~ Defragging Your Hard Drive ~

January 21, 2009

(I thought I would post some of the articles I have written for Home School Enrichment magazine. My column is entitled, “The Underwhelmed Homeschooler.” I will archive these posts on the blog but thought I may as well post them one by one in the hopes of encouraging perhaps someone.Here is the first column on the subject of becoming underwhelmed.)

overworked-mom-cartoon-great

The Underwhelmed Homeschooler

Defragging Your Hard Drive

What makes any mom feel overwhelmed? Time crunches, disorganization, mercilessly repetitive chores, children’s needs, confusion, doubt, and lack of focus all contribute to that awfully overwhelmed, agitated, short-tempered state we moms know all too well.

It’s time to reverse the trend. Welcome to the wonderful world of the underwhelmed! Step on into the warm sunshine; sit yourself down on the overstuffed patio chair, smell the sweet lavender leftovers from the summer garden, and just breathe. Help yourself to a cup of hot mocha java and make yourself comfortable.

This is our first column together. Going forward, we’ll be looking at various ways to embrace and enjoy our homeschooling freedom, looking at strategies that take the pressure off so that we can experience more and more of those delicious moments of feeling underwhelmed. If you have never had moments where you’ve said to yourself, “Wow, this homeschooling stuff is easy!” and you have been homeschooling for more than six months, there is a better way. Let’s start at the beginning.

If we surveyed homeschooling moms across the country and asked what their #1 peace-stealer is, the answer most likely would be busyness: too much to do, too many places to be, and too much time spent in the family vehicle going somewhere, doing something outside of the home.

I have a sneaking suspicion that you are busy. Busy isn’t a bad thing by any means. However, if the pace of your life seems to strangle the life right out of you, first aid may be required. Some homeschooling moms find it difficult to even fit homeschooling into their schedule. You may not be at that end of the spectrum, but I encourage you to take a look at why you are busy if you consider yourself to be “crazy-busy.”

I highly recommend the three-step approach to defragmenting your life: stop, look, and listen. Stop the craziness long enough to look at what you have going on, while listening to your heart. Go ahead and stop reading right here; grab a scrap of paper and a writing utensil. Write down each day of the week and the corresponding activities that require you to leave your nest that day.

Okay. Take a look at your list and circle all of the items that are absolutely necessary, those things that must be done for survival’s sake. Did you circle anything besides grocery shopping? Come on now. Be honest; the only thing you really have to do is eat, right? (And clean, and do laundry.) Everything else is bonus busyness. I am assuming here that your spouse does the working so that you can do the shopping. Hey, if your spouse did the shopping as well, you wouldn’t have to go out at all! Remember, we are just talking in terms of essential trips outside of your house for the purpose of sustaining life. If you are talking about sneaking out the door solo because you think this is essential to sustaining life, I agree with you, but we’ll get to that necessity shortly. [Wink]

Getting back to your list, what’s left? Piano lessons, soccer practice, swim meets, library visits, church activities, etcetera? Who says you are going to do piano or soccer or fill-in-the-blank? You and your husband do. Who can say you aren’t doing an activity? Yep, you and your spouse. You are the parents; you don’t have to do anything that you think is detrimental to your family life, your sanity, or your family’s sanity. In fact, it is our responsibility as parents to set a pace for our children that emphasizes our priorities.

When our older children were young, I really didn’t go out of the house very often. It was much more peaceful that way. We would hang at the park from time to time or visit with friends, but I limited outings because basically I was tired with a capital “T.” I occasionally went out on my own or with my husband for little sanity breaks. I was a much happier mom when I was just able to be home and do mom stuff with my family.

Your level of activity tolerance is unique to you and probably fluctuates in accordance with your season of life. Hopefully you feel energized by your outside-the-home activities. As long as you are able to peacefully homeschool at the same time, then great! If you find that you are squeezing in lessons around activities, then you may be setting yourself up for a conflict in your children’s priorities when they are older.

Activities can be wonderful opportunities for enrichment, but if you are feeling overwhelmed by them, it is time to listen to your heart and reevaluate. I urge you, for sanity’s sake, to only add in those things that you enjoy doing, that don’t weigh you down as the mom, and that you – most importantly – know the Lord wants you to be doing. If you are doing something merely from a sense of duty, you may need to examine it more closely. Don’t be “guilted” into anything. Lots of times others assume that homeschool moms have an awful lot of free time on their hands. You may need to enlighten them.

