March 25, 2017

Luke's Lists: A Framework for Any Child's Complete, Holistic Education

Because even we who eschew it have been (sadly) indoctrinated by the system of mass institutionalized schooling, home-educating parents regularly ask about resources for checking to see if a child is "on track" with learning. I actually use that opportunity to share a gentle reminder about how every child has an individual rate of learning/mastery - i.e., there is no age (or, heaven forbid, "grade level"!) by which anything "must" be mastered by every child - and about different kids having different overall interests and abilities. But I also know that having a trustworthy resource that provides a general overview can be helpful and reassuring.

Unfortunately, most of the resources I've seen are secular, promoting what is taught in government schools as "the standard." And now - even more unfortunately - even some of the few Christian resources I had sometimes recommended have a connection to common core in one way or another. So, because the philosophy inherent within institutionalized schooling - including but not limited to common core - ought never be our model or measure as home educators, I cannot in good conscience recommend them.

But I recently happened upon information about Joyce Herzog's LUKE'S LIST BOOKS, which offer a biblical perspective (i.e., based on Luke 2.52) for what children might know and be able to do in all areas of life - academically/intellectually, yes, but also in terms of their "moral, spiritual, cultural, emotional and...physical development" - from BIRTH through at least AGE 14. The books do not recommend any particular curricula or suggest that there's a certain age by which anything "must" be mastered "or else." As Mrs. Herzog says, they simply provide "a framework to assist [a parent] in setting the direction of [his or her] child's [holistic] education." They should "provide direction without confining."

The books are best used as a companion set. Luke's Life List focuses on a "cradle through adolescence checklist of skills" in terms of spiritual, physical, social, and emotional development, as well as important life skills and knowledge of civics and economics. Luke's School List details the academic/intellectual in terms of all areas of language arts (reading, penmanship, spelling, composition, elocution), math, history, science, geography, music, art, and literature. Each book is organized around a series of detailed, rubric-style checklists with space to add notes or comments so that they might serve as a complete summary of everything a child has learned and is able to do from birth on.

In fact, though Mrs. Herzog suggests that the books are for use from birth through about Age 14, I feel that - with the exception of most secondary-level math, which she does not address, and, perhaps, some higher-level science - they're appropriate for continued use with high schoolers. Indeed, any teen who could demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the majority of what Mrs. Herzog details would be far and away more highly and holistically educated than the vast majority of adults.

I sincerely wish I'd known about these books when my children were young. If I had, I'd have used them as the foundation of their education from the beginning. In fact, I now recommend them to parents of young children and those beginning to homeschool regardless of a child's age, and I'm using them with my own (high school-aged) children for the next few years.

Over the years, I've come to see the futility of using school-style methods, including even the "package programs" of (well-meaning but misguided) homeschool-oriented curriculum companies. More and more homeschooling parents are seeing the same reality and want desperately to stop bringing dysfunctional schoolish practices into their homes, yet hesitate to get rid of dry, boring textbooks and rigid, "grade level" scope and sequence charts for fear of failing to provide a "complete" education for their kids. The Luke's List books can help such families make the transition from school-style to true, holistic education by providing a type of "safety net" for reference. Likewise, "relaxed," "eclectic," and even "unschooling" home educators would benefit from the flexible guidance offered in the Luke's List books as they use a wide variety of resources to educate their kids. A parent with just these lists, access to reliable research tools and quality literature, as well as  - in due time if necessary for a particular child - secondary-level math books can easily provide for every child's complete education and happy, healthy, holistic development from birth on.

*****
NOTE: This endorsement is not written for affiliate purposes. I have no connection to Ability Based Learning and, though Joyce Herzog is a friend via social media, I am receiving no benefit or perk of any kind; I even purchased my own copy of the books. I share simply because I believe the books are an excellent parenting tool.

March 14, 2017

I Want to Homeschool. Now What?

A local friend recently asked for my advice in response to questions she'd been receiving about getting started with homeschooling. I also answer such questions on a regular basis in my role as "new member liaison" for my local homeschool group. And within the homeschool group Nikki and co-moderate, we regularly receive the same request, either from new members ready to take the leap or from others wanting to encourage their "newbie" friends. 

Of course, heading into the adventure of private home-based education ultimately requires a step of faith - we must be willing to take the chance without having all the answers ahead of time - because it's only as we actually begin the journey that we'll learn the twists and turns of the path. But this is what I start with when someone says to me, "I want to homeschool. Now what?" 


First, you should understand your state’s homeschool law. You are not ultimately beholden to state bureaucrats even if you happen to live in a state with a draconian homeschool law; at root, you are actually responsible only to your children (i.e., to see to their long-term well-being) and to God, who calls parents to this journey. But as things stand now, many states (sadly) regulate homeschooling in one way or another, so you need to understand the law where you live in order to avoid legal difficulties. And, since homeschool law is set at the state level, the best place to learn about it is via a good state-level organization, such as WPA in Wisconsin, or from experienced homeschoolers you know or might contact through a local organization. You can also check with NCLL, which seems to provide accurate information. But you should definitely never take the advice of public school officials or websites (i.e., the state DOE or DPI) because their expertise is in regards to public school, not homeschool. Thus, they will inevitably provide inaccurate, unhelpful information even if they mean well.

When you discover what is required to begin homeschooling in your state, follow the procedures to the letter...but provide 
nothing more to bureaucrats or agencies than that which is explicitly required by law. Choose the least invasive option - for example, in my state, I can legally tally children via a broad "grade level" range rather than by one specific "grade level" - and do not volunteer any information beyond what the law clearly mandates. The goal is to jump through the regulatory hoops while preserving your family's privacy and autonomy. Obey the law but, again, always remember that your ultimate responsibility is to the much higher authority of your children's well-being and God Himself. In other words, if you obey God and aim to discover and then meet your children's real, holistic needs, state-level mandates will take care of themselves.

As soon as you officially do what is needed to start homeschooling in your state, find a good local support group. With the possible exception of very rural areas, homeschool groups of various types seem to abound, whether faith-based or secular, whether for loosely organized social gatherings or highly structured academic co-ops and everything in between. Investigate the options and choose one that seems like a good fit. You can also find local/regional online support (i.e., via Facebook), and national groups like the one Nikki and I run. But don't skip real-life connections; you (and your kids) need to build relationships with other homeschoolers in your local community.

