Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year Joy and Challenges

  As the New Year starts I am having a lot of fun reviewing the greatness of 2013 with family members and getting excited about what 2014 will bring. We always take any bad things that happened and write them down on a piece of paper then bury the paper in a snow drift. As the snow melts in the spring the paper will disintegrate emphasizing that we need to discard the bad and carry forward the good.

  The new year is a time for planning the future. What are we going to accomplish and learn?  I was taught an important lesson at Christmas time. Never underestimate the learning curve on a young child. My granddaughter is just 3 years old and most of the family thought she was not going to be able to operate a computer, even though she has played on the iPad for several years. I bought her the internet course ABCMouse. She was a little confused when I set my computer in front of her and handed her the mouse. The very first lesson was in how to use the mouse and she flew through it. For the next hour she played and learned at a rate that I was in awe of.  My first worry was that she would become glued to the screen but that proved groundless as her natural desire to play physical games had her jumping out of the chair. No, I do not earn anything from the program, just desire to share a positive fairly inexpensive resource with all of you. Will be interesting to see what she does with it in the next few months.

  What are your educational challenges this year? Mine have traditionally been to stay out of my children's way and just try to help them find resources as they became interested. As a parent and grandparent I continue to stretch my brain by taking computer programing classes, even though I am not very good yet. Are you continuing to stretch your mind?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Celebrating the Season

  I have many friends of different faiths and I find it fun to learn about how they celebrate the season.  Have your children explored their views? Take some time to encourage an understanding and it will benefit them for many years to come!

  Exploring others point of views can foster the ability to value people for who they are. Jesus said to forgive.  He valued people for who they were, not for what color of skin they wore. He welcomed people to learn and love. What have you done? Have you reached out to others in a nonjudgmental way?  Are you teaching your children to know people?

  I find it sad that many people will ignore or actively work against others because they look or believe differently.  We are in the season of love. Are you sharing the love with others? Do our children understand that physical differences are not what we are judged on when we leave this life?  Time for all of us to take a look at our daily lives and decide how we want to answer questions when we pass on.

 I hope that your Season is sprinkled with laughter and love. May you have a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Perfect Christmas

  Many years ago I was blessed by knowing a very awesome family. Thirteen children in one family and a wonderful mother and father celebrated Christmas time in a very unusual way. The father worked on the fishing boats and during the winter months money was short. They enjoyed the Christmas season more than any family I have ever known.  Each person in the family reached out to someone in need and did a unanimous chore or gift for them. Side walks were miraculous cleared of ice and snow. Cookies showed up on doorsteps and handmade toys were placed where children could find them always from Santa and Jesus. Homeless people found warm clothing and sleeping bags.  The giving was endless and cost very little money however, the joy in that family was boundless!  Giggles and laughter were in constant supply as they planned each gift.

  How do most of us celebrate Christmas? Do we buy expensive useless gifts that will be put on a shelf and never used?  One of the Christmas's that my children remember the most is when the whole family was going through a rough time and no one was able to buy things. So we made them. Cookies, scarfs, toys all appeared under the tree with very little  money being spent. My daughter still has the wooden doll her father made for her, and that was 25 years ago.

  That very blessed family from the past also had a time of sharing gifts. On the 4th of July the father was working full time and was able to supply gifts. However, I think they enjoyed the Christmas season more.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blessings and Miracles

  Over the Thanksgiving weekend I actually had time to think in a quiet atmosphere for a few minutes. The Blessing of having a daughter and grandchild with us plus her friends made me contemplate the idea that others are not so fortunate.  Our sons were only a phone call away and while we missed them it was good to hear them and know that all was right in their lives.

  For so many people this season is filled with pain and depression. Look around you. Are there people you know who have lost loved ones this year? Have they lost jobs and are having problems keeping food on the table and a roof over their heads? This is the season of giving. Not the giving of diamonds and expensive toys but the true gift should be the gift of self.  Bake a few extra cookies to give to a grandmother who cannot buy flour and sugar she can share them with her grandchildren. Cut and deliver some firewood to a family that has no heat. Slip a $20 bill into an envelope and leave it in a mail box. Those are not big expensive things, but they are gifts of the heart to someone in need.

  Does your food bank have enough supplies to last through the winter? A few bags of noodles and cans of soup will feed a family for several days. An inexpensive doll, coloring books and crayons, a train set, all of these may be the only toys a child receives, you can make their Christmas morning wonderful.

  It is time that we all step up. Be part of the Miracle of the season!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What are You Thankful For?

  Thanksgiving is a time of gathering family and friends together. For joining with others in activities that help those who are less fortunate.  The first Thanksgiving was celebrated with the pilgrims. They would have starved to death that first winter if the Indians had not shared the foods that they had harvested and stored. What a great time to look at the original dinner.

