Category Archives: Learning About Learning

Exciting Learning Ahead! – Updating the Reading Circle Schedule

I’ve gotten a little distracted from the Reading Circle for the past couple of weeks, but am energized to get back on track!  I got my copy of Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate M.D. and have started reading.  I’m really excited to learn more about orientation and attachment.  To keep things ‘orderly,’ I am planning to shift the reading of Hold On to Your Kids to July.  Here is a tentative schedule:

Tentative Reading Schedule for July 2015

  • Week of July 6 – Chapters 1-5
  • Week of July 13 – Chapters 6-10
  • Week of July 20 – Chapters 11-14
  • Week of July 27 – Chapters 15-18

You can get your copy of Hold On to Your Kids through this Amazon Affiliate Link.  (If you use this link to make any purchases, we will receive a small commission.  For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page.  All links in this post will open in new tabs.):

To accommodate the changes made for June and July, the schedule for the remainder of the year will also be changing.  Here is what I am planning:

August 2015 – Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori McWilliam Pickert (affiliate link below)

September 2015 – Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out by Jack Petrash (affiliate link below)

October 2015 – The Montessori Method by Maria Montessori (affiliate link below)

November 2015 – Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne & Lisa M. Ross (affiliate link below)

December 2015 – A Mind at a Time by Mel Levine M.D. (affiliate link below)

I plan to use the other books that had been considered for the Reading Circle for our math and science work:

Math from Three to Seven: The Story of a Mathematical Circle for Preschoolers (MSRI Mathematical Circles Library) by Alexander Zvonkin (affiliate link below)

and

Science Notebooks, Second Edition: Writing About Inquiry by Lori Fulton and Brian Campbell (affiliate link below)

I am really enjoying the Reading Circle and hope you are too!

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Please feel free to comment on this post or contact me with any questions or concerns.  I’m so excited to learn more about learning!

Adjustments and Logistics… Moving Into the Second Month of the Reading Circle!

As the calendar rolls over to June, I am pleased to say Chansen Academy’s Reading Circle is entering its second month!  It was a challenge to get Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling completed, but I put in a big push and got it done this week!  Hooray!  Did you tackle reading Teach Your Own this month?  How is your reading going?

I really enjoyed the book and plan to spend some time pondering and writing about my impressions and thoughts.  Though I don’t know that I would now describe myself as a ‘Holt disciple’ I was definitely inspired by much of what he wrote.  I plan to add more of his works to my reading list going forward.

As we move into the second month, I will be making some changes to the schedule and logistics of the Reading Circle.  First, I am going to pull the planned June 2015 book: Math from Three to Seven: The Story of a Mathematical Circle for Preschoolers (MSRI Mathematical Circles Library) by Alexander Zvonkin and replace it with Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate M.D.  I plan to use Math from Three to Seven as a resource for our math circle, so I would like to work my way through the material more slowly.

I have been wanting to read Hold On to Your Kids since I first heard about it at a homeschool conference almost two years ago.  I just ordered my copy!  It should be here on Wednesday.  I hope this change doesn’t inconvenience anyone.  Please feel free to contact me if it is an issue.  (All links in this post will open in new tabs.)  You can order a copy for yourself through the Amazon affiliate link below.  (If you use this link to make any purchases, we will receive a small commission.  For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page.)

Since I am moving the book that was scheduled for October 2015 to June, that opens up some space to insert another title and rearrange the order as well.  I received a couple of suggestions for Reading Circle books and am considering adding the following:

Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners Paperback by Lori McWilliam Pickert  (Affiliate link below)

Science Notebooks, Second Edition: Writing About Inquiry by Lori Fulton and Brian Campbell  (Affiliate link below)

Thoughts?  Other suggestions?  I will be updating the 2015 Reading Circle schedule soon.

On another note, I will also be making changes to the Reading Circle discussion space.  I have received over 200 spam registrations for the forum and have been unable to identify a way to stop them from rolling in.  I am planning to shut down the forum and have created a closed Facebook Group as an alternative discussion area.  If you would like to be added to the group, please search for Chansen Academy Reading Circle on Facebook.  I’d love to have you join us!

This Circle is really motivating me to read and learn more about homeschooling!  I hope it is proving beneficial for you as well.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any comments or questions.  I look forward to more reading adventures with you!

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Inspiration from the First Reading Circle!

I am a little behind in my reading of Teach Your Own for the First Reading Circle, but have made it through Chapter 8 and started Chapter 9.  I have found quite a few thoughts expressed in the book that have resonated with me.  On Friday morning, while I was reading Chapter 8, I was really inspired by the ideas and some direction for our homeschooling journey fell into place.