Then - if your children have been in any institutional school (public or private) for any length of time at all (even just part of one year!) - you must spend time (perhaps significant time) on deschooling. In fact, even if you're starting to homeschool "from scratch" (i.e., with your little ones without having to pull them from a school), I urge you to take time to at least deschool yourself since you are undoubtedly influenced (unconsciously and negatively) by having been schooled yourself. If you skip this – because you feel it’s "not really school” - you’ll end up making life much more difficult for yourself and your kids. These articles explain deschooling; read them and follow their recommendations:

Deschooing is an exhilarating and liberating experience...and it's an active process. During your deschooling time you will be purposing to observe, understand, and relate to your children in a whole new way while also beginning to free yourself from school-style thinking and figure out an educational philosophy and curriculum options that might work for your family.

My recent piece, How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum: A Quick Primer, may help with that latter part of the endeavor. And while you deschool, you can also read and ponder these other helpful, encouraging articles:

When you're done deschooling - remember what the author at Educated Adventures says about that, above - you'll be ready to "officially" begin home education. Of course, by that time you'll realize that you've actually been on the journey for some time already and that your "official start" is really just a new bend in the road. But you'll be ready for it when you see it coming.

Of course, as I mentioned above, the only way to really begin learning to educate your children at home is to step out and do it. You will feel at first as if you're groping in the dark - goodness, even experienced homeschoolers trip and fall sometimes! - and you won't be perfect. But I promise you won't damage your children. Since you are the person who knows them better than anyone else in the world and because you love them more than anyone else ever could, you will pour yourself into the process. If you do that - if you commit to diligence and perseverance along the way - you will succeed, bumps in the road and all. 

So are you ready now to take that first step?

*****
Photo Credit: Joao Santos

March 12, 2017

The Mystery of History

Back in the summer of 2011, I was in a panic. I’d recently launched into the third installment of a multi-year, multi-subject packaged curriculum – a program I’d initially believed would be our curriculum “for life” – and we absolutely hated it. After adoring the first year, we’d struggled quite a bit with the second because several of the resources were not engaging or age-appropriate for my children. But I’d made adjustments and substitutions, believing that once my kids got a little older, the third year would be just fine.

It wasn’t. And I knew there was no way I could continue to use it for even one more week, let alone a whole year or more. But I had no idea what I’d use instead and, despite all the substitutions I’d made the previous year, I doubted my ability to abandon a package program.

Enter my friend Debra, whom I’d met in an online homeschooling forum. As I vented my fears, Debra convinced me to let her “talk me off the ledge.” Calling from 1,000 miles and two time zones away, she described a history curriculum she was certain would suit me to a T.

Fast forward six and a half years.

We worked our way through all four volumes together, and then both of my daughters chose to use the series as the spine for their high school world history studies as well. In fact, each recently wrapped up her independent study through Volume I, earning a credit in Ancient World History, and both are now moving on to Volume II. And I am convinced that choosing to listen to Debra’s counsel was one of the very best decisions I’ve made in my home education journey.

The Mystery of History by Linda Lacour Hobar is a “chronological, Christian, complete world history for all ages.” Volume I begins with biblical Creation dated around BC 4004 and continues through 108 lessons to the Resurrection of Christ. Volume II picks up the story with narratives surrounding the Book of Acts and journeys through 84 lessons to Gutenberg and the printing press. Then Volume III starts with the advent of the Renaissance and continues through 84 more lessons to the very beginning of the 18th century. And, finally, Volume IV continues over the course of another 84 lessons all the way into 2014, ending with a glimpse at what is to come via the prophecies of the Book of Revelation.

The program is unapologetically Christian; in fact, it is Christ-centered, and Mrs. Hobar notes on occasion in each volume how Jesus Christ is the actual “Mystery of History.” But it doesn’t just cover Christian history. Rather, the series fills a unique niche in that it surveys the history of the world – including coverage in Volume I of all the well-known (and some lesser-known) ancient cultures and discussion in the other volumes of many other-than-Christian people – through a distinctly Judeo-Christian (ultimately Protestant) worldview without denigrating other perspectives. Mrs. Hobar simply presents the world’s story as she sees it through the lens of her faith and invites interested readers along for the journey.

The curriculum is family-friendly because it’s designed so that almost any aged child can comfortably participate on one level or another. In fact, every lesson includes follow-up activities for younger, middle, and older children, and Mrs. Hobar explains in the books’ teaching notes how to adapt the readings and other activities for various ages. Thus, a five-year old can listen along while coloring and then share a short summary sentence to use for copywork. A nine-year old can create a multitude of hands-on projects, a 12-year old can take on some detailed geography study, and a high school student can tackle in-depth reading of primary sources – all after engaging together around the same key narratives as shared in the student readers.

Also noteworthy is the fact that through the readings and various activities, all eight multiple intelligence strengths are addressed at regular intervals. For example, a picture-smart child will enjoy the coloring sheets and geography activities. A music-smart child will resonate with suggestions to listen to various eras’ music. And a body-smart kid will love the many activities that call for re-enactments of particular historical events. Since each reading includes three possible follow-up activities, every child should find opportunity to express his top strengths on an on-going basis.

I started Volume I when my children were nine and 10. Using Mrs. Hobar’s helpful scheduling suggestions along with my own plan to work through all four volumes before my kids started high school, we employed a brisk but not overwhelming pace to finish our first round through the books when they are 13 and 14. And, as mentioned above, we are also using the books in high school, with each of my daughters now studying independently.

We homeschoolers are blessed with a multitude of excellent resources, so I know other good history programs – from a variety of worldview perspectives – exist. But if you’re looking for a solid, engaging, Christ-centered option, consider The Mystery of History. My friend Debra was right; it is the one for me.

*****
NOTE: This is not an affiliate post. I have no professional connection with the author or publishers of The Mystery of History and am receiving no benefit or perk of any kind; I even purchased my own copy of every volume of the curriculum. I'm sharing simply because of the very high regard I have for the program, believing that many other home-educating families would enjoy and benefit from it.

March 10, 2017

The Picture-Smart Bible

I had heard about The Picture-Smart Bible when it was first developed several years ago. Then, in May 2010, I had the opportunity to see the program at a homeschool convention, and I was hooked. In fact, I took advantage of special convention pricing and purchased the complete set for our family.

