Civil War Days at Calico Ghost Town

Here’s a great day trip coming up on February 17-19, 2018!

Calico Ghost Town in Yermo is a great way to live some history! And a Civil War Reenactment only adds to the day! Check out some age-appropriate books, websites, and maybe a movie before you go and then spend the day (or the weekend) in Calico!

Click HERE for the details!

I’m Back!

Wow! I didn’t realize I had been gone so long!

I had to take a break from homeschool blogging to focus my energy on my two teens who have decided to take leaps into independence WAY earlier than I had mentally prepared for. It just goes to show that kids will take the reigns when they are ready. We just need to be ready for them to take them. More about THAT journey is coming soon!

I won’t be posting daily. And I’m not sure just yet what I will be posting, but I have felt led to write about my experience in the hopes of encouraging others, so I’m following that with much prayer for guidance.

I hope you’ll join me!

Winter Break

It’s that time of year folks! You know. The time of year when we all get overwhelmed with party planning for all the holidays; shopping, cleaning, decorating, etc. Add to that we’re supposed to be educating our children as well, right? Many times I’ve had homeschool families look for help at this time of year. I hear “I can’t do it all!” and “The kids are just watching TV all day because I’m too busy getting ready for the next holiday party!” “How can we get ‘school’ work done AND get ready?!” My answer to most, especially private homeschoolers is “Why not stop traditional lessons for the time being? Why not plan into your year two whole months off from the curriculum or classes you’re using?” We don’t need to do things the way schools do. It’s just us and our kids. We don’t need to take into account other people’s timetables and traditions. Set school aside and take a long winter vacation. Instead of English, Math, and History in November and December, invite the kids to help plan and get ready. Do some crafts, start some traditions, bake some cookies, plan some BIG meals, and read some great books together! There are tons of winter holiday things to do. The Christmas Craft Fair and Ice Show at Knott’s, The Nutcracker Ballet is being performed in many places, all kinds of great stuff! Make this time of year a very special bonding time instead of adding all the holiday stuff on top of school. Give it a try! You can always extend your school year out into the summer. It’s probably best anyway to be sitting indoors reading, writing, and doing arithmetic indoors when temperatures start to soar!

On that note, I’ll be pulling back as well. The website and blog will seem a bit slow over the next couple months and I’ll be sending the newsletter out only once a month until January. I am only one person and, as much as I love sharing and helping others, my priority is my family and the education of my children. I’ll be back in full swing “next year” after a long winter break!

Thanks for reading, everyone. “See” you next YEAR!

Homeschool Co-Op in Indian Wells

What is a “homeschool co-op”?

A homeschool coop is a group of homeschoolers coming together in cooperation to provide educational and social activities for their children. They are a private enterprise and can be very formal or informal depending on the leaders of the group and its membership. They can be as simple as a park day meet-up once a week where someone plans some sort of activity each week, to as complex as daily classes and projects. Some offer organized field trips. Some ask for a membership fee. And most involve some level of direct parent involvement.

For those in the Coachella Valley, there is a great co-op available called “Desert Valley Cooperative Learning Collaborative” or DVCLC.  Check out their site HERE for details!

If you don’t have something like this in your area, consider starting one! You can start by creating a weekly park day. It takes some time, but after awhile you will gather a group of like-minded people that might be ready to pool their resources and start offering some fun and educational meet-ups for all the kids. It doesn’t have to start out large and complicated!

Here are a few articles and websites that might help you get started!

“8 Questions to Ask When Starting a Homeschool Co-Op” from The Homeschool Mom

“Starting a Small Homeschool Co-Op” from American Home Education

“How to Start a Homeschool Co-Op” from Eva Varga

Fun Periodic Table of Elements

Real Science 4 Kids posted about this recently. I found it fascinatingly fun! I’ll admit, though, my sons know more about the Periodic Table of Elements than I do. They’re sciency like that! Check it out HERE.

Town Council Meeting – Yucca Valley

What’s Jr. High or High School without civics, right?! And what’s a better way to take a look at local government than to attend a town council meeting? It may be far more interesting than a book or website! For those living in Yucca Vally, next week there will be a “State of the Town Address” at the regular Town Council meeting. Take the family and listen to what they have to say. Bring a notebook and take a few notes about what goes on and things you think about while you’re listening. It’d be great if the kids did as well! Then go out for dinner afterward and talk about it. What is the role of government in your town? Do you have a council or a board? Do you have a town constitution? These are things you can look up before the meeting. You can also do a bit of research about your town. When did it become a town or city? What is the procedure for doing that? When I moved to a small town from the city, I was amazed that there were still “unincorporated” areas of our county. I grew up in the city and just assumed the whole country operated the same way. Looking into your own town’s government and policies is a great way to start learning about civics!

