Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cultural & Artistic Exeriences

Most communities are full of events that some of us never know about and even if we do we don't partake of them to the fullest! I know that in our community there are many musical events, art exhibits, theatrical productions and more that are little to no cost and we still don't use them as much as we should.

These events are great for kids. First they are exposed to the talent of others and gain an appreciation. They also see that if they have a real interest in something there is a path to follow and a way to be seen and heard. To me an important part of these affairs is to have people grow up and know how to behave and be socially comfortable in these environments. Then when they are older and they are asked to attend an art gala they know what to expect and how to mingle and dress appropriately. Knowing these things makes one confident and self assured!

Exposure to all different events (age appropriate of course) is a great tool in helping our children become well rounded. I am only living in my current area for about six more weeks but it is so rich in talent and events that I hope to take my children and let them experience as much as possible.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Homeschool and Technology - Part 2

Today I read an article online about a homeschooling parent who believes that homeschoolers have access to all of the latest and greatest technology. That same parent believes that these tools of technology are only there to fill the gap of what knowledge we don't have. This person believes that computer programs and Internet are simply for fun and games. I see her point in a certain light but then I see things in another light as well.

In New York a new public school was chartered this year that is strictly based with technology. It covers all subjects but somehow puts it in a game format or a simulated way. From research the test scores show that this method works. That students are willing to sit at a screen and learn when it is well presented.

While I do firmly believe that technology can never replace human interaction but it can also help our human relationships along. For example, those with military parents can often use programs such as Skype or Windows Live to video chat for free! This is astounding. My children have been able to stay in touch with relatives that live across the country, see their cousins whenever they want to and as I write this they are in the other room on Skype with their father.

Technology does need to be monitored. Especially if you have students using the Internet. It's good to have your computer in an open place where you are passing by the desk often and can see what is going on and be involved in what your student is doing. It's great to monitor what games are being played and of course what social networking sites may be in use. Safety is key!

I think the lesson between my liberal attitude and the article author's conservatism is that everything is good in moderation with technology and education. I don't think it replaces text books and worksheets but I think it offers a great alternative. My own children have been on burn out from worksheets from time to time and I have been very glad that there are spelling programs and other helpers at my fingertips.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

6 Year Old Homeschool Boy Suspended in Iowa!

A six year old boy who isn't even part of the public school system was "suspended" because he brought a shotgun shell to a weekly meeting held at a church.

The state is claiming that homeschooling does not make the child exempt from following the same rules as public school children. The parents argue that they found the shells in their home when taking down a wall and had no idea the little boy even had it with him when he went to his weekly activity at the church.

While there is a place for standards that we should all be held accountable for I think that there are some things were a little discretion should be used. This was a six year old who is NOT in the school system. Hard to say that you can suspend him. How does a homeschool parent even follow that order? And age 6? If he had pummeled a fellow student at a public school I can see the need for intervention but this was not a weapon or even a bullet. It is pretty obvious what a shell is and what isn't and without exposing children to subject matter which is too advanced for their age how do you tell him why this was a bad thing to take to school?

This is not to say that homeschool kids should be allowed to just do anything but homeschool groups should have set guidelines and clear messages and perhaps they should be made to follow such rules. The hard thing in this instance was that no one was hurt or was potentially going to be hurt. This was strictly someone picking a bone in my opinion.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Not Much "School" Happening?

If you homeschool you know that there will be those days when nothing goes right and it seems that very little actual schoolwork gets done. But, if you change your thinking you will see that it is actually very little "coursework" or "text work" that gets done. Your kids are learning around the clock.

If you are ill or caring for another ill person in the family you can ask your children who are capable to fix meals. Everything you let your kids do to help them feel more self sufficient benefits them greatly! Not only does their self esteem sky rocket because they know they can do it but when they do go out on their own they will feel prepared. After all, if you think of the fact that from infancy we are gradually just preparing them for adulthood then you may see this as a form of "schoolwork". It will also make them better spouses and parents!

Most children that can say sentences can perform simple chores and more. These should always be age appropriate but in today's world it seems that chores are lost on a lot of families. Many people have housekeepers, never eat at home and dry clean everything. Gone are the days of tending the animals and land which instilled a value of hard work in children. Families with all of today's conveniences have to really think about how they will teach their children how satisfying physical work is as well as taking pride in your possessions.

So, if you, like many, are having a day where you think nothing is happening as far as formal education just look at it in another light. Maybe your kids are learning to get along and behave themselves without structure and instruction. Could anything be better than that?