  I find myself looking back through the years and being so very grateful for all of the people who have come through my life. The lessons that they have shared with me. For my children who have been a blessing! For a Husband who has stayed through all of the tough times and continues to find humor at odd moments in our crazy life.  What are you thankful for?

  I am thankful for living in a country that encourages children to learn and gives us the ability to guide them in the process. Our choices can range from public school to free school. We can have them sitting at the kitchen table for hours writing in workbooks or give them access to the computer and ask them to solve a problem. It is our responsibility as adults to make sure those same choices remain for the future generations.

  Take time to look around you this year and be truly delighted with what life has brought us!

  May your Thanksgiving be full of joy and love!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bill of Rights 7th, 8th,9th &10th Amendments

The Seventh amendment deals with the idea that if you are in a lawsuit in a common law case then you are entitled to a jury if the amount concerns more than $20.

The Eighth amendment states that excessive bail will not be required or unreasonable fines, nor cruel or unusual punishments be allowed.

The Ninth amendment "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The Tenth amendment states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

  It is extremely important that we remind ourselves and teach our children what those rights stand for. These are the laws that our forefathers thought were the most important. Many people gave up their lives to give us these freedoms.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bill of Rights Amendments # 5 & 6

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

  These two amendments are very important in the view that they protect us from hidden prosecution by the law enforcement agencies. They protect us from being made to testify against ourselves. The section stating "due process of law" is under attack by various individuals. Are our emails, phone calls, or blogging activity private property? Does the government have the right to take them and use them as justification to spy on us? Does reading a blog article classify you as a danger to society?

  These are thoughts that we need to consider and discuss with others.  Will our desire to teach our children how to think and discover on their own be classified as dangerous activity? Will we be labeled and prosecuted without any due justice? I believe that the pilgrims fled England because they were being prosecuted for their beliefs. How long until we are suffering from the same?

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Bill of Rights" Part 3 & 4

  The third amendment to the Bill of rights states:

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law

  This is a pretty clear statement that our homes cannot be used as places to quarter or house military personnel unless we as the owners of the home allow it.  Even in times of war our rights to privacy are protected. 

 The fourth amendment states:

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

  This is a statement of rights to private correspondence and to the sanctity of our homes.  There are established ways that a member of law enforcement may search or seize certain information, however this has to be established to a judge by proving that there is a specific reason to the invasion of our privacy. 

  Do you feel that our government is honoring these two amendments? Are some of the actions taking place in our country contrary to these amendments? Let's open the discussion and help our children and friends understand what these laws mean.

Monday, October 14, 2013

"The Bill of Rights" Part 2

The second Amendment to the Bill of Rights States:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  A few years back our forefathers set this amendment in place so we as citizens of The United States of America could defend ourselves and our country from unlawful processes. The definition of militia is "A body of "citizens" as opposed to professional soldiers".  I think that is a fairly clear statement.

  When this amendment was set in place we had just fought the war of Independence from a government who thought they knew better than the people of the country. We were being saddled with tremendous and unfair taxes. We were being regulated unjustly and our freedoms were being taken away from us. Our forefathers objected!

  So, what does this amendment mean for us in today's society? In reading the law I understand it to mean that the government does not have any rights to take away or limit the arms of lawful citizens. I am not talking about drug dealers or people who are mentally incapable of making sound decisions. We have the right to be able to defend ourselves and family from anyone or anything that tries to take away our liberty. We should not stand powerless in front of criminals who would take our lives or the lives of others. We should be able to stand against others who would take our liberties that were fought so hard for!

  It is vitally important that the intent of this amendment not be damaged! What do you or your children think?

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Bill of Rights Part 1

The Bill of Rights
   Learning about the different ways our fore fathers sought to protect us from government control is an important part of being a responsible citizen. In the 1700's the people of the now United States of America rebelled from over taxation and control from England. We fought the war of independence and set up a government that was fair to the people of our nation. It is important that our children understand the rights given to them under the constitution and the why each right was established.
The Bill of Rights: A Transcription
The Preamble to The Bill of Rights
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
  The very first amendment to the Constitution dealt with the rights of religion, free speech, no interference with the press, our right to peacefully assemble and a way to tell the government that we were not happy with what they were doing.
  So what does that actually tell us? You have the right to worship in whatever manner you want to and the government can not tell you otherwise. You have the right to voice your opinions and talk to others about those opinions with no interference. You can congregate with others so long as you are peaceful. You have the right to tell the government that they are infringing on your rights!
  Do you feel that the current government is respecting the first Amendment? Why or why not!


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Why Homeschool or Public School

  I have been a home school advocate for 20 plus years. My reasons behind choosing homeschooling resided with the public schools bad choice of subjects and teachers. My children were bored and not being taught. They were being subjected to teachings that were counter to my belief system. Our oldest son was told to memorize a poem that contained the ideas that policemen were to be pelted with bricks. Our youngest son was told he could not read when I knew he read at above his grade school level.  Our daughter was told that she should not associate with a handicapped boy because it would make her unpopular.  In today's public schools kindergarten children are going to be taught sex education. Is this what you want your children to learn at that young age?

