Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tues Toolbox~The Comfy Couch OR CHAIR!

OK, not to be too simplistic, but anybody think about WHAT their school room or area or place LOOKS like?

A few months ago there was a contest for the best voted homeschool space on facebook and frankly it blew me away the amount of work some moms put into the spaces where they teach.  I admit that they looked FANTASTIC~colorful in many cases and quite organized! One thing was certain, for quite a few~money was spent in supplies and organization STUFF to get it all so great looking!

But there WAS a finalist that peaked my interest.

Her room was one that frankly rather mirrors WHAT I HAVE COME TO as far as homeschooling is concerned. You see, I have had school rooms with loads of bookcase space and organization. I have had a special area in our kitchen with assigned cabinetry where our school supplies were held.  I have even had DESKS ~ the wooden desks with the under shelf for supplies that we pulled out each day into our den and DID SCHOOL.  None of these is the way we are pursuing school today.  In fact, IF I HAD KNOOOOWN then what I know now, I would have saved my energy, money, space, time, bookcases...because I have found that the VERY best schooling for us occurs in the natural environment. 

When my children were littles, we often would curl up in my big ole recliner and read.  My daughter would read to us all (son and me) while he looked at the pictures! As they got a little older, they would sit side by side on the couch and read, listen and watch. 

Does the couch and chair cover ALL of the needs for homeschooling? NO~A kitchen table works too!  I learned that the desk didn't help as much as sitting at the table.  I learned that propper sitting height HELPS penmanship a BUNCH!  I learned that I really didn't want to clean extra spaces or organize extra STUFF!

OK, so you may be like I was~salivating for the school room.  Don't beat yourself up, it's over rated! If you have the space and want to contain everything, go ahead, but if not, otherwise find some simple hide out places for stuff like posters and teaching charts (yeah, I still use them LOL) like behind the couch or in our case, piano to work the spaces we have into every form and function.  I do like bookcases I have to admit.  I will say that as blessed as I am to have some very nice ones, IF I could have done some weeding out, we might not have needed them~just saying!

Soooo today, I want to bring OUT the comfy chair or couch and say~USE them as educational tools...they work and work well!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Encouragement ONLINE~

I can't tell you how many friends, how much fun, and how much information I've gained BECAUSE of the internet! I also can't tell you how many times I've had someone say, "the internet is evil."  Of course most anything from my kitchen FORK can be used for evil to my front porch, but for the most part they are tools and a resource in my life.  My fork of course makes food go into my mouth more politely, and without my front porch when it rains I would get wet! But with a heart of evil these have been used for wrong, wrong, and more wrong!  The interenet CAN be used for wrong, no doubt, but with diligence and care, wonderful things can be gained.

I think about blogging, facebook, email and all sorts of wonderful websites that encourge me.  I've really enjoyed what the internet has done in my life.  I was encouraged even to learn of a friend, while we've never met, nor conversed other than through an email once,  who is not hosting an online radio program each night. What encouragment this gentleman is~His works go before him for the Lord~sooo if you are up like I am most nights, check out The Mind of Brent Radio program.  If you know McLinky, this is his product and such a great guy with an online magazine and ministry. 

For all kinds of FREE resources to help you in homeschooling, check out the right side lower area under FREE ONLINE RESOURCES.  You'll find all sorts of wonderful stuff, but if I don't have something you need there, use your search engine~which is amazing WHAT we can find!

I am so blessed by this resource. You know I use online TV and movies.  I also use it for books and information as well as networking and friendships.  It was such a kick to find the important people from my life who in time had gotten away from me all through social networking!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Tues ToolBox a Few Behind~Measuring EVERYTHING! Fun With Math

When my son was young, I really used hands on things to get points across to him.  He loved puzzles and anything tactile, so when it came to measurements, I collected a slew of anything with measurements on it from the yard stick, sewing tape measure, rulers (all kinds~some folded, some where colorful, others were 6 inches others a foot), contruction metal tape measures, measuring spoons, measuring cups, 1/2 pint canning jars (jelly), pint jars, quarts, half-gallon, gallon, five gallon, and we had fun~I put colored water in them or gave him an "assignment" to measure something for me, like a window!  We found an out of the way place for the linear measuring items that he could get to easily so whenever anything needed measurments; he would get them for me.  For the volume measurements, we would use the water and he could sit and pour and play.  I would talk to him as he did this.  It was fun and so much learning was done. 

