About Gina Lynette

I have been called a, "PollyAnna, sugar-coated idealist." I like to think of myself as more optimistic than that.

Crafty Conscience

Tote Bag Crocheted out of Strips of Plastic Bags

From the files of *More Trouble Than It’s Worth* comes my second plarn* bag.

It took so many hours to make the plarn and then crochet it into this bag. I’m talking like 40 hours of folding and cutting and connecting and winding plastic to get enough for this larger bag (it holds about 10 large skeins of yarn)… and after all of that, the crochet is very slow going.

All to end up with something that’s, honestly, pretty daggone ugly.

But I’ll probably do it again.

It makes me feel good to do something with the plastic bags that find their way into our home in spite of the 200 reusable bags we keep stashed in the cars. It’s kind of like doing craft penance. Either way these bags will last forever, but at least now my heirs will have solid proof I was a bit of a nut.

That’s worth something, right?


 

* Plarn is yarn made out of strips of plastic. I made mine out of bags I collected from stores over the past year or so. This colorway is “Target – Old Navy – Joann’s – Michael’s”. I really need to remember to take my reusable bags into these stores!

Recipe to Ease Overwhelm

Recipe to Ease Overwhelm 20150805

 

Sometimes, in spite of all of the self care practice you can muster, your day just goes off the rails.

Maybe it’s because a bunny chewed through the fuel line on your car.

Maybe it’s because you didn’t get enough sleep.

Maybe it’s because you took a few days off for vacation or because you’ve been ill.

Maybe it’s because you mixed up the dates on a deadline.

Maybe it’s because someone else mixed up their dates and suddenly hands you a deadline.

Maybe it’s because life can just get life-y and throw a whole lot at you all at once.

You look up and you’re in overwhelm. It’s a horrible feeling — having a whirling dervish of panic flying around in your head — and just makes a difficult day even harder.

My hubby was in overwhelm recently and told me so. I couldn’t remove anything from his proverbial plate, but I could help him walk through the process of collecting his thoughts and sorting through them so that some of the anxiety could be set aside. Having a clear head and remembering to breathe makes those pressing tasks much easier to accomplish.

When we’re worked up, we just don’t think clearly. We feel like we don’t have time to stop and make a plan. The reality is that we must pause and assess before we can get anything of value done.

So, when I encounter someone in overwhelm — or am feeling it creeping into my day — here’s what I do.

(1) I tell them to breathe.

It’s essential. You’re going to do it anyway. Give it your attention for a moment.

(2) Then I walk them through a dervish dump and sort.

Basically, you get it all down — everything that’s flying through your head — and then sort those items into what really must be done today and what can wait.

(3) Then come more reminders to breathe.

It’s amazing how our bodies respond to intentional, slow breathing.

At that point they are usually calm enough to take it from there. If not, we rinse and repeat.

Overwhelm happens to the best of us. It’s not a sign of weakness or failure. It’s a sign that you need a moment to pause and plan. So, next time you hit overwhelm, remember to stop, breath, list, breathe, sort, and breathe.

The image is a colorful, painted background with the Recipe to Ease Overwhelm written on it.

Inspired by Judith Snow…

Hasbury on Snow

 

This month’s SCDot6 post is given over to two dear friends on the occasion of the Celebration of Life for one and the incredibly poetry she inspired in the other.

There are hundreds of articles and videos and tributes written by and about Judith Snow. She was just as influential and funny and pointed and impatient and thoughtful as those pieces make her out to be.

Judith challenges us to question our assumptions about what folks can and cannot do and where they can and cannot live. She thumbed her nose at our low expectations and exhortations about safety. Yes, it took a whole team of folks — her circle of support — to get her out of that institution and into “the community”, but, ironically, Judith created community wherever she was and that institution was hardly a barrier to her — except that it was.

So, dear one, on this 6th day of June, question your assumptions. Then do it again on June 7. And again on June 8.

David Hasbury — a deep thinker in his own right — captures it so well in his grief-and-gratitude-laced poem.

