Saturday, January 29, 2011

Parental Improvement

I am becoming a better parent!

I have learned SO many things about my daughter in the last six weeks or so and I feel like I am finally understanding her...and, in doing so, becoming a better parent for her.

Why is this news?  Why should I write about this?

Because, if you Google "Becoming a Better Parent" you will find thousands of lists of ways to change or add to your parenting rules.
You will find:  Punish for wrong doing, be consistent, make them take responsibility, limit tv, limit video games, use positive language, quit trying to be their friend, count to ten, make goals, work, be firm, learn how to say "no", etc...
Eh, not all of it is that bad!

But, you will NOT find, learn more, listen more to your child, and make sure that you KNOW him/her, make sure you are not taking your own "stuff" and putting it on your child.  Open your eyes, ask many questions of your child in an effort to get to know them better.  Pretend that you are just meeting your child and have them describe themselves.  You might just learn something!

I have learned so much lately and our household is a much more peaceful place!

Homeschool Question: How Will Your Children Ever Learn About Life?

My friend Rayven and her boys
Good grief, how can they NOT learn about life!
We are living our lives in our community every day!  Errands, lessons, household chores, friends, activities, and the other million myriad things that a family is involved in on a daily basis.  
What do you think, we live in a closet?!

Is this answer too snarky?

Look, According to the National Center For Education Statistics, ,  almost 1.1 million children were homeschooling in 2005 alone.  So families of almost 1.1 MILLION children have undertaken the responsibility of educating their children.  Doesn't it stand to reason that their SOLE PURPOSE for educating their beloved offspring is so that said offspring can learn about Life?
If a child learns from a family that is dedicated to their upbringing, don't you think they are learning how to live a healthy life?
So do I.

But what do schools really do? They separate their students by age and ability, reinforce class and gender stereotypes and prejudices, and limit "social" interactions to short recess periods. Schoolchildren are forced to socialize with children only their own age and are trapped in a building six to seven hours a day, allowed to view the outside world only through dirty windows and a textbook.  Dangerous school environments, extremely restrictive buildings, and teaching to the test...NOT a recipe for good "life learning".
Doesn't this bring up the question:  How will these children ever learn about LIFE?
Cheating, competition, bullying, consumerism, favoritism, addictions, cliques, and cruel teasing are often the social values children learn at school. Homeschooled children are more likely to base their decisions on values they learned from their family, friends, and unique preferences instead of feeling compelled to go along with the crowd and accept the behavior of what other children are displaying as the "norm". Clothes, music, books, art, goals, hobbies, activities, values.  These are places where I see such a wonderfully, vast array of interesting choices in the homeschooling children that I know. In fact, I can honestly say, my children are incredibly UNIQUE with such a variety of interests...all from following their own interests and seeing where they would lead.
Because homeschoolers spend so much time out in the real world, they are able to communicate well and get along with both adults and children. Research studies have often reported notably superior communication and social skills in homeschooled children. In fact, most even get along with their siblings! And this homeschooling family often receives  positive comments about our children's strong, warm sibling relationships.
So, are we still wondering if homeschooled children will learn about life?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Our Homeschool Schedule

I am frequently questioned about our homeschool SCHEDULE.  My first reaction is to *SNORT* and say, 'Man, you don't know me very well!"  Because I abhor schedules.  I abhor things that think that they can tell me what to do.  I'm fairly immature about this, actually.
But, upon reflection, I realize that we have created a schedule of sorts.  It is a way of operating that works best for our family.

John wakes up first.  He gets his day started with brushing teeth, cereal or other breakfast, and doing work that I have set out for him the night before in the homeschool room .  It is usually about an hour worth of work.  Math practice problems (his favorite), handwriting, journal work, and, usually, a history or science or social studies bit of reading with reading comprehension questions, and reading in his literature book.  He typically works for about an hour or so on his own.

By this time, Elizabeth and I have joined the human race.
I then do work, teaching lessons with them together.  It is usually critical thinking, history, current events, character and ethics work...
We work for about an hour or an hour and a half and then take a break.
After some relax time, each child goes off and does some independent work on the computer, in the kitchen, or someplace else.
We put in three to four hours on a typical day such as this one.

Afternoons, we are often out at homeschool co op classes, running errands, field trips, visiting friends, having friends over, library, any number of things...
Then, in the evening, Elizabeth spends about two hours (at least!) reading and writing.
 There you go, our schedule!  It includes practice work, lessons and lectures together, rehearsals, and independent work...
So, there you have it,
the schedule of an unscheduled homeschooler!

Friday, January 7, 2011

What is So Wrong About the Public School System?

Go to "Google" and type that question in "What is so wrong about the public school system?"
See what you find.
Go ahead.
I'll wait...

Oh dear, I got 35,000,000 hits on that question!
35,000,000 people who are all interested in publicly reporting their opinions on the matter.
I guess that makes me 35,000,001.

What is wrong with the public school system from our point of view?  Because that is what people really mean when they ask me this question.  They mean, "Why do you think that YOU are so special that the public school system isn't good enough for you?"

My answer:  because I choose it to be so.

We could be there.  We could be in the school, following a curriculum created by the state, the school district, someone ELSE.  We could be in the federally-funded building, subject to someone else's agenda; because, make no mistake, a public school is a government institution.  My children could be in that building where "learning" is entirely for the purpose of passing a test.  My child could be sitting in that room where the students read out of the book to one another and each child recreates significant bits of data onto another piece of paper.  My children could be in the school where children were subject to dubious "socialization".  We are all familiar with the terms underfunded, understaffed.

Instead, we choose to pursue information in our own way.  We choose to chase wisdom in the winds.  We choose to create our own sense of who we are and what is important.  We choose to avoid "dumbing down" information and allow our children to rise to the levels necessary to comprehend information.  We choose to keep our standards high, to keep our expectations high, and to keep this family high on the list of what is important.

I honestly and truly appreciate the wonderful teachers that I was fortunate enough to have while I was in school.  I remember Mrs. Stork, Mrs. Rompel, Mrs. Beisegel, Jane Mueth, and several others very fondly and with appreciation..  They truly helped me to become who I am today.
I am not here to DIS the schools, only to EMBRACE homeschooling!