Tuesday, January 23, 2007

January Musings: The Carnival of Homeschooling Week 56

What does January bring for your family? What are you thinking about and dealing with this January? It seems that everyone has January Musings of one kind or another.

January is a month that can be different than most others for families already homeschooling and also for those considering homeschooling. January is a month that can be difficult for even the most committed homeschooling families yet can be a month of change and regeneration for others.

January is not exactly the mid-point of the school year for those who use a September-June ‘academic calendar’ but it feels like a mid-point. January is a significant month. For those who like to count their ‘school year’ the same as people count the calendar year, it is the first month (yes, some people do that).

But in any event, for those who had fall activities, January usually brings a break. Well December usually has a bit of a break from the regular activities but since most people are busy with holiday preparation and celebration they don’t feel like they are taking a break. Most people celebrate one of the major holidays in December and January is when things get back to normal.

Those whose children are in school may have had late November or December parent-teacher conferences and have they been mulling over what they were told since then. Now they are dealing with children readjusting to a return to school after their December break (that week or so that was formerly known to Americans as “Christmas vacation”). And some are considering a switch to homeschooling. The most common worries are: “can I pull them out mid-year” and “is it possible to start homeschooling after years of being in school”?

Some homeschoolers are readjusting the family schedules and changing the routines. Some homeschooling parents are assessing where they are with their academics in relation to the plans they laid out months earlier. Those who were over-scheduled in the fall are trying to figure out where they went wrong, and how to not repeat that mistake this spring. It is time to sign up for new classes and events, and soon it will even be time to sign up for spring outdoor sport teams.

January can bring dreary weather, and some end up snowed in. Some complain of the January doldrums. Parents seek ways to prevent cabin fever in general or try to prevent boredom with their usual family homeschooling plans (some call that “living”).

Those whose children will be taking standardized tests in the spring may be thinking of teaching to the test, or at least teaching their children how to take standardized tests.

No matter what style of homeschooling a family does, or how long a family has been homeschooling, there is something to address and think about in January.

Homeschooling is a journey. Homeschooling takes us on a path that is always changing. We parents are always changing. Life can get easier and then harder in many ways. As children grow, they change not only in their physical shape but in their personality and with their interests and learning. Dynamics between siblings and within the entire family unit change over time. New babies may be added to the mix. All these factors affect what homeschooling style and method we use. We may change our methods and/or our books and curriculum. We may change from a more strictly structured academic style to a more relaxed style, or vice-versa.

I divided this Carnival by the different types of places on the path that different people find themselves in at this moment in time. While on the path that is our homeschooling journey there are those who are just starting out, those right in the middle of it, those who face a fork in the road, and those who feel they may be near the end of their journey. There are the planners who are researching options and information. There are the thinkers who like to ponder about the journey (not just plan for it or just set out on the journey). Then there are those who are thinking about the rules and laws that must be followed in order to allow all of us to go on this homeschooling journey. We will hear from over 45 homeschooling parents in this blog carnival, who share about their place on this path, this journey that we call homeschooling.

I hope you find this Carnival enlightening. I know I did. Enjoy.

Just Starting On The Path

Kristina of At Home, On Fire wrote of her blog post “Creative Christianity” that it was an attempt to put to words part of what has captured her heart and pulled it toward homeschool.

Amani of Sechs Wochen Ferien writes of the Number one reason why she homeschools her son.

Sprittibee of Sprittibee shares an old emailed message she has saved since 2002 which provides her inspiration, about ten things that a homeschooling mom had wished she’d known about homeschooling.

Dolfin at LionDen Landing, Farion blogs about starting homeschooling from birth; their child is 14 months old at this point in time.

Marsha at New Classical Family asks “When is a curriculum not a curriculum?” and shares how most homeschoolers will answer a question from a mother of a preschooler about what they should do or buy to educate their children.

Gena Suarez, Publisher of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine writes that she knows the importance of the role of a mentor; she remembers those that have helped to mentor her, and asks if she is ready to be a mentor to others.

On The Path, Thinking About Academics

Dana at Principled Discovery gives a recommendation for Stellarium, a free educational software program that gives you your very own home planetarium.

Kevin at More4Kids.info website shares an online article authored by Stacey Schifferdecker about reading readiness.

Beverly at AboutHomeschooling.com submitted an entry from the Homeschool Daze blog in which Julee shares a craft she enjoyed doing with her children related to the children’s picture book “The Mitten” by Jan Brett.

