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Friday, January 16, 2015

Costumes or art? Definitely both.

I've been really busy since depositing the kids back at college. I have been doing volunteer work for a community theatre, and my job right now is to make costumes for a show that is quickly approaching, so I haven't had the opportunity to write or do art-work.  Or have I?

Some of the costumes I have created have turned out to be some interesting works of art.   Here are some of the things I have made.

Wonderland flower.  a few fake flower bouquets attached to a sin visor. 

Wonderland flower dress.  Green pillowcase dress with tulle tutu

Tin man hat.  A plastic funnel, grey and shiny silver duck tape and some christmas garland

Tin man suit. Silver sweatsuit I found, with wire sewing into the hems to make it rounded.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

This college thing is tricky for homeschoolers

All my kids' friends are college age right now.  Some about to graduate, and a few still to enter college. From my own kids' experience and observing and inquiring into the college journey of their homeschooled friends, I have come to the conclusion that college can be difficult for homeschoolers, and while many make it through completely unscathed, very many become disillusioned quite quickly and struggle or drop out.

Just starting with the fact that they are homeschooled and used to doing things in a way that makes sense to them and only them, bending to a teachers whims and quirks is off-putting and difficult to maneuver. In short, the freedom they experienced as homeschoolers, can cause problems when it disappears suddenly when they reach college. All of a sudden things that have never counted, and probably should not count are deal-breakers.  My own son was penalized greatly for things like, not using the plagarism check tool correctly and thus losing a grade point, not taking a screen shot of a completed test, and therefore failing an important test that the program somehow glitched and deleted, And while he was a genius (if I say so myself) at computer art, he had to prove himself in craftier art classes, and that didn't go well either.  It's all very confusing and can be unfair to these kids to jump through hoops that just don't make any sense at all.

Then there's the old college fit. We spend years perusing lists of homeschool friendly colleges, and finding a schools that feel like a good fit for the kids, only to find that our kids are unhappy.  That christian college we thought would nurture our kids doesn't quite feel so Christian in practice.  Those scholarships offered now have unreasonable strings attached. Or it could just be that since you and your kid were more inseparable than most mom-kid pairs, and now they are not happy not being home or not being with you.

The good news is that about 60 percent of homeschoolers I know, at least, have gone to and remained in the very same college they started in.  The rest either left altogether, or transferred at least once in their college career.  This percentage is no better or worse than the rest of the population though, so that's good.  Be encouraged.  College is a crap-shoot for everyone, it just feels more painful for homeschoolers when things aren't quite right because we tie our self worth as parents and homeschoolers to how our children fare when the leave the home.

So don't get freaked out if your kid asks to transfer at the end of their first or second semester.  Don't flip your lid if your kid fails or almost fails a class or two. Don't fall into despair if your kid tells you they don't want continue in college but instead want to get a job.  At the same time, don't rush to bring your kid home if he or she tells you they are struggling, and don't let them lay around and do nothing if they withdraw from school.  They are adults now. They have to have a game plan if they are not going to college, they have to be making forward progress.  

Finally, I said this before, but it surely needs repeating... don't tie your success as a homeschool parent to your kids' academic success post homeschooling. At the same time, don't lord you child's post homeschool success over other homeschoolers, because that's not fair either.  Just know that you did your best to bring out their best qualities, because as homeschoolers, that really is our goal isn't it?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Y'all!

Needless to say my kids are home from college and I am enjoying them, so... no blogging.  I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  I'm looking forward to a year of personal growth, and creativity.  I wish you all the best of all things, for yourselves and your families.

See you in 2015.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Teaching kids who can't sit still

When my daughter was in school, before we pulled her out to homeschool, we were constantly told she was very likely ADHD and needed to be medicated. We ignored them. Sure, she was extremely energetic at school, but at home, she wasn't really a bother. I have always loved her level of energy... except for when she was sick, because she would not lay down and allow herself to recover.

Anyway, we never did medicate her. That was actually the final straw the caused us to homeschool.  I was convinced that the hyperactivity (she is not attention deficit) was an asset and not a negative. She proved me right.  Her first year at home, we used Time4learning, 2nd grade curriculum. After flipping over her chair a couple of times, I just took it, and raised the desk so she could stand. She stood there and did her work while bouncing around. I remember her doing a math problem, plugging in the numbers, getting it right, and jumping up and down and screaming, Yoooo Hooo!  Then she did a second.  When she got that one right, she took off running... Out of the home office, through the great room, through get kitchen, into the dining room, into the foyer, and back into the home office to the computer. She then continued to do her work. She was burning off the excess energy, and very likely processing the problems she had just done.

We went along this way for six months.. till Christmas.  After Christmas, I had to call he office that administered the program and asked them to move her up to 3rd grade because she had finished a years work by Christmas. She finished 3rd grade by summer, and then we reviewed everything.  She started reading after that and spent her years reading novels and going through curriculum at a normal speed, but graduated from a homeschool high school program at age 16.  We checked her into her dorm room 1 month after her 17th birthday.  She's 18 now, and just finished her 3rd semester of college with a 3.78 overall.

I tell you this story not to brag but to present an idea.

I am of the opinion that keeping kids moving while learning is something parents will want to consider. This is especially true for hyperactive, ADHD, and other distractible kids. I don't have an answer yet, but the wheels are turning in my head. Energetic kids should be taught in a way that allows them to use that energy and not suppress it.  This is something I want to continue discussing and working towards as I begin to develop both my art and my contribution to homeschooling.