Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Me and My Fellow Homeschoolers



Shoutout to the hilarious Jordan

I want to close out this semester with some hilarious videos that helped inspire this blog.

Now, Jordan may be pedantic and loud but these are real things homeschoolers deal with.

Yes, I did go to AWANA, I still have my Sparkie uniform and I would go to church 7 days a week even if it was just that my co-op classes were held at my church. I was instructed to be best friends with my siblings especially my sister.... but I'm definitely not shy. 



For an added bonus........

You might be a homeschooler if.....


It's been a joy blogging for you, look for more.

Homeschooled or not, live long and prosper.
J

Monday, May 5, 2014

Books Aren't Just For Nerds

Why You Should Force Yourself To Read


In this fast-paced world of instantaneous entertainment: humor is king and thrill is queen. Advertisements, shows, even the news, relies on humor or a "shock and awe" element. People seek to be entertained through other people's wit or thrilled by living vicariously through the onscreen adventures that they themselves will never experience.

There are four main problems that arise with onscreen entertainment and four reasons why you should force yourself to read instead of turning to the newest season of Mad Men.


#1 - False World
The world provided by movies and TV shows is a scripted, literally staged, and costumed world that cannot be obtained in real life, yet it is especially crafted to appeal to people and draw them in. It is a let down that is very subtle as people don't realize where the sense of inadequacy stems from.
Books, on the other hand, are an extension of your own world as you put imagery from your life experiences into the narrative of the book rather than supplementing your experiences with fabricated imagery.

#2 - Attention Span
Long attention spans (including mine) are becoming rare commodities. The prevalence of movies, TV shows, and internet memes contribute to the decay in attention spans. As the narrative of someone's story can be portrayed in either a 90 minute movie or 45 minute TV show, it doesn't require the viewer to commit to the experience to several days of getting to know the characters and walking through their thought processes from the inside out like a book does. Forcing yourself to read, is making yourself commit to only looking at words on a page--no multitasking.

#3 - Spoon-fed Entertainment
Movies, TV shows, and the endless pages of internet humor require little interaction with the content. Books, on the other hand, require imagination, reading comprehension, and focus.

#4 - De-Sensitivication
This element not only applies to viewing graphic content but also becoming de-sensitized to the incredible elements that should inspire awe (such as the acrobatics people are able to do thanks to computer graphics). But when people read, their imagery is contained to what they themselves have experienced.

I challenge you to pick up a book and really try to sit down and finish it. I believe that you will see an improvement in your mood and attention span.

Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Awaking Imagination Through Sonlight


Bright covers, a smell that awakens the imagination, endless portals to other worlds -- books.

Starting in second grade (or so I think), my family would receive a large box in the mail containing all the books we would need for the year as we followed the Sonlight curriculum. 

The receiving of this box soon became the highlight of my year, second only to my birthday. I could hardly contain (actually I couldn't contain it at all) my excitement as I sorted the dozens of books. Yes, I most definitely judged the books by their covers. To this day, I have a distinct dislike for Wheel on the School because my seven-year-old was instantly put-off by the illustration on the front. 

However, my experience with Sonlight extended past the elation of receiving a stock pile of books: my love of other worlds, whether they be historical-fiction, fiction, or biographies, flourished and is still an integral part of me today. (Future post)

I know other homeschoolers can relate to the stockpile of books a family amasses over the years.
What is your favorite book?
Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Homeschoolers Speak Up

This is an "Oh, you too?!" moment. 

I have an embarrassing reputation amongst my family for rarely being able to pronounce words correctly. From "photo-graphy" to "aminals", I have had issues saying words correctly. But today, I found that I am not alone and this is a common problem that plagues homeschoolers. Watch this video it's good for a laugh:


Find this funny? Let me know!

Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J

Monday, April 21, 2014

Behind the Scenes on Homeschoolers

Welcome to the lair of some Virginia homeschoolers. Now, to those homeschoolers out there, this may look familiar to you.









Books on books on books. 
Art supplies. 
The piano along one wall.
A desk covered in papers. 

This is a family with 6 kids (a common amount) and has amassed this wealth of books, supplies, and curriculums over a time span of approximately 17 years of homeschooling. 

