Sunday, March 14, 2010

Want to get some strange looks? Mention Homeschooling!

Warning, this post has NOTHING to do with photography or photo-editing!

I know there has been some time you have mentioned something to a friend or family member and they have looked at you like you were crazy... We have all done this. But I just found out one word I can say that will drive many people absolutely crazy...

Homeschooling.


Yes, that word makes many normal and nice people cringe and look at you like you just let your son eat roadkill at the dinner table. :-) On one breath they tell you that the public schools do have major problems, but on the second breath they tell you homeschooling your kid is crazy!

They all have their various reasons for their dissent, but ultimately they seem to believe that people that homeschool are crazy extreme loons who have the education of a fruit fly, spank their kids with bibles, and believe that the earth is flat and was created by space aliens. Now why do they have this idea you ask? I don't honestly know.

Funny, but I know quite a few women who homeschool and they are college-educated, intelligent and absolutely sane. ;-) Heck, I have yet to meet a crazy extreme uneducated loon yet! Apparently we don't have any of those in Texas.

So now you know I am apparently a freak. I am not doing this because I think public schools are horrible, or have a political agenda, or want to indoctrinate my kids to believe that aliens created this earth out of fruit loops so we need to worship all boxed cereal... :-)

Nope, it is actually quite simple. My kids are fun. Sure, they can be pests at times, but we have such a great time together. We like to go on little day trips to museums, parks and the library. We enjoy doing little craft projects and feeding the chickens and just hanging around outside. We like doing things during the middle of the week when most kids are in school. I stay at home because I enjoy being with my kids and am fortunate to have a husband who works hard so I can stay at home.

And I apparently don't mind not having extra money. ;-) Yes, because of my kids I can't afford my Canon EOS Rebel T1i or Canon EOS Rebel T2i . Oh well, if I had to work outside of home to buy the camera I would probably never be home to use it. And my Rebel XT is a great little camera that takes great images.

I also want my children to get a classical education, like the ones taught in some of those exclusive private schools I can't afford (even if I do work full-time). I have this excellent book The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home that has lesson plans and gives detailed suggestions for homeschooling.

I also bought Phonics Pathways: Clear Steps to Easy Reading and Perfect Spelling and I have been sitting down with my 5 year old (who technically won't be in Kindergarten until next Fall) and he is already sounding out 3 letter words. I love teaching phonics! We do math all of the time, whether it is counting things, cooking, or just talking. For example, I told Duke our family of four were going to go to one of those inflatable jumping parks. I said it would be $5 for each person, but adults were free. He instantly said "it is only $10?". I was pleasantly surprised!

If you read my blog, you probably know I actually love to teach. And I do have a college degree. I also plan on joining a homeschooling group so I will have support and my boys will have friends with something in common. And I also know that I need to relax and not try to be an over-achiever in teaching. I want my sons to love to learn as much as I do, without becoming stressed out before they are six.

I completely understand homeschooling is not for everyone. Who knows, it might not be for me! I do think I am capable of homeschooling kindergarten and 1st grade. I have been brushing up on my colors, numbers, basic addition, and three-letter words and I think I might be good to go. ;-) And if it doesn't work out, my perfectly good local public school will take my kids off my hands without any questions asked.

Yes, there is something to be said for sending your kids off on the bus to let capable teachers educate them and not having them at home messing up your house and driving you crazy on those cold rainy days... Believe me, I see both sides.

I wanted to note that my little sis Heather homeschools (she has a six and a one year old) and loves it. My middle sis Jewels (she has a 6 and a three year old) doesn't and sends her son to public school and loves it. See, both sides are represented in my family. :-)

If you are homeschooling your children and have any tips, I would love for you to comment here. :-) Advice, book suggestions, ways to stay sane, reasons to not home school; I would love to hear it all.

So enough controversy, my next post will be a photography-based one!

79 comments:

  1. Woohoo! I had no idea that you were a homeschooling family. I knew there was a reason I loved your blog. ;-D I, too, am one of those crazy homeschooling moms. I wouldn't have it any other way...

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  2. my sister in law homeschooled all three kids, different ages and different personalities. I admire all homeschool moms, they have more responsibility and more patience and they are so good at multitasking!
    her three kiddos are so smart and polite, and all have great spirits.
    I don't remember what materials she used but it was a bunch!
    you have my admiration, Rita! and you'll get the greatest reward from doing this, ever.

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  3. I don't have any suggestions...but I work in public education and I am hoping in a 1 1/2 years to homeschool my kids. So I REALLY get strange looks! I LOVE my school district but want to have control of my childrens education. If you can...I say go for it! I am just the opposite though...I want them reading and writing. I want to teach them the information, not the concepts, so I want to start after 1st grade. Good luck!

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  4. Good for you~I homeschooled my kids for 3 years (then hubby went back to college and I helped out by working). You won't regret it!!!

