Saturday, April 30, 2005

Winning Over A Relative

As homeschoolers we all encounter them. Friends and relatives who are skeptical about our choice to homeschool. They are not in the same category as strangers you meet on the street who question your decision. Strangers share their thoughts and opinions and move on. But what do you do when a relative or good friend is not exactly on board with your decision to homeschool? I had very few who were against homeschooling but I did have a few relatives who were not exactly encouraging.

A part of me wanted to try and convince them from the start that this was the right thing to do. But another part said to wait and let things play out for a few years. And that's what we did. (No small feat from one who doesn't like to back away!) It's one thing to SAY all the great things that homeschooling can do for a child and a family and quite another to DO them. So we set our hearts to just say very little and let our lives speak for themselves. This was hard at different points in time. It is hard to let a difficult comment go unanswered but for the sake of the relationship and the greater good that is what we did.

The fruit of that decision came this week. A close relative told me, "I would not have said this ten years ago but your family made the right decision to homeschool." I was smiling and crying at the same time. Smiling because somebody we care about thought things were going well and said so and crying knowing that this encouragement came from someone who was less than enthusiastic when we first began. God is awesome.

Homeschooling is hard work. When there are negative relatives who you can't avoid, the job can be even tougher. Be still and know that God is at work and be patient. The fruit will be evident in due time and you will enjoy the blessing with those who care about you most.

Spunky

Friday, April 29, 2005

Homeschoolers are odd (in modern history that is)

Conservative radio commentator Scott Thomas called homeschoolers odd. and not right for most. From another perspective, Mr. Kellmeyer has put together a thought provoking essay Abnormality, thy name is homeschool. on the history of education and the effect on the family. This gentlemen is right on the money. Please read the whole article. It is excellent.

The school system is so effective at passing on knowledge and forming young minds that this entire history is lost to most of the Americans who pass through its gates. We no longer remember how or why today's school system came to be what it is. The modern college student is radically less well-read and radically less moral than the average twelve-year old was in colonial America.

So, yes, homeschooling does seem a little odd to many. It seems unnecessary, not a good fit for most families. And in a certain sense, that assessment is correct. Homeschooling is not a good fit for the modern family, if only because the family has, in modern times, ceased to exist. Family cohesion has been obliterated by the mass school.Our society requires massive consumption. Needy, ignorant people consume more goods and services than educated, emotionally stable people do. The quickest way to create needy people is to obliterate the family. The quickest way to create ignorant people is to divorce them from their parents. The mass school is an excellent exercise in creating a market for your goods, whatever they might be. Unfortunately, what counts as goods for the market does not count as goods for the family.

We do Civil War Living History Presentations. As part of our first person impression my children and I demonstrate the one room school house from the 1860's. What the children learned in years past is considerably different than today. Consider this small passage which my children recite on obedience. I posted it here. That is a far cry from what is being taught today. Knowledge is learning facts, wisdom is knowing how to apply the facts biblically with a heart of reverence for the Lord. Modern society wants to us to think of ourselves as independent people but God created the family as the unit to build a church and the nations. Schools seek to break that down and put what is best for the individual above what is best for the family. Thank you Mr. Kellmeyer for putting together a well thought out essay on the history of education and what it has done to the family.
______________________________________

Things are happening so fast around here I haven't had time to check out other bloggers much but I did manage to get over to La Shawn Barber's and tell her about the Online Homeschool Convention. She asked about what was going on in the blogosphere and so I invited her over. I hope she comes for a visit and if she brought a few friends that would be fine. Most of the children are gone today and I have plenty of time to spend with "company". She is a favorite blogger of mine and if you haven't had the time to acquaint yourself what are you waiting for? Get over there. See ya later!

Spunky Jr. is updating my site with all the new bloggers from the convention. I was trying to think of a way to organize them and I decided by state. Even though the blogosphere is without boundaries it is still nice to know who is blogging in your neighborhood. So if you would like to be added to my blogroll let me by commenting here or sending me an e-mail. (Those that submitted a convention post don't have to bother you will be added automatically. If your blog doesn't appear right away please be patient this could take a few days!)

Spunky

Thursday, April 28, 2005

What's going on in Illinois?

Lot's of ODD stuff going on make sure you read to the end. (This post has be updated Friday to reflect new information. )

Th original story came from Daryl at Home Education . Here is Friday's story in the Southern Illinoisan. Apparently the Attorney General plans to make an example out of a mother who he thinks she avoiding truancy violations by claiming to homeschool.

On Thursday, he announced at a press conference that he has charged Marion resident Kim Harris with permitting truancy, a Class C misdemeanor punishable up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Harris is said to have willingly and knowingly allowed her 15-year-old son to be truant.Garnati stressed that he supports home-schooling in general, just not for parents who abuse the privilege.

Some parents have allowed their children to be truant from public schools, and when threatened with legal action, have pulled their children from that school to avoid prosecution, Garnati said."It's what I call an end around," Garnati said. "

These are parents who have no intention of home-schooling their child. Unfortunately, there is no law on the books that criminalizes improper home schooling. What concerns me are those children who are chronically truant from school."

