Thursday, October 8, 2009

Famous Homeschooler of the Week

It's been a while since I posted a Famous Homeschooler of the week, so I decided to post one this week. I find my Famous Homeschoolers on the HSLDA website.


Blaise Pascal was born in France in 1623 and educated by his father, Etienne. For some reason, his father decided not to teach his son mathematics until he reached the age of 15. But Blaise Pascal was gifted by God with a natural curiosity, and began to work on geometry by himself at age 12. His study of geometry and hydrodynamics led him to invent the syringe and the hydraulic press.

However, Pascal was more than just a scientist. Later in life, a near-death experience caused him to write these words, which he eventually stitched into the lining of his jacket. He wrote: “Fire. The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. Not of the philosophers and intellects. The God of Jesus Christ. My God and your God. Forgetfulness of the world and everything except God.”

He is also known for the famous “Pascal’s Wager,” attempting to prove that belief in God is rational. He states: “If God does not exist, one will lose nothing by believing in Him; while if He does exist, one will lose everything by not believing.” He later went on to write Pensées, a philosophical collection of personal thoughts on human suffering and faith in God.

Blaise Pascal—another tribute to the success of home education.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Common Questions about Homeschooling

"What things are vital to my success?"
We started with the ABC's of beginning homeschooling. Let's end with the 1-2-3 of things to do so you can't help but be successful!
1. Anything new in life has the potential to be trying--and can end in defeat if you haven't
built your foundation AND shored up your supports. It is imperative that you and your
husband are "reading the same recipe". Be sure to pray together before you start,
converse frequently along the way, and spend time reading uplifting and encouraging
2. You will want to find like-minded families. Start asking around, search the Internet, and
don't forget to look at your state or country's Homeschool Nations page on The Old
Schoolhouse Magazine website at! Hook up with
a support group. Once you begin to go to meetings, on field trips, and on other activities,
you will find friends that you "click" with. Since relationships are key to success,
cultivate these. You can become a part of the homeschooling community online at
3. Mentors abound! One thing that veteran homeschoolers like to do is talk about
homeschooling! Find those in your area who can guide you with some tried-and-true
wisdom. Read homeschooling books and magazines at your local library, go to your
state convention, and try different support group meetings. Sometimes a play group
will turn out to be a great sharing time between the moms there. If you can't go to
conventions, get some speaker presentations on tape! You can have well known
speakers on audio right at home!
The journey of homeschooling is much more than a recipe for a nurturing dish or award-winning treats--but we hope these tips will help you find high quality ingredients and the tools you need. Our prayer is that your homeschooling endeavor will be both profitable and enjoyable and that these ideas on how to develop your own personal family recipe will bless you for years to come. We wish you many batches of healthy, happy homeschooling adventures!

This is the last post on Common Questions about Homeschooling from the little brochure that came with one of the issues of my Old Schoolhouse magazine. I hope this information has been helpful to you.

If you have any questions about homeschooling that I didn't cover, please feel free to ask me by clicking on the word "comment" at the bottom of this post and typing your question. I will do my best to answer your questions. We are in our seventh year of homeschooling and have been involved in co-ops, small groups that provided activities and field trips, and we have tried different approaches to homeschooling.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

More Common Questions about Homeschooling

"What if my child has special needs?"
An excellent resource for special needs homeschooling is NATHHAN, the National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network. But remember, there are always unique needs present in every family! Some people have a special diet to adhere to--hence, no sugar or wheat is included in the recipe. And as with a special diet, there are special considerations in every family situation. You may be raising one or more children with a disability; or you, the parent, may have an illness or condition. See these things as challenges, not obstacles. An upcoming move or new baby in the family is just on more opportunity to learn! (And parents, YOU choose how to guide the learning.) Homeschooling in these situations is really no different from everyday life with them, and you are already familiar with that.

"Isn't there more to it than books, though?"
did you know that learning life skills is homeschooling too? How many high school grads do you know who don't have the necessary skills to manage a home? Lots. With homeschooling, you can be sure to teach your kids routine home maintenance, cooking, gardening, how to balance a checkbook, and so on! These things are part of life, but sometimes they get pushed to the "back burner" at an institutional school. Homeschooling provides guidance and direction in all areas of life, not just academics.

Yet again, this information came from the little pamphlet that came with one of the issues of my Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Just two installments left to this series.

By the way, homeschoolers also have access to sports. Some play sports with the local public school, but many homeschool groups also have organized sports. To see some photos of this, visit my other blog, Cozy Comforts, because my oldest son, Anthony, is currently in his soccer season and I posted photos from their first game today.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our Field Trip to our local Farm Show and Fair

Some larger goats relaxing.
This young man's little goat did not want to go back to his pen.

Yes, this is a rabbit, not a guinea pig. It is called a lionhead rabbit and really does appear to have a mane. The picture is not the best, but after I took this shot, he turned his back on me. I guess he decided one shot was enough for me.

I don't know what kind of rabbit this is, but I thought it was cute.

This is a billy pygmy goat.

This is a baby pygmy goat.

This is part of the preparation process for showing your cows. This lady is washing her cow with a hose.

Here is a Brown Swiss on it's way to be judged.

This cow is getting some of it's back hair trimmed to get ready for judging.

This young cow is just relaxing.

More Common Questions about Homeschooling

"Do I have to have my children tested?"
Like so many things in life, educational choices are a personal decision. Of course, some states have laws governing this. In that case, always obey the law.
Some questions to consider are which tests will be used and why, how testing might affect the student, what will be done with the results, and whether there are less intrusive alternatives?
Assessments are another way to evaluate learning. Just like when your children were babies, you can discover what they have learned by spending time with them. Standardized tests try to give a measurement of the amount of learning that has taken place up to a specific point. Assessments don't have any standard of what a child "should" be able to do; instead, they look at the child as a whole, focusing on what the child does know instead of what he doesn't.

"My children don't behave well. How can I teach them at home if they won't listen to me?"
While it is true that your children need to be obedient before they can learn from you, childrearing is also a process that is a natural outgrowth of homeschooling. But we all need some help and training in that area. One wonderful resourse is, a ministry of Michael and Debi Pearl, who homeschooled all five of their children. Parenting doesn't come naturally but is a skill to be learned, and homeschooling can give parents a better opportunity to nurture and train their children than they would otherwise have had.

"But I want my kids to go to college! Can they 'get in' if we teach them at home?"
Colleges, universities, and vocational schools all over the US seek out responsible homeschooled students. They recognize the value of capability, motivation, and courtesy and consider these in addition to formal transcripts, diplomas, or GEDs. Most libraries and bookstores carry books, directories, and guides that will help older homeschoolers get information and prepare for this next step. College is not the only, or even the best, route for every high school graduate. Sending kids to college who don't know exactly what their goals are is expensive and often undermines or destroys the value system you just invested your time and effort to give them. On the other hand, many homeschoolers choose an apprenticeship over formal schooling as a faster, simpler, and less expensive option. By immersing themselves in the skill they are trying to learn, they get the "whole picture".
Remember, your kids don't have to go to college immediately after graduation. they can even decide they don't want to go and later change their mind and decide to go after all. In fact, most educational institutions prefer older students; they are usually excited about being there and want to learn.

(Again, this came from that pamphlet that I received with one of my Old Schoolhouse Magazines. Just a few more posts from this pamphlet left -- maybe two or three.)

Friday, September 25, 2009


First of all, I want to say that I had problems with the computer and that is why I haven't posted in a while again, but things have been worked out. So, hopefully, I will be posting much more regularly from now on.

Now, we have a street fair going on in our town right now. We always enjoy it for the food and fun events. Usually my boys participate in the greased pig chase, but this year decided not to. We always go to the parade, and our little foster son really enjoyed it this year. Thursday is Kiddies' Day and for four hours in the afternoon the rides are half price. So, we like to make Thursday a Field Trip day. First we go down to the park where they have the livestock, so we can see the cows, sheep, goats, pigs and rabbits. We also get to see some of the livestock judging and some of the preparation they do to the cows before they are judged.

