21st Carnival of Homeschooling: The Map to A Progressive Dinner
Welcome to the 21st Carnival of Homeschooling! As the formal school year is wrapping up for many of us, I chose to organize a progressive dinner party to help get everyone acquainted as we travel the blogosphere. Unless otherwise mentioned, all entries were submitted by the contributors. Let this serve as your map as we travel from place to place to enjoy the treats that have been prepared for us. One nice thing about events planned by homeschoolers is that the hosts assume that children will be in attendance. So if ever they get too restless at any of the destinations, let them play. The public schools don't, as Natural Moms notes. Carolyn of Guilt Free Homeschooling reminds us that play is in fact very valuable, "the work of the child."

While we are waiting for everyone to arrive, feel free to grab a beverage and join The Autumn Rain out on the lawn for some pleasant summer read alouds. What do the neighbors and passers by think as they listen? While you are there, Mary Ellen from the Bonny Blue House is sharing the benefits of a summer reading list. Don't forget to take in the scenery of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, as shared by Blessed to Be Homeschool3ks. What a way to turn your surroundings into an education!

Now is the fun part. Arrange your car pool because it is time to move on to the appetizers. These are a great selection of encouraging blogs about homeschooling. Jeanny of Classical At Home shares with us her inspiration for homeschooling and how a brush with death changed her priorities to include homeschooling. Reflecting on our own mortality does change how we view things. Stacy from Teaching Diligently takes a moment to give us some inspiration on how to leave a lasting treasure for our loved ones. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it is easy even for homeschooling families to take for granted that our family is getting enough time together. Cirque de moi shares her thoughts about making time amidst our planning. Over at Hutcheson's Happenings, Tammy shares reflections on her homeschooling journey. We all go through stages in homeschooling and she outlines hers nicely. Kim of Life in A Shoe chimes in with some reflection on her own education as she thanks her parents for choosing to homeschool. She has an interesting perspective as a second generation homeschooler. Mamalogues is also sharing her reasons for homeschooling as she counters some common misconceptions and answers un-asked-for criticism with, "That's MRS. Crazy Nutty Freak Job, Young Man!"Just for a taste of homeschooling, Leslie of Bona Vita Rusticanda Est shares her 9 year old son's first written narration. Pretty good for a talking cucumber.

Next, we move on to the salad. Don't forget who you arrived with, or someone might get left behind. That is no fun at a progressive dinner as even the host intends on leaving for the next destination. As we settle in for the buffet-style salad line, we have some friendly conversation about some of the freedoms and benefits of homeschooling. If you enjoyed Mamalogues wit above, you will enjoy her take on socialization at Since Eve. The ClubMom blog is pretty new, so stop by and give her some socialization in her new venue. Very busy Lisa of Me and My House Musings asked me to pick something when I invited her to submit. Since I like her so much, I obliged and chose to include her thoughts on the principles of wisdom as she shares about developing a biblical worldview in our children. We homeschoolers come from a variety of backgrounds and we take a variety of approaches. NerdMom asks for some help sorting through all the options. Tami offers us a bit of insight with her review of "Curriculum Methods" by Paul and Gena Suarez. As great as we find homeschooling, is it the only way? Sara from the Learning Umbrella, who was herself homeschooled, shares why no one should be forced to homeschool. With high stakes testing, some have been told there is no other option for their failing children. On a similar note, Confederateson shares in his entry an article by Doug Wilson about homeschoolers and "homers." What do you think? Do you know anyone who is "aggressively imperialistic" about their homeschooling choices? I would have loved to have answered his first commentor in verse, but I fear I lack that much creativity. All I could think to do was replace "home schooler" with "public schooler" and that didn't sound any "cooler." As you finish up your salad, please note the crack in the paint in the corner. This beautiful effect wasn't planned this way, but Notes from A Homeschooling Mom knows how to look at what seems to be a defect and bring out its beauty. It is the same with our children. Sometimes they fall short of our expectations because we fail to consider who they are as individuals.

