Saturday, December 24, 2011

Life and Living Education

When I began this blog I felt it would be all about the formal education of my grandchildren. I knew some of our home school experience would be traditional and some would be rather nontraditional. What I did not prepare myself for is the daily life and living education that would be included. I imagine that the brick and mortar schools touch on this as do the skeptics in regards to social skills. DO NOT get me wrong! I do not believe that a brick building is the best place to socialize a child. I believe the opposite in fact.  Yet, I do think that there are areas of conduct that are taught early on in a school setting and perhaps due to fear of punishment or loss of recess time kiddos catch on fast.

I find that I am still teaching G that grabbing a hold of a person to hug them good-bye is not socially acceptable behavior. Mind you, I am not talking about a grandmother or uncle, but a person who strikes up a conversation in a check out line.  No matter how many times I say it there seems to be a joyfulness within G that must hug. I find this Christmas season that she did much better at this but still she would yell out to an entire room-- MERRY CHRISTMAS as she would exit. Perhaps I should have halted that but I did not. I want all to hear that it is the season of Christ birth and she is happy to announce it. 

Other areas of education are including household tasks that they probably would not have touched if they were not home all day. Since their mother has had a long recovery I have begun doing things with them that she would probably thought they were too young. A few days ago we began dinner prep while I fixed breakfast. I showed the F and G how to peel carrots and prep potatoes for their pot roast that was going to be placed in the slow cooker.  WOW, they shocked me! They are taking on more tasks in the home that directly effect them but would be helpful to the running of a busy household. G filled a shopping cart from a shopping list and directed F along the way so she was also helping. Then there is the area of appreciation. Not being in a selfish world it seems easy to redirect selfish behavior and gratitude for the things in your life.

Still, modern world finds its way into our life. G is certain she needs a cell phone. She tells us about all her friends who have one. So I explained the day of those friends. Lets see, they wake early morning and are dropped off at a sitters house. From there, they walk to the school rain or shine as the sitter has many tiny ones. I explain that a lot can happen in a three block walk and some walk farther than that. When school is let out they walk back to the sitters house. I explained that all her friends who have a cell phone also have divorced parents. As I create my summary I tell her how fortunate she is that she has an uncomplicated life. That she always knows who is taking care of her at any given moment. That all the people who take care of her are family members who are 100% reliable. That if the time ever comes that she is riding her bike to town, or in the care of a sitter we would make sure she could reach us in an emergency but for now the need is not there.  OK she tells me but then asked if she could have a phone so she could text her friends.  BANG BANG BANG my head hits the wall. Life is an education for me on a daily basis.

I hope all have had a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to keep them out of the lesson room

Nice title but no answer. I can tell F over and over again that the lesson room is not a playroom. Still I find over and over again little dolls in the desks and drawing on the boards. My expo markers dried out once again for the misplaced lids. Not to mention the overall mess that then builds in the room overnight. Yesterday we had to clean before I could teach.

Then there is the schedule I put on the wall at the beginning of the year. Yesterday F made sure I followed the schedule. That darn thing halted my creativity. 

G has made great strides in her math. I decided that she was beginning to get bored so I skipped a few review lessons and introduced no concept yesterday. She was excited to learn something new now that her math confidence is increasing.  I just have to give her time to process the information. I find that if she does not answer me right away I ask it again and she gets frustrated. I must give her time...but her time frame is so much slower than mine. 

There new baby brother, O is now one month old and mother is still battling her open wound from the infection. Overall, she can now tend to most matters in her home except of course the most physically demanding. We still must be careful that she does not cause the wound to open more so the girls are getting a great lesson in laundry.

I plan to do lessons next week on Tuesday though Friday. We have so much to get done since we lost so many days to a difficult labor and pregnancy, not to mention the pneumonia that F had.  So I was thinking to ease the week we would create a New Years celebration in the classroom. I have all sorts of ideas in my head that will help bring in the year while also teaching about earth's rotation and time overall. With the start of winter I believe I can even include the tilt of the earth to teach about the season. It will be fun.  I plan to use baby O as the sun and have them rotate themselves slowly around him while turning to face him for the day and away from him for the night. Then use our globe to show it as as well.  We will see if it works of if baby O gets stepped on. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I feel like a muppet movie

I recall a song with Kermit and Fozzy Bear--movin' right along-chug a lug chug a lug--footloose and fancy free.
Well that is how I am feeling these days. Each girl is moving along in their educational process and filled with joy just like the song. I recall a "fork in the road" and realize we hit that fork often is class as well. When I visualize the fork in the road of the muppet movie I chuckle each time.  Same goes for the forks in the road of our class times together.
Some enjoyable moments of the week include attending a 4-H Christmas party and going to an assisted living center for conversation and cookies. The girls enjoyed meeting the older generation and talking with them. In our classroom we had fun with math graphs and making a game of collecting data for the graph.
The new baby is also a fork in our road was our schedule is off big time. Plans for this week include a trip to The Butterfly House in Chesterfield. I will take G and F but will also take two of their friends who are also homeschooled.
Tonight I plan to create a game to help reinforce the capitalization rules for G. She has completed all nine rules but