Graduates Number Two


This past weekend we graduated our second son from homeschool.  If we can do it, you can do it.  Davis Homeschool started in 1999 with one in kindergarten, one in pre-k, and one in utero receiving instruction in ABC’s via daddy talking to my round belly.

We homeschooled our two graduates for 13 years, and have four years left with our youngest. It has been one wild, adventurous, unpredictable, all consuming, and undeniably spectacularly wonderful ride! Congratulations to our 2014 graduate Benny for surviving and thriving in homeschool.  He has grown from a sweet, always smiling, loved to read, little boy to a charming, dry-humored, always smiling, loves to play video games, but loves Jesus more young man.  We are beaming with joy. We know God has plans for our sons, and are happy to sit back and watch it all unfold.  I wish we could take credit for the way they turned out, but we were just the instruments.  God gets the glory.

  • If you are in the early years of homeschooling: enjoy it and don’t give up, it only gets better.
  • If you are in the middle years, don’t panic: high school is easier than you think.
  • If you are in the home stretch: hang on tight cause its a whirlwind.
  • If you graduated your child: Congratulations.  

they are worth it



Carnival of Homeschooling – The Building Character Edition

Sara is hosting this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling at The Homeschool Post.

The Homeschool Post is happy to host this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling.  We’re continuing our month-long focus on building character in our children. Homeschooling is about more than just academics – it is a lifestyle of learning with an emphasis on strong character.  How do you encourage your children to make good choices and to think critically?  In a culture sadly lacking in good role models, how do we point out positive examples of good character?
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Carnival of Homeschooling: The Thousand Flowers Edition

Dewey’s Treehouse is hosting this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling: The Thousand Flowers Edition

Carnival of Homeschooling: The Thousand Flowers Edition This week’s Carnival of Homeschooling is inspired by Spunky Homeschool’s post Common Core Curriculum is coming. “Time is short. School districts are scrambling. Tests are coming. The situation is ‘near-impossible,'” Spunky warns. She also refers to a study in Education Week where curriculum researchers state, “Letting a thousand flowers bloom isn’t consistent with ensuring that all teachers are using high-quality and well-aligned materials.” Apparently I’ve been living under a bit of a rock, because I had never heard that quotation about the thousand flowers and had to look it up. It is a misquotation of a policy of Chairman Mao Zedong: “Let a hundred flowers blossom.”  At that time (1957), the Chinese government was actually encouraging constructive criticism from various respected thinkers, and that was the official (and very springlike) way of saying it.

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Carnival of Homeschooling – The Homeschooling & Farms Edition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is at: Petticoat Government

With spring finally here–although I fully expect some more snow before the month is out because that's just how weather is in Colorado–for this Carnival of Homeschooling, I thought I'd look at intersections of homeschooling and farming.
 Many parents, homeschooling or not, have a strong desire to teach their children about nature in-depth. My father liked to take us hiking, and my parents had us children grow a garden and raise chickens. One year we even raised a steer in our backyard for a while. He was rather bad-tempered (I wonder if he understood our nickname for him, "Dinner") and got out sometimes, wandering up and down our residential street, which taught us the importance of locking up gates securely.
 While this is by no means solely a homeschooler phenomenon, I've seen many of my friends and relatives who lean towards homeschooling raise chickens and/or other livestock, grow big gardens, and dream of the little farm they're going to have someday out in a rural setting. Here are several blogs I found of homeschoolers living (or at least pursuing part of) that dream
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Carnival of Homeschooling – The April Fool’s Edition

Jamie is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at momSCHOOL with an April Fool's theme. There are some great ideas for next year! 

April the first stands mark’d by custom’s rules,

A day for being, and for making fools: —

But, pray, what custom, or what rule supplies

A day for making, or for being — wise?

(Rev. Samuel Bishop, 1796)

This is one of the earliest known mentions of April Fool’s Day. Though the exact origin is a bit cloudy, most historians trace a general air of tomfoolery back to antiquity.The Romans celebrated a festive holiday during the end of March known as Hilaria. The Jewish festival of Purim is also celebrated during this time and incorporates costumes, carnivals, and pranks.While I’ve heard that an ancient Dutch poem mentions April Fool’s and was written in 1561. So, in any case we can see that playing pranks and making all sorts of general merriment is the custom for this time of the year!

