Is Homeschooling Legal?

Most often, yes.

Now that is deliberately vague because this is something that you have to research for your district and province/state and country.

Homeschooling is not universally accepted and in some countries, for example some of the European countries, homeschoolers are actually jailed for teaching things not sanctioned by the state.  There have been examples of children being removed from their parents because the parents were teaching their children ‘things’.

Ontario’s Law:

Section 21 (2) of the Ontario Education Act states that a child of school age is excused from compulsory attendance in a public school if the child is receiving satisfactory instruction “at home or elsewhere.”

Now there are a lot of questions and thoughts about this and there is an excellent link here that does a very good job outlining these questions and answers.  No need to rewrite them all here.

 

Some personal questions I ask about public schools:

1.  What is the purpose of public education?  Is it to ensure that every child has equal opportunities to receive an education?

Do I endorse the reason for public education?  Can I achieve the same goals in an other method (private school, tutoring, homeschooling)?

2.  What are the goals of public education specific to my child? More specifically, what is the education that my child will receive via this method of education?

What *are* they teaching my child?  Is it reading, writing and ‘rithmetic?  Or is there a whole lot more?  Are they really teaching the 3 R’s?  How well are the ‘majority’ of the students achieving the goals?

3.  How are they teaching my child?

for example: lecture, drills, worksheets, hands-on-experience, group work, classroom, textbooks  …

4.  What is the philosophy that influences the education my child receives and do I subscribe to these core philosophies myself?

As a Christian, I have an issue with many subjects taught in the public school system.  Ask yourself, do you believe what is being taught by the school, if you don’t are you explaining this to your child?

 

Canadian Homeschooling Information

Wikipedia on Homeschooling in the USA

HSLDA on Homeschooling in the USA

More legal questions on Homeschooling in general can be researched on the Home School Legal Defense Association

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Homeschool and Socialization

I’ve decided to pull together a series of links and make some comments about homeschooling and the ‘Big Questions’ in one place so that I can find them in one place.  This is by no means an exhaustive list and is much more the tip of the iceberg that I found today and potentially a net-search several days down the road could lead down a very different bunny trail!  Each post will deal with a topic and then I’ll link them to a blog page/tab at the top.

The Question of Socialization:

This is likely the biggest question that is asked of me.  Its one of those things that once you start homeschooling you quickly realize is the least of your worries.

One of the biggest comments that I can make on this is that the “what about socialization” question isn’t really a question about “is your child able to be social” but a series of other questions:

“Will your child fit in with other children the same age?”

Truthfully, I never really fit in as a child myself.  Did you?  I’m not joking here or trying to be flip.

Also, ask yourself, do you want your child to be just like every other child?  Or were you hoping to raise a unique individual that lives up to their maximum potential?  Is the method of schooling going to be what determines the outcome on this question?

Will the child be socially awkward?

At a Homeschool support meeting and the speaker mentioned how someone told him that he could tell that those children were homeschooled because they were quiet and shy.

I had to laugh because I often get told that you can tell my children are homeschooled because they are gregarious and outgoing and stop and talk to anyone and everyone.

My point here is that homeschooling will not enhance or detract from your child’s personality.  Your child is or isn’t shy.  They are or aren’t an extrovert.

Generally speaking, extroverts do great in a school setting and introverts don’t.

Homeschooling does offer the potential for you as the parent to help the child understand and appreciate the great qualities of their own personalities.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that it is a big assumption to state that school at home or away is going to actually determine your child’s personality.  Either way, which ever method of schooling you choose, your child will be influenced.  Away, more influence by peers and persons that may or may not share your personal values and love of this child.  At home, well… you’ll have the greatest influence and will likely be around to help them cope in situations when they deal with peers and other persons.

Will the child have friends?

Short answer, yes.  Short of locking your child up for the rest of their lives.  People are social creatures.

The key difference is that a homeschooled child is just as likely to make friends with the older neighbour next door, the mail delivery person, the guy at the grocery store *as well as* other children the same age.

This is again personal opinion, but I find it more accurate to how I live life as an adult.  It is very rare for me to be with the same group of people day after day that are the same age as me.

Still this is a very valid concern and most area’s have great homeschool networks where families can meet and connect.

What about all the school stuff and memories?

This is what I find is the core question.  Yes, homeschooling does mean that they won’t have a lot of the same kinds of school memories that you experienced.  Both the good memories and the bad memories.  You know what I mean.

That being said, they will have a lot of school-like memories.  For example field trips.  The same homeschool networks I mentioned earlier are often places where parents get together to organize field trips.  The wealth and variety of experiences are, if anything, greater for homeschoolers as we aren’t tied to just curriculum and can pick and choose to our hearts content or, if we don’t like what’s available go and organize one to our choosing!