  Public school does have some advantages. Free babysitting is the prime one. You are already paying for it, so why not use it?

  • Bullying
  • predatory teachers and students
  • subjects that are not in line with your belief systems
  • indoctrination in beliefs that promote thinking that is not in line with your values
  • possible harm from abuse by teachers or other students
  Are those enough reasons for you to question the choice of using public schools? There are viable alternatives even for those parents who both work outside of the home. Charter schools or on line schools are easy to connect with. Home school co-opts are available in many areas. Working directly with just one other homeschool family can ease the journey towards a successful homeschool experience.

  If you are worried about socialization of your children then get them involved in various activities where they actually learn something such as 4-H, sports, or martial arts. These activities can grow into adult hood with them while they are learning with others who are working towards a common goal.

  If you must send your children to public school then take stock of what they are actually learning. Read their text books. Talk to them about their day. Visit the classroom on an unannounced schedule and listen to what the teacher is doing. Watch the other children and see how they behave.

  We brought them into this world and it is up to us to see that they have the learning they deserve with out being subjected to unsavory elements.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Coming School Year

  To most of the world September signals the start of the new school year. Time to put away the hours of summer exploration and fun. Around my house nothing much changes.
  I truly believe in the ideal of unschooling! The ability to follow the thought or idea to its obvious conclusion in the child's mind.  To me there is a large difference in the terms of Education and Learning. Education is the systematic approach of pounding set ideas into people until they can parrot back the idea. These may not be ideas that are in line with the parent's belief system. The educator does not care. Learning is the development of skills necessary to enjoy the gathering of information that interest the person. Learning is a life long event that is a place of joy for the mind.
  So, let me explain. A few days ago my three year old granddaughter was watching something that I was writing on a  tablet. She pointed to the word "paws" I told her what it said. She cocked her head to the side then pointed to the cat and said "cat's paws" I said yes. She just stood there for a few moments and then smiled and said "word pictures!" while pointing at the word paws. We spent the next hour doing Nose, eye, mouth, teeth, ear, and cheek while she happily pointed at each one and then at the word. She laughed and giggled while learning. She was delighted at her discovery that words are a picture representing things. We will continue this game whenever we have the opportunity!
  Yes, she is learning the alphabet and numbers. We play games to instill each idea into her. She manipulates items to build things, walks on beams to encourage better balance, and plays all day long. She is a sponge for learning and that is exactly what all children are. In the past I did similar things with my own children. As adults the have entered professions that are a joy to them and continue learning every day. By guiding them to the ideal that learning is fun they will continue to do so for the rest of their lives. So, give unschooling a chance and help your children to learn with joy!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Learning About the Environment

I have come to the conclusion that our children need to be soundly educated on the environment. I am all in favor of saving the owls, air, and land in the best ways! But what is the best way to do that?

Many years ago I was an environmentalist. I wanted to save it all and thought that the powers to be knew best how to do that. Sadly I have had to reform my thinking through the school of hard knocks. We need to take a realistic look at how our actions are actually damaging the ability for our country to have clean air, sustainable wildlife, and jobs.

Currently 45,000 acres of my state are burning up from lightning caused fires. Many of those fires are not being contained because of the inability of the firefighters to reach the burning locations.  My heart is saddened at the amount of wildlife being killed. Deer, bear, eagles, owls, chipmunks, and all of the other inhabitants of these beautiful forest are either burnt to death or scared into life threatening decisions such as dashing across busy road ways. Rivers and streams are being clogged with ash and burning debris killing off the fish. The air quality in large chunks of my state is in the hazardous category and people are being advised to stay indoors or suffer lung damage.

I volunteer with a local wildlife rehabilitation center and am sadden at the refugees that are being sent our way.  These burned and scarred victims may possibly never be returned to the wild as we fight to save them. If they can not survive on their own then they will stay with us for the rest of their lives.

In the recent past when the fires were finally put out and the land left in a charred state the forest service would offer some of the destroyed timber to be logged. These trees, if not harvested, become infected with beetles and other parasites helping to spread disease to the healthy trees in the area.  Environmentalist groups have filed court cases to stop these sales. So the timber is left to rot and further the devastation of the fire. Yes, some burnt trees need to be left. It is not an all or nothing deal.

When logging companies harvest the trees they open roads for further recreational and firefighting access. In our state the companies are required to replant the areas that they log! By replanting they help to stop soil erosion and replenish the environment with health trees. They rehabilitee streams and rivers so that the fish can survive. Habitat is restored in a balance that allows wildlife to resume living in the areas.  Jobs are created for the people. 

