Camp Halfblood – a mythological adventure

His first archery efforts...he managed to hit the target most of the time

Been too busy this last week helping the kids finish their 4H record books to post here.  Today we turn those in (whew). 

Yesterday we started a new adventure…Camp Halfblood.  It’s an adventure camp based on Rick Riordan’s series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, a modern day version of the Greek myths.  Such an action book cried out for a real life adventure.  The kids will climb rock walls, learn archery, fight with swords, race Greek chariots, solve riddles of the Oracle, play capture the flag and go on quests.  Not bad for a “literary” camp for “nerdy” homeschoolers! LOL 

Here are a few pictures from the first taste of the adventure.

Advertisements

The adventurous life…homeschool now, excitement for years to come

Do you find life exciting, dull or pretty routine?

An interesting question.  It was the one question that really grabbed me from the piece of homeschooling research I posted yesterday (http://www.hslda.org/research/ray2003/default.asp).  Homeschool graduates answered this question in a radically different way than graduates of public institutions. 

73% of homeschool graduates (remember…real adults in the real world) find life exciting, compared to 47% of public schooled adults.

Only 26% of homeschool grads found life routine, compared to 49% of public school grads.

And a mere .8% (that’s less than 1%) were tortured by a dull life, compared to 3.7% of public school grads.

That same study found home school grads more likely to describe themselves as very happy overall, as being content with their jobs, and being satisfied with their financial situation.

Wow!  By homeschooling my children, I’m prepping them for a happy and exciting adult life!  It thrills me to know that what we do today sets them up for future emotional well-being.  I don’t even pretend to know what makes the difference.  Is it the daily example of parents who try something un-ordinary, who swim upstream and find adventure in daily life?  Is it an escape from the years of institutionalized, bell-driven routine? 

Obviously, no educational choice provides guarantees in life.  Clearly, a solid number of kids from all educational alternatives found happiness and excitement.  I’m gratified to know that I’m stacking the odds in my kids’ favor.  Now…off to find adventure and excitement!

Educational anarchy…and my favorite homeschooling research

Does homeschooling really work? 

You’d think by this point in our nation’s history, given all the documented and measurable studies about test scores and academic competitions and college scholarships, this question would no longer be necessary.  But obviously, it is.  People still ask it, still challenge the very notion that parents can read books and teach their own children without delegating the task to professionals. 

 

Recently, I’ve been pondering the perfectly ludicrous (and tinged with desperation and hysteria) assertion by the California Teachers Association that my children learning at home from someone not licensed by the state is “educational anarchy.” 

 

Snicker snicker.  I’m just warped enough to be amused by that prospect.  It feels like a promotion.  I’m not just a oddball…I’m an anarchist.  As one of my homeschooling buddies puts it:

 

 

“Anarchy, huh?  Come to think of it, I’m feeling rather rebellious today. I guess it figures, since history shows home schooled Americans start revolutions, civil wars and major scientific discoveries. We’re a dangerous lot you know..hee hee”

 

On closer examination of my life, I don’t really feel like an anarchist.  I pay my taxes.  I renew my drivers’ license and library books with regularity.  This morning, my husband went to his job, my youngest went to play at a friend’s house (one of those dreaded government school kids, at that), and my older two kids went downtown to perform in the community theatre’s current production.  When I pick them up, we plan to stop at the library because the teenage anarchist rebel wants to check out a sequel to the latest novel he’s read.  Watch out, educators!  Teenagers voluntarily spending summer vacation time in the library…definitely symptoms of educational anarchy.

 

Maybe we’re just too boring to be anarchists.   I’ll stick to educational nonconformity.  That’s really what the teachers union is frightened by…nonconformity.  Kids not under their control.  I happen to think nonconformity is a valuable ideal worth protecting.  So did our Founding Fathers (please read First Amendment http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html).  So does God (check out Romans 12:1-2 http://www.horizonsnet.org/sermons/rom37.html).  No offense, guys, but I’ll take either of those credible sources over the California Teachers Association.

So here’s my absolute, all-time favorite piece of research that proves the benefits of homeschooling.  It goes beyond acing ACT tests and winning national spelling bees (all of which are great things to strive for and measure).  What it shows that homeschooled kids are growing up, moving into the “real world” and leading happy, well-educated, socially and emotionally healthy lives.  They aren’t hiding in closets and cowering in miserable, misfit huddles.  They’re voting and going to church and holding jobs and generally contributing positively to our country. 

Hardly an anarchist among them.  Guess we’ll have to try harder.

Check it out.

Hollywood homeschools

Contradictions intrigue me.  Hollywood potrays negative stereotypes about homeschoolers in their movies (ever see Mean Girls?  Horton Hears a Who?), and yet many Hollywood stars homeschool their own children (or are homeschooled themselves).    I don’t know what to make of it…I just notice and am interested. 

I knew Will Smith and Jada homeschooled their kids.  Turns out Chuck Norris does, too.  Go, Chuck!

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ChuckNorris/2008/03/11/time_for_a_texas-style_roundup!?page=full&comments=true

 

Rediscovering the fitness trail – why I love Lake Wichita

The lake never nags.  It never asks, “Why haven’t you called?  Do you know how long it’s been?  Don’t you know I was worried?”  It doesn’t berate me.  “You used to run the whole trail.  Now you have to walk parts of it.  You’re so out of shape!”

Those are the voices in my own head.  The lake sunshine burns them away.  The waves tumble to the shore to greet me.  The wind playfully ruffles my hair, like a friendly aunt.  My eyes feast on the open space.  My ears fill with the quiet sounds of birds and sudden rustles in the trees and high grass that remind me of that life teems unseen, besides the jackrabbits that hop tantalizingly close.  The intense bicyclists, the laid-back dog walkers, the graying gentlemen who talk faster than they walk…a random group of smiling, nodding strangers, and yet, somehow exactly the same as the last time I enjoyed the lake trail.

And finally…a welcome back present from the lake…an unexpected meeting with a good friend out walking her Chihuahua.  I turned and walked the extra distance to finish the path with her.

7:44 a.m.  82 degrees Fahrenheit.  Total time moving (running and walking) 1 hour.  Total distance: a little over 4 miles.

I love summer.

Summer starts!

Somewhere along the way, it became a family tradition.  The kids don’t believe it’s summer until we drop the hose into the backyard pool and start getting wet.  This will probably be the last photo of the kids until September without any sunburns, blisters, or extra freckles.  And that’s with me being the Sunblock Police stationed at the backdoor. 

We’re already scheduling swim dates for all their buddies.  Jordi and her buddy are doing the water gymnastics, and of course, Sean grabbed for the weaponry immediately.  And I need to stock up on groceries…all that sun and water leads to hungry hippos.