Posted in Homeschool Information

Don’t Believe Everything You Read About Homeschooling

Don’t Believe Everything You Read About Homeschooling

Don’t believe everything you read about homeschooling. This recent article, Home-schooled Students May Not Be Getting Best Education in the Vancouver Sun, is full of egregious errors. I will attempt to set at least some of it straight (without writing a book).

  1. BC does not have “among the laxest home-schooling rules in North America.” If the writer did her homework, she would see that, in almost every province across Canada (and much of the U.S.), parents homeschool their children without being supervised or evaluated by certified teachers and with no “government certificate” upon graduation. If she checked out the homeschool research, she would see that not only do homeschooled kids perform better than public schooled kids regardless, they are also sought out by colleges even with their homemade diplomas. Indeed, in most provinces “there is no requirement that home-schoolers follow the provincial curriculum, use any specific textbooks or teach any particular subjects and concepts.” Yes, she is right that BC dictates that “Parents seeking to home-school their children … exercise complete independence and control over their children’s education,” as do most jurisdictions across North America. And this is as it should be – education is a parent’s responsibility after all and parent involvement in a child’s education is the primary indicator of success.
  2. She states “Those kids are not eligible to get a high-school diploma.” This is incorrect as homeschooled kids (in the traditional option in BC) don’t get a public school diploma, but they do earn a homeschool diploma, which as I said is good enough for most institutions of higher learning. True, admission to university is often “done on an individual basis” but many universities across Canada have homeschool policies and actively seek out homeschoolers. If you’ve been to the homeschool conference here in Nova Scotia, you’ve seen colleges and universities present to recruit homeschoolers every year.
  3. After criticizing conservative homeschoolers, the writer ends her piece with these inflammatory sentences.

But the Supreme Court also affirmed that governments have the right to ensure that home-schooling parents provide sufficient instruction. British Columbia isn’t doing that. And, by not exercising its right, the government has for years failed in its duty to children, who all have the right to reach their full potential.

She is assuming here, incorrectly, that homeschoolers are guilty of not properly educating their children. Without proof. In fact, as I have already mentioned, studies show quite the opposite. Assuming all parents are neglecting their duties on the educational front is the same as assuming all parents are abusing their children. It would be just as ridiculous to suggest every family needs regular state visits to ensure they are not abusing their kids as to suggest homeschoolers need regular educational checkups.

Always look to the research on homeschooling! Parents are their children’s first and best teachers, hands down.

Have you read anything recently that made you realize you can’t believe everything you read about homeschooling? Please let me know in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Thinking of homeschooling or want to get started? Get more information and check out the free Getting Started Checklist here.

Posted in Homeschool Information

It’s Homeschool Registration Time in Nova Scotia

It’s Homeschool Registration Time in Nova Scotia!

If you have already decided to homeschool your child this year, it’s homeschool registration time. September 20th is the deadline to register your child in Nova Scotia. It’s easy to register! Just follow these steps:

1) Click HERE to download the Nova Scotia Department of Education registration form.

All children ages 5 to 16 (re Amendment to Education Act Regulations, Section 3(1)) must be registered by September 20th of the coming school year (although if you’re starting mid-year this doesn’t apply). Registration must include:

in the case of previous public school experience, the last grade level attained; in the case of previous home education experience, the program level of achievement and estimated equivalent public school grade level; and identification of the proposed home education program” (Regulations Section 39 (2))

2) Fill out (online or on paper) your registration form, or you may choose to send in a letter of intent with the required information (if you are an HSLDA member, they provide a template). If you are registering your child for the first time (they have never been in a Nova Scotia school before), the Ministry will demand a copy of your child’s birth certificate, so you may want to include one with your registration.

In the Regulations, reference is only made to providing your children with an “educational program”. There are no stipulations as to what the “educational program” must be and can be whatever you feel is appropriate to give your child a well-rounded education. So, don’t agonize over filling out the registration form because this gives you complete freedom to choose whatever materials (religious or secular) you want and to design your own program that meets your child’s needs.

If you are using a curriculum that you purchased, you can say yes, your curriculum is commercially available, fill out the name and level of the curriculum and then your registration ends there – no need to fill out all the little subject boxes. But don’t forget to sign it (they will send it back for a signature – ask me how I know)!

3) Mail or send your registration digitally.

All done! Homeschool registration time doesn’t have to be stressful.

Can you decide to homeschool in the middle of the school year?