    I read Janet Phillips blog (she started homeschooling last year~she has great tips!).

    http://www.thewellroundedmama.com/2010/03/one-of-the-projects-i-have-been-working-on.html

    *one thing I learned is that you have to do what is right for you and your kids~don't worry about what everyone else is doing ;)

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  5. Kudos to you for homeschooling! My daughter is only 17 months old, & we've made the decision to homeschool her. It's nice to have flexibility in your schedule with your kids at home and move at their pace instead of a predetermined, unflexible curriculum set by nonpersonal school district. I'll definitely have to check out the book you recommended as that's the type of education I want my daughter to have. Thanks for sharing this today!

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  6. No strange looks here! Complete admiration! I don't think that I could do it - I'm not sure I would have the patience. So for me, I admire and respect those that can!

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  7. I am a first grade teacher at one of our local elementary schools. I know how hard it is to reach the needs of all kids. Your approach is very well rounded and your kids will love learning from you (most kids' favorite teachers are their parents!). I love that you are looking into joining a homeschooling group to add dimension and friendship to your sons' education. One of our favorite sites for reading is www.starfall.com . Great stuff.

    www.softschools.com also has some great activities - printable and online.

    Another favorite is www.letsplaymath.wordpress.com .

    Good luck with everything! I have oodles of first grade resources if you're interested. :)

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  8. I found your blog recently because I was looking for photography blogs - I'm trying to learn all that I can about that! :) Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by your post today! I am a homeschool mom in my tenth year of homeschooling. My daughter is a junior and my son is a freshman. I have absolutely LOVED it and wouldn't do it any other way. :) I have a blog with TONS of homeschooling info - it might be of some help to you. If not, I'm always thrilled to answer questions about homeschooling. :) I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!!

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  9. Oh, and one more - if you "google" or "bing" The Florida Center for Reading Research, there is a TON of information about reading and phonics - complete with games, activities, lesson plans, etc.

    A resource that I love (that is NOT free, but oh so very great!) is www.readinga-z.com. Printable books on every level, lesson plans, activity sheets, phonics lessons with decodable, printable readers. Great stuff!

    I'll shut up now! :)

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  10. Good for you girl!!! I just started homeschooling my 3 year old daughter!! We love it!! I don't have any advice (being brand new at it myself) other than don't worry about what others think!! We are a strong Christian family, and I think it's weird personally that everyone else is so willing to send their kids off to a complete strager, (for more hours a day than their own parent's can spend with them) who just might actually worship cereal boxes!! I understand not everyone is fortunate enough to stay home... but I also know a lot of stay at home moms that have school aged children and still choose to send their kids off!! Just saying!

    Goodluck! And I'd LOVE for you to more homeschooling posts... maybe some cool things you have found that work... or curriculum choices!!

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  11. Hey I'm a public school parent, but I say good for you and your family. Anyone who blogs understands that homeschooling is an option that plenty of sane people have chosen (well we're bloggers so that might not qualify us for sane, but you know what I mean).

    Check out Phatmommy. She is a great blogger who writes about homeschooling. You might find her as Shannon Entin. She is a photo nut too.

    Now walk away from the computer and bone up on those colors. Can't be too sure red is actually spelled r.e.d.

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  12. I see absolutely nothing wrong with homeschooling. I've thought about doing it myself, honestly, but I don't think it would work for our daughter. She was begging to go to school this year (she's 3) so we signed her up for preschool, and now on the days that there's no school she's itching to go. She gets plenty of social interaction with playgroups and things, but there's something about school that's just really good for her. (I think it's the fact that she doesn't have to compete with her little brother at school -- he gets in her way so much here.) So homeschooling is out, at least for her. But we won't be sending the kids to public school, at least not in our area. The schools are AWFUL here. Private school and bankruptcy, here we come!

    Anyway, you won't get any strange looks from me. I think it's great. Good for you.

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  13. That's awesome that you are homeschooling! I'm homechooled, and have been my whole life and I am very thankful to be.

    I think you making a wonderful decision, and I hope you enjoy it! :D

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  14. I say all the power to you Rita! I see benefits to both sides and all that is important really...is that the kids are learning and having fun regardless of at a school or at home!

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  15. I have been lurking around your blog for a couple months now, there is soooo much great information here! Thanks for that.
    I was pleasantly surprised to see todays post on homeschooling. In January we started homeschooling using the K12 program. Washington state has set it up as a charter school, so it's all paid for...yay. We are really enjoying it.
    As far as funny looks go, I got one just yesterday. The checker at the grocery store commented that school must be out early and I told her that he was home schooled...the conversation stopped right there...heh.

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  16. Good for you! I don't think you'll get as many weird looks as you think! It seem so me that so many people are choosing this option.

    I was one of those never ever never would I homeschool and we are now in our third year (2nd grade boy, + preschool 3 year-old boy) and are loving it!

