Tag Archives: children

10 Famous Home Schooled People

I found this at Mental Floss blog & wanted to share it with you.  One thing I noticed is that many of these listed were homeschooled by their fathers, or their fathers had a very active role.  I think that is very important to note.  The dads have an important role in the education of their children.  Homeschooling doesn’t have to be just a mom thing, it can be a family thing.

1. Agatha Christie. Agatha was a painfully shy girl, so her mom homeschooled her even though her two older siblings attended private school.
2. Pearl S. Buck was born in West Virginia, but her family moved to China when she was just three months old. She was homeschooled by a Confucian scholar and learned English as a second language from her mom.
3. Alexander Graham Bell was homeschooled by his mother until he was about 10. It was at this point that she started to go deaf and didn’t feel she could properly educate him any more. Her deafness inspired Bell to study acoustics and sound later in life.

4. If Thomas Edison was around today, he would probably be diagnosed with ADD – he left public school after only three months because his mind wouldn’t stop wandering. His mom homeschooled him after that, and he credited her with the success of his education: “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”

5. Ansel Adams was homeschooled at the age of 12 after his “wild laughter and undisguised contempt for the inept ramblings of his teachers” disrupted the classroom. His father took on his education from that point forward.

6. Robert Frost hated school so much he would get physically ill at the thought of going. He was homeschooled until his high school years.

7. Woodrow Wilson studied under his dad, one of the founders of the Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS). He didn’t learn to read until he was about 12. He took a few classes at a school in Augusta, Georgia, to supplement his father’s teachings, and ended up spending a year at Davidson College before transferring to Princeton.

8. Mozart was educated by his dad as the Mozart family toured Europe from 1763-1766.

9. Laura Ingalls Wilder was homeschooled until her parents finally settled in De Smet in what was then Dakota Territory. She started teaching school herself when she was only 15 years old.

10. Louisa May Alcott
studied mostly with her dad, but had a few lessons from family friends Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Can you imagine?

Can I Homeschool & Work Too?

Guest Blogger

Texas Home School Coalition Association REVIEW © February 2008

by: Holly Williams Urbach

When I started teaching my children at home in 1993, it was rare for me to meet a home schooling mother who worked outside the home. We home educators met at our local park and commiserated on the challenges of tackling lesson plans and getting dinner on the table each night. Our husbands worked full-time, or more, to support the school lunch program, and we wives worked hard to stretch the income as far as possible. We swapped curriculum and clothes with each other, along with recipes designed to make the most use of the available items in our pantries.

Contrast the above scenario with 2007, when quite a few of my home educating friends and acquaintances work either from home or outside the home. While there are many families living on one income, increasing numbers of households are finding it more and more difficult to do so for a variety of reasons. When I counsel new home schoolers these days, many ask me if it is possible to work and homeschool.

My family and I are part of the growing trend of home educating families in which both parents are working. When we realized that I would have to begin working, my husband and I determined to continue home educating our children. We did not want to shortchange our children as a result of the difficulties we were having financially.

I am extremely fortunate to work part-time for a company that allows me flexible hours. I know of families with home-based businesses who face the same time crunch that I have working outside my home. I believe it is likely that we will find home schooling families where both parents work more common in the coming years. Whether working outside the home or from home, combining work and school is a task that requires creativity, energy, and determination.

Even with all the perks of my situation, I find it challenging to combine work and schooling.  Following are some ideas and strategies I use to manage home, school, and extra-curricular activities while holding a job.

One of the first things to do is develop a workable schedule. Obviously, a lot depends on the age and activities of your children. My four children still at home range in age from thirteen to nineteen. Since they are teenagers who require and desire a lot of sleep, I work mornings while they are still sleeping. When I arrive home around 1 p.m., they have gotten out of bed, eaten and dressed, and they are already working on independent assignments. We then have between 1:30 and 6 p.m. to complete their studies for the day. I have students who are well-rested and ready to learn.

When I worked two afternoons a week, I struggled to accomplish schoolwork in the mornings prior to leaving for work. The children were sleepy and sluggish. I was frustrated and felt that everything was rushed and seldom accomplished to my satisfaction. Our new schedule works much better for all of us. Determining your most productive work and school hours is the first step in making school and work successful.

The next thing to consider is what curriculum to use. A teacher who is also working may not have the preparation time available that she would like to have. Many employed home schooling parents find that computer or video curricula fill the need nicely for their students. I would caution parents not to use such curricula for all subjects, because students need variety and adult feedback to help them learn effectively. Others hire tutors or send their children to outside classes for some of their instruction.