Yes! Simply fill out the registration form and send it in whenever you decide to start. The September 20th deadline is just for those who have decided at the beginning of the school year.

For more information on starting to homeschool, check out the Getting Started Page. And if you’re in the Halifax area, come to the Homeschool Informational Tea this Saturday!

it's homeschool registration time

If you have any questions about homeschool registration time in Nova Scotia, or homeschooling in general, please let me know in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Home Economics, Homeschool Information

Culinary Arts in the Homeschool: Enjoy Cake Decorating

Are you enjoying home economics in your homeschool? One of the benefits of homeschooling is having the time to teach your kids all the skills they will need to use after they leave the nest, and being able to make it a fun part of your homeschool day! Another great benefit is that your kids can focus on a home economics subject if it’s one of their passions, such as the culinary arts – including cake decorating.

cake decorating

Culinary Arts in the Homeschool:

Enjoy Cake Decorating

The culinary arts are a big hit with both my 18 year old son and my 13 year old daughter. My son has even been working in a kitchen for two years now. They each started helping me in the kitchen when they were toddlers and could cook simple meals by the time they were 6 years old. Many days, you can find my kids both singing and dancing to music in the kitchen while they cook homemade chicken nuggets and fries or beef stroganoff, or bake chocolate chip cookies or homemade brownies. I love moments like that – especially when I get to enjoy the fruits of their labour!

My daughter developed a particular interest in cake decorating, years ago. I’m no expert, but I love making fancy cakes for birthdays. Kids love piping frosting on cakes so we often allow guests to decorate their own cupcakes or collaboratively decorate a cake at her birthday parties.

At first, my daughter enjoyed simply baking cakes from scratch with me. Then she started to experiment with decorating them. A lot of her inspiration and information at first came from videos she watched through Always Icecream.

She started to get interested in making and decorating with fondant. I knew absolutely nothing about it, so we turned to Craftsy. There’s a great, free, step-by-step mini-course called Basic Fondant Techniques that has taught my daughter how to make fondant and use it to great effect! She has watched it countless times, and each time she wants to use one of the techniques, she watches the video while she works. My daughter has insisted on making her own birthday cakes for years now!

She made this dragon egg (nesting in the sand) cake for her dragon themed birthday party a few years ago:

Cake decorating

This cake is a masterpiece from a few years ago:

cake decorating

She also enjoys making fondant flowers:

cake decorating

And my daughter still loves having fun decorating with buttercream frosting as well. Here is a Pinky Pie (from My Little Pony) cake that she created freehand:

cake decorating

Craftsy offers a bunch of great, free mini-courses, many of them in the culinary arts, so be sure to check them out! And then, if your child loves them, they can move on to classes such as Advanced Fondant Techniques and The Art of Painted Cakes.

Does your child have an interest in the culinary arts? Do you have any fun ideas to share? Please let me know in the comments below!

If you’d like to see how other homeschoolers cover home economics and life skills in their homeschools, check out Add Life Skills to Your Homeschool at The Canadian Homeschooler.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

This post contains affiliate links, if you click through and buy I may make a few pennies to keep up Homeschooling in Nova Scotia.

Please note: This article was originally published in October, 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Posted in Contests, Free Homeschooling Resources, Homeschool Events, Homeschool Information

Canadian Online Homeschool Conference AND Giveaway!

canadian online homeschool conference

The Canadian Online Homeschool Conference

**This event and giveaway are over. Did you miss it? No worries, you can get an All Access Pass with lifetime access to all the recordings HERE.**

The Canadian Online Homeschool Conference starts Friday! It is a five-day virtual event featuring knowledgeable speakers, a vendor hall, opportunities to interact with other attendees, fun, and giveaways! All without leaving the comfort of your own home (or paying for gas or other travel expenses). It is free to attend live (with the option to buy a complete access pass after it ends). I am excited to be a part of it!

Speakers and Sessions

This conference features a variety of speakers, from homeschooling moms to owners of businesses you’ll want to hear from. Speakers include Lisa Marie Fletcher (the host of the conference), Donna Ward, Louise House, Bev Rempel and me! Sessions include topics such as getting started, homeschool methods, all ages and stages including high school, subjects such as math and reading, and more.

Homeschool Community

Chats. Parties. Prizes. Used Book Buy & Sell. Connect with other homeschoolers and help create an environment of community and fun during this conference.

Vendor Hall

Visit with some of your favourite homeschooling vendors and learn about some fantastic new ones in the vendor hall!

Don’t miss this amazing event. Register now, free!

Giveaway!