    I too started out reading a well-trained mind and wanted to the classical route. I had a friend who pointed me to Charlotte Mason method, which is similar to Classical but has some marked differences. If you google charlotte mason, I am sure a ton of stuff will pop up. Anyway, we have been very pleased her way of doing things.

    A few quick resources I have found helpful:
    heartofdakota.com (the curriculum we use)
    sonlight.com (curriculum most my friends use)
    singaporemath.com (my son can do mental math so much faster than me, it's not even funny! Thanks to this math program)
    timberdoodle.com - education resources
    rainbowresources - the walmart of education resources
    cathyduffyreviews.com - reviews of all things homeschool to help you make informed choices

    Based on your post, you already have been homeschooling! Enjoying you kids and teaching them as you go, learning doesn't happen better than that! Selfishly, I hope homeschooling means you are going to stop your freebies! hee hee. I love your powderroom action...I use it all the time! Thanks!!!

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  17. I posted earlier but forgot to include one thing. One book I like to guide me to good books at the library for different ages is

    Honey for the Child's Heart
    by Gladys Hunt

    It list books by type (ie classics, adventure, etc) and then by age. I have found it very helpful.

    Rachel

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  18. HAha, I know "that" look all too well, it goes with the raised eyebrows and look of concern for my mental stability...we home school our 4 and 6.5 yo boys and so far it is working out perfectly for our family.
    We take a very relaxed approach to learning, I tossed away the idea of charts, time schedules and a set curriculum and we randomly choose workbooks and use everyday life as a learning experience.
    We prefer crafting, creating, playing and taking fun day trips.

    My older son is reading and he picked that up by just being read to daily.
    He also plays online learning games that encouraged him to read.
    My younger son can write and count and all the fun stuff he "should " know.

    So far I feel this is right for our family, will this change some day, possibly. But until then I have learned to say it loud and proud that we homeschool, esp when the post office guy, museum staff or any other people we run into daily that question why my kid is not in school.
    It has taught my kids to also be proud of it and not mumble it under their breath....like I used to.

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  19. WOW, I am so impressed with everyone's comments!!!

    I really appreciate the links and advice, I can't wait to spend the evening (after the boys go to bed) reading up on all of this. It is so incredibly helpful.

    I have studied the Charlotte Mason method and I am incorporating that in my homeschooling. I plan on having many hours of nature observation and study and reading books. We spend hours outside also doing "free" play. I think nature is such an important part of life.

    I can't tell you how excited I am to homeschool my boys. And no, my freebies here will not stop. I love posting on this blog and creating things for photo-editing. My boys aren't too interested in photo headers, exposure, or storyboards yet, so I need a creative outlet. :-)

    Rita

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  20. Yeah :D and PTL!! I never in a million years would have seen myself homeschooling, but here I am for the past six years!! We have so little time with our kids... I love being home with them (most of the time, ha,ha)

    So glad you picked up the Well Trained Mind, I would have recommended it! Just remember you can deviate with different curriculums for whatever works best for each kid. There's no homeschooling police (yet!) that says you have to follow anyone person's ideas. Yay!! Let me know if I can help in anyway I can, please don't hesitate to ask!

    No need to go too crazy for kindergarten, great place to start. Every year I still say I'm taking it one year at a time. Having a good support group for encouragement and mentoring really helped me those first couple of years.

    I'm really excited for you Rita, good for you...and your kids! For me it was truly easier to go to work. It is challenging at times but knowing that my kids are getting one on one instruction and we are able to instill our own moral family values makes it all worth while. And you can still work from home on the side to make some extra money. I figure photo equipment can wait, my kids' future won't.

    Claudia

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  21. Just found your blog recently and I am really pleased to find stuff for Elements. I'm still learning both photography and editing, so this stuff has been really helpful. Thank you!

    I was homeschooled for a few years, so I know the "look." Good for you! I don't know why people have this idea that sane people have others educate their kids. Nothing wrong that, but for goodness' sake, they are your kids. You're the one ultimately responsible for their education anyway. If you can and want to, I think its admirable.

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  22. I love homeschooling! I use the K12 system as well through MNVA. We knew when we were having our kids that we would be homeschooling them, but when it came down to it there was so much curriculum to choose from I was overwhelmed. Someone told me about K12 and it was a perfect fit for me. It is thousands of dollars worth of curriculum for FREE. I love that. I also appreciate the teaching guides that they provide in addition to the boxes of curriculum sent to me. Anyway, we love that we are able to instill in the kids the character we hope they will be the rest of their lives. It is interesting having them home 24/7 and not really having solid quiet time until they are in bed at night, but for the most part we all like to be together. On top of it, my husband works from home so we are all here all the time. It is interesting, but all good. My sanity is kept by going to a monthly camera club meeting and I also schedule other outings for me when I can. My other sanity is that twice a year I go away for a whole weekend with my girlfriends and scrapbook. It is awesome to have that to look forward to.

