Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Better Late Than Never Hodgepodge

It is almost not Wednesday anymore, but Blogger has decided to get on my last nerve today and cause me all sorts of problems. So, better late than never!

1. Do you think the world became a more dangerous place on September 11, 2001 or did we just become more aware of the danger? How has your own life changed as a result of that day?

I don't think our world became a more dangerous place, I think that we just became more aware of the danger. It was on OUR soil this time. I know that it made me more aware, and I now feel a little less "safe" in my own country. Also, now when my in-laws come to visit us, we can no longer go all the way with them in the airport. We used to be able to, and now, we can't.

2. Did you think your parents were too strict when you were growing up? How about in hindsight?

I do think they were a tad too strict (sorry, Mom) but I do understand a little more now that I am a parent. I was the oldest, and the oldest is always the "guinea pig". I see that with my own daughters. You just don't know what you are doing with your oldest! Ha! By daughter #3, I was much more laid back, and realized that I didn't need to stress over every little thing.

I remember that when my oldest daughter's pacifier dropped on the floor, I would freak out, and practically boil it before I gave it back to her. By daughter #3? I just wiped it off.

3. Share one random but candid fact about yourself.

When I see the word "candid", it makes me think that you want me to reveal some deep, dark secret. Sorry to disappoint you, but that is not going to happen! I will tell you that I am NOT a morning person. This summer, I got in the very bad habit of staying up way too late, and getting up way too late. This has made it very hard to get back on a regular "school" routine! I am working on it though.

4. Would your nearest and dearest describe you as simple or far too complicated?

I am complicated in certain areas. For example? It is not easy to feed me. Five years ago, I found out that I have Celiac disease. You would be totally amazed at ALL the food that contains gluten. My family and friends have been so super sweet, and make sure that if I am over, they make food that I can eat. But, it is no longer just fix whatever. It all has to be carefully planned out. And, I hate it. I don't like to inconvenience anyone.

When I am at a restaurant, and I have to ask a lot of questions, it makes me feel like I am "high maintenance". I don't ask because I want to be a pain, I ask because, if I eat food that contains gluten, I will get VERY sick.

5. What is your favorite stadium or carnival food?

See above. Not a whole lot of food I can actually eat at these places! Maybe, a snow cone?

6. Tornado, hurricane, earthquake...how many of these natural disasters have you experienced? Which event do you think would be the scariest?

I have only experienced tornadoes. I have been through several, but I have never actually seen one in person. They weren't severe ones, and did not cause any damage to any of our property.

I couldn't decide which one would be the scariest, so I asked my girls! They all agreed that they think an earthquake, because there can be many different things that happen during one. Not only does the Earth shake, but there can be fires, or tsunamis.

7. Labor Day weekend is approaching so a work related question seems appropriate. Growing up, did your parents assign you regular chores? Were you paid for doing those chores? If you're a parent do you assign chores to your own children? Why or why not?

Growing up, I was required to help out around the house. Things like setting/clearing the table, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, nothing really too strenuous. At certain times we did get paid, and other times, we didn't.

My girls do have "chores" that they are required to do. I think I'm pretty easy on them though, compared to what I know some of their friends do. That's why, if I ask them to do something, and they give me attitude about it? I may or may not get a teeny bit angry.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My middle daughter just got some AMAZING news! They called to tell her that she got the lead female role in the youth play for the community theatre. To say she was excited, would be an understatement! She has never played a main part before.

Here are some pictures of my two oldest girls in several different plays they have been in.

Tinkerbell in "Peter Pan"

Lost child in "Peter Pan"

Kitty in "Miracle in Muddville"

School girl in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

Narrator in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

I have more pics to share, however, Blogger has decided that this is all the pictures I am allowed to put on. I guess I should be thankful that they allowed me to even post at all, huh?! Anyone else having problems posting?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Homeschooling: What We Wish You Knew (Part 8)

I mentioned that by homeschooling, "doors" could be opened, that normally, would be closed. What did I mean by that? *Cue Jeopardy music*

I have mentioned the many benefits of homeschooling. One of the benefits that I have not mentioned yet is, by homeschooling, you have the ability to TRAVEL. We wish you knew that, we are NOT required to stay home, so our children can attend school. School can take place wherever we are!

