lousy parent.

#1 DON'T recreate the school in your home. This is a huge mistake. It may be fun at first and what you are most comfortable with but you'll soon realize you don't need to spend all that money for desks, bulletin boards, learning stations, text books, lesson plan books or expensive curricula. Your children may even rebel against all that and before you know it you'll all be in tears trying to force feed 'schooling' on them. Create an atmosphere that's relaxed, nurturing and safe but has lots of resources your child can use at a moment's notice. Grading, testing and attendance truly doesn't matter either when you're homeschooling.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

10 Reasons School is Prison & 5 Ways to Break Free From Captive Thinking Reasons School is Prison & 5 Ways to Break Free From Captive Thinking

Heather writes a great article on a subject dear to my heart...public schools are nothing more than camouflaged prisons. Today, however, the schools are much more blatant about their status with lock downs, legally drugging children into submission and the handcuffing of little children. I am so happy to see young moms like Heather take up the cause for homeschooling since I'm sort of out of the loop now that my children are 19 and 22 years old.

"3. Trust yourself. You must trust in yourself, before you can truly trust in your child."

This was probably the best advice I ever received as a new homeschooling mom over 22 years ago. I needed to learn to trust my myself to teach my own and trust that I knew what was best for my children and for my family as a whole. I needed to trust that what I saw in the public school was pure poison to children and families. I needed to trust my instincts telling me that sending a child into a public school was no less than a death sentence for that child!

Kudos to Heather for sharing her thoughts and discoveries! Be sure to visit Heather's blog to read her article in its entirety.

Unschooling Rules: Homework helps school systems, not students

Unschooling Rules: Homework helps school systems, not students

  • Robs children and their families of meaningful time.
  • Robs children of self-paced experiment and reflection time where so much learning to be, learning to do, and yes, learning to know actually occurs. This is where people can learn what they love.
  • Covers up bad processes and bloated curricula."
This is a great little blog post. It defines school homework in a nutshell. Go to this blog to read the rest of this post. It's a great argument against the mindless busywork schools send home. Is it any wonder it's making so many unsuspecting parents and children miserable?

W&L Professor's Memoir Offers Insight into Short-Term Homeschooling :: Washington and Lee University

W&L Professor's Memoir Offers Insight into Short-Term Homeschooling :: Washington and Lee University

"As a professor of English at Washington and Lee University, Brodie understood the benefits of sabbaticals and decided that Julia should be homeschooled for one year."

I have not read this book but already I'm having my doubts that Brodie's decision to 'homeschool for one year' was not based on any understanding of what homeschooling is or how children learn.

"But Brodie cautions in her book that, although homeschooling can help a child become more enthusiastic about learning, it can be hard work. "You have to devote an enormous amount of time and attention to the process because most children are not independent learners. They won't carry out a project without a lot of supervision. Julia needed me there as a cheer leader and a drill sergeant every day," she said"

Sounds like Brodie fell into the trap that most schooled parents fall into which is thinking she needed to school at home.

"But Brodie said she lightened up and learned to become more patient. "Happier times came with the arrival of spring," she said."

Happier times will also arrive with a continuation of homeschooling. Did Brodie send her child back into a horrid school system after allowing her daughter to deschool for a year? Anyone? Like I said I have not read this book and I doubt I will. I wouldn't be able to contain my frustration with this professor mom and all her educational baggage.

Question of the week

Do you write a homeschooling or unschooling blog? (feel free to post your link here)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tea Party member and conservative Lloyd Marcus unites with songs about freedom!

This guy is amazing! If you could put a face on what it means to be an American in 2010 it is Lloyd Marcus. It's all about FREEDOM baby! His story is now just being told due to the Tea Party movement but his values were years in the making. Without our U.S. Constitution we wouldn't be free to homeschool our children. We must do all we can do to preserve that freedom.

