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New World Training Center- Bethany's horse training site.


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"Every home is a school. What do you teach?" - unknown

  "Things may come to those who wait, but only those things left by those who hustle."    - Abraham Lincoln

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."  - Henry Ford  

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school." ~ Albert Einstein

"Education without morality breeds clever criminals"

New World Training Center- Bethany's horse training site.
My parenting beliefs

We currently raise pastured poultry (chickens, ducks, and emu and their eggs) and quail  - join me on FaceBook or read my blog

We  began homeschooling our three children in 1993.

We began to homeschool for the simple reason as to keep our children interested in the love of learning. In a school system we were in once, the first graders were told what books they could take out of the school library. The grades  "reserved" different books, which meant unless you were in that grade, you couldn't take out certain books. Well, that didn't set right with me... children learn things at different stages and if you don't nurture that at the time, you may be missing out on a great opportunity.

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."  ~ Albert Einstein
We homeschool our children with the self-learning philosophy. As long as they cover the basics of reading,
writing and arithmetic, the world is there for them to embrace and learn! Think about it. When did you learn anything that you actually remember today... when it was something you wanted to learn. Children are they same. If they want to learn, they will. We have covered subjects in greater detail than I even would like to remember! Brandon spent at least 5 years learning about dinosaurs. He was obsessed with dinosaurs. Now he is into computers. It is all self-taught. He spends hours on the computer, or fixing  computers.  What he has taught himself is amazing!

Homeschooling can be any way you want it to be. Many people follow programs  that grade the work and have specific guidelines. Others un-school and allow the child to learn what they want, when they want. Neither way is wrong, and there are lots of "in-betweens".. If the child is learning, how can any way be considered the only way??
The West Virginia Home Educators Association has a lot of links for curriculum you can look over.

Where do you begin? Wherever you want!  Each state has their own laws, some are more strict than others. You will probably have to begin by notifying the school. In West Virginia we need to send in a "Letter of Intent". Try checking on the Internet for information in your state. Then you may find associations in your area. Homeschooling groups are all over as there are millions of homeschoolers in the U.S.


Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty. ~ Albert Einstein

  Sit down with your child and ask them what kind of "projects" they will want to do this year. Incorporate the projects with math, science, reading, etc. Plan out when you will homeschool and how. Do you want to sit down every day at a set time and go through workbooks? (Personally, that sounds like the worst way to homeschool to me!) But some parents feel quite comfortable homeschooling in this manner and their children learn just fine.

I prefer a more relaxed way... they know what needs to be done, and they are responsible for getting it done. This is an Unschooling approach. This is also known as interest driven, child-led, delight driven, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning. This is the way people learn before going to school and the way people learn when they leave school and enter the world of work.

As a family, we sit down to go over what has been done, or to explain concepts that are new or difficult. But ultimately, they are responsible for their work. Once they figure out when they like to get their work done, they can then plan their fun projects... such as training tricks to rats...developing a computer program for the business... researching and preparing foods from a different country... practicing an instrument.... the list is endless and is up to their  interests. What a great way to learn!!!

                                                                                        Building a Hovercraft

Mariann has always been interested in weather. When the National Weather Service approached us, Mariann took it up . She was up every morning keeping a record of climatological observations: the temperature, amount of precipitation, rain, snow, etc. After taking down the important facts, she would call it in by 7 am. The National Weather Service provided a thermometer, and the rain and snow gauge - which is not a small plastic thing to put on your fence post. This is a large cylinder in your yard. The process is interesting and sometimes time consuming, but very important.

   You also may be able to do this with your child. Call the local National Weather Service office to see if they would like  a reporter in your area. Mariann was paid a nominal fee each month. This gave her a sense of accomplishment, plus she could tell people that her first job was with the government.

Her goal is to someday  go on a Storm Chasing trip to observe tornados.

Bethany has loved horses since she was little. Her first equine was a donkey, then a pony, then onto horses. She took a Horse Course she found  online, sent for the class she was interested  and did the curriculum. At the end of each class she would send in her test to be graded.  The course of study has a young equestrian series, which was the first one Bethany did. To save money she and Mariann shared the courses.
She also read everything she could on horses. We couldn't find anyplace to give horseback riding lessons, that we could afford, so she taught herself through reading. She also watched horse training shows on
Bethany went to Clinton Andersons Down Under Horsemanship, Suetter's Performance Horses and then  worked for Stacy Westfall as an apprentice - Bethany worked for 2 years gaining knowledge and now has her own business
New World Training Center-

Describing unschooling is difficult. As the wonderful Unschooling website  describes it - it is like describing red to a blind person. Many have different ideas of unschooling.

