March 24, 2017

Movie Review: The Good Lie

The Good LieIt’s late Christmas evening, there are only about 15 minutes left and this holiday will be over and it will be back to the generally normal grind of our every day lives. This holiday has been a good one, it’s our first Christmas in our new home in Tennessee and we hosted quite a number of people for a few days and it’s been a good time.

Regretfully, I was supposed to get this movie review posted earlier this week but with everything going on and the demands of the holidays, this evening was the first time we’ve really slowed down enough for us to pop in the disc and watch it with my daughter. My wife wanted to see it, but she was so exhausted, she has to take a raincheck, and I’ll be more than obliged to watch it again.

“The Good Lie”, now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, is the story of “The Lost Boys“. No, not the vampire movie from the 80’s, this is the more horrific story of the 1000’s of refugee children that were driven away from their homeland in Sudan due to wars and fighting.

The story chronicles the experience of a small group of children who witness their village being raided, all the adults and parents are killed and their left to walk 1000’s of miles on foot across the African countryside into Ethiopa and finally Kenya for shelter and protection.

The Good Lie - Reese Witherspoon with Jeremiah

Continuing to experience loss and hardship on their journey, once they reach the refugee camp where they will live for years to come, they challenges don’t end. They eventually make it to America but continue to experience hardship.

Without giving too much of the powerful scenes of the movie away, what I will say is that this movie has stirred in me a deeper sense of compassion and hopefully a sliver of broader understanding of the challenges that people face in their lives that I may cross paths with during my normal day. I pray that after seeing this movie, I stop seeing people as just strangers that don’t look and act like me, and instead see them as people just like myself who have probably experience far more hardships and loss than I may ever comprehend seeing in my own life.

The Good Lie - Birthday Party on January 1st

Something I encourage you to remember about these children of Sudan is that when they were brought into the refugee camps, as portrayed in the movie they were given birth dates of January 1st because their actual birth dates weren’t known. When asked why January 1st, one of the characters in the film was told “because there would always be a party”. With January 1st only a few days away, please think again about this story and make a note of these children, some of which are now adults and living in America around us.

When you watch this film, I hope that your perspective gets broadened and expanded as well. What else can we do to assist those around us? Will we be willing to get involved as necessary and sometimes even challenge the standard and expected status quo of our own lives and society around us.

Prior to seeing “The Good Lie“, I had heard about the events impacting the children of Sudan, but I hadn’t seen much of it that I remember. I’ve also watched “Machine Gun Preacher”, which also chronicles the work Sam Childers did in this era of our history.

Unlike “Machine Gun Preacher”, “The Good Lie” is a film you can watch with your family. There is some language, scenes with alcohol and drug use and obviously some violence. The violence isn’t very visual or graphic other than the site of numerous dead bodies at various points in the story.

For homeschooling families like ourselves, I think this movie would be a great introduction to this period and event of history and provide various opportunities for learning and discussion with your kids about the facts of the events as they happened as well as the geography and cultural studies that could be done between the locations.

The film is now available for purchase at your favorite retailer or online. But I also have a copy to give away for a Homeschool Daddy reader as well. All you need to do is one of the following:

If you have any questions, just let us know.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this film to watch and another copy to give away to my readers for this review. Opinions and critique are my own and an honest review of the film.

How to Buy a Recreational Vehicle

The Open Road

Planning to hit the road for the entire summer? You’ll need the right vehicle to travel in style.

There are many times where I’ve dreamed of a life out on the road, combining living and working and exploring all into one big ball of fun. I’m not so sure my family would agree with my desire to live the life of a traveling nomad though. Tha’s not exactly their idea of the kind of family travel they would enjoy as much as our normal vacations.

I’d imagine actually buying a recreational vehicle would be fun, but you have to have some knowledge about RVs before making a purchase. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association considers an RV to be a motorized or towable vehicle that has transportation and temporary living quarters for camping, recreation, and travel.