So, what is The Picture-Smart Bible? According to the program website, it "is an innovative approach to 'seeing' Scripture as a total entity. This Genesis-to-Revelation course is designed to help participants learn, remember and teach the themes and concepts in each book of the Bible...and have fun in the process!" In other words, it's a complete Bible curriculum presented in a unique format that will engage young children, youth, and adults alike in such a way that they'll actually remember key scriptural ideas. And The Picture-Smart Bible is unique because it's been designed to appeal directly to the powerful picture-smart element in every person's brain.

Specifically, Dan and Juanene Peters, the creators of the program, have developed a one-page blackline drawing to represent each and every book of the Bible. Each drawing incorporates images for all the key events and concepts presented in the book, and detailed notes help a parent walk his or her children through a systematic, engaging study of the text. As the parent explains a particular idea, children activate their brains by tracing and/or coloring the appropriate parts of the drawing until the entire page is colorized as directed. If desired, a child can then use the completed illustration to explain his understanding of the book in his own words, and, thus, activate another powerful memory tool. And, when pictures for every book have been finished, each child will have an illustrated, personalized summary of all of Scripture.

I found with my daughters - who were eight and nine when I first used the program with them - that taking several days to go through each book was most conducive to absorbing and remembering. We chose to incorporate it as an occasional supplemental activity, though others I know use it daily and, thus, produce completed keepsakes after just a couple of years. In either case, children can look back to a book's summary sheet at any time when they're engaged in other Bible study, so it's a tool they can use for a lifetime.

*****
NOTE: This is not an affiliate post. I have no connection with the publishers of The Picture-Smart Bible and am receiving no benefit or perk of any kind; I even purchased my own copy of the curriculum. I share simply because I think this is a helpful resource.

March 8, 2017

The Homeschool Experiment

Have you recently launched into the adventure of homeschooling? Are you a homeschool veteran who enjoys reading positive portrayals of your lifestyle choice? Or, on the other hand, are you looking for a great gift for a friend or relative who homeschools? If so, I highly recommend The Homeschool Experiment: A Novel, published in 2012 by Charity Hawkins.

Experiment is not a how-to book. And, as a young mom with very young children, the protagonist's specific situation won't match every reader's current season of life. Instead, this book is a fictionalized account of one new homeschool mom's first year "in the trenches." But, in its short chapters - which address everything from homeschool conventions to doubting family members and meltdowns (by both kids and mom!) - any real-life, Christian homeschool mom will find nuggets of truth, good ideas, and sage advice, along with encouragement to persevere in the worthy calling to educate one's own children. Even as an experienced homeschooler, I gained valuable insight from every chapter both times I read it. And all 24 women in the two book clubs I ran using Experiment as its study guide for the year - whether newbies or women with years of experience - found it equally as enjoyable.

The book's appendix contains study questions and memory verses that can be used for individual reflection or group discussion, as well as a list of recommended resources. And this is also just a good "fun read." The writing flows nicely - members of my book clubs and I all found ourselves wanting to read several chapters in one sitting - and it's both amusing and touching. As a result, it's a very beneficial book on many levels.

*****
NOTE: This endorsement is not written for affiliate purposes. I have no connection to Charity Hawkins and am receiving no benefit or perk of any kind; I even purchased my own copy of the book. I share simply because I think it's a positive resource.

March 6, 2017

Our Do-It Door

When we first started using Sue Patrick's Workbox System, we also introduced the DO-IT DOOR, our family's version of a chore chart.

For a couple of years before that, I'd thought that some kind of visible chore chart would be helpful to my children. But I didn't have a clear picture of how to put it together...until I read the workbox book.

Sue's ideas inspired me to develop a chore chart that was similarly visual and hands-on. So I brainstormed a list of morning and evening routines and chores, all of which my girls were already doing or could easily take on to be active family "teammates." I typed it up, plugged in clipart pictures my graphic artist husband supplied, and - in true workbox fashion! - affixed a velcro dot next to each task.


Each night after my children went to bed, I attached little laminated X's next to the chores and routines I expected them to do the next day, leaving blank anything that needn't be accomplished. Then as soon as their feet hit the kitchen floor - by 7:30, as that became the first "job" of the day - they removed the first X and proceeded through the morning list (Eat breakfast. Clear the breakfast dishes. Get dressed. Put away pajamas and unders. Make your bed. Brush your teeth. Brush your hair. Do your assigned chore.) all the way through to the last item - Be ready for bookwork by 8:45 - which effectively marked our transition over to the workboxes until lunch. And at the end of the day - sometime after dinner - they followed a similar pattern of removing plastic X's from the evening list: Straighten the living room. Straighten the dining room. Do your assigned chore. Change into your pajamas. Put your clothes down the chute. Brush and floss your teeth. Choose a bedtime story.

As you can see, directives to do some simple but helpful household tasks were intermingled with routines on both the morning and evening lists. For example, the evening list included assignments to straighten the living and dining rooms, two areas where toys often accumulated through the day. Similarly, there was a spot on each list that said, "Do your assigned chore," tasks which varied from day to day. Typical morning chores involved wiping out the bathroom sink and helping to load or unload the dishwasher. In the evening, chores included emptying litter boxes or taking out the garbage, and every Sunday night the girls tackled a "big clean" on their upstairs playroom. I simply attached a post-it note listing the day's assigned chores onto the bottom-right corner of the chart so the kids could breeze through the list even if my husband and I were otherwise occupied.

Just as the workboxes helped our official academic time to run much more smoothly, so, too, the Do-It Door - so named because the charts were affixed to a door in our kitchen, though we could have had something like a "Work-It Wall" if we didn't have the door - transformed how we managed mundane self-care and household jobs. The girls were actually excited to get through each list, yet they also did their work well because they knew they'd have to repeat anything that wasn't done diligently enough. They gained a huge sense of accomplishment via the simple task of removing the velcro markers from finished jobs, and they could also see their progress as more and more X's disappeared. My husband and I soon found that we rarely had to monitor the girls through the activities, because having the chart gave them an intrinsic sense of ownership. And they actually did more than they'd done prior to instituting the charts because the assigned chores that used to be hit-and-miss became normal expectations.

A lot of families institute something like this from the time their children are toddlers; I wish I'd done that, too. However, this was definitely a case of "better late than never," and it was well worth the time and effort to create the lists and train the girls to use them. As I said, I have Sue Patrick to thank for the motivation and inspiration. Her workbox idea transformed our home environment in many ways beyond formal academics.

