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 www.NoGreaterJoy.org, 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 www.Konos.com and Steward Ship (www.UnitStudies.com).

"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.