Monday, November 30, 2015

PUMPKIN SOAP

I recently made some pumpkin soap using pumpkin puree for the first time. It turned out great!

I colored half of it with titanium dioxide and the other half using copper sparkle mica from Brambleberry.  I'm not impressed with the way the TD appears in the soap but I like the copper sparkle mica.




Sunday, November 8, 2015

CRYSTALLIZED HONEY

While I was at Valley Natural Foods the other day I was standing behind a couple in front of the honey shelf and I overheard them discussing the quality of the various honeys.  The woman leans in towards the man to tell him that some of the honeys had gone bad "you can tell because they are crystallized" she said.  I didn't correct them but I had to laugh to myself because prior to becoming a beekeeper (once upon a time) I use to think that too. I'd always toss out honey that had crystallized and I learned to do that from my mother who would say "that honey is bad."  So, here's the truth for those of you who have done the same.  Crystallized honey isn't bad, not even inferior.  In fact, it is great! Trust me, I learned this directly from the bee genius Marla Spivak.

Since I learned about this in my beekeeping course I now prefer my honey to be crystallized.  I'm a firm believer that if it doesn't crystallized at some point then it is an inferior product. Why? Because the more natural (raw) a honey is the more likely it is to crystallized or be sold in that form.

I purchase raw honey from a local beekeeper (sold at our natural food store) and my recent purchase looks like this:







I had two jars from the same MN beekeeper and one was liquid for about 1-2 weeks and the other solid (like you see above).  How is that possible?  Well, how fast a honey crystalizes depends on where the bees found their nectar.  Example: nectar that comes from goldenrod is more likely to crystallized faster than nectar that comes from blackberries.  So, the amount of sugar vs. water content is what contributes to the rate of crystallization or granulation.

Another factor affecting crystallization of honey is in how it's processed.  Heating and filtering is what keeps it from crystalizing and both can destroy the healing benefits of honey.  Commercial beekeepers will heat (pasteurize) up to 150 degrees F, filtering out all pollen, wax and other bee particles.  Makes honey pretty but not healthy.

It's easy to make honey liquid again without destroying the beneficial components (nutrients and enzymes), all you have to do is warm it up a little.  I prefer avoiding the microwave to do this, instead I'll use a pot of hot water (don't heat above 95 F) and set the honey jar inside til it is liquid again.

There is a huge misconception that pasteurizing (heating) makes the honey safer to consume.  That is not why commercial beekeepers or companies do this, they do it because the customer prefers it.  Not sure how that came to be but I'm assuming it is similar to why we preferred white soap over non-white...ADVERTISING! They market liquid & clear honey as "more appealing" to look at but in addition they'll also claim that their honey is also beneficial to your health when it isn't.  What made it clear and liquid also destroyed its beneficial properties.

So, buy RAW and don't be afraid if it is crystallized or granulated or if it was once liquid and becomes crystallized or granulated.  Honey does not expire in the way other foods do which is why you likely will not find an expiration date on locally made RAW honey from a small beekeeper.  When commercial honey is sold it often has an expiration date on the bottle or a "best if used by" date.  When you see this, remember it has nothing to do with the honey but more to do with the company selling it wanting you to buy another bottle.  That expiration date in conjunction with the crystallization will make you think your honey has gone bad but that commercial honey was crap to begin with.  It will still taste great and work fine in your tea, baking, etc… but it will not help you recover from a cold or sooth that sore throat the way RAW honey does.  Much of the commercial honey now is being adulterated with ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup so its best to avoid anyway but now I'm drifting off topic.

End of point… crystallized honey is NOT bad  :-)



Monday, September 28, 2015

GETTING READY FOR FLU SEASON WITH ELDERBERRY SYRUP

After learning I have an autoimmune disease and finding that I really struggle to overcome even the most basic illness I've decided to be proactive about maintaining wellness this year.  I've always done a few things to prepare our family for flu season, like making an elderberry tincture and keeping a natural version of antibacterial hand spray on hand for each person in the house but I've been warned by my ND and GP after my two trips to urgent care this past year that I need to be extra cautious about getting sick. So, how does someone NOT get sick? Well, I know it isn't completely avoidable but I'm going to try my best and if I can't keep myself from getting sick I can at least have something on hand to lessen the duration of an illness (time I have to suffer) and to help do this I made an Elderberry syrup.