This is what I miss most about doing school at home. Even while I was attending community college, all I had to do was ask my mom a question and she would go rummaging around our bookshelves to find a Math tutorial DVD, history book on Ronald Reagan, or even just a book with helpful and encouraging quotes. This is a common sight in classically based homeschooling.

From children's books in easy reach for the curious young minds....

To the book shelves of the oldest sibling, there is a stockpile of knowledge just waiting to be delved into.


Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Angst, Befuddled, Courting, Dating and Encouragement

A B C D E framing the discussion surrounding relationships

5 thoughts on the struggle that is real 


"Can I really ask a guy out to get coffee? Will he think I'm asking him on a date? I just want to get to know him."

"I'm not interested in you that way, but I still want to be your friend."

"Sorry, I'm not looking to date right now."

"I just want to go to the dance with someone. It doesn't have to be romantic!"

"He just needs to man up."

"She's too forward and clingy."

"Isn't it his responsibility to initiate."

"I just don't want her to turn me down."

"She didn't text me back so I knew she wasn't interested."*


Let's talk about angsty 20 somethings and relationships



Now this topic is not just constrained to the struggles of homeschoolers but this blog post hits on the struggles of this topic, seeping into many aspects in our culture, effecting people of all backgrounds.

So, I sat down to write a blog post about people's perspectives on dating and how convoluted they are: no matter whether you were homeschooled or not (but for some reason Christians just make it even more distorted). I poured my heart into a long rambling post as I worked my my crazy ideas out on paper.

BUT then I had a conversation with someone that has been through way more than me--her experience made me rethink how I would share my thoughts with the internet. Our conversation made me realize the amount of grace and tact that this topic should be handled with.

I have read a few of the 3,000+ books that pop up with you search Amazon books for "Christian Dating." I've been to the seminars. I've participated in hours upon endless hours of weighty discussions with my roommates, friends and sister. I've giggled lightheartedly at sleepovers. I've received lectures, advice, cautions, warnings, and encouragements--all on this intangible idea/topic/decision/lifestyle of interacting with the opposite gender in a romantic/friendly/fellow-human way. I have thoughts on this subject and I want to share them.

#1 - WHAT ARE WE EVEN TALKING ABOUT?

The definitions the provide the guidelines for any discussion on interacting with the other gender are very vague. What is dating anyway? To some, this term has been tainted with dirty colors and should be avoided and instead the couple should "court". Again, another term - Courting. Then arrises the question: Can men and women be friends? Especially in the situation of NYC where it is common to say "let's get coffee" and then go out one-on-one, is that dating? We are dealing with intangible feelings that the people having these feelings don't even quite understand what they're feeling. It's a mess. The aspect of this discussion that Christian homeschoolers know well is the drama that surrounds the question of whether or not to "kiss dating good-bye".

Terms to be defined:
Dating
Courting
Friendship
Relationship

When you define these for yourself with biblical and virtuous influences, clearly and explicitly set up boundaries (physical and emotional), and take into account your parents wishes - the whole discussion becomes crystalized.  And I did say discussion because once feelings thrown in there it takes way more work to crystalize anything.

#2 - Know You're Fighting a Battle 

Culture is constantly bombarding us--hammering in the nails that were positioned from our youth by the smooching cartoon characters and romanticized books. Culture is throwing ideals at our faces in the the forms of books, movies, PDA, music, Facebook, internet blogs... you name it, it has an ideal of how relationships should operate.But are these just unreasonable expectations that are now deeply engrained? In order to be the heroin in life (Divergent/Hunger Games), stand firm in the storms of life (Nicolas Sparks) or be as elegant as a princess, does she really require her (Disney) prince (or at least have 2 fighting over her)? With the exception of feminist stories, this is the prevailing narrative. I have barely started to understand what that intense undercurrent does to the psyche (even my own) of a person who reaches their 20s single.

#3 - Balance

Balance is key. Objectifying men is not healthy, but neither getting emotionally attached. Seriousness and joy go hand-in-hand. This is the idea of being in the world but not of it. Understand how the world works and operates but hold the the higher standard of virtue everyone is called to. It is so easy to blind yourself into thinking that you can expose your emotions to a guy and expect to not get emotionally attached. But we aren't supposed to be heartless or emotionless. A ship is safe in a harbor but that wasn't what ships are made for.

