For whatever reason, public school teachers seem to need to buy supplies for their classes each year, using money from their own pockets. I won’t comment on that being right or wrong or even why because i simply don’t know. However, we as home educators, really can’t afford to purchase extraneous supplies, so we are careful to collect and use free stuff for educational supplies. When possible, we purchase secondhand textbooks and use them for all the children in the family. Or we share with other families whose children may be similar in age, but offset just a bit. (Currently, Missouri public education is funded by taxpayers at the rate of $10,457 per student per year). Since i have three children – had that been sent to me, i could have managed nicely on $31,371 per year!
Name: Linn County R-I School District City: Purdin Average Daily Attendance: 220.8 Expenditure per Pupil: $11,343.44 Local, Percent of Expenditure: 43.89% Local, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil:$4,978.31 State, Percent of Expenditure: 46.54% State, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $5,279.22 Federal, Percent of Expenditure: 9.57% Federal, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $1,085.91
Brookfield R-III School District
Name: Brookfield R-III School District City: Brookfield Average Daily Attendance: 968.3 Expenditure per Pupil: $9,569.70 Local, Percent of Expenditure: 44.99% Local, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil:$4,305.84 State, Percent of Expenditure: 43.91% State, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $4,202.25 Federal, Percent of Expenditure: 11.09% Federal, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $1,061.61
To that end, i have on hand various supplies that have been given to me or sent in the mail (we get a bunch of return addresses from outfits asking for donations and typically there are fun stickers and parts of the address that can be cut for stickers.) Gifts that have been given to us (or i unapologetically collect tissue and paper from bridal showers or birthday parties that would have just been thrown away). Coloured tissue paper is so fun for tearing into shapes (think Eric Carle) and making books. Also, fun to fold and tie to make flowers, etc.
Coloured paper from flyers in the mail can be cut into strips to make decorative chains.
Making books involves math skills (ie: fold paper in half, one fourth), large and small motor skills (folding, tearing, punching holes, gluing, drawing, etc), sharing and helping (work in groups), creativity (develop story telling skills, logical and chronological thinking, and how to express ideas in picture and words), understanding relations (large and small, tall and short, etc), shapes, colours. Goodness, so many skills in just one fun activity. At the end, have each child read and show their creation to encourage public speaking and reading skills.
There are a multitude of craft and art activities that can be expanded to teach nearly all aspects of education.
Time is the most important investment in the education and training of your children.
Ask for, gather, then develop a plan using those free supplies. Wow, you can even then teach the importance of repurposing, recycling, reducing.
If the followers of Brave Writer were the start of homeschooling in America, it would have never taken hold and become the parental freedom of educational choice it is today. Though our forebears fought for and won great victories, our hold on educational freedom is challenged on a daily basis, both personally, as well as on the local, state, and national levels. Yet, Brave Writer takes us backwards. Her points in this article outline such gloom and doom, self pity, and hand holding and – well – to use the modern vernacular this describes a snowflake. This is the wrong direction for home educators. If we are weak, we will be vanquished.
Early home educators faced criminal charges, allowing and promoting truancy, no curriculum, public shame, few knew of others who home schooled, and a host of legal challenges- they were just out there on their own. But those parents were certain of their goals for their children and families which bolstered their enthusiasm and commitment to freedom.
Below is a link to an old HSLDA article outlining the history of home schooling in the United States.
Today’s generation apparently is lonely, whatever that means. As a parent/teacher there is so much to learn, teach, share, read, discover, explore, people to meet, places to see, community involvement, youth groups – how could anyone ever be lonely. Many of us of a certain age, decided to home school to get away from groups, structure, group think, group activities – we had our own family goals and agendas – we didn’t need the approval of anyone nor fear we’d have no friends. And fear of fitting in?! For goodness sake, that’s why we home schooled in the first place – we blazed our own path. But, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be part of a group, but don’t complain if you don’t ‘fit in’ – just move on – it’s not a personal thing.
None of this to say we kept ourselves secluded – far and away, most homes schoolers are involved in a myriad of high profile community, educational, and self growth activities and have earned the respect of their elders.
