Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Carnival of Homeschooling, 464th Edition to this, the 464th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

I have hosted the Carnival of Homeschooling here on my blog several times and it is always such a pleasure to read blog posts that homeschooling parents are willing to share with the homeschool community.

I hope you enjoy this edition particularly for the theme: Let Them Be Themselves!
Most of these blog posts in this carnival have a basic message about celebrating the children than we have in our homes, just for who they are.

I hope you visit the blog posts in this carnival,
and if you do, Please leave a comment! 
Bloggers appreciate your feedback.

If you like what you read, please promote the goodness on your blog, 
on Facebook, Google, in your homeschool group, 
other social media, and with friends!
  • Let's begin by welcoming Laurie to the Carnival ofHomeschooling this week and sharing her contribution from her blog Trivium Pursuit. Laurie and her husband Harvey are authors of some gorgeously-illustrated books written specifically for the Christian Classical Homeschooler. In her post called Please Read This Book, however, she is discussing important points that she discovered in a book entitled Your Family God's Way: Developing and Sustaining Relationships in the Home by Wayne A. Mack. Laurie's blog post explains four ingredients for communication disasters. In addition to this post that Laurie submitted to the carnival, may I also recommend a post entitled One Learns Best When He Pursues His Interests.

    Laurie and Harvey also generously offer their ebook entitled Ten things To Do Ages Ten Through Twelve for free for a limited time only. Check it out here.
  •  Another warm welcome to Andrea, another long-time homeschool mom, now dealing with her own version of the Empty Next Syndrome. At Andrea's blog entitled Notes from a Homeschooled Mom she writes about the creativity on our children in her post Let Talented Children Be Talented. I appreciate her reminder that we parents need to support the children that we have, rather than the children that we fantasize about. Also, please read her post entitled Famous Homeschoolers Have People Saying...HUH?, a post about Jaden and Will Smith's children being quoted in the media. Andrea, thanks for reminding us that these kids are, and that we need to give them a little slack.
  •  Denise author colorThe Carnival of Homeschooling welcomes Denise to the carnival this week. At her blog Let's Play Math! she offers a post that is part of a series on how to meet grade-level goals by playing with math concepts: "Don’t think of the standards as a 'to do' list, but as your guide to an adventure of exploration. The key to learning math is to see it the mathematician’s way, as a game of playing with ideas". Denise's post Roadmap to Mathematics: 2nd Grade is for you mommas with kids working at the second grade level!  
  • Sara at Sara J. Schmidt blog talks about how she and her daughter are similar and how they are different in her blog post entitled In Defense of Ron Weasley. I'm sure that Every. Single. One. Of. Us. can relate in some way.

    WHEW! What a wonderful carnival this week! My thanks to the wonderful parents who submitted blog posts and my thanks to Henry Cate and family for the Carnival of Homeschooling!

    If you would like to hostess an upcoming edition of this carnival, please contact Henry Cate at the above link. I recommend hostessing on your blog because it is so much fun to read the wide variety of homeschooling blogs out there!

    If you would like to submit your own blog post to an upcoming Carnival of Homeschooling, it's easy! Just send the following information to:
    Name of your blog:
    URL of your blog:
    Name of your post:
    URL of your post:
    Brief summary of your post:

    That's all it takes and YOU can be featured in the next carnival.

    Other blog carnivals exist if you are interested in a specific area of homeschooling. You can also send your blog posts to these carnivals:
    • Secular Homeschooler Carnival is found here.
    • Homeschool High School Carnival can be found here.
    • Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers can submit here.
    • Classical Homeschoolers can find out more here.
    • Unschoolers can go here.
    • Check out the Homeschooled Kids blog carnival here.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    Gemma Says This About Homeschooling

    I was contacted by a mother who is working to support her family 
    with her freelance writing. 
    She wrote this piece for homeschoolers.
    Although she is not a homeschooler, she sure tried and I applaud that!
    I'm happy to support her efforts

    The Financial Cost of Home Schooling your Child

    Deciding whether or not to home school your children is a big decision, and should not be taken lightly. Aside from sorting out the logistics of turning your home into an arena fit for education, there are also matters such as the quality of education and the lack of social time your child will receive.
    If you decide that home schooling is the right way forward, then the only obstacle that remains – besides ensuring you actually have the time to be the teacher – is to make sure you can afford it.
    Fortunately, the amount of money home schooling costs per year can vary significantly, and if you’ve even thought about it then it’s likely that you the budget to go ahead with it.

