On this blog, I share anything that may be beneficial in helping parents home educate, have fun with, and respect their children. I do accept forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, and/or compensated posts. At times a post may include affiliate links. All thoughts expressed on this blog are solely my own. I am not influenced by money to give a positive response. I HAVE, in fact, given items back to companies because their product(s) stunk. Just sayin'

THE LARGEST PENGUINARIUM IN THE WORLD! DETROIT ZOO

In 2016 the Detroit Zoo opened The Largest Penguinarium in the world! It holds 6 different species of Penguins!

On a cool, rainy April Saturday, we were given a 5:30 pm pass to have a look-see.  I tried to broadcast LIVE on our Free Homeschooling 101 Facebook page, but we were so far underground that the signal failed. That was a huge bummer!  I was able to grab a short video from the exit, so without further adieu...  Here's a sneek-peek of the NEW Penguinarium!


video


1. FREE PENGUIN STUDY K-3RD GRADES Affiliate: Educents. 



3. Penguins - Fun Facts and Types

24x36 Poster Animal Poster  Affiliate: Amazon


HOW DO I BEGIN TO HOMESCHOOL?




 1. Homeschool Legal Defense is a page that explains the laws in The United States.

2. Search for some groups on Facebook to seek out advice.

3. Google "Homeschool groups in (YOUR STATE)" to find local groups near you.

4. Surround yourself with parents who are already living the lifestyle so they can guide you in the beginning stages.

5. As time goes by, you will begin to feel more confident and do your own thing as it fits your family.
6. DON'T PANIC if you live in a high regulation state. There are people who homeschool in your state Every Day.

A frequently ask question that I get is, 'What if I'm not religious?'

There are many inclusive and secular groups in America now that homeschooling has become mainstream.  Homeschooling is no longer "only" for hippies and those who hold strong, specific
religious convictions.  It is now held dear by people from all walks of life.

If you search for a group to fit your needs, chances are you'll find it.  If you can't find it, however, I say..MAKE IT!

I did exactly that when I couldn't find a group for social activities.  We were looking for a laid back, come-if-you-can, stress free group for families who may have to change plans at a moment's notice. We couldn't be part of a co-op where I had to cover a "shift" if we couldn't attend.  We couldn't afford dues to the ump-teen thousand co-ops available and we certainly couldn't sign a "statement of faith" for most of the more rigid co-ops because there was always one or more things in the statement that didn't ring true for our specific religious beliefs.

The old saying, 'Where There is a Will There is a Way' held true for us.  We made our way in this huge homeschooling world and I am confident that you can too! :)

Did YOU have to make your own way in this world too?  I'd love to hear your story!

LIBRARY HOMESCHOOLING

Do you need FREE curriculum, but you have slow internet and very little money for printer ink?  One of our blog readers, Becky Pottinger, gave some AMAZING advice to one of our new homeschooling mothers in a previous post. I would like to highlight out here and add some insight after the quote. 


"Honestly if I were you, I would heavily rely on student-led learning through library books. Max out your number of books, CDs, audio books, etc., and keep records at the end of each day what each student studied. Find what your high schooler needs to get proper credits for your state's requirements and be diligent about that. Find what each child enjoys by way of showing what they learn: hands on crafts or experiments, reports, pictures, lapbooks, oral reports, etc. So many educational DVDs and TV shows exist also."

I agree whole heartedly with her advice. Here are just a few perks of owning a FREE Library Card.

1.  Some Libraries are great about buying requested books. Check in with your library. They might just buy Story Of The World, or Life Of Fred... who knows until you ask?

2. Ask if they offer an educator card for Homeschooling parents. This usually allows for more books to be checked out for a longer period of time.

3. Ask if they offer free rooms for gatherings. Get those kids together for tween/teen board game meet-ups, study groups, lego clubs & more! :)

4. An easy way to build a curriculum is to check out World Book's List of a Typical Course of Study.  

5. Take advantage of their free computer access. Create a free Gmail email account. Most free curriculum sites will keep records of the students work if the user signs in to create a personal account via email. Then your student can use the library computer to complete assignments.



HOW DO I PRINT ALL OF THESE NOTEBOOKING PAGES?!

