Taking Flight, Week 37 of the Carnival of Homeschooling
At the age of 17, I stood at the Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, IN preparing to board a plane. I tearfully said goodbye to family and friends as all the excitement of the previous months of preparation gave way to the sudden realization that I was going to be gone for eleven months. I would be leaving behind everything I knew and loved to live in a foreign country with a foreign language and a foreign culture. I experienced some of the same excitement and apprehension when I made the decision to homeschool. I invite you to join us on this journey called homeschooling as we navigate through planning, executing and evaluating our trip, looking at a few setbacks along the way. The only ticket you need is commitment.

Preparing for any trip requires planning and packing. The same is true for homeschooling. We evaluate curricula, determine what methodology we think best suits our needs and begin to collect materials and information we think will be useful to us. Meredith of Sweetness and Light shares with us her travel itinerary for the school year. Kim from The Upward Call encourages fellow travelers to get the most from their journey by focusing on less. Castle of the Immaculate answers the call by focusing on music, hoping this study will build the character and habits necessary for other subjects later. And Shannon from the Shepherd's Fold focuses on the necessity of reading--biblically. Whenever I travel, I also enjoy looking into the history of where I'm going. Gena Suarez of Home Where They Belong has an informative entry on historic figures in homeschooling. For long trips, the traveler must pack lightly. Homeschoolers seem to have a tendency to horde curriculum and books that have anything to do with homeschooling, but there are some essentials in every library that are returned to again and again. For Melissa Wiley of The Lilting House, one is The Baldwin Project, an online collection of great, classic literature. As you manage your baggage to the airport and try to make your way to the correct terminal through the mass of people and security clearances, you may begin to have doubts. Can I really do this? Education journalist John Stossel doesn't think he could, but The Imperfect Homeschooler advises otherwise.

Finally, it is time for take off. It isn't uncommon to get off to a bumpy start and the turbulence can bring some apprehension. Rebecca of The Upside Down World reminds us to not get discouraged if the beginning is bumpy. Young children were made to wiggle and older children may need some adjustment time. Soon, you'll notice the seat belt warning and take proper precautions to head off many problems. It is also good to know right from the start that there are disadvantages to homeschooling. Take note of these Notes From a Homeschooling Mom, and some of the transition will be easier. In between reading your Fodor's Guide to Homeschooling and obsessively checking the visas required for entry into homeschooling, it is good to get some focus by remembering why it is you are doing this. Kris's Eclectic Homeschool advises to look to the 3 R's...Relationship, Recreation and Real-Life. While some worry about schedules and handling the children all day, The Rebellious Pastor's Wife reminds of some of the scheduling difficulty involved with sending your children away to school in the first in a series on her reasons for homeschooling. Kim from My Life in a Shoe offers her answers to a homeschool poll to help guide those who are following her in her journey in homeschooling. Walden's Wits is busy rethinking some of his reasons for homeschooling and shares two very important reasons: control of the curriculum and the freedom it gives children to truly learn. It is also important to take time to laugh...a sense of humor about the foibles of bringing up children will go a long way to help ease the tension. While not related to homeschooling, Maureen Wittman offers her entry, Holy Hormones, Batman to anyone who needs a smile.

Arriving in a new country is exciting. And those first packages of books, materials and manipulatives are pretty exciting, too. You have your plan, you have your stuff and you have this child before you whom you love more than life itself. When I first started homeschooling, I found the sheer volume of options overwhelming. Which options would lead me where I wanted to go? It is a time of second-guessing, self-doubt and worries about the concerns others have expressed to you. Suddenly, you feel lost...culture shock. First, remember that you do not have to be alone. Perspectives From the Trail Less Traveled offers some insight into Hebrew and Greek thought and notes that it takes a village of individuals with similar values to raise a child. Dishpan Dribble shares with us her shattered dreams of homeschooling when the destination turned out nothing like her dreams, but more than she could have imagined. Some of us are blessed with boys. They present a unique challenge all their own, as Amy's Humble Musings shares. But then (*gasp*) they have the audacity to turn into teenagers, as Kathryn of Little Men shares. And teenagers rebel. Well, not all of them, but it is a real fear and sometimes a real problem and Margaret Mary Myers offers some insight into avoiding this problem before it occurs. Sometimes it is smaller problems that plague us. Like cleaning rooms. But Kate at Electric Venom seems to be getting a handle on this frequent issue with a creative bit of problem solving. While you are there, check twoma's comment. He seems to have a handle on it as well! And then there is that ubiquitous question of socialization. The Cate's of Why Homeschool share part five in their series on avoiding government schools to show why homeschool is the best place for even this. Sometimes, even for those more experienced, nothing seems to go right. The day is wasted and you wish you could erase it from the memories of all involved. But these, too, can be redeemed and Carolyn from Guilt-free Homeschooling will give you some ideas how.

