Monday, October 5, 2015

So You Think You Want To Homeschool perhaps this post title has a little dramatic flair!  Forgive me and read right past it for some practical help.  Many friends and acquaintances have contacted me over time with the same types of questions. To make it easier to reference, share, and pass along, I've created this post full of reasonable, matter-of-fact, solid advice that I hope will help someone along their way! 
So many of us homeschool. 
For many different reasons. 
In so many different ways.
That alone probably sums up most of the following information.  But since you're probably expecting more details, I'll start at the beginning....


Let's go ahead and get this detail out of the way.  Although it may seem intimidating, with a little planning and record keeping, it's actually the easiest part of the job for me. 
First Year:  It's as simple as submitting an initial application with the state, basically notifying them that you will be homeschooling your child/children.  This is done through the Department of Education and is as simple as providing your family's information and the birth certificates of your children.  This can all be done online HERE.  Then you wait for your notice of approval.  Easy-peasy!
Second Year:  It gets a little more detailed.  Once again, you submit an application, this time for renewal.  More information and documentation is required.  Please don't let that intimidate you-it's really an easy process.  If you are educating your children with acceptable resources and keeping record of their work (including the work itself), these requirements will be nothing more than providing requested information.  HERE you will find expected responsibilities (and freedoms) as your child's educator....right from the DOE itself.   
Disclaimer: We reside in the state of Louisiana and the information shared here is for fellow residents.  As homeschool laws and requirements vary from state to state, be sure to research your home state for the legalities.


You DO NOT have to have a college degree or be certified to teach your own children.  Common sense is that if you yourself struggle with learning, it's probably a good idea to look further into your decision to homeschool.  I'm not saying it can't be done if that's your situation, just that I'm not familiar with your options or resources available.  I am personally a student at heart and learning has always come easily and joyfully for me.  You will know if you're equipped to teach your child.  You will know if God is calling you into the ministry of leading your children in this huge area of their lives.  It was a journey for me to get to the starting point, as it has been for so many other homeschool Mom's.  So often it starts with a quiet whisper to your heart and a strong desire to learn more about this way of family life.  I love seeing the journey begin and come to fruition in others.  Then begins the journey of Homeschool itself.
With that being said, I will be the first to tell you....homeschool is NOT an easy road to travel.  It is so very worth it, a beautifully messy journey, and full of good and not so good days.  It is truly a gift, a ministry, and full of a lot of easy AND hard work.  It IS a full time job.  I wouldn't have it any other way!  I do however, always want inquiring minds to understand this.  I would never want one to believe that this is an easy way out or that anyone can do it.  I'm no better than the Public School Parent, the Veteran Homeschooler, or the Mom that wants to homeschool her children but can't.  I'm simply, imperfectly obedient to God's call on my life and so very thankful for His grace where I fall short.  


This is really the question of all questions.  You will easily discover that you can spend hour upon hour researching this subject and not even begin to discover what resources are out there.  Combine that with the fact that every child is different and you'll find an answer that I simply cannot provide for you.  What I can do is share some of the basics that I've learned along the way.  I've found that a good starting place in the curriculum hunt is to look first into different homeschool methods.  The beauty of homeschool is that you decide the approach, curriculum, and schedule that best fits your family and  meets the needs of your learners.  The list below is only a starting point, as there are really no set rules in how and what avenues you choose.


DVD/Online Classes


Charlotte Mason


Unit Studies

If anything, the above list eliminated many curriculum options from my personal search.  Still, that was a valuable step.  The choices of curriculum seem endless and there are so many good options out there. Many, if not most, families choose to piece their curriculum together.  We do use a set curriculum for the most part.  For those interested, we order our books and resources primarily HERE.  What I love about this site is I'm able to use it as a sound guideline while still incorporating more than one publisher. 


I guess I must address that dreaded catch phrase 'Socialization'.  I'll save us all some time here and refer you to the many online articles, blog posts, and resources regarding our children's growth outside of books and learning.  Is this important?  Of course.  Another value of homeschool is guiding the growth and development of the whole child, not just their education.  In our home, we are busier now than we ever were before homeschool.  I just don't believe it takes a formal school classroom environment to prepare my children for real life.  I do however think there are important things that need to be learned outside of the home.  And trust me when I tell you there are so many ways to fill in those 'gaps'.   Some of many options include....