To learn about fractions I used paper plates.  A whole plate, one in fourths with 1/4 on each piece showing how they are added to become 2/4 or 1/2 ect...and 3/4 and 4/4 or ONE! We did it in 1/3s, with the same method and also into halves.  This made it all so concrete and was really inexpensive.  (I also used a paper plate to help them make a clock to tell time.)  All you need is a paper brad, a piece of paper like cardstock or construction paper  and a crayon or marker.  Write the numbers and put the brad in the center with minute and hour hands.  Let your child practice telling time! It can be a game~"What time is it?" showing a certain time.  Also you can use this at naps or bedtime for young children to bring time into the concrete real world for them. 

To teach time in another way besides the paper plate clock showing order and sequence, you can make a paper chain and string it into your child's room.  Put the exact number of chains you are counting down with your child whether it is a holiday or an event like Sunday, the Lord's day of worship you want your child to look forward to each week.  Each night as you tuck your little in bed, tare off a chain.  Discuss the day of the week, and you can even have a calendar by the bedside too so that a number day of the month and name of the month become associated with time too. This helps with the questions of HOW MANY DAYS are left when your child can be involved in counting them LITERALLY down!  This is so simple, but it works! You can also put a set of objects in a container and take each out one at a time so your child can see the number lowering.  This would be a way to count objects too, which is a whole NUTHER MATH SKILL!! LOL!

Measuring everything can be done in easy and fun ways!

Power of LATER!

Living like we do in a society of NOW is one of the forces wrecking our society.  Everybody wants what we want right now! It starts in all of us as young children, and often if left unconquered, it pervades our lives as adults.  I am amazed at how instant we want everything.  I remember just a few years ago, that the interenet took minutes to boot up, while today instant isn't fast enough speed.  Waiting isn't our cup of tea! We want to go through life faster and better~hanging around and waiting won't do!  But the ability to wait is powerful.

Seeing that LATER is not our enemy is a result of exercising a skill that if we begin in our selves and our children will reign-in impatience and increase our ability for waiting.  We've all heard the quip:
God blesses those who wait!

Well, being in a hurry can harm our children.  As a young child impulse control has to be mastered as best they can whenever we can help them. It's quite natural for them to run and move constantly, but the "I WANT IT NOW" monster has to be taught to sit quietly and work through the urges.  I hauled our preschoolers into church and really worked with them on siting quietly. NOT easy, but I wanted them to hear the Word and to sit as best they could. I often brought books, puzzles, quiet games and matchbox cars for their little hands.  Can you tell they were boys?  In teaching them this alternative behavior of sitting quietly and listening instead of the natural inclination to walk the aisles and be noisy made the later transitions of sitting without toys and hands on activities much easier. It is a process of training. 

I remember once I took all of our children ages 7, 5, 3 and 2 into a restaurant for lunch after church.  All dolled up, my kids sat quietly and mannerly at the dinner table in this place.  Out of my eye and older lady was watching my children.  I'd put my finger over my mouth to remind them to remain talking quietly and praised them in their successes! After a while, she caught my eye and complemented our beautiful family and said how mannerly they were behaving! Oh the pride in my sweet babies! But more important was the GREAT STRIDES in behavior as just a short time earlier I had hauled my angry screaming little toddler girl out for her distress over not getting something she wanted at the table! My oh my! WE tore the house down that day, but what a blessing to see that my kids HAD LEARNED!! Training was paying off!

Delayed gratificiation is possible to teach and so necessary for our lives. Boy, I am glad that I don't fall out in the floor (like I may once have done~don't ask my mother! LOL) anymore but can wait on the good things promised me.  Sometimes it's hard, I know.  But in the waiting is the sweeter satisfaction of the gain. 

Now that my kids are teenagers, it's awesome to see these lessons well learned.  We are waiting on grand things like drivers liscensces and college enrollements~but one day, these too will arrive...and oh, oh, oh it will be sweet! We are taking the stages and ages each one as they come in the order designed! NO rushing here~it's all coming soon enough!  W A I T I N G!!