Here is the Illinois page from the HSLDA website. The law look somewhat vague with only general subject guidelines. There doesn't seem to be a curriculum requirement or a testing requirement. And here is what the truant officer stated in regards to Ms. Harris.
In the Harris case, Sullivan said she made three trips to the residence to see if there was an established curriculum. In each case, however, she found that there wasn't one."She didn't produce any evidence of home-schooling," Sullivan said. "It's important that we send the message to those parents who are not home-schooling their kids properly that they can be prosecuted."Marion High
School Principal Gerald Murphy said the dispute is not whether or not children are enrolled in public schools or home-schooled, but rather if the parents who choose to home school are trying to get around the system and not provide a quality education for their child.

If a "quality education" is the standard then most children in the public schools could be considered truant by my definition of "quality". But unfortunately their standard is much lower than mine. I will keep watch on this one.


Speaking of Illinois here is the response from Scott Thomas after reading e-mails. If you don't kow what he's responding to find out here. He basically comes down to the silly notion that homeschooling is not right for most because it is ODD.

Home schooling strikes me as abnormal--odd--in the same way being a vegetarian is odd, or being a member of the Le Leche League and breast feeding a 5 year-old is odd, or being an atheist is odd…or, I suppose, being a talk show host or opinion columnist is odd. The mere fact that these things are abnormal…statistically practiced by a minority of people…indicates that these things are not “right” for most people. If they were, we’d all be eating soy burgers during lunch break while home schooling.

So, I appreciate your passion. I admire many of you. I think, in some cases, home schooling is absolutely the right decision for you and your family. But, I have not been persuaded to believe that it should be our normal model for education. My feeble attempt to help my daughter with her Trigonometry last night serves to prove my point.

Mr. Thomas's logic is flawed. He considers something abnormal simply because it is practiced by a minority and therefore not "right" for most people. I don't have a problem being in the minority. Remember Noah, when he went into the boat he was also in the minority but soon emerged as the majority.

A Musical Note

All my children love music and play multiple instruments. Our home is never quiet because someone is always playing something. This is nothing short of amazing to me. Rest assured their talent is not inherited. My husband and I don't have an ounce of musical ability. I play the radio because that's the only way I can carry a tune. When I start to sing my children all leave the room. I used to be insulted but now I actually use it to my advantage. When I want a room to myself I just start to belt out a song. Before long the room is mine. But somehow music is a part of our lives. People have oftened asked me how I did it. Well, I'd like to think I was the conductor of a magnificent plan that cresendoed into a symphony of sounds but I'm not. But there are a few things that we did early on that now looking back have been instrumental in their musical development.

1. We took advantage of free concerts. From the time my children were little I took them to concerts. We lived near the University of Michigan school of music and I would go to recitals. In the fall, we would go listen to the Marching Band rehearse on the practice field. They would sit on the side and march as they practiced. That was nice because they didn't have to sit stll and be quiet. The indoor concerts required me to teach them how to sit quiet but once that was done I could pretty much take them anywhere. Many churches also have musicals and I always tried to check the papers and attend those. A personal favorite was a "human Christmas Tree" where the choir was placed on risers and shaped into a tree. All the music was acapella. It was beautiful and entertaining.

2. We kept them in church with us during the worship and sermon both. The praise and worship were always a favorite. I think this is where my son Jason developed his love of the drums. Now that he is older he is frequently in the basement worshipping on his set with a praise CD. We also played church worship team alot at home. They would gather whatever "instruments" (read pots and pans and recorders) and a few play guitars and we'd all sing to the Lord. (That was back when they didn't care how I sang!)

3. We didn't buy them their instruments. When my children expressed an interest in an instrument we encouraged them to save their money. When they had enough they purchased the instrument. We did help with the rentals to make sure they wanted to play that instrument. But the purchase was their responsibility. They have been able to purchase two violins, two trumpets, a flute, and a drum set. The clarinet, oboe were mine (from my feable attempt at music in my youth). Friends gave us a flute and a trombone. The piano we have was also given to us. The way they earned their money is a post for another day. We do not pay an allowance they earned all the money themselves. They are not super kids by any means. But children who want to do something will find a way to pay for it when given the opportunity. A side benefit is that since they made the purchase they take much better care of the instruments and also practice more faithfully. A special memory for me was when my son, Joshua (12) gave his first violin away when he purchased his full size. He could have traded it in to help defray the cost of his full size but he insisted he didn't want to. On his younger sister's 10th birthday he put it into a big black bag and gave it to her as a gift. He is now helping her learn how to play.

4. We play alot of music during the day. When they were little I picked onE classical CD and played it alot for that week. We would then choose another composer the next week. Most of the CD's were not purchased we checked them out of our library. We were especially fond of the composer/story CD's. Like Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery, Bethoven Lives Upstairs, and When Bach Comes to Call.

5. We were creative with lessons. We have bartered meals for piano lessons. My daughter, Krisitn, learned how to cook by making a meal for piano teacher once a week. This saved him the hassle of cooking and Krisitn felt like she was contributing to the lessons. As she progressed she became responsible for teaching some of the younger children. This reinforced her learning and created a special musical bond between them. Since the instruments have been purchased the children also contribute to the weekly lesson payments. Kristin also has a few piano students who pay her and she uses the money to pay for her flute lessons.

