Wednesday, October 15

Seen around town (blog town that is)

A great recipe for powdered laundry detergent here. With our hard well water we have to stick to liquid but if you don't have incredibly hard water, well, check this recipe out! Making your own detergent is easy and healthier, not to mention the whole being a good steward of your money and earth thing.

After you make your first batch of laundry detergent, grab a cuppa something and read the following article by Kendra Fletcher of Preschoolers and Peace. She answers a question that we often get asked. Many thanks for her permitting this to be copied here.

"Remember way back before our enterovirus experience with Mighty Joe? I asked for and received dozens of questions in hopes that I could answer in some helpful way. Some of you asked funny questions, and for that I am grateful. Less pressure :) Many of you wrote very serious questions and I do hope that I can do them justice. Before Mighty Joe nearly lost his tiny life, I had more confidence than I do now. Not sure why.

Vicki asked me a series of questions both funny and serious. This one is common amongst home educators:

Do you have homeschool fears that you’re not measuring up? (I get that all the time. Afraid I will never teach my children anything.)

Well, yes and no. Seems to me that many of us are concerned about the “holes”. You know, all those things we think we’re responsible to teach our children but will somehow miss in the scope of things? I do every once in awhile think, “Oh yipes! This child knows nothing about World War II” (or whatever) and wonder if they’ll live without that knowledge. But then I remember why we chose to educate using a classical model:

The classical model aims, ultimately, to teach the child to think. The current government school (and sadly, the majority of private schools which choose to emulate the failing government institutions) model is to tell kids what to believe, cram it down their throats, and then test them on whether or not they memorized the “correct” answers. The result is a dearth of “educated” people in our nation who cannot think through anything more difficult than 6th grade math and who ultimately take their cues from television.

Honestly, I was appalled by the work many of my fellow college graduates put forth. And when I began homeschooling my own children, I was further appalled by how poorly educated I was. If you think I came from some backwoods school, ’tisn’t so. I was in GATE classes from kindergarten through 12th grade. I attended what was supposedly the most academic high school in our county and walked into college with six AP units. I graduated from California’s oldest chartered university. And yet, I know the truth: I was robbed.

I have hugely digressed. The classical model (not exclusively- other methods do as well) also teaches the child to teach himself. And not that I hold actor Will Smith to be the spokesperson for the homeschooling movement, but I must agree with him when he said:

“I know how to learn anything I want to learn. I absolutely know that I could learn how to fly the space shuttle because someone else knows how to fly it, and they put it in a book. Give me the book, and I do not need somebody to stand up in front of the class.”

When I see gaps in my children’s knowledge, I don’t worry about it. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when they want to learn something not only will they have the desire, ability, and resources, they’ll be able to think through the subject and formulate a well-educated opinion.

Be careful to whom you desire to “measure up”. Results are consistently showing, year after year, that home educated students are better educated than their public and private school counterparts. It’s no secret why; one-on-one tutoring is unanimously the better option, and no one is more concerned about the child’s education than that child’s parent. Particularly those who give up everything else to commit to homeschooling."


Anonymous said...

thank you for this article-wonderful.

I have used this recipe for about 8 months now and love the results. My husband and one daughter have severe excema and they have had no problems at all with the switch-and their skin has been clear the entire time.

Thanks for sharing this economical and simple solution to laundrytime!

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the whole article yet, but I really enjoyed the excerpt that you posted. I completely agree about not worrying too much over the gaps in their education. As a homeschooled senior in high school that has also spent grades at the public schools, I can say that both forms of education can leave these often times amusing gaps. :)

Karen G. said...

As alison said, I too, wouldn't worry too much about the gaps that occur in either homeschooling or public education. As a teacher, and a former homeschooler whose children are now young adults and in college, it is my believe that it isn't the details that are learned that are the most important. It is teaching children the process of learning and gathering information in whatever they are studying. In fact, many homeschoolers may find that their children learn best using constructivist methods - the children actually investigate things themselves and "make up" their learning process as they go along. As they explore or learn about the things that they are interested in, they ask questions, move things around to see how they work,etc. We need to carry over this type of learning into subjects that they are not so interested in and give them a well rounded group of subjects to study.

mama k said...

Just a caution that if you want to try out the laundry soap, do a small batch first. It really didn't work for us. I tried a cloth diaper recipe too (equal parts baby oxyclean, borax and washing soda) but that didn't do much for us even though I've heard that it works great for lots of other families. I've had better luck with Charlie's Soap for the diapers and Maggies Soap Nuts for the regular laundry. Just my 2 cents.

And both DH and I were homeschooled for most of our education. (Me K-1,4-8) He (and many other males who were homeschool grads that I know) are opposed to it. I'm more on the fence. I was a public school teacher for a few years before becoming a SAHM so I feel like I can see both sides of the issue. I do believe that you can give your child a better education at home. But I also know that you can't protect them from the pressures and temptations of the world either. Drugs, teen pregnancy, serious rebellion and all that stuff struck some of my homeschooled friends as well. I went to a public high school and managed to avoid all of that.
But for the Grace of God, right?

Thankfully we have a couple years before we have to make the homeschooling decision. I don't think it's for everyone, but I also believe it can be a great experience for many families.

Henry Cate said...

> The result is a dearth of “educated” people in our nation who cannot think through anything more difficult than 6th grade math and who ultimately take their cues from television.

One of the things my wife enjoys about homeschooling is getting all the history that she missed.

Me said...

Amy, so glad you have had good results with making your own laundry powder!

Alison,thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Karen, I completely agree and hopefully I'm teaching my kiddos to love to learn.

Mama K, so sorry to hear that recipe didn't work for you. We had to play around with recipes until we found one we loved. And wow! SO sorry to hear you and your husband have had such negative experiences with homeschooling. I had a bad experience with Christian school so I suppose the quality of education is dependent on the educators. I think character development in a child is a separate issue all together, something the parent and no one else is responsible for until he child comes of age.

Henry, thanks for stopping by. I read an article (wish I could recall where!) which said the sports section of the newspaper is written at a third grade reading level. The famous book, Common Sense by Thomas Paine which was written for the everyday, common place person of that time is now considered advanced college reading.