Thursday, October 2, 2014

Homeschooling and Flashbacks

I've been neglecting a few things around here and the house.  I haven't been replying to comments as much as I used to, and I apologize for that.  I truly appreciate every one of your comments (except for that guy from Dubai who says I have a large sum of money waiting for me if I'd just give him my bank account number), and I will try harder to reply back to them again.

Why the neglect?  Why has the garden gone to pot?  Why haven't I vacuumed under the bed in over six months (who am I kidding, I never vacuum under the bed, Mom usually does).  Why are there a hundred and sixty-two items on the "ToDo" list that still haven't been crossed off?

Well, I do have a small excuse.  Actually, that excuse isn't that small anymore; she weighs in around fifty pounds.  And even though we've been teaching her things for years now, we "officially" started school at the beginning of September (i.e. had to file with the local powers-that-be to make sure they can get their $$ even though we're not sending her to school).  We've been somewhat involved with a local homeschooling group for two years now, but there never seemed to be much that she could join in on.  I taught an art class for a small group earlier this summer and found that I really, really enjoyed doing it.  So I agreed to do another nine week semester this Fall with the larger group.

Whoever thinks that it's easy to homeschool must be insane.  I can't believe how much prep work there was for me (as the teacher) to get a semester of art going.  Granted, this is my first time pretending to be a teacher and I'm sure things will go more smoothly as time goes on, but really, I wouldn't blame a person one bit if they tried homeschooling and ended up putting their kids into a public/private school after finding out how much work was actually involved.

I've been lucky enough to find a homeschooling mentor of sorts.  She has four kids; a seven year old, a five year old, a three year old and an eighteen month squishy baby.  She has already been through a lot of the stuff with her eldest son, and her girl is the same age as Rhiannon so not only do I get to pick her brain on the things she's already done, but we often get together to do subjects like math, science and reading.

And I finally got around to making Rhiannon her own little school area.  Black Susan approves.

I've also been scouring garage sales for the past few years looking for textbooks and other items we can use in our homeschool adventures.  And would you look at these golden oldie gems I've come up with:
Remember seeing commercials for these babies in the 70's? 
I had the Speak & Math and my sister had the Speak & Spell.
We were soooo cool back then, not everyone had a computer in 1980.
Even though I've been having flashbacks and enjoying playing, I mean teaching Rhiannon, with these "old time" educational products, we do not totally shun modern technology. I subscribe to two online programs, get a lot of ideas from the net as well as use youtube often for watching programs or videos that aren't available at the library in their DVD collection.  One day during our Biology lesson, we were focusing on plant parts and since Rhiannon was munching on peanuts, we you-tubed "Harvesting Peanuts" and learned how peanuts were planted, grown and harvested.  Most of our subject matter comes from every day life or what we just so happen to be doing that day (i.e. the Peanuts lesson).

I'm really liking homeschooling and the occasional teaching stint and I hope to be able to continue it as long as possible.  Although once we hit sentence diagramming, I may have to get her a tutor because I totally, thoroughly, absolutely hated those things:
Does ANYONE ever, ever use these stupid things?
I had nightmares in grade school when we did them.
I'm convinced the nuns made this shit up just to screw with us.


  1. Ya know I home schooled my son but I had a much easier time of it than a lot of home schooling parents because when DFS tried to crawl up our backsides I was able to slam my teaching certification back down their throats. I admit I took a much different approach to the entire thing however and since he took his GED besides just the home school part and it has been a few years ago I don't mind admitting I tossed the book and their approved BS out the window.

    Except for basic math all we did was read until my son was about 14 years old. Oh there were a few field trips and the like but basically to cover the sections I just assigned him reading. It helped that I worked for one of the big education book companies too so I had almost free books on any subject imaginable.

    Once he was 14 we started things like State and Federal Constitution sections that had a work sheet and a quiz or two and then at 15 I just got out my college "little Brown Handbook" and we worked on actual sentence structure etc. from that. Along with a few other college text books that I had kept rather than sell back. Maybe some "experts" can find fault in how I did it but he passed his GED easily and got accepted to college even though we can't really afford for him to go full time.

    I fully believe reading is the most important thing you can teach a child. If they have a love for reading they can really teach themselves and if they like to read it's easy to direct them and still make it interesting for them.

  2. OH and I would like to add that having experience in sentence structure and diagrams did really help when I had to take my college foreign language classes. About the only practical use I ever had for it though.

  3. Oh Carolyn, that first paragraph almost made me spit out my coffee laughing. I have homeschooled two kids and yes it can require much planning. I remember using full days to gather resources. I finally started putting original (blank) free printables into tab dividers in a 3-ring binder (for the next homeschooled kids).

  4. Way to go, my dear. :) We've been homeschooling for seven years and we've never diagrammed sentences. And as an author, I've never diagrammed sentences. So...there's that. Relax, breathe, it will be okay. :)

  5. I give sooo much credit to anyone who homeschools. Talk about adding another very time-consuming task to an already too busy homesteading type person's load! I've said before that your daughter gets lots of "educational" stuff presented to her on a daily basis by two loving, attentive parents so don't get too uptight about sticking to "the rules" when it comes to time actually spent at the deck in her cute little corner.

    I didn't learn how to diagram sentences until it was presented in high school. (Please don't hate me because I loved it!) I think some part of my brain still retains some of the info learned because I do find myself going through the mental gymnastics of, "Okay, does that word act as an adverb or adjective?" "That word is the object of a preposition so it should be "him" rather than "he." (Gee, proof my remaining gray matter IS still functioning.) ;o}

  6. I, too, loved diagramming sentences. It was like drawing a picture of what we were saying, and I liked having another dimension to words. When my grandson had difficulty with diagramming and came to me for help, I instinctively knew to relate it to math - his favorite subject. Once he looked at diagramming as no different than an algebraic equation, he caught on. He had no problem figuring out that an adjective is to a noun as an adverb is to a verb. Or that statements are like equations, while phrases are like expressions. (Fun, right? ;>) He still didn't like it, but he aced it, and Grandma got some cred.

  7. As an elementary librarian I'm glad you're reading a lot. I hope you have access to a good public library? I'm always concerned with kids not getting to be around a variety of other kids, and having that experience. I know some homeschooling parents choose for their kids to have very limited social exposure. In real life you meet a lot of different kinds of people, and need to be able to function. There are lots of free services too, like speech, and other screenings. We have free dental screening, hearing and vision, but we're in a city.
    If you're looking towards college getting just a GED might not help much. Having kids take the high school high level advanced course work (if they can do it) qualifies them for a lot of academic scholarships for college. If you can get any kind of free $$$ for tuition it's a huge boost. They also qualified for grants and low interest loans, but the loans have to be paid back. It just gives them more options...

  8. Reading is, indeed, the key to most everything. I have no doubt that you would (and do) make a terrific teacher. Your busy, intelligent bean is constantly at work. And I can see the same gleam in the eye of your offspring. I managed to fully block any memory of sentence diagramming, along with most of the math that was flung at my flubber brain.