Tag Archives: dealing with critics

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

Should Homeschoolers teach Logic?

 This is a post written by Robin Sampson from Heart of Wisdom.  She has an excellent curriculum and has written a great book on the HOW Approach (my review of that is coming soon).  This post is long so I have linked you to her site where you can read the complete post.  I hope you enjoy!


Logic and rhetoric are extremely popular and enthusiastically sought after by those in the homeschool community. But how important are logic and rhetoric? How much weight should they have in our homeschool day?

The words logic, classical, philosophy, dialectic, and reasoning sound extremely intelligent to our Greek ears. Homeschoolers immersing their children in the study of formal logic have well-meaning motives; it is understandable that homeschoolers want their children to become critical thinkers. We want to be able to defend the Gospel logically. We want our students to learn to evaluate their beliefs and the beliefs of others before they take on a course of action.

But logic and reality are not the same. Logical consistency does not always mean truth.

Sample of Man’s logic:

Now they said: Come now! Let us build ourselves a city and a tower, its top in the heavens, and let us make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered over the face of all the earth ! ( Genesis 11:4 )

Sample of God’s non-syllogistic logic:

God said, Nevertheless, Sara your wife is to bear you a son, you shall call his name: Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as a covenant for the ages, for his seed after him . ( Gen 17:19 ) Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set-time of which God had spoken to him. ( Gen 21:2 ) He said: Pray take your son, your only one, whom you love, Isaac, and go you forth to the land of Moriya and offer him up there as an offering-up upon one of the mountains that I will tell you of. ( Gen 22:2 )

Human reasoning is limited by human experience. Eve trusted her reason over what God had said and logically concluded that eating the fruit of the forbidden tree was the best choice for her and Adam. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did ea t ( Gen 3:6 KJV).


Read the rest of the posts at the Heart of Wisdom blog.

Did You Do School today?

“Did you get your school work done?”

How many times have you been asked that question or asked it yourself?  It is asked of me more than enough.  Usually coming from a non-homeschooling friend or relative.  We even have a kid across the street from us that asks my boys all the time if they did school that day.

What is school work in your house?  Is it only workbooks, math videos, phonics or drills?  Or is school life itself?

A few months ago my family had the pleasure of attending a political rally a few days before election day.  We took our 7 older kids and the baby of course since he is still nursing.  We had a blast.  The kids saw many really important political figures including President Bush.  That was the best part.  After the rally we were faced with the rudeness of protestors.  My kids were totally shocked at the things these people said about their president.  It paved the way for some really great conversation.  The whole night was great!

Then a few days later the kids & I attended a special Veteran’s Day program at our church.  My son spoke with two World War 2 veterans.  He loved it.  He told them about his grandpa who was in the Air Force during Vietnam & his 3 great-grandfathers who served  during WW2.

That week, we didn’t crack open one book but we learned more than any book could have taught us.  We did pick up a pencil & write about what we saw, so that we coul remember it better.  Does that count for school?  You bet!

Confessions of a Bad Year

I am very active in my homeschool community.  One of my ministries to moms for the past several years has been to help those who are just starting to homeschool.  I have really loved talking to them and guiding them through their first year.  I love the excitement in their voices when they tell me about a really good day they had & how surprised they were when their kids actually wanted to “do school”. 

 This past year was hard for me though.  I continued to mentor and teach the moms, when deep inside I have felt that I had no business telling them anything.  I guess I felt a lot like a hypocrite.  I had to try extra hard to get excited about curriculum and why this works for some & that doesn’t work for others.  Our school year, I felt, was horrible.  We weren’t getting much of anything done it seemed.  It was my 10th year & really felt like I had no idea what I was doing!!  My oldest is high school age and yet she was falling between the cracks in a really big way, at least that is how I feel.  She is dyslexic and needed a lot of my attention that I did not give her.  I needed her to do some of her work on her own and she didn’t.  She is the oldest of 9 and I am expecting the next one anytime now. Everyone kept telling me, “Wait until they get older then they are more independant.”  Not her!!  I feel guilty for getting frustrated with her, but I still do.  “Just do the work!” I want to tell her.  I try really hard not to compare her with her younger siblings that are more on target, but I know I still do.  I also have a son who is almost 13 & still can’t read very well.  His younger brothers help him read stuff.  This is driving me crazy, because he just really doesn’t seem to care.  He has missed many opportunities of service at our church because he can’t read.  I have heard from many moms who have sons who really didn’t learn to read until they were close to 14 years old.  I didn’t want my son to be one of those.  He is behind in everything else because he can’t read.

I really wish I could just erase this past year.  This week is our last week of school.  Since I am about to have a baby we just kept going through the summer so that we could take a nice break after I had the baby.  I’m afraid to let them stop though.  My 2 older ones are going to keep doing math a few times a week so they don’t fall to far behind, but will my dyslexic daughter do it with out me reminding her constantly?  I don’t know.  I’m afraid if we stop school then we may never get it started again.  Mainly because I don’t want to.  I need the break.  I know that, it is obvious since I am writing like this.  If any other mom came to me & told me this stuff  I would tell her that she was burned out & needed a break. I know that I am not totally alone in this, I just have never admitted it.  I’m the one that helps those who are feeling this a way to pull out of it.  The stresses of mommyhood are huge right now and adding teacher to it is just too much.  I guess this teacher needs to take her well deserved break & just be mommy.  I have noticed in the past that my kids have actully learned a lot during our breaks. Several mastered reading, one began writing stories on her own & still writes without ever being told. Another proudly memorized poetry and scripture.  I just had to get out of the way & let the relaxed schooling happen. Another copied the Shakespeare play, “The Tempest” and is now a huge fan of Shakespeare.  I guess that is what we are in need of…me to get out of the way.

Thanks, I feel better!!