Karroo. Karroo. Dawn breaks over the Platte River, just south of Kearney, Nebraska. The air quivers with the calls of thousands of sandhill cranes--as many as 12,000 per half mile of river-- as they prepare to leave their roosts to forage for leftover corn in the nearby fields. Nebraska lies at the heart of the Central Flyway and half a million sandhill cranes stop here every year for a needed rest on their migration from Southern Texas to the northern reaches of Canada, Alaska and Siberia. This is the only place in the world that so many cranes may be seen at once, and the spectacle draws thousands of birdwatchers every year. National Geographic even came out last year to film the event. In fact, if you have RealPlayer, you too can catch a glimpse of the spectacular display of the cranes via the CraneCam at Rowe Sanctuary (around sunrise and sunset are the best times to watch).
As homeschoolers, we too are on a journey with stories to tell. Take some time to celebrate the journey with fellow homeschoolers and share in their triumphs and struggles as we all enjoy the spectacle of the great spring migration. If you are at the very beginning of this journey...where you think homeschooling sounds like a good idea but you just aren't sure about it...Why Homeschool offers an excellent, baby step guide to getting started. Consent of the Governed offers a quick guide to some different terms which affect homeschoolers and whose distinctions are important to understand. Reading through the following entries will also assist in providing an idea of how your journey might look, depending on the path you choose.
One of the most important tasks for a migrating bird is eating. A great deal of energy is expended during the migration, and birds are frequently returning home just as winter releases its grasp. Orioles, for example, leave their winter home of Mexico and fly all through the night, arriving here between March and May. The insects and nectar they require, however, are not yet available in large quantities.
Homeschooling also comes with costs, and it is best to begin with a realistic expectation of what that means. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it is easy to fall into the trap of excusing unplanned purchases because they are for educational purposes.
Homeschool CPA offers some insight and an article from Kiplingers Personal Finance. Getting to Graduation shares some advantages of your local community college.
HSB's Front Porch looks at investing money in your homeschool in a way you might not normally have thought.
Money management is important to reducing stress in your homeschool. So is time management. A repertoire of activities for younger children, such as these suggestions from the Common Room, is a great benefit
Due to the diminished food supply, the hunger of the newly arrived birds, and the beginning of the breeding season, feeders become highly attractive to these birds. I found it interesting that many birds actually have a greater need for supplemental food sources in early spring than during the winter months. What do homeschoolers do to encourage and satisfy the appetite for knowledge in their children?
Diaryof1 shares a moment of intense childhood curiosity which helped to develop their scientific thinking as they discovered an owl on their property. School of Thought shares a rare find: a science textbook which has exactly what she wants in her science program. Hi Desert Hi-Jinks shares when she tackled "official" science in her homeschool. The longer you homeschool, the more "officially" teaching something sounds strange. Even those of us who have a fairly structured school day recognize more each year how important all that "other time" is.
All Info About Homeschooling shares an interactive lesson for teaching your children about the structure of a cell. And a unique way to clean out your junk drawer.
Small World shares some insight into teaching creative writing. My Domestic Church also shares her journey to writing.
Homes Shcooling Aspergers shares a survey she is working on for her son to learn about surveys and worries. Take a moment to stop by and fill it out.
BooksForKidsBlog shares strategies for finding good nonfiction books for your young readers. Barbara Frank shares the importance of reading aloud with your children by looking at the roots of a family of writers. Highlighting this importance is this regret shared From a Cluttered Desk. My daughter's love for being read to just recently transformed into a love of reading.
Dewey's Treehouse offers a money saving idea with a thrift-shop curriculum.
Trinity Prep School shares a recipe for a book discussion group.
No Fighting No Biting takes a look at a school he would consider sending his children to, if it were in his area, and recognizes a need to offer more social outlets for his son.
Bird migration is a complicated affair. How do birds know when it is time to fly north? How do they know where to go? Some species return not only to the same latitude, but even to the same nests each year. Birds seem to have an internal "clock" to tell them when to head north. The many species which migrate at night have been shown in experiments in planetariums to adjust their body position according to the position of the stars. Day time migrators may use the sun and landmarks to find their way. Some, however, have been known to find their way when stars and sun are obscured. How is this possible?
Children, too, can often find their own way through learning tasks. Or at least they seem to benefit greatest when parents learn to work with them according to their rhythms and learning needs rather than by some prescribed "age" or sequence. Life Without School takes a look at the child's learning rhythm in Did Your Child Learn to Read Differently?. Part two includes vignettes and an opportunity for you to share your child's unique timetable for reading.
100 Acre Woods shares a "trick" to help young students learn the difference between latitude and longitude, something very important to humans deciphering global directions.
dr. deborah serani offers a helpful tip for navigating the homeschool journey. If you want your child to remember something, don't write it in red.
