Homeschooling the Late Bloomer
by Carolyn Forte
More than thirty years ago, as a college student, I worked as an aide at Carl Harvey School for the Orthopedically Handicapped in Orange County, California. During two summers working with severely handicapped children, I learned that “experts” can help and advise, but that the very best results come only with the efforts of dedicated parents who are willing to spend limitless hours with their handicapped children. Conversely, I learned that any parent who gives a school or therapist all the responsibility for educating or training his child, physically or mentally, had better seriously lower his expectations. One would think that this kind of information was a given for most homeschoolers. Most of us are homeschooling at least in part because we have rejected the “experts” and decided that we can do a better job ourselves. It is clear, however, to anyone watching the homeschool movement today that the “experts” are moving back in and therein lies the danger.
The definitions and types of handicaps have exploded since the 1960’s. Where once we thought of a child who was deaf, blind or physically handicapped as disabled, we now have a disability to fit almost everyone and a host of “experts” to match. This proliferation of “disabilities” makes a handsome addition to the GNP but it leaves a lot of pain and agony in its wake.
As a classroom teacher in the 1970’s, I had my share of so called “learning disabled” children in my classes. Without exception, the district offered no real help except to recommend drugs. As far as I could see, drugs only created “drugged” children, more manageable, but heartbreaking. Most of these were just normal children in an inappropriate setting. I don’t know what causes all the “LD’s” we are seeing today. It could be allergies, vaccines, TV, preschool, food additives, sugar, drugs, a lack of fresh air and appropriate exercise, a whole host of unknowns, or maybe it is a mirage—a phantom “ailment” that would be instantly cured by removing the irritant, school. At any rate, after 14 years of homeschooling and seven years as an ISP principal, I am more sure than ever that the best help for children with problems will come from a devoted, caring parent. Experts may be cautiously consulted, but seldom will real help of any kind, come from a public school district. More and more, I fear that many “experts” are our children’s worst enemies. Experts give us schedules of normalcy. Every child is measured from birth against a series of “norms”. From birth weight to the SAT, our children are compared to a phantom “norm” child. Those who come tolerably close are left alone. Those who stray too far from the mid line are tested, remediated, medicated and otherwise labeled. Parents become frantic in their search for a “cure” for what may be entirely within the normal range for the human race, although outside the limits set be the “experts”.
When children fail to fit within the limits set by the educational elite, they are called “learning disables” or LD. There is now a whole fistful of noxious LD labels one or more of which can be easily attached to any child (or adult) at all. Americans have so eagerly embraced learning disabilities that they will happily attach them to luminaries like Edison and Einstein. Instead of tossing the labels as clearly absurd, they validate them!
It took a long time and much study and observation, but I have become convinced that in the vast majority of cases, “learning disabilities” are more in the mind of the beholder than in the object of the labeling. If we could relax and allow our children to grow naturally instead of worrying about meeting the artificial timelines made up in ivory towers by people who have a great deal to gain by creating disabilities to treat, we could save ourselves and our children a great deal of pain, anxiety and frustration.
Our younger daughter was hyperactive from conception. She thumped and bumped around inside me, pushing and shoving and generally being a pain in the ribs. I should have known she would be a black belt one day. As an infant she was everywhere at once. Changing her was like trying to diaper a tornado. She climbed everything in sight. Restaurants were out of the question. In the market, I resorted to tying her shoelaces together to keep her in the seat of the cart. At 13 months, she was climbing eight-foot playground ladders and going down the slides alone. I stood underneath but she never fell. She was strong and coordinated but she had to move all the time. I tried to give her plenty of opportunity to work off her overabundance of energy; we even had a little indoor gym and Wonder Horse. Tylene seldom rode sitting; she preferred to bounce for all she was worth while standing in the saddle. Being thrown occasionally didn’t bother her a bit.
Tylene could sing a tune perfectly in pitch when she was less than a year old. At three, she started playing the piano by ear, plunking out difficult, chromatic melodies she had heard me sing. She was clearly gifted musically and athletically, but at six, she could not identify most letters or associate any of them with sounds. If she had been tested by an “expert”, I am certain we would have been informed that she had “auditory processing” problems and couldn’t learn to read using phonics. In light of her musical processing skills, it would be absurd to say there was something wring with the way her brain “processed” sounds, however, it is entirely reasonable to say that she had not matured sufficiently to easily connect sounds and symbols on a printed page. Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore call the point at which children are mature enough to easily learn to read the Integrated Maturity Level or IML. Tylene had clearly not reached her IML at six.