6. They are all involved in homeschool band and two are in orchestra. The ability to play in a group situation has been helpful in their development. We helped organize the band so that our children would have another outlet for their music.

These are some of the things that come to mind when it comes to raising muscial children. When my children first started playing their was alot of "joyful noise". But now that they are getting older and more proficient the melodies are a beautiful blessing to our household.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Edwonk is also hosting the Carnival of Education. Take a few minutes and stop by and see what others are thinking about in all areas of education not just homeschooling.

Also, here is an amazing offer from the Old School House Magazine if you sign up for a two year subscription ($19.95) you will receive $300 in free gifts. Subcribe Online (click here) or call in your order to 1-888-718-HOME or 530-889-1698. Please tell them Spunky Homeschool sent you if you call and subscribe. They are only offering 5000 free gift sets and 2000 are already gone. I have heard great things about this magazine and I am looking forward to my first issue. But you better hurry if you want yours. (Oh, and I don't make any money off this they just like to keep track of where people heard about it.)

I hope to be updating my blog roll shortly. There are so many new bloggers I have learned about since the convention and will be adding them soon.

Wow! That was fast!

I posted yesterday that ninety eight percent of English teachers say they want to teach the bible so that the children can understand history and literature more easily according to a survey published April 21, 2005. Today, a school district in Odessa, Texas has voted to allow the bible to be taught as part of their high school curriculum.
Barring any hurdles, the class should be added to the curriculum in fall 2006 and taught as a history or literature course. The school board still must develop a curriculum, which board member Floy Hinson said should be open for public review. (snip)

The board had heard a presentation in March from Mike Johnson, a representative of the Greensboro, N.C.-based National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, who said that coursework designed by that organization is not about proselytizing or preaching. (snip)

"How can students understand Leonardo da Vinci's 'Last Supper' or Handel's 'Messiah' if they don't understand the reference from which they came?" Johnson said. (snip)

I am sure there will be court battles to come. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Teachers want more Bible

A new survey released April 21 by the John Templeton and Gallup Research reveals that most teachers want the bible taught in the class. The survey sponsored by the group Bible Literacy Project found that students who did not a have any knowledge of the bible were at a distinct disadvantage in their academic training.
Virtually all -- 98 percent -- of high school English teachers surveyed for a new Gallup poll say understanding the Bible gives students a distinct educational advantage. Survey researcher Marie Wachlin (WAHK'-lin) said students who lack biblical knowledge are "clueless" when it comes to
understanding many references that are common in English literature.

The survey also found that most teenagers were not very well versed in basic bible facts. That is sad. Because that tells me that Christian parents are not spending very much time teaching biblical truths to their children. Or that what they are teaching is not retained as relevant knowledge to the child. That finding is similar to the results published by the Barna Research Group. The Bible says in Psalm 78 says
For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God,
Parents are responsible for teaching biblical truth to their children and are commanded to do so. We are failing the next generation when we don't teach them the bible. I am encouraged that there are teachers who want to teach the bible as literature but saddened that Christian parents won't take the time to teach the bible as TRUTH. It's the eternal advantages that motivate me to teach my children not the academic ones.

For those who may be interested Bible Literacy has a blog. Thanks Sarah for letting me know. The link to their post about the survey is here.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Good News couch potatoes...

TV makes you smarter! That's especially good news if you are a fan of shows like 24. Since I have never seen the show (and don't plan on viewing it any time soon.) I will reserve comment about the content itself. Instead I will simply quote from the New Yorker article (reg. req'd.) that says the show is an intellectual boost to our nations young people. Stephen Johnson calls this the "Sleeper Curve".

But as that ''24'' episode suggests, the exact opposite is happening: the culture is getting more cognitively demanding, not less. To make sense of an episode of ''24,'' you have to integrate far more information than you would have a few decades ago watching a comparable show. Beneath the violence and the ethnic stereotypes, another trend appears: to keep up with entertainment like ''24,'' you have to pay attention, make inferences, track shifting social relationships. This is what I call the Sleeper Curve: the most debased forms of mass diversion -- video games and violent television dramas and juvenile sitcoms -- turn out to be nutritional after all. I believe that the Sleeper Curve is the single most important new force altering the mental development of young people today, and I believe it is largely a force for good: enhancing our cognitive faculties, not dumbing them down. (snip)
This reminds me of a something my friend did with his teenage son when the son wanted to watch a movie his father found objectionable. The son argued the show was good despite a few bad parts. The son believed that the good outweighed the bad. The wise father was not swayed with this argument. Instead, the following day he baked a pan of brownies for his son. Just as the son was about to bite into the delicious morsel the dad informed him that along with all the delicious chocolate and sugar he also mixed in a small portion of the doo doo from their golden retriever. The son quickly lost his appetitie for the brownie. But the dad assured him that there was just a little bit and the rest of the ingredients were very nutritious and outweighed the small portion that the dog contributed. The son quickly got the point.

The rest of the New Yorker goes on to point out all the "nutritional beneifts" of these TV shows. Don't bother reading it. It doesn't say a whole lot but the conclusion was insightful.

