Lazy Hippie Mama

One woman's attempt to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort

Imprisoned in a Left Brained Life

Imprisoned In A Left-Brain World | LazyHippieMama.comI’ve become aware, lately, of a strange paradox that exists in our society.

We idolize creative people and forward thinkers. We put artists on a pedestal and become so fascinated by them that we begin dissecting every aspect of their lives. Whether it’s JK Rowling, Angelina Jolie or Lady Gaga we become completely enthralled. We have created a system in which those creative people who are leaders in their field become wealthy beyond the comprehension of the “average” person.

And yet…

We are cutting the arts from schools at an alarming rate. We tell children to stop being silly. Sit still. Listen to the lesson.

Those children get older and they are told, “It’s lovely that you truly enjoy creating pottery, but you need to go to college to be an accountant so you can get a real job and pay the bills.”

The children, of course, take this advice to heart. Pottery, then, becomes a little sideline hobby at best and they spend the entire prime of their lives waking up each morning to face a job they despise doing something they’re only ever going to be mediocre at, and praying for Friday to come so they can have 48 hours of sweet relief from the drudgery.

I wrote all the time when I was in high school. I wrote during classes and during lunch. I wrote at home and in the car and during church. I filled notebooks and scraps of paper and napkins with short stories and poems and ideas. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. I took every language arts class, including, of course, creative writing.  No one ever even once said to me, “Do you think you might like to be a writer when you grow up?”

Honestly – it never even occurred to me that there are REAL people who make a living with words until, 20 years after graduation, I stumbled into this thing called “blogging.”

Think about it. Imagine 2 boys, both 15-years-old. Isn’t this an entirely plausible conversation?

Adult: “What would you like to do after High School?”

Boy #1: “I would like to be an engineer.”

Adult: “That’s wonderful! There’s a world of opportunity waiting for young engineers!”

Boy #2: “I would like to be a musician.”

Adult: “Haha! Well, it’s great to learn music but you need a fall-back, you know? You can’t count on music as a career.”

Yet who would that same adult be more excited to meet? The lead engineer from the factory down the road, or Mick Jagger?

Why do we force people into a certain mold?

I’m not totally naive. I do understand that, of all the talented performers in the world, the Mick Jaggers of the bunch are exceedingly few and far between. But being the famous guy on stage isn’t the only way to earn a living playing music. I have a friend who loves music and walked away from corporate America to sing at children’s festivals. He’s happier now than I ever saw him when he was working at “a real job.” There are music therapists and music store owners, music teachers, studio musicians, and so many more options for a person with a passion for music.  If a kid loves music why should he have to give up his dream and spend his life in a cubicle?

Imprisoned In A Left-Brained World | LazyHippieMama.comI have four friends who are in agony right now. Each of these clever, vibrant, creative people are being crushed under the weight of their anxieties. Each of them feels they must “hold down a real job” while every aspect of their being is screaming for them to do something else.

I get it. Really, I do.  Once you are an adult with a family and bills and all the responsibilities that come with being grown up you really can’t just tell your boss to kiss it and step into a new life.  That’s why my husband and I both work outside the home in jobs that give us a steady paycheck. We are working toward creating the life we dream of and we’re beginning to see some real progress in reaching our goals but it’s been a long road and there’s still quite a way to go.

And I’m not putting down the world of cubicles. I’ve known some “left-brainers” who have been perfectly, delightfully content living in their predictable 9-5 world. They are orderly, linear people who thrive in an orderly, linear environment. We need those people! We need ALL people to be the wonderful, unique, individuals they were created to be!  Anything else is akin to a prison sentence.

It makes me feel sad. How many extraordinary ideas are we missing out on because we’ve sold the lie that only those who polish their shoes and work Monday-Friday from 9-5 are contributing members of society? I truly believe we would all benefit by giving one another permission to unleash the passions within (well… maybe not ALL the passions. But you know… the vocational passions.).  What are we so afraid of?

It’s “What Do You Think? Wednesday” and I would love to hear your thoughts about all of this. Please join the discussion by leaving a comment! I really am curious to know how others feel about all of this.

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Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  


Using Up The Cherry Tomatoes

Using Up The Cherry Tomatoes | LazyHippieMama.comLast year we had several cherry tomato plants and so many of them ended up being wasted. I made gallons of pico de gallo/salsa (You can see my favorite recipe here) and topped everything we ate with cherry tomatoes for weeks. I added them to sauces and even tried juicing them but, when it was all said and done I just had more than I knew what to do with.

This year we agreed not to plant so many.

But then…

I had a few plants that I’d started from seed and I figured only half of them would take root and produce. But, nope. Every one of those little guys held on and grew. And then someone dropped off more. “We didn’t want to waste them and we have too many.” They said.

I couldn’t throw them away. They were just too beautiful. Into the garden they went.

And now I have cherry tomatoes. Mountains and piles and heaps of cherry tomatoes.

I learned that cherry tomatoes, more so than their larger cousins, freeze quite well and can be used for soups and stews all winter.

I filled my freezer and didn’t make a dent.

My sister told me I should try Ina Garten’s Provencal Cherry Tomato Gratin.  I did and I loved it. It’s just the right combination of soft and crunchy, sweet and savory. It took 5 minutes to throw together from this simplest possible ingredients (not including cooking time) and it was a huge hit.

But I still had more. A LOT more.

Then I discovered tomato jam.

 

Image from Food in Jars. Click the photo to see the original recipe!

Image from Food in Jars. Click the photo to see the original recipe!

Apparently I’ve been living under a rock all of these years because I’d never tried nor heard of such a thing before. I stumbled across this recipe and resisted at first. I love grape jam and strawberry jam… but tomato?!  Then I read a comment that, “It goes beautifully on turkey burgers but eat it on soft stinky cheese with crackers and it will change your life.”

I LOVE SOFT STINKY CHEESE ON CRACKERS!

So I made some tomato jam. And it’s FABULOUS! And so pretty in those sweet little Mason jars. And it’s actually quite easy to make. No peeling and seeding and such. I just put my tomatoes in my slap-chopper and tossed them in the pot to simmer. And it takes 5 pounds of cherry tomatoes to make 2-5 pints of jam, depending on how big they are, how much sugar they contain and other factors. I got 3 1/2 pints from my first attempt.

I’ve got approximately 47 relatives who are getting tomato jam for Christmas this year and I’m not going to have any guilty, “I left them in the garden to rot” feelings. Everybody wins!

Do you have other recipes you love to make with cherry tomatoes?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  


10 Awkward Moments in Homeschooling & A New Give-Away!

10 Awkward Moments in HomeschoolingAccording to the most recent census about 3% of American children are homeschooled. It’s a growing movement, to be certain, but still far from “the norm.”  Many, if not most, people in this country live their whole lives without even ever meeting a homeschool family. Therefore their perceptions are based on those folks “on the fringe” who end up on the evening news or Dr. Phil talking about how they are proud that their 15 year old has never read any book other than the Bible and they don’t believe in girls learning math.

