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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Carnival of Homeschooling, Thank You Edition

None of us would have any success at homeschooling without the help of others. All of us have been inspired, supported, encouraged, counseled, and befriended by a more experienced homeschooler, and if it had not been for them, we would not be here to pass on the torch.  

Let's start with If It Weren't For Them  at Dewey's Treehouse.  In this post, our blogger, Mama Squirrel,  thanks homeschool veterans like Nancy Wallace and Mary Hood, Author of The Relaxed Homeschool, as well as community and family members who helped and inspired them along the way. 

One of the people I would like to personally think is Henry Cate. The Cate's have kept this Carnival of Homeschooling going week in and week out, through holidays, and through easy times and hard. This Carnival has been a major source of inspiration in my life.  

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Updates and Shenanigans

Not to toot my own horn, but at this very moment, my daughter who will be 18 in less than a week thinks my husband and I are the best parents ever.  Apparently, after speaking to all of her college friends, homeschooled or not, she wouldn't trade her parents for anyone else's.  That makes me kind of giddy.  She likes to tell people that she had two rules growing up... 1. Don't Lie, and 2. Don't be stupid.  I guess she's right... I didn't write it down or anything, but those were two things I could not tolerate, and all other rules fall under those two.  I never had to tell them to be nice, because they just were... so I guess I could also say that I have the best kids ever. 

My daughter and I decided to do a 10 day semi-fast.  Fruits and veggies all day and then a reasonable dinner.  That lasted 2 days.  Hubby made the mistake of calling us chickens when we started whining.  We were in the car later cursing him out pretty much for no reason... he wasn't even there, we were just taking out our hungry frustration on him in his absence... we then decided it wasn't worth it.

I am costuming for a very interesting play right now.  Next week is the designers run through, so we can make sure the costumes and choreography will work together, and then address any problems and altering, and make changes as needed based on what we see during the show.  What was I thinking?  The actual play is in about 2 weeks.  

During our homeschooling years, I managed to work from home and make a decent income.  I mainly wrote for 4 sites.  Only two of those websites are still active, as content writing bit the bullet a couple years ago as people search for videos more than written article these days. This week, the main site, announced it is closing and is turning over the rights to all of our articles back over to the writers.  This is very generous, because we wrote based on the fact that some of our income would be in upfront payments, and the rest would be in monthly commission checks.  I was making 300 a month easy before I even got out of bed, and around the holidays I could make as much as $1000 because I wrote a lot of seasonal stuff.  In the last year, I have only received $100 a month in commissions and have pretty much stopped writing for them.  On the downside, I need to download, categorize, and find a new home for 1800 articles (I'll probably discard about 300) before I lose access to my articles at the end of august.  I've done 50 since I found out yesterday.

I'm supposed to be getting my real-estate license. After taking the online course plus 2 day crash course, I don't feel prepared to take the final exam or Real Estate License test.  I'm going to have to pay to extend my class for 6 months, and learn the info on my own.  The online class was pretty useless, and the 2 day crash course was kind of a joke.  I have a new empathy for the online classes I had my kids take.  In person classes, or just reading books and taking tests is actually better. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Don't compare homeschooling to public schools

A friend posted about a pro homeschooling article on Facebook today.  I commented, and another friend got her feathers ruffled.  She was bothered (the best that I could tell) that comparisons were being made between homeschoolers and non homeschoolers.  I understand her point, that it should be about educating kids the best you can, homeschooling or not, I get that.  But I also think it is unfair to ask homeschoolers pipe down, on homeschooling statistics for PC reasons.

I requested that the conversation be discontinued as it was happening on someone else's timeline (I hate that), but it did leave me seething.

Now I realize that there is a general consensus that us homeschooling parents are defensive and often demeaning toward those who have an aught with homeschooling, but there is a reason for it.  If it were not for the publicizing of homeschool successes, the practice would have been shut down decades ago before it could even gain traction.

So, while people may sometimes feel like we take it too, I need to ask them to look the other way for a moment.  Homeschooling is still not widely accepted, and we do need to promote it from time to time.  Don't take it personally.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top 10 homeschool resources for 2014-15

Unfortunately, one of the sites I have relied on heavily (Hippocampus) to provide my kids with free, high quality education is has lost it's contract with NROC but I have found a couple new sites for you to try.  Keep in mind that most of my picks are for high school students, as that is hardest to find, and that you need to check these out thoroughly. My kids no longer try out these sites as they are in college, so I rely on reviews, poking around, and a couple hours of trial access.

10.  MIT Open Courseware is a great way to challenge advanced students who aren't quite ready for the college classroom environment.  Most specifically, I recommend the Audio Video Lecture based courses as they are easier to follow.

9.  Spanish Hour has helped a couple of young people I know with this very important foreign language. You can start with the basic free membership, and then move to Premium membership for the extra tools later. It helps to prepare for the CLEP exam which means your kid won't have to tangle with Spanish in college.