Our children need to learn about how to balance the environment if we are all going to live healthy lives!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Learning

  Homeschooling doesn't stop at the end of the traditional school year! Our children go on learning every day of the year. Giving them interesting subjects to spark their imaginations will increase your success in this worth while endeavor!
  This is a great way to help your First grade students stay engaged and help you to keep up on how fast they are learning. Brain Quest Workbooks cover most subjects with fun activities that will entertain them for hours and give you some quiet time. You can buy them on Amazon and are dollars well worth spending!
  How about challenging your child with some Earth Science. Learning how to take care of a garden pond will keep them occupied for hours. They will learn how to manage plant life and fish for the best quality of water in the pond. This Kindle book will help to build a pond, manage the plants, and know what fish are best. It discuss the pros and cons of different varieties of both and even touches on fish diseases. How to Build a Garden Pond is a wonderful resource.
  Summer is a time of interactive learning. Building on subjects that the child is interested in will make the winter months easier to plan as they continue their journey of studying. Learning should be fun! If a person can read, do and interact with a subject the knowledge will stay with them longer and be used more often! Have some fun this summer!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Understanding the Bill of Rights

  In our studies of history quite often we look at ancient times such as the Crusades or the Egyptian Pharaohs.  Have you looked at what our fore fathers were trying to establish for all of us to enjoy? England put unreasonable taxes and restrictions on the colonists. The people began to feel that they were just slaves to the English empire and not appreciated for who they were. Because the government was acting in an unreasonable manner the people revolted and established the basis for our country today. Do your children know what the 4th of July is really celebrating? Do they have a strong basis to make decisions about where the country should be going?

  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. " quote

  Take some time this week to become reacquainted with the reason the United States of America was established. Help our children look at the holiday with new eyes!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Looking at how others have improved their teaching ability

  There are many different ways to homeschool. You can use the packaged avenue and buy many different kinds of courses to fit your children's needs. This can run into hundreds of dollars making it prohibitive to many. There are homeschool groups who exchange text books and ideas and this will lessen the overall cost. You can tap into online courses, many of which are free, and some of them are run by the state's educational communities. This is a great resource if you are struggling with how to start.  However, this avenue puts your children directly in line with how the government wants your children to be educated. Some of the courses may not be appropriate for your way of thinking.
  I stumbled upon this interesting course which is free from MIT; it involves teachers striving to increase their ability to help children learn.  In my mind this is the goal that all of us who are homeschooling are attempting to do. We used the open method of teaching or as some like to call it unschooling. This worked well for us. Our three children studied what interested them. We gave them opportunities to explore lots of different avenues. We kept them in touch with others who were also interested in their subjects of choice. We ended up with three very well educated children who are very successful in their chosen fields. Our youngest will graduate in a few days as a doctor.
  The remember to structure your classes to fit your children. Some of them may want to read everything. Others will need a more hands on approach to learning. And there are some children who need an audio or visual way to absorb the learning. Combinations of all of those will help them to progress at a rate that is satisfying to you and them.
  Homeschooling is not right for everyone. Some people will find that their children need the highly involved social structure of a classroom. In that case there are several different alternatives such as charter schools or private schools. Find what works best for you and them. They are our future and it is important that they learn how to learn! Good luck and have fun!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

What our Children Learn From The Most!

  While it is obviously important that our children learn to read, write, do math, and how to find information it surprises me that more parents are not aware of what their children learn the most from. It is not text books. It is not television or the internet. The most important learning tool they have and will use for the rest of their life is you!
  Do you make an effort to learn new things? When we continue our education even if it is only a few minutes a day and have new things to discuss with them then they see the value of learning. When you help those who are less fortunate then they see the value of giving. When we show respect for others, even when we do not agree with all of their views or life styles, we teach them tolerance.  It is our attitude's, actions, and behaviors that will guide them through life.
  When dealing with out of control teenagers who are filled with hate I have found that the parents were the example they were following. The parents quite often, were drinking daily, using drugs and  talking about how bad other people were. Those parents very seldom took the time to look at how their own behaviors were being viewed by their children.  Inanimate objects do not suddenly cause harm to others. Rocks do not jump through windows on there own. Well, unless there is a hurricane or earthquake involved. Those objects must be powered by a human agent.
  Let's look at our own actions, attitudes, and behaviors and work on making them the best we can so that our children will learn the best that we have to offer!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pets are Beneficial for Your Children!

  Every child needs the responsibility of loving and being loved by a pet. Having the daily job of feeding, grooming, and playing with a dog or cat teaches them to care for others. This is not a one way street. Pets love their owners and will return the care and love many times.

  "Caring and being responsible for someone else is a big mind leap for a child. Sure they love Mom and Dad. They love their siblings. But those beings are taking care of them. The daily routine of feeding, watering, and loving their pet teaches them  about reaching out to others. Having a companion who is always there to love them back helps a child to calm themselves when life gets unfair in their estimation." Yes, I have said this before but it bears repeating!

  When a child experiences the unconditional love that a pet offers it helps them to stabilize in a world that sometimes seems to be crazy. With all of the recent tragedies on the news they are going to feel insecure at times. When comfort dogs were introduced to some of the victims of those tragedies the victims immediately became calmer.

