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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Issue #9 July 1, 2000


Nurturing our children in the freedom of Christ
# 9, July 1, 2000
Sr. Editor & Publisher: Elissa Wahl
Assistant Editor: Teri Brown

1. Welcome from the Editor
2. An Unschooler In College, by Patti Spears
3. Interview with the editors of HELM
4. Activity: End of Year Open House
5. Contest: share with us your kids wacky interests!!
6. "Local News"
7. Writer's Guidelines for Seedling
8. Closing letter from the editor
9. Subscription Information
10.Reprint Information

1. Welcome from the editor

Hi all, hope this newsletter is received in the manner it was
sent love and through God!!

Two weeks spent in NJ was enough for us!! Sinuses were killer,
weather was atrocious (I LOVE my home state, but really, Nevada has
much more reliable weather!!)

Who's looking forward to the Fourth of July?? Fireworks, picnics,
lots of summer fun! Well, don't forget about our Maker who made all
things possible, including our forefathers being able to declare

1 Chronicles 16: 8-9
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the
nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.

Here are some of my random thoughts on thanks I will give on the
Thanks for the freedom we feel in this country
Thanks for the food we will be eating
Thanks for the sun that will be shining
Thanks for the family-time that will be able to happen
Thanks for the beautiful fireworks
Thanks for safe travel
Thanks for our children being able to see and hear and therefore
experience the fireworks fully.
HMMMM...I could go on if I sat here and thought long enough..but
those are some special praises for that day alone!

Anyway! Read on, be blessed, and don't forget to give thanks!


2. An Unschooler In College
Patti Spears

I want to write about my son, Patrick. He is my oldest son, and he
has 8 siblings, ages 18 down to 15 months. We started the homeschool
journey when he was about 5 and he is 21 now. In the beginning, it
was just a way to preserve his childhood. He was such a bubbly,
happy, chatty boy that I could not see him being forced to sit and be
quiet for such a long time every day. As he got older, it became
obvious that we could teach him what he needed to know. As he got
even older it became obvious that he didn't really need that
much "teaching" but thrived on his own, with us a resource center for
him. The most interesting thing, though, was that he was a very late
reader. He was not proficient at reading until he was 11 years old.
We tried different "methods" off and on over the years, only to be
met with tears and frustration. I kept telling myself "he WILL read,
when he is ready!" over and over. I never doubted for a minute that
he would, but I needed the reinforcement mentally for all the
naysayers out there who declared him "slow", etc.

I was only 19 when he was born and many people assumed that I
couldn't possibly know what I was doing, being such a young Mom.
Well, reading a lot of books on homeschooling (which amounted to
everything available at the time) and spending time with other
homeschoolers really helped me stay focussed on my child and not on
the timetables that some school administrators had concocted. While
Patrick was not reading, he was busy. He was busy figuring out math
concepts and working out complicated formulas. He was busy watching
the world around him, everything from plants to bugs to magnets to
remote controlled airplanes. And then one day, he just "got it" and
reading became the next thing on his repertoire of skills. He read
everything he could get his hands on that he felt had useful
information in it. He never read novels or stories, except occasional
books recommended by his friends. But when it came to information, he
was insatiable. He read all of our set of encyclopedias, our
entire "Growing Up With Science" set and took out dozens of books
from the library every month. From the age of 13 to 17 he used Saxon
books to learn Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus and Physics.

When he was 17 he enrolled in a Calculus and a Physics class at the
local community college and did very well in both. He said he took
them to make sure he knew what he thought he knew. He also took a
remedial English class because he knew he was weak in that area and
would need those skills to get his degree. Later, we moved to
Mississippi and he moved into his own place. He has a job at Peavey
Electronics where he has moved steadily up the line, learning new
skills at every opportunity. He is taking a management training
course now, for which Peavey is paying him. He attends college during
the day, working second shift. He maintains a 3.5 GPA, which means
that his job pays for both tuition and books. He hopes to have a
degree in business soon and wants to use his education to further his
career with Peavey.

All this from a young man who did not read until he was 11, who never
took a formal class of any kind until he was 17. In a word,
unschooling works. Be encouraged that letting your child's delights
and interests guide him will work to bring him to the place he meant
to go all along.

Patti Spears, homeschool mother to 9 in Ohio.

3. Interview with the co-editors of HELM

This month we have an interview with the coeditors of HELM, the Home
Education Learning Magazine. A fairly new publication, Helm has been
live for a scant 4 months Karen Gibson and Donna De Poalo, both
homeschooling moms, share the "helm" of home eductions most
recent publication. Billed as "A bimonthly print publication focusing on
independent learning and self-directed education." HELM joins the
small but growing number of magazines directed at the homeschool
market. To learn more about HELM, go to:

Seedling: Why did you feel that the market needed another
homeschooling magazine?