We live in a state that experiences a thing called "winter". There are gray skies, blowing snow, freezing temperatures, and ice storms. While this IS a pretty picture to look at, it's not so fun (in my opinion anyway) to experience.

Hubs works at a job that has made it possible for him to work in other states. The state of our choice during winter? Sunny Florida!

This was the view we had outside of our window. Aaaaaahhhhhh.....MUCH better.

Homeschooling has allowed us the opportunity to spend most of the dreary winter in sun-drenched Florida. This could NOT have happened if my girls were attending public school, as they kind of frown on you pulling your children out out of school for two whole months.

We simply pack up our belongings and school books, and off we go! We do not have to alter our lesson plans in any way, unless we want to. There is also the added incentive of being able to go to the pool if you finish all of your lessons without complaining. I'm just sayin'.

We were able to do a lot of things while we were there. Some of them were educational, but some of them were just for fun. Most of the things that we did were either totally free, or very low cost. We....

* Went to see our favorite comedian, Tim Hawkins, perform live in concert

* Went fishing and looked up the different fish that we caught (this is a pin fish)

A blow fish

* Studied dolphins and observed them swimming outside of our window

Fun fact: Did you know that dolphins will help other dolphins who are sick or injured? They will sometimes "lift" the dolphin in need to the surface of the water, so that they can breathe. Awwww!

Can you see the dolphin? It was very hard to get a good picture of them, as they swam pretty fast, and would often just appear for a moment. It was fun to watch them swim, and even play with each other. Not something you see in our state!

* Took walks along the dock to look at the different birds, and then looked them up in our bird book. We even drew pictures of some of them.

* Went to the Don CeSar (the "Pink Lady") and took a tour

* Saw our first "one man band"

* Saw manatees as they were "wintering" in the warm waters of the water treatment plant

Can you see all those brown "blobs" in the water? Those are manatees. You had to be there. They don't take the best pictures, especially in the muddy water.

Here is a slightly better picture

* Went to the "Ringling Bro's Museum of Art"

The Ringling Bro's liked to collect pictures and statues of nudes. I refrained from putting the more "graphic" ones on here. You're welcome.

I find this sculpture slightly....disturbing.

We also toured the grounds and went to the rose garden. It was Valentine's Day, and I was surrounded by fresh roses.

In the Banyan trees

This was John Ringling's and his wife's "main" home. Hmmm....sort of looks like ours. Ha!

* Went to Heritage Village

Hubs taught the youngest how to play checkers in the old "General Store"

* Went to the beach and studied starfish

Fun fact: Did you know that even though most starfish have five "arms" pointing out from their body, some starfish can have as many as 40 arms?

*Went to Sea World which was both educational, and FUN! (OK, this was not low cost, but we allowed one big splurge)

Fun fact: Did you know that an alligator's teeth are replaced as they wear down? An alligator may go through 2,000 to 3,000 teeth during a lifetime. That's a lot of teeth!

* Went to the Planetarium, where we watched a presentation on the night sky, and then went to the top of the roof and looked at the moon, and Jupiter and it's moons, with high-powered telescopes (sorry, we weren't allowed to take pictures there)

* We were also able to spend quality time with our family and friends who live there, and we don't get to see very often. Priceless!

* On the way home, Hubs and the oldest went to the Corvette Museum. Here, my oldest is "driving". This will soon be my reality.....*Sob*

We would not have been able to do ANY of this if my girls were in public school. We enjoy being able to travel, and homeschooling gives us that ability.

Perhaps before you read this series, you felt "sorry" for children who are homeschooled. Do you still?

I will often have other kids tell me that they wish THEY could be homeschooled. Why?

Well...we have a lot of freedom. Freedom from peer pressure, freedom from a strict schedule, freedom from a one-size-fits-all education, freedom to learn what we want, when we want to. Freedom to just be ourselves.

