Homeschoolers Oppose School Choice And School Vouchers Bills Passed By Republicans

February 28th, 2017

In a surprising turn of events, Texas parents who home-school their children are opposing a bill on school choice that was submitted by a Republican in Congress. A school voucher bill filed in the Senate is also drawing strong criticisms. These parents are wary about its eventual implications to homeschooling, should the bills get passed.

According to Texas Tribune, many did not expect home-schooled families to be on the same side as those who oppose a new school choice bill in Texas’ Congress given that homeschooling is all about choices for families. These parents say, however, they are worried school choice laws could eventually encroach on their freedom as the government might include textbook and curriculum regulations that won’t differentiate the two different systems.

State Sen. Larry Taylor filed Senate Bill 3 at the end of January. “This legislation will level the playing field for Texas parents who are desperate for more choices but are limited because of their financial resources,” he said in a press release.

Under Taylor’s proposal, two programs will be established to subsidize tuition fees for both private school choice and homeschooling. One of these programs will be open to all families, regardless of their income.

Therein lies the problem, however, as the lines drawn become unclear. “If it’s state-funded and state-approved materials, it’s not homeschooling,” mom Nicki Truesdell of the Texans for Homeschool Freedom said. What’s complicating the situation is that in Truesdell’s rural area, choices are already lacking, which could further make the distinctions less clear for families wanting to homeschool.

Meanwhile, Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King’s proposal for school vouchers has also been opposed by homeschoolers. Just like in Texas, parents worry over potential regulations that will be imposed, should HR 610 be passed into a law.

Only, King wants this to become a federal law to encompass all homeschooling system across America and homeschoolers are strongly saying no. “Federal legislation to ‘protect’ homeschooling is unnecessary,” William Estrada of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), according to Breitbart. King’s team has been reaching out to homeschooling parents but efforts to dialogue have failed.

Are you in favor of imposing more regulations on homeschoolers? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Confessions Of A Home Schooling Mom

December 29th, 2016

Decisions. It is one of the greatest causes of much angst for many people. One of the one things, I had told myself that I would never do after I became a mom was homeschool my children. I had met some children that were home schooled before and, boy, were they FREAKS with a capital F. All of the stereotypes ran through my thoughts…awkward, different, anti-social, disturbed and any other attribute that I had heard about home schooled children were personified in these kids.

This was not the life I ever wanted for my children. I wanted them to have interactive relationships with a myriad of people. This was what they would have to deal with in the “real world”, and I couldn’t always be there to help them handle difficult situations. Besides, I really didn’t think I had the fortitude to deal with them 24 hours a day. I needed my little “mini-vacation” from them. Don’t get me wrong…I love my children, but they are the same people that have been planning a coup for several years, anticipating the day when they could dethrone me. Giving them that perfect opportunity wasn’t high on my list of priorities. It was never going to happen!

Just exactly happens when a person says Never…Do they enter some sort of twisted paradox that they can never escape from? Someone was looking down on me and decided it was time to make me eat my words. It happens every single time I utter the word, never. I said I would never give up my career and become a stay-at-home mom. I quit my job shortly after finding out we were having baby number two and baby number one was only 4 months old. I said I would never have more than one child because I could not retain my status as a career woman and devote any significant time to more than one child. I have more than one child.

After my third pregnancy that had me laid up in the hospital bed for more time than I care to remember, I swore there would not be any more children. The doctor answered my request by telling me that I had developed Endometritis and therefore my chances of ever having another child would be equivalent to the odds of hitting the lottery. JACKPOT!!!!! We hit the lottery with baby number 4. Needless to say, we found out this little jewel of information the year our third child had entered half-day Kindergarten and was heading into full-time First Grade. Yippee.

No, we are not having any more. I can say that with confidence. I know…never say never, well I assure you I, and my friendly neighborhood Urologist, have taken care of that little problem. Unless God decides to bestow an immaculate conception in my future, that little baby has been put to bed. I also said that I would never have girls because they were whiny, hormonal, and often times self-absorbed. I have four.