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430th Carnival of Homeschooling – The Learning Lifestyle, Reading, and News edition

Janice is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling with sections for  Learning Lifestyle, Reading, and News.

The 429th Carnival of Homeschooling – The Still Winter Edition

This week’s Carnival of Homeschooling at Golden Grasses.

It’s been a long winter ’round here. And it’s still happening- today was a day full of blowing snow, school closures and other winter nonsense. So, yeah, we are all about a change of season, and soon Till then, we are getting lots of school done, including tons of reading, read-alouds, CD-listening, DVD watching, and texts gone through.
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Carnival of Homeschooling – The Post Olympic edition

Susan is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Corn and Oil.

The Sochi Winter Olympics ended a couple of days ago.  Many of us watched various winter sports such as ice skating, hockey games, snowboarding, skiing (sometimes with a gun), along with the curious art of curling.  Fitting every day lives into those 17 days of competitions, many non-Olympian homeschoolers also found a gainful way to educate too.  Looking back at the Putin-powered Olympics, we.ll celebrate some Olympians who educate at home to keep up with their athletic passions and schedules. The real life homeschooling experiences shared by our Carnival participants also display the distinctiveness of a home educated family life.  We.ll keep doing what we do every day, whether it.s surrounded by snow and elite physical training or those of us just taking a nature walk through a park.  Enjoy!
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Networks Never Covered German Home-School Family’s Plight

via NewsBusters

Illegal immigration might be a hot topic for the media, but the networks remained mum when the government denied asylum to a German family seeking the freedom to educate their own children. 
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike along with their children came to the United States in 2008, seeking political asylum because home-schooling is illegal in Germany. The family wants to homeschool due to its Christian beliefs. Obama’s U.S. Justice Department refused asylum status, and chose to defend its decision in litigation. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by the Romeikes on March 3 which initially signaled a deportation for the family. Despite the win for the Obama Justice Department, ABC, CBS, and NBC have not mentioned the story. 

Read more… 

Carnival of Homeschooling – The Just Keep Blogging edition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Notes from a homeschooling Mom.

It is now March 2014, I officially became a veteran homeschooler back in May 2013, when I graduated my second, and last child, from homeschooling. I am still processing all of my thoughts and feelings about the last 10 years, because homeschooling is serious business, and just as you need to be mentally prepared to start and to make it through homeschooling, you need to put the same effort (at least in my case) into coming out the other side, and finding a new you, when you have been released from your homeschooling duties.
Just as I found blogging to be a great way to prepare myself and to keep motivated during the homeschool process, I am finding blogging to be a great way to process myself into my next phase in life-post homeschooling.  As much as inward blogging has helped me, I still need to spend just as much time reading the blogs of others, for sanity reasons, to let me know that I am OK… as in Not Crazy, as in other people are having the same feelings and experiences that I have either had, or am having right now. For this I am thankful, so with that I say, Just keep blogging through and even after homeschooling.  I will keep you sane, and it will also help those who come after you.

Carnival of Homeschooling – Lincoln’s wisdom edition

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling – Lincoln’s wisdom edition.

A study for the Lincoln Memorial sculpture by Leonard Wells Volk
A study for the Lincoln Memorial sculpture by Leonard Wells Volk

Tomorrow (February 12) is Abraham Lincoln’s 149th birthday. He was the 16th President of the United States, only just starting a second term when assassinated in 1865. He remains one of the most influential and beloved figures in US history. Perhaps this was in part because of his wisdom and wit which lives on in his quotes – quotes sprinkled throughout this edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling along with the collected wisdom and humor of this weeks carnival participants.

I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.

Cindy tells us about Winter Homeschooling
Winter won’t last forever!  Until then, enjoy some creative learning time that keeps everyone from going stir-crazy. Via Our Journey Westward

My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.