Tylene also had difficulty in other academic areas. She could not copy from a board or a book. She could trace large letters but her hand-eye coordination was poor. When she could not learn to read we did not worry at first. Her eyesight was normal, her hearing was obviously exceptional. Her older sister hadn’t read until age eight, so we waited for the time when Tylene would start to catch on. However, at eight, she still didn’t know the whole alphabet, let alone associate the letters with sounds. She really wanted to read, and was embarrassed that she could not. No matter what we did, she just could not get it. We prayed, researched, read, asked friends with late bloomers for their ideas, all seemingly to no avail.
Reading wasn’t the only difficult subject. Tylene was slow to grasp math too. Writing was torture and memorizing scripture was very difficult for her. This last was especially hard on her as she loved her AWANA club and was determined to complete every handbook, which meant a lot of Bible memorization. Did I mention she was also strong willed. When she decided to do something, nothing would deter her. She would work and work and work through tears, frustration and anger to achieve her goal. However, even this level of determination did not help her to read – yet.
Eventually, I learned that she seemed to be on an academic schedule that was approximately two years behind her older sister (putting her four years behind Tenaya academically). If Tenaya learned it at eight, Tylene learned it at about age ten. She finally began reading when she was 10 ½. It happened literally overnight, just as Dr. Moore had predicted. We had no formal reading program; she had just been slowly learning the letter sounds. She could recognize the sounds by age 10, but connecting them into words did not happen until suddenly one day she discovered that she could do it. From then on, she simply read until she caught up with her “grade level” when she was about 16. Writing was also slow to come. She did not write much at all until she was 13. Her manuscript was pretty sloppy until at 15 she decided to take up calligraphy. She never did adopt cursive writing for more than her signature, but her manuscript is beautiful and easy to read.
Where is this very late bloomer now? At age 20, she is enjoying her second year of college with a major in Theology. The girl with poor hand-eye coordination as a child is now an accomplished artist who creates beautiful, handmade greeting cards for her friends and family. She has been a karate instructor since achieving her black belt at 16. She is an intern for a church high school youth group. Does it matter now, that she didn’t read until she was ten? Should I have taken her to a host of experts to treat her for dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, ODD, etc.? I thank God I did not. I knew that she would be crippled by the system so I kept her out of it. We were blessed to meet Dr. and Mrs. Moore early in our homeschooling adventure. Dr. Moore said that things would “click” normally between the ages of 8 and 12. Tylene was ahead of schedule at 10 1/12!
The “experts” with their rigid schedules, forcing everyone to read and count at six, have a great scheme going. By cutting as much as six years out of the normal developmental schedule, they guarantee a livelihood for themselves and physical, psychological, and financial pain for thousands of families. If you want to know what orthodox research has to say about learning and child development, read Better Late than Early or School Can Wait by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore.
As a former classroom teacher, it was not easy for me to accept the concepts of delayed academics and “unschooling” in general. I had to learn over time that the rigid learning schedules I was used to were unnecessary and perhaps even harmful. Both of our daughters learned to read easily (without any formal lessons or methods) once they were ready. So, what did we do all those years before Tylene could read at her “grade level”? We lived life and played games. I read to them for hours. The girls were always with me, helping great-grandma, running errands for grandma, working at church and inventing businesses. They were involved in an integrated (handicapped and non-handicapped) vaulting club. Vaulting is the art and sport of gymnastics on horseback. Although the girls really enjoyed it as a sport, I saw a form of therapy for Tylene. It used up a lot of energy and developed large motor coordination, which is a precursor to fine motor coordination. As a bonus, we all got to work with children and adults with a variety of handicaps, from cerebral palsy to autism.
