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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'd say she was a home schooled cow

First I want to say thank you to Be A Survivor. He was some very loyal readers. Yesterday he made a short post which included my blog, and it seems like all his readers paid me a visit. Welcome Readers!

Now is a good time as any, since it is slow here and all that. I need my readers help. Some of you just got your wish.

I will be homeschooling next year.

I can hear the gasp, the applause, and you, stop shaking your head. I am still uneasy about it. But I did have to take my kids into consideration. It is a 2 hour bus ride one way to school every day. A 45 minute ride by car. That is a huge chunk of time to be riding around, and being off property. The boys would have to be up by 4 am, down the 1/2 mile driveway and waiting for the bus by 5 am. There is another family down the road, maybe a little less than 2 miles if you add in the drive way, that home schooled. (Mom asked me how I know that, It was a Monday afternoon and there where 5 kids of all different ages running around the yard) Plus most of our neighbors home school as well, the Mennonites out there do. I think it is only the ranchers that send their kids off, if I remember correctly.

So here is your chance to fill me full of info about homeschooling. Just please, no super derogatory remarks about the public school system or people that place their kids in public schools. Every one has a different experiences with them. I really like the school system here, and the boys school out there is one of the best in the country. Thank you.

We are now officially on Calf watch '09. Murrial's due date is the 17th. Even my husband's boss (who hasn't seen Murrial) is excited. She says she feels like an aunt or something. It is always cause for great celebration around here when a wee one comes into the world. Hope you guys are prepared for all the baby photos that will be flying around here. And all the gratuitous udder shots as Murrial gets her first ever human milking!

Guess some background is quickly need for the new readers. Murrial is our newest milking cow. She is an American Milking short horn. At 4 years old, she was a breeder, and never handled by people. Click the tag cattle and dairy and you will get all the sorted stories about her and my Long Legged Kerries (aka Dexters)


Unknown said...

We've homeschooled for nearly 12 years now. You CAN do it! I don't blame you for wanting to make the most of your family's time..that's a LONG ride to school.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. :)

Tracy said...

We homeschool as well. That is a mighty long bus ride...poor boys!

Stephanie Appleton said...

That is a crazy amount of travel time!

My advice is have fun homeschooling. Don't try to recreate school at home. Stick to the basics. Your boys will learn many life skills by helping you around the farm!

HossBoss said...

I began homeschooling when my son was in 9th grade and my daughter was in 5th grade. It was a great experience for all of us. There will be a learning curve for you as you figure out what works with your boys and your lifestyle and your own teaching style. But the rewards are immeasurable. There are so many resources out there, you will be amazed. If you have that many neighbors that homeschool, I know you have resources in your area. I agree that the boys will learn invaluable skills just helping you with the farm. But I also think there needs to structure as far as curriculum and goals in order to prepare them for college and a job in corporate America ...if that's what they choose. My son went on to college and graduated. My daughter went on to college but got distracted by a really GOOD job so has not yet finished her degree. Not every kid wants to go to college but I believe in preparing them for any and all options. I think the independent study skills my kids learned from homeschooling made college that much easier for them.

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

oh no. look at all those home schooler my I guess I will add mine....Woo hoo!

SkippyMom said...

I homeschooled in their younger years and it is awesome.

You can do it - and a wise choice considering the bus gosh, that is ridiculous.

Just follow the "rules" and regs your county provides and you will be fine.

And I always found our own curriculum worked better then purchasing one from the 'net or mail order - please do research to see what would work best for you.

Oh! and get involved in the local homeschooling groups - a lot of times you can combine lessons or switch off teaching one subject with another homeschooling parent and the get-togethers are GREAT.

I am very excited for you! Email me if you have any questions I will happily help :D

Granny said...

We have homeschooled for nine years. First, great choice! Second, research on the net your state laws on homeschooling and read about deschooling. Third, have fun! Ask your kids what they want to learn. Don't feel you have to subscribe to only one way of homeschooling ~ find what works for each kid.

Enjoy the journey!!
~oh and feel free to email me if you have questions!

HermitJim said...

Sounds like a good choice to me!

Bitmap said...