    For the most part I love being with my kids and seeing them grow and hearing all the things that they have to say.

    I am not patient all the time and no one should say that I am...I am just bound and determined to make this work and for me, in my heart, I just know that this is the only option. So, I do my best to have a good attitude about it. As much as the kids love summers, I do too. I take full advantage of the break and we do NO schooling at all. It just works well for us and the kids love it.

    Oh, and I currently have a 3rd grader and 1st grader and next year I am going to have a Kindergartner :)!

    I am excited for you! You will love it!!!

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  23. I'm a sophomore in high school and have been homeschooled all my life. I love it! I love all the time I've gotten to spend with my mom and sister at home. And I think I've learned a whole lot, actually.

    P.S. So the world isn't flat and wasn't created by space aliens? Really? :P

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  24. I've been homeschooling my kids from the beginning, who are now 13 and 11. It can be a challenge and times, and I'll admit there are days when I wish I could send them to school, but for the most part it's the most rewarding thing you can do. Congrats on your decision and remember that you know your kids better than anyone and are completely capable of teaching them. (We all doubt our abilities at times, but it passes.)

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  25. I am SO excited to see the positive comments here about homeschooling. I homeschooled all my children through high school, except for the first year and half of my oldest. It took me a while to embrace the concept, but then, joy!
    My kids are now 30, 28, and 26. All are college graduates and one is a PhD--so much for the "they will never get in to college" comments!
    The two that are parents are planning on homeschooling their children; that's the biggest endorsement I can think of!
    I would do it all over again in a heartbeat; I've NEVER regretted it.
    Treat being your children's teacher as if it were your "real" job: read the books, make the lesson plans, go to the conferences, and know your curriculum.
    And, then, go have some fun with those precious kids!!!
    If you have any questions, I'd be happy to talk to you.

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  26. I, too, homeschool my kids. We love it!! I started when my first was in preschool and we used WTM and Phonics Pathways (I'm excited to go through this book next year with my third child.) I have since switched to My Father's World--a good combination of Charlotte Mason, Classical and Unit Studies.

    My tip is this: Get on a good routine with housework, school and outside activities. There will be plenty of times you'll get "off schedule" but it's much easier to return to some semblance of "normal" if you have that base to fall back on.

    Have fun!! Soon it will change from a time of doing school to just a way of life. What a journey!

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  27. One thing to keep in mind is that all kids learn differently and the great thing about home schooling is that you can change things about the curriculum to meet their needs. My husband is a public school teacher and we decided to go the private school route, but home schooled for one year for various reasons. One of the reasons was that my daughter totally freaked out over some timed math quizzes that she had to do every day. The teacher told the class that they were not graded, but my daughter heard that buzzer and if she was not done with the page she would start crying. I actually used the same curriculum, but told her she could take a whole hour doing them if she wanted - it made a world of difference. One thing I wish we would have done differently with my son - he was a 4-year old who was doing math in his head - 25 plus 37 and he would tell you the answer in seconds. He picked this up on his own, not by anything I taught him. When he got to school, he was taught the "proper" way of writing the numbers down and adding the columns and carrying the 1. Well, he lost the ability to do math in his head the way he did before. But he is 22 now and at that time we didn't have the resources of the internet. Good luck!!

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  28. I really enjoyed this post - and all the helpful comments! What a wealth of information. I have several blogs or sites I am planning on checking out as a result.

    We are considering homeschooling our daughter for kindergarten next year. Our school district is one of the worst in our state and though we have her on a wait list for a great charter school, it is looking doubtful for next year. Plus, I would love to have her here with me another year. :)

    I was homeschooled for three years in highschool, and I really enjoyed it. We were very involved with our local homeschooling group and enjoyed playing weekly soccer or basketball games with the other families.

    A teacher in a comment above mentioned starfall.com as a good site. I totally agree! In fact, my 4yo is sitting at her desk next to mine playing letter games on there right now on her laptop. LOL.

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  29. I don't personaly homeschool, although I did toy with the idea at one stage but by then my children were older and established at school and with friends, but I have a friend who does and is doing a wonderful job of it I may add. She has recently started a blog as art of her own studies in regards to home schooling http://computersandhomeeducation.blogspot.com/ Although it is in Australia there may still be some useful links on it.
    Cheers,
    Sue.

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  30. You go girl! I am a homeschooling mama of 10 - 6 in school currently and 4 preschoolers. You can do it! Enjoy the ride.

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  31. Congrats on beginning your homeschooling journey. Right now I am about 3/4 way thru our eighth year. If you really want to do Well Trained Mind, they have there own forums which are quite helpful. Also, remember all the schedules and such that have been added to the book were the publisher's idea, not Susan Wise Bauer's. You have to do what is right for you. Even when people do give you those strange looks. Enjoy your children.