In the letters from parents that Holt shares, I found a few gems…

“It interests me, though, how quickly the kids latch onto my real enthusiasms and, without anybody intending anything, begin to learn.” – Judy McCahill in Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling

An anonymous father wrote “… the best way to teach is by example, and the best way to learn is by doing.” – Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling

After describing many years of finding more enjoyment in learning things on his own than in a formal school situation, a reader concluded, “… a market exists for free schools offering not ‘teachers’ but the resources necessary for self-teaching.” – Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling

This last quote is the crux of the inspiration for me…  While I was reading the chapter, Tbear was ‘surfing’ around the dining room, pulling out little projects and activities.  We have been very busy running around lately to lots of activities; Lots of ‘sanctioned’ homeschooling activities…  co-op, meet-up groups, dance class, etc.  Though they love being ‘out and about,’ after a long day out of the house or even several days of ‘adventuring,’ the kids are tired and grumpy, difficult to engage, often for a day or two afterwards.  But, we had actually been home for a few days and he was calmer and more tuned into the games and activities available to him.  For us, I think that stretches of time at home with lots of resources for play and projects is extremely beneficial.

Going forward, I will be keeping this in mind and striving to find balance in enjoying activities that are beneficial and limiting the ‘running around,’ so inspiration can occur.  I am going to be working on creating a dedicated area where supplies, toys, and other resources are easily accessible (while practicing putting things away regularly – a challenge for both me and the kids!)  I am so grateful that we have some space in our home and the ability to create this ‘learning environment.’  🙂

One of the main reasons I wanted to homeschool is so I can learn with my kids.  The quotes above sum up what I have been experiencing.  I am looking forward to following my passions and helping them find and follow theirs.  I hope you will continue on this quest with us.  What are you inspired to teach yourself today?

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Quotes, Confusion, and Copyright Law

Whew!  I just made it through this week’s Reading Circle material – Chapters 3-7 of Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling.

I am finding it to be an interesting read…  Going slowly because I am highlighting and taking notes…  It would go more quickly if I just read it like a novel…  Many parts resonate with me…   A few don’t…  How do I summarize my thoughts…?  Hmmm…

I started this book with a slightly negative connotation attached to ‘unschooling’ in my mind…  I think that some people use the term as an excuse to do nothing with their children and let them ‘run wild’…  I feel that is a huge disservice to kids…  The ideas of interest-led learning and a less scheduled living and learning environment did appeal to me though.  As I am reading, it seems that Holt defined ‘unschooling’ slightly differently than it has been presented to me.  But I am still having difficulty in ‘wrapping my head’ around it…

I have marked out many short passages, quotes, that really explain well things I have been thinking…  I would like to put these quotes in posts and on the Reading Circle forum…  But I am nervous about copyright law…  I have been reading about Fair Use and am understanding that there are no ‘hard and fast’ rules about using copyrighted material.  The ‘safest’ approach would be to not use any at all, ever.  But, I think that would make the Reading Circle impossible.  Also, Holt and Farenga have put great effort into sharing and spreading their ideas.  Wouldn’t my using quotes from their work assist those endeavors?  My best approach is to probably talk to an attorney…  Something else to add to my ‘to-do’ list…

With this in mind, I am cautiously including one quote… “The best incentive to learn how to do good work, and to do it, is to know that the work has to be done, that it is going to be of really use to someone.” – John Holt – Teach Your Own

How much have you learned in your life because something needed to be done?

Anyways, have you started reading Teach Your Own?  Have you read any of Holt’s other work?  What are your thoughts about it?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

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First Week of the Reading Circle!

Wow!  The first week of the Reading Circle has flown by in a flash!  I am reminded that life with small children is crazy and busy!  (As if I could forget!)  🙂  I managed to make it through the first two chapters of the book, but haven’t had a chance to even pick it up in several days.  Have you made any progress in Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling?  What do you think of it so far?

I have found it to be great ‘food for thought.’  It is validating many of my thoughts and feelings about how people interact with children, including their own, and the skills that teaching requires.  Having two voices – John Holt and Patrick Farenga – is a bit unusual in my experience, but doesn’t seem to undermine the flow of the text.  I really enjoyed reading Holt’s thoughts on the common objections to homeschooling.  I am eager to continue reading.  I am learning a lot about learning!  I hope you are too!

Are You Ready For the First Reading Circle???

As the calendar rolls over to May 1st, 2015, it is time for the First Reading Circle to begin!  Do you have a copy of Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling?  I couldn’t resist cracking mine open and diving in…  🙂  Thus far I have found it to be thought-provoking and engaging.  Holt’s style is very direct.

I wanted to learn more about John Holt, so…  Wikipedia is usually my first place to look for info online…  Check out their article on John Holt (educator).  (All links in this post will open in new tabs.)

Holt started the bi-monthly magazine Growing Without Schooling in 1977.  There is a lot of great information about him and his work on the website: John Holt GWS.  Patrick Farenga worked with Holt for many years and following Holt’s untimely death in 1985, ‘picked up the torch’ as it were, to continue his work.

OK…  So, now that we have a little background on the authors and their work, it’s time to explore the book!