In pointing out some of the ways that popular culture has improved our minds, I am not arguing that parents should stop paying attention to the way their children amuse themselves. What I am arguing for is a change in the criteria we use to determine what really is cognitive junk food and what is genuinely nourishing. Instead of a show's violent or tawdry content, instead of wardrobe malfunctions or the F-word, the true test should be whether a given show engages or sedates the mind.
I think I might just send Mr. Johnson and pan of freshly baked brownies. By his standards they should be very nutritional don't you think.

(For my views on TV see Don't Control the Remote.. .)

Spunky

P.S. Edwonk has posted that a school district is encouraging children to turn off the TV. In light of this article I wonder if they are rethinking their strategy.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Homeschooling in the news

Well, I am back from our weekend convention in Northern Michigan. My husband did a very inspiring talk entitled "Changing the Course of History". What we are doing is significant to God and we are HIS history makers.

Speaking of conventions.... The Online Convention is still going on here. We have had great attendance and thank you for the encouraging comments and e-mails. Your participation made the event alot of fun.

But it's also time to get back to the business of blogging. I hope to write a post soon in answer to the comments in this post. But if you have anything to share feel free to jump in. Here are some opinions published in the Illinois Conservative as well.

Moving just a little further north to Minnesota, I thought this article out of the St. Paul Pioneer Press had an interesting perspective .

Home-schoolers must excuse Tom Keating, Minnesota's 2004 Teacher of the Year, if he favors a public-school education. That's not to say he doesn't believe there isn't a place for home schooling. He just wants parents considering it to think it over carefully.

"The question for parents is, 'Why do we want to do this?' It's a serious gut and heart check," says Keating, who teaches at Turning Point alternative school in Monticello. "Because, if we're running from something, that would be a little scary. If we're raising a generation of kids in cocoons, we're in trouble."Keating says some of the home-schooled students he has met make the transition into public school at the high-school level when the subject matters become more challenging. They adapt nicely, he says, after sometimes struggling to learn to work in a group dynamic.

He encourages home-schooling parents to read up on brain development and child psychology, so they can understand their child's stages of development. He also advises parents to get kids involved in varied activities outside of the home. And if they do end up sending their child to a traditional school, he says that can be a good thing. In a way, it's better training for the "real world" than home is: We must get along with others we don't know very well. Our family isn't always around to help us. We must follow a schedule that doesn't necessarily suit our natural rhythms. Plus, he says, "There aren't too many people who can't think of a teacher who was significant in their life. And if Mrs. Brown says, 'You've got a great skill for chemistry, let me help you,' we sometimes believe it more when it comes from another adult other than our parent." But it's hard to beat a parent's passion.

The question of "Why do we want to do this?" is a question all parents need to ask not just homeschool parents about how and why they choose to educate their children. Sadly, most don't. I wrote all about that in my post The Myth of An Equal Education. And the idea that a school is real world is hilarious. How many times in life do we spend 6 hours a day in the same place with all children of the same age for 13 years? That is a cocoon and exactly why our culture is in such trouble!

And that last part about where we sometimes believe it more when it comes from another adult other than our parent. This is a direct result of having the life of the child being separate from the parent for so many years.

We have been trained since our youth that there are those besides our parents who the "experts" in various subjects and they are who we should go to. This reminds me of a story my sister told me shortly after she began teaching. She was assigned to a fourth grade classroom. As a typical recent graduate she was eager and enthusiastic to impress her little scholars. By the middle of the year things were going along quite well. The staff liked her, the parents seemed impressed, and the students loved her. So much so that one day a little girl said to her as she was walking into class, "Mrs. H. you're so pretty, you're so smart, you're nothing like my mother!"

Instead of feeling complimented my sister was saddened. Because she was doing such a good job the little girl's impression of her own mother was diminished. My sister knew this mother. She was a typical mother trying to do her best to raise her daughter. She was working hard to send her to the best schools and hand picked the teachers to ensure her daughter's success. But the unintended consequence was that her daughter's heart was slowly being wooed away to see others more important than her parents. Left unchecked the little girl will grow into her teen years ignoring her parents and their impact in her life becomes minimal. The eventual outcome is that the relationship is weakened and the little girl will constantly be looking for the next Mrs. H. to fill the need for information and advice.

But I guess to most parents accept this a just a part of life in the "real world" their children are going to some day be a part of. Thanks for giving your advice Mr. Keating. I have thought about why I am doing this and you have just given me a few more reasons to keep on doing it.

Spunky

Thursday, April 21, 2005

WELCOME
TO THE ONLINE HOMESCHOOL CONVENTION

VENDOR HALL IS OPEN (Click Here)

Admittance is free but encouraging comments are gladly accepted (Warning it's a long way down!)

KEYNOTE ADDRESS (First entry received)

Keynote Speaker: Classical Child
Workshop: Can I Provide a First Class(ical) Education on a Coach Budget?
Description: Christine explains how to do a classical curriculum on a shoestring. Some people feel that they cannot homeschool because they don’t have very much money for curriculum and other materials. This is not an insurmountable problem; it just takes a little ingenuity and creativity to save money and still provide a top-notch education. First we must understand that a homeschool does not need most of the equipment that a public school classroom needs. Why buy teddy bear counting manipulatives for fifteen dollars when you have a two dollar bag of dry beans in the cupboard?

FEATURED SPEAKERS (In Order Received)
If you are a featured speaker would you please let your readers know the convention is open.