The reality is that homeschooling families are pretty much everyone else. There are good days and bad. There are success stories and failures. There are some people who are just fabulously cool and some who are truly odd.

Still, when you are approaching such a major part of life in a way that is different than the way 97% of those around you are doing it, there are bound to be some awkward moments.

10 Awkward Moments in Homeschooling

1. The moment when someone knocks on the door, unexpectedly, at 1pm and you realize no one can answer it because the entire family is still in their PJs and/or underwear.

We’ve been learning, I swear! In fact, we were so busy learning we forgot to put on pants.

10 Awkward Moments in Homeschooling | LazyHippieMama.com

2. The moment when your child is asked where they go to school and they just stand there, staring at the person like a deer caught in the headlights.

I’m never sure why they don’t just say, “I’m homeschooled.” This, of course, does little to dispel the “weird unsocialized homeschooler” myth.

3. The moment when you’re asked what grade your child is in and you can picture all of their books and lists – 3rd grade math, 9th grade reading, 5th grade science, and a coloring book from 2009 they just won’t give up on until every corner is fabulous – and you realize you have no idea what grade they’re actually in without consulting your records.

This is the parent version of #2.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s why the kids can’t answer that question. Maybe they’re thinking, “I go to school in the dining room, the car, my mom’s office at work, the park, the local grange building…”

4. The moment when someone asks your child, “How long did you do school this morning?”

SHHHH! I’m trying to be sneaky over here! We ARE doing school! We’re grocery shopping and she’s keeping track of how much we’re spending. This is math class. She HATES math and doesn’t realize she’s studying right now so please don’t judge me when she tells you, “we didn’t do any school today.”

5. The moment you overhear your child say to a public school student, “What do you mean you’ve never had a single lesson on the science of Star Wars? Isn’t that a required subject?”

We’re nerds and we’re proud.

10 Awkward Moments in Homeschooling | LazyHippieMama.com

6. The moment when someone at the grocery store sees you and your two children and says, “Oh, you homeschool? That’s nice. Are the rest of the children at home then?”

OK, first of all – making assumptions about the number of children any family has is always a fast train to Awkwardland. Just don’t go there.  If you are close enough to me to ask about my choices regarding child-bearing you already know how many kids I have and why. If you don’t already know, you really have no business inquiring about anything having to do with my uterus and/or sexual choices.

Second, contrary to what some people think, there are actually families that homeschool who have only one child. And some that have 3. And some that have 7. If you ask around at public school you’ll find a similar situation.

7. The moment when a public school child says, “This week we studied the feudal system.” And your child responds with, “We just watched movies this week.

They weren’t movies. They were DOCUMENTARIES. Totally different thing.

8. The moment when a friend who is a public school teacher says, “What textbook are you using?” And your child responds with, “We don’t use textbooks. We just look stuff up on the internet.”

We do a lot of learning online. I often direct my child to very reputable sites – everyone from NASA to PBS offers amazing free resources. We’re not just doing random Google searches, I swear. Er… well… not when it comes to the really important stuff anyway. But does my child say, “I’m learning science from NASA right now,”?  Of course not. She just implies that her main source of information is YouTube.

9. The moment when you are trying to assure your family that, as homeschoolers, your children are still getting plenty of opportunity to develop great social skills and you child enters the room walking backwards with a bag over their head loudly singing Elvis’ Greatest Hits.

What can I say? They come from a long line of strange people and big Elvis fans. They get plenty of interaction with other children and adults as well but, really, the poor kids never stood a chance.

10 Awkward Moments in Homeschooling | LazyHippieMama.com

10. The moment you look out the window and see a group of kids all wrapped up in their winter gear, waiting in the dark to get on the bus and go to school for the day, while you are lying on the sofa under a pile of giggling kids and fuzzy, tail-wagging dogs as the 3rd episode in a row of The Magic School Bus begins.

Oh, wait. Wrong list. That one goes on 1,001 reasons why I love being one of the 3%.

Share your awkward story in the comments. Life’s too short for us not to laugh together!

But before you go, don’t miss out on this great give-a-way!

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to share a truly amazing book with you.

Tom Rogers’, “Eleven” is a wonderful story about a little boy who turns 11 on 9/11/2001. The book is totally age-appropriate for an older elementary student and engaging enough for any adult.

As the anniversary of that world-changing event approaches, I am having my 5th grader read “Eleven” in the hopes that she will come to understand that people just like her had their lives directly, irrevocably changed in a moment.  If you’d like to read the review, you can do so by clicking here or you can visit www.ElevenTheBook.com.

I’m so excited that Tom Rogers has agreed to give a copy of his book to one lucky reader! It’s a read you don’t want to miss.

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Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  


90 Days on the Homestead

This week we celebrate 90 days on our little miracle farm. (Click here to read about our miracle.) It has been the craziest summer I’ve had in memory! We’ve celebrated some wonderful moments and wept over more than a few. Through it all we have been wrapped in the love of those around us and I’m pretty sure that, at least once every single day, either Handsome Hippie Hubby or I have sighed and said, “I really love living here!”

Here’s a glimpse at the first 90 days.

The garden grew leafy and green…

90 Days On The Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

And then became slightly wild and overwhelming.

90 Days on the Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

Then it got so big it ate New York like a radioactive monster from Japan.

90 Days on the Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

As the squash has petered out we’ve begun pulling it and putting in a fall planting of lettuce, spinach, radishes and cabbage. Here’s hoping that frost doesn’t come earlier than expected this year!

The weather was weird! Once or twice it was actually cold enough to see your breath at night and it was quite dry all summer.  We’d gotten a late start on the garden anyway, due to ground that was still frozen in mid May and not moving in until June. We had a bit of an issue with blossom end rot and, later, we were attacked by grasshoppers and tiny green worms.  All of that combined to make a fairly weird harvest schedule with squash and strawberries turning ripe at the same time and sweet corn that still isn’t ready to be picked.

The end result was enough to keep this Lazy Hippie up to my elbows in canning jars, though.  We’ve had over 300 pounds of veggies so far including zucchini, cucumbers, spaghetti squash, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, brussels sprouts, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and more.

90 Days on the Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

Whew!

While I’m on the subject of veggies, we experimented a bit with container gardening.  We grew our cucumbers in pots next to the chicken run.  They did pretty well… until the chickens figured out how to get to them.  I’m pretty sure they ate more fresh cucumbers this year than we did.

We also grew some sweet potatoes in a container.  No one in my family loves or hates sweet potatoes. Every now and then we eat them. They’re OK.  So it was that I came to have 2 wrinkly old sweet potatoes in my veggie basket.  I’d bought them for a certain recipe I never made and forgotten them.  On a whim I sliced them in half and stuck them in water because I’d seen it on Pinterest. Three out of four of those half moldy old things sprouted the prettiest green shoots!  We pulled the shoots off and stuck them straight in the water and they grew massive root systems very quickly. Curious and with nothing to lose I stuck them in a container and all summer long and this beautiful big leafy green plant by my porch steps.  Finally, we dumped it out to see what we had in there.  We ended up with about 4 pounds of what looked very much like smallish carrots. They are pretty tasty – you know… like sweet potatoes. (Go figure!) The roots and the leaves still looked great so we stuck them back in the dirt for decoration, if nothing else.

