Homeschooling Thru High School

We homeschooled all the way through high school! Yep. We did it.

I’m not surprised that we continued to homeschool through high school. It was the plan from the start really. I was open to changes along the way and we did make some adjustments over the years, but whether the road was rough or smooth, whenever we looked at another road, the road that formal school was on, just didn’t seem to fit. What has really struck me is how early and quickly my sons have moved toward independence.

Let me start by saying we have used an eclectic style that started with “attachment parenting” and moved into a leadership education model. The leadership education model was really for me. It’s what I’ve been doing for myself the last twelve years and my children benefitted from my personal education journey by getting to hear my stories, hear me read books aloud, and knowing first hand what a love of learning looked like. I didn’t “teach” them when they were younger. We decided to delay any academics and allow them to be children. We helped them with the projects they took on, took them places that looked interesting, spent lots of days exploring the world. It was a magical time and I only wish I was aware of how short that time would be while I was in it.

As they grew, we took more of a “radical unschooling” approach. Our home had no hard and fast rules. We used no formal curriculum. We spent our days much like we would if the kids were on vacation. We went places like zoos, museums, and camping trips. We read books, watched tv, went to the movies, and played video games. We met with other homeschool friends and had parties.

The traditional “school subjects” were “offered” as required by our state, but we offered them in very different ways and they weren’t required to study them. Language Arts was offered through books and games. Science through museums, experiments, and videos. History through movies, tv, and historical sites. Math through cooking, games, and other adventures that needed basic math skills. Once my sons hit their teens they took on a new sport, motocross. They bought old bikes, fixed them up, found out about race tracks, and we’ve been supporting them through that for the last four years. Most of their “education” has been centered on that sport since then.

All of this has been pretty expected and a slow and steady progression for all of us. And then they turned sixteen!

At fifteen and half they were both chomping at the bit to get a driver’s license. They took the online class and the behind the wheel training through a private company in town, made an appointment one day after their sixteenth birthday and came home with a license. That was the first test they ever took.

At sixteen they began looking for work. The oldest lucked out when a restaurant opened in town and they had a mass hire. He worked there for about six months and saved most of the money. He had a plan to visit Europe when he turned seventeen and nothing was going to stop him. The week before his seventeenth birthday he took off for a two-week trip on his own. I’ve never been so terrified. The boy had never spent the night away from home! But he had the whole thing planned out, the ticket, a place to stay, a cell phone that would work. Long story short, he ended up volunteering on a farm, deciding to stay a year, and going through immigration for a work permit. I made him a diploma from our own high school and emailed a “permission slip” for his immigration papers. At the time I write this, he’s not yet eighteen. He’ll be back in a few months with his new girlfriend and they’ll be finding ways to start their lives together here.

The youngest has a different path so far. He’s still looking for work. It’s no small task in a small town. He’s been doing odd jobs for a neighbor for cash. He’s taken up reading, guitar, and 3D modeling. He enrolled in the community college and will start classes in a couple weeks. When he took the assessment tests for the college, he tested into college English and almost into college Algebra. Not bad at all. He’s still considered a high school student for this semester because I was under the impression that high school “dual enrollment” students could take some classes for free, but it turns out that’s only at the big city schools. That’s ok though. He enrolled as a private high school student with no trouble. I made him traditional transcripts and he’s taken on the responsibility just fine.

So here I am. One kid graduated and out in the world. One almost so with one foot in college. They seem happy and well adjusted, almost normal. I say almost because they are very different from kids their age and they are very much “nerds” by any standard. Homeschooling works. You don’t need a curriculum. You don’t need oversight. You don’t need to fight and argue with your kids. You can just live with them, support their dreams, treat them like roommates, and they will eventually just take off.

Changes

Hey, folks!

This website needs to go through some changes, so I won’t be blogging on a regular basis here anymore. My goal at first was to have a web-based place to find things to do in the area, for those that don’t want to follow social media. But, since I’m not homeschooling my own children anymore and have moved on to other things, I’m just not in the loop to keep that kind of blog going. So, this site will have to change a bit.

For now, it will stay static. There will be links to information about how to get started, forms you can use for your own homeschool, and contact info in case you want to talk to a live person.

Privately homeschooling our children has changed all our lives for the better. I want to share that with the world, but I’m starting to think the only way I can do that effectively is by watching our kids move out into the world and be awesome humans.

I’m still here, so if you want help or have questions, please send me an email. I’d be happy to chat!

This Fight is Not Over

From ParentsUnited4Kids.com

“We celebrated for a brief moment yesterday, upon hearing the news that Assemblymember Jose Medina is amending AB2756. The portion of the legislation that mandates fire inspections in our homes will be omitted. The piece that remains, and potentially new pieces to be added, is aimed at data collection. What does this mean?

The staffers in Medina’s office couldn’t really give anyone a clear picture of just what exactly this meant beyond including a section on the PSA that distinguishes ‘type’ of homeschool (i.e. Virtual, charter, online, or ‘traditional’).

This is what we know: Data collection will allow them to separate us into smaller groups and smaller groups are easier to target. We also know that California’s politicians are shrewd and patient. This will be Step 1. They WILL be back with more legislation that aims to restrict our rights.

Bottom line, this bill needs to go. There is no crisis calling for restrictive legislation. Or data collection. Our legislators should focus on more pressing issues, like poverty, homelessness, or the fact that our public education system ranks near dead last in the country.

