I've been recognized by Renea at Life Nurturing Education for my loyalty in commenting on her blog. I'm so pleased to know that my reading and commenting makes my fellow bloggers feel good. I know that I love it when I get comments and postive feedback for my bloggy efforts as well.
Thos of you who regularly read and comment on my blog(s), you know who you are. I am passsing this along to you as well and thank you for all of your encouragement.
"The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson." ~Tom Bodett
The thought this quote beings to mind for me is that, material you learn in school and then take a test about is all too often forgotten. Things you learn in life tend to stay with you more. I'm taking this idea to heart as I begin teaching Ashley. Although we are using text books and tests, I plan to teach her from a life perpective.
Instead of just facts and dates in US History, we'll be focusing on cultures and the reality of life in the time period we're studying. We'll learn the dates of the Civil War, for example, but more importantly we'll look at the life of the people affected by it before, during and after it. Math will be more than computations and formulas, it will be a passage to a greater understanding of God's Creation. Language Arts will go beyond workbooks and the characters we read about, into how they are written and what sort of person they might be in the real world. Biology will go beyond the way cells function and plants grow to topics like self-suffiency and what's really happening to life around us day by day.
I got another deal on eBay on home school curriculum items from Bob Jones Press. This time it's the student text and the Teacher's Manual for Algebra II. New, these pieces would run me $98. I got them, gently used with shipping included for $53 on eBay yesterday. That's a savings of $45, so I am pretty pleased about it. I still need to get the tests and answer key for this subject, because it's not material that I know well enough to create my own tests for Ashley to take. That will probably have to be purchased new and I will likely order them from eBay too because I found both for $18 shipped, vs. the $21 at the store. At the home school store I will have to special order them and it will take 10 days. I want to be up and running by then, God willing.
We'll also be purchasing the Alpha Omega Language Arts LifePac set new as well, since it's comprised of mostly workbooks, which people typically use, leaving just the teacher's guide and books that go with it. Thus far I've spent $143, and I'm estimating another $200 once all is said and done.
This is an expensive venture, but the finanical aspect of it really pales in comparison with the wonderful opportunity to round out Ashley's education, reawaken her love for learning, and get her out of the clutches of public school culture.
Renea at Life Nurturing Education is one of my favorite bloggers. I always enjoy her insightful view on home education and each time I visit her blog, I am newly inspired.
In her recent series, Why Study Math? she gives an inspiring and uplifting view on what our children are really learning while learning the manipulation of numbers.
For me, this series has been an invaluable tool in motivating me to teach Ashley and Aspen mathematics from a more enlightened point of view. Math was never my strong subject in school, and so I find the prospect of teaching it a little intimidating. Understanding the higher purpose of including it in our curriculum has changed my feelings on this and I find that I am actually excited as I browse curriculums for Ashley's Algebra II.
I encourage every parent to visit her blog, starting with the first post of the series here.
I have decided to being teaching her math by printing out Renea's insightful posts together as one article for her to read and keep handy in her math binder for times when she gets frustrated, bored or questions why we are doing this.
For our springtime science unit with our preschooler, we planted nine diffrent types of vegetable and flower seeds in a little terrarium style starter tray. Today when we checked up on our mini garden we had two different sprouts! There is one tiny carrot prout peeking up from the soil, and a quickly growing baby tomato plant! Aspen was very excited to see little plants coming up from her seeds and so she eagerly got busy with her daily watering to encourage the others to grow.
To view the original post (with details of the project) and see pictures of our planting, click here.
I came upon this list today while reading articles about the history of home schooling in North Carolina. I thought this was a good list of questions that potential home school parents should ask themselves before taking the leap. I want to say here though, that just because you don't answer yes to all of them today, don't dismiss home schooling altogether.
Take for example the question, "Are my children well-disciplined?" Obviously, obedience is essential to successful home schooling, but even if you don't feel your children are disciplined enough for home school now, this is something you can work to change. Also, consider the socialization of your kids. This is a hot-button with home schoolers, but it's important to ask yourself. If you home school, you will need to put in the time and effort to involve your kids in activities where they will have a chance to meet other kids and make friends. Don't be intimidated by this though, there are many great home school groups that plan activities and events, and if your family is already involved in a church or other social groups, and active in your neighborhood / community, you'll have no problem.