Determining Which Types of Recreational Vehicle You Need

Before you can purchase a recreational vehicle, you have to determine which type you’ll need. What will it be used for? How often will you use it? How many people will be traveling in it? What will you be taking along with you? This will help you determine the size, amenities, and flexibility that you need in an RV. Some RVs come with all the amenities of a hotel, while others simply provide glorified camping amenities. What you’ll be using the RV for will determine how much you’ll need to spend and whether or not you’ll also need to purchase a pickup truck.

5 Things to Know About Recreational Vehicles

  1. Visit a specialty dealer (an RV dealer) rather than a car dealer; car dealers don’t typically sell RVs and even if they do, they won’t be knowledgeable enough to help you make a good decision. RVs can be purchased either new or used.
  2. Motorhomes are motorized recreational vehicles that offers both transportation and living quarters. Various sizes and styles are available, from van-sized campers to luxury RVs. A variety of amenities can be included in a motorhome.
  3. Towable recreation vehicles are travel trailers, truck campers, and sport utility recreational vehicles. As with motorhomes, there are various sizes and styles of towable recreational vehicles.
  4. Motorized recreational vehicles are more expensive than towable vehicles. However, the perk of a motorhome is that you don’t need a separate vehicle to get it around.
  5. Towable vehicles typically require a pickup truck, which is a major consideration if you don’t already own a truck.

Looking for more information about recreational vehicles? Find more here.

Christians and Science Do Coexist

In a recent small group study we were talking about the book “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. In the introduction to the study, one of the people interviewed on the street made the statement that she didn’t believe in God because she had grown up in the “age of science”. That lead to a discussion that is frequently heard about how Christians seem to be deniers of science. That’s something I believe is a fallacy. I will agree that there are many believers who do seem to deny science in the areas that have been proven and fall within the realm of God’s creation, but there are also many “scientists” who are so stuck in their own understanding, they’ve made a religion of their own over non-belief in something conflicting with their beliefs in an area that they still can’t prove themselves.

I have always enjoyed the sciences. Growing up I loved being outdoors and taking the time to really look at nature, rocks, the sky, animals, all of creation. For me, observing that and denying a Creator would be like observing the Sistine Chapel and claiming it was never painted, it just happened to show-up there one day after a few hundred years. You see, I see creation as a masterpiece of a truly gifted Artist. The original Artist. The original Creator. The Original.

When I watch videos like the one below, I understand that there is no “Mother Nature”, there is only… Father of Creation.

Rudyard Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”

Rudyard Kipling

I’d say I’m familiar with Rudyard Kipling as the average American my age. I grew up reading some of his short-stories and poems, the most famous of which was “The Jungle Book”. I was introduced to one of his other works today, which I had not heard of before now. Sadly, it paints a clear outlook on the world around him that was rapidly changing. A perspective that seems all-to-relevant to our current society as well.

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Photo Source

Joseph Rudyard Kipling. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 09:12, Oct 11, 2014, from http://www.biography.com/people/rudyard-kipling-9365581.

I Take You, Until You Change or We Fall Out of Love

Bean Marriage

I’m writing this post as I had read a recent post from Matt Walsh on marriage and how he was talking about his wife not being the same woman she was when they married. How that was a good thing and a challenging thing. How if you really expected anything different from your own spouse, you’re probably an idiot (okay not his words, but that’s generally the thought that came to my mind).

Here’s some of the comment I left on his article. As I continued writing my lengthy comment, I decided I should probably just make it a post of my own.

The tide of divorce hit pretty close to home for me in the last few years. It infuriated me that marriages of people I love and care for were crashing on the rocks of life around them. In some cases I realized it was probably the only option, but in others I think the two parties just gave up. I know they had worked on things and ultimately probably didn’t want to get divorced, but I think society and others around them helped push the acceptance of it as the last remaining option (or definitely the easiest), so they took it.