Please take a moment to call Assemblymember Jose Medina’s office and ask him to pull AB2756. Be polite. You could even throw in a “We understand Mr. Medina’s concern after seeing the Turpin story. It was horrific. No one wants to see children being harmed. But, we need to see it for what it was – an aberration. There is no crisis in California homeschooling.”

Things you “need” to Homeschool Preschool and Kindergarten

Recently, I’ve heard a lot of people promoting the idea of enrolling in a public charter school for Preschool (Transitional Kindergarten) and Kindergarten so that a family can get funds for classes and supplies. But exactly what kind of classes and supplies do you need for kids under “school age”? When we first started homeschooling it was because we wanted to do things differently than the public schools. It wasn’t that I thought I could do school better at home. And we didn’t start off as unschoolers. Especially for Pre-K and K, I thought my sons just weren’t just ready for a classroom situation yet and wanted to hold off on academics. I’d read about delayed academics and thought it was a good fit for my sons. They were active and inquisitive and really didn’t seem to look like they were ready to sit still and learn to read and write yet. I had already started to look into homeschooling and I knew preschool wasn’t required in California. I knew that kids were just as ready for school if they played freely and were read to instead of going to preschool, so we held off on that. Then I found out that Kindergarten is also not mandatory. My sons were perfectly happy not going to school so far. They were reading and writing, playing games, going places and learning every day. Why would I send them away to learn?

So my husband and I decided that we would use Kindergarten as a test kind of year. We would make and keep all the records required of us as a private school, but not file as one since Kindergarten isn’t mandatory. If it was working, then we’d file the following year when our oldest entered first grade.

It worked very well and we’ve continued for the last 11 years!

So what do you need to homeschool Pre-K and Kindergarten? Here’s a list.

  1. A public library.
  2. An internet connection and a way to print things.
  3. A car to get places, or a bus pass and time.
  4. Food. Lots of it.
  5. Happy and loving parents.

You don’t need a curriculum. Everything your child needs to learn in Kindergarten is available online for free. They need to play, explore, create and have a loving parent around to help them find things.

They also don’t need classes. They may want to explore something like scouts, though. And the city’s parks and recreation classes are pretty cheap for experiencing some new thing and socializing with other kids. The park is a great place for finding friends and cooperative play. Local homeschool groups on Facebook are great for finding friends to go to the park with!

If you live near a museum, zoo, or regional/national park, it’s a great investment (if you can) to get a family membership. If you can’t swing the cost, watch Facebook groups for free days and group tickets. Or put together a field trip/tour yourself and invite your local group.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you really don’t want to be distracted by what a third party (school) is going to tell you that you NEED to do to give your child a good start. Take your child’s education into your own hands, especially for Pre-K and Kindergarten. Give it a try on your own first, when your kids really do just want to be with you.

Take this time to learn about education, read books, go to conventions, talk with veteran homeschoolers, follow blogs. There’s so much more out there than the public school route. If you find later on that your kids would like to take outside classes or buy science kits and curriculum you just can’t afford on your own, then by all means, use the public charters! That’s what public education should be, something to boost people up so that all kids can have access to education supplies. But don’t let the system tell you that your 4 or 5 year old needs to be in several classes, learning to read and write formally, and studying math and science through a step by step curriculum to succeed in this world. They don’t. They need you showing them what it means to be a human. They need you to read to them whenever they want and to introduce them to new stories, places, and experiences. They need you to ask them questions and listen to them talk. They need you to answer their questions and show them how you find the answers. They need to see the wonder that you express when you find something interesting. All of that is free and unregulated. Try it!

Deschool Yourself

I just finished listening to an overview of these podcasts and I can’t wait to listen to the next eight! Many of my favorite authors and speakers in one series of awesome talks to get US, the adults, to deschool ourselves, take the responsibility for our own education, and become better people. It’s the path to greater home education!

Deschool Yourself – An Eight Part Audio Production on Healing the Fifteen Thousand Hour Infliction of Public School

Homeschool Day at Riley’s Stone Soup Farm!

Located in Oak Glen, Riley’s Stone Soup Farm is hosting two home school day
programs in the near future and YOU are invited! Programs like these are what made up MOST of my children’s elementary education. There’s so much you can do to prepare before you go and follow up with afterward! For the Farmhand Adventure, find some books set around the 1860’s. What was going on in the United States at that time? Who was the president? How many states did we have? Who was a prominent scientist at the time? What was going on around the rest of the world?

There’s a great site about Little House on the Prairie HERE, that has tons of information from and about the books. Reading one of those books out loud might be a great place to start!

Here’s a great list of books about the time of the Gold Rush in California that was going on around the time that The Stone Soup Farm was being started! They’d be great to look into before the California Pioneer tour. My favorite is “By the Great Horn Spoon”!

The Civil War was also being fought at the time. My favorite books that my boys and I read were “The Red Badge of Courage” and “Rifles For Watie”.

“The Yearling” by Rawlings, would also be a great book to read that would tie into the time period!

The tours coming up next are The California Pioneer Tour on March 29th and The Farmhand Adventure program on June 1st.

Please visit their website for more details. Reservations over the phone are required.

Riley’s Stone Soup Farm & Heritage Orchard
12131 S. Oak Glen Rd.
Oak Glen, Ca 92399