But after the seventh friend emailed to tell me they cannot comment, I am moving back to blogger. 

I just gotta stick with what I know.  I don’t have time to learn new things! 

So, if you will be so kind as to follow me to:

http://queenbeehomeschool.blogspot.com/

Thanks so much for your patience!

I

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The homeschooling lifestyle can be fabulous for kids, offering personalized curricula and challenging  experiences.   Learning has a chance to be move beyond the static and rote, and kids can develop the ability to self-motivate and self-challenge that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

That is, if they are given the chance.    I am often contacted my homeschooling parents who are seeking guidance with their children.   By the time they come to me,  these parents are a bundle of frustrated emotions, over extending and compromising continually to no one’s true benefit.    This weekend I received three emails alone and thought the ideas would make an interesting blog post .

The reality is that it is imparative to address some critical emotional and relational facts to have a truly successful homeschool.    Far too many parents focus on their ability or lack to master and teach material, yet they are missing the most important key.    You can be the best instructor in the world, but if your relationship with your child is filled with guilt, manipulation and justification, you will never be truly successful.   

Every homeschooling parent needs to take a good hard look at themselves and do a little self-analysis.  What was your educational experience like?   What were your social experiences are a teenager?   What underlying issues are YOU bringing into your homeschool?

Let’s first address insecurities.   Any one who is often seeking approval outside of themselves are in for a humdinger of a time teaching their own kid.   Why?  Because it is darned difficult to have your own children angry at you, and it is bound to happen!  Especially once a child realizes how easily they can manipulate this insecurity for their own benefit .  And trust me, kids are smart and wily, and if it gets them out of an unpleasant or challenging situation, they will not hesitate to yank on your heartstrings!   

 A homeschooling parent needs to develop a mental toughness based on a few facts.   Firstly,  all kids tend to redirect frustration into anger at their teachers.  The hard part for us is that we are the parent as well, and they don’t get to run to us for comfort complaining about  Hairy Scary Mrs. Smith at the end of a school day.   The anger is pointed right at us, in silence or screams, 24-7, until the situation causing the frustration is relieved.  So know that it is perfectly healthy and normal for our kids to be ticked off at us!

Unfortunately for many kids, some parents will just cave repeatedly to this sort of attack.   Instead of teaching the child to work through challenges and come out on the other side feeling accomplished and proud, the parent reinforces the child’s frustration by agreeing that “it probably is too hard for you, honey.”  Can you see how defeating this is for your child’s psyche?   You feed into their phobia, and believe me, it will continue to grow until they see for themselves that they can learn even if the material is not simple. 

The flip side to this is the other undeniable truth about kids:  they are inherently fun seekers.  This desire to seek fun at all times is often at odds with our best educational efforts.   We are cramping their fun with all this learning stuff, and they would certainly rather be doing something they enjoy than drudging through history or algebra equations.  (Again , I am speaking about the majority of kids here.  I read about those who say “Learning=Fun” and even know a few who would prefer conjugating Latin verbs to playing video games, but most of us don’t have those kids in our homes!)

Our clever charges do know the power they have playing upon our emotions.   Some take the anger angle, dawdling and pouting until we let them pack it in early to go do something they prefer.   How does this help them develop the maturity for adult life, when there are a myriad of un-fun but necessary tasks to face daily?    I always say that a few hours of active learning is not TOO much to ask for teens!

Others mask their laziness through a cover of helplessness.   We end up jumping through hoops trying to help them learn, yet their reluctance toward whatever subject is the true problem.  It is far easier to feign inability in a subject than put forth a real effort to learn.  Real effort comes from the heart, and if we coddle instead of challenge, we are perpetuating the problem.      Teaching a child with a true disability, and watching her work so hard to overcome it successfully ,  will give you a real perspective on effort.  HoneyGirl didn’t just give up after a difficult morning.  She would take a break, and try again in the afternoon or at night.  She wanted to learn to read because she knew it was important.    And frankly, most kids would rather create a crutch than learn to run.