And that, my friends..... THAT is why we homeschool.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Homeschooling: What We Wish You Knew (Part 7)

I talked a little bit about tailoring your child's education to their particular learning style, but what if your child has special needs?

I am not talking about if your child simply has trouble with a particular subject. Every child has their own set of strengths and weaknesses academically. It is the rare child that will sail through until graduation without any problems.

I am talking about special needs such as Autism, ADD/ADHD, Sensory Disorders, Dyslexia, and chronic health issues, just to name a few. How can you homeschool then? Is it even possible?

To find out the answer to this question, I did a lot of research, but I also asked some of my homeschool friends who are doing this very thing: homeschooling their child who has special needs.

Is it easy? No. Is it possible? We wish you knew that, YES! It is!

First of all, what if your child has a chronic illness? What are the benefits of homeschooling them? For starters, because they are doing school at home, they will not have to miss the large amounts of school that would be required if they had to attend public school.

One of my friend's has a son with a chronic illness. He is often sick, and has to travel to get treatments. He has benefited from homeschooling by being able to do his school work when he is feeling good, and getting the extra rest that he needs when he is not, by being at home. His exposure to outside germs is limited, but he is still able to interact with other children when he is well. They can "do school" in the car, the hospital, or the hotel where they are staying while he is getting treatments. He is not required to "make up" missed work, or be held back a grade because he has missed too many days. It is a win/win situation.

If your child has a disorder that makes it difficult for them to speak, there are special programs you can use to help them speak better. One of these is called "Small Talk." You can check out a review of it here.

What about Autism? Depending on where your child is on the "spectrum", they can be bothered by many different things. By homeschooling, you are able to do things like control the amount of light, sounds, the environment, routines, food, therapy, their schedule, and any other thing that might interfere with your child learning. Your child will have one-on-one attention, and a specialized education that is designed to meet their individual needs. The same could be said for children who suffer from ADD or ADHD.

What if your child has dyslexia? How do you KNOW if your child has dyslexia? You can go here for more info, and some signs to watch for. If you look around this site, you will find many helpful resources on dyslexia and other special needs. You will also see a list of famous people who had/have dyslexia.

There is curriculum that is designed to help you successfully teach your child with dyslexia. It is NOT hopeless!

Do you still have doubts about homeschooling a child with special needs? Go here to learn more about how this is possible. You'll be glad you did! You will be able to see checklists, read about different resources available to you, and learn what the laws are for homeschooling in your state.

*Just so you know, your child is still eligible for special services from the state, through the school system, even if they don't attend a public school. The amount of services can vary from state to state.

Homeschooling your child can open many doors, that normally, would be closed. What are some of those doors? You'll just have to come back and see....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Sense A Hodgepodge

I'm taking another break from the "Homeschooling" series to post another episode of.....HODGEPODGE!

1. What is something that bothers you if it's not done perfectly?

I have to pick just one?! There are many things that bother me if not done perfectly. I am working on that ;) One would be if I know that something is misspelled. I cannot just leave it spelled wrong. I HAVE to change it. It even bothers me when things are not spaced correctly, and with Blogger? Ugh! It will space things strangely, and even though I try and try and try and TRY to fix it, it just won't fix. THAT bothers me.

2. Do you think a 6th sense exists? Explain.

This is tough question to answer. In the way that I think it is meant, I do not. But.....and this is a BIG but....I DO believe that there is a "spirit world" that we cannot see, but that does exist. Some people are given the opportunity to see parts of it, but not everyone.

In the movie "The Sixth Sense" the boy can see "dead people". I have not seen the movie (nor do I wish to) but I have read about it. I do not believe that people's spirits can "wander" around. This is not biblical. Once a person has died, they cannot come back. Their spirit cannot come back. A person cannot become a "ghost" . There are such things as demons though, and they can take any shape/form that they want to. They can masquerade as a deceased loved one. They can offer to "help" people. They can "talk" to the deceased's family. The person who has died....cannot.

While I am on the topic, a person who has died also does not turn into an "angel". The angels are spiritual beings with spiritual bodies. Nowhere in the Bible does it talk about a deceased person becoming an angel.

