Current Events

Just saw the latest edition of Home Educator’s Family Times, which has gone digital. One of my articles is on page 24: check it out!

Also, having survived several failed closings on a house that turned out to have a bad well, we are now buying a different house and will be moving shortly. During the transition, I probably won’t have time to blog. But moving isn’t the only big change I have coming up, so stay tuned for updates. And enjoy your summer!  :)

Homeschooling and Unemployed Parents

I heard on the radio this morning that 40% of the unemployed have been out of work for over a year. I don’t know how they come up with these statistics, but a quick mental survey of the people in my family and social circle makes me think that 40% is close to accurate or maybe even a little on the low side.

Am I the only person who thinks these people could take advantage of their downtime by homeschooling their kids? Given the state of the schools today, it seems like a win-win situation: the unemployed person finds something worthwhile to do with their days, and their child or teen actually learns a few things by working with their parent. Many of these parents aren’t going to find a job anytime soon. Given the changes in our economy, homeschooling might even turn out to be a long-term solution for both parent and child.

After all, homeschooling isn’t that hard, and teaching a child can be done much more efficiently at home than in a classroom of 30 students (62 if you live in Detroit.) Considering that many high schools students now text their way through class, it’s pretty easy to learn more at home than at school these days.

With all the great educational tools available in public libraries and on the Internet (for instance, there’s a nice free math and science education just waiting for young people right here), what can the schools do for kids today that we parents can’t? (Please don’t tell me that football games and proms are essential, because an entire generation of homeschooled adults have shown that they aren’t!)

Some people believe that the public schools are already going down, as Gary North has stated in his excellent article on the subject. The quality of education continues its slide into the abyss, and funding is likely to be cut, thanks to the financial problems most states and the Feds are struggling with.

I think that dying schools and unemployed parents could be blessings in disguise for American families. Unemployed parents who decide to take advantage of their newly found free time to facilitate their children’s learning can develop closer relationships with them while giving them a better, more individualized education that they can get in school. At the same time, they’ll combat the demoralizing feelings that come with being unemployed because they’ll be spending their days doing something that’s important and personally rewarding. They may even find that they feel better about themselves than they did when they were employed. Win-win, indeed!

The High School Learning Experience: How Do Homeschoolers Compare?

So, homeschooling parent, think your teens are learning as much at home as they would learn in high school?

We know from our own childhood experience that the school day is full of interruptions and inconsistencies. Whenever you put 30 kids in a room, you create an environment that’s not exactly conducive to concentration.

But something’s changed since we were young, something that makes it even harder to learn: cell phones. Where I live, the high schools banned cell phones until 2007, when they allowed students to carry them as long as they were turned off and put away during class.

Guess what? It was too hard to enforce that rule, so now kids text throughout class. Teachers are worried that students could be texting test answers to each other. Perhaps, but at the very least, I think we can assume they aren’t paying attention to the teacher if they’re busy texting:

“Cell phone use continues to grow. Texting is more common, and many students are adept at sending silent text messages from their pockets. They don’t even look at the keypad.”

One teacher said, “Every kid has one, and they’re used covertly, regularly.”

I understand that today’s kids are good at multitasking, but I doubt that they can absorb much information while they’re busy corresponding with other people via texting.

Homeschooling parents needn’t worry whether their kids are learning as much as their publicly schooled friends. I’d say they’re way ahead of them if their home life affords them regular uninterrupted periods of time for reading, writing and doing math. Seriously, if kids can text during class, public high school has become a joke.

They Don’t Teach This in College

There’s an increasing amount of debate going on these days about college and whether it’s worth it anymore, especially in an economy where people with degrees are among those hit hardest by unemployment.

This article’s author suggests that our government is responsible for pushing kids to college, including many who are not college material to begin with. It’s sad to think of so many young people graduating with a diploma that doesn’t help them find a job, but does saddle them with debt that they must repay.

The author offers a solution to that problem, though…..a certain type of job that will help new grads develop a very important skill: how to sell products and themselves. Makes a lot of sense! In the meantime, we should be encouraging this skill in our kids before they leave home.

Nobody Told Me That Homeschooling Would Create So Much Clutter!

I first heard about homeschooling when our eldest was a newborn and our child-related clutter was limited to a diaper bag, a playpen and a few baby toys and stuffed animals.

Fast-forward 26 years…..after two moves in two years, we continue to fight the paring- down battle of stuff even though two children have left home and two remain. In one box I find old bottles of tempera paints that are easy to pitch because they’re all dried up. In another I find a set of rubber stamps that bring back memories of my children stamping out their names in ink and coloring in the letters. Still perfectly good and made much sturdier than what can be found in stores today, they’re not so easy to give up because of their condition and the fact that they bring back so many memories. Multiply that by many boxes’ worth of art supplies, books, drawings, book reports, educational games, hobby supplies and small craft projects (at least I didn’t keep the big ones!), and you can understand why it’s taking us so long to go through everything. Continue reading