Homeschooling Why and How

The Homeschooling Why and How Blog

More Rave Reviews of Homeschooling: Why and How

Posted on by gail-nagasako

It is these rave reviews, many unsolicited, of Homeschooling:  Why and How that make my day!  I wrote the book to help other families with the school/homeschool dilemma and knowing I am helping is almost as good as my own experience homeschooling our son.

Here is a quote from St. Louis Homeschool Examiner review:  If you currently homeschool and have found yourself in the doldrums wondering if you’re doing it well, Homeschooling Why and How by Gail Nagasako will inspire you to keep going.  If you are new to homeschooling and are asking if it is for you, this new book will answer your questions and give you first-hand glimpse into what real homeschoolers (both parents and students) have to say about their experience.  Click here for full review.

And from Teachable Scotts Tots Homeschool:

This book has helped re-ignite a spark of excitement and a sense of confidence that I have made the right decision with my children.

Click here for full review.

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West River Academy promotes Homeschooling: Why and How

Posted on by gail-nagasako

West River Academy has listed Homeschooling: Why and How first on their resource page.

Here is what the director, Peggy Webb, had to say:

Homeschooling: Why and How – by Gail Nagasako,  endorsed by John Taylor Gatto, who wrote that he “found it a model of clear thinking and clear writing.  But don’t be fooled by the directness and plain speech of her presentation; this lady knows her subject inside and out.  You’ll be glad you read her book.”.

“Well-documented, this is the book to start with or to renew your confidence if you are already homeschooling.”
Here is what a parent wrote recently that shows that she accomplished her goal:  “Hi – I received my book yesterday! I wanted to read all night… I’m enjoying it because 1. It is easy to read & 2. It’s encouraging.”

Gail told me she wrote the book partly because there is so much information everywhere that it can be daunting, knowing where to start.  Even though parents had read other books and done on-line research, they still call or email with the same basic questions.  The basics get lost in the chaos of too much information.   Homeschooling: Why and How is unique in addressing homeschooling hows and whys in a simple, easy-to-understand manner.

She said she feels that her book and WRA are a perfect pairing for a successful homeschooling experience and I agree!

West River Academy is an accredited “umbrella school” that will help you homeschool in your own way and will handle all the parts of it that most homeschoolers don’t want to deal with like reports, transcripts and interfacing with school personnel.  Click here to go to their homepage.

 

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Physical Education Is Good for Kids’ Grades, Study Finds

Posted on by gail-nagasako

Physical Education Is Good for Kids’ Grades, Study Finds

I feel like simply writing Duh!

It is so obvious to us homeschoolers that sitting at a desk in a room with 20 or 30 other kids all day, having bells rung to tell students to go to another desk in another room is not an efficient way to learn.  It is dumbfounding to me that a study is needed.    Could it be that our population has been chained to desks in schools or to cubicles in offices for so much of their lives that they have never experienced that a bit of exercise and change of scenery doesn’t give new energy???

Of course, this leaves aside the issue of whether grades mean anything whatsoever but the point is that we all do better at mental tasks if we balance them with physical exercise.  Again, duh!

Click here for full article.

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More Praise for Homeschooling: Why and How

Posted on by gail-nagasako

 

This praise just came in from a mom on Homeschooling:  Why and How:

” I am reading your book for the second time and I am so grateful to have this resource to support us. It has totally changed the way I view the public school system, or any school system for that matter. Thank you once again for writing such an amazing, eye opening book.”

and when I asked if ok to use this, she wrote: “yes of course you can use my testimonial. I couldn’t put the book down so my husband is finally getting to read it now…and loving it!”

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Learning that Works

Posted on by gail-nagasako

The Time Magazine article titled “Learning that Works” is about vocational training which dropped out of favor 40 years ago but is now getting attention.  It might just as easily be an article about what we in the homeschooling community have been doing all along!  Here are some quotes and my comments:

“It’s without doubt the best program we have. It’s an alternative way to teach them math, science and reading. They love it. They’re attentive, working hard, hands on.”  This is one of the basic reasons why we homeschool — we know that knowledge isn’t about “subjects” but is all interconnected.  And we know that kids who are doing what they love work hard and learn more. 