We then go to the street fair and eat lunch and then the boys get to go on a few rides. Then we like to go into the building where the art entries are exhibited to see what's there. There's always some great things to see. Then, we end in the building where the exhibits are for crafts, flower arrangements, baked goods and photographs. My oldest son and I plan to enter some photos next year. With everything else that was going on getting a new addition to our family this year, I just didn't have the time to really go through my photos and choose and prepare. We usually go in the building to see the vegetable entries too, but somehow we missed that building this year.

Anyway, it was really neat to see how my boys were inspired to do some drawing after seeing the artwork. Anthony drew a really cool photo that I have posted above. Nicholas hasn't completed his yet. My next post will include some of the animals. That might not happen until Monday, because I don't often have time on weekends to be on the computer.

More Common Questions about Homeschooling

"Which method should I use to homeschool?"
There are so many different methods of homeschooling that you'll definitely be able to find one--the trick is finding the right ones. what is right for one person won't be for another. In fact, what is right for one person this year may not be right next year. Before you try to choose a teaching method, think about what learning means to you.
School curricula and methods have evolved so that one adult can teach a classroom of 25 or 30 children. Curriculum has been developed for this setting but not necessarily for sparking the interest of an individual child.
Homeschoolers can use these materials and adjust them to fit. Some families like the security of having a packaged curriculum. Some want to pick and choose from what's available and use a little of everything.
Let's briefly go over some of the most common homeschooling methods:
Traditional--this is probably how you learned if you went to public school. The traditional method usually starts with a curriculum with graded textbooks in each subject that follow a scope and sequence covering each subject in daily increments for a 12-year, 180-days-a-year academic program.
Classical--children under age 18 are taught tools of learning in a sequence known as the trivium. The modern proponent of the classical approach was British writer and medieval scholar Dorothy Sayers. As the Nazis rose to power in the 1930's, Sayers warned that schools were teaching children everything except how to think.
Unit Studies--this is often the method of choice for multi-level homeschooling. Integrating language arts, science, math, and so on, all learning is focused on a particular topic with each child learning at his or her own level of understanding.
Living Books--Charlotte Mason was a turn-of-the-century British educator who disliked several things in modern education. She believed in respecting children as persons, involving them in real-life situations, and allowing them to read really good books.
Unschooling--this term came about because of a 20th-century American, John Holt. He taught that learning comes from real-life experiences. Children pursue their own interests with support from their parents.
Principle Approach--Principle Approach homeschooling is an effort to restore to American Christians three vital concepts: knowledge of Christian history, an understanding of our role in the spread of Christianity, and the ability to live according to the Biblical principles upon which our country was founded.
Eclectic--this is any combination of the above! Pick and choose your own options.
The book Homeschooling Methods: Seasoned Advice on Learning Styles (Broadman & Holman), by the publishers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, details many tried-and-true homeschooling methods and models. Dr. Ruth Beechick, Diana Waring, Clay and Sally Clarkson, and Christine Field are just a few of the contributors represented.

(Again, as you can see by the last paragraph, this was taken from the little brochure I received with one of the issues of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back from M.I.A.

I'm really sorry everyone. I really had intended to be much more faithful to this blog because I know it is important to people looking for information, tips and support for homeschooling. Unfortunately, my computer has been on the fritz. It still isn't working as well as it should and a repairman will be coming out to take a look at it on Monday, an expensive endeavor, but we really rely on this machine. It is a wonderful help when homeschooling when it is working properly AND, as long as you use precautions because it can be a great help or a danger.

Anyway, I would like to continue with the Common Questions of Homeschoolers from the little pamphlet that came with one of my issues of The Old Schoolhouse magazine.

"Elementary age seems pretty easy, but what about high school?"
Sure, the early years can be a lot of fun, but just thinking about upper level math and science can seem daunting to some parents. It isn't necessary to send your children back to an institution! You can learn right along with your kids in those grades. In a lot of cases, kids are self-teachers by that time. Diana Johnson, homeschooling mother of 22 years wrote, "There is something very comfortable about homeschooling elementary age children ... then high school looms and our confidence often evaporates ... Fortunately, we can dilute this fear by carefully planning the high school years."
You have heard the saying "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." This is true in almost any situation, but other factors are also involved. Once you instill in your children a love of learning and ground them in the basics, they will "finish the race." And, if you still need help, you can find tutors (in person or online) on just about any subject.

"I hate math and even flunked in school. How am I supposed to teach that?"
Children have the most astonishing ability to want to learn about the one thing we know absolutely nothing about! But for homeschoolers, this challenge is easily overcome.
You can find classes taught by experts or people who have a passion for a certain subject. You'll find classes available as correspondence courses via snail mail, Internet courses, and video courses. Support groups, community centers, and colleges will also offer classes.
You'll find that many children are capable of teaching themselves. Think about this: when you decide to buy a computer, you do research about different brands, features, styles, service, and prices. Just as you "homeschool" yourself when you need to buy a new computer, your children can too.
When you're searching for teachers, don't overlook friends, acquaintances, and business people--most people are delighted to have a young person around who has an honest interest in what they do and know.
Parents don't have to be experts in every area their child learns about. That's one of the most wonderful things about homeschooling. Parents and children learn together!

"Won't they miss out on things like class field trips and activities?"
What about field trips and other activities that school students get to participate in? Many homeschool moms spend a lot of time exploring local museums and attractions with their children, and they are always educational! Whether you do it alone or with a group, exploring historic sites and museums can be incorporated into your children's course of study or just be a way to enjoy your area while getting an education. Museums have trained highly knowledgeable docents, and conversing with them is a great way for kids to learn new things and to sharpen their communication skills.
Support groups almost always have a field trip coordinator, or you can organize one yourself! Just get plugged in to your local group's email network and start exploring your world with other families. You and your kids can also volunteer at museums, libraries, or living history museums.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More Common Questions about Homeschooling

"Is Homeschooling Expensive?"
Homeschooling can be expensive or inexpensive, elaborate or simple. Your choice of books and resources, where you acquire them, and the number of children yo have will determine the expense.
It would be easy to spend a bundle on all the scrumptious learning materials and books available. On the other hand, a superior education doesn't have to mean an expensive one. With the Internet, there are so many valuable resources avilable that you could probably homeschool your children K-12 and barely spend a penny.
You probably already have many things you can use. Books can be read again and toys can be taken apart and put back together. Go through what you have, looking at each item through the eyes of a homeschooler.
Ask relatives and friends for dusty treasures like books, microscopes, or telescopes. Ask other homeschoolers for things they're done with that you could purchase or borrow. Check out eBay, thrift stores, garage sales, and used book sales. Be sure to pick up a book on simple carpentry. You'll need bookcases soon! Build your own and cover some geometry too!
Once you start homeschooling, you'll look at things differently. When you ask, "What can my children learn from this?" it's amazing how you'll begin to look at everything in a new way.

"Where can I find materials and resources?"
The Internet is a one-stop shopping place. Look through catalogs and websites. find a homeschool convention and go! Look, learn, and browse. Talk to the vendors, who have a wealth of information to share. Don't forget to pay the laborer his dues and buy from those you learn from.

"How can I teach several ages at once?"
Few homeschoolers have children all in one grade! Instead of giving them all books for their own grades, teach them all together whenever you can. Teach history by reading a novel aloud and then giving each child age-appropriate assignments. Multi-level teaching is simple, and it works. Give your children their own books for the thre Rs and teach everything else together like "the old one-room schoolhouse" teacher did!
Multi-level teaching takes less time and is less expensive than using classroom curriculum. Be sure to look at unit studies when teaching different levels at the same time. We recommend and Steward Ship (

"What about socialization?"
One of the most common and silliest questions homeschoolers are asked is whether their children will get the socialization they need. Think about it: aren't there a lot of public-schooled children who can't relate to adults or other children? Go to any local public school, walk the halls, and watch for behaviors that you want your children to imitate.
You don't have to be with other people of the same age group in order to socialize or "be socialized". As adults, we would consider time spent visiting with our sister, mother, or grandmother to be legitimate socialization. This is true of children also. Whether they are spending time with their peers, parents, grandparents, or siblings, they are socializing. And aren't they good at it?