We’re sad, but we celebrate.

And we keep on truckin’.

 

—-

The image is a colorful, painted background with David Hasbury’s poem written on top of it.

Inspired by Judith Snow…

What more can life ask of us?
…be present in the form that carries our spirit
…follow the questions that call our name
…embody the visions that enter our mind, finding rest at home in our heart
…uncover the gifts that we carry, placing them within reach of those who need the magic they hold

Self Care Day on the 6th: November 2014

November 6

There’s something particularly wonderful about old friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting new people — with all of the possibilities ahead and the zing of discovering common connections — but I treasure the folks that have been on this ride with me for decades.

We’ve all heard (and probably used) the platitudes about friends who can go for years without speaking and then pick up right where they left off. There are folks in my life that definitely fall neatly into this category, and man am I ever sorry about that. Not the “pick up right where they left off” part — that’s a gift!

I’m sorry about the “go for years without speaking” part of the equation.

Mea Culpa! I let the whirl of life carry me along for weeks, months, sometimes years without stopping to touch base with people whom I proudly consider friends. At first email and social media seemed to make it easier to stay in contact, but somehow clicking “like” on someone’s latest vacation picture or beating them at e-Scrabble doesn’t seem particularly friendly.

The other day one of my oldest friends — someone I’ve known for three quarters of my life — popped in to comment on a picture I’d posted online. He made a funny comment. I made one back. We clicked like on each other’s comments. And then we were off to snark elsewhere.

Now, this guy is a dear. He’s “been there” for me in about a thousand ways going all the way back to the early 80s. I was kind of reminiscing about that and how we used to grab our spouses and meet halfway for dinner (we live 200 miles apart these days) or plan vacations that crossed paths. Then I started counting the years since I’ve seen his actual, live-in-person face and was a little appalled and a little embarrassed and, honestly, a little sad.

So, did I call him? Pshaw! Of course not! Instead, I started crocheting him a blanket, because what says, “I miss your face, friend!” better than starting a months-long craft project that he knows nothing about?

I can’t always explain me.

The reality is that most folks need folks, and we’re lucky to have those folks. Barbra wasn’t kidding in that song of hers.

So, for self care this month I’m pledging to reconnect with some people who are essential to my happiness and well-being even if my behavior doesn’t seem to reflect their importance.

I’m not flogging myself over this — in spite of my “mea culpa” above — I’m pretty gentle with myself when I discover something I want to change. I am, however, going to pour some love into this intention over the next several weeks and see what manifests.

Oh, and I’ll be working on that blanket, too.

Robert desperately needs a Doctor Wubbie, and making one for him is the least I can do for one of my oldest — Man, is he older! — and kindest friends.

So, what’s on your “nice to do” list that just never seems to make it onto your calendar? Whatcha waiting for?

Doctor Wubbie

 

Self Care Day on the 6th: July 2014

July 6

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes get so caught up in trying new stuff — spreading my wings, looking for opportunities, taking more classes, seeking bigger challenges — that I need something to snap me back to the old tried and trues that have always nurtured me. It’s like making a big ole batch of mac ‘n’ cheese after eating exciting, foreign flavors for weeks. Yes, I love pad kee mao and sweet potato enchiladas and eggplant dashi, but some days I need some supper a la Tennessee circa 1940.

I’ve shared a bunch of “try this” ideas in previous SCDOT6 posts because I like to support people in learning new ways to take care of themselves. Maybe you’ve never given yourself permission to put your own needs on the calendar, or to write off some needling goal that you don’t really want to achieve, or to change up how you do gift giving. It does my heart good when I get a comment or an email or a phone call saying, “Hey, Gina, I tried that thing and it was awesome!”

However, it occurred to me that it might be helpful to “snap y’all back” to the old tried and true ways that help you feel nurtured.

When I do some archeological digging into my own timeline certain themes make themselves very clear. I have always crafted in some form. I have always read tons of material. I have always loved music. I have always loved sitting outdoors. The content may change a bit over time, but the fundamentals are the same.

