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Showing posts with label Homeschool Issues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homeschool Issues. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Re: Home-schooled and illiterate

I read an article yesterday called Home-schooled and illiterate at Salon.com. The writer begins by describing a family she knew when she was younger that homeschooled poorly. They were conservative Christian and it seemed, from her looking in that the family did not value education for the girls most especially. The article goes on to state that other homeschooling moms usually from the quiverfull movement, bless their hearts, try, but get overwhelmed by  just having and caring for the kids they have, never mind actually educating them, and so they get lost in the fray.  It infers that even the most the most well meaning homeschool moms, fool themselves that they can handle homeschooling but they can't.

Of course the article throws in that there are some very diligent homeschooling parents who can and will  do a stellar job. But they add that in order to make sure that kids get the best education while homeschooling, there should be severe oversight.

 That's how I read it anyway. Let me know if you glean something different from it.

If I didn't find the article frustrating enough, the comments section sent me into a seizure. I'm twitching as I write this.  The comments ran the full gamut from "homeschoolers abuse their kids", to "if we are going to have oversight, we might as well embrace communism".  Yes, we like to overreact, don't we?

My problem is who are these people the article talks about, and why don't people ever look at the average homeschoolers? The ones who are kicking butt and taking names?!

I have about 10 years of blogging here. Look back. You will see that I am for the most part normal and very diligent about the education of my kids. Over the years, my personality and strong held convictions have softened, and happens with age, but you will see that we homeschooled because the schools left us no other option, and yes, I feel like my kids are better off for it.

And... there are millions of families like mine who started off in public or another form of school and then ran away screaming and waving their hands because their kids were being mistreated and/or swept under the rug. We homeschool diligently, with the goal being college, or post homeschool training of some sort. Our first goal is to make sure our children are educated well, and they are happy, and they are well adjusted.

And if you were to ask my kids, their list of things they would change is short... and that list is written in retrospect, a couple years after homeschooling. They have also given me a list of things they would do again if they had that choice... actually, see my last post.  I don't just pull these blog posts out of my butt.

I guess my final response to the article, is back off.  Don't look at the most fringe groups (I'm sure they will hate being called that) and make blanket decisions about all homeschoolers.  Don't look at the abusers and blame it on homeschoolers, blame it on abusers.  Finally, I really don't know about oversight.  The oversight we used to have here in GA was annoying and basic. Take an attendance sheet and send it in. Take a standardized test every few years and hold on to it just in case.  It was silly.  But more strict oversight will surely be enforced unevenly and haphazardly, so how would that work.  My biggest worry about oversight is that who is to say what is best for the child. The person who knows the kid or the person who drops in twice a year?  And what would that do to the uneven education that often happens in homeschooling that is actually brilliantly successful.  (What I mean by uneven education is that even if a kid is struggling in math and is a year behind, that should not stop them from being 4 grades ahead in language)... Traditional schools don't lend to well to this,  but it works well.  The kid will eventually catch up in math, but be literal geniuses in other areas.  I'd hate to see that controlled.

That's all I have for now, I would love to open this up to comments.  Please read the article and let me know what you think.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Regret and possible loathing

So, something happened this past weekend that deeply saddened me.  You may remember that my son finished homeschooling with a homeschool portfolio, but we had our daughter finish school with an Alternative School Program to accredit her portfolio.  The reason was that she was an exceptional student, and with one child already in college, I felt the need to increase her scholarship chances, and I believed that having her report card and grades endorsed by a school, would help.  So, I sent her coursework for review to a local homeschool program, and that person reviewed the work, endorsed the grades I had given and in some cases raised those grades.  She also suggested classes and curriculum for us to use in the last year that she required for a state diploma which she is licensed to give.  (This is all up-and-up and a legal and normal thing to do.) When it came time to apply for college, we applied through the program, as she was one of this person's students per our arrangement.  My daughter got into every school she applied to, and received scholarships.  I believe this person's program was very helpful in giving me piece of mind, and whether or not it leant to earning my daughter the awards she earned, I really didn't care.  I felt I was doing what was best for us at the time.

I was so happy with her help in fact, that I referred other homeschoolers to this person. She had also helped other relatives of mine with great results.  Everyone was happy.  I referred her to even more

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Homeschooling will not make your family happy

Homeschooling will not make your family happy. Having a happy family will make your family happy.

I realize this is a simplistic statement, but it must be said, especially in light of all of the negative media surrounding homeschooling these days. There are some young adults out there with an axe to grind where homeschooling is concerned.  Many of them have every right to be disgruntled because their parents... and therefor their homeschool experience sucked.

