Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What about college? And Yuba City Homeschooling

Another homeschooling question and my answer, thought I'd share because others have asked similar questions.

"Thanks for all the great info! Your kids are doing such great things. I wish all children could experience pursuing their interests to their hearts delight, it sounds wonderful! I think one of my biggest fears is failing to teach them things that they will need to know when they go to college. I have also heard that it is difficult for homeschoolers to get into major universities. I know that this is changing as it becomes more the norm, and schools and employers are seeing home schooled young adults as great assets to their schools/companies. If you don't mind me asking, what are your plans for getting your children into college? Will you have them take an SAT or any exams when they approach "high school graduation"?

All of the programs you describe sound wonderful, but I fear living out here in Plumas Lake I will have to do a lot of driving to offer my kids these kinds of activities. You sound like you have a lot of neat "supplies". Do you go through a charter school and where do you order most of your materials from?

One other thing I wonder about is how well I will be at committing so much time to now educating my children on my own. I know it can only benefit them and me but with how I can't seem to get done all the things I would like to get done in a day...it's intimidating to think of spending 3 hours a day sitting down and teaching the children. It sounds like your kids are a bit self-motivated. Is that their ages or just because they've been doing it so long?"

I think you are right to be concerned about preparing them for college. One thing many parents are doing is taking a few community college classes with their students when they are still at home, at 15, 16 or 17 to help them prepare. You can also do a few college prep classes within a charter school or just teach them to take good notes on Sacrament talks and how to pass clep and SAT tests.

As far as Universities accepting homeschooled students, I don’t think that is an issue anymore. BYU, Yale, Harvard, William and Mary etc. all have homeschool submission departments. They want to see portfolio’s of the students’ work and test scores along with lists of areas they have studied. Of course, if you go with a charter school you will have a regular diploma, so it won’t really matter-the college won’t even know the students were taught at home unless they research the type of public school. If you do a private school affidavit then you will also issue a diploma just from a private school.

I completed my AA at a local college, then got my BA from Ashford University and am almost done with my teaching credential from Rio Salado, none of these are top schools, but I was never once asked about being homeschooled in high school, they all just wanted to see if I could pass their entrance exams. It was honestly never an issue. We may do something similar for the kids. We may have them stay home for their AA’s (Kevin really wants these completed before their missions), clepping out of part of it and then transfer to a University after that (when they get home from their missions). Also the charter schools will pay for any college you want to do before the student is 18, which may be a benefit in saving for the university. If the SAT is still used to evaluate students I will have them take it, it is being called into question by many universities right now, so we’ll see what happens with it in 10 years.

I am with a charter school. I completely understand the issue of accepting money from the government and allowing them into your home to dictate how the child is educated, because that is why so many of us pulled our kids out of school. But I have decided for me that the pros outweigh the cons, mostly because I will be done with my teaching credential and intend to be a supervising teacher with one of the charter schools=). That way I can still control a lot of it and make money helping other people set up their homeschools, which I totally love to do. I also have three school aged kids and get $4500 a year from the school towards supplies and classes, that is a lot of fun products and activities. I am with South Sutter, so there are hundreds of places we can purchase. Rainbow Resource is the cheapest and largest. Others are here http://www.sscs.cc/search/search_vendors.php.

As far as activities in your area. There is a large very active and very supportive homeschool group up there. They are awesome and I so miss them. Some of the moms do classes and they have weekly park days with about fifty kids. They do public speaking activities regularly and they have a lot of ideas. You can find more info on them here http://homeschool.meetup.com/532/ . They also do regular field trips and art classes at the library. Many of them also joined the gym in Marysville which offers two homeschool sports days a week for the kids and is paid for by the charter school. Others are in the youngstersinc gymnastics which is in Yuba City. There is also swimming, drama, horseback riding, golf, tennis, voice and piano in your area that is paid for by the charter schools. Once you get hooked up with the group you will find more activities locally than you will really want to do.

As far as the time thing, I am not going to lie. It does take a lot of time in the beginning. At this point I can get away with a lot less, but I really worked on my older kids independence from me in their studies, because I knew I would be student teaching this year and I wanted them to continue. Kindergarteners through about halfway through second grade or until they are reading decently are pretty dependent, but they don’t require as much time so it is okay.