Given a day to do what I want and no pressure to perform, I’ll happily listen to music while reading or working on a craft. Ideally, I’ll be working on a craft — like a simple knitting project — that allows me to read and listen to instrumental music. Or better yet, I’ll take my craft and book outside and listen to my windchimes.

So, what nourishes you? What can you count on to refill your empty cup?

Take a little time to think back to those comforts and activities that truly restore your energy.

Hint: It may be those things you told your-child-self you could do as much as you wanted when you got to be an adult.

Bigger Hint: It may be those things you feel a little guilty doing instead of the list of “should be doings” you carry around in your head.

Got your list? No, not the “should” list… the “nourishing and restorative” list. Got that one? Good.

Now when was the last time you made an appointment with yourself to do exactly that?

Go on. You can do it.

Gee whiz! A bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese, followed by reading a book with some lovely background music sounds pretty good to me right about now.

Novel idea, no?

Self Care Day on the 6th: March 2014

March 6

As many of you know, I’m all about self-care. If I can manage to add a post to this blog at all, it will usually be the monthly SCDot6 post. What you may not know, unless you’ve been around for a couple of years, is that the real impetus for the day was about breast cancer and those silly games on Facebook that supposedly increase “awareness” by confusing people.

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they do, somehow, increase “awareness” of breast cancer. As my dear friend, Ona would say. “I’m aware. Now what?”

Well, the current conventional wisdom about breast cancer is that, if you’re going to have it, it’s better to find it earlier rather than later. This seems to be the case with the folks I love who have been treated for various stages and forms of breast cancer.

The reality, though, is that it’s kind of a weird cognitive dissonance that allows us to walk in and have a test done that will pitch us into the land of pink ribbons and decisions about surgeries and chemo and radiation. There’s this part of us that would just rather stay in the dark about this whole possibility.

It’s nice that we have that choice, though. Well, at least we have that choice about this particular cancer.

Unfortunately, there are other cancers — many of them way more aggressive — that don’t have the benefit of an effective screening tool. There really isn’t an “early detection” campaign for, say, ovarian cancer because early detection sounds more like, “well, I’m bloated and a little crampy and tired.”

So, while I’m a procrastinator of the highest order about things like mammograms — in spite of my telling you guys to get them! — I’m being brave. I’ll get my pap smear to check for cervical cancer this week and I’m going on Tuesday for my mammogram. If I get the “fibrous tissue” report (again), I’ll insist on an ultrasound.

Even though I don’t really want to know. You know?

Self Care Day on the 6th: January 2014

Do you have things on your perpetual “nice to do” list that never actually get done? They may be phone calls you’d like to make — at some point — or craft projects you’ve been wanting to try — someday — or appointments you’ve been meaning to make — eventually — and they get moved from one list to the next without actually getting accomplished?

Well, one of my “nice to do” items has been to make a book out of some of the wads of paper that come packed around fragile things I’ve ordered from the interwebs. It’s usually wonderfully-crinkly, brown, butcher paper that’s been torn off of a roll. It begs me to make something of it rather than wadding it up further and tossing it into the recycling bin.

So, for the past year or so, I’ve been saving these sheets of paper — by either flattening them or rolling them around a paper tube — in the precontemplative hope that they would eventually get transformed.

After my previous adventures in book making, I’d convinced myself that this venture would be a Big Project. And, as with most Big Projects, it kept getting put off until I had the time/energy/space/staff to do it.

And then it occurred to me as I was flattening another six yards of brown paper last night that, hey, Gina! this is mangled wrapping paper that you get by the boxfuls and that you’ve been hoarding for a year, not precious silken threads, hand-dyed by mountain dwellers. And, oh, by the way, you’d have already turned those precious threads into a shawl.

I realized that I had a point. This book thing didn’t have to be perfect and I didn’t even have to follow some design of how books are s’posed to be made.