Tylene loved all sports and at 13 took up karate. This brought on a huge burst in academic progress. Her writing and spelling improved dramatically and her ability to concentrate on school subjects gradually improved. By the time she was sixteen, she began spending five to eight hours a day at her dojo, preparing for her black belt test. After earning her black belt, she became an instructor, continuing to learn more as she shared her expertise with younger students. At 17, her reading ability had improved to the point where she could handle a full academic load with very little help. It was about this time that we discovered that Tylene had a problem with her eye muscles, which prevented her from sustaining a focus. Although she has 20/15 vision, she now uses reading glasses, which reduce the strain of reading. When she has a break in her school schedule, she will get vision therapy, which should help even more.
We are thankful that we had the opportunity to homeschool and keep Tylene away from all the experts. She had a friend at church who had similar problems except that the friend, whom I will call Ann, went to school. Ann was run through a series of special ed classes and various private therapies. She still cannot read although in all other respects, she is a normal teenager with normal intelligence. She was crippled by the system and now refuses to even attempt to read. Ann is one of thousands who have been irreparably damaged by “experts” who have convinced parents that they know best.
Children have unique developmental schedules. They all follow a rough pattern, but the timetables vary tremendously. Learning styles make a difference too but even they can be overrated. I have heard the most absurd statements from people who have had their children tested by experts. Many mothers have told me that their children have “auditory processing” problems and so cannot learn phonics. Think about that statement. If a child cannot hear (process) sounds, he cannot learn to talk normally, yet so-called experts are claiming that children with normal speech and hearing cannot “process” sounds. Tylene would have been given that diagnosis before she learned to read. She could not “process” the letter sounds into words until she was 10 1/12. Phonics was not the problem. The reading method was not the problem. In fact, there was really no problem except in the minds of those who expect all six year olds to read. When Tylene was mature enough to read, she read. When she was ready to write, she developed beautiful, easy to read manuscript. She does not use cursive except for her signature, the only time cursive is every needed today.
Understanding learning styles and learning “differences” is important. Taking a child’s strengths and weaknesses into account is vital. You can use the strong areas to pull along the weaker ones. Tylene’s strengths in music and sports helped her in learning other subjects. By leaning on her strengths, we could work on her weaknesses. She could learn anything in a snap that was put to music, so we looked for audiotapes. Even though her hand-eye coordination was poor, she was very creative and loved arts and crafts. Therefore, I encouraged all types of art and sent her to classes, which she loved. Eventually, her abilities caught up with her creativity. She won numerous blue ribbons at the LA County Fair for her creations. She became an accomplished artist and calligrapher.
I know how hard it is to wait for things to happen. It is so tempting to try to “keep up” with that mythical “grade level”. Don’t misunderstand; Tenaya and Tylene were constantly learning. We did not sit back, stare at the tube and wait until everything “clicked”. We were busy with all kinds of projects from making and selling Easter candy to volunteering in a Christian bookstore. All the projects became our “curriculum”. It was relatively easy to adapt our projects to the girls’ needs and use them to learn important skills. What we did seldom looked like “school” but was very productive in the long run.
A child who learns on a different schedule requires a lot of patience and creativity. Knowing other parents in the same situation helps a lot. I was blessed to know several other homeschool moms with late learners. We shared ideas at our weekly park days and field trips. Our children therefore knew other “late learners” and knew that they were no the only children who did not read early. I cannot imagine going through it totally alone. This is why I consider park days so important both for children and for parents. We all need to know that others share similar problems. We need to pass around ideas and give each other support. There are many kinds of learning “differences” with many different causes and outcomes. The more we share, research and reassure each other the better off all our children will be and the less likely we will be tempted to entrust our children to “experts”.
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Tags: Carolyn Forte, late bloomer learner, Orange County California, learning disabled, learning disability, handicapped children, classroom teacher, allergies, vaccines, sugar, drugs, homeschooling, ISP principal, hyperactive, Dr. Raymond Moore
Homeschooling Intrigues Me – Where Do I Start?
by Greg and Moira Bell
You are not alone. Nowadays, it is rare to meet an American parent who hasn’t at least heard of home schooling. Those looking at homeschooling from the outside routinely express two chief concerns – 1) “How can homeschooling parents tolerate being with their kids 24 hours a day?” and 2) “What about socialization?”
Allow me to move these two mental boulders out of the way, then you’ll be better able to see more of the treasures which lie ahead down the homeschool path.