The other thing that counteracts the time spent teaching the kids is that they are there to help with the household chores-I take full advantage of this and fully expect my kids to help with almost all of the cleaning, some child care tasks and even cooking. Also I am not running the kids to school or doing homework with them. I am living with my sister-in-law and all of the time she spends directly on these activities is about the same amount of time I spend directly teaching my kids and she doesn’t have the household chore help of having her kids around. Of course, my kids do study without me also. They study on their own because the choice of activities are things to study and they have helped develop their learning goals and the older two have just begun to really enjoy studying.

Okay, this is turning into a book, so I’ll stop, but let me know if you have any other questions.

The Kids Daily Schooling "Schedule"

I was asked by a mom who is thinking of homeschooling, mainly because her kids are so busy with school and homework that they are not having enough time to play, what my day looked like. Here it is:

Right now it varies, because I am working in an elementary school two days a week, which gives me the perspective of seeing both first hand. Typically, though, I wake at 6ish, make my husband lunch and get him off etc. by 7:15 then I bring the older children on to my bed and we read and discuss books for about an hour. Then Kamron and Aubrey do their independent work. We usually eat in the middle of this work. Kamron is somewhat assigned, becuase he just preferred that I assign it to him and every time I asked him if he had any ideas he typically said no I like what you are doing, but when he does have a suggestion we usually try to incorporate it without letting him "study playing" all day. Aubrey has very minimal requirements of a math page and a couple chapters of reading each day. That's her only requirement, because she adds all kinds of things to this. She has several things she has put in her backpack that she calls her backpack work. This includes journal writing, spelling, four reading books, which includes right now The Book of Mormon Reader, History for Little Pilgrim's, McGuffy Third Grade Reader, My Father's World (science), a collection of worksheets she asked me to copy and a composition book. They do most of this work on their own unless they want my help. They bring me their work when they are done and we go over it and they often correct or redo anything that is not done really well. Kamron often is working until a little after lunch, while Aubrey is done by about 11 a.m. and then she sometimes does a class with her three younger brothers, where she does some songs, reads to them and makes up other activities. Sometimes we skip all of this and do an activity or go on a field trip.

Then they will pick what they want to study. For awhile Aubrey was doing science experiments everyday and Kamron was playing piano. Kamron still does a lot of piano, but now they are both really into this really good art computer program which has some great lessons about art topics-it's called Creativity Express. Kamron also does a lot of music theory through computer programs. Aubrey will often do art projects, too.

While the older two kids are doing their independent work I do a reading lesson with Brennen, he does a handwriting page and a math activity and then I usually read two or three things to him. Sometimes we do a piano lesson and often he does a computer program. It takes about an hour. The younger two are playing or joining in with Brennen typically.

The kids also do classes. Kamron and Aubrey are in a science club that does one science field trip each month and one huge science project each month (they built the entire digestive track last time and watched how it worked). They also joined a Science in the everyday environment class at the library. Kamron does voice lessons once a week and scouts once a week. Aubrey does a drama class at the Sacramento Theatre Company once a week, she is taking riding lessons and has activity days every other week. Brennen is taking riding lessons and all of the younger three kids are in a kindermusic type class that is done as an enrichment class down here each week. All of these classes are either free or paid for by the school. I don't typically recommend doing this many classes, but in our circumstances it worked, partially because I am not driving them to some of these and since I am busy they can go and do them without me really being involved.

So that is basically our schedule as it pertains to the kids school. Not very scripted or set in stone. I have done it more set, like 8-9 we do this and 9-10 we do that, but right now this is working better for us.

Friday, January 23, 2009

25 Things About Me

I've been tagged and asked to write 25 things about myself.