Folios? Pshaw! Covers? Heee! End papers? Whatever! Purpose? Shrug.

So I grabbed some paper and started folding until it was kind of the size I wanted. I kept folding until it was sort of even. Then I stapled it. Then I folded it some more so that the wonky staples were covered up. Then I stapled it again. Then I took a fork — yes! a fork! — and used it to rip the folded edges so that I could turn all of the pages.

I was pretty darned pleased with myself and passed it around the family for some atta girls and gold stars.

To a person, they said, “What’s it for?”

Harumph.

So I took a nearby Sharpie and did this to it:

It's for whatever it's for! Vol 1

I’ll admit that I sure was proud of myself.

Writing this on the cover didn’t stop the family asking what it was for and what the next chapter would be and what the book would be about, but it reassured me that I didn’t have to know any of that in order to love this crispy, crunchy, deckely creation. I doodled on the cover on and off all evening, and just before bed I wrote this (on the back) because I realized that I was already afraid to tarnish it with the wrong purpose.

Hey, Gina! Quick, write in it before it becomes too precious! (And you can always make another one!)

That didn’t seem to do the trick.

Seriously. I was still a little afraid to use it this morning. So, I made another one.

What better way to lower the perceived value of some precious, rarified (even if made out of stained, wadded up, torn, recycled, brown paper) object than to make it redundant?

I thought maybe you’d like to know how I made this precious thing in case you’re all about brown paper and little books and the like. So I took some pictures of my second go so that you could follow along from home.

First you’ll need some highly-technical tools and well-honed skills. You’re going to need to fold, staple, and fork deckel. You may not be familiar with the last skill because I just made it up. But, I promise, you’re great at it!

Collect your paper, your fork (yes!), and your stapler.

It’s best if the paper has been wadded up and shoved into a box and shipped across country, but sometimes you can’t be picky like that.

Paper, Stapler, Fork

Now, take a look at the paper and decide what size book you think you might want. Or just start folding it. You can fan-fold it. You can fold it long-wise and then into quarters. You can get all precise with it. You like folding thirds? Have at it. It really doesn’t matter. If you don’t like it, unfold it and try it again. The extra creases add value.

What mattered to me is that there was a fold that went all around the other folds to form a spine. So I made mine do that.

Like this:

Folded Paper

See those little uneven edges poking out the side there? Yep. They stick out the side there. And — shhhhh, don’t tell! — there’s a page inside that doesn’t even reach the edge! I know! It’s awesome!

Now, here’s where your technical stapling skills are challenged. Decide which edge you want to be your spine. Now eyeball where the folds end up and staple along one edge so that you catch them all. (If you miss, do something fancy like folding the front page back over the whole shebang and staple the edge again further in.)

If it’s kind of thick, you may have to use your fork to squish down the sharp ends on the back. You can put tape over them if you want. This tape thing is optional.

Stapling Paper

Now comes the fork deckeling. This is why it doesn’t matter how you fold the paper. You’re going to separate all of the layers using your fork. (If you want to use scissors or a screwdriver or a paper cutter or some other such tool, feel free, but you’re on your own.)

You may want to make sure all of your edges are extra creased. You can even use your fork edge to flatten them if you’d like.

Then find an opening at the edge of the paper that’s not the spine, insert a tine from your fork and use it to rip the edge letter-opener style.  There are YouTube videos demonstrating letter openers. I don’t think they show how to use a fork in this way, but they do show how to use a pen. So, you may have to use your imagination to transfer the letter-opening-with-a-pen skill to this tool and purpose.

Fork Deckeling

Depending on how you folded your paper and how thick your book is, this may take some time. It’s okay to get a snack or take a break if you need one.

You might be tempted to rip more than one  fold at a time if there are several sheets nested together. I didn’t risk attempting this advanced skill. Let me know how it goes if you get brave like that.

Don’t forget to fork deckel the top and bottom edges if you have folds there, too.