I swore I would never Home School our kids because I believed it would do them a disservice. Yet here I am, homeschooling all of my children and wondering why I said, never, in the first place. It wasn’t the horrible experience that I had imagined. My children were not the outcasts and in need of my protective shelter. In fact, they didn’t really have any real problems that necessitated our immediate intervention. We had individuals at their school willing to work with us on the one child that was showing some concern, but it wasn’t like she was lacking socially or academically.

Our choice really came down to a question of roles and benefits, and the bonus in our decision was that our one child would benefit from a more customized learning style. We struggled with our decision at first, but we had to realize that we were only human and we were not all-powerful or all-knowing creatures that could look into a crystal ball and see how the future turned out. The questions rumbled in my head, and as I look back now I can answer many of them truthfully.

Was it an easy decision?

Absolutely not, it was our obligation to our homework and see if the choice to Home School was right for us. We weren’t even sold on the idea, even after we had made the decision to do it. In the back of my mind, I told myself, I had a safety net if it didn’t work out then I would send them back to school. Besides, I continually questioned my ability to craft them into individuals that could handle what life through at them.

Did I bit off more than I could chew?

Maybe. Sometimes I still wonder if I can do it. I give myself little pep talks every day to keep me going. Sometimes they work and I am able to handle the day. There are times they don’t and the workload for the day becomes pure torture. It is hard to stay upbeat when the work to be graded piles up, when the laundry doesn’t get done, when the house looks like a tornado hit it an hour before people are supposed to come over, when I write the checks to cover all of their learning materials, all of it combined can be a bit much to take and it is at these times the questions niggles in the back of my mind.

Maybe. Sometimes I still wonder if I can do it. I give myself little pep talks every day to keep me going. Sometimes they work and I am able to handle the day. There are times they don’t and the workload for the day becomes pure torture. It is hard to stay upbeat when the work to be graded piles up, when the laundry doesn’t get done, when the house looks like a tornado hit it an hour before people are supposed to come over, when I write the checks to cover all of their learning materials, all of it combined can be a bit much to take and it is at these times the questions niggles in the back of my mind.

Maybe. Sometimes I still wonder if I can do it. I give myself little pep talks every day to keep me going. Sometimes they work and I am able to handle the day. There are times they don’t and the workload for the day becomes pure torture. It is hard to stay upbeat when the work to be graded piles up, when the laundry doesn’t get done, when the house looks like a tornado hit it an hour before people are supposed to come over, when I write the checks to cover all of their learning materials, all of it combined can be a bit much to take and it is at these times the questions niggles in the back of my mind.

Am I ashamed of my decision?

At first, I was. Not because I thought it was a bad decision and not for the reasons many think. I just didn’t see myself as the typical homeschooling parent. I wasn’t a religious zealot that thought I needed to cushion my children from all the ills of the world. The reason I found myself feeling ashamed was when asked by other homeschooling parents as to what curriculum I was using. I was ashamed to say that my children weren’t using the main courses that taught with a slant to mainstream religious views. I would get the obligatory smile, the nod of acknowledgment, and the hum of their semi-verbal response and the underlying feeling of condemnation that I wasn’t incorporating God in their learning. Don’t get me wrong. I was raised in a God-fearing Bible-based, spiritually focused Christian home, with all of the trimmings. My parents are still missionaries living abroad establishing churches. I can even quote scripture with the best of them. I believe in God and the benefits of the life he can give, but I also am a realist who believes that my children don’t need to be of the world, however, they sure do have to learn how to live in it. It is my responsibility to prepare them for it. I don’t feel the need to have a Bible-based curriculum to teach them their moral compass. My job is to teach them to exist in the world that is around them and to prepare them for the task ahead. The schools don’t prepare them for life in the real world. They cushion them with so much political correctness that they produce of crop of automatons that need to think like the cybernetic collective from Star Trek, unable to think for themselves. While even some homeschooling parents seek to cushion and shelter their children so they don’t have to deal with unwanted situations. Well, guess what, one day those children will be out in the “real world” wondering why they were never shown how to handle the messiness of life.

