We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.
—  Thich Nhat Hanh

This. This is so true.

I hate the stigma there is to homeschooling. Josh Hutcherson (along with many other actors) homeschool(ed) and there is nothing wrong with them, but if you are a normal human being, you must be strange and anti social.

I did dual credit at the local community college when I was 15, and when people finally found out I was homeschooled and my age, they were shocked. They said I acted “normal” and acted/looked older.

I was in a musical at that CC when I was 17, that had a homeschool character that poked fun at all the typical homescooler stuff, (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) and after the show, a lady asked me how old I was, and I told her and she was shocked. She then said the actor who played the homeschool character was very good. I said, “Yeah, he’s great! I actually homeschooled, so a lot of that was funny to me.” And she got this look of terror on her face and said, “Oh, really?” and walked off.

I graduated college at 19. I got to socialize with kids, they just happened to be college kids. (I also did summer camps with kids my age, though) I got to travel. I got to do some indie movies, and even some larger scale.

We may get to do it in our pajamas, eat while we study, sleep in, and shop during normal school hours, but that does not mean we are anti-social, geeky, slackers. Yes, we may have a sucky prom, but that’s okay.

Did you know....

All these famous people were homeschooled:

PRESIDENTS

James Madison
George Washington
Woodrow Wilson
Andrew Jackson
James Garfield

ARTISTS

Leonardo da Vinci
Andrew Wyeth
Claude Monet
Grandma Moses

INVENTORS

Alexander Graham Bell
Thomas Edison
Eli Whitney
Wright Brothers

MILITARY LEADERS

George Patton
Douglas MacArthur
Robert E. Lee
Stonewall Jackson

WRITERS

Agatha Christie (pictured above)
Samuel Clemens
Charles Dickens
Robert Frost
C.S. Lewis
Beatrix Potter

ENTERTAINERS

Louis Armstrong
The Jonas Brothers
Frankie Muniz
Whoopi Goldberg
Hanson
Charlie Chaplin
Jennifer Love Hewitt

OTHER HISTORICAL FIGURES

Benjamin Franklin
Ansel Adams
Margaret Mead
Albert Schweitzer
Frank Lloyd Wright
Sandra Day O’Connor
Winston Churchill
George Washington Carver
Albert Einstein
Booker T. Washington
Joan of Arc
Brigham Young
Pierre du Pont

———————————————————————————-

So, you know, the next time someone gives you a hard time about being a homeschooler…just remember this list. ;)

I’m really wanting to get the kids involved with some sort of volunteer work (mostly Sophie, Izzy might not really be old enough yet lol). The thing is, I can’t find anywhere for a three-four year old to volunteer. I’d love to get us involved helping a local animal shelter or homeless shelter or something, but most places require you to be at least 18 and most of the kid stuff requires them to be teenagers. 

Giving and helping others is a value I really want to instill in them at a young age. Anyone have any ideas for volunteering/charity work that young children can do?

When you set up a scarcity situation, you are always going to whip people into a frenzy to get whatever it is that’s hard to come by, whether it’s a dancing Elmo, a Beanie Baby, or a half-hour playing Minecraft. That’s just human psychology. Make it rare and people want it desperately. And when you limit what your child wants to do and push them toward something else, saying THIS is better than THAT, you create conflict where there doesn’t need to be conflict. They should be able to love books *and* TV, computer games *and* playing outside. But because you have put these things in competition with one another, they have to choose — so they end up rejecting the very things you want them to embrace.

When you force your child’s interests into the sliver, you are denying them the opportunity to get good at what they care about. You are denying them the chance to relax and enjoy themselves. And you are saying, flat out, “I don’t care about this thing you like. I don’t like it.” That’s a path toward having them not talk to you about it anymore. You are forcing them away from you just when you should be pulling them close.

Kids whose screen time is limited are living in constant frustration because they can’t build their skills, they can’t watch the YouTube tutorials another kid made, they can’t learn what they want to learn, and they can never relax while doing the thing they enjoy most because they always have one nervous eye on the clock. They can’t experiment, they can’t explore, and they can’t practice — and those are the key steps of learning that you want them to experience, even when it’s doing something you yourself aren’t interested in.