More Fork Deckeling

Eventually, you’ll rip apart all of the folds along the edges and all of your pages will be free!

Then you can go wild and decorate it with colored markers or pens or stickers or ribbons or macaroni or glitter or any or all of these items.

Markers

Or you can leave it blank and just add stuff as you’re inspired.

But be forewarned: if you wait too long, you might decide it’s too precious to use and then you’ll have to make another one.

It's for whatever it's for in two volumes

So, what’s been on your “nice to do” list for way too long? Is perfect the enemy of the good here? If so, maybe giving yourself permission to just do it in some form — not the Big Project form, but a good enough version — will get you past that precontemplation and on to having that self-satisfied feeling that we all enjoy.

Who says you need a reason to make a paper wad into a book? Who says you need a reason to try a new recipe or call up a friend or send that email?

Oh, and if that “nice to do” thing is something you’re never actually going to do, it’s really okay to stop pretending you will.

Who says you need a reason to skip it altogether?

Self Care Day on the 6th: December 2013

December 6

Whew! Guilt is like a virulent cold. It’s around all year, but it seems to become twice as contagious during the holidays. We have massive lists of shoulds and oughts and musts but seem to get stuck in place, staring at the list with one eye, and looking for an escape hatch with the other.

Well, consider this your permission slip to examine those obligations for their true value, keep what still seems important, and toss the rest.

Seriously. Stop wasting your precious life eating your own soul with guilt over stuff you don’t really want to do or procrastinating the stuff you actually do want to do.

I just spent a little time with a favorite cousin who is a fantastic writer. He’s also great at other things and has a cadre of interests (and the books to match) to fill three lifetimes. During our visit he said just about the saddest thing I’ve heard in years. He has a couple of writing projects that he wants to work on, but life has been lifey recently and he hasn’t been able to devote much time to them. It’s completely understandable. Truly.

Here’s where it got sad, though.

He feels so guilty about neglecting his writing that he won’t allow himself to enjoy other stuff in the meantime.

Oh, heavens.

If you are going around feeling guilty about not writing and you are still not writing, stop wasting your precious life. Either sit down and write or find something else to do.

Seriously. Take a step back and reevaluate where writing fits into your priorities.

Ned Andrew is a writer and is usually fantastic at motivating himself to work on stuff well ahead of time. There are days, though, when he’s just not in the mood. Luckily, he has me to intone my mantra of, “If you really aren’t feeling it, take a walk, read a book, or whip up a meal and come back to it when you’re ready.”

I know this flies in the face of the advice writers usually get about sitting down and making a business-looking habit of churning out a certain number of pages or words before allowing themselves a break. It’s good advice for the most part, but if you find yourself staring at a blinking cursor for hours without a single inspiration, and your whole being is screaming, “I want to go for a walk!!”, this isn’t a recipe for great writing. It’s a recipe for misery.

Please, dear, go for the walk.

Okay, now that you’ve gotten some fresh air, let’s take a moment to size up some of the other “obligations” that we carry around.

If you are sitting around feeling guilty about not sending Christmas cards* and you are still not addressing those envelopes, stop wasting your precious life. Either sit down with a stack of cards and stamps or find something else to do.

If you are walking around feeling guilty about not calling your mother and you still haven’t picked up the phone, stop wasting your precious life. Either dial her up or find something else to do.

If you are beating yourself up with guilt over avoiding the gym and you still haven’t managed to darken the door, stop wasting your precious life. Either lace up your shoes or find something else to do.

Sort your list into three categories:

Now  —  Later —  Never

Now: Some of the things on our guilt list are tasks we actually do want and/or need to do right now. For those items there are all sorts of little tricks to get us out of the precontemplation stage and into action. That’s where the daily habit of sitting down and churning out 3 pages helps writers. If you are determined to get those cards out, make it a game with the whole family putting them together assembly-line style. Pour yourself a cup of coffee**, get in a comfy chair, and dial Mom up. Put on your running shoes.