Kerin presents The Vocabuverse: You/Your/You’re
He has created an excellent resource for teaching kids/adults big words and grammatical concepts!  Posted at The Vocabuverse

Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it.

Rachael presents ~The Teetering Balance for the Homeschool Mama~
Homeschooling puts a certain amount of added pressure on the average family. In this blog post she attempts to honestly share her struggles, and some tips/tricks she has found helpful along the way! posted at DiAmOnDs In ThE rOuGh.

And in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.

April asks “I’m thinking about homeschooling. Where do I start?”
She has been asked several times how to start homeschooling, or where to find curriculum.  She usually has to go digging around for old emails to retrieve information already shared once.  She finally decided to create a blog post sharing some basic steps and resources for those considering homeschooling. Via ElCloud Homeschool: Busy Minds, Busy Hands, Busy Feet

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) shares her Secret Thoughts of a First-Year Homeschool Mom
All right, everybody.  I’ve started a blog and a Pinterest account. I’m ready to homeschool! via Homeschool and Etc.

I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.

Joy presents 24 Reasons to Homeschool Your Special Needs Child posted at Who’s learning? Who’s teaching?.

Natalie tells us about Made You Look by Sheri Graydon a review of a book about advertising written for kids. via Fill Your Bookshelf

I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

Leah asks Is Your Homeschooling Joyful? Here’s a Resource to Help posted at As We Walk Along the Road.

Gina creates {Handicrafts} Busy Hands with Paper Sloyd Little Hands that create builds focus, attention and discipline. posted at my rubyslippers.

Celeste presents Schooling with Littles :: Our Daily Schedule posted at Joyous Lessons.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Monique shares some fun toddler activities Fun activities to keep your toddler busy while you Homeschool the older children. posted at living life and learning

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.

Annie asks Is There Life after Homeschooling? For those who transition well, the end of homeschooling is not only an ending but also a new beginning. That seems to make all the difference. Posted at Tea Time with Annie Kate

Henry says: The answer is YES! Henry writes that when parents ask if they should homeschool most of the time he would say YES. via Why Homeschool

Kathy wonders Do You Have These 9 Essential Leadership Traits? posted at Kathy Davis, FNP

And finally, Kathy of Homeschoolbuzz reviews the book Father Abraham: Lincoln and His Sons
Carnival of Homeschooling

Whatever you are, be a good one.

Add The Icarus Deception to Your Reading List

the icarus deceptionYou remember the story of Icarus, the kid who didn’t listen to his dad and flew to close to the sun?  His waxy wings melted and he plummeted to his death in the sea. Seth Godin uses this greek myth to teach us about art. No, not marketing, but art.  What does Icarus have to do with art? And how/why does marketing guru Seth Godin teach art?


Seth uses Icarus to point out we only know half the story.  Icarus’s dad didn’t just tell him to not fly too close to the sun, but also warned him not to fly too low or the sea would wreck the lift of his wings.  Flying is a delicate art, not too high, not too low, or disaster.

He explains,

It’s far more dangerous to fly too low than too high, because it feels safe to fly low.  We settle for low expectations and small dreams and guarantee ourselves less than we are capable of.  By flying too low, we shortchange not only ourselves but also those who depend on us or might benefit from our work. We’re so obsessed about the risk of shining brightly that we’ve traded in everything that matters to avoid it.

Your work is your art.  Art is about making a connection.  Art isn’t limited to paper and palettes of color, it is your contribution to the world.  It is aspiring to do great work for the purpose of making real connections with others.  Do you influence? Are people changed for the better because their path crossed yours?

Making art is not easy, it forces us to see things from a different perspective or stretch our wings farther than we’re comfortable with.  Fear of being wrong or rejected keeps us safe, but probably keeps us unsatisfied because we haven’t bloomed our potential.

Seth says art might scare you, might bust you, and it isn’t always pretty.  But it is who we are and what we do and what we need. If you are brave, use insight, creativity and boldness to challenge the status quo, then you are an artist.

Read the story of Icarus again, see what you didn’t notice before.  Then get yourself a copy of The Icarus Deception and be prepared for everything you thought you knew about art to be defied.  I knew I was an artist –  an unconventional one, but still an artist. Now, off I go to make better art.