Elderberry is known for its ability to lessen the duration of the flu, it is also good for alleviating the symptoms of a cold.

If you are interested in making your own syrup for this coming winter, here is how you do it; 

1/2 cup elderberries (dried) - sambucus nigra or sambucus nigra sbsp. canadensis
3 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks (broken up)
1 pinch of ground clove
1 pinch of dried ginger 
1/2 cup raw honey

I normally use fresh elderberries but our favorite spots to find the plant have now been destroyed by development :(  We do grow our own but the deer don't share so… this year I purchased elderberries from Mountain Rose Herbs.  They also have a great video on making elderberry syrup if you prefer to follow that.  You do not have to use cinnamon, clove and/or ginger but I think it makes the syrup taste 1000x's better and they contain beneficial properties that aid in relieving various ailments. 

Make sure you use RAW HONEY, preferably local and organic.  There is a significant difference between raw honey and processed honey.  The antimicrobial and antibacterial enzymes found in honey are destroyed when honey is heated beyond a certain degree which is why the processed honey you usually find in grocery stores is not what you want to be consuming.  When people tout the benefits of honey they aren't referring to your grocery store variety, they are talking about the honey straight from the hive.  If you just want honey to use as a sweetener than go ahead and buy the processed version but if you are looking to benefit from honeys healing properties you'll want to buy RAW - ORGANIC - LOCAL
This also means you need to keep in mind that honey should never be heated above 95 degrees F. It's the heat that degrades honey.  In this recipe you'll probably want to have a thermometer on hand to make sure your liquid is at or below 95 F before you add your honey.


Measure out the water and place it in a sauce pan, then add your berries, broken up pieces of cinnamon, a pinch of cloves and a pinch of ginger. 


Bring to a boil and then cover and lower heat to a simmer for 40 minutes.  Make sure to stir the contents every 10 minutes as it simmers (to prevent sticking to the bottom of pan).


After 40 minutes remove from heat and strain.  I did this by covering a jar with cheese cloth because I couldn't find my strainer.  The joys of a disorganized kitchen.


After boiling I was left with 1 1/2 cups of liquid so to make sure the syrup wasn't too sweet or too bland I put in 1/2 cup of raw honey, stirred til it was completely dissolved and the taste was perfect!! (remember: do not add honey until temp of liquid is below 95 F). Pour into a glass jar for storage in the fridge.



Make sure you write the date on the top of your jar since you are going to want to discard any unused syrup after about 3 months.


This recipe makes a liquid syrup that is not the consistency of the syrup most people are use to.  It will not resemble maple syrup or have the thickness of Robitussin.  This is a watery syrup.  Make sure you refrigerate the finished product or it will go bad quickly.  This recipe does not contain a natural preservative, if you want to extend the shelf life of your recipe you'll need to add an alcohol like vodka or brandy.  Natural Fertility and Wellness has a great recipe with brandy included.



You can take this syrup as a preventative at a dose of 1 tsp a day to boost immunity otherwise if ill take 1 tsp 2x's daily. 

**Although a lot of research has been done on elderberry the verdict is still out on whether it is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding, same goes for if you are on other medication or have any health problems so it is best to speak to your health care provider before using. 



Thursday, September 17, 2015

SHORT REVIEW ON MAD OILS

I placed my first order from Mad Oils recently; love the fast shipping, the personal touch "thank you" gift with FO sample and the quality of their essential oils and micas.  Unfortunately, after using their Lemon Cupcake mica my cp soap ended up looking a little orange instead of yellow :(  Their website says it isn't unusual to end up with orange the first 24 hours but it has been 2 weeks and it is still more orange than yellow.  Their micas do mix up nice and smooth in the raw soap though, better than other suppliers I have used.  I'll try using the yellow again in another recipe, this time with a different essential oil, and see how it turns out.

