Saturday, April 24, 2010

Book Review ~ Love in a Time of Homeschooling Chapter 3

She talks about how part of her motivation to homeschool was selfish as she was tired of the evening tortures of their homework routine, and how she wanted the time to be spent on work she valued and not busy work. Again I can relate to that and amazingly the "homework struggles" disappeared once we began homeschooling. I realized that much of the struggling had been due to being on someone elses timetable instead of our own.

She mentioned going to college with Grant Colfax whose parents, David and Micki Colfax wrote  Homeschooling for Excellence. She also read The American Scholar by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Laura Brodie maintains that all good parents are homeschoolers. I disagree with the wording she used as I don't think parents who send their children to public or private schools should refer to themselves as homeschoolers, but I agree with the sentiment behind her statement. All good parents do seek out opportunities for their children to grow and learn. These parents share teachable moments with their children when they have the chance, no matter what educational choice they have chosen for their children.

Even though she had no intention for homeschooling for more then a year she acknowledges that many of the benefits of homeschooling emerge only after several years of work.

She gained inspiration from John Stuart Mill's Autobiography.

Brodie maintains that "Small class size is crucial for the one-on-one attention needed to teach writing, which is why many American schools fail miserably in that area." and points out that many Titans of today's homeschooling movement started out as disaffected public school teachers. Another book she read Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense by Guterson advocated a community based education where the student learns from real life encounters.  The one thing that bothered her was the lack of information about the daily struggles of homeschooling by the authors of homeschool books. I do think the privacy of their families has something to do with the lack of information. And in my experience homeschool Mother's/Father's need to make time for themselves. No one can devote themselves to something 24/7 without getting burned out.  But homeschool Mom's/Dad's don't have to be with their kids "ALL DAY" as some homeschool critics imagine.

One point I DISAGREE with Laura Brodie on is regulations. She actually is for North Dakota's strict requirements although admits that the  moderate regulations her state requires made it convenient for her. I question why she thinks homeschooling should be made inconvenient for other parents.

She was also pleasantly surprised by how positive the news of her decision to homeschool Julia was greeted by the majority of Julia's public school teachers. One teacher even recommended writers: Avi, Susan Cooper, and Natalie Babbitt for Julia to read.

She mentions a friend Todd who homeschooled his son for six weeks and who stated "I was demanding, But as I pushed, he resisted, and the results were very unpleasant".  This reminds me of the fantasy I started out homescooling with. Since my husband is GREAT at Math, I thought he could teach that one subject while I handled the rest. The kids mutinied, they begged me to take over as they hated having Dad as their teacher. For the sake of family harmony I took over the Math Classes, even though Math is my weakest subject and I really had to work at it. Some parents just aren't cut out to homeschool and don't get me wrong my husband is a great guy who has provided  many wonderful field trips and educational opportunities for his children and without whose support my homeschooling wouldn't have been possible. He was just to demanding for the day to day work and got frustrated when the kids didn't grasp what he was trying to teach right away.

I have just started reading Chapter 4, so stay tuned for further reviews.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Homeschooling & Unschooling Not the Same Thing

Momania is pursuing the Should we be ‘Unschooling’ our kids? topic.

Personally I am getting fed up with all the whiny anti-homeschoolers who refuse to recognize that there is a difference between homeschooling and unschooling. The Good Morning America show was obviously edited to make unschooling look as bad as possible in order to stir up controversy. In fact the same couple are guest on  The Joy Behar Show and present a much better picture of unschooling.

One of the interesting things I have noticed about the anti-homeschooling crowd is that a majority of them insist that homeschoolers are STUPID, DUMB, LAZY etc. , when presented with evidence to the contrary they start screaming THAT HOMESCHOOLERS ARE ELITIST.

Why are kids falling behind in education? Because people today who have kids are not parents, they are caregivers and buddies. It’s tougher to set rules and to be consistent and guide your children by those rules and dole out punishments and rewards when necessary. It’s so much easier to just placate kids with time-consuming (and mind-numbing) alternatives like video games and television, most of which has no redeeming educational value whatsoever.
 The parents who are choosing this option are those who got tired of calls from the schools, from teachers and administrators, and chose the path of least resistance (and least work) and “home schooled” their kids. It also allows an easy out for one parent who doesn’t want to burden themselves with a job and real world responsibilities, so they come up with this crap as a viable excuse to stay home.
Posted by That's called "Laziness" 

As a retired Homeschooling Mom (both my children are now in college) I really resent That's called Laziness' attitude. Homeschooling certainly isn't the path of least resistance and if anything it involves MORE WORK, then simply shoving your child out the door and sending them off to public school. There are lesson plans to develop, educational field trips to plan, papers to grade as well as researching which textbooks to use, researching what different colleges require and maintaining transcripts and other paperwork. We choose to homeschool because we wanted our children to receive the BEST education possible. Our eldest son started college at 16 and is now working on his Masters in Computer Science, our youngest son is a freshman in college, and both work part time. They are both happy successful young adults.

