Friday, February 22, 2008

Homeschool Day, A Success!!

I had hoped to chronicle all my preparations of this event, but alas! Between my three, planning (online & on the phone) and all the expected and unexpected events of life, I've been unable to. In short, the week of this event a few presentors had to cancel. I was able to readjust--no problem. The day before when I went to set up the conference room for the meeting I found out the room had been double booked. Again, I readjusted. The morning of...more changes!!! It's good that I've been a SAHM for 5 years and have had to learn flexibility!

It was raining, so I waited 5 minutes just to give folk time to get into the building and put umbrellas away. I welcomed those who were there and began. My guests made their presentation and with every new introduction, more people entered the room.

It went so well. Better than I could have hoped for. After the presentations we took time for all attenders to introduce themselves and ask questions. We stayed long after our end time chatting, exchanging information and sharing ideas. The excitement was contagious!

Here a some of the pictures that were taken of the event. I can hardly wait to meet with everyone again.

"Be[coming] the change..."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Homeschool Day @ West End Library

Well, it's official, I've planned the 1st Homeschooling Meeting. Here's what the flyer reads:

Are you a Homeschooling parent? Are you just starting out? Have you been thinking about Homeschooling? Would you like to find out what Homeschooling is all about? If so, please join us for our 1st Homeschool Day at the West End Library, Thursday, February 21, 2008 from 11:00a to 1:00p.

We will have seasoned homeschoolers on hand to answer your questions and share their experiences. We hope to make connections and build a support system for this journey. Activities for preschoolers, elementary level & middle grades! Please come out and join us!

I've place copies in the library, sent several emails to online homeschool groups and contacts I've made throughout the year. It's also an official meeting for my Meetup group. I was even able to get it on the Atlanta Parent Magazine's Online Calendar. I'm hoping for a great turn out!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Yahoo! Group Setup

I've finally got my Yahoo! group setup to share with those who will attend the homeschool meetup on the 21st and are interested in joing the support group. I've been using regular email, but I'm sure there are more people out there who'd like to have information on homeschooling.

I've taken all the information that I've compiled and uploaded it to this site. This way everyone can have access to it (members that is) and we can do our part to save the trees! :)

If you're interested, feel free to check us out!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Starting a Homeschool Support Group

Well after lots of thinking, talking and planning, I've decided that I will start a local support group for homeschooling families in the Atlanta-area. There are plenty of support groups in the area, but most all of them are religious and located outside the city limits. I would like to organize an inclusive group where everyone is welcomed & valued and can find a place for encouragement and support.

I'm planning to host a Homeschool Day at a local library. Have been lining up other homeschooling parents to share their experiences and expertise with those attending. It's kept me quite busy, but busy in a good way!

I am looking to find families who are local/close to the area so that this group can be sustainable. Of course anyone in the Atlanta-metro can be apart.

I'm excited about the possibilities and new friendships to be made!

"Be[coming] the change..."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Imagine It! Children's Museum

I have often complained that although Atlanta has lots to do, admission to most everything is rather pricey. When I was growing up in Nashville, my mother made a point of finding out when the free days were for the local museums. When I first came home back in the fall of 2002 I started doing searches online for the free days or 1/2 price days of the museums/centers here. To my surprise I was hard pressed to find any. When you are on a tight budget, dropping $13+ per person can get pretty expensive.

So, this year I was pleased to find out that Target has sponsored several free days at local museums, a monthly free day at the children's museum. Now I can participate on these days and my children can have more experiences in learning.

We all had a good time at the Imagine It! Children's Museum. Here are a few shots:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Imagination is GREAT!

One of the great things I enjoy about being at home with my children and not being on anyone else's schedule is the freedom that it allows them to play and use their imaginations! Yes, they love to watch a good video and I must admit that in times when I'm feeling a bit "pushed over the edge" I do give in...but on most days I direct them to playing!

Over hearing the stories that they create while playing for hours is such an interesting part of the day. Now I don't always listen in...this is when I can get some reading in (I do a lot) but when I pause for a moment to check on them, the stories they're creating are simply amazing. Sometimes they use things we've read about or talked about. Perhaps something they are interested in or saw me or their father doing/saying. Their stories take them so many places and amazingly they don't need a lot of toys/stuff. Simple props like a blanket, scarf, teddy bear, pillow, daddy's shoes, my purse, bowl, dirt, water all these become new things in their imaginative play.

I am thankful that they enjoy this and can "be in their own worlds" for a while without interruption. When I don't interrupt they can play for hours--literally--and are very disappointed when things must come to an end (i.e. it's getting dark outside, it's time to eat, we have to go pick up daddy). I know that all this time helps them learn more about themselves, each other and the world around them.

As I type both girls are involved in detailed play with legos (aren't they great?!). I guess I'll let them play until they ask the eat...

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Big "S" Word

I've often been asked by others, from friends to teachers to complete strangers when they hear that I'm homeschooling, "What are you doing about socialization?" I find that I have trouble conveniencing them that what I'm doing is actually better than what traditional education does.

First of all, there is a difference between socialization and socializing.

Webster says, socialization is a noun and means: The adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture. Socializing is a noun and means: The act of meeting for social purposes; "there was too much socializing with the enlisted men."

As a former classroom teacher of ten years I know that there isn't as much socializing happening at school as when I was there as a student. Systems have cut all most of the times where students were able to interact with each other in any independant way (no recess, no talking during lunch, no talking in line, etc.) So I would even say that there is little socializing happening in the place others believe it's happening.

For me, my children have more interaction with other homeschoolers, their parents, and the community than any traditionally schooled preschooler. These interactions are less scripted (i.e. planned, timed) and they can play, talk, laugh, sing, dance, or sit quietly for as long as they like (most of the time).

I have also run across a book that I'm reading presently. I highly recommend it to you and anyone who is interested in seeing just how homeschooling promotes socialization. It's titled: The Well-Adjusted Child: the Social Benefits of Homeschooling by Rachel Gathercole. The author takes the time to define what homeschooling is (something other than school-at-home, as most non-homeschooling persons see it), gives a better picture of what homeschooling families actually do, and then looks at the research. I haven't made it to the end yet, but what I've read so far is simply refreshing! It also gives me something else to share with those questioning my decision, as if I'm harming my children in some way.

I hope to add it to my personal library.

So have you experienced questioning from others regarding the socialization issue? What have you shared with those questioning?


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