At times, I have utilized outside classes and co-ops to help meet the needs of my students in science and math, freeing me to delve more deeply into history, literature, Bible, and foreign languages. These classes make my available time with my students more productive. The point is, take a deep look into your family’s needs and develop a plan that helps you not only to survive but also to thrive in your situation. Any frustration you encounter in your schedule is a natural alarm, telling you that something still needs adjusting. Pray about it and seek God’s direction on how to resolve the situation.

With the work/school schedule planned and the curriculum squared, the next big consideration is how to deal with housework, meals, and outside commitments such as Boy Scouts, 4-H, kids work, etc. My family and I take time to discuss housework issues, and the children and I divide the responsibilities between us. The great thing about this plan is that my sons are learning to launder clothes, cook, and keep house just as well as my daughter. We all pitch in to get the work done so no one has to spend a lot of time doing housework.

Meal preparation is time consuming enough for parents at home full-time, so having less time due to working outside the home can cause a lot of stress. I try to make things ahead of time over the weekend, so getting a meal on the table during the school week is easier. I use my crock pot as much as I can. I have many cookbooks that contain recipes for cooking in quantity and freezing meals ahead of time, to best utilize the time I have available.(Once a Month Cooking by Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson and Jill Bond’s Dinner’s in the Freezer are two favorites.) I also solicit my children’s help in preparing meals. I reap the benefits of more time with my children and reduced time in the kitchen. Planning and executing a menu is essential to streamlining meal preparation as well as keeping expenses down by avoiding the fast-food trap.

My daughter has a part-time job, and she and my youngest son are active in 4-H. Such additional activities are worthwhile enough to our family to factor into our schedule the time they take. We have found 4-H to be a great program for our family, because each child can participate in an area of their own interest as we take monthly trips together to the meetings.  Another great thing about 4-H is that it helps our home schooling so that we work smarter rather than harder. Finding an activity that the whole family enjoys together is a great way to manage the time spent out of the home. Each family can find activities that add enough to the family that they also justify the time taken to participate in them.

Do I long for the days when I was home all day with my children? I certainly do. I have actually started a home-based business for just that reason. Once my business replaces the income from my part-time job, I will once again be at home all day with my children. I will still face that juggling act that comes with working and homeschooling, but I think that my children and I will all have gained a greater understanding of what it means to work together as a team and of how to adapt to changing situations. In the world we face today, those will be valuable and useful abilities for all of us.

Meet Holly Urbach

Free Israel Unit Study

Here she goes again…

Terri Johnson at Knowledge Quest has most graciously shared with us another one of her unit studies.  This one is on Israel.  These are simple & yet a lot of fun.


Go to Knowlege Quest to get the Unit Study.

If you subscribe to her newsletter, she will send you a link to her “Around the World” unit study.  Her website & blog is full of lots of freebies (& who doesn’t love that!).

You Can Correct & Prevent Dyslexia

I have 2 children with varying degrees of dyslexia.  It has been a challenge to teach them, but it has been done.  We used techniques that others didn’t agree with, but it worked for us.  Finally, I found an “expert” who supports what we did & says that it works.  We knew that it did, but it always helps to have a expert say it also.  We did not raise our children under the umbrella of “disability”  We never told them that something was wrong.  They are not special needs, they have learning challenges.  Who doesn’t have learning challenges, but theirs is just a little more complicated.  Here is an excellent article that showed up in the THSC  newsletter.  I would suggest htat you share it with anyone who is struggling with a child.


You Can Prevent and Correct Dyslexia

 Sue Ellen Haning


Texas Home School Coalition Association REVIEW © February 2005

Dyslexia is a fairly new word (I could not find it in the 1971 Oxford English Dictionary), but it is one that we see and hear with increasing frequency, and it has become a buzzword in the educational community. Although each of the many books and articles written on the subject of dyslexia has a slightly different spin, the common ground most share is the death sentence to the student and his or her parents. I have even read, “Once dyslexic, always dyslexic.” Is this death sentence a reflection of current societal thinking? (Victims are everywhere.) Is the word “dyslexia” a scapegoat for the school system in which such labels originate and which receive funds for students in special programs? How many sleepless nights have mothers and fathers spent blaming themselves–or just lying awake trying to engineer a way to remove the unfortunate label–while the powers that be (teachers, administrators, doctors) slam the gavel on the child’s file, condemning him or her to a life of special classes that go on and on, year after year, seeming to make little, if any, difference in the child’s ability to progress? As a parent, I would strongly resist any label that anyone wanted to put on my child.