If you wake up in the morning, dreading the day because it is all chopped up with having to go here and there, you are not alone. Many moms feel this way regularly. The good news is that changes can be made! What can you do now since you are already committed to things? Plan now to make a change. Finishing what we start is a great rule to live by, but there are always exceptions. Evaluate with your family and choose your best exit strategy.

When our three boys were middle school aged, we did soccer. It was fun…for a while. After about three years of it, we called it quits. I needed a break. My heart screamed, “I can’t do this anymore!” We discussed the situation as a family, and we decided in tandem to cut out formal soccer. Did I feel guilty for taking away the pleasure of the game for my kids? At the time, yes I did. Looking back, no, I do not. I can see how the Lord used our time away from the field for good. My older children became referees and were still involved in pick-up games. Life did not end because we halted the regimented soccer lifestyle. The Lord used my overwhelmed feeling to guide the rest of my family to what He wanted us to be doing with our time rather than spend it in that activity at that particular time in that particular way.

We have had a soccer break for about two years, and this fall we plan to do soccer with our three youngest girls. This time around I will have a son to drive the young athletes to and from practices, making it a manageable situation for mom. Sometimes we need to be reminded that there is a season for everything. Do not be afraid to gently or not so gently express to your spouse that a certain activity is stealing you peace or your joy. Perhaps he is feeling the same way about it. It bears discussion no matter what.

Sometimes cutting out activities can be a learning experience for kids. There was a time not too long ago when I called a moratorium on going to the library because we were paying hard-earned cash for the privilege of visiting there. It is great to support the local library, but this was getting ridiculous. If we couldn’t manage to get our books back on time, then we needed to take a break from going until we got our act together. I am happy to report that we are back in sync and have not had any fines to pay since adding library visits back into our schedule.

“If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” goes the old-time saying. It is a fact that we influence the tone of the day for our family. If you are cheerful, chances are good that those around you will be as well. “A cheerful heart does good like medicine” goes the Proverb. An underwhelmed mom is a mom with a balanced, comfortable activity schedule. Bathe each of your outside-the-home activity selections in prayer. Be absolutely certain that you and your family need to be engaged in that thing which will require your time and attention, your energy and sanity. Your children need a mom who is peaceful more than they need any activity out there.

One more visual for you. Every orchard owner knows that in order to produce more fruit on a fruit tree, the tree has to be pruned, trimmed back. Branches that don’t produce fruit are removed completely. Pruning is necessary in order for the tree to bear more fruit which is why it exists in the first place. Cutting off unfruitful areas of our lives is a productive action that yields additional fruit. Remember, you are a branch on the Vine, and good fruit production for the Kingdom is essential.

Activities, when managed properly, can be beneficial, adding flavor and dimension to our families’ lives. However, activities have a tendency to wear us out if not carefully balanced with the rest of our lives. The underwhelmed mom controls her schedule and not vice versa. Next time we meet, we’ll look at how an underwhelmed mom avoids “the Routine Rut.” Thanks for coming by, and don’t worry about your coffee cup. I’ll get it for you.

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~ How to Raise an Entrepreneur ~

January 17, 2009

entrepreneur-picHow to Raise an Entrepreneur

If you have a child who has wanted to have his or her own business to run from home, I have some good news for you. It is not only possible, but it is also exciting! I would like to talk about how you can help your child begin his or her own business. When I talk about a child, I will be referring to children ages ten and up. Through prayer and careful consideration of your child’s interests, passions, strengths, and weaknesses, your child can begin today to explore the possibilities of and potential for beginning a home business.

Background Check

Our family has become very entrepreneurial-minded. About nine years ago we bought our first computer, including a printer, and we quickly learned that printing in color was very expensive! “Thou shalt not print in color” became our rule for the children. Shortly thereafter I stumbled across a site on the Internet that offered bulk refill ink to refill one’s own inkjet cartridges. Immediately I perceived that our family most likely was not the only family that couldn’t afford to print in color. Perhaps we could offer refill kits for sale on a Web site. I immediately sensed that this was what my husband and I had been praying for. Once my husband, Tim, had time to think the concept through and to pray with me about this possibility, he agreed.

The result was the birth of Encore Ink. Keep in mind that nine years ago hardly anybody was offering this type of service however commonplace inkjet refills and compatible cartridges are today. We started from scratch, and I remember pouring over the phone book, searching for suppliers for plastic bottles, plastic bags, syringes, labels, etc. I had no formal business training, but my nickname is “Joe Average,” due to my uncanny ability to think like everyone else in the marketing realm. (So much for individualism.)

