School is Prison – What do you think?

September 11, 2009


I just read an interesting article here by Peter Gray, a professor of psychology, that says over and over, “School is Prison.”  He says that a main reason kids don’t like school is that they’ve lost their freedom and their time and activities are completely controlled throughout the public school day.

Since my husband pretty much loved school (the geek) 🙂 as a kid, and I was banging my head (figuratively) against the classroom walls the whole way through, I’m interested to hear what you think?  Did you have that kind of experience in public schools as a kid?

Here are a few fun prison public school moments I remember:


  1. Writing in my journal with my left hand during a class in a desperate bid for something challenging to do.
  2. chalkboard
  3. One teacher erased the current homework assignment off the board, because I was doing that night’s homework during his lecture instead of ‘paying attention’ like I was supposed to.  (That just meant I did his homework in the following period so I didn’t have to ‘waste’ any of my free time after school)
  4. I wrote an essay detailing what I knew the teacher thought the interpretation of red in “The Scarlet Letter” meant, even though I completely disagreed.  (I had quickly figured out that getting an ‘A’ meant telling a teacher what he/she wanted to hear.)
  5. To be fair, here is a great experience:

  6. Mr. Sergeant, a history teacher, handed everyone a folder on a significant figure in the WWII era and after a week of research, we all had a debate with each other representing our WWII V.I.P.

Ahh . . . why weren’t all my classes like Mr. Sargeant’s history class?

So, in remembrance of public school, I have an essay question for you:  (please answer in the comment section)

  1. How are public schools like prisons?  How are they not?  Please explain.  🙂

Posted under Homeschool Life

Did You Have a Good Summer?

September 7, 2009

Where have I been?


I’ve been a bit scarce during August as we’ve been spending every second we can outside in a desperate attempt to pretend that summer isn’t almost over.  We have a couple months of summer left, don’t we?

I hope you’ve had as much fun and family time as we have.  I’d love to hear what your favorite experience was?

Here are a few of mine:


Picking and eating raspberries in our backyard with my 1-year-old who thinks he’s too big to be my baby any more.


Summer blueberries


Raspberries off the bush and in the mouth in less than 2 seconds!


Tomatoes from the garden, fresh salsa, tomato sauce, and pulling out the pressure cooker to bottle a few for later.


Water, water, water, pools, and the beach!


Passing the swim test at the pool.


How tired the kids are at the end of a fun summer day!


Do you have a blog post about your fun summer/homeschooling activities?  Enter a direct link to your summer blog article below to share it with us!

P.S.  I’m experimenting with ‘Mr. Linky’ below, for the first time, so I’d love a few links to test it out.  Thanks!!


Posted under Homeschool Life

Carnival of Homeschooling: We’ve Got Style!

August 25, 2009


Homeschoolers have Style!  Lots of it, in all kinds of flavors.

With the freedom homeschooling affords, comes individual style.  We can afford to experiment, jump around, take a leisurely path through phonics, or whatever suits our family best.

Check out these styles!





ChristineMM of The Thinking Mother shares thoughts about unique classes taught by subject matter experts that homeschoolers can take advantage of in her article The Thinking Mother: Homeschool Filmmaking Class for My Kids This Fall.

Shannon tells of her experience with filing a “notice of intent” to homeschool: Get this . . . posted at Mountaineer Country.

If you’ve wondered why public schools don’t teach based on skill level instead of age, Susan Gaissert writes about how that may be changing in:  Who is Leading When It Comes to Educational Innovations? posted at The Expanding Life.

Elena LaVictoire presents A few tips for Ohio homeschoolers posted at My Domestic Church.

If you’ve given some thought to a homeschool name or ID cards, Beverly has some tips in “Do You Name Your Homeschool?” at Beverly’s Homeschooling Blog.

Barbara, from Barbara Frank Online, motivates us with some encouragement for the new school year in Fasten Your Seat Belts…..

And Christine gives us her take on planning the school year and juggling paperwork in Planning the School Year at Our Curious Home.




Need a fun, make-at-home, game to liven up your school drills?  Kris presents Giant Board Game posted at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Kaye presents Rainy Day + Chuck E. Cheese = Happy Grandkids & Grandparents! posted at  “Chuck E. Cheese can be a great “friend” to grandparents who help with their grandkids’ homeschooling programs!”

Summer presents A Day In Our Homeschooling Life posted at Wired For Noise.




In How to Educate for Beautiful Results, posted at Pajama School Blog, Natalie Wickham shares the importance of identifying and working on the parts that ultimately contribute to a whole education.

Make sure to check out these great art ideas:  Julie Moses presents Follow the Yellow Brick Road- More Oz projects! posted at Kids Art Projects and Lessons at Ms. Julie’s Place.  “Just a few projects to get us going somewhere over the rainbow!”