I also know that God will sometimes speak to me. Call me weird if you want to....but He does. He has told me some things very clearly, and while it is not like an actual "voice", I have "heard" it in my spirit. Other times, He will sometimes impress upon me to do or not do something. Go or not go. Speak or not speak. Act or not act. I know that I am not the only one. He has "spoken" to me through dreams. Some of them have actually come true. I do not believe that this is some form of "ESP". It is simply the way He chooses to speak to some people.

3. Do you say your goodbyes slowly, quickly, or not at all?

I have had to say goodbye a lot in my life. Moving does that to you. I have had long, tear-filled goodbyes. Gut wrenching goodbyes. I-may-never-see-you-again goodbyes. I hate goodbyes. Where is the good in goodbye? If I am going to cry in public, I prefer the goodbye to be quick. The hardest goodbye was when I had to tell my Gram goodbye in the nursing home, and I was pretty sure it would be the last time I would see her on this Earth. It was.

I have to say goodbye to dear friends on Sunday. They are moving far away. Their oldest daughter and mine are "soul sisters". They spend lots of time together, and she is like a daughter to me. This is going to be hard. I am not looking forward to it...

4. On a scale of 1-10, with ten being hot hot hot, what level of spice do you like in your food? What's your favorite 'spicy' dish?

Maybe a 2? Ha! I am not a fan of super spicy dishes. I guess my favorite spicy dish would be enchiladas.

5. What is one of your all time favorite commercial jingles?

This was made the year I was born :) I will often catch myself singing this catchy little jingle.

6. Plane, train, boat or auto...your preferred method of travel?

Usually auto, but if it is going to be a super long drive, then I prefer a plane. I don't enjoy flying though.

7. What is something you take for granted?

I can think of many things, but one of them that hits home right now is medical care. I just had to go to the doctor's office today for what looks to be the start of bronchitis. I went, they prescribed antibiotics and cough pills, and I am hopefully on my way to feeling better. That is not the case in many parts of the world. In many third-world countries, people die from the simplest illnesses, that if they had been caught in time, could have been treated, or even prevented. It makes me feel blessed to live where I do, and have access to good medical care.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Today would have been my Gram's 84th birthday. She is celebrating it in Heaven. She was such a big part of my life, and her passing has left a giant hole in my heart. It has been two years since she passed away, and I still miss her every. single. day. I can still hear her voice. I wish I had taken more pictures and video of her. There is not enough. What I do have.....is priceless. I still can't even talk about her without tearing up.

This is the best picture I have of her and I together. I think we have the same smile :)

Happy Birthday, Gram. I'm glad that you are no longer in pain, and you can see all of Heaven's beauty perfectly. That not only can you walk again.... you can run! That you can eat all of the sugar-filled treats your heart desires. I miss you so much, but I know that you are in a MUCH better place than I could even imagine. And I know, that I WILL see you again someday. I love you, Gram. Save a place for me...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Homeschooling: What We Wish You Knew (Part 6)

Today, we started back to school.

Here are the "Back To School" pictures of my three beautiful "students".

Age: 14 Grade: 10

Age: 12 Grade: 7

Age: 9 Grade: 4

They are just growing up so fast. It's hard to believe that my oldest is now a Sophomore, and will soon be driving. *Gulp*

Moving on to what else we wish you knew....

We wish you knew that, just because we homeschool, that DOES NOT mean that our children are perfect little angels who always listen, never fight or talk back, or never complain (or even cry) about their schoolwork.

I have people tell me, "Oh! I could never homeschool MY kids! I just don't have the patience! They wouldn't listen!"

Do you recall how I described our day on my first "Homeschooling" post? Yeah....all lies. It is NOT like that at our house. If you are reading this and you homeschool, and it IS like that at your house, please, tell me your secret! I don't know anyone who can say that it is like this at their house every day. Maybe on some days, but certainly not every day.