1. I am working on getting certified to substitute teach this week.
2. My son is taking voice lessons, partially because he is musical and partially so that I can sit in on the lessons and try to learn how to sing-something about directing the voice to the center of the face, which is called the mask and is a natural microphone,--and there is something about quacking like a duck.
3. My cat ate ALL of my neighbor’s fish this last week.
4. I lost a baby in December.
5. I am 29 and already going gray, even my father-in-law began plucking out my gray hairs the other day, sigh.
6. Last Saturday I sat downtown trying to study while waiting for my daughter in her acting class, but instead I began creating a list of what I could possibly do for the homeless people-anyone have extra flannel or batting?
7. I’ve only dyed my hair once, but I may do it again-see #5.
8. I had to have a no boyfriend conversation with my daughter last week, as she cried and proclaimed her devotion to a rather chivalrous young (young) man. I even drew diagrams of how the relationships progress when one is boyfriends and when one is friends for a long time and then grow into other relationships if it is right, like after 18. My daughter understood a little, but bewailed the length of time that would be-she is 8.
9. I am currently living in a very cozy garage in my sister-in-laws house. It is heated and carpeted though, so it’s actually pretty nice.
10. My five children are living in the house and sharing rooms with their cousins.
11. I am 5 months away from my teaching credential, but am not intending to teach full time in a classroom.
12. I was surprised to realize that I actually really enjoy teaching in a classroom during my practicums.
13. I have to figure out how to get a large stain out of my daughter’s pants, because the above mentioned chivalrous young (young) man dropped her when attempting to carry her over a puddle.
14. I get to start teaching the wolf scouts, 8-year-old boys, next week.
15. My husband’s job ends next week with the factory closing, anyone need a computer desk top support person?
16. I am a regular at yoga class.
17. My husband loves me a great deal and I take great joy in being able to help him when he is stressed, yet I haven’t found the magic spot to kiss and make-it-all-better.
18. My son is practicing the piano, again, in preparation for a special musical number he is playing in Sacrament meeting next month. I never thought I would actually ask him to stop playing for awhile. I need to switch him over to the keyboard, and find headphones=).
19. My youngest son cries if you change his diaper, and continues crying from five minutes to one hour after it has been changed-he is my least consolable child.
20. We own four laptops, and we use them all.
21. My oldest son has decided to use a headphone microphone so that he will not ever have to repeat himself, and he has been at it all morning. By the way he narrates his life, “so if I sit at this desk and…”
22. My fourth child has decided he has now gotten big enough for school and requests work and “projects” and then sits down and studiously does them-or not.
23. I find a great deal of satisfaction in creating things and have become a halfway decent crochet artist.
24. I tend to read about six books at one time, all nonfiction, and I read whenever I get a spare minute, which means I have been on the same six books for about a year.
25. I occasionally get very homesick for the country and have been known to drive for three hours just to see fields and real farms. I have also been known to sign up two of my children for pony riding lesson just so that I have an excuse to visit a ranch once a week-they start next Tuesday, yeah!

If you are reading this post, consider yourself tagged. Write 25 things about yourself on your blog and leave a comment on mine with a link.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Press and Release Schooling

I was asked for help with a little boy who is learning to read, but has suddenly started resisting anything to do with it. She asked if she should continue to press him, or play hardball and make him do the work she wants him too. She is part of a homebased charter school and so has to submit reports of the work they do and so has that added pressure. They have recently moved and had all of the holidays etc.

My response to her is below;

"I have been there before. With Kamron I forced the issue and made him read and brought him to tears many times. It took several years before he started to enjoy reading again (he's ten and just informed me the other day that he likes reading almost as much as piano-which is saying something, but this took a long time of me backing off). So, no I wouldn't push him to read if he is just refusing. I would instead focus my energies somewhere else that is still educational. For instance, a good bug unit study, like the one at www.handsofachild.com, which is an approved vendor, or a creation of a family tree with a timeline of lifespans to help him to begin to put history in perspective may be good. If I were you I would go with a project that is tangible, but unrelated to reading, that way you will have something to show the ES, and he will feel like he accomplished something challenging, had fun and learned at the same time. I am not sure what you are using for reading, but you may want to adjust that. I really like the Leapfrog ABC video as two of my younger sons learned all of their basic sounds from it and I didn't even need to be involved. You may want to step back to just play verbal games for awhile, rhyming, same beginning sounds, even writing out the alphabet and play a game where you each have to think of an animal or a food that starts with each letter, this will also help him learn his sounds.

The only time I would play hardball was if it is very obvious that he is just disobeying, he's not tired, hungry or stressed he is just refusing to do something that he is fully capable of and you feel is necessary to his proper growth."

I have found so much of our studies to be this way. It is a matter of knowing our children well enough to know when to press and when to back off. This year I pressed my son hard in writing. I taught him how to write a basic five paragraph essay and then required about three per week until he really got it. This was really hard for him, but I felt it was important for him so that he could begin researching and reporting on almost anything in a format other than the basic narration-which he had mastered. He really go these essays and then I backed off writing to concentrate on other areas of study. We have done the same thing in many other areas. For instance, my daughter got to the point when she was done with math, so we took off two months and then picked it back up a step below where she had been before, she then quickly grasped her lessons and moved forward. So much our studies are this way, press in a subject, release that subject, press somewhere else, release and eventually come back to that subject when they are ready. A key to keeping the love of learning alive is to keep the challenge appropriate and not press to the point of breaking. I hope all of that makes sense.

