Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wheat May Be Bad for Homeschooling

I've been doing a 3-week challenge over on Facebook during which time I cut out almost all wheat.

The challenge ended yesterday and I had bought Mini Wheats for my son, but decided I was going to indulge in some wheat today, especially with the challenge over.

But I feel like I've been in a fog most of the day.

I wanted to blame it on not having my usual morning routine this morning. Things just didn't happen the way I normally do them, largely because I rushed out early morning to do groceries before my teens were up. But this "fog" isn't lifting. It's not just being out of sorts. I can't even explain it. But I am reminded of many homeschooling mornings just feeling kind of out of it and not able to focus on what I had planned or just... not sure how to describe it. I'm now wondering if starting my day with wheat was part of it! A study was done sometime ago that showed the wheat could affect the blood flow to the frontal cortex, which would explain my problem with thinking today.


Does your family follow any special diet? I know many homeschoolers have put their kids on special diets for just general health or things like ADD. I'd also be very curious to hear from others about how wheat seems to have affected them!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Uh... WHAT?!?!?

There is a post on Blunt Moms about homeschooling (link no longer works, unfortunately :( if somebody has a cached working link, please share!) . Blunt Moms is supposed to be a place where moms can be blunt, direct. The problem is: there is a difference between being blunt and just plain ignorant.

Where, oh where shall I start? Perhaps I should just write it in letter form to Ms. Morrison:

Dear Ms. Morrison,

I read your post today. I was, to say the least, flabbergasted. That's the only way to express my feeling. And that was before I'd made it out of the first paragraph.

You believe that people need a teaching degree to teach. Well, I have a teaching degree and I say nonsense. One does not need a teaching degree to teach their child how to count, nor to add 2+2. And once that's done, one realizes, hey, I can teach her how to multiply 2x2 and 2x3. Oh, well, now I can teach her to divide 6 by 3. Okay, let's show her the fraction for it now. And on it goes until maybe you get to a point of, hm, I don't really get this. But this text/program does a great job of explaining this concept. This all applies equally to any other subject. And there are so many things you don't have to specifically teach any child, you just give them the opportunity to learn. I don't need to know about the War of 1812 to have my child learn about it, for example. I can have him read about it from a variety of resources, have him write something about what he's read, do a drawing, maybe discuss certain aspects with me (as I read quickly on the side to figure out what he's reading and if he's actually understanding it). It's not hard. It's one kid, not a classroom full of kids that I need to figure out how to reach them all and assess them all in a way that I can report it to parents. Which brings me to...

The whole point of a teaching degree is to teach and assess the progress of a large number of children roughly the same age at the same time. It is not to be a one-on-one tutor like in a homeschooling situation. Which demands the question: Do you have any idea how many high school students make money by tutoring? Even at tutoring places like Kumon? How in the world do you think they do it if they don't have an advanced degree?

You wrote:
The worst part is that they all think they have perfectly rational reasons for making this choice. They say that they’re saving their kids from terrible things like learning about evolution, or having to get vaccinated or, god forbid, being exposed to other perspectives on the world. They never seem to realize that this comes at a cost of stupidity with a giant side order of narrow-mindedness

You show utter ignorance as to why people homeschool and not just ignorance, but absolute judgment based on your ignorance, an assumption based on the few people you know of rather than informing yourself before spouting off inflammatory remarks. My assumptions of what your comment must mean of what you think about the Amish aside, there are so many reasons people homeschool, like thinking that since they gave birth to their child, that perhaps they'll continue raising the child full-time instead of some stranger and an unnatural grouping of kids all the same age, or because they just know that the school options available to them won't work well for their child, or sometimes there is a health problem, or educational values that have nothing to do with evolution, or perhaps the child has already been in school and things are absolutely miserable (sometimes even verbal abuse even by a teacher and the child isn't believed) and the child's mental and physical well-being are at stake, or many other reasons that you could find out for yourself if you took the time to actually learn about it before expressing your judgement and your own narrow-mindedness.

You also wrote:

To my mind, anyone who isn’t bright enough to see the value in an advanced degree and training shouldn’t be trusted with the education of their child. 

Your assumption is completely illogical. People who choose to homeschool don't do so because they don't value an advanced degree and training. There is absolutely no logical reason to jump to that conclusion--or to start with that as your premise. There is absolutely no connection between seeing the value of an advanced degree and choosing to homeschool. None. One can both value the advanced degree that school teachers have AND homeschool.