My education degree is not in special education, but I have thirty-three years of experience teaching “dyslexics” in the classroom and in private tutoring. My students have ranged in age from five to thirty-five, and many have been labeleddyslexic” for years. Their symptoms include problems in reading, spelling, and comprehension; poor decoding skills (inability to read phonetically); terrible handwriting and reversals; auditory processing problems (inability to store and retrieve information presented auditorially); visual processing problems; attention deficit disorders; hyperactive disorders; etc. There seems to be no end to the symptoms attached to the label. Most of these students have attended special classes specifically designed for them. While well intentioned, these classes move the student along at a snail’s pace or not at all, and most use the same teaching techniques that did not work for the student in the first place. Self-esteem work is often a major part of these classes. Our society seems to value positive strokes above real learning, and coddling ourselves above challenging ourselves, and it does not understand that self-esteem is a natural by-product of personal accomplishment.

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) defines dyslexia as a “specific learning disorder that is neurological in origin,” meaning that dyslexia is a nervous system malfunction. I disagree with the IDA that all diagnoses of dyslexia are neurological in origin; however, I do not doubt that 20-25% of the population has some degree of learning difference—not disorder. We are all unique in our learning styles. Some understand numbers better than words. Some have auditory strengths; some have visual strengths. Some are kinesthetic. Some have a mixture of two or more of the preceding. The diagnosis of dyslexia relieves “the system” of responsibility, but it does not necessarily help the student who is having trouble learning.


To facilitate the educational system, all students are expected to operate within one learning style. Professionals in both the educational and medical fields encourage—indeed often demand—that a child take one or more of the popular drugs to help force him into the mold. Ritalin is just one drug prescribed to millions of America’s children, and its chemistry is so close to cocaine that it takes a chemist to tell the difference. I encourage you to read You Can Prevent or Correct Learning Disorders by Dr. Hilde Mosse. If you are not up for reading the entire book, please read the pages devoted to drug use in children.

More often than not, my experience with “dyslexics” has exposed environmental causes rather than neurological ones. Environmental causes are preventable and correctable. In order to learn well, children need daily, frequent, verbal interaction with adults—the complete sentence type of dialogue. The language and perception skills a child learns from personal, face-to-face, frequent, daily dialogue with an adult will go a long way in preventing learning problems by building good thinking skills. What keeps these good skills from forming?


Television, in my opinion, single-handedly causes more harm to children’s learning than diet, day care, and dairy products combined. This ingenious invention can connect us to the rest of the world and teach us much about the world and the people in it, but in my opinion, the destructive aspects of TV outweigh the constructive ones. Television continually stimulates the viewer both auditorially and visually, with short, choppy thoughts—which shorten attention spans. Children’s programs are the worst, as they constantly jump from one focus to another. Family shows are not any better, with their constant interruption by commercials (which often focus on a pill to solve our ills). In many homes this TV monster is on much of the day and night, even when no one is watching. Parents say, “Oh, our children don’t watch TV.” Further questions reveal that the children may not watch the TV, but it is on nevertheless, and what are the children doing while the parents are watching TV? They are engaged with and entertained by other electronic devices such as the computer, video games, books on tape, etc. The same attention and learning problems result from these toys. No amount of technology can replace the one-on-one, face-to-face, positive interaction with adults through dialogue and reading.

There are other environmental causes of learning problems and hyperactivity that I have directly addressed with my students and their parents: disorganization (household and personal), cluttered walls at home and school (visual stimuli), inconsistency in all aspects of life, too many outside activities, pressure to hurry, noisy study environment, too little rest, MSG and other food additives, emotional turmoil, chaos, and tension at home and in the classroom. It is impossible for a child to concentrate for any period of time when he is overly excited or overly stimulated in any way. Most children are over-stimulated day and night. No wonder so many are hyperactive. “But we live in the twenty-first century,” you say. “This is part of life.” You must determine if it is more important for your child to fit into the culture or for him to have a good foundation for life.