Enjoy teaching delayed gratification to your children.  It will help them become happier people and make like just a little bit better for everyone~think of my lady who didn't have to hear screaming that Sunday! whoohoo!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

China Unit Study~Download N Go!!

Easy does it! Keep it simple silly! By the inch it's a cinch! Homeschooling need not be complicated, noooo! We can learn and learn well in all kinds of ways.  Download N Go is The Old Schoolhouse's fast and easy unit study to entice children into all sorts of learning adventures! With Amanda Bennett at the helm and a team of other professional folks, TOS has continued to put together a vast resource of ONE WEEK unit studies that aside from some hard drive space on your computer AND some general lap booking supplies (which are listed,) EASY PEAsy is the way of it! Literally, you download the study and GO!

Expedition China will take your child into this vast mysterious land for a five day jaunt into the culture and offering of this ancient yet modern people.  Each day will teach objectives and offering hands on and other interactive information.

Does your child love fireworks? Does your dominos?  Covering geography, facts, animals and even missionaries Expedition China will make learning fun!

I like the colorful graphics and information about the animals. What cute animals!!

What about a reading list of SUGGESTED books? This is so appealing, as there is not huge list of required resources! Many of these books will be available at the public library which is a huge money saver! Remember that Download N Go requires little additional expense.  If you WANT to purchase books you can, but the titles can be readily found at the library!  You can branch into longer studies and even up scale the age of study to include olders or youngers than the targeted ages of K-4th grades.  With so many internet links of short film, it's really age neutral.  (Exercise caution regarding the links, as the use of YouTube may show the vulgar comments of others in the comments section under the viewing area.  Preview the film and watch with your child so you can see and discuss with them!)  The activities will definitely need to be adjusted however.  I can see the look of my teens if I ask them to do a copy sheet or other young child geared activity!

Diving into Expedition China is an amazing fun thing to do.  We hear about China in the news all the time, and what a fun way to introduce this nation to our children!!



New to memes, I FORGOT LOL! But since I am thrilled with my teenagers, here's an update!
They are busy preparing for this weekend's performance of The Phantom Tollbooth with the Center Stage Productions homeschool drama group in Central Ohio. WOW! It's their second play they've participated in, and I can't wait!!

This is such a busy week for both daughter and son.  Daughter the actress is in the first dress rehearsal honing in her skills trying so hard to perfect the two roles she has~Son is busy on the set crew and WHO KNOWS what else! He came home the end of last week announcing that he will be playing his trumpet for a part of some kind of effects.  Ha!! WELL, guess those practices and lessons COULD pay off, huh?? I am thrilled to see the love of the instrument continue to take hold of him!

So it's long practices of 12 hours PLUS for them this week.  When discussing with them how the group is able to pull together such nice performances in such a short schedule (It all begins in late January.), it's noted that while other groups of high schoolers may have more funding and more adult help, since CSP is totally homeschooled KID DRIVEN, it's the flexibility of being homeschooled that is the secret.  Whoohoo~TEENAGERS and HOMESCHOOLING! OK, so what are we doing with math, history, science and all the rest this week? ON HOLD~but be assured, we will hit the books again next week~BTW: call this a "drama workshop week."  Yeah!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cool YouTube Video~HOW To Begin Homeschooling (SPECIAL NEEDS)

If you are not homeschooling YET but are thinking about how to get started, (thanks Special Needs Homeschooling (FB fanpage) for sharing this link) here's some good info just for you.  I hope you find it helpful as it is specific to VA homeschooling, but does give basic good information on the topic. There are other videos in the series I will share soon.

How To Begin Homeschooling Your Special Needs Child


Thursday, April 15, 2010

For The Teenage Years!

As a Mom of teenagers, I find myself amazed, amused and annoyed.  Ha!

I am amazed we've gotten this far.  Nine years AND counting of homeschooling blows my mind! I am thankful and thrilled to see what they know and how they are becoming people of God.

It's amusing to see them in the stages where LIFE is ssoooo serious, and things are sooo complex. I REMEMBER these times as very difficult, and the wars in my heart raged as a teen, but instead of being totally embroiled in it WITH THEM, I can be amused that THIS TOO, SOON SHALL PASS! I am not taking all the drama quite as serious as they are at times, so that I can stay focused and not embitter them against me.

