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Hazy Days

WWH – It works!

WWH = Why We Homeschool.  This post is part of an on-going series looking into the myriad reasons we’ve decided to homeschool our children.  Please read this disclaimer before continuing to read this post.

We could decide to homeschool based on a hundred different reasons, but if we did not include researching the results of homeschooling on academic and social levels, we couldn’t really claim to have researched it thoroughly.

Of course, those who pioneered homeschooling, did not have these results.  They went the homeschool route with deep convictions that no statistical survey could have swayed.  But, today, some 40 years into the increase of the homeschooling movement, we do have these stats at our fingertips and they are well worth looking at.

The National Home Education Research Institute has done a lot of intensive research into the results of homeschooling and has come up with some interesting figures. 

Academic Performance
The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests.

Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.

Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.

Degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement.

Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions.

Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.

Social, Emotional, and Psychological Development

The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development. Research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem.
Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members. They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work.
Success in the “Real World” of Adulthood
The research base on adults who were home educated is growing; thus far it indicates that they:

  • participate in local community service more frequently than does the general population,
  • vote and attend public meetings more frequently than the general population, and
  • go to and succeed at college at an equal or higher rate than the general population.

For more in depth research, go to this link: http://www.hslda.org/research/ray2003/HomeschoolingGrowsUp.pdf and/or the NHERI site: www.nheri.org and check it out for yourself.

surgery

My folks have a trip to Israel planned in a few weeks’ time.   They are looking forward to seeing my sister and her family – and especially the new little baby, Naamah.  Unfortunately, my mom also has an 18mm kidney stone that has decided to start causing problems now.  This means that, on Wednesday, she has to undergo surgery to have it removed.  Thankfully, surgery for kidney stones is not necessarily the invasive procedure it was 15 years ago (when she had the last one removed).  But it has the potential to be.

If you are a follower of Christ, please will you pray for her?  The course of action is normally to zap it with a laser, in attempt to break it into smaller pieces, then insert a stent to collect the bits which will later be removed.  If that fails, key-hole surgery will be required.  And, if that fails, then they’ll have to go the whole “cut her open” route which is horrible, painful and takes forever to recover from.

My prayer is that the procedure will be as quick and painless as possible, so that she will be able to visit my sister and her family as planned.  Obviously, God may have other plans, so, as always, we pray His will above all else … and that we may have the strength to accept that.

Catching up

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any pics and for those who prefer the pics to the prattle it’s probably all been a bit boring.  So here is an UPDATE “prattle & picture” show of life in the Hayes home…

School continues to be fun, interesting, informative and the like:

Counting bears as a part of maths studies…  I’ve learnt that using manipulatives A LOT when teaching maths skills to children is essential for cementing their understanding and enabling them to easily progress to abstract maths.  The best part is that it’s not work to them – we’ve had such fun adding, subtracting, counting and doing odds and evens. 

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Our science lessons have had us examining plants and flowers.  Thankfully we have an abundance of beautiful flowers in our front door flower bed.  It started out mostly a dirt patch, but one seed packet of mixed summer annuls have turned it into a veritable jungle!  It’s crazy, but it’s also beautiful.

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Here are some of the flowers we were able to dissect and examine – stamens, pistils, petals and sepals … all terms the girls now know and bandy about!

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We’re growing beans too – these are our jars after one day.  The plan is to take pics every few days or so for the progress and then get the kids to draw the progress too.  Bean growing is always fun and rewarding!

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Our Busykids II group continues to be a blast.  We’ve been following the Letter of the week programme (free Internet curriculum for preschoolers) using just the colour/shape and main theme.  The kids are mostly 2 and 3 (just Kiera is 5) so we’ll leave off the letters and numbers ’til they’re bigger.  Using this curriculum makes much less prep for us moms and the ideas are great!  Here the kids are decorating biscuits in blue – the theme being BLUE EYES.

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And drawing and colouring blue eyes too… (Kiera decided to “visit” our group as Noddy, hence the outfit!)

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The best part about decorating biscuits is in the eating!

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this cutie is Ben T.

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Reading time at the end of the day is a big hit.

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Believe it or not, I do get up to other things in the week besides school! 

This week has been pretty busy …

A trip to the ballet with some friends… unfortunately the camera I took with couldn’t capture the beautiful open-air stage, so just our friends will have to do!  It’s been AGES since I’ve been to a ballet.  I think that I may not be cut out to appreciate ballets properly.  I think the dancing is graceful and the music is beautiful, but while others, I’m sure, are nodding appreciatively at the difficult moves, I’m finding it difficult not to giggle at the mental images those same moves provoke in me!  For example, there is a particularly well-timed “foot shake” move that reminds me of a rain-drenched cat flickering its wet paws free of water.  I’m also not the most appreciative of the itsy, bitsy tunic and tight, TIGHT, tights that the lead male dancer wore, leaving nothing to the imagination.  Seriously, white tights on a white male in yellow stage light makes said man look naked!  Urgh – not appealing at all!  Sorry to all those ballet purists out there – I prefer some clothes on my dancers! :)    But, aside from that, it was fun to get out and enjoy some girl-time.  Thanks Kath for inviting me; don’t give up on me yet!