Matt’s post tackled the idea of our spouses changing and that fueling the option of divorce. I think the other fallacy in what people expect in their marriage is the “falling out of love” component. I’ve said very early on in my understanding of relationships, feelings and love that love is by no means a feeling. True love is a decision. A decision that takes work and commitment. Frequently I think it requires us to understand that I may not “feel” like loving some person today, or this week or maybe a couple of years. But the honest challenge of that issue is that it’s YOUR issue. YOU make the choice to stop loving someone, YOU make the choice to give up, YOU make the choice to choose your own happiness over the commitment YOU made to make someone else happy for the rest of your life.

I, _________, take you, ___________, to be my lawfully wedded (husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

Those weren’t our exact vows, but they’re pretty close to what most couples state and commit to on their wedding day. I don’t say anything in there about “unless you/I change” or “until I stop feeling like loving you”. Are we liars when we makes those vows or do we just not even think about the words we’re saying?

I understand, I don’t think any of us got married or go into marriage thinking we’ll get divorced like the guy at the grocery in Matt’s post. I think these days far too many marriages start with the idea and understanding that it’s not as permanent as it should be considered. And there, that little crack is a giant part of the problem! And for those that may have entered into the agreement with the understanding of the permanency of the decision, society has definitely promoted the availability of the easier option.

I don’t want this post to get caught in the weeds of the whole marriage debate, but I believe if the Christian community really wants to have a voice in that discussion, we’d better get our own marriages in order! Here’s the deal though, getting them in order doesn’t mean painting a false pretense of what marriage is or should be. Christian couples who make it appear to have a perfect marriage and hide all their issues from their close friends around them aren’t doing us any good. If you’ve got a perfect marriage, congratulations! But I probably don’t want to hear about it, or at least not like you’d think! What I’d rather hear about is how you’re struggling with your wife. I want to know how you’re getting through it. I want to hear that I’m not alone. I want to see you struggle (that sounds odd, but you know what I mean) and I want to see you succeed in working through those areas with your wife. If I see you doing it, then that will give me the strength and hope that I can too.

I remember when my wife and I were engaged. We were sitting in our Sunday School class, it was an “adult” class so there were couples of various ages, many of which were much older than us. I remember one guy would repeatedly make comments of our pending marriage and say things like “it’s over for you”, “say good-bye to what you want”, “getting fitted for the ball and chain”… I finally had had enough of his comments and I looked squarely at him on one occasion and told him I was sorry that his marriage was apparently so horrible that he’s got nothing good to say about it to a young couple who’s about to enter into their own life contract with each other. His wife sent him a quick elbow to the side as a confirmation of my statement. He kept his mouth shut from then on. Hopefully that may have served as a wake-up call to him and he began looking at his own marriage differently.

To that man now I’d like to ask, “How’s your marriage?” Hopefully it’s better than it was if he truly felt all those things he was WARNING me about before my own big day. If it wasn’t that bad and you just thought you were being funny, you weren’t. You were doing damage to a marriage before it even started.

I’m blessed to say my marriage is stronger now than it’s ever been in 15 years. And what’s odd, is my wife and family and I are going through probably the toughest time in our lives. We’ve been “separated” due to career changes, job search and relocation efforts for the last three months. We’re 292 miles apart most days, but I feel closer to my wife than I ever have before. The amazing paradox I’ve discovered in marriage. If I forsake my own desire to fulfill happiness in my own life, and instead focus on doing everything I can to make my wife happy and my kids happy; my life becomes filled with happiness! The motivation has to be true though. It’s a tough area. The caveat is that I somehow, at the same time, can’t hold my own wife or kids (or anyone else) responsible for my own happiness. There’s a mysterious balance that needs to occur there and I think the fulcrum of that balance is God in our lives and in our marriages.