    Free Time  
    Naturally, if you’re going to be home schooling your children then you (or your partner) need to have the free time to actually teach them. This means that, barring part-time work, you’re most likely a single-income family, and if someone is giving up their job to be the teacher then the cost of lost income has to be factored in to the overall cost of the education. For example, if the education only costs £500 a year but a £20,000 salary has been lost then you’re going to feel the cost of home schooling much more than just £500 worth.
    Of course, only you know the state of your finances; it may be that you’re in a position to give up the job. However, it is worth mentioning that it’s not fair to the children if you try to fit in a job on top of home schooling to bring more money in to the home. No matter how hard you try, their education will inevitably end up suffering because of it.

    Cost of Education
    Sending your children to a traditional school can be expensive. You need to buy clothes, materials, backpacks, textbooks, transport to and from school, and a whole host of other expenses. Teaching your child at home can do away with a number of these expenses, and can actually end up being cheaper than traditional education, in many cases.
    However, these expenses don’t just disappear – the home still has to be stocked with pens, pencils, notebooks, and textbooks. Depending on availability and the subject, you might have to spend a significant amount just on the subject materials alone. Additionally, you’ll also have to pay the examination boards the cost of the exam – which can be as much as £100 per exam.

    Extra Costs
    Part of the beauty of home schooling is the flexibility it gives the parent for how they teach their child, but these creative ideas cost money, too. A trip to see a castle you’re studying in history will be a lot of fun, and undoubtedly beneficial, but you have to factor in the cost of the entrance to the castle itself – which could be £10 or more per student – as well as the cost of the petrol to get to the site.
    There are also basic infrastructure costs, too. Modern schools are fitted with excellent technology, so at the very least you’ll need a decent computer for interactive learning. Wi-Fi is also recommended. While you may already have those things, it can be a big initial outlay, especially the computer, if you haven’t.
    Finally, studying at home will mean that your energy bills increase. It’s unavoidable – after all, the bills for house that needs to be warmed throughout the day will be much more than a house that lies empty throughout the week.

    The benefits of home schooling your children are plain to see, and it’s no wonder that parents who do home school the children often say they wouldn’t change it for the world. Still, it’s necessary to review your financial situation before jumping in to the exciting voyage that is home education; make sure you consider what’s best for your child rather than just what you want, because an education without financial backing is unlikely to be much of an education at all.
    If it’s financially viable, then wonderful, and welcome aboard! Like the other home school parents out there, you’re sure to find out just how rewarding it is to spend each day with your child as they grow into young men and women.



    About Gemma:  I worked as a fitness instructor and then, after my studies, as a nutritionist for over a decade. On becoming a mother a few years ago, I took a step back and decided to indulge my love of writing. Since then I've written on a wide variety of subjects.


    Stay tuned, 
    the Carnival of Homeschooling is due out later today!

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Amazing Online Activities for Atheist Parents...erm....KIDS!

    I borrowed some of these links from another blogger with her permission. 

    Thank you Godless Mom!

    This post is formatted terribly, but I have got some great links to share and not alot of time:

    12 Amazing Online Activities For Growing Critical Thinkers & Their Atheist Parents

    Color a pterosaur 

    Charles Darwin's Game

    NASA's Space Place for Kids

    Smithsonian Moon Walk Video SO much great stuff here!

    Canadarm2 Simulator This game from the same space agency that gave us my hero, Chris Hadfield, lets you experience how to manipulate the Canadarm 2 at the International Space Station.

