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May-June 2005 Selected Content

Perspectives - Kim Campbell

Weblog Reviews

Weblogs (aka blogs) are rapidly becoming a popular replacement for individual web sites, offering a much simpler user interface - no need to learn html programming - while providing powerful tools like multimedia sites, with photos, artwork, music and video, often for free.

The American Homeschool Association (AHA) has been in the forefront of encouraging homeschoolers to create their own weblogs; the AHA-HomeschoolBlogs list is a rapidly growing discussion list designed to help anyone interested in weblogs learn how to create their own within minutes. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AHA-HomeschoolBlogs

Weblogs have recently been hailed as "The most significant development since the Internet itself!" Log onto a few well-designed homeschooling blogs and find out why!

AHA Weblogs Blog
http://aha.typepad.com/weblogs_blog
The unexpectedly wonderful, absolutely marvelous AHA Weblogs Blog, sponsored by the American Homeschool Association, is moderated by Kim Campbell, a homeschooling mom of two living in the Midwest, who is also an avid blogger and reader of blogs, as well as a maker of zines and podcasts.

Every week Kim reviews a handful of homeschooling-related weblogs in categories such as Classical Homeschooling, Homeschooled Kids, Humorous Content, Large Family Homeschooling, Musically Inclined, Politically Oriented, Unschooling and others. Reading Kim's reviews is only the tip of the iceberg - actually clicking and visiting these wonderful weblogs is like taking a virtual magic carpet ride into the lives and homes of homeschoolers everywhere. The personal honesty and openness found in these blogs can be astounding to anyone whose online experience has been limited to email discussion lists and website forums. This is homeschooling at its best, to linger over and savor, to learn from and to return to again and again.

In this issue we'd like to share some of Kim's homeschooling blog reviews. To read the many blogs not included here, and her latest updates, or to submit your own blog for review, visit the AHA's Weblogs Blog at http://aha.typepad.com/weblogs_blog/

Shimmer.Glimpse.
http://shimmerglimpse.squarespace.com
If you've been looking for a blog to excite your senses, you should visit Shimmer.Glimpse. Kimmy, it's main brain, has created this lovely haven of thoughts, happenings and ideas and wrapped them in her gorgeous photography! Oh, the camera she must have! I swear some of the pictures are more detailed than real life! Check out her gallery. Her posts are not centered around homeschooling per se. It's more as if homeschooling is one portion of her life that is sometimes addressed. Reading about her recovery from cancer, her efforts to urge spring in to their home, her reasons for choosing homeschooling, and what their life is like in a crazy urban zone will beckon you frequently, until you are forced to click on bookmark this page and become a regular.

Here in The Bonny Glen
http://melissawiley.typepad.com
Melissa Wiley has a unique blog combo. In addition to her family blog, which is complete with artwork from the kids, poetry, naturalists' observations, stories of their day and her own erudite thoughts on the books she and the children are reading, there is also the fact that she is a prolific writer of children's books. To read her personal blog, visit Here in the Bonny Glen. To get a glimpse at her books visit her website and let your eyes wander over all of those titles and lovely covers in the Martha Years and Charlotte Years series. The books are prequels to the Laura Ingalls books. The characters are Laura's grandmother (from Scotland) and great-grandmother (from Massachusetts) respectively. Her blog always has some link or thought which enriches or brightens my day. For example, she's been monitoring the various butterfly websites and word has it that the monarchs have left Mexico and are on their way. It gives one a hopeful feeling to imagine millions of butterflies flying our way, doesn't it?

Relaxed Homeschooler
http://relaxedhomeschooler.blogspot.com
Relaxed Homeschooler is a blog after my own heart. Apart from the coincidental namesake (we're at Relaxed Homeskool, and they can spell) there are myriad other ways in which I am drawn to Kathy's blog. For one, she not only knits Easter bunnies, she's just plain crafty. This craftiness extends to her own daughter, who has her own riveting blog and also shares her craft creations with the world. Also, Relaxed Homeschooler has a lovely visual design and photos of the newest things they're up to. Kathy shares the goings on of her two elementary aged kids with aplomb, perhaps because she is a former public school teacher. She's new to blogging, but I suspect she will soon have an army of blogfans following her every project. As long as I get dubbed blogfan #1, I'm okay with that!

