Category Archives: Home Educating

Train Up A Child

There are some good thoughts in this article:

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST, PSYCHOTHERAPIST

Victoria is an internationally-known educator, motivational speaker and a popular blogger on modern-day parenting and high-tech lifestyle’s impact on a child nervous system. Victoria is a founder and a clinical director of a multidisciplinary clinic for children with behavioral, attentional, social, emotional and academic challenges. Victoria works with children, parents, and teachers around the world.

The silent tragedy affecting today’s children

This article has been read by 20 million people. I know that many would choose not to hear what I say in the article, but your children need you to hear this message.

— Victoria Prooday
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There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels – our children. Through my work with hundreds of children and families as an occupational therapist, I have witnessed this tragedy unfolding right in front of my eyes. Our children are in a devastating emotional state! Talk to teachers and professionals who have been working in the field for the last 15 years. You will hear concerns similar to mine. Moreover, in the past 15 years, researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:

 

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No, “increased diagnostics alone” is not the answer!

No, “they all are just born like this” is not the answer!

No, “it is all the school system’s fault” is not the answer!

Yes, as painful as it can be to admit, in many cases, WE, parents, are the answer to many of our kids’ struggles!

 It is scientifically proven that the brain has the capacity to rewire itself through the environment. Unfortunately, with the environment and parenting styles that we are providing to our children, we are rewiring their brains in a wrong direction and contributing to their challenges in everyday life.

Yes, there are and always have been children who are born with disabilities and despite their parents’ best efforts to provide them with a well-balanced environment and parenting, their children continue to struggle. These are NOT the children I am talking about here.

I am talking about many others whose challenges are greatly shaped by the environmental factors that parents, with their greatest intentions, provide to their children. As I have seen in my practice, the moment parents change their perspective on parenting, these children change.

What is wrong?

Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood, such as:

  • Emotionally available parents

  • Clearly defined limits and guidance

  • Responsibilities

  • Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep

  • Movement and outdoors

  • Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom

Instead, children are being served with:

  • Digitally distracted parents

  • Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”

  • Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility

  • Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition

  • Sedentary indoor lifestyle

  • Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments

Could anyone imagine that it is possible to raise a healthy generation in such an unhealthy environment? Of course not! There are no shortcuts to parenting, and we can’t trick human nature. As we see, the outcomes are devastating. Our children pay for the loss of well-balanced childhood with their emotional well-being.

How to fix it?

If we want our children to grow into happy and healthy individuals, we have to wake up and go back to the basics. It is still possible! I know this because hundreds of my clients see positive changes in their kids’ emotional state within weeks (and in some cases, even days) of implementing these recommendations:

 

Set limits and remember that you are your child’s PARENT, not a friend

Offer kids well-balanced lifestyle filled with what kids NEED, not just what they WANT. Don’t be afraid to say “No!” to your kids if what they want is not what they need.

  • Provide nutritious food and limits snacks.

  • Spend one hour a day in green space: biking, hiking, fishing, watching birds/insects

  • Have a daily technology-free family dinner.

  • Play one board game a day. (List of family games)

  • Involve your child in one chore a day (folding laundry, tidying up toys, hanging clothes, unpacking groceries, setting the table etc)

  • Implement consistent sleep routine to ensure that your child gets lots of sleep in a technology-free bedroom

Teach responsibility and independence. Don’t over-protect them from small failures. It trains them the skills needed to overcome greater life’s challenges:

  • Don’t pack your child’s backpack, don’t carry her backpack, don’t bring to school his forgotten lunch box/agenda, and don’t peel a banana for a 5-year-old child. Teach them the skills rather than do it for them.

Teach delayed gratification and provide opportunities for “boredom” as boredom is the time when creativity awakens:

  • Don’t feel responsible for being your child’s entertainment crew.

  • Do not use technology as a cure for boredom.