When one begins homeschooling the first question a parent asks is usually, "What curriculum should we use?"  It's a question that seems like a 'no-brainer' and comes as naturally as hugging our children or smiling as they play happily on a spring day.

We want to use the 'right' curriculum so they get the 'right' education. Period. 

It's no wonder then that some parents raise an eyebrow when they are told that buying a curriculum is not necessarily the way to achieve the best results.  The words "Library Schooling", "Unschooling", and "Notebooking" are so foreign to most parents that we might as well suggest that they let wolves raise the children.  

How can children learn what they NEED to know if we don't use a curriculum that "somebody else" put together?  

Ah.  That is the crux of the matter.  

What if "somebody else" doesn't know your children like you know your children?  

What if the children actually follow their passions and challenges by exploring their world through literature, play, extra-curricular experiences and volunteer opportunities?  What would happen if they traveled through their childhood days armed with a camera, 3 ring binder, Library Card and a Pencil stuck behind their ear; Instead of a school chair stuck to their behind 7 hours a day?  

For many homeschooling parents, that is just how our children are raised.  

Once we try Notebooking (Library Schooling/Nature Schooling/ Life Schooling) for a few months, we're usually hooked.  We see their notebooks filling up with their writing, notes, art and photos. We see that they are EXCITED to show people their work and that makes US excited!    

Once I realized that my children would continue down this path, I set my sights on figuring out how to print all of these notebooking pages and ideas without breaking our bank buying ink for our printer.  Fortunately Notebooking doesn't need color from a printer because our children add their own color with photos, crayons and gel pens. That is a HUGE blessing!  Why?  Because we can buy a printer that uses TONER!! YAY!

Do you know that a printer that uses Toner, instead of ink, can print THOUSANDS of pages with a toner cartridge that cost's less than $15.00?!  Yes!  You may rejoice now.


You're welcome! 

P.S.  If the pages begin to look light, just take the cartridge out, shake it a bit and put it back in.  It's usually good for another 200 pages or so before you'll need to replace the cartridge. :D    

HOMESCHOOLING HIGH SCHOOL

*NOTE*: We live in Michigan. Please check the laws and college opportunities available in your state, district or country. You may be surprised at the opportunities available for free! (please comment about your state and check comments for more information)

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Many homeschooled students are finding the huge advantage of attending college during their teen years because they can graduate from their homeschool with AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE! Parent are also quite excited when they learn that truth.  

My husband, Brian, and I decided that our children would have the option to earn a college degree before they "age out of our home".   We decided this in lieu of sending them to an "accredited" high school.  It became apparent to us, early in our homeschooling journey, that an "accredited" high school diploma doesn't mean much when the person is holding a college degree in their hand.  As long as we homeschooled by the laws of our state, their homeschool diploma was as legal as any government funded option.  So that's the plan we made and we've stuck to it.  

Our two eldest sons, Kazz and Brisan, did indeed begin college at 14 years of age.  Our middle son, Vinze, began at age fifteen. Though many may feel fourteen or fifteen is too young for a student to handle college, the opposite is found to be true.  If parents don't push the student into college and also allow them to acclimate into their new environment they will often flourish.  

For example Kazz started his college path with a typing course.  He knew how to type, he aced the course AND most importantly, he got used to "being" a college student on campus.  Fast forward to age 17 and he graduated with honors.  He is now 24 and a Project Manager for an intrnational automotive company. 

(married a precious homeschooled woman and gave us our first grandchild also... I'm a little happy to be a grandma...but I digress.) 

In our state, it is very easy to send a homeschooled teen to college. Most, if not all, community colleges accept homeschooled teens at the age of fourteen. Once the application is sent, the student takes their COMPASS test to see where they place in both math and language courses.  

Here is a little "walk-through" of how the process might look for you.

1. I contacted a local homeschooling family who sent their teen to college. I asked A LOT of questions, so that I "knew the drill," the correct college contact and had an idea of what to expect. I was nervous because I just "knew" there would be resistance from college personnel, on the phone or in person, but that proved to be untrue. They were very accommodating and overly helpful. Remember...They Want Your Money! :-) 

2. We got Kazz his State ID so he could take the entrance exam. For our second son, Brisan, and third son, Vinze, we got their ISIC card so they could take the exam.  They didn't have to take an ACT or SAT test. The entrance exam was all they needed. 

