Table of contents

Tossed by the Fates is a blogged book for homeschooling parents with the American military.  At this time it is still a work in progress, with new entries added as time goes by.  This post is the table of contents to the book.

Notes to a blog:

  • Because of the structure of blogs in general (first entries are at the bottom of the heap), and because of the structure of the particular WordPress blog format (categories don’t seem to be in plain sight),
  • To make it easier to find specific information, or to see the structure of the blog, I’ve put this ‘table of contents’ as the permanent first page of the blog.
  • Chapters (categories) are listed in bold, and the subparagraphs of the chapters (the blog posts) are  the pages that are linked.  Some of the individual pages stand better on their own than others.  The book was written in the normal fashion with all the subparagraphs following each other on the same page.  When published as blog posts, the continuity is not as obvious.
  • Please note that any “automatically generated” links to allegedly “related” posts are cooked up by this particular WordPress system, and are not added by me.  I looked for a way to disable the function, but if there is a way to disable the seemingly random links, it is not readily apparent.

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History of homeschooling

About this site

Site Booklets

Military Homeschooling

Military Life

  • Military life from the perspective of family members
    In the chapters on family life with one parent ‘in the military,’ the generic family will be that of an active duty husband, and a civilian wife.  This is for my convenience as a writer since all of the parents I’ve met from homeschooling families have fit this model.  I do not mean for this structure to exclude stay-at-home homeschool dads, or active duty homeschool moms, it is just that the ‘he/she/them’ constructions in sentences are just too bulky.  Also, after reading texts in which the subject seems to be the victim of back-to-back sex-change surgeries – in one paragraph the subject is male, yet in the next paragraph, the subject is female – I feel as if I have mental whiplash.  I use the word “spouse” only occasionally.  As a matter of personal taste, it is just too close in sound and spelling to the word “souse,” and I think the word clangs rather than rings.  C’est la vie.

Coping with deployment

How to start homeschooling

Making the homeschooling decision

Reasons for homeschooling

Curriculum

Socialization — the S-word

Sheltered children

Styles and methods of homeschooling

Public school at home

Corporate Homeschooling

 

Homeschooling over the holidays

After Graduation

————————————————————————————————————

Future topics:

  • Military jurisdictions and families
  • Homeschooling and military life
  • Homeschooling in the American states and possessions
  • Homeschooling overseas
  • Legal concerns about homeschooling
  • Record keeping
  • Support groups

Military life from the perspective of family members

Introduction

Military life has more rules to it than does civilian life.  The two modes of living have many parallels such as ID cards and driver’s licenses for identification, housing officials and code enforcement officers for minding your Ps and Qs in residential neighborhoods, and city police and military police for general law enforcement.  The difference is that life close to the military is more tightly controlled.  Installations closely document the registry of large personal belongings such as cars or motorcycles, restricted areas take up more space, and ‘gate-keepers’ check more often to make sure you are ‘authorized.’  It seems as if ‘the military’ controls your life, and, for active-duty, Reserve or National Guard members, ‘the military’ does control their lives.  But is this true for family members?

This part, of the chapters on the military-specific life of homeschooling parents, lays the groundwork for the chapter on military authority over the families of servicemembers.  I want to draw a rough picture of what it means to live alongside a servicemember so that I can more easily explain my view of who is in charge of whom, and why, and lay out the relationship between civilian family members and military authorities.  Some readers here will be new to military life and may have an idea that, because they are married to a servicemember, their husband’s chain of command has legal authority over the family.

To read the full article, with links, please click here.

Copyright 2010, Valerie Bonham Moon

Beyond homeschooling: joining the military

This article tells about some differences between the two largest career paths in the military services, becoming an officer or enlisting.  It also looks at how home education affects those choices.  From the view of the military services, homeschooling has an effect on enlistment more than it does on the commissioning of an officer.

This article includes a look at what it means to be an officer or an enlisted person.  Included are the ways a college student can become an officer, and how a homeschooled graduate can enlist.  Statistics are included from a Navy study that is important to homeschooled graduates who want to enlist, and a complaint, and an answer to the complaint, about the study.

In this article, I propose that the best way to prepare to enlist is to earn a regular high school diploma, but the ‘best’ way does not rule out other ways.  This article is not a step-by-step guide telling homeschooled grads how to join the military, but it does have advice on good ways to prepare to join.

  • To read the full article, please click here.
  • A quick overview of the ways for homeschooled grads to join the military is here
  • A compilation of sections of military recruiting regulations for homeschooled grads is here.