  • Avoid using technology during meals, in cars, restaurants, malls. Use these moments as opportunities to train their brains to function under “boredom”

  • Help them create a “boredom first aid kit” with activity ideas for “I am bored” times.

Be emotionally available to connect with kids and teach them self-regulation and social skills:

  • Turn off your phones until kids are in bed to avoid digital distraction.

  • Become your child’s emotional coach. Teach them to recognize and deal with frustration and anger.

  • Teach greeting, turn taking, sharing, empathy, table manners, conversation skills,

  • Connect emotionally – Smile, hug, kiss, tickle, read, dance, jump, or crawl with your child.

We must make changes in our kids’ lives before this entire generation of children will be medicated! It is not too late yet, but soon it will be… -Victoria Prooday

 

Sgian Dubh

Armed with Nathan’s knife making lessons and a trip to Scotland for Nathan’s 18th birthday, Nathan and I attempted to make our own sgian dubhs and a very useful sgian ‘brew.’

The sgian dibh is the small knife tucked inside the sock of a kilt wearing young man.  Known also as a ‘dark’ or ‘hidden’ knife.  We purchased our blades from Rainnea

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Cutting out the basic shape.
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Using tools we have on hand to sculpt the handle.

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This handle is made from osage orange (hedge).

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Sgian ‘brew’ on a Blackwatch tartan which is similar to that attributed to the Falconer sept of the Clan Keith.  This handle is fashioned from an oak log that was buried in the ditch on my farm, Tannachton Farm.

 

Knife Making

Near the end of our homeschooling stint, we discovered a wonderful family who have for 35 years pulled together a spectacular array of historical and educational speakers.  Formerly called CHEF  (Christian Home Education Fellowship), now called Family Covenant Ministries.  

In February 2012, they organised a small group of young men to meet at one of the nation’s premier knife making operations near Ozark, Missouri.  Definitely a highlight of our home education career.  Ozark Knife Makers at Ozark Forge.

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Anti-homeschooling or Snowflake?

If the followers of Brave Writer were the start of homeschooling in America, it would have never taken hold and become the parental freedom of educational choice it is today.  Though our forebears fought for and won great victories, our hold on educational freedom is challenged on a daily basis, both personally, as well as on the local, state, and national levels.  Yet, Brave Writer takes us backwards.  Her points in this article outline such gloom and doom, self pity, and hand holding and – well – to use the modern vernacular this describes a snowflake.  This is the wrong direction for home educators.  If we are weak, we will be vanquished.

Early home educators faced criminal charges, allowing and promoting truancy, no curriculum, public shame, few knew of others who home schooled, and a host of legal challenges- they were just out there on their own.  But those parents were certain of their goals for their children and families which bolstered their enthusiasm and commitment to freedom.

Below is a link to an old HSLDA article outlining the history of home schooling in the United States.

Publication Date: 

I. Introduction

Twenty years ago, home education was treated as a crime in almost every state. Today, it is legal all across America, despite strong and continued opposition from many within the educational establishment. How did this happen? This paper traces the legal and sociological history of the modern home school movement, and then suggests factors that led to this movement’s remarkable success.

II. Why Home Schooling Should Have Failed

Today’s generation apparently is lonely, whatever that means.  As a parent/teacher there is so much to learn, teach, share, read, discover, explore, people to meet, places to see, community involvement, youth groups – how could anyone ever be lonely.  Many of us of a certain age, decided to home school to get away from groups, structure, group think, group activities – we had our own family goals and agendas – we didn’t need the approval of anyone nor fear we’d have no friends.  And fear of fitting in?!  For goodness sake, that’s why we home schooled in the first place – we blazed our own path.  But, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be part of a group, but don’t complain if you don’t ‘fit in’ – just move on – it’s not a personal thing.

None of this to say we kept ourselves secluded – far and away, most homes schoolers are involved in a myriad of high profile community, educational, and self growth activities and have earned the respect of their elders.