The more i thought about Brave Writer’s article the more convinced i became that it needed to be challenged and to question her intentions. Is she a wolf in sheep’s clothing – acting in support of home education, all the while tearing out the foundation? This article very much sounds like it. Or one using the foibles of social media to create a downward sucking whirlpool of commiserate negativity fostering feelings of helplessness so she can sell you some answer? Anti-home schoolers will thrill to add this gloom and doom piece to their arsenal – for indeed, all that ‘loneliness’ and insecurity will surely harm the children.
To finish my rant, two things: one is that i really don’t think this has anything to do with loneliness and secondly this article does not reflect the ideology of myself and many other parents, who, with wisdom and covenantal commitment, chose to home educate their own children.
Here’s Brave Writer’s article as posted on her Facebook page.
Lonely thoughts: am I doing it right? Doing enough? What if I fail?
Lonely days: you and your kids slogging through, no one entering your house to give you relief, no one else planning a lesson or setting up the art project or supervising PE while you take a break in the teacher’s lounge.
Lonely outings: a field trip of 5—you and your three kids—in a sea of school children and teachers, or alternatively, the only person with kids in tow while people wonder what they’re doing “out of school.”
Lonely self: wanting friends, not sure who will be your friend, wondering how to find them, make them, keep them, coordinate with them, manage the interactions between your kids and theirs, how to fit in when you don’t have the same philosophy or religion or educating style.
It’s a creeping need—at first, the joy of choosing to spend all day every day with your kids is rewarding, fulfilling, and need-meeting. Over time, the craving for adult contact and affirmation becomes profound, powerful, necessary.
The Internet helps—online conversations can tie us together and give us a place to gather—our own water cooler.
Co-ops help—offering a place for parents to chat while kids get instruction you didn’t have to prepare.
Yet it’s more than that.
Underneath the loneliness is this: a craving to be understood, to be accepted.
Can we say our truths, our worries, our different opinions and still be accepted and known by the other homeschoolers? Can we share about our philosophy of education without it raising suspicion or creating rifts?
And what if you are not in the majority homeschooling community? What if you come from a different faith or no faith? How do you find friends then?
The hardest part of homeschooling for me was the feeling that I had to *qualify* to be a member of a given group. The rejection, scrutiny, and exclusion I’ve experienced while homeschooling was excruciating and not unique to me. I know homeschoolers who gave up home education because they literally had no options for community involvement.
If homeschooling is going to thrive, it has to expand and include.
If you are a human being, your beliefs will shift over a lifetime. It’s impossible to guarantee that what you believe is true now will remain in the same configuration for the rest of your life. If you home educate, you are examining those beliefs daily (because you are studying, reading, and discussing ideas all day every day).
When we form groups around beliefs, we teach people to pretend. We say that you must deny the part of yourself that is curious or disturbed or doubts in order to retain membership in the community. That kind of group fosters vigilance to uphold a single perspective, where suspicion becomes a mode of operation rather than support and kindness. Suddenly the strictures of the group become more important than building supportive relationships around home education.
The best homeschool friendships weather change—create space to revise, grow, experiment, and explore—in education models, in religious affiliation, in non-religious affiliation, in various political beliefs, in parenting-styles.
The weakest friendships are built around reinforcing the party-line—and avoiding the discomfort of difference.
The greatest suffering occurs when someone fails to live up to the group’s stated beliefs and is kicked out or shunned or rejected (or is told that their family is now dangerous to others—that one hurt me the most).
We can cure loneliness in homeschool. We do it by building communities that welcome people committed to the daring adventure of bringing education to life for their children. That’s the ground floor of friendship.
Everything else? Fodder for rich conversations over brunch and mimosas at Mimi’s.
This is a great article from Very Well Health to help identify a ‘high functioning’ autistic person or one diagnosed with Asperger’s. As Dallas, my child (who, at 24, is no longer a child) puts it about himself, ‘I’m not so bad that people can recognize i’m different, I just seem obnoxious.’
At this point in history, there is disagreement about how many people on the autism spectrum are on the high or low end of the spectrum (or whether most people with autism are “somewhere in the middle”). It is clear, however, that the lion’s share of media attention goes to folks at the high and the low ends of the spectrum—that is, the profoundly disabled and the very high functioning.
