Saturday, September 24, 2016

Why I Homeschool - one Mom's loving answer


Since we made the decision to homeschool our children two years ago, the question we get asked most often is “why?”


The answer is simply that we don’t feel the public school system can offer the same quality education that we can give our children at home. 

For starters, no one will ever love my children or be more concerned for their well-being and success than their Father and I. 

We can ensure that our children are learning in an environment where they feel safe, loved, supported and encouraged. 

 My children receive a balanced amount of study time and time to just be a kid, let their imaginations do the teaching, and have fun. 
I don’t have to worry that my kids are being bullied or teased at school because I can personally choose who my children spend time with.

Homeschooling also allows my children to learn at their own pace. 

All three of my children have different learning styles and abilities and homeschooling gives me the opportunity to tailor their education around what works best for them. Before we decided to homeschool, we researched several types of education options including private Catholic school, Montessori, and Waldorf education but none of these options were very affordable for a family with three children. 

Because we can choose our children’s curriculum, we are able to incorporate all of these styles of learning into our homeschool. Homeschooling also affords us the freedom to teach our children family values, faith and patriotism as we see fit.

Homeschooling is one of the best decisions I feel like we have made for our children. We have more time to spend as a family and we can take off on a learning adventure anytime we please. Most importantly we have complete control over their education and we know they are spending each day in a safe and healthy environment.

I encourage you to dig deep inside yourself and determine what works best for your family, and go with it!  No route is right for every family, we all have the freedom to choose our own.  No choice is the wrong choice and stand by it proudly!

Warmly,




Libby - a Metro Detroit Mommy guest blogger 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

My Full House: A Homeschooling Mama shares her tips & tricks


I'm busy. I'll just come right out and say it. 

I'm a stay-at-home, work-from-home, homeschooling momma of two sets of twins (Delaney & Carter, 5, and Drew & Logan, almost 3). I care for my next-door neighbor's 18-month-old boy during the week, I'm a medical transcriptionist before the kids wake up and after they go to bed, and I'm a Wildtree representative who tries to do parties a couple times a month. I homeschool all of my kids. Oh, and I attempt to keep up with the housecleaning and laundry (usually unsuccessful, but at least I try). I get up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. and usually stay up until 10 or 10:30 at night, running all day long, forgetting even to eat. I'm BUSY. I've been called “super-mom” before, but really all I am is a mom, just like every other mom, who does her best to keep her head above water most days.

There are many reasons why we chose homeschooling for our family. 

Number one is that I like having them near me. Selfish? Maybe, but I think they like to be around me, too. I also love the flexibility. Some days we don't want to leave the house, so we don't have to. If we feel like taking a few days or a week off from school just because, we can do that. And it's really fun to go places when all of the other kids are in school – the parks, stores, amusement parks, etc., are all virtually empty.

We like learning about what we want and spending as much time on it as we need to. I like that my kids don't need to know if they are “behind” or “advanced” - they just ARE, and there are no feelings of superiority or inadequacy.

With that being said, since sending my kids away for 8 hours a day isn't something that we're interested in doing right now, there are some things that I do try to do to make things run a little more smoothly in our home:

Wake up before my kids. This is a big one. It's the reason why I get up so dang early. (I wish it was much later, but my kids are all early risers, up by 6:30 at the latest.) I need a little bit of time to shower, have some coffee, and just be by myself. I usually work during this time, which I don't love, but at least it's nice and quiet!

Have a schedule. We are pretty rigid with our schedule. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all around the same time every day. Naps for the littles are at the same time every day, which is when the majority of the bigs' schooling gets done. Field trips and errands are usually done in the morning, and stay-at-home time is in the afternoon. Now that the kids are a little older, we have more and more flexibility, but we try to stick to our little schedule as much as we can, because it makes everyone (especially momma) happier.

Meal plan. We do 2-week meal plans, which means we do a Costco run and grocery store run every other week. Hubby will pick up a couple of odds and ends during the week on his lunch hour, but otherwise we try to hold ourselves to bi-weekly shopping. Wildtree's freezer meals have helped so much with meal planning – our meal plans are usually 50% Wildtree and 50% whatever else I can get on the table in 30 minutes or less, with a night or two of breakfast-for-dinner or leftovers thrown in.

Make time for myself. Okay, so this one is a challenge. I try. I really, really try. Unfortunately, I really only leave the house by myself about every other week, and it's usually to run errands for my family. I'm working on this, though, I promise! I really do feel like an actual person when I force myself out of the house, even if it's just to grab some groceries. When I have an actual Moms' Night Out, I'm a brand new woman!

