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August 2015

by Mary Ann Kelley
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WWII, Art, Free Online Textbooks, Homeschool Haters, and More

From the Editor

It’s not-back-to-school time! Most of you are probably finalizing plans for the school year to come, getting organized, setting goals, considering field trips and projects, and feeling the excitement that comes with each new academic year. Some of you are new homeschoolers – some jumping into this new lifestyle with older children, and some with preschoolers and wondering what curriculum to use. Others are finishing up your homeschool journey and will be graduating your child at the end of this year.

Wherever you are on the homeschool path, enjoy each day and try to consider bumps in the path as opportunities instead of obstacles. In the end, curriculum and evaluations are a lot less important than the loving relationships that take place in an environment that prioritizes learning as a lifestyle instead of a checklist.

Enjoy the newsletter.

Warm regards,

Mary Ann Kelley

Teaching Calendar

August 18, 2015 — Virginia Dare born – 1587

August 19, 2015 — National Aviation Day

August 21, 2015 — Hawaii Admission Day – 1959

August 24, 2015 — Mt. Vesuvius eruption – 79

August 26, 2015 — Charles Lindbergh died – 1974

August 27, 2015 — Krakatoa eruption – 1883

August 28, 2015 — “I Have a Dream” speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr.

August 29, 2015 — Hurricane Katrina anniversary – 2005

September 2, 2015 — V-J Day (Victory over Japan, WWII) – 1945

September 3, 2015 — Treaty of Paris signed – 1783

September 6, 2015 — Pilgrims set sail from Plymouth, England – 1620

September 8, 2015 — International Literacy Day

September 9, 2015 — California Admission Day

September 11, 2015 — Patriot Day

View the entire calendar »

Educational Resources


As MOOCs gain in popularity and supply, open source textbooks are following close behind. Boundless has free online textbooks in over 20 subjects that can be used as is or compiled into your own custom titles using the drag and drop interface from Canvas. Customizable quizzes, which are automatically graded, are available for the content. Choose from Accounting, Algebra, Art History, Business, Calculus, Communications, Computer Science, Economics, Education, Finance, Management, Marketing, Microbiology, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Physiology, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Statistics, US History, World History, and Writing.

WWII Field Trip Guide

John Notgrass (of Notgrass History) is a homeschool graduate and history buff. He created a free
field trip guide to 450 sites across all 50 states; the guide is a free download. You must supply your email address to access the guide, but signing up for mailings is optional (there are checkboxes if you wish to sign up). As with all Notgrass publications, the quality and design of the guide is excellent.

Art Era Timelines

Practical Pages’ Art Era Timeline is a downloadable timeline with a comprehensive overview that includes dates, eras, and famous artists of each movement from pre-renaissance through modern. Each artist profile contains thumbnail examples of their most eminent works. The timeline is offered in 4 separate files due to size, and there are a variety of supplementary resources such as biography pages, lapbook printables, maps, and more on the site. Most resources are designed with Charlotte Mason’s methods in mind.

Recent Blog Posts

Transitioning from School to Homeschool

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Transitioning from School to HomeschoolSending your child off to school is a big transition. Making the shift to homeschooling when your child has been in school is another big transition. It may take some time to feel settled on the homeschooling path. Here are some things to anticipate as you make your way. Read More…

Ask Jeanne: Do Homeschoolers Get a Diploma?

Ask Jeanne: Do Homeschoolers Get a Diploma?Dear Jeanne, Do homeschoolers get a diploma? Half of my family is pro-homeschooling and half is anti-homeschooling. How do I convince my family that homeschooling would be a better and more positive solution than public school? S.H. in Colorado You have a couple of overt questions and a couple of implied ones. Let’s see what Read More…

8 Questions to Ask When Starting a Homeschool Co-op

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: 8 Questions to Ask When Starting a Homeschool Co-opHomeschool co-ops work well as part of the educational landscape of some families. However, you may not be able to find an existing co-op that is near enough your home to be practical, or it may not meet the academic, creative, or social goals you have for a co-op. The other problem may be that there is a flourishing co-op nearby, but the co-op is full and has a waiting list.You can organize a new homeschool co-op yourself, and these 8 questions will help you decide the best way to do so. Read More…

Featured Article: I’m Not Homeschooling AT You


It’s not a good practice, but I admit it.

Sometimes I read the comments.

The ones that follow online articles about homeschooling.

Among the occasions I have read the comments was when my op ed, “Faulconer: Homeschoolers are In: Reaction to Governor’s Veto of Sports Access Bill” appeared in The Richmond Times Dispatch a few months ago.

Some of the comments are by people knowledgeable about homeschooling.

Some of them are by people who are interested in education and willing to learn about homeschooling.