I have regular kids. Kids who don't always get up on time, and have to be threatened...oops...I mean lovingly convinced, to get their backsides out of bed. Once out of bed, they often have to be told to get dressed (no pj's) and ready to start school. Then, they have to be told to actually start school, and then be reminded several times each. During this time, I often get to hear phrases being yelled, such as "She won't let me in the bathroom!" or "She took my _____!" "Tell her to stop it!" or even "Shut Up!" Now, that will get you into trouble in this house. But, I hear it anyway. Sigh.

Then, while we are doing school, they will sometimes fight and argue with me about what they are expected to do. "But, it's so hard!" (usually said with tears) and "I can't believe I have to ____!"

It is rarely the peaceful home that I wish it was. I have three girls, and there is A LOT of drama in this house. Crying. Screaming. Throwing fits. Fighting. And, it is not all just from me. *Wink*

And yet....I homeschool. Ha!

Now, out in public, the girls don't act like this. They save it all for me. Aren't they nice?

Anyway, do you get the picture? My girls are just regular kids. I have one teenager, one almost teenager, and one who acts like she's a teenager! Poor Hubs. He is totally surrounded by hormonal women. It's a good thing he is so laid back. He just shakes his head and rolls his eyes a lot.

Homeschool kids are just that....kids!

Since they are home all the time, I do try to keep some semblance of order in our home. There are rules, and consequences for breaking them. Since I am both their Mom and their Teacher, the lines often become blurred. That's just the way it is. The person who tells them to unload the dishwasher and pick up their dirty clothes is the same person who corrects their Math tests and goes over their vocabulary words with them.

We also wish you knew that, sometimes? We don't like homeschooling. Sometimes, the days are long. Our patience is gone. And, if we have to go over multiplication facts even ONE MORE TIME, we may need to be committed to the "looney bin". We may not even like all of the subjects we are required to teach our children. But, we have teach them anyway.

We have bad days. After all, we are only human, and we are trying to educate other humans. Who have their own set of faults.

Sometimes, we need to complain a bit, and let off a little steam. But, we feel like we can't do that with you. Do you know why?

Because you will then tell us, "Why don't you just put them in school?"

Believe me, on those bad days, it is VERY tempting. In my case, that yellow bus passes right by my front door. I can't tell you how many times I have wanted to shove my girls out the door, and say "Bye! See ya later!" and just have the house all to myself. Did I just say that out loud? Well...it's the truth.

But, just because we may think that at times, doesn't mean that we want to stop homeschooling! We wish you knew that.

If we are homeschooling, we have weighed all the pros and cons very carefully. This is not a decision that we have made lightly. It takes time and commitment to homeschool your kids properly. It takes a concentrated effort on the part of the homeschooling parent/parents to be solely responsible for their child's education. *That's why sometimes, we don't answer the phone if you call between 9:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M., and you have to leave a message. Just sayin'.

Just like you have bad days with your kids, we have them with ours.

But, then there are the good days. And they more than make up for the bad ones! The days where everything goes the way we planned it to, and we enjoy watching our children soak up knowledge like a sponge. When we witness first-hand the close relationship that our children have with each other, and with us. When we experience those "teachable moments" throughout the the day, that only come through time spent together. When WE get to be the ones who are the main influence on our children, instead of "the village". Those are the days that make this whole homeschooling journey worth it! Those are the days when we KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that THIS is why we homeschool.

Homeschooling can be hard. Most things in life that are worthwhile are. The hard things are the good things. And the good things....are hard.

We homeschool because we know the benefits it brings to our children, and to our family. And, we know that it IS worth it. No matter what.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Homeschooling: What We Wish You Knew (Part 5)

So, it seems that inquiring minds want to know if it is possible to attend college if you are homeschooled. Well....can you?

We wish you knew that, YES! Not only can you attend college, you can even get scholarships!

Now, if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know that I do not have any children that are old enough to be in college. My oldest is in 10th grade, middle in 7th, and youngest in 4th. However, I DO have several friends who have kids who have graduated from homeschool, AND college, so I have asked them about their experiences.

None of them had any trouble getting accepted into college. The schools they applied for did not act like it was a "problem" that they were homeschooled. As long as they had a high school transcript (which the parents made and signed themselves) they were all set. They also had to show ACT/SAT scores. *Depending on the type of college you are applying for, you may not need to take the SAT, but you do need the ACT.

