Homeschool Notes

(This was given to me by a good friend, Renae Pelo, the year before I took the “plunge” into homeschooling – it was instrumental in helping me have the courage to begin my own homeschooling experiment. I’d like to also thank Sherrie Hatch for gifting me the book “A Thomas Jefferson Education” two years before I dared read it, Stella Rainwater for being the brave pioneer who showed me by example that I could do it, and Cristie Gardner who showed me the amazing, positive products of her family’s experiment.)

Click here to read the post leading up to this one

THE HOWS and WHYS of HOMESCHOOLING For the Pelo’s of Charleston

“We began almost 15 years ago when Melody (mom) decided she was not ready to put her children into someone else’s care while they were still so young and vulnerable. It bean as a spiritual journey that started by talking to a Homeschooling mom who asked… ‘Would you send your son to war without arming him completely? Then why put a young child in a battle zone without their full armor’ (this takes time while they are young)

“I thought about this alot, and I began wanting to have them at home until they could recognize right and wrong and make good decisions for themselves. It also seemed to me that there were more important things than academics for a young child such as character development, learning compassion and getting along.  As time went on we began to see many advantages of how our children were enjoying each other and developing great friendships within the family, finding ways to help them fulfill their own personal missions and getting individualized attention. And probably most important was the fact that we wanted God to be the very CENTER of all that they are learning. Since He created all things and knows everything about everything, it makes sense that we learn about Him, and let Him teach us about everything.

“We have tried many different techniques and are constantly changing methods, but the children have proven that they are learning constantly and more effectively when we just give them resources and just get out of the way.

“Our oldest studied a couple of weeks for the ACT, and did well enough to get into college when she was 16. (This was enough to prove to us that without formal education, life is full of learning even enough to prepare for college.)

“Every child has different gifts, talents and goals, and we are learning from all of them and revising as we go. It has been a great journey and we believe that it will have lasting benefits, that our children have learned to think for themselves, and know where to find answers, and not rely on others to tell them what and when to learn.

” – A reminder that reading is a most important tool in education. Keep them reading.

” – Allow them to participate in extra-curricular activities, sports, drama, clubs.

“We have times when we wonder if we are missing things, and why we are doing this, and we have made big mistakes, but we do see so many benefits that we keep on going, the best part is, as the children are growing up – we can see we got more time with them than most parents do, and we have no regrets.”

Here are a few more notes that my friend gave me:

Thoughts on Challenges of Homeschooling

1. If you have been public schooled as a parent, you must overcome the idea that there is only one way to learn, you need to reminds yourself often about why you decided to use this method, and that your home is not meant to replicate the school.

2. During the young years, our children had to work extra hard to feel included at church because the others tend to hang out with those they see every day at school.

3. One challenge when you do the UnSchooling method, you have to step back and let your children be BORED sometimes and wait for them to decide that they are responsible for their learning — this can drive a parent crazy!

4. There is also a need to get the children to be accountable for the way they use their time, even if you don’t have structured learning, there needs to be a block of time set aside for learning.

5. Overcome the fact that some people won’t agree with your decision, but be comfortable enough, read enough and know enough that it doesn’t matter what others think, there are many ways to educate and parents choose what is best for their families.

Home Schooling Thoughts from the Pelo Family

This comes from our personal experience over the years we have homeschooled, and yet every family will have a way that works best for their situation. We have gathered ideas from many resources and people to make our style… maybe one of these ideas will be helpful to another family:

1. Every family finds THEIR unique style.

2. Most families who home school find greater success with not trying to imitate the public schools.

3. Follow the interests and talents of each child.

4. As they increase in age – increase THEIR responsibilities for their education.

5. Be a RESOURCE instead of a teacher, children can so easily self-teach even when they don’t know they are learning.

6. Find out what learning style your child has-many books out on this subject, visual learners, auditory learners, hands on …etc.

7. Remember that everyday life is full of learning opportunities – cooking to measure things, shopping to learn math, reading instructions…

8. Enjoy your time together — remember each child has tremendous capabilities and if we don’t block up the way they can do amazing things.

9. We like to visit with each child weekly to find out what resources they need for the week. We also bring in specialists to teach things that they want help with.

10. One year we combined with other families and had people with skills of knowledge of some place or culture come and share with us once a week.

11. We have developed a scholarship plan. This is used for earning money towards college, some of the kids really take advantage of it.

Books that are Great Resources

1. The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook – Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore

2. Family Matters – David Gutterson (a high school teacher who home schools his own children)

3. The Teenage Liberation Handbook – Grace Llewelyn

4. Dumbing Us Down – John Gatto

5. The Sudbury Valley School – a school that has a great unique teaching style

6. Better Late than Early – Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore

7. The Parenting Breakthrough – Boyack (this helps with daily chores and how to evaluate what each child is needing to learn)

8. Homeschooling for Excellence – David and Micki Colfax (these boys all went to Harvard)

9. Home Grown Kids – Moore

10. The Unschooling Handbook – Mary Griffith

11. Teaching Your Children Values – Linda and Richard Eyre

(I have not read most of the above books, but I will add to this list the books that tipped me over the edge…)

12. A Thomas Jefferson Education – Oliver DeMille

13. Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning – Oliver DeMille

14. A Thomas Jefferson Education: Home Companion – Oliver DeMille and Diann Jeppson

I hope this post can be helpful to someone else who is thinking about taking this brave and out-of-the-box path for his or her family.