#4 - LOL

But seriously laugh out loud. The lesson I have learned is that no amount of conversations, lectures, seminars, or books stand a chance when infatuation sets in. Say goodbye to your common sense when faced with the "young man of your dreams," one that actually likes you, says the right things, and the opportunity for sin is there. Yes, I said sin - the sins of lust, idolatry, infatuation, selfishness they're there and they're sins. Here is where the foundations of your beliefs of right and wrongs are tested by the fire of love. True motivation comes out and the trueness of God's faithfulness stands strong.

#5 - God is in Control

If there was one topic that I believe in the sovereignty of God, it's this one. When I look back situations I see His hand of protection. Whether it be a heart-wrentching rejection, my own naiveté, or allocating time for other things--I believe there is an overarching plan that I shouldn't fight. If I focus on glorifying God and walking in the plan He has for me, this life-altering decision will be in His will.

My heart is pained for those who were going about their relationship in a healthy way and it didn't work out. I cry with those who are wracked by the confusion of "does he like me?" or those who are turned down when they become emotionally vulnerable to a person by exposing their feelings. I've seen the frustration as girls clutch their heads as their self-esteem is rocked, or they are just confused as to whether he's asking her on a date or just wants to "hang out" as friends (which never really works out). This is a real battle that has weapons such as texting, snapchat, and people protecting their vulnerability at all costs.

I have never been in what I would define as a romantic relationship with a guy. Where there was mutual attraction and the relationship was defined with a purpose. Yes, I often think something is wrong with me. Especially when people say "I can't believe you're single?! You're so ______" (You name it). I think I'm doing the right things - liking sports, dressing girly, interacting with guys on more than a flirty basis. Yet, I'm still called "boy-crazy" because I admire and allow the other gender to light up my life. I yearn to do what is right in accordance to my own moral standards, God's and my parents; while also being a role model. But, I've come to realize that no matter what you do in regards to having a relationship, people WILL criticize it. You can't please everyone. But God's opinion is the only one that matters.

In the end, people want to do the "right" thing either to glorify God or what seems "right" to themselves. However, no amount of discussion or slamming of the other sex will prepare the young adult for the struggle of infatuation and love that is coming. I find these books very frustrating because they, in their effort to define and formula-ize relationships, will inevitably place undue pressure or emphasis on certain parts of the relationship. People are all different - with various backgrounds, daddy issues, self-esteem issues, needs, life goals, and different favorite eggs (see Runaway Bride). Now, I am not advocating for people to try different relationships out to see which one is their favorite. But I've seen my friends refer to and actually view the other sex in an unhealthy way (only as potential mates or people to impress and not be real around, or dirty pigs) but people are people and the only way to break the system and live with virtue is to put yourself aside and cling to selflessness. Then God's true love will shine through and situations will fall into his will.


This is only opening the discussion. I really want to talk more about this. And if I struck a chord with you I want to hear about it!

Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J

*I have actually heard each and every one of these quotes.

Friday, April 4, 2014

This Homeschooler Needs You


Have you been homeschooled?

Have you been stereotyped either for or against?

I want to hear about it!

Please comment or talk to me in person (yes, I'm talking to you King's students!)

I know you guys have ideas about what you want to hear about.

Let me know!

My email is jessie.schnoebelen@tkc.edu

Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Road to College

"Homeschoolers are better prepared for college." - Anonymous

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Now, here's a new stereotype for you.

What about being educated at home K-12 or even just for a portion of their educational background makes people (or at least this person) think that they are better prepared for college than the average public school student?

While I can't answer that question, I will share some of my experiences with curriculum, tutorials, and outsourced classes. These posts can be found at:

Sonlight

Tutorials

Community College as a High Schooler

Overall, these methods of obtaining my high school degree and beginning of my GED (general education) did give me a skill set that has aided me as I am continuing my educational path at The King's College.

I wouldn't say that "homeschoolers are better prepared" but our experiences with independent learning and the inherent independence homeschooling provides, can ease us into the rigors of higher education.

What was your educational path?
Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J

Tutorials - The Bread and Butter of Homeschooling


What, do you think our moms teach us everything from chemical composition to Kant, Algebra to Latin, SAT prep to piano?

Sometimes the role of a homeschool mom is to outsource the teaching of certain subjects to tutorials offered by experts in their fields.