Some of them are by people who are doubtful about homeschooling.

Some of the comments I enjoy most are by parents who don’t homeschool but who are supportive of all kids, regardless of the approach to education.

And some of them are by parents who send their kids to school — and who are really, really upset with me for homeschooling. To them, I would like to say —

Hey, public school parents who are bothered by homeschooling: I’m not homeschooling at you.

I’m just homeschooling.

The fact that I’m homeschooling:

  • Doesn’t mean I think you should be homeschooling.
  • Doesn’t mean I think my kids are too good for the school your kids attend.
  • Doesn’t mean that my kids have never been to school or won’t go to school in the future.
  • Doesn’t mean I think my kids are better than your kids.
  • Doesn’t mean I am judging your parenting.
  • Doesn’t mean I am wealthier than you are.
  • Doesn’t mean I am poorer than you are.
  • Doesn’t mean I am Republican. Or Democrat. Or Libertarian. Or think you should be one of those.
  • Doesn’t mean I am a religious nut. Or a hippie earth mother.
  • Doesn’t mean I don’t work for pay like you do. Or like you don’t. Whatever.
  • Doesn’t mean I am unscientific or think you’re wrong about science.
  • Doesn’t mean I am anti-school.
  • Doesn’t mean I am anti-government.
  • Doesn’t mean I am racist or patriarchal. Or think you are.

Or maybe I am one or two of those things in addition to being a homeschooling parent.

But really, when you find out I’m homeschooling, you’ve learned only one thing about me. That’s just like if I just know your kids go to school, I know only one thing about you, too.

I don’t know your religion or politics or income or your thoughts on evolution.

Think about it — are there a whole bunch of things you can know are always true about people just because their kids go to school?

The things you think you can know about me, a homeschooling parent — if you stereotype homeschoolers as all having the same demographics, beliefs, and political positions — may lead you to believe I’m homeschooling from a sense of superiority — like my kids are more special than your kids.

Nope. Just doing what works for my family, because I believe children raised in families that function as best they can are better able to take care of themselves and give back to their communities.

Aren’t you doing that too? Doing what you think will work best for your family?

I knew it!

We have a lot in common then — even though our kids are learning through two different — equally legal and credible — approaches to education.

I promise I won’t think you’re sending your kids to school to prove anything to me, if you’ll promise not to think I’m homeschooling at you.

Now — some of you seem particularly upset with me when you perceive homeschoolers are straying from your script for them — for example, when someone points out that in most states in the U.S., school kids and homeschooled kids play sports together on their community’s high school teams, or when someone points out that homeschooled kids and school kids take some classes together through part-time enrollment at many schools, or when someone points out that many homeschooled kids do attend school at some time during their K-12 years. You also don’t really like it when someone points out that some teachers homeschool their own kids, or that some homeschooling families have some of their kids in school while others are learning at home.

You’re more comfortable seeing all homeschoolers as having “turned their backs on schools,” as all separatists from society. You’ve heard this, and you’ve ascribed it to all homeschoolers, and you don’t really want that belief challenged.

Maybe that’s because it’s worrisome to think about sharing resources with kids whose families are approaching education differently. You may not have thought this all the way through: you’re sure that homeschoolers are not well-socialized and have denigrated schools, but you’re the one insisting that homeschoolers be kept out.

Does anything strike you as odd about that?

If this is not how you feel about homeschooling families, then my writing here is not addressed to you. I have the good fortune to meet so many people like you who are respectful about our approach to education. And if you’re a homeschooling parent who is more on the “let’s-be-separate-from-school” spectrum, I get that you are a part of the homeschooling demographic too.

Our choice of how to educate our kids is just one thing parents may have in common or we may differ on.

If we differ on how we educate our children — even if we’re both homeschooling but have different approaches — and if that has upset you in the past, I hope you’ll take a moment to reconsider — because, you know, I’m not homeschooling at you.

A popular speaker at homeschooling conferences, business groups, and parents’ groups, Jeanne Potts Faulconer has homeschooled her three sons in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Virginia. She is a former college faculty member, editor and book reviewer for Home Education Magazine, long-time editor for VaHomeschoolers Voice, and recent news correspondent for WCVE, an NPR-member station. Jeanne teaches writing and literature for her youngest son’s homeschool co-op, and she is a student of how learning works – at home, in the music room, in small groups, in the college classroom, on the soccer field, and in the car to and from practice. Holding her Master of Arts degree in Communication, Jeanne conducts portfolio evaluations for Virginia homeschoolers for evidence of progress. To read more of Jeanne’s writing, inquire about a homeschool evaluation, or ask her to speak to your group, see her blog, At Each Turn.

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