Beyond homeschooling: what to do after graduation

When you think seriously about what your child will do ‘after homeschooling,’ you’re either at the beginning of your child’s ‘high school’ years (the ages from about 14 and up), or are actually contemplating ‘graduating’ near the end-of-homeschooling.  You may wonder what comes next?  How do people who were homeschooled fit themselves into everyday adult life?  The answer, of course, is “just like everyone else.”

Before your child makes the change from at-home dependent to competent-adult, it is usually best to prepare for it, and not just expect the teen to step out onto adulthood’s doorstep looking for the taxi to Grownup Land.  This is only common sense.  The trouble with preparation is, that to make specific plans, the teen must have a goal in mind, sometimes as early as fourteen.  The ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ question must leave the realm of the wishful thinking of six-year-olds, although fire fighters, dinosaur hunters, and astronauts have to come from somewhere.  Making plans early is useful so that when ‘graduation’ arrives, both you and your teen are as ready as you can be for that next step.

The usual possibilities (or a mix of possibilities) beyond and after homeschooling are:

  • continuing to live as a family
  • a job
  • attending college or specialized schooling
  • joining the military

Since a ‘gap year’ (or more) may not require as much groundwork for entry as the other choices, I won’t discuss it.  And since marriage is such a personal choice, I’ll leave that discussion to the families.

To read the full article, please click here

Hug-a-hero dolls

No time to wait for the “Deployment” part of the blog, it starts now.

Children miss parents when they go away, whether it is for a deployment, or for any other reason.  The dolls from this site give children the ability to keep the parent nearby, and the dolls are more durable, and portable, than a normal photograph.

The site is called “Daddy Dolls,” and while that gender-identification applies to most deployed personnel, it doesn’t apply to all.  I imagine that families with a mom-sponsor would be able to buy the dolls, too.

Daddy Dolls

Regardless of what the site is called, the idea is wonderful.

Purpose of education II

Recently, I read a book on writing fiction just after watching curriculum discussions on an email list.  As I read the author’s opinion on plotting, I made a connection to curriculum and to “education” in general: “You can package plot any number of ways, and the way you package it decides what number [of plots] you’ll end up with.  There is no magic number, one or one million.  … any enterprising person can find more, or find another way to package the concept and come out with a different number.”

That’s what I’ve been seeing on those email lists, I thought, a million ways of packaging.

No matter where we go, “education” is on people’s minds. You can’t get away from it. New homeschooling parents work to find the “best” program, while veteran homeschooling parents assemble next year’s schedule. Seriously-independent homeschooling parents keep a weather eye on government plans for “core” standards, while newspaper reporters and columnists write about test scores and their meaning, and the mystery of mastery.  We hear about meeting benchmarks, raising bars, and holding students and teachers accountable as politicians make their fingers wag.

But, in all those educational haystacks where is the needle we all worry about?  In my light-bulb moment while reading about plot, I scribbled a list of what I think “education” means in relation to teaching children.

Read full article here.

Copyright 2010, Valerie Bonham Moon

Military homeschooling in Europe

I originally wrote the following booklet in 1996 to answer questions about homeschooling, and about homeschooling in the milieu of the overseas American Army in Europe, also known as USAREUR (United States Army Europe).  Many people, command staff as well as family members and sponsors, often did not have the time or the deep interest to delve deeply into just how homeschooling fit into the educational picture for children whose parents were assigned to a military unit in USAREUR.

Some of the specific references in the booklet are obsolete, rewritten or canceled, but the general structure remains the same.

This was my first book(let).  I still like it a lot, but I’d use more commas now.

Copyright 1996, 2010 Valerie Bonham Moon

Finding curriculum

One of the first questions parents new to homeschooling ask is about curriculum.  They want to know which one is best, and if there is no ‘best’ curriculum, what then?

The topic of curriculum often depends on the purpose the parent sees in education.  That purpose may range from ensuring my child has good job opportunities as an adult, to transmission of culture or religion, to my own preference for giving my children well-furnished minds that are pleasant places to live.

For the purpose of this post, though, I’ll cut to the chase:  Where do I find curriculum?

Homeschooling Over the Holidays

Homeschooling Over the Holidays  (as in the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year)

Whatever your cultural background, each year contains holidays, some longer, some shorter, some with lots of work, some with less work.[1], [2], [3], [4] And, as usual with the more complicated holidays, the kids are excited and Mom’s nerves are frayed (because Mom is usually the Holiday Fairy who makes it happen, and Mom is only one person, and if anyone else asks her how many more days there are until the Holiday – not nearly enough – she is just going to cancel the whole thing). There is too much to do and, with homeschooling, no getting away from the kids to have enough quiet time to either sort things out, or do whatever it is that needs doing. How do veteran homeschoolers concentrate on lessons while the clock is ticking and the children are licking (the beaters)?   In busy years, thoughts may arise such as,

  • “Maybe I’m not cut out to be a homeschooler?”
  • “Do any schools that take enrollments only between the end of November and the beginning of January?”
  • “What about a boarding school?”