Our day consisted of doing a lot of things together. Instead of doing math from a workbook, we learned math by cooking, building our house, gas mileage, grocery shopping (budgets).
For example. One year, the kids were given $20 to buy their groceries for the week. They had to plan their meals, figure their budget and then we went shopping. They then made their meals through out the week. Jim and I rarely interfered except to give guidance... so one week Mariann ate a lot of canned vegetables because that was on her list!
We learned by doing, not workbooks...Until they got into high school, then they had to do certain subjects in order to do well on the ACT.
The kids had their own interests which we followed up on... reading was the most important way to get information. We didn't have electricity for 5 years, so no Internet. They learned to use encyclopedias and the library.
They did have a workbook that they followed - that is when they thought they were doing "school" - about 20 minutes out of the day... The rest of the time they thought they were playing... when in reality they were learning constantly. We did this 12 months out of the year... no summer break because they never realized they were learning...learning was an ongoing process. Some days, if it was a lazy day and they did nothing but read for pleasure... but things they learned out of the books surprised me.
~One of our all time favorite series is the Animorph books by K.A. Applegate. It is a science fiction series, but her descriptions of the animals in it was amazing.
~The kids built things ~ bird houses, watched the birds, learned their calls, color of eggs, and watched them hatch and leave the nest.
~They know all about the snakes, toads, frogs etc. around here.
~Animal Planet was extremely loved when we finally got electricity and satellite tv.
~Mariann had a butterfly habitat, caught butterflies all summer and then figured out what the  names were.
~Jim hunted, so they learned biology and dissection... We raised our own animals - so they saw births, and we learned all about gestation... which Mariann continued into learning about genetics and color variations with her dachshunds.
~They showed rabbits, then moved on to showing dogs.
~They grew a garden, canned and dried the fruit.
~We used science books such as the Backyard Science Experiments.
~To learn the basics in Art we watched Mark Kistler's Imagination Station on PBS - now there are videos to buy.
~Each year they picked a country to study and we made a meal with those foods and they drew posters to take to Mrs. Campbell on what they found out about the countries.
~Bethany learned to play the mandolin and loved it. She plays in a band now.
~Mariann learned the banjo and hated it. She sings in the church choir.
~Brandon learned the recorder and still plays it in his church groups. He and a friend also write songs together.

We simply followed their lead and interests. Each Fall we would sit down and throw out ideas. One year I made Bethany learn all about peanuts and do a poster for Mrs. Campbell - Bethany hated every minute of it. So I never had them do a project unless they were enthusiastic about it.

In the process of all of this, Jim and I learned a lot about subjects we may never have bothered to check out.

Everyone's family is different and your curriculum will reflect that. If you are musically oriented, your children may learn several instruments. If you are into the arts, you may have ballet dancers, artists, etc. If you are mechanical, you may have different engines in disrepair around the house. Or they may surprise you! Jim is a mechanic and has that innate knowledge of how engines work. I was trained as a Speech Pathologist, but have found myself raising exotic animals and yet, with all that, Brandon was a computer fanatic, Bethany is a horse trainer, and Mariann  discovered the joys of managing a McDonald's for over 4 years.


 Over the years they have loved to read and be read to...

I think that the point of reading can get lost when you are concentrating on "teaching" If your child learns to read for enjoyment, then reading  almost anything is easy. I know of children that love to read comic  books ... is that not the same as reading a novel? It is all reading... Read aloud to your kids from early on and continue until they move out of the house!  We  always read on trips  and have  continued through to this day, even though it is only Jim and I alone a  lot of times!!
My children always packed a lot of books when we traveled - they were rarely bored - and we traveled a lot together.

The content of what your children read is up to you, but don't stifle the reading if it just wouldn't be your choice - for example the comic books.
I remember my sister-in-law said to me that she knew of a lot of parents that would love to be able to say to their kids "You have read enough... let's go outside" - which I had to do. My children read constantly and I attribute that to the fact that we read aloud as a family since they were very young.

If you can read, you can learn anything... I once took books away from Brandon as a punishment - because being sent to his room where there are all of these books  was not a punishment to him! So, I told him he could not read. Well, later that day, there he was...  reading!  I said to him, "I thought I told you that you were not supposed to be reading.". He answered." I'm not reading, I'm researching."