So, I was reading a post today about "the homeschool myth", where the writer says that they blame homeschooling for their less than stellar upbringing because "homeschooling made that $hit (the bad stuff that happened) seem natural. That because they did not have access to people outside the home... ever... that they didn't know that this kind of abuse was not normal. Furthermore, her abuse was intensified because her mother was egged on by other homeschoolers who counseled her on making her child less rebellious.  (Boy do I understand that... some of my mom's friends made my life a living hell!  I couldn't get away with anything!)

sketch a day #24 -20 min. 
I am not writing to discredit the story of this young woman and others who have a problem with homeschooling, conservative homeschooling, and last, but not least, the quiverfull movement.  I am writing this so that any family out there hoping to homeschooling will understand homeschooling is a tough job, and while it is also rewarding, anyone who expects perfection from themselves or their children might as well go ahead and pack it up now.

You can expect a dirty house.  My youngest is well into her third semester of college and I am just now beginning to reclaim my house and to make it is as nice as I'd always hoped. I am just beginning, and I have a way to go. Think about it. The kids are home ALL THE TIME. Think summer, and multiply that by pi. That is your house. At one point, I hired a house keeper.  At another point, I paid the kids to clean.  I went on strike a couple of times. Finally, I threw my hands up and decided to wait them out. They had to leave eventually. You have to be OK with a TeePee in the living room, and unfolded laundry when you are homeschooling. There are many times when I was tempted to snatch a book from my kids hand and send them to clean, but how absurd is it to snatch a book?  And so, I learned to find a happy place in the mess and move on.

Expect to have arguments. You will argue with your kids. They will argue back. You will argue with your spouse. They will argue with each other. This is healthy. If only one person in the family is allowed to pitch a fit and leave everyone else cowering, there is a problem. Children need to be able to express anger and upset (without calling names of course), and adults need to. At the end of the discussions, everyone can have ice-cream... but if you are going to be the type of family that is together all the time, you have to give everyone an outlet to express themselves. That is only good and fair.

Expect to see your worse behaviors mirrored in your children. If you are angry all the time, your children will be angry. If you yell, they will yell.  If you curse, they will curse... ahem. No comment.  I will tell you that the best thing I ever did for myself was to homeschool. After telling off a few people in front of my children (I have been known to give a piece of my mind), I realized how it affected them, and learned to be more diplomatic.  I will also tell you that my kids saw me depressed for over a year after my brother died. My kids saw me try things and give up. My kids saw me angry and resentful. Fortunately, my kids were allowed to tell me about myself, and them bring me ice cream. So, if you are a raving lunatic, expect your kids to be raving lunatics too... or withdrawn and damaged.

Expect to be ridiculed and rejected.  You probably already expect for your family and friends to decide you are wacko and for some of them to even turn their backs on you... for a while at least. You should also expect some homeschoolers to do the same. Here is why. When you do something different or out of the norm, people take that as judgement upon them, that by doing things differently you are saying they are doing it wrong. So choose a different math program than your homeschool mentor, send your daughter to college when other homeschoolers around you won't, put academics before values (as other people see it) and people won't like it. They will tell you so, or they will freeze you out.  But here's the good news. If people object to the way you do things, you just might be doing them right.

Expect for there to be failures. Sometimes a homeschooling kid turns out just like the kid next door who went to the worst public school in the county. You will look up one day and they will be snippy, withdrawn, and may even get into trouble you can't get them out of.  You won't even see it coming. Sometimes it just happens.  You are going to have to love them anyway.  Things will come together. Remember even fairytales start out scary.

If I haven't scared you away from homeschooling yet, I will now add that it can be magical, and wonderful, and your kids can turn out great, but you will have to work at it. Keeping your kids at home and having 2 or 10 kids will not make your household perfect and magical in any way. But, being the kind of parent that kids want to be around... that guides, cajoles, hugs, and supports, will make your homeschooling family happy, and if you can do that, they won't be writing an angry blog about you in ten years.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

If they only had the time... seeking alternate homeschooling ideas

There would be a whole lot more homeschoolers if more parents only had the time.  Based on the messages I receive regularly there are oodles of oodles of single parents who desperately want to homeschool their kids, but there's that little pesky problem called work that keeps getting in the way.

One of my very best friends has managed to homeschool her kids due to perfect timing of ages, and a moderate amount of flexibility in her job.  But most parents can't get together either the smallest amount luck and flexibility and family support to get it done.

That leaves parents asking the question, (the most recent email I've received) asking where to find certified teachers that would take on 4-5 kids.... because they want their kids to be part of that group.  The problem is that they are few and far apart.

Before we started homeschooling, my husband asked the same questions.  He knew we could not afford a private teacher, but felt that surely we could split the cost of a teacher or two among a couple families... but that never happened. I did it solo in the end, and I am happy with our journey.

However, like I said there are many parents who need help because they don't have the time to do the job themselves, or the support people in their family to help them.  At one point, I thought that this is what I wanted to do with my life after homeschooling, but I really don't think I am equipped to be the teacher... I could coordinate, but not teach.