The educational system inadvertently creates problems too. Often the copy method is used in teaching children to form letters and numbers. The teacher stands at the board in front of the students and forms a letter or number with little or no instruction in how to accomplish this task, and the student must try to mimic the forming of this letter or number on his paper. Casual teaching is popular, with the belief the child will get it in his own time. The correct formation of each letter and number must be taught, and then the student must practice it correctly. In English, we read and write from left to right and top to bottom. Beginning readers and writers must have consistent practice in forming their letters from left to right and top to bottom. The copy method often results in the student beginning the letter at the bottom and going to the top or starting the letter on the right side and going back to the left. Constant practice in forming the letters inaccurately teaches the brain to address the written word incorrectly, and dyslexia is born. Teaching rhyming words—bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat, etc.—trains the child to look at the end (right side) of the word first and then look back to the beginning of the word (left side). We read from left to right—not from right to left. This may seem simple or inconsequential, but to a beginning reader and writer, it is very significant. Teaching systematically is imperative in preventing or correcting writing and reading disorders.

The popular use of workbooks that require one-word answers inhibits language development also. The child usually chooses from a list of four words to complete the sentence. The child may not even be able to read all the words in the sentence but can often make a correct choice. In workbook assignments, the student does not have to engage the entire language. The language appears in bits and pieces (what goes in the blank). Active practice in writing and speaking in complete sentences advances language skills.

Another hazard to linear reading is the comic book or cartoon. The inconsistent placement of words and the visual stimulation of the pictures encourage scanning and picture-gazing. Often children look for the pictures to tell the story and read only a word or two of a caption on pages where the pictures do not tell the story. Comic book reading may not cause a problem in the experienced reader, but it hinders linear reading progress in the young or beginning reader and in the child who has a learning difference.

While the educational system creates some learning problems, others actually happen accidentally as the child grows. One correctable neurological problem is crossed hemispherical dominance. Hemispherical dominance is helpful in working with any learning. If a person is right handed, his right ear and right eye should be dominant as well. If he is left handed, his left ear and left eye should be dominant. If one side is dominant, he is hemispherically dominant. The dominant eye and dominant ear receive information and store it on the opposite side of the brain. If the right eye is dominant, but the left ear is dominant, then information is incorrectly filed and becomes hard to retrieve. This problem accounts for children being able to access previously learned facts one day but unable to access the same facts on another day. For more information on this issue, log onto http://www.hope-future.org. This Web site will give you access to full information on hemispherical dominance and how it affects learning, and it will help in determining and reinforcing dominance.

My experience with dyslexics has taught me that consistent, multisensory, detailed instruction and practice is the approach that works. Whether the weakness is auditory, visual, or kinesthetic, the multisensory approach corrects the weakness and makes the strength stronger. I teach extensive phonics to my dyslexic students (no matter their symptoms) and have them practice daily. It is the consistency in correct practice that makes the difference. This method has been so successful that I can guarantee reading and writing success. Parents’ cooperation in removing or at least reducing environmental hazards results in greater improvement. When this approach is faithfully followed, the outcome is always positive.

Some learning differences are more involved than others, but when the parents and students are dedicated to working consistently and correctly, the results are phenomenal, and the dyslexia goes away! The key is in the instruction, practice, attitude, and philosophy. The only question is, Are you willing to accept the challenge?


Meet Sue Ellen Haning


The Ungraceful Homeschool Community

I’ve been at the home school thing for a long time now (12 years) so I tend to forget what it is like for new homeschool moms coming into an established support group or co-op. We veterans are grounded in our method of homeschooling(at least we hope). We know what works for our kids and what doesn’t. New moms come in and ask how we do things. They want to know how we do it.

I am yet to meet a veteran homeschool mom who is not willing to tell a new HS mom how she should HS her kids. I enjoyed doing it so much that I help to write a curriculum for new Hs moms and then taught it for 3 years. I still get to speak every now & then. It is fun! But you know what? How I HS my kids is not the way that works for everyone. there is no exact formula to homeschooling your kids successfully! what works for me, may not work for you. That is the evidance of a great and might God in our lives. He created each of us so unique and our children are a perfect fit for us and our schooling methods.

I had an interesting conversation with a new homeschool mom this afternoon. She had joined a group that was a product of the larger homeschool group. She joined this group because it brought together moms with children the same age. She wanted her son to get to know other kids who were homeschooled and she wanted to get to know more moms. Sounds good huh? She quit the group.

She told me that there was so much judgement in that group because she didn’t do things just like the rest of the moms. She didn’t use “the curriculum” they thought she should use and the worst part is that she let her boys watch TV. Not just any TV, she let them watch shows that have been branded inappropriate by many homeschool moms. Her boys loved running around pretending to be super heroes. She felt no freedom to let her boys be themselves at these play dates. She spent her drive to the events lecturing her boys. “Don’t say “batman”, “superman”, and please do not tell anyone that we eat froot loops for breakfast!”