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Tentative Reading Schedule for May 2015

  • Week of May 4 – Preface, Introduction, & Chapters 1 & 2
  • Week of May 11 – Chapters 3-7
  • Week of May 18 – Chapters 8-10
  • Week of May 25 – Chapters 11-13

Look for posts from me around the middle of every week on the reading selection for that week.  I hope you will add your thoughts to the discussion!

The forum for the May 2015 Reading Circle is ready to go for questions, comments, and discussion.  Click here to register.

My goal is to read one book per month.  Please see my post on the tentative schedule for the remainder of the year.

You can get a copy of the book from Amazon.  (Affiliate link – If you use this link to make any purchases, we will receive a small commission.  For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page.):

If you have any questions, please comment on this post or contact me.   I look forward to reading and learning with you!

The Winner of Our First Give-Away!

We are pleased to announce the winner of our first give-away is…  Nancy Jones!

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Nancy won a copy of Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling by John Holt and Patrick Farenga.  This book will be the reading selection for our May 2015 Reading Circle.  I am so excited to be starting this adventure in ‘learning about learning.’  I hope you will join me!

The forum for the May 2015 Reading Circle is ready to go for questions, comments, and discussion.  Click here to register.  (All links in this post will open in a new tab.)

Tentative Reading Schedule for May 2015

  • Week of May 4 – Preface, Introduction, & Chapters 1 & 2
  • Week of May 11 – Chapters 3-7
  • Week of May 18 – Chapters 8-10
  • Week of May 25 – Chapters 11-13

You can get your own copy of the book for May from Amazon through this affiliate link (If you purchase items through this link, we will receive a small commission.  For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page.):

Here is the tentative list of reading selections for the remainder of the year:

June 2015 – Math from Three to Seven: The Story of a Mathematical Circle for Preschoolers (MSRI Mathematical Circles Library) by Alexander Zvonkin

July 2015 – Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out by Jack Petrash

August 2015 – Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne & Lisa M. Ross

September 2015 – The Montessori Method by Maria Montessori

October 2015 – Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld & Gabor Mate M.D.

November 2015 – TBA (Leaving open for flexibility…)

December 2015 – A Mind at a Time by Mel Levine M.D.

I am open to suggestions and changes!  I look forward to reading with you!

Win a Copy of the May 2015 Reading Circle Book!

The first Chansen Academy Reading Circle will be starting soon.  I am so excited!  I hope you will join me in ‘learning about learning.’

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(All links below will open in new tabs.)

Over on Facebook, we are having a give-away for May’s book, Teach Your Own – The John Holt Book of Homeschooling by John Holt and Patrick Farenga.  Check out the post and ENTER TO WIN!  The drawing ends this Saturday, April 25.

Tentative Reading Schedule for May 2015

  • Week of May 4 – Preface, Introduction, & Chapters 1 & 2
  • Week of May 11 – Chapters 3-7
  • Week of May 18 – Chapters 8-10
  • Week of May 25 – Chapters 11-13

The forum for the May 2015 Reading Circle is ready to go for questions, comments, and discussion.  Click here to register.

My goal is to read one book per month.  Please see my post on the tentative schedule for the remainder of the year.

If you have any questions, please comment on this post or contact me.   I look forward to reading and learning with you!

You’re Invited! – Please Join Me For the Reading Circle

My copy of Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling by John Holt and Patrick Farenga arrived yesterday!  I am eager to crack it open and get started reading! IMG_1152 It will be the book for the May 2015 Reading Circle.  I would really love it if you would join me to read and discuss this pivotal homeschooling book.  If you would like more information about the Reading Circle, please comment on this post or contact me (link will open in a new tab).

You can get your own copy of the book for May from Amazon through this affiliate link (For more information on affiliates, please see our Legal Stuff page – link will open in a new tab):

I want to learn a lot more about learning and hope you will join me!  Here is the tentative schedule of books for the remainder of 2015:

May 2015 – Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling by John Holt & Patrick Farenga

June 2015 – Math from Three to Seven: The Story of a Mathematical Circle for Preschoolers (MSRI Mathematical Circles Library) by Alexander Zvonkin

(Affiliate link – For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page – link will open in a new tab)

July 2015 – Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out by Jack Petrash

(Affiliate link – For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page – link will open in a new tab)

August 2015 – Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne & Lisa M. Ross

(Affiliate link – For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page – link will open in a new tab)

September 2015 – The Montessori Method by Maria Montessori

(Affiliate link – For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page – link will open in a new tab)

October 2015 – Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld & Gabor Mate M.D.

(Affiliate link – For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page – link will open in a new tab)

November 2015 – TBA (Leaving open for flexibility…)

December 2015 – A Mind at a Time by Mel Levine M.D.

(Affiliate link – For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page – link will open in a new tab)

I am open to adjusting this plan…  Always looking for a good read!