Their children had to do the same interviews and essays that any public school kid applying would have to take.

That's it! There wasn't a big fuss made about the fact that they graduated from a "home school" versus a public one. None whatsoever.

But, were they really prepared for college academically and socially?

I have homeschooled my daughters from kindergarten, but when I started thinking about homeschooling all the way through high school, I started to panic. Could I really do it? What about those higher grade, "harder" classes? HOW was I going to teach those?

I did what I always do when I face a homeschool problem. First, I prayed. I asked God to give me wisdom, because at times, I feel like I don't know anything about this at all!

Next, I called up my homeschooling "veteran" friends who have been there. I asked them what they did with their kids. They told me about what they used in high school to help their kids prepare for college, and how they were now doing just fine with their college classes. They reassured me that, I COULD successfully homeschool my girls through high school.

There are many different options available for when your child is in high school, including, taking some classes at the local college. Several of my friends children have done just that, and they have passed with flying colors! They were able to take the classes that they needed for high school, at the college, and then they qualified for high school AND college credits.

Your children can also take certain classes through the high school. These are not "core" subjects like Math or English, but they can take things like foreign languages or other electives. In our community, they have a "career" center, where students can attend classes and on-the-job training in certain fields. Some examples are the medical field, farming, culinary arts, business administration and technology, and education, among others. Homeschooled students are welcome to participate in this program, and many of them do.

We wish you knew that most of us actually WANT our kids to go to college, and encourage them to do so! By planning out their high school years, they are able to be academically prepared to attend college, graduate, and go on to pursue the career of their choice. Homeschoolers are expected to meet the same class requirements as their public school peers.

Back to those "harder" high school classes. Like I mentioned, your child could always take them at the local college. But, if you go the more "traditional" homeschool route, complete with textbooks (curriculum), most of them are VERY detailed. They basically tell you, step-by-step, EXACTLY how to go about teaching a subject.

Since my girls struggle in Math, and I am not a Math whiz, I buy a curriculum that is computer based. There is a "teacher" that explains everything online. It is very handy, and makes Math more enjoyable for the kids.

Also, another option would be to get a tutor for the subjects that are hard to teach. We did that with my oldest daughter this year for Algebra. You can often find someone who is willing to tutor kids in just about any subject.

I asked one girl I know, who has just recently graduated from college, how she felt being homeschooled prepared her for college. She told me she felt like she was actually MORE prepared than many of the other college freshman. Why is that?

Most homeschool parents I know teach their children to work independently. At first, in the lower grades, that isn't always possible. But, as the child gets older, they eventually learn how to work more on their own. By not having someone always telling them exactly what to do, and when to do it, they learn that they must be responsible for their own work....just like in college. I do not mean that the homeschool parent is not involved. We are just involved in a different way.

She felt like she was more mature than her college peers, and was better able to communicate with adults. She also said that she felt her "social skills" were just fine!

We wish you knew that we are not making our kids emotionally crippled, or stupid, or so naive that they are going to be taken advantage of out there in the "real world". By homeschooling, we don't have to deal with all of the "drama" that is involved with public school. I went to public school. I remember vividly what it was like. Do I have fond memories of school? Ummm....not so much.

I was very smart, and was often made fun of because of it. I was called "Teacher's Pet", and made to feel like I was inferior because I got good grades.. My parents did not have a lot of money, so I didn't always have the "coolest" clothes. I wore glasses, so I was called "Four Eyes". I was tall, and skinny, and had big feet, so I got made fun of for that. I was shy, and it was hard for me to make friends.

Sure, I did well academically. But, what about socially? I feel like public school did not help my self-esteem, and in fact, made me hate who I was. I loved school for the "learning" part of it, but the rest of it was not my idea of a good time.

The older I got, and the more we moved around, I feel like I came out of my shell, and figured out how to be more social. However, if I had been homeschooled, I would have been spared all of that earlier trauma. I could have focused on my education, without all of the drama that public school provided.