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  32. There must be something in the air - this topic is really at the forefront of our household discussions these days.
    I did quite a bit of research into homeschooling when my kids were babies, but then they ended up in a wonderful public Montessori program that has been excellent for them...till recently, for various reasons, mostly to do with delivery of curriculum, now that they're in grades 5 and 7.

    I'll be watching your ongoing thoughts on this with great interest - we might be heading this route ourselves.

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  33. Good for you for home schooling. I think too many people feel children are burdens now-a-days. I don't home school my oldest. He is in 3rd grade. I just don't think I am organized enough. I would be making cards and scrapbooking and telling them, "Let's have art class all day." LOL!

    I do home school my preschooler. People are always asking him if he is old enough to be in school. He tells them he is home schooled and yes, we do get those looks. I love my boys and have so much fun with them.

    It is nice to hear other moms and dads who love to spend time with their kids and want to watch them grow up. They grow up to fast to sit on the sidelines.

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  34. Good for you! I homeschooled my daughter for 5 years--4th through 8th grade. It was one of the best experiences of my life and to this day my daughter will tell you she probably learned more homeschooling than anywhere else. My only regret was in not continuing through high school.

    I wish I could help with resources but my stuff is all packed away and it's been a few years. My best advice --read, read, read. That was the basis of my program. I read to my daughter through 5th grade (pretty amazing that she allowed me to that long but it was fun!). And she read on her own all the time. I would sometimes suggest books but mostly let her choose. It's amazing what kids will read when they get to choose and actually enjoy a book. Devon has been reading classics for years (just picked up Jane Eyre for the second time, just for fun). Her language skills are way beyond most of her friends (she's the only teenager I know who texts with complete words). And she's graduating high school early and entering University of Washington in the fall as a sophomore.

    I think kids become better socialized through day to day action with people in the real world than they do in school, where they spend most of the day only interacting with children their own age. And colleges readily accept homeschoolers (some quite eagerly).

    So enjoy this amazing time with your children. You won't regret it at all!

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  35. Good for you! I homeschooled my daughter for 5 years--4th through 8th grade. It was one of the best experiences of my life and to this day my daughter will tell you she probably learned more homeschooling than anywhere else. My only regret was in not continuing through high school.

    I wish I could help with resources but my stuff is all packed away and it's been a few years. My best advice --read, read, read. That was the basis of my program. I read to my daughter through 5th grade (pretty amazing that she allowed me to that long but it was fun!). And she read on her own all the time. I would sometimes suggest books but mostly let her choose. It's amazing what kids will read when they get to choose and actually enjoy a book. Devon has been reading classics for years (just picked up Jane Eyre for the second time, just for fun). Her language skills are way beyond most of her friends (she's the only teenager I know who texts with complete words). And she's graduating high school early and entering University of Washington in the fall as a sophomore.

    I think kids become better socialized through day to day action with people in the real world than they do in school, where they spend most of the day only interacting with children their own age. And colleges readily accept homeschoolers (some quite eagerly).

    So enjoy this amazing time with your children. You won't regret it at all!

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  36. I don't homeschool. My school-aged daughter goes to public school and loves it. However, I TOTALLY ADMIRE people that can and do homeschool. I would never look at you strange!! (unless my "wow, I admire you" face looks like a "wow, that's strange" face!) :)

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  37. I recently stumbled upon your blog and love it, and I am so thrilled to find out you homeschool! I have a soon-to-be-three little girl and am so glad I don't have to send her off to school everyday. I really like the idea of unschooling though, and I don't think I'll ever teach her set curriculum, but you never know!

    Meanwhile, it's amazing to have a creative partner-in-crime for all my artistic adventures!

    Hope your homeschooling experience turns out wonderful!

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  38. I personally do not homeschool, but have a great respect for the mothers who choose to do it. I am fortunate to have a really good christian school to send my son too, that does a really great job educating in Math, Science, etc., but also does an excellent job of teaching him the same faith that I hold dear . If this school did not exist, I would totally homeschool as well.
    I read Dr. Dobson's "The New Dare to Discipline." Excellent book!! He talks about how the public schools have fallen short & how great it is to homeschool your children. He explains how it is beneficial to their self-esteem. And how it is great even if you only do it the 1st few years. He also explains how children do not have a hard time entering the school system after several years of homeschooling. Anyway you should check out the book :)

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  39. Good luck to you. You have to do what you feel is best. I personally could not home school my son. I teach preschool but he is ready for much more than I can do. I am not reading specialist like they have in his school. FYI-my son starting reading in first. Colors, numbers & alphabet are preschool around here!

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  40. Hurray for homeschooling! We're pre-homeschooling right now, cuz Monkey's pretty young, but it's so much fun! I can totally relate to wanting to soak up all that munchkin goodness & keep it to yourself: I feel the same way.

    As far as resources go, my favorites are The Well-Trained Mind Forums, which is maintained by Susan Wise Bauer & generally awesome, and the Classical Homeschooling Carnival which should be publishing a new edition in about 2 days, give or take.