"Reading is fun" was what I wanted my children to learn. And by learning that, they also learned that any information they wanted to could be found by reading about it... caring for animals, learning a trade or a new craft, anything they wanted they could find in a book... Now it can be found by reading the Internet!

We also took a lot of time traveling around and going to interesting spots. On the way to Florida to visit my parents we would stop at Okeefenokee Swamp. We have taken them to Splendid China in Florida, went to a Renaissance Fair in WV, and other places. However, we didn't have a lot of money to spend with only 1 income, so we chose carefully.  Our first Fall homeschooling we were outside all the time as we camped on our land and built our cabin by hand... with no outside help at all. The kids worked side-by-side with us. See us in our First Year on the Ranch



Helping Dad



Most teachers waste their time by asking questions which are intended to discover what a pupil does not know, whereas the true art of questioning has for its purpose to discover what the pupil knows or is capable of knowing.. ~ Albert Einstein

How do you know they are learning if they don't take tests on every subject? Talk to them, check their work, ask questions. Children will volunteer information they are learning. Sitting at the table for dinner is a great time to tell "Daddy" what they did and learned. They don't think of it as schoolwork ~ just what they did that day.

One day I had a homeschooled high schooler come up to me and enthusiastically started to explain physics to me... exclaiming, "I wish I had started learning this before... it is so fantastic!" What better testimony than that!

We did start the elementary aged kids using a workbook called The Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills: Grade (whatever grade they were in). They usually had all the subjects covered and made for a great rainy day project. Surprisingly, my kids loved working in the notebooks, until they were about the age of a Middle Schooler. Then we moved on to more creative ways of learning.

Some parents have their children tested at the end of the year like any other school student. Another way to have an assessment is with a portfolio review. This is a review of your child's work by a qualified teacher. The child gathers up the work from the year, both from the beginning of the year and then at the end, the projects, pictures, videos of places they have been, community projects, music talent, favorite t.v shows, webpages they visit regularly, online classes, etc.

 One example that showed a lot of growth when they were smaller was when they would write a letter to their grandmother. I would keep the original, they would copy it and mail it to her. By the end of the year, the letters were so different as they grew in knowledge and writing skills.

We listed all the books the children read over the course of a year, and added each year to the list. It was quite impressive!  There were some years that they read over 100 books!
The teacher is looking for knowledge of the basics, and growth. Our portfolio reviewer followed the children's progress from year to year, so there was continuity and she could see the growth. They looked forward to meeting with her, and we made it an end-of-the-year celebration.  

Brandon's last Portfolio Review

Mariann playing the keyboard 

Bethany's last Portfolio Review 


    We had the same Portfolio Reviewer, Mrs. Linda Campbell, every year for continuity. If you would like more information on Mrs. Campbell and her services, please email her IAL@att.net

For older children approaching high school, parents worry about diplomas - a simple piece of paper which you can create yourself, or buy one. There is also information on the Internet on transcripts and how to write one. What colleges really look at is the scores on the GED, SAT or ACT tests. Your child doesn't have to enter a school to take these tests, but can go to a local college. If you are worried about "speaking the language" of educators, check out this page on "edu-speak"


Puppies Available



As our children have grown older, it is amazing to see what they have accomplished for themselves. 

Brandon   started a very involved Omega Computers business - building and selling computers.  He  graduated from his homeschooling studies a year early, went to Honor Academy at  Teen Mania Ministries.  He has been on mission trips to New Zealand (2002) and in June 2003, he went to Botswana, Africa.
He graduated from Honor Academy in 2005. He is  living in Ft. Collins, Colorado and is a marketing consultant for Madwire Web Design  

Bethany  has done wood crafting, and knits washcloths which she has sold. She is a very talented musician and plays the mandolin. She has played with Possum Fats and the Skillet Likkers at different events and at a local pub.

Bethany has had a passion for horses, and has seemed to be able to connect with horses from an early age. Her first equine was a donkey named Spookendyke that she trained at age 8.
After graduating from her homeschool program, although virtually self-taught, Bethany spent a month at the Down Under Horsemanship Ranch with Clinton Anderson in Belle Center, Ohio, learning his technique of training problem horses. She then spent time in Ocala, Florida with the Seutter Show Horse Ranch, learning the basics of riding in the show ring. She was accepted as an apprentice with Stacy Westfall, Westfall Horsemanship in Mt. Gilead, Ohio. After 2 years with Stacy, she has her own horse training business   
New World Training Center 
She graduated from her homeschooling studies at age 16. Bethany is 25 and was married to Ryan  on July 19, 2009 and has started a family - Donald born July 2011 and Rhys born April 2013. She raises pastured beef,pork and garden produce.