I know there is an answer, but it would take a bit of coordination to figure it out... to find qualified and safe teachers... to provide oversight for safety.... to provide a place where parents could drop off kids while they are at work, and have them taught individually and corporately in as small a group as humanly possible... but in the end, we are doing school again, because once homeschooling leaves the home, it becomes a school again, and so many parents are stuck.

What to do... what to do?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Don't judge me bro

It blows my mind, how many laws, rules, and regulations us homeschoolers impose on one another. This may sound... Is... Trivial, but a blog argument going on right now is the state of dress, or undress of homeschoolers. This particular post is over at HEDUA homeschooling site and is titled, "homeschoolers please put your cloths on", or something like that.

Apparently, the writer doesn't like the sterotype that homeschoolers learn I'm their pjs, and are out to shame us himechoolers into wearing respectable clothing, while in our homes, teaching our kids.  

Well, I failed this one, and there's no way I could pass it. You see, I've been known to sleep in my clothes, and spend the day in my pajamas, and my kids and husband are known to do the same. You see, I just buy comfy clothes which might consist of medical scribs, yoga pants, drawstring flannel pants, t-shirts, maxi dresses, etc.  I've been known to purchase a pile of black outside pants from the lingerie department, and a pile of sleeping t-shirts from the men's clearance racks. People have stopped and asked me where my very cool outfit came from (that I wore out the house) and I have to

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The lone homeschooler at the party

I really want to delete the last series of blogs I wrote.  Those of the types of things I don't want to deal with. I don't want to think it, and I certainly don't want to write it.  Let's see how long it stays live.  I read a comment yesterday where it was stated that when dealing with touchy subject like this, one person chooses to always opt out, saying "I'm not having THIS conversation".  It seems so wise.

But since I am discussing all of the hard stuff right now, I might as well discuss my the difficult phenomenon of being the lone homeschooler at the party.

I feel like a party game.

I don't know a better way to explain it.  I show up at a party.  There are niceties and introductions, and then the question is asked.... "where do (did) your kids go to school"?  I answer "they are (were)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Don't slack on homeschooling your kids

If you slack on homeschooling your kids, there could be a 5 page article in the Washington Post about you. 

 Josh Powell thrived under his mother’s instruction early on. At 4, he was already reading chapter books. Andrea Powell, a University of Virginia graduate who has managed most of her children’s education over the years, let her husband speak for the family. As the family grew, Josh Powell said, things deteriorated. He learned from a mishmash of textbooks his parents assembled, with more and more self-instruction because there were so many other children to raise and teach. As subjects got increasingly complex, he had more trouble figuring them out on his own.

Josh Powell is clearly unhappy with his upbringing/ education and is terrified for his siblings.  As mentioned at Happy Elf Homeschooling,  his parents probably didn't suck as much as he thinks. After all, he is a self starter, who was able to get himself into Georgetown University, even if it did take 3 years of community college.  But heck, I had a hard time in college, at the beginning after being an A student in high school, so who's to say that with tables turned, there wouldn't be a similar story about homeschooling.

Still, the prospect of such an event where my kids would think I'd done them a disservice by homeschooling kept me on the straight and narrow.  I taught, I tested, I found teachers who could teach things I could not, which by the way negates many of the comments attached to this article.

7/29/2013 12:00 AM EDT
I have yet to meet an individual or couple competent to home-school any child from kindergarten through high school. I doubt such a broad person exists in society at large, let alone among those parents who would deny their children professionally-done education based upon their religion....

Pompass Ass!  

I hate how some people wait in hiding for a one in a million story to come out so they can pounce all over homeschooling again, and the comments section of this story is chock full of them.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dating Woes and Parenting Style

I didn't know whether to call this blog post Dating Woes or Parenting Style because I feel like my parenting style may have caused the dating woes I am having with my kids.  So... what do I start with.

Well, here is the main woe...  Neither of my kids has gone on a date.  My son is 18 and in college (ok- no date I know about) and my daughter is 16 and starting college in the fall.  I realize some of you may think I am crazy for being unhappy about this, after all, how many people wish their kids would focus on education and not worry about the opposite sex, right?  But my issue is that if I don't ever see my kids interact on a romantic level, how will I know if they are on the right track?  How will I know whether or not they will lose themselves in a relationship?  How can I whisper advice to my kids when I see things may not be right?  Once they are out of the house, it will be pretty hard.  So this is why I am troubled.

I guess you can categorize this into a first world/homeschooler problem.