The fact is that life with severe autism is extraordinarily difficult.
Logic would suggest that people on the high end of the spectrum have it easy—as do their families and teachers. After all, people with high functioning autism are often very bright and may have impressive talents. But the reality is quite different.
Myth: People High Functioning Autism Are Unusually Intelligent and Successful
If the media is to believed, the high end of the autism spectrum is peopled largely by eccentric geniuses—Bill Gates and Albert Einstein are often mentioned, along with Dan Aykroyd and Daryl Hannah—who by and large do very well indeed, though they march to the beat of their own drummer. The reality, however, is that “high functioning autistic” and “genius,” “business tycoon,” and “Hollywood star” rarely go together. In fact:
People with high functioning autism, while they may or may not be unusually intelligent, rarely have the kind of intense motivation for public success that sends a Bill Gates to find funders or an Einstein to find a publisher.
They may also have significant challenges which stand in the way of living a comfortable life, succeeding in work or romance, or achieving a sense of self-worth. Those issues are made more challenging, in part, because they surprise and upset others who don’t anticipate odd behaviors or reactions from people who “pass for normal” in many situations.
While people with more severe autism are not generally expected to just suck it up and get through difficult moments, people on the higher end of the spectrum are expected to do just that.
Lastly, people with high functioning autism are, in general, very aware of their own difficulties and extremely sensitive to others’ negative reactions.
Fact: High Functioning Autism Is Very Challenging Every Day
Here are just a few of the issues that get between people on the high end of the autism spectrum (including those diagnosed with the now-outdated Asperger syndrome) and personal success and happiness:
Extreme sensory issues. People at the higher end of the spectrum are just as susceptible as people in the middle or lower end of the spectrum to sensory dysfunctions. These include mild, moderate, or extreme sensitivity to noise, crowds, bright lights, strong tastes, smells, and touch. This means that a person who is bright, verbal, and capable may be unable to walk into a crowded restaurant, attend a movie, or cope with the sensory assaults associated with malls, stadiums, or other venues.
Social “cluelessness.” What’s the difference between a civil greeting and a signal of romantic interest? How loud is too loud? When is okay to talk about your personal issues or interests? When is it important to stop doing what you enjoy in order to attend to another person’s needs? These are tough questions for anyone, but for a person on the high end of the autism spectrum they can become overwhelming obstacles to social connections, employment, and romance.
Anxiety and depression. Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders are more common among people with high functioning autism than they are among the general population. We don’t know whether the autism causes the mood disorders, or whether the disorders are the result of social rejection and frustration—but whatever their causes, mood disorders can be disabling in themselves.
Lack of executive planning skills. Executive functioning describes the skills we use to organize and plan our lives. They allow typical adults to plan schedules in advance, notice that the shampoo is running low, or create and follow a timeline in order to complete a long-term project. Most people with high functioning autism have compromised executive functioning skills, making it very tough to plan and manage a household, cope with minor schedule changes at school or at work, and so forth.
Emotional disregulation. Contrary to popular opinion, people with autism have plenty of emotions. In fact, people with autism can become far too emotional in the wrong situations. Imagine a 16-year-old bursting into tears because of a change in plans, or a grown woman melting down completely because her car won’t start. These are the types of issues that can arise for people with high functioning autism, who are capable of doing a great many things ONLY when the situation is predictable, and no obstacles arise.
Difficulty with transitions and change. Lots of people have a hard time with change, but people with high functioning autism take the issue to a whole new level. Once a pattern is established and comfortable, people with autism (by and large) want to maintain that pattern forever. If a group of friends goes out on Wednesdays for nachos, the idea of going out on Thursdays for chicken wings can throw an autistic adult into a state of anxiety or even anger.
Difficulty with following verbal communication. A person with high functioning autism may be more than capable of doing a task—but unable to follow the spoken instructions provided. In other words, if a policeman says “stay in your car and give me your license and registration,” the person with autism may process only “stay in your car,” or only “give me your license.” The same goes for instructions given, say, at a ballroom dance class, at the doctor’s office, or by a manager in an office setting. As you can imagine, this can cause any number of issues, ranging from serious problems with the police to inadvertent mistakes at work.