Mariann  (23) bakes Canine Confections , shows and breeds her dachshunds. At age 16 she worked at McDonald's and saved money to go on  two trips  ( one with People to People and went to 9 countries in Europe, then with Global Expeditions she went on a 4 week mission trip to Peru.) the summer of 2006  ~ The cost of these trips exceeded $8000. She  put in overtime, did fundraisers, sold ducks and bunnies for Easter, made soap for sale - in other words she did as many things as she can think of in order to make this money.
She went to the Panama Jungle over the Christmas break.  She has since traveled to Mexico twice with Global Expeditions.
She took a Spanish course at the local college, has been promoted to Shift Manager at McDonald's, and took care of the animals we still have here. She  graduated at age 17.
She traveled to Haiti shortly after the earthquake to help an orphanage, has lived in Colorado Springs while apartment sitting for a friend, and was curretnly promoted as GM of a large McDonald's in High Point, NC. She is taking EMT classes in her "spare" time. This summer (2013) she will camp in a tent to save some money to eventually buy a house.

And people worry about homeschoolers not being socialized!

~I believe that no one can love your children or look out for them better than you can. This goes for the school system, babysitters, and others.
~I hate to see my children hurt  (feelings, or bodily) - hence my nickname MamaBear.
~ I also believe they should be accountable for their actions.
~I also believe that sometimes you need to use "tough love".
~I believe that the single most important thing you can teach your child is to learn how to find information (although, with the Internet this has become far easier) When they need to know something - they will find a way to get the information.
~Don't sweat the small stuff. Enjoy your kids while you can, because  that takes you to my next belief:
~I believe that children should be taught to become independent - regardless of how that independence affects their parents - too many children grow up to be adults, still living in their parents house. (You cannot be independent if you are dependent for your parents for a roof over your head, food on the table, lights on).

    Brandon decided that he wanted to stay in Texas after attending Honor Academy at Teen Mania Ministries.
    Bethany jumped at opportunities to learn from top-notch horse trainers and started traveling to different places just before she turned 17.
    Mariann sponsors 2 children. At 18 she bought her own place and lives independently.

It is hard on a parent to let their children leave the nest. But it is VERY important for them to become the people they were destined to be - not the people we, as parents, try to mold them to be.

Jim and  I are no different from other homeschooling families. Jim is a mechanic by trade and I have my Master's Degree and was a Speech, Language and Hearing Pathologist. Some of you may have more education, some less... but we all have one thing in common - the well being of our children and helping them to love learning and to learn to their potential.

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Most of our education came from reading, resources we could find and the Internet. We didn't follow a set curriculum because I didn't want to emulate "school". I wanted my children to enjoy learning. As a former Speech Pathologist in the school system, with parents both teachers and my brother and his wife teachers, I went against the current! However, as a homeschool teacher, I think I did my job - My children enjoy learning new things. They will re-teach themselves something if they didn't learn it the first time, they will learn things as they need to learn them.

I used these books as a guide as to what the kids should know - but I didn't insist they know it all some years they learned things beyond the grade they were in, some years they learned things in the lower grade...

The Core Series by E.D. Jr Hirsch "What your _____Needs to Know" (Fill in the blank - from grade one to grade 6th) Grade by grade, these groundbreaking and successful books provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of a good education for first to sixth graders.

Because we un-schooled, the idea of following a curriculum was distasteful. But the kids enjoyed using workbooks now and then, so this what I used:

Offering an entire grade 2 curriculum, this best-selling Comprehensive Curriculum workbook features educational activities and instruction. Containing 544 pages organized by subject area with lessons in reading, writing, spelling, math, citizenship, and science.
Perfect as a home schooling resource or as a supplement to school-based learning, this comprehensive workbook helps ensure students success across key curriculum areas.
Sequential organization for ease of use
Tips on study skills
Special section of teaching suggestions
Thorough index
Review and assessment tools

An excellent source for ideas as to what should be taught in the High School Years, I used Timberdoodle - Not only do they have the products to use, they have been homeschooling their children for many years. I always get the paper catalog because they have articles and ideas in it.  This is a Christian based company - they will say if a product is more "secular" in case  you want to avoid that.


