Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Homeschooling = The Good, The Bad and The Busy

My husband and I came to the decision to homeschool after I investigated several preschools when our twins were turning 3. I had been at a Montessori preschool and remember calling him from the parking lot and saying, "I'm already doing this. Why should we pay someone else to do it?" He has been supportive from the get-go. Not everyone in our family has been. Some have come around after watching our children flourish and excel at a pace they never could in a brick and mortar school setting. As long as our children are happy and progressing, those negative opinions don't matter to us.

I enjoy doing the work to pull lessons together. I love watching the A-ha moments when they grasp a new concept for the first time. I enjoy the ease of  starting our day and a few extra minutes in the morning for everyone (cat included) to pile in my bed and have a quick cuddle. I love that said cat is a frequent student at the dining room table when we are doing lessons. (His favorite school tool is the abacus.)

We learn, hands-on, around the country and in our own backyard, any day or time of the year. We dare to "socialize" our homeschoolers by joining a co-op and participating in weekly activities at an open gym where they play with kids ages 0-18. One of my 6 year old sons' favorite people is an 18 year old boy from co-op and open gym that talks to him and answers his questions about Minecraft. He greets him with a hug every time he sees him. He lets my kid hang on him like he is a jungle gym, and when he had the flu last week my son added him to his special prayers list. A litany of friends, family, and extra sick people that he lists out loud each night.

Some days, I don't know where my energy come from: breakfast and some lessons, sweep the floor, dishes, clean the bathroom, followed by a class at the History Museum (don't forget to pack the lunch), following by swimming (oh, did we remember the gym bags?), and then home for dinner and the nightly reading of a Geronimo Stiliton book (usually by Dad and I crash on the bed for 20 minutes listening and thankful for the break.) After all that, I answer the emails for my photography business, prepare the next days lesson or perhaps research a bigger future lessons, work on the lesson for the class I teach at Co-Op, look at summer camps, and maybe get to talk to my husband about the days events (or not since we've been binge watching shows on Netflix this winter.) There is no 6-7 hour window when the kids are at school and I would be at work to pull my own thoughts together. To run an errand, I mean really RUN an errand without stopping to discuss how much things cost (good math lessons) or what food is better for you (health lesson). I'm not complaining because this is our choice. I just soldier on and try to feel like I've given the best I can. A friend, who is a psychologist, said that if you feel you have given your best 80% then the day was a success. That have saved my mind many times.

I am one of the lucky homeschool Moms that gets a break one day a week. Generally, my husband works from home on Friday's. I prepare a lesson for him to oversee and I get out of the house to do grocery shopping for us and my aging Mother-In-Law, edit pictures or work on contracts, and maybe get to lunch with a friend. I love that the kids get their father's perspective on our lessons. You just never know what he might say that might make something click for them that I am not bringing to the table.

Sure there are days that I feel overwhelmed, like I'm not teaching them what they need to know and then they do or say something so profound that I know we are on the right path and I'm raising some really cool human beings that are right where they need to be and we will be committed to this journey for as long as it works for all of us.

If you ever have any questions about the decision to homeschool or the whole process, please feel free to contact me.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

SB248: Withdrawn

Our voices were heard and Senator Cafaro has taken the steps necessary to withdraw SB248--in less than 24 hours!!

I hope the proper changes are made to the proper services that can have an impact and stop this from happening again.

From her FB page:

SB 248 was never meant to be a policy debate about educating children in the home. It was meant to address weaknesses in the law pertaining to child protection. Unfortunately, the true intent of the bill to curtail child abuse has been eclipsed the by the issue of homeschooling.
After consultation with Teddy’s family, we have collectively decided the best course of action is for me to withdraw SB 248, and instead pursue a more comprehensive approach to address the current challenges in the state’s social service and criminal justice system.
It is our hope that this new focus will bring the discussion back to where it was always intended to be: protecting children. I am requesting field hearings to address the impact of current law, government agencies and nonprofit organizations on child welfare in Ohio. I will not include any content related to education in the home in a new bill, or in any other bill.
Through this process, it is our goal to craft a new bill to honor Teddy’s legacy and to protect vulnerable children like him in the future.

For your review, I have included copies of my letter to President Faber indicating my plan to withdraw SB 248 with a motion on the Senate floor, as well as my letter to Medicaid, Health and Human Services Chair Shannon Jones, to request field hearings on the topic of child abuse in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Homeschooling Parents: Ohio Senate Bill 248

Senator Capri Cafaro has introduced a bill, Ohio Senate Bill 248, that "requires all parents who homeschool to undergo a social services investigation which would ultimately determine if homeschooling would be permitted. Social workers would have to interview parents and children separately, conduct background checks and determine whether homeschooling is recommended or not. If it is not recommended, parents would have to submit to an “intervention” before further consideration of their request to homeschool."

If you feel strongly against this, please start by visiting this petition and signing it. Then you can contact the offices of Sen. Capri Cafaro (D-32) and co-sponsors, Sen. Edna Brown (D-11), Sen. Nina Turner (D-25), and Sen. Tony Schiavoni (D-33) and tell them how you feel. 

 Another outlet for opinions:
Capri Cafaro's facebook.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another Resource

As I wrap up planning for the upcoming homeschool season, I want to share a resource I stumbled upon when trying to find material to create a Flat Stanley unit. . 

Teachers share their units/worksheets/etc on all subjects for a small fee.

This saved me precious time and only cost a few dollars.

Just a reminder that I don't need to recreate the wheel every single time. 

Hope you find something helpful there (they have freebies, too!)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Free Summer Fun

Free and Fun

If anyone has kids that are excited about the upcoming(Disney) Planes movie, Lowe's is doing 2 build and grow classes featuring two of the planes; Dusty and El Chupacabra.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Thinking of Homeschooling?

I will be part of a panel of homeschoolers that will take place at the News Herald office's on Wednesday, June 12th at 7p.

We will discuss why we homeschool, some of the resources we use, and will answer any questions you may have about homeschooling.

If you are thinking of homeschooling or are currently doing homeschooling, please join us!

If there are any questions you would like answered and will not be able to attend the session, please post them here and I will gladly have them answered for you.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Phonics Tip

My kids reading has really been helped by an online phonics lesson that involves the Looney Tunes characters. It gives them several areas with multiples choices where a robot says the letter sound or word and they have to pick it. They read sentences along with the robot, and as we are finding out as we go, they have to unscramble words to make complete sentences. It also incorporates the computer keyboard into the lesson, so they have become very proficient at using the keyboard.

I discovered this program on a living social deal, so when I saw another deal the other day by the same company, ClickN Kids, I grabbed it. It is for spelling and more phonics. It is a lifetime subscription for $17! While it won't have the Looney Tunes characters in it, that is OK. We are 53 lessons into the Looney Tunes one and the kids have asked me to cut out the cartoon content in the middle and only want to do the lessons. They would have never asked me that at the beginning, but their learning style is changing and they want the lessons more than the cartoons. (That program allows you to control the amount of cartoony-stuff in between the lessons.)

It also gives you a report at the end of the lesson to track progress and if 4 or more errors are made it recommends that the lesson is repeated. I have been printing those reports and saving them for the homeschool portfolio.

If you are interested in checking out the spelling and phonics programs, you can go here. I believe the deal is valid for TWO more days.