As for their Grape Nehi mica, that came out perfectly.  A perfect purple that lasts.  Also, their lavender essential oil has the truest and best scent of all those I have used from soap suppliers.

Mad Oils is definitely on my list of go-to shops for soap supplies.




Saturday, August 22, 2015

HERBAL STUDIES: PLANTAIN

Kids are always getting bit by something; mosquitos, black flies, deer flies, gnats, sand fleas… you name it and when they get bit they scratch, scratch, scratch and whine, whine, whine so as a parent you search for something to stop the itch and unfortunately everything you find is usually some commercial concoction that never really works anyway.  So what should you do? Reach for plantain.

Plantain is a child's best friend in the summer.  It not only stops the itch from biting bugs but it also ends the pain caused by stinging insects too.  My kids usually just grab a handful of plantain leaves, chew it up and slap it on the spot that needs attention but sometimes it is more convenient to have a plantain salve, like when out on a lake in a canoe or during travel when bringing fresh leaves along or finding it in the wild just isn't feasible.  So I had Aiyana make her first container of salve.

Here is a picture of plantain and you can read more about it HERE


To help identify plantain in the wild, here are a few helpful pictures

These seeds grow up from the center of the plantain plant

Plantain leaf

When you tear a plantain leaf you should see little vein strings as shown above



First, Aiyana went out and gathered a bunch of plantain leaves.



Washed and dried them.


Chopped them up.



Added them to the olive oil then heated.  The plantain sat in the warm oil for 2 hours.  This is the rush method.  I usually prefer keeping medicinal plants in a jar with oil for up to 6 weeks before straining but my daughter and I are on a mission, or I should say I am on a mission to teach as much as possible before the snow flies. LOL! So… we went with the rush method.  This oil sat for a week in the jar after  they were heated for 2 hrs.



She strained the oil out of the jar.


There are various ways you can extract the medicinal properties from a plant; we chose the solvent oil. You can tell the oil did its job by the color difference you see below.  Olive oil on left, plantains beneficial properties extracted into the olive oil on the right. 



 We poured the plantain oil into a double boiler, heated it up, added some beeswax to make the salve.



We think plantain oil stinks so we added lavender essential oil to to cut the smell.  Some people will add essential oils because of their beneficial properties but it is important to remember that eos are damaged by high heat, so to maintain their effectiveness you do not want to heat them above 80 degrees.  We used lavender eo in this recipe purely for the natural scent.


Here's the finished product after poured into tiny tins.


Couple notes on Plantain salve vs. Plantain leaves, we've found that the plant works much faster to relieve itching than the salve so if you have a choice, use the actual leaves from the plant.  The salve works but it takes a little more time.  We've also learned that it works really well on our dogs.  We have one dog that happens to be allergic to bug bites and certain types of material and when he develops hives the plantain salve brings about relief.

Herbal Roots does have an e-zine on plantain that is really good also.  The salve above is not listed but other crafts and ways of using the herbs are.

Recipe:

4 oz fresh plantain leaves
16 oz olive oil
.5 oz beeswax
24 drops lavender essential oil








Thursday, August 20, 2015

JUST SOME PICTURES

At this time of year we have every insect imaginable hanging out in our backyard.  You have to be very careful if you walk the trail around the Joe Pye Weed and Goldenrod because literally hundreds of wasps, honey bees and bumble bees call the JPW & GR a source of food.
 
One of hundreds of yellow-jackets calling our yard home right now. They are hungry for the Joe Pye Weed and Goldenrod.

Monarch butterflies are just interested in the Joe Pye Weed.

This little lady(bug) has been spending her day poking around the goldenrod.



I saw this frog and thought it was deformed but turns out it was crossing its legs like that on purpose.  Who knew they did that? I didn't.
 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

HERBS, HERBS, HERBS

I decided it was time to teach my youngest about herbs.  After quizzing her I found that she knows quite a bit but it was time to incorporate some fun stuff.  We are going to work our way through as many herbs as we can until winter arrives and our herb garden and wild medicinal plants have died back.  For each herb she is journaling, coloring, and creating. 