January of 2007 saw the happy sale of our “baby,” as Encore Ink changed hands. We made a tidy profit on the sale of the company that had grown to be more than we wanted to continue to handle. In the meantime, I had started a publishing company, my oldest son had had an online business called Sticker Avalanche, and my oldest daughter was making more money than she had been making at her part time job in the restaurant business simply by selling little beads on E-bay.

Just for means of background information, Nick, our oldest son, decided at age 12 that he would like to have a mail order business online. With minimal help from his parents, he got one up and running. He taught himself basic Web design skills, decided what he wanted to sell, found a supplier, and went from there.

Lauren, at age 15, found that making jewelry was a passion. She taught classes on jewelry design, and soon she found her niche. She bought supplies from a wholesale company, and then she decided to put some auctions up on E-bay for the items she didn’t need for her classes. Soon she realized that she could take her earnings and buy more bulk items and open up an E-bay store. The rest is profitable history. (Oh, and her parents helped her not at all!)

Getting Started

I am going to assume that you have a child who is very interested in having some sort of business, some way to make money. (I firmly believe that the first person to come up with an alternative to the word “entrepreneur” is going to make money hand over fist.) Let’s talk about what this means for you, the parent. You want to start with a child who is self-motivated, a child who is going to see the idea through until it is time to close the business or to hand it to someone else. You do not want to be the one who is doing all the work if your child loses interest. I advise against pushing a child into something because you think it would be “good for him.” (Please don’t ask me how I know….)

The very first step to helping your child develop a home business is to pray, pray, pray. Bathe everything, every step in prayer. Pray for inspiration for your young adult. Pray for confirmation when you feel as though he has hit upon the “right” idea. Then keep praying. What seems incidental is often the Lord’s pathway for your child. (Example: our need for color ink.)

Secondly, for inspirational purposes, observe with your child his strengths and weaknesses. Does this child enjoy working outside? Does she enjoy animals? Is she good with plants? What are this child’s passions? Chances are good that a business idea will center around one of these passions. Is the child a good organizer? Is your student good with children, and would you be comfortable with this child being responsible for other people’s children?

Does he or she have a driver’s license and could be free to provide his or her own transportation? If not, bear in mind that you may be required to shuttle the new entrepreneur from here to there and from there to here. Encourage your child to take his or her passion and turn it into something that glorifies the Lord. Doing one’s job with excellence is a surefire way to please the Lord.

Once you have hit upon just the right idea for a home business, the next step is to develop a business plan, no matter how simple. For example, if your daughter wants to start a neighborhood babysitting service, she will need to plan out what she will charge per hour, per child, or both. She may want to take a CPR course. Make up business cards to hand out in the neighborhood. Brainstorm for other marketing ideas if needed.

Let’s say your son wants to start a neighborhood lawn care business. He’ll need a business plan as well. Inventory the costs and come up with a price for his services. There will be gas to purchase for the machinery, as well as sizes of yards to consider as variables in setting prices. As news spreads of his excellent work, the customers will come knocking on his door.

A nice thing to do is to offer some sort of a bonus service. I know of a young lady who cleans one room of the house where she is babysitting. She gets the children she is watching to help her with this, and it is done with the parents’ consent. She is in great demand, as the children love her friendliness and the moms love coming home to a surprise…a clean room! This young lady will also clean out a refrigerator! I bet you would like her phone number, right?

The young man who cuts grass could offer to provide a free first-time mowing of a customer’s yard. He could also offer a free last cutting as well. Everybody loves a free service!

My son, Nick, who set up his own Web site called Sticker Avalanche at age 12, would always include “extras” in the order he was shipping. Aside from his mom insisting that Sticker Avalanche was the best name on the planet, Nick put the business together on his own. He found a supplier for stickers, airplanes, super balls, temporary tattoos, craft kits and other such things that children hound their parents to buy for them. He loaded all the pictures of his items onto his site, added a shopping cart, and priced out his inventory. Interestingly, some of his best customers were corporations who wanted to buy items by the thousands. One of his hottest items, oddly enough, was ladybug erasers.

Nick had his own business phone line and took his own business calls. He packaged orders and shipped them out. He made up business cards to tuck into each order. (He even lent his parents money from time to time.) Nick decided to close the business down when he became a soccer referee. He made much more money at this pursuit than he did hawking ladybug erasers.