Carnival of Homeschooling – Winter Edition

The Carnival of Homeschooling – Winter Edition is hosted this week by Living Life & Learning.

This week I’m hosting the Carnival of homeschooling for the 3rd time. Hooray! I love reading all the entries that I receive and I hope you do as well. I love reading what other homeschoolers are doing so that I can gleam new ideas or solve some of my own problems and get new resources. There’s so many great resources out there and it’s all for free, the problem I have is keeping up with so many blogs.

Read more…

First day of homeschooling blues

How Our First Day of Homeschool Became My Own Lesson via

We recently had a really fun experience: The Land of Nod came out to set up a homeschool room in our home, then did a photo shoot of the room and us for their upcoming catalog. We’ve been planning this with them since the end of September, so we decided in the meantime to hold off on any “formal” homeschooling until then.

By formal I mean something I planned. We feel learning is an all day part of life.

After the room was finished and now that the holidays are over, I decided to start Bella where I would as a teacher with students her age. Since we are homeschooling, we don’t have to follow the Sept-May rule, or that you must turn a year older by October 1st for the grade. Bella is ready for Pre-K stuff and she is 4, never mind that it’s January.

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Eighteen years of the carnival of homeschooling

Why Homeschool has posted the Carnival of Homeschool: The Eighth Anniversary – The New Year edition. Henry and Janine Cate have founded faithfully persisted in making this carnnival last eighteen years! That’s amazing comittment. 

Welcome to the eighth anniversary of the Carnival of Homeschooling.  The first Carnival of Homeschooling was published in January of 2005.  This is the 419th edition. The start of a new year is a traditionally a time when many step back, review the previous year and ponder what they want to accomplish in the coming new year.  I have spent dozens of hours in the last couple weeks doing this conventional activity.

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Ohio bill proposes investigating parents before allowing homeschooling


investigating homeschoolers
Via flickr by voteprime

OH Bill Would Require Parents to Undergo State Investigation Before Homeschooling | Truth Revolt

The reasoning for this bill stems from one incident in January 2013 where a 14-year-old boy died after being beaten by his mother’s boyfriend while being taught at home. The mother had pulled him from public school after school officials reported signs of abuse to authorities. Seemingly, she attempted to cover up the abuse by homeschooling him, keeping him from the watchful eyes of public teachers.  However, that brings up an interesting point to counter the need for such a bill. The abuse was reported by the public school teachers to authorities and nothing was done. There is no reason to conclude that homeschooling the child had anything to do with facilitating a murder. This bill “unfairly targets homeschooling” by taking the focus away from the state – who did not protect the child when it was first reported – and laying it on an often stigmatized educational choice.

Progressives who fear homeschooling

Progressives who fear Homeschooling
Progressives who fear Homeschooling
Progressives who fear Homeschooling

Salon posted an op-ed by Dana Goldstein: Liberals, Don’t Homeschool Your Kids: Why teaching children at home violates progressive values. (HT: The American Conservative). Goldstein’s arguments seem to include a fear that opting out of our “diverse” schools will somehow lead to less diversity. I think the opposite may be true. Rather than a Federal system which churns out like-minded, citizens that all believe the same truth-of-the-day, it will be home-schoolers and un-schoolers who are marching to the beat of a different drummer. Without our kids (liberal or conservative), there would be no one to challenge the orthodoxy of the cultural group-think.

Here’s and example the of the worst-case scenario described by Goldstein:

Take, for instance, Sonia Songha’s New York Times account of forming a preschool cooperative with six other brownstone-Brooklyn mothers, all of whom “said our children had basically never left our sides.” Indeed, in a recent Newsweek report, the education journalist Linda Perlstein noted a significant number of secular homeschoolers are also adherents of attachment parenting, the perennially controversial ideology defined by practices such as co-sleeping with one’s child and breast-feeding for far longer than typical, sometimes well beyond toddlerhood. Meanwhile, in suburban New Jersey, one “hippy” homeschooler told the local paper she feared exposing her kids to the presumably negative influences of teachers and peers. “I didn’t want my child being raised by someone else for eight hours out of the day,” she said.