I learned chemistry in my science teacher's house, I learned writing while holding my friend's cat in their garage, and I studied philosophy in a 5 year program on my Great Books tutorial's hand-built hall. 

Observations:

1) This is where you find the overachievers - people studying French on their way to class, and playing piano on break. 

2) Everyone in the homeschool community knows everyone. 

3) Yes, we really do need to know the Greek alphabet through a song.

4) If you need to get out of answering a question in online class, fake technological problems... works almost every time. 

These tutorials may have seemed like jokes at the time but the individualized nature of my "course map" has led me on the way of becoming like Montaigne's bee than sips at different flowers to create its own intellectual honey.

Did you take a tutorial? I want to know all about it!

Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J

The Glamorousness of Community College

A right of passage (at least in my homeschool group) is attending community college.

I know what you're thinking...........

And I'm not going to lie, community college really is like the TV show Community. Just add in two wanna-be sority girls and you have my health class. Add a hippie and you have my biology class.

A few observations from my time at community college:

1) The campus was bigger than the college I actually attended in NYC... But it was also 100% more terrifying because as a sophomore in High School I [felt like] I stood out like a sore thumb.

2) But no-one really cares because everyone is misfits.

kristenboxx:

Watching the first season of Community.
I enjoy it.

3) Take the right teachers - they will make all difference.


In the end, community college with its labyrinth of halls and plethora of random eclectic people that I would end up seeing around my small town was an experience I wouldn't trade.
If you went to community college, what was your experience?
Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Socialization

"Wow, you're actually normal!"

Can't tell you how many times I've heard this. Now, I'll admit the people are probably joking but there's always a grain of honesty in a joke. Yet, that comment still makes me think....



(but then again, maybe I'm not normal)

But why do people think we're sooooo different from themselves just because homeschooling carries the connotation that we don't see the outside world or know how to interact with it? I'll let you in on a little secret...... people are people are people. This means that every person carries their own baggage of insecurities, different moral standards, and different cultural norms. Being educated at home comes along with its own baggage. Now, I was homeschooled K through 12--at home with my mom and my siblings but yes, I did see the outside world and I and other homeschoolers are "socialized" this is how:



  • We interact with people. It's not like we live in another universe. We have neighbors, church friends, and other homeschoolers (we have a secret society complete with secret handshake).
  • Because we aren't surrounded by our peers everyday, we learn how to interact with people of all ages. I noticed this phenomenon in my homeschool group and recognized it in myself that we are drawn to adults as well as children--not just our peers. 
  • While many homeschoolers have earned the stereotype of being nerds, that term carries many undeserved connotations. Removed from the peer pressures to do what is cool, homeschoolers are able to cultivate their own passions (from Lord of the Rings, Debate, Music and the like). Anyone that is more focused on a particular idea will come across as odd to other and quite often will awaken jealousy that manifests itself in meanness. 

Socialized? 
Yes. 
Culturally adept?
Is that really important when that ineptness stems from insecurities that everyone has or from a specialized skill set?


I'll let you answer that question for yourself. 
I, for one, am puzzling out whether my experiences in my childhood and teenage years set me at a disadvantage to my peers. Because quite often the jokes/comments imply that. 

Please leave me a comment with your thoughts!
Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Homeschooled With Siblings

Family is the people I lean on, love unconditionally, sit quietly with, throw snowballs at, and trust with important life discussions at all times. As a home educated alum, I spent the majority (basically 24/7) of my time with my family. Yet, I moved across the country to attend school. I feel a deep connection with my 3 siblings back home and it is hard to see them grow up from across the country as the develop their own personal talents and I'm not to be able to be a part of it or be an active supporter. This is why I begged my parents to let the older of my two brothers come out for part of spring break.

Abnormal, I know. Who wants to spend their precious spring break with their 14-year-old brother when they could be off in Florida soaking up the sun and getting turnt?


Well, I did. I had to rationalize it out and this is what I discovered:


I'm hoping this trip out will give him better memories. It pains me that he only seems to remember the rough times or the "bad" things I've done such as: "tan-in-a-can" or pining him down or the anxious high schooler I used to be as I dealt with the frustrations of being bullied. But he never brought up the fun car rides, the slurpees, the beach days, or when I would just take both him and the younger brother to the wild animal park or walks just for fun. I also hope to alleviate his learning curve as he enters the world himself.