Many homeschooling parents (who want to remain homeschooling parents) amend their schedules when seasonal demands increase. If scheduled lessons are a feature of homeschooling life then Mom decreases the lessons or puts them on hold. Shifting the family curriculum to ‘Seasonal Independent Living’ or ‘Home Ec for the Holidays’ can take the pressure off. Even at the high school level, there is no universal law that says, “It is hereby mandated by the Great State of Confusion that each and every homeschooling day will consist of each and every subject being studied.”  To keep burnout at bay during The Holidays, you can shift focus and zero in on Home Ec and Art with perhaps Religion and Community Service time increasing as well.

Home Ec:  Cleaning the halls

In a homeschooling family, Mom does not have to be the only Holiday Fairy making the magic happen. From laundering that special tablecloth, to putting away the extra groceries, to cooking special treats, the children can lend a hand.  The children’s increased holiday energy can be channeled into chores that may not be done as often as you would like:

  • vacuuming every corner of the house (if only in your dreams)
  • rearranging the furniture to accommodate card tables and chairs for guests
  • getting one of those nifty fuzzy duster gizmos and at least getting all the obvious dust removed, even if the furniture polishing doesn’t quite get finished
  • raking leaves before the first snowstorm arrives (if you’re in a temperate area)
  • cutting the grass (if you’re in a semi-tropical area)
  • tidying wood chips where the lawn would (if you’re in a Pacific-northwest maritime area)
  • sweeping the sand off the sidewalk and back into the ‘lawn’ (if you are in the Southwest).

Home Ec is as important as learning math, handwriting or pronouns — no one lives at a school with house elves.  Some children may stay at school if their parents can afford boarding school or they stay in dorms later on in college, but still no one lives-lives there unlike the Home that where, if you show up, they have to take you in — and a home must be maintained.[5]

Home Ec:  Decking the Halls

Decorating for complicated holidays is probably fun the first ten times you do it on your own, but after that it is not quite the thrill that, when we were children, we imagined it would always be.  One way to ease the job is to employ the children in the hall decking adventure.  Crafts that add to the holiday fun, but yet are kid friendly might be:

  • making paper snowflakes[6]
  • popcorn strings[7]
  • popcorn and cranberry strings
  • a card star from old greeting cards[8]
  • a string of brown paper bag gingerbread people
  • folded or cut German paper stars[9], [10], [11], [12]
  • home made candles [13]

Take your time over the holidays and make your home. Repeat the traditions of your own childhood and your husband’s and tell the children stories from when you were little. Make decorations that are kid-friendly.

Art:  Useful crafts

Many families send winter holiday cards and like doing so because, especially in the military, it is nice to stay in touch with old friends who are far away by sending them a special card. Special paper and Italic calligraphy (learned from the Getty-Dubay handwriting books[14])  make charming greeting cards. A more involved family project is extra-special cards for close friends or relatives using the instructions from books specializing in pop-ups[15].

Art:  A flair for the dramatic

The Holidays are a time of rich dramatic offering.  Many group stage special holiday performances tailored to the seasonal theme and attending a production counts as time for subject areas such as literature, drama or religion.  If the performance is culturally different from your own cultural outlook, you can enter the time under social studies.

Community Service:  Volunteering

On military installations, the entire community is often involved in various holiday celebrations. These activities can be good learning experiences outside the family circle. Chapels have an extended schedule of services or provide seasonal programs. Community theaters and choral groups produce holiday programs. Teens, who are collecting specific credits for high school graduation, might include:

  • ‘Office experience’ for collating and folding bulletins (and the attendant chore of keeping them in a useful place where others can find them later)
  • ‘drama’ for a holiday pageant
  • ‘literature’ for participating in special readings
  • ‘music’ for choral presentations
  • ‘religion’ for in-depth  research of traditions

Military installations may have food pantries for families who cannot afford all the Holiday trimmings, or may conduct clothing drives. These activities take the focus away from the commercial side of major American holidays and provide more memories than just the ‘what I got’ variety.

Social Studies:  Holiday differences overseas

Cultural differences between the U.S. and the host nation can provide learning opportunities. How, if it is a part of the culture, does the host nation celebrate the winter holiday? What are the differences between how the host nation celebrates and how the children remember celebrating in the United States?