March 4, 2017

Wonderful Workboxes

Back in 2009, I caught a comment in a homeschool forum about something called "workboxes." Being the organizational junkie that I am - my husband (appropriately) calls me "Rou-Tina" (!) - my interest was sparked, and before long, I jumped on the workbox bandwagon.

So, what exactly is this workbox thing?

Simply put, it's a brilliant organizational system developed by a woman named, Sue Patrick, a homeschooler who first came up with the idea as a way to manage her own children's learning. She started telling others about how well it worked and began to do some consulting with families she knew. Eventually, she put her ideas into book-form and started speaking to larger audiences. One thing apparently led to another back in 2009, when word of the system began to spread like wild-fire among homeschoolers.

At the end of March that year, I ordered the book. I wasn't completely sure the concept would work for us, since my children were quite young and seemed to need almost constant guidance from me with their bookwork. But I was willing to give serious consideration to anything claiming to increase learning while also fostering independence.

And the book - a quick-read which paints a much clearer vision of the system than anything on the website (or any Pinterest images that seemed for a time to multiply like rabbits) - convinced me to give it a whirl. So I ordered supplies from Sue and headed out in search of two reasonably-priced metal racks, two big storage bins, and 24 plastic shoe boxes. As a nice bonus, I found the bins and boxes in my girls' favorite colors.

Then I spent the next week setting everything up and briefing the girls on how things would work once we started. I was surprised at how intrigued they were; they kept saying, "Is today the day we start the boxes?"

I admit to some trepidation on my part the day we did begin; after all, I'd invested some money and considerable time and effort on the set-up and wondered what I'd do if the whole thing flopped. But I should not have feared! It really isn't hyperbole to say we very likely had our best academic week ever to that point - and I'm sure the girls (and even my husband, who saw the outcome when he came home from work every day) would concur.

Just as Sue Patrick says, my kids were actually excited to "check in" to start on academics each morning so they could investigate what each of their 12 workboxes held. As I arranged things, our first box each day typically consisted of our group work, usually history. From there, the girls simply proceeded through the other boxes, which I pre-filled each evening with a balance of "work with mom" and independent tasks (i.e., file folder games, penmanship practice, reading to or playing a game with the toddlers for whom I babysat, journal-writing, etc.). My job each day was to supervise all the activity, of course, while alternately sitting down with one girl and then the other on reading, math, or spelling.

Because different tasks required different amounts of time and the girls worked at different paces, it wasn't unusual for both girls to come to a "work with mom" box at the same time. At first, I'd wondered how I would handle that scenario: Would the girls whine and complain? Would one insist on doing nothing while she waited for me, thus delaying the "flow" that should accompany the boxes? But my fears were unfounded because I discovered that with just brief explanation, they happily did just what Sue said they should: While one girl started the work with me, the other simply skipped that box for the time being, grabbed the next independent box, and got back to work - as if being patient and productive were as natural to them as breathing!

During our first week, we started promptly at 8:45 each day (which was, in and of itself, a major accomplishment!). On Monday, things took a bit longer because it was our first day on the new system - so we didn't have lunch until 1:00 and even after that each girl still had one box to finish. However, we got more efficient as the week progressed. So by Friday they were done with all 12 boxes before 12:30! And that sort of efficiency became our norm.

Even more amazing was the fact that the girls never rushed just to get things done. Instead, they completed the activities in a quality manner - including some new and challenging tasks and a whole lot more independent work than they'd ever previously seen in a day. So finishing at 12:30 was finishing well - accomplishing at least twice as much in that timeframe as we ever had before and doing so in such a way that they really did learn and practice more age-appropriate content while also gaining a new sense of healthy pride in being appropriately independent.

And me? Well, I did more than ever - with both girls and with the toddlers - and I began to arrive at the end of each day amazingly, wonderfully (seriously!) refreshed! The girls made undeniable progress. For the first time in a long time on an academic day, they got to mix in "fun stuff" (a craft, puzzle, or coloring page) with the "real learning." And I could engage with the toddlers beyond diaper changes and snack breaks. So my stress level throughout each day was almost nil.

It worked so well that we continued the system for years, eventually commissioning a woodworker friend to build a cabinet to house the boxes.

In fact, though my daughters are now teens - and are, thus, almost entirely self-directed - the patterns we established by using the workbox system are still evident in our daily routine. I can see very clearly that the time and effort I took in 2009 has paid great dividends in our family. It's not at all too much to say that launching the workbox system was actually a key factor in bringing us long-term success and joy as a home-educating family.

*****
NOTE: This endorsement is not written for affiliate purposes. I have no connection to Sue Patrick and am receiving no benefit or perk of any kind; I even purchased my own copy of her materials. I share simply because I believe the system is so helpful.

March 2, 2017

Homeschool Made Simple: An Important Resource

I regularly see articles that define and discuss various "homeschooling methods." And every so often someone in my Facebook group posts a survey asking which method(s) we all use. I've even found a rather thorough and accurate quiz we might take to get a handle on the question.

When I took the quiz, I wasn't surprised to discover that I had almost identical scores in several categories. I've known for some time that I'm an "eclectic" home educator - which basically means I employ the whatever-is-best-for-each-individual-child-at-any-given-moment (WIBFEICAAGM) approach! - so it makes sense that I'd resonate with techniques and styles from across the spectrum of defined methods. In fact, I strongly urge all home educating parents to follow WIBFEICAAGM rather than jamming their children into the constricting box of one approach. After all, curriculum should always be kept in its rightful place - i.e., as tool, not master.

But a while ago, I just about jumped for joy when I learned that Compass Classroom had produced Homeschool Made Simple, a DVD "lecture" featuring homeschool veteran Carole Joy Seid. I'd not thought directly about Carole Joy for quite some time, but that's not because I'd forgotten her. Rather, just as with How Am I Smart?, the precursor to Dr. Kathy Koch's 8 Great Smarts, I had so absorbed Carole Joy's wisdom into our daily home learning life that applying the ideas she teaches had become almost as natural to me as breathing.

My local homeschool association actually hosted Carole Joy for a full-day seminar when my daughters were just toddlers. I resonated strongly with her ideas, and I even remember being greatly relieved. I'd been feeling internal pressure to imitate all the "experienced" moms I'd begun to meet even though the method many of them advocated at the time made me ill at ease. But after the seminar, I felt I had "permission" to trust my own instincts and go against the "expected" flow.