Lauren provides “extras” in the orders she ships out to her customers. She is a stickler for shipping out orders the very next day after they have been received. People love both of these services. Lauren’s Ebay store is doing very well. Today she received a shipment of new beads that she ordered from a wholesaler, and right now she is taking pictures of them since she has tagged them with a price, and she will upload the images to her store site.

Writing out descriptions for both her store items and for mixed lot items for an auction takes quite a bit of time. Lauren works diligently at the tedious task of listing every single type of bead in every package up for sale. She puts a little humor in her listings as well, and her feedback is excellent. She shut down her eBay store when she went off to college this fall; however, if she needs some quick cash, she just lists some of her leftover inventory online, and in a very short time, the money appears in her Paypal account. She plans to open her store again come summer break, as she enjoys the process so much.

Some ideas for businesses suitable for children to young adults might include small vending machines placed in business locations, pet sitting, car detail service, clowning, videotaping events (such as birthday parties), house cleaning, raising nursery plants, Web site building, selling items of interest online, tutoring service, hosting yard sales for people who don’t want to have their own, organizing consignment sales, consignment book sales, mother’s helper, candle-making, closet organizing, house painting, and the list goes on and on. The library is always a good place to start when looking for ideas.

Finally, it is important to provide encouragement and support to your child, as he or she is likely to encounter obstacles along the way to developing a stable home business. Realizing that things seldom go as planned is an important lesson to learn on the road to maturity, but discouragement is likely to set in. Praying for guidance with your budding entrepreneur will hopefully be an immediate reaction to discouragement.

Finding the Lord’s will in a business situation is the same as seeking Him in any situation; we must lay everything down and ask the Lord where He wants us to go from the point in which we find ourselves. The same is true for our young adults, and we can provide excellent guidance as needed. Sometimes our job as parents is to be the encouragers, and sometimes we must help our children to see when something isn’t working and perhaps a new direction needs to be taken.

What are the benefits?

There are many important benefits to raising children who are entrepreneurial minded. Children who grow their own businesses learn valuable business and life skills such as money management, risk assessment, planning and organizational skills, and people skills. Customer service often is the only thing that differentiates one business from another, which is why I recommend that anyone with a home business offers a value-added product. (Those “extras” I was talking about earlier.)

Children who own and operate a small business learn how to use resources such as time and money wisely. They also gain a sense of accomplishment from doing something themselves. They may start off with adult assistance, but once the business is in their hands, the feelings of confidence and even surprise at how well they can do on their own are unparalleled. This sense of confidence will spill over into other areas of students’ lives as well. Watching a young person grow his or her own business is akin to watching a butterfly as it emerges from a cocoon. Struggles are likely, but once they are overcome, the young adult is ready to fly!

In closing, I hope you can see that it is not only possible, but also beneficial for children ages ten and up to plan, organize, and run their own businesses with minimal help from mom and dad. All your child needs is a fitting idea, a strategy for implementation, and the determination to overcome obstacles that may arise. All you need is to set the stage with prayer, and give input as needed. Oh yes, and have fun!


~ The Scoop ~

January 14, 2009

childrenoutwindow

It is late; however, I wanted to let you know what happened when I did our mid-year wrap up recently while it is fresh in my mind.

There are no course changes for the high schoolers; however, I did find that I needed to give correction to one younger student who had not been doing her work with mastery in not one, not two, but three subjects.

One subject was too difficult. She had finished her current year’s science text, and she had asked permission to move onto the next level. Turns out I should’ve waited on that. My mistake. Readiness was a real issue here, and I take responsibility for that. So now we are waiting on starting the next level until further notice. After all, there is no rush.

Secondly, the vocab words weren’t being internalized completely, so I gave extra work on day #1’s word list each week. Now she will need to write a sentence using each word instead of just looking over the words on day #1. I think this will help her enormously.

Sometimes additional tools need to be given to the student in order to for him or her to work well, much like a formula that has to be carefully developed in order to be just right. You add in a little here, take a little from there. I had a talk with her, explaining that I need to know if she is finding it difficult to remember her words so we can work together to help her do so.  Now she knows, and we’ll go from here.

What disappointed me was the fact that she was not really studying history. I suspect the eyes were moving across the page, but the words were not being processed. Sloppy, yes. This hasn’t been going on for very long, as she is not very far into the book.

However, the “punishment” for not being honest and truly doing the work is that she is having to start over at the beginning of the book, and now she must write down the answers to the chapter questions in a notebook until further notice. The freedom to work on her own is gonzo, and I will be quizzing her regularly on what she has learned.

