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Monday, October 13, 2014

Are we spending enough time on math???

I polled a group of homeschoolers this past weekend, asking "How much time do you spend on math"... the consensus was "How much time do you spend on math?".. i.e.  the I didn't really get an answer, but was asked in turn how much time my kids spent on the subject.

I thought my answer would be, up to 90 minutes a day or more for high school students... but no.  It seems I may be the only one of that opinion.  You see, my kids were not math whizzes and it took that long to get through a math lesson and then practice, especially in the high school years.  This started in middle school, where we were doing AT LEAST and hour a day, and it just took more and more time as they death with Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, and so forth.

And even after all that work, they just did OK on the SAT/ACT exams in the subject.  It was their verbal scores that won them their acceptances and scholarships.

So I'd like to ask a bigger audience.. how much time you spend on math, in what grades, and why.  And what are/have been the results.  I really want to know.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fundraisers at my door, and not a cent to spare

The door bell rang yesterday, and the dogs went wild as usual.  Fortunately, I still had their leashes on them from a recent walk, so I was able to grab it and control them and they acted like they wanted to eat whomever was at the door. (They are Minature Schauzers, so aren't dangerous, just bossy.) Anyway, there is a young man at my door.  He had a chipped front tooth, and he was holding a pretty big coupon book.

He was talking pretty fast and slick.  All I could make out was "help me out, Help me out, something-something-coupons".  I replied, I've purchased those before and I never use them, so no thank you.".  That wasn't good enough for him.  He insisted, "Help me out, help me out.... don't you want to help me go to college".  I stifled a laugh and said, "how old are you?... twelve?. "  Because he looked... well.... twelve, and he replied, "no, i'm 16".  "Ok... that's cool, but I'm still not buying, " was my reply.  "But it comes with the Sunday paper and more coupons.  You need the Sunday paper", he insisted.   I replied again, "no, whenever I order the paper, it goes from the driveway to the garbage bin, no-thank you", I said firmly, and began to close the door.  "You don't want to help me out?", he said incredulously.  "Not today, I replied."  "But you NEED coupons he said, help me out", he demanded. "No, I do not, I replied.  There are very few coupons that are for anything healthy.  I am not interested", I said firmly, closing the door further.  He got agitated, and went back to his first schtick, flipping through the coupon book saying "help me out, help me out"... I said, "you are getting too pushy.  NO."  was my final answer.  He was still doing his plea as I gently closed the door and walked away.   This whole conversation happened as I was wrestling with my dogs' leash... they clearly did not like this little dude.   I checked outside when he was gone to make sure my tires weren't flat... He had THAT kind of vibe.

I used to entertain young people at my door, buy whatever they were selling, but the last few times, I got ripped off.  I purchased items that never came, or the person claimed to be a neighbor and were not, or the item I received was just crap.  I am going to put a no solicitation sign on my door from now on.  I wonder if I can find an attractive one.  Plus, I have enough relatives and family friends selling things that I still get my fill of magazine subscriptions and wrapping paper.  Know what I mean?

But it doesn't end there.  This past week, there were no less than 7 requests for donations in my email box.  Most were for organizations I had given to before.  Others were for organization that I want to support.  But I am not rich.  I cannot give to them all!  It broke my heart to get an email letter for Georgia Shakespeare this week that they were closing their doors, but If I had given them ALL my spare money last month when they sent out their final plea, it would have not been enough the fill the void they needed, and so where would my little donation have gone.  This is truly exhausting, and I am bewildered as to what has broken somewhere between corporate giving and crowd sourcing.  Clearly, large organizations have found better tax loopholes then charitable giving, because so many groups that used to depend on these charitable organizations are dying.  At the same time, crowdsourcing is doing wonderful things for small organizations that don't need a lot of money, but it still only goes so far.  When they need that next round for bigger and better funding, it still seems to fall short.

So right now I am looking at what I have to give, and the organizations that have asked for money this week, and asking myself, who needs it the most. Who is most deserving?  I have to tell you that the answer is my two college age children.

Is anyone else in this dilemma?

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Can I get some mustard with that sandwich?

