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Showing posts with label homeschool musings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homeschool musings. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

8 things I would do differently if I was to homeschool all over again

Well.. It's been 2 years and 3 months since I last had a child I could call a homeschooler. My youngest is now a college Jr.  I think a thoughtful retrospective is in order.  So, here are 8 things I would do differently if I were to homeschool all over again, and a couple things I would do the same.

1. Consistency is visiting museums, parks, playgrounds, and shows weekly.  I think I did this well when they were both in middle school, but the wigglyness of them when they were little and the busyness of them as high school students got in the way. But, It was a great bonding time and I wish I had been more consistent.

2. Food control. Kids do what you do, and I did not mind what I was eating very well, nor what they were eating. The kids and I had too much access to the fridge. I should have planned ahead better and kept fruit on the table instead of a free-for-all.

3. I should have been more strict about deadlines for assignments.  There were plenty of times when I let them pat me on the head and promise to do better next time.  Once they hit high school, I should have been more strict about deadlines.  That would have helped with the transition to college.

4.  I shouldn't have discussed homeschooling with relatives and non homeschooling friends.  Too many times it just ended up with upset feelings... mine.

5.  I should not have discussed homeschooling at parties.  I found myself being the entertainment far too often.  I should have just answered that question about where they go to school as matter-of-factly as the kids did and then changed the subject.

6.  I should have pushed harder when they wanted to quit something.  Fencing for instance, they gave up too soon.  Not because they weren't good, but because they weren't making friends.  That's not a good reason to walk away.

7.  We should have taken advantage of duel enrollment programs.  My son, now a college Sr. thinks he would have transitioned better into college had he taken some courses at the local college first, or even taken some academic classes at the local high school.  Neither of these were easily available to us the year he was a Sr. in High school, but If I was willing to drive a little ways, we could have found a school that would take him.  (our county began welcoming students the very next year).  I agree with him that his first two years in college would have been less of a struggle with home real life experiences and easing into the college environment.  The good news  is that he eventually got the hang of things and has been doing great.

8. We should have put more variety in our outside activities.  The kids did attend a great program that taught history through the arts, and optional academics (we opted to do academics independently).  The only problem is that looking back, there were times when we should have stepped outside of the program for some variety, to try a different theatre program for one show, or do experience a different choir or something because what is best for the group isn't always best for the individual child, and too much loyalty can bite you in the butt. But, in all honesty, I was being lazy and trying to keep all activities localized to avoid too much driving.

Things I would not change.  

1.  We would have still joined the homeschool arts and history program because it was awesome and my kids did make life-long friends. It is important to have a tribe.  To me this was akin to a homeschool co-op. I am even glad that I spent a lot of money for this program.

2. I am so glad that we used free online programs and resources instead of buying boxed curriculum.  My kids had access to the world on knowledge on the internet and I was able to use those extra hundreds of dollars a year for experiences and specialty classes.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Once a homeschooler, always a homeschooler

It's been over two years since we were active homeschoolers, and I still find it creeping into my thoughts, my conversations, and my life.

Take for instance, the young man who showed us our NYC apartment. He mentioned that he needed to get his kid out of public schools, and off the conversation went into the land of homeschooling.  Hubby, actually needed to be held back.  He really feels it is the only way to go.  I could tell however, that this young man and his wife were both working outside the home and neither were in a position to pull back and to deal with all the restrictions, rules, and regulations of a NYC homeschooler... I although I did mention that the laws were much more lax in Jersey, right across the river.

We talked about successes, things I would differently if I had to do over, and so much more.  We ended up taking the appointment, but the conversation was all about homeschooling.  Go figure.

Then there's the fact that people ask me about my kids. I give ages, and most moms do.  Then I give years in college because people always want to know what young adults are up to... and then I have to explain why someone who is still 18 just completed her Sophomore year of college.  Homeschooling, of course.  I'm sure there are numerous other reasons, but in our case, the answer is homeschooling.

I test myself sometimes to see how long I can go without mentioning homeschooling. It amazes me how much education in general comes up in polite conversation! And then there's just the times that homeschooling just invades my mind and heart when I hear a story about some kind of school mistreatment. The parent who was arrested because her child had more sick days than allowed... the child how got handcuffed, for being a child.  The black boys who get suspended way more than the other kids for the same reason...  It breaks my heart. I know that homeschooling really is the answer to many of these atrocities, but poverty, and single parenthood, and other issues can make it near impossible.  My heart bleeds for these families.