    OlogyThis is the American Museum of Natural History’s web site for kids with endless hours of games and activities to do with our natural history   

    National Geographic for KidsLittle know facts, polls, games and activities that teach kids about our world. Includes loads of stunning Nat Geo style photos.


    Let me know if you try out any of these activities!

    Saturday, November 15, 2014

    CAll For BLOG POSTS you are a homeschooling blogger, please submit your blog post for the upcoming Carnival of Homeschooling to be hosted HERE Nov 25th.

    Send your blog post submission to: 
    by 8:00PM CST, Thursday, November 24th.
    Submissions even earlier are appreciated! 
    Please send the following information:

    Title of Post:
    URL of Post:
    Name of Blog:
    URL of Blog:
    Brief summary of the post:
    (Please Type "carnival" or "submission" in the subject field of the email.)

    I am hostessing the carnival 
    here on My Own Mind blog
    on November 25th.

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    Parents Need to "Deschool" Too: Part One

    new to homeschooling, deschooling, frustrated homeschooling parent failure
    Recently I was talking to a young mother of young daughter. They had been homeschooling for less than a year and this mother, I'll call her Jenny, was feeling like a loser and like the worst homeschooling mother ever. She was discouraged, to say the least. 
    My daughter is like my husband. She is ahead of the game in most every subject...reading at 3rd grade level or higher, and is doing at least 1st grade math. We have skipped over most of the stuff that she would be doing in a typical kindergarten class and are working out of workbooks, worksheets I have found and printed out, along with making up some of our own lessons. I just do not know what to do... Now it is a struggle to get her to finish getting ready in the mornings so we can start our school work. She does great when she finally decides to sit down and do the work. Usually almost all her work is perfect.

    Every single homeschooling parent can appreciate Jenny's concerns because we have all been there, the struggle, the self doubt, the fear of failure, the fear that we're not good enough. When the kids are dragging their feet into lessons and when we sense the resistance just under the surface we, the homeschooling parent, begin to experience the fears that this may have been a terrible idea. After awhile we all feel that frustration of feeling that we have to fight our children to get them to the table.

    We didn't want this kind of environment of dynamic in our home, yet here it is.

    The surprise answer to this is that WE, 
    the parents, might be the problem. 
    And it's solvable.

    Deschooling is a term often used in the homeschooling world that means to taking time off from formal lessons or academia at the beginning of the homeschooling change in order to restore a child to a healthier, happier, receptive person after having had negative experiences in traditional school. I'm sure that there are other/better/different definitions of the term somewhere. For the purpose of this post, though, I am referring to the need of we parents to deschool, to let go of what we see as learning, as acceptable lessons, as what we view as normal or necessary or schooling as we homeschool our children. 

    For this post I'm going to use the term deschooling to mean the process of letting go of the rules of schooling and of accepting a wider, more generous, more accepting modes of what is learning. It is the process of liberating one's self to an environment in the home and family that is unique and inspiring and enlarging, regardless of the method, mode, or style.

    The kids with my sister, Brenda
    With some exceptions, most of us were traditionally-schooled kids. We know that when your work is done in the classroom you find quiet activities to keep you busy until the class time is over. We know that learning activities occur at the desk in silence. We know that only one person can talk at a time. We know that the teacher knows it all. We know that learning begins at 9am and ends at 3pm. We know that this structure is worshiped. We know that routine and organization are necessary in a classroom. We know that our papers need to be neat and tidy and on time. 

    We know that there is a right way and a wrong way. We know that a body of people who know better than us ...somewhere... has decided what we should learn and how we should learn it. We know that others tell us when and how and what to learn. We know that our questions and daydreams and comments aren't welcome in the learning milieu. We know that someone else gives us the materials to learn. We know that all knowledge comes from someone else and is given to us in spoons full. We know that our lessons come out of our textbook and curriculum. We know that we need to read appropriate and pre-approved materials. We know that some reading is crap and other reading is edifying and wholesome. We know that tradition is key. We know that the point of view of our culture is the best...  