AT HOME WITH MY KIDS ALL DAY ?!!
“I struggle just to get my kids to do their chores and they constantly snipe at each other – I wouldn’t have the patience to be with them all day!”… Sound familiar? Many prospective homeschoolers, who have had their children in daycare or institutional school, start with similar concerns. Let me tell you some good news. Much of the surliness kids exhibit toward parents and siblings is an outcome of spending large chunks of time everyday on the receiving end of the verbal and emotional abuse of other children while in an institutional setting. It is an outcome of being forever compared and measured against other children. Who’s smarter? prettier? skinnier? more popular? more athletic? As these children become homeschoolers they typically go through a 3-6 month period of detoxification where their harshness and defensiveness gradually melts away. This is one of the best kept secrets of homeschooling – when your kids realize they have innate value and uniqueness and that you are committed to seeing them successfully outfitted for their personal special place in the world – their hearts get bonded to yours! This process can take longer depending on the length of time kids have been in institutional schooling, but it will come when you replace criticism, comparing, and competing (mainstays of institutional schooling) with encouragement, customized learning, and the goal of mastering what’s important. You will also find many ways to be away from home by yourselves or with other families enjoying cultural opportunities, nature, exercise, field trips, etc.
So what’s the real question behind “What about socialization?” Are we laboring under the notion that kids need lots of time with their age mates to develop important social skills? What do well-socialized kids look like anyway? Are they the teens you see hanging around the mall? The kids who are taking weapons to school and using them? The kids who discuss last night’s sitcoms each day with friends as though those actors and situations are real? Those subdued with drugs to make them manageable? Those that pressure each other to look, act, speak, and believe just like the rest of the adolescent herd? When we’re willing to face the facts, it’s fairly obvious that a well-socialized person is one who respects and learns from those older and wiser than himself, and who cares tenderly for those younger, weaker and needier. He is someone who understands his own strengths and contributes in his unique way along the human continuum.
I’ve often been told by homeschool skeptics that children need to be with a room full of age mates all day to learn to “face reality” and toughen up. My observation is that a room of age-same students immediately contrive to define themselves by their differences. (“I have nicer clothes than she”, “He has more friends than I do”, “I’ll never be as good at math as she is”, etc.) This isn’t a criticism of kids – it’s just something I’ve observed over and over. Homeschoolers operate within an age-blended environment which more accurately reflects the “real world” where people of all ages and skills are mixed together. The beauty here is that the differences are real – different ages, different skill levels, different strengths, different likes, different privileges. Everyone’s place is defined, respected, and non-competitive. I believe “reality” is an age-blended environment where people are free to learn and better themselves at their own pace in an atmosphere of mutual respect. (a.k.a. “homeschooling”)
SO WHAT IS HOMESCHOOLING REALLY?
In a nutshell, homeschooling is the process whereby responsible parents, through a motivation of love, train, equip, and launch their own children as responsible, literate, and skillful on-going adult learners. It differs from traditional public/private schooling in that parents act as the direct overseers of the child’s learning process. It results in family glue rather than family fracture. It fosters maturity anchored in real life experiences from a much younger age, and it can be fully customized to the learning style and specific destiny of each child. It fosters genuine social graces through interaction with people of all ages. It is bursting with real-life problem solving opportunities, which are their own best tutorial.
You’ll no doubt start homeschooling thinking about “academics” and “subjects”, but as you progress in it, you’ll discover that the essence of successful homeschooling is less in the “schooling” aspect and far more in the concept of “home”. You come to experience the reality that families are the building blocks of human life. And healthy families are the seed beds where balanced, loving, capable humans are grown. You tend those little seeds, supply ample water, fertilizer and sunlight, control the weeds and get a healthy root system in place which will enable those little sprouts to one day become mighty, healthy, fruit-bearing trees. You see that each child is constituted differently right from the beginning and their style of “leaf”, nurture and feeding needs, and long-term purpose are unique.
IT’S NOT JUST FOR THE KIDS
As you recognize and work with your own special “plants” you wind up filling your own “educational holes” (for many of us, those are the legacy of our own institutional education). Many homeschooling parents report that they are finally “learning” (appreciating, absorbing, retaining) all the academic content which they missed during their own school years as they go through the material with their own kids. Some have termed homeschooling “The education of two generations”. With the high caliber of materials available to home educators, a parent whose own education was weak need not fear.