There are people out there who say that they don't know how I do it – handling all of these kids, working a ton, and homeschooling. They seem to think that sending my kids to public school would make my life easier and give me more time to myself or to keep up my home. And sometimes the doubt crawls into my head. I mean, my house would definitely be cleaner and I would get more work done if I sent them to school. But the truth is, there are so many better reasons NOT to send them away for 8 hours a day. Homeschooling may not be the best choice for every family, but it's PERFECT for us!

Thanks for reading!

Karis Hollis
Guest Blogger: Michigan Homeschool Family
Metro Detroit Mommy 


Karis is a crazy-busy wife and mom of two sets of twins, Delaney & Carter (5) and Drew & Logan (3). She is lucky enough to be able to spend her days with her children while working from home. She finds great joy in homeschooling her kids and in getting to watch them learn and grow every single day. She recently became a representative for Wildtree (www.mywildtree.com/karishollis) and has found that she has a passion for helping people feed their families healthy, easy meals every night. You can also find her on Facebook at Wildtree with Karis (www.facebook.com/wildtreewithkaris). In her very, very minimal spare time, she likes to read all kinds of novels and tries to catch up on Pretty Little Liars. She also loves to try new restaurants and new wines. She enjoys blogging about her family and their homeschooling adventure. 

A Students Perspective: My Unschooling Experience

 I am a born unschooler; my parents decided to unschool me before I was even born! They found a book by John Holt, and resonated with his theory on how children learned things. As long as I can remember, my mom has been sending me to classes I was at least a little bit interested in. I was a very curious and creative child; I wanted to know everything, and know how to do everything!


My parents didn’t worry about me academically; they knew that I would learn the things I needed to learn, when I needed to learn them. For example: When I was nine, I was in a musical called Thoroughly Modern Millie, and I needed to learn how to read my lines in order to be able to sing along. So, I learned how to read. It was so long ago, that I don’t remember how I learned to read. What I do remember, is that I had fun learning, and that’s what unschooling is all about. Unschoolers learn at different ages, and at different paces. For instance: my brother learned how to read when he was five, and it was because he really like RPG games, and as a result: he learned how to read!

I had really struggled to learn anything beyond adding and subtracting; I’m more of a visual person, I prefer pictures over words. My mom sent me to all kinds of math classes. I had some fun in the classes, because I loved puzzles. I wasn’t able to learn standard math skills like multiplying and finding x, those skills wouldn’t stick to my brain, no matter how hard I tried. But, it turned out that I was just not ready to learn those things yet. When I turned fifteen, all of the sudden, I started to really want to learn math; I felt that I was very behind after shadowing one of my friends at school, and I felt the need to catch up. It was like I got a spell put on me. I was learning math at a rapid speed. Well, actually, it would be better defined as a train experience. I got on to the train, and then the train started moving slowly at first, and then started moving faster, but then I moved too fast, I hit a bump, and my train fell apart. I got tired of drilling math problems. I took a seven month vacation from math. I came back from my metaphorical hospital, and I got onto another train, but this one was a baby bullet train, because I already knew most of my math, and I only needed to polish up, and learn the final things. At this moment, I’m very near the end of the line; I only have one more week of drilling, and then I’ll be adequate and college ready!

I enjoy blogging, and do so on my personal blog as well.  If you're interested in reading more, check it out here!


Thanks for reading!  ~Veronica 


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Michigan Homeschooling Laws - Current as of 07-2016

When you choose to be a homeschooling family, it's important to stay in the know!  Laws regarding homeschooling (and all other things!) are frequently changing and it's part of our responsibility to stay aware of proposed changes.  Every time there is a proposed change, we are given the opportunity to weigh in on how that can/would affect us and our homeschoolers.  We are our own faculty.  No one fights for us, but us.


The section of the Revised School Code that addresses home schools is located in the Michigan Compiled Laws under MCL 380.1561. 

Right to Home School 
Michigan parents have the right to home school their children. The law requires a parent or legal guardian of a child from the age of six to sixteen to send his or her child to school during the entire school year, except under certain limited circumstances (MCL 380.1561). The law was amended in 2010 to increase the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18 for a child who turned 11 after December 1, 2009, or who entered grade six after 2009. The exceptions include, but are not limited to, sending a child to a state-approved nonpublic school or educating a child at home in an organized educational program.