   I speak from experience on this one in my dealings with BuzzBoy and math.    He swore for years that he was “not capable” of learning math, and we battled daily.   I knew that he certainly could do it, but that he did not like to do anything that wasn’t easy.   Any challenge in any aspect of life usually met with resistence and excuses.   Math certainly was challenging, but definitely something he could do IF he stopped being stubborn and really put forth effort.  My DH did not understand why we were at always at odds, and suggested we outsource math. 

After years of fighting, I accepted how much manipulation really was at play here, and wanted no more fighting.  We had a family meeting, and BuzzBoy was told that we wanted him to be successful in math and were getting him a teacher that loves math.   He needed to be responsible for his work and success: and there would be no missed assignments, and no dropping out.  If he failed the class, he would retake it until he passed.    We constantly told him he “could” do it, instead of buying into his claims.  

This might sound really harsh to some of you.  At first, I thought so too. But  I am math-phobic, and the reality is that middle and high school math is NOT that difficult for a child of average intellegence to grasp if they put forth effort….period.    But it does take practice, and that is a challenge for inherently lazy kids.  The issue here really wasn’t math…but weak character. 

Once he started taking math classes with other instructors with this sink or swim policy, he suddenly discovered that he indeed could do math.    And he was pretty good at it as well.  Sure, he balked at doing the work and kept claiming that he was bad at math.  But over time, even he realized it wasn’t the case.  HE just didn’t like the effort and time that math took compared with other subjects.  Fast forward a few years, and he has learned to enjoy math and is not even shying away from his math-heavy major in engineering, something that would have been impossible if we hadn’t stopped enabling him.

 Another stumbling block for homeschooling parents is the tendency to unwittingly share our own history with our children.      Are you math-phobic, or swear you haven’t a creative bone in you?    A lot of parents often project their own dislike for a subject onto their child.   We need to look at our children as individuals and honestly access their strengths and weaknesses without excuse or personal bias. 

 A dear friend is very science and math oriented, and had always claimed that her daugthers were “just like her.”    She came to me for help in their writing, as they were struggling greatly because they had “analytical minds.”   After just a few sessions, I found that these three girls were highly creative, but didn’t really understand how to put their oral stories into writing.   All they needed was a little guidance from someone who wasn’t “closed off” to writing to get them on their way.    The mother was shocked at what the girls were able to create, and realized that her negativity had actually stiffled their success. 

There is a difference between aiding our children and enabling them.    Aiding a child is finding curriculum and method that matches their learning style, and adapting teaching schedules to their natural rhythms.    SOmetimes it is giving breaks and redirection.        Enabling is creating an atmosphere based on the path of least resisitence that becomes a challenge-less lifestyle.    Children and teens especially need things to be proud of, and not just those things that come with ease.   Accomplishing and conquering the hard stuff is often the very thing that will help them mature from an attitude of “Poor Me!” to “Yes, I Can!”.  

So remember when you are in the midst of struggle, the short term peace almost always undermines the long-term goal.   Then one day, your child might turn to you and say “It was a great year, because I finally realized you are on my team.”    That, my friends, is priceless!

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HoneyGirl thanks you all for the birthday wishes (as do I)   HoneyGirl’s  plans were even better than expected.  The weather was a sunny 70s on Friday, perfect for a Pirate Party in the park.  The teens that came all seems to have a good time.  (I wanted to post a picture of the awesome Jolly Roger cake, but this wordpress site is a pain in the bottom!)  

 The dance turned out to be loads of fun, with over 200 7th & 8th graders .  I stopped counting when I got to thirty chaperones, and a few uniformed police officers directing cars in and out of the parking lot.   After dropping her friend off at home, we still had time to swing by a local coffee house to pick up the last set of some new friends’ band.   It was amazing to see these 12 & 13 yr old homeschooled girls playing and singing their original music!  Awesome!  We topped off the night with a super late trip to Perkins with friends…a very teenage thing to do!  

ON Saturday, BuzzBoy and I were off to the library for a free SAT Prep class.  We were lucky to get invited in, as we don’t live in that  town, but these folks are so supportive of homeschooling that they always let us put our name at the bottom, and call if programs don’t fill up.    It was run by one of the guidance counselors in the area who was REALLY on the ball, and she had brought in an English and Math teacher from her high school.  She took them through all facets of the test, giving hints and tips. 

