The time is quickly approaching and while some are already ‘back to school’, others are preparing to go back to school. I am participating in 2 homeschool related weeks so I am combining them into 1 here.

i have to say is hosting Back to Homeschool Week and Less of Me~More of Him is hosting a Homeschool Open House for the 2nd year.

back to homeschool week

open house

Both weeks referenced above have a set of questions to answer regarding the 5 w’s and h of homeschool. I will primarily follow the schedule below for Back to Homeschool Week in that it anwsers all of the questions of the Homeschool Open House. 😀

Monday, August 6—What led to your decision to homeschool?
Why do you do what you do? What brought you to homeschooling? What factors played a part in your decision?

I have answered most of these questions in a Homeschooling Meme.

If you homeschool, feel free to join both of these homeschool weeks and make sure to link back and spread the love by visiting as many sites as you can as there is encouragement and inspiration abounding. 🙂

The schedule for the Back to Homeschool Week is as follows:

Tuesday, August 7—How do you homeschool?
Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be “mom” and “teacher” at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc…

Wednesday, August 8—Getting out there…
Extra-curricular activities, community involvement, volunteering, sports teams, music lessons, making sure your kids have opportunities to be social, co-ops, etc., etc., etc…

Thursday, August 9—If I had only known…
What have you learned on your homeschooling journey? What would you/did you change? This is an opportunity to encourage others who are just starting out or who are struggling with issues that seem unsolvable. It is also a perfect opportunity to tell us about one of those days made you want to throw in the towel. A funny story? Perfect!

Friday, August 10—Curriculum
What curriculum do you use? Where do you buy it? Have you found a “gem” that you must share with others? Was something in particular a complete failure for you and your kids?

Check out what others have to say:

Yesterday we received our paperwork back from the county indicating that A is officially recognized under the home instruction program. Woohoo!!!!!!

I am so excited and considering I had heard some not so encouraging stories about the staff at the home instruction office, they returned the paperwork within less than 2 weeks of my sending it in, I don’t think that is bad at all.

Of course, I am equally nervous and excited about our journey. Let’s face it, since our children were born all parents do some form of home instruction or at least I would like to think they do. 🙂 It is just different now in that she is really ‘enrolled’ so to speak in what society marks as the beginning of education – Kindergarten.

I still have a few items left to tidy up in terms of a schedule which I need to keep myself on track but the intent is to really just continue our flow of some math, more reading, story time and a mild intro to history/science with a unit study approach. Also, art and music as those are definte areas of interest to my daughter and see if she still really wants to learn Spanish and sign language. When I type it out it seems like way more but really it isn’t that bad being that only Bible, Math and Reading are done daily.

I hope each of your plans are firming up as you like and if they aren’t they you are bending like a willow tree as you make adjustments. 😀

Last Friday we went to the National Zoo in Washington, DC. The pics have been up on my flickr page but I hadn’t posted about it because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. 🙂

My parents accompanied the kids and I and we took the Metro which the kids love because that is how “daddy goes to work.” It was hot and humid, like it is now and usually is in DC in July, but I had never been to the National Zoo and was determined to go and not waste such a national treasure.

Here are the kids at the entrance:
At the entrance

The Giant Pandas are a huge zoo attraction and all 3 were sleeping when we came through, must have been the heat and having to wear a fur coat. Here is Papa Panda – Tian Tian, I haven’t uploaded momma and baby yet, so stay tuned. I must admit that Giant Pandas are proof that there is some good in stuff that is Made in China. 🙂
Papa Panda - Tian Tian

I love this photo of the Komodo dragon.
You're still here

If you click on any of the photos, it will take you to my photostream with the other pics as I haven’t placed a flickr sidebar on this site just yet…tsk tsk I know but remember there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

What are your rights as a parent? I guess it really depends on who/what you ask. Here in the State of Maryland, I have recently learned that my rights can be summed up as follows:

“And although a parent does have a right to control the upbringing of a child, “that right is not absolute. It must bend to the State’s duty to educate its citizens,” the state board wrote.”