  We have always had multiple pets in the home. My youngest son had a tom cat which would stand guard over him when he was sleeping. No waking that child up! My daughter had cats, dogs and even mice for awhile. Today she has 4 horses, 4 cats, 2 dogs, and 2 ferrets. Our home also has 2 cats and one very large dog. I can not imagine a home with out a  loving pet. They offer comfort when you are upset and offer to play when you are bored. They understand our moods and do whatever they can to help.
  For a child who is homeschooling they may be the friend they need. Someone they can talk to who will not judge them. Someone who will just be there when they want someone to understand.

Friday, April 5, 2013

What hole do your children fit into?

  Square, round, triangle, hexagon or octagon, what hole do your children fit into? Children trapped in the public school system are forced to fit into whatever size and shape hole the teacher is directing them to. I have never fit into any of societies categories. I know that my children only occasionally fit into them and do not have any desire to follow the norm. Now that my children have all reached adult hood they are self sustaining valuable members of society. They earn their own livings. They pay their own bills. They volunteer to help others. All of the things that are the expected activities of being adults. However, they all walk their own paths of beliefs. They all refuse to be dictated to by anyone who thinks that they are in a position to make personal judgements for them.
  When we home school our children we give them the ability to fit into any hole they want to. They are not forced to view history in the way the public school systems want them to but can explore the events and come to their own opinions. They can branch out into sciences that interest them. They are able to explore all of the subjects that excited their interests. The most important thing is that they learn to learn!
  The independent attitude that they create for themselves is what made our country great. Children that are educated in a home school consistently out rank their public school counterparts on all levels of the SAT! They are free of the problems so visible in the public school systems. Such as: bullying, predator teachers, and gang violence.
  We, as parents and grandparents, need to be vigilant to the erosion to the right to educate our children in the way that we want to! We need to not only be active participants in their learning but also in the legislation being enacted that might infringe on those rights!

Friday, March 29, 2013

How do you Inspire Your children to Learn?

Let’s face it. Sometimes what we should learn is really boring! See Jane run is not much fun! Learning to read was a challenge for my daughter until I found a fantasy book that she connected to. She has not stopped reading since, her house is littered with her current novel and the kindle is her favorite tool! My youngest son liked snakes and dinosaurs. He went on to devour such classics as Shakespeare and Alexander Dumas. Currently he is still in college learning to be a Chinese Medical Doctor. Finding what they were interested in inspired them to read and expand their horizons.
How many of your homeschool children really want to dissect a frog? My children wanted to know what he had done wrong. Instead we used the resources available to us. We regularly butchered our own livestock and the children were included in the process. My daughter would stand at the kitchen sink for hours and study how the heart pumped blood. She was also fascinated with the muscle structure and how the tendons helped move the feet. She is now a veterinarian.
By finding things they were interested in they forgot that they were learning. It was fun. Which is what learning should be. Math can be taught through cooking or in a  building project.   Science is also a part of cooking. Just add some vinegar to baking soda and see what happens! Have you experienced an earthquake or tornado in  our area?  Were your children afraid? Finding information on what causes those earth events and sharing it with your children will help them to understand and through understanding fear is lessened. Plus it will spark their interest in further investigation. Science in real life!
Open up your own imagination.  You have many skills that can be taught to your children. If you work away from home let them in on how you spend your days.  If you work as a sales person then you can show them how important it is to learn to communicate with different types of people and how about giving change back after a sale.  Stay at home Mom, how do you balance the budget? What does the electric bill run? Help them to understand why it is important to turn off the lights when not in the room.  How do you plan a week's meal schedule?   Is there a reason you cook a great big roast on Sunday and then serve hash on Monday?.  All of these are skills that will help you children be better prepared for adulthood!  Inspire them to want to learn. Have fun!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Learning new Languages

  We live in a multi-cultural world. Daily our children, as they journey into adulthood, will come into contact with people from different countries and cultures. Having a basic understanding of how those people speak and their customs will help them to reach a better level of understanding.

  Earlier this week I was in a supermarket purchasing needed supplies. A woman and her children were trying to find some items and having difficulty because of the language barrier. They were visiting in our country and almost overwhelmed with the amount of grocery options available to them. After much gesturing and laughter I guided them to the milk section and they grabbed a gallon of milk. Before leaving me the mother quickly hugged me and said something to me that I hope was Thank-you. How much easier this would have been if I could have spoken even the beginning phrases of their language!

  It is not unusual for me to come into contact with people who speak limited english. Their native tongue is most often Spanish. Misunderstandings occur because of the lack of ability to communicate effectively! I do not want our children to experience the same difficulty. Most cultures speak either english or one of the latin based languages. With a grounding in one of the romance launguages the other ones of the european countries are easier to learn and reading becomes possible. Spanish is a fun one to learn and can be done on the computer. Italian is another possibility.