A while back I found this book:
You can find this for sale on Amazon - CLICK HERE
It has a bunch of cute kid stories about herbs such as The Lion and the Wise Teacher about dandelions or The Star's Gift about lemon balm.  It is a perfect addition to our herb study.  We also subscribe to Herbal Roots Zine which focusses on one particular herb and contains crafts, herbal remedies, stories, etc... Those we'll save for when the plants are all gone and it's too cold to go outside. The rest is all mom.  I created a "type" of herb curriculum that we'll be following until she tells me "mom, stop, I can't take anymore." LOL!


We started with Aiyana picking out a plant of her own to communicate with and she chose lavender.  She started talking to it, asking it questions… once she understood that on a basic energetic level we are connected to all things, even something as simple as a plant we moved on to lemon balm, my favorite herb.  It was the first herb I planted when we moved into our home 8 yrs ago and it has pretty much taken over a quarter of our yard (expected and wanted).


Unfortunately, our lemon balm has passed its prime for the season.  It now has flowers and no longer has that strong lemony scent which means the oil content is low.  My daughter is already somewhat familiar with the herb so it wasn't a problem, we just picked up the dried version from our local natural food store and worked with that.

No, it's not Lemon Ballom. LOL! We corrected that later. 
What did she create? Tea.  She loved making her own tea, can't say she loved the taste so much though. LOL! I told her as we move into other herbs she'll combine several for a much better tasting tea :-)


Next...

Plantain.

Plantain is perfect for bug bites and our mosquitos are now out in full force so my daughter will be making a plantain salve for those nasty itchy bites she always gets.
So, today we started with Lemon Balm.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

STRAWBERRIES!!! TIME TO GET PICKING!

It is that time of year again, when the kids think they get to sleep in for the first time since the school year ended but instead I am dragging them out of bed at 6 am to go berry picking.

We headed out to our favorite farm yesterday, Sam Kedem's Nursery in Hastings. It was a perfect day; sun was shining and temps were decent.  When we arrived, there were more pickers than I am use to so we got busy before all of the berries were gone.  We ended up with 16 lbs worth of juicy organic strawberries and rushed home to make jam.  

As usual, what was suppose to be a family affair turned into my oldest daughter cutting up all of the strawberries and me finishing the rest on my own. LOL! That's ok, I enjoy it. 












Monday, April 20, 2015

STOP COMPLAINING AND ENJOY THE PHASES - THANKS MOM!

I am often reminded of how lucky I was to have the mother I had...

The other day while reading a homeschool forum I came across an interesting post, a woman was complaining that she was tired of homeschooling her step-son and she wanted her life back.  Anytime someone with kids says they want their life back I just want to slap their face.  How do you separate yourself from your own child like that?  She wanted to get back to the days of her youth and travel the world.  Um… ok.

I think part of my frustration with people like that is they are whining about choices THEY have made.  This particular person was upset not only about homeschooling and losing her life but that the child wasn't even hers.  Well… she chose to marry a man with a child, she chose to homeschool him and she chose to give up her previous life for a new life as a step-mom.  Unless someone held a gun to her head I am pretty sure she made those choices. (Let's just skip the part where she could enroll the kid in public school, divorce the guy and travel the world - that's a choice too).

Reading posts like that or listening to people whine about the life they've chosen for themselves is exhausting so I avoid it if I can.  I left no comment on the forum because nothing I could write would resonate with that woman, she was too far down in the pool of self-pity.   But… reading that particular post reminded me of an elderly man I met not too long ago.

