All posts by joy

A Day in the Life #3 – The Bartch Family

This is our third Day In The Life series post!!! If you would like to participate, send your answers to the questions below to us and include some pictures if you are willing to share them. We are excited about showcasing the diversity of our community!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your family, and share a picture or two!

Hi! I’m Diana. I’ve been married to the love of my life for 14 years this month. We’ve got one crazy 12 year old boy whom we call Bug. We moved around a bit and have been in Woodburn for 4 years. I blog at Busy Homeschool Days and Bug blogs (on occasion) at The Jedi Bug.

The Bartch Family
The Bartch Family

How did you decide to homeschool, and how long have you been at it?

I’ve known since before we ever got pregnant that I wanted to homeschool. I remember finding an old comment I made online that stated I planned on homeschooling. The comment was made about the time we got married. I’m not really sure why I wanted to homeschool back then, other than my husband’s mom was homeschooling his little brother. I also have a good friend who was a public teacher that was planning on homeschooling her future kids.
Due to life circumstances, I had to work when Bug was little. But I was able to arrange work schedules so I could bring him home from daycare when he was 3. We started a relaxed preschool program the following year and haven’t looked back!

How do you describe your homeschooling style, and how has it changed over the years?

Junior Lifeguard!
Junior Lifeguard!
Eclectic! Very, very eclectic! We started off with what I called relaxed classical ala Well Trained Mind. Over the years we’ve added in some Charlotte Mason aspects. Then started going more delight directed / child-led with certain topics. Most recently I’ve been learning about Thomas Jefferson Education model and hope to incorporate some aspects from that. Our methods grow along as Bug grows and matures.

Do you have a typical day, week, or month? If so, what does it look like? If not, please elaborate!

A typical day starts with the hubby and I up at 5:15am. Hubs is out the door by 6 and I get my ‘me’ time in until the kid wakes up. This can be anywhere between 6 and 8:30. We cuddle, watch a show or play until we’re hungry. We have breakfast and then move into school time. Bug works off a checklist that I write out for him. He works until it’s done, letting me know when he needs me (we have a few subjects we do together – others he’s totally independent on). He stops for breaks as needed. When he’s finished he has a few chores to do and then free time until dinner. Dinner & Family time fill our evenings.

Life Learning
Life Learning
That’s what our days look like on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Tuesdays look the same in the morning, but at 11:30 we are heading out the door to pick up papers for Bug’s paper route. He spends the afternoon/early evening working. Fridays are ‘Life Skills’. We meet with our local homeschool group in the morning. We follow that with errands & household chores.

What does your family like most about homeschooling?

The customization of the education – studying topics that interest Bug and in a way that works for him. The other thing we love is the flexibility. I love being able to take days/weeks off when we want. We take a lot of road trips and often learn more on the go than we do at home!

Homeschool Freedom
Homeschool Freedom

What are your favorite Salem area resources?

We don’t really use many Salem area resources. I do appreciate the Chemeketa Regional Library System. I also love that there are so many options in Salem, even though we don’t really use them!

Please share a final thought or some words of wisdom for new homeschoolers.

Relax. The best thing you can do for your kids is to inspire a love of learning. All the gaps will fill in as needed when they actually want to learn. My favorite quote is: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but a lighting of a fire.” ~ William Butler Yeats.

The Bartch Family
The Bartch Family

A Day in the Life #2: The Ceilidh/Dunlap Family

This is our second Day In The Life series post!!! If you would like to participate, send your answers to the questions below to us and include some pictures if you are willing to share them. We are excited about showcasing the diversity of our community!

How did you decide to homeschool, and how long have you been at it?

When I was 18 I discovered Grace Llewellyn’s Teenage Liberation Handbook and felt she was saying everything I’d been trying to tell my parents. I decided then that if I ever had kids I’d try homeschooling them!

Our family has been through major life changes including divorce, single parenthood, remarriage, and job changes. Somehow we managed to homeschool through it all!

We homeschooled through remarriage & many other life changes
We’ve homeschooled through remarriage & many other life changes

How do you describe your homeschooling style, and how has it changed over the years?

We started off with a radical unschooling approach and became more eclectic over the years – including activities like Camp Fire, Village Home classes, Life of Fred, and many, many park days! We started off completely under the radar – we did not register with the ESD or do the state-mandated testing.