From there, I've taken her ideas and have (of course) adapted them for our particular needs and wants, but I've often wished I could easily introduce others to them as well. Carole Joy offers audio seminars on her website, but there's something very helpful about being in the same room with - or at least being able to visualize - a speaker. And Carole Joy doesn't travel all that much so she's not making the rounds all across the country every year. But now her DVD seminar is out, and it serves as an excellent introduction to her simple approach to home-based education.

In a nutshell, Carole Joy promotes a history-centered, literature-based approach and even explains how it's entirely possible to provide a rich, complete education if one simply has a Bible, a library card, and math books. She also discusses the importance of including work and service - not just study - in a home education program, implores parents to limit children's exposure to media, and advocates strongly for waiting for demonstrable, true readiness before launching into formal academics.

As I mentioned, I took Carole Joy's ideas and made them my own over the years, so we didn't do things exactly as she outlines even in her full seminar. And in that same vein, I do suggest some alternatives to what she mentions in the DVD as well:
  • For reading/phonics, Carole Joy touts Sing, Spell, Read & Write (SSRW), which I did try. However, SSRW was an abysmal failure for my kids, primarily because the "readers" were largely non-sensical collections of "target words," lacking plot or characterization. Instead of SSRW, we used the delightful Amish Pathway Readers, which are - in my opinion - a much better fit with Carole Joy's educational philosophy;
  • One of Carole Joy's history recommendations is V.M. Hillyer's A Child's History of World. However, Carole Joy admits that Hillyer approaches history from a secular, old-earth perspective, and I see no need to risk subjecting impressionable children to such notions. Instead, I suggest the engaging narratives found in The Mystery of History or Guerber's Histories and/or the excellent living books collections in All Through the Ages or TruthQuest History. Similarly, All Through the Ages and TruthQuest would work very well if Carole Joy's suggestion of Turning Back the Pages of Time becomes unavailable.
Embracing our own version of Carole Joy's philosophy has brought great peace, success, and joy to my family's home learning endeavors. When I was starting out and feeling pressured and overwhelmed, I needed Carole Joy's simple message, which says at root that home educating families "are [simply] doing life together." That message still holds true even (and especially) in the face of today's more complicated homeschool resource landscape, so I believe that Homeschool Made Simple ought to be on every new home educator's must-view list.

*****
NOTE: This endorsement is not written for affiliate purposes. I have no connection to either Compass Classroom or Carole Joy Seid and am receiving no benefit or perk of any kind; I even purchased my own copy of the DVD. I share simply because I believe Carole Joy's ideas are important and helpful.

February 28, 2017

Class Dismissed: A Must-See Movie

Some time ago, I heard about the production of a new movie about homeschooling. I bought a copy when it was first released, but didn't watch it immediately. However, when I finally did make time, my first reaction was a strong and unequivocal, "Wow!"

Class Dismissed advertises itself as a movie that "challenges its viewers to take a fresh look at what it means to be educated and offers up a radical new way of thinking about the process." And, even though those who have already embraced homeschooling realize it's actually not "a new way of thinking" - after all, parent-led, home-based education is as old as time, while institutionalized, assembly-line style schooling is the real social experiment - the movie certainly challenges the average viewer who considers homeschooling to be "unusual," and it very accurately introduces the wide range of options available beyond the current cultural norm. In fact, the movie is, at root, an unapologetic endorsement of the unmistakeable benefits of private, independent home education.

By shadowing one family for an entire year as it makes the transition from public/government school to homeschooling, the film pulls viewers in immediately, giving a very real "face" to this notion of home education. Along the way, it also demonstrates what research has proven - i.e., that choosing to get off the institutional school treadmill is possible at any phase of a child's life and within a wide variety of family situations.

Another plus is that the movie focuses on the positive - homeschooling as a viable option for everyone - rather than dwelling on the negative. Of course, parents do need information about the very real problems inherent in institutionalized schooling, and thankfully, several such resources - Indoctrination, books by John Taylor GattoCommon Core: From Farce to FailureThe Children of Caesar, just to name a few - are readily available.

But there was a great need for an alternative to all the appropriate alarm-ringing resources - one that would demonstrate to parents from all walks of life that homeschooling is here, that it's good, and that it's available to all - and Class Dismissed is that resource.

If you're a veteran homeschooler, I urge you to purchase at least one copy of the film in order to support the wonderful work the movie's producers have done; after all, money talks, and if we want such positive endeavors to continue, we need to clearly demonstrate our support. I also suggest that you consider buying multiple copies if your budget allows so you might readily bless families you meet who would like to consider homeschooling and/or so you can offer copies to your local public library and church library. Alternately, you can watch it by renting a copy, and then share the rental information with interested friends and family.

If you're new to homeschooling - or are investigating the possibility - you should consider Class Dismissed to be your primer - i.e., the first and primary introduction to homeschooling that you need. The amount of information available about all aspects homeschooling is vast - in fact, the overabundance of resources can even feel paralyzing - but if you start with Class Dismissed, you'll feel encouraged and excited to begin exploring those options as you take the leap into private, independent home education.

*****
FULL DISCLOSURE: This is not an affiliate post. I have enthusiastically partnered with Class Dismissed through my website, The Homeschool Resource Roadmap - and I'm excited that the producers are promoting The Roadmap on their sister-site - but we don't have an affiliate relationship, and I don't earn any money or other "perks" by promoting the film. I endorse it simply because it's excellent and because I firmly believe that all current and prospective homeschoolers need it.

February 26, 2017

Trust and Relax

Recently I saw yet again that "alternative" resources - along with trusting one's child, choosing to relax, and prayer - work...even for high school!

My very smart but "science-hating" younger daughter asked several months ago if she could take a hiatus from science. She is not a rebel, and - starting when she was just four years old - she has repeatedly demonstrated that she "knows" herself as a learner. She had thoroughly thought through her position and articulated it very clearly. So despite some trepidation on the part of my still-somewhat-school-indoctrinated brain - mostly because I wondered what others (even other homeschoolers) would think of me for daring (gasp!) to honor my child's wishes in terms of her education - I chose to listen and trust her, not knowing (gulp!) if or when she'd ever do more formal science.