90 Days on the Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

A little porch planter probably isn’t what I would recommend if you’re looking for a “real” harvest, but we’ll get a couple of nice side dishes from 2 moldy potatoes that would otherwise have been tossed into the compost, plus a lovely potted plant.

There have been grapes! We were all so excited about the lovely, mature grape vines at this house. When it was time to pick them we had great fun (and full bellies!).

90 Days On The Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

The chickens are getting fat and sassy. When the bugs started becoming damaging in the garden we set our girls loose in there, figuring it didn’t matter if they were a little destructive since we were about to lose it all to the worms anyway. They saved the day! After a few hours they were so full they looked like old men lolling on the couch after Thanksgiving Dinner and there wasn’t a bug within 100 yards of the garden.

90 Days on the Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

 

A week or two later we got our first little egg. Oh, happy day! We are getting about one little pullet egg per day now. I think only 2 or 3 of them are laying and expect things will pick up over the next few weeks.

90 Days on the Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

One side of the house is a jungle that still needs to be tamed.

90 Days on the Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

I did get part of it all cleared out and I planted 2 blackberry bushes but I got side tracked before I mulched it so now I blackberry brambles surrounded by weeds. Oops.  I’ll put that on the list.

The other side of the house is going to be raised beds. That’s a project that I started and got stuck on so the hubs took over and straightened me out but by then I was on to something else so now I need to come back to it and finish it. That’s on the list, too.  It’s a pretty long list.

I got a compost bin set up. I used an old crib I snagged at a rummage sale for pocket change. We covered the slats with chicken wire and made a chicken wire top, buried the legs a few inches deep and it’s been working out fine. My only concern is that it’s not very big and it’s getting full fast. Time to keep an eye out for some more pallets!

90 Days on the Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

Oh! I almost forgot to share with you! OUR HOUSE IS HAUNTED!

Yes, we have our very own ghost.

We were sitting in the living room one morning. I can’t remember exactly what we were doing but, chances are, if the whole Hippie Family was in the living room at once Hubby was at his desk, reading or watching something on his computer. I was in the recliner, typing a blog or scrolling through Facebook, and SHD was sprawled on the couch playing Minecraft.

All of a sudden we heard a haunting sound…. “OOOoooooo!!!  I a spooky host!” Said the voice from far away.

And then it appeared:

90 Days on the Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

I hope you don’t have nightmares.

So there it is. Our first summer as homesteaders (sort of). Now we get to move on to a whole new season. We’re looking forward to some nice big piles of leaves for jumping in and a few evening around the fire pit (oh yeah, did I mention, “build a fire pit,” is on the to-do list?). The High School Football games are, literally, in our back yard and we can’t wait to cheer on the local team and see the marching band.

Life is good.

90 Days on the Homestead | LazyHippieMama.com

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!

I’m very excited to say that this post was featured on The HomeAcre Hop! 

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Year 3, Day 1: 115 Reasons Why We’re Still Homeschooling

Year 3, Day 1: 115 Reasons Why We're Still Homeschooling | LazyHippieMama.comPeople have been asking for a few weeks now, “when will school start for you?”

Here’s the thing. (Shhh! Don’t tell our kids!) School never stopped for us. The formal parts did. We backed off of math lessons and classes like band and theater break during summer but we still kept learning all summer long.

Life keeps going. We keep learning forever. That is a huge part of what school looks like for us.

As for the “formal” parts of school, today’s the day.  In Michigan, most public schools start right after Labor Day. We usually wait a few extra days, just because we can, but this year Sweet Hippie Daughter has opted-in to a number of classes and lessons and many of them kick off this week so we figured we’d just jump right in.

Today that means music lessons from 9:00-2:30 and a volleyball game at 4:00. Tomorrow we’ll be picking up with math and “bookwork” and soon enough we’ll be in full swing again.

When we started homeschooling a friend told us to make a list of 100 reasons why we wanted to do this. “If you can’t think of 100 you don’t want it badly enough. When times get hard you will need to look back at your list and remember why you are doing this.”  It was awesome advice.  We made our original list and promised ourselves we would re-visit it annually to be sure it was still valid. (Our year one and year two lists)

The list is largely the same, but it has changed a bit as our daughter has gotten older.  It has also grown a little and now includes 115 reasons. Some of them are far more weighty than others. Some of them are downright silly. Some apply to our family, living in our town, with the resources available to us and they wouldn’t make sense at all to another family living in another place.

It is important to me to make it understood that this list is not meant as a criticism of those who have children in public school or of the school district in which we live. I thank God that we live in a nation with CHOICES. We can choose what is best for our own families at any given time. For us, for now, that’s homeschool. I feel privileged to live in an area with great public schools. I am humbled by the efforts of the teachers and staff there to help us provide an excellent education for our kids, even after we officially left the district to be homeschoolers. The system isn’t always perfect but no system is and the people working in the schools have shown an extraordinary devotion to the children of this community.

Finally, I wanted to say that I know this list can be confusing to some people who know we have 4 children because it primarily refers to one little girl, just entering 5th grade.   Our two older children live with their mom during the school year and attend a great public school where they are growing and learning and turning into young adults of whom we are incredibly proud.  Our youngest is only 3 so school for him is hanging out in his underpants playing drums on the wall and singing the ABC song. We aren’t big believers in any kind of formal education for kids his age. We read to him every day and color with him. He digs in the garden and watch PBS and sings The Beatles at the top of his lungs and that seems to be enough for now.  We’ve talked about sending him to the same pre-school that his big sister attended next year but, frankly, that’s a whole year away and I’m still trying to figure out what we’re going to eat for lunch today so… one thing at a time.

Without further ado… drumroll, please…

Year 3, Day 1: 115 Reasons Why We're Still Homeschooling | LazyHippieMama.com

100 Reasons (+15) Why We Homeschool

1.  We love spending time with her and would miss her if she were gone all day each day.

2. She wants to be homeschooled.

3. We want her to have the opportunity to explore her passions in great depth.

4. We want to teach her to choose healthy foods and eat them SLOWLY and WITH ENJOYMENT (not gobble down processed lunch during a 20 minute break).

5. We want her to have several hours each day to explore her imagination and play – not just a 20 minute recess where she’s not allowed to run too fast or swing side to side due to liability concerns.

6. We don’t want her to spend so much time comparing her possessions to those of other children her age.

7. We think that 7+ hours of school plus and hour on the bus is too much time for a child (or an adult, for that matter) to sit and listen (as opposed to playing, questioning, exploring, etc).