This information is still coming from my pamphlet that came with one of my issues of The Old Schoolhouse magazine, and I will continue with more common questions in my next post.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Common Questions about Homeschooling

"I don't have a teaching degree. I'm just a mom. How can I possibly do this?"
That's perfect. Motherhood and homeschooling go hand in hand, and neither one comes with directions!
Although many good sources of help are available, some people don't know where to look for them. Just as many newlyweds learn to bake and cook with a lovingly handed-down book of favorite recipes, anyone with an interest in a subject can learn on her own!
Kids don't need parents who are rocket scientists or even ones with teaching certificates. They do need unselfish parents who love them, are willing to guide them, and want to spend time with them every day. Children need parents who believe in them and will help them become all that God created them to be.
Who loves your kids more than you? Mom and Dad, be confident in your ability to teach, and learn right along with your children as you begin this creative journey.

"What difficulties might I face?"
The challenges homeschoolers face are unique and different. If you asked a dozen homeschoolers what things have been hard for them, you would hear a dozen different answers! Yet, in spite of the difficulties, their children still thrive, learn, and grow.
Many children acquire negative labels, are misunderstood, or are misdiagnosed in an institutional setting where the teacher-child ratio is farr off balance. Little children need to run, move, and play! They aren't necessarily in need of medication just because they can't sit still or because they "act out" in a group. Research shows and results prove that learning happens in different ways and on individual time frames. don't be discouraged if little Johnny can't read yet and he is 10! It will come. Be patient, and don't be quick to say everything is a learning disability.
Being in a safe, loving, and nurturing environment can change those so-called hyperactive, ADD, bullying, withdrawn, or surly kids. They respond very well to loving relationships and guidance. As homeschoolers, they've been found to lose many of the characteristics that caused them to earn the labels in the first place.

"My in-laws are totally against this idea."
Go back to your firm foundation, and remember that your kids are your responsibility. There will always be well-meaning concern from relatives, friends or even strangers. Just remember to be kind and courteous in your responses and trust your instincts. Your life will turn the naysayers around, eventually. The proof is in the pudding!

"I don't have the patience to homeschool."
Feeling that you're not the "patient homeschooling type" doesn't mean you aren't! Before you had a child, were you blessed with the patience required to raise him or her? Or before you were married, did you already possess the patience to be a submissive wife?
God doesn't go around doling out patience in certain amounts to designated people. Rather, He blesses us with it as we need it. Ask any mother if she has enough patience to have another child and she will probably say no. We are blessed with patience as we need it, not in advance. Homeschooling is the same way. If you decide that this is what God is calling you to through circumstances or conviction, then rest assured He won't leave you!

*Note: I took this information from a little pamphlet that came with an issue of my Old Schoolhouse magazine. I will continue with more questions and answers in my next post.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Simple Recipes for Successful Homeschooling

Again, I am getting this information from a small pamphlet that came with one of my issues of The Old Schoolhouse magazine.

No two homeschools are exactly alike, because each family is different and each circumstance surrounding the question is unique. Homeschooling means different things to different people. For some, homeschooling is duplicating public school at home with textbooks and report cards. for others, homeschooling is just the way they live--children and adults living and learning together so that an outsider looking in wouldn't be able to see what was "home" and what was "school". Still others can be somewhere in the middle of these two.

Before you set out to provide your children's intellectual diet--their education--you will want to consider why you are doing it and what you are seeking to provide for your family.

For many homeschoolers, the most valuable benefit of homeschooling is that it strengthens their family. Homeschooling families spend a lot of time working, learning, and playing together, and strong relationships are built.

Many families like the flexibility homeschooling allows. Children can learn about things they are naturally interested in when they want to. A strict schedule does not have to be followed. Children can get an education tailored to their learning styles at a fraction of the cost of private or public school.

You might want a more "healthy" lifestyle for your children, whether you want to live closer to nature or are concerned mostly about spiritual reasons. The reasons you are going to homeschool are unique to you. The important thing is that you identify them before you prepare to homeschool.

Not only do you need to have your reasons established, but you should also decide what your commitment to homeschooling is before you start. Some people start strong but fall fast when they encounter their first difficulty. Be aware that just as a new recipe will need occasional adjustments to suit your own personal tastes, your homeschooling will encounter rocky times and require some fine-tuning.

Decide on a minumum length of time you are going to homeschool. Make a commitment to give it a go for a certain time period and then re-evaluate! Don't throw out the whole lump of dough--just change the recipe! There are so many different ways to go about teaching at home, so try something new. Different methods and ideas are worth trying so you won't burn out. Give it some time and then make some adjustments, but don't give up!

There is one more thing that comes before you begin planning lessons or purchasing schoolbooks. You need to know what the law requires. For information about legal requirements for homeschooling, you can visit Homeschool Legal Defense Association's website (there is a link on my sidebar to their website).

I will continue to answer some of the most asked questions to provide Simple Recipes for Successful Homeschooling in tomorrow's post.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Famous Homeschooler of the Week


After our Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution, they had to submit it to the states for ratification. In order to persuade the states to ratify the federal constitution, three great men wrote The Federalist Papers, a stirring defense and explanation of America's founding document. John Jay, the eighth child of Peter and Mary Jay, was one of the authors of the book that convinced the states to ratify the Constitution.

When John was a young child, his mother taught him the rudiments of English and Latin. At the age of 14, John Jay entered college, and upon graduation was apprenticed as a lawyer. His law training later allowed him to become the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.

John Jay's parents were staunch Christians and profoundly influenced their son's character in addition to his academic training. John's parents were careful to educate their children in the Word of God. John Jay later said, "In forming and settling my beliefs relative to the doctrine of Christianity, I adopted no articles from creeds, but such only as, on a careful examination, I found to be confirmed by the Bible."

We can thank John Jay's parents for raising a godly son who served his country with the kind of moral leadership we so desperately need today.

Again, I got this information off of HSLDA's website.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our First Day of Co-Op

I know that I was going to post some more freebies today, but we had such a great first day at our homeschool co-op today that I decided to share this instead. I'll post more freebies another day.

You may or may not remember that last year I was working on finding us the best co-op for us to be a part of, instead of going to several different ones. It was just too much running and busyness. Well, co-op started today, and I am happy to say that we definitely decided on the right co-op for us, and may I also say that it is quite obvious that God had his hand in the decision. I was supposed to be helping in a class that Nicholas is in, but I expressed my dissatisfaction of that because they had asked us what classes we wanted to help with, (with the understanding that if that class's teacher is absent for any reason, the helper will need to do the teaching), and I had not put this class as something I wanted to help with. I expressed the fact that the classes that I had listed to help with were ones that I felt that I would be comfortable and capable of teaching if the teacher couldn't be there, and that since my boys are older and have me as their teacher everyday, they don't really want me so many of their classes at co-op, (and they are both in a class I am teaching, anyway).

Well, anyway, here I am babbling again. But, it ended up that a teacher who had offered to teach a Literature class for Pre-K to K backed out, so the helper said she'd teach and I was asked to be her helper, which was a twofold blessing: first, because that is something that I am completely comfortable and capable of teaching, if need be, which I have already been asked to cover two weeks in September because the teacher will be on vacation; and second, because we didn't know that we were going to have a new child in our home that is in that age group when we had co-op registration, but because I am helping in that class, so he has to be in there with me anyway, our little foster son will be able to participate in that class!

They also have a running class that Nicholas is participating during the last time frame of the day, and a gym class that Anthony is participating in during the last time frame of the day. The gym class is for Pre-K through 12th grade. They warm up together and then break up into age groups to do activities and play some games, and our foster son is able to participate in this class as well!