 She addressed many ideas that I had not considered, such as the type of calculator to purchase (TI-83 plus) that stores formulas.   There are no rules against this added edge, and as she said” this is one of those difference makers between the kids who go prepared and those who don’t. “  She gave BuzzBoy her email at her school, and offered to meet with him to upload the formulas directly from her calculator to his, and show him how to just punch in the numbers.  Awesome!

WHile he learned,  I just hung out in another section and graded papers quietly for a while, and then enjoyed myself strolling through the historic district’s annual neighborhood yard sale!  Oh yeah!     It was a good thing I didn’t know about, as I could only purchase as much as I could tote in one blocks trip back to the car.  It definintely limited my tendency to overbuy books!

This weekend’s focus is on taking care of the hive.   We got a great start with the outside last week, but now we need to attack the inside and hunt down all those spiderwebs and dust bunnies that have enjoyed an undisturbed summer.   It’s amazing how out of hand they can get!  

  This year’s beef order will be ready for pick up next week, so we needed to go through the big chest freezer and make room.   My height disadvantage makes it difficult for me to reach the bottom foot, and we found that we still have a half dozen roasts and more huge sirloin steaks from last March’s order!  I was struggling to balance when  BuzzBoy helped me out, reaching his long arms in so I didn’t have to risk falling in head first!   HoneyGirl carted up partial opened or expired packages, and we are now ready to fill up again.  Love that teamwork!

Today plan is totally relaxed.  Everyone else is sleeping in.  I am going to spend some quiet time wading through an exciting book I discovered at the library,  Math Doesn’t Suck, by Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper of Wonder Years).  I picked it up as something for HoneyGirl and I to use as a refresher before her 8th grade standardized tests (state required), but am thrilled to find all sorts of tricks and tips that I never learned myself.    McKellar does a great job, using her graduate degree in mathematics well in relating these concepts to encourage girls in math.  She has a new book out for pre-algebra as well…I am adding both to my wish list!

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend with weather as gorgeous as ours!

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Happy Birthday, HoneyGirl…

September 19th, 2008

Today my baby turns fourteen, and I must admit it hardly seems possible that many years have passed.  In the last year, I have watched her grow from a cool kid into a lovely , confident young lady.   She still loves nature and has no qualms about getting dirty ,but now does not go out without a little eyeliner and her butt-length hair brushed to a sheen.    She’s got a quick wit and a bright smile and every day I am amazed that she is so wonderfully grounded and perceptive.   Every day I cherish our relationship as it becomes more companionable as she is embracing independence, and wants/needs me less as a caretaker.  

It seems that I should be wary of letting Honey Girl and the KingBee alone though.   One short errand and I come home to discover that she had softened him up a great deal, and after he sent her off to do more research on this “dance” he has agreed that she can go.     It is not at the middle school, but is a charity fundraiser at a lovely Community Center in an excellent area.   The kids have attended activities there before, and have a number of friends who are members.  A parent needs to “sign in” and “sign out” each child, and there are to be more than two dozen chaperones.

I was mightily impressed that HoneyGirl had gone the extra mile to check on all these things herself (including the google maps directions for me).  She had called a few other friends from youth group and found out they would also be in attendance.  She assured me she would make good choices and that if anything questionable comes up, SHE reminded me that she is a leader, not a follower.  

The truth is, she is far more mature at this age than most kids even years older, and she has given me no reasons to NOT trust her.    It shows me a great deal about her maturity and her desire to go that she did all that research independently.   She is ready, and we need to be ready as well.

So, the birthday plans are quite full.  She will be given the day off to sleep in.  I will be off early to run a few errands.    She has a lazy morning planned, and then we will be leaving for a co-op teen event I organized.  We are meeting at a local park to celebrate “International Talk Like A Pirate ” day.    The weather will be a mild 70s , perfect for a treasure hunt and sand volleyball!  I’ve decided to take parental liberties and ordered a full sheet cake (complete with a Jolly Roger), and have everyone sing.  