Children can make unique souvenirs of the overseas tour with illustrated and captioned booklets of the differences they see and/or how your family celebrates. Small booklets are easily made with rubber cement, cereal box cardboard, scraps of fabric and manila paper, or typing paper that has been folded in half and sewn into a ‘signature.’[16]

Math:  Budgeting and baking

If gifts are a part of your holiday celebration, the children can practice their money math skills through buying gifts for the family.  Children use basic math skills if they have a specific amount of money already saved throughout the year (perhaps a dollar per week for the younger children, and more for older children), and then must divide the total either among the immediate family, or for extended family members if that is your practice.  Dividing a limited amount of money for the purchases of multiple people, and perhaps the gift wrapping materials, is a primary lesson in budgeting.

Holiday baking also provides math practice with the usual half cups of this, three-quarter teaspoons of that, and either halving or doubling recipes.  The children can confirm their pencil and paper exercises for increasing or decreasing recipes with actual measurements.

History:  Why do we do what we do?

Holiday observances did not spring out of nowhere.  Someone, at some point, found relevance in choosing to include a certain decoration, cook a specific food, or follow a particular schedule.  What was the relevance?  Does it still apply?  If not, why not?  Children can complete a unit study on the cultural significance of the holiday celebrated by the family.

Life isn’t all academics. Life is about relationships, discovery, harmony and love. So recapture the holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day by taking time to relate to your family. Discover the tender joy of being in harmony with the natural rhythms of family life.


[1] Muslim Families Activities
http://ourseeds.tripod.com/activities.html

[2] Christmas lesson ideas, A to Z’s Home’s Cool
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/articles/120998.htm

[3] Naaseh Venilmad
http://naasehvenilmad.blogspot.com/

[4] Pagan homeschooling, A to Z Home’s Cool
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/religion/pagan.htm

[5] Home Comforts : The Art and Science of Keeping House

[6] Easy-to-Make Decorative Paper Snowflakes
http://store.doverpublications.com/0486254089.html

[7] How to string popcorn  (includes warning about pets trying to eat the popcorn while it is on the tree)
http://www.wikihow.com/String-Popcorn-on-a-Christmas-Tree

[8] How to make a Christmas card star
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Christmas-Card-Star

[9] How to make stars
http://www.howtomakestars.com/instructions.html

[10] Froebel star
http://www.howtomakestars.com/instructions.html

[11] 3-D stars
http://highhopes.com/3dstar.html

[12] Paper stars (German language; included for illustrations of colored stars)
http://www.blinde-kuh.de/weihnachten/basteleien/sterne/

[13] Beeswax rolled candles
http://www.magiccabin.com/magiccabin/product.do?section_id=0&bc=1004&pgc=200

[14] Getty-Dubay Italic handwriting instruction books

Write Now: The Complete Program For Better Handwriting

Italic Handwriting Series Book A

Italic Handwriting Series Book B

Italic Handwriting Series Book C

Italic Handwriting Series Book D

Italic Handwriting Series Book E

[15] “Joan Irvine: the Pop-up Lady” http://makersgallery.com/joanirvine/

[16] Bookbinding 101:  Your first book
http://www.diyplanner.com/node/442

Homeschooling styles and methods: Waldorf schooling

Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher and founder of the “science of the spirit,” to which he gave the name Anthroposophy, also developed a school for the children of the workers of the Waldorf Astoria cigarette company in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919 [1].   The name of the cigarette company gave its name to Steiner’s style of schooling.

For young children Waldorf schooling emphasizes art, music, handicrafts and physical movement (Eurythmy). The schooling philosophy divides children’s developmental ages into three stages of about seven years each: birth to change of teeth, change of teeth to puberty, and adolescence.  Waldorf schools teach from an Anthroposophist viewpoint, a viewpoint that has its critics, but the homeschooling parent, as always, can choose only those aspects that best fit her talents, philosophy and disposition.[2]

A distinctive aspect of Waldorf schooling is an emphasis on the children making their own books rather than reading only from textbooks. These books can be handmade using Manila paper, cloth, glue and cardboard, or the book can be an art sketchbook from the store. Either way, they are individualized records of the child’s interests and work and make excellent ‘souvenirs’ of the homeschooling adventure.

Links:


[1] Soul Economy:  Body, Soul and Spirit in Waldorf Education, Rudolf Steiner, 1977, 2003
http://books.google.com/books?id=NVG7-E6uT3gC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PPA9,M1

[2] Foreword, R.A. Jarman, The spiritual basis of Steiner education, Roy Wilkinson, 1996
http://books.google.com/books?id=WpjLkeNwtGsC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PPA9,M1

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Copyright 2009 Valerie Bonham Moon

This work may be copied and freely distributed as long as the copyright and this notice are included.

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