Finally she had enough & they quit the group. Soon she was contacted by 3 other moms who also quit because of the same reasons.

How many times has the Unit Study Mom secretly cast judgement on the Text Book Mom, because we all know that the text book kids don’t have near as much fun? How many times have we decided that a mom is just not raising her daughters right because her girls are allowed to wear makeup at 13 years old? What about the mom who BUYS her bread? Oh my gosh! Doesn’t she know that making it is way more healthy? And did she just give her kid a suger soaked drink box? Surely this mom is not serious about homeschooling. Afterall, she uses the NIV Bible, not the KJV! I have been there so many times it is embarrassing to admit to. I just wrote out actual things I have either said to thought about other moms.

The Lord really grabbed my heart and made me to realize that he loves me even when I don’t do what he wants me to, so I need to love and accept that homeschool mom who not only uses text books, but let’s her kids watch Pokemon on TV. Do I agree with watching Pokemon? No, but that is o’k, I can still learn from this mom and be her friend. And our kids can even play together. I have learned since moving back into a neighborhood that my kids will encounter difficult circumstances, but it only opens up more opportunities for us to talk about how the Lord expects us to act. I have learned that there are a lot of really awesome families out there who have made really great friends for my kids and …get ready… you won’t believe this…but the kids go to public school. Yes, that is right I let my kids play with public school kids. I know that is a big huge “no no” in the homeschool community, but if I had continued to judge these families because they do things differently than we do I would have missed out on some extremely great friendships with really fabulous christian women who are raising great christian kids. Is that hard to believe?

We have got to show grace as homeschool moms to other moms, whether they homeschool or not. We have got to stop judging each other and accept each other the way we are. We should encourage each other with the love of Christ. We already get plenty of discouragement and persecution from society who don’t think we should homeschool. Why do we create more tension by judging each other? We have become a very ungraceful homeschool community and we now have a reputation for being snobs and judgemental. I may be a bit contraversial here and maybe I even stepped on some toes. Maybe you don’t agree with me at all. That is just fine! I don’t have my act totally together, I’m still learning how to put grace into action myself. But I can tell you that it is a lot more fun when I can accept a mom the way she is instead of trying to change her.

Colossians 4:5, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

Romans 12:10, “Honor one another above yourselves.”

Romans 14:13,14, “Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. Qs one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something unclean then for him it is unclean.”

Quiet Testimonies

I get a devo everyday written by homeschoolers called Daily Focus.  It is put out by the Alpha Omega Company.  You can subscribe by going to this website.

I thought I would share with you what came to me this morning.  As mothers so often we feel as though we are not making a difference in our children’s lives.  But never doubt that you are.  As you invest you time and energy you are pouring into them your values and what it important to you.  You may not see the result until they are grown and gone from your home, but never doubt…you are making a difference!

Quiet Testimonies
Monday / May 12, 2008

“And be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15b)

Homeschoolers have different ways of promoting the joys of homeschooling. Some share homeschooling’s rewards on a grand scale, others promote them by a quiet, willing testimony. When asked why we homeschooled, I offered explanations that included our belief in Deuteronomy 6:5-7 and the example of our everyday homeschooling experience. Those people truly interested would respond, “Boy, that’s great, I wish I was able to do that!” Even my children’s friends responded to a quiet testimony in a positive way. After coming over to play, they would leave saying, “I wish my parents would homeschool me!” The benefits of homeschooling were easily revealed as they heard and saw homeschooling for what it was-a better way to learn.

Although the Bible gives examples of great leaders whose witness changed the lives of thousands, it also shares stories of men and women whose testimonies only affected a few. Andrew brought his brother Peter to Jesus, Philip told the Ethiopian ruler how to be saved, and Ruth’s faithful actions to her mother-in-law Naomi were a witness in themselves. Impacting the lives of just a few, their quiet testimonies had far-reaching effects and accomplished great things for God.

What about you? Do you ever feel your witness is insignificant? Don’t doubt the power of your quiet testimony to make a difference in the lives of others. Although you may never be a talented speaker on a stage, your faithful words of love and encouragement can be the tool that God uses to win a lost soul to Christ!


Thank You for every opportunity I have to tell others of Your amazing love. Use me today to encourage both my own family and others. In the name of Jesus, Amen.