And I started praying. Not asking God to change her mind and not from a place of anxiety - in fact, any time I felt anxiety rearing its very ugly head, I prayed for strength to smash it down! - but, rather, simply seeking guidance and direction about how best to proceed.

I did not begin frantically searching for science curriculum; God has done such good work with me in terms of freeing me from institutional-style thinking that I really did have peace about just trusting my girl. But not long ago, a member of the Facebook group Nikki and I moderate mentioned the science resources from Queen Homeschool Supplies. I'd used and enjoyed Queen in the past - for gentle language arts when my girls were young - but hadn't really considered it for anything else. Yet after looking through sample pages online, I felt led to order Every Herb Bearing Seed, a "course focusing on natural...medicine and anatomy."

Despite thinking it would be an enjoyable book, I actually thought my daughter would politely decline on principle - and I would have been okay with that. But, much to my surprise, her reaction was just the opposite. The book's emphasis on natural health piqued her interest, and then when she looked inside and saw the story-based lessons and research-oriented approach, her face actually lit up, and she said she'd be more than happy to give it a shot.

I still thought she might not like it much once she started. But she couldn't wait to tell me all about the first lesson and has continued with it enthusiastically since then. She also looked with interest at the other high school books on the site, quite open to considering them as well.

My purpose in sharing is not to promote Queen - though I have appreciated the company since we first used it for language arts. Rather, I was struck yet again by the beauty of giving my children choice and trusting each one's ability to know herself as a learner. I could have insisted my daughter do traditional science "like everyone else," dismissing her request for an indefinite hiatus as rebelliousness or the foolishness of youth. In fact, I could have forced both my girls to follow (sad) suit with so many other homeschoolers and insist we set aside the engaging, creative, holistic approach we'd employed when they were young in favor of mimicking the factory-style, "traditional" high school experience.

But I've learned that my children deserve better than me forcing them to slog through boring textbooks just to say they've "covered" certain material (regardless of true interest or real learning) - even at the high school level. In fact, God expects me to continue honoring how He has uniquely designed each of them according to His purposes, and to listen to them and to His leading instead of going with current cultural norms by default. If that had meant never using a "science curriculum" again - if, instead, my daughter would have had "only" her previously-completed General Science course and then whatever (if anything) I might have compiled towards an additional credit or two from informal/"unschooling"-based activities - that would quite literally have been just fine. My responsibility is to my children and to God - not to status quo - and I have to trust that listening to them and to Him will bear fruit. In fact, it already has.

*****
PSALM 139

1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
      2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
            You understand my thought from afar.

      3You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
            And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

      4Even before there is a word on my tongue,
            Behold, O LORD, You know it all.

      5You have enclosed me behind and before,
            And laid Your hand upon me.

      6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
            It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

      7Where can I go from Your Spirit?
            Or where can I flee from Your presence?

      8If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
            If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

      9If I take the wings of the dawn,
            If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

      10Even there Your hand will lead me,
            And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

      11If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
            And the light around me will be night,”

      12Even the darkness is not dark to You,
            And the night is as bright as the day.
            Darkness and light are alike to You.

      13For You formed my inward parts;
            You wove me in my mother’s womb.

      14I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
            Wonderful are Your works,
            And my soul knows it very well.

      15My frame was not hidden from You,
            When I was made in secret,
            And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

      16Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
            And in Your book were all written
            The days that were ordained for me,
            When as yet there was not one of them.

      17How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
            How vast is the sum of them!

February 24, 2017

Flexibility

Several years ago, I read a post in a homeschool moms' forum that made me very sad. The woman who wrote was planning to get "back to school" that week and had a particular daily schedule in mind. But a friend had subsequently asked if one of the woman's daughters might babysit on the Friday morning of that first week back.

It could be that the friend is habitually insensitive to the fact that homeschooling is real and requires time. Or perhaps she was unaware that the family was starting back to lessons. And, of course, whether or not to allow the daughter to babysit was totally up to the mother even though she was asking for feedback about what to do.

What saddened me was that the woman seemed absolutely chained to the schedule she'd initially envisioned. It was clear from her post that she was beside herself with frustration because a wrench had been thrown into her anticipated plan. She expounded about how the daughter "had to" do things when the younger siblings did even though she had her own lessons, how she and her kids would "never be able" to adjust and do afternoon instead of morning lessons for even one day, and how she felt the whole first week would be "ruined" if Friday's plan were altered. In fact, it was clear that just the thought of having to decide what to do about Friday had "ruined" her feelings of anticipation about the entire upcoming week.

Anyone who knows me - the woman who has been aptly nicknamed "Rou-Tina" - understands full well that I love schedules and organization. I mapped out my kids' history and science programs over a four-year span to make sure we finished the series I'd chosen for each before we launched into our high school plans. I create a computerized version of our typical weekly schedule and print out weekly learning grids, too. I also advise other homeschoolers to be diligent about making sure to provide a bona fide education for their children rather than being hit-and-miss about it...though, of course, home learning approaches needn't look the least bit like what we see in the institutions. 

Nevertheless, I've learned - by God's grace - that I ought not be a slave to the schedule. Creating a plan ahead of time does provide a helpful framework and is a great motivational tool on days when I'd rather just "call in sick." However, one of the key truths about home education is that we're allowed to flex for real life. In fact, I think that's a crucial lesson to model for our kids, and we do them a great disservice when we don't take the realities that encompass all of life into account.

Perhaps there were other reasons why the mom on the forum was so obsessed with keeping to her schedule; I cannot know the backstory since I do not know her personally. But, given what she shared, I think she made a mistake in not flexing. Allowing the daughter to consider the one-day job would have been a great opportunity to work with her on decision-making (i.e., Did she really want to work in the morning, knowing she'd still be responsible for finishing her lessons in the afternoon?) and time management. It also would have been a great lesson for all of the children to see that formal learning doesn't "need" to happen starting at 8:00 in the morning every day, that it's possible to be productive in a less-than-ideal situation, and that a change in plans needn't "ruin" a whole day or week.

In fact, I've regularly experienced all of the above. Let me share just one such circumstance by way of example:

We operate on a year-round schedule that is quite different from what most others do. We actually begin a new academic term in January each year, not August or September, and generally follow a six-weeks-on, one-week-off schedule through the end of June. Then we take our summer vacation for all of July and jump into the second half of our year in early August, continuing our rough six/one pattern through the beginning of December before taking off most of that month for winter vacation. 