Karen: Home education has experienced a major increase in numbers in
recent years and I anticipate that trend to continue. Here in my
local area the "old-timers" (those that have homeschooled for years)
are amazed at the great number of families that have begun to
homeschool in just these past couple of years. Accordingly, there is
an increased demand for information about home education.

Donna: I am passionate about the rights of parents to raise and
educate their children free from intervention from any source. None
of the magazines on the market spoke to my passion about it and
certainly there is no real support for my somewhat 'radical' ideas.
At least not in any national publications.

Seedling: How is HELM different?

Karen: HELM provides the more traditional homeschool helps, such as
the science experiment column and the "Beginning Your Journey" column
designed to help the first year homeschooler. At the same time,
though, we also include some more controversial viewpoints and ideas
that might not be thought of as "traditional" home education material.

I also think that, the longer people home educate, the more they
become aware that home education impacts all areas of their life, not
just their children's education. It truly is a family life-style and
HELM plans to address this in future issues.

Donna: While we certainly offer helpful information and resources
HELM's main purpose is to encourage people to think about education
in new ways. Most of us are products of government schools and as a
result we may tend to slip into 'school' ways in our homes. I am not
referring to families who are actually duplicating school but rather
to the many of the myths we perpetuate such as grade levels, testing,
achievement, etc. The education of a child is a parenting issue just
as much as any other aspect of a child's life. Period. Just as I
would not welcome an "expert" setting up requirements for when my
child's bed time is nor do I welcome it for her education. The notion
that we need to rely on "experts" for almost every part of our lives
is ridiculous and it is time for all of us to reject it. Hopefully,
HELM will help to accomplish that while at the same time supporting
families on their journey.

Seedling: Who first brought up the idea of HELM?

Karen: Donna first approached me with the idea of starting a magazine
over a year ago. We talked about home education and some other ideas
for several months before the idea of HELM really began to gel.
Donna is the idea person. I laugh now when I see an email come from
her that starts with "I've been thinking….".

Donna: Well, the initial idea was mine but that was really the very
beginning. Almost everything since then has been a joint effort. Of
course, I make Karen nervous whenever I tell her I've been thinking.
We've known one another for a couple of years now so she
recognized the warning signs quite well!

Seedling: How do you get along as coeditors? How did you figure out
how to split the duties?

Karen: When we first began to decide whom would do what, there were
some rather obvious strengths to go with. I already knew how to
create and maintain a website, so I became webmaster of HELM Online!
Donna enjoys meeting and talking with new people, so she was the
obvious choice for PR and Advertising. Where it took the longest time
was in deciding who should do the actual magazine layout, and while
it turned out to be me, it's still very much a joint effort.

Donna: Karen is one of only a very few people who has the ability to
keep me grounded. When I go off on a tangent she can say "snap out of
it!" and it works. I know that working so closely it is necessary for
me to have someone who isn't afraid to say anything to me. Even if I
may not agree. :-) And actually working on HELM has strengthened our
friendship and it certainly been one of the greatest rewards so far.

Seedling: Why don't you both tell us a little about yourself?

Karen; Oh my - I love this question! Where to begin? I'm 41 and will
have been married 21 years this coming July. My husband and I worked
his family's dairy farm for the first 16 years of our married life
and we still own half the farm (in upstate NY). Five years ago this
July we moved to northern Alabama for health and weather reasons.

Our children are Kat (15), David (12) and Charles (10). They all
attended public schools until 4 years ago, when we began to
homeschool (at our daughter's request). Their varied interests have
certainly caused me to become much more knowledgeable about subjects
that never interested me before.

Our family has a home computer business and now there's HELM to help
keep me busy. Besides the children, businesses, writing and webpage
work, in my spare time (!) I garden, crochet, write letters (in an
effort to keep in touch with my far-flung family), listen to celtic &
bluegrass music, and read (mostly historical fiction).

Donna: I was born in New York but moved to New Jersey when I was
four. In 1990, I moved to Florida and that is where I met my husband.
In 1993, my daughter was born and my life has never been the same! In
July of 1997, we moved to Birmingham, Alabama and it was here that I
began my work for home education. I CO-founded HEART, a statewide
support group and that is how I first met Karen.

These days most of my time is spent working on HELM, HEART, and most
recently, the Alliance for Intellectual Freedom in Education (AIFE).
I love researching law, especially as it relates to education and
parental rights. Often we hold seminars and it provides an
opportunity for me to share the information I have with others.

First and foremost, is my daughter. One of my personal rules is that
when she needs me, I stop. Period. At times it makes it difficult to
meet deadlines. It may mean I have to stay up later or get up earlier
to complete something. So it is always a challenge but I'm enjoying

We thank Donna and Karen for their time in both answering our
questions, and in their work on HELM!

4. Activity: End of Year Open House

I wanted to share with your readers a fun activity my daughter and
her Home School groups did this spring.