She makes selfies look like art!
She makes selfies look like art!
Our daughter is now 16. She homeschooled until 8th grade, when she decided to try out a small charter school with a friend. She moved on to a huge high school continued there through the first half of sophomore year. She has spent the second semester going to choir and art at the school but doing her other classes on-line; she plans to return to school full time next year. She spends a lot of her time playing music and doing hair and makeup – all potential career options for her.

Our son is 14. This year he’s been learning through Connections Academy. He plans to continue with it next year and start community college the following year. This means we are now officially public schoolers. We still consider ourselves homeschoolers because school is taking place at home and we are using the public resources available in our own way, on our terms. We are in control of our own time and still actively participate in the homeschool community.

Do you have a typical day, week, or month? If so, what does it look like? If not, please elaborate?

We have a rhythm to our weeks and months but not a typical day per se. We go to some monthly activities like Teen Game Day, art tours, and Chess Club; weekly activities like Science Club, Homeschool Jump, and church; and some activities several times a week, like Parkour. We fill in with park days and one-time trips and activities. Our son even taught a weekly Rubik’s cube solving class for a while. We have also hosted other activities, like Money Club and Writing Group while interest lasted. Our daughter (is supposed to) get up and be working on her classes by 10 AM, then she goes to the school for her classes in the afternoon. She sometimes tags along on her brother’s activities, too.

Homeschool kids hanging out at park day.
Homeschool kids hanging out at park day. Still worried about socialization?

Our son goes back to his dad’s house for 3 days a week, and our daughter goes back to his place just for Friday nights and Saturdays due to her class schedule. One of the best things about homeschooling throughout the years is that we’ve been able to make sure the kids still get time with their dad despite the fact that he lives in another city and has an unusual work schedule.

It wasn’t a conscious decision for us to start focused academic study in 8th grade, but that’s just what ended up feeling right to each of the kids when they reached that developmental stage. So around all those activities, school-work must happen! Since we have chosen to get our curriculum through public charters at this point, we have to deal with their deadlines and testing. So most days the kids each spend at least three hours working on their classes. Some days they spend much longer, other days we just do fun stuff.

As for me, I no longer have a job outside the home. That means that I’m available to run them around and deal with the cooking and cleaning. The kids have some responsibilities in that area, too. My wife is a high school science teacher, so our family is now very tied to the school schedule. This is a new development of the past three years. Before she started that job we loved being able to do family outings in the off-season!

What’s your biggest homeschooling challenge?

School At Home
School At Home
This has shifted a lot over the years. Right now the biggest challenge is finding the time to focus on the academics. We just have so much social stuff and so many activities going on. Last year, when we had first moved to Salem and SIH didn’t exist yet, we had a very hard time finding other kids and activities for our very social son. So the dreaded “socialization” was actually an issue. But thanks to the internet and all the local families who are participating we now have the opposite “problem!”

When the kids were very little, the biggest challenge was that they each had such different personalities and needs, but I couldn’t just leave one home when the other had an activity like I can now! For a while after my divorce, the biggest challenge was staying in alignment with our kids’ dad on how we were approaching things. That has gotten much better. And finances are definitely a challenge. There were times when I was working and homeschooling, which meant more money but less time. We are very fortunate that I am able to stay home now, but that does mean we are just getting by on a very limited income. There has been a huge opportunity cost in terms of my career which we will feel the effects of for decades to come.

What does your family like most about homeschooling?

Freedom. It’s a mindset. Even though we are now participating in the public school system through online charters, my wife’s job, and some of our daughter’s activities, it is still our family’s choice. We know we can make changes if we need to.

Enjoying the off-season
Enjoying the off-season

We are also very grateful that throughout the kids’ younger years we were able to do our own thing on our own terms. Our son was a very “late” reader – he only had pre-reading skills at age 10. Dietary changes and developmental leaps meant that in three short months he made up for all that. Now he excels in language arts! But we didn’t have to fill those years where he couldn’t read with intense interventions, or hold him back from learning other subjects and pursuing his interests. We were able to accommodate him without pathologizing him in a way that would have been impossible had we been involved in the school system.

Ukulele Selfie
Ukulele Time
Our daughter had extreme anxiety issues (among some other things) when she was younger that prevented her from participating in typical activities. We were able to take it slow and let her learn to interact with others on her own time-table because we were homeschooling. Had she been in school, medication would have been absolutely necessary. We were able to avoid all that. She did eventually develop the independence needed to do activities without my participation or medication.