But for several years I also babysat for a public school teacher friend, and she always had in-service days in August, during which her school-aged daughter - my girls' friend - would come along to my house with her toddler sister. Thus, I always planned to take off for most of the last week of August, knowing it would be both kind and wise to give my daughters some uninterrupted time with their friend. 

However, one year the school district threw a wrench into the works by requiring my friend to attend training sessions for nearly every day of the last two weeks of the month, in addition to a few days the previous week as well. Some were half-days, but many were full days, requiring our guests to be with us from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 or 4:30 in the afternoon. 

I could have panicked. After all, we'd taken off all of July (except for doing a couple weeks' worth of math lessons), and I had a plan to get us back "on track" the very first full week of August. I had mapped everything out with 13 full and a few half-days of bookwork. And even though August is a time of "gearing up" to our eventual full daily schedule, having our friends with us so much more than anticipated would cause me to have to alter everything through the entire fall.

But alter I did. I didn't throw out the baby with the bath water and give up on August lessons entirely. I didn't smash 13+ days worth of lessons into the considerably fewer productive days we'd have. And I most certainly didn't whine and fuss about my whole August being "ruined."

Instead, because I'd learned that homeschooling offers me the gift of flexibility, I took a look at what would be realistic for the month, given our new circumstances, and I tweaked as necessary. In practical terms, that meant doing two composition review lessons instead of four and getting "behind" one week in history. But I could see that the girls had a good grasp on the composition content so paring down the review didn't alter anything else going forward. And the history change just meant we did a couple lessons after Thanksgiving instead of finishing up before then as I'd initially scheduled. We also did a few less math lessons, and the girls didn't do their official literature reading every day. But we had done math in July, and the girls read like crazy on their own anyway. So what would it matter in the grand scheme? As for science, spelling, and grammar, I did choose to remove the latter two from my initial August plans in light of our new situation, but we got back to it in September so it didn't faze me. And because we took August to "gear up" anyway, science had not even been on the docket for the month to begin with.

No doubt about it, making regular academic progress is important. And pre-planning helps quite a bit in that regard. But what would I be modeling for my girls if I refused to flex for unforeseen circumstances? What would I teach them if I let a glitch "ruin" several days of my life? What would I communicate if I adjusted but complained the whole time? 

I'm not perfect in this regard. My husband and daughters will readily acknowledge that I can still stress when confronted with last-minute changes. But I'm so thankful that homeschooling has afforded me the opportunity to take off rigidity and put on flexibility. As with so much of home education, I am learning and growing right along with my children. And I am so much better for it.


"The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."
Proverbs 16.9 (NASB)

February 22, 2017

Home Education FAQs


For several years running, I had the privilege of welcoming into my home small groups of business people for the purpose of sharing with them about home education.

I was the homeschool representative for an annual program sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. And the visit was a highlight of my year, because, as I told my guests, I thoroughly enjoy educating people about and advocating for homeschooling. Some of my fellow home educators prefer to keep their anonymity, and I completely respect their choice; in fact, I staunchly guard my children's right to privacy. But my personal conviction is that we might dispel the unfortunate stereotypes about homeschoolers if those of us who do feel comfortable with publicity give "the public" an opportunity to meet and interact with real, live homeschool families. Thus, as long as it does not jeopardize my children, I will be one who puts myself "out there."

And all of my experiences with the business people through that program were quite positive. I did have to explain why we shouldn't have to do just what "the system" does and dispel some myths, and one year one man actually wondered if I were depriving my kids of the "opportunity" to be bullied by keeping them home. But, generally speaking, my visitors were very interested in learning more, and even expressed enthusiasm about what we do.

I also put together an FAQ document to share with them. They really appreciated the summary and, though some answers are specific to my state, I thought you might, too.




What is the law regarding home education?

Homeschooling is protected from federal interference by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution and is, thus, governed at the state level. It is legal in every state, but requirements vary greatly across the country. Some states have very demanding, draconian laws and others have no legal requirements at all, leaving authority (where it belongs) with each child's parents.

As one example, those who homeschool in Wisconsin - a relatively “low regulation” state - are required by statute to:
  • Provide at least 875 hours of “instruction” per year (though this need not be reported) for each child between the ages of six and 18 (or until high school graduation requirements are met). Parents - not the state - determine what "instruction" looks like and entails;
  • File an annual notification form (NOTE: This is explicitly not a “permission” form, as parents have an inherent right – supported by state statute since 1984 – to decide how to pursue their own children’s education; the notification simply informs the state of the parents’ decision);
  • Deliver a “progressively sequential curriculum” (using whatever materials a parent deems appropriate) in “reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and health;”
  • Be privately controlled (which means that those enrolled in public “virtual schools” are not homeschooling according to state law because, though children enrolled in such entities study at home, public virtual schools operate under a wholly different state statute and are chartered under the auspices of public school districts; thus, virtual school students are counted as public school students).




Why do people homeschool?

The reasons are as varied as there are homeschooling families, but some of the oft-cited reasons are to:
  • Take personal responsibility for our children’s education;
  • Meet each child’s individual learning needs (i.e., getting beyond the standardized education offered in institutional school settings, whether public or private);
  • Provide a faith- and/or values-based education different from that which is offered in public/government schools;
  • Protect kids from bullying, peer pressure, and other manifestations of negative socialization;
  • Spend more time with our children because we enjoy being with them.



Who homeschools?

The short answer is everyone! Homeschooling is not limited to white, suburban, middle-class, evangelical Christian families even though that is the stereotype. More and more African American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American parents are choosing home education – and there are even specific nationwide support groups for these populations. People homeschool in rural areas and in the heart of the inner city. And parents of any educational background and income level can homeschool if they want to. In addition, there are homeschoolers of every faith background – and none at all. Simply put, we really do not fit any stereotype.




How many children are home-educated?

This is difficult to determine since reporting requirements vary from state to state. But a 2012 U.S. Department of Education survey reported that 1.78 million children (about 3.4% of the national school-aged population) were homeschooled in 2011, an increase of 17% since 2007. The National Home Education Research Institute reports even higher numbers.