Annette Berlin presents 37 Ways To Share Crafts With Kids posted at Craft Stew.  “If you love crafting, chances are good you want to share that love with your children. Here are some easy (and frugal) ways to help your child also develop an interest in crafting.”




Kathy presents her review of Andrew Peterson’s North! Or Be Eaten: The Wingfeather Saga Book 2: Homeschool Review posted at Reviews.

Dave Roller presents Reading Programs posted at Home School Dad.  “I wanted to share some of the reading programs my children have been participating in.”

Amanda gives an in-depth look into the history of the atomic bombs dropped at the end of WWII in The Daily Planet » Blog Archive » The “Little Boy” Was Dropped posted at The Daily Planet.

Stephanie shares her excitement about learning Latin for the first time together with her children in I Am Just The Lead Student, That’s All at All About Homeschool.

Ruby shares her insight into using computers, the internet, and online learning to have a positive impact in schooling with one article at Freehold2 called “Internet as a Teaching Tool” and another titled “Online Learning Benefits” at School’s Out.




Need some ideas for field trips?  Kristen Hamilton presents A Day in the Life – Field Trips posted at A Day in the Life – Homeschool Blogger.

If you’re trying to plan for fun AND learning this fall, check out this post:  The Family presents What to do, what not to do posted at Once Upon a Family.

Lynda at The Adventures of A Princess and the Bear writes Bear’ Geography: “about our doing geography and learning the continents with literature and lapbooking. We are making an apple pie in this post, to go along with the book, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

John shares thoughts along with the inspirational story of a Zac, a homeschool teen who sailed around the world alone.  He writes Home School Encourages Independence In  Learning and Life at Independent Learning and Home Schooling.  He says, “Rather than isolating students, home school encourages students to develop independence in the way they handle the way they live and the way they learn.”

Amy shares her summertime adventures in Summer Time Learning posted at Kids Love Learning.

We can all empathize with Janine at Why Homeschool who writes about struggles with starting backup with school in “Not Quite Ready to Start School.”



Margaret writes about her plans for not teaching history this school year at Semi-Schooling History posted at Two Kid Schoolhouse

Barbra Sundquist presents Do You Need to Get Angry Before Anyone Listens? posted at Barbra Sundquist.  “Have you ever found yourself thinking, “Why is it that I have to get angry to get what I want?”

Lynn shares her successful first week of school along with some great resources, ideas, and links.  Check out First Week of School Done! posted at Eclectic Education – Homeschool Blogger.

Ben presents 7 Ways to Save Money on Back to School Shopping posted at Money Smart Life.

Scott Palat presents Parental Involvement Affects the Academic Success of Children posted at TutorFi.

Freestyle – a bit of everything


Susan Ryan presents Open Education – It’s the Learning that Counts posted at Corn and Oil.  “There are many high quality, free learning resources available for homeschoolers, including MIT’s free online courses.”

Shelly presents Vintage Video – Jay Can Do It posted at Homemade Homeschoolers.  “This episode of Vintage Video – Jay Can Do It – is part of the Homemade Homeschoolers Podcasts. The post includes thoughts about the difference between how non-homeschoolers define “socialization” and how we at Homemade Homeschoolers define it. We hope you enjoy!”

And if you haven’t settled into a homeschooling style yet, check out Choosyhomeschooler’s article PURLs of Wisdom Blog » Choosing a Teaching Style or Homeschooling Method posted at PURLs of Wisdom Blog.

Help Aimee out with some new lunch ideas as she shares hers in Homeschool Talk: School lunches at Aimee’s Land.



If you haven’t done the soda bottle and Mentos experiment, you’re in for some fun.  See how Lara DeHaven did it in A Homemade Geyser posted at Texas Homesteader.  My boys are itching to do this!

And if you need some ideas to let your enjoyment and study of nature branch out into other science topics, check out Katie Glennon and her article: Using Nature Study to Study all Areas of Science posted at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage.



Leah at The Courtney Six shares Just In Case I Haven’t Mentioned It Lately…:  “My thoughts on why I’m so glad we homeschool.”

Amy at Raising Arrows presents “The Shame On Me Sea“.  The homeschooling parent’s life is often fraught with guilt. Amy writes about her own personal struggle to stay out of the Shame On Me Sea.

I’m grateful, too!

I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Homeschool Carnival.  Thank you for all your contributions!

Please take a moment to comment and/or spread the word by posting to your blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Next week the carnival will be held at Home Grown and submissions are due Monday, Aug. 31st at 6 pm.  Visit here to submit your post.

Or if you’d like to peruse previous editions, they are listed at Why Homeschool.

Thank you again to all those who took the time to submit posts and share!