From Yucca Valley’s website:

“Join Mayor Leone for the 2016 State of the Town Address being presented on Tuesday, November 15th at 6:00 p.m. in the Yucca Valley Community Center Yucca Room.

Mayor Leone and the Town Council will provide highlights of the past year, as well as a look ahead to upcoming opportunities and challenges.

The State of the Town Address is being held in conjunction with the regularly scheduled Town Council meeting. Light refreshments will be served.”

Singing Classes Offered in the Palm Springs Area

Gwen King teaches singing classes for homeschoolers in Palm Springs and surrounding areas (30-mile radius)!

Her six-week singing class, “Learn to Sing” which she has taught dozens of times, introduces children ages 6 to 11 to the basics of vocal technique. Each week children learn and apply different vocal techniques to a song the whole class is working on. Then they perform it in a workshop style performance for family and friends. She holds the classes at a homeschoolers home. The host gets discounted or free classes depending on the number of participants.

She also teaches a 12-week vocal performance class for ages 12-17 which includes a public performance. Feel free to call or text her at 805 204-1165 or email her at singinglessons4all@gmail.com. She’ll happily answer any questions about the classes and how you can host one.

A Special Reminder and Calming Vibes

If this is your first year homeschooling as a private school, you may be feeling pretty excited and a bit nervous for the coming year. It’s exciting to take that first step into independence. You’ve read all the rules. You’ve organized your files. You’ve created all the documents. Everything is in place. And then you get a letter, a phone call, or a visit from your child’s old school! Yikes! All your confidence comes crashing down. Did I do something wrong? Am I in trouble? No. Take a deep breath! You’re fine. Here’s what you should do.

For public charter folks, you have a far smaller chance of dealing with school district officials because your school takes care of that for you. For private schools, we have to be the administrator as well as the teacher so we get the calls and letters directly.

If you get a letter from the school district, calmly read it over.

If you get a phone call, put on your school admin hat and take a message. Get their name, phone number, and what they are specifically calling about, get the child’s name they are trying to verify as well. Tell them you will call them back after school hours. Most likely the school official is trying to clean up their paperwork. They are looking to verify your student’s enrollment.

If you get a visit from an official at your home, keep your children inside and talk to the official through the door. You do not let them into your home to inspect your school. Be polite and calm while you ask them what they need. If they want to know what school your kids attend, give them the name and phone number of your school. If they want more information than that, politely tell them that you are busy with your kids right now and that they can call the school for an appointment if they need more information, then give them a piece of paper with the school name and phone number on it. They will most likely leave on that note.

After any of these situations, get online and contact one of the statewide groups like CHN or HSC, or the national group HSLDA. Find their contact info and either call or email them. Don’t go to a Facebook group and post. You’ll get a quicker and more precise answer instead of having to wade through all the comments from everyone else in that group. You don’t need to panic and hurry. The school officials are dealing with lots of other things and aren’t sitting by the phone waiting for you. But that doesn’t mean not to take this seriously and wait weeks before answering. Give this your utmost attention. The sooner it’s taken care of, the less problems will be created.

The statewide groups all have legal teams waiting to answer your questions and are happy to help free of charge. They may make a phone call or write a letter on your behalf. They all want to know how school districts are reacting to homeschoolers, so you are helping them advocate for our rights and make things easier for others in the future.

Doodles!

I don’t know about you but I really can’t understand some things without drawing out pictures. Sometimes the pictures have nothing to do with the subject I’m trying to understand! Recently I found a cool series of books to add my Amazon Wish List and I thought I’d share them with you. Maybe they’ll interest you and/or your kids!

They’re called “Doodle Yourself Smart” and they have one for Math, Geometry, and Physics. For $35 you can get all three of them on Amazon. I haven’t received mine yet, but I’ll let you know if they are awesome when I do. But then, that wouldn’t really do because they may be boring to me but really click with you. Go check them out. For $12, you can’t really go wrong!

Online Classes for Teens and Adults

Here’s an interesting site I found this past week. It’s called “Lynda”. For about $30 a month, you can find hundreds of online tutorials and classes mostly related to the tech industry. It’d be great for anyone trying to make their way in this world. I can see a young teenager taking these classes, creating a portfolio of work, and moving on to intern for a company as a young adult. I can see a parent taking one of these classes to help themselves create a business that will support their efforts to stay at home with their kids. Loads of great opportunity here. The best part? There’s a free trial!