8. It seems to us that homework, after 7+ hours of school, seems excessive for a 9 year old.

9. We want our family to be free to travel when and where we like.

10. With Handsome Hippie Hubby’s work schedule he would never see her if she were at school until 3pm each day.

11. The one meal we can eat together, as a family, every day is lunch.

Year 3, Day 1: 115 Reasons Why We're Still Homeschooling | LazyHippieMama.com

12. We want to teach her to be responsible to the environment in practice, not just through lessons.

13. We want her to learn practical skills like cooking, gardening, sewing, etc and there is little time to teach her when she’s away at public school all day and such things are no longer a part of the curriculum in school.

14. Sometimes life makes you stay up late and we want her to be able to sleep in or nap when her little growing body needs to.

15. They watch a lot of classic movies in music class and we want to be the ones to experience those with her.

16. They watch a lot of movies in music class and we want her to actually learn to play/sing/appreciate music.

17. The district cut art class but the Homeschool association still offers it.

18. We don’t want her to have to deal with the repercussions of being in a large class with a few “naughty” children that monopolize the teachers’ time.

19. An elementary age child should NEVER be stressed to the point of tears over homework and test scores but she often has been – starting in Kindergarten.

20. Because we hate sending her away to school when she’s feeling sick, but not “sick enough” to keep her home.

21. We hate sending her into a building full of children feeling “a little sick” but not “sick enough” to stay home.

22. We think that Physical Fitness is something that should be a part of a person’s life more than 45 minutes a week.

23. Our child, who is a great reader and writer, should never have to slow down to wait for other children to catch up.

24. Our child, who struggles with math, sometimes needs more time and attention than her teachers can give her.

25. We were unhappy with many of the things we saw or heard about happening on the school bus when she was in public school.

26. We want our child to have a broader, less politicized, view of history than she will learn in public school.

27. We don’t want our child to use anti-bacterial hand soap several times a day.

28. We think it’s unhealthy that our daughter sits in a swelteringly hot classroom in the middle of winter.

29. We live in an awesome community surrounded by awesome communities with a near infinite amount of resources to use as teaching tools.

Year 3, Day 1: 115 Reasons Why We're Still Homeschooling | LazyHippieMama.com

30. The whole family will get to learn and grow with her if she’s homeschooled.

31. We want religion, spirituality, prayer and meditation to be a regular part of our child’s education.

32. We want to foster our child’s differences that she may harness them and direct them to the greatest good of her fellow man. Not just learn to be exactly like everyone else.

33. When REAL disaster/crisis/tragedy strikes (ie – the tornadoes that struck a nearby town a few years ago) we want her to know that it is not only OK but RIGHT and GOOD to drop EVERYTHING and rush to the aid of her neighbor.

34. It will make me feel like the years of my life and tens of thousands of dollars I spent on my own education weren’t a total waste.

35. I learned advanced math. I NEVER used it (I told you so!). And forgot every bit of it. But no one ever taught me how to balance a checkbook or calculate the interest on a mortgage  and I don’t want my child to have that same experience.

36. Homeschooling isn’t marriage. It’s not a life-long commitment. We can opt out if/when it stops working for us.

37. We want to know IMMEDIATELY if our child is struggling with a problem or social situation – not after it has reached a crisis state.

38. We think people learn more by experiencing something (ie. a visit to a farm is more memorable than a lesson about “where veggies come from.”) and it’s not reasonable to expect a teacher to schlep 35 kids all over the countryside several times a week.

39. We think intuition is a valid and valuable tool in the human mind that is suppressed by “institutionalized” learning.

40. Homeschooling forces me to be a more organized person.

41. Seeing my organizational skills, my child will learn to be organized. (It’s a great theory, isn’t it?)

42. Some days, watching the morning news together, and then having the time to discuss it, can be a more valuable education than an entire day in a classroom learning to figure the degree of angles in a triangle.

43. We believe strongly in the implied power in the sciences of noetics and quantum physics and this isn’t taught in public school.

44. We believe a child should have the opportunity to ask every question they can and public school teachers don’t have time to deal with that, so curiosity gets suppressed.

45. One of the smartest, most accomplished scientists of all time said, “imagination is more important than knowledge,” but public schools focus almost exclusively on the development of knowledge at the expense of imagination.

46. We want our daughter, who has a very entrepreneurial spirit, to have time and energy to experience the creation of business and the power of free enterprise.

47. We believe a child should be free to express themselves in all sorts of creative ways through their play and dress and public school stresses conformity. She’ll feel the pressure to conform to society soon enough.

48. With internet and virtual learning, she can learn from a much more culturally, philosophically, educationally diverse group of teachers than she will encounter in a local public school.

49. We don’t like putting our child on a bus every day. But especially on days that are foggy, snowy, icy, etc.

50. Many of the people we respect most in the public school system have told us that, if they had young children, they would not put them in public school.

51. Public school teachers, no matter how good, smart, loving, patient, etc must conform to the state standards no matter if they agree or not.

52. Sometimes our child is “naughty” and teachers have neither the time nor authority to properly discipline her and/or the teachers’ definition of “naughty” and the accompanying discipline are different from what we teach at home.

53. Public school is all about working to get good grades to get into college to get a “real job” but the modern world doesn’t work that way. Ask any college graduate working as a Wal-Mart cashier. Or any high school drop out running a multi-billion dollar international corporation.

54. EVERY study done shows homeschool children achieve higher academically.

55. EVERY study done shows that homeschool children are better socialized (fit into society more successfully).

56. EVERY study done shows that homeschool children have a greater sense of civic responsibility.

Click here for some interesting homeschool stats.

57. We want our child to learn how to use a computer to do more than play games.

58. We want our child to know how to do things without a computer.

60. We feel it’s more important for our child to know how and where to find information than to memorize facts for a standardized test.

61. We never want our child to go through the experience of “feeling stupid” for not understanding something without a little help.

62. Our state offers an amazing option to opt-in to “non-core” public school classes as a homeschooler, so she gets to sign up for public school band, and still keep her homeschool schedule.

63. We don’t want our child exposed to sex, drugs, violence, etc any earlier than necessary.

64. Time is valuable and public school wastes time (bus rides, moving between classes, waiting in line, etc).

65. We think it’s a bad idea to “stop learning” for 3 months out of the year, but a good idea to have lots of fun experiences all year long.

Year 3, Day 1: 115 Reasons Why We're Still Homeschooling | LazyHippieMama.com

66. Some of the most mature, intelligent, respectful, strong-minded teens and young adults I know have been homeschooled since early childhood.

67. We want her to know that being a dancer (painter, musician, house-wife) is just as valid as being a doctor (teacher, accountant, etc).

68. In the event of a crisis (tornado, fire, etc) our child would be with us and we could make sure she’s as safe as possible.

69. We want our child to be able to think for herself and know how to question authority without being disrespectful.

70. Our child is a unique individual and deserves a uniquely designed education.

71. As parents, want a greater say in what she does and does not learn.

72. Some teachers are burnt out and just putting in their time and we don’t want our child to be “just put up with.”

73. We want to put the money spent on school supplies, field trips, etc to go toward those items we believe will be most beneficial for our child.