There has got to be a way to help enable people who want to homeschool who can't.  My wheels are always turning.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The problem with passing and failing

In order for a person to have power, he would need some powerless folks to lord over.  Let's look at the relationship between the Medieval Lord and Surf. The serfs worked the land in addition to doing extra work for the for the lords in exchange for food and protection. The land, the wealth, and the army belonged to the Lord. Meanwhile, the Noble Lord death with prayers, politics, and sometimes fighting.  There was often evening entertainment.  Without the work of the serf, the lord would not be able to maintain is more cushy, though often more stressful life.

Bring that to modern day for comparison, and we have the working poor and the filthy rich. Take Walmart for instance. Walmart workers are tied to low skill, low paying jobs, in order to scrape by to keep the family off the streets.  They barely make enough money to accomplish that.  Many Walmart workers are also on government assistance. Meanwhile, Walmart owners, are kabillionaires, making infathomable amounts of money, while refusing to raise the employees to livable wages, because they know there is always some unemployed person who will take the place of the barely making it workers if they complain.  But these Super rich owners, don't have the responsibilities of the Medieval serf.  Things are out of balance.  They longer feel responsibility to the worker, to make sure he is protected with house and supplies. They are only concerned with their own leisure.

And this imbalance starts young and is programmed into the mind of children.  Indulge me for a

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Teaching kids who can't sit still

When my daughter was in school, before we pulled her out to homeschool, we were constantly told she was very likely ADHD and needed to be medicated. We ignored them. Sure, she was extremely energetic at school, but at home, she wasn't really a bother. I have always loved her level of energy... except for when she was sick, because she would not lay down and allow herself to recover.

Anyway, we never did medicate her. That was actually the final straw the caused us to homeschool.  I was convinced that the hyperactivity (she is not attention deficit) was an asset and not a negative. She proved me right.  Her first year at home, we used Time4learning, 2nd grade curriculum. After flipping over her chair a couple of times, I just took it, and raised the desk so she could stand. She stood there and did her work while bouncing around. I remember her doing a math problem, plugging in the numbers, getting it right, and jumping up and down and screaming, Yoooo Hooo!  Then she did a second.  When she got that one right, she took off running... Out of the home office, through the great room, through get kitchen, into the dining room, into the foyer, and back into the home office to the computer. She then continued to do her work. She was burning off the excess energy, and very likely processing the problems she had just done.

We went along this way for six months.. till Christmas.  After Christmas, I had to call he office that administered the program and asked them to move her up to 3rd grade because she had finished a years work by Christmas. She finished 3rd grade by summer, and then we reviewed everything.  She started reading after that and spent her years reading novels and going through curriculum at a normal speed, but graduated from a homeschool high school program at age 16.  We checked her into her dorm room 1 month after her 17th birthday.  She's 18 now, and just finished her 3rd semester of college with a 3.78 overall.

I tell you this story not to brag but to present an idea.

I am of the opinion that keeping kids moving while learning is something parents will want to consider. This is especially true for hyperactive, ADHD, and other distractible kids. I don't have an answer yet, but the wheels are turning in my head. Energetic kids should be taught in a way that allows them to use that energy and not suppress it.  This is something I want to continue discussing and working towards as I begin to develop both my art and my contribution to homeschooling.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

You don't have to homeschool, but you do have to take charge of your child's education

As a homeschooler you might think I would say that that the brightest family of kids I know were homeschooled.  I'd love to say that, but it is not true.  Now I know some really bright kids, and I know some families full of bright kids that were homeschooled, but the family with the brightest kids on my radar went to public school.

But here's the thing... The parents were completely in charge of their children's education.  The knew what the kids were studying at all times. They sat down with their kids every night and knew what their kids knew and what their kids did not know. And when the kids were done with the school issued work, they assigned them more.  The kids did public school by day, and they "homeschooled" by night.

I was privileged to hear one of the children speak in a church graduation celebration. He was already in college and addressed those who were graduating that year. As he told it, he and his siblings least favorite day was the last day of the school year.  Sure, they were glad they didn't have to drag into school each morning, and that they looked forward to the customary ritual of ice cream on the way home on that last day, but what they did not like is that the ice cream shop immediately preceded  the

Sunday, February 09, 2014

On Being Black and Homeschooling, Part 5

This is my final word on being black and homeschooling.  For the foreseeable future.

You can catch up here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

I just don't feel like I ever got to the meat of what I wanted to say.

In all my personal struggles through the loneliness and relative isolation I felt, I have to say that I am ecstatic with the results.