Cottage Industries and New Law

Just an update for those trying to save their cottage industry businesses. A class action lawsuit is being filed by those who work from home making products for children. The link to this is here http://reformcpsia.org/2009/01/class-action-lawsuit/.

This issue is hugely important and should not be ignored. By denying family businesses the right to make and sell goods we are shifting the central principles of our society even further from the family and to the individual who works for a large corporation. If we want to keep the family as the central unit of society we have to fight for it.

Within the lecture on the depth phase of education at this site http://www.tjedonline.com/audio.php is a really great discussion of the principle ideas and shifts in them and the current shift that we are in, family vs. individual working for the corporation. I encourage everyone, homeschoolers and others alike to listen to this lecture and be aware of what they are educating their children and themselves for. Is it so they can grow up and get a job or do they have a real purpose in being here, a noble purpose, a God-given purpose?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Government is Here to Take Care of You-No Need to Think for Yourself, Don't Worry the Highly Incompetent Lawmakers Will Do it For You

In one swoop the government has closed down the cottage industries, such as Hope Chest Legacy, which I love, most small businesses geared towards children, such as both my sisters' who have made and sold children's products from home, the children's department in Goodwill, which will be tossing all of their children's departments into the landfill before the February 10th deadline, and it looks like the children's section of the public libraries as well.

I don't have a problem with a law saying things should be labeled and then let the consumer decide, but to say we will give you no other choice but to purchase from large retailers, new items, that will now have to pay for all of this testing which will increase your costs, is tyrannical. I'm sure it will help our ailing economy, too.

The real question is where are the statesmen in our government-not the reactionaries, that have no core principles to judge their decisions by, and come up with stupid hasty laws that create bigger messes than the ones they were trying to fix in the first place? We need people who get the fact that in order to be free me people need to be free to make their own decisions even decisions viewed as dumb or unhealthy by others. We should not be making laws against every dumb decisions, so that noone has any choice, but to make what the government deams a good decision.

Perhaps, this is part of why so many of us homeschooling moms have felt prompted to collect and store really good books in our homes and to not rely on the public libraries to have them.

For more links you can go here:



The law was added to to say that resellers did not have to test their products, but if they sold anything within the lead limits they would still have to pay the fines, so they will be taking on a large risk if they sell certain catergories of items, but it is up to them.

There has been nothing to address the unique cottage industries yet.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Personality Type

My sister just did a blog entry on personality. I replied to her and thought I would also put it here. If you are familiar with the color code at all-I am a red, with some blue and white and absolutely no yellow. What that means is that I am drawn to and motivated by accomplishment, relationships, peace but not at all fun. Pretty sad, huh? When I first got married and Kevin wanted to do something spontaneous it would drive me up the wall, but I am learning to adapt and I think I have probably gained a little yellow, but not enough to outway the planner, thinker, leader part of me. I consider a day well spent when I have checked almost everything off my list. The only way I can consider an amusement outing well spent is if I learned something, my kids learned something or I got something done on the ride over there. This is why, don't tell my husband, but I hate going to the movies-what a waste of time and money (yet, he loves them and I love him, so we go monthly).

For me, an ideal date is some type of cultural experience where we can walk away with a new idea or perspective and then can talk about it and analyze it. We visited an art museum a little while ago and sat in on a lecture about art history and the use of mirrors to create the proper perspective in Jan van Eyck's paintings-you'll notice it in the chandelier of "The Wedding of Giovanni." They showed a slide of a guy who had taken a wharehouse and put up art prints by time period and then studied this perspective and the shine in metal in paintings-oh, it got my wheels turning. You will probably see a room in a future house with all of the paintings we are collecting in chronological order during the children's youth years. To me this was an awesome date. Notice, how fun doesn't really enter the picture for me. Oh, well, these types of experiences create memories too.

There may be hope for me, though, because I still actually enjoy roller coasters and I can't see a single red or white thing about them.

If you want to, go here http://www.colorcode.com/, take the test and tell me what color are you?