Let’s all continue to be counter-cultural and deny that assumption that what we believe is true and right has to go quietly into the night of popular opinion. Continue to fight for our marriage and the marriages of others. If you’re struggling in your marriage, talk to someone. Find someone you can connect with and share your challenges and be open to that discussion. I recently came across the RefineUs ministry and website, check them out as well for some great stories of grace and redemption in marriage and resources available to you.

Following the Leader, He Knows the Way

An Update and Backstory on Our Lives

The Bean Family

This post has been a long time coming I know, but honestly getting our own thoughts around all the details of the changes that have occurred in our lives over the last few months has taken us awhile to digest and think about ourselves. The content of this post was developed as a I wrote and shared an update with family members on both mine and my wife’s side of the family.

As many of you are probably aware of now, our family is in the process of relocating to Nashville, TN. As Kim said last night on the phone, our lives have come full-circle. I’m back in Nashville, and she’s in Indianapolis. The big difference is that it’s been almost years since this was the case before and we’ve had two children together since then. I’m currently in Nashville staying with some friends and looking for a full-time employer. As soon as I do, Kim and the kids will be joining me immediately.

But that’s now, what got us here?

In November of last year I found out that my job and role with Deep Ripples in Indianapolis would be over at the end of the year. This came as a shock to me (Kim felt a change was coming the month before) I was more upset about no longer being able to work with my older brother Bill than I was about losing my job. The company was basically going to give me a couple of months severance pay at the end of the year, so I wasn’t too worried about finding something else in Indianapolis before we’d need to worry about that money. It turns out the end of the year isn’t the best timing for looking for a job so there wasn’t a lot of activity in November and early December. Kim came to me early in the process and said that if relocating for a job would be what we needed to do, she wanted to let me know that she was open and supportive. That opened up lots of new leads for me to pursue. One of which was for a company I was very familiar with through the work that I do and it was based in Nashville, TN. When I submitted my application for the initial position they had listed, the response from the hiring manager was “Somehow I knew that we would be hearing from you! You’ve been a big fan for a long time, and I’m happy that you’ve thrown your hat into the ring.” Things seemed to be going very well in my pursuit of the opportunity with them, they brought me down to Nashville to meet the team and have a half-day of interviews with various folks. Everything went great and I headed back to Indy thinking I’d be joining the organization shortly and we’d soon be moving our family south. They ended up going with another candidate and I was pretty disheartened. It seemed like a great fit and a sure thing.

As we had pursued that opportunity, Kim came to me the weekend before the interview in Nashville and said. We have to move somewhere, let’s just plan on it being to Nashville. So, the majority of my job searching has been focused on Nashville. I was still pursuing leads in Indianapolis, and looking for jobs in some other cities we had thought about living in, but Nashville was in our sites. I told Kim I was fine with that idea, but that it would be much easier for me to go back to Nashville where I’d lived before and had some friendships and family, than it would be for her and the kids moving to a completely new city for them. We were both in peaceful agreement though that Nashville seemed to be the setting for the next chapters in our lives to be written.

You said “we had to move somewhere”, why?

Long story short, Kim and I have wanted out of our house for a long time. We had been praying for some kind of option to become available to us, we just had no idea what it would be, and then this opportunity seems to have dropped into our lap out of nowhere. It was our first home and it was small. We felt very cramped in it as a family and it wasn’t the home we both wished we had to be more welcoming to our kid’s friends and our own friends as a warm and inviting place to host people. Up until this point we had worked to remain content with what we had and to realize that we probably couldn’t find any better options at this point in our life. With the housing market as it was and with the repairs we knew we’d need to make to sell it (garage door, flooring, water heater and other items) we thought if we were ever able to sell it we’d probably need to plan on losing money on it at the closing.

