Published with Permission
Written by Dr. Brian D. Ray
• Little 4-year-old Tommy needs a play group.
• Mary must have a lot of friends or she will not know how to get along with others.
• Eventual adult psychological autonomy can be had only if teens are with other teens more than they are with their parents.
• Sam is with his family too much; he needs more team sports.
• The most important people in Suzy’s life are her parents and siblings;
that is not normal, and school would be better for her than home-based education.
I have heard all of the above claims and many more as I have testified as an expert witness in dozens of court cases across the nation. And I am sure that many homeschool parents reading this article have heard the same, and probably more extravagant, claims than the ones above. (I have too, by the way.)
I have searched high and low for empirical research that substantiates the claim that children and youth need to spend six to eight hours per day, five days per week, nine months per year together in schools in order to be healthy and successful as teenagers and into adulthood. It seems to not exist. Read more →
As a young child, I spent more time in the mountains when away from home than perhaps any other place. As an adult, the mountains are our home away from home. The mountains have offered us ethereal beauty and educational opportunities that abound for our homeschooling efforts. Following are some of the activities and locations that our family has enjoyed in the Smoky Mountains and used in our homeschooling adventures.
Nature Viewing and Photo Tours
The Great Smoky Mountains is famous for its spectacular display of fall foliage, with its deep colors of yellow, orange, burnt brown, and crimson. Take in the view from October until mid November while enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, rafting, horseback riding, or scenic car rides. Be on the lookout for trees such as birch, maple, cherry, hobblebush, beech, and lush evergreens. These are great places to allow the children to make tree rubbings and learn to differentiate bark types.
Photo tours are often an unexplored learning aspect of the Smoky Mountains. One of the most photographed areas is the Cataloochee Valley, where wildlife roams freely. This area is home to many historic buildings, including springhouses and German barns, making it an opportune photography location. Cades Cove is the most visited area of the park and is home to a variety of beautiful wildlife to view, identify, and photograph. Children should be informed beforehand of how to observe wildlife properly so as not to interfere with the animals’ natural habitat. Read more →
Published with Permission
Written by Rea Berg
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”—Saint Augustine
The ancient Greek, Strabo (c. 64 B.C.–24 A.D.), is credited with writing the first complete book of geography during the years that Augustus Caesar reigned as emperor of the vast Roman Empire. Because travel was difficult in the ancient world and the fact that most people, with the exception of merchants and sailors, rarely traveled far from the homes of their birth, knowledge of the world was extremely limited. However, with the reign of peace brought about under Augustus, Strabo changed all that when he traveled extensively in what was then the known world. He traveled throughout Asia Minor, into Egypt to the border of Ethiopia, into Tuscany, and to many other parts of Europe. In his Geographica, Strabo was the first to combine the knowledge of the land and topography of regions with anthropological information, which proved invaluable to all future students of history, philosophy, and science.
Strabo’s Geographica demonstrates the importance of travel in order to develop a broad and informed knowledge of the world, its peoples, customs, and beliefs. The notion that travel expands us in good ways is summed up in Mark Twain’s maxim: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness . . . .” While this is a worthy goal and often desirable in youth, when responsibilities are few and freedom is possible, travel is an option to any and all who simply open the pages of a good book. Read more →