We're homeschooling and love it.

Working with the neighbors to have learning projects, field days, and play days together is a good idea. Get together with the neighbors and pack all the kids off for a day to check out a museum, or zoo, or science center or whatever is available.

Some days a number of parents here get together and go down to a river to look for fossils. Sort of a combination of learning, exercise, and play that works out well.

Janelle said...

Homeschooling in Kansas is really great, there is not a whole lot that you will need to do to get registered and there is no paperwork after that.

Check out the HSDLA state law summary
This is a great group to join btw, just in case.

The biggest challange is deciding which type of cirriculum you want to use, it will vary quite a bit from the free to the super expensive. I don't recommend the virtual schools or the homeschool program through the public schools, but they are options. Then there are always the unschooling methods or homeschooling.

Did I mention that there are a TON of options? Good luck and I'm glad you will have this chance with the boys. AR has been asking to be homeschooled next year and I don't know if it is possible at this point. :(

Anonymous said...

That is an awfully long bus ride. I think you will do a great job! We enjoy ourselves very much.

Anonymous said...

I came to check out the preppers link but here are my comments on homeschooling. can do it but there are some days it...and the kids..will drive you crazy. Stick it out. The first year is the hardest because you are feeling out where each kid is and how best to teach them.
2. Back to the crazy part..remember that not everyone learns the same way or enjoys learning the same way. Case in point. My son did not enjoy "book work". The kind like they do in school. However he did enjoy reading about history which we spun off into our english. I used the interlibrary loan extensively to find history stories for him. Stories..not time line type things. He leaned toward Asian history --though I made him read about other periods (mostly for testing purposes and of course he needs to understand our country's history). My son now has studied mandarin a bit and plans on going to work or college over seas in China or Japan. Maybe he will or won't..I don't know but we have played out his interest since 3rd grade and it worked well. He does very well in public school without really trying.
3...Get your kids off property at least once a week. Preferably to interact with others ---of their age or not---so they have an opportunity to be away and maybe do things you can't do at home. It can get boring always being in the same place. Visiting with others was the reason my daughter wanted to finish her last two years of high school: Proms, soccer, cheerleading and all the extra stuff we didn't necessarily have an option to do when homeshcooling.
4. There are lots of good homeschooling sites to find different curriculum from or to use as a semi example to make up your own. Send away for the catalogs so you can see them. Some formats are actually quite nice. Some suck. You have to pick and choose which works best for you.
5. Find a homeschool group or family to clue you into when your area/group/organization/publisher has its yearly home school fair. You can hands on a lot of things before choosing to (or not to) purchase them. Every state has somebody who puts one together. Well worth the drive to visit them to check out the "stuff".
Good luck

Anonymous said...

I homeschooled my son for eight years--from first grade until he started college. Without the distractions or necessity of keeping the group together in public school, there's no reason it should take twelve years. But don't push it. Try to stay flexible in your scheduling and subject matter.

I made up my own curriculum, based on readin', writin', and 'rithmetic, and added any other subject *he* wanted to study, to keep it interesting and give him some control. That meant that sometimes "school" (and I didn't set up a mini-classroom--we often just sprawled on the living room floor) would last for an hour or two, and sometimes it would last at least seven hours (with breaks).

It's nice to be able to integrate parenting and teaching, and one of my goals as a parent was to turn out an independent kid who would take charge of his own life. That meant gradually loosening my grip as he got older. By the time he started college at age fifteen, he was basically teaching himself. I acted more as an advisor, or mentor, with a lot of discussion of what he was learning, a few suggestions here and there, and so on.

As required by the state, he was tested every year. I found an organization that made the tests available (general achievement tests, like California, Stanford, and Metropolitan), and I was able to administer them myself, then send them in for scoring. They were good ways for me to keep track of his grade level, and would have been useful to wave in the face of anyone nosy enough to question his homeschooling (no one did), and would have helped in proving grade level if he had wanted to transition to a regular school. No officials ever asked to see them, and in fact, no one has seen them except the grader and his proud family members.