20 great reasons to homeschool


I have found it interesting that Homeschool Families think of the family first... friends second. While Mariann was away for 3 weeks and flying into Cincinnati, Ohio, I posed the question to her group of Student Ambassadors on the People to People trip to Europe. - "Is anyone going to Cincinnati to meet the plane" (rather than waiting for them to arrive after a 5 hour  bus ride at 10 pm that night).

Jim and I had thought of meeting them and taking Mariann out for a nice meal ~ her sister may have been able to drive down for the night.

"Is anyone going to Cinci to meet the plane?"  These are the responses I got from other parents:

1. Not sure if I can.

2. Lord no, a 3 hour round trip is enough with three boys that are 2 , 4 , and 10 years old, I could just imagine an 11 hour round trip in one day with them.  I would be pulling my hair out by the time I got home.  I love my daughter, and am anxious to see her again, but I can wait until the bus arrives.  If anyone does make the trip, have fun and be safe.  Phyllis

3. My thoughts almost exactly. (only one less kid)
I told my husband I thought Andrew would be very disappointed (and embarrassed) if we cheated him out of his last few hours on the bus with all his new friends. But that is just us. We are embarrassing parents. ;-) -- Dyann

4.  I agree too.
Jeremy would be very embarrassed if we showed up in Cincy. I think all the parents meeting the bus when it arrives presents a more unified and celebratory picture and doesn't awkwardly single out one or two from the rest.  Kathleen

(a more unified and celebratory look? They aren't coming home from a war zone!)

5. Nothing would ruin the whole trip that to have Holly's parents pick her up at the airport. It would be ok is everyone was doing it and it was a planed thing but not just to show up. She would like to spend that time with the group even if that means just sleeping on the bus ride back, although that will be in the late evening for us it will just be the afternoon for them (Europe time).  Carl 

(BTW - They will have left Paris, France and arrived in Charleston WV at 10 pm - which would be 4 am in France)

 Now, I found this interesting (as Mariann is the only homeschooled student there).  I am sure there are times that we have embarrassed our children unintentionally, however, I do not think that homeschooled kids feel the same way as other kids do towards their parents. We have been together a lot, and whether there are friends there or nor, homeschooled kids actually LIKE being with their family... These people acted as if the kids were coming back from war, not a European Trip!

UPDATE: We did meet the plane. The response from the other kids was Mariann was lucky! Mariann thanked us for coming and getting her - she was ready to be with family at that point and as she walked through the airport we could see her scanning the crowds to see if we had actually come.

10 Reasons to Homeschool Through High School!
(excerpt from Cafi Cohen's book- Homeschooling: The Teen Years)

(1). Efficiency
Many homeschoolers complete standard high school academics eighteen to twenty-four months, very quickly compared to the four years most high schools take. Using self-instructional materials, they chose, and learning in ways that make sense to them, most teens can cut the time for traditional high school by half.
(2). Head Start on College:
Homeschooled teenagers often take college classes to supplement high school homeschooling.
(3). Self-Directed Learning:
The absence of experts in the home promotes autonomy and self-directed learning. Most homeschooled teenagers not only lean t teach themselves, they also become expert networkers.
(4). Travel:
Freedom from the teaching constraints of school allows homeschoolers to take advantage of travel opportunities whenever they present themselves.
(5). Work Experience:
Teenage homeschoolers have time for volunteer and paying jobs. Often they get better jobs than those who attend school simply because they are available during school hours.
(6). Time:
Homeschoolers not only have more hours each day for creative endeavors and learning activities; they also have more time to be alone, to think, to daydream to develop a private self and a personal identity.
(7). Family Closeness:
In contrast to many adolescents who pull away from their families, homeschooling parents almost universally report that their teenagers grow closer to all family members.
(8). Limited Peer Pressure:
Removed from the near-constant peer pressure in schools, most homeschooled teens develop mature manners and values.
(9). Saving Money:
Both parents and teenagers may earn money while homeschooling, making home education less expensive than attendance at a public school where average yearly costs for extracurricular activities can exceed $500 per year.
(10). Fun:
Homeschooling teens is fun for parents, who in the light of their life experience enjoy learning all the math and history and foreign language they missed the first time around.

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