This quote is from our State Board of Education as it relates to a series of lawsuits in a neighboring county regarding their health plan that deals with homosexuality. More information can be found here at the Washington Post.

While on the topic of parents rights, I came across this little ditty from the Washington Times, it is from a recent Supreme Court decision.

“While parents may have a fundamental right to decide whether to send their child to a public school, they do not have a fundamental right generally to direct how a public school teaches their child.”

The article is an opinion piece by Michael Smith of Home School Legal Defense Fund and has many positives about homeschooling which if you live in Maryland may be a good idea considering your parental rights are absolute to an extent.

Article published Jul 9, 2007
Supreme Court levels playing field

July 9, 2007

Michael Smith – It is no secret that home-schooling is growing and gaining credibility as a viable educational alternative.

More and more colleges are actively recruiting home-schooled students, each year there are an estimated 50,000-plus home-school high school graduates who find work or go to college and thousands of new curriculum products have become available over the past five years. Meanwhile, the number of home-schoolers continues to grow by 7 percent to 15 percent each year, more states are reforming their laws to remove the burdens from parents who want to home educate, and home-schoolers continue to excel in national competitions as well as on standardized tests. In short, home-schooling is a major success story.

Now, for the first time, home-schooling has been recognized in an opinion by a U.S. Supreme Court justice as a viable educational alternative. Morse v. Frederick, which recently made national headlines, involves free speech and whether a public school can regulate what a student says. The 5-4 decision said that the school principal, Deborah Morse, did not violate the free speech rights of Joseph Frederick when she took down his pro-marijuana banner, which said “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” The student had violated school policy and was advocating illegal drug use.

While the Home School Legal Defense Association agrees with the ruling in this specific case, it is a reminder to all families that when your child enters the public school, you have virtually ceded your parental rights to the public school.

The clearest explanation of this view was expressed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Fields v. Palmdale, when it said, “While parents may have a fundamental right to decide whether to send their child to a public school, they do not have a fundamental right generally to direct how a public school teaches their child.”

This is the reason many parents have chosen to home-school, especially those parents who have a religious worldview, because they know their children will be taught secular values by the public system.

In Morse v. Frederick, however, Justice Clarence Thomas said, “If parents do not like the rules imposed by those schools, they can seek redress in school boards or legislatures; they can send their children to private schools or home school them; or they can simply move.”

This is the first time the Supreme Court specifically has recognized home-schooling as a viable educational alternative. HSLDA has worked for 24 years to advance a parent’s right to home-school and to promote home-schooling to the general public.

After 24 years, it is gratifying to read the words of a Supreme Court justice who rightfully placed home-schooling on a level playing field with public and private schools. This kind of recognition is tremendously significant to the home-school community.

It’s another step on the long road to raise home-schooling to the point where, when the terms public, private or home-school are used in the same sentence, they all will be seen as mainstream educational alternatives.

Home-schooling is a modern education success story and HSLDA urges all parents to carefully consider their educational options. Home-schooling should be front and center because it is a viable alternative that has helped hundreds of thousands of children become mature, productive citizens.

Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at 540/338-5600; or send e-mail to media@hslda.org.

In May, I shared our adventures at the Museum of Life and Science. This museum is located in Durham, NC and we were so blessed that dh had to return there for another meeting. We have truly enjoyed traveling with dh on his trips, in June we visited the Creation Museum.

In our previous 2 trips to the Museum of Life and Science, my dd has wanted a butterfly to land on her very badly. She would talk about it and talk about it and talk about it. On our visit this time, I noticed that the number of butterflies was not as plentiful as it had been on our previous visits. As a mother, I become concerned especially when my dd sits on a bench and says “butterflies, I love you please land on my finger.” We go though the butterfly exhibit and no butterflies land and we are getting ready to leave with a sad dd. The butterfly house is designed in such a way that as you prepare to exit through the doors, there are bursts of air to keep the butterflies from hitchhiking a ride. Well, there were a few determind butterflies, 1 in particular, that wanted a taste of freedom. He stayed near the door and the bursts of air kept blowing him to the floor. My dad allowed the hitchhiker to get on his finger to move him away from the door. DD took this as the opportunity to achieve her dream of a butterfly being on her finger. Here is a sequence of pictures:

The Beginning of a dream being achieved

Next step

It is really on my finger!