Featured Speaker: Work at Home Consulting
Description: Molly shares what to do and what not to do with your toddlers and preschoolers. She draws from her experience as a Pre-K educator and as a mom of 4 soon to be 5 young children.

Featured Speaker: Austen's Parenting with a Purpose
Workshop:
There is a Time for Everything Under Heaven
Description: Julie discusses her over arching principle for life is: To live all of life for the glory of God. All the things we do must therefore come under this heading or...we shouldn't do it. And then goes on to talk about a Convental Family and how that is lived out in their home.

Featured Speaker: Routon Family Homeschool
Description: Christina wrote this article last December after a very emotional argument / discussion with her family that was partially about homeschooling. She was reading “Little House in the Ozarks” and made some notes regarding Laura Ingalls Wilder’s views on education, specifically education in the home. Her words made Christina feel more confident about schooling her son at home and gave her encouragement during a difficult time.

Featured Speaker: Guilt Free Homeschooling
Description: Carolyn recounts her family's experiences inhomeschooling, made easier and lighter by eliminating the heavy load of guilt which so often accompanies homeschooling: am I doing enough;am I doing it right? This post embodies most of her advice to new homeschool moms: do your best, and give God the rest.

Featured Speaker: Agent Tim
Workshop:
Tolerating the Intolerable
Description: Tim Sweetman, a 15-year-old writer for Virtue Magazine, takes on the tolerant and pluralistic society in his essay Tolerating the Intolerable. He attempts to show the fallacies in the tolerant and pluralistic worldview. But can he do it? Well, you’ll have to read to find out…rest.

Featured speaker: Alice in Texas
Workshop: On Homeschooling
Description: Alice's top 10 reasons that she chooses to homeschool, some examples, and a pithy comment on what educating children is (should be) about.

Featured Speaker: My Three Pennies
Workshop: Top Ten Reasons I Homeschool
Description: Molly gives us her top ten reasons for homeschooling her children.

Featured Speaker: Poppins Classical Academy
Workshop I: Loving the Mothers We Are
Description: One of the hardest jobs we face is learning to appreciate the mothers we are. Like thieving quilters we steal bits of other mothers, from dreams, books and playground conversations, and stitch them together into an ideal mother.

Workshop II: Feminism and Homeschooling
Description: Are feminism and homeschooling incompatable concepts? Only if we use the stereotyped defninitions. I explore how the concepts are actually mutually supportive and explain how feminist studies in university actually helped push me farther along the path that led to the choice to homeschool.

Featured Speaker: A Typical Life (Andrea)
Workshop:
Homeschooling Babies and Toddlers
Description: Andrea tells us that homeschooling babies and toddlers is easier than you think. And yes, it is enough.

Featured Speaker: A Typical Life (Ron)
Workshop:
What About Socialization?
Description: Ron answers the question most frequently asked of homeschoolers. And reveals that the truth is children get socialized wherever they are.

Featured Speaker:
Relaxed Homeskool
Workshop:
Dissecting Owl Pellets
Description: Kim dissects the wonderful world of science and owl pellets and discovers that it was more fun than she thought.

Featured Speaker:
Press On
Workshop:
A Typical Day
Description: Laney tells about the joy of reading Because of Winn Dixie and the different conversations that when on throughout the day.

Featured Speaker:
Jumping In
Workshop:
The Rhythm of Our Days
Description: Gina gives us summary of what is taking place in their family after 1 and ½ months of homeschooling.

Featured Speaker:
My Two Cents
Workshop:
Am I Missing Something
Description: Julie shares a cute story involving a snail and her children. It captures the essence of what unschooling is in their family.

Featured Speaker
: O’Donnell Web
Workshop:
The Two Income Myth
Description: It’s accepted wisdom in the US today that familieis need two incomes I order to survive. People often question how educating families survive on one income. The reality is the second income is many cases is not worth nearly as much as most people believe.

Featured Speaker: Here In the Bonny Glen
Workshop:
Life On the Trail
Description: Melissa shares about life on a rabbit trail that her family explored, what books and games they encountered along the way and how the experience struck her as a metaphor for her homeschooling journey

Featured Speaker: Musings Of Micah Girl
Workshop: How to be a fearless expert in homeschooling
Description: Micah encourages us to trust our instincts and become an expert in educating our children.

Featured Speaker: Mungo’s Mathoms
Workshop:Something Completely Different
Description: This is a chapter from a book-in-progress about Latin Centered Classical Education. It focuses on how to stream line the curriculum to focus on a few key subjects in depth.

Featured Speaker: Reflections of the Times
Workshop: How Do You Get It All Done
Description: Carla shares a realistic and honest look at how as a mom of 7 beautiful children she gets it all done.

Featured Speaker: Homeschoolpedia
Workshop: Chemistry and the Periodic Table
Description: Don’t let the topic keep you from visiting this blog. Mark shares about the topic of chemistry in this post. His website is updated daily with interesting posts such as this and how to use the interactive web in home education. A true goldmine of information.

Featured Speaker: I Have To Say
Workshop: Why Homeschool
Decription: Randi shares their family’s answer to the question. And it all comes down to the TRUTH.