The only other thing we did that was "graded" was math. I didn't allow him to use a calculator for his math until he knew arithmetic and was doing algebra. Early on, he got bored doing pages of basic adding, subtracting, etc., so I gave him an incentive. I set up a sheet of graph paper with several vertical columns--480 total spaces. When he did a page of sums perfectly, the family went to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream. After a couple of trips, I decided it probably wasn't a great idea to reward him with food, so after that he got the $7 we would have spent on ice cream, instead.

Around this time, someone gave him a Nintendo, and since we only gave expensive presents for birthdays or Christmas, I decided that filling the whole page (480 perfect papers) would net him an extra $35--the price of a new video game.

The financial incentive worked to get him through the repetitive donkey work he needed, but hated.

What was the result of his homeschooling? He did his first two years of college in a local community college, courtesy of the Running Start program (courtesy, as in free). His first year, he got the college's award in French. The second year, he got the awards in physics and engineering (and I was told the only reason he didn't get it in math was that he hadn't taken enough courses--he'd jumped into the math department in the middle of their calculus sequence, after studying the lower level courses on his own. Another success story was that of the woman who did get the math award; she started at the lowest pre-college level, took almost every course in the department, and graduated a math whiz!--but she wasn't homeschooled, so I digress). He graduated from the community college with a 3.97/4.0 GPA, then transferred to a university.

At the university, he graduated summa cum laude with a 3.98/4.0 GPA and a bachelor's degree in engineering. He added a master's degree in engineering to that, worked for a couple of years to pay off his small student loan (he'd gotten scholarships to pay for most of his studies) and save money to live on while he went back to school.

He then quit his job, went back to school on a fellowship, got a master's degree in math, and is now working on his doctorate in that subject.

He has been extremely successful. The self-direction, self-evaluation, and freedom to follow his own interests that he got from being homeschooled contributed greatly.

John Umland said...

My wife was an English major. She loves literature. She settled on the curricula of Sonlight, which focuses on reading and history through historical fiction. All my kids have become readers, but their parents already are. I thought, as a reading/writing person yourself, you might be interested.
God is good

Kansas Milkmaid said...

I home school. I am sure you have read some of my articles that are pro-home school.

I would recommend life style of learning or Wisdom's Way of Learning. With a farm, it rocks. Trying to do public school at home will drive you batty with farming or homesteading. Just remember that farming covers a multitude of subject matters. Cheese is microbiology. Gutting a pig is anatomy. Soap making is chemistry. Selling products is common sense and provide lots of math and socialization skills. Think integration rather than compartmentalization. Remember education is conversation. You can instruct as you work. You are teaching the process of how to learn. The subject matter is less important then teaching them to love learning and how to learn. Think of how much you have taught yourself as you homestead. You want to get the kiddos to hunger and thirst the way you do and get them to do a lot of self-teaching.

Anyway, email me if you need any help finding the Lifestyle of Learning materials. It can freak you out if you are new to schoolinng at home.


The Kansas Milkmaid

Irma said...

I have never homeschooled, so I can't really offer any comment that would be helpful, but I have always thought that homesvhooling must be so exciting for both the parent and the child, in the sense that you can customize your curriculum to really address the child's interests and world. BRAVO!

Matriarchy said...

You are getting lots of good advice about homeschooling. We basically read a lot, write a lot, and have a structured math program. Netflix is a cheap way to work in a lot of educational movies. I agree with the "get off the property" advice - as you are able. We also enjoyed joining groups that traded postcards, swapboxes, and other things that promoted geography learning. Let then choose personal projects and work things out for themselves. Set up a chore schedule. It's easy to lose track of a day, or a week, when you are not enslaved by a bus schedule. I don't think you are going to have any trouble homeschooling.

Now, here's how to survive having your kids around ALL the time: DON'T. Make SURE you get some time to yourself. Somehow. DO the sanity maintenance, or your sanity will leave you stranded at the worst time - kinda like your truck. Consider finding another homeschool family that you like, and each take ALL the kids once a week.

Sandy@American Way Farm said...

I homeschooled my kids 30 yrs ago before it was popular. I learned right along with them - stuff I never learned in school. Now I homeschool my teen grandson. Things sure have changed in that time. There's a lot more in terms of materials, curriculum and support. Have fun. You'll get so smart you'll scare yourself! -Sandy

April said...

