Wednesday, December 28, 2016

About XYHomeschool Blog

This blog exists to share the views and experiences of a homeschool lead by a dad.

About This Blog:
A vast majority of homeschool blog sites are by moms leading the homeschool show; not so here, as I'm all dude.  The language, perspective, and examples offered up will most certainly be from a guys point of view and will probably offend someone at some point.  It is updated as frequently as I feel moved to do so, which currently feels like once every couple of weeks.  I intend for this blog to 1. cheer on other guys homeschooling their kids with posts that will resonate (no hair color advice here, I'm bald!) 2. inspire other guys to take on this amazing experience and 3. share potentially unique homechool approach ideas and perspectives.  You can read the inaugural blog post outlining the manliness impetus here: Homeschooling Needs Testosterone

About Our Family:
Yep, I'm the luckiest dude on the planet.  These are my ladies!
We are a family of 4: mom, dad, daughter (b. 2005), and daughter (b. 2008).  Our daughters are remarkable, with each having distinct personalities and a variety of interests.  Both are voracious readers, easily consuming a book a week.  My eldest loves science fiction, like Harry Potter, Eragon, and all of Peter Jackson's books.  My youngest loves biographies and factual books, with President Lincoln being her favorite person in history and Giraffes being her favorite animal. Both are avid martial artists, having been training rigorously since 2013 and have both earned Grand Champion titles at different tournaments.    My wife is employed full time as an accountant (controller) and I'm home with the students.  Both my wife and I have multiple degrees (wife BBA Economics/Finance and an MBA, husband BS (Cum Laude) Physics and an MS Computer Science) all from University System of Georgia state schools).  We've both been road warrior consultants in our fields, have both had tremendously successful professional careers in the corporate world, and we have run 3 of our own companies along the way too. Before all this awesomeness, when we first got married back in 1991, I was an enlisted soldier in the US Army.  In 2005, when we decided to have children, we agreed that one of us would be home full time.  My wife took the first watch at home, birthing them and raising them until they were both in school (about 10 years).  Once our kids were both in the common/public school system and my wife employed, I started the shift into their primary care person, leaving my career.

About Our Homeschool:
Our plan was to let our daughters enjoy the common/public elementary school system as long as we could, carefully monitoring their growth, values, and environment.  We knew that we would have to pull them out at some point, with the absolute evacuation grade being 6th (the start of middle school). Until then, we would build homeschool prototypes doing afternoon supplimental home school, summer home school, and the like to build out our homeschool model and approach. This tuning and adjusting has resulted in a fluid learning environment wherein our girls can learn at their pace, be self-driven, follow their interests, not see knowledge as containerized, and enjoy learning as a life activity.  They use a variety of learning vectors to include online tools like Khan Academy and Florida Virtual School, groups like 4-H and ToastMasters, camps like Space Camp, travels like going to Egypt, community offerings like museums and zoos, nature experiences like extended camping, pencil and paper exercises through worksheets, and more.   All of these mechanisms fit nicely within our codified approach to homeschooling, as captured in our Homeschool Charter.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Present Choices Activity

Here we are, a few days before Christmas. Presents under the tree, all looking seductive.  This gave rise to a fasctinating discussion around choices, mathematics, pragmatism and more.  Like so many of the good activities, this one evolved organically.

"Dad, can we open a present early?" - Dy (my youngest who is 8)

"Well, let's talk about this. I might be open to it.  Imagine if I gave you two options.
Option 1: You can open one present
Option 2: You can flip a coin, and if it is tails... you get zero presents, but if it is heads, you get two presents
Which option would you pick?" - Dad

--- Nice Long Pause --- The kind that shows the wheels turning in the mind

"Dad, I'd take option 1"  - Dy

A great 30 minute discussion then ensued by me changing the parameters.  For example:

"Dy, well how many presents would it take before you'd take option 2?"


"Dy, what if we used a dice instead and if you got an even number, no gifts... but if you get odd, you get two gifts?"


"Dy, what if we used a dice, and if you got a 1 or 2, no gifts, but if you get a 3 or higher, you get that many gifts"


"Dy, would it make a difference if we did this kind of deal 1 day before we normally open presents, or 5 days before we normally open presents?"


"Dy, would it matter if I get to pick the presents you choose from or if you do?"

and so on and so on.

As she would make a selection, we would talk about her reasons, the payoffs, the risks and more.  We then flipped it, and I asked her to offer me some version of the deal.  It was a very real feeling exercise because there were in fact real presents under the tree and she knew that whatever we settled on would indeed be offered up.

In our family, we've decided that the day before we normally open the gifts our girls will indeed be offered a deal.  It will be as follows:
Option 1: You get to pick one present from any of the presents with your name on it
Option 2: You flip a coin, and if it is tails you get nothing, but if you get heads, you get three of them

ho Ho HO!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Homeschooling Needs Testosterone

Welcome to XYHomeschool's inaugural blog post.

"Holy Cow, I really don't care about your latest hairdo. Pump out some more of your great homeschooling ideas, I love them! "

Estrogen Estrogen Estrogren.

Over the past 8 months I've been prepping to home school my eldest daughter, KJ.  This research included reading over 500 blog posts from others who homeschool. Damn I've learned a lot, and I'm sure going to steal with pride lots of awesome ideas. However, it did get tiring combing through posts and reading about woman/mom stuff.

The indulgence and interludes into these female areas make sense, as these blog posting women use their blogs as an outlet and are speaking to the vast majority of home-school situations where it is the mom doing the driving.  However, I'm not a mom... nor would I ever try to be.  That is a beautiful role, perfectly fulfilled by my wife Val.  I'm a Dad.  I've got Dad parts.  I've got Dad interests.  So if we interlude, let's interlude with cars, guns, beer, man-beards, and stuff like that.

Speaking of roles, that of moms and dads, moms infuse lots of wonderful commonly mom done things into their homeschooling worlds.  For example, baking as way to teach mathematics and chemistry is great... and for dads into baking, this is a great approach.  I, however, will leverage balancing our swimming pool's chemicals for these kinds of things.  This other perspective, the stereotypical male view,  will no doubt give rise to unique projects and perspectives that can be of use and value to homeschooling parents of XX and XY choromosome combos.

The XYHomeschool site exists to explore the numerous aspects of homeschooling, but from a male point of view.  If it inspires more dudes to consider doing it, awesome... but even better, if it helps motivate a homeschooling dad in a slump pull through, then we have a big win because it is the children who win.

Ultimately, it is about our kids and giving them the very best start to life that we can.  Therefore, if my tone or tenor doesn't sit will with you, focus on the content or simply move on; don't waste your time criticizing my voice because you are robbing your children of your most precious gift, time, and your words will fall on deaf ears on this end (like women, men have very selective hearing ;) ).

So, let this blog be an injection of Manliness into the uterus of homeschooling!

It has begun!