I realize that not everyone has/had the same experience that I did with public school. Hubs went to public school, and he had a totally different experience than I did.

All that to say, that I can only go by how I see my girls growing up, compared to how I did. They are confident, self-assured young ladies who are excelling not only academically, but socially. They have many friends, but they also get "good grades." I feel like homeschooling has allowed them the freedom to be who they are, without being constantly ridiculed and ostracized. They still have to deal with mean kids, and they are still made fun of at times, but it is not every day.

By homeschooling, you do "shelter" your children a bit more, but in all actuality, is that really such a bad thing? Maybe you wish you had been a bit more "sheltered" during your growing up years. I know I wish that I had been....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Homeschooling: What We Wish You Knew (Part 4)

So...is there only one way to homeschool your kids?

The answer is.... NO.

For those of you who homeschool, this will just be a review. Or maybe, you will learn something that might help you educate your children better, according to their learning style.

Public schools are geared towards those who are more visual learners. But, what if your child doesn't learn that way? What if they are a more auditory (hearing) or kinesthetic (hands-on) learner?

If you homeschool your child, you can tailor their education to their learning style. Sure, there are textbooks. But, that is not the only way that you could learn something! For example, you could learn fractions by reading about them in a Math book, and then writing down the answers to the problems on paper. Or, you could bake cookies, actually measuring out the ingredients, and learning that 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup = 1 cup. In this way, you actually learn "hands on".

You could learn about WWII by reading about it in a textbook, or, you could interview your Grandfather, who was a soldier in the war. I did that with my own Grandfather, who was one of the first soldiers on the scene when the prisoners were freed from the concentration camps. I will never forget the way he described the camp to me, and the emaciated people that he saw there. The pile of dead bodies he saw stacked up, or the stench that permeated the air from the crematorium. He brought it to life. Even though I had never been there, I felt like I was.

Which way would you rather learn?

Do you wish you knew what learning style you, or your children, were? You can go here, and take a short test. It will then tell you what learning style, or combination of learning styles, you are. I took the test, and I am a combination of visual and auditory. This is not news to me. I love reading, but I find it hard to follow written directions. I work better by being shown, and hearing about how it's done.

I did very well in school because I learn best the way that the school system teaches. But, can you imagine if you didn't learn that way? How frustrating that would be? Maybe, you were one of those kids who struggled to learn in school, and wish things could have been taught a little bit differently. Then, maybe you would have understood it better.

By homeschooling, you can teach according to how your child learns the best. You can use a combination method, or you can just use one. If one child is a visual learner, and one is a kinesthetic learner, you can teach them each differently if you want to. The sky's the limit!

We wish you knew that we all homeschool our children differently. I tend to use a combination of different methods. I do use mostly textbooks, but I also use "living books" (books that are not textbooks) to learn. We also do "hands on" activities, along with visiting different museums, and other such places, wherever we are. Since we travel a lot (more on that later) we try to plan fun, but educational activities to do while we are there.

There are some homeschoolers who use a more "unschooling" method. This is not something that I do, but if you would like to read more about it, you can go here. Basically, it is a child-led learning method. This is the type that you often see portrayed in the media. It CAN work, and is a very beneficial style of learning, but it is often shown from an extremist point of view. Why? Because that is what people want to see. Extreme stories.

But, can kids who are homeschooled attend college? Are they equipped to go out into the "real world", or are they crippled for life from their "sheltered" upbringing?

Inquiring minds want to know....

Homeschooling: What We Wish You Knew (Part 3)

Moving on with my homeschooling series....

We wish you knew that the media often portrays us only one way. When you see homeschoolers on television, they are usually "country" women who wear long, sweeping skirts, with long hair and no make-up. They have lots of children, raise animals, and pretty much are self-sufficient on their family farms. While that may be true for some of us, most of us do not fit into that mold. We are just regular people, who wear regular clothes, live regular lives, in regular homes, with regular kids. Are you noticing a theme here? Regular. Just like there are a wide variety of people in the public school system, there are a wide variety of people who homeshool. We are NOT all alike.