As homeschooling parents, we are also realizing that our children know and like each other and us as their parents much more than we did our siblings/parents growing up. This is largely because our kids are together, sharing many more joint memories and learning from one another rather than growing up with groups of peers in separate classes in what our kids call “away school.”
CRITICISM YOU MAY FACE
Be prepared for the unleashing of adult peer pressure if you decide to pursue homeschooling. This is a hot issue and one that causes people to react defensively about their own school choices, no matter how gracious you may be. Try not to be shocked when you’re hit with unsolicited judgment. It’s wise not to announce a decision to homeschool until you’ve readied yourself, done the research you need to get your feet planted in the idea and been a quiet observer for awhile. Certainly not everything that flies under the banner of homeschooling with pertain to your family or interest you, so you will be, to varying degrees, charting your own course. What other people think homeschooling is may be quite unlike your experience. Many a homeschool critic (particularly skeptical grandparents) have been silenced within 2-3 years when they see the joyful, communicative, lively learners you are producing — hang in there!
MORE GOOD NEWS
If you’ve had children in school and are bringing them home, there will be a need to redistribute the household workload. Give yourself a grace period of 6 months to a year to get through “detox”, begin bonding with each other, and take shared ownership of the needs around the house. Another unsung secret of homeschooling is this: When your kids have you all day everyday and sense that your heart is turned toward them they will need you less! Don’t envision yourself chained to your kitchen table teaching math facts ’til you’re blue in the face. Once you’ve established new family routines and dynamics, why not look into a home-based business, take a college class, or pick up with your latent creative talent? Demonstrating that such learning is a normative on-going practice for a healthy adult is one of the best gifts you can give your kids.
So you want to go for it. Where do you really start? Observe, research, and read, then read some more. Or if reading is not your strength, select some tapes on homeschooling and listen to those. Ask those you know who homeschool for their favorite books/tapes on the subject. See those in the resource list below. Although you’ll be tempted to want books on “How-to” homeschool, you’ll be much better off if you initially focus on “Why to homeschool”. Lay a broad philosophical foundation and lengthen your homeschool vision — both of these will greatly influence your long-term success.
Consider attending a homeschool conference in your area. While these can be overwhelming, they also unveil the vast and rich network of ideas and resources available to you as a homeschooler. You’ll be impressed by the caliber of families and children you meet. Visit the vendor hall and collect homeschooling catalogs. Attend a support group meeting or park day. Inquire about your state’s homeschooling requirements (see resources below).
It is common, at this point, to feel vulnerable and tempted to over buy because “it all looks so good!” We suggest, if you can, hang around with homeschooling families who have a home life you respect and have produced children who are well-rounded in the ways you’d like yours to be. Homeschooling is not a simple linear process. (Take A, add B and you’re guaranteed to get C). Rather, there are multiple dynamics at work in healthy homes and wisdom in these matters often soaks into us with time and exposure.
Study your child. This is so important if you want to have a satisfying and successful homeschool adventure. Look at this child’s strengths, special interests, free-time activities of choice, and apparent weaknesses. We highly recommend working through Discovering Your Child’s Learning Style by Willis and Kindle Hodson. Homeschooling affords you the liberty of customizing your child’s learning experience. Knowing how your child takes information in and what motivates him/her will save you much wasted time, energy and money.
HOMESCHOOLING APPROACHES FROM WHICH TO CHOOSE
You’ll encounter a few major approaches to homeschooling in the literature and marketplace. Research more on the ones that resonate with your vision for your family’s learning environment. It is not uncommon for new homeschoolers to buy a prepackaged curriculum from a major supplier in order to feel that they are covering all the bases. With time, experience, and greater confidence you may want to harvest what works for your unique family from all these approaches – this is referred to as the “Eclectic Approach”. Here is a list of popular homeschool approaches and philosophies. A resource list follows this article.