Featured Speaker: HomeSchool Mom Tips
Workshop: Homeschooling America’s Hope For the Future
Description: Victoria describes the hope that homeschooling families provide for children in America. By serving as role models for healthy, connected, godly families, homeschoolers can show other families that there is another way and we can help by giving direction on how to get there.

Featured Speaker: Mental Multivitamin
Workshop I: About College
Description: Mental Multivitam shares how they’ve lost the unwavering commitment to the idea that college is the natural right, or even desirable next stop for today’s high school graduate—no matter what his SAT scores, transcript, and favorite teachers may say.
Workshop II: From the Worth Repeating Files (about reading)
Description: the conventional wisdom is that allowing young the conventional wisdom is that allowing young minds to indulge in the equivalent of mental M&Ms is bad arenting, capital B, capital P. As you may have guessed by now, I am anything but conventional. Here's my recipe for growing readers, thinkers, and autodidacts...

Featured Speaker: Palm Tree Pundit
Workshop:
Amo, Amas, Amat
Description: Anne shares the importance of learning Latin in her Classical home in Paradise.

Featured Speaker: Stephan Fassman
Workshop:
What We Study So Our Children Can Study Good Things
Description: Stephan says , we learn to teach so we can teach our children to be successful.

Featured Speaker: School At Home
Workshop:
Reading to our kids
Description: In an average month our family reads between 100-200 children's storybooks out loud. I often get asked how we manage this. Here are some tips on how we accomplish this and my blog contains reading lists for the past year.

Featured Speaker: Semicolon
Workshop:
Homeschooling by Grace
Description: Homeschooling by Grace is a post in which I answer some questions from my niece who was considering homeschooling her kindergartener. I give some specifics, but the bottom line is: "Learn together and enjoy it. Read lots of books.

Featured Speaker: Homeschool Encourager Online
Workshop
: Homeschoolers Do Well In Geography
Description: A "Geographer" studying homeschooling notes that homeschoolers by and large excel in geography, testing high in most states. She comments also, that homeschoolers view geography as "integral to learning." This got me thinking, Why is that?

Featured Speaker: Live Free Learn Free
Workshop:
Unschooling On April Fool’s Day
Description: Shana describes a "typical unschooling day" that really is typical. No museums, no amazing park days, no profound insights. Just a normal day.

Featured Speaker: SCHOLA
Workshop:
Tips
Description
: Lynne shares a few tips for staying focused and sane during your homeschool venture. By someone who thinks she knows what she's talking about.

Featured Speaker: Under His Wings
Workshop:
Thoughts of a Homeschool Mom
Description: Jenny shares from a mom’s heart about homeschooling.

Featured Speaker:
Bezahlt (dot) org
Workshop:
On Being A Homeschool Dad
Description: Ever wonder what an a typical day is like for a homeschooling dad? Find out...Here’s 24 Hours in the Life of a Homeschooling Dad

Featured Speaker: The Crib Chick
Workshop:
Stay at Home KidsDescription: Jill shares that the way you describe your situation reveals a lot about how you see it. She has decided it’s time for a change of terminology?

Featured Speaker: Large Family Logistics
Workshop I:
How Do You Do It All
Description
: Learn how to balance keeping the home and teaching the children.
Workshop II:
Teaching Your Child To Be Self Teaching
Description:
Are you short on time and long on children? Learn how create self-teaching students.

Featured Speaker: Journaling Through The Valley
Workshop: Homeschooling is Memory Making

Description: Loni’s blog is dedicated to journaling through the valley after the death of her 16 year old son last December. This post talks about homeschooling memories as she prepares pictures for scrapbooking.

Featured Speaker: dbctan
Workshop: The ABC's of Homeschooling

Description
: David tells us what it is like to homeschool in Malaysia. He has two children's and shares the ABC’s of Homeschooling Acceptance, Balance, and Conviction.

Featured Speaker: Thought of the Day
Workshop:
Words From a Homeschool Graduate
Description: Amy explains her basic view of what homeschooling is all about. In 2002, she graduated from the Inge Homeschool Academy. She writes, “I loved homeschooling, and I can't wait until I can homeschool my own children.”

Featured Speaker: Digital Creations For Christ
Workshop:
Called Out To Homeschool
Description: The Sieberts tell that they feel called by God to homeschool much like a missionary family feels called to the field.

Featured Speaker: Liberty Family Resources
Workshop:
The Goal of Education
Description: Steve looks at the goal of eeducation and examines the issues in light of biblical truth. What is God’s purpose in instructing children? What does He want to accomplish through us as parents in training them? These issues must be clearly understood in order to educate our children biblically.

Featured Speaker: Freestyle Learners
Workshop:
Homeschooling that Bears Fruit
Description: Sue is exploring ways to think about simplifying the homeschooling process whenever possible.

Featured Speaker: Homeschool Mom Tips
Workshop:
Homeschooling America’s Hope for the Future
Description: This article describes the hope that homeschooling families provide for children in America. By serving as role models for healthy, connected, godly families, homeschoolers can show other families that there is another way and we can help by giving direction on how to get there.

Featured Speaker: Principled Mom
Workshop:
Biblical Principles of Mathematics
Description: Anne Marie posts about the biblical principles found in mathematics. Offers insight from the scriptures on the character of God found in math. Also provides more info on the Principle Approach(tm) philosophy of education.