  There is a growing need for learning sign language. Think of how much fun you can have communicating with family members and not letting anyone else know what you are saying! By learning sign language your students can talk to scientist from many cultures. Expand your homeschool children's ability to communicate with others! Have some fun.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Homeschool Plans for Next Year

  What are your plans for next year? There are so many choices that sometimes it is difficult to make a choice. We used a very unschooled method with our three children. Our house has always been littered with hundreds of books. Everything from dictionaries that were heavy enough the little ones couldn't pick them up to encyclopedias and how-to-books. Lots of fiction and history books and ones that centered on fish, herbs, and livestock. It wasn't unusual to find a child curled up in a chair with a book on how to build a rock wall.
  We were also blessed with the ability to have lots of animals. The children helped birth lambs and baby goats. Puppies and kittens were a regular event. We raised calves and pigs and the kids helped at butcher time. My daughter would stand on a stool at the kitchen sink for hours exploring how the calves heart worked. This gave them their science classes in reality!
  When one of the children exhibited an interest in a subject we made sure that the information was available. We helped them learn responsibilty and math at the same time when they raised 4-H animals and had to keep and justify expenses. For History we explored our own area. They crawled in caves where Native Americans once lived, viewed petroglyphs, and talked to the elderly about their life experiences.
   A teacher friend of mine was horrified at the way our children were being educated. Now she laughs at herself and is encouraging her son to use the same method for his daughter. Everyone has a different idea of what is correct for a child. Talk to your child, what works for them? Do not be afraid to expand yours and their horizons! Have fun! Learning should be a joy that is practiced throughout a life time.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Public School, On Line School, Or Home School?

  It is important to establish how your children are going to be educated. Picking the right avenue for you and them will insure their futures! There are many things to consider about all of the choices available to you and them.

Public School
  A majority of children are going to public school. For some parents this is an obvious choice mainly because of convenience. In most areas you are paying for the school system through your taxes. The education they receive there is in line with the state mandates. You are fairly sure of the childs' location for several hours of the day freeing up your time to work.
  The down side of this arrangement is what are your children being exposed to? Predatory teachers, gun violence, and bullies inhabit this system. Are your children being educated in subjects that you want them to know because of your belief system? National statistics show that public school system students are falling on their SAT scores. This indicates that they are not learning enough to have a sustainable future for themselves. The United States of America is steadily falling behind other nations in academic standing.

On Line School
  On line schools offer a viable alternative to the attend public school educational system. Many of them are free and will provide a graduation diploma at the completion of all of the levels. If your child is able to operate a computer and follow instructions then this is worth your time to look into. By using this method you monitor and protect the child from influences that are detrimental to their well being.
  The down side of this program is that the student is still being instructed in whatever the system requires. This could come into conflict with your religious views. Careful monitoring of the student's material should be a part of your daily attention. Does your child respond well to what is being presented to them?

Home School
  Homeschooling puts you in total charge of what your child is learning. This can be a time consuming process. The rewards are that statistically home school students out rank their public school counterparts in all levels of the SAT tests! They are better prepared to enter the job force or go on to college. Home school students show better aptitude on self guided learning. They are more independent. They have more opportunities to participate in volunteer activities and on the job experience.
  The down side of home school is that it takes more of your time, however this can be viewed as a good thing. Working daily with your child ill build a stronger relationship that will last a lifetime! Guiding them through various subjects will improve your own skills right along with theirs.

  These are not the only things to be considered when looking at your children's future. Where do yours and their priorities lay? If you are not happy with what is happening in their education then it is time to study the options!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Expanding Your Child's Future Earnings

  We all hope that our children are able to earn enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle as adults. Part of our job as parents is making sure that they get the education they need in order to do just that! Many of us have taken on the responsibility to teach them and guide them through this process. Even if your children are still attending public school there are many things you can do to improve their future!

  Our lives are filled with computer programs. They are present in our cars, phones, tractors, TV, and obviously our computers. Your childs' future may very well depend on knowing how to deal with those programs.

  A group of very intelligent people have come together to help everyone learn how to write programs. Their desire is to establish the ground work for success in people who are willing to learn. If you go to you will find basic lessons in how to write programs. The process is painless. The site is full of simple beginning steps to get you started.

  I suggest starting this learning experience if you are six or sixty! The more we know the better able we are to cope with todays world. We encounter these programs on every level of our lives. Knowing how to look at them and find problems embedded in them is important. Whenever you need to create something you will have the knowledge to make it happen. Both of those will save you money by not having to hire an expert to do it for you.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Is Volunteering Important for Your Homeschoolers?

 Helping your children to find appropriate volunteer opportunities is very important on several different levels. Giving back to those who are less fortunate helps all of us grow! When picking out different avenues for volunteering look at what the person wants to do with their lives. Do they want to work in social services? How about working at a homeless shelter, delivering food to seniors, or helping at a Domestic Violence center. This will help them to see what others are doing in those fields.