I do get annoyed at times.  But WHAT Mom doesn't.  Teenage HOOD is just another stage not unlike the terrible twos, the sweet kindergarten stage or then that pre-puberty bud...WE WILL GET OVER IT~all!!

I love my teenagers, and it's a joy to see them growing and changing each day.  We are in the middle of CRUNCH time for drama club.  Girl Thing One is an actress (on stage, LOL) and Boy Thing One is a crew mate this time in set design.  With performance just a little less than a week away, they are busy polishing off what needs to be done to garner a great performance of The Phantom Tollbooth.  I am truly excited, and this extra-curricular is hard pressed to be beaten.  With friends and a huge project they are working hard to make it happen!

This is Thursday's Talk'n About Teenagers!  You can join me with other Moms of Teenagers at Plans4You  to read all the perspectives this week.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Planner Exerts~LOADS of USEFUL INFO...

Recipes and LESSON PLANS? It's a "different" combo I know~but for homeschooling moms like us, we know that good eats and learning are important in our homes! The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has compiled the resources of two years of the TOS Planner to bring all the goodies into one volume! If you didn't get the 2008 or 2009 Planner, then you can benefit with all the articles and recipes combined into 2008-2009 Planner Exerts. There are monthly resource lists for learning as well that will make getting lesson plans together a snap! I think the things I like best are the articles written on varying subjects covering neat topics like Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett. Do you recognize her name? She's our Download N Go author!
There are others:
  • Teaching Writing
  • Lessons Around the Table
  • Top 7 Reasons for Homeschoolers to Learn a Foreign Language
  • Making Math Stick
  • Solving Science Struggles
  • Must I Teach Geography?
  • A Day Without Communication is Impossible!
  • Hands-On History!
  • Chore Training Tips
  • Art Enriches Our Lives
  • Homeschooling Through High School: The Opportunity of a Life Time!
  • The Thirteen Colonies
  • Ten Keys to Learning Math in the Decimal System
  • Weather
  • House Fires Happen
  • American Government Basics
  • Learning to Spot the Planets
  • Using Letter Writing to Connect the Generations
  • Jesus' First Miracle
  • What's So Great About Teaching Dead Languages: The How and Why of Teaching Greek and Latin
  • Lap Books: A Creative Approach to Retention
  • The Basics of Getting Into College
  • Homeschooling Around the World

Each of these articles is written by an expert in their given field with loads of insight and info for us from them.  The articles differ in age scope too~some are uniquely for a younger or older child, while others are multi-aged. I think if you have younger children, it would be good to look ahead and begin reading about the future of teaching older kids.   Planner Exerts will help with this!

Besides the articles, I like the recipes with the bio information of each person who submitted it. There are some neat blogs listed for further reading and homeschooling information.

This compilation will bring you up to date with the planner or give you supplemental information you don't have if you have just purchased the 2010 planner only~and by the way, if you desire an organizational tool with every form you can imagine, consider the planner that comes with modules for learning throughout the year~modules are mini unit studies designed to guide us for a year's worth of learning!!

Check out The Old Schoolhouse Planner 2008-2009 Useful Planner Exerts~it's goooood!

A STAR is Born!

When our kids were babies, we held (still do) all the hopes and dreams for their little lives so dear! With each cry and movement, we relished the way they looked, what they said or did as joy to our souls. Our children were born to be bright stars in this world, to show and shine!

Every mother and daddy dreams for their child. As home educators, our dreams can influence our the long term results of our processes in our everyday.
The present truly will affect the future!

What are our dreams, but more important, what are the DREAMS of OUR CHILDREN?

Do we take the time to hear their hearts?

I said to my husband, "I fear our son is setting himself up for a live of hard labor," as he's prone to hate academia with a passion, but loves hands-on things like building, gardening, music and more! I am hard pressed to get him to read anything beyond instructions and some "fluffy" fiction. MY dear husband reminded me, "He will do well, because if I could, he can."  WOW~my husband is dreaming and seeing success in our boy beyond where he is today.  I am taking this view as well!

When born, every child is destined as a star in this world as designed by God for His purposes.  Our children will shine!  LOOKING UP...