And now for the giveaway! One of my lucky readers will win an all access pass, which means lifetime access to ALL the recordings from this event! A $97 value!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends at midnight Atlantic Time on Friday, February 10th. Winner will be notified via email and must respond within 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberlycanadian online homeschool conference

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and buy, I make a few pennies to keep up Homeschooling in Nova Scotia. Thanks for your support!

 

Posted in Homeschool Information, Resources

Homeschool Curriculum Choices in Nova Scotia

homeschool curriculum choices

Homeschool Curriculum Choices in Nova Scotia

Parents interested in homeschooling always ask me where they can get homeschool books, often assuming they are issued by the Department of Education. The good news is, we have endless homeschool curriculum choices in Nova Scotia.

Since the Department of Education does not specify what course of study we have to follow, homeschoolers can decide for ourselves. Under the Regulations of the Education Act, Section 39 (Home Education) refers to “a parent providing a home education” and states:

A registration form required by subsection (1) shall include,

                (a)    in the case of previous public school experience, the last grade level attained;

                (b)    in the case of previous home education experience, the program level of achievement and estimated equivalent public school grade level; and

                (c)    identification of the proposed home education program.

Therefore, homeschooling parents in the province of Nova Scotia are free to determine what our “education program” looks like, and are simply required to provide this information to the Department of Education.

Some of the more popular homeschooling approaches and a few of the many curriculum options …

Traditional or School-at-Home

Traditional or School-at-Home involves using a boxed curriculum and/or textbooks.
Curriculum examples: A Beka, Alpha Omega, Calvert

Classical

The Classical method involves using real/living books to teach the children to learn and think for themselves.
Curriculum examples: The Well-Trained Mind, Teaching the Trivium, Tapestry of Grace

Charlotte Mason

The Charlotte Mason approach is similar to Classical, but with more of an emphasis on nature.
Curriculum examples: A Charlotte Mason Education, Ambleside Online

Unschooling

Unschooling involves child-led learning. The child decides what they want to learn about.
Curriculum example:  Does not follow a curriculum, but reading Learning at Home by Marty Layne and the works of John Holt will give an idea what it’s about.

Montessori

Montessori is a private school system, based on the works of Maria Montessori, with an emphasis on wooden tools and toys, and organization and order.
Curriculum examples: Lisa Nolan Montessori, Montessori Homeschool

Waldorf

Waldorf is also a private school system, based on the works of Rudolf Steiner, with an emphasis on arts and hand-crafts, music, natural materials, and nature.
Curriculum example: Oak Meadow

Eclectic

Many homeschoolers put together their own curriculum from a wide variety of curriculum choices, using a separate curriculum for each subject.

Curriculum examples: Teaching Textbooks (math), A Child’s GeographyVisual Latin

Where to Buy

There is one homeschool curriculum store in Atlantic Canada where homeschool materials and curricula are available, Tree of Life, located in New Brunswick. A used homeschool curriculum store is also located in Berwick, Nova Scotia, Homegrown Homeschool Consignment. Many homeschoolers depend on their local library for wonderful books for their children, both fiction and non-fiction.

Online Public School Classes

Also, here in Nova Scotia, we can choose to have our Grade 7-12 students take Correspondence Study Program courses for some subjects. Although a full course load is not available, our children can take a few classes each year such as English, math, and science. These online courses are expensive, however, and tend to be full of the busywork typical of public school programs.

If you’re looking for more help getting started, click here for your FREE Getting Started Checklist!

getting started

If you’re already homeschooling in Nova Scotia, please help new homeschoolers by sharing what curriculum you use in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Please note: This article was originally posted in April 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

This article contains affiliate links. If you click through and buy, I make a few pennies to keep up Homeschooling in Nova Scotia. Thanks for your support!

Posted in Free Homeschooling Resources, Homeschool Information

Can You Homeschool on a Shoestring?

Potential homeschoolers are always asking if homeschooling is expensive and how to make it more affordable. So, can you homeschool on a shoestring? Absolutely!

homeschool on a shoestring

Can You Homeschool on a Shoestring?

Entire homeschool curricula can be found online, as can books, games, worksheets, you name it. I don’t know how homeschoolers did it before the advent of the personal computer! To peruse a whole bunch of homeschooling freebies I’ve found, you can click on Free Homeschooling Resources to see a list of everything I’ve shared in the past.