For the main course, I thought we'd share a bit of the "meat" of a homeschool day. We pray before meals here, so I thought I'd start off with a beautiful lesson from PrincipledMom. What a wonderful illustration of the child as the bud and Christ as our covering. If Christ is our covering, than we should take time to place His word in our heart. Anne of Holy Experience shares a beautiful post on the ART of memorizing. Joanne of A Day in Our Lives shares some of the liberty...and the responsibility that goes along with it...of educating at home as she discusses what unschooling is. And isn't. Do you need some help bringing some more art into your day? Cathy of Creativehsmom has a wonderful lesson on art history. Maybe I wouldn't feel so intimidated about art lessons if I had had a teacher like Cathy! As the sides are passed, you might catch a little of the conversation going on about How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler. I've been reading a lot about this book, recently, and Maureen of TrinityPrepSchool discusses the ability to read well by the four distinct processes as outlined by Mr. Adler. Karen of The Thomas Institute also shares with us a lesson in reading. She uses Five in a Row and has shared here some great extension activities with Storm in the Night. Probably the one subject that seems to give most homeschoolers the most anxiety is mathematics. Mama Squirrel from Dewey's Treehouse is here to help with some ideas for mathematical reasoning using cuisenaire rods. Denise of Let's Play Math gives us some thought as to why we study mathematics in the first place. I cetainly asked that of my teachers often enough in high school! And just before slipping off to our next destination, I share some instructional strategies to help get the most out of television without succumbing to its brain deadening effects.

Well-fed and relaxed, it is time to move to our next destination for some dessert. Away from lesson plans and curriculum objectives, it is time to share about a typical homeschool day. Even Susan Wise Bauer, co-author of The Well-Trained Mind has them. The Cates of Why Homeschool show how her days run pretty much like ours...full of surprises and mishaps. Desserts also imply endings. Steve Walden offers some perspective on the end-of-school-year rush and the priorities we should keep in mind as the formal academic year closes for many of us. Ending more than a school year, Patricia Ann's Pollywog Creek Porch is reflecting on the last years of homeschooling the last child. Do our priorities shift as we begin to look at the years of no children ahead? Do we start to seek fulfillment outside the home? Patricia Ann reminds us that even our well brought up, independent teenagers need their mothers. Looking forward just a few more years, Semicolon takes a look at that final dessert in homeschooling: the homeschool graduation. One chapter is closed, and another is opened. Whether you are coming to the close of a homeschool day, a homeschool year, or homeschooling itself, your children need to know how they have done. But before you scoop them up with a shower of empty praise, take a look at Belinda Letchford's thoughts.

In Italy, no dinner can rightly be called over without an espresso. A long day and a bit too much caffeine brings out a touch of controversy. Starting off gently, Elena of My Domestic Church discusses options for homeschool graduates. Sometimes the debate is presented as if McDonald's or college are the only two options. Gotta think outside the box a little (although economically speaking, McDonald's really does not fair too badly in the long term when compared against the income of the average college graduate.) In the meantime, Spunky engages us in a conversation about the efficacy of homeschooling. Should Christian students be part of the redemptive plan for public school? With her usual wit and reason, she answers a resounding "no!" Shall we take a peek into these public schools in need of redemption? Scott of Somerschool also answers the issues raised by Dr. Beam. So let's go with the military analogy. He demonstrates the war waged against the Christian youth in secular education and likens them to the Iraqi insurgents. Not much of a chance. And for a bit of insanity directly from Seattle Public Schools, check out this definition of racism, submitted on K-Dad's behalf. This bit stood out to me: "emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology." So now anyone who is not a socialist is a racist? We then join Maribel of APMFormulators for a different concern, which should be shared by the public schooled and home schooled alike: the future of public libraries in the face of the internet.

I hope you have enjoyed this progressive dinner. Please take a moment to help the host clean up. If you have noticed any mistakes or faulty links, please let me know so that they may be fixed before new guests arrive. It would also be greatly appreciated if you post an invitation at your blog as you return home. The parting thoughts I am going to leave to Barbara of The Imperfect Homeschooler. She shares a poignant post about learning to let go as she reflects on the joys of homeschooling while getting ready to sell her homeschool materials. Last week's carnival may be viewed at Home Sweet Home. Next week's will be hostedby the Headmistress over at The Common Room. Carnival archives may be viewed here. And if you have a post to submit, check right here.

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