Later: Let’s face it. There are things on your list that aren’t urgent and which you really aren’t in the mood for right now. It’s okay to take a break or reschedule those tasks. Taking a walk or a month-long cruise might be just the distraction you need to return to your work refreshed and raring to go.

Never: So how many of your self-imposed “obligations” are promises that you will never actually honor but are nursing a massive guilt cold over? Enough of that. If you’re not going to do it, own that. Return the book advance. Ditch the cards. Send Mom flowers. Buy bigger pants. Once you stop perseverating over this pile of never-to-happens, maybe you can redirect that energy into something truly worth your  attention.

And what if you are feeling guilty because you aren’t actually going to sort your list into three categories and make decisions about which ones to address and which ones to procrastinate and which ones to forget about?

All together now:

Stop wasting your precious life. Do it or find something else to do.

 

* or Hanukkah cards, Kwanzaa cards, birthday cards, birth announcements, wedding invitations, thank you notes…

**or your beverage of choice

Self Care Day on the 6th: October 2013

Self Care Day October 6

I’m trying to get my head around this blog post.

As y’all know I do a monthly “feature” called “Self Care Day on the 6th” that was inspired a couple of years ago by a frustration that Sarah summed up beautifully this time last year. I typically remind folks to do their self checks and have mammograms as well as to do other self care not related to cancer prevention/detection.

Last month I talked about ultrasounds for dense breasts and the fact that I had 6 friends in active treatment (and one in hospice).

Then my sweet mother-in-law was diagnosed — she found a lump and went in immediately to have it checked out — and it’s breast cancer awareness month and I don’t know what to say other than this stuff sucks and I want her and everyone else to just be okay.

So, there.

Please be okay.

And do your self exams.

And take some time to rest in a way that is restorative to you.

And be kind to one another.

Getting Schooled

Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up

I do love me some infographics and this one is especially interesting. I’ll include the information in its text form below so that it’s accessible to folks with screen readers and who prefer their numbers without images.

Maybe this is a case of looking for data that support my choices, but I sure do like what I’m seeing here. Our experience corroborates many of the assertions.

  • We live in a state that requires notice of intent to homeschool and testing. (Tennessee also recognizes private “umbrella” schools that are allowed to set their own standards for their enrolled families. We enroll with an umbrella school. So, while I call us homeschoolers, we technically operate a satellite campus of a private school.)
  • My husband and I both have college degrees — mine’s a master’s.
  • We are homeschooling  two kids.
  • We homeschool due to our negative experiences with our public schools’ approach to educating brilliant kids with autism. (I’ll leave the rest of that story for another day.)
  • The kids routinely score in the 90th percentile and above on standardized assessments.
  • They are absolutely involved in our community and are politically aware and active (watch out!) and read voraciously every single day.
  • We spend about $150 on enrollment fees and another $540 for access to our online curriculum. Add in memberships to museums and some supplemental materials, and we spend right at $1000 a year for two kids’ education. (This, obviously, doesn’t reflect the fact that I teach them for free — or in lieu of working full time — which would make the actual opportunity cost of homeschooling about fifty times what we pay for curriculum.)

I’m so hoping that the “When They Grow Up” stuff works out beautifully for our kids. I mean, that’s kind of the whole point, no? I want them to have wide open educational and career opportunities. I’d love it if they saw their homeschool experience as giving them an advantage and as being a good thing overall. It’s my fervent desire that our decision to pull our kids out of the public system and do it on our own is a rollicking success.

Let’s face it. I fretted over which stroller to buy for a year. I rarely make a decision lightly given all of the fun ways to weigh the options! So scores and neat statistics demonstrating the prudence of our choices are reassuring.

But you know what? So is the right now, really real experience of having good days where they are learning at their own paces in their own styles and reading for both content and pleasure and playing with their friends and trying new things and wandering into an art project that takes all day and into the night and the next day, too.

So, yeah, I like this graphic. But I’d homeschool even if it wasn’t as pretty.