Sure bad things happened:

  • Tensions around the 2008 and 2012 elections as I live in a mostly white Southern Conservative Community, and am none of these things. 
  • A few individuals making my race an issue in what they felt were personal conversations... "you know, just chatting over differences, iron sharpening iron". 
  • Not always feeling included socially, and sometimes feeling like my kids were barely included.
  • People saying dumb stuff to me that barely hid certain biases.
Meanwhile, good things happened:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It has been a difficult journey

Forbes.com says homeschooling is a good way to "tell the state to stick it".

I guess.....

It goes hand in hand with my observation that most homeschoolers in my neck of the woods are anti Obama hence all of a sudden, anti government, and all of the noise that goes along with it.  The article goes on to describe homeschoolers as "The God-fearing, flag-waiving, gun-toting homeschool crowd (that)  embodies the American spirit of mutual self-reliance." and "Christians aghast over an academic establishment overrun by progressives."

This is not necessarily my experience, but I do understand that there are homeschoolers around me that feel that way.  It kind of makes it hard when I don't necessarily agree with the rhetoric. 

So let's take the fact that I don't fit into my immediate homeschool community for this reason, and others.  Then consider the notion that homeschooling (in the way that we approached) it is a microcosm of public school, and you will understand that my journey has been no bed of roses.  Like the young lady in this article wrote, homeschooling through a co-op (or similar program) comes with all of the same issues and angst of any other school.... just on a much smaller scale.  There has been bullying, peer pressure, and bonding, and cliques, just like any other school.  It may not be as obvious, but if you look close enough, you'll see the signs.  So as a parent in this environment, I have also experienced the same type of things that a parent would experience in .... say... a large private school setting - parental cliques, (of which I am rarely in) and allies.  I would call them friends, but I know when my kid graduates, I probably won't see 98% of them ever again.  

I'm not complaining, just reflecting.  It is what it is. I'm just a rebel amongst rebels. 


FREE HOME EDUCATION WEBSITE
ahermitt.com

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Best Kept Homeschool Secret Ever

I don't know if people are really ready to hear this.

In all the years I have homeschooled, I have formulated one well-kept gem.

It is the tool that every successful homeschooler I know (and I know a lot) has relied on.  It has saved many a homeschool disaster and re-railed a lot of  derailed trains.

It is simple.

R E L A X

It's not that serious.  Sit down, put your feet up, let your kids put their feet up too.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Higher Education for Homeschooled Girls?

My head is spinning. My confusion began with a blog post about What To Do with Unmarried Daughters, which led to a post that looks like it could have been written in the 1940's at best.  It made me mad... really, really mad to come to the full realization that there are people who still raise their daughters differently than their sons.  I knew they existed... I homeschool.  I've met them.  But, I've always thought these were isolated cases.  I never realized how strongly some people felt that education for a girl was pointless.

I feel like if we, homeschoolers raise girls with the single-minded purpose of homeschooling their own, and load their homeschool lessons sewing, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining a house, we are treating

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I homeschooled because I am impatient

I can give you a laundry list of reasons that I homeschooled.


  • My daughter was being labeled as unteachable, and hyperactive. 
  • My daughter began having night terrors and accidents. 
  • My son had become sullen and withdrawn and while previous schools called him gifted, the one he was in did not. 
  • My son was being bullied. 
  • There were oodles and oodles of issues over just a few short years that were clearly affecting my children. 
  • They were in the first and third grade.  
  • No one so young should be having a hard time in school. 


With all of these things going on, I was counseled by other mothers

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Your Average Middle Class Homeschooler

In a post recognizing the efforts of homeschoolers that came before us, I saw the phrase "average middle class" homeschooler and said... FINALLY!  A description that fits our family.

My kids are not isolated.  They are not disabled in any discernible way.  We are not uber religious.  They are not particularly brainy.  They are average... or for our area, amongst their peers, and even

Monday, December 03, 2012

Homeschool presuppositions and confessions

Here's a pretty neat vlog done by homeschool brothers who are now in college.  They surveyed a lot of college students about their original thoughts on homeschooling, and also asked homeschoolers questions about confessions that revealed a bit of homeschool weirdness.


Every now and then you see a little bit of homeschool oddities coming from my kids in the unique

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dressing homeschoolers fashionably... there's a dilemma

When I started homeschooling, there was a lot of talk about homeschool uniforms.  You know, moms in denim jumpers, kids in prairie wear.  I made it a point to dress as fashionably as possible, even though I really did love my denim dresses (but I owned them long before I ever decided to homeschool).