Look Mommy, I did it!

I was talking with dh via cell so I had to quickly get out the camera and just start clicking and God is good because I was able to get these awesome shots.

There were some beautiful flowers inside as well and they are below:

Beautiful flower

Odd but pretty!

Even odder but stil pretty!

Pretty in purple!

And this one took my breath away…

Pretty in pink and purple

Just so you don’t think all of our time was spent with butterflies and flowers even though the beauty was wel worth every minute, we did get to enjoy some other stuff.

Here is my dad aka Pop-Pop with the kids getting ready to go on the train ride.

The train, the train

Since our last visit, they have completed a new area and there was Ornithopter ride.

Ornithopter, ornithopter

The kids enjoyed our visit!

Yeah, this is fun!

While in Durham, even though the pool had its moments, once clean we did have some fun swimming.

Today’s Washington Post article – Giving Proper Credit to Homeschooled.

Interesting article that looks at how colleges are revamping their admissions criteria to make way for the homeschooled student.

Giving Proper Credit To Home-Schooled
With Applications From Nontraditional Students Rising, More Universities Are Revamping Evaluation Methods

By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 11, 2007; B01

In the pursuit of a homemade high school education, Jay Voris played drums in Guinea, Colin Roof restored a 134-year-old sailboat in Ireland, and Rebecca Goldstein wrote a 600-page fantasy novel and took calculus at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

The independent-minded Maryland students and two dozen others gathered at a Unitarian Universalist Church in Annapolis one afternoon this month for an alternative graduation ceremony that is becoming more common across the country as home schooling expands. Now the movement is gaining ground in a crucial arena: college admissions.

Goldstein, 18, of Ellicott City will be a full-time student at UMBC in the fall. Alan Goldstein said his daughter’s idiosyncratic education distinguished her from “cookie cutter” applicants from conventional schools and helped her gain entrance into honors programs and win a full scholarship. Others at the June 2 commencement are bound for St. John’s College, Hampshire College, the University of Rochester and other liberal arts schools.

Admissions officers accustomed to evaluating class rankings, transcripts and recommendations from professional teachers have long faced challenges in evaluating home-schooled applicants. How much weight should be given to student performance in a class of one or two? Or credits assigned for horseback riding or hiking the Appalachian Trail? Or glowing recommendations from Mom?

“Granted, everybody’s kids are great,” said Earl Granger, associate provost for enrollment at the College of William and Mary. “But it’s great when we can get an external source to really comment on a student’s progress.”

Colleges are finding ways to adapt to the growing market. Eighty-three percent had formal policies for evaluating the home-schooled in 2004, up from 52 percent in 2000, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Many rely on standardized tests.

At William and Mary, home-school applications have increased from 49 to 67 in the past two years. The college has a designated home-school admissions counselor, who advises applicants to supplement the regular SAT reasoning test with SAT subject tests. The counselor also encourages having a nonrelative write a recommendation.

Former Stanford University admissions counselor Jon Reider, one of the first to draft an admissions policy for home-schoolers, said such applicants often stood out for their maturity.

“There were things these home-schoolers had,” Reider said. “A certain amount of responsibility. They were in charge of their learning process. They were impatient with normal assignments and reading lists.”

When Reider left Stanford seven years ago, he said there were 36 home-school applications. This year, the university counted 104.

Reider said the rising number of home-schoolers means they will have to work harder to set themselves apart. “A lot of people in America are doing this,” he said.