Then, fingers crossed, the dance in the evening.  I say fingers crossed, because the mother of her best friend is notorious about cancelling the best laid plans at the last minute .  It frustrates me to no end, becuase it is always based in her trying to assert ridiculous control and gives no consideration to commitments made to other people.   Yet HoneyGirl astutely realizes that her friend is always suffering more, and while it is irritating, she feels that we can somehow show this girl that mothers and daughters can have healthy relationships and our loyalty will do more good in the long run.  

Instead, she has learned to always have fun backup plans in place, and if the plug is pulled on the dance, she and I will head out to the movies together.   Her gift to me…that at fourteen, she still considers me a fun backup plan!

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As most of you know, Buzz Boy is a junior this year.  In June, I called the local high school to ask about registering for PSAT testing, as recommended by the College Board website.  They told me that they usually don’t register until August, and that I should call back then. 

So I waited and called a few times in August.  The website gave only two possible dates nationally, Oct 15 and Oct 18th.  The secretary knew nothing about it, and would call me back.  Another week passes,  I called again, asking to speak to the guidance counselor for juniors.  She gives me the test dates for the SAT and tells me to register online.  I refer her to the College Board website, and tell her that I am inquiring about he PSAT, and I must register through the school , and wonder which of the two dates the school has selected.  She knows nothing about it either, and said she would get back to me. 

Another week passes, and I begin calling regularly, leaving messages.  No return information.  We have the opportunity to participate in a Shakespeare program at a local university on one of the dates, so I need to know which day the test will be offered.   More calls, no answers. 

 After seven phone calls total, I decide to call the school district’s homeschooling representative. After all, the test dates are only a month away.   She offers to get right on it, recognizing our names.  She also asks me to speak to the Superindent’s secretary and relay the situation.   The rep promises to get back to me by the end of the week. 

True to her word, she calls me and tells me that the date will be Oct 15th, but that she is still unsure where BuzzBoy will be taking the test.  There was a “situation” in the guidance office of the high school, and would I be willing, if necessary , to drive him across town to the other high school?   I assured her I would drive anywhere, as long as he gets a seat.

This week, I get a message to call the high school in my neighborhood to register our boy, and then to please call her afterward to discuss further.    This time, I speak with a Mr. P as the junior guidance counselor, who tells me he has gotten numerous emails about us from the district and superiors.  He is almost overly accomodating, offering for BuzzBoy to sit in his office during traditional homeroom to fill in his identification bubbles, and that he will personally escort him to his classroom during the test itself.  In all our years of dealing with the school on the fringe through sports and what not, we have never received such concern.

I then call the homeschooling rep, Ms. R. to thank her for helping us with this situation.  She instead thanks me, informing me that the “former” counselor for juniors had not done the proper registration or  ordered the tests for the PSAT until they looked into it on my call!!!      I am not sure how this happened, or the details, but it definitely cost someone their job.   There were tests allotted to the school, so it was just a matter of rushing them up.

She said it a scary thing that a homeschooling mother has to be the only one advocating for their child enough to push when the answers don’t make sense.   I reminded her that I do that because that is the homeschooling mindset.  Other parents just trust that the guidance counselors know their job.   Still, it was nice to thanked and appreciated by the district.  Being referred to as one of the “gold star ” families is kinda nice!

What is so frightening is that this woman was in charge of ensuring that all her charges are getting their proper prerequisites for college as well.  What about application deadlines and financial aid?   How many kids are finding out too late that she was just a blooming idiot, and how many parent’s are kicking themselves for not getting more informed and advocating for their own kids all through high school.   And how many other counselors are out there just like her?

So, if I only had one story to offer as to why I have the audacity to think that I can adequately homeschool my kids through high school…I think this says it all!

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I’ve known it was going to happen, but I was just unsure as to the timing.   Two days short of her 14th birthday, HoneyGirl has proclaimed to all around the unfairness of her life.  In full dramatic and hormonal form.

 Her best friend has invited her to a dance at a middle school two towns away, and I said “no,.”  Reason, it seems, is not part of the reactionary equation.      It does not matter that this friend does not attend this school, but was invited by a boy she met at the mall a few weeks ago.  It does not matter that this friend is not making the most sound choices since her parents hostile separation and divorce.  It does not matter that I know nothing about this school, nor any of the students, nor even it’s neighborhood. 