Ravioli Rox
http://www.catlover26941.blogspot.com
Raviloi Rox is a kidblog by the daughter of the previously reviewed Relaxed Homeschooler. Tori is a girl who uses preteen insomnia to her advantage, by creating awesome sewing projects! She blogs about her everyday life and includes pictures of her many craft projects. She also shares her favorite music and her thoughts on Harry Potter. This is a fun blog for kids. Great graphic design too.

Guiltfree Homeschooling
http://guiltfreehomeschooling.blogspot.com
If you want to homeschool guilt free, and it's not as easy as it sounds sometimes, visit Carolyn and let her daily post be a balm. This is a blog which tackles the big ideas in homeschooling. The most recent post is about looking at homeschooling as more than an academic approach, and instead trying to help children to become/remain complete people. Other posts include "Homeschooling failures I have Known and What Can Be Learned from Them", "When Children Mispronounce Words" and her wildly popular quiz on every homeschool blog in the universe, "What Type of Homeschooler Are You?" Carolyn always manages to be fun while often facing serious questions in the homeschooling community. There are also special features, such as her brilliant page "Things I Couldn't Homeschool Without" and a page on learning styles. Carolyn must be a tremendous home educator and her blogging reflects that in a completely absorbing way. She's bookmarked in my webbrowser for sure.

Poppins Classical Academy
http://www.upsaid.com/teachermom
"In every job to be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun, and - snap - the job's a game!" ~Mary Poppins

Every blogger should have a motto, and this is Sarah's motto as a classical homeschooling mom. She regularly makes learning a fun undertaking. If I recall correctly from months past, she has dressed as Professor McGonagal and spoken with an accent. Lately, she seems to have taken on the stern persona of Miss Lily, but she questions whether she is a better homeschooler when sick, because they snuggle and read more. If you like your blogs full of cool ideas for homeschooling, deep insights and introspection, honesty about the challenges faced, funny anecdotes, and really engaging writing, then you will surely enjoy Poppins Classical Academy.

The Amazing Adventures of Us
http://www.saffronwoman.blogspot.com
The Amazing Adventures of Us is a blog about a creative family in California who unschools. Kate, the mom, always has some of their recent photos or art to share, as well as their daily goings on. She muses on their being drawn to attachment parenting, and takes her kids on exciting jaunts, like a day walking around town to photograph graffiti. There is always something fresh and light about the Amazing Adventures of Us even as Kate includes the usual homeblog tidbits, like lists of chores and what her son is in to lately (for them it's manga) so I recommend it for a morning pick me up!

Quirky Nomads
http://www.quirkynomads.com
Again, an excellent blog done by a homeschooling family that defies all categories. Quirky Nomads is more than a blog. It's a photoblog, a compendium of found art and short stories, some hilarious comic strips, and a destination (members can visit and post in the entertaining forums) and a wonderful recounting of the world as seen through the eyes of expatriates as they get to know their adopted country, Canada.

There are so many features on this site, it'll take awhile for your eyes to focus. There's even a weekly survey. By far, my favorite feature is the photo gallery. It seems every day, Sage and Todd have some amazing picture from their walks around Toronto. They must have a professional photographer in the family and a professional camera. In addition, they have infrequent audio posts (aka podcasts) that are always amusing. Overall, this talented family has a lot to offer the blog reader.

Ramblings of An Unschooling Family
http://theriesenbergs.blogspot.com
Ever wonder to yourself what it would be like to unschool eight children instead of one, two, three or four? Well, let me say this, they certainly don't stick around the house creating their own society. Well, they do that too, but also they get out and do a lot of fun and exciting things. I know this because I read Ramblings of an Unschooling Family and Laura always squeezes in a few moments for herself to post about their latest undertakings. Not only do they visit police stations for tours with their homeschooling group, participate in Girl Scouts and dance, they also pop in for story hours at the library , and plan on taking a trip to Chicago soon. One benefit to Laura's posts is that when their family does an activity, she tends to share the resources and add a bunch of links. I'm wondering if Laura has wireless Internet in her car? Here is what Laura has to say about her family: "So often we are asked what we do all day. The assumption is that as homeschoolers, we spend our day pouring over textbooks, doing "school at home". Nothing could be further from the truth. Take a glimpse into our lives. You may be surprised to see all the "learning" that is going on."

You can visit Kim Campbell's Relaxed Homeskool, at http://relaxedhomeskool.com/

© 2005, Kim Campbell

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