There is some peer pressure here in the sense that the others see that I am asking her questions and requiring things I had not required before, so she knows that they know that she has not lived up to her end of the bargain.  She was hopefully feeling some shame in the situation, even though she has confessed her “sin,” and I have certainly forgiven her. There is a price to be paid though.

Kids are imperfect human beans. They learn and grow just like the rest of the population. Something really cool happened today with this child, however. She came downstairs and announced proudly that she could name all of the continents. That was lesson number one in her history book. She was anxious to show me that she could be trusted by demonstrating what she had learned today. I praised her, and I hugged her tightly. Affirmation is vitally important.

She knows I will expect much more attention to detail, and I will be looking…no…gazing intently over her shoulder until I am confident that I can back off a little. The other children also are reminded once again of the expectations to work hard and well, and I can see that good is coming out of this situation already.

Do I blame myself? Yes, for the first two things that I could have caught sooner with the science and the vocab. But the third item is something that has natural consequences, and the students learn through making mistakes. I know that is usually how I learn….the hard way.

Self-learning requires trust. Children really like to be trusted, and when they are not, they will work hard to be trustworthy once again.

So there is a real-life glimpse into the mid-year adjustment cycle in our home school. See! I told you we were not perfect! 🙂

I am very happy with the progress of the other students, and I know that the one who needs to improve will do so. I love them all so very much and just want the best for them. I know that this is exactly how the Lord feels about His children: He loves us and wants the very best for us. At times we wander off. He usually lets us wander, and usually we pay a price for our wanderings. But He is always there to forgive and to restore. We learn, grow, and hopefully do things differently the next time.

Oh, and the college kids are back at their respective haunts, having just purchased their load of books for the next semester. Everyone here at the house has their room back if they had to share to accommodate the olders during break, and all is well.

Now all we need is a little bit of snow to truly make it feel like winter.


~ Yeah, Baby! ~

January 11, 2009

Here is a glimmer of hope for the “system,” and it reiterates what I have been preaching for some time. The word “mastery” is used in the context of government education. I blinked a couple of times while reading just to make sure….

Here is an excerpt:

“But don’t you still think kids need to know how they are doing?”

“Yeah, but can’t it come without a number?  I mean, if we really taught for mastery, students would revise work, continue on projects and develop meaningful portfolios.  They would reflect on the learning process and we’d do the same.”

He begins to laugh.  “Spencer, you’re crazy.  But whatever works for you is great.  I just can’t believe we’re having this conversation in the staff lounge.”  It makes me realize that I really do sound crazy some times when I challenge something as sacred as the letter-based grading system.

Check out the entire (but short) article here:

http://learningwithimpact.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-if-wednesday-what-if-grades-dont.html

The comments at the end of the piece are quite interesting as well.

Just a note: I am not against grades, as they can be used to discern the degree of mastery. I think working for a grade versus working for the intrinsic reward of mastery is the problem. It’s a mindset thing.

Happy Saturday to you!


~ Our Mid-Year Routine ~

January 9, 2009

I thought I would share a little bit about what we do at the end of every quarter, and how we handle the halfway point in our schooling year. I should preface this by identifying that each of my kids, ages 8 and up, is responsible to record everything they do in every subject every day in their planners. They also are to record their math grade every day in the corresponding section of their planner. (The Homeschool Student Planners work well for this.) 😉

At the end of each quarter, they average their daily grades and present me with their number grade. They had set a goal at the beginning of the quarter (a quarter = 9 weeks), and they tell me their original goal, and what their actual number turned out to be for the quarter. There is generally great rejoicing, and they receive a whole lot of praise for meeting and in most cases exceeding their goals.

I only take grades in math.

Now that I have raised the ire of half of the readers of the column, I will just explain that math is measurable and straight forward. I don’t give a letter grade for individual subjects in elementary and middle school grades. The children are expected to be mastering the material each and every day. I check in on them regularly, look over their work, and I quiz them on what they have been studying.

It is extremely difficult to fool me. I know when they are working and when they are not. Yes, I have  caught one or two on occasion fudging on their assignments. When that happens, the individual is punished, and a chance to redo the work is given. We walk on, and in every case, the child who has been slacking picks up the slack and walks a very straight line from that point onward.

There is distinct accountability built into our self-teaching framework. “With freedom comes responsibility,” is my mantra. If the children want the freedom to work on their own, (and they truly do), then they must be responsible to be doing the work. I know if the work is being done to a mastery level, and so do the students. It is imperative that parents of self-learning students observe their work from time to time. The frequency is up to you, but I have found that I do not need to do weekly inspections. I use the element of surprise to keep them on their toes.