    PS. Thanks for all the great photo editing info - I'm learning TONS lurking around on your blog.

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  41. I think you rock! I don't have kids, but I have been told by more than one public school teacher that homeschooling is the way to go! Be glad we are allowed to do it here...other countries have made it illegal!
    Also, be glad you haven't met the crazies! We do have a lot of those where I am from and they ARE crazy and their kids DO seem to be less than bright. It is all in how you teach and WHY you home school. I applaud you for wanting to be the one that educated your children! Again, you ROCK!

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  42. I've been a blurker for almost a year & finally posting a comment...

    ... you're not strange or crazy :D

    If you asked me four years ago, I would have said you were insane.

    I don't have kids of mine own yet, but we've decided that we are most definitely home schooling. After getting my degree in Deaf Education, I've seen all sides of public education and I can safely say it can leave any child behind or cause behavioral problems. The last 15 years I've also watched my mom be a public school teacher... and I've seen the bad behavior of teachers and parents. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't at least homeschool during grade school.

    I'm so jealous of my fiance being homeschooled :D they got to go to such amazing places and tours, I feel like he has the much better education!

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  43. I love that you live in Texas. And you are absolutely right, we don't have any crazy loons. Nope. Not a one. If you're leaning toward a classical education, check out The Latin Centered Curriculum by Andrew Campbell. Its classical approach is centered differently from A Well-Trained Mind (we use a mix of both). Also, if you decide you don't particularly like Phonics Pathways, my daughter & I loved Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons - the title leaves a little to be desired, but the content is truly wonderful. I'm looking forward to using it with the next 2 readers-to-be! Enjoy!

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  44. I love that you live in Texas. And you are absolutely right, we don't have any crazy loons. Nope. Not a one. If you're leaning toward a classical education, check out The Latin Centered Curriculum by Andrew Campbell. Its classical approach is centered differently from A Well-Trained Mind (we use a mix of both). Also, if you decide you don't particularly like Phonics Pathways, my daughter & I loved Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons - the title leaves a little to be desired, but the content is truly wonderful. I'm looking forward to using it with the next 2 readers-to-be! Enjoy!

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  45. Bravo Rita!

    Home schooling is a very good way to teach your kids other things as well along the way besides just the academics. Having the chance to teach them "your" morals and values and not those of others that you may not agree with, makes home schooling a wonderful option.

    My granddaughter is in kindergarten this year and I really have raised a few eyebrows at what is being promoted in public school that I don't agree with. If she were "mine", I would be homeschooling her as well.

    Good luck to you. Enjoy these years. You will never regret doing this because these years are the important ones that you never get back. Just remember to take a break for yourself sometimes so that you don't get burned out.
    There are network homeschool support groups everywhere across the country and they are very neat.
    Getting together to do group field trips and such is a wonderful way as well to give those little ones some time to build social skills as well...

    My hat is off to you!!!
    Blessings & Hugs!

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  46. Way to go!!! We will be homeschooling when the time comes if I get my way.

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  47. Congrats on your decision to homeschool your children. You won't regret it. There are good days and bad days, but that is true regardless of who educates your children or how much time you spend with them. I believe the bond that you will have with them will be well worth it.

    I also homeschool my 3rd grade son. We just started at Christmas, so I don't have years of advice to give you, but I have found many helpful websites. You can find them on my blog. www.kyleandtherese.blogspot.com

    I love being home with my sons and we do have many opportunities for social interaction. He is in boyscouts and 2 homeschool groups. We have park days and regular field trips. I have a degree, masters actually, in early intervention, and I am a certified teacher, but I still get crazy looks and strange advice, even from my own family. But I believe that I am doing what is right for my family and I have learned to tune out anything that isn't positive. I'm sure you will have a great experience! Check out my blog and some of the resources on there. It should give you a head start and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if you find other resources that I don't have on there!

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  48. Yeah homeschooling families!! We decided after our kids were born that we would not be ready to let them go for a long time. They are now in 2nd and 3rd grade and we are still going strong and love it! I LOVE being around my kids. They teach me as much as I teach them and I am learning all over again.

    My biggest piece of advice is find other homeschooling families because you will need the encouragement. There are days when I want to drop the kids off at the nearest school and tell them to go register, and homeschool friends are there to talk it out.

    Good luck with your adventure! Oh, and BTW, I LOVE your blog! Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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  49. Go for it Rita! Wonderful memories for you and your children.

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  50. You'll get no strange looks from me. I love the idea of homeschooling but I don't know that I have the patience (or sanity) needed to homeschool my son. Go Rita!

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  51. Kudos to you!
    I home-schooled my daughter for 2 years while we were in transition. We tried one year of middle school, and then just knew we were going to make a move out of state. (one of the reasons was the public school situation)

    I think that sometimes homeschooling is the best option. And only you and your husband know what is best for your children.