If anything, I often have to remind myself that we don’t *have* to go on all of the 27 field trips available to me this month!

How about yearbooks and pictures?  Well, definitely not like you had in school, but I take my kids pictures frequently and they scrapbook them into memory books themselves.  It is different.

What about birthday parties, sleepovers and all the fun stuff?  Still happens.  How cool is it when you *can* have a sleepover on a school night and stay up late! lol… Just kidding but seriously not related to school.

Bully?  Well, my kids say I’m a bully sometimes…

And so on.  Basically all the good stuff you remember from school is not exactly related to education and something you can make sure your child will experience.

Can you kind of see why I say that for homeschoolers the question of socialization becomes something that sometimes causes us to want to groan when asked about it?

Here are some links that I found that I think do an excellent job exploring this issue *and* provide facts and numbers and such!  [note to HS-ing readers, if you know of better articles, link them in your comments.  I’ll have to approve them first, but will let them be posted to this blog post]

Social Skills and Homeschooling

Socialization of Homeschooled Children

Big article, scroll down to Socialization of Children

Socialization, How to deal with it [other HS-ing parents responses]

CBN news article, Christian comments on HS-ing and socialization

Posted in Musings, Parenting, School | 1 Comment

Apparently I forgot the best Worm’s Song

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Arrogant Worms

One of the recent groups my kids have been enjoying on Youtube is videos made with the Arrogant Worm’s songs.

One of our favourites:

And another:

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Carrot Lentil Soup

This is my all time favourite soup.  Its the soup I make the most and my guests often ask if I’m serving this soup and I’ll end up with a full table quicker than you can say boo!

Since I took the recipe from Canadian Living, I’ll link to their page. Here I will note the changes that I make to the recipe!

First of all:

-I use enough carrots to fill a 4 cup measuring bowl full.  Not jam packed full, but full.

-I also use about 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of Egyptian Lentils.  These are the small red lentils.  I have also substituted the yellow or orange version of these lentils but we like the red the best (a mild taste variation).

-90% of the time I have a bottle of minced ginger in the fridge.  If I don’t, I use 1 tsp of dry powdered ginger.  Also sometimes I omit all of the spices listed here and use a Dhal masala.  But if you don’t do frequent Indian cooking, I suspect you won’t have a Dhal or a Garum Masala in your cupboard!

-stock… I don’t usually use stock.  Sometimes I’ll add a bullion cube, sometimes I don’t.  So do whatever!  Just don’t add salt if you use a bullion cube!

-just enough liquid to make it soupy.  This can be quite a bit more than called for in the recipe because of the added lentils and carrots.  That being said, once the carrots cook down they can add liquid.  So, often I’ll let it simmer till some of the stock water has cooked off and it is a nice thickness.  A nice thickness is… as thick as you’d like it!

I never serve this with yogurt but it is fantastic with a swirl of sour cream.  Makes it just so very yummy.

Also, sometimes I puree the lot, other times I grate the carrots  in a cheese grater and then leave it as is.  Its a bit more textures and I like that.  Sometimes, I go half and half.  If I have young, young children at the table, that is usually when I puree the lot.

I almost always serve this with herbed or cheese tea-biscuits.  Trust me… very yum!

Oh and its a relatively quick soup, say ready to table in 45 minutes from start to finish.  However, it is very good the second and third days as well (if say, you x’s the recipe by 4. ;o)  It also freezes like a dream if pureed (carrots freeze funny).

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Divinity Fudge

Mix in saucepan:

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1 tsp white vinegar

stir and bring to hard ball temp.  I translate this to, bring to a bubbling mess and cook until when you drop a drip of it off a spoon into cold water, it makes a ball and you squish the ball but its firm.

Take off the heat and mix into 1 stiffly beaten egg white (so, mix this while cooking up the other!)

add:

1/2 tsp vanilla (really ‘add’ the vanilla say about 1 tsp worth!)

1/2 cup chopped nuts.

Pour into parchment paper lined pan (9 x 9 is good) or molds.  Let cool completely.

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Warm Grilled Pasta Salad

This is an original creation of mine.  I’ll list it in order of how I prepare the meal.  Note: I mix up the ingredients as they come off the grill and out of the boiling water, that’s the warm part.  This is not chilled.  But we did find that if you mix up a second batch of the dressing and mix it in the next day it tastes pretty good as well.

Cooking Order: it depends on how long it takes you to chop up vegetables for stir-fry.  Usually I start cooking my raw sausage, then mix the dressing and then chop the veggies, start the noodles (water is pre-warmed)  and then grill/stir fry my veggies.  Sometimes I prep the veggies first, and then have my daughter cook the meal (she is 8).  So she then starts with the sausage and the pasta, mixes the dressing and then does the veggies, and then tosses the mixture).

Dressing: (mix and set in fridge)

1 cup mayonnaise (low fat!)