The entrance exam places a student into the correct level for Math and English, for their personal level of knowledge/skill. If they are not ready for college Math or English they will be asked to take the "0050" classes or the number that specific college uses for basic courses before they begin the college level courses. 

If that becomes the case for your teen, don't panic. Many times basic classes count toward a general associate degree. They will probably be able to graduate with an associate degree at the age of 17 or 18 even if they have to take a few extra general classes. After they get their general associate degree they can usually still work toward an Associate of Business or Assoc. of Science or Assoc. of Arts degree...etc. These are the degrees that most college students want to attain so they can have the option to go to a 4 year college more easily.

2. After they took the entrance exam we met with the homeschool liaison for the college.  If your college doesn't have a homeschool liaison, a "regular" counselor should be fine. 

Note: Teens are NOT eligible for financial aid until they are graduated from homeschool. Until the parent graduates their child the family is responsible for paying for college. 

3. Be aware that your "child" is an adult on campus.  Our sons were/are talked to as an adult. They were told in no uncertain terms that they are adults on campus and will be treated as such during their college career. 

4. Remember, at the age of 14 if they take two easy classes for 2 semesters they will be 15 by the time they are expected to take classes that are a little more challenging. By the time they take those classes they will be almost 16! They will mature into psychology classes and upper level "worldly" classes. Don't Panic about the topics discussed in college. By the time they take the classes that discuss sexual conduct, politics, etc...they will be pushing 18 years of age. YOU GET TO CHOOSE THEIR CLASSES! :) 

For Example: At 14 and 15 years of age Kazz took...Keyboarding, Internet for business, Beginning Algebra and a Basic writing class. He tested into a higher English but we took it slow all the same. The credits were needed so why not!

At age 15 1/2 to 16 years of age he took...College Algebra, English, Computers 101, PowerPoint, Geography, Intro to gaming, and Humanities.

SEE those aren't over the head of the average 14 / 15 year old student. Throw in the fact that the classes only last at the most, 16 weeks and well, it's a cake walk to many students who have been expected to take 7 classes that last an entire year! :-) 

At 16 1/2 they get into deeper topics and the subjects become increasingly more adult. 

NOW HERE'S HOW WE BLEND THIS EXPERIENCE WITH HIGH SCHOOL...

We do NOT check the box for dual-enrollment. Dual Enrollment means that the college class is counted toward college and high school. We've found that most 4 year colleges do NOT accept these classes as college courses. If they do accept them as a college course they do NOT accept them as a high school class. In other words, whichever way they decide to reject the dual enrollment, the end result is that the class will have to be taken, again, and at quite a pretty price. 

We do not count the college algebra as high school algebra. We buy the college book. He takes the college class and I may use the college book to teach from while using other materials to supplement the homeschool high school class. The college texts are very useful and there is an unlimited use for them as jump starts to research. Why dual enroll when the class can be taught at home using the book we've bought and paid for? It is a valuable resource to extend the learning from the 16 week college course. 

The one thing that I would advise is to try to set your child up for success...ESPECIALLY IN THE BEGINNING!  Help them select classes that are "a sure thing" or only slightly challenging at first, so they gain confidence in their ability to navigate this new territory. 

I say this, not to keep them from being challenged academically, but because they are going to be challenged by probably being the youngest in their class and by just plain walking into the class by themselves.  Give them the chance to get those obstacles out of the way before throwing a challenging class at them. 

Also, let the experience roll as it rolls and ride the wave. 

IF...no, I mean...WHEN your homeschooled student gets a C or D in a class, and it probably will happen eventually, don't panic. It happens to the best students. Ask any doctor or lawyer...I'll bet most have had at LEAST one class they just had to pass by the skin of their teeth. :)  

One last piece of advice is this; Have the younger studends 14/15/16 year olds take evening courses.  Those classes are usually filled with parents and people who work and REALLY want to be there to earn their degree.  The day classes are often filled with "some" recent high school graduates who are more interested in talking about their latest sexual conquests. :/  We found this out the hard way.