Who May Home School 
Home school education is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. The parent assigns homework, gives tests and grades these tests. The issuance of report cards, transcripts, and diplomas are the responsibility of the home school family (based on internal standards). If home schooling continues through grade 12, the parent issues a high school diploma to the graduate.

Reporting Process 
The annual reporting of a home school to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is voluntary. It is not required unless the student is requesting eligible special education services from the local public school or intermediate school district. It is recommended the parent first submit a completed Nonpublic School Membership Report to MDE if special education services will be requested. This form is available on the Michigan home school website - www.michigan.gov/homeschool. Before special education services are established, the school will contact MDE for verification that this process is complete. The home school must register each school year to continue services. A list of registered home schools is provided to intermediate school district superintendents each December and March or by emailing nonpublicschools@michigan.gov. It is not required that a parent inform their local school of the decision to home school, however, it is suggested. Failure to do so may result in the student being marked absent and the involvement of the truancy officer. Notification may be a phone call or a written note to the district. Keep in mind that a written note can be placed in the student’s school record indicating when the student has withdrawn from the school district.

Teacher Requirement 
A parent or legal guardian who home schools his or her child is not required to hold a valid Michigan teaching certificate, permit, or occupational authorization. A parent or legal guardian reporting to MDE must have a minimum bachelor’s degree to be approved unless they claim a sincerely held religious belief against teacher certification (People v DeJonge). Reporting is required if the parent or legal guardian is seeking eligible special education services for their child(ren). Course of Study Instruction must include mathematics, reading, English, science, and social studies in all grades; and the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of Michigan, and the history and present form of civil government of the United States, the State of Michigan, and the political subdivisions and municipalities of the State of Michigan in grades 10, 11, and 12. Home-schooled students may enroll in nonessential elective classes at the resident public school subject to the district’s enrollment policy.

Textbooks 
Home school families are responsible for purchasing the textbooks and instructional materials of their choice. School districts are not required to provide curriculum, textbooks, or materials to home school families. Student Records Parents are encouraged to maintain student records of progress throughout the year. These records will assist school personnel with placement should the student enroll in a public or nonpublic school. The granting of credits and placement of students is solely determined by the receiving school. If a student attends a home school and returns to a public school, the public school generally reevaluates the students for grade placement and the transfer of credit.

Required Testing 
There are no required tests for a home-schooled student. The parent is responsible for administering tests based upon the curriculum they use. Although not required, homeschooled students may participate in state testing at their local public school. These tests are managed by MDE and are administered at no cost to a home-schooled student. For further information, contact your local public school.

Athletics 
The supervision and control of interscholastic athletics are the responsibility of each local board of education. Most local boards have adopted policies as proposed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association. Please contact the appropriate local school district or the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) at (517) 332-5046 or MHSAA website - www.mhsaa.com

Work Permits
Home school students may obtain a work permit through their local public school.

Funding 
There are no public funds available for home schooling.

Additional Information 
MDE’s website provides additional information on home schooling that includes legislation, the registration form, and instructions. You may access this information at the Michigan home school website - www.michigan.gov/homeschool. For additional information on home schooling, please email nonpublicschools@michigan.gov.



Stay informed!  Always be on the lookout for propsed changes to these laws and famiilarize yourself with what they mean to you!

xo,
Robin
Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger
The Michigan Homeschool Family Network

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What is homeschooling?

Homeschooling is a progressive movement around the country and the world, in which parents choose to educate their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional public or private schools.  Families choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons, including dissatisfaction with the educational options available, different religious beliefs or educational philosophies, and the belief that children are not progressing within the traditional school structure.
The homeschooling movement began growing in the 1970s, when some popular authors and researchers, such as John Holt and Dorothy and Raymond Moore, started writing about educational reform. They suggested homeschooling as an alternative educational option. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, there are now more than two million children being homeschooled in the U.S., with the percentage rapidly increasing by 7 percent to 15 percent each year. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and in many foreign countries.  Laws for homeschooling vary by state.  You can read Michigan's Laws here.
Homeschooling families do not need to follow a specific structure, schedule or curriculum.  It is the freedom of the Parent/Educator to decide what will work best within their home.
Students who receive a home education are given just as many post-education opportunities as public schooled children and can also receive a Diploma instead of a GED. It is a Myth that Colleges frown upon homeschooled students when considering them for admission.
We're glad you found our page and look forward to sharing lots of information with you!