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated finely

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (the inexpensive powder kind is excellent in this but the expensive stuff is superb!)

Note: I mix the above in the bowl I plan to put all the ingredients into at the end to save a dish.

In skillet:

cook two – four sausages.  I like the mild Italian with this salad.

my cooking method: lay sausage in skillet, fill pan with about 1 inch of water (choose pan that doesn’t have loads of extra space), cover with a lid and check every now and then to turn over and to check if finished.

Prepare 4 cups dry pasta to your preference.  Note: I like it best al dente.  Drain and shake off extra water, place in bowl to wait for the other ingredients.

Prepare veggies:

We like zucchini, red onions, celery, snow peas, mushrooms, red and green peppers, but basically choose any veggies.  Approximately 6 cups worth.

I prepare them to mouth sized pieces and then grill or skillet fry with water for about 5  minutes.  I’ll throw in the onion first, then the celery a bit later, zuc’s, the mushrooms, and then in the last 3 minutes throw in the peppers and snow peas.  I really like my veggies warm but crispy.  The warming of them tends to do a great job in bringing out the natural sugar flavours in the foods while keeping many of the good vitamins in the veggies.

Slice the sausage in the rounds.

Mix the lot together.  Sometimes, if I’m feeling ‘lavish’ I’ll serve on individual places and sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese.

Shopping List:

Stir fry veggies  (zucchini, red onion, mushrooms, peppers, snow peas)

dijon mustard

mayonaise

cheeses

sausage (2 – 4)

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Vegetable Supreme

This recipe comes from my Aunt’s Kitchen.  My mother and I have made this recipe for years and years.  Over time we’ve come to realize that given the amount of higher fat ingredients and such in this recipe it makes for a better ‘special occasion’ dish.

That being said, this is my husband’s absolute favourite vegetable side dish.

blanche/steam for 5 minutes or put in microwave for 5 minutes:

-2 cups broccoli

-2 cups cauliflower

[over time, this has come to be a good 8 – 10 cups of veggies, often the frozen cauli/broc/carrot mix… sometimes used frozen but then allow for much extra cooking time.]

Combine the following in a mixing bowl:

2 eggs

1 onion, diced (works really well to use a chopper type machine, really fine is great!)

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use lowest fat)

1 can cream of mushroom soup (I use low fat & salt)

1/2 cup cheddar cheese (again, low fat!)

Once well blended, pour over the veggies and lightly stir into the vegetable layer.  When cooking the soup layer will sink into the vegetables and kind of fill the gaps.

Variation: you can omit the onion and use a soup mix of onion instead.  Really, this is flexible.  There was only once that I made this and decided that my substitutions were gross, so in 15+ years of making this dish, I consider that pretty good.

Second Variation: omit the onions completely.  There was a time when I had to eliminate the onions because they triggered my migraines.  It was hard for me to get used to them back in the dish afterward but this is how my husband prefers the dish to be flavoured.

Last:

Sprinkle shredded cheese over the soup layer, and then lightly crushed croutons. (Italian flavored croutons are delicious!)

Original recipe called for the topping layer to be grated cheese, bread crumbs and 1 cup melted butter.

Bake in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes.  Give yourself a fair amount of extra cooking time.  I find its closer to 55 minutes.  And this kind of settles once pulled out of the oven after it rests for 10 minutes.

And to make it easier to copy out or for grocery shopping purposes, how this appears in my recipe box:

4 – 10 cups veggies (blanche)

2 eggs

1 onion

1/2 cup mayo

1 can cream mushroom

1/2 cup cheddar  (mix 5 well, top)

more cheddar

croutons

350 / 45

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Another Textbook Quote

A fine example for why we have ‘regulating and governing bodies’ today especially when it comes to research:

“In 1731, Stephen Gray performed an experiment similar to the comb experiment just described.  He rubbed a rod with a piece of cloth to accumulate electrons on the rod.  Then he touched the charged rod to the feet of a boy suspended on a rope and brought a metal foil to the boy’s nose.  The foil bent on approaching the boy’s nose, being attracted to it, and, as foil and nose touched, electricity passed from the rod, through the boy, to the foil.”

pg. 113, An Introduction to Brain and Behaviour by Bryan Kolb and Ian Q. Whishaw.

emboldening my own.  Not to say ‘how’ this poor child was suspended by rope but… yeah!

Posted in Fun, Musings, Reading, School | 1 Comment

Kniting, studying, teaching

Been busy studying my school work, teaching my children and knitting.  Here’s a pic to share.  A HuGe thank you to Melanie for the book I won, is very exciting to win, even though I did make a paper cover for it because it gave my son the heebee jeebies!

Scalloped Edge Newborn hat

Posted in Fun, Knitting, School | 5 Comments