When I was moving my sister into her new place I ran into a talkative and very energetic elderly man in the parking garage, he was in his late 70's.  Sweetest guy!  Out of nowhere he starts telling me about his phases of life. It was the first time I've really heard someone define their life that way… in phases.  He told me he was on his fifth phase of life as a musician and gave me a brief description of the prior four.  In one of his phases of life he was a father and although we all know parenting can be somewhat life-long there is a particular phase where life is ALL about being a mom or dad.  You can have moments to yourself or hobbies that you enjoy but every decision or action you take directly affects your children so you don't make a single life choice without them in mind because THEY ARE YOUR LIFE.  There will be a phase when they are no longer your life because they will move on and create a life of their own, that will be one of "their" phases.  You might still consider them your life but in reality they are just PART of your life because now you are now able to choose to travel the world without making sure the kids have the proper vaccines, take road trips without stopping for pee breaks every 30 minutes or lay in bed for three days straight without worrying you have to feed anyone but yourself.  The problem with people is they don't embrace the phases they've chosen for themselves instead they spend a lot of time crying about them.  You also can't reclaim a life that has passed, you can only move foreword. Why is that difficult for some people?

My mother died 8 years ago yesterday.  She spent 40 years in the parenting phase, first raising me and my sister and then continuing to care for my disabled sister until she (my mom) died on April 19, 2007.   Not once did I ever hear my mom say "I want my life back" nor did she ever behave in a way that made us think she wanted a separate life from my sister and I, as she always said when we were growing up, "my children are my life."  At some point I am sure she would have been ready to enter another phase but she didn't get that chance.

My mom was a great role model, she embraced the life phases that she chose for herself and not once looked back with regret.  I am in the parenting phase now and thanks to my mother I learned how to embrace all the phases of my life and continue to move foreword without thinking of what might have been, after all, why should I complain because it is I who brought myself here :-)


Mom's Phases.





Friday, February 6, 2015

DOES GOD GIVE US THE AUTHORITY TO KILL WOLVES?

Numerous times, while debating the wolf hunt with some Christians, I often hear how it is God that gave us dominion over animals and it is God that gave us the authority to kill them. Now, I've studied the Christian bible (cover to cover) more than once and I've not seen where in the scriptures God gives man the right to kill every animal on earth for their own selfish needs.

To examine the scriptures that are often cited as God giving man the authority to kill wolves I'll use my Concordia Self-Study Bible NIV 

Genesis 1:24 -29

And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind."  And it was so.  God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds.  And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.  And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move along the ground - everything that has the breath of life in it - I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

So, according to those that kill wolves, it is ok because God gave them the power to rule over air, land and sea creatures.  God says to "subdue" them. God also gave man the power to rule over plants, trees, etc… (another part of scripture often clung to by people who destroy our environment). God says "let them rule" he says "subdue" and he also points out what they are to "eat." 

Nowhere in Genesis, prior to the great flood, has God said to eat the animals. He does however say "I give every green plant for food".  

Nowhere in Genesis when referencing animals does God say rule or subdue means to kill.  In fact, not even in today's world do those words get defined as kill.

To subdue: to bring under control by force. To conquer or bring into subjection. To bring under (land) cultivation. To reduce the intensity or degree of: tone down. 

To rule: to control or direct; exercise dominating power, authority, or influence over; govern.  To be superior or preeminent, dominate by superiority; hold sway over.

and if your bible uses the word "dominion" instead of rule…

Dominion: rule, control. The power or right of governing or controlling.

So let's move into the scriptures that appear after the great flood.

It isn't until Genesis 9 that God references eating meat and not eating anything live which of course would mean it is ok to kill.

Genesis 9:3-4

"Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.  Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

"But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood in it.  And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting, I will surely demand an accounting for every animal."

Then God speaks of his covenant that is not only with man but with every living creature on the planet.

Genesis 9:9-11

"I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you - the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you - every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth."

God has made it clear in that last passage that animals are equally as important to him as man is.  He not only makes the covenant with man but with every living creature on the planet.  So… as for wolves, where in Genesis does God say it is ok to kill animals just to kill? Where does God say it is ok to kill an animal for its skull or its pelt? God is very clear that animal is to be killed ONLY for its meat and wolf hunters don't kill wolves for their meat. 

Same can be said for creatures that have gone extinct.  How many creatures have gone extinct and the reason is "human caused?" Hundreds. 