—  —  —  —  —

The complete text content from the infographic displayed above is pasted here. It should be noted that this infographic and the data below were from a commercial website promoting master’s degrees in education. Caveat emptor.

HOMESCHOOLED: HOW AMERICAN HOMESCHOOLERS MEASURE UP

Once upon a time, all children were homeschooled. But around 150 years ago states started making public school mandatory and homeschooling eventually became illegal. It wasn’t until the 90’s that all states made it legal again. Today, with more than 2 million homeschoolers making up 4% of the school-aged population, it’s the fastest growing form of education in the country.

HOMESCHOOL HISTORY

  • 1840: 55% of children attended primary school while the rest were educated in the home or by tutors.
  • 1852: The “Common School” model became popular and Massachusetts became the first state to pass compulsory attendance law. Once compulsory attendance laws became effective, America eventually relied entirely on public and private schools for educating children. Homeschooling then became something only practiced by extremely rural families, and within Amish communities.
  • 1870: All states had free primary schools.
  • 1900: 34 states had compulsory attendance laws.
  • 1910: 72% of children attended primary school.
  • 1960: Educational reformers started questioning public schooling’s methods and results.
  • 1977: “Growing Without Schooling” magazine was published, marking a shift from trying to reform public education to abandoning it.
  • 1980: Homeschooling was illegal in 30 states.
  • 1983: Changes in tax law forced many Christian Schools to close which led to soaring homeschooling rates.
  • 1993: Homeschooling become legal in all 50 states and saw annual growth rates of 15-20%.

Today:

32 states and Washington D.C. offer Virtual Public Schools – free education over the internet to homeschooling families: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia (DC), Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

4 States offer tax credits for homeschooling families: Iowa, Arizona, Minnesota, Illinois.

10 States don’t require notification of homeschooling: Alaska, Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut.

14 States require notification of homeschooling: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Delaware.

20 States and D.C. require notification of homeschooling, test scores and/or professional evaluation of students: Washington, Oregon, Colorado, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, New Hampshire, Maine, D.C., Hawaii.

6 States require notification of homeschooling, test scores and/or professional evaluation of students; plus other requirements like curriculum approval, parent qualification, home visits by state officials: North Dakota, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island.

No Federal help is available to homeschooling families yet. The IRS says that homeschooling costs “are nondeductible personal, living, or family expenses.”

HOMESCHOOL GROWTH

Home schooling is the fastest growing form of education in the country.

  • 1999: 850,000 homeschoolers (1.7% of the school-aged population)
  • 2003: 1.1 million homeschoolers (2.2% of the school-aged population)
  • 2007: 1.5 million homeschoolers (2.9% of the school-aged population)
  • 2010: 2.04 million homeschoolers (4% of the school-aged population)
  • From 2007- 2009 home-schoolers increased ate a rate of 7%/year
  • From 2007- 2009 public-schoolers increased at a rate of 1%/year

HOMESCHOOL PARENTS

Education Level of Homeschooling Parents (Fathers/Mothers)

  • No High School Degree: 1.4% / 0.5%
  • High School Degree: 8.4% / 7.5%
  • Some College: 15.4% / 18.7%
  • Associate’s Degree: 8.6% / 10.8%
  • Bachelor’s Degree: 37.6% / 48.4%
  • Master’s Degree: 20% / 11.6%
  • Doctorate Degree: 8.7% / 2.5%

Number of children in homeschooled families:

  • 1 child: 6.6%
  • 2 children: 25.3%
  • 3 children: 26%
  • 4-6 children: 35.9%
  • 7+ children: 6.3%

Most important reasons parents say they homeschool their kids (students, ages 5-17, 2007):

  • 36 %: To provide religious or moral instruction
  • 21 % : Concern about the environment of other schools: safety, drugs, and negative peer pressure
  • 17 %: Dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools
  • 14 %: Unique Family Situation such as time, finances, travel, and distances
  • 7 %: Nontraditional approach to child’s education
  • 4 %: Child has other special needs
  • 2%: Child has a physical or mental health problem

HOMESCHOOL STUDENTS

Standardized achievement tests: On average, homeschoolers rank in at the 87th percentile. (Note: The 87th percentile is not the test score. It is the percent of students that scored lower… so, only 13% of students scored higher.)