Is it easy?

No. It is a process and a job worth doing is never easy and sometimes comes with a cost. There are days when I just want to scream with frustration because I can’t get my child to understand what I am trying to get her to learn. I have a hundred other things to do, but can’t because I have to deal with schoolwork and meltdowns.

Do I wish I could give up?

Sure I do, but I don’t because I know that I am not a quitter. I do not leave the field of play in the middle of the game just because I received a few bumps and bruises.

Is it worth it?

Heck Yeah! The minute my child who has been struggling to understand something looks at you in surprise and says, “I get it.” It is worth every meltdown, every minute I have put into this task, every penny I have invested because I know I have given my child that feeling you get when you have accomplished what, at first, seemed to be impossible.

If I had to do all over…would I still homeschool?

In a heartbeat.

The decision to Home School is never easy and should not be taken lightly. The Home Schooling Parents’ task is to prepare their children to face the world. Like it or not, they will one day be in it without you standing beside them to give them support. It is no easy task, but when they are equipped and able to handle whatever life throws their way the labor becomes worth it.

Homeschool Mom CoverGirl Madness

December 15th, 2016

I cannot believe that this turned into such a big deal. Goodness gracious. I am behind the times though, this was all at the end of last month and the beginning of Dec.

The commercial that is causing so much ruckus stars a boy called James Charles.

It started with an atheist blog, so it seems.

RawStory copy and pastes. No surprise there.

Yahoo grabs the story and runs with it.

There was an opposing views article.

A Mommyish article.

New now next talks about it with a weird choice of photos…

The Young Turks make fools of themselves as usual.

The Other McCain stands up for the Conservative voice.

And an OUT article comes next.

If You Live In NYC, Send This Letter

December 13th, 2016

A really sad story from the HSLDA. http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/ny/201612052.asp

The most important things you need to know:

“Rather than follow the clear direction of New York’s regulation governing homeschooling, these defendants regularly make demands not included in the regulation and fail to follow the deadlines imposed on them by the regulation,” the complaint says.

“This routine, repeated bureaucratic indifference to the rights of parents to choose homeschooling has led to significant delays and loss of services, and has caused false reports of educational neglect to be made to the New York City Administration of Children’s Services … which have then caused needless, intrusive investigations of innocent parents.”

The case was filed against New York City for what was described as “systematic mistreatment” of homeschooling families.

The problem could be fixed simply by having the city follow the state’s requirements, the complaint argues.

In most jurisdictions, it is a crime to provide false information to law enforcement personnel if the person providing such information knows or should have known it is incorrect. Properly filed paperwork is prima facie evidence that the school administration should have known the children were in compliance with the law. Perhaps if a few criminal complaints were filed against the school administrators for providing false information to those responsible for enforcing truancy law, they might get with the program.

I think they are pissed off that parents actually don’t want their kids indoctrinated with the leftist, progressive agenda that is taught in New York schools. One has to understand that New York City is afraid that the homeschoolers will actually get an education, unlike the public school system in which “Core” is dumbing down every kid in America. ‘CORE’ is another word for least common denominator.

This is the letter you need to be sending out:

New York City Department of Education,

It has come to my attention that in 2016, over two-dozen families were threatened with an investigation by the Administration for Children’s Services for “educational neglect” for failing to notify you of their decision to homeschool. However, these families sent you their notification through certified mail and received a receipt.

Losing one or two notices sent through certified mail may simply be a mistake. But losing two dozens notices appears malicious to the outsider.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has recently filed a lawsuit against you for “systematic mistreatment” of families who choose to home educate. HSLDA stated, “New York City’s homeschool infrastructure is archaic and creates unnecessary burdens for homeschooling families, school officials, and social workers.”

The liberty to educate your child as you see fit is fundamental to American freedom. Further, over the last several decades, we have seen home-schooled graduates far outperform their publicly educated peers. In addition, home schooled graduates have strong relationships with other such students—and more importantly, extremely strong relationships with family members.

