Words of Wisdom From People Smarter Than Me

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence"
-Robert Frost

Now THIS is a school I can live with!

I cannot believe this place exists!  Seems like something out of a dream ....

Conserve School is a semester away, boarding school (sorta) that offers "semester-long immersion in environmental studies and outdoor activities" for high school Juniors (mostly).

Now be ready to be blown away.... Your kids could go there for FREE!


Through the spring of 2016 all accepted students will receive
Lowenstine Honors Scholarships.
The Lowenstine Honors Scholarship covers full tuition, room, and board. Families are responsible for a $200 enrollment fee, incidental costs, and transportation to and from school. International students are eligible for partial scholarships. "

Acceptance into the program is competitive, but  if your child loves nature, the outdoors, the environment, and is interested in a career in conservation or stewardship, this is worth checking out.

If you are more of a Facebook fan, you can Like them there and see the updates and amazing photos.

What a wonderful thing.

Happy Home Educating, Dear Friends!

Skipping all the Crap

It is easier to build strong children Frederick Douglass quote at DailyLearners.com

Today, as my beautiful 10yo daughter was playing with some of the neighborhood girls, I felt something new. I felt a real confidence about the "social" side of things.

I had a sudden understanding of how much mental energy it takes to survive the elementary and middle school years. I really felt in my heart the exhausting cost of always worrying about this or that drama that classmates get involved in.

This girl "hates" that girl and you have to choose sides. One child said something about someone else and  tempers are flaring. I think it can be everything from petty jealousies to real cruelty.

When a child is in the school world for 8-10 hours a day, there is no time to recover; the student must return to school the next day. There is no safe space at school for one to unwind or contemplate, and rarely is there someone in whom children can confide. I am speaking of the day to day, ordinary interactions here, not the fact that there are wonderful social workers and guidance counselors there to help children with great need.

I know some folks reading this will say "that's life!" and I agree! But, I'm not going to throw my 10 year old into an adult job right now, and I don't see any need for children to cope with adult problems without the space and time for growth. 

I asked my hubby if it is the same for boys (my son didn't experience anything like that while he was in school) and he said, he thought it was probably more intense and harder for girls, but I'd love to hear from all of you on that!

These experiences are not absent in home educating. They are just separated in space and time, and therefore not overwhelming. My daughter can experience her feelings with the time and space necessary to process those feelings.

So when she has trouble with a few of the neighborhood kids, she has the time to be angry, to contemplate her role, to forgive if necessary.... whatever the situation calls for.

In today's case she watched two girls being mean to another girl. She wasn't able to process what was happening as it was going on, but I watched her spend the rest of the afternoon asking questions, contemplating, drawing parallels and conclusions, and coming up with her plan of action (she says that next time she will be extra nice to the girl on the receiving end of the unkindness, maybe help her stand up for herself, maybe stand up for her).

So, it seems that, while I intellectually knew that one of the many upsides of home educating was avoiding the negative social "crap" aspects of school, I knew that only in my head. Today, I got a real vision of how she can benefit from a more natural and authentic form of socialization.  She can master her emotions, she can work out complex feelings and urges, she can  be allowed to both experience and process, and to know herself better.

Understanding exactly how this could play out for the rest of her life is very exciting to me. I once read an article about allowing our girls to grow up "whole". That is my goal for both my children... allowing them to grow up "whole".

Even if she elects to go to school at a future date, I will know that she had this time to strengthen her inner self and fortify against "the crap"!

For a far more eloquent version I can turn to Frederick Douglass who said, "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men".

The Problem with Perfect

Why do people try to impress each other?  I may be a freak, but I have never understood this urge.

When I look at some Facebook posts, its like looking at a glossy magazine version of life.  It looks perfect!  Since we know we are all human, what is the point of trying to make yourself look as if you have no troubles and are something other than what you are... what you actually are is more than enough.

When I run into some old friends or public schooling parents, they often have a packaged statement ready to go about their child's recent "accomplishments".

From the outside, it sounds as if they are trying to impress others, to make sure their child sounds impressive.  I could be completely wrong, but sometimes it doesn't sound like they are proud of how wonderful their kids *are*, but as if they are checking of some invisible checklist of required accomplishments.

I happen to think their kids are pretty great just being themselves.  I would like to take some time to hear what they think.  But a few of these "impressors" can't seem to resist the perfection rant; whether it be about grades or sports or their children's charitable works.

When it comes from the heart, it is palpably real, exciting, and joyous; when it comes from a desire to impress, it just leaves me sad and bereft.  It sounds to me as if they are describing something external to their children.

I treasure my home educating friends because there is  NONE of that going on.
They are not competing with each other, and we have all seen that our children are perfectly imperfect and human!  I would love to hear what you think about how exactly all that nonsense just falls away when you choose a genuine life....

One of my all-time favorite bloggers is SouleMama.  I can't get enough of her blog, and when I was almost starting to believe she wasn't real (all that sewing, and bread-making, and Waldorfy unschooling - could it really be done?) she posted photos of her completely devastated kitchen.  If I could have hugged her through the internet I would've.

We are all real.  That is pretty impressive, don't you think?

Time 4 Learning Review

I love the online program: Time for Learning.  What is much more important, though,  is that my daughter loves major parts of Time4 Learning!  She doesn't love all of it, but there are parts that grip her attention and expose her to some very good traditional learning methods.

Since we are a strengths based, eclectic, unschooly home educating family, we allow our children to choose their own learning modes and DD often chooses to use Time4Learning, completely unprompted and of her own free will :-) 

One of the best features as far a we are concerned, is the ability to switch between 3 grade levels for each subject.   DD uses 5th grade English (after cranking through the 4th grade material because she enjoyed it so much) and alternates between 3rd & 4th grade Math, depending on her mood.  She stays on grade level for Science and enjoys the Writing and Art components, too.

At $20 a month it is one of our most affordable resources.  We used Brainpop last year, but that is really great as a backup to other interests.  In our particular circumstance, Time for Learning is a much better use of our home ed dollars.  Check em out if you have any interest in an easy, configurable online curriculum. and let me know what you think of them.... www.Time4Learning.com

So, do any of you already use Time for Learning?  I'd love to hear your experiences or answer any questions you may have, just leave a note in the comments below!

Full Disclosure... Time4Learning gave its users an awesome option to review their program honestly and be compensated $25.  I did it, and used the money to keep Time4Learning another month plus :-) The opinion is entirely my own, entirely authentic, and I would've done it even without such a great offer on the table, but it sure was great to get another month of it just for lending my thoughts. 

Happy Home Educating!


Relevance Matters to Learning... No Surprise to Home Educators!

This article on Edutopia's site (George Lucas's Educational Foundation) explains how the brain "wires in" new information.  If its relevant and connected to previous learning... it'll stick!
According to the article the 3 key points for implementation are:
  • Keep it interesting by using intrigue to inspire interest
  • Make it student directed. (don't we know it!)
  • Connect it to current knowledge and make it relevant to their lives.
Now if you take off the controlling verb (as in you are "keeping" it interesting, "making" it student directed, and "connecting" it) and instead apply it to an individual unschoolishly home educating, you can see how we all find interesting things, decide to explore that which we find interesting, and then experience that joy of connection when we find a relationship to existing knowledge!  Thats what sticks.
My favorite part of home educating is that excited relating my children do when they've made one of these exciting connections... Love It!

 What do you think?