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday's Toolbox: THE Internet

I LOVE my computer, and I have given this love to both my kids. It's amazing that we use our computers for almost all entertainment, but we also use them for the great love of learning that we have going on at our house! 

I remember the days when the internet took a long time to sign on to with a ringing sound that occupied our phone line and long codes were needed just to get online. Not today, as all sorts of speeds are available to get us ALL on quick! And because it's so convenient, we use it everyday~

Are you wondering WHAT AGE to let your kids begin their facination with the net?  Do you worry about them getting into junk/gunk that is awful on line? 

These are good concerns, as very young children are sometimes allowed to foster a love of the keyboard, mouse and screen, and older kids and even adults are left to their own divices getting into TROUBLE!  Children's games and learning systems are readily available online and FREE!

Check out Starfall.com for a preschool net reading/phonics program that littles will enjoy!
Games can be found. I don't play them, but I know my mother plays one called "Strike A Match." Check it out, she recommends it!

Our family has some ideas in our house regarding internet accountability. We learned some time ago to keep our computers~we have FIVE computers that include three desktops and two laptops that run from our high speed wireless router~PUBLICLY in public spaces! We don't allow anyone to slink off into private spaces where temptation can be great to get into content that is not appropriate, so our work stations are in the living room and history is checked often.  Loads of instruction and encouragment is given regarding limitations and boundaries for our family where internet usage is concerned. There is an open trust with an open eye concerning internet access.

As for the age when we began computing, my kids were on the keyboard with just cd games around preschool.  They were given typing and strategy math type games that encouraged propper keyboard usage with loads of fun. It was a nonpressure fun educational time. They didn't even KNOW they were in school~WHICH IS WHY I will say, if a child is old enough to WANT to play with the keyboard, why not?  This probably occurs no earlier than two or three, but you know your little one best.  Of course, the younger the child, the more you will want to be available to help.  Littles can sit in our laps while they use a mouse. 

Now that my kids are highschool, they not only love the net for fun, but also for information. Believe me, I've had to reign in the research done this way in favor of the methods of traditional research.  Wikipedia isn't the most accurate source of information, and due to sources not being necessarily authoratative, it's best to diversify them in general.  I had a professor for a class in college refuse internet research for what is considered "scholorly" research.  I would agree that printed materials make more credible research.  While not the best for papers which definitely should require scholorly research, on line research is a quick and effective way to look up "stuff." I personally LOVE to do research this way! I get interested in something and go looking for as many internet sources as possible about the subject. I like to research famous people too~you would be amazed to know what's out there!  But of course if I were researching for a formal reason, such as a paper, I'd go to printed materials that would include journals and other published works.  Since the net allows anyone to post up almost anything, the internet provides "a piece" of the POSSIBLE truth that is very fast and fun that may require authentication of information if required by the purpose of the investigation. 

Since the net is entertainment, I want to say that all sorts of stuff is out there for FREE to watch instead of television. In many ways the net can be a personal choice type of television because one can find things geared individually, but of course if one wants to do something with another or more, the computer can be plugged by a patch cord into as large a screen as is owned. Our 32" television will play what is on our computer screens. This makes watching a film on the net something we can all watch as a family. We also can watch streaming live video such as news and special reports. Our family watched in inauguration of President Barack Obama in this way so we could discuss the event together.  I have written  TV For Less to share about some of the FREEbies of net television, but there are free games and all sorts of music, patterns and information to be had too.  Are you sick of dusting those cook books? The net as any recipe you may want.  No KIDDING!  This is amazing to me! I no longer print stuff out as much either, but I put it up on screen and go from there! I look for instructions on how to do all kinds of stuff too. I love crochet, and there are tutorials, patterns and even inspiration! Search engines give us so many options for finding this knowlege at the click of the mouse!

Learning is exposure, and the net is one huge learning tool!
I find that I am constantly reading something online whether it's email, a blog, or an instruction or information or more! No wonder my eyes hurt sometimes!!

The interenet is a very useful tool for home education for every age of learning!  Check out my right lower column for links with resources for learning. I am particularly excited about     How To Write An Essay        
that I found tonight! It's very detailed!

What's your fave in Net learning?

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Wiggly Kid

Is your child "wiggly?" 