What are your favorite Salem area resources?

For me it’s all about the facebook groups! Being able to connect with people who have similar approaches and interests has been great.

Please share a final thought or some words of wisdom for new homeschoolers

You don’t have to know everything to homeschool your kids. If you aren’t well-versed in a subject, you can learn along with your kids, or get help from someone else in the community. If you aren’t finding the social world you are looking for, you can reach out and create it. And learning doesn’t have to look like school. In fact, the best learning often doesn’t.

Silly Selfie at Wierd Al's Concert
Silly Selfie at Wierd Al’s Concert

A Day In the Life #1: The Jones Family

I am pleased to announce our first Day In The Life series post!!! If you would like to participate, send your answers to the questions below to us and include some pictures if you are willing to share them. We are excited about showcasing the diversity of our community!

Without further ado: Here is how the Jones family homeschools!

The Jones Family
The Jones Family.

How did you decide to homeschool, and how long have you been at it?

I wanted to homeschool as soon as the concept caught my attention from my other “granola” friends after I had become a mom. Well, when does education begin? …my oldest is almost ten years old and he’s been learning at home his whole life.

How do you describe your homeschooling style, and how has it changed over the years?

It has changed a lot due to necessity and whatever I have been reading at the time! When my son was a toddler he had Asperger’s symptom tendencies and his left-brain was very hungry. We worked on puzzles, reading, Spanish, math and every conversation he could think to initiate–before he was even considered by our society “school age.” At age 4 or so I read the book The Core and was attracted to classical learning and squeezing as much into him at a young age as possible, which I proceeded to do!

But after a couple years things began to change. My approach drifted over to unschooling, due to exposure, the fact that he now had a younger sister he wanted to spend time playing with, and due to the fact that we treated his Asperger’s with diet and found his personality dramatically shifted. What was once anti-social and awkward with other children became very, very social, playful and creative. I was delighted to see him thinking of various ideas and leading his sister in imaginary play (which I had never seen him take part in before) and I dared not interrupt. They would explore outside and run inside asking if they could use the computer to research a particular creature they found–and I dared not interrupt! At one point he became insatiably interested in crocheting and would sit eagerly to crochet his own designs for hours on end–and I dared not interrupt! How could I ask my children to stop an activity they were passionate about and make them sit to do book work against their will?

Although these two are 3 years apart, they are the same level in language subjects. So it’s been nice to be able to be flexible and do math and history separately, but language we do more as a “class” (although sometimes the classroom is my bed!)

Hosting an exchange student is a great way to expose the kids to different languages and cultures!
Hosting an exchange student is a great way to expose the kids to different languages and cultures!

Although these two approaches seem completely at odds, years later I am still doing a mixture of both. On one hand I feel I was lucky to teach my son so much knowledge when he was younger so that we could “afford” to be casual, with him still testing in the 98th percentile. Or maybe I trained him to notice the world around him and to ask questions and seek answers, and now he’s just doing it independently? Training is really the wrong word–all I have ever done is notice what interests, needs, and aptitudes my children have and try to accommodate.

Currently we do partial Unschool and partial curriculum. I have books but I tend to “forget” about them when the kids are engaged in wholesome spontaneous play. (When I hear whining and arguing, I “remember”!) We do have a list of things that should be accomplished each day, such as piano, grooming, reading, science, math. Admittedly, piano is a priority and will not be “forgotten” since I always remember to pay the teacher 🙂 We go through seasons with certain projects when I am motivated (like I recently purchased the entire American Adventure series, and we’ve been pretty regular about reading aloud each evening). Other times we go through seasons of “real life apprenticeship” when my personal life gets quite busy and formal schooling is on the back burner indefinitely while my children serve or work alongside me, discussing life skills and religion topics as we go.

Do you have a typical day, week, or month? If so, what does it look like? If not, please elaborate!

No, as much as I try. I beat myself up for being inconsistent but then I reflect or write paragraphs such as the above, and feel ok with our random household.

What’s your biggest homeschooling challenge?

Schoolwork was beautiful and wonderful once. Then my baby (the third child) became a toddler. He is very unpredictable. He won’t play alone. He has never had any predictable sleeping patterns. He is very physical and will climb on me or make demands while I am teaching. We’ve had trouble with sleeping disorder, verbal delay, and aggression (not to mention the normal messes a busy 3 year old makes). More often than not I simply give up. I don’t have a solution, although my brilliant homeschool friend suggested I “train him” (bless her heart).