I am teaching a Modern Literature class to Jr./Sr. High students. We are doing the book The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall. I read this book a few months ago. You may remember that I posted about it in an older post. I was so impressed by the lesson that this book has to teach that I thought it would be fun to teach it to teens. I have a class of nine students and they seemed to enjoy the story as far as we read today. I am giving them homework assignments each week as well: vocabulary words, chapters to read, and activities or writing assignments that pertain to a particular chapter.

I've been wondering what I might offer for our winter session, because we need to submit our ideas in a couple of weeks, and one of the moms came to me today and said, "I see you're teaching a lit class on The Ultimate Gift." I said, "Yes, I am." To which she responded, "I have the next book." I didn't know what she was talking about, but she pulled a book out of her bag and handed it to me and said I could read it and then give it back to her.

Apparently Jim Stovall is making a series or at least a two book set of The Ultimate Gift and there is a second one entitled The Ultimate Life. I am so excited and pleased that this lady, who barely knows me would lend me her autographed copy of The Ultimate Life. If it's as good as the first book, I know what class I can offer for our winter session! God is so good!

The boys are excited about the classes they are taking too. Nicholas is taking a science class where they are doing a lot with a microscope; he is taking a PA history class, as well as my Modern Lit. class and the running (like track) class. Anthony is extremely excited about his Geography of Israel class; and he is taking a How to Tackle a Research Paper class as well as my Modern Lit. class and the gym class.

I hope all of you have some wonderful things to enjoy in your school year this year. We can all have enjoyable school years if we keep our eyes on Christ and keep him first in our lives. And, remember, God called you to homeschool so He will enable you to keep on keeping on:)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Freebies

Email us at and we'll send you easy-to-follow directions on how to download your FREE copy of Homonyms, Synonyms & Antonyms (a $10.99 value)--the first book in our top-selling Reading FUNdamentals series! this popular book includes 48 pages of activities that will help your children understand and use homonyms, synonyms and antonyms in their reading and writing.
Science and history--subjects that make many parents weak in the knees. you can teach science and history at home! R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey and History Odyssey take out the guesswork and make you feel like a pro. But don't take our word for it; log on and try these free eBook samples.
The Kingdom Series...a riveting medieval parallel to the Bible and the NEW Knights of Arrethtrae, a companion to The Kingdom Series magic or mysticism! Read two complete chapters and listen to an unabridged, 75-minute sample of Kingdom's Dawn or Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione (available Feb. 2009) for FREE at Narrated by voice actors from Cheltenham, England, with original music and sound effects.
Overwhelmed by the thought of unit studies? Download the booklet "You CAN Do a Unit Study" and our one-week unit on the life of William Tyndale - FREE! Receive tips on being successful using unit studies and a unit study on William Tyndale, suitable for preschool through high school! Creat an account at our website and put these books in your cart. When checking out, enter this code: TOSFREE
Again, these came from The Old Schoolhouse magazine.
I'll post a few more tomorrow or Thursday.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Homeschool Freebies

I received my Old Schoolhouse 2009 Homeschool Freebie Directory today online and wanted to share it with you. there are over 40 Free Gifts in this directory, so I will be sharing several throughout the week.

Specializing in lapbooks and unit studies, A Journey Through Learning is the first place homeschoolers go for all their lapbooking and unit study needs. We make lapbooking easy by providing study guides, easy to understand, color coded lapbook assembly instructions with study guide and correlating activities that your child will enjoy. Sign up for our newsletter to receive your free lapbook. look for sample pages of our various Products.
To help teach America's factual, philosophical heritage, history, and founding principles. Utilized by homeschoolers and teachers in all 50 states! Social studies, US history and government, civics, economics, geography, reading, mucis, and more. $150 value! Written by professional educators. Proven to raise social studies scores! Easy to use. No teacher training required! Award-winning design! Free K-12 Social Studies/History Lesson Plans--America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty
10th Degree - Unique, Online Science Seminars Veteran homeschool dad and college professor, Greg Landry, offers unique, Christ-centered, free, online anatomy and physiology seminars that he calls the "10th degree," for 6th-12th grade students and their parents: "There's Life in the Blood," "The Incredible Pancreas," "Working Toward Academic Excellence," and more! He also offers discounted online classes: "anatomy and Physiology," "Sports Medicine," "Pre-Biology," "Chemistry," "Forensics," etc.
Teach your kids to research the Internet using Motherboard's free Internet Scavenger Hung, from the Computer Science Pure and Simple Curriculum.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Famous Homeschooler of the Week


Michael Farris:
On May 12, 1820, a baby girl was born in Florence, Italy, to wealthy British parents. Named for the city in which she was born, Florence Nightingale was brought up to be an intelligent woman of good society. Both her mother and her father contributed to her academic and social training. While Mrs. Nightingale instructed Florence and her sister in social graces and the skill of running a large household, the girls' father taught them English grammar, history, philosophy, Latin, French, Greek, German, and Italian. Florence also received biblical training from her parents, learning to read the New Testament in its original Greek.

When she was 16, Florence heard God's call to a special life work: easing the suffering of the sick and dying. She began withdrawing from society life to concentrate on studying health and reforms for the poor.

Florence Nightingale did much to introduce sanitary nursing methods to the whole world, especially to the battlefield. Among her many public honors, she became the first woman to receive the British Order of Merit.

Florence Nightingale is just one example of a fertile mind and a pioneer spirit developed by homeschooling.

(this was copied from Homeschool Legal Defense Association's website)

Homeschooling Questions You Should Ask Part 3

As this is the beginning of your adventure, don't go it alone. It is extremely helpful to get support. A few like-minded friends or a support group will work wonders in answering your questions and offering encouragement. Keep reading and keep asking questions, and you'll be sure to find many answers.
It is important to check with Homeschool Legal Defense Association (see link on sidebar) for any questions relating to legal issues in your state and consider becoming members in order to *protect your family legally. Stay tuned in to the homeschooling community by subscribing to a good homeschooling newsletter (such as those offered on and and a quality magazine (such as The Ols Schoolhouse Magazine). A great online homeschool community and support group is available at (or here on blogspot. I know that I am not the only one on Blogspot that is a homeschool mom and is posting things about it.). Many home educators benefit greatly from hearing about how other families homeschool.

What about you, the new teacher? What do you need personally? You need to soak yourself in the Word of God and keep feeding yourself spiritually untill you are overflowing with joy and confidence. If God has called you to teach your children, His grace will be sufficient for any weakness you perceive in yourself. When you take those first steps down the homeschooling road, keep your eyes on the Author and Finisher of your children's education. The journey will be worth every effort as you see your children open up and flourish before you.

*As a member of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, if you have any legal problems arise, they will represent you without charging legal fees. My family are members ever since we began homeschooling because we do not want to take any unnecessary risks.

The note above and the information in italics are my additions. The rest is, again, directly taken from the pamphlet that I received with my Old Schoolhouse Magazine and was written by Deborah Wuehler.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Homeschooling Questions You Should Ask Part 2

What type of personality is your family--are you well organized with your time, or more relaxed? Do you enjoy paperwork or nature walks? Are you project-oriented, or would you rather read good books? Are you scheduled or spontaneous? If you know the dynamics of your family and your own teaching style, you will be better able decipher what will actually work for your family.
What kind of learner is your child? Does he learn better by seeing (visual), hearing (auditory), or doing (kinesthetic)? Will he learn better with textbooks, hands-on, narration, or a combination? Look only for things that are easy for your to use and that will enhance your child's ability to learn. Get practical and make a list for each child about what he needs, and keep it basic. Don't overwhelm yourself with extras that may not be necessary.
Your family is unique--you will be different from all others in your approach, your goals, and your convictions. As you go along and find out what works in your household, your personal style will begin to emerge. What is most important is that you are in unity with your spouse and that you know the heart of God for your own family.

