Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dear Spunky

No I'm not turning my blog into an advice column. But I've gotten a fair number of email all asking the same questions in different ways so I thought I'd answer them here. I have linked to previous posts I have written in the answers. If anyone has anything to add, feel free to chime in.

I am a homeschool mom and I have a friend that is wanting to homeschool, but both sides of their families are discouraging it! I can't find any of my "good things to say to family that oppose your homeschooling" info. Do you know if you have any articles on this? - CR

This is so difficult. A skeptical relative can steal a lot of the joy out of homeschooling. I encountered little resistance but it did happen. I wrote a post a while back called, "Winning Over a Relative" that tells how we chose to handle it. Here's an excerpt,
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.
This approach turned out very well for us. Over ten years later the skeptical relatives have seen the value of our decision and are now a source of great encouragement.

Negative questions about homeschooling can be turned around by asking questions back. One of my favorites to ask is, "What does it mean to educate a child well"? By asking the skeptic what "well educated" means to them, most usually see that the alternatives fail to do the very things that are important to them. That may not convince them of your decision but it will help bring them a little closer to thinking about the real issues and usually takes some of the pressure off. See my post. Why Do We Educate for more thoughts.

I would encourage you not to make it a "me against them" discussion. Give them the ability to expresss their concerns and listen. Most of us love it when others listen to our opinions. (That's why blogging is so popular.) Take the time to listen to them. That doesn't mean you have to accept their advice every time.

I was wondering about curriculum. My oldest is 2 years old, but we need to start saving and planning now! What have you used? What do you recommend? What do you not recomment? I've just started trying to figure things out, so I would really appreciate any advice you can give me - SS

This is a very common question. I wrote a post a while back on How to Choose Curriculum. Here's an excerpt,
When I began homeschooling, "What curriculum do you use?" was the first question I wanted everybody to answer. I devoured magazines and catalogs soon after they arrived. I also attended a variety of conventions and support groups to keep up with what was available. Seeing all that was available left me with more curriculum choices than I ever dreamed and more confusion as well. And that was 20 years ago! (way before the internet!) How do you choose from all the options and opinions which is right for you? Here's how I wish someone would have responded to me way back then
You can click here to read the rest.

Someone mentioned you had some good things to say about the virtual school stuff. Thought I'd check it out and got hooked on your site. From one thing to another, I just kept reading. I have a question for you. Where in the world with six kids and home schooling and taking care of things at home do you find time to sit and type out your thoughts and ideas? I have four kids, only one school age, and if I take time for myself everything gets behind and I can't ever catch up. - SO

I get asked this all the time. Here's how I answered this a while back. I have a sister who loves to quilt. She spends hours piecing together carefully selected fabric into a beautiful design. She hopes that these quilts will become heirlooms to the next generation. I don't quilt I blog. However, I view my activity the same way she does hers. It is a labor of love for my children. Spunkyhomeschool is a patchwork of posts pieced together to pass down to the next generation. Psalm 78 says,
So the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
What I write each day, I write for them. I don't want to forget the things God has taught me. I want them to know them too. I want them to know what I believe and why I believe it. Some posts they will understand now. Some won't be useful until they are parents themselves. Some will be just little bits of history so they will understand the times in which we live. But I blog for them.

Also, education reform is something I have been following for over 10 years. Most people are unaware of how broad and sweeping these changes will be. I hope that by blogging about this topic I can learn more myself and make others aware of what's coming down the road.

If any of my equally wise readers would like to jump in with their thoughts, please feel free.

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