What does your family like most about homeschooling?

Flexibility for both schedule and learning paces. Time available for other interests. Vacations at any time of the year for no other reason than that we feel like it!

What are your favorite Salem area resources?

The public library.

Please share a final thought or some words of wisdom for new homeschoolers.

I’ve heard from too many moms that they could never homeschool, it’s just too hard. I wonder of they have visions in their heads of running an organized home classroom with lectures and excessively planned activities. When they say to me “I don’t know how you do it!” I remind them that technically, all homeschooling means is that your child is not enrolled in school. You could do absolutely nothing if you wanted to (and they shouldn’t assume that I don’t!) but truly, formal education has only been around a brief time in the history of the world. Most scholars have taught themselves from books, conversations, and simply exposure to the world around them. Classrooms, workbooks, tests are only one way of learning (and a very inefficient way, in my opinion!) Don’t try to mimic a school in your house. Just read books and start the wheels turning, then be willing to supply a good road for them to travel on.

Homeschooling gives us time to vacation when we feel like it, away from the crowds!
Homeschooling gives us time to vacation when we feel like it, away from the crowds!

Adding Our Events to Your Calendar

If you’re like me, you don’t want to have to go to a different sites to keep up-to-date on events you want to attend. You’ve got one calendar system that works for you, and you want to stick with it!

Fortunately, our calendars are easy to integrate into whatever system you are using.

Google Calendar
Facebook
iCal & Microsoft Outlook
Other Calendar Feeds

Google

If you already use Google Calendar, you can either add individual events to your calendar or get all the feeds very easily.

Add A Single Event
From our calendar page, click on the event you want to add. A summary will appear.
Click on “copy to my calendar>>”
Click on "copy to my calendar"

A new tab will open showing all the event details. If you’d like to change the privacy settings, color code the event, or add a reminder, do that at the bottom of the screen.
Set the event's color, privacy settings, and reminders

Once you have made sure the event is being added to the correct calendar, click “save.”
Save the Event

Get All Our Events
To get the feeds all you need to do is click the “+GoogleCalendar” button in the lower right hand corner of the calendar view.

Click this button from the bottom of an embedded Google calendar to add its feeds to your Google Calendar.
Click this button from the bottom of an embedded Google calendar to add its feeds to your Google Calendar.

When you do that, you will be redirected to your Google calendar, and will see a pop up which lists all the feeds included in the calendar you were viewing. You may add one, some, or all of these calendars by clicking the “Add” buttons.

Multiple calendars show up because our main calendar includes several different feeds. The Google Calendars you choose to add will show up in your main calendar view, and will be color coded.
Multiple calendars show up because our main calendar includes several different feeds. The Google Calendars you choose to add will show up in your main calendar view, and will be color coded.

Another way to add our calendars to your Google Calendar is to use their iCal feeds. Simply paste the URL for the iCal feed into the pop-up that appears after you have selected “Add by URL” from the menu that appears if you click the arrow by “Other calendars” on the left hand side of your screen.

Add a Google Calendar using the iCal feed by clicking on the little arrow by "Other Calendars" and chosing "Add by URL."
Add a Google Calendar using the iCal feed by clicking on the little arrow by “Other Calendars” and chosing “Add by URL.”

See below for the iCal feeds.

Once the calendars are added, you can configure your notification settings for each calendar from your main calendar settings page or by clicking on th

If you would like to get reminders for events on this calendar, you can set them from your settings page, the calendar's settings page, or for specific events.
If you would like to get reminders for events on this calendar, you can set them from your settings page, the calendar’s settings page, or for specific events.

Facebook

SIH:Member Hosted Events and some community events are listed on our Facebook Group. Once you are logged in to Facebook, you can see them at:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/saleminclusivehomeschoolers/events/
Usually, we will invite all group members when the event is created and you will be notified. However, if you were not a member of the group when the event was created, or if the event creator didn’t invite everyone, you will not have received an invitation.

To get updates on a Facebook event, click “Join” or “Maybe.” This has the added benefit of letting the organizer know that you plan to attend. Having a good headcount really helps with planning!

Exporting Facebook Events
Go to the facebook event you are interested in and click the “…” button on the right hand side of the page, just above the list of people attending.

Export a Facebook Event
Click on the “…” then select “Export Event”

Choose “Export Event.” A pop-up will appear.
Choose how you want to export the facebook event.
Choose your method of exporting the event.