You do realize, or know, I hope, that up until fairly recently, people were schooled at home? The nobility and royalty of Europe were largely educated at home. The likes of Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Louisa May Alcott, Ansel Adams... Perhaps you think, "But that wasn't recently!" You should see the kind of texts used in the past. Much more challenging in many respects than today's. Some were also self-taught for the most part. Thomas Edison, after being taught to read, write and do basic math, was, at the age of around 10, left to learn on his own with the expectation he would keep learning things. Where was the advanced degree there? He learned from, gasp, reading books. Abraham Lincoln never went to school and never had a tutor. He somehow learned to read and from there, he read--thereby learning--whatever he could.

Some of your post is just plain rude. Not blunt; rude. Blunt is saying, "That hair cut makes your face look rounder." Rude is saying, "That hair cut really makes you look ugly and nobody's going to hire you." Blunt is pointing out your FB acquaintance who is homeschooling can't spell well; rude and judgemental is making the assumption that because she can't spell, her child is never going to amount to anything.

This actually made me laugh, but I don't think you meant to make me laugh the way I did:

I don’t know when it became okay to take a DIY approach to the most important task we have in this world

Actually, the DIY approach was THE way things were mainly done for a very long time. Yes, there were schools, but not everybody who was educated went. To the point that school districts in Ontario, Canada, were advertising in the early 1900s trying to convince people to stop educating their children at home and have them go to school. Whatever happened during the time of Socrates was not the norm in the rest of Europe and then North America. Many of the highly educated were educated at home, by their parents or a hired tutor of some sort. And given there weren't any degrees for teaching until the past century or so, none of those educators were qualified, in your opinion. Do you think those teachers teaching in the one-room schoolhouses, all those different grades, had teaching degrees? Think again! They took a test (often while they were still studying at what we would call the high school level) that assessed their knowledge, much like a reduced version of the SATs, and if they got above a certain mark, ta da! They were teachers! Have you read Jane Eyre? Gives good insight into how people became teachers in the UK. Or have you read Pride and Prejudice? It was absolutely assumed that the girls were all schooled at home by a tutor or governess. While some students were sent off to schools, by and large, education happened at home. Educate yourself a bit.

There is a clear difference between being blunt and being ignorant. You describe yourself as smart-assed. I find nothing blunt or smart-assed about your comments, just plain ignorance. And in your ignorant attempt at bashing those who don't have teaching degrees and have chosen to homeschool, all you've truly succeeded in doing is getting those who are equally ignorant to go, "Yes, yes, you're right" and getting those who actually know something about it all shaking their heads at you. Perhaps next time you are ready to publicly judge and declare that Child Protective Services should be involved in a situation you'll do some extra work and find out if you are, instead of being a smart-ass, just making an ass out of yourself.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Is It Summer Yet?

I could use a looooong summer break. It'd be nice to just toss school aside for the next 4 months. But I suppose there isn't a good chance of that happening.

It's that time of year. Winter is finally over here and spring is turning quickly into summer on certain days. My husband has noticed the lack of work motivation at school--the kids want to be outside and doing things. My kids don't... Maybe I need to push them a little.

I to push myself a little. Get outside and take advantage of some of the nicer weather. Not all of it's nicer, though, like the 20 degrees Celsius we had--with wind gusts up to 50 km/h (that's 60F and 31mph for you non-metric readers). The temperature is an excellent one here for this time of year, but the wind killed all delight. It's better than the 90 km/h gusts we had a couple of years back around this time, so I will try not to complain too much.

This desire for summer does have me doing a bit of reflecting: What have we accomplished this year? What needs to be accomplished before the school year is over?

My daughter has to have all of her work submitted by the first week of June, I think. Then she's completely free from school work until the fall--well, that depends. She's considering attending an alternative high school where instead of having a typical schedule and listen to the teacher present lessons and such, they have, essentially, correspondence work but meet up with an advisor each day to make plans and track progress, there are seminars to attend and I think a few classes are acually in-class, like phys. ed. and art and cooking. We still need to visit the school and see if they'll even accept her, so it's not a done deal yet. If that's what she ends up doing, then she has the summer off of school work. If she doesn't do that, her plan was to finish most of the grade 12 English course during the summer so she would have one course knocked off for next year. With the board we are registered with for homeschooling and her online schooling, they have most of the coursework available to us all year, so she would just work on the side and submit it in September.