Delayed Academics – based largely on the publications of lifelong educators Drs. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, this approach encourages cultivating a heart to worship, work, and serve others before moving into formal academics. The Moores advocate waiting until a child’s physical, mental and emotional readiness to learn are evident (often not until ages 9-12). Moore cites research that 9-year-olds can assimilate, in just 100 hours of instruction, all the material other children have had to spend 4 years of their lives learning through drone seat work. They emphasize learning through a broad spectrum of life experiences. This approach often explains a lot to parents whose son or daughter just can’t sit still at a desk in the early elementary grades.
Charlotte Mason Method – Emphasizing “Living Books” (rich, first-person literature of all genres) and real-life experiences. This approach encourages abundant opportunity to observe and interact with original sources in art, music, literature, and the natural world. Typically children learn to document their discoveries through journaling and drawing. Parents usually read-aloud from great books with the overarching goal that their children will love to learn.
Classical or Trivium Approach. This view emphasizes excellent thinking and communication skills honed by the intake of fundamental factual knowledge (referred to as the “grammar of a subject); the understanding of the reasoning and relationships behind knowledge (known as the “logic” of that subject); and the ability to organize and assimilate this understanding so as to generate new discoveries and convey this knowledge persuasively to others (called the “rhetoric”).
Principle Approach – Using the four “R’s” of research, reason, relate, and record this approach is popular among certain Christian homeschoolers who believe America was founded as a Christian nation with a Christian form of government. In order to return America to these first moorings, Principle approach adherents seek to raise young people who are well-grounded in Biblical principles and can thus govern themselves and participate in representative government wisely.
Unit-study Approach – This method takes one topic at a time and uses it as a launch pad to integrate the related knowledge from all disciplines. Rather than studying fragmented “subjects” (math, grammar, history, etc.) unit studiers discover inter-related knowledge in a growing web around one central hub. (For example – using baseball as the topic they would study the history of the sport, it’s key figures, the math of baseball stats, the physics of pitching, etc. – all as part of an integrated whole) Workbooks/Textbooks/School in a Box – Innumerable publishers furnish complete curricula using textbooks, workbooks, interactive CDs or on-line learning. Many of these look and feel more like “school” as most of us remember it. When children first leave an institutional school setting these programs often are a good first transitional step because they mimic school to your children and comfort new homeschooling parents that “learning” is taking place.
Unschooling – Probably one of the least understood terms within homeschooling, unschooling differentiates “teaching” from “learning” and believes that children are born curious and eager to learn. The role of parents is to deeply nurture their children, provide a wonderfully learning-rich environment and let the child’s innate desire to understand and manipulate their world lead them to discover and skillfully use all they need to have productive happy lives. Critics imagine these families just let their kids run amok. More thoughtful observers recognize that unschoolers are trying to tend the internal spark and love of learning which many of us had snuffed out by years of compulsory schooling in things which held no meaning or value to us.
A WORD ABOUT MOTIVATION
Reasons to homeschool range the full gamut — from things to get away from (excessive peer pressure, violence, weak academics) to things to be gained (family unity, freedom, the meeting of special learning needs). We’ve found it helpful to sort through our motives, define them, and watch them evolve as our homeschool does.
We began homeschooling primarily because we were so impressed by the kids in homeschooling families we knew and felt it was a parent’s job to educate their children, not the government’s. When people ask us now why we homeschool (after being on this course for 12 years) we can honestly say we love being with our kids and wouldn’t want to miss a day of their joyful lives. We say that we could never ask even the best classroom teacher to invest in our children the way we can because our kids are precious to us and we would lay our lives down to see them succeed. We tell people that having our kids with us has helped us to grow up, learn to communicate better, and become better people. Obviously, we didn’t know at the outset that our motivations would undergo such a transformation.
TAKE THE PLUNGE
Once you’ve researched, read, and decided that homeschooling is right for your family, take the plunge.
Begin with a minimum of purchases or buy a pre-packaged curriculum. Try to include some materials for a particular interest of your child’s, not strictly “school” books.
Plan to ease your family into new routines. The decision to homeschool won’t magically transform your family overnight but it will in time soften and reshape your family in healthy ways.
Allow for a season of detox. It may rock your child’s world to find out that school is no longer about getting grades and passing classes, but rather about mastering important skills and learning to love the process.
Find and hook up with a support group you enjoy. These vary from moms networking nights, to field trip generators, to park days for fun, to couples meetings — find one that satisfies your needs.