Twenty-five years ago, it was illegal in many states for parents without teaching licenses to educate their children at home. But the number has grown as state regulations have eased. More than a million students — about 2 percent of the school-age population — were home-schooled in 2003, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Education Department. U.S. Census data show there were 350,000 home-schooled students in 1994 and nearly 800,000 in 1999.

Parents who were once forced to scour catalogs for textbooks are now backed by a nearly $1 billion-a-year curriculum industry that offers classrooms-in-a-box and virtual high school courses. Home-school networks also have proliferated, offering group classes, organized sports, debate clubs and social activities. All of that is helpful to college recruiters, who want to see extracurricular activities and high marks from online courses or community colleges to validate parent-designated 4.0 GPAs.

Goldstein’s transcript was loaded with A’s from Howard Community College, UMBC and her mother. To fulfill state requirements, she also had a consultant from a private school, the Learning Community International, review her progress and grades at home. Most states do not require such oversight.

Her college application pointed out some unusual classes, including one she developed about Lord Nelson and British maritime history during the Napoleonic War as well as a logic and problem-solving course that she liked to take while “eating Hershey’s chocolate and listening to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata,” she said at graduation.

Since the 1980s, home schooling has gained widespread popularity among evangelical Christians. Patrick Henry College in Loudoun County, founded by a prominent home-school advocate, targets such students.

In Richmond this past weekend, a Home Educators Association of Virginia convention was expected to draw thousands of parents and students, with about 200 students receiving diplomas in a group graduation ceremony. At the convention, recruiters from Christian universities set up booths alongside vendors selling books on how to teach subjects from a biblical perspective.

Cynthia Hay of Fredericksburg, a home-schooling mother of two, was among many people attending a panel discussion on college admissions Friday. Hay said she recently took her daughter Katie, a rising senior, on an East Coast college tour and found a warm reception almost everywhere. Katie is planning to apply to William and Mary, but her first choice is Princeton University. She has good test scores and grades and is involved in a church band and Girl Scouts. This year, she started taking community college classes.

Hay said she will savor her last year as Katie’s teacher. “The saddest thing about her graduation is that I wish I could do it again,” she said.

I love homeschooling!!!! Seriously, I truly enjoy teaching and being taught and I absolutely love the closeness of our family and my children. There is a natural bond because they are family but it is special when they also form their own friendship. I just had to share that as I am convinced that this is what we are to do in our family.

Last night, I went to a homeschool meeting sponsored by a local umbrella group that a few friends are members…I wasn’t going to go because it was on the beginning whys/hows of homeschooling and we are already doing it and we already know why we are doing it but this will be the first year being “official” being that dd turns 5 in July. I also didn’t want to have a haughty spirit and think I knew all there was to know about being a homeschooler in my county. After prayer and consultation with hubby, I went and was glad that I did. The attendees were all over the board in the sense that there were a few with little ones like me, others looking to pull a teen out of the schools and more in-between. The spectrum didn’t necessarily fit the neat outline of the speaker but it worked. I did have some input about some resources and shared some web sites because the presenter was big on books and not everyone is going to go to the library (plus she had checked out all the homeschool books). 😀

One thing that happenned that is still unsettling for me is her discussion of the various methods of homeschooling – traditional, classical, unit study, living books/Charlotte Mason, Hebrew education, unschooling, etc. She provided examples for each and then there was the attack on classical and the praise of the Hebrew method. None of the other methods were attacked but the classical. Quite frankly, many of the other areas were praised and expounded upon except for unschooling which was shunned (Note: I think in a way all homeschoolers unschool to some degree). When I say attack, the presenter did acknowledge that there is a big classical movement in homeschooling and she went on to say that being based in Greek/Roman thought only leads to secularism and as Christians we should follow the Hebrew model proposed by Heart of Wisdom. She was a bit more critical than this but you get the point.

I had never heard of Heart of Wisdom and I am including the link so that I can make my point that the homeschooling tent is big enough for all of us and no matter what method you choose or what methods you combine, we are all still seeking to give our children the best. I really have issues when homeschoolers go to such lengths to define/justify why the use what they use and do what they do. There are a lot of great curricula out there and the beauty/benefit of homeschooling is that you have the freedom to design God’s school in your home as you feel He is leading you in order to bless your children and train them up in the way they should go.