You're getting some great advice. I would add;
-only teach 4 days of the week, use one day to catch up on chores, have fun or take a break.

-Have the older boys work with the little one, read to him, do math flash cards etc...they all end up learning this way and you can get lunch ready.

-Give them something that is their very own, like your boy that likes animation, make sure he has a lot of that available to work on or if they love a particular sport let them play etc...

-Watch for used homeschool curiculum sales, they should be at the end of the year you should be able to piece together the basics without spending a fortune.

-Expect to spend some money on books and supplies.

L.Howerter said...

I used to be against homeschooling. I didn't homeschool my son. My ex husbands parents homeschooled his family, and they all turned out lazy and stupid, not to mention fat and socially retarded.
now I realize that it wasn't the fact that they were homeschooled, it was the fact that their mother let them get away with murder. She would even do their school work for them on occasion because she didn't want to fight with them to get them to do it themselves.
Some people just were not cut out to be teachers.
I just married a man who has 4 kids, the three that are in school have been homeschooled since the beginning, and our youngest will be starting this year. These kids are not only highly intelligent, but they are very good in social situations, they are respectful to all adults, they do what they are told to do without question, peer pressure is a non-issue because they are strong minded and independent thinkers.
Now my oldest son, who went to public schools is pretty much the same way as these kids, except he has had to deal with a lot of things that I wish he didn't have to. He thought most of his teachers were stupid, he thought kids were stupid. Luckily he has stayed completely on the straight and narrow. I don't regret completely sending him to public schools, I personally would not be a good teacher.

Gwen said...

My grown daughters are products of the public school system and are wonderful, intelligent and successful women. So I have no hands-on experience with homeschooling. My sister's two older kids also attended public school, but she homeschooled her youngest. Her youngest daughter is a lovely and bright young woman. She is disabled and has some developmental problems (not physical). She thrived in homeschool and withered in organized school. I'm glad my sister had the ability and resources to homeschool her. Go fot it! I think you're making the perfect choice for you and your family and I wish you the best.

Cheryl said...

Yay! Welcome to the dark side!

Dark Spice said...

I can't give advice on how to homeschool. I have never homeschooled another person. My mother has homeschooled me on and off and now I'm graduating this year, after spending 3 1/2 of the four high school years homeschooling as well as most of Kindergarten, 1-2, (I skipped third because I went to school that year as 4th grader), 6, most of 7, and then the HS years, as I said.

I personally enjoy homeschooling, but it would have been a lot easier if my mother had made a firm decision on HS or not and kept it that way. As it was, I was constantly in and out of school b/c my mother couldn't decide which she really wanted.

So, try out homeschooling, don't stress, and think of it as another adventure, just like homesteading: the books don't give the whole story in either case. :P

Wendy said...

I'll second what a lot of other folks have said here already.

We've been homeschooling for a lot of years. Mostly, we gravitate toward an unschooling approach, which doesn't mean we don't learn, but it does mean we don't "school." The difference lies in how we view learning as a natural extension of just living our lives. Like another commenter said, living on a farm has a lot of opportunities for learning all across the curriculum, without having to sit and do rote exercises. That's kind of how we do things, although for whatever reason my girls really like workbooks. Go figure ;).

I also have to agree that if you can get together a couple of times a month for classes or activities with other homeschoolers, it will make a huge difference. It's good for the kids to meet others who are living a similar life, and for you, it's an opportunity to just share what's happening to you. It's definitely a transition. Also, you should check out your area for online/email homeschooling groups - or if there's nothing in your area, check out a national group that has interests similar to yours - something like "homesteading homeschoolers" might be a good fit :). The online groups can be an invaluable resource, too, for ideas, help, or even just moral support. Homeschooling can be incredibly isolating - even for someone, like me, who lives in the suburbs ;).

Good luck, and like I said, I've been homeschooling here in Maine for ... well, my daughter will be twelve in May, and she's never been to school ... so, that long ;). If you have any questions, feel free to contact me :).

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