Well, God provided us a way to get out of our home and even make some money in the deal. So we agreed and pursued it. Our biggest concern really was the timing of when we’d need to be out of the house. I talked to the realtor that had been assigned to our offer and he advised that in his experience this company didn’t do anything fast and that it would probably be 3-4 months at the earliest before our move out date. I didn’t want to worry about moving in February or March with potential winter snow on the ground, so we signed the papers on December 29th. I planned on continuing my job search and having an answer and new location to move to before we needed to be out of our house in Indy. On January 7th we got paperwork back in the mail that said our move-out date had been set for 02/13, yeah the following week. We flipped out a bit, but our realtor helped us get a 1 month extension, so we were going to be out of our house on 03/13. Much sooner than we had planned initially.

Now what? Relax and Know He’s in Control

We’re homeless. All of our possessions currently fit in a 10×20 storage unit in Indianapolis, aside from what we have with us. I have no full-time employer. And Kim and I have a peace and a calm about our current place in life that we’ve never had before.

You see for the first time in our lives I believe I’m truly trusting in God to take care of me and my family. The last time Kim and I were in a situation like this I had been downsized out of my position with the travel management company I had been working with for almost 7 years. I ended up taking a 60% salary cut. Many marriages would have strained and even crumbled under similar circumstances, Kim and I drew closer to each other. Here we are again and we’re both trusting and truly know that even though we’re not really sure what the final details are in all of this, we know our God is in control and it’s going to be a wonderful story when it’s all finished.

What’s been kind of weird is the challenge we’ve experienced from some individuals regarding the place we’re at. What was wrong? How could this be the right thing to be doing when there were no answers and everything seemed to be falling apart? Kim and I have experienced some amazing sermons and messages recently from various sources that seem to confirm our own feelings though. God never promised a smooth ride. He never assured us that we’d have all we wanted, just what we needed. We believe He has been helping us strip away the unnecessary and the other items that we’ve felt secure in instead of trusting Him to provide everything we’ve needed. Here’s a recent post I wrote about some of my thoughts on God’s will for our lives, “God’s Will Is A New Map, Not A Set Road“.

There have been so many little things that have occurred over the course of the last few months where looking back it all makes sense to us in why we believe it’s all been happening together. Many families where the father has lost a job and has had to look at the option of relocating to a new city have to worry about selling a house or somehow affording two mortgages. We don’t have to worry about that now. Many families looking at moving to a new city worry about finding new schools for their children. We’re in our 4th year of homeschooling our kids and loving it. We don’t have to worry about switching schools. Many families are comfortable and secure in their church involvement at church and their friendships there. For whatever reasons, Kim and I had started to feel more disconnected from the church we’ve attended for 11 years together. Friendships that had been integral and crucial to our lives up to this point have seemed to enter a season of change and separation. Many other, smaller little “strings” of our lives in Indianapolis have seemed to be cut in preparation for us to make a big move… we truly believe Nashville is where God is choosing to use us next.

Why Nashville?

As I said before our original reconnect with Nashville was for a job that ended up not working out. But as we looked at Nashville thinking it was most likely where we were going to end up because of this job, we started to see there were a lot of logical reasons for why we should continue to explore Nashville options:

  • Financial: overall the cost of living is lower in Nashville, utilities are cheaper, gas is $.50/gallon cheaper, etc. AND.. no state income tax in Tennessee. The only thing more expensive is housing, and that’s because business in the city is BOOMING! Leading to more opportunities for work for me
  • Location: in Nashville we’ll be within 4-5 hours of all of our family members in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, and the Memphis area
  • Education: Tennessee is friendly to homeschooling families, very similar to our freedoms and options in Indiana
  • Climate: our family really enjoys being outdoors together: camping, biking, and more months of baseball for Ethan!

So, Nashville it is. Since I’ve been down here and looking for work I’ve already connected with a number of great individuals and have already picked up quite a bit of extra work I’ve been doing on the side as I continue to look for a full-time employer. I’ve connected with a number of individuals involved in various aspects of ministry in both local churches, charitable organizations, movie industry and of course the music industry.