Now early elementary students, grades one and two, are hands-on for me. I do work with my 1st grader every day, listening to her read, reading to her, doing math together, doing handwriting and phonics together, as well as science and history, although the latter are items we do from time to time. (One can read through an elementary science or history book in a matter of weeks. It would be mind-numbing for the child to spend a whole year on am 80-page science book.)

On the other hand, I often will let Lilie check her planner to see what she is to do in handwriting or math (or whatever) that day and let her get started on it by herself. She really likes to work independently, and I allow her to do so when the material she will be covering is not something new or something that needs an introduction.  I spend literally minutes at the beginning of the week writing down the pages we will be covering in her books that week. That’s it. No lesson plans. No prep time on my part. Piece of cake. It is all about Lilie learning and enjoying time with mom.

High school kids are graded simply — was time spent every day on the assignments? Can they demonstrate to me that they know what they have studied either orally or by looking in their course notebooks? I can look in their planners at any time and see what is being done in any given subject. If all of the work is being done with excellence, they receive an A from me at the end of the semester.

Okay, moving on. Tomorrow we will finish up our first half of out year. At that point I will have the kids average their math grades, and I will look over their planner/portfolio with them to make sure all is in order. I will look with them at the goals they set at the beginning of the quarter and see how far they got in actuality. We will most likely have some sort of something special, like a special dessert, or perhaps I will buy them all a cool new notebook or special pens/pencils for next quarter, or both. I like to celebrate our progress at this point. It is important to notate and celebrate progress!

Then the 8 and older crew will set a goal in each subject for the next 9 weeks. (Again, the planners have a special page for recording this info easily and sweetly.) They will look ahead, see where they are going, and decide how much they think they can accomplish in the next 9 weeks. They set their own expectations, which means that I am not the one cracking a whip over them — they are doing the cracking themselves. This is what motivates them and inspires them to work hard: they are working out of their own sense of accomplishment.

They almost always exceed their own goals. This is the natural result of self-learning, and it is a joy to observe!

I will glance at their goals, just to make sure they are not set too high or too low. They will set a target grade for math as well. Incidentally, I ask for math grades at some point each and every day, usually at supper time. There is a little element of peer pressure here which is not a bad thing.

Normally, we take a two-week break between quarters, and we take a week off after finishing the 5th out of the 9 weeks within the quarter. However, I made a deal with the kids over the holidays that we would take more time off then if they wanted, but we would not take a break after we finished the next quarter. They liked that idea, so that is what we decided to do. I love the flexibility of homeschooling. I would so hate to be told when we could have vacation by a school district. Ugh! How do people do that?

So that is an intimate glimpse into the workings of our self-learning homeschool process. It is both simple and easy; expectations are extremely clear for the students, and that is extremely important. There needs to be expectations as well as an understanding of what will happen if the students do not do their work properly. I very, very rarely have to deal with poor attitudes anymore as I have set expectations for cheerfulness and instant obedience. I have found that expectations are key to a smoothly running homeschool.

As we prepare to wrap up an entire half a year (oxymoron), I look back and am amazed at far we have come in such a short period of time. I continue to love homeschooling even after 14 years of hands-on practice, and it is such a blessing to have children who tackle their chores and their school work without complaining or whining.

Of course we have our down days, but down days now are not nearly as bad as they used to be when I did lesson plans for everyone in every subject, I had to check everybody’s work, and I had to motivate kids to do things that they so easily could do on their own without me hollering for them that it was “math time” or “science time” or “reading time.” There is a much better way!

Truly this is homeschooling freedom!


Happy New Year and…

January 4, 2009

Okay, if you only read one thing on education this year, this would be it.

Education reform requires holding students accountable is the title.

http://www.gjsentinel.com/hp/content/news/opinion/stories/2009/01/02/010409_5B_Neal_Column.html is the link.

I can not believe I found a piece of writing on public schools that I actually agree with wholeheartedly. Obviously, there exists a need for public education, but not for the current crap known as brick and mortar education.

You know I would love to hear your thoughts if you are one of the few who is as moved by this article as I am.

What does this have to do with homeschooling? Accountability is necessary in homeschooling as well. It is expectation coupled with accountability that produces excellence.

…and Happy 2009 to you and your family. May this be a year of growth for us all.


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