74. I really hate packing lunches and snacks every day.

75. We want to be the ones to teach her how to appropriately deal with bullying, harassment, etc.

76. Homeschooling gives the whole family the opportunity and motivation to explore nearby (and maybe far away) museums, gardens, parks, historic buildings, etc.

77. By homeschooling we are not doing things the “normal” way but we are teaching our child that there can be more than one good way to achieve a good end.

78. There are sometimes abusive adults in positions of power and we want to protect her from that as much as possible for as long as possible.

79. We want her to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and all the innocent, magical parts of childhood for as long as she can.

80. We want to avoid exposure to the annual outbreak of lice in the public school system.

81. The world, society, and technology are very different than they were 50 years ago but the style of teaching in public school is much the same.

82. She has excelled in homeschool band and is looking forward to continuing to grow and expand her musical education this year.

83. The government has screwed up most everything they have ever touched, so why would I trust them not to screw up the education of my child?

84. Hitler said, “The State will take youth and give youth its own education and its own upbringing. Your child already belongs to us. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this community.” “Let me control the textbooks and I will control the State.”

85. US Federal Judge Melinda Harmon said, in 1996, “Parents give up their rights when they drop the children off at public school.”

86. Shopping for classroom supplies is more fun when you know you get to keep them and use them.

87. Our child has a passion to be in community theater and their rehearsals run very late at night.

88. We both hated school and did the bare minimum to get through and we don’t want our child to feel the same way.

89. Public schools require “lock-down drills” due to the very real threat of gunmen and/or terrorists in the building.

90. The cheapest time of year to go to Disney (and many other places) is October.

Disney during the school year = gorgeous weather and big savings!

Disney during the school year = gorgeous weather and big savings!

91. Homeschooling is “green.” There is less transportation, less utility use, less paper…. way way way way way less paper.

92. We want our child to understand that learning can be done anywhere, any time, at any age and be self led or assisted. It doesn’t only take place in a classroom with a teacher.

93. We have the feeling that our child has important things to teach us. “Unless ye be like a little child…..”

94. We believe that people absorb the energy of a place and public school, very often, does not have a positive energy.

95. We want our child to have “Bible” as a school subject.

96. One of our child’s favorite restaurants has great Tuesday lunch specials and she rarely gets to enjoy them.

97. Our child’s little brother is growing up fast and we don’t want her to miss it.

Year 3, Day 1: 115 Reasons Why We're Still Homeschooling | LazyHippieMama.com

98. Our family is always happiest when we are together.

99. If we know what our child is learning about, we can integrate that into life in so many ways for a more well-rounded and memorable learning experience.

100. We are pretty sure we’re doing OK with this homeschool thing.

101. Through the homeschool association she can take all kinds of lessons we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.

102. Through the homeschool association she has multiple opportunities to visit with and be of service to the senior citizens in our community.

103. Through the homeschool association she gets to participate in spelling bees each month.

104. Our toddler is learning things “ahead of schedule” by watching his sister do her school work.

105. Planting season is before school lets out for summer and harvest doesn’t finish until well after the new year begins.  She would miss both if she was in public school.

106. We are striving for a 100% GMO free diet and that would be virtually impossible with school lunches, snacks, birthday treats, etc.

107. We’ve learned that our daughter puts up fierce resistance to certain parts of schoolwork. No one was telling us that before, but now we can work on breaking down some of those barriers and help her learn a healthier approach to dealing with the less pleasant chores in life.

108. Her base of friends, after 2 years of homeschooling, includes a much wider age range of people. She is learning to interact appropriately with those much younger and much older than herself in a healthy and positive way.

109. Homeschooling has helped our whole family learn to be better stewards of our time and resources.

110. Homeschooling has given us extra opportunities to share some of our favorite books, movies, and music from our childhoods with our daughter.

111. Our child has had great opportunities to participate in classes with people of a wide range of ethnic, racial and regious backgrounds through homeschooling – far more so than in public school in our tiny community.

112. She is already planning on writing her 2nd book in November (National Novel Writer’s Month – visit Nanowrimo to participate with us!)

113. There are no snow days in homeschooling so we don’t need to spend half of the lovely summer making up for classes missed when it was too cold to leave the house.

Year 3, Day 1: 115 Reasons Why We're Still Homeschooling | LazyHippieMama.com

114. As a homeschooler she gets to help deliver Meals on Wheels throughout the year and we love that she has the experience of serving her elders in that way.

115. Our youngest child cannot be fully immunized for medical reasons. Homeschooling gives us some (admittedly small) amount of control over what gets dragged into our house.

 

Do you have other reasons for homeschooling? I would love to hear why other families choose to leave “the beaten path!”

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  


Homeschool, Virtual School, Un-school, Co-Op: What does it all mean? (Part 2)

 

Homeschool, Virtual School, Un-school, Co-Op: What does it all mean? | LazyHippieMama.comIn Part One of this post I talked about what Virtual School is and a traditional method of homeschooling I refer to as “curriculum-based homeschooling.”  That is how our own homeschool adventure began but, in time, we moved on to a more eclectic approach.

Eclectic schooling is taking bits and pieces of everything and creating a unique style for yourself.

I imagine our school year like a cross country trip. We’re in Michigan now. We need to get to California. The goal is to get there by June, but there’s always some leeway if needed. We can drive, walk, bike, fly or sail. We can go fast or slow. Take breaks or do marathon stretches.  We can veer north, south, east and west and visit as many stops as we like along the way… as long as we eventually get to California.

Our “California” is based on the Michigan State Grade-Level Expectations.  We will use some online tools and games, library books, local clubs and classes, Khan Academy has been a lifesaver for us when it comes to math so we will stay with them again this year. Our daughter will continue her music education through the homeschool association’s band and she will also be taking band as a “drop in student” at the local public school (one of those perks of living in Michigan, I mentioned earlier). She’s in a theater class at a nearby college and she’ll do archery through the local conservation agency. Art and volleyball are through the homeschool group. No doubt there will be numerous field trips. Those are always the whole family’s favorite days.

There is a ton of freedom in eclectic schooling. Our daughter drives her own education. We set some parameters and goals for her and provide her with the tools she needs but she figures out how she wants to get there.  If she wants to read, she can read. If she wants to watch documentaries that’s OK too. If she decides halfway through the year that she has a burning urge to learn about the human skeleton she is welcome to follow that bunny trail as far as she would like.  Last year she spent November writing a book (which she actually published!) and then caught up with her other subjects again in December. She hates worksheets.  HATES them. Loathes may be a more appropriate word. So she does her math online and on scraps of paper.  You know what… she can multiply and divide and has a basic grasp of fractions. As long as she keeps moving forward I couldn’t care less if she never fills in another blank for the rest of her life.  Whatever works.