It's a dumb question, I know, because most kids wiggle~at least SOME! But I am talking about the wiggly kid who absolutely can't sit still: the one who moves about in his/her chair~dances not walks through life~sings constantly~a living substance of MOVEMENT and NOISE!

I have two like this.

When they were littles, I really struggled to teach them to sit still.  As a pastor's family, our littles were on view every church service, and generally on the front row so that everyone who wanted to be distracted could be by a little boy who layed on the front pew and ran his cars up and down...  He colored, did puzzles, hugged his teddy bear "Big" who was as big as he was, and BIGGER~our son was a constant thing of movement. Now he was pretty quiet compared to his sister. The sister was always talking or singing. She danced on her toes EVERYWHERE she went~of course as a mature grand lady all of the teenage years today, she is TOO MATURE and serious to do such! Ha!  She draws/sketches anytime she is sitting today or sometimes she takes notes.  I was a note taker and foot mover to prevent the wiggles...  I guess we all find methods of participation when we are wigglers!

Thinking about homeschooling "wiggly kids" reminds me that when we had foster children, our public school teachers were PRO-medication for several. Way back then, I had little choice.  I was not in control of the medical treatment of those kids in my care. I know it sounds odd, but foster parents have no legal control beyond the washing, cooking and love for a child in their care~control resides with the state's social workers, and a suggestion from school professionals generally meant appointments IF not prescriptions and followups as well...soooooooooooooooo when I had my own children, as they were "wiggles" first I didn't WANT to see that wiggling. I didn't want to believe it was possible for them to be "wigglers" when we had tried so hard to take good care of them AS IF my care could stop the nature of WIGGLING...only in part. 

Wigglers are the kinds of kids who find sitting still not a bore, but literally impossible to accomplish.  "Wiggling" isn't a medical definition or description, but it does adequatley describe what kids who do this DO~All children wiggle, but this is a discussion of PERVASIVE wiggling~the "I can't stop" kind of wiggling...Oh my!

Well, living with two, I have done some research, looked at options, read a lot of stuff~good and bad.  There's a ton of stuff to read on the topic of hyperactivity and inattention.  Of course all treatment and methods begin with a good medical evaluation to see if there is a biological connection. Most likely if a parent wiggles, one or more of the children will, in many families. Since I wiggle, and recognized wiggling, I was STILL resistant to believing my littles were wigglers, but they were...Oh yes they were and still are!

So wigglers can become movers and shakers for sure!  Finding ways to  tap into all that energy and creativity as well.  Think about constant blinking.  Open and close your eyes repeatedly in succession for a minute and that's what some brains of the wiggly kid is like so I've been told.  Imagine being in a totally dark room and blinking like that.  Whew! No wonder kids have trouble with learning who wiggle. 

Some have found dietary measures adequate to help their wiggler. I can say that we've reduced sugar and no caffiene in our home! But it did take medication to help us, but it wasn't a cure all by any means.  We had to find ways to teach and allow wiggling to become part of the education.  When we were on overload, we got out our our seats and moved. We acted stuff out rather than just reading and studying.  We used art mediums of all kinds and on our feet we moved and went.  Physical education was accomplished with scooters, bikes, trampolines, and more moving types of things, and today the kids run...because they WANT to run! They still wiggle but have found more control.  Control~them being in control can be taught one second at a time. Set a goal and help them work towards it, little by little. Is the goal sitting through a story for a read a loud for the first or unsuccessful millionth time? Then  find a shorter story and read 1/2 or less to get some control. Increase as your child learns or figures out..also allow the hands to be busy with things like action figures or silly putty while they sit. This really can help.  Allowing some movement will help a wiggler!

The challenge of a wiggly child is one that over time can be tackled and learning will be accomplished.  Do you have a wiggler? What's working and what hasn't?  One thing is sure, wiggling is a challenge, just ask your child...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

TWO Questions??

Would you homeschool again if you could?

Do you regret homeschooling?