My son... I need to get him writing again. I don't do it consistently enough, but I need to get him writing. He's going to have a big shock next year with all of the writing he'll need to do, especially if I don't get him writing more now. Math, I should really see what's covered next year to make sure to practise the pre-requisites with him and just leave off any extras that aren't terribly important. And with chaos the past few weeks (since spring break, two dance festivals already that my daughter has danced 3 times in each one...), getting him back into a more reasonable work schedule and doing more work, period. With him, I can make him work until the end of June, though. ;)

Of course, the drawback about if it were actually summer is that I'm nowhere near ready to actually start high school work with him in September, so I'd have that much less time to plan, select resources, etc. So, maybe I'm not quite in a rush for it to be summer just yet. Maybe a little more relaxing--outside when the winds are calm(er) and the sun shining--might be enough for me right now.

Friday, April 10, 2015


Imagine you are a stay-at-home mom, a homeschooling mom, who has decided to get back into the workforce.

Imagine that while training for your new position, in a field you've wanted to enter for sometime, a fluke event creates a permanent, painful disability, whose pain leaves you bedridden sometimes for a day at a time, ending that future career and closing the door to most others.

Imagine that you then move somewhere where life is supposed to be a little easier on you and your family. But life there turns out to be harder than you planned and you and your spouse start researching other places to settle the two of you and your kids. And then, things start getting frightening. Imagine that someone in your family's life there, someone who had been a friend of the spouse, is clearly unstable, but hasn't done anything yet to warrant legal action and if you can even get a protection order, that very act has a high chance of triggering the unstable person into action, possibly even violence (and he has access to firearms).

Your wanting to move somewhere else starts to become a need. You don't have family who can help. Friends don't really have the means--especially since you have 5 kids. Your past experience with unstable people tells you that this person could end up doing something any time--and the stress is causing your pain to flare up even worse than usual.

You start feeling a pressing need to move, but you haven't been able to save up enough funds yet to move you and this little guy and his siblings:

If this were you, would you not appreciate it so much if others, strangers could help you?

There's a lot of talk about the government being "responsible" for taking care of this and that, for protecting us. When it really comes down to it, we are the ones who need to take responsibility for helping each other and protecting each other.

You can help this family, this friend of mine. She is sooo appreciative of any amount, even $5. She is starting to feel desperate. They have even started researching other places closer by they could move to but to find adequate housing for them, so far, has been more than they can rightfully spend.

Please help them in any way you can. Maybe it'll be $5, $10, or even $50 or $100. Maybe it'll be sharing the GoFundMe link to your friends and family and on your blog or Twitter or Facebook. Go to GoFundMe now and help:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Can You Help Out This Family?

I don't know that I've ever posted something like this here. I am now. This time, the people involved are a personal friend and her family, including this cutie:

They are in a sticky situation and the GoFundMe details don't even share it all. They have 5 kids at home, my friend is disabled, their rental is not in great shape (but with 5 kids, their options are limited), and then the added serious issue discussed on the GoFundMe page. They have a serious need to move ASAP. And not just move, but to get settled somewhere far from where they are now, where they will be financially okay, which means moving to the other side of the country where the cost of living is much cheaper. You can help. Every dollar counts. If you can only donate $1, it will help. If you can do $5 or even $10, don't think, "Oh, it's not much, it's not going to make a difference." If 1000 people visit the page and donate $5 each, that's $5000 to help my friend and her family. If everybody donates at least $10, then $10 000. Every dollar makes a difference.

Please visit their GoFundMe page http://www.gofundme.com/qy3u3gw , share their page on Facebook, Twitter, your own blog, anywhere where people might see and can help. And remember, any amount you can give them will make a difference.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thoroughly Enjoying Spring Break!

I made a list last Sunday of all the things I could work on this week.

And almost none have been touched.

My husband and I talked about spending the day out with the kids somewhere.

We ended up staying home.

Our daughter has been going hard on a sewing project, that she has either finished or is just about finished--a large Toothless stuffed animal. We don't have a proper sewing space, so our dining room table has been taken up all week and we've eaten at the eat-in counter in a very relaxed manner.

We had gorgeous weather a couple of days ago, enjoyed being outside on the deck, my son had a 3-day sleepover at his cousins' where they, too enjoyed the sun (18C/64F in the shade).

Then April 1st hit and Mother Nature played a practical joke on us and hit us with a mini-blizzard and at least a few inches of snow and below-freezing temperatures.

But I'm still enjoying my spring break. :) It's nice to have a real break. It's been a bit like a stay-cation where we have mostly just relaxed, puttered about and enjoyed computer time and for me, even more reading time than normal.

Some school districts have two-week long spring breaks; I kind of wish we did. I know we still have the long weekend ahead of us, but I just feel like I could use a longer break, especially with winter having snuck back in a bit.

At some point, though, before the end of spring break, I will have to sit myself down and do some sort of planning for at least Tuesday.