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What is the “California Desert Homeschooler” and what will I find here?
The California Desert Homeschooler is based in the Morongo Basin, covering Twenty-nine Palms, Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, Landers, and Morongo Valley. Most of the events and classes you will find here will be within that area or within a radius of about 130 miles (maximum day trips for adventurous drivers).
You’ll also find useful and interesting articles from around the web, original articles about how home education has worked in our family, and listings for local classes, tutors, and places to visit.
Who runs this page?
My name is Michelle Huelle. My husband and I have been homeschooling our two boys in California since 2004. I’m not a professional, an expert, or a lawyer. I’m only volunteering my personal experience to encourage you to take the lead in your own family’s education.
I first learned about private homeschooling through the California Homeschool Network in 2003. Because a group of homeschooling families decided to band together to make it easier for families to homeschool without state assistance and to make that information available to others through a non-profit group, I was empowered to take the responsibility of our own children’s education. It has changed our lives for the better and I can’t imagine where I would be without that first Google search for “private schools orange county”. A whole new world was opened up to us and I thank God for it every day.
What does this site hope to accomplish? Why a website and not another “group”?
Over the years I’ve found great joy in helping others, online and in person, to start and continue their own home education journey, both as a Local Contact for CHN and as a Yahoo and Facebook group co-owner/moderator. I’ve learned a lot over the last 10+ years and I’m still learning. That’s one of the things I love most about homeschooling. It puts the whole family in a lifelong learning mode, which is where I believe we all operate best!
I’ve found many people recently that would rather read a blog or receive email updates or newsletters than to join a Facebook or Yahoo group. There were also a lot of people who were just considering homeschooling and would just like to read and be encouraged without becoming attached to a larger group of people just yet. Also, Facebook feeds and Yahoo news feeds are ever changing, with a constant stream of comments. “How to” articles and lists are easily lost or overwhelmed with new information and side conversations and judgments. I wanted to have a place where some information stayed static and one could read without the distraction of other “voices”. There are loads of great homeschool websites, but none that focus on our desert area.
With that in mind, I decided to practice my new WordPress skills and create my own site! With the help of my husband’s network/IT skills and financial support, I’ve been able to offer this site and everything in it free of charge but there may be ads in the future to help cover the costs of keeping a site online. If you’ve found this site helpful you’re welcome to [paypal-donation] if you’d like to show your appreciation monetarily. Even one dollar helps!
Some day I’d love to expand this site to other parts of the desert, hence the broader title than just “Morongo Basin Homeschoolers”. I’d love to have correspondents that live in other parts of the desert to add events and articles relevant to their area. That will have to wait until I gain more WordPress skills and meet some people from the Coachella Valley, Banning/Beaumont/Hemet, and Victorville areas! Interested? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why is your focus on “private” and “independent” homeschoolers?
My personal belief is that private homeschooling is what gives parents the most freedom and best helps us put our family and its needs before what a third party feels is important. Public schools (including charters) are funded by taxes and how/what they teach/offer is influenced by that. While their intentions may be good, their first priority must be to make those that fund it happy, not to give your child what they individually need. They also have a large budget and can choose to use that money to support and encourage their own students and families. Private homeschoolers don’t have that budget or support. That’s what I offer here. A great education can be practically free these days. You just need to know where to look and have someone to remind you that you CAN do this!
You’ll find lots of free and cheap resources here every week. From free museum days to printables and reading lists, it’s all online. It may not be organized by grade level and separated into subjects and courses, but if you open your mind to doing things a little differently than a school system and embrace a bit of natural learning, you just might find something infinitely more real and fun!
Above all, I hope you’ll find encouragement here. I hope that you’ll find a similar joy and peace that we found while raising our sons. I hope that you’ll feel the love I have for every family when I write about homeschooling and share what I’ve learned and found. I don’t want to be your leader or guru. I don’t want to tell you how things should be and make you believe it. I want to be the cheerleader that gives you the courage to do find the confidence to lead yourself and your family. God bless you on your journey no matter what path you’ve chosen!