I am realizing that my decisions not only impact my kids, but also my in-laws and my parents.  We can no longer make plans for ourselves and and our kids and go on along about our business... there are people who raised us who are not as independent as we would like.  That is a tough pill to swallow.

So if the fact that we still have 18&20 year olds who are in college and not completely out of the nest is keeping us tied to home, and not allowing us to live full time in NYC, we are even more beholden to come home for hubby's parents... to check on them, spend time with them, and make sure they are OK.  

The good part of this is that living part time in NYC will allow me to do the same for my dad.  

Ideally, I'd like to have the inlaws live with us here, and dad live with us there, but first, hubby and I could use some privacy.  Second, both sets are wayyy too independent for that to work... and so lies the dilemma. 

We have a lot to think about.  I have no answers and no anecdotes! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Carnival of homeschooling: Homeschool Freedoms Edition

Welcome to the 457the Edition of the Carnival of homeschooling!  The theme this week is homeschool freedoms.  For me, homeschooling was all about freedom, but probably not in the way you think.  I will let the HSLDA to their job as they see it, and I will let the lobbyers lobby.  I am most concerned about freedoms on a much smaller and individual scale, to raise and educate my kids in the way I thought best. 

This is important to me because as a homeschooler, I still see a lot of group thinking.  I don't really see a point in having the legal right to homeschool, only to check with everyone and their mother before deciding on a curriculum, event, or even a political stance.  Homeschooling is an individual endeavor, and I believe that while input and opinions are nice, they are just that.  We have to remember that as parents, WE ARE IN CHARGE.  So during my homeschool years I was very careful to make sure I never answered to  state guidelines, the school board, the principal, the teacher, homeschool organizations, homeschool groups, my parents, relatives, or even friends. I was able to give my children the attention they need
as they needed it, and to educate them according to their learning styles and gifting.  It has truly been a freeing experience.  

As usual, I will add some great homeschool reading links to this carnival.  

Here are some of the different freedoms that homeschooling families experience:

  •  Homeschooling freedom allows you as a family to study and learn from subjects that are near and dear to your heart.  If you know anything about unit studies, you will know that reading, writing, science, and often even math and social studies can be learned through the lens of any subject the child/family is enthusiastic about. The Harvest Moon by Hand Blog offers Milkweed and Monarch Butterflies Nature Study saying: We have been raising and releasing monarch butterflies for many years now. We decided to do a nature study about monarchs and milkweed because they have become an integral part of our science curriculum each year; and it seems like there is always new information to learn about milkweed and monarchs - and how milkweed biology greatly affects monarch biology  We hope to create a monarch waystation this spring/summer.

  •  There is also freedom to not be perfect. We don't always get it right, but we learn from our mistakes as well.  This post shows that there is value is admitting missteps so you can make adjustments and fix the problem, and perhaps learn together.  Often the journey is more important than the initial lesson. presents Homeschool Consumer Math Often Misses the Mark.  

  • Field trips were never like this!  There are no parent forms.  There are no lines. There are no schedules to keep.  The freedom of homeschooling makes field trips more freeing and relaxing, and in doing this, so much is earned. Please enjoy Field Trip to Blue Bell at The Smallest Acre blog

  • All of these homeschool freedoms are more easily enjoyed if you follow just a few simple rules.  These guidelines are often set by the state.  In this post, Henry at Why Homeschool reminds California homeschoolers to use the private school option to file their R4 form, which gives them freedom to operate as a private school. Read more at California homeschoolers - remember to file your R4 form.

  • As a veteran homeschooler, I continue to exercise my homeschool freedoms by continuing to share and and continuing to encourage new homeschoolers and homeschoolers still in the trenches.  I am free to continue to be vocal about homeschooling journey, in my blog and on YouTube in spite of anyone who would prefer I keep my opinion to myself and in spite of anyone who might  not like the looks of me.  For this reason, I am sharing Why am I still homeschool blogging, at Notes from a homeschooled mom.

If you enjoy reading this Carnival of Homeschooling please participate!  We are so close to #500 I can taste it!  Let's keep it going!  Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission.  As always, entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Give this blog some love by commenting.  What freedoms does Homeschooling give you?  Please chime in - in the comment section.