“Vocational education used to be where you sent the dumb kids or the supposed misfits who weren’t suited for classroom learning. It began to fall out of fashion about 40 years ago, in part because it became a civil rights issue: voc-ed was seen as a form of segregation, a convenient dumping ground for minority kids in Northern cities.”  This is perhaps an explanation for the bias against homeschooling that many of us encountered in the early days.  Our friends and neighbors saw it as needed for troubled kids.  But in my book, I list 64 Reasons Why We Homeschool and you could perhaps think of more!

And most high school graduates are not prepared for the world of work. The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates who are not in school is a stratospheric 33%.  When our son was around 9 years old, his schooled friend told him he’d never get a job if he didn’t go to school.  He had obviously been fed that line by his parents but ironically, it turned out to be true!  Our son started his own business when he was 18 and is earning a very excellent living.  Click here to see his websites.  His living in the real world and doing real things were the perfect preparation for the world of work.  He did take a few college classes but found those as time-wasting as the 3 semesters of school he did in high school.

About 27% of the students in Arizona opt for the tech-ed path, and they are more likely to score higher on the state’s aptitude tests, graduate from high school and go on to higher education than those who don’t.  This is no surprise.  I used to ask kids how they liked school and the answer changed from positive to negative around third grade or a little later.  No wonder they don’t want to continue on.  And you may not know this:  homeschooled kids actually have scored higher than schooled kids on the ACT every year since 1997!

“Most students respond better to a three-dimensional learning process. It’s easier to learn engineering by actually building a house–which my family did when I was a kid, by the way–than sitting in a classroom figuring out the process in the abstract. Some students can respond to two-dimensional learning, but most respond better when it’s hands on. Every surgeon needs to know how to sew, saw and drill.”  Again, a backbone tenet of homeschooling.

“In my home high school, you’re sitting in a room with 30 other students who don’t care, trying to pay attention to a teacher who doesn’t care.”  This is sure what I have observed while substitute teaching.  Our son went on a tour of intermediate school once to see if he wanted to start school (he didn’t).   His write up of his experience is in my book and would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad that that’s how schools are.

To read the full article, click here.

 

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Trailer for film comparing school and unschooling

Posted on by gail-nagasako

This trailer for Class Dismissed does an excellent job of presenting what unschooling or natural learning is all about and how it works.  Click here to view it.

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Homeschooling, unschooling and school

Posted on by gail-nagasako
Excellent description of learning, schooling and unschooling.
What is Unschooling?
by Earl Stevens

“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge,
not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”

– George Bernard Shaw

It is very satisfying for parents to see their children in pursuit of knowledge. It is natural and healthy for the children, and in the first few years of life, the pursuit goes on during every waking hour. But after a few short years, most kids go to school. The schools also want to see children in pursuit of knowledge, but the schools want them to pursue mainly the school’s knowledge and devote twelve years of life to doing so.

In his acceptance speech for the New York City Teacher of the Year award (1990), John Gatto said, “Schools were designed by Horace Mann … and others to be instruments of the scientific management of a mass population.” In the interests of managing each generation of children, the public school curriculum has become a hopelessly flawed attempt to define education and to find a way of delivering that definition to vast numbers of children.

For full article, click here.
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Another great review!

Posted on by gail-nagasako

Review by Susan Kilbride, author of How to Teach a Newspaper Class for Middle and High School Grades, Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers and Our America Series. Click here for her website.

I was just given the opportunity to review Homeschooling Why and How, and I am very impressed! The book is divided into three basic parts: Why Homeschool, How to Homeschool, and What Next?. My absolute favorite section was the first one. (Why Homeschool?) Right from the start, even in the preface, Gail has put into words all of my thoughts through the years on why I love homeschooling. If anyone out there is wondering why so many of us have chosen to teach our children at home, they should read Gail’s book.

