Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Carnival of Cool Homeschoolers - 2nd Edition

Welcome to the 2nd edition of the Carnival of Cool Homeschoolers.

Hopefully you will find this carnival a good blend of
a) a look into the lives of homeschoolers who do fun and interesting things and,
b) thought provoking and perhaps controversial articles.

Rational Jenn shares an hilarious story about her son’s obsession with sperm. This is a great article on how a homeschooled child has the freedom to explore a subject that interests him.

I was very pleased to see a submission about Dr Ron Paul’s thoughts on homeschooling and sowing liberty from Suzanne over at Adventures in Daily Living. I’m sad and a little agnry that Ron Paul botched his presidential campaign so badly as I truly feel that he is the only candidate of principle. No matter your political persuasion, his thoughts on homeschooling are well worth reading.

I’m with Tammy, appearing on CNN Headline News is rather cool. Click on the link to see Tammy speaking about homeschooling on CNN.

I often read posts on various email lists from parents who are looking for online high schools for their children. As we’re no where near high school level I have no input on the subject. I was pleased to receive this submission from David at Select Courses where he gives a list of questions you should ask of any online high school before you sign up with them.

Makita over at Twinkling Stars Family School blogs about how her
roots and shoots group
decorated canvas bags while she explained the need to reduce our reliance on plastic bags.
While the paints dried on the bags the children learned about how a bird’s beak is specially adapted to eat certain foods.

Reducing our reliance on plastic bags is a topic near and dear to my heart. I developed my hate relationship with plastic bags while I was still living in South Africa. Every fence was “decorated” with discarded plastic bags. I can date my antipathy towards them to a trip I made from the airport back home after a storm with a particularly strong wind. The fences along the highways were almost completely white from the plastic bags that had blown into them. I wish I had taken a photograph of them to show everyone who uses plastic grocery sacks.

I don’t however think that regular totes are going to convince people to move away from plastic because they require too much thought. You have to remember to put them in your van, then remember to take them out when you shop. I bought these neat ultra compact reusable bags that weigh less than an ounce and a half each and fold down into almost nothing. I keep 6 in my voluminous pocketbook all the time. Now no thought is involved. The reuseable bags are always on hand.

Staying with our cool homeschooler, Makita, we learn how her family made their own maple syrup. To my mind, it is becoming increasingly important for us to show our children from whence their food comes. Makita’s children now know how much work goes into making maple syrup. I’ll bet their breakfast pancakes will taste all the sweeter now that they understand the process of making maple syrup.

Tina, my dear friend and crunchy homeschooler from North Carolina expands on the theme of children understanding the origins of their food in her post about rural homeschooling.

This quote says it all to me, the quintessential urban homeschooler:
“The effect that all of this focus on our farm life has on the kids is that it has taught them responsibility. They know where meat comes from and it's not out of a Styrofoam package we bought at Wal-Mart, where it was injected with extra beef flavor, possibly to cover up the green taste. They know this because they went with me to drop our steer off at the abattoir and because of the wild game that if often butchered right here at home. They know that if I send them out to pick some oregano that they should not come back with rosemary or swiss chard. Martina, as a baby, quickly learned the difference in quality between a green tomato and a red one as she crawled around the garden and took precisely one bite out of every tomato in it. Travis has learned the value of good friends and strong prayer when he was caught in the woods on an undependable four-wheeler, with 2 friends and 1 large black bear. He has also helped feed our family by hunting wild turkey and deer. These kids are not growing up with Nature Deficit Disorder. So far as I can tell, the effects of our rural life are positive.”

Makita and Tina have done me a huge favor today. They’ve reminded me that I need to increase the amount of nature to which my children are exposed and we have to show our children more about the origins of their food. I must say that it is easier for me, than most, because we only eat plant based foods, with the odd egg. I’ve resorted to Peta for videos on animal farming and slaughtering to show the children why we don’t eat meat. I know that if we dealt with meat like Tina’s family this would not be an issue, but since I have strong feelings on the health impact of animal flesh on the human body, I decided to stick with those gross videos to psych my kids out of eating meat.

Laura over at We Don’t Buy It blogs about a gross and disturbing homeschool activity her children did. LOL. They grew magnificent mold gardens.

My kids are very psyched about trying to grow their own mold gardens. We’ll enlist dad and his high powered microscope to help us take close up pics of our mold. We promise to post them on the blog once we have them.

I was very excited the other day to discover Shard by Shard . I’ve not been able to come up with a workable art appreciation curriculum for my children so her post on art games intrigued me. I’ve been hearing about art games for along time but for the life of me, could not work out how they could do anything for teaching about art. This blog post gave me a good idea about how well these art games can work as an intro into art appreciation.

Shard by Shard had a lot of fun with her children while they made these cool Egyptian masks.. My kids can’t wait to try their hands at mask making. I’ve ordered our plaster tape so hopefully we’ll be able to make our own masks next week.

I’ve been wanting to start teaching my kids basic programing but haven’t been sure how to go about it. Lori at MORTpiphanies writes about a cool programming tool for kids. .
She writes
” two versions are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, standard Alice, designed for high school and college-aged “kids” and Storytelling Alice, for middle school-aged kids. I think even some younger kids will be able to use Storytelling Alice, given that my 7-year-old son sat on my lap this morning and explained to me how he thought it worked. After watching me for a few minutes, he definitely understood the basic idea behind how to build a world and make the characters in it do what we wanted them to do.”

I’d like to end this Carnival with a post that is rather different from the ones that have gone before. Danielle writes about using Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) with your children. I must admit that the first time that Danielle told me about EFT I was highly skeptical. However, I am now a believer as I have used her techniques to great effect with my children. I find that it is particularly helpful when my daughter goes into “brain freeze”. When she encounters something that is slightly more difficult than she is used to doing, she will often tighten up her body so much that it is almost impossible to get through to her. A little EFT tapping and deep breathing helps her relax and listen to me. It sounds strange, looks strange, but does appear to work. Why don’t you read her articles on EFT and give it a bash?

Hope you enjoyed this carnival. If you did, why don’t you link to it on your blog and submit an article for our next edition?


lori said...

Thanks for including my post in your carnival!

Shez said...

You are very welcome. Thanks for writing something so interesting.

momof3feistykids said...

Another excellent carnival! :-) Thank you for including me.

Shez said...

You are welcome. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. My kids have been driving me crazy to make mummy masks. I hope my order from Oriental Trading arrives soon with the plaster tape.

Danielle said...

Thanks for the interesting links to explore! And for asking me to participate and add my own.

Lostcheerio said...

Great carnival! And I love the word "antipathy." I think I learned it while reading Alice in Wonderland -- I have the phrase in my mind, "The antipathy, I think."

Time for google.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Hi Shez,

Thanks for the comment on my post about Road Construction and you are most welcome to enter it here, or I can enter it on the next one. Let me know!

It was also wonderful to find your blog!

christinemm said...

Hi, I found your blog through Why Homeschool's announcement of your blog carnival.

I am curious to hear more about your art appreciation plans and what your goals are, vs. what products you are not happy with. I'd love to hear your ideas. Maybe you could do a post on it?

Have you heard of Charlotte Mason's theory of picture study?

I have been disappointed with various art appreciation curricula too.

Have a nice night!

She sure is strange! said...

What a cool collection of bloggedy things!!! LOVE all the links!!


Shez said...

thanks. it's a weekly occurrence, so come back and read it next week. Some of next week's submissions are great.