 My daughter wanted to work with animals. She volunteered with a Wildlife Rehabilitation Non-profit and in a Veterinarians office through out her teenage years. She started college at 16 and went on for 8 years to become a Veterinarian. She now works with that same office and sets on the board of the local Wildlife Rehabilitation Non-profit. By seeing what the work was like she never hesitated in what she wanted to do for her life long career. Plus having several years of volunteering before applying for college helped her be accepted by two colleges on her first try.

 Is your child interested in the environment? Check out the local Forest Service office. Quite often they have summer jobs and volunteer opportunities. Medical Field? How about the local hospital or Nursing home? Gardening? The State Extension office helps to develope Master Gardeners and many of them are growing plots to help out the food banks.

  There is not a shortage of opportunities. Let your imagination and their imaginations take them places that they never envisioned and the results will be fantastic!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Homeschooling on Those Hard Days

 We all have had days when home schooling is really hard! The children are disconnected and just a little unruly. So change things up and make it a fun day that is still constructive.

 Are they being wiggly? Set up hopscotch on the kitchen floor if it is yucky outside. Use a wadded up paper towel for the tosser. This will help them burn up some energy and laugh! While doing this pop some popcorn and get ready for the next step in an unusual day.

 Once they are worn out a little put the popcorn in a large unbreakable bowl and head for the frontroom. Sit down leaning up against the furniture in a big circle. You get to start this. Holding the bowl in your hands start telling a story. Make it simple. After a few sentences take some popcorn and pass the bowl to whoever is next to you. They do not get any popcorn until they have added to the story. This works really well with younger children. Letting them create from their imaginaton helps them to think outside that box that tends to constrict us. We spent many hours laughing and sharing doing this.

 For an older child doing that process on the computer is fun and can be saved for later usuage. My oldest son and I spent hours creating fun stories that took unusaul turns. Let your imagination out to play!

 Need some help getting started? Try these:
  • It was snowing outside and all of the lights went out.
  • I was taking a walk when I saw a .....
  • The walrus was just sitting on the curb looking totally lost!
  • When we went to the beach we found a ...
  • Grandpa was taking a nap in the big chair and I ...
  • Dad said we were going on a trip and I was hoping to go to...
 This can encourage laughter and togetherness. Have fun with it ! Happy story telling!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Is Home schooling a Benefit to Society?

 Society benefits in many different ways because of the move to more homeschooling. When we look at just the educational cost relief to the public school system it is tremendous! If every home school child reentered the public school system today we would grind the system to a stop because of overcrowding.
 Your children help to raise the level of learning in every way. They score higher on the SAT scores showing that the level of education is superior to what is offered in the public school system. You are taking the time to make sure your children are supplied with great content not useless quantity. You are empowering them to be independent learners which will benefit them and society throughout their lifetime. They are able to research different fields of endeavor and decide for themselves where their lives will take them.
 You are guiding your children to establish strong moral and ethical standards. They are not subjected to bullying and predatory teachers within a system that is unsafe. Your children are being socialized in a safe and productive manner. They are not being exposed to unhealthy ethical  and moral problems before they are old enough to withstand corrupt thinking.
 As your children progress in a subject you are able to guide them to higher levels, while in the public school system they would be held to the standards of the class or teacher. Your children can explore different areas of instruction that interests them. This allows them to view different areas of learning and find what they excel in.
 What other benefits to society as a whole by your taking responsibility for your children’s education do you see? Let’s talk about how you view it. Share your ideas help to expand the beneficial results!

Another Reason to Homeschool

 There are many reasons for homeschooling your children.
  • Religious conflict with the type of classes being taught.
  • Predator teachers
  • Gun violence in the school
  • Quality of the education being offered
  • Bullying by other students
 The list could extend on for a great length. Oregon, as a state, has been extremely easy on home school families. A letter to the governing school and yearly SAT testing covers the requirements. The child must not fall below the 50 percentile in more than one subject. There are even online schools that are free to take and the parent can monitor the child's progress and study material.

 However, recently there has been introduced into the legislature a bill that I find disturbing. Oregon has an law governing vaccination of children and that that must be done to attend public school. There is a way to avoid it by stating a religious objection to the process. Now the state government is considering that the parents of children who do not want their children vaccinated must be educated on the benefits of the process. I am sure that the parents are educated! I am deeply concerned that this might grow into forcing the children to be vaccinated at school. If I had children who were involved in this debate I would pull them from the school immediately!

 If you value your rights to home school then keep a close watch on what the government is doing. Public school was created to indoctrinate children and train them in the way the government wanted. This could be taken to even greater lengths in the future!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

 Traditionally we all celebrate Valentines Day with the giving of chocolates, cookies, flowers, cards, and other presents to those we love. Advertisements bombard us with the idea that if we love someone then we will buy them an expensive gift so that they will always love us. Wow, what a bunch of not so good stuff!!!