Homeschool, Virtual School, Un-school, Co-Op: What does it all mean? (Part 2) | LazyHippieMama.com

My best friend has a wild passion for color coded spreadsheets and 3-ring binders. I’m pretty sure that she would absolutely lose her mind trying to school her child the way I school mine.  And that’s OK.  The joy of homeschooling is the flexibility it provides to create the ideal educational environment for YOUR family.  Keep in mind, as I said in part one, that each state has its own requirements regarding testing and reporting. In some places you may find that the further you move away from the more conventional models the more difficult it is to provide the proofs of education that the state requires.

Our eclectic school definitely has one toe in the unschooling pond, though we are not “true” unschoolers.

Unschooling is allowing your child to learn through living life. Period. You don’t provide a curriculum or lesson plans. You don’t make them sit down and do math lessons.  They choose what to learn and when to learn it and your job is to help them find the tools they need to teach themselves the skills they wish to have.

Homeschool, Virtual School, Un-school, Co-Op: What does it all mean? (Part 2) | LazyHippieMama.com

Look at a child from infancy through pre-school. In those 4 years or so a person learns an extraordinary amount of information and they master new skills almost daily, even though there is no formal instruction. The idea behind unschooling is that people will continue to learn in just that way if you don’t put artificial boundaries on them.  As the student grows and develops and their academic needs become more complex, so does their desire to learn and so they will seek out knowledge and teachers and find ways to learn.

It sounds counter-intuitive to everything we consider “normal” in our society but, in 2012, Dr. Peter Gray did a large-scale study*, published in Psychology Today, of grown unschoolers. The concept first became a trend in the 1970s so those children are now adults with families of their own. Of the Unschoolers surveyed, 83% went on to some form of higher education. Most of those who went to college did so beginning at a Jr. College around age 16.  Dr. Gray notes that, “The most frequent complaints were about the lack of motivation and intellectual curiosity among their college classmates, the constricted social life of college, and, in a few cases, constraints imposed by the curriculum or grading system.”

In the same study, Dr. Gray shares that, “we found that most of them have gone on to careers that are extensions of interests and passions they developed in childhood play; most have chosen careers that are meaningful, exciting, and joyful to them over careers that are potentially more lucrative; a high percentage have pursued careers in the creative arts; and quite a few (including 50% of the men) have pursued STEM careers.  The great majority of them have pursued careers in which they are their own bosses.”

These men and women, schooled in an unconventional manner, often went on to unconventional careers. They became circus owners, aerial wildlife photographers, Greenpeace organizers, owners of engineering companies, inventors, community organizers and more.  Interestingly he notes that almost none of them worked in “middle management.”  They earned a living on their own terms. They became creators and bosses, hardly ever “regular” employees.

I’m sharing all of this because, of all the homeschool routes, my experience is that unschooling is the most misunderstood and widely criticized.  There seems to be a belief that it’s just lazy parenting.  The reality is that unschooling parents are just as much, if not more, involved in their children’s lives than other parents. They are constantly aware of the environment they are creating – and that creation is very intentional.  I’ve heard unschooling parents talk about “strewing:”  Purposely leaving something such as a Monopoly game on the table so that the kids will find it and say, “Hey! Let’s play this!”  All of a sudden their children – through their own choice and with no text books involved – are learning to count and add, make change, read and so on.

In it’s most “radical” form, unschooling reaches into every part of life. The child eats what they want, when they want. They sleep when they are tired and get up when they are rested, etc.  They will learn to wake to an alarm when there is an activity they want to participate in that requires them to do so. They will learn to eat healthy when they realize that a carton of ice cream gives them a belly ache.

Again, just as with the other types of homeschooling, those who unschool rarely fall into the “all or nothing” categories.  Most homeschoolers have SOME aspect of their lives that is “unschoolish.”  Only a tiny fraction of unschoolers fall into the “radical” category.  I indicated that my own family “dabbles” in unschooling. Our lack of designated curriculum and willingness to follow the lead of the children’s’ interests are distinctly an unschooling thing.  Forcing our daughter to do math even though she hates it… not so much.

At the beginning of this whole series I made the statement, “Ask 100 homeschoolers what their day looks like and you’ll get 100 answers.”  When trying to figure out what YOUR homeschool is going to look like, keep that in mind.  It’s YOUR homeschool.  You need to make it work for your family.  Does your child crave structure? Test boundaries? Love to be around other people? Thrive under pressure? Crumble when pushed?  What about you? Are you the kind of parent who takes great joy in finding cool craft projects on Pinterest and then sitting at the table and showing your little ones how to re-create those projects? Do you love to dialogue with your kids about what they are seeing or experiencing? Do you enjoy reading to them?

If you don’t find a rhythm that works for YOUR family then you aren’t going to succeed. Also, keep in mind that what works when you are teaching one first grader is probably not going to work when you are teaching 2 middle schoolers and a 4th grader.  Your homeschool will need to evolve as your family moves forward and your children grow.  Don’t be afraid to be flexible and change and “try on” different styles.  You may be surprised what you fall in love with!

* This is the link to the post that I originally read from Dr. Gray. Some of the statistics mentioned came from the other posts he released, based on the same study. All links are available within this article.

Homeschool, Virtual School, Un-school, Co-Op: What does it all mean? (Part 2) | LazyHippieMama.com

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  

 


A Great Offer From Collage.com!

 

A Great Deal From Collage.com | LazyHippieMama.com

*This is a sponsored post. I am receiving free trial products for the purposes of sharing an honest review with you.

I have friends who own entire rooms full of beautiful scrapbooking supplies. There are drawers full of sparkly paper and shiny ribbons, clever stickers, and special machines that can be programmed to cut out all sorts of complicated shapes. These women actually print their photos and organize them into wonderful books full of memories with titles like, “Our Vacation,” or “Baby’s First Year.”

Then there’s me.

I am really doing very well if I actually get any of my thousands of digital photos printed, let alone organized into gorgeous albums!

That’s why I love this offer from Collage.com!  You can create a professional photo book with a single click using Collage.com‘s One-Click Photo Book. Select photos of any size from Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, or your computer and they will instantly suggest a clean, professional layout that you can further customize.

Right now, they are offering a super special deal! If you order using this link you get 51% off a 20-page 11.5″x8″ Hardcover Photo Book From Collage.com.

A Great Deal From Collage.com | LazyHippieMama.com

I’m ordering 2 books today and I can’t wait to get them! When they come I’ll share them with you and let you know what our experience was like.

What about you? How do you keep your photos organized? 

A Great Deal From Collage.com | LazyHippieMama.com

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  

 


Is It Victim Blaming?

I was told, this week, that I am a promoter of rape culture. I was called a victim blamer.

If you know me at all, in person or through this blog, you can guess that I was a bit blind sided by that. I spend my life cheering for the underdog and seeking ways to help the downtrodden. It’s not just that I feel it’s the right thing to do. I truly feel it is my calling from God.  So when those words were said to me I examined them very closely.