Church Activities

Extracurricular Activities


Homeschool Groups

Homeschool Co-Ops (This is our first year in a co-op and it's absolutely amazing)

Family & Friend Get Togethers



We're presently in our 3rd year of homeschool.  It took us about a year to 'decompress' from the conventional school atmosphere.  If there's anything I've learned, it's that no year will be the same.  Each child, each season of life, and each grade level brings new joys and adventures.  I grow and learn right alongside these ways far beyond books and teaching.  Homeschool brings out the best and the 'not so best' in myself and my small people.  The gift is that each shortcoming or challenge we confront is recognizable, dealt with, and worked out.  As a parent and the teacher of my children, I can't think of a better pro-active approach.  I am grateful and so very blessed to have the opportunity to live this homeschool life with the people I love the most.
 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Truth about House Bill 288

There is currently a bill pending the Natural Resource Committee here in the Louisiana House of Representatives.  House Bill No. 288 seeks to make it illegal to transport live, feral hogs in the state of Louisiana.  You can find the proposed bill HERE.

There have been good discussions between Representatives and people like myself who strive to protect our rights as hog hunters.  These discussion include frequent mention of the growing 'feral hog population' in the state and the destruction they bring to farmlands and such.  It seems that lawmakers are seeking a solution to this problem.  Understandable. 

A recent online article authored by the Outreach Coordinator for the Louisiana Wildlife Federation was published in what seems to be an attempt to rally the people of our state in support of this bill.  In my opinion, it was missing a lot of really big details.  In an attempt to paint the whole picture, I commented on this article-only to see that my comment is 'awaiting moderation'.  I'm curious as to if the administrator will allow my statements to be published-I guess we shall see. 

So...let me paint the rest of the picture here.  Below you will find the reasons we should be AGAINST Louisiana HB 288 and ways you can make a difference.


1. There is already a law in place making it illegal to release feral hogs.  The law (RS 56:20) can be found in its full text HERE.  This bill is overkill.

2.  This bill would seriously hinder those of us who hunt feral hogs.  Less hog hunting means less hogs killed.  Less hogs killed mean a larger feral hog population.

3.  Making it illegal to transport feral hogs means hunters can no longer bring a hog to a pen in order to train hunting dogs.  Hunting hogs with dogs has proven very effective.  Untrained dogs means less hogs hunted and killed out of the population.

4.  This bill would shut down many benefits and fundraisers with hog hunts and bay competitions being the main event.

5.   The bill would have an adverse impact on many businesses whose livelihood and income revolve around hog hunting.

6. Stopping the transport of hogs or requiring a person to purchase a permit will not stop the spread of these animals.  There have been no studies from other states showing the effectiveness of such a measure, that I am aware of.

7. This bill has so much 'grey area' on classification, process, and enforcement. This leaves it wide open for manipulation, misunderstanding, and abuse. 

8.  Many people castrate boar hogs in order to feed until they can be slaughtered and consumable.  This bill would result in less safe, consumable, natural meat in many people's freezers.

9.  This is Louisiana.  100 degree summertime weather makes it unsuitable to kill a hog on-site and it remain good to eat before it makes it into the freezer.  Live transport solves that problem.

10.  This is NOT an effective 'hog population management tool'.  What is an effective measure is to encourage, not hinder, the hog hunter.  Taking blind steps because of a lack of other solutions is NOT the answer.

11.  BIG GOVERNMENT.  As laid out above, there is NO benefit towards reducing the population through such a law.  There is also a law already in place that makes the liberation of hogs into the wild illegal.  So why pass a law that's reasoning seems duplicate to an existing law?  Why more taxpayer money spent on an ineffective means to an end?

12.  Heritage and tradition are a big deal.  Such a law would stop and/or discourage many families from keeping their kids in the woods, harvesting their own meat, and helping curb the population problem.  That's a no-win for everybody involved and would eliminate one more good, wholesome activity for the family and children.

None of these points were made in the article mentioned above.  Perhaps now you can see the whole picture.  If you want to make a difference, here's how....

**PLEASE be respectful and educated on the issues above when contacting Representatives.  If not, you will only hurt our cause, not help it.**

1.  HERE you can find the contact information for the author of the bill if you feel you have more to offer to the conversation.  Be prepared by knowing he is open to ideas that will curb the population and not hinder the hunter.

2.  HERE you can find a list of the committee members of where HB288 currently sits.  By clicking on each member's name you will find individual contact information.

3.  HERE you can find an online petition to sign in opposition to this bill. 

It's clear that people are pushing measures to stop our heritage of hog hunting.  All the opinions in the world don't matter unless they're heard where they need to be heard.