Wow! Two heavy questions for a homeschool mom! But I was thinking about the process today. Would I?? I believe I would, but there are days I've wondered and worried IF we have made a sound decision. I could be arrogant, and frankly, sometime I am about it by saying, Yeah, it's great and we've done a good job. But as a mom, deep in my heart, I worry. Home ed is a path of most resistance and certainly at the least a non conformist activity! The stats show that is a low percentage who do this, but numbers are increasing. I hear of a few who go back into traditional schooling for various reasons, but for the most part people stick with it over the long haul that I've met.  So beginning in the first grade was a pretty good thing for us, but IF I had known what I know now, I may have done all the other schooling that they had before then, myself.  The one major advantage I can see in beginning in the beginning is that our kids aren't used to or led to believe in another way! I've spent years undoing what the school system taught my children in terms of expectations. They somehow got it that schooling is ONLY this way...but believe me, they have learned, and learned well in our one room schoolhouse.

Do I regret homeschooling?
No. But I do recognize that it's been a sacrifice. I haven't worked and we've had less. OK, but I'm not sorry, but often frustrated by the lack of material things sometimes. Living on one income is tough, but glad to have done it. I think there are things that money can't buy, and hopefully I've given these to my children along with a good sound Christian education. The proof WILL BE in the pudding!

What about you? Where are ya? Would ya ? and Do you regret?  Ring on in...

BTW~I also had the thought that we all secretly fear and worry too...but nobody's talking about it...for the most part...there's a little something inside...(anyone else?)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Little Structural FUN HERE!

Midwest Mama will have to forgive me for not building with her sooner in her tool box of Tuesday antics. I was in the BLAH mode before, but think a little bit of organizational hooplah might pull me out of the doledrums!

Here we go:

Today is TuEsDaY and let's go with:


Do you have a squirmy kid? OK..wait. WE ALL DO, I forget...no, I really didn't forget. I was HOPING! (bad humor on a Tues, I know!) But since we all have those little tykes no matter their size who squirm, wiggle and MOVE all about, fostering the listening skills is essential no matter their PREFERRED learning style. Some kids, in fact most will like the hands on approach to learning, but if we encourage them to sit still and listen what wonderful results they will gain in a life of sucessful living. HOW SAY I?

Think about all the places a human needs to carefully listen to fully understand the intended meaning of the speaker? I'm not even JUST discussing the formal settings of speaches, talks and sermons. I am referring to the one on one interaction of person to person whether it's face to face or phone line or wireless line to anykind of line! VOICE TO EAR to BRAIN is what I'm thinking! If we don't foster a keen sense of listening in our children what will they know? In fact, the deaf community "hear" without an auditory ear, I know, but there are nuances of speech that are more complex for their understanding and perhaps a challenge in their lives. Listening does more than realay sound, but inflection of mood and other meanings.

I think listening well cultivated helps in all communication.  ALL.

Sooo how do I get a squirmy little fellow to sit long enough to absorb and relate to those sounds? MAKE IT FUN!

Audiobooks is one really really good way! I love them, and have since I was a kid with 33s borrowed from the library along with the book I "read" as it played its dramatized version of the story.  I also LOVE radio theater. I remember listening as an older child finding late night productions and hardly being able to wait for the next night's installement.

There are many resource for FREE online now that the computer age is upon us!

Homeschool Radio Shows has free weekly mp3 downloads with family friendly well done children's stories where when you sign up, the Erskin Family will send the link to your mailbox each week. This week is a cute story called, The Buscuit Eater about a boy and his dog. These don't take more than around 20 minutes to listen to which is a good bit for young children, but may just entice them to sit still for that long. You can start out with smaller increments if needed of course, but encourage them to sit as still as possible. They may like to draw or color quietly which can take the form of note taking for an older child when more advanced forms of audiobooks can be used such as are found with

Within the above sites there are adult's and children's books with the last even classifying into young adult fiction as well.   If you google search "free audiobooks" you will come up with many many many resources that can be broken into genre as well, such as children's, classic, classical, history, fiction, and more! Type in your fave author or book title too and you may be surprised what comes up! I am! ;-))

Listening is more than a  pleasurable pursuit. It's a skill and worthy of intended seeking with our children.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Thank you Lynn for sharing such an AWESOME work of the heart from her egg dying adventure with her children~I told her I was stealing her pic LOL!  
LOVE IT ~  love it ~  LOVE IT!

Isn't this the truth?

I've been struggling to get my grove on recently. Can you tell? Sister's been having a blah moment, and this little egg has me grinning! (Thank you, Lynn!)

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter full of blessings!