    If you have a local homeschooling group near you, I would highly recommend getting involved. They have group classes/discounts/field trips. Ours was wonderful!

    Best of Luck,

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  52. You certainly got the attention with this one!! I don't homeschool but I admire women that do and certainly understand all the benefits to it. Best of luck...you're going to be one busy lady~

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  53. I homeschool too, but I'm really struggling with feeling like I do enough with my younger kids who aren't school age yet. Plus everything else that needs to get done. I'd like help, advice, etc. We love spellingcity.com for spelling lessons.

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  54. I follow the Pioneer Woman blog and she homeschools and may have some tips for you. She loves photography as well.

    http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeschooling/

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  55. I have been homeschooling my fifth grader for two years now and it is truly the best thing we have ever done. I love spending all the time we have together and we feel so much closer as a family, I believe. Will be adding my first grade son to our homeschool next year, so if you find any great first grade info to share, I'll be looking for new ideas! :)

    Best of luck...it is so worth it!

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  56. I was public, private, home, and public schooled--now that's a mouth-full! You sound like you're on the right path--do what your heart tells you is best for your family and everything will fall into place. Not always easy but it will work out. My mom was very open as you seem to be and I have never held a begrudging thought of her choices for my education.

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  57. i love it that you are following your heart. your beautiful boys are lucky to have such an involved and loving mother. thank you for sharing your life with us.

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  58. exactly what are the requirements for homeschooling? i have a while before i have to think about that, as my son is merely 4 months old; but i would certainly like to do preschool, kinder & possibly first with him at home. i absolutely adore this blog for the photo parts obviously but also for the family dedication you have. KEEP IT UP!

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  59. What a pleasant suprise to find a Texan that homeschools & loves photography! I am in my 17th year of homeschooling. My kids are 30,28, 20 & 12. My 1st two were in public schools until 5 & 7th grade. My middle son is a Jr at West Point & I homeschooled him using "The Well Trained Mind" as my bible. It is awesome & works quite well- my son was so ready for college- I just followed it as literally as possible. He made a 32 on his ACT the 1st time & was accepted in all 3 military academies!! I loved the time I got to spend with him & it was such a blessing. My last son is now in the 7th- I still use "The Well Trained Mind" as my framework but a little less literal as my last kid is more of a "hands-on" learner! Thanks for the Actions- I have been wanting some but couldn't afford them. Thanks will donate as soon as I can!

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  60. Here's one for ya, how about being 54 years of age "I try not to use the word old" and have no kids at all, talk about strange looks. LOL!

    Being what some call an alternative, and try not to follow the so called crowd and think outside the box type of person I am, I admire what you're doing and if I had kids I would probably do the same, for different reasons, mainly because the school system in America is sadly deteriorating, and every time you turn around it seems a program is being cut and classrooms are overcroeded which gives less one on one time with the students. I'm a firm believer the children of today is our future tomorrow, so support them all you can.

    In the words of CSN&Y "Teach Your Children Well."

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  61. I was homeschooled and so was my husband and we are planning on homeschooling our daughter, now two. In truth, every minute spent with her could be considered homeschooling because she is ALWAYS learning! Incidently, I went on to do very well in college, loved being homeschooled, got my fair share of socialization, and didn't mind being from a crazy family who loved me enough to actually WANT to be with me. I hope our daughter feels the same way. Stick it out through the inevitable hard spots and you will ALL be blessed by it!

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  62. Wow, Rita! I'm so glad to hear that you homeschool. I decided to homeschool when my oldest turned one, and have been researching it since. I love all the comments here, they have helped me. I am also reading "The Well Trained Mind", its such a great book! I want to homeschool for the freedom from public school schedules, to give my kids more time to be kids, and to teach them the joy of learning. There are so many great positives to this route. I've heard that its hard but so worth it! Good luck and please tell us more about it!

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  63. From one homeschool mom to another, I just want to say-
    WELCOME TO CRAZYTOWN!
    I just started this year with my son. I love The Well Trained Mind and would say you are starting at the right place. We are involved in a 'Classical Conversations' group which is awesome and I highly recommend it-you can google it and see if there is a group in your area.

    I've never commented here before but I stop in when I can and I LOVE the few elements actions I've tried (THANK YOU! I actually just posted some photos with the vintage butterscotch effect here-
    http://thezinniapatch.blogspot.com/2010/03/vintage-vermont.html)

    Good luck -keep it up!

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  64. I wish I had it in me to homeschool and I'm always a little bit jealous (and proud of) those who actually do it. Homeschooling is amazing. Homeschool Moms are amazing. Your photoshop stuff is also amazing. Thanks for this great site! Good luck with homeschool. Maybe oneday I will jump on board.

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  65. First, let me say I love your blog. Second, let me say that after reading this post I LOVE your blog!!! We are planning to homeschool our boys (2 1/2 & one-on-the-way). My parents have been very supportive, my in-laws not so much. It is always so nice to stumble across other homeschool moms; it really reenforces my decision! Good luck!!