Featured Speaker: Stand Up and Walk
Workshop:
When Their Not Your Own
Description: Helping to raise stepchildren is a troublesome issue at times. Step parents face great challenges in trying to work for the best of the children. This is my learning from dealing with children that are "not my own" for the last 8 years and a little insight I have received from having one of my own.

Featured Speaker: Grace Reigns
Workshop: Why I Can't Live Up to the Standard

Description: Paula explores why it is difficult to live up to the expectations we have about home schooling. She shares how to find a positive balance in the home and education.

Featured Speaker: Adrenalin
Workshop: A Drummer's Life

Description: Jason, a homeschooling teen, takes a few minutes to talk about drumming and the many ways he is able to use it. Even when his wrist is broken.

Featured Speaker: Spunky Jr.
Workshop: Why I Am Blessed

Description: Kristin, a homeschooling teen, shares the many blessings of her life.

Featured Speaker: Spunky Homeschool
Workshop: Outsourcing Parenthood

Description: Spunky looks at how parents have slowly given up the discipleship of their children over to the schools.

Workshop: Why I Started This Blog
Description: Spunky's too tired to write any more descriptions. The title is self explanatory and by the looks of this convention...I think she fulfilled her purpose.

Don't forget to visit the Vendor Hall. If there is an error in the links please e-mail me. If there is an error in the grammar please forgive me. And if you enjoyed it please tell everyone and e-mail or comment all you want.

Blessing to all and may God use this convention for HIS Glory.

Vendor Hall Now Open
All the vendors on this list have posts at the convention. I would like to thank you for your participation and support. Hope you get some business.


Liberty Family Resources

The Classical Child Online Store

Work at Home Consulting

Virtue Magazine

Bracelet Stories

The Homeschool Store

Civil War Dads

Soul Scents

Parenting with Purpose

Scrip Scenes

If you have a business and it is not on the list please e-mail me. (This only applies to "featured speakers")

I will be gone for the weekend. If you can believe it to a Home School Convention in Western Michigan. Civil War Dad is the keynote speaker. See you Monday. Make sure you read this post and check out the comments section. There's a lively debate going on in there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Homeschooling NOT a Good Idea For Most

Or so says WYLL 1160 AM conservative talk radio host Scott Thomas from Illinois in an opinion published here.

If you perceive problems with your public schools, you can choose, as a family, to be part of the solution, or you can run from the problems and home school. While that may be the right decision for a few, in my opinion it is more often a decision that deprives students of some very fine teachers, and doesn’t teach them a thing about how to get along in the real world. There’s the key. Feel free to open the box. But, before home schoolers email me in droves, I hope you’ll ask yourself if you really are, at the end of the day, the very best Algebra, Trigonometry, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Spanish, English, German, Latin, Literature, Grammar, Health Science, Physical Education, Music Appreciation, Composition, Psychology, Social Studies, Current Events, American History, World Geography, Communications, Astronomy, Computer Skills, Graphics, Art teacher, classmate and soccer coach your child can possibly have within your school district. If the answer to all of those is “Yes”, then home school. If not, then ask yourself if the “price” of missing all that is worth the protection they’re getting.
He is elevating knowledge above wisdom. Without supplying biblical support for his assertion. I say let's email him. Here's the e-mail admin@illinoisleader.com and tell them Spunky sent you. Maybe even invite him to the convention and see the other perspective. I'd love to talk with him myself. I have done quite a few radio interviews on this topic and debated it quite a bit. It's alot of fun and I'd love to try. If you listen to this show let me know the number . I'd love to call in. I'd also love to answer his assertion about being the "best" teacher but that will have to wait.

For now back to the convention posts. See you tomorrow.

Update 4/21 Please read Lyflines analysis of this article it is great. And Carolyn posted her analysis here about being a "witness". Good stuff there as well. Read what Agent Tim a 15 year old homeschooler think here.

Spunky

Also see: Myth of an Equal Education
Is Silence an Option
Outsourcing Parenthood
Don't miss the First Online Homeschool Convention
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Spunky HomeSchool Convention Center

The Convention Opens at 9 AM (EST)

Admittance is Free but Comments are Encouraged

If you have submitted an entry please put a post on your blog about this convention.

We also have a growing list of blogs willing to highlight the Convention. I may be the host but this is not just my convention. If you tell others about this event I'll make sure others know about you and add you to our growing list of bloggers.

See you tomorrow.

Spunky

Conventions and Carnivals

I will be putting the convention posts together today and so I won't have much time for blogging. This job would be a whole lot easier if there weren't so many great bloggers out there. I get so easily sidetracked reading all the stuff people are writing about. When the convention is over I'm going to have to update my blog roll for sure. But if your looking for educational blogs to read Edwonk is the place to be. He has the Carnival up today. Go check it out.

And if your still looking to read more check out my side bar and scroll down to homeschool news. That is where to get the latests buzz in homeschooling. The headlines are updated automatically as information and news related to homeschooling becomes available.