In Wisconsin, the state agency responsible for enrollment data reported for 2014-15 that 2.28% of the school-aged population was homeschooled, though the percentage was significantly higher in some areas and was actually 29% in one community. For that same "school year," percentages as low as 0.89% and as high as 2.46% were reported in communities near where I live. Annual membership in the largest organized local homeschool group in my area has usually averaged about 200 families (500-600 children), though for 2016-2017 the group has swelled to over 250 families. Another group has 50-75 families, and a third averages 50-70 families. There is some overlap between the groups, but there are also a number of homeschooling families not affiliated with any organized support group.




How do we choose materials and resources?

In some states, public schools can provide resources by request, though that is illegal in Wisconsin.

But because we are aiming for a different kind of education for our kids, most home-educating parents prefer to find our own materials and would not take government school material if it were offered. We do this by:
  • Discovering our children’s learning styles and our preferred teaching style;
  • Researching the options (using resource guides, internet sources such as The Homeschool Resource Roadmapand the advice of other homeschoolers);
  • Making sure we’re covering foundational subject areas as well as individualizing for each child;
  • Experimenting and being willing to make adjustments whenever necessary to optimize our children’s learning.



How do we teach subjects in which we are not experts – and insure that our children receive a quality education?

This is generally not a problem because those who really are homeschooling (as opposed to the few who say they are but are actually just trying to circumvent compulsory attendance laws) care so deeply about our children that we are hyper-vigilant about meeting our children’s needs. And, as a result, we:
  • Use tried-and-tested materials recommended by experienced home educators;
  • Join co-ops where each parent can offer up personal areas of expertise;
  • Utilize community resources for specialty courses;
  • Enroll our children in private online classes;
  • Take advantage of dual-enrollment opportunities at local colleges;
  • Teach our children to become auto-didactic (self-directed) learners so they can take responsibility for their own learning by the time they reach adolescence and also desire to be lifelong learners.



What about “achievement testing?”

Requirements vary from state to state. Wisconsin has no requirement for testing.

Of course, some parents choose of their own accord to have their children tested using well-known tests (Iowa Basic Skills, CAT, etc.), but any requirement for homeschoolers to take the tests mandated for public school students would be meaningless since homeschool laws do not (and should not) require that homeschools utilize government school curriculum, upon which the tests are based; additionally, because we are protected by the 10th Amendment from federal control of any kind, we are not (and should not become) subject to any notions of "national curriculum" or "national testing." And that is as it should be. After all, since homeschools are private, independent institutions and receive no taxpayer subsidies whatsoever - in fact, we pay property taxes to support government schools but receive no "benefit" from that for ourselves - there is no reason for us to be "accountable" to the state.

That said, research shows that homeschoolers who do take the tests average in the 86th percentile, versus the median 50th percentile for the general population. Evidence also demonstrates that homeschoolers who never take "achievement tests" are wholly prepared for adult life.




What are the high school graduation requirements?

In Wisconsin and in nearly every other state, high school graduation requirements are not based on government school requirements; instead, they are decided by each family, based on each child’s individual post-secondary plans (i.e., joining the work force, enlisting in the military, attending college). Parents have the authority under a state's homeschooling law to produce a legally-binding diploma and transcript for each child.

Of course, we don't decide upon our requirements for graduation in a vacuum. We utilize well-researched resources to determine courses of study for particular post-secondary “tracks." And - for our children interested post-secondary education - we contact colleges in which a child is interested and base a high school plan on those requirements.




What about college admissions?

  • Homeschooled students are not only accepted but are often pursued because of their unique life experiences and demonstrated intellectual ability;
  • They can attend any college if that school’s admissions requirements are met;
  • They can obtain financial aid (private and federal) since they have legally-binding high school diplomas;
  • The average ACT score is 22.5 (vs. 20.8 for the general population), and the average SAT score is 1092 (vs. 1019 for the general population).




What about “socialization?”

In terms of “socializing – having their kids spend time with other children in age-appropriate activities – homeschooling parents are very diligent about involving their children in activities of interest (within homeschool groups and community organizations) according to each child’s particular needs (not an institution’s schedule).

In terms of the various definitions of “socialization (as defined by The American Heritage Dictionary):
  • “[Placing] under government or group ownership or control” – We reject this idea on its face, since the government has no constitutional authority over anyone’s children and we, thus, see no need to subject our children to it;
  • Making “fit for companionship with others” – We spend a great deal of time and energy on character development, and we have more flexibility to allow our children to interact across generations and cultures since they’re not “stuck” in classrooms with same-aged peers for eight hours a day;
  • “[Converting or adapting] to the needs of society” – Research shows that homeschooled kids do not stand out as “awkward” in a roomful of same-aged peers and that they do extremely well as adults, too (more involved in community groups than the general population, self-report as being happy, etc.) so they’ve obviously adapted well.



What issues/challenges do we face?

  • Determining which resources to use from among the myriad (3,000+) possibilities;
  • Adjusting to our children’s varied learning needs over time (and for each individual child);
  • Sacrificing income and covering costs associated with specialized classes (though most consider this a small price to pay);
  • Paying out-of-pocket for special services (i.e., speech therapy, etc.) because of the difficulty in obtaining services from the public schools and/or a desire to avoid entanglement with them;
  • Misperceptions about being “unsocialized” and “undereducated” (despite all the research and multi-generational research to the contrary);
  • Unwarranted criticism from extended family and acquaintances, and bias from public school bureaucrats (who tend to think they have the authority to be the final arbiter of what’s “best” for all children and often reject alternatives such as homeschooling);
  • Attempts from state and federal governmental entities to expand regulation and control over homeschools despite the evidence that no such oversight is needed.



What do we need and appreciate from the community at large?

  • Acceptance of and support for our right to continue directing our own children’s education as guaranteed by the Constitution and state law, without interference from governmental bodies at any level;
  • Acknowledgement that we are providing real education, not some “poor substitute” for that which is offered in the government-sponsored schools. In fact, we’re actually on the cutting-edge of leadership development among the next generation since, by its very nature, home education is innovative and challenges the status quo;
  • Advocacy for our right to equal access to community resources (i.e., libraries, sports clubs, 4H, business apprenticeships, etc.). Most of us have no desire for involvement with government schools (i.e., a "right" to play on public school sports teams, etc.) because we realize that we will lose our privacy and academic freedom in that gambit. But we appreciate support for our ability to access non-school-based community organizations.



Where can we find more information?

Advocacy and Support for Home Educators:

Research on:

Selected Articles of Interest:
Selected Books of Interest:
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