I agree with HSLDA and ask that you take action on this immediately before you are forced to comply by the courts. Don’t discriminate against homeschool families!

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Thank goodness we do not live in NYC. We home-schooled two of our children, several years ago, and we had no issues with the local school district (Naperville). Of course, they tried to discourage us but once we filed the necessary paperwork they left us alone.

Some children do not fit into or conform to the “mass education process–one way for all” and need the freedom to learn at their own pace and in a way more challenging and suitable to their mental capabilities. It certainly worked for us as they both obtained their diplomas with high grades and one went on to U of Illinois to obtain his Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in Engineering Mechanics with Very High Honors.

Public schooling is okay for basic education, but tends to stifle creativity which can lead to boredom and disciplinary problems. We need to do more to support and promote homeschooling and also get the government out of education with it excessive regulations and everyone must be the same attitude.

Whats the deal with Instant Pots?

December 11th, 2016

What’s the deal? I love mine, that’s the deal.

I bought one on Black Friday and haven’t looked back since.

We made our first spaghetti in the IP last night and holy cow, none of us have ever had better spaghetti in our LIVES! Here’s what we did:

Browned 1 pound of ground beef on sauté mode, then drained the fat.

Broke gluten free noodles in half and laid them on top of beef. (Regular noodles work the exact same way.)

Poured a 24-ounce jar of Bertolli Vodka sauce on top of noodles.

Filled sauce jar with chicken stock and poured that on top of the whole thing.

NO STIRRING!

Set IP on manual high-pressure for 9 minutes. Let it natural release for 10 minutes, then finished with a quick release. Opened pot, stirred, and DEVOURED it! 3 yo helped by pouring in ingredients, then ate a whole bowl. 9 mo crushed it. Italian pasta-snob Husband said it was the BEST he’s ever had. Magical.

One of my friends tried it next. Here are her results with gluten free brown rice noodles.

Broke them up in 1/4s. Sautéed ground Italian sausage, added a jar of sauce and a jar of water. Stirred it up really good, set it 4 mins manual, and did 10 mins npr. Turned out great! There were only 2 small pasta clumps, but the rest was perfect.

Something I have learned since — You don’t even need to brown the meat. I cook spaghetti all the time & put raw hamburger in, pasta, sauce, water. Cooks perfect every time.

I check out Paleo all the time, and so should you if you buy an instant pot.

Why do homeschoolers love Instant Pots???

I’ve made pasta bolognese, soup, chicken fillets, taco meat, steamed apples and pear, omelet in a mason jar. It’s made eating healthy more convenient. I use my wok a little less. This weel we have been really busy so I’ve just thrown some chicken in quick. I have an 18-month-old and it helps as I can just pop something in and go play with her whilst it’s cooking.

The truth is, it saves us time in our already incredibly busy and hectic lives.

Why do other homeschoolers love Instant Pot? I met Nicole last week, and she can’t live without her Instant Pot.

Recipes like this one absolutely save my life every other day:

Pot of quick n easy chili.
Two cans of tomato sauce,
two cans of Brooks chili beans(I do one hot and one mild),
one can of diced tomatoes (or rotel if you want spicier)
one packet of Chili Mix. (Using mild today because of kids)
1lb of browned ground beef( I buy in bulk and brown a ton at once and portion in 1 Lb freezer bags)
Throw all in Instant Pot. And stir. Put on lid and push soup button. NPR

My biggest reservation with the Instant Pot?

Was super skeptical about making meatloaf in it, but it turned out SOOOOO good and I really don’t love meatloaf. Only thing I did differently is I used BBQ sauce instead of ketchup with was an optional switch in the recipe. I used 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 bison because that is what I had on hand. Also made the Brussel sprouts in there beforehand and they also turned out great. Recipes in comments.

Moving a kid from public school to homeschool

December 9th, 2016

Is your child going from public school to homeschool? For whatever reason you may be transitioning, there are lots of ways to make the transition easier on him or her.

