Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling is Up!

So, after a few months of just being blasé about my homeschooling blogging--which is one of the reasons I started this blog--I've decided to start making the minimal effort again. The Umpty-Umpth Carnival of Homeschooling is up over at Spiritbee's blog!

No, I didn't submit anything this week. Had I done so, it would have been my recent post on Egyptians and Calvin & Hobbes, so if the stuff at the Carnival doesn't float your boat, you can go read that one again.

There were a couple of posts that caught my eye this time around. This post, by Barbara Frank, warns parents--especially homeschooling parents--about the dangers of making the kids the center of their existence. That's a real danger with homeschoolers, because as Barbara says:
I mean, homeschooling takes over your life. You find yourself poring over curriculum catalogs, spending hours on the phone signing your children up for co-ops and lessons and staying up late planning upcoming learning experiences.

And that’s just in the summer! Then there’s all the time you put in working with your children, reading to them, making sure they understand concepts they’re having trouble with, taking them to zoos and museums ….add in feeding them and clothing them and making sure they live in a healthy environment, and you can easily end up living in a child-centered world. And that’s not a good thing.
True, 'dat.

I'm also one of those people who likes to trade stories about people's lives. I love to hear people talk about how they met and fell in love with their spouses; I love to hear stories about the weird things that people's kids have done lately; I love to hear stories about people's hobbies--how they developed their interests, and what kinds of "war stories" they have. And for that matter, I love to hear war stories.

Now that I'm a homeschooling parent, there's another set of stories to throw on the pile: why and how a family decided to start homeschooling, and how they've made it work for them. Along those lines, this post at Home School Online is very interesting. John Edelson talks about a class of parents that he calls "Accidental Homeschoolers." Basically, these are parents who started out with no intention of homeschooling their children, who may in fact be very sour on the wisdom of homeschooling in general; but due to events--troubles at school, poor academic progress, bully or other peer trouble, family issues--have come to the reluctant decision that homeschooling really is the least worst solution for their particular kids.

Mr. Edelson lays out some generalizations about these parents, who may in fact constitute up to half the homeschooling community:
  • Accidental homeschoolers often have the impression that they are unusual in that they are only homeschooling because it’s the best option. Many seem to feel that this sets them apart from other homeschoolers.
  • Accidental homeschoolers’ decision to homeschool often resolves a crisis, or series of crises, with the children, the school, and sometimes within the family.
  • Many accidental homeschoolers have been preoccupied trying to make traditional education work for their children so that when they finally “give-up” on schools and decide to homeschool, they find themselves with no preparation and no real idea what homeschooling means.
  • Accidental homeschoolers start with real trepidation and often with little to no enthusiasm for their endeavor.
  • The number of people starting as “accidental homeschoolers” is increasing now that the public has broad awareness and acceptance of homeschooling.
Anyway, since Tonya's and my decision to homeschool came from a totally different direction, I find the stories of these people to be somewhat strange and fascinating, and I always find I want to hear more.

So... Any homeschoolers out there want to describe your decision process? How did you finally make your decision? How did you make your first years' plans? How did it go? How much "adjustment" did you have to do as you slowly started to figure out all the rookie mistakes you were making?

Then, there's this post that I found amusing. It's about a girl who was doing her copywork practice, when her brother came in and turned on the TV. The dad posts her work, apparently for the whole internet to grade. It's pretty apparent where she was in the paper when the TV went on, because up until that point, the grammar and spelling were actually pretty good....

Anyway, there's a lot of good stuff at the Carnival this week. Check it out....

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