The more i thought about Brave Writer’s article the more convinced i became that it needed to be challenged and to question her intentions.  Is she a wolf in sheep’s clothing – acting in support of home education, all the while tearing out the foundation?    This article very much sounds like it.  Or one using the foibles of social media to create a downward sucking whirlpool of commiserate negativity  fostering feelings of helplessness so she can sell you some answer?   Anti-home schoolers will thrill to add this gloom and doom piece to their arsenal – for indeed, all that ‘loneliness’ and insecurity will surely harm the children.

To finish my rant, two things: one is that i really don’t think this has anything to do with loneliness and secondly this article does not reflect the ideology of myself and many other parents, who, with wisdom and covenantal commitment, chose to home educate their own children.

Here’s Brave Writer’s article as posted on her Facebook page.

Tonight’s thoughts.

Homeschooling is lonely.

Lonely thoughts: am I doing it right? Doing enough? What if I fail?

Lonely days: you and your kids slogging through, no one entering your house to give you relief, no one else planning a lesson or setting up the art project or supervising PE while you take a break in the teacher’s lounge.

Lonely outings: a field trip of 5—you and your three kids—in a sea of school children and teachers, or alternatively, the only person with kids in tow while people wonder what they’re doing “out of school.”

Lonely self: wanting friends, not sure who will be your friend, wondering how to find them, make them, keep them, coordinate with them, manage the interactions between your kids and theirs, how to fit in when you don’t have the same philosophy or religion or educating style.

It’s a creeping need—at first, the joy of choosing to spend all day every day with your kids is rewarding, fulfilling, and need-meeting. Over time, the craving for adult contact and affirmation becomes profound, powerful, necessary.

The Internet helps—online conversations can tie us together and give us a place to gather—our own water cooler.

Co-ops help—offering a place for parents to chat while kids get instruction you didn’t have to prepare.

Yet it’s more than that.

Underneath the loneliness is this: a craving to be understood, to be accepted.

Can we say our truths, our worries, our different opinions and still be accepted and known by the other homeschoolers? Can we share about our philosophy of education without it raising suspicion or creating rifts?

And what if you are not in the majority homeschooling community? What if you come from a different faith or no faith? How do you find friends then?

The hardest part of homeschooling for me was the feeling that I had to *qualify* to be a member of a given group. The rejection, scrutiny, and exclusion I’ve experienced while homeschooling was excruciating and not unique to me. I know homeschoolers who gave up home education because they literally had no options for community involvement.

If homeschooling is going to thrive, it has to expand and include.

If you are a human being, your beliefs will shift over a lifetime. It’s impossible to guarantee that what you believe is true now will remain in the same configuration for the rest of your life. If you home educate, you are examining those beliefs daily (because you are studying, reading, and discussing ideas all day every day).

When we form groups around beliefs, we teach people to pretend. We say that you must deny the part of yourself that is curious or disturbed or doubts in order to retain membership in the community. That kind of group fosters vigilance to uphold a single perspective, where suspicion becomes a mode of operation rather than support and kindness. Suddenly the strictures of the group become more important than building supportive relationships around home education.

The best homeschool friendships weather change—create space to revise, grow, experiment, and explore—in education models, in religious affiliation, in non-religious affiliation, in various political beliefs, in parenting-styles.

The weakest friendships are built around reinforcing the party-line—and avoiding the discomfort of difference.

The greatest suffering occurs when someone fails to live up to the group’s stated beliefs and is kicked out or shunned or rejected (or is told that their family is now dangerous to others—that one hurt me the most).

We can cure loneliness in homeschool. We do it by building communities that welcome people committed to the daring adventure of bringing education to life for their children. That’s the ground floor of friendship.

Everything else? Fodder for rich conversations over brunch and mimosas at Mimi’s.

Love one another.