    You get it, we, the parents, are living in our heads with the knowledge of what learning is supposed to look like...and homeschooling seldom looks like that. We worry about how others see us, if they judge us, what they think we should be doing... The worry catches up and pretty soon we are feeling like huge failures.

    The good news is that there is a place to start to get yourself back on the road to wherever it is you were hoping to be when you decided to take that step into homeschooling your children.

    It is a basic two step intervention:
    1. Say to yourself, I didn't meant to be schooling at home! That's not what we were planning on! And...
    2. Ask your child what they would rather be doing and do that!
    So, relax, Jenny, and deschool awhile, and stay tuned because I have more to come!
    Welcome to the wonderful world of homeschool.

    Have you deschooled?
    What was your experience like?

    Other posts you might enjoy:
    Are You One of the Good Homeschoolers?
    Strategies and Stuff for Successful Homeschooling
    Another Reason That I'm Glad I'm Not a Camel

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Carl Sagan

    Carl Sagan once said
     The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media...especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

    This is a thing that is connected to a thing that bothers me about getting my "news" online. If I follow a link to a news story I will often find nothing but a brief news video clip, no words, no reporting, no context...  How are we, as a nation, supposed to be informed in there is no information available?  Which is ironic considering how easy it is to share information. 

    One of the major problems with this, of course, is that people have stopped being informed unless they deliberately reach out to inform themselves and spend time researching the isues. The media is almost a caricature of itself by being the clown and by producing headlines with no substantive story behind it. You get overreaction to certain types of stories and a lack of coverage of other stories. You get stories designed to scare but not inform you. You get bombastic, empty windbags who are celebrities. You get news stories from a single point of view. 

    Hopefully it becomes clear that we, as consumers of the news, are being led rather than informed. You cease to be informed at all, rather, the nation of consumers of this stuff becomes reactive, frightened, poorly-informed, sheltered citizens who don't really know what is happening.

    A country uninformed and frightened is a country that is primed for a religious backslide.

    I am not in touch with all of America or American culture (on purpose) so it is difficult for me to determine what the trends are, especially with regards to religious, political, or philosophical trends.  The "sides" are always so loud and verbose that it's difficult to know what is true and what is propaganda. I often wonder what is truly happening.

    Carl Sagan wasn't very optimistic about this country's religious bent and its trend toward being less informed and more superstitious...  

    Maybe it is because I don't pay attention to every single damn thing out there, but I find myself feeling generally optimistic about our future most of the time. Then some stories will come up in the news and I will fall into a kind of existential depression...

    I admit to being on a downward spiral with regards to this nation's future at this moment, probably due to the recent election.  But I am honestly wondering where you stand on this...what do you think?
    Do you think that atheism or gaining momentum OR is superstition gaining ground?????? Or is there a third thing? Or a fourth...?

    I would like to offer a special WELCOME
    to readers in Algeria.
    You might also enjoy these posts:
    Sunday on Fox 9/0 CST
    I Love Quotes
    All Knowing, All Loving, and Ever Loving God

    Monday, November 10, 2014


    It is almost time for the next 

    If you are a blogger with posts that would fit our purview, please submit your blog post to this unique carnival for atheist parents.  

    This carnival is not just for atheists, 
    but for freethinkers, secularists, humanists, and for all others who choose a secular lifestyle and who are raising children.

    Many parents out there are new to living a secular life, new to raising children without the traditional ways, sometimes hidden and living in seclusion due to their secular choices, afraid to be open, and yet determined to raise their children as skeptics, freethinkers, and as happy people. These atheist parents are looking for those few voices out there who can offer them understanding, community, advice, or just a general feeling of being normal.