Later, in Leviticus, scripture changes. God no longer states "everything that lives or moves will be food for you."

Leviticus 11:1-8

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, Say to the Israelites: "Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud."

"There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split hoof, but you must not eat them.  The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean to you. The coney, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean to you. The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof, it is unclean for you.  And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.  You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you."

Leviticus 11:27

"Of all the animals that walk on all fours, those that walk on their paws are unclean for you; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening."

Leviticus 11:46-47

"These are the regulations conceding animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creatures that moves about on the ground.  You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten."

According to the dietary laws laid out in Leviticus man must not eat a wolf and the when God gave the authority to kill it was in reference to eating meat. 

So… you can sift through every scripture in the bible and you will not find one where God gives man the authority to kill wolves. Giving someone authority, power, the ability to rule, etc… does not give them the right to kill or torture.  I have authority over my children, I control the day to day schedule of my 8 year old, my husband and I hold dominion over our household, it DOES NOT MEAN we can bring harm to our kids. For those who use the scriptures to excuse their slaughtering wolves you are just bastardizing the book you claim is your guide to life and insulting the God you claim to follow.  The reality is you are just a coward with a perverted view of the world.  You most certainly are not a Christian. 

There is a saying that goes "with great power comes great responsibility" and that is the most important thing to remember when it comes to our wildlife and environment.

People twist the scriptures to abuse the gift their God has given them (power and superiority) and they use that gift instead for selfish purposes.  A wolf killer can rationalize their choice all they want but their  holy book isn't going to be there to back them up.  Instead, what they should be doing, since they believe they were created in God's image, is to act as God would. God saved his animals from the flood because he wants them to live.  If God had saved his animals just for human consumption or for a thrill kill he wouldn't have made dietary rules that forbade man from eating or touching some of the animals he saved.  Think about it! Abusing what your God created is all on you. 





Sunday, February 1, 2015

DEBUNKING THE MYTHS OF HOME SCHOOLING

After my 7 yr old told me that a public school child told her we were weirdos for homeschooling I decided to blog about the misconceptions of homeschooling.

(Some misconceptions are being discussed here: DEBATE.ORG)

Why are people so threatened by homeschooling? So threatened that they make up information or repeat what they've heard without fact checking. 

When I first heard about homeschooling it was from my mother.  I was curious about it but she had a negative view of people who home schooled their children, her view was that a parent wasn't qualified to teach, so I didn't ask too many questions.  With education my mothers view of home school did change later though. 

The 2nd time I heard about homeschooling was from a woman I met at our local gym.  She worked in the childcare center and her children became friends with my child. She was weird. Her kids were unruly and they weren't very bright. Her religion took priority over education from what I could tell and it was just odd to me but it didn't keep me from wanting to know more about homeschooling.  

Fast forward to when my daughter was in 4th grade.  We had a home schooled child join our Girl Scout Troop. She was the only child in a group of 9 that was home schooled and she was quiet, sweet, respectful and very smart. What I remember about her the most is how well behaved she was, better than the other 9 kids (including my own). She wasn't bouncing all over the place vying for attention from her peers, she appeared very secure in herself.  That is the overall experience I've had with home schooled children since. 

I won't preach about homeschool being the perfect solution to our educational system because there are too many variables; bad parents, kids with severe learning disabilities, parents that are overwhelmed with too many other responsibilities, etc… the list goes on.  I have three children and my oldest graduated from public school and my middle child is still in public school.  So, this post isn't about what is or isn't the perfect way to educate your child, this post is about anti-homeschooling people spreading misinformation. So here we go, the comments that homeschooling families hear so often (taken from the website linked above):

1. Home schooled children are not being socialized. 

Clearly those who say that have no idea how to define socialization so here it is: a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social situation.

Here are a couple responses (on the topic of socialization) from Debate.org.  This is from the "no, children shouldn't be educated at home" side.


So making out during recess, dealing with bullies and hearing cuss words on a school bus makes you a more well-rounded individual?


