Friday, November 12, 2010

LRH - Thoughts on Social Interaction

I receieved the following question via a Yahoo group for HSing:
"I'm a former elementary school teacher, so I feel comfortable with the teaching part of homeschooling. But I am concerned about the social aspect of it. So I'm trying to find local homeschooling groups and clubs to get my kids involved with.  ...  And the more research I do on homeschooling, the more I realize that it's what's best for all of our kids."
I think it's wonderful that she's decided to HS!  Here is the response that I gave reguarding the social aspect of homeschooling:

As a HS grad myself (nearly 20 years ago) and a HS parent – my standard response to the “social question” is: “We used to have trouble with our socializing, but we’ve buckled down and have it under control now!” One of the biggest responses you’ll hear from HSers is that traditional classrooms are an artificial social environment. It is the only time in your life you’ll be with people who are exactly your age! A MAJOR benefit of HS is that our kids are learning to interact with all age groups, play with their own siblings and other friends’ siblings, both younger and older. In fact, I’ve had people tell me “I can tell your (11 YO child) is HS, because he plays so well with his 2 YO brother”. Proud momma moment!

We lean toward unschooling and natural learning, so it isn’t a leap for us to also seek organic social activities. For us this means:
  1. family
  2. church
  3. outside sport/enrichment activities
  4. community/charity involvement

 We have not yet joined any HS coops, although many HS friends swear by them! It can be another “artificial environment” if it is the only social club you belong to. We value diversity and welcome the opportunity (most of the time!) to discuss the choices that people make and the consequences therein. Another reason I’ve eschewed the coop route is that they can create immense pressure (especially on new HSers) to “measure up” and “do it right”. There are many wonderfully organized HS parents out there, many with large families, who serve as encouragement and examples. It can be intimidating, though, to those who have other styles for their HS.
Welcome to the wonderful world of HS – You have a great journey ahead of you! I always try to remember that if something doesn’t work, I didn’t fail, the method did. It helps keep me (mostly) sane.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A brief update (well I intended to keep it brief!)

I have been quite busy the last week since I posted.  Over the weekend we commemorated the 4th anniversary of Ian's death with a trip to the graveside, a balloon release and dinner at Buca di Beppo.  The waiter asked if we were celebrating anything.  After a brief pause, my husband said "yes, we're celebrating the life of our son." Then just watched silently as the waiter fumbled a bit, recovered and took our drink orders!

We miss you little man!

Also this weekend I got my first fundraiser started with my Gold Canyon candle business.

This required a trip to historic Waxahachie, Texas and my alma mater, SAGU!  It was homecoming weekend and the townfolk rolled out the red carpet for the visitors with a slew of garage sales!  I got this beauty:

It's an Art Deco metal cabinet, a broom closet or janiter's closet.  I've spent a lot of time researching and haven't found anything like it!  Anyone have any ideas?  There is a label on the front which has been painted over:

(I adjusted the contrast to try to make it easier to see)  It says "LFC Universal" which I believe stands for Landers, Frary & Clark

Most of the rest of my time has been spent packing, cleaning, painting and preparing for my upcoming candle shows. 

I did win several things in the last few days though!  A friend hosted a FB contest on hre personal page and I won a CD. 

Then I won "At The Well"'s monthly giveaway for October, a CD from Abe and Liza Philip: God's Word from A-Z. 

Then this morning, I found out I won a free copy of the (already affordable) Thanksgiving planner from The Christian Homekeeper Network!

Which served to remind me that I owe a special order necklace like this one:
to the September At The Well winner!  The only catch?  I've already PACKED all 50+ of my vintage hymnals!  So, now I have to go shopping.

And now a few prayer requests:
Please keep my Father in Law, Wayne, in your prayers.  His lung cancer is back and he will be starting radiation therapy today.  It should last 6 weeks, at which time my husband is scheduled to have back surgery.  His recovery is supposed to be 3-4 weeks, which bumps up nicely against the due date for our latest blessing.  Somewhere in between all of that, we're supposed to paint our house (inside and out), list it to sell, have Christmas and celebrate 2 birthdays.  Oh, and the kids are in a Christmas play at church and I volunteered to coordinate the Gospel for Asia tree in the church foyer.  Needless to say, we are very grateful that we've embraced UNSCHOOLING, since that's all I can handle right now!  LOL

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I can't keep on...

You know, sometimes you read something that just seems like you could have written it yourself!  That's how I felt when I read Loralee Choate's blog today "Discouraged: I just don't know if I can keep homeschooling"

I thought I'd repost my comment to her over here (for those of you who have been following my HS journey)

This is our second year HSing, but I was HS graduate myself 20 years ago, so I've been in the HS "culture" for a while.

One thing that I have learned is that I HAVE to lead from my strengths. I tend to try to spend a lot of time improving my weak areas (I'm a project kinda girl!) and then feel really discouraged because I fail miserably! When I "go with the flow" of what I AM good at, my life is much more simple.

Another thing that I have let go of is the idea of a "perfect" homeschool, how things "should be done" and the pursuit of doing it like someone else (those "awesome" HS families out there!) Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to reading their methods, being inspired by their passion and ideas, etc. I'm not against self-improvement! It's just more about taking what others are doing and making it fit into YOUR home, not trying to make your home fit into someone else's system!

A big mistake I made last year was trying to do school at home, instead of thinking about what worked for my family. This year, we've taken the lead into the scary world of "unschooling" and are all much happier (even though some days it terrifies me - my son might be in your basement too one day ;) LOL)

The very best peice of parenting advice that I ever received was "the fact that you worry about whether you are doing a good job as a parent MAKES you a good parent. Bad parents never wonder because they don't care!" I try to translate that advice into my homeschool too.

Will there be gaps? Will I screw up? YES. There would also be gaps and problems with public school, charter school, even private schools. It's really hard as a HS parent because you CARE SO MUCH. I'd love a good day of ignorant bliss where I don't worry about it, but I guess that would move me toward the bad parent category. I guess for now I'll just agonize and trust that my children will learn more by accident than I could ever teach them on purpose. I just have to try to make that environment happen. It doesn't mean 6 hours at the desk, 20 pages a day of reading, competing in the science fair, blah blah blah. It means nurturing their natural love of learning, presenting things according to their personal learning style while they are younger (then teaching them how to glean from other's TEACHING styles so they can be more successful), allowing them to passionately pursue their own pursuits (while slipping learning in like veggies in muffins!)

Hang in there! You don't suck, at least not all the time. :) Everyone has these days (and now I have a Hannah Montana song stuck in my head to go with your Justin Beiber!)


Don't stop - there's lots more good stuff...

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