23 November 2014

Why, How, and What do We do?

As you may know, we began homeschooling Elf eight years ago because of abuse in public schools.  He's now a freshman in public school full-time.  We continue with our younger children because we find that that's best for them right now.  (Woodjie is severely autistic and school just wasn't working.)  We can work at their pace and move on to the next topic or subject when they are ready.  So this post is just a general outline of what a typical day usually looks like.
Rose, Woodjie and Emperor go to tournaments every Monday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014.


Emperor wanted to get up early to watch one of the games of the World Chess Championship.  I poked him and went back to bed, trusting he would wake Elf at 6 am so that he could get to school.


Rose's alarm goes off.  She's a big girl now!  I hear the alarm and get Woodjie up.  The little children have a picture schedule and know to do their bathroom routine, make their beds, and come down for breakfast.  They brush their teeth and I comb hair and that sort of thing and clean the kitchen.


Rose begins mathematics at the computer while Woodjie copies his spelling words and writes three sentences about a topic.  They switch when Rose is done.  As I have time between checking their work and helping them with their problems, I pull each younger child to do reading as they are at different levels. 


Woodjie and Rose are done or almost done with their work, and have a little free time in their room upstairs.  I am helping Emperor review his social studies today.  I do very little actual teaching of Emperor, except in this class.  Most of my other work with him entails reviewing his workbook and asking him a few questions to be sure he understands the material.  For chess, he has lessons with a grandmaster and plays in tournaments.  His abilities exceeded mine in that department when he was about 10.


Make lunches and drive Emperor to school where he is a seventh-grader part time.  At home he takes chess, Latin, Reading (a required subject for homeschoolers) and social studies.  His science, PE and computers, high school honours Algebra I, choir, and English language he takes at school.  He also is a member of the Crochet Club.


We arrive at Patrick's community college and drop him off.  To save gas, I've packed our schoolwork and we head to a nearby library, where we usually picnic outside the van and then go in to do schoolwork at a table.  It's getting a bit cold to sit outside today, however.  Lunch is eaten in the van.


Science workbooks.  Right now, we're learning about the colours of the rainbow in science class.  Roy G. Biv and all that.  I also pull out our English worksheets and when we're done, the children browse in the library and read some books.  They each get one book to check out (I can't lift much and besides, we'll be back Thursday) and read the others at the library until Patrick calls for pickup between 1:15 and 1:45.

2:00 pm

Home.  Showers for little people and they are allowed to play games on the kindle for an hour. 

Now, obviously, on other days we'll switch subjects or that sort of thing to be sure that everything is covered.  And just like in public schools, we have days where children are sick and can't make it to class, or field trip days or just plain old days off.  Actually, we homeschool through the entire year, so my children have fewer days off than public-schoolers, but they are also working fewer hours per day so it works out nicely.

Why They Won't Shut Up About Homeschooling.

Someone always has to pop up and recommend homeschooling.  There's no getting away from it.  Teachers bugging you to medicate your child?  Homeschool him.  Bullies?  Try homeschooling!  Crazy Common Core second-grade level homework some guy with a PhD in astrophysics can't figure out?  Homeschool. 

Homeschool, homeschool, homeschool.  The public school moms are tired of hearing it, and some are really starting to get angry about having their conversations constantly dominated and re-directed.

So why won't those obnoxious homeschoolers just shut up? Speaking as a homeschool mom, I offer the following reasons off the top of my head:

1.  It's your turn now.  Do you know how many times we've been asked, often in front of our children, why our children aren't in school, and oh! I don't agree with homeschooling! or, I know your children would love to go to school, wouldn't you, Elfie? And, how do you know they are really learning anything, do you even test at all and bla bla bla bla and so on. 

So I guess you know what it feels like now that the shoe is on the other foot occasionally.

Cooking and silly smile time!
2.  Concern.  Most of us don't mean to be as outright obnoxious to you as we were treated - really, we don't - but when we see that your son has started cutting or your daughter has no friends and is being bullied, or your autistic child's school is really just a warehouse and he isn't learning much at all... well... maybe we put our foot in it a bit awkwardly sometimes.

3. We like homeschooling our children and think you will enjoy it, too.  It's a great opportunity to spend more time with them than you would otherwise, play games with them that will help them learn and bring them places they wouldn't have otherwise gone.   It's just a different lifestyle we hope you'll consider.

Think of us as evangelists, and you won't be far wrong.  Wanna join our cult?

17 November 2014

Schools Have NO Obligation to Provide "Quality" Education

You get the slop you're served, and you'd better be grateful for it, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on November 7th.  You have no right to a "quality" education of any kind.  From the article:

“'This ruling should outrage anyone who cares about our public education system,' said Kary L. Moss, executive director of the American Civil Liberties of Michigan. 'The court washes its hands and absolves the state of any responsibility in a district that has failed and continues to fail its children.'”

Not sure how to feel about this.  It's a sad and sorry thing that the schools don't have to offer any guarantees in exchange for the billions they get in tax dollars.  But the fact that the court seems to rule there is no "right" to a quality public education seems to bode well for homeschoolers in the long term, particularly those who are enmeshed in court battles with public education representatives and/or DFS over the quality of education they are providing for their own children at home.

Your thoughts?

30 October 2014

Do You Want Some Ebola With That Spaghetti?

I don't feel our government has any of this under control.  I think we're being lied to.  And I think healthcare workers - you know, those people who actually had contact with Ebola? - should be on quarantine for 21 days when they get back to the US.  No reason aid groups can't raise some money and deliver food/ cover some expenses for these folks. (My opinion is based on what little we've been told about the virus and is subject to change without notice.)

So I'm concerned.  And coverage about people hopping onto cruise ships and so forth and gagging all over passengers on crowded subways really doesn't do anything to allay my fears here.  But I'm also not in panic mode.  I'm in "stop it now" mode and I think that's where most reasonable other people are, too. 

Anyway, I enjoyed this video about the differences in Ebola coverage between here and the UK.  It has some strong language, but if you're up for that, I hope you enjoy it. 

24 October 2014

Go Royals!

It seems everyone is wearing a blue shirt this week because the Royals are in the World Series! Rose and Woodjie are wearing the Royals crowns they made during craft time at library story hour.

22 October 2014

Cutest Call Center Guy Everrrrr...