I am simply an “old-fogey” who is unwilling to allow her daughter to have a social life. <sigh>  

So, I do what any wise mother would do.  I told her to ask her father and let him decide.  I got a huge hug and much thanks.    When her father said no for all the same reasons listed above, he got a huge hug for being so protective and loving.     HoneyGirl , in turn, told her friend that the whole idea doesn’t seem smart and that she isn’t interested in going.   Instead, she asked to call one of the girls from co-op that she wants to get closer with to invite her over for videos and pizza.  

I think I have proven a long debated hypothesis:  Mothers of teenagers just need someone to let them be the “good cop” once and a while!   Its so much easier than the arguments!

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Do you remember having this class in high school?  It isn’t offered in most schools anymore, which baffles me.   Do schools really believe that teens so overburdened with homework and outside commitments spend their free time doing this research on their own? 

Even BuzzBoy, blessed with many more hours of unplanned time due to our homeschooling lifestyle, does not have the motivation to do this without a little prodding.  To a 16 year old, college seems so far away.  They have not really dealt with ideas based around time frames and steps that overlap.   In actuality, I have realized that most parents are fully aware of this process either.  I certainly am thankful for that workstudy job as an orientation leader, aiding students with understanding concepts like prerequisites and deadlines. 

As such, I have added a subject to BuzzBoy’s plan this year: college and career planning.   My goal is for him to address a multi-fold issues and to become active in these choices.    I have watched far too many parents pick their child’s college and major, take on every step of the application process for them, and even outline their future career path .   

This is flawed in so many ways.   College might be the teen’s first big venture into responsiblity and independence.  Doing every part of it for them is not giving them any ownership or investment in their own future.   It is not helping them adjust, ponder, and grow if the parents do all the research, scheduling and organizing.  Just showing up is not giving our teens a real prepartion for life AWAY from home.

As such, I have been creating a program for BuzzBoy that is parent-guided, but child-driven.  It is multi-faceted in it’s approach, but covers many of the bases needed to ensure he is part of his planning.

The first aspect is the necessary SAT/ ACT preparation and planning.  PSAT’s should, if at all possible, taken in the fall of the junior year.   While sophmores can take them , only Juniors taking them for the first time are eligible for consideration of National Merit Scholarships.   Registration for PSAT’s must be done through the high schools themselves .  All of this information can be found the College Board website.

 I got BuzzBoy some CDrom practice materials, as well as some books that give advice on taking the tests. We looked at the test dates in Spring for the SAT, and he has marked his calendar with both the registration deadline and test dates in March.    Knowing that part of his registration is listing the three schools where he wishes his scores to be sent has put a significant time frame in place for him.  

This time frame has helped him realize that he has roughly six months to narrow down his school choices.  The “far away” idea of college has flown the coop, and he is now actively wrapping his head around the need to become a little more focused.   This has lead to the second goal :  college research and selection.   

 The College Board website is actually a great place to start by using it’s college finder feature.  I will say that we have found it is certainly NOT going to list every school (as Green Mountain College did not pop up in any search for environmental studies), but it does give a framework for considering the aspects of school beyond location and cost that our teens probably have not thought about yet.    There are great books that you can also take out from the library that give specific overviews of colleges based on major,etc.

BuzzBoy’s assignment for this month is to find five schools that meet his needs academically and are appealing to him.  He is to send out inquiries, find out about any open houses, and register for them.  We will be making the driving arrangments for visits, and will see if we can also schedule for him to sit in on a class and meet with financial aid officers.   He will be creating lists of information on each about more than just tuition and fees.  He will be including application deadlines, scholarship opportunities, and most importantly, prerequistes for his major.  In this way, he can make sure that he takes any necessary prerequisites during his senior year.

I keep referring to his major, and that is not something that we just picked lightly out of a hat.  I required him to do some research on careers within his interests during his sophnmore year.  I am beyond thrilled that we did those exercises, because we are now a step ahead than his peers that only have vague ideas fo what they wish to do.    A great guide is “What Color Is Your Parachute for Teens” .

