The Homeschooled Hedgehog

Anonymous asked: Just wanted to say that I really love the blog! You give great advice. I wish I'd had something like this when I was younger. I went back to school after a few years because I was so lonely, but I see that things have changed now in terms of accessibility to extracurricular activities and dual-enrolled programs, and that makes me so happy. I think I'll send the link to my little sister who is now homeschooled. Thanks!

Thank you :D  Good luck to your sister!

ilovecharts:

Here is another chart based on a lovely submission from reader thisurlishumorous. I again exploited it to expose the shameful bias against cute hedgehogs on the internet. I really like hedgehogs. And while I won’t dispute the relative cuteness of cats and dogs, I just think we need more diversity when it comes to the representation of adorable mammals on the web.

ilovecharts:

Here is another chart based on a lovely submission from reader thisurlishumorous. I again exploited it to expose the shameful bias against cute hedgehogs on the internet. I really like hedgehogs. And while I won’t dispute the relative cuteness of cats and dogs, I just think we need more diversity when it comes to the representation of adorable mammals on the web.

Anonymous asked: Ok so I've been homeschooled for three years now, and only recently have I started to make friends and whatnot in my homeschool group thing. And of course, we're moving. Any advice on making friends that are also homeschooled in my new area? I think I'm moving to Lubbock Tx (which is the homeschooling capital of the US) so there won't be a lack of them, I'm just shy...

Here are some previous posts on the topic of making friends in a new area, just to get you started- 1, 2, 3.

Any time you want to make friends, homeschooled or otherwise, this is my advice- figure out where the people are, and then go there.

Want to make homeschooled friends? Research homeschool groups in the area and go to their activities.

Want to make friends who share your religion (or lack thereof)? Google your denomination and the name of your town and see what comes up.

Want to make friends who share your hobbies? Search for activities in your new city that involve those hobbies- clubs, classes, organizations, volunteer groups, etc.

Want to find study buddies? Take a class that you’re interested in.

Beyond that, keep an eye on community bulletin boards (my local natural grocery store has a huge bulletin board with posters for everything from poetry readings to cooking classes to local concerts), and local event calendars (here’s one I found in Lubbock for you), which will tell you where to go to meet people who share your interests. When you go to these places, keep your eyes out for other activities- for example, I’ve gone to local open mic nights and found out about songwriting workshops, gone to plays and found out about volunteer opportunities, and gone to church and found out about classes and Bible studies.

Now, I realize that you’re shy and I totally understand.  I’m an introvert, and I rarely go out of my way to talk to strangers.  For people like us, activities where you’re forced to communicate with people can be really helpful- I met a lot of my homeschool friends through ballroom dance classes, and I met most of my college friends through speech class and group projects.  These kinds of activities give you easy conversation starters- “How long have you been dancing?”, “I really liked what you said about ___ in your speech- where did you read about that? I’d love to learn more about it.” I’ve also made some good friends by participating in NaNoWriMo activities (Lubbock has a region :D ), though that won’t kick into gear again until October 2013.  Keep in mind that you don’t have to limit yourself to homeschool activities- I met my best friend (who has never been homeschooled) through a Bible study when we were in junior high.

Try out different things. If you don’t like something, you don’t have to stick with it. No matter how long you’ve lived somewhere, there are always new things to explore and new people to meet.  Good luck! :D

Anonymous asked: Dude- your blog= awesome. There's a lot of truth to it! Haha I've been homeschooled all my life, and I find it pretty cool. :)

Thank you! :D

Anonymous asked: I love this blog so much! Just wondering.. is anyone here familiar with "Unschooling"?

Thank you!

I was kind of half-unschooled.  There were some great points to it (getting to spend more time on my own interests, developing some serious self-motivation skills, working at my own pace), but there were some real drawbacks, too- in particular, I realized in college that I had no idea how to take notes on a lecture or study for a test, which caused me a lot of stress in the beginning- I almost gave up in the first week because it was SO overwhelming.

While unschooling gave me some killer research skills (which has been a huuuuuge help to me over the years), I feel like I missed out on the benefits of learning from people with more education than me.  Like, I knew that I wanted to read certain books, but nobody taught me how to really analyze literature the way that you learn in English class (and I had no idea this was something I would want to learn), so I feel like I didn’t get as much out of my reading as I could have.  I actually feel like I did the best in the subjects where I was forced to learn in a more traditionally academic manner- for example, I have natural, writerly instincts, but because I was already good at writing, I didn’t study it very hard.  On the flipside, I had to fight and claw my way through math, and I feel like I actually learned new and important things as a result, and while I don’t do worksheets or anything on a regular basis, I’ve found that algebra and geometry have been pretty useful to me over the years.

I guess what I’m saying is that I liked unschooling, but I wish I’d incorporated more traditional academics into my education, just because I don’t think that I could personally be my own best teacher at all times.  That said, my homeschooled/unschooled friends who did early-start college classes or who took classes in a more traditional setting (i.e. sitting in on local high school classes, taking special homeschool classes, going to a well-run co-op) have largely done really, really well in college and in life after college.  Public school and classroom thinking have their drawbacks, but there’s no denying that they help prepare you to answer to bosses you may or may not like, meet deadlines, and other skills that are pretty important in the work world that you might not learn with homeschooling alone.  I tend to advocate for a good mix of acadamia and independence.

Anonymous asked: Mehhh I've been homeschooled forever and I was planning on going to highschool for my freshmen year this year but my parents fricking changed their minds and said I couldn't go -.- they suck at teaching and parenting. Any ideas how I could change their minds about letting me go maybe next year(even though I'll be terrified lol)?