Spunky

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Press Release

Okay a few people have e-mailed commenting on my press release. Here is a sample,
Hi, As a current homeschool mom (Christian) and a former director of communications, I have a couple of comments about your press release. Not sure if you were aware but there were numerous inconsistent spellings of homeschool/home school and typos in your release-school was mis spelled twice in two different ways-not a really good reflection on homeschooling. I truly applaud your efforts but in the interest of homeschoolers and of the public relations profession, please proof (and have others read) your material before submitting for distribution.
Here is my response. I will post it here in the event others thought the same thing.
Thank you so much for you input. I had no intention of EVER sending out this press release. I was just messing around on their website and it sent it out on it's own. The website said free but it asked for payment after I gave some initial information and I did not pay them anything. That is when I left the site. Never intending to send it. I never proofed it or anything. Or even saved it. They then sent me a message saying it was approved. I was shocked. And still am. I realize that the release had numerous errors. But the biggest one will never be understood by most people reading it. (That being that it should never have been sent!) Oh well. Live and learn. I had to laugh when I saw it show up and saw how many people hit my site because of it. I just hope that people are gracious enough to write as you did and then I can explain the situation. Otherwise, I must trust that God is at work in something bigger than me and humbly accept my human inability to control what God is doing. Also, please excuse any grammatical errors in this e-mail as well. I am doing my best to live up to the high standards that Christ has set out for me. I will press on knowing that in Christ all my sins are forgiven. Even the grammatical ones.
Oh well, no harm done and if anyone is looking for a way to pump up their site meter I've got a hot tip for you! (For those of you who have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about...you're not missing much.)

Spunky

Monday, April 18, 2005

It's Official

We have our first broken bone. With six children I thought it would have happened long before now but my son has a broken wrist. He broke it Sunday afternoon while roller blading. Bummer. So I will be spending some time at the Orthopedic Specialist on Tuesday.

He is a real trooper though. Tonight was his final homeschool band concert and he still wanted to play. Pain and all. I just hope that didn't make it worse. But it was hard to say no. He has worked so hard all semester and this meant alot to him. He plays percussion.

On a different note, we're down to the final day to get submissions in for the convention. Make sure you get yours in while there's still time left.

I'm Not Pro-testing, I just want to teach

I am not a big fan of standardized testing and No Child Left Behind (NCLB). It seems neither is Richard Blumenthal, State Attorney General of Connecticut. He is suing the US Dept. of Ed.

The State of Connecticut sued the U.S. Department of Education on Tues., Apr. 5 for failing to properly fund the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The act, which equires annual testing of every student, would cost the state millions of dollars, according to State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. The suit claims that the government acted illegally by not supplying adequate funding for the state to implement the act.
I'd like to join the suit if I could but not because of lack of funding. When the federal government is given that much authority to regulate curriculum state and local control are gone. Why bother having school boards deciding matters if the federal government can just over ride it through testing?

If your wondering what this all has to do with homeschoolers...Plenty.
As the federal goverment mandates certain standards colleges and employers will begin to use the federal guidelines as the de facto standard as well. The designations or endorsements (Certificate of Initial Mastery or CIM) given will be part of the criterion used to judge a potential student or employees. Without the proper designation or endorsement a university would be less likely to consider a student. Or an employer would give more credibility to one who has the CIM. But don't take my word for it consider what the
Oregon Department of Education is saying on their website.

When you apply to attend a college or university, to get a job, to join the military, or to do volunteer work, the CIM can help you prove why you should be admitted, hired, or allowed to join. It shows you did more than just attend school, take classes, and graduate with a GPA. It shows you worked hard to achieve high standards - standards that people respect in the world beyond high school.
And here

Employers and community organizations are beginning to reward students who meet high standards. Here are a few examples from the "Show It Counts" program,

System.A-dec, of Newberg, is America's largest dental equipment manufacturer. The company gives hiring preferences in job and work-study assignments to students who earn a CIM.

A question on the Albina Rotary Club and Intel Oregon scholarship applications asks whether a student has earned a Certificate of Initial Mastery

Portland General Electric gives a $50 bookstore gift certificate to employees' children who earn a CIM.

Homeschoolers would be forced to take these tests and meet these standards or forfeit consideration for enrollment or employment. Some might argue, "Then just take the test." That is an option of course. One many take. But by doing so I am yielding what I teach to the government. In order to to do well on the test, I must teach what they are testing. In short, testing drives curriculum. That's not why I homeschool.

The governement has their goals for education and they are vastly different than mine. (See the Myth of an Equal Education) This is just a back door way of regulating what I teach. Well I didn't let my children out the front door to go to school and I'm not about to allow the government in the back door either.

Spunky

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Our Life is But a Vapor

It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and lose perspective on what is really important. Spunky Jr. has a sober reminder of just how precious life is.

Now go hug your wife or husband and children... they may not be here tomorrow.

Spunky

I love to read

Always have and probably always will. There is a new site, Mind & Media that is interested in learning what other bloggers think about books so I have signed up to be a reviewer. The purpose is to generate interest in the newly published books. I think this is a great idea and look forward to reading my first book. Thanks Molly for letting me know about this opportunity.

Speaking of books, I have not talked about what my husband is writing. He is currently writing a book with the working title "Personal Finances: Training You to Train Your Children". It is based on a series of talks that he does about money, the bible, and your children. I admit I am a bit biased but he's done a wonderful job teaching our children. The book is going to be helpful if you find it difficult to teach your children about how to handle their money. It will be out....well....when it's done.

Spunky