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  66. Have you visited the Well Trained Mind forums yet?

    www.welltrainedmind.com

    I plan on homeschooling my 3yo and 1yo in this method as well.

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  67. I'm the mom of four - and I'm homeschooling my oldest two (first grade and kindergarten). I love it, most days. :) I am also pursuing a classical education for my children and am following the subject recommendations from Veritas Press but am not necessarily using their (or their recommended) curriculum. It's a great adventure and I wouldn't trade my days with my kids for all the world!!!

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  68. I wish I had the patience and organization to homeschool, so good for you! I have a lot of friends that do. I love our public school but it's crazy that they see our kids more than we do. Good luck to you!

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  69. I have homeschooled both my girls in the past and we did get really strange reactions. Even from some of our family & best friends. It was HARD but a great experience. One went on to private middle school & now public high school. They all have their advantages & disadvantages. But I wouldn't trade that experience for ANYTHING! Have fun with them.

    BTW, I put together a lot of things for my own kids & have ended up selling them on CurrClick so that other people can use them, too. I think there's a link to them on my blog.

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  70. I am looking forward to homeschooling my little girl. I have 3 1/2 years ahead of me to plan for it though. Thanks for the book recommendations, I am definitely going to check them out. I am compiling arts & crafts ideas, links to audio books for kids, phonics worksheeets, all so that I when she's 5 I'm ready. Now just to organize all that content. I give every mom or dad who chooses to home school two thumbs up!!!!!

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  71. I am a teacher, and also agree homeschool is GREAT. The longer I teach in public school (I do special ed) the more I want to homeschool -- says something is not working in Public ed huh?

    Website: www.starfall.com (great activities and parent kits/teacher kits)

    Get a subscription to Mailbox you can start with the kindergarten one and each year you can subscribe to the next level - keep them and COPY pages, great stuff. http://www.theeducationcenter.com/tec/

    Maybe some of these fun resources will help. If you need something, don't hesitate to email me!

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  72. I can't say that I was excited to start homeschooling, but it was been a great thing. There are good days & there are really bad days:) Next year we will be homeschooling 3 children.

    I have been really amazed at how many homeschoolers there are. And our children get plenty of socialization through church, other homeschoolers & sports. That argument of lack of social skills doesn't hold true most of the time for homeschoolers.

    Once we start talking to people about homeschooling, I find that they admire you for taking on the challenge & almost envy your children having that kind of education...just not enough to take on the huge task themselves.

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  73. Hi,
    I just discovered your blog the other day and was thrilled to find so many things that actually go with PSE! Now to my delight I find out that you are a homeschooler as well, what is it about cool homeschool women and great blogs? It seems these days that every blog I like I find out later that the blogger is also a homeschooler.
    We homeschool too, and also use WTM, my kids are 10,7, and 4 and I've been loving it for years.
    Have fun, and thanks for sharing.

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  74. Ok there's just soooooo much to say about this, so I'll just get to the point.... I loved this post! Congrats on your decision and I hope all the best to you and your kids. I know many TEACHERS that are now homeschooling their own children, that's gotta tell you somethin'.... hehehe. The road ahead might be tough but it is SO fulfilling at the end of the day. My eldest is not even in kindergarden yet, and I get very strange looks and strong arguments opposing my decision to homeschool. Anyway, take it one year at a time, I'm sure it'll work out great!! God bless.

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  75. I think it´s so great whta you are going to do!!! I´m a single mom so at this moment i cant do it as i´m the only one who can pay the bills.... any way that idea is always on my mind.... ALL MY GOOD VIBRATIONS FROM THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE WORLD!!!!

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  76. haha! True! I have been homeschooling for 18 (yes count them) years...and still occasionally get a wondering gaze when I mention that we do it. I'm almost done though...a couple more years and my fourth will be graduated! Then...more time for photography! Thanks for your blog! I love it!

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  77. Kudos to you for homeschooling your children. There are so many good resources today, your problem is going to be choosing among them! I did want to bring to your attention The Pioneer Woman, who is also a photographer and homeschools her children. She has a whole section of her incredible blog devoted just to homeschooling. But you probably already knew that! Just in case, here is her URL: http://thepioneerwoman.com/

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  78. If I'm not to late, I'd love to enter your contest, Rita!
    I'm a relatively new photographer (I've had my DSLR for almost 2 years now) and thanks to your blog have recently been exposed to the glory that are photoshop actions! Thanks for everything you do. You've really opened my eyes to a new level of artistic possibilities!

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  79. Exciting world of home education!! :D

    I homeschool my sister - she will be graduating in May!!! She just finished her last English class with a 97 & has done fantastic!!! She will be attending UF in the Fall!!! :D

    I'm not sure if I will continue to homeschool my boys - 3 & 1.... It's been a great journey & tons of amazing people along the way!!! :D Good Luck!!! :D

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