His major focus is environmental studies, and he will be researching careers and majors within the broader field as his third aspect of this course.   He will be reading a book about careers in Environmental science, and will be researching specific careers.  We will make sure to set up interviews and shadowing opportunities throughout the year, so that he can gain a better perspective.     We will also encourage active research in the areas of job opportunities and financial compensation, so that he can adequately gauge practicality .

Lastly,  he will be preparing for the practical side of college and living away.   I will never forget how ill prepared many freshmen were when I was at school.  Their parents have never taught them how to live in a budget, do laundry, or even wake with an alarm clock.   

  I think the tendency for this might even be worse among homeschoolers in small families, for they have had extremely involved parents who happily do too much.  Each year, I add more to my kids chore list to ensure that they don’t go through a major shock.    This year, BuzzBoy will be adding the washing of his clothing to the current putting away.     He has been doing his own budging all summer, but will face a different end of it now that he does not have a regular paycheck coming in.  Yet, he needs to work it out for himself. 

I think that the biggest challenge for me will be not reminding him to do these things.  He needs to learn to think and remember that sort of thing himself.  If he lets himself get down to his last clean set of clothes, that is his choice.  If he has nothing clean, well, he will stay home doing laundry and miss whatever it was he planned to do.     We discussed personal hygiene again, and I only added that going out in dirty smelly clothing was NOT going to happen.   He laughed, but totally gets it.  We all cringe at how many older kids we see  that go to events with unbrushed (and sometimes unwashed) hair and dirty clothing.  By high school , decent hygiene should be second-nature.  He promised me that he might go wrinkled, but he won’t smell!   

As  I come across different resources,  I will make sure to post them here.   And I add that I am not in any way viewing college as the only option, but it is the one he is choosing to pursue.    I would still do something similarly if he was planning to go into a trade or alternate career as well.

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This week has been such a relief in many ways.  I am able to breathe a deep sigh  the kids and I both got over our dread to starting a new year, and are quickly back in a rhythm.   There was another deep sigh over the successful launch of the co-op, followed by three more once I met the students in each of my classes.     On Thursday, I took time to breathe a sigh of contentment and love, as my DH and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.

But the biggest sigh of relief came yesterday.  I had sensed it building little by little all week, but it took until Saturday to be certain.   I’m breathing deep because I have reclaimed my personal time after this crazy busy summer.   The sales and the initial organizational tasks are all but completed for the co-op.  All the time I crammed in planning the 30-week lessons/curricula for the three classes I teach, and the time I spent plotting out the syllabi and typing up tests for certain subjects for at home was effort well spent. 

Because now, I am in for a bit of smooth sailing.  The co-op is no longer sapping every waking hour, but has been reduced to some minimal data entry and a few emails.    My weekly teaching effort is down to as little as some photocopying , gathering a few materials,and pre-reading.   I only have a few tests to print out at home, and we are free flowing the rest. 

So early yesterday morn, after  BuzzBoy and DH had left , I sipped my coffee blissfully.   Fall will soon be upon us.  We still need to deal with the pool that has sat unused for the last three weeks.  The garden will need to be ripped apart and trimmed back.   We will need to get firewood stacked and ready for chilly evenings.  We will need to trade up our shorts and tanks tops for wool sweaters and cordoroys. 

I am oddly looking forward to it all.   Fall is my favorite season, and I know it runs deeper than the crisp air and richly toned leaves.   I enjoy “preparing the nest for hte long winter’s nap.”   Over the years, it has become much more ritual than simply marching through tasks on a to do list.  

 Taking advantage of a free weekend, I got the pool to draining.  I chopped apples and started apple butter cooking in the crock pot.  I got the laundry completely caught up.  I went through four bins of odd homeschooling paperwork and got it ready for recycling.    I even cleaned out the fridge, including all those old condiments!    Even still, I managed to watch a movie with the family, then another later with HoneyGirl.  I read the latest “Body & Soul” cover to cover, and ran a few errands.   I took a nap in the middle of the afternoon!   Ahhh!

