Monday, June 10, 2013

Media Coverage

"Movie stars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, married in 1997, home school their two children alongwith Will’s nephew. Why? “For flexibility,” Pinkett Smith told anEssence reporter, “so they can stay with us when we travel, and also because the school system in this country—public and private—is designed for the industrial age. We’re in a technological age. We don’t want our kids to memorize. We want them to learn.” While home schooling may have particular appeal to celebrities, over the last decade families of all kinds have embraced the practice for widely varying reasons: no longer is home schooling exclusive to Christian fundamentalism and the countercultural Left. 

In short, home education is now being done by so many different kinds of people for so many different reasons that it no longer makes much sense to speak of it as a political movement or even a set of movements. Make no mistake: the veteran political movement is still going strong, as legislatures that attempt to increase regulations quickly discover. For a growing number of Americans, however, home schooling is just one option among many to consider, for a few months or for the entirety of a child’s schooling.

While large numbers of home-schooled kids transition to traditional schools in their teen years, home schooling for older children is a high-growth market, and there has been an explosion in innovative programs for them. Home schoolers have challenged and are increasingly overturning laws barring them from participation in high school sports and other extracurricular activities offered by public schools."

For the full article click here.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Schoolroom Mini-Makeover

I am in the process of re-working some small parts of our schoolroom. As a newbie homeschooler I am still figuring out what works for us and what doesnt.

In its former life it was my studio - a place where I used to paint, art-journal, create and generally get messy and try new things.

I am fortunate enough to still have a space like that (just not an entire room!)  it is now in a corner in our family/play room. We built this house 7 years ago and it has served our changing needs exceptionally well and now is no exception.

The first thing I did was take ownership of a carpet that a friend of mine was throwing out - I had it re-edged and it fits perfectly into the space. While I am not a fan of carpets (my entire house is wooden flooring) I can see and feel how much warmer the space has become as winter creeps in on us.

Of course, my THREE dogs love the new carpeted space and we have them for company most mornings.

2 out of 3 getting frisky!
I also spotted a real find at my local haberdashery store today - this material is just beautiful. The colours restful and the pattern engaging but not overbearing. It is a thick, heavy calico type fabric.

I will be enlisting the help of a very "Martha Stewart friend" who will be making two large roman blinds for the room. Will post a full look-see when all is done!

Do you have a special room where you school your kids?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Exam Season

Overheard in the school car park over the last few days:

'how long did Jack study for geography'

'i am so stressed, these exams just kill me and the kids'

'these kids have to learn that if they cant handle exam pressure they wont handle life as an adult'

'these exams are key; if Annie doesnt score well here her self esteem will be shattered'

'this week her anxiety has been at an all time high, the rescue remedy is almost finished!'

(all spoken by parents with kids Gr 5 and 6!)

I have a daughter in Grade 6 in a private school. A very small, friendly and laid back school but STILL she is battling to get to sleep at night and says her hand shakes so badly at the beginning of each exam that she cant write properly. She loves to learn and absorbs knowledge and new concepts with fervour. She is bright and capable and still, EXAMS frighten her to death.

On the flipside I have watched my homeschooled child just go from strength to strength - learning and growing and blossoming. Having these two children juxtaposed is just highlighting critical weak areas in our current system of education.

I keep quiet in the car park at school. I cannot enter into these discussions. I cannot be seen to be questioning the status quo but it makes me sad - the system has to change - our youngsters have so much more to offer if we just remove the Fear and Performance from their learning; without fear our kids know no bounds.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Notes from a 9yr old homeschooler

How is homeschooling different to regular school?

How homeschooling is different to real school is that number one I get to take breaks whenever I want number two is that I don't have to do orals and number three is that I get to spend a lot more time with my mom which I like.

Do you do more work, less work or the same as at school?

I think I do more work than I've ever done in my life.It's because my class was kind of slow in their work.

Do you miss your school life?Like your friends,assembly,plays,sports day?

I don't really miss my school life that much.I think I'm only going to miss sports day and assembly.Why  
because I liked seeing the skits in assembly and I enjoy winning sports day for my team.

Don't you get bored when you are all alone every morning?

Sometimes I get lonely and bored while my mom's out but most of the time I'm pretty happy to stay home alone.

What are your Top 3 favourite things about working at home?

My top three are my mom is there most of the time to help me,I get to do work on the laptop and I enjoy having my mom's company.

What is the worst thing?

My worst thing is doing my eye exercises.

Would you like your brother and sister to be home schooled?

I would like both of them here but I'd like Levi to come home when he's a bit older so he's not so boisterous!

Does your mom get irritated with you or is she a nice teacher?

My mom never ever gets irritated with me. I'm not lying.

What your morning routine? Do you do school in your pj's?

Yes sometimes I do school in my pj's and my morning routine is:eye exercises,maths and English and last of all timetables and  extra math on the laptop.

Do you have to do chores AND school work?

Yes i have to do chores AND school work.

Do you get homework?

No I don't get homework even if I don't finish something. I just do it the next day.

Do you do projects?

Yes I do do projects.

Do you write tests?

I don't write tests now but I think I'll do them in the future.

Will you go back to regular school one day?

I hope I won't go back to normal school because I'm enjoying being home schooled so much!