 

Moonlight Sonata

The only regret i have for my children and their formal piano and vocal lessons is that i didn’t have them start much earlier in life.  Now, we’ve always listened to music or music history when we homeschooled, but no formal training until Jessica was 14, Dallas was 12, and Nathan (starting later) was about 11.  Nathan didn’t take for very long because their teacher moved away, although we did find another wonderful teacher who gave him lessons for about a year later on and introduced him to the world of stage production musicals.  Jessica became good enough to earn a small vocal scholarship at Central Methodist and was very active in their music programme and even participated in rehearsals, special ensemble small group called ‘Chorale,’ and was an officer in SAI.

Dallas, through his training actually showed the most improvement!

Nathan is a good vocalist, but not quite good enough to snag a singing part in Carousel Production of Les Misérables a couple years ago as a sophomore in high school.  It was a great experience for him anyway as he participated with four different roles in the musical.

Anyway, I started playing the piano when i was nine – hated practicing -but was required to continue for five years.  Only way later in years did i appreciate my parents forcing me to continue for as long as i did.  My children, however, really enjoy playing the piano and enjoyed their lessons, although none of us are accomplished pianists.

Those of us who play or teach piano know that it helps our brains.  It’s even scientifically proven according to some.  Playing the Piano Might Make You Smarter is a neat article that gives some of the evidence for that.

Now today, I struggled through playing a part of a song (Sonata quasi una Fantasia – First movement) i used to be able to play, but i cannot now.   Although, it’s far from starting an unknown piece, it will be a long time before it sounds decent.  So my question is – can old brains be made smarter and/or improve memory by playing the piano?  Hmmmm  Maybe if can push forward and learn Movements 2 (i can stumble through) and 3 (only in my dreams) by L van Beethoven.

Listen to Sonata quasi un Fantasia in its entirety by L van Beethoven

Shabbat Shalom

tauna

Nathan’s High School Graduation

For some reason, I never blogged about my home schooled children’s high school graduations.  Here is my youngest, who graduated this past May (2015).

This writeup is what i submitted to the newspaper.  The photo, however, is one we took on the front porch after he had his hair cut.

Having completed 12 years of home education, Nathan Allen Powell, rural Laclede, MO graduates high school with a 4.0 GPA, Summa Cum Laude.  Nathan is the son of Allen and Tauna Powell.  He has received Bright Flight scholarship (having scored 33 on ACT) and the President’s Competitive Award ($20,000) from Northwest Missouri State University at Maryville, MO where he will be pursuing a 4-year MBA degree in International Business through NWMSU’s CATapult program – CATapult is an accelerated program designed for high-achieving freshmen to complete a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Business Administration within four years. 

Nathan Powell, at Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland – the ancestral home of his 14th great grandfather, William Keith, 4th Earl of Marischal, whose granddaughter married Alexander Falconer in 1543.

Sponsored by:

POWELL SEED FARM, INC

23116 Hwy 5

Linneus, Missouri 64653

One mile south of Linneus on Hwy 5

 

660.895.5434 or 660.412.2001 (Allen’s mobile)

 

Buying and selling field and grass seeds – Selling retail and wholesale

Custom Seed Cleaning

Three way Skyping!

So thankful for modern technology: Skyped (3-way skyping, so cool) with daughter, Jessica Powell and son, Nathan at 8a this morning, so she could tell me about her first day teaching her kindergarten students (she teaches at GEMS Dubai American Academy, so is 9 hours ahead of us) and so we could both send Nathan best wishes on his first day at Northwest Missouri State University (first class at 11am is accounting).

Beats Pony Express and sailing ships!

Interesting class she has: 22 students representing Sweden, UAE, US, Canada, France, Jordan, Germany, and somewhere else i can’t remember. All speak English and some speak 3 or more languages! Kids these days…… Totally different than Tegucigalpa where the first several weeks were spent teaching English.

Cheers

tauna

Downtown Dubai, UAE
Downtown Dubai, UAE
Dancing fountains in Dubai
Dancing water and lights at the Dubai Fountain