Figure out what refuels your own engines and schedule it! Stephen Covey says the key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. Taking good care of yourself in your newly-expanded role as a homeschooling parent is, without question, a top priority. You may need a regular Moms night out, time at home alone, a creative outlet, a daily afternoon nap – whatever keeps you on an even keel – make it a priority and do it!
Steadily improve the learning value in your home – Great read-aloud books, reference resources, educational toys, art supplies, science supplies, healthy food, regular exercise, minimized clutter, a place for everything and everything in its place — you get the idea. When you are home 24 hours a day, home needs to be as calm, pleasant, usefully organized, and resource-filled as possible.
Relax – No matter where you start or how faltering your first steps may feel, your kids will not be ruined by your loving investment in homeschooling them. You will find yourself changing, perhaps even more than your children, as you learn to truly know each of them, respect their uniqueness, and be committed to their long-term success. As humans, we find it easy to follow those whom we perceive love us deeply. Let love be the foundation, the power, and the aroma in the air of your homeschooling adventure.
Greg and Moira are living, loving, and learning with their “little plants” in Canoga Park , California. Besides reading aloud by the hour to their kids, they enjoy crossword puzzles, homemade music, and sleep (a rare commodity).
Homeschooling – The Big Picture (books available from suppliers below)
Dumbing Us Down The Invisible Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, John Taylor Gatto
Educating the Wholehearted Child, Clay and Sally Clarkson
Homeschool Almanac 2000-2001, Mary and Michael Leppert
Homeschooling – Taking the First Step, Borg Hendrickson
Homeschooling:The Right Choice, Christopher Klicka
How to Stock A Quality Home Library Inexpensively, Jane A. Williams
You Can Teach Your Child Successfully, Ruth Beechick
Legal Requirements State by State:
Homeschooling in the U.S. – A Legal Analysis, www.hslda.org
National Home Education Research Institute,www.nheri.org
Discovering Your Child’s Learning Style, Mariaemma Pellulo-Willis and Victoria Kindle Hodson
In Their Own Way, Awakening Your Child’s Natural Genius, and others Thomas Armstrong
The Way They Learn, Cynthia Tobias
Bluestocking Press Catalog
Eagle’s Nest Educational Supplies
Excellence in Education (EIE)
Family Unschoolers Network (FUN)
Homeschool Discount Warehouse
Lifetine Books and Gifts
Rainbow Resource Center
Whole Heart Catalog
Better Late Than Early, Home Grown Kids, Home Spun School, Successful Homeschool Family Handbook, and others, Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, The Moore Foundation, 360-835-5392, www.moorefoundation.com, request their magazine – The Moore Report
Charlotte Mason Method
The Original Homeschooling Series – 6 volumes, Charlotte Mason c.1900
A Charlotte Mason Education, Catherine Levinson (253-879-0433)
Charlotte Mason Companion, Karen Andreola (also see author’s regular column in Practical Homeschooling Magazine (314-343-6786))
For the Children’s Sake, Susan Schaeffer-Macauley
How to Create Your Own Unit Study, Valerie Bendt
Konos Curriculum, 972-924-2712, www.konos.com
The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer
Teaching the Trivium, numerous resources, 309-537-3641, www.muscanet.com/~trivium
Renewing the Mind, Paul Jehle
Radical Christianity, Paul Godecke
Landmark Distributors, Alan and Lori Harris, 805-524-3263, www.jps.net/landmark
How Children Learn, Learning all The Time, and other titles, John Holt
Homeschooling For Excellence, David and Micki Colfax
The Relaxed Homeschooler, The Joyful Homeschooler, Mary Hood
The Unschooling Handbook, and other titles, Mary Griffith
The Teenage Liberation Handbook, Grace Llewellyn
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Tags: Greg Bell, Moira Bell, Greg and Moira Bell, new to homeschooling, new homeschoolers, what about socialization, skeptics, Charlotte Mason Method, Unschooling, Unit-study, Trivium, Classical education, Delayed Academics, Dr. Raymond Moore, Dr. Dorothy Moore, Dumbing Us Down, John Taylor Gatto, Ruth Beechick, Mary and Michael Leppert