The next section (How to Homeschool: The Basics) answers many of the questions that beginning homeschoolers might have. Questions such as How to get started? Is it legal? or What about college? This chapter will be particularly interesting for beginning homeschoolers who need a bit of guidance to get started.

The final section (What Next?) concludes the book and has some interesting excerpts about homeschooling and education.

I found Homeschooling Why and How an interesting read with a wealth of information for anyone who is considering homeschooling, wonders why people homeschool, or would like to re-affirm why they themselves homeschool.

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Racism, homeschoolers and Nelson Mandela

Posted on by gail-nagasako

An article in the May 7 Time Magazine, “Inside the Racist Mind” starts offAfter a recent event where I spoke about racial identity, a white woman sidled up to me, leaned in close so no one near us could hear and said, ‘I’m racist.’”  She later elaborates: “I just have these thoughts,” the woman at the reading said, almost whispering into my ear. “My mind just goes places. I can’t control it. I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help myself. I say, ‘Don’t think like that!’ But it’s what people told me when I was younger.”

The author goes on to discuss the conditioning that results in such prejudices.   My issue with what he says is that these thoughts point to racism.  I strongly disagree.  Yes, many of our thoughts are a result of influences from earlier times and we may learn better yet the old thoughts still pop up.  But as Dan Millman, author of the Peaceful Warrior books (http://www.peacefulwarrior.com/) says, “Self-mastery involves recognizing what we are not responsible for — the thoughts that enter our mind and flow out, and the emotions that pass like the weather — and what we are responsible for, which is our behavior.”

A highly illuminating example of this is from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography and I tell this from memory, having read the book quite a few years ago:  when he boarded his plane after his years of captivity, he noticed the pilot was black and he had a moment’s hesitation!

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2113166,00.html#ixzz1tpsdoUD1

“A reader, “Jane,” asserts that racism is the reason there are not ‘people of color’ at homeschooling gatherings. I don’t believe it is racism and if it is, it must be racism on the part of the people of color. I have never met any homeschoolers who would not welcome any person of color into their groups and who wouldn’t welcome information on their culture.

“I feel I have a perspective on this that comes from experience. I now live in Hawaii, where whites are a minority. I am married to a Japanese man–mixed marriages are very common here. Since my last name is now Japanese, nobody who sees my ads or talks to me on the phone knows I am Caucasian. Yet we had very few members from other races–just “haoles” as we are called here. The same was true when I was a La Leche League Leader and held meetings–in two years, I had one “person of color” attend. As I advertised both LLL and my homeschooling group very broadly, there’s no possibility that I didn’t reach a cross section of the population. And since I had no idea of the race of the people I was speaking to on the phone, there certainly was no racism on my part.

“Jane is correct in noting that many homeschoolers, including me, do not have resources on the literature, music and culture of people of color. But I don’t feel it’s correct to place so much significance on this fact. I don’t have any resources on the literature, music and culture of Russian, Tahitians, Swedish, Germans, Iranians, South Africans, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans or a myriad of other races or cultures. This isn’t because I avoid them but because I haven’t had enough real life encounters to make these become a priority. We do read about Jewish holidays and celebrate several of them because we have some Jewish people in our homeschooling group. We’ve studied some Japanese customs because my husband is Japanese. If any other person of color showed up, we’d have a good reason to learn about them now rather than wait until their history comes up in some general studies.

“I’m not saying racism doesn’t exist. What I am saying is that people pointing the finger and setting themselves aside as a separate group and then complaining because the others don’t go out of their way to learn about them can be creating and perpetuating the friction of which they complain. We’ve all got some color so there really aren’t “people of color” and their opposite–I suppose “people of no color”. If Jane wants people of her race to be represented in homeschooling groups, she should encourage them to come on down, for I am completely confident that they would be welcome at virtually any homeschooling group in the country. And if they don’t come or don’t feel welcome, perhaps some soul-searching on their part would be more productive than finger pointing. A chip on one’s shoulder can be more of a barrier than the color of ones skin.”

