Why Yes, I Work Full Time AND Homeschool

Like most women in America, I find myself extremely busy. I am the mother of three children, the wife of a teacher, coach and part-time cattle farmer, a blogger, a homeschooler and, oh by the way, I have a full time job.

Many of the homeschooling families that I come in contact with are ones in which the husband works outside the home and the mother works at home as the resident domestic goddess and educator extraordinaire. When I mention to people that I have a full time job and homeschool, the cries of,  “Wow – I could never do that!” increase exponentially and I am often asked how I can manage to do both. In this article, I will give you my answers to that question.

I am able to manage working and homeschooling because:

I have a wonderfully supportive network.

In my professional experience as a Foster Family Coordinator and Child and Family Therapist, I have had the privilege of training families to open their homes to children in need. One of the main points that we attempt to convey as we prepare families for this monumental task is that ASKING FOR HELP IS A STRENGTH, NOT A WEAKNESS. I have learned to apply this in my own life and in the area of homeschooling, especially. Having a supportive network of friends who believe in what you do and ones who are willing to step in and help when you need it is essential to your ability to be an effective and confident educator. My network includes my Mother-In-Law who keeps my children twice a week so that I can attend meetings (and make uninterrupted phone calls – remember those?), a wonderful group of homeschooling neighbors who provide many opportunities for “socialization”, a co-worker who swaps with me for child care once a week for a few hours, a wonderfully engaged husband who tends to the kids in the evenings if I have work that is still pressing and a whole host of others who help me carry the load that would otherwise weigh me down and prevent me from being able to follow the call to educate my own.

Working a flexible schedule is very helpful but not necessary.

For me, working a job that allows me flexibility has been an important aspect of how we schedule our days. Fortunately, I am able to work from home and can take time between my work tasks to do formal lessons with my children at various times throughout the day. Because I have been with the same company for nearly 15 years, I have built a relationship with my employer that enables me to have the flexibility to work for a paycheck as well as spend the time that I need to educate my children. Approaching your employer about a flexible schedule is easier when you have proven that you are a valuable and trustworthy asset to the team. Now… I bet that someone is shaking her head and …

Home Schooling on the Rise in Virginia Schools

Over the years, the Virginia schools (like many school systems across the nation) have been losing their public school students to home schooling. Henry County, for example, has seen an increase in home-schooled students from eight to 99 over the past 11 years.

In April 1999, the nation watched in horror the news reports on Colorado’s Columbine High School shootings, where 12 students and one teacher were fatally shot and 24 others were wounded by two teens who then killed themselves. Afterwards, the Virginia schools saw a steady increase of applications from parents who wished to home school their children.

Though the number of children who are home schooled has continued to increase within the Virginia schools, the reasons have changed. Though school violence and security remains to be a primary concern of Virginia schools’ parents, they now have a variety of other reasons, including:

• Too much emphasis on the standardized testing now required within the Virginia schools, fearing their children are being taught only to pass tests rather than a focus on actual learning that is retained and useful later in life; home-schooled children are not required to take the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests;

• The ability of Virginia schools’ children to adjust to the middle and high school environments; many parents home school their children during the middle school years and place them back into the Virginia schools for high school;

• Virginia schools’ parents’ perception of negative influences within the traditional school environment; this is especially true for families with strong religious beliefs; and

• Some Virginia schools’ parents simply want to keep their children at home for a longer period, placing them back within the Virginia schools for high school.

Religious Exemption. If a parent applies for release of their child from the Virginia schools for religious reasons, they are exempt from enrolling their child in any other form of education through age 18. They may wish to do so and can, but they are not required to do so by the Virginia schools. If they do enroll the child elsewhere or home schooling, they also are not required to keep the Virginia schools apprised of the child’s progress.

Other Exceptions. In order for parents to home school their children, other than under the religious exemption, they must meet one of four requirements developed by the Virginia schools:

• Requirement 1 — Effective July 1, 2006, the parent, who will be teaching the child, must have a high school diploma and provide to the Virginia schools a description of the curriculum he/she plans to use for the child. The child does not have to meet Virginia schools’ graduation requirements and receives no diploma; however, progress must be shown to the Virginia schools at the end of each year.

• Requirement 2 — The parent, who will be teaching the child, must have a current teacher certification and provide to the Virginia schools a description of the curriculum he/she plans to use for the child. …

HomeSchooling – How Do You Get Started?

Parents would always want the best for their children’s education. Many parents are now exploring the concept of homeschooling. For many parents, opting for homeschooling is an overwhelming matter.

Homeschooling provides many advantages and benefits to the parents and children. That’s why many parents have opted for home schooling in providing their child the indispensable education that their children need.

However, some parents find homeschooling an intimidating undertaking. If you are a parent who find home schooling a bit of a great task, here is a list of some tips on how to get you started in home schooling your child:

Decision to home school

The problem that most parents encounter when opting for home schooling is the fact that they find it hard to finally decide whether to home school their child or not. This is because deciding on this kind of thing is relatively important especially because the future of the child is dependent on it.

However, the choice should be based on the capacity of the parents to conform to the requirements in homeschooling their child. They should be able to wholly participate with whatever items that were entailed in the program in order to provide the best education for their children.

Homeschooling is a process

Since home schooling is a process, parents who want to home school their children should take things one at a time. For instance, if they have a pre-school child, they should focus more on what pre-school students should learn. They should not delve more on how to teach higher levels of education that are fit for students in higher levels.