Online resources:

Other than using the internet, here are some simple things that we do or use to save money in our homeschool…

  • Library – we do not buy books we can find at the library – I use our local library’s website to search from home and can take a trip to the library weekly
  • Dollar store – there are so many things we can use at the dollar store, from bristol board and tape, to books and workbooks
  • Freecycle or any free exchange group – we used to belong to our local Freecycle group before it closed down and then joined a Facebook exchange group. We’ve received all sorts of great books and freebies as well as gifted unwanted items to others
  • Re-usable curriculum – we use Tapestry of Grace. Once you’ve bought all 4 years of the program, you have the outline for all 13 years of school, for as many children as you have. Plus, I have always saved the curricula that I use with my eldest to use with my youngest when she gets to that level.

There is also a book named Homeschooling on a Shoestring that you may want to check out for more ideas.

What’s your favourite resource for homeschooling on a shoestring? Please let me know in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Getting started homeschooling? Get your free Getting Started Checklist!

Please note: This article was originally published in August 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Posted in Homeschool Information, Resources

Homeschooling Your Child with Special Needs

homeschooling your child with special needs

Homeschooling Your Child with Special Needs

Are you considering homeschooling your child with special needs? Many parents choose to homeschool their children with various special needs such as autism, ADHD, Downs Syndrome, giftedness, diabetes, and deafness.

A friend of mine started homeschooling her special needs child a few years ago, because his medical issues made being in the classroom downright dangerous. A simple fall could be deadly and the public school wasn’t willing to out necessary measures into effect. We started homeschooling our son in part because he was playing chess at age three and was bored when we put him into public school for his Kindergarten/Primary year.

The article, Homeschool Best Option for More and More Families With Special Needs Children, mentions a poll of homeschoolers that found 38% were homeschooling special needs children. If you are homeschooling your child with special needs, you’re not alone! Here is another article, sharing Perspectives on Teaching Special Needs for some encouragement from fellow homeschoolers.

If you are homeschooling your child with special needs, there are resources you can take advantage of:

I hope this helps you on your journey, whether you are homeschooling a child with special needs or considering it. Check out more articles on Meeting Your Child’s Learning Needs at The Canadian Homeschooler website.

 

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Free Homeschooling Resources, Homeschool Information

Free Online Homeschool Conference!

free online homeschool conference

Free Online Homeschool Conference!

I love homeschool conferences! They are a great way to learn about different curricula and meet new homeschooling families, and the sessions can be invaluable. I always leave refreshed and energized to tackle a new year of homeschooling.

I try to make it to as many as I can but since the Nova Scotia conference is usually the same weekend as my daughter’s dance recitals (as it was again this year), I usually don’t get to go. Of course, there’s also the fact that it’s almost a five hour drive to get there! Some years I haven’t been able to go due to finances or a lack thereof.

Now there’s an online conference I can attend, yay! The Digital Homeschool Convention offers more than 30 different sessions over four days next month. Topics vary from special needs homeschooling, to creating homeschool portfolios, to finding margin as a homeschool mom! You will enjoy these encouraging uplifting words from amazing homeschool moms.

I am especially looking forward to Creating Margin as a Homeschool Mom (something I often struggle with) by Heather Bowen and How to Make Art Appreciation a Natural Part of Your Homeschool Life (because I would love to) by Erica Johns.

The best part of this conference is that you don’t need to leave your house. You don’t have to spend money on food, gas, or hotels, and registration is free as are the sessions! Mark it on your calendar now – it all happens July 22-25. You can register here, free!

Have you been to a homeschool conference? What do you think is the best part about attending a homeschool conference? Please let me know in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

 

Please note: This article includes affiliate links. If you click through and buy, I make a few pennies to keep up Homeschooling in Nova Scotia. Thanks for your support!

Posted in Homeschool Information

Homeschooling Through it All

homeschooling through it all

Homeschooling Through it All

There are so many advantages of homeschooling, such as being able to go on field trips as often as you want, and time for exploring passions and extracurricular activities. But how do you homeschool through illness, family stress, or crisis?

When we first moved provinces almost 10 years ago, my then 8 year old son had a little trouble adjusting. He missed his best friend and he missed simply being able to walk over to his friend’s house almost anytime, having moved from a suburb home to a rural one.

For the first few months of homeschooling that year we were able to keep a light homeschooling load. We took a day off whenever he felt overwhelmed by it all, and we spent a lot of time outside on our new 50 acres of land as well as sight-seeing across our beautiful island of Cape Breton.