I’m sorry, but you two sound like “those parents.” You know, the ones who think that since their children are SO smart, they must not be challenged enough by the lowly curriculum, teacher, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
I also want to point out that being bored is NOT  an excuse for misbahavior or bad grades. In the event that your child is stuck in a class that is truly beneath him or her, he or she must learn how to deal with it and still come out on top. Being bored is NEVER an excuse for any type of negative response–whether it is physical or academic. If that’s your attitude, then your children are in for a shock when they enter the real world. “Oh, I’m sorry, Boss. I didn’t do the work because it is beneath me and I was bored.”
We’ll see how that one works out.
Posted by V for Vendetta

 Typical those of us with smart children capable of doing advanced work should just leave them to stagnate in the public schools. How dare we take them out and homeschool them so they can reach their full potential. If we insist on "giving them more" we should be content with limiting it to the few hours we see them after public school or during public school breaks. Baloney homeschooling is a valid educational choice and those parents who are willing to put in the time and effort to homeschool should be allowed to do so without having to put up with the blatant disrespect and harassment of the anti-homeschool crowd.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book Review ~ Love in a Time of Homeschooling Chapters 1 & 2

I was asked to review Love in a Time of Homeschooling by Laura Brodie. A lot of Laura's reasons for homeschooling Julia were the same reasons I had for choosing to homeschool my boys. The only difference was while Julia returned to public school  after a year we were hooked and continued homeschooling until the boys started college.

Julia reminding me so much of my youngest son. I laughed when Laura was describing Julia's exploits.

She mentions the monotonous pile of worksheets the public schools send home with the students, and the burden it created for Julia. This certainly resonated with me. When my children were in public school they were overwhelmed with  homework, usually on nights when we had somewhere to go. This lead to us having to choose between attending the event;  church, scouts, soccer practice and keeping the kids up past their bedtime so they could do their homework or missing the event in order to get the homework done. Homework that was often boring and repetitive.

"Some people imagine homeschoolig moms as ultra clingy zealots who refuse to relinquish control of their children but that's not me."

This is one of the homeschooling stereotypes that infuriates me the most, it's so not ME! In fact the whole time I was reading the book I found myself nodding in agreement with something Laura Brodie wrote. I felt as if I was meeting a kindred homeschooling spirit.

"The public schools aren't for everyone"

True! so true. My eldest son's fourth grade teacher was the one who suggested I homeschool as he was ahead of his class. 

"In our small town there are few alternatives to the public system. For most families in our area, private education means homeschooling."

That was the same situation we faced.

"The Standards of Learning are the monster that is devouring our public schools. In the end one local principal explained, the SOLs make great teachers good and good teachers bad"

I believe this too. Which is one reason I get so upset when anti-homeschoolers suggest holding homeschoolers to the same standards as the public schools.

The 1930s and 1940s witnessed a growing movement for the abolition of homework, as doctors and educators emphasized the need for healthy joyful children who spent plenty of time playing outside.

What a novel idea. I honestly believe to much pressure to preform is put on children today. I am so happy I was able to homeschool and give my children time to enjoy their childhoods.

I am really enjoying this book and encourage all parents to read it. I'll pick up my book review with Chapter 3.

Schools urge parents not to take kids to work

From Arizona to Illinois to Texas, educators are alerting parents that between high-stakes standardized testing in some areas and the H1N1 virus that kept thousands of children home earlier in the school year, the timing of "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" doesn't make sense.

"This year, of all years, to have a student miss a day for something like this that could be done anytime - it just seems the focus should be on students and their learning here," said Guy Schumacher, the superintendent of Libertyville Elementary School District 70 in suburban Chicago.

Schools urge parents not to take kids to work - Nation Wire -

100 Best Blogs for Parenting Advice

Alasandra's Homeschool Blog made the list.