Know your state laws

In the United States, each state has its own laws regarding home schooling. Hence, it is best to know what your state asserts about home schooling so that you can provide the best education for your children in conformity with the law.

Local support groups

Homeschooling should not be the sole responsibility of the parents. That is why it is important for the parents to find a local “support group” wherein they can mingle with other homeschoolers who can provide them with additional pointers regarding the process.

Each member in the “support group” can help each other regarding the best technique in teaching their children.

Do your homework

Nothing can get you started on the right track than doing your homework first. In this way, you will be able to know the important details you need to be familiar with in order to provide the best education for your children.

Knowing what you have to do will give you the best guidance in homeschooling.

Identify your child’s learning manner

It is best to assess your child’s learning manner first before you choose on a particular home schooling method. Conforming to your child’s learning manner will provide the best way on how to home school your child.

There are many choices available when teaching your child through a home school program. Though it is still best to always …

Benefits of Music Education

Three Powerful Reasons why children benefit from music education as part of their Curriculum, especially at a young age. There has been plenty of research done about the benefits of music education for young children.

1. Playing music improves concentration, memory and self-expression

One two-year study in Switzerland run with 1200 children in more than 50 classes scientifically showed how playing music improved children’s reading and verbal skills through improving concentration, memory and self-expression.(1) Younger children who had three more music classes per week and three fewer main curriculums made rapid developments in speech and learned to read with greater ease.

Other effects revealed by the study showed that children learned to like each other more, enjoyed school more (as did their teachers) and were less stressed during the various tests, indicating they were better able to handle performance pressure.

2. Playing music improves the ability to think

Ongoing research at the University of California-Irvine and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (2) demonstrate that learning and playing music builds or modifies Neural pathways related to spatial reasoning tasks, which are crucial for higher brain functions like complex maths, chess and science.

The first studies showed that listening to a Mozart sonata temporarily improved a child’s spatial abilities. Further studies compared children who had computer lessons, children who had singing lessons, children who learned music using a Keyboard and children who did nothing additional. The children who had had the Music classes scored significantly higher – up to 35% higher – than the children did Who had computer classes or did nothing additional.(3)

3. Learning music helps under-performing students to improve

Researchers at Brown University in the US (4) discovered that children aged 5-7 years who had been lagging behind in their school performance had caught up with their peers in reading and were ahead of them in math’s after seven months of music lessons. The children’s classroom attitudes and behavior ratings had also Significantly improved, and after a year of music classes were rated as better than the children who had had no additional classes.

1. E W Weber, M Spychiger and J-L Patry, Musik macht Schule. Biografie und Ergebnisse eines Schulversuchs mit erweitertemMusikuntericcht. Padagogik in der Blauen Eule, Bd17. 1993.

2. Various studies by Dr. Gordon Shaw (University of California-Irvine) and Dr. Fran Rauscher (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh), with others.Including those published in Nature 365:611 and Neuroscience Letters 185:44-47

3. E L Wright, W R Dennis & R L Newcomb. Neurological Res.19:2-8. 1997

4. M F Gardiner, A Fox, F Knowles & D Jeffrey. Learning improved by arts training. Nature 381:284. 1996.…

How Does California Traffic School Work?

Most California drivers who receive a traffic ticket have several options;

  • Admit guilt, accept the points, and possible increased insurance rates;
  • Go to court and try to fight the charges and hope that you are persuasive enough and the judge is in a good mood;
  • Hire a lawyer to represent you in court and take the risk that you may still be found guilty and have to pay the fines in addition to your attorney’s fees or,
  • Attend a traffic school and have the case dismissed (along with no points on your record and no increased insurance rates)

For most drivers, attending traffic school, if they are eligible, is the best choice. 

Who Can Attend Traffic School?

The court can order anyone to attend traffic school but, in order to have the case dismissed:

  • The driver must not hold a class A, B or commercial class C license
  • The traffic offense must not have been committed while driving a commercial vehicle
  • The offense must not have been a serious traffic offense such as a DUI, reckless driving, or leaving the scene of a collision.
  • You must not have attended another traffic school that resulted in dismissal of a traffic offense within the last18 months

How to Request a Traffic School

Basically, if you want to attend a traffic school you have to request that the court “order” you to attend traffic school. This request must be made to the traffic court in the county where you received the ticket. You will still have to pay the fines for the offense and any additional fees that the court may impose on you. You will also have to pay for the traffic school. These costs are non-refundable.

Once you have been “ordered” to attend traffic school by the CA Clerk of Court, you will have a certain amount of time (depending on the county) to attend and show proof of successful completion of the course to the court. After the court receives proof of attendance, the judge can then dismiss the case.

If you do not provide proof of attendance within the required amount of time, you will be in violation of a court order; you will be charged with a misdemeanor and the traffic offense will be entered on your driving record.

Choosing a Traffic School – What type of school is best for me?

After paying the fines and fees to the court, you will be given a list of approved traffic schools within the county. Remember, you must attend a court approved traffic school in the county where you received the traffic ticket.

  • Online – Fortunately, most counties offer the option of completing California traffic school online. By taking the course online:
    • You don’t have to travel back to the county where you received the ticket to attend class
    • You have the option of completing the course on your schedule.
    • You can stop the course and pick up where you left off at a later time
    • You don’t
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