The conversation in question was about the following scenario:  A young woman gets very drunk and finds herself alone in a parking garage stairwell with a man she’d only just met. The next day she is claiming she’d been raped. He’s saying he scored. That’s all the information given. We don’t know if she asked him to stop or if she was passed out cold.

You can probably imagine the rest of the conversation.  It basically boiled down to me saying, “young people need to know that the idea of “drinking responsibly” includes more than just not driving drunk and the other person telling me I was being an insensitive jerk.

It seems to me, in our society, that there are two camps, drawing up sides.

Is It Victim Blaming? | LazyHippieMama.com

One side takes a strong stance of, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”  Quit whining that you were raped. You shouldn’t have been drunk/dressed that way/hung out with that crowd/danced at that party/shown your ankles in public/etc.  Quit crying about being poor. Get a job/a 2nd job/go back to school/spend more wisely.  Throw “the race card” out the window. Everyone has the same rights now so being a minority is not an excuse for anything.

Basically, the people on that side of the aisle are tired of hearing excuses. They feel like there are too many people who feel too coddled in this country. They are sick of those who have made poor choices claiming that they are entitled to the same life as those who have been a bit wiser.

The other side is appalled at the lack of sensitivity. The girl was sexually assaulted! For Heaven’s sake, give her a break!  People can’t find a second job. There are NO jobs to be had!  And who will care for their children while they work 80 hours a week?  Those who are minorities are often discriminated against in a thousand ways, big and small, each day. Without special rights and protection they will never be able to reach true equal status.

These folks will argue that we’ve all made poor choices at some point. And maybe showing a bit more compassion will rid the world of a few of its ills.

I tend to be in the 2nd camp more often than the first.  Maybe because I’ve made more than my fair share of stupid moves in life and only through the grace and kindness shown to me by others have I been able to recover from any of them.

Is there no middle ground?

Is It Victim Blaming? | LazyHIppieMama.com

In the case of the story at the beginning of this post, is it not possible that the man acted hurtfully, unethically, and perhaps illegally AND that the young woman acted unwisely?

Yes, we should teach our sons to be compassionate and kind and chivalrous.  We should hold men accountable for their hurtful actions toward women.  A man should know better than to have sex with a woman who is too drunk to make an informed choice. Here’s a crazy thought. Maybe we should be teaching our sons they should know better than to have sex with a woman who isn’t their wife.  Hmmm…. that’s a can of worms for another day.

AND

We should teach our daughters to act with wisdom and discretion. There will always be bad people in the world. Don’t go drinking alone. Take some girl friends with you and stick together. Don’t allow yourself to be drunk and alone in a dark parking garage staircase with a man you don’t know.

That’s not taking the responsibility off the rapist. It is putting some power into the hands of the victim.

The same could be applied to all of the scenarios above and countless others.

Yes, we need to take care of those who are hungry, homeless, sick, addicted, and generally downtrodden.

AND

People who have been given a hand up need to put some effort into getting their feet under them and standing on their own. Only in that way will they ever be able to give a hand to the one behind them.

We need to recognize that discrimination is real and we need to create systems that work toward eradicating it.

AND

We need to teach our children that everyone gets pushed around in their lives. That is not an excuse for doing or being less than their best.

It seems like such common sense to me.

Drive safely. Wear a seatbelt. You might get in an accident anyway, but at least you’ll have done everything you can to minimize the damage.

Lock your doors. You might get robbed anyway, but you’ll have lessened the chances.

Keep a fire extinguisher in your house. It may still burn down but there’s a chance you could stop that from happening.

It’s “What Do You Think? Wednesday” and I really want to know your take on this.

Where do you draw the line between victim blaming and personal responsibility?

Is It Victim Blaming? | LazyHippieMama.com

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  


Homeschool, Virtual School, Un-school, Co-Op: What does it all mean?

Homeschool, Virtual School, Un-school, Co-Op: What does it all mean? | LazyHippieMama.comI can’t tell you how many times over the past few years I’ve been asked some version of this question:

“You’re homeschooling now? How do you know what to teach? And how do you know how to teach it?”

We are entering our third year of homeschooling. There are a LOT of people out there with a LOT more experience than me.  I’m just sharing a bit of what I’ve gleaned from those wiser and more knowledgeable than myself.

 That said, I have developed two standard answers.

The first is the short answer for people who seem to be just vaguely curious.  It goes something like this:

“Yup. There are harder days and easier days but I’m sure that anyone who is determined to make it work could find a way. There are, literally, thousands of resources out there to draw from.  It’s easy to know what to teach because the states post their grade level expectations online.  Once you know what your child is supposed to be learning you just need to match the kid to the resource.”

Easy and true enough, but some people are genuinely considering doing what we’ve done and those folks desire a little more detail.  For them, I break it down like this:

If you are seriously considering homeschooling your child you should know that there are more pathways than you can even imagine.  Ask 100 homeschoolers what their day looks like and you’ll get 100 answers.

First, you need to know that there are no federal regulations on homeschoolers.  Each state has its own laws. We live in Michigan, which is an EXTREMELY friendly state to homeschoolers. We have more freedom and resources than most.  Most states require some testing, submission of progress reports, or other “proof” that the child is being educated.

Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is an extraordinary resource. They have oodles of information on their website about state laws and regulations.  

After you’ve figured out what your state’s requirements are, consider this: Homeschooling is a scale.  It can be as structured (or not) as you want it to be.

Homeschool, Virtual School, Un-school, Co-Op: What does it all mean? | LazyHippieMama.com

Virtual (online) public schools, such as k12.com , are exactly what they sound like.  They are public schools that come into your home via your computer. Because you are enrolled as a public school student within that “district” the school will provide everything you need including text books, manipulatives and a computer. I believe (if anyone knows otherwise, please correct me in the comments) that you even get a small stipend to cover the cost of things like paper and printer ink.

The student signs in each day for attendance purposes. They are instructed via online lectures, discussion boards and other media. They have assignments to complete and are tested on their knowledge, just as they would be in a public school.  There are certified teachers on-hand to guide them through anything they need extra help with and the school organizes certain events and classes, such as physical education, in a central location for the area so that the children have opportunities to interact with their peers.  There is some leeway as to how quickly they move through the classes.

I’ve only personally known two families who have used a VPS.

Homeschool, Virtual School, Un-school, Co-Op: What does it all mean? | LazyHippieMama.comOne LOVES it.  The mom feels like her child is free to move at her own pace and free from the concerns over bullying and other issues that caused them to want to homeschool in the first place.  She doesn’t have to worry about coming up with lesson plans or keeping records. She just has to generally keep an eye on her daughter to make sure she’s focused on what she’s supposed to be doing during “school time.”

The other HATED it.  Total opposite end of the spectrum.  This mom felt like their whole life revolved around the computer school. It was too structured. Too many “pointless” repetitions of the same work. Not enough freedom for her child to explore their own passions.