SharpBrains offers some interesting insight and research into learning and ways to stimulate the mind and thereby improve learning.
Inklings takes a look at the blessing of family and the importance of building relationships. And Colossians 3:16 takes a look at the home as the center of education.
Most people recognize the important of a stable, loving family life in the life of a child. Many school districts even spend quite a bit on parental involvement strategies to encourage parents to become more involved in their children's education. But some look at the money lost from occasional extra days off parents use to extend vacations with their children. TOSPublisher shares a story in which a district has begun charging parents to "check their kids out" of the public school system for these breaks.
Last week, many of our native birds returned from their winter roosts. We awoke one morning to find our feeders overflowing with grackles, cowbirds and red-winged blackbirds. A dark-eyed junco, who had not yet left for his tundra home, arrived and perched on the edge of the ground feeder. He watched the commotion with interest and I watched him with a sense of sadness. I am glad to see the new life springing up all around us, but I have grown quite fond of our winter visitors, too. Life, for all of us, has its moments of sadness and even despair. Whether it is from struggles we view from afar, or events in our own lives, not every moment is joyous and inspiring. Sometimes, a "routine" day sounds like a distant dream.
Alasandra takes some time to reflect on the loss of their cat, Whiskers. And has found a wonderfully thoughtful way of memorializing the family cat through new life.
Highlighting judicial precedent in parental rights, an anonymous blogger, posting at A Dusty Frame, offers her thoughts as she looks back on the removal of her children by CPS.
Corn and Oil takes a look at a heartbreaking tale of child abuse in which the child was finally removed and "homeschooled" the last year of her life. There are many who would like tighter supervision of homeschools because of these atrocious cases, but here the system failed her completely. While she was in school and after she was pulled out.
Trivium Pursuit offers a warning about the growth of occult practices and a book suggestion.
Those who are serious about birding often keep a life list. This is a list of all the birds they have seen in their career as a birdwatcher. Many keep meticulous logs, recording the birds they saw, where and under what conditions. More serious birders will travel hundreds of miles or even to other continents in order to have a chance to add to their life lists. Many come here during the Spring migration in hopes of catching a rare glimpse of the acutely endangered whooping crane. There are only about 150 left in the wild and all stop here during their journey north.
There are prizes for those who can record the greatest number of birds in a year. Clubs for those who sight 600 or more in a life time. And endless comparing of life lists.
For a little recognition for the hard work of the many homeschool bloggers out there who record their journeys on the internet for all to share, Sprittibee has taken up Spunky's old task and is offering a belated 2006 Homeschool Blog Awards.
Most of us, however, do not reward our successes in our homeschools quite so formally. They certainly end up in blog posts or in conversations at the local support group. Some make it onto the refrigerator or mailed to grandma. What constitutes success is different for each of us, for each of our children are unique.
Mom&Pop Homeschool pause to record a day in their life. It may seem like a normal day, but when your child with Asperger's is trying out his coping skills without medication, normal days become extraordinary days.
Ragamuffin Studies charts her progress from "sage on a stage" to "guide on the side," highlighting her journey toward encouraging her son to take more ownership of his learning.
Life Without School discusses the concept of "measuring up" and the artificial competition this can instill. Highlighting this difficulty, perhaps, is Little Blue School's entry as she shares her feelings regarding the standardized tests her son is required to take. As soon as a measure is laid before us, it is natural to want to measure well. Even if it doesn't matter. And, unfortunately, even when we disagree with the measurement in the first place.
Answering objections to homeschooling raised by another blogger, One-Sixteenth offers a glimpse into a typical day, assessment and other common questions raised by those unfamiliar with homeschooling.
Some of us can be as hyper-vigilant as some birders. Hopefully not quite so much as Richard Koeppel whose lifelong obsession had pushed his family away.
The Thinking Mother reflects on hyper-parenting and perfectionism in homeschooling.
And those with a lengthening "to-do" list might appreciate a bit of mathematical humor, brought to you by Let's play math!
Spending an afternoon with the cranes in central Nebraska left us all tired, but inspired. As I lay down that night, I continued to hear their calls. Hours of listening to them had etched the sound into my mind. Our families also each have a special music all our own, as OnFire reminds us. It also reminded me of the values, habits and joy of learning we are trying to pass on to our children. The things we want to etch into their minds so they will recall them even after they have left our homes. Under His Construction highlights what we all want for our children to some degree. We may not all see this in a religious light, but we desire for our children liberty. And we seek to prepare them for this liberty through education.
Thank you for celebrating this journey with me. The Carnival of Homeschooling is maintained by Why Homeschool and submission guidelines may be found here. Next week's host is Alasandra. If you enjoyed this carnival, please consider linking so your readers may enjoy it as well!
Whooping crane, courtesy of the International Crane Foundation
All other migratory birds, courtesy of the National Biological Information Infrastructure and are in the public domain