Do some research on Marcus to learn his background and find out why he's a conservative. Listen to his fun music. He's a history and civics lesson all rolled into one for all you homeschoolers. Huge guerrilla homeschooling kudos to Lloyd!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The 3 best toys for developing your homeschooler's imagination

Ever wonder why your child ignores a new toy and prefers to play with the box it was packaged in? Many modern toys don’t allow the child to use their imagination. To a child with a creative mind the box a toy arrives in can become a rocket ship, a racecar, a playhouse or even a cave for his dinosaur collection. Those pots and pans in the cupboard are far more fun than passively watching television. A dress up box is a place to find the proper uniform for a space traveling ruler of the universe.
With such a plethora of toys on the market these days it’s difficult to know which ones are best for developing your child’s imagination. Finding just the right toy for your child can prove to be an experimental and expensive endeavor but that’s the beauty of being homeschoolers. You’re free to experiment and spend as much or as little as you want on manipulatives (a fancy word for toys). As parents of two eager-to-explore homeschoolers we learned that less is more! 

Our top choice for toys is LEGOS®. Both of our children started playing with DUPLOS® at a young age. They loved them and they could create other toys with them. These colorful well made plastic wonders were a staple in our homeschool. Once the children became old enough to graduate to the smaller LEGOS® we purchased many of the sets with various themes. The NASA® set tied in very well because grandfather had worked for the company before his retirement. This led to reading books on space, astronomy and engineering. Pirates were a big hit too which led to reading many books about pirating, ships and ocean travel. Of course, no trip to Florida was complete without a visit to Disney World’s LEGOLAND®. Eventually all this creativity led to the more technical versions of this toy and our young son was soon building robots that came whizzing out of his room at all hours of the day. I credit my now teenage son’s LEGO® experience to his becoming a member of an award winning US First robotics team

2. Art supplies
You’re probably thinking these aren’t really toys. To a child they are. A child’s play is work and anything a child can play with or manipulate he’ll learn from. Keep a ready supply of materials on hand for your child and watch their imagination flourish. Paints, crayons, pencils, paint brushes, markers, paper, scissors, canvas, clay, sketch pads, sewing notions, fabric, crafts, hand-made dough, cast off clothing for dress up and alteration, pastels, glue, cardboard, egg cartons…the list is endless. Make your child an art apron and set aside a space in the home where children can freely make messes. Make the materials available and accessible at all hours because an artist never knows when inspiration will strike. 

3. Nature
Okay, so maybe this isn’t a toy either but nature is all around us. We are nature. Think about how creative nature is. Children have a fascination with nature and are naturally drawn to other parts of it. When I was a child my mom would send me and my six siblings out the front door after breakfast and tell us not to return until supper. She told us to go to the garden if we got hungry and go to the brook if we got dirty. We didn’t even need to go home for potty breaks because we had an outhouse in the back yard. The older children kept an eye on the younger ones and we only went back to the house for emergencies. Of course, that was mainly in the summertime and on our farm. 

As homeschooling parents it is our job to provide a nurturing and safe learning environment in which our children are free to learn. Send them out the door. Let them play with sticks and stones. Let them wade in frog ponds, raise animals, build forts, ride bikes, ski, sled, dig in the dirt, garden, jump in puddles after a rain storm and count the stars in the night sky. Let them explore their world. Even city dwellers can raise a kitten, a puppy, a hamster, care for a fish or put up a bird feeder. They can start a neighborhood garden, count the stars in the night sky from a rooftop or go to a park or wilderness camp. Without a house or yard full of plastic toys children will need to use their imagination in order to create their own playthings.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stupid in America

Granted, this video was produced March 4, 2007 but so much of it is still relevant to today, probably more so. I cringe when a parent tells me their school is different and isn't like this. Maybe it's time to ask the children what the schools are really like. Is there hope for these students? This was 2007 and many of these students have already graduated...maybe. What sort of parents will they make? Will they simply turn around and place their own children into these same schools within a few years? Is it any wonder homeschooling is growing in such enormous leaps?

I hate to keep harping on how bad public schools are in this country but many parents still aren't convinced their child would be better off out of them. What I don't understand is why people keep voting to pass school budgets when the money doesn't make any difference. Let's face it, we all know the reason why American public schools are's the stranglehold the teacher's union has on them!

John Taylor Gatto speaking on education

The more I watch and listen to John Taylor Gatto, or read his books, my resolve to get every child out of public school becomes stronger. I'm convinced many parents simply don't know what is really going on in public schools. Many young parents have only recently left these public schools themselves and haven't had time to unlearn their indoctrination. They haven't had time to 'deschool' if you will.