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We had people in our home three nights this week – our monthly leaders’ supper and bible study evening on Tuesday; our regular bible study evening on Wednesday and book club on Thursday.  All good fun, but exhausting!

Friday, Craig and I went to watch the Cape Cobras play the Nashua Dolphins in a game of limited overs cricket (aka night cricket). 

This was the great supportive crowd…

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No wonder the cobras got bowled all out for a Nelson (111)…

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But those who were there had fun on the field during supper break…

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And when the sun goes down, the flood lights make the atmosphere a little more exciting!

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Sadly, the Cobras lost, but at least they took some great wickets (I like to see the bales go flying better than LBW or caught wickets).  And, Craig and I had 6 hours of uninterrupted time together to chat.  That was a big bonus, considering our hectic week.

Today, we went to Craig and Kerry’s to celebrate Craig and Becky’s birthday – together they make 40 years old!  It was a good time.  I may get some pics from Kerry to post here later.

And now?  Time to collapse!  My first early night since last week!

WWH – We want to shelter our kids

Gasp!  Shock and horror! 

I am being a bit facetious I know, but truly, often, the most horrified response to our decision to homeschool has been, “but your kids will be so sheltered!”  Our response, “yes and?”

What does “sheltering” mean, really?  I believe it is a concept that has received a negative rap because it is interpreted negatively.  It seems that the most common interpretation of the concept is an environment where children are so protected from the world outside that when they eventually do face the world and all its temptations, they cannot withstand it alone. 

If this is the true sense of the word, then I am puzzled as to why many people equate homeschooling with sheltering.  I recently had a conversation with a woman who felt her Catholic school background didn’t prepare her adequately for the world and she floundered desperately once she left school.  She felt homeschooling would be a one degree worse.   But, I went to a main stream government school filled with the world and all it had to offer, and yet, when I left school I also floundered.  I can think of numerous friends from school who also succumbed to the temptations of this world and made terribly bad decisions despite their family’s values and despite their “worldly education” that was supposed to prepare them for the big, bad world.

So, what does make a person “sheltered” in the sense that they leave home ill-equipped to handle the harsh, dog-eat-dog world out there?  I believe that my friend Michelle hit the nail on the head when we were corresponding recently about this issue.  After years of absence, we caught up on each other’s lives a few months ago.  She was curious about our decision to homeschool and engaged me in an amicable discussion on the topic.  When I addressed this issue, she said that she felt that it had little to do with the type of schooling one had and more to do with what the family life was like.  She felt that her parents equipped her with the tools to make good decisions by the way they engaged her in conversation, problem-solving etc.  When I reflect on those I knew at school, especially those who claimed to be Christians, I can see, 13 years down the line that this is quite true.  Those who came from strong, supportive, open-to-discussion type of families tended to cope much better, sticking to their principles, than those whose parents didn’t equip them with the skills needed.  Funnily enough, I’ve seen similar evidence in homeschooling families – the kids that fall apart are usually those whose family lives weren’t great and the ones who thrive are those with healthy, communicative, involved in the community-type families.

So, what does this mean for us?  Well, our aim is to be the strong, supportive type of family.  We want to teach our children the truth of the gospel and instil in them a deep and true understanding of who God is and what He has done for us.  We want to give our kids what my sister-in-law and her brothers received from their parents – good, solid conversation and problem-solving skills that helped them to stand up for their faith without being crazies.  And we feel that we  can best do this by homeschooling them, especially in these formative years.

Our thought is that all children are like young saplings.  To grow into strong trees that can thrive in the harsh elements of the natural environment, we need to nurture them in the protected environment of the greenhouse.  We don’t want to take chances with the “evolutionary” approach – plant the sapling out in an unfriendly environment, and if it survives, that’s great!  We’d rather ensure that our saplings are ready for planting out in the world by carefully training them, teaching them, equipping them AND protecting them.  One could argue that schools are a type of greenhouse, but we believe that they’re not the best greenhouse for our kids.  We want our home to be the greenhouse our children grow in – tended by our loving hands.  Unfortunately,  schools in our society today are filled with  elements that are counter our home’s beliefs, values and principles and so we just don’t think that they’re the best option for our kids. 

So, getting back to my original point.  Yes, we do want to shelter our kids.  We want to provide them with the sort of shelter that, hand-in-hand with the tools, values and principles that will grow them in strength and maturity, will allow them to face the world without falling to pieces. 

So, will you pray for us and our journey?  Pray that we will make every effort to engage our kids in the world in ways that are safe and yet teaching?  And may we pray for you – that you’ll be aware of the counter-Christian value moments that arise at school so that you’ll be able to equip your kids when they’re home? 

 You can read more reasons on Why We Homeschool here.

WWH = Why We Homeschool.  This post is part of an on-going series looking into the myriad reasons we’ve decided to homeschool our children.  Please read this disclaimer before continuing to read this post.

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Hazy Days