I try to plan regular meetings that my kids can count on. We also have random playdates and activities with friends, but I find having a regularly scheduled time as well. My kids know that on Wednesdays they will see a certain group of friends. Also, they’re involved in several activities with other kids like scouts, 4H, sports, church groups etc There is a definite shift in the first year of homeschooling and it will take time to adjust.

There were two other comments that I found extremely helpful.

The first one:

My daughter attended K-1 at a private school. You know how at the beginning of the summer they are really annoying for a week or two as they go from being busy and stimulated and surrounded by friends all day to a quieter summer pace? It’s like that. And then they settle into their new normal.

We lived in a large metro area with a great inclusive hs group with so many local activities we had to be picky which ones to join because otherwise, we’d get no work done.

Then we moved to a smaller town and we were almost the only homeschoolers in town (the one other was about to graduate their last). By then the kids were old enough to make friends in the neighborhood. That’s what they did, and like other kids played in the afternoon. But unlike the other kids, didn’t have homework to do in the evening.

Oldest two have graduated and are well-adjusted.

And the second comment:

Recently one of our friends found that while their child was lamenting “missing out” when defined they missed the lunch line. And often it is recess. Daily recess like activity is harder to reproduce since we lack a sufficient amount of children.

I really enjoy the use of pro/con lists for these moments. It helps me to see what my child values and what he’s missing or views as a cost. And it gives us starting points for further discussion on solutions and changes that need to be made.

As for your question on can they get used to it. Yes of course children can get used to just about anything. Question for you both is do the benefits (pros) outweigh the costs (cons). We’re fairly open about the fact that there are costs to any educational choice. We are fortunate to have close friends and family in a variety of educational choices which lets my kids see that in action. So far in all of our evaluations of our personal educational choice we have collectively decided that the benefits are still worth the child identified costs. If that changed we’d adjust.

It has been a CRAZY few weeks of news

November 28th, 2016

Okay, where do I even start off? It seems like homeschooling and education have been in the news non stop for days on end.

So, rewind a while back to right after Trump is appointed. This article was all over Facebook nonstop. Trump mentions homeschoolers in first 100 days.

Then Canada hops onto the scene! 19 Year Old Homeschool Alum Elected to Parliament – saw this on a Forum I browse sometimes.

Then, start the speculation on Edu Sec. Falwell meets with Trump to talk education. People FREAK out about this. And literally two days later, Trump picks Betsy DeVos for education secretary post.

Now, get ready for the media hell storm.

Trump’s New Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos a Strong Supporter of Homeschooling.

Trump’s Education Secretary Choice Is A Blow To Our Nation’s Science Health.

What Trump’s Pick For Education Secretary Spells For School Policy – NPR.

And then get this, Falwell comes out a few hours ago and says this:

Falwell says Trump Offered Him Education Secretary Job.

A pretty crazy past few weeks of politics and I’m happy to say that we all survived, safe and sound.

That is the thing about politics. We freak out about things. And at the end of the day, we have very little control. Our lives will go on. Time can only tell what will happen. I’ve learned to read the news, and then get back to my life. My blood pressure doesn’t rise. I don’t worry and fret.

I’ll leave it up to the Lord, and go about my business

The Best Homeschooling Book For Beginngers

November 15th, 2016

There are so many great resources out there for getting started homeschooling. The first book I ever purchased for homeschooling was Start Homeschooling Now. Definitely worth it, although the author has been inactive for a while.

The other books that I used to get started were recommended by Homeschool Base. This article outlines quite a few great books: Books For New Homeschool Moms.

It’s hard to argue that the Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling isn’t worth reading. It’s all in the name, folks.

Another book, completely unrelated, is: 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential by Zan Tyler– this book not only changed our homeschool, but changed my parenting in general.

And, don’t forget an all-time classic: The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise — I can’t help it, I refer to this book all the time.

I am not the most experienced homeschooler, but I’m also not a ‘noob’ as they sometimes say. I’ll try to update this post as I grow wiser and older (yikes). I do think that I’m at the stage in my journey where I can recommend some starter books.

Leave a comment with your recommendations! (I say this knowing I have only a small, small following at this point.)