— Misty

Posted under Blog Carnivals, Field Trips, Homeschool Activities, Homeschool Crafts, Homeschool Curriculum, Homeschool Life, Homeschool Websites

All-in-one Declutter and Money Management Math Lesson – Tuesday Tips

July 21, 2009


The Story:

We’re on a declutter kick lately at our house.  It’s more of a panic response to the possibility of moving in the near future.  Suddenly the precariously balanced stacks of toys, books, boxes and more that cover all the flat surfaces in our home make me cringe much more than usual.  I can’t imagine moving it all.  We have to purge!

The only problem is that I’m on the ‘once-every-seven year’  cleaning schedule, instead of the usual ‘spring cleaning.’  Who knew that meant I was supposed to declutter every spring?!

If you want a laugh, you’ll love my husband, the engineer’s, solution:  Build pyramid-shaped contraptions to place of every flat surface in the house so nothing can be placed on them!  Yes, the anti-thesis to counter space.


Thank goodness I have a few amazing friends that helped me get started while a herd of all our kids ran rampant together.  After four days, we had filled five huge trash cans, and my kitchen and school room were whipped into shape.

Then came the kids, their toys, and clothes. . . and the tears, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.  Who knew the old, tiny, bike my daughter learned to ride on was precious enough to deserve it’s own shrine and label, “Never to be given away, sold, or otherwise disposed of!”

So, we finally come to The Tuesday Tip:

  • Plan a garage sale.
  • Tell the kids that they get to run it.
  • And the carrot:  Tell the kids they get to split the money among everyone who is willing to do the work and help out.
  • THEN– start the decluttering process.  Hopefully they’ll see dollar signs instead of precious treasures being sold.

The Results:


  • The Prize:  The boys have drooled over a Nintendo DS for ages and I’ve refused to buy them one.  So, they decided to combine their resources and buy one together.  They had about half the money and hoped to earn the rest at the garage sale.  Boy, did the toys and clothes start flying into the garage sale boxes! 
  • Math, math, and more math!  After every sale, my oldest jotted down the amount, added it to the running total, divided it by the three kids working the sale, and then added his and his brother’s two parts to the previous total and their original money.   They even went hopping around the sale, making a running total of possible income if everything sold.  Whew!  That’s more math than they’ve done in a month.
  • Delayed gratification!  At the end of the day they were bursting with excitement because they had enough to buy the DS.  But I found a code to get almost $20 off a DS on  The $20 off was exciting for them, BUT they would have to wait 4 days to get it shipped instead of going straight to ToysRUs that evening.  I was so proud.  They reluctantly decided to wait and save the money, even though they had the extra $20 to spend.  If they can do that now, there’s hope they will do well with credit cards as young adults.

So, what do your houses look like this summer?  How do you control the clutter?  How do you mix housecleaning with homeschooling?  Have you had any luck getting your kids to do the “out with the old”? 

Or do you have any other ideas that have worked well for you lately and would help us all out?  Please share by commenting!

Posted under Homeschool Life, Tuesday Tips

Make Meals Your Kids Will Eat – Tuesday Tips

June 30, 2009


“I don’t like that!” 

“Is this what we’re having?”

“Why did you make this?”

Some of my least favorite reactions to dinner.  But, like most parents, I’m interested in having both healthy food, AND food the kids will enjoy eating, which isn’t easy. 

Here are a couple tips that helped me:

  • Try my favorite recipe website:   It’s like having everyone on your block (or in your city) try out a recipe, rate it, and write informative reviews before you invest your time and ingredients.
  • Score recipes at dinner.  Give everyone a vote:  0 – didn’t like it, 1 – ok, or 2 – loved it.  Write the total right on your recipe and you’ll begin to collect high scoring recipes that appeal to almost everyone at the table.
  • Let the kids cook a dish – they’ll have a harder time criticizing something they make themselves, and they’ll be a lot more appreciative of the amount of time and effort a nice dinner entails.  Not to mention the life and school skills that cooking teaches.

How about your house?  Do you have any quick tips to share with the rest of us?

Posted under Homeschool Life, Tuesday Tips

Use Puppets To Solve Conflicts and Arguing – Tuesday Tips

June 23, 2009


Photo by Erin

If you’re looking for a different take on ‘conflict resolution’, look no further than your sock drawer (or toy box).

“Will you PLEASE stop arguing?”

“How do you think your sister feels?”

“Why can’t you be nice to each other?”

. . . and on and on.  It seems like conflicts between kids crop up all day and my tendency is to lecture ‘ad nauseam’ while my kids roll their eyes and pick up their fight as soon as I’m out of earshot.

Next time you have a few minutes (preferable when everyone is NOT hot and heavy from arguing), grab a few puppets or stuffed animals and:

  • Using fake names, have them act out a typical conflict – exaggerate and add sillines to make it fun.
  • Repeat the scenario with the puppets making better choices and resolving the conflict.
  • Start a dialogue with the kids about what worked, didn’t work, pros and cons to the two scenarios, etc.
  • Pass out the puppets and let the kids join in.