As you can see, the term “high functioning” does mean what it says. But high functioning autism is not an easy or simple diagnosis to live with. For those caring for, employing, teaching, or working with people on the higher end of the spectrum, it’s important to remember that autism is autism.
Andersen, Per Normann.Associations among symptoms of autism, symptoms of depression and executive functions in children with high-functioning autism: a 2-year follow-up study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. August 2015, Volume 45, Issue 8, pp 2497–2507
MaianoC., et al. Prevalence of school bullying among youth with autism spectrum disorders. Autism Res Treat. 2014;2014:502420.doi: 10.1155/2014/502420. Epub 2014 Sep 3.
Follow along with Levi Prince and gang in this Book 2 on their fantastical adventures at camp. This series is geared towards young adults, but i had a blast reading along. Easy read, fast-paced, excellent story line, and message. Print and kindle copies available at several venues. Click through on Goodreads.
Yeah, i’ve harped before about keeping good records and tracking expenditures and income, but when i hear the same people complain about having no money to pay bills, yet when asked if they keep records, they say ‘no,’ it causes me to wonder if they just want to complain, don’t have any idea of where their money is being spent, or perhaps don’t want to know. But, like anything, if one doesn’t make improvements, then you’ll always be able to complain about something and that is stressful.
It’s imperative and so easy to keep track of expenses. Most can simply use a notebook and pencil. Even easier is to have a calculator in the mix. (Coffee optional) Write down the amount or ask for a receipt when you stop by the coffeeshop for a latte. Picking up a soda from a vending machine – well, you’ll have to write it down. Whatever you need to do, keep track of even the smallest expenditure and categorise it. THEN, you can make decisions to change and improve your financial situations. Reimburse your cash expenditures by writing a check to maintain your petty cash stash. Sure, you can take cash out of your paycheck each month, but it makes it more real when you have to write a check. Keep your petty cash in balance.
This can be applied to businesses as well, but managing one’s household and personal expenses is the first step. Personal finance record keeping should begin in the preteen years – as soon as you earn or spend money.
Friday morning the plan was to fence off a portion of Cord Drive to let the cows in to graze the road banks. Worked perfectly, except the cows had already had their brekkies, i guess ,and were really not interested in grazing! Next time, i’ll put them on short pasture the night before, then they’ll be eager beavers.
The only regret i have for my children and their formal piano and vocal lessons is that i didn’t have them start much earlier in life. Now, we’ve always listened to music or music history when we homeschooled, but no formal training until Jessica was 14, Dallas was 12, and Nathan (starting later) was about 11. Nathan didn’t take for very long because their teacher moved away, although we did find another wonderful teacher who gave him lessons for about a year later on and introduced him to the world of stage production musicals. Jessica became good enough to earn a small vocal scholarship at Central Methodist and was very active in their music programme and even participated in rehearsals, special ensemble small group called ‘Chorale,’ and was an officer in SAI.
Dallas, through his training actually showed the most improvement!
Nathan is a good vocalist, but not quite good enough to snag a singing part in Carousel Production of Les Misérables a couple years ago as a sophomore in high school. It was a great experience for him anyway as he participated with four different roles in the musical.
Anyway, I started playing the piano when i was nine – hated practicing -but was required to continue for five years. Only way later in years did i appreciate my parents forcing me to continue for as long as i did. My children, however, really enjoy playing the piano and enjoyed their lessons, although none of us are accomplished pianists.
Those of us who play or teach piano know that it helps our brains. It’s even scientifically proven according to some. Playing the Piano Might Make You Smarter is a neat article that gives some of the evidence for that.
Now today, I struggled through playing a part of a song (Sonata quasi una Fantasia – First movement) i used to be able to play, but i cannot now. Although, it’s far from starting an unknown piece, it will be a long time before it sounds decent. So my question is – can old brains be made smarter and/or improve memory by playing the piano? Hmmmm Maybe if can push forward and learn Movements 2 (i can stumble through) and 3 (only in my dreams) by L van Beethoven.