Let's get a little more practical. If your children are very young and you are just beginning to homeschool, you will need only a few good resources. Your children must be taught to read, so they will need some type of phonics lessons. For writing, they can begin writing simple words on lined paper or you can find a resource to help them shape their letters. You'll need a good math book that covers the basics and offers repetition for reinforcement. Or, at this age, you can do it yourself: math manipulatives can be beans or blocks. Most likely you will not need anything extra that you don't already have around the house. And, of course, you should be reading to them daily: share good books about history, science, and just plain fun reading books.
A fun way for the whole family to learn is through unit-type studies. You can make your own by allowing the children to pick a topic they are interested in and then go to the local library for many of your resources. Keep a binder of what they learn and their drawings along the way. Throw in a few field trips and you will have provided a very successful learning experience.

This again is from a pamphlet that I received with my Old Schoolhouse magazine and was written by Deborah Wuehler. I will conclude this tomorrow with GETTING SUPPORT and FOR THE TEACHER.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Am Still Posting Here

Hello Everyone. I know that I have been absent for a long time again, but the hustle and bustle of getting everything accomplished to become the approved foster parents of this wonderful, energetic little boy is finally complete, and I should be able to post here more regularly again. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

So, for today's post I am going to begin a series of posts on "Homeschooling: Questions You Should Ask?" from a little pamphlet that I received with my Old Schoolhouse magazine.

"Are you new to homeschooling and feeling a little terrified? Have you been homeschooling for a while but feel overwhelmed? Are you considering homeschooling but not sure it's the right choice?"

Perhaps you're wondering about curriculum, your teaching style, your child's learning style, or maybe just how to schedule it all in on top of the regular household duties?

First, relax and realize that God has called you to this road less traveled and He will provide what is necessary for your journey. There is no "one size fits all" in homeschooling -- no singular "right" way to provide an education for your children. there are as many varied methods as there are families who homeschool, and they are all doing the job extremely well.

It can still be overwhelming to look down that long road of homeschooling when your vantage point is the starting line. One of the first things to do is establish your thoughts and make some goals. Let's begin to answer some basic questions by asking a few more:

What are your valuse and viewpoints (your "philosophy") of education--in other words, in the long run, what is important to you and your family? What do you want the education of your children to achieve for them? Write it down. Do you want them well educated in man's wisdom in order to be able to answer every man? Do you want them well educated in God's precepts? Do you want them to eventually go to college, or do you prefer apprenticeship? Are you in favor of workbooks, or would you rather have your child's interests direct the way? What are your personal convictions? How will they fit into your educational goals?

what exactly do you want to accomplish this year with your children? What do you need in terms of books and supplies to fit with what you want to accomplish? For example, if you have a second grader who is not reading yet, your goal may be to teach that child to read. How you do that depends on the curriculum you choose, the learning style the child has, and the resources available. Will you use a book or will you make your own flash cards? Will you use a few workbook pages a day, or will you read and have them sound things out with you? Are they coming home from public or private school? They may be used to a more organized, workbook format. When you have a plan, you can begin looking at how to accomplish that plan with what curriculum, if any. sit down with your spouse to discuss and pray about your educational goals for each child each year, and then write them down.

This will be continued tomorrow with the topics: PERSONALITY, GETTING PRACTICAL, GETTING SUPPORT, and FOR THE TEACHER. This article was written by Deborah Wuehler.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hi Everyone,

I'm sorry that I've been missing in action for a while, but our lives here at Homeschool View have taken a new turn. We have a 4 year old bundle of energy in our lives now. We are the proud family of a foster child, a little boy. He keeps us quite busy, but we are having a lot of fun.

Anyway, I received the following information in an email. I've been watching the progress of this new channel that will be offered through the Angel Network with curiosity and anticipation. This is their latest update. There are links in the post so that you can check things out more closely.

The Homeschool Channel Update July 27, 2009

Just a note to let you know that plans are moving along for our launch of The Homeschool Channel. Our hope is that THC will be a big asset to the homeschool movement.We have hired additional personnel, begun shooting some video, and talking with leaders in the homeschool movement to make sure we are maximizing our help to homeschoolers.

If you have any suggestions concerning THC, please share them with us. You may send your suggestions or comments by using our feedback form.

Also, please share news about THC and invite them to register at our website so they can be alerted to the progress we are making.

Sincerely,Donald E. WildmonThe Homeschool Channel

P.S. Please check the video section of our website for a sample of the programming we will be offering.

©2009 The Homeschool Channel 107 Parkgate Drive, Tupelo, MS 38801

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Famous Homeschooler of the Week

Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Alva was a mischievous and inquisitive child. His parents placed him in formal school at age 7, but his active, creative nature was stifled in a rigid educational setting.

Nancy Edison, a former schoolteacher, trained her youngest son in the basics and fostered his creative, inquisitive nature. As one Edison biographer put it, "She was determined that no formalism would cramp his style, no fetters hobble in the free rein, the full sweep of his imagination." Edison himself said of his mother, "She instilled in me the love and purpose of learning."

The results of Thomas Edison's love for learning are legendary. After beginning work as a telegraph operator in 1863, Edison invented improvements to the telegraph. He went on to improve fire alarm systems, stock tickers, and the telephone transmitter, and to invent, among other things, the phonograph and the incandescent light bulb.

Thomas Edison obtained the most U.S. patents ever given to one person, and ranks as one of the greatest inventors and industrial leaders in history. He also serves as just one more example of the power of parent-directed education.

(My personal note: "A love for learning." How many public schooled children have a true "love for learning"? That is something that we can instill in our children because we have the freedom to teach them in a more creative way that makes things more interesting and fun than the public schools.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Curriculum Ideas

I wanted to let you know where you can find some homeschool curriculum. I am going to tell you a little about each of the ones I have chosen to mention and you can find links to websites to each of them on my sidebar, and you can click on a link and check out the curriculum, you might be interested in, in more depth.

The first ones I will mention, I mention only because they are names I have heard of, and I know people who have used them and have been happy with them. I, personally, have not used any of these:

Bob Jones -- I hear this is pretty advanced and has quite a bit of workbook work, but I know
people who use it and really like it.

A Beka -- I hear much the same about this one as I hear about Bob Jones.

Veritas -- I believe this is a literature based curriculum. I have not used it, but I have seen
some of their books and they look impressive.

The Mystery of History -- this is a very impressive history curriculum I have heard nothing
but good things about this. We have not tried it, but I may change
one year for my youngest son and do some of the things I haven't
done with my oldest. If so, we will definitely do this. If you want
your children to learn history, including Biblical history, I hear this
is outstanding.

Aswers in Genesis -- This is an organization started by Ken Ham. There are several curriculum
that are available through them, all either history or science and all from
a creation standpoint. This is another one I would love to do with at least
one of my boys, but haven't yet. I only became aware of these this year
at the homeschool convention.

Now for the ones that I do know:

Sonlight -- this is the one we currently use. It is literature based and involves lots of reading.
It covers Bible, History, Literature and Writing. It also offers other subjects done
by others. They, too, have a core package that focuses on Biblical history.

Apologia -- This is Science curriculum. It is creation and Christian based. It is challenging and
includes experiments to do in each level.

Saxon -- This is math curriculum. It is a good curriculum that teaches a concept and continues

to build on one concept after another. My oldest used this until he reached the Algebra

level, and my youngest is currently using it.

Math U See -- This is also a math curriculum. Math is not my oldest son's strong point, so when

he reached the Algebra level in Saxon, it was too difficult for him and was causing

much grief. We switched to Math U See and absolutely love it. It comes with

DVDs of the man who created it, explaining the concept before your child begins

to work on the concept. He explains things so clearly, my oldest son now gets

A's and B's in Math, and actually likes Math.

I hope you will find these suggestions and links (on the sidebar) helpful.

Sorry about the spacing difference. I'm not sure why this started doing this, but couldn't figure out how to fix it. (See, now it changed again. Weird!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An Unschooling Homeschool Day

Yesterday the boys wanted to do school again, but after a busy holiday weekend, I didn't feel like doing our usual curriculum. I wanted to "play and have fun". So we had a school day that counts according to the PA Homeschool law, but we learned things through fun activities.

