Author Archives: Penny

The Changing Face of Homeschool Community

“Go to a Park Day! Make some new homeschool friends and ask your questions!” I see this advice over and over again on Facebook groups in response to someone’s first post woman-1586499_640or initial question or two about homeschooling.

Park Days have been the traditional gathering place of homeschool families. Children are free to play and run off their excess energy while moms befriend and support each other. The encouragement shared among themselves ranges from parenting advice to curriculum ideas to easy dinner recipes. Many a life-long friendship has been forged in these early days of homeschool community.

But now in 2018, I am seeing Park Days fade and fold. Some of this is due to the aging of those original Park Day families. They are graduating their last children and while some continue to attend Park Days to support the newer moms, others have become too busy in their new season of life. Continue reading

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Homeschool Habitats

It’s that time of year when scanning Instagram posts, Facebook newsfeeds, or Pinterest boards reveal beautifully decorated homeschool rooms, cute curriculum closets, and unique organizational cubicles. You can video tour homeschool spaces on YouTube and Facebook Live too. Who knew how creative one could get with maps, chalkboards, IKEA bookshelves, and dollar store organizers?

It reminds me of the photos you see of picture-perfect nurseries awaiting the birth of a first child. Yet do you remember seeing a photo posted of that same room several weeks after the birth of that child? Probably not! The sleep-deprived new parents may be madly trying to capture a picture of baby’s first smile, but they wouldn’t dare show you the piles of laundry and other paraphernalia now cluttering the formerly pristine nursery.

And, similarly, you aren’t likely to find many proud displays of homeschool rooms in November or February. Continue reading

A Little Bit About Me

I’m honored and pleased to be featured in Voyage LA, an online magazine featuring LA’s most inspiring stories.  If you’d like to learn  more about me, my experience, and my reasons for opening a homeschool curriculum and consulting business, take a moment to read this interview.

Meet Penny Ross of Tools for the Home Educator in Torrance

One of the challenges about starting Tools for the Home Educator has been the tension between not wanting to draw too much attention to myself and yet, understanding that the business is based on me and my knowledge of the homeschooling market.  I hope that this article will help to build my reputation while avoiding braggadocio.

Can I help you as you educate your children at home?

 

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Homeschooling Differently in December

Have you ever considered translating your holiday preparations into education-speak and counting them as “school”? We need to remember that learning happens in many different ways and can easily be accomplished outside the curriculum box. December lends itself well to holiday-themed project -based learning, especially for our younger students:making-791111_640

  • Baking translates to Home Economics, Nutrition, or Math
  • Making gifts and crafts becomes Art, Home Economics, or Community Outreach
  • Addressing Christmas Cards can count for Penmanship or Spelling
  • Looking up places on a map where you are sending cards or receiving them from is Geography
  • Holiday shopping teaches Math, Finance, and Budgeting
  • Singing, listening to, or playing Christmas Carols on a musical instrument is Music
  • Walking around the mall or out to your car on the outskirts of the parking lot is P.E.
  • Investigating holiday traditions and Christmas customs can become Social Studies or History
  • Learning more about Christmas, Hanukah, and other faith-based holidays translates to Bible or Comparative Religions or Social Studies

Continue reading

What’s the Worst of This Election?

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Sadly, the worst part of this election is not the choice between Trump and Clinton (even though this is the most disagreeable choice in all the years I’ve been voting for president).

Unfortunately, we cannot blame this horrible choice on the Republican and Democrat parties or on the current government.   The choice between Trump and Clinton is not a bad decision foisted upon us by someone else.

In America, anyone who meets the constitutional qualifications for president can declare his or her intention to run.  In fact, 17 Republicans and 5 Democrats did just that.  Through a lengthy process of primary elections and caucuses, the field was narrowed to 1 Republican, Donald Trump, and 1 Democrat, Hillary Clinton.  And just who did the winnowing?  The voters, that’s who!  Yes, it was the majority vote of our peers that has given us this horrible choice. Continue reading

Overcoming Post-Holiday Lag

Welcome-Back-to-school-1-300pxJet lag is that crazy disorder experienced by travelers when the mind knows it is in one time zone while the body is certain that it is in a different one.

A similar condition affects families at the end of the Christmas break. Known as post-holiday lag, it results when a student’s body is returned to school while its brain continues on holiday vacation. Homeschoolers are as susceptible to this disorder as any other type of student. But with a few simple steps of preparation, wise homeschool moms can lessen the impact of post- holiday lag upon their students.

A day or two before the family’s planned return to the school routine, all should begin easing off the sugar and junk food that has likely dominated holiday eating habits. This is also the perfect time for some brisk exercise – plan a family hike, bicycle ride, or other fresh-air workout together. And, finally, get everyone to bed at a reasonable hour.

On the first day back to your school, you can signal the change in routine with a wonderful read-aloud. Find a book you can all enjoy and read two or three chapters that first day. You want to get far enough into the story so that your students eagerly anticipate reading more tomorrow. Continue reading

How does the Mandatory School Vaccination Law (SB277) Affect Me?

nursePlease note that this article intentionally does not address the pros or cons of vaccinations. My objective, as a homeschool consultant, is to help families prepare for the requirements of the new law; it is not to offer advice regarding medical decisions for their children.

Beginning July 1, 2016, all children attending a campus-based school in California will need to be vaccinated against 10 specific diseases. SB 277, recently signed into law by Governor Brown, eliminates the Personal Belief and Religious Exemptions which had been utilized by parents who selectively vaccinate or who do not vaccinate their children.

Listed below are three common school scenarios with details of how each will be impacted by this new law:

#1 – My Children Attend a Campus-Based School.

These children must be vaccinated by the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year unless granted a medical exemption by their doctor. Their schools will be checking for the mandated shots at time of initial school entry, transfer to a new school, and at 7th grade.

If vaccinations are an issue for your family, then parents can request a Personal Beliefs Exemption (PBE) from their medical professional prior to December 31, 2015. The form, CDPH 8262, should be turned into the school office as soon as possible. Continue reading