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Investing in Yourself as a Teacher

I was reading the Economist the other day and was struck by a couple of articles discussing education.  One thing stood out to me; the quality of the teacher was the number one determining factor of success in education.  I was wondering how much time do homeschooling parents invest in themselves as teachers.  How often do they attend teacher trainings?  I am not talking about going to a local conference and listening to a motivational speaker but, real teacher training where you are required to participate and are evaluated and critiqued. 

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

The other day I was talking with a friend at church and mentioned how excited I was that we were going camping.  My friend said with disbelief, “YOU camp?”  “Yes, we enjoy it very much.” I replied.  My preteen daughter then smiled her sweet metal braces with color-banded smile and said she was looking forward to hot dogs and S’mores.  My friend then said with even more disbelief, “YOU eat hot dogs …and S’mores?  I can’t believe it!”  I just smiled, laughed and said, “Okay, the hot dogs are organic and the chocolate is Ghiradelli, but yes we are real campers.”

The Question "Why?"

To really master an area of study a child must understand “Why?”.  It has become popular in both homeschooling and some schools to educate children with rote learning.  But, rote learning does not ask the children “Why?”.  Why is this a verb?  Why do we need a coordinating conjunction?  Why is the ozone layer important?  Why is 8 X 5 equal to 40?  Why must we keep our brush relatively dry to paint accurate details?  Why should letters always sit on the baseline?  For example, if a child cannot explain in his own words why a particular word is a verb, how it is different from the othe

Impressionism: Up Close

Last week we did our first Picture Study. Our approach to the study of art comes from the ideas of Charlotte Mason:

As in a worthy book we leave the author to tell his own tale, so do we trust a picture to tell its tale through the medium the artist gave it. In the region of art as else-where we shut out the middleman.

- Charlotte Mason, Towards a Philosphy of Education, Homeschooling Series Vol. 6

Homeschool Blindspots

I recently read an article from the Virginia Home Educator Magazine by Reb Bradley, entitled Homeschool Blindspots, and found it very thought provoking.  Many times we go down a chosen path in life thinking that we are doing right only to get further down the path and see the error in our ways.  Choosing to homeschool is a major commitment and one in which we should regularly examine our motives.  If it is true that “an unexamined life is a life not worth living” then unexamined homeschooling is a homeschooling not worth doing.  This article is excellent for any parent, not just homeschoole

Telling or Teaching?

Our neighbors asked Mike if he would stop in twice a day while they were out of town and take care of their pets (two cats, two turtles, three beta fish, and five goldfish). Mike agreed, and I decided the opportunity for him to have a hands-on lesson in responsibility was worth the effort on my part. As it turned out, I was the one who needed the lesson.

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