For me to even take this person seriously they'd first have to spell words correctly or write a coherent sentence.  Let's see the rest of that post:


Here you see it again… bullying. Why do so many anti-homeschool people think that being bullied is an essential part of growing up? If being bullied was a necessary part of childhood then why is society now fighting so hard against it? Kids are committing suicide because they are bullied, states are enacting laws to prosecute bullies, etc… So which is it, kids need to be bullied or they don't? 

Now onto the next misconception, making friends and getting out of the house.


Let's start with friends.

I think forming friendships can be an issue for anyone depending on the circumstances.  For home schoolers the challenge with finding friends almost always has to do with being new to the home school world and it isn't dissimilar to how it would feel moving to a new town and enrolling your child in a new school.  It can take time for kids to connect with others, form friendships and get to know their new surroundings.  Personally, I find public school to be more sad in that regard. How many kids have enrolled in a new school and found it difficult to find new friends? There are so many cliques in public school, so many "groups" like the jocks, the nerds, the preppies, etc… and if you don't fit in you may be shunned.  How often do we hear that the kid who took a gun to school and shot their peers were bullied and didn't have friends? Almost always. I've never seen that type of problem with home schooled kids.

Activities and field trips.

Home schooled kids tend to be some of the busiest.  My own child is in gymnastics, Girl Scouts, goes to LifeTime Fitness 3x's a week, attends camps at a local nature center, participates in numerous activities and field trips (most of these trips and activities are with kids that are not home schooled).  In fact, home schooled kids tend to do 10x as many field trips as children in public school, most are not just sitting at home at a table all day.  The bonus for home schooled kids and so many outside activities and field trips is that they aren't just being exposed to kids their own age, they connect with people of all ages which makes them well-rounded socially.  I often hear how well spoken, polite and friendly my daughter is and I know a good part of that is because she isn't being tainted by the kids in public school.  You know, the ones that think you should be bullied in the cafeteria and learn cuss words on the school bus. 

2. Kids who are home schooled don't get vaccinated, if they go to public school they are required to have all vaccinations. 


Well… just an FYI, there are a lot of kids in public school that haven't been vaccinated.  I don't know about all 50 states but in my home state if we refuse a vaccine we just fill out  a form stating an "elected exemption", have it signed by the doctor and turn it in to the school.  The law protects a citizens right to refuse vaccines whether you are educated at home or in a school.  Most of the home school families I know of are proponents of vaccines and you'll see a variety of opinions on vaccinations by parents who homeschool if you've ever read a homeschool FB group. 

The CDC provides information about each states laws pertaining to the vaccination requirement.  To learn more CLICK HERE.  To see information about exemptions in each state CLICK HERE.

3. Homeschooling is not regulated.  

Not true. Again, every state is different and some are more strict than others.  CLICK HERE to see regulations by state. Personally, I like the home school laws in my state, not too strict and not too lenient.  On an annual basis in my state we must file an intent to homeschool with the district Superintendent, teach specified subjects and participate in yearly standardized testing.  If you want to see the requirements in each state CLICK HERE.

4. Home school makes it easier for parents to abuse their children.

You'll see this reference in the post I screen captured above and it something that gets hammered to death by the media when a homeschooling family is charged with abuse.  Sure, some kids that are home schooled are subjected to physical and sexual abuse just like some kids that go to public school are being physically and sexually abused. Whether one form of education makes abuse easier is really irrelevant. Physical and sexual abuse is happening everywhere and if it were more difficult to do to children in public school then why are so many kids in public school being abused? How many people today talk about being abused as children and yet no one knew? Abuse stays hidden because the perpetrator is manipulative and crafty not because the environment makes it conducive.  Don't belittle what is happening to children or take away the responsibility of the perpetrator by blaming a persons choice of how to educate their child. 

5. Kids can't participate in team sports.

My daughter played soccer for 2 years and I am pretty sure it was a team because she wasn't playing by herself (sorry, just being sarcastic about the team part).  She's decided that for now gymnastics is more her thing so she may or may not go back to soccer.  Kids don't only have access to team sports through public schools.  Community based organizations offer team sports and in my state, depending on the district, public schools also allow home schooled children to participate in public school activities or sports.  CLICK HERE to read which states allow home school kids to participate in public school sports.