I stopped reading one of the message boards that I was on because it was too competitive and made me think that my grass isn’t as green as it should be….I had to pray about that because if I know that this is what God has called me to do and I am trusting in Him with my preparation, materials gathering, etc. and my children are learning then I am doing what He would have me to do at my house. What you do at your house is great but I don’t live there and neither do my children. I don’t want to sound harsh but this is really how the Lord had to lay it out for me as I can be stubborn and hardheaded. 😉

I read a post the other day that summed it up at From the Narrows, check it out.

As a disclaimer, I do like the thought process behind the classical, but I also mix it up with unit studies, living books and unschooling. In the end, the Bible is our main text book and God is our Chancellor. I think that as parents we have to look at all of the curricula to make sure it espouses the beliefs that we believe. I also think that kids (at the appropriate age) should be exposed to fallacies of the world so that they can be informed and stand for Jesus in a sound way to avoid being tossed to and fro.

Now, I did find out about an awesome planning resource that is FREE!!!! Home School, Inc has a free module that helps you with planning, organizing, and clerical (prints report cards too!). The module is decscribed in detail below:

Plan Educate Record (PER) is the first module. If staying organized and keeping good records has been a challenge for you that detracts from the time and energy you have to give to teaching, we want to help. We have created a comprehensive planning, recording and storage application that will help. You will not need to labor over paper schedule books or worry about losing all your information in a computer crash. Better still, because our application is delivered securely via the internet, a parent who works outside the home or is traveling can still be an integral part of schooling the children! A parent in the office or on the road can communicate in real time with the kids back home and lend a hand when they need help! PER also will offer a complete set of academic and regulatory reports suitable for your state that you print with the click of a mouse!

As an aside, I went to the thrift store today and it felt like a used book sale at a curriculum fair. I was somewhat good but I did buy quite a few. Monday is 25% off so if some of the others are there, that extra discount may make me buy them. 🙂

Enjoy your day!

Now this was a new one for me, but I think it is a cute idea, so I will give it a whirl. 🙂 Amber at Homeschooling Diva tagged/tipped me for this one and I hope I don’t flub it.

The concept is to heap praise and/or blogging tips on 3 unsuspecting folks on the first of the month. Being that it is quickly approaching midnight on the East coast, I best make it snappy.

1) Redheaded Daughter – My west coast friend that has a very sweet spirit, a love for things beautiful and simple and I must say the most adorable little redheaded daughter. I like your desire to create beauty and to become a domestic diva. 🙂

2) Skip to My Lou – An incredible craft talent with a generous heart for family and friends. I love reading your blog and you inspire me to further explore my creativity.

3) Mother Crone’s Homeschool – You encourage me in my homeschooling journey by your desire to give your children the best and to follow their lead and the zest in which you delve into their suggestions and plot the course. You look for and respect their feedback and as a family you guys sound like you have a blast. I am thankful to have found your blog and to glean from your wisdom.

Being that this is my first time doing this, please do not feel that you have to blogtip others unless you want to being that we all could use some encouragement and you never know how your words might bless others. Keep blogging!

P.S. Lest any of you get confused, I separate my homeschooling blog (this one) from my other one – Southern Girl Musings. 😀

Serrefina was the winning word in the 80th Scripts National Spelling Bee. I love to watch this each year and love the prime time showing of the finals – great way to award academics and the combo of ABC/ESPN gives it a true competition feel. How funny to see Mike and Mike as commentators.

The winner was 11 year-old Evan O’Dorney and he was hilarious in that he finds the spelling bee “just a bunch of memorization” and he doesn’t like the spelling bee as much as math and music. Bright and funny, what a combination.

Our Scripture

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. ~Psalm 1:3

Something to think about…

"I never teach my pupils: I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." ~ Albert Einstein
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