I blame myself that my kids don't need a significant other to validate themselves.  I have been very purposeful from birth to be a hands on- hands off parent.  I am hands on in areas of affection.  I touch, hug, give back rubs, tickle feet, walk by them and smile, touch their faces, and any other kind of physical affection that a parent can heap upon a child.  My husband has done the same.  My kids are not starved for affection in any way, shape, or form.  I am hands off in areas of their will.  I let them have their own will, to express their own opinions, to allow their opinions to be opposite of mine, and to let them sometimes guide me, based on their feelings and intuition.  We are a team, and I allow them to lead whenever appropriate.  They don't need to look outside the home to feel valued.   And so in doing all this work to build up my kids, I left a big gaping hole in the romantical area.  My kids neither need or seek such attachment.

So prom is next week, and my daughter and I had a conversation that we've had for the last couple of years at this time.  I asked if she would be happier to have a date for prom.  Her answer was the same as last year- "why?".  "I have no feelings for anyone I know outside of brotherly affection, so it would be ridiculous to date any of them for prom when I could just as well go with my female friends."  She said it so strongly and matter-of-factly, that I knew her convictions on this subject were strong.  This did however, lead to another conversation that was a first-time thing.  As she is headed to college at 17 yrs and a few days, she was concerned that any guy she does meet will certainly be older than her.  She wanted guidelines as to what age gap was acceptable.  That led to a thoughtful discussion about things I won't discuss publicly.

I feel comfortable and happy that my kids are where they are developmentally, but I do have a nagging feeling about them not having dated.  Am I crazy?  I'd love some other homeshcoolers to let me know how they feel.    The only other information I can give is that our household is Christian, but we abhor anything legalistic, so we have placed no restrictions on our kids in the dating area, and have always been open for discussion on anything.  We've also discussed being aware of and avoiding dating someone just for fun... that they couldn't see themselves in a long term relationship with.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Academics vs Values

If you follow my blog you know how very important academics are to me.  When I talk about our homeschooling experience with other homeschoolers I often hear "that's nice, but we are not so competitive academically, it is more important to me that my children's values are in order.  I've always felt that such a comment was a slight towards me...  You ask me how my kids are doing in homeschooling, and I rattle off their academic achievements.  Then you make a smart -alecky remark that says what I just told you was unimportant.  Meh.  Whatever.

I used to feel that people were threatened by the impression I gave that book-learnin was the single most important value in homeschooling.  Now I don't really care.  But, with that said, you should know that values are indeed very important in our homeschooling journey.  But if you ask me what my kids are doing homeschooling wise, I am going to talk about math and reading and such.  That's just how I'm wired.  That doesn't mean that my kids' hearts aren't of the utmost importance to me.

This is how I have tackled values with my kids.  Every year, I have spent the summer evaluating them. How they act towards each other.  How they act towards their parents.  How they treat their friends. How they manage their lives.  I pinpoint the thing that I feel needs the most improvement and I choose that as the value of the year for that child.   This year, with my remaining homeschooler, in her last year, I have chosen time management.  I think that is the only thing about her that I feel I can affect at this point.

Things I am doing to help her with time management:
  • Writing a daily checklist with times on it.  If left to her own devices, she will do math all day (or any other subject) and never get to the other subjects... she just sometimes has no idea of how long she's worked on one thing.)
  • Making her responsible to be ready in time to get to things that are important for her.  I will not remind her over and over to be ready for her to stay on her schedule that she set. 
  • Allowing her to drive (reward) if she is ready to go somewhere with a 10-15 minute cushion. 
I pray that that is enough to get her more aware of and respectful of time.  I hate to say it, but she gets it from her dad (yes, I said that)... He's got that laid-back Jamaican vibe and he is only respectful of time when its on his agenda.  That's probably why I haven't tackled this value until now... it has been an uphill battle.

I am sharing this mostly because I have counseled with a couple of homeschoolers lately who have had a laundry list of value-type items they want their homeschooled kids to comply to.  Things like, spend more time in the family room and less in the bedroom, play more outside and less video games, complete assignments on time, and yada-yada.  My advice is always the same thing I have been doing all along.  Pick the one item that is driving you completely up the wall, and work on that.  When that value is tackled and improved, you can move on to the next one.  Pick your battles.  You will all be happier for it.


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Why Atlanta Needs a Black Homeschool Expo

A Black Homeschool Expo was recently announced, it is being held in Atlanta
Roots to Fruits presents.....
Finally, the first of it's kind!
The 1st Annual  Black Homeschool and Education Expo!
....addressing the specific needs of our children to awaken their genius!

Save the Date! Saturday
July 28, 2012

Atlanta, Georgia
Only $20 all-day admission
lectures & workshops included
Children 12 and up $5
For Details Call 678.368.8593
*vendors, educators, homeschools, after-school,extracurricular & rites of
passage programs, tutors, and more... reserve your space now!
The response to this advertisement on local homeschool groups was.... interesting.  
One email loop broke out into a full blown argument immediately, with one person citing black-on-black