Puppets help kids respond well because they are switching from participating in the conflict to observing and analyzing the conflict . . . and it’s much more fun than the traditional lecture followed by stuck-out tongues behind your back 🙂

Do you have a quick tips for the rest of us?  Something helpful you’ve discovered that you’d like to share.  Please do.

Posted under Homeschool Life, Tuesday Tips

Siftables – Amazing New Computer ‘Blocks’

April 2, 2009

You have to take second and watch this video. Every now and then, you see someone come up with a totally new and COOL idea. This is one of those:

They are working on building these small handheld-sized miniature computer ‘blocks’. It only seems slightly interesting, until you see some of the incredible ideas they come up with to have them interact. I thought ‘pouring’ paint from one to the other was great, and the music making was incredible. I want a set for my homeschool!

Posted under Homeschool Life

Kids Cooking Ideas turn into Math Lessons

March 11, 2009


Blueberry pie cups, carrot cake, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (batch #1 VERY salty), and biscuits a bit like hocky pucks?

Guess what my 9-year-old has been doing for school this week?  Well in a bit of a fit, we threw our school work out the window (figuratively) and decided to try doing a ‘Project Week’.  My idea.  So, the older two kids could pick anything they wanted to learn, work on, create, build, etc., and would put in some effort every day with the goal being to show and/or demonstrate what they’d done to the rest of the family at the end of the week.

We had a mis-start with a Volcano lapbook (He wouldn’t spend time on it on his own, which defeats the purpose.  So I said, “Throw it away, and pick something you really want to do this time.”).  Then I suggested he take a cookbook and pick anything he wanted to make and do one recipe a day.  Success!  He loves poring through the book and making anything he wants, preferably desserts!

How is this school?  What could he possibly be learning?

  • How to read fractions.  (math)
  • How to read measurements.  1t of salt is NOT the same as 1T of salt.  A partially filled cup of flour is not the same as 1 C of flour. (math, again)
  • How to be careful around sharp knives, hot stoves, food processor blades.  (safety, operating small equipment, electricity, heat transfer, science, responsibility)
  • “Why is cooking even worth it if no likes what you make and throws it in the garbage?”  He says, with tears in his eyes after the very salty ‘gaggy’ cookies. (So, empathy for Mom cooking all these years)
  • Following a recipe.  (reading comprehension, sequenced directions)
  • All stages of a project:  planning, preparation, execution, and clean-up. 
  • (Here’s the clean-up rule that works for us:  I come into the kitchen like a detective trying to find some evidence that he was cooking.  When I can’t, he’s done.  Except for the finished food, of course, which my son informed me is also evidence he was cooking.  Hmmph!  Kids are such lawyers!) 
  • Seeing your work appreciated, when we all devoured the pies, cakes, and 2nd batch of cookies.  (achievement, accomplishment, pride in new ‘adult’ skills, growing up)
  • And best of all, spending time doing something you enjoy, serves others, and is school, all at the same time.

(I’m hoping we can transition him to a love of good EXERCISE programs after this cooking stint!)

How to you get your kids involved in the kitchen and cooking?  Any good tips?

Posted under Homeschool Activities, Homeschool Life

Life on the Road hosts the Adventure Homeschool Carnival

January 29, 2009


Here’s the latest Homeschool Carnival article hosted by Life on the Road, who puts an adventure spin on the articles this edition.

If you’ve never read a ‘carnival’ blog post, it’s basically a collection of links and descriptions of lots of interesting blog posts with a fun theme.  So, you can browse through the links, kind of like browsing through the booths at a carnival, and pick and choose what you like.

I find it a fun read every week to get a look at lots of different homeschool lives and ideas out there.



Posted under Blog Carnivals, Homeschool Life

Did you know there is a Homeschool Carnival on the internet?

January 22, 2009


I like to be efficient – Hey, I have 5 little kiddoes. I’ve been known to talk on the phone, slice homemade bread for lunch, use my foot on a towel to wipe up a juice spill, all while using facial expressions to tell my kids to, “Stop arguing, RIGHT NOW! Can’t you see I’m on the phone?”

So, I just discovered the Homeschool Blog Carnival – a great way to quickly peruse an entertaining assortment of homeschool blog articles all in one place. A lot of homeschool bloggers submit their favorite articles, and then a new person each week compiles them all together, usually with a fun theme, so you can take a virtual carnival walk-though, (eating our virtual zero-calorie cotton candy), and pick and choose what articles you’ll stop in and take a look at.

It’s a fun way to take a look at what’s being written out there by a whole assortment of homeschoolers. Enjoy!

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Posted under Blog Carnivals, Homeschool Life