Today we will be baking banana bread, finishing up the pool tasks, and attacking the bathrooms which sorely need some attention.   I grin at such a small to-do list, for I know it means we have a lot of time for watching football and relaxing.    I smile as I consider breaking out a knitting or crochet project, and clicking the afternoon away.   It’s so good to be breathing deeply again and recentering around family and home.

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Purposeful Pollination

September 13th, 2008

This whole “Bee” theme is really an analogy I have been pondering for a few weeks.   As backyard fruit and vegetable gardeners, we have definitely noticed a huge decrease in the bee population.  When the kids were young, we had tons of bees in our gardens, so thick around the fallen  sour cherries from our trees that I had to occasionally shop vac the grass near the patio after heavy storms!    But a few years back, diseases sadly took both of our half-century old trees.    And the bees never returned as before.

We did some research, and have all seen the logical link between genetically altered plants and the decrease.  The kids are again sold on the idea of 1) using heirloom seeds and plants and 2) trying to start seedlings from fruit seeds of neighbor’s established trees 3) plant more flowers that bees enjoy.  We want to help the   Since we already have the seed room, it seems like a great project.  This site, Help the Honeybees, does a great job…they even have 19 page downloadable lesson plan on honeybees and colony collapse disorder.  I will definitely be incorporating this into the entemology section of my environmental science class!

The more we learned about bees, the more my mind began making analogies between  homeschooling  and the goals of bees.  It is tempting to just focus on the production aspect of honey, shown in papers, projects, and tests.   Yet true learning is more often about being the pollinators of the flowers of knowledge and fruits of ideas for our children.  

My children are always flitting about , like little bees collecting nectar , not realizing all the pollen that is clinging to them.   Over time this pollen accumulates and the knowledge is fertilized, so to speak.  Fruits and flowers blossom from all the mental visits.    The honey is grand, but the pollination is the real success.  

We parents then, are often in the business of pollination management.      

 Wikipedia states that Pollination Management is the label for horticultural practices that accomplish or enhance pollination of a crop, to improve yield or quality, by understanding of the particular crop’s pollination needs, and by knowledgeable management of pollenizers, pollinators, and pollination conditions.

We do this by giving our children access to great books and enriching learning experiences.  We do our own little “bee dance” , pointing them in the direction of the ideas that hold nectar.  We work together to create a successful hive, brimming with life.

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Things Are Really Buzzin’ Now!

September 11th, 2008

Hello everyone!  I am hoping to pick up with this blog where my old one left off, and regain a bit of my anonomity for myself, QueenBee, and the kids, who will henceforth be referred to as BuzzBoy and HoneyGirl.  My other blog will be deleted in the next few days. 

 

For now, I can happily report that the kids are more than comfortable with their co-op classes, and have moved easily into those subjects.  Math U See continues to be a hit with both Mom and students, and they are both happy with their other course materials,teachers and classmates.   BuzzBoy is loving Rosetta Stone Spanish…thrilled with the ease that he is flying through it after years of latin.  HoneyGirl is, as always, focusing on independent art and science research.

They are even starting to gel into their personalized subjects, as I strive for them to take more control over their learning.  BuzzBoy and I gathered up a number of books, CDs and websites on SAT prep, college planning and career choice and have been working toward a really nice elective.    Beyond bookwork, he will be researching schools, setting up visits, and also setting up some shadowing days with professionals in fields of interest over this year to further hone in on his interests.   

 

HoneyGirl has found a comfortable mix for social studies that is heavy on geography and light on history, using exploration as the basis for the year.   Right now, she is working her way through Europe, country by country, and plotting it out on the maps.  Our reasoning for this is one must need to know where they are starting from to accurately study where they are going!    She is also studying navigation techniques and boats, and pirates galore.    Despite her loud proclamations of disdain for history, she seems to be enjoying herself quite a bit.   BuzzBoy  has also asked that I get him a copy of the “Geography Coloring Book” , so that he can polish up on his skills as well. 

I happily, am enjoying myself as well.  The rhythm is setting in, and happily other duties are not requiring much extra time as previously thought.   I’ve found time to flit around taking care of little projects and details like scheduling appointments, etc .    Until next time,  I’m happily buzzing away….

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