Right now the biggest struggle for us as a family is that we’re not together. Kim has been doing an amazing job being forced into the role of single-mom with two kids living out of suitcases while I’m here in Nashville working hard to nail down the right employer for me and my skills. We just need to be back together as a family here in Nashville somehow. The obvious answer to that question is for me to land a job. It will be the first time I’ve had a job with benefits in over a decade. That will be nice! But because of the way God has worked in our lives up to this point in all these changes, I don’t think I would be surprised to find some type of housing situation that we could walk into and afford even if only temporarily that would get us back together as a family. I think sometimes we forget we serve a God who created a universe, He’s got this too!

As you can tell, I’m not one to write and share big letters like this with the family very often. If you’d like to stay in touch with us, send us an email and of course follow-us on Facebook.

We request and appreciate your prayers. God is guiding us. God will protect us and He will provide. We just need to TRUST.

More of My Travel Writings

Travel Trip A Mileage

A friend of mine recently asked for some suggestions about a family vacation in Orlando. Since I’ve been going to Orlando with my family at least once a year for about the last 5 years I figured I had some good ideas to share with her. I also remembered I had written about some of our adventures on a couple of other travel sites. I was trying to find those posts and discovered that they redesigned their site and my posts weren’t quite as easy to find anymore. It’s too bad, in the migration to the new site they broke all the images to the posts I had included.

So, here they are:

Here’s a post about one of our Spring Break adventures:

And another general travel one where I was interviewed by MJ for her travel blog:

 

 

 

More of My Thoughts on Homeschool and Public Schools

Bean Family Photobooth

This post is another one that consists of my answers to questions that were asked of me during an interview process for someone else that was writing a book. As soon as it’s published, I’ll be sure and provide more details, but for now. Here are more of my thoughts on our own homeschool journey. I’m particularly interested in hearing what thoughts you may have on my comments related to public schools and education in our communities.

Tell me a little about yourself. How many children do you homeschool, and what are their ages?

I’m pushing 40 this year and parenting two children with my wife of 15 years. My son is 14 (Honeymoon baby) and our daughter is 11. I was public schooled myself in a very small town in Kentucky. We are in our 4th year of homeschooling our children.

Where are you from? (State or Province is fine).

I grew up in southern Kentucky and graduated from college in Ohio. My wife has lived her entire life in Indianapolis, IN where we still live. We’re currently looking at relocating to Nashville, TN.

Do you identify with any “minority,religious or ethnic group” you would like to disclose, in order to show support for others who may feel alone in this journey?

I don’t think so. I feel like we’re pretty much the typical Christian American family. The only minority group we’re really in is “Christian” and “homeschoolers”.

What was your initial reason for homeschooling?

There wasn’t a single “straw” that “broke the camel’s back” with us. More like a small bale of hay that kept gnawing at us that caused us to be unsatisfied with just about everything we saw in the public school system and the desire to want more for our kids and our family than what we were getting in the school system.

Have you come across any more reasons to continue with this choice since you began?

I don’t think there have been any new reasons for us, just a continued strengthening and affirmation of the original reasons we discovered initially.

What are your thoughts on the public school system?

I think the public school system has an incredible task and hurdle in front of it. I believe the biggest problem is we haven’t come to an agreement in our society of what it actually means to be “educated”. The challenge after that is we’ve put too many demands on our schools and teachers without a confirmed target for them to aim for in their classrooms. I believe there should be some agreed standards set at a national level, but the operation and execution to meet those goals should be done at the local level.

Do you experience any struggles that the average homeschooler may not?

I’m not sure, what’s the average homeschooler struggling with these days? I’m guessing we’re pretty normal.

What is the best thing about homeschooling that you and your family have experienced so far?

For us I believe it’s the freedom and flexibility to try new things and spend time together as a family. With my job I’m able to work from just about anywhere as long as I have an Internet connection. That’s allowed us to travel and enjoy a variety of experiences as a family that’s also been very educational for all of us as well. We’re hoping to visit a couple of places like Gettsyburg and Colonial Williamsburg in the near future.