We began by playing a game called "Great States". The board is a map of the United States and there is information about each state included on the board. There are three different stacks of cards, a spinner and a timer. On each person's turn, you had to spin the spinner, which told you which stack to pick a card from and you handed the card to the person on your left and they would set the timer for 30 seconds and read the question on the card, and maybe show you something pictured on the card, and you had to find the answer before the time was up. If you found the answer and answered correctly, you kept the card, and the first person to collect 10 cards won. You could also play longer and make the winner the first person to collect 20 cards. It was fun and yet, as we played, the boys were learning United States Geography.

Next, we played a game of Scattegories -- all 12 lists! This, too, is fun and utilizes vocabulary skills.

For music, the boys thought this was a hoot! I have always been a fan of many different types/styles of music, as long as it doesn't involve screaming that the lyrics cannot be understood or cursing or vulgarity or singing about criminal activities and such. So, I have tapes of country, pop/rock, oldies, classical, American Indian, jazz, big band, rags, alternative, contemporary Christian, and hymns and worship songs, and soundtracks from movies and Broadway plays and of course, we have children's music in the house ever since the boys were young -- most of this they have outgrown.

So, anyway, I played one song from the soundtrack of the movie "Yentl", two songs from the Broadway production of "Jekyll and Hyde", two songs from an Andy Griffith hymns tape, three songs from an alternative tape by Laurie Anderson and four songs from a big band cassette of hits by the Andrews Sisters. We discussed each style of music and some of the lyrics after listening to each selection. It was fun and the boys thought some of the stuff was quite funny. Anthony especially thought the Andrews Sisters songs were funny. He said, "Nobody sings like that today."

Then the boys went out and rode their bikes for a while and then played wiffleball with a couple of the neighbor boys. This was gym class.

Finally, we ended the evening by playing a game (well most of a game) of Homeschoolopoly after we had done our family Bible study. This game is one of my favorites. I never cared much for regular Monopoly. I always thought it took too long to complete a game. But this homeschool version is a lot of fun, even though it takes just as long and is very similar. I guess it's just because I can relate to this version so much better.

Some people homeschool in this free spirit style daily, but I'm not comfortable with that. I do like to do it as a treat every now and then, and we always enjoy it. There are so many ways to accomplish an education when you have the freedom to choose through homeschooling.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our First Week of School

Yes, this is our first official week of the 2009-2010 school year. My boys couldn't wait any longer to get started. After a month off, they wanted more to do. The week is going quite well. We are enjoying the new things we are learning this year. Today, the boys did double in most of their subjects so that they won't have too much to do tomorrow because Dad has off work tomorrow for the 4th of July.

In addition to this week's school assignments, my oldest son, Anthony, also finished reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (which is why I thought it fitting to use Charles Dickens as the Famous Homeschooler of the Week this week). He wrote an essay about the parallels of the characters and he wrote a book report on David Copperfield. He has great writing talent. His Worl Literature teacher from one of the co-ops we attended last year told him the same thing and encouraged him to keep writing.

In addition to the above mentioned items, Anthony also took it upon himself to write a poem. You can read it here. He is extremely self-motivated.

That's what we've been up to this week. Next week I'll try to post on some different types of curriculum.

Famous Homeschooler of the Week


Born in 1812, Charles Dickens would become one of the world’s most celebrated novelists by his early 20s. It is recorded that his first years of education were received from his mother. In his own words, Dickens gives her the credit for teaching him to read and write.

Although he later attended school, there is no doubt that his mother’s influence had a profound effect on Dickens’ life. When you read Dickens, his emphasis on family relationships is immediately noticeable. His characters were often formed by the impression he received from his parents, grandparents, and other relatives.

Charles Dickens died at the age of 58, ending a very prolific writing career. All told, he created over 2,000 characters and personalities in stories like David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, and A Tale of Two Cities, in books which grace the libraries of homes everywhere. In fact, my older daughter Jayme reads the well-known story, A Christmas Carol, from Dickens, aloud to her younger siblings each Christmas Eve as a family tradition.

Charles Dickens was a literary genius, and yet another example of the influence that parents can have when they are committed to directing the education of their children.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ready for the New Year?

We are. I just finished packing last year's curriculum and unpacking the new year's. The boys are ready to begin again on Monday. Everything in the dining room is cleaned up and organized and ready to go.

So, do you have your curriculum? Are you ready to dig into it? Are you excited about teaching it, and are your kids excited about studying it? Well, what are you waiting for? There's no time like the present.

As homeschoolers, we have the freedom to arrange our schedule any way we want to. My boys do not enjoy having three months off at one time. Like most kids, they get bored. So, we don't take three months off at one time. We've been off for one month, and now they are ready to begin. So, on Monday, we will begin again. We will have more time off in the summer than we do the rest of the year, but we will do several weeks in July and in August, and then get really serious about it at the end of August. This gives us more freedom and flexibility with our schedule. We can take off other times throughout the year and not be pressured to put our noses to the grindstone to get our 180 days in.

I like to take extra time off at Christmas time, and we may have extra time off here and there between September and November, before the weather gets too cold. When it's winter and really cold outside, we really dig into the schoolwork, and we never have too much trouble finishing up by the end of May. Sometimes we even finish by the beginning of May. We usually do more than the required 180 days too, just because I like to have that cushion and because there may be some loose ends that need to be tied up in one or two subjects.

Some people, plan their whole schedule for school, and if they do year-round like I do, they may do three weeks of school and take a week off and rotate it like that. I don't lay out my whole schedule. I simply keep an attendance sheet that has the days counted and as I mark them off I know where we are. I simply take off when we want to, or sometimes we may need to like if there is a family emergency or something. We have that freedom. So I don't have a rigid schedule. I just make sure that I am counting and that we are staying on track that we won't be pressured in the last month to squeeze a bunch of days in.

Yes, there are those who still feel the desire or need to take the whole summer off and do. There's nothing wrong with that. That's what's so great about homeschooling. There are so many freedoms and opportunities that other children miss out on. I love the flexibility we have. It makes life easier and less stressful.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Famous Homeschooler of the Week

General Douglas MacArther

The career of General Douglas MacArthur is unmatched by any military figure in the 20th century. Join Michael Farris, chairman and general counsel of Home School Legal Defense Association, as he talks about MacArthur’s upbringing, today on Home School Heartbeat.
Michael Farris:Douglas MacArthur was a general’s general. Born in 1880, he led men into combat in World War I, World War II, and the Korean Conflict. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, as well as many other decorations. He came by his military ability quite naturally since his father, Arthur MacArthur, Jr., was also awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor in the Civil War decades earlier.

In his younger years, Douglas MacArthur lived on a succession of army posts. A regular public school education was impossible, so his mother instructed him in reading, writing, and arithmetic. More importantly, she also instilled in him two principles that stayed with him throughout his life: first, to do what was right no matter what the personal sacrifice might be; and second, that our country must always come first. Through the example set by his father, and the books and teachings he received from his mother, Douglas learned about courage and heroism.

MacArthur went on to graduate from West Point with the third highest overall scores in the history of that institution. I pray that the perseverance of today’s homeschool parents will produce yet another generation of leaders who will guide our country back to the principles of honor and freedom held by such men as Douglas MacArthur.

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Incredible Planner

If you want to make planning your homeschool year easier, I have found an incredible planner that will help you do just that. This planner is packed with calendar pages, lesson plan pages for daily, weekly, and monthly. It even has about two recipes for each month if you need a dinner idea. It includes some great lesson plan items that you could use to teach a whole lesson from or use as an aid to add to a lesson. It has a chart of the Latin and Greek roots of words, information on the planets in the solar system, a complete list of the Presidents and their First Ladies, Book lists, a place to keep record of books borrowed, curriculum used. It even includes a page for you to keep a list of books you read, videos you watch or activities you participate in to keep yourself refreshed and encouraged to continue teaching your child(ren)!

You've got to see it to believe it! I think it's more than worth it's money! It's from the Old Schoolhouse magazine and you can download it from any computer. I have a link on the sidebar where you can click to check it out and then to order it, if you choose.