  • Save to Calendar: Opens the default calendar system on your computer, allowing you to save the event there.
  • Send to Email: Sends you an email with the event details, with an “add to calendar” link that will easily create the event for you in the calendar linked with your email program.
  • Subscribe to all upcoming events on your calendar: This is a link to an iCal feed which can be used as described below. Bear in mind this subscribes you only to YOUR Facebook events – not all the events created by SIH on Facebook.

Creating Facebook Events for SIH
You are welcome to share your own events on the facebook group. However, if you want all members to actually receive an invite (recommended), please ask a moderator to create your event for you. Send us the date, time, location, and a brief description. If you also friend Joy on facebook she can make you an administrator for the event so that you can add pictures and edit the event yourself if necessary.

iCal

The iCal feeds for our calendars can be used in iCal and in Microsoft Outlook. If you are using Microsoft Outlook, you’ll need to look up instructions for your specific version.

Here are the iCal feeds:
SIH: Member Hosted Activities https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/1kmnqiirklqrmfr6h82350sjqo%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics

SIH: Community Activities https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/s47g8mccs43gsd0r03cj0r9buk%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics

SIH: Ongoing Classes https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/mvs0u4e6fr7gvaggake5o8cdm0%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics

Woodburn Area Homeschoolers https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/woodburnareahomeschoolfamilies%40gmail.com/public/basic.ics

To subscribe to our calendars in iCal, chose “Subscribe” from the “Calendar” menu. A pop-up will appear. Enter the URL of the calendar you want to subscribe to and click “Subscribe” or press enter.

Subscribe to our Calendar in iCal
Subscribe to our Calendar in iCal

Next, make sure to change the “Auto-refresh” setting to at least once a day, as events are added frequently and sometimes the details change!

Make sure you set Auto-refresh to at least Ever Day
Make sure you set Auto-refresh to at least Ever Day

Click “OK” to add the calendar. It will now appear! If you want to set reminders, you will need to do that using your iCal preferences.

Other Calendar Feeds

Some calendar applications use XML feeds. Here are the xml links to our calendars:

SIH: Member Hosted Activities https://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/1kmnqiirklqrmfr6h82350sjqo%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic

SIH: Community Activities https://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/s47g8mccs43gsd0r03cj0r9buk%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic

SIH: Ongoing Classes https://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/mvs0u4e6fr7gvaggake5o8cdm0%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic

Woodburn Area Homeschoolers https://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/woodburnareahomeschoolfamilies%40gmail.com/public/basic

A Day in the Life

We’re collecting posts for a new blog series: “A Day In the Life”

It will be a fantastic way to showcase the diversity of our local homeschooling community! We think it will also be a big help to people who are considering homeschooling for the first time, or who might feel stuck in a rut.

If you are interested in participating, please email us with the form below. We will write you back with details on how to submit your post.
School At Home
Each guest blogger will answer the set of questions below with a written, audio, or video response. We’ll format the post for the blog and let the guest blogger preview it for approval before we post it.

Thanks for participating!!!

Questions:

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your family, and share a picture or two!
(Kids’ ages, other family members, line of work, accomplishments & interests, or whatever you’d like to share. The picture can be of your family or of something your kids have made or like to do.)

How did you decide to homeschool, and how long have you been at it?

How do you describe your homeschooling style, and how has it changed over the years?

Do you have a typical day, week, or month? If so, what does it look like? If not, please elaborate!

What’s your biggest homeschooling challenge?

What does your family like most about homeschooling?

What are your favorite Salem area resources?

Please share a final thought or some words of wisdom for new homeschoolers.

Here are past submissions:
A Day In The Life #1: The Jones Family
A Day in the Life #2: The Ceilidh/Dunlap Family
A Day in the Life #3 – The Bartch Family

Welcome!

All Mid-Willamette Valley homeschoolers are welcome here. Regardless of your religion (or lack-thereof), family structure, or homeschooling style – if you are in the area and want to participate, join right in!

The conversation is happening at the Salem Inclusive Homeschoolers Facebook Group.

We want to create a place for all homeschoolers to connect, regardless of philosophy or style. I hope you will help us make Salem an even more welcoming place for all types of homeschoolers in the area!

Please email us using this form if you’d like your resources added to our resources page, need help adding events to the calendar, or have other feedback or questions for us!