Do you base your homeschooling on any of the following educational philosophies: Waldorf, Montessori,Reggio,Classical,Traditional,Unit Study, Project Based, Un-schooling,Road-schooling, Scripture Based

One of the things we love about homeschooling is the ability for us to mix ‘n match strategies and methods across curriculae and other resources.

Are you in a single or double parent household?

My wife and I both participate in the homeschooling of our children. My wife does the majority of the effort by comparison. I focus more on helping with math and science and supporting as much as I can in the other subjects.

There has been a lot of assumption about the income level of homeschoolers being very high. Is this your experience?

I sure wish it were! Since we got pregnant with our son on our honeymoon, and my wife’s desire and my support of her desire to be a stay-at-home-mom, we’ve lived on a single income for the majority of our marriage. I lost my full-time job at the end of 2013 and currently looking for employment. Even in this time in our lives, the importance we put on continuing to homeschool our children has kept us from looking at forcing my wife to go back into the workforce. That will be an absolute last resort.

What are your thoughts on public schools?

See previous answers, but I’ll also add this. I know that homeschooling is NOT for everyone. We need public schools and I want them to succeed. As I said before, we need to put education at the forefront of the purpose for our schools and get politics completely out of the classroom unless it’s for a course in government, civics and the Constitution.

Do you feel that the option to homeschool is discriminatory against low income and/or single parent households?

I’m not sure I’d consider it discriminatory. It’s just a reality. Obviously it will be much harder for a single-parent family or a family where both parents have to work due to financial strains. I think the biggest challenge is who looks after the children while the one or both parents are working during the day when the kids are “supposed to be in school”.

What does an average homeschooling day look like for you?

My family has all been night owls since Day 1. So, our normal school day starts a little later than most people would consider average I’m sure. But our kids focus on their school work and studies and are usually done towards the middle of the afternoon. Once school work is done they work on their chores and other responsibilities. Rinse and repeat. We also try to be aware of how to make any opportunity outside of the normal school day an educational experience. In our state, we just need to prove 180 days of instruction. My opinion is if I’m not hitting 365 days of instruction a year, I’m failing my kids.

Do you feel you are judged negatively for your decision to homeschool?

I’m not sure if I’d categorize it as “negatively”, more just odd and not understanding what it really means and all the details. There have been occasions where I’ve been surprised at the lack of support we’ve received from family and friends. We have a number of friends who are teachers and I think some of them felt offended that our disproval of the public school system was also a direct disproval of them as teachers. Quite the contrary honestly, if I could guarantee 70% of the teachers and administration were as interested in my kids education as my friends were, I’d probably not have as much of an issue with public schools. But our other concern is the decisions that are being made in public education that are out of the scope of influence they have as well.

Any further comments you would like to share?

I’d just say that I hope your book gets shared and promoted to more dads. I think there are lots of dads who just aren’t quite sure how to be involved as best they can. I think for many dads, as with other areas of the family, they believe their only role in the effort is to fund it. Their involvement is to work as much as possible to be the provider for their family’s endeavors. That’s important, absolutely. But many forsake the need their family has for them to be there physically, emotionally and intellectually… not just financially.

Contrary To Beliefs Homeschoolers Not STUCK at Home

Society got another insight into the reality of homeschooling in America. Homeschoolers are not exclusively stuck at home and unsocialized. Sure there are some families that are like that and fit the stereotype that’s out there, but last time I checked there were quite a few public school students that spend their life at school and at home, but aren’t really integrating well socially either. Sage Kotsenburg showed the world this week though that homeschoolers can do some pretty great things! Here’s a really great infographic that illustrates some of the great time that homeschoolers can get exposed to without the restrictions of having to go “to school” every day!