Here's the list:
1. Do I have the time, patience, perseverance and fortitude? 2. Do I possess sufficient academic training and leadership skills? 3. Am I self-disciplined and well organized? 4. Am I a good goal-setter and motivator? 5. Will my spouse dedicate him/herself to provide the needed resources, support and encouragement? 6. Would I enjoy having my children with me twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week, year round? 7. Are my children well disciplined? 8. Will my children enjoy the experience? 9. Will it better prepare my children for the challenges of life? 10. Will my children still have opportunities to interact with other children from time to time?
Another great resource for those considering home schooling is the book The Survivor's Guide to Home Schooling by Luann Shakelford and Susan White. This book gives a realistic peek into the daily ups and downs of home schooling as we follow the main author's journey through home schooling her seven chidren. I've read this book many times and refer to it often whenever I need to be inspired as a teacher and a mom. It's featured in the sidebar to the right on this page, so check it out!
This article was posted on one of my home school e-groups today and I thought it was interesting, given my thoughts about my daughter's education in history. I see some of this lack in both of my older girls, they know some material but are familiar with a lot fewer formerly well-known historical references than I am. This just strengthens my resolve about really delving into history and culture with Ashley and Aspen.
Teens losing touch with common cultural and historical references By Greg Toppo USA TODAY
Big Brother. McCarthyism. The patience of Job.
Don't count on your typical teenager to nod knowingly the next time you drop a reference to any of these. A study out today finds that about half of 17-year-olds can't identify the books or historical events associated with them.
Twenty-five years after the federal report A Nation at Risk challenged U.S. public schools to raise the quality of education, the study finds high schoolers still lack important historical and cultural underpinnings of "a complete education." And, its authors fear, the nation's current focus on improving basic reading and math skills in elementary school might only make matters worse, giving short shrift to the humanities � even if children can read and do math.
"If you think it matters whether or not kids have common historical touchstones and whether, at some level, we feel like members of a common culture, then familiarity with this knowledge matters a lot," says American Enterprise Institute researcher Rick Hess, who wrote the study.
Among 1,200 students surveyed:
•43% knew the Civil War was fought between 1850 and 1900.
•52% could identify the theme of 1984.
•51% knew that the controversy surrounding Sen. Joseph McCarthy focused on communism.
In all, students earned a C in history and an F in literature, though the survey suggests students do well on topics schools cover. For instance, 88% knew the bombing of Pearl Harbor led the USA into World War II, and 97% could identify Martin Luther King Jr. as author of the "I Have a Dream" speech.
Fewer (77%) knew Uncle Tom's Cabin helped end slavery a century earlier.
"School has emphasized Martin Luther King, and everybody teaches it, and people are learning it," says Chester Finn of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank. "What a better thing it would be if people also had the Civil War part and the civil rights part, and the Harriet Tubman part and the Uncle Tom's Cabin part."
The findings probably won't sit well with educators, who say record numbers of students are taking college-level Advanced Placement history, literature and other courses in high school.
"Not all is woe in American education," says Trevor Packer of The College Board, which oversees Advanced Placement.
The study's release today in Washington also serves as a sort of coming out for its sponsor, Common Core, a new non-partisan group pushing for the liberal arts in public school curricula. Its leadership includes a North Carolina fifth-grade teacher, an author of history and science textbooks, a teachers union leader and a former top official in the George H.W. Bush administration.
I decided today to expedite the process of jumping through state hoops with regards to our school. I sent in our Notice of Intent form via Fed Ex for two reasons: 1) It will get there faster and 2) I will know when they got it. By knowing when it was received, I'll be able to call their info line and hear a recording of when notices received on that date were completed, and I'll know when it's on it's way back to us. Now that this decision is made, I want to get going ASAP. Ashley is miserable in school and so her time there really is wasted time at this point. I hope to be able to pull her out by next week sometime.
I can't help but feel like the Lord has put His blessing on this venture, as evidenced by how well it has all fallen into place. Today our state tax refund check arrived, which should be plenty to cover the cost of her curriculum materials.
I've spent a great deal of time researching available materials online, and have come up with an initial plan of attack. I am using North Carolina graduation requirements as a guide to what courses I'll be teaching. She will need the following credits to meet standard requirements for graduation and art school entrance afterward (she wants to do graphic art):
English 2 credits Math 1 credit Science 2 credits (Biology and a physical science) US History 1 credit Art 1 credit Elective 1 credit
Since she only needs 8 credits, I feel confident that she can graduate ahead of her class, perhaps even a calander year early. I'm planning to let her determine the pace by how well she is grasping the material at any given point. We'll adjust as needed in that respect as we go.