With my own wardrobe as fashionable and trendy as possible...  T-shirts, jeans (not mom jeans), cute dresses, etc, it came time to help my children form their own styles.  I was grateful that being the height of fashion was not on my son's agenda.  In our Atlanta suburb, saggy jeans that show underwear, $100.00+ sneakers, and other thug-wear is very popular.  I wasn't having it, and my son had no desire to do it either.  So, yes, his clothes border or a little nerdy... we like to call it preppy.  He has a more casual version of his father's professional wardrobe.  Good and done.



But then there was... the girl.  Dressing girls is a pain and a struggle.  They like to experiment.  They don't know the difference between fashionable and skanky.   There are so many nuances, that need to

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I didn't teach them that!

Things my homeschoolers learned without my help.

So now that homeschoolers have disputed all of the stereotypical questions that homeschoolers are hit with...

What about socialization?

What about the prom?

How will they get into college?

What about the graduation ceremony?

There is still one question that makes some of us stop in our tracks and scratch out heads.  That question is how will they learn things you don't understand yourself?

To date, my stock answer has been "If I can't teach it, I'll hire a tutor".  But I honestly can't hire a tutor for every single item they want to know that I don't understand and can't teach.  There just isn't enough money to go around.  Because of this, my kids missed out on horseback riding, soccer, and animation classes... things that didn't fit into my budget when there was an expressed interest.

For all of the things I couldn't pay for, I managed to hire a tutor for something

Friday, October 05, 2012

If you don't homeschool your kids, you don't love them

I came across a Huffington Post blog where the writer/parent listed the reasons she would never homeschool her children.

I found it mildly disturbing that each and every one of her reasons started with I.  I-I-I-I-I.  I need time away from them.  I am afraid of math.  I don't like refereeing my kids when they fight. I like dropping them off at school.  But here's the deal.  It's how she feels.  It is her truth. She is being honest.  I sense an inability to see things from her kids side, but considering her reasons for not homeschooling, her kids

Monday, October 01, 2012

How do I not talk about homeschooling?


The Homeschool & Etc blog asks "Should Homeschoolers Keep a Low Profile".  That got me thinking.   Just recently at a small gathering, the topic of conversation once again turned to homeschooling.  It was very uncomfortable because many of the women there were public school teachers.  My only saving grace was that they were slightly disgruntled teachers.

I tried to tell myself "girl, shut-up", but I felt like I had diarriea if the mouth, just droning on and on until someone changed the subject... thank goodness.  I then asked myself, why does this always happen?

I realized of course, that it is NOT MY FAULT!  If I have my kid with me, someone will inevitably ask, "what school do you go to?"  She answers, I am homeschooled, or I homeschool and go to a

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Hats off to those who teach

Happy Elf Mom got me pre-occupied today with Tony Danza's project, Teach.   I actually ended up watching more than I thought I would.  Regardless of how his days did or did not go, I saw a ton of heart.  I have to say that I have had a lot of aught with different teachers over the years.  I have also had a lot of good teachers, not to mention that I was raised by a teacher, and have a very dedicated teacher in my family.

I saw that the best teachers have a lot in common with Mr. Danza... heart.  I saw tears on the program.  I saw tears in my home.  I see tears in the eyes of my family members who teach now. They don't cry because

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

All this stuff is just extra

I spent the weekend at Dragon*Con.  I won't rehash it all because I wrote about it here.  But there's is always something refreshing about leaving my over-sized Atlanta McMansion and living in a 12X15

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Questions about my accelerated homeschooler

I've been asked a lot of question about my accelerated homeschooler lately.  The conversation tends to go like this.

Them:  So, now that your son is starting college, you only have one child to homeschooling.  What is she now?  A Sophomore?

Me:  No, she's a Senior.

Them:  A Senior?

Me:  A Senior.

Them:  So, did you rush her through so you could be done? (knowing smile)

Me: No. Both kids worked at their own pace and both were on pace to graduate at about 16.  My son decided at 11th grade level that he didn't want to graduate so soon, so he took longer.  My daughter made it

Friday, August 10, 2012

Homeschool Regrets- looking back

Overall, I am happy about our homeschool experience. But there are still some nagging regrets. Basically, when we started out there were some things that I just assumed would happen, but they just never did. They are:

Travel:  We did get to Los Angeles, and SanFrancisco and to the Georgia Coasts and parts of Florida but we had hoped that since we were homeschooling, we'd get to see more of the country and even get overseas, two things stopped us.
  • Scheduling.  Our schedule was not as flexible as we thought it would be.  Because the kids were in a homeschool program that met weekly, our lives weren't as flexible as we thought it would be. 
  • Money.  They economy went screwy so flying a family of four around the country went from something that we didn't think twice about to something we didn't even think about.  You never know though.  Maybe we can squeeze in a big trip this year and get a good deal on flights to Sydney