Restoring Education Funding, Homestead Exemption Are Priorities of Jones County’s David Gault

October 19th, 2016

I wrote this opinion piece as a journal of sorts back in 2010. The election is making me think back to politics. It’s funny how things change. Reading this is like looking back through a time machine. I thought I would post it even though its a little outdated.

GA-125: Restoring Education Funding, Homestead Exemption Are Priorities of Jones County’s David Gault

I agree with Peanut Politics’ Keith McCants when he concluded that the House District 125 race is one of twenty Georgia House races to watch this fall.

The House District 125 race hasn’t received the type of headlines that the governor’s race has garnered. However, Democrats are in a position to turn this district ‘blue’.

Longtime Jones County Commissioner David Gault relinquished his position earlier this year, and decided to run for a seat in the Georgia State Legislature.

According to his campaign website, Gault offered why he decided to run for office.

“I qualified for election to serve this district in the Georgia Legislature because too many things have happened in State Government that really disturbed me during these last 4 years. Some of these more notable blunders include the state’s cancellation of the Homestead Exemption. This action has resulted in transferring a major portion of government service costs to the property owners of this state.”

Gault also cites “the dramatic cuts in education funding, which have all been blamed on the economic downturn” by the Republican-dominated General Assembly and their decisions to furlough teachers show ” the overall misdirection of the state’s funding priorities”.

District 125 is a four county area that includes most of Jones, half of Monroe, some of Lamar and all of Jasper County.

The largest cities in the district include majority African-American county seats such as Barnesville, Forsyth and Monticello.

Gault’s opponent will be former Republican mayor of Monticello, Susan Holmes.

Holmes has achieved acclaim as past president of the Georgia Municipal Association and other political titles via Sonny Perdue.

However, Jasper County’s Monticello News and the Macon Telegraph had reported on the variety of events that involved mismanagement of funds dating back to 2004.

Back in February 2004, Wayne Crenshaw of the Macon Telegraph and News had written a story entitled Monticello faces a ban on block grants.

Monticello, Jasper County’s largest city will definitely be a battleground in the House District 125 race and Gault has an opportunity to appeal to progressive and independent voters who may be frustrated with Holmes’ conservative leadership during her twelve-year tenure as mayor.

After Holmes left office, former two-term Monticello City Councilman Glenn Newsome was elected mayor in a November 2007 election.

Most of the financial problems that had existed during Holmes’ administration continued with Newsome.
In a story that garnered national headlines from CNN, the Monticello City Council voted 3-2 in February to disband the Monticello Police Department.

According to the Monticello NewsMayor Pro Tem Russell Gross made the motion to reduce the police department from 15 positions to five positions (four officers and one office staff) effective March 1, and to make the necessary layoffs in the order of seniority and to phase out the entire police department by July 1. The action came at a called meeting in February.

The motion was seconded by Councilwomen Katherine Alexander. The motion passed on a 3-2 vote with Councilman Bobby Jacobs, Mr. Gross and Mrs. Alexander voting in favor and Councilwoman Molly Pompey and Councilman Bryan Standifer voting against.

Juanita Davis, President of the local chapter of the NAACP told the Council they had dealt a great disservice to the community by disbanding the police force and that no consideration was given by them before taking this action.

Monticello may be Susan Holmes’ hometown and turf, but Jasper County is hurting right now economically and the phasing out of the local police department has some Monticello citizens trying to find new leadership.

David Gault has an opportunity to fill that leadership void in House District 125.

 

 

Hello everyone!

September 25th, 2016

Hello everyone! I’m glad to be starting my blog here on A2ZHomeschooling! I hope that my posts will be informative for everyone!

Whats my plan? I’m going to be documenting my journey into the homeschool world. I hope that  I can help and inform you guys along the way. I’m literally going to be trying to start homeschooling from scratch and blogging about my mistakes and advice.

    Hi! I'm April!

    I'm so excited to be blogging on A2Z Homeschool :)

    I hope that people will be able to follow along in some way.