I have mine and can't wait to use it!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

End of the Year Evaluations and Evaluators

We, as teachers, and our children, as students, work hard throughout our required 180 days to teach and learn what we choose and what is required. Most of us (that I know) even put in more than 180 days each year.

Therefore, when it comes time for the end-of-the-year evaluation, you're feeling, (at least I do), like you want someone to let you and your children know that it was worth it, that what you did was of interest to your evaluator and not just something to be glanced off and simply checked off on a check-off sheet. That's what our end-of-the-year evaluations have felt like for the past four years.

Our first two years, we had an evaluator who took her time looking at the portfolios that we presented to her. She took the time to get to know the boys and their strong points and interests. She made suggestions and gave us tips on things the boys may enjoy that would farther enhance those interests. In the end, however, she simply presented us with a check-off sheet that simply checked off that we had me the PA Homeschool requirements. But, we didn't feel too badly about it because of the interest she took in us otherwise.

Unfortunately, after those two years, that evaluator could no longer continue evaluating due to personal unexpected circumstances. So, we found another evaluator. However, this one did not even make sure that she had a slot for us each year. She teaches in a public school and she does homeschool evaluations at the end of each school year. She has a lot of clients and she continues to take on more without guaranteeing those already with her a slot for evaluation each year. She also charges quite a bit of money to simply glance through the portfolio and give you a check-off sheet. She does give advice, from a public school's viewpoint, making it worthless to me and a bit unnerving.

I had heard several horror stories from other people who have dealt with this evaluator as well. Too many people I knew, including me, just weren't happy with her, and it seemed to get worse every year. This year when I contacted her, she didn't even remember how many children I had.

Then a friend called who had just finished her first year homeschooling, and she had just had her first end-of-the-year evaluation. She could not have been happier with her evaluator. So, I got her evaluator's name and number from her, and I contacted this evaluator the next morning. She was even able to schedule me for this year, which I wasn't expecting, but was thrilled about.

So, I cancelled with the evaluator that I was unhappy with, and we went to the new one.

WHAT A BLESSING! She told me right from the beginning, "I am a homeschool mom too, and I am on your side, not the school district's side. No one knows your children better than you do, so I will trust what you tell me." She also told me that she keeps all of her records and she said she will even write the high school transcripts for me and help me figure out how many credits we complete each year. She spoke with both of the boys and asked them what they liked best about this year, what kind of books they like to read and what their favorite book is.

Then she said she would be typing up her letters and she would mail them to me. She doesn't just give a check-off sheet, and she doesn't cost as much as the last evaluator!

So, when it comes to evaluators, make sure you find one that you are comfortable with and that you feel you can trust and who will be willing to help you with any questions or concerns you may have. That will make your homeschooling years much easier and less stressful.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Homeschool Graduation

I was blessed to be able to attend two homeschool graduation ceremonies this year. I had attended one a few years ago and it was very similar to one of the ceremonies that I attended this year.

Our area of Pennsylvania has a lot of homeschool families. We have a lot of homeschool groups available to us where we can find co-ops, field trips, special classes, support, etc. One of the things offered is a yearly High School Graduation Ceremony. I thought this was fabulous -- my boys won't miss out on the experience of a graduation ceremony! Yes, this particular ceremony is very much like any other High School Graduation. Of course a couple of things are different. It begins with a few contemporary Christian songs. A student (sometimes more than one) gives a speech. They had a mime team perform to a contemporary Christian song. They had a keynote speaker. We sang a couple more contemporary Christian songs and even a hymn or two. Then the parents present their child with their High School Diploma. The evening ended with a prayer and a benediction. It was a very nice ceremony. There were 89 graduates who participated. I thought of this was great, until...

We attended the second High School Graduation ceremony that we attended this year. One of the girls that is homeschooled and that goes to our church also graduated this year, but she did not want to participate in the large homeschool graduation ceremony. Her parents still wanted to give her accomplishments recognition, so they decided to have their own graduation ceremony and celebration and invite their closest friends and family members. We were blessed to be among the close friends invited. It was really special. Her sister played two hymns on her recorder. The pastor led the congregation in a hymn. Her friend played a song on the piano. Her dad spoke. Her grandfather read a passage from the Bible. She gave a speech. Her dad spoke again. The pastor led the congregation in another hymn and gave the benediction. It lasted about a half-hour but it was so personal and special. She had chosen all of the music herself.

Following the ceremony, they had cake and other goodies, followed by some English country dancing. She read the book Emma by Jane Austen this year, and I think they read Pride and Prejudice also by Jane Austen another year and became very interested in that time period. So, they did some research and learned some English country dances and we all joined in in celebration of Lindsay's graduation.

So, even graduation can be chosen as a homeschooler and can be a lot like everyone else's or something special.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Famous Homeschooler of the Week

Pearl S. Buck

In recent years, families on the mission field have increasingly turned to homeschooling in order to educate their children. Mike Farris, President of Home School Legal Defense Association, tells the story of one famous woman who was the product of home education on the mission field, today on Home School Heartbeat.

Michael Farris:Pearl S. Buck grew up on the mission field in China, and became a famous American author and winner of the 1932 Pulitzer Prize. A lively, precocious child, she pestered her mother with countless questions. Pearl's mother, realizing that her daughter needed a creative outlet, began her education at home. She especially focused on Pearl's skill for writing, and encouraged her to write something every week. At the age of 6, Pearl began writing for missionary magazines. Her writing was also published regularly by the Shanghai Mercury, an English newspaper that offered prizes for the best stories and articles written by children.

It was not surprising when Pearl decided as a young adult to become a novelist. She went on to write more than 65 books, plus hundreds of short stories and essays. She is best known for her books dealing sympathetically with life in China, including her widely acclaimed novel, The Good Earth. In 1938, Pearl S. Buck received the Nobel Prize for literature.

Although Pearl received her later education at various schools, her most significant years of academic training were spent at home. It was her mother who recognized her flair for writing and fostered her creative development. Pearl S. Buck is yet another example of the power of parent-directed education.

PA Homeschool Law

Pennsylvania has the second most restrictive homeschool law in the United States; second only to New York. The law requires parents to submit a letter to inform their school district that they will be homeschooling their child(ren), whether the child has already been in public school or not. A child or children can only be homeschooled by a parent or legal guardian or a person who has a court order, signed by a judge, that gives that person guardianship over the child's education.

At the beginning of each school year, homeschool parents must submit a notarized affadavit to their school district informing them of their intent to homeschool, and it must name the supervisor of the homeschool and each child and their age. The first year the homeschool parents must also show proof of their own high school diploma.

At the beginning of each school year, they must also submit a list of objectives, which is a list of what they plan to accomplish in each subject during that school year.

By the end of each school year, homeschooling parents must also prove that the child(ren) are receiving appropriate dental and medical care -- there are particular requirements depending on the child(ren)'s grade level. They must also provide a copy of an Independent Evaluator's Report. This means that at the end of each school year, the homeschool parent must assemble a portfolio for each child they are homeschooling. In the portfolio, they must show something from each subject from the beginning, middle, and end of the school year to show the child's progress in each subject. They also have to have some type of record showing that their child completed 180 days of school (or 900 hours for elementary or 990 hours for high school). They have to take the portfolio and the record of days or hours and their child(ren) to a certified teacher who has been approved by their school district to perform end-of-the-year evaluations for homeschoolers. The evaluator will give you advice, help, suggestions, encouragement and approval of your homeschool. The evaluator will speak to your children and ask them questions about their homeschool year -- things like what they liked best about the year, what their favorite subject(s) is or are, what their least favorite subject is, if they did a special project that they want the evaluator to take notice of. Many evaluators will also ask elementary level students to read a paragraph or two aloud from a book. Then the evaluator will give the homeschool parent a copy of their report about their homeschool and the parent must submit this to the school district with the required medical forms.

Also, some school districts require homeschool parents to hand in their entire portfolio each and every school year. I am blessed because our school district only required that for the first two years.

Finally, homeschool students are required to take standardized testing in grades 3, 5, and 8 and the results of those tests are to be submitted by the end of that particular school year as well.

