Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More on the Minnesota Humanities Center

After spending a week on this bus, most of us were ready to head home. Many of us were Minnesota natives or transplants--many were not. For the non-Minnesotan's the warm weather that greeted us in St.Paul was a surprise. Many had really believed the notion that Minnesota is always in a state of permafrost in the tundra. It was funny to see their disbelief begin to crumble.

It was great to get home and share so much with my kids. However, I also realized that there were some wonderful resources available to anyone with an internet connection--much that even public school teachers lacked awareness about--let alone homeschooling parents. An incredible video on the importance of the historic mines is there. If you have a slow internet connection, directions are listed where you can order a copy for a nominal fee. There are some great resources for teachers--lesson plans and back ground information. Besides opportunities for teachers to become better at what they do, the Humanities Center also has lunch lectures that are open to the public for a relatively small fee. I have wanted to bring my senior to a couple of them, but timing is everything. The older my kids get, the more they seem to really need flexibility. I just need to be patient.

With some time, there are fabulous links to additional resources including Native American culture and history. Chicano, Asian and Black cultural resources are also availble.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer scholar 2010

As a homeschooling mom, I had not been exposed to professional development opportunities available to and intended for public school teachers. I follow the logic--I usually only teach three children. Though, in homeschoolers' defense--we often get together and form co-operatives and work together to teach different subjects. History is, and shall always be, my thing.

I generally take advantage of any adult learning opportunity I can. I follow the same principles that have guided me with my children: experience is golden and a lack of certification from the Department of Education does not negate its value to a homeschool.

When I learned of an opportunity to attend the Minnesota Humanities Center conference in Northern Minnesota this past summer, I was thrilled.Building America: Minnesota's Iron Range, US Industrialization and the creation of a world power was an intense study of how the range fueled industrialization and helped win both world wars. It was a unique honor--only two of the eighty teachers chosen were homeschooling parents. (One more was a private school teacher whose wife taught at home.) I was humbled and knew I was incredibly lucky.

Even after learning so much on the range with my children, I discovered how much more I didn't really know. I was excited to write, to consider graduate school, and teach. My family heard a mouthful the rest of the summer. I even took my mom to the range and shared the experiences. College credit was available and I chose to do the additional work to get it. It was the final credit for my degree. I got to have a great time while learning more about what I love, finish my degree, and a certificate for 45 hours of continuing education and professional development. It's a big deal and validation of what I already know--I take this stuff seriously. I also really loved getting a certificate from the National Endowment to the Humanities calling me a summer scholar. Very cool indeed.