 

 

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Homeschooling, Time Magazine and Racism

Posted on by gail-nagasako

An article in the May 7 Time Magazine, “Inside the Racist Mind” starts off,  “After a recent event where I spoke about racial identity, a white woman sidled up to me, leaned in close so no one near us could hear and said, ‘I’m racist.’”  She later elaborates: “I just have these thoughts,” the woman at the reading said, almost whispering into my ear. “My mind just goes places. I can’t control it. I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help myself. I say, ‘Don’t think like that!’ But it’s what people told me when I was younger.”

The author goes on to discuss the conditioning that results in such prejudices.   My issue with what he says is that these thoughts point to racism.  I strongly disagree.  Yes, many of our thoughts are a result of influences from earlier times and we may learn better yet the old thoughts still pop up.  But as Dan Millman, author of the Peaceful Warrior books says, “Self-mastery involves recognizing what we are not responsible for — the thoughts that enter our mind and flow out, and the emotions that pass like the weather — and what we are responsible for, which is our behavior.”

A highly illuminating example of this is from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom,  and I tell this from memory, having read the book quite a few years ago:  when he boarded his plane after his years of captivity, he noticed the pilot was black and even he had a moment’s hesitation!

This article prompted me to dig up a piece I wrote years ago about racism and homeschooling.  Below is that article and I would be interested in hearing your experiences – are homeschool groups diverse with regards to race, culture, sexual preference, religion, etc.?

“A reader, “Jane,” asserts that racism is the reason there are not ‘people of color’ at homeschooling gatherings. I don’t believe it is racism and if it is, it must be racism on the part of the people of color. I have never met any homeschoolers who would not welcome any person of color into their groups and who wouldn’t welcome information on their culture.

“I feel I have a perspective on this that comes from experience. I now live in Hawaii, where whites are a minority. I am married to a Japanese man–mixed marriages are very common here. Since my last name is now Japanese, nobody who sees my ads or talks to me on the phone knows I am Caucasian. Yet we had very few members from other races–just “haoles” as we are called here. The same was true when I was a La Leche League Leader and held meetings–in two years, I had one “person of color” attend. As I advertised both LLL and my homeschooling group very broadly, there’s no possibility that I didn’t reach a cross section of the population. And since I had no idea of the race of the people I was speaking to on the phone, there certainly was no racism on my part.

“Jane is correct in noting that many homeschoolers, including me, do not have resources on the literature, music and culture of people of color. But I don’t feel it’s correct to place so much significance on this fact. I don’t have any resources on the literature, music and culture of Russian, Tahitians, Swedish, Germans, Iranians, South Africans, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans or a myriad of other races or cultures. This isn’t because I avoid them but because I haven’t had enough real life encounters to make these become a priority. We do read about Jewish holidays and celebrate several of them because we have some Jewish people in our homeschooling group. We’ve studied some Japanese customs because my husband is Japanese. If any other person of color showed up, we’d have a good reason to learn about them now rather than wait until their history comes up in some general studies.

“I’m not saying racism doesn’t exist. What I am saying is that people pointing the finger and setting themselves aside as a separate group and then complaining because the others don’t go out of their way to learn about them can be creating and perpetuating the friction of which they complain. We’ve all got some color so there really aren’t “people of color” and their opposite–I suppose “people of no color”. If Jane wants people of her race to be represented in homeschooling groups, she should encourage them to come on down, for I am completely confident that they would be welcome at virtually any homeschooling group in the country. And if they don’t come or don’t feel welcome, perhaps some soul-searching on their part would be more productive than finger pointing. A chip on one’s shoulder can be more of a barrier than the color of ones skin.”

 

 

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