6. Home schooled kids can't go to college.

When I was first considering home school for my youngest I worried a lot about her ability to get into college.  I started looking up various colleges and checking out their entrance requirements.  Turns out  most of the colleges I looked at accepted home schooled kids.  This is pretty typical under "application requirements" on college websites: 

University of Minnesota, Crookstone


Yale



I've met a nurse, pastor and teacher that were home schooled and I have homeschooling friends that currently have kids in college.  Going to public school doesn't guarantee success getting into or doing well in college but still anti-homeschoolers single out home schooled kids as being unable to go to college due to their "alternative" education.  Here are a couple misconceptions about home schooled kids getting into college:

7. Homeschool kids can't go to college because they don't earn a high school diploma.  

Colleges don't ask to see your high school diploma, at least mine didn't. I went to a four year private college and I needed three letters of recommendation, ACT scores and high school transcripts when I applied, not once was I asked for a diploma.  My oldest daughter didn't submit her diploma when she applied to college, she sent in her high school transcript also.  It's the subjects studied and the grades earned that colleges want to see and home schooled kids can provide that information.  We can also create a diploma but no one will ever ask to look at it so it is pretty pointless. 

8. Home schooled kids aren't ready for college like their public school peers.  

Home school situations vary like public school situations. Sure, there will be home schooled kids that don't receive the education that may be required to enroll in their college of choice just as many public school kids are not prepared to enroll in college.  More and more public school kids are falling through the cracks due to lack of parent involvement, large class sizes, incompetent teachers, etc… There are a whole host of reasons children in public school fail to succeed but research has shown that colleges are are very interested in home schooled students and these articles are a reflection of that:

This one makes me laugh because I've known several public school teachers that shouldn't be allowed to teach.  Why do we question whether a parent is qualified to teach but not question teachers? Just because someone holds a degree doesn't make them teacher material.  This is actually one of the things that kept me from home schooling my children.  I wanted to home school for many years before ever getting the courage to do so and it was because anti-homeschoolers had me believe a parent wasn't qualified so I put all my faith in private and public school teachers and this is what it got me:

My 14 yr old had one of the worst teachers ever in 3rd grade. I watched her standardized test scores go from above average to nearly below average in just one testing year.  That particular teacher was removed from the school after only teaching one year.

My oldest child couldn't read until she was in the 2nd grade. Her first grade teacher made excuses for my daughters inability to read or even do basic math, she even told me it was MY child (her teacher diagnosed her as ADHD) and NOT HER teaching that was the problem which later, after much testing, seeing a doctor and psychologist, turned out to be completely false. It turned out that my daughter had missed all of the basics in 1st grade, it was literally as if she was taught nothing for an entire year. I'd been questioning her teacher for months and she kept reassuring me all was ok until I accused her of not being a good teacher then all of a sudden my daughter was ADHD.  Thankfully there were good teachers and tutors that helped my daughter catch up and get back to where she should be but it took nearly 4 yrs for that to happen and a lot of money.  She graduated on time and her GPA never fell below 3.2 after 7th grade.

My home schooled child took her first standardized test after I taught her entire first grade and she scored at a 2nd grade level in Math and a 3rd grade level in Language Arts.  So… let's just skip the part about parents not being qualified to teach.  Being qualified to teach isn't about having a degree in education it is about knowing your child, understanding their learning style and being committed to their education. No one knows their child better and no one should be more committed to their child's educational success than their parent.



So, this was just a few of the crazy things people say about home schooled kids.  Instead of accepting that home school is just another way of educating a child some people become very defensive and downright rude when they know or hear of someone that home schools. It is silly and I think it is really a reflection of that persons own insecurities.

Next time you have the opportunity to learn the facts about home schooling, take it! You'll realize homeschooling families are much like your own family the only difference is that they've chosen a different way to educate their child, a way that they believe is best for THEIR child.