Kevin from the More4Kids.info website submits this article written by Ann Bowers that provides information to help parents teach their children capitalization rules, which appears on the More4Kids website: “Writing Conventions for Homeschoolers: Capitalization”.

Denise of Let’s Play Math presents in the Math Forum, the 2007 Mathematics Game: challenge your students to play the mathematical game-of-the-year. It's a great way to practice their math facts and creative problem-solving skills. (NOTE: You will have to know what factorials are. They're easy: for any whole number n, n factorial is written n! = 1 x 2 x 3 x ... x n. Just multiply all the numbers from one up to n.).

Shannon at Homeschool Hacks says are lots of ways to help your children understand how math works in our lives every single day. Here are some math resources that are outside the "curricula" box.

Maureen at Trinity Prep School shares her answers to a Great Books Discussion on The Iliad: vibrant literary devices makes a story come alive.

Kat of No Fighting, No Biting shares a description of a trip this past week to Jamestown, Virginia, USA during the year of its 400th anniversary.

Marsha writes on Life Without School about “Imperfect Homeschooling”. Homeschooling is not perfect! Homeschooling does not guarentee perfect perfect parents, perfect families or perfect children! But we can learn from our mistakes and take responsibility for them as we grow with our children.

Patti writes at All Info About Homeschooling.com, that, no, she’s not throwing out her teacher's guides and trudging back to the brick child factory down the street....her baby is turning seven, and the end of our homeschool journey is in sight, if still a bit in the distance. As she begin to have actual free time, what will she do with it?

Janine of Baptist Homeschooling blogs about the convenience of being able to travel while homeschooling and just how educational traveling can be.

On The Path, Going With The Flow

Bev Krueger of HS Blog blogs about the fact that she works from home while homeschooling her children, and shares thoughts on an article written by Mike Gunderloy in which he offers his take on how to deal with kids and working from home. She says she’d like to focus on juggling homeschooling into the mix.

Lara of At The Open Door writes that homeschooling isn't just good for the kids. This post is about some of neat perks she have gotten from homeschooling her son.

Alasandra writes about how homeschooling is flexible enough to work around a trip to the ER, doctor’s visits and eventually, physical therapy.

Cindy at Dominion Family shares a sample of a typical school Morning Time at their house.

Mama Chaos at Wired For Noise shares a brief summary of an article she wrote on unschooling and talking about how excited I am to have my work published and to be able to use this feeling to encourage my children someday.

Sarah at Small World, has found that the best way to combat the January Blahs is to add some serious variety into their school day. All the regular diversions are great, such as Play-dough, pattern blocks, and puzzles, but in this post she offers a selection of other activities that helps her family ward off the winter doldrums.

Anne of Palm Tree Pundit shares in “Making Connections” how excited she is when her children and she make connections between what they're studying and other subjects or with "real life" stuff. She explain how that helps us to understand why learning is so important and motivates us to press on.

A Fork In The Road Is Encountered; Considering Changing Paths

Elisheva Levin of Ragamuffin Studies reflects reflection on how they are adjusting their curriculum plan to meet the needs of their child including an explanation of how world history curriculum is being taught and tailored to address their family’s Jewish religious beliefs.

Elena of My Domestic Church writes that while looking for a potential program for her high school son next year, she was very pleased with what Hewitt Homeschool have to offer!

Melissa Wiley of The Lilting House is blogging the process of getting an IEP for my son so that he can get speech therapy through the school district. In “The IEP Meeting” she descrbes the meeting where she identified goals & services for his IEP paperwork (Individual Education Plan).

Near Or At The End Of The Journey

Mama Squirrel of Dewey’s Treehouse blogs about homeschooled students who later enroll in public school, and about making the choice to do what is best for each child.

Brianna Dean of Who Learns? cautions us about scams involving “distance learning” “schools” which advertise to offer degrees in exchange for fees and only your “real life” experience rather than offering true coorespondence courses.

Sarah Winfrey at Wise Bread encourages us to enrich our post-college home study curriculum with these free internet classes and education resources.

Planning For The Journey, Thinking About Curriculum, Educational Products, or Teaching

Christy of Standing on Isaiah 54:13 shares how she found some free (or almost free) timeline figures.

Queen of Carrots shares in TTIR Part 12: Shakespeare recollections of how she learned Shakespeare despite--perhaps because of?--him not being in the lesson plans. Also, some plans for introducing her children to him.