And then, after struggling with maps, asking directions and exhausting your dictionary, some things begin to click. You find some familiar roads and learn who to ask for help along with some of the basic vocabulary of this new land. You aren't an expert yet, but you can look back on your beginning and assess what is working and what isn't, like Isla de Esperanza. You can look at specific parts of your day and realize how much you are teaching in "non-school" activities like canning, shared by Lazy Creek Homeschool. Perhaps in the beginning you dreamed of cooking every day with your children and then the reality of multiple hands and multiple messes set in. Not to worry, you can get a grasp on this, as well, with a little sanity tip offered by The Crib Chick. A stop by David's at The Good Human will leave you with some environmentally friendly projects for you to do with your students. You, like Wired Wisdom, may have noticed that there is a problem with worksheets. And, as Sagerats of Hi Desert Hi Jinks notes, you begin to learn when to be free and creative in homeschooling and when to teach your children to follow instructions as they are given. You begin to seek out quality books, and find resources like Kathy at Homeschoolbuzz to help you find treasures such as Owls in the Family. You may even have time to connect with others in your support group like NerdMom for an excursion to the museum. After all, she has connections and knows where you might be able to get some free tickets. And while TISM certainly did NOT submit an entry to the Carnival of Homeschooling, the longer you have homeschooled, the more likely you are to look at a completely irrelevant song like this one and think, "yeah...that describes the public school system."

After awhile, you suddenly find yourself in an interesting positions. Perhaps you are not fully confident in homeschooling, but newcomers to this journey are starting to seek you out. You are still new enough at homeschooling that you connect quickly with others, but you have some experience that others wish to draw on. Sometimes you offer encouragement for someone overwhelmed by the routine tasks as you empathize and share stories of when you began. Sometimes you offer specific advice on subjects or matters you feel confident in. And sometimes you are just able to direct the new homeschooler to someone who is better equipped to help. It seems to me that as time goes on, many begin to set aside their formal plans and text books and begin trusting their own instincts more. Like Dawn of By Sun and Candlelight as she explains her approach to teaching the rhythms of nature. Math, which often seems the most daunting of subjects, takes on a new clarity. Advice such as Maria's from the Homeschool Math Blog to let math make sense seems more doable and less overwhelming. And modeling math, as Colleen from the Math Playground shares, makes good sense. We do it with blocks, but she discusses an online tool that may be of help. You may also begin looking into the future...even further than the next homeschool group's field trip. College? The Queen of Carrots shares her experience getting a law degree studying mostly at home. Once you feel a little more comfortable, it is also natural to start becoming more interested in broader issues which may have seemed unimportant earlier in the journey. The copy machine is The Thrifty Homeschooler's best friend, right? Maybe yes, maybe no. Copyright laws do include homeschoolers and for legal and moral reasons, it is good to be clear on what they are and how they effect you before running off another batch of copies. Scott Somerville, Esq. discusses on K-Dad how homeschool success has sparked off new questions...such as elitist homeschoolers? You have time to reflect on what you are learning as The Frugal Homeschool Blog advises. And then? It is time to defend homeschooling. Spunky has pretty much devoted her blog to this. It is natural for humans to draw distinctions and one of the first questions many homeschoolers seem to ask eachother is about the curriculum they are using. Spunky has been dealing with the difference between homeschooling and school-at home programs through online charters...as well as some criticism of homeschool snobbery. The Textbook Evaluator offers some interesting criticism of history texts:
What dismays me most about the arguments over “what history should be covered” or “how it should be covered,” is that we never get to the thought that kids themselves should “do” history. We don’t trust our teachers or kids enough to give them many sides or perspectives on an issue, and let them try to make sense of it. We don’t teach them historical thinking skills: we instead argue over what “truths” to feed them.
Then there is that editor in Indiana who is proposing stricter regulations on homeschooling. It is being covered all over the blogosphere right now, but it is about all I have written specifically related to homeschooling in recent weeks.

How do you know when you've arrived? Homeschooling is more of a journey than a destination, but there are signs that you are getting close. For Christian homeschoolers, they may look a lot like this moment in Lazy Creek Homeschool's car. And for all of us, being able to describe homeschooling likeMichelle at Raising Little Women, quoting from Anne Sullivan is another good sign:
My heart is singing for joy this morning. A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil's mind, and behold, all things are changed.
I hope you have enjoyed this edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling. The carnival is owned by the Cates of Why Homeschool. Archives can be viewed here. Submission guidelines can be viewed here. The next Carnival will be held at The Thinking Mother. If you enjoyed this carnival, please consider linking to it on your blog so your readers will know about it as well! Thank you, and enjoy your journey!

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