From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


1/3/2008 4:00:16 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter --January 2008

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter --
Am I Homeschooling Responsibly?
Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! And welcome back from what we hope was a joyous and
memorable Christmas break. Can you relate when we confide that it's a
bit difficult for us to get re-engaged into the real world of
responsibilities after the holidays? Or, are we the only two
sluggards we know?

A new year always brings fresh resolutions and goals, so we want to
suggest that you consider reviewing and reevaluating your goals for
the rest of the school year. The overarching question to ask is: "Am
I homeschooling responsibly?" We'd like to help you honestly assess
how well you are managing your high school homeschooling

The word "responsibility" rightly carries with it the idea of being
accountable to somebody or for something. Often accountability is
viewed in a negative or discouraging way. But as we look at
homeschooling responsibly, we want to emphasize the positives. You may
discover ways you need to change or to do things differently, but if
the end result improves your homeschool and the quality of education
you are providing for your teen, then it is a commendable and worthy

Let's look at some areas to keep in mind as you appraise your

The Use of Time

Each of us is given 24 hours in our day--no more, no less. In
general, how are you using your time? If your mind begins to add up
the number of days when other priorities took too much of your time,
leaving too little to adequately devote to schooling, then it may be
that you need to re-prioritize. When we homeschooled, we clearly
remember the constant tug-of-war between preparing and teaching our
children's lessons and completing other tasks--cleaning, cooking
meals, laundering, service and ministry activities, and on and on. If
schooling is left on the back burner more days than not, perhaps it's
time to structure your day differently. Would it work better for you
to start school a bit earlier in the day? On the other hand, if you
and the children took just 30 minutes at the start of the day to get
the house in order, would the remainder of the school day be more

Staying the Course or Switching Gears?

To evaluate another area, discuss with your teen his academic course
load. How did last semester go? Was the number of courses just right?
Too few? Too many? The academic schedule you planned may need
adjustment because sometimes you can't discern if it's too much or too
little until you are in the midst of it. Don't be afraid to make
adjustments. You may need to drop or add a course--remember the
"Drop/Add" period in college? Mistakes do happen--you bite off more
than you can chew; or on the other hand, an opportunity only comes
around once (such as your sister saying she would love to teach your
teen Trig) necessitating that you carve out time to take advantage of
this option. Homeschoolers are famous for saying that we have
flexibility--but then we find ourselves being rigid and unwilling to
see or make changes that would be helpful. Are there changes that you
should make academically this year?

Out With the Good, In With the Best

Do you ever notice how many times our choices involve distinguishing
the good from the best? Take time to chat with your teen about each
of the extracurricular activities in which he is currently involved.
Each of them when considered individually may be "good." But, as you
think about all of them--including jobs, sports, music, clubs,
hobbies, volunteering, etc.--are there any that should or could be
eliminated? In our experience, homeschoolers are more often involved
in too many activities rather than too few. If you and your teen are
running ragged, it's time to take inventory. Cutting down on the
miles driven to and from activities will not only save money, but it
will free up time so you and your teen can unwind, read a good book,
or discuss important issues without being interrupted. Down (or
margin) time is essential if you want to conserve energy and finish
the high school years strong.

Also, it is possible for your teen's schedule to fill up with so many
extras that course work begins to suffer. If this is the case, then
remember that a few activities well done are much better than many
activities participated in half-heartedly. Be ruthless in evaluating
this area, and you'll reap the benefits of a leaner--but more

Interruptions as Detours--or Simply a Dead End?

Unforeseen circumstances can catch us off guard. An elderly parent
suddenly needs care, a home remodel project veers out of control, a
child incurs an injury, or a homeschooling parent becomes ill. These
are definitely interruptions that set us on detours! But, hopefully,
even when you come to a homeschooling detour, you will still be
heading in the right direction, though it may take a little extra time
to get back on the interstate highway.

However, if the detour leads to a dead end rather than returning to
the expected course of action, then careful consideration and judgment
may need to be exercised to implement a new plan. Begin by drawing up
an overall plan to recover, enlist help from others if needed, and
prudently map out the precise steps required to keep moving forward.
Remember, there are no hopeless cases, but always a number of options
to consider. For example, you may find revamping your school schedule
from days to evenings or from a weekday to a Saturday will allow for
necessary recovery. Or, if circumstances have prevented much math or
history from being accomplished this first semester, then you and your
teen may need to map out a summer course that puts you back on track
to complete the material that needs to be covered. Maybe the English
compositions were not evaluated because mom was tending to a sick
child. If that's the case, then an alternative might be to sign your
teen up for an online writing course with an outside instructor who
evaluates the compositions for you.

Taking a Spiritual Inventory

Homeschooling responsibly is foremost a matter of integrity. You are
involved in a mighty work with the ability to have a major impact on
your teen. Ask yourself these questions and honestly reflect on how
you can improve:

1. Do I have a lazy or unmotivated attitude towards schooling?
2. Do I push my children too much academically out of pride?
3. Do I share openly with others about my homeschool struggles and in
humility ask for their input?
4. Am I careful to plan, or do I just hope for the best?
5. Do I fall into condemnation for things I am not doing well, but
then make no effort to improve?
6. Can I mentor another family and encourage them to also homeschool

True conviction in any of these areas is not a millstone. Instead,
see true conviction as a stepping stone to change for the better.
Each of us has room for improvement! Think of just one or two items
that need revamping in your homeschooling, and then start off this new
2008 year by making revisions to your homeschooling that will benefit
both you and your teen. Trust the Lord to give you wisdom, guidance,
strength, and energy to homeschool responsibly for His glory and for
your teen's good.

Next month, we'll give you some suggestions for chasing those February
winter blahs away.

Keep going, stay the course, and know that there is abundant grace for
you today,

Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Coordinators


Continental Singers is a non-profit interdenominational ministry that
advances the kingdom of Jesus Christ around the world through music
missions, leadership development and performing arts' ministries. They
are putting together a music missions tour designed specifically for
homeschoolers and are looking for vocalists, dancers, and techs ages
12 and up. For more details contact Paige Brant, talent representative
for the Continental Singers at 1-800-743-8687 ext 121 or email .

Public Speaking Opportunities: The Say What You Mean third annual
convention will be held online (virtual) on February 6-9, 2008. This
convention "will focus on the importance of communication skills at
each stage of life: children, college prep and career (including
motherhood!)," says JoJo Tabares, one of the organizers. The cost is

Upcoming Speaking Engagements:
> April 5, 2008 - Rhode Island Guild of Home Teachers (R.I.G.H.T.),
Providence, RI (Becky)
> May 2-3, 2008 - Long Island, NY (Diane)
> May 9-10, 2008 - Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania
(CHAP) (Becky & Diane)

-> For as little as 27 cents a day...

There's not much you can get for 27 cents a day. Why not put your
money toward peace of mind for yourself, your family, and their

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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