Meredith of Sweetness and Light blogs that as the new year unfolds before them, they have resumed their family Tuesday Teatimes and with a very special guest this year, Shakespeare! He will be present in poetry and prose and of course in all his ever famous plays, and scene will unfold upon scene for a lovely visit and perhaps a Scone or two.

Thinking About The Homeschooling Journey, Broader Thoughts

Scott Lee of Dirty Mechanism blogs "How to Educate My Child - Thoughts on Different Options in Education". While the whole article is worthy of reading the last paragraph is brilliant if you want my opinion!

Deep Thought, of the blog Deep Thought shares part of a series prompted by a phone call he had with Homeschool opponent Professor Rob Reich of Stanford.

Recently, Karen of The Thomas Institute read a three-part essay by Charles Murray about
IQ and public education policies. She writes that she enjoyed reading and writing about the topic, but afterwards wondered, "What does it all mean to the
homeschooler?" So, here is her attempt to answer that question, in “Intelligence in the Homeschool Classroom”.

Barbara of Fuel shares an insightful post about fuel, full service parenting and homeschooling, and ponderings on her energy level and presence with her children and a metaphor with leftovers. This entry is good food for thought!

Rusty of New Covenant shares a short reflection on the impact of being a technically savvy college grad, while also being ignorant of basic business software. An admonition to impart upon our children a practical approach to areas of technical thought (especially hardware and amp software issues).

Neal of Another Blog On The Fire writes about some life lessons he learned about Ansel Adams and his father. (I also learned that Adams had problems in school and was removed from school to lead an unschool-ish lifestyle instead and he thrived.)

Barbara Frank of The Imperfect Homeschooler writes that as homeschoolers, we can raise our children to be independent thinkers who do not grow up to become part of an unfortunate group that seems to be growing rapidly in our culture: peer-dependent adults.

Do you dread the day when your children will declare their independence? Or are you concerned that they never will? Kim Anderson at Mother-Lode takes an independent view of nurturing Independent Movement.

Henry of Why Homeschool suggests in “What will the future hold for homeschoolers?” that homeschoolers will be making a large impact in the future.

Laurie Bluedorn of Trivium Pursuit shares the titles of two magazine articles that “stopped her in her tracks”.

Rules and Laws That Affect Our Journey

At Corn and Oil Susan shares a summary of some of the legislation (including correspondence from Senator Durbin), of what is happening that could affect homeschooling families across the nation regarding the push for universal mental health screening.

Judy Aron of Consent of the Governed writes that State Represetative Arthur O'Neill proposes legislation in Connecticut USA to protect parents who wish to dis-enroll their children from public school in order to homeschool them.

The Thinking Mother broaches a touchy subject. She shares her thoughts about about how government officials are asking the homeschooling community to do a better job of policing themselves to prevent educational neglect. She asks if homeschooling parents have an ethical or moral duty to not ignore suspected educational neglect.

That concludes this edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling!

The Carnival of Homeschooling is published weekly and is owned by the Why Homeschool blog.

For information about submitting an entry to next week’s Carnival of Homeschooling, see the information

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Mama Squirrel said...

Thanks for hosting--looking forward to reading the posts!

Sprittibee said...

Wow. I really enjoyed your intro up top. I'm glad I'm not the only one with the January Blahs. We are fighting them by doing spring cleaning, getting organized so that we can go forward with some order, and revamping our homeschool schedule. We are going to add foreign language, more arts and crafts, and Latin back in to our schedule this semester. Plus, we went to get a file box for each kid with hanging folders for each subject so that we are mobile as well. Mommy fills the file box and prints the assignment sheet each day, and the kids have a list they can follow to minimize distractions. So far, we are enjoying the new structure and we hope to zoom into February with new vigor! ;)

Happy Homeschooling, Thinking Mama! Thanks for including us in your looooong carnival! :)

Alasandra said...

Great Carnival. I can't wait to read all the post.

Isaiah5513 said...

My goodness! What a lot of reading. Job well done in getting it out. I really like the diversity among the posters. good stuff.

christinemm said...

This came through my email.

"You did a great job. I really enjoyed reading your intro. I left you a comment. Too bad I don’t have time to read all of those entries! ;) Gotta get back to homeschooling!

God bless,

In Christ,

onfire2 said...

this carnival was very sweet to me because my husband and my best friend posted along with me!
you did a phenomenal job ... so much to ponder.
thanks again,

Alexandra said...

Great carnival!