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Reading Lessons

Having your child read a book to Dad at bedtime counts as a reading lesson.

Education majors

Today’s reason to homeschool is: you’re better prepared than you might think.  What makes an expert?  Many people feel that degrees, certifications, and other qualifications are important.  I feel that way less and less each day.  I earned a teaching certificate a few years ago, for the purpose of getting a job.  I don’t regret it, exactly, but of all the things I’ve accomplished in my life, if I ranked them according to how proud I was of myself, that certification wouldn’t make the top twenty.  In my experience, education majors are the last people I would want teaching my children.

This evening, I was reading comments on a blog.  This is one of the comments responding to the question, “How do you feel about early education?”

b———–d said…

i do not have anychildren but my major is earlychildhood edu and i am planning on being a preschool teacher and i have observe children and one      thing that was taught me me is that children learn though play and movement and music. and also i learn about the developmentally apportiate zone that is you don’t how to count if they don’t there number . it line upon upon it is important to teacher young child , but it should be done in away where they want to do and young children love to learn and explore and also i think chidren should be guide it learning love love care patenice not force

November 11, 2010 8:28 PM

I’m glad this person isn’t striving for any grade level higher than preschool…but still.  Nevermind the typos, I don’t think I can even follow her train of thought.  And yes, I know it isn’t fair to judge a whole group of people from one bad example, but I don’t think this example is really so many standard deviations away from the norm, if you know what I mean.  The next time you meet a ditsy college student, ask him or her (usually her) her major.  Good money says it’s Psychology or Education.

John here (for a change):

So yesterday evening, while pouring some Ginger Ale from the bottle, Nora asked a “silly” question: What if it weren’t Ginger Ale in the bottle but something else?

This lead to a discussion of trust and business.

“Ok, Nora, what would happen?  If we went to the store and bought something called ‘Ginger Ale’ and it turned out to be root beer, what would happen?”

“Well, I guess we would be mad.”

“Right, and if we were mad at a store for lying to us, what should we do?”

“Not shop there anymore?”

“Right.  And what would happen to the store if enough people got mad at them for lying and stopped shopping there?”

“It would go out of business.”

“Right!  So, do you think most businesses lie to people or do they tell the truth?”

“Tell the truth.”

“Right. Why?”

“So we’ll come back and they won’t go out of business?”

“Right!”

It’s a wonder to me that more adults cannot grasp this simple concept: the vast majority of businesses, big and small, deal honestly with their customers, employees, and suppliers because they want to remain in business.

She understood that, because there is always another store we could go to to buy our Ginger Ale, it helps keep the business honest even if the owner doesn’t want to be.

[Of course, I did take the opportunity to point that if gov’t does something we don’t like, we can’t just “shop” at a “different gov’t” to which Nora replied “Then they don’t have to worry about being honest to us, do they?“]

Teaching our kids the truth about how the market works…today’s Reason of the Day.

Practicality

As a homeschooler, I can teach my kids some practical skills, like do-it-yourself home improvement, that isn’t considered real education in traditional schools.  Ironically, I have found the practical things that I was never taught in school (but learned a little about by watching my dad) to be FAR more useful, money-saving, and time-saving, than the intellectual things.  There are things like repairing an appliance, buying something from the internet, navigating health insurance, and investing money that are very important skills completely ignored by schools.  I’m excited to be teaching my kids to think for themselves, rather than how to think for someone else.

Date of Manufacture

Awesome video:

YouTube – RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms

Today’s reason to homeschool: because the most important thing about my children is NOT their date of manufacture.

My homeschool journey began with the problem of having a bright 3-year-old, ready to learn to read, who wasn’t going to be allowed to start kindergarten, at a public or private school, until she was five and a half.  And right behind her, another bright child, who had the misfortune of an early fall birthday, who wouldn’t be allowed to start her education until she was very nearly 6 years old.  So I started teaching them at home, and just haven’t felt the need to stop.

TV

We don’t have broadcast TV in our home (GASP!)  We do, however, let our kids watch quite a bit of DVDs, VHS, and programs downloaded on the computer.  (We adults watch an hour or two a week on the computer.)  In our living room, there is a shelf full of games in the place of honor where most people put their TV.  I really like this system because A.) We still have “TV” enough that the kids are savvy and our parents don’t think we’ve gone too far off the deep end, and B.) We can control which programs the kids watch, and they rarely see commercials.  Plus it’s nice not having a satellite bill.

The way this pertains to homeschooling is related to the “Just Wait Until They’re in School” theme that I’ve mentioned before.  The way this works is no matter what your kids do, no matter what progress you’ve made, any uniqueness in them will be completely wiped out once they start school.  If your children are surrounded by dozens of other mainstream kids day in and day out, they will be bombarded with the other kids’ values, just as we used to be bombarded by commercials and daytime TV.

My kids don’t like SpongeBob.  Even at 5 1/2, my oldest still thinks he’s “yucky.”  I’m proud of this, and I’ve worked hard to keep it this way.  I am glad that she doesn’t go to school and feel pressure to watch that show, or anything like it.  I am glad that she isn’t made to feel weird for not having a TV on all the time, and I’m glad that she has never heard of Jerry Springer.

No, we can’t shelter them forever.  And they aren’t all that sheltered…they have seen commercials, they have seen bits of SpongeBob, etc.  I’m not trying to keep her in the dark…for heaven’s sake, she just watched “Ghostbusters” three times a few days ago.  But neither does that mean that we must throw her out into TV land to be inundated with valueless amoral crap.

Just as I want to teach my children particular things without abandoning them to whatever the public schools teach (and don’t teach), so I want them to be able to watch television without abandoning them to whatever the satellites can broadcast.

Dress Code

My daughters are running around playing together, one of them wearing a swimsuit and goggles, the other in a dress with fairy wings and bunny ears.  I don’t know what they’re playing, but one of them said, “Ok, next mission: you have to save the flaming cat and also all of her kitten friends, and you have to kill 20, 50, and 1000 bad guys.  Ready? Go!

Homeschoolers can choose their own dress code.

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