    This blog carnival is for blog posts by parents who are raising their children in a secular home, without religion, dogma-free. If you have a parenting blog, won't you consider submitting a post for an upcoming carnival?
    The next carnival is due out:  November 30th, 2014
    Please send in your blog post submissions 
    by November 29th, 2014

    Send the following information to

    Type CAP SUBMISSION or Carnival of Atheist Parenting in the email subject line.
    BRIEF DESCRIPTION of writer or blog:
    May I use an image from your blog?  Yes/no/preferred image


    Saturday, November 8, 2014

    Homeschooling and Socialization, Socialization and Homeschooling

    homeschooling and socialization, homeschoolers are weird
    No doubt about it, socialization is different for homeschoolers. 

    I ran across this piece that I thought I'd pass along to you, if you are still wondering about the issue. I think it's a good perspective.

    For our family, we have always found that being with friends, socializing, by the way, not socialization, requires deliberate action. We do not have our three besties at the lunch table, quietly eating their sandwiches five days a week nor do we have buddies living down the block. 

    Instead we go out of our way to create time together, meaningful time, fun time, hangout time.  In fact, at this very moment my daughter's bestie is here at the house and planning on staying a few days with us (as she often does) and John is about to run out to see friends.

    Community is crucial, essential to human beings. Time with friends may be even ten times more crucial for our kids. I can handle it when I don't get to be with friends, but my kids need it. They need it and so do your kids and that is why we deliberately build hang out time, unstructured, into every single week. As much as possible.  

    When I was a kid in public school I don't remember alot of talk about socialization. Maybe it was there and I just missed it because if there had been talk about it, surely school socialization would have been better because Good Grief. My experience in school wasn't good and I have some wonderful friends who had truly horrific experiences. Not that I'm sure that my experiences forty years ago relate to schools today...

    Maybe we need to simply be clear and say this:
    Kids also need us to respect their personal preferences for friendships in their lives.

    Honestly, sometimes my kids both hermit-out. I encourage contact with friends regularly but the kids both have their own personal level of how much, how often, how deeply they need to be with beloved friends. In fact, both of them prefer long, meaningful times with a friend or two interspersed with time alone. Because of our consciousness of the issue, we can respect their needs... and plan accordingly.

    You might also enjoy these posts:
    Homeschooling and Socialization, Again

    Homeschoolers Discuss Socialization
    Are  Homeschoolers Weird?
    Part 5 of 5:  Prospective Homeschool Parents:  Socialization 
    Anti Homeschooling  
    12 Homeschool Myths Busted by Homeschoolers

    Tuesday, November 4, 2014


    Many THANKS to John for going with me to vote today.
    We saw some electioneers, a guy complaining about the electioneers, some old-timey election booths on display, and the cool new touch booth. 

    Today was a pretty busy day for us. We had a good many things on the schedule for the day. 

    CHECK OUT the video for VOTE LIKE THAT   

    John and I started out at the climbing wall with a friend. From the climbing facility to the polling place we talked about elections, parties, what to expect, and American elections in general. Our family doesn't watch any television at all so John hasn't seen any of the political ads so he was curious about how so much money could be spent by candidates on just the yard signs that he has seen.  LOL  Next time I'll make sure to get him to watch some television ads so that he understands various propaganda methods used by various parties, candidates, and issues.

    climbing wall
    He generally tunes out radio noise, so I wasn't surprised that he couldn't recall hearing a single radio ad. This isn't really surprising as we seldom have the radio on except for when we are in the car... 

    John went to the polling station with me and registered my votes for me. I explained what was on the ballot, including the propositions up for vote and the various seats. I like how the issues are now explained on the screen. When I first started voting there was a notation like:  Proposition 4a and the voter simply had to know things by their code numbers. When I was younger and not as informed I often voted for random judges and props. John and I talked about the unintended effects of uninformed voters.

    Now information is so readily available for voters.  From issues on the ballot to judge seats to other candidates, it is far easier in 2014 to be an informed voter than it was a few decades ago. It's amazing!

    So, I hope you voted too.  

    My Gorgeous Son

    Here are some posts you might also enjoy:
    We Want Peace
    Independence Day:  Free and Equal
    Why Compassion is Not a Tactical Advantage
    'Tis the Season