Getting Personal Here…

Looking for Part 2? Click HERE

It’s after 2 in the morning and I’m still wide awake – just read my sister’s blog Og Invents Wheel and Other Wonders, and I’m re-inspired to try harder to share more of my real and raw experiences, too.  Here comes a real and raw one now:

If you’ve known me very long, you may have noticed how I’ve sort of fallen off the map since May. (Thankfully, today’s technology allows me to automate much of my business and take a sabbatical when I need one without it being too obvious. One way I did this was by pulling out some of my favorite, archived articles/blog posts and recycling them, or talking about other interesting people and the messages they had to share instead of my own.)

As I’ve said before (like I did in my class, “Lessons Learned Since Writing Jackrabbit Factor,”) our world turned upside down about 5 years ago. Everything that had been going so well (you know, all those reasons I wrote Jackrabbit Factor and Hidden Treasures in the first place) suddenly imploded. Well, not suddenly – it actually all seemed to happen in slow motion – so slow that we hardly noticed what was happening.

Let me back up. After our first big financial breakthrough in 2000, and after having enjoyed our new success for several years, we made some careless investment decisions. When we finally became completely conscious of the problem, we believed that we could “make” those bad decisions into good ones somehow just by “thinking right”.

A hard lesson I learned was that, sure, while it may be true that in every adversity there is a seed of equal or greater benefit, that doesn’t mean the adversity will go away with right thinking. It only promises that something good can be born from it.

It seemed that no matter how much positive thinking I mustered, our situation refused to improve. It felt as though the principles were suspended on my behalf and it didn’t matter how well I lived what I had been teaching, none of it seemed to be working as it had in the past.

So as you can imagine, one of my biggest stresses was figuring out what to do with the business. My husband had long since left his job to help me with it. But now, what about my books? What about our websites and programs? If the principles really didn’t work any more, how could I possibly continue teaching them?

I wondered if it was time to just pull all the books from the bookstores and issue a public apology.  But, even as I fought my own demons, I continued to receive mail from readers all over the world who shared their success stories and profound gratitude for my work.  Ben Southall attained the World’s Best Job out of 34,000 applicants and credited my book for his success on a national news program. Publishers from other countries were asking for the rights to my book. Business owners were talking about how my programs had helped them multiply their revenues. Mothers shared stories of how they got the money they needed even after all appearances indicated it should have been impossible.

I read their expressions of gratitude and began to feel jealous of my readers’ successes. I began to feel like a pawn – an instrument in God’s hand, helping thousands of people achieve their dreams, but not being allowed to achieve MY dream, which was to just live a simple life enjoying my children and focusing 100% on my own little family.

Each time I seriously thought about quitting, I remembered those people and their stories. Simultaneously, I felt God telling me, “Keep teaching – you don’t make the principles true or false by how well you live them.”

Actually, we had quite a few arguments about that, God and I. But He always won. I’d throw my Felicity tantrum, and get bitter, rebellious and cynical. I’d try to ignore the needs of the business and just DECIDE to live the life I wanted. But then life always had a way of throwing me back into the work.

In my rebellious moments, I derived tremendous pleasure out of cleaning a toilet, or reorganizing a cupboard.  After all, that’s what normal people do, right? I just wanted to be normal. I wanted to let go of the pressure I felt to be a shining example of right thinking.

I can’t tell you how many times I logged into Facebook, sorely tempted to update my status with what I was really feeling.  I can be really good at sarcasm, but I also know how damaging it can be, so I resisted.

Over time, I began to learn new lessons. Deep, profound, clarifying insight into the same principles I had thought I understood before. My mind opened up and all the pain began to have purpose again. I began to write the Jackrabbit Factor sequel, Portal to Genius, to document what I was learning. We had new breakthroughs, and began to see our finances turning around. We had some of our best months we’d ever had, but still had a pretty deep hole to climb out of.

The final verdict was this: I knew the principles were true. I knew that things around me changed according to my thoughts and emotions. I knew that things went better when I lived with childlike faith, and took the time to “see” the outcome I really desired and answered the question: How would it really feel if…?

It’s just that sometimes I didn’t feel like doing it. I was tired. I was discouraged. I was impatient. I was embarrassed. Thinking right takes effort and intention, and frankly, sometimes it’s just plain easier NOT to do it.

Anyway, I really do need to get some sleep, but all this is leading up to why I had to drop off the map in May, and what’s happened since.  It’s actually very exciting. 🙂

So stay tuned… and g’nite!     Read the follow-up post here


How to Influence Through Stories

Ty BennettPositive Thinking Tip: Master The Most Influential Form of Communication, and everything else goes better – become a great story teller!

I am excited to tell you about a free video series my friend Ty Bennett (pictured here) is sharing this week. Ty is an extremely successful entrepreneur, speaker, & author – in fact, he built a $20 million business in his twenties!

Ty is a master communicator who has a unique ability to make the complex simple and in his three part video series he is going to break down the keys to influential communication.

To access the free videos – click here

If you want to be a better salesperson, deliver a more powerful message as a speaker, move people as a leader or be a more powerful parent or teacher – check out these videos.

Ty is going to dissect how you can communicate using stories so that you can cause people to adopt your ideas, buy your products & take action on your vision.

Great communicators are great storytellers – and the great news is, anyone can learn the skill of storytelling. These free videos are going to teach you how to do it.

Learning this skill will skyrocket your influence and effectiveness.

Click Here to access the first video

People love stories. Stories inspire, stories motivate and stories evoke emotion in people that causes them to respond, to take action, to adopt your ideas and buy your products. Stories are an influencer’s best friend and today, my friend Ty Bennett put out a free video series that is going to teach you how to tell stories that influence people.

Ty struggled to influence people when he first started out until he learned some of the communication keys he is going to share in these videos. These are deep content videos that you are going to enjoy, but more importantly, you’ll learn a lot from them, too.