With all that in mind, I'm considering the following courses and materials to start:
English Alpha Omega LIFEPAC Language Arts Grade 11 I like this one because it encompasses poetry, which she loves. I also like the idea that she'll read and study Our Town, one of my favorite literary pieces. I know she'll enjoy that one too, it's right in line with her way of thinking.
Algebra II Bob Jones Algerbra II. I chose BJU on this not so much for its Christian content but for its structure and the in-depth teacher's guide. Math was my weakest subject and I never did Algebra II so I will be learning as I teach.
Biology Bob Jones Biology. Again I chose BJU, this time for 2 reasons. Again, the thorough guide for teachers, plus I like the Creation view. She has already studied the Big Bang and evolution in public school, now she can learn about the scientific standpoint of Creationism as well.
US History Bob Jones US History. Again, BJU comes up as the most well-organized program, from what I have seen. I'm interested to see how a Christian text will differ from the secular on this. I love history, especially US History, so I am really excited to teach this. This is the subject she likes the least so I am trying to come up with ideas to make it more real for her and to really capture her attention.
This is the tentative plan. This weekend we'll be visiting the local home school store to see these materials hands on and make a final decision. Then will begin the hunt for them used in good condition, because new they are a little out of our budget. I have several of these items on my ebay watch list and bookmarked on some used curriculum sites. If anyone reading this has used any of these, has ideas for engaging a teen in history or has any of these to sell, please feel free to comment.
Along with planning for the academic part of her home education, I've also been toying with some schedules for our day, so that we can stay on track with school but also with the care and keeping of our home. Ashley is my best helper around here and is always a good student of my brand of home economics. I am considering making home management her elective credit. She helps me with cooking, cleaning, laundry, the care and keeping of little Aspen and is a great companion. I can't wait to have her around each day!
I am kicking around whether to do all four subjects every day for about an hour each, or two one day and two the next for about 2.5 hours. I'll likely go with the 2 per day to start and then adjust for what works as we get into a routine. We are planning to school straight through the summer months with breaks here and there, rather than taking the summer off.
As far as a schedule goes it will probably look something like this:
Breakfast / devotional
Ashley school subject 1 - Mom teaches lesson then she works independently, then we review together, Mom and Aspen do chores together in between.
Ashley school subject 2 - same as first round, Mom and Aspen play and learn together in between
Asess the day's progress, review/adjust as needed lesson plan for the following day. School is done.
Ashley free time. Mom and Aspen play and learn, do chores, etc.
Cooking dinner / dinner with family.
Mom's computer time (1 hour) Ashley plays with Aspen.
Evening with the family / free time, etc.
I am so excited about this new phase of our lives and I can't wait until it's all underway!
In a recent post on my main blog Rag-Tag Believer, I shared how we made the decision to pull our 15-year-old daughter Ashley out of public school and teach her at home.
In North Carolina, home schools are required to have a name and after a lot of silliness and a whole page of crossed-off possibilities, we finally decided on Shore's End Academy. We chose this name because of our love for the beach and the joy and serenity we always find at the shore's end. We hope to find the same in our home education adventures.
We'll mail off our Intent To Operate a Home School form to the Department of Non-Public Education tomorrow. We'll be researching and gathering curriculum materials while we wait for our confirmatioin from the state, after which we'll withdraw her from public school and begin teaching her here at home.
I'm excited and nervous at the same time, but as any of you who were regulars to Ramblings know, this is a dream come true for me! I am going into it with a humble heart and faith that the Lord will guide me in this just as He does in all things.
For the sake of simplifying my life and cutting back on my computer time (which has gotten a little out of hand with so many blogs) I'll be posting everything together in one central location. Since we are in the process of preparing to home school our 15-year-old daughter, Ashley, it's that much more imperative that I eliminate everything extra from my day as possible.
I hope that if you were a regular reader of my previous blogs, that you'll visit here often. I still plan to participate in several weekly memes, including Frugal Friday and Scrappin' Sunday. In addition I'll be sharing my personal experiences and thoughts, and keeping everyone updated on our adventures in home schooling.