 How do we really show people that we love them and how do they show us? We do things for them. We cook meals, fold laundry, even take out the trash when it isn't our turn. We sit by their bedsides when they are sick because they do not want to be alone. We watch movies that are not funny to us, but that they enjoy, for the twentieth time. Even when we are so tired that we can barely keep our eyes open we will sit up for hours with them because they just need to talk. That is love! They show us love by drawing us funny pictures, or asking us to read them a story. Giving us hugs when we least expect them or saying thank you when they normally do not.

 Are there people that you know of that do not have anyone to tell them that they are loved? How about all of the elderly who are sitting in Nursing Homes with out visitors? Would they appreciate handmade cards with a cookie tucked inside? Homeless Shelters, Domestic Violence Shelters, Veterians Centers are filled with people who feel lost and abandoned. They are all human beings who with just a little help may be able to put their lives back together again.

 How are you going to celebrate Valentines Day?


Monday, February 4, 2013

Learning About Government

 How much do your children understand about who, what and how their government works? While governments internal workings can be confusing it is still important to understand the basics.

 What are the local government offices and how are they filled? Do you have a City Commissioner or a County Commisioner? Is your sherrif elected or appointed? Do you have an elected District Attorney and Judges? In the county that I live in those are all elected positons. These officials are concious of who put them into office and make sure that they are available to solve problems and answer questions. We have set in on many Commisioner meetings and voiced our concerns or agreement with the issues they were discussing.  We can call our commissioners and while we alomst never get talk to them immediately we do leave voice mails for them and the get back to us in a reasonable amount of time with the answers. We sat with our local District Attorney and he explained his duties and responsibilities. You can attend court cases and observe how they are handled. Our Sherrif vowed to always have a listed phone number incase any of us wanted to talk to him.

 This is important on many different levels. Having one on one contact with these officials helps our children to learn that they are just people. They may be irritating or great. But in the end they are just people like every one else; not some geat power that can be scary to approach. By talking to them in a direct face to face discussion you can get a feel of whether they are honest or someone you want out of office.

 The same approach may be applied to the state and federal government levels. These officials are availabe to be contacted. They should answer your questions, although the answers may not be what you wanted to hear.

 Government officials are our employees. We hire them and we pay their salaries. As our employees it is important that we keep track of who they are, what they are doing and how they are doing it. Help your child be ready for this very adult responsibility!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Science For Your Budding Doctor

  As we homeschool our children they will make big decisions about what they want to do in their adult lives. My daughter always wanted to be a veterinarian. So she found a veterinarian she could volunteer for and spent several years working with them. The hired her and helped support her throughout her college education as she studied. Today she is a practicing veterinarian in the same practice and loves her job. She made those decisons at a very young age. We helped provide her with opportunities to learn and she has excelled.

  If your child wants to work in the human medical field getting experience is a little harder. They can become candy stripers at the local hospital and this will introduce them to what being around sick people is like. Or work in a nursing home as a volunteer. But a good foundation in human science will help them in  their future studies. I found this course on Human Anatomy and Physiology. It is very short and will give them a good basis to start from.

  Yes, your child may very well change directions many times in their younger years and explore many different options. This is a healthy approach. I have changed types of work several times in my adult life and have found each new experience rewarding and fun. Help them to explore and learn. Guide them to experience many different fields as their desires become known and the will grow up to be awesome!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Learn a New Language

 We live in a multi-cultural world. In the past you could get by with just knowing the language that your parents knew. However, that has changed and it is important that we prepare our children for the world that they will enter as adults.
  There are a multitude of reasons to broaden your children's language base. Some colleges require a foreign language. Travel to foreign lands are enriching if they can understand what the people are saying. Future employment can hinge on knowing more languages. People who know more than one language earn more money. Stretching their brains to learn something new is enriching and fun!
  If you have access to someone who speaks a different language this is a great way to start the learning process! Who do you have contact with who would be proud to share their knowledge? My children were fortunate enough to know a woman who taught them the basis of sign language. She was a wonderful resource and they formed a life long friendship with her that continues to this day. My daughter is even teaching her little girl the rudiments of the language and  started communicating with her long before she started talking! If you do not know someone who signs then this is an excellent resource. Sign Language is used world wide!
  The most commonly used foreign language in the western part of the United States of America is Spanish. I have worked in many different environments where knowing it would havve been very benificial. It is also one of the most used languages world wide. Having a working knowledge of this language can have multiple benefits for your child as a future worker. An easy place to learn it and begin using it is located here. Spanish is easily learned on the internet.
  Be creative! Write the words on paper and then post them around the  house on the corresponding places. Getting your child to recognize the words on a subcouncious level will improve their learning speed. We have the ability as homeschooling advicates to increase their knowledge in ways that are not available through the public school. Have fun and enjoy the journey!