His traversing the country gave me the excuse to become a tourist again. Seeing the city through the eyes of someone experiencing NYC for the first time helps bring perspective on the incredible sights and opportunities that avail themselves to me here.


I learned to relate to my 14-year-old angsty brother. And through that I learned many many more things about myself as I explained what being a leader means. He loves to give advice. He took great pleasure in hearing my relationship issues then turning it back at me saying: "Well you were freaking stupid, you probably scared him off." His unfiltered insight was refreshing. I knew the way to his heart was through his stomach so there was junk food for days.


Our adventures included wandering NYC, a day trip to DC (more details to follow), and watching Harry Potter. 


I hope this encourages you if you are a student far from your family or a sibling at home. 
And even though it's hard to say good-bye to my brother after a few days, not see my sister play the lead role in her play, or my other relate to his horse while playing polo, there's something freeing to return to building my life as a young adult away from my family. New York City may be rough, my classes may be challenging, my responsibilities may be strenuous--but this is my life and my family is always there. 


I would love to hear your thoughts on you and your siblings or friends.
Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Divergent from the Norm







I recently read the book Divergent by Veronica Roth. It followed the recent cultural mania of presenting dystopian society divided in to factions (AKA Districts or Sameness and the like) in order to maintain the ideal society. It follows a strong-willed, independent girl who defies the constraints of this society and her struggles.

The book raised questions in my mind for the philosophy for raising children to fulfill their ingrained inclinations. In Divergent, there are five factions and each eats, drinks, wears, basically embodies heart and soul the value that they believe will best provide for the common good of their society. They are Abnegation, for the selfless; Amity, for the peaceful; Candor, for the honest; Dauntless, for the brave; and Erudite, for the Intelligent. At age 16, at the brink of adulthood, the teenager chooses which group they are going to join and once they choose they can never look back. Until that point, the family is the center of discipline and guidance towards the chief end of their particular faction. 


I compare this to being homeschooled or any kind of schooling in general:



First - You will be judged and stereotyped no matter what faction or educational background you are from. 


Second - There are parts of you that will echo where you came from. Not to get too deep, but things you hold to or distain quite often stem from where you came from. 


Third - There is a learning curve to entering any new arena and you can and will fail; but, unlike the people in Divergent, you do not fall into the "factionless." Who you are is more than what faction/arena/college you choose to enter. You have an identity and skills that will always be there. 


I greatly enjoyed Divergent and I look forward to bringing up other themes that run through the book (such as becoming dauntless).



You be dauntless in your life. 

Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J

I would like to remind my readers that the arena of people who homeschool is very broad: people of all races, religions, motivations and intentions choose to homeschool their children. As I write this blog I am speaking from the my own experience of being homeschooled for moral and family reasons; but, I also am attempting to rebut several stereotypes that are imposed on homeschoolers as I have received and others around me have relayed. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

5 Common Concepts as Homeschoolers See Them

5 Concepts as Homeschoolers See Them

#1 Socialization - A (evidentially) crucial part of your education that is missing but your co-ops, carpools, and multiple extracurricular activities beg to differ. Most commonly used in the question "Oh! You're homeschooled?! How do you get socialized? Do you have friends?

#2 Community College - A rite of passage freshman homeschoolers suffer through as they sit with adults and high college students to learn ASL, Spanish and Stats. 

#3 Pressure - Homeschoolers know they're different. Pressure to them is wanting to go to prom, play sports, appear cool, and as they grow up, follow or disregard the training their parents drilled into them.

#4 Family - This term heavily relies on age-order. To the oldest sibling, family is the snot-nosed siblings that they help carry, take care of, and sometimes run away from. To the youngest sibling, family is constantly hearing "So, you're so-n-so's little sibling?" Ultimately, the family name becomes a badge of honor that must be protected and defended at all costs. 


#5 Mini-Van - desk on wheels, where you find yourself learning about politics (through talk radio), the slight differences between Bach and Mozart, a new language and even, if you're lucky, listen to Adventures In Odessy or Jonathan Park. Need a water bottle, a pair of shoes, a bandaid, a granola bar your school books, or a basketball? The mini-van has it.

Please feel free to leave me a comment and I hope that this sheds light about homeschoolers.

Whatever your educational background is, I hope you enjoyed reading this homeschooler's thoughts. 
Live long and prosper, 
J