The home school families at our church get together once a month after
church for a potluck lunch and activity. In May our activity was an
open house. Each child set up a table display with some of their
work from the year. We displayed my daughter's Brownie vest, a doll
quilt she made by hand, a research paper she wrote on beavers, some
of the books she has used and a scrap book of her year. I take
pictures of her projects and save those instead of the actual
projects. I include pictures and brochures from our field trips and
samples of some of her work. After allowing time to look at all the
displays, the kids gave their presentations. Some of the children
quoted memory verses, some read poems they had written, some played
songs on the instrument they had studied.

My daughter is also in a co-op group with 5 other children her age.
They meet once a week for 2 1/2 hours. Each mom directs the
activities for this group during her month of hosting the co-op
class. Each month we take a field trip together. This group also
had an open house at our house the first Friday evening in June.
Each family brought finger food and displays of the kid's work.
Several kids brought their grandparents along as well. After eating,
the kids made presentations. This group had developed two plays, so
they performed those as well giving individual performances.

By having these open houses, everyone got to see the things each kid
had been doing that year. It was a wonderful time for the kids to be
in the "lime light." It was great way to include friends and
grandparents in our home schooling. It is also a wonderful way to
introduce new families to home schooling.

Lydia, Tigard, OR

5. Contest: Share your kids wacky interests!!

Write in and tell us some of your kids wacky interests and how you
fuel the fire!! Be sure to include how they came to love these
interesting topics!

Winner will be announced in August's edition of Seedling and will win
a years subscription to HELM: Home Education Learning Magazine;
a bimonthly print publication focusing on independent learning and
self-directed education. Read more about HELM at:

<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
6. "Local News"

Here are 2 things that might be of interest to some of you!!

Georgian Childrens Theatre schedule
Barrie On, Canada

Dear home schooler,

We are an educational book store located at 72 Hanover street.
Pemberton,NJ contact us at (609)726-0077 or email

We have provided hands-on educational products for the home school
customers for the past 16 years. Four years ago we opened a
Inspirational - Educational Book Store in Pemberton NJ . However as
we all know that times have changed and the BIG stores put the family
owned business out. With the new plan of Walmart opening on RT 38 in
Lumberton, which is just miles from us.We have prayed about our next
move. God has provide us with a bigger store. Now, we need to provide
a better service for our customers. We can pull together to make this
work for both of us.

PLEASE !! HELP us start and build our used curriculum area.

This has opened the opportunity for your support group members TO
Sat 10am until 6pm. Please pass this information on.

7. Writer's Guidelines for Seedling!!

-Christian slant, if not Christian, nothing anti-
Christian.....meaning, write on unschooling, your day, a cool trip
you did, etc, but don't go Pagan on me! This is a Christian
Unschooling e-zine.

-Unschooling slant, or things of interest to unschoolers. PLEASE
don't write about your great experiences with Abeka!! Christian
Unschooling e-zine!!

-Write from your heart, about issues important to us as families, as
Christians, as unschoolers......

-Read a great book that would interest others? Write a review about

-Do a GREAT project with your kids, write us about it!

-Are you homeschooling in a unique situation? In a remote area,
special needs child, homesteading, single parent, working mom, got a
hsed kidlet into college already, etc??!! Write us!

-Kidlets and teens can feel free to write too! Why they like hsing,
their goals and how hsing helps, any volunteer activities or
apprenticeships they are involved in....

-Send in any important to homeschoolers info you might come across,
that would be pertinent nationwide.

-There is no set word count necessary, we will work in your article
sometime, somewhere!!

-End your article with any pertinent info, such as the name u would
like it under...I.E. Lisa in Colorado, or James Smith dad to Matthew,
etc.... a website if you have one and a quick line about it.

8. Closing Letter

Our message board seems to be faring well!! For those of you who have
not yet visited it, please do so at: . This is our grand
opportunity to reach out to others about Unschooling!!

Teri did her first talk on Christian Unschooling at a local
conference and was VERY well received!! We are so blessed to be able
to spread this word, and that people want to hear it!!

We just got the word that a great publishing co. (Champion Press)
wants our book!! That means it is time for editing and more editing,
and did I mention editing? We are so excited, so happy that
this project is moving along...of course the topic, the prayers, the
investment of all the family essays...couldn't have happened without
all the support we've been given. Thank you all. We will be sure to
keep updating you!!

Until next time,
Be blessed you all!

Elissa Wahl
Teri Brown

9. Subscription Information

Subscribe at :

Unsubscribe at:

10. Reprint Information

Individual authors herein retain their own copyrights. You may
freely copy this entire newsletter or material from this newsletter
in other nonprofit publications (unless otherwise marked in the
article), but you MUST include the author's name and this entire

"Reprinted with permission of Elissa Wahl from Seedling, a
Christian Unschooling E-Zine. For a free subscription, send
any e-mail message to or visit

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