  • Boys: 87th
  • Girls: 88th
  • Reading: 89th
  • Language: 84th
  • Math: 84th
  • Science: 86th
  • Social Studies: 84th
  • Core: 88th
  • Parents income <$35,000: 85th
  • Parents income $35,000-$70,000: 86th
  • Parents income >$70,000: 89th
  • Parents spend <$600/child/year: 86th
  • Parents spend >$600/child/year: 89th
  • Neither parent has a college degree: 83rd
  • Either parent has a college degree: 86th
  • Both parents have college degrees: 90th
  • Neither parent has a teaching certificate: 87th
  • Either Parent has a teaching certificate: 88th

Grade Placement compared to public schools:

  • Behind: 5.4%
  • On track: 69.8%
  • Ahead: 24.5%

WHEN THEY GROW UP

Homeschooled Adults’ Perception of Homeschooling

“I’m glad that I was homeschooled”

  • Strongly Agree: 75.8%
  • Agree: 19.4%
  • Neither: 2.8%
  • Disagree: 1.4%
  • Strongly Disagree: 0.6%

“Homeschool gave me an advantage as an adult”

  • Strongly Agree: 66.0%
  • Agree: 26.4%
  • Neither: 5.7%
  • Disagree: 1.5%
  • Strongly Disagree: 0.4%

“Homeschool limited my educational opportunities”

  • Strongly Agree: 1.0%
  • Agree: 4.2%
  • Neither: 6.6%
  • Disagree: 29.2%
  • Strongly Disagree: 58.9%

“Homeschool limited my career choices”

  • Strongly Agree: 0.9%
  • Agree: 1.2%
  • Neither: 3.9%
  • Disagree: 18.8%
  • Strongly Disagree: 75.3%

“I would homeschool my own children”

  • Strongly Agree: 54.8%
  • Agree: 27.3%
  • Neither: 13.5%
  • Disagree: 2.8%
  • Strongly Disagree: 1.6%

Homeschooled / General Population

  • Participate in an ongoing community service activity (71% / 37%)
  • Consider politics and government too complicated to understand (4.2% / 35%)
  • Read a book in the past six months? (98.5% / 69%)
  • Continue on to college (74% / 49%)

“Taken all together, how would you say things are these days–would you say that you are …”

  • Very happy (58.9% / 27.6)
  • Pretty happy (39.1% / 63%)
  • Not too happy (2% / 9.4)

HOMESCHOOL COST

Average homeschool family spends $500/child/year.

The average public school spends $9,963 per child per year, not including capital expenditures or research and development.

Sources

http://www.synergyfield.com/homeschooling_parent/homeschooling/a-brief-history-of-american-homeschoolin/

http://www.education.com/reference/article/home-schooling1/

http://www.sharefaith.com/guide/christian-education/homeschool/homeschool-history.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education_in_the_United_States

http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/home-schooling/

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009030.pdf

http://www.hslda.org/docs/study/ray2009/2009_Ray_StudyFINAL.pdf

http://www.hslda.org/docs/media/2009/200908100.asp

http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/543/666

http://www.nheri.org/HomeschoolPopulationReport2010.pdf

http://blogs.christianpost.com/bright-ideas/home-schooling-state-laws-infographic-11302/

http://www.hslda.org/research/ray2003/HomeschoolingGrowsUp.pdf

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2903485/posts

http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/advice/20041109a2.asp

http://www.hslda.org/earlyyears/Costs.asp

http://www.homeeddirectory.com/articles/1_feb10

http://www.k12.com/schools-programs/online-public-schools#.UfATehZdU6o

http://www.connectionsacademy.com/our-schools/availability.aspx

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