As in so many things with homeschooling, you need to figure out what will work best for you.

Curriculum-based homeschooling is choosing a course of study such as Abeka, The Ron Paul Curriculum, Saxton Math and Core Knowledge,  are a few of the common choices.  You then base your student’s learning time around the material and lessons in the book.

There is A LOT of variance in what that looks like depending on teaching and learning styles and the type of curriculum used.  You and your child might spend a portion of each day at the kitchen table, “doing school.”  There could be work sheets. If you’re doing a “unit study” curriculum everything from math to science to geography and language arts will all tie in together.

Curriculums may be very religiously conservative, very close to what the public schools in your area teach or take an approach you’ve never even considered.  Know what you are buying before you buy it! Do you want your child to learn about evolution? Creation? Human sexuality? How do you want to approach topics like the environment? Politics? Current events?  Different curriculums teach about things in very different ways. The books and accompanying materials are often expensive but can almost always be bought, used, at a significant discount.

The advantage to this style is that you know your student is covering all of the material that their grade level is “supposed” to cover and you don’t have to try to come up with a zillion lesson plans. You just have to guide them through the material.  If you or your student are the type of person who gets terribly stressed out when there is no plan, curriculum-based homeschool may be just the ticket.

Why does she have a net on her head? I don't know. Sometimes homeschool is like that.

Why does she have a net on her head? I don’t know. Sometimes homeschool is like that.

Co-Op learning tends to be a version of this type of schooling where you work with a group of homeschoolers and work out a rotation to help spead out the teaching duties.  Perhaps Mrs. Smith teaches math and science on Monday and Mr. Jones teaches art on Wednesday and so forth, with parents guiding their own children through lessons between the class times.

Curriculum-based homeschooling is how we started with at the beginning of our  journey. We knew pretty quickly it wasn’t going to work for us even though, like I said, it’s perfect for a lot of our friends.  We felt like we were tied to this uber-expensive textbook we’d bought.  Our daughter desperately wanted to learn about space and we were studying dinosaurs. She was struggling a great deal with the way the math lessons were written – she didn’t understand the instructions and would become so frustrated that she couldn’t solve even the simplest problems.  She was reading and writing at a grade level higher than we were teaching and she was bored out of her mind.

For half a year or so we fought and screamed and threatened and the whole thing was a misery.  I was beginning to doubt our choice to homeschool. I felt like a failure. Then, somewhere along the line we tossed the whole plan out the window and all of a sudden the house was peaceful and learning started happening.

We moved on to what I’ve heard referred to as “eclectic schooling.”

Friday I will share what our eclectic school looks like and discuss “unschooling” as well in Part 2.

Homeschool, Virtual School, Un-school, Co-Op: What does it all mean? | LazyHippieMama.com

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Today Is A Good Day

Today Is A Good Day | LazyHippieMama.comI don’t go out of my way to read my horoscope but on Monday I happened across mine for that day. It promised me I would feel happier and luckier that day than I ever had before.  I joked about that with Handsome Hippie Hubby. What would we do with all those lottery winnings? What could make me happier than holding my newborn babies or hearing the love of my life say, “I do?”  And then we went on with our day.

It was a fairly average day. I did some writing. I went to work. We took the kids to the park, which was very nice, and then we decided to try out a restaurant some friends had recommended. Apparently the place is “super cheap with the best tacos in the universe.”  That’s worth a try, for sure!

So it was that we buckled our children into the back seat of our tiny little Ford Escort and headed the 3 miles or so across town to get dinner.  We were driving down the road at about 30 MPH. We had the green light so I never even tapped the brake. The woman driving 30 MPH on the cross street in a Ford F-150 never tapped hers either and we hit her – our bumper to her running board – at full speed.

The front end of our car literally folded in half.  The second the car stopped moving I spun in my seat to look at the kids. They were both looking back at me with wide, startled eyes. I looked at my husband and there he was, safe and sound looking back at me.  Fluids of every sort were running out of the car and we were in a busy intersection. “Get the kids out of the car. I’ll call 911,” he said.

We all climbed out and I headed toward the nearest business – a tow truck service, as it turned out. By the time I got to the parking lot a friend of mine was standing there! “Are you OK?” she asked.  “I saw you get out of the car and thought you might need some help.”  She had just happened to be in the neighborhood at that moment. She took my kids to her car where they immediately climbed in and started playing with her two little cuties.  I thought the truck had driven off, but she pointed it out to me, across the road in another parking lot.  The other people were OK too (and their giant truck was a bit dented but in significantly better shape than our crumpled little shoebox!).

Today Is A Good Day | LazyHippieMama.com

“We are all OK,” I said. Then I looked back at my poor little car; now just a heap of scrap metal and broken glass.  “I can’t believe we all just got out and walked away from that. I’ve never felt so happy and lucky in my entire life.”

Whoa.

My horoscope was right!

I have been thinking about that moment all week.  The “happiest moment of my life” was not at all pleasant.

How many times do we hear (or say), “today was a great day!” And what we mean is that today was fun. It was a pleasant day. We visited loved ones or laughed hard with friends. We basked in the sun or raced downhill in the snow. We ate good food or made good love or napped without interruption.  “It was a good day.”

But what about the other days?

What about the days when you drag your exhausted butt to work only to be yelled at by demanding customers for 10 hours straight?  What about the days when we are worried about where the money to pay this month’s bills will come from? Or the days when our loved ones snip at us or our kids are throwing up or things just generally suck?

We call those “bad days,” but…. are they?

Perhaps a change in vocabulary is called for. Difficult days, sad days, unpleasant days are not necessarily “bad.” In those days we are taught our greatest lessons. We are allowed extraordinary opportunities to shine as a beacon of hope to our fellow man. We are blessed with the miracle that is the gift of love, given by friends and family who share those times with us.

I think that Americans, in particular, were sold a bill of goods, somewhere along the line, that told us, “You should always be happy. You deserve to have everything you want. You have a right to be 100% comfortable, 100% of the time.” But the reality is that just isn’t healthy.  Have you ever known a person who gets everything they want 100% of the time? They tend to be selfish, greedy, unkind, unhappy, dissatisfied people that no one really likes to be around.

No one enjoys the flavor of their food as much as a person who is very hungry. No one revels in a great shower like a person who was truly dirty. No one finds blissful rest in a good night’s sleep like a person who is truly exhausted.

Those things that bring pleasure are just not as much fun if we never have the chance to long for them.

Pleasant days would not be nearly as wonderful if we never have the chance to experience days that are tedious or painful or sad or exhausting.

Today is good because you are alive.

Perhaps it will be an enjoyable day for you.  I hope so. It’s Friday. It’s the end of summer. It’s a great day to have fun.

But if today is hard, if you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on tight. Times may be hard now but easier days will come. They will! I promise. And they will feel SO AWESOME after this battle is behind you. And you’ll be able to look back and say, “That day was difficult, but it was good.”

Today Is A Good Day | LazyHippieMama.com

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!