Homeschooling

Source: BestMastersinEducation.com

A Dad’s Involvement in Homeschooling

On Disney Bus

This post is compromised of a collection of thoughts I shared from someone else asking me about my involvement as a father with homeschooling. They may be published somewhere else in some kind of format, but after writing them I decided I wanted to share them here  as well. I believe I’ve touched on a lot of areas that are important and should be heard by fathers and mothers. Would love to hear your feedback about them.

The Teacher or the Principal?

My wife does do the vast majority and over-site of the homeschooling of our two children. However, what we have tried to do from the beginning is equip them to be self-supportive in their efforts with each subject. My wife will setup and workout the plan, and then allow them to execute it as needed. I have provided more direct involvement with the kids in their lessons in math and science. Since I’m also self-employed I’ve enjoyed the flexibility to work from home frequently and provided support as needed for all subjects during the day when I’ve been available or when home after work.

I don’t know of many dads that are the “primary” educator for their children in homeschool efforts. Much of what I see are dads that are supportive from the effort through their role as provider for the family and working hard to allow their wife to stay home and provide the homeschool education. As we have become more involved in the homeschool community around as well I see more and more dads that are actively engaged in the process, even though they may not be the “primary” educator in the home.

Being Welcomed in a Mom Dominated Community

I would say I haven’t felt unwelcome by women in homeschooling by any means. I believe there is too much of an absence of fathers being actively engaged in the effort, so this provides both a general discomfort when there is a man involved in a group primarily dominated by women. However, I also see an excitement from many of those same women to see a husband and father actively engaged in that family support of the wife.

The biggest issue I see is just a division of effort and a feeling of being alone by both husband and wife. Homeschooling (along with just about every other effort as a family) has got to be a team effort between the husband and wife. The husband and wife won’t necessarily perform the same roles and tasks, but they should be in agreement of the end goals and strategies being implemented in the home. The classic issues between male and female relationships will creep into the homeschooling effort as well if there’s not that agreement. As I heard recently, the end of communication is the beginning of resentment in a relationship. I believe this is very much true if parents aren’t on the same page. I very much support the “traditional” home model of a man working to provide for the family and the wife staying home to take care of the family. However, I don’t believe it’s a must. Each family can establish that environment for what works best for them. But, in any scenario, I believe both roles need to be equipped and willing to handle the tasks needed: working for income, laundry, cooking, dishes, cleaning, taking care of the kids, etc., etc.

Different Educational Expectations

I think that men in general are more willing to take risks and allow failure to happen as a method for teaching. Not to say men should be insensitive, but I believe that’s how a man and a wife balance things for each other. I believe women can get too caught up in the emotions surrounding the success or failure of their children and may over-compensate in one way or another to offset those feelings. In our household I know my wife worries about how our kids are measuring up to other kids their age and their knowledge at the time. I’m concerned with that as well, but I look at the larger picture and ask myself, “Are they learning?” Even if it’s on their own pace and engagement level, are they further along today, than they were yesterday. In the end, I’d rather I succeed at teaching my child how to learn, how to be disciplined and how to work hard to accomplish a task, rather than if they know all the specific details of the Pythagorean Theorem before they hit high school.

Be Involved. Period!

I don’t believe dads should be involved in homeschooling because they should be involved in homeschooling. I believe dad’s should be involved in homeschooling because dads should be involved in every facet of their family’s lives. Dad’s are important and need to be involved in spiritual matters, intellectual efforts, physical efforts, professional goals, personal relationships, inner workings of the home, etc. I don’t believe a father’s involvement in homeschooling is any more important because there are sons in the family than they should be if there were only daughters. Dads are important! Period. A dad is just as important to the development of his daughter as he is to the development of his son. It’s just different. If they’re not there, including not being physically there but not involved, there is a loss in the family and a gap that has to be filled. If that gap isn’t filled by a father, it WILL be filled by something else. Many times that “filler” isn’t what we’d really prefer it to be.