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Current Events, Journal, Tips and Tricks

Home Schooling in California

My face when I think about having young kids now

Way back in the long, long ago, I had little ones (who have miraculously become wonderful adults). For various reasons, I chose to home school some of them (that sounds like I had 1,000 children. No, I had three and home schooled 2 of them for a time). I would like to share my experiences and resources (there are probably better ones now, since everything has changed). It doesn’t have to be as Mad Max as it used to be.

First: if you choose to truly home school your children (not just choose distance learning through an established school or school district), you must officially become a private school. There are no exceptions. However, just because you are a private school does not mean you are free from the state of California’s control. There are basic requirements for who can participate in your school, what information must be accessible to the state if they show up at your door, what basics need to be taught, etc. However, at the time of the writing of this article, students are not required to have immunizations for entry if they attend a home-based private school or an independent study program with no classroom-based instruction. Due to the nature of executive orders, this could change any time. Be sure to check the Department of Education’s Immunization Requirements page.

I would suggest you become a member of the Home School Association of California. They were immensely helpful when I began (and the internet was young) and used to offer a fantastic CD of ready-made school forms to keep you more organized (I do not know if they still do that). Here is their quick guide to home schooling:

https://www.hsc.org/quickguide

Second: Before you embark on this journey, decide how you are going to teach your children. The state of California’s Department of Education has some basic requirements listed on their website, per grade: Education Code for Private Schools and Schooling at Home.

Kindergarten through 6th Grade
7th Grade through 12th Grade

As you can see, these are very general, wide-ranging areas of study. So, what is required to obtain a high school diploma? Not as much (or as many credits) as you think. Here is the breakdown of state requirements, plus UC and CSU requirements for freshman admission: Graduation Requirements.

Graduation and Freshman Enrollment Requirements
neon signage
Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

Third: Now that you can see how minimal California’s education requirements are, it’s time for the hardest part for me: how to teach to your child. This is immensely beneficial for life: how many times have you tried to teach your child (or help them with homework) and nothing you tried worked? We all learn differently. I learn differently than my children and it made it difficult for me to connect with them. If I had the online resources there are now, I would have been a much more effective teacher and my children would have been much happier being home schooled.

Here are some wonderful articles about how to discover your (and your child’s) learning styles and how to connect with material:

Here are both parts of podcast from “Focus on the Family.” While they are a Christian foundation, these episodes are wonderfully educational.

teacher talking to the class
Photo by Max Fischer on Pexels.com

Fourth: Now it is time to develop your curriculum. Exactly what (and how) are you going to teach your children? This is all up to you.

  • If you want physical books, go to thrift stores. You cannot beat $.25 to $1 for a book!
  • Do you want videos or audio books? YouTube, Vimeo, or Odysee are fantastic options along with various podcast options.
  • Are you looking for projects for you children to do? What do you do around the house?
    • Cooking, baking, or canning/fermenting are wonderful for not only Home Economics but Math and Chemistry.
    • Geometry, basic Math AND the essential skill of reading a tape measure (it’s surprising just how many people cannot read a tape measure) can be building a dog house.
    • Science is replacing a light fixture or installing a solar charged light fixture outside.
    • Biology could be incubating some eggs and breaking them open once per week to compare the changes throughout the incubation cycle.

Here are some more wonderful suggestions:

Fifth: Be patient with yourself and your child. Neither one of you will ever be perfect. There will be fantastic days and there will be horrible days. If you accept this from the beginning, this will give the both of you the freedom to find your groove. I wish you and your child the best of luck, love, and success during this new phase in your lives.

And here are two resources for high school students/parents that I did not have a specific place for. I do not know if I wholeheartedly support the main organization, these are handy:

Personal Branding Step by Step

Personal Branding – Who Am I? – Passions

This is step 3 (Defining Your Passions) from Defining Who You Are from The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and this is where my A.D.D. really kicks in.

Here’s the straight-up, actually written on paper list of what my passions are (I will elaborate on those passions that require it):

  • My husband
  • Business
  • Graphic Design – All Things Digital/Computer Related/Internet
  • Education
  • Self Improvement

Now, for the elaborations.

Business: I have been a total geek for anything related to business (in general) for as long as I can remember.  I love just about everything about the topic of business (except taxes).  I even have a diploma from a technical school (which is worth less than the paper it’s printed on but cost me $5,000) in Small Business Administration (I learned Lotus there … yes, LOTUS lol … in my defense, it WAS 1992).  From day to day administrative duties to marketing, I love it (heck, I even loved working with one office manager to develop the standards and practices that enabled the company to become ISO certified).

Graphic Design: So, the other day I stumbled onto this wonderful podcast (that I obviously can’t say enough about) Fresh Rag.  I began to browse through the podcasts when I noticed a theme (yeah, I’m a bit slow sometimes): The site focuses on artists (anything creative)… then he mentions Graphic Artists.  I decide to look up exactly what the term Graphic Artist is and that’s when I hear the angels sing.  🙂  Just about every area of interest I have falls under that category!  Take a look at the courses offered at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and you will get an idea of what I’m talking about.  I really had no idea that everything I’ve been learning (or wanting to learn) fell under one category!

Education: No subject is safe from my interests.  Anywhere from fiber arts (knitting, crocheting, weaving, etc.) to rebuilding a car engine, I have learned it and will continue to as long as I enjoy doing it.  This past year, I have strayed from my typical “only if it’s practical I can learn it” education to pushing more creative pursuits.  I completed (framed and hung) my first ever water-color painting and now that I’m sitting here, contemplating creating a logo that represents me, I guess I should learn to draw (I currently can draw a mean stick figure, though in high school I once read that the human hand was the most difficult part of the human anatomy to draw correctly so I spent months on that one subject).

My First (and only) Watercolor Painting
My First (and only) Watercolor Painting

Self Improvement: This really could fall under the subject of education but this is more personal.  We all have issues/hang-ups and if we do not learn to overcome them, we will never move forward in our lives.  So, looking at this more in-depth, I have been on the quest of “Personal Branding” for over two years.  I’ve been working on breaking through the self-built walls in my life, pushing past my comfort zone, and learning to embrace not only who I am but who I can (and will) become.

So, that’s where I am today. Step Four of Defining Who You Are from The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand is Identify Your Ideal Traits.  This should be fun!  I will begin this today so, hopefully, it will be ready to post tomorrow.  This will be posted today.

Crafts, Metal, Wood

Welding and Wood Carving

I have found two You Tube channels (actually, hubby found one) that are fantastic and I need to share them!

The first one is what has been occupying my time.  I’ve always ‘dreamed’ of working with wood.  I have chisels, a scroll saw, band saw, router, drill press, plans, two Dremels, etc. but never quite got around to it.  That is, until I finally committed my brain to learning something.  This guy is one of the few channels that teaches how to do wood carving with power tools.  So, on the days when I’m supposed to be doing cardio (cough, cough) I’ve been in the garage playing.

And this guy hubby found last night.  The way we both see it, no matter how long you’ve been doing something, it can’t hurt to continue to learn and perhaps learn techniques that will make your work better.  Welding.  I’ve done a good job splattering molten metal (and burning myself) but like the idea of learning to do this more (take a look at the plasma cutter … I want one!).