Why It’s Never Mattered That America’s Schools ‘Lag’ Behind Other Countries

Why It’s Never Mattered That America’s Schools ‘Lag’ Behind Other Countries is posted at TechCrunch

The United States has never ranked at the top of international education tests, since we began comparing countries in 1964, yet has been the dominant economic and innovative force in the world the entire time. Despite this fact, a popular annual education report has once again stoked fears of America’s impending economic mediocrity with fresh stats on how far the U.S. “lags” behind the world in college attainment, pre-school enrollment, and high school graduation.

Read more…

10 Secrets You Should Know About Marriage

10 Secrets You Should Know About Marriage via RELEVANT Magazine

There are few people who really know what they’re getting into when it comes to getting married. We all have an idea of what marriage is all about. We have hopes, dreams and expectations of what it will look like. We watch movies, TV shows and even observe marriages in the world around us to try and get a glimpse of this thing we call holy matrimony. But we don’t really know until we’re there, do we?

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eMedia’s At Home Piano Lessons: Is it Any Good?

eMediaMy middle son will be graduating in the spring and we took advantage of obtaining dual credits to fulfill both his high school requirements and accumulate some college credits as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time or money to continue with his private piano lessons.  He loves playing, and was a bit heartbroken to give up his weekly private lessons with his favorite teacher.

We’ve tried some different things to keep him challenged and playing and when eMedia offered us a free copy of their Piano and Keyboard Method software to try, we thought it perfect timing.  This would be my son Benny’s first experience with a “virtual” instructor.


Benny has been playing for six years so we chose to review the Intermediate level CD ROM that works on both Win/Mac (he has a MacBook Pro). The software is initially installed on the computer taking up 534.5 Mb, after which the discs are not needed.  If first impressions were a prediction of how well Benny would do with eMedia, we were golden!  He liked it immediately.  He got started right away with the first lesson (there are 150+) and was playing Rachmaninoff beautifully.  eMedia selected to teach some wonderful pieces by many of music’s elite composers: Liszt, Beethoven, Chopin, Berlin, and Mozart.

Benny at RMSC

Here’s Benny’s thoughts:

This program is very easy to use, and extremely informative. Everything is broken down in to simple terms and phrases, so even those with only basic piano knowledge will be able to understand. The pieces are just the right difficulty for the recommended level (intermediate), and I never found the selections boring to play.

If a student is having trouble with a piece, sections can be highlighted and played at a normal or slower tempo to help master the troublesome areas. Everything from the theory to the tonal shading is well explained.  I found the instructor Vadim Ghin (a graduate of Juilliard) to be insightful and a great teacher. This has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with piano, and I would eagerly recommend eMedia’s Intermediate Piano and Keyboard Method to anyone wanting to continue with piano instruction using a non-conventional method.

I would add that the ideal student for this type of instruction is one who is relatively independent and doesn’t need constant reminders to do his lesson or practice. Although Benny did enjoy his experience, he is more driven to play pieces of his own choosing.  If he hears a song he likes he will find the music and teach himself.  We will hear him play the piano for an hour or more, tirelessly practicing till he gets it perfect.  I guess we learned he is not really at intermediate level after all, but something more.

He is advanced.  He is passionate about music, and happy he learned in elementary school to play the piano.

You will be impressed with the amount of material that is included in this program. It has digital recording capabilities, a digital metronome, orchestral accompaniment, and other cool add-ons.  The price is very reasonable ($59.95).  That was what 2.5 lessons with our private instructor cost me.  Let me send you now to eMedia to find out more about what, and how your student will learn using the Intermediate Piano and Keyboard Method.

Alert! eMedia is offering my readers a special 25% off discount now through 12/31/13. Just use coupon code EMD-HM1 when checking out to receive 25% off your order. Some restrictions apply. Valid on all eMedia branded products.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for this, my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions expressed here are my own, and my son’s own.  We disclose this to you in accordance with the FTC regulations.