So, let me get this straight. You can unschool, and spend your teenage years learning things that fascinate and excite you; spending your time in pursuits that feel meaningful and important; volunteering and working; getting to sleep lots, and slow down when you need to; spending time in social situations you actually like, or at least have decided the benefits outweigh the negatives; and just generally enjoying daily life. Or, you could spend all those years sitting in a classroom, and then go to prom. Why is this even considered close to something that would make someone consider school the better option?

Also, some homeschooling groups organize proms, so unschoolers can get all of the party with none of the school.

Whether you’re looking to brush up on your calculus or test your brainpower against Ivy League students, you can do it for free online.

 

Khan Academy

Khan Academy was started when founder Salman Khan started making videos to help his cousins with math homework. As he made more videos, he began to attract an audience outside his immediate friends and family. He has since branched out into science, history and economics and he quit his day job as a hedge fund analyst in 2006. He’s created more than 2,600 videos and attracted fans and financial backers like Bill Gates and Google’s philanthropic arm.

 

If you are looking to round out your knowledge of math, science, history or economics, a visit to Khan Academy is good place to start. The website has a great feature that will track your progress and test your comprehension in any given focus, giving you points for your work, just like a video game.

 

MIT

MIT is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the world and has produced scores of Nobel Prize winners and Rhodes Scholars, astronauts, famed architects and successful entrepreneurs. The coursework is well known for being fast-paced and challenging, and the institution prepares its graduates to face a hungry sea of tech companies clamoring for their employment post-graduation.

 

MIT is highly selective and tuition and expenses will set you back around $50,000 per year. If you don’t have the grades, availability or cash to shell out for a proper MIT education, you can click over to the MIT OpenCourseWare site and dive right into whatever class you’d like. The school has put nearly all of its courses online and also makes homework and tests available for virtual students. The school spends millions of dollars every year on the effort and can be credited with spurring other colleges like Harvard and Stanford into doing the same with their coursework.

 

University of Reddit

The University of Reddit is an offshoot of the popular link-sharing website Reddit and was founded by people dedicated to the idea of setting information and education free. Classes are taken and taught by anyone and cover a variety of topics, including drawing, introduction to filmmaking, beginning computer programming with java, puppy training, how to speak Korean and Arabic, and how to play the (notoriously difficult) video game Dwarf Fortress. Since the University of Reddit is open to anyone who wants to teach a course, quality can be spotty, but it’s easy to view each lesson to find the best material. The class formats make it easy to learn at your own pace.

 

Stanford

Stanford University, one of the top technology schools in the world, was founded in 1891 as a West Coast answer to Harvard. The university has deep ties in the world of technology and was an early booster of Silicon Valley. It counts as its alumni founders of companies like Google, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. Stanford has been making many of its courses available online since 2006 and has a large presence on iTunes where you can download free lectures in subjects like business, engineering, history, math, science and education.

 

Harvard

Harvard University is perhaps the best-known top-tier school in the world and was established in 1636, making it the oldest university in the United States. It’s also the richest school in the world with an endowment in the tens of billions of dollars. This wealth allows Harvard students with parents making less than $60,000 a year to pay no in tuition, and those making up to $80,000 a year pay just a few thousand dollars. That money has also allowed the university to make its online courses free to the world. Visitors to the Harvard Extension School can take eight online courses in their entirety.

 

Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley is another top school that has invested in putting its coursework online for free. The university was founded in 1866 and is one of the top-ranked schools in the world with a widely respected standing in research and technology. The institution has been affiliated with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and its alumni have been credited with discovering 16 elements on the Periodic Table of Elements. Berkeley’s online offerings cover many of the school’s courses and are recorded as videos on YouTube.

 

Yale

Yale University is the third-oldest university in the United States and was founded in 1701. Yale is another extremely rich school with a total endowment of nearly $20 billion. Yale has churned out five U.S. presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court justices and countless business, political and academic leaders. And now, thanks to the school’s Open Yale Courses, many of the school’s introductory level classes are available to anyone with a Web browser. Courses are available in departments like English, astronomy, music, political science, environmental studies and more, andthey are available via video, audio or transcript.

*breathes heavily*

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