This is what I would do in your situation: find out if your local school system has a program where homeschool students can come in to take classes that are difficult to do at home (chemistry, speech and debate, etc.), and ask if you can take those classes in addition to homeschooling.  If it goes well, you can bring up the question of going back to public school later.  Just be sure to talk to someone in the school district about how to make the changeover- I know a few people who tried to enter public or private school as sophmores and were told they’d have to start over as freshmen.

dontmakeitsohardjustrun asked: for tr4velingsoul about making friends: I recommend finding a 4H club. Seriously, you'll meet TONS of new people and there's so much you can do as a 4H'er!

thechocolatechipcookie asked: My mom has always implemented the Charlotte Mason method! It's really good. Personally, I like the ideas. For fifth and sixth grade, we followed it totally, but there wasn't quite enough structure in our days, so we switched to TRISMS for seventh and eighth grade. For high school, I'm using Mother of Divine Grace. My mom likes her ideas a LOT though, and definitely uses them for my younger brother, who is in elementary school. :)

Anonymous asked: Does anyone on here use the Charlotte Mason method for homeschooling? Just wondering.

I don’t, but maybe someone else does?

Anonymous asked: I'm homeschooled and I just got a hedgehog yesterday and today I was playing with him and I realized I was homeschooled and I had a hedgehog and the first thing I thought of was this blog.

This is beautiful.

[image description: animated gif of comedian Jason Sudekis from TV show Saturday Night Live.  He is standing outside a theater and waving his hands near his face while saying, “I don’t know why I’m getting emotional”.]

findaroadtoahumbleabode:

Homeschooling FOR THE WIN!!!

[image description: four animated gifs of actor Josh Hutcherson appearing on the Jimmy Kimmel show.  First gif shows Jimmy asking, “Do you feel like you missed going to school and that experience?”  Second gif shows Josh answering, “Well, sort of, but then I actually tried going back to high school for one semester, but that’s all I lasted.  It was horrible.”  Third gif shows Jimmy asking “What happened?”  Fourth gif shows Josh answering “I had to get up early everyday.”]

(Source: allisonhendrix24601)

saong asked: Hey there :) I just started homeschooling this year so I'm still a bit new to it all but I have a question. I might be moving next year and I don't know how to make friends when I'm not in school cause when I switched to homeschooling I just kept my school friends. Any tips?

The first thing I would do is Google the local homeschool association/s in that area.  See if you can track down any contact information for the leaders of those groups and then call or email them.  Ask about social groups in the area- many cities have special social groups for homeschooled teens.  Find out about homeschool classes, athletic teams, co-ops, field trip groups, social events, conventions, etc.  Depending on your age, you might be able to enroll in dual-credit classes at local colleges.  Some high schools allow homeschoolers to participate in their sports, theater, and other programs.  Community theater’s another good way to meet people- they’re always looking for volunteers!

If there aren’t a lot of strictly homeschool activities in your area, you can always look into clubs, teams, and classes aimed at teens in general- book groups at the local libraries, activities at the local YMCA, church youth groups, dance classes and sports leagues that aren’t tied to schools, etc.

I see from your page that you do NaNoWriMo- you could check on the NaNoWriMo website to see if your new city has a local NaNo chapter and try going to their events once October and November roll around.

Any other hedgehogs have advice that I missed? 

Anonymous asked: for allthestrangerplaces, colleges most often like homeschoolers since a lot of homeschoolers are able to do a lot of extra cir or leadership things outside of school, and most colleges are looking for real world experience and doing stuff on your own. so as long as you take advantage of a flexible schedule, they'll love you!

In my experience, I wouldn’t say colleges favor homeschoolers.  Colleges are much more accepting of homeschoolers now than they’ve ever been, but in general I would say that colleges actually favor good applications.  Do your research and find out what the colleges you’re interested in require for admissions, and the kinds of extra curriculars that they favor.  Work hard and make sure that all your credits add up and your transcript is up to snuff.

There’s a dangerous attitude in the homeschool community that being homeschooled gives you a leg-up in life.  However, this is only as true as you and your guardians make it.  Yes, one of the points of homeschooling is to free you from the structures of public school, but you also have to graduate with the tools necessary to thrive in today’s world- and that means, for better or for worse, you need to have a college degree, which means you need to have the grades, transcripts, and life skills necessary to get into and survive college.

Didn’t mean to go on a rant there, but this is something that really worries me about the homeschool community, and it’s an attitude that I’ve seen backfire the minute high school is over.  If you are able and willing to put in the hard work and preparation that homeschooling requires, it can be a great experience.  If not, you’re going to have trouble coming out of it.

skellagirl asked: Most of the colleges I've looked into actually PREFER homeschoolers. I've never heard of homeschooling looking bad to them. Maybe in the past, but not anymore! And yeah, you can always just ask what they require for you to get in. C:

Again, it really does depend on the college- some favor homeschoolers heavily, others discriminate against them.  Research, research, research!

umbrakhaleesi asked: Homeschooling does sometimes look bad at colleges, especially since you don't get the same college prep opportunities as a kid going to public school would! I'd just suggest thinking long and hard about it. I was homeschooled all my life. I wish I wasn't.

This can be true, and I’m sorry to hear that homeschooling was not a positive experience for you.  

I do know homeschoolers who, because they and their parents didn’t take the proper measures, have had a really hard time with college.  However, I know other homeschoolers who’ve gotten into really good schools and done very well for themselves.  

Proper homeschooling does take forethought and effort, and if you can’t or won’t put that work in, you’re going to have problems.  The opportunities are there if you’re have the ability and will to seek them out.  I’ve given this advice here before and I’ll give it again- do your research.  Know the laws, know the requirements, and keep up to date.