Minor illnesses are easy. Whether I am sick (as I am right now) or my kids are sick, we usually still homeschool to a certain degree, but it’s often limited to some light reading, with perhaps a few educational videos. If any of us are experiencing some stress, we can take a day off, a few days off, or even a week off. Then we come back energized and ready to dive right back into homeschooling again!

In our first year of homeschooling, when my son was 6 years old, he contracted influenza. My poor child was ill for weeks and felt a lingering weakness for some time afterward. We were able to take it easy and introduce homeschool work gradually once he started feeling a bit better. I hate to think about how stressful it would have been if he was in public school and stressed out about catching up on all the work he’d missed. Even worse, we might have been pressured to send him back to school when he was still in a weakened state.

Recently, one of my family members in Ontario was sick in the hospital. My 17 year old son and I were able to drop everything and drive out to visit. It was time well spent and we were very happy to help out and see our loved one get released from the hospital before we came back home again. My 12 year old stayed home with her father and went about her usual extracurricular activities. working on some light homeschooling while we were gone.

The flexibility of homeschooling through it all is a wonderful advantage – homeschooling is flexible and we can adjust the work load to suit us at any given time, including taking some time off.

Have you experienced the advantages of homeschooling through it all? Please let me know in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Thinking about starting to homeschool? Check out the Getting Started Homeschooling Checklist!

Posted in Homeschool Information, Resources

Homeschool Math with the Abacus

What is an abacus? Do you imagine one of these?
math with the abacus
That’s more of a baby toy and can’t be used effectively for calculations any more complex than addition and subtraction, but a real abacus can be.

Homeschool Math with the Abacus

math with the abacus
The abacus is an ancient calculator that has been used for thousands of years. It is still in use today, especially in Asia and the Middle East. The word “abacus” originally comes from the Greek word “abax” for “counting board”. The Greeks used boards with sand on them to draw out their equations. The Romans used boards with grooves and beads or rocks. The Abacus we are more familiar with originated in Asia.
The Chinese abacus has 7 beads on each rod, with 2 on the top and 5 on the bottom, separated by one horizontal beam.

math with the abacus

The Japanese abacus is called a soroban and has 5 beads on each rod, with just one on the top and 4 on the bottom, divided by one horizontal beam (the reckoning bar). It has at least 9 rods, and the number of rods is always an odd number.

math with the abacus
Each abacus is set to zero when all of the beads above the bar are up (not in contact with the reckoning bar) and all the beads below the bar are down (not in contact with the reckoning bar). The Japanese abacus pictured above is set to zero. The units rods on the Japanese abacus are the rods with the dots on them. The units rod on the Chinese abacus is the one on the far right.

For either abacus, on the units rod, if you raise one bead below the bar up to the reckoning bar, that represents 1. Two raised up to the reckoning bar represents 2 and so on. A bead above the bar lowered to the reckoning bar represents 5. To the left of the units rod, you will have the tens. A bead above the bar lowered to the reckoning bar in the tens rod represents 50. Two beads below the bar raised up to the reckoning bar represent 20, three represent 30, and so on. On the soroban, you can also show decimal places, to the right of any units rod.

Did you know the abacus, especially the soroban, can be used not only for addition and subtraction, but also multiplication, division, and also square roots? In 1946, a person using the soroban outperformed an electric calculating machine!

The abacus can be a very useful tool in your homeschool. It is visual and tactile, and its usage can be transferred to mental math easily. Once a child has done calculations repeatedly using the abacus, they can start to visualize them without using the abacus – math calculations can become a mental “picture”.

Your child can make a Japanese abacus out of Popsicle sticks! Here’s a great how-to at Education.com. Once you have made or bought your own abacus (I recommend a soroban because it’s a bit easier to use and handle), you can start using it with your children to make homeschool math fun!

Here is an article on How to Teach Mathematics Using an Abacus. (Please note that they are using a Chinese abacus in the article, but you can easily follow the steps with a soroban as well.) Your children will have fun clicking those beads for a change instead of the usual pencil and paper. It sure beats counting on your fingers!

Start with addition and subtraction and then give multiplication and division a try. You may find your visual learners memorizing the patterns each number makes. Once this starts happening, they may be able to “use” the abacus in their mind. Here is a handy, step-by-step lesson plan designed for Grades 4-6 at the PBS website, complete with worksheets.
If you would prefer your child learn about the abacus and mental math from someone else, you could try a UCMAS centre. UCMAS has locations all over the world and their programs are for ages 4 and up.

Let me know if you make or try out math with the abacus in your homeschool!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly