When I was first setting out on our homeschooling journey, one area that worried me greatly was how homeschool is perceived by my family and friends. I've heard more than once from a friend, family member, co-worker, or complete stranger that the only kids they knew who homeschooled were "weird" or "odd" but they quickly follow by saying we could be the exception because both parents are educated and "qualified" to do it right.


As a new homeschooler these statements gave me courage, not because I thought I was better qualified, but because I felt that people around me would be more accepting of us. Now that we've been doing this for almost two years I look at these comments differently when they inevitably come up. 

Looking at the first part of the comment, I wonder if this person is saying my child is or is not weird. Because I personally could go either way at different times. I prefer the term unique or individual because any kid when looked at closely will show some differences from their peers. No one I've met yet has ever been average. Secondly, have you met some of my kids' old classmates? There were some very individualistic kids in there!
Now, in all fairness, there is a significant percentage of homeschooled kids who have come home because the schools did not meet their needs. These outlier kids have differences based on everything from physical disabilities to mental abilities that fall above and below the norm. But if this is weird then so be it. Any kid out there could have been dealt those cards and if homeschooling is a safer and better alternative then who can fault them for taking that path?

The second part refers to my husband's and my degrees. We both have masters degrees in chemistry. We have both taught chemistry at the university level. We have both been given teaching awards. How does this make me better qualified to teach 4th grade language arts than a parent with a high school education? Seriously, there are so many curriculum choices that any parent dedicated to educating their kids at home can find something that will light the way. When that fails, there are plenty of resources. I am outsourcing art. And let's not forget unschooling. Although this isn't our chosen method, time and again it has been proven a valid method to prepare a child for adulthood. 

I am convinced that these comments often come from well meaning people that just haven't given homeschooling enough thought. They haven't explored the differences in educating large groups of children verses tutoring an individual child. They are only reacting in shock to our newly discovered wierdness.


Nashville Suzuki Players

 My daughter plays with the Nashville Suzuki Players (she's the one in braids). They have played in lots of great places over the last couple of years but this latest performance has been my favorite.  This past week they were an opening act for the Oak Ridge Boys.

William Golden's son also plays in the group and I really appreciate them giving the NSP the opportunity to open for them. There are some great pictures of the evening on the Oaks' web page here.  They can really put on a show!  And when I finally get our copy of the publicity picture the kids took with the group, I'll make sure to put it on here too.


Making an Almoner

Ever hear the term "cut purse"? It means a pickpocket. Apparently, clothing from early medieval times had no pockets so everyone carried a purse or an almoner tied to their belt. Not the almoner whose duties it was to collect alms, but a bag with which to carry the alms or money. The cut purse would literally cut the purse from the belt in order to steal a person's money.

My kids learned how to make a simple bag to hold their treasures. I'm certain a few adjustments could produce a rather nice large bag too.
Using a plate for a pattern,

cut a circle out of cloth.

Cut holes along the edge and lace a ribbon through.

Draw together and tuck the raw edges inside.

Add treasures.

Wear proudly... but beware the cut purse.



I just purchased a wonderful book:  The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer. This book is essentially a guide to reading, completing, and actually getting something out of the classical writings we all know but haven't read. Apparently I am not alone when I say I cannot understand what is so great about the "greats" because I have already talked to several friends who have had the same experience. I have several classics on my shelves and have even attempted many of them, I just don't enjoy them nor understand their importance. And yet, I want to read them! I want to be able to draw my own conclusions as to whether they are good or not. So, here I go.

Susan Wise Bauer is also the author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition) from which I base most of our curriculum. Reading through the classics will not only improve my own education, but better prepare me for teaching them when the time comes to introduce them to the kids. At least, that is my hope.

Speaking of books, I just added a page to the blog that shows what my kids are currently reading. I'd love it if you'd check it out. I'm always looking for good stories for the kids so feel free to post any of your favorites.


Back in the Swing of Things

School is in again! Routines are back up and the kids are reading, writing, and 'rithmatickin' away! I've made up daily sheets for my kids and hung them on the refrigerator to help us all to remain focused. I really like getting all core bookwork done before lunch with science, history, and languages left for the afternoon. They seem to take direction better from a preset schedule than a mother who could be just making it up to keep them busy. They like a plan and perhaps more importantly, an end. I've also discovered that the earlier I get the daily chores and violin practice out of the way, the happier my oldest is for the remainder of the day. For a child who vows to love playing violin, she sure gives tons of grief over practicing it! My youngest has surprised me too. No longer will she be content to play or color while the others do their schoolwork. She wants in on this mommy monopolizing activity called school! And she is being quite specific in her demands. If the others are doing language arts she wants to work on her letters. Math means it is time to bring out her own numbers book and counting games. Although she still plays quietly while we are reading from our history book, she insists on having her own coloring pages and doing a project too. I love it!


One Word

Happy New Year!
I keep running into stories about choosing one word to describe something. I enjoy this exercise in stretching the vocabulary. Each word has a unique meaning and flavor or it wouldn't exist. Sometimes the sound of a word or appearance surprises me when I look at it isolated. This year, rather than rattle off a list of resolutions, I have decided to choose a word that will be my guiding theme for the year. 


A simple routine.
Simple foods for my family.
Renewed enjoyment of the simple pleasures we find every day. 

What are your resolutions? What word would you choose?