Category Archives: Carnival

Happy 2012

I’ve just finished reading the last Carnival of Homeschooling for 2011 over at Susan Ryan’s Corn and Oil. These days my boys are gone from the homeschooling nest as well, but they often reflect that  the opportunity to learn at their own pace and explore their interests has stayed with them as they venture on in life.

I was pleasantly surprised to  see my good friend Kaye Swain participating over at Susan’s edition of the COH.  I know Kaye as a monthly contributor to the EldercareABC, Inc. blog. It’s delightful to know how small and connected our world truly is.  Kaye has been a great source of care giving encouragement to me over the past year, which is a good segue to explain where I’ve disappeared to since my last post in May 2011.

On July 2nd, 2010, my Dad coded after an emergency endoscopy to unblock a blocked liver duct.  After his resuscitation, we all began a journey my dad would not have chosen, but that led him and our family  to meet some very wonderful people. Due to his limited mobility after the resuscitation, Dad moved to the Renaissance Health Center where one of us visited him daily until he passed away peacefully and with dignity on July 8th, 2011.

Dad often told others about the wonderful opportunities that homeschooling offered our family.  He was even buried in a biodegradable urn made by our good homeschool friends Debra and Stephen  Bures at Elements Gallery. We had a memorial celebration at the Renaissance where we were delighted to celebrate his life with friends, family,  many of his fellow residents and the awesome staff who cared for him.   Even the  local newspaper editor, Mary Jane Skala,  whom my Dad sparred with regularly over  their political differences over the  years came to the service.

Shortly after he passed, my Mom took a tumble on a loose rug at the local bank. After a long series of emergency room visits and hospital admissions, she ended up at the Renaissance as well, so we are once again making our daily visits there.  The staff and residents continue to be great and will forever remain a part of our family.  (One thing we found enriched our lives when we were homeschooling was volunteering. If you are a homeschooling family or group in the Cleveland area, you couldn’t ask for a nicer place to volunteer.  If you are interested, just contact me!)

As the year comes to an end,  I remain appreciative of  the many kindnesses that have been shared with our family.    Thanks to each of you from the bottom of my heart.

If homeschooling has taught me anything over the years, it is to be an advocate, stand up for my rights, stand up for others and to embrace the responsibilities life presents me.  To have so many of you in my life who do the same brings great joy to my life.  Thank you and Happy, Healthy 2012 to each of you!

I’m not a homeschool expert, but an advocate

In three weeks  my oldest son will be a college graduate.   I am very proud of his and his brother’s accomplishments, but I don’t often write about them here because their lives are for them to tell and to write about.   When others hear that my boys are now older, I’m often peppered with many, many questions.  People ask,  how long were they homeschooled, what curriculum did you use,  what did you do for high school, how did they do in college and many, many more.   I don’t blame others for asking,  in fact, I recall asking similar questions myself when starting out and wondering if I was really up to the task of educating my children at home.

However, I am not a homeschool expert, but a homeschool advocate.  Here is the dictionary definitions for both:

Expert:

1obsolete : experienced2: having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience

“expert.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009.Merriam-Webster Online. 18 April 2009
<http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expert>

Advocate:

1: one that pleads the cause of another ; specifically : one that pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court2: one that defends or maintains a cause or proposal3: one that supports or promotes the interests of another

advocate.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009. Merriam-Webster Online. 18 April 2009
<http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/advocate>

Of course I have years of experience as the Mom of two homeschoolers, but looking back, I still do not see myself as a homeschool expert. Sure, I put in many hours or exploring different resources and I love to share those here, but  I am not an expert concerning them. I find the world a wonderful and interesting place and even though my guys are in college, I still share those resources with them as I do you.

I don’t write this to offend others who consider themselves homeschool experts, but just a reflection on how I view myself and my family.  You see, I believe that when children are loved, nurtured and offered resources, they move forward, living, learning and finding their own way in life.     I do love advocating for children and families to have the right to do so and for maintaining and protecting those rights.

I was recently invited to speak at a local seminar about homeschooling.  Due to other commitments, I couldn’t attend, but I was honored to be asked, but again, I’m always surprised since I do not view myself as a homeschool expert.     I do love to talk about homeschooling and the wonderful opportunity it affords a child to learn and live in a way that best meets their needs.  However,  I’ve watched my children along with others and have decided that the key ingredient is advocating for their right to learn, the freedom to explore without heavy standards that don’t match their learning style and the encouragement to  face life head-on.

I’m feircely proud of my boys and their accomplishments, but most of all, I love who they are, the way they treat and respect others, women in particular,  and their love for life.    They are their own best experts.   One advantage many grown homeschoolers have  told me that homeschooling has provided them is they understood that they are responsible for their  education and their lives.  I have to agree and will continue to advocate for their freedom to do so in their own way.

Better Late Than Early

Better Late Than Early; A New Approach to Your Child’s Education by Raymond S. Moor and Dorothy N. Moore was one of the first books I ever read about homeschooling.    I purchased and read it over twenty years ago,  and I still have the tattered  book with many of my favorite passages highlighted.

Books such as Better Late Than Early encouraged me when many of my friend’s children were  beginning school early and following a very different path than we had chosen.    As I’m thumbing through it again, I realize that the information remains relevant today and I wanted to share some snippets as encouragement.

During the first crucial eight years, home should be the child’s only nest and parents the teachers for their children.  These are the years when the child requires affection and emotional security more than learning skills, when he should be able to get ready for life unfettered by school rules. - page 3

This statement was particularly helpful to me when friends were critical of our choice to educate at home:

It is time to look at the facts instead of at the neighbors.  Just because “everyone is doing ” it,” does not mean that “it” is safe or good or secure for children. - page 7

I also recall reading ,  Without professional training, simply by being herself, a concerned, loving mother usually can do more for her normal child than a teach can.  Parents should, of course, be willing to learn news ideas.  But a mother need not be a trained teacher, nor does she need to teach in any formal way.  By using the framework of every day home activities in a practical way, she can help her children learn as much as possible about the things around him.

If you are just starting out, or maybe in the midst of a challenge, trust your heart, your instincts and most importantly, trust your children. My boys are both in college now and I wouldn’t trade a minute of memories we shared while  homeschooling.  Those precious first eight years the Moore’s wrote about  nesting are irreplaceable, and for us,  late really was better than early.