Selah – one of my favorite singing groups – this song came up on Spotify. i can’t remember hearing it before though it is an old song. For those fearful of taking care of your children this year if it turns out that you need to instead of sending them to school, remember the moments you will enjoy rather than losing them to someone else. Treasure each moment you have to spend with your children, regardless of their ages. It’s also a sweet and gentle insight for our adult children to perhaps understand why letting go is ongoing and more difficult than what we try not to show. Warning – hanky alert.
Dave Ramsey is on a rant, but worth considering! This video is an ad for a new product designed to give you ideas on how to get an education without incurring student debt. I have not ordered or read the book yet.
Can a debt free education be had? Yes, I personally know a young man who is my son’s best friend who has done just that. He started working as a young teenager on the farm and by the time he could legally work for other people (14-16 in Missouri, depending on the job), he knocked on doors and worked. Additionally, he started his own lawn care business and by the time he graduated high school, he had enough money to pay for a 2 year associates degree at a local college while simultaneously attending and graduating from Grand River Technical School as a welder! Now, the next smart move, though his dream is to farm full time, he got a full time position as a welder at a shop which is allowing him to replace the savings he spent on his education. Now, a year and a half into that, he was able to purchase a portable welder/generator so he can start his own business. Yeah, he’s still working full time until he builds a good customer base and he is farming alongside his dad at Sycamore Valley Farm. WOW!
North Missouri is an economically depressed area of the US, but financial success can be had with good decision-making and hard, but smart, working ethic.
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.
Karl has been involved with agronomy for the past 30 years and utilizes forages and cover crops in his own cattle operation. Karl grass finished cattle for Thousand Hills Cattle Co before establishing Prairie Creek Seed in 2009. Karl currently is developing a forage based registered herd. He has made a name for himself throughout the seed industry by speaking about forages and practical management in the U.S. and Canada at numerous educational presentations and conferences. In 2009, Karl co-founded Prairie Creek Seed to provide the best genetics and management advice to farmers. Karl is driven to support agriculture and farmers as they work to improve their profitability and land stewardship.
Investment – an investment is the purchase of goods that are not consumed today but are used in the future to create wealth. to put (money) to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.
Job – a paid position of regular employment. a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price. Everyone has goals in life – some will involve being financially secure. If you are interested in building financial wealth, there are a few basic premises which need to be incorporated into your plans.
1) Your saved dollars must be put to work!
2) Break free from the bondage of financial slavery by changing your spending habits
3) Invest in yourself – education or your own business
4) Learn to manage the money you do have – more money will not necessarily fix your financial problems
5) Debt is a hard task master – avoid it!
6) Use your income from a paid job to make investments that will gain in value while you continue your paid job. Later you can retire from your job and enjoy your investments.
Many, many economic experts have different ideas about how to invest, so it’s up to you to decide who or what you want to invest in.
Most people blame things beyond our control like the weather, government regulation, low commodity prices and increasing costs for their failure to make a healthy profit. These are the things most often discussed at producer meetings and in the coffee shop. These are also things we can do little about. Making them the scapegoats for poor performance makes it easy to absolve ourselves of responsibility. But if prices, costs, weather and regulation really determine profit or loss, why do some businesses survive, even thrive, in these conditions while others fail? Depressed markets are a crisis for some but a profitable opportunity for others. It is not the situation, but the decisions we make that determine success or failure.
According to the US Small Business Administration, most new businesses fail. Fewer than 10% survive to see their 10th year. In his best-selling book, The E-myth Revisited, Michael Gerber points to an exception. He says that 97% of new franchises survive beyond 10 years. Why the difference? Simply put, franchises have a clear-cut blueprint on how to run a business. McDonalds doesn’t succeed because they make the best hamburgers or because they hire the smartest, talented people to work behind the counter. Over the years they have achieved economies of scale and have a lot of clout when it comes to negotiating lower costs with their suppliers. But they wouldn’t have been in the position to do that if they hadn’t built a business that actually works. They didn’t grow first and then figure it out. They figured it out and then they grew.
As Gerber puts it, they worked on the business (WOTB) to build a business that actually works. We are so busy working in the businesses (WITB) doing $10/hour jobs that we often don’t ever get around to working on our businesses (the $100/hour work). This is the work that determines the winners and the losers in any business…including yours. More than genetics, prices, weather or any other factor, it is this issue that separates the men (and women) from the boys
(and girls) in ranching.
Our ranches suffer economically, financially and ecologically when WOTB takes a back seat to WITB. Our failure to effectively work on our businesses is the single biggest reason that most ranches aren’t profitable and that most ranches don’t survive generational succession with their land or family intact.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Ranching can make a healthy profit, thrive ecologically, stay in the family indefinitely and be the stimulus for revitalizing rural communities. You put your ranch on the path to achieve these results when you put the shovel down and pick up the pencil … when you start working on it, not just in it.
I’ve heard some complain that they don’t like working on their business. I wonder if the real problem is that they don’t know how to work on it. Previous generations may have been able to get by without WOTB when land values were cheaper and their ranch had only been split once by a generational transfer. But times and conditions have changed. What passed for management then, doesn’t pass muster now.
Score yourself to see how effectively you are working on your business:
Scoring: 0 = I have not addressed this issue
5 = I have addressed the issue but have more work to do
10 = This describes my business.
If you scored more than 70, congratulations! You probably have a healthy business with a promising future. If you scored 40 to 70, you’ll be feeling the pinch but will probably continue to get by with off-farm income subsidizing the place … at least until it comes time to pass the ranch on to the next generation. If you scored less than 40, you might want to think about going to work as a cowboy for someone else. If you want a good job, I suggest you hire on with someone who scored more than 60. He’s the one who’s Ranching For Profit.
Be sure to check out Dave Pratt’s Ranching for Profit website for more information and to see if his week long school would be something that will help your business!