So, as you can see, those of us who homeschool in Pennsylvania have a lot of requirements to follow. I do not have too much difficulty following the requirements, but there are a few things that I find too restrictive and wish they would change. I know that HSLDA has tried to get things changed to make things a little easier for us but have had no success so far. I also know that there are some states that have no requirements other than that they must be notified when a family decides to begin homeschooling.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Reasons I Homeschool

I had an interesting conversation with some ladies on Sunday, that really got me to thinking. My friend, Christine, has her daughter in a Christian school, and she told me that her daughter is learning how to use the computer in school. But, she said, they aren't teaching her how to use the keyboard using all of her fingers. She is using just her two pointer fingers! I find this ridiculous! It is so much easier and quicker to use a keyboard when you are taught the typing skills -- using homekeys and learning where the keys are and which of your fingers go on what letter on the homekey row and what each finger can reach to type as well. It makes things quicker and easier because you don't even have to look at the keyboard if you know how to type this way.

Then, my friend, Mrs. Rabe, said that she doesn't think they even make spelling as important as it used to be because of all of the kids texting and misspelling things on purpose to shorten things for texting purposes, as well as the fact that on computers there is spell check.

Finally, my youngest son was in public school for three months several years ago, and they were teaching him to just write words however he felt they should be written if he didn't know how to spell them. This was completely unacceptable to me because he began to believe that his own misspellings were the correct spellings of commonly used words!

It amazes me how some public school teachers that I know have issues with what I'm doing but don't see anything wrong with things like those I listed above. All I know is that I want my boys to learn how to type using all of the keys on the keyboard and I want them to know how to spell correctly. If they cannot spell correctly, how will they be able to read things of importance. Also, if everyone just starts spelling things any way they want, what will happen to our communication?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Update on Jessica Hulcy

Good news! Jessica Hulcy is improving. Her lungs are functioning and are almost completely healed. She is eating well on her own and no longer needs any type of feeding tube. Her thoughts are beginning to clear, but her mental capacity is a big concern right now because she has always been a very intelligent woman. She is going to begin physical therapy.

Please continue to pray for her mental healing. Also pray for her as she begins physical therapy. Finally, continue to pray for the family as they are dealing with their concern for her and taking turns staying at the hospital.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Famous Homeschooler of the Week

I am sorry if I missed posting a famous homeschooler last week. I almost forgot it this week as well, but here it is, your famous homeschooler for this week is:

Patrick Henry

Did you know that many of the men involved in founding our country were the product of at least some home education by their parents?

His most famous words are "Give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry, one of the great leaders of the American Revolution, was willing to die for his beliefs. He used his legendary speaking abilities to persuade others to fight for their God-given freedoms.

Patrick Henry was raised by godly parents who assumed the responsibility for his education. At first, Colonel John Henry sent his son to a common English school. But when Patrick was 10, Colonel Henry pulled him out of school and began to teach him at home. Colonel Henry taught his son enough Latin to read the great Roman classics with ease the rest of his life.

Patrick's parents gave him religious training as well. On the way home from church, his mother would have Patrick recite the text and summarize the sermon. The Henrys attended the church of Samuel Davies, a fiery preacher who fought for religious liberty in early America. Davies' eloquence and theology helped shape the thinking and oratory of young Patrick Henry.

The academic and religious training he received from his parents helped him become a successful lawyer, a leader of the Revolution, the governor of Virginia, and a staunch defender of religious liberty.

Jessica Hulcy Update

Praise the Lord! Jessica Hulcy is out of ICU. She is improving and is able to eat solid food. She is still quite confused and her family is asking for prayers for continued healing and for a clear head for Jessica. She really wants to go home, but is facing a slow process to recovery. Currently they are searching for the right rehabilitation center to send her to. Please keep praying. God is faithful!

A Teacher Who Sought Out Answers

I received a link to this in an email. The link is to a website called CollegePlus. I thought it was worth sharing.

A Teacher Learns the Truth About Education
by Lauren Bleser

In 2002, I graduated with my Master’s degree as a reading specialist after having finished a teaching degree from the State University of New York at Oneonta. I was fast on my way to a full and busy career in the public school system when I was caught off guard by a homeschooling parent who asked if I could explain God’s mind on education. I had never really considered that before, always taking it for granted that we simply go through the system, memorize the information required, and graduate. This challenging question led me on a quest that changed the course of my life.

Questioning the System
What is a real education? After studying it out, I have come to believe that education involves the whole child, not just the mind. It includes character growth, personal disciplines, and manners. Considering each child’s unique talents, interests, natural capacities, strengths and abilities, the end result of education is that they would become effective tools in God’s kingdom. Scripture offers clarity in this regard:

Deuteronomy 6:7 "And thou shalt teach them (God’s commandments) diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

According to the Scriptures, education is primarily the parents’ responsibility and is to be a natural part of everyday life. Education is accomplished through a meaningful trusting relationship. Education is discipleship.
I realized that I had blindly accepted a limited view of education, simply associating it with an academic pursuit of knowledge. Academic instruction, however, is only a small part of God’s plan—a means to an end, not the end in itself.

The Frightening Truth
So where did these distorted ideas come from? Studying the history of compulsory public schooling in America confronted me with ideas that challenged my own “education.” I uncovered disturbing facts about schools, business, government, and politics. All of it related to what was happening in the public school system.
Surprisingly, the National Education Association understands that education cannot be neutral, that ideas do in fact have consequences. They were working hard to train educators to go beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic, but to shape children’s core values as well. The “experts” have been using schooling and teachers as cultural change agents. This quote from Joyce Elmer Morgan, former editor of the Journal of the National Education Association, encapsulates their agenda the best:

“In the struggle to establish an adequate world government, the teacher can do much to prepare the hearts and minds of children for global understanding and cooperation. At the very top of all the agencies which will assure the coming of world government must stand the school, the teacher, and the organized profession.”

For decades now, they have endeavored to strip away the belief in absolutes and biblical morals and usher generations of students into a relativistic secular society. “Values Clarification” has become required as part of the regular state standards. Children were increasingly being expected to use newly taught problem-solving techniques to make moral decisions based on situational ethics and group consensus.
SAT tests, Goals 2000 and No Child Left Behind have introduced specific subjective / feelings-based / moral educational requirements and subsequent consequences for not meeting those standards, using new programs with labels like “Outcomes Based Education.” These alleged reforms have given them power to effectively implement new physiological approaches to their moral instruction. Even sincere public school teachers have unwittingly acted as pawns to destructively mold the next generation.

Taking Action
Knowing that I myself could not make such compromises, I decided to teach at a Christian school instead. Although I greatly appreciated being allowed to teach freely from the Bible, and even having a smaller group of students and increased parental support, the classroom setting still proved to be less than ideal for the children, both academically and spiritually.
Additionally, the emphasis on grades has changed the basis of their self-affirmation from internal character to external performance. This naturally led to comparisons and labeling among one another. In order to establish better rank in the pecking order that schools naturally created, many students at my school began to exhibit foolish behavior for attention.
They adapted their personalities to fit into cliques; they grew more peer dependent, and learned to compromise character to increase their popularity, gain approval, and obtain a false sense of importance. All of this distracted them from the very essence of real education – the development of their minds and characters.

Stepping Outside the Box
The classroom setting works directly against God’s design for a child’s personal growth. Effective education involves more than just providing the content, but also providing a healthy context for learning. Education is not a one-size-fits-all package, but must be tailored to the student’s unique multi-faceted nature, reaching beyond the intellect to the heart.
This is best accomplished in the security of family, in response to the parents’ nurturing investment and discipline, and without all the distractions of peers. Only when character and discipline are established is it safe to expand the walls of education.

Lauren Bleser is from upstate New York. She has her BS in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education, and a MS as a reading specialist. She is currently a medical transcriptionist, and also a part-time private tutor for homeschool families. Lauren teaches creative writing workshops for both children and homeschool parents, along with workshops about teaching techniques for the struggling learner. Lauren is currently working on a literature-based creative writing curriculum.