Being regular kids also means that our children have friends. My oldest daughter wanted to make sure that I included this one! They are NOT socially awkward hermits, who never leave the house, and get no social interaction. My girls are involved in so many activities, we need to stay home more! They are involved in dance, theatre, music lessons, homeschool co-op, church activities, and they perform community services. They have many, many different opportunities to be involved with other kids their own age. They do not need to attend "school" to interact with other children.

If you were to go on my oldest daughter's Facebook page, you would notice that she has almost 300 friends. Our family rule is that she is not allowed to accept anyone as a friend that she doesn't know in real life. Now....does THAT sound like someone who is socially awkward and friend-less? I think not.

My girls have many friends, and the majority of them are NOT homeschooled. They fit in with them just fine. They have the same interests as they do, and other than having a little more free time because they are not spending every waking minute doing homework after school, you could not tell them a part from their public school peers. They do not look any different from their public school friends.

My daughters also get along quite well with adults. They are polite and well-behaved, and they know how to conduct themselves in social settings. If you were to ask most people who know them well, they would tell you the same thing. I have to say that, because I am their Mother, but they don't. Ha!

We wish you knew that we think it is downright rude for you to ask our kids "questions" to make sure that they are REALLY learning something. Want an example of just how rude this is? Go here, to read about what happened to my bloggie friend's 4 year old daughter.

Now, after reading that, is that something you would want us to do to YOUR 4 year old? What about your child who struggles with Math? Do you want us asking them Math problems? Or, do you want us quizzing your child, who attends public school, to make sure they know all the important historical facts and dates? Yeah....didn't think so.

We wish you knew that, just like kids who attend "regular" school, our children all learn at their own pace. Just like there are children who struggle in public school, there are children who struggle in homeschool. Just because we are homeschooling them, does NOT mean that they are going to be super-smart, and graduate early. Some of them will, but most of them won't. Homeschooling does allow you the opportunity to work one-on-one with your child who is struggling....but they may still struggle. There are no guarantees that just because our children homeschool, that they will suddenly qualify for MENSA.

But....is there only one way to homeschool your kids?

That, my friends, is a topic for another time...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Birds Of A Feather Hodgepodge

For those of you who have been following along with my homeschooling series, I'm going to take a break for some Wednesday Hodgepodge. Never fear, the homeschooling series will be continued.

1. Using what's in your fridge right now, what sort of meal would you be able to make for guests who are knocking at the front door this very minute?

I just recently went grocery shopping, so there are many possibilities! Since I am currently making dinner, I would just add a bit extra to the leftovers we are having. Last night, I made creamy chicken and rice, which my oldest daughter BEGGED me to make. It is rather tasty if I do say so myself. Just something I threw together one time on a whim, but it has become a family favorite.

2. What is something about yourself that you hope will change but that probably never will?

I hope that some day, I will not care so much about what other people think.

3. What's something about yourself that you hope will never change?

I hope I never lose the ability to sing. I enjoy singing, and I feel like it is one of the talents that God has given me. That doesn't mean that I want to try out for "America's Got Talent" though.

4. Do you usually send serious or funny greeting cards? Why?

I usually send serious cards. I'm not sure why, since I tend to live my life with a bit of humor.

5. Bird watching, shell gathering, or star gazing- your choice for whiling away the hours?

Definitely bird watching. They are so entertaining! I especially love watching my cockatiel, Howie. Here is a picture of him. Isn't he just the cutest little thing? I ♥ him!

6. Do you double or triple check things? If so, what?

Oh my, yes! Before I hit "post" I will more than triple check each word, to make sure that it is spelled correctly, sounds right in the sentence, and is the best way that I could have said something. I still make mistakes though. Grrr.

7. What's your favorite place for people watching?

Anywhere there are a lot of people. When we went to "Sea World" and I was patiently waiting for the rest of the family to get off one of the rides, I enjoyed watching all of the different families that were there. Sometimes, I make up stories about the people that I see. I have a pretty active imagination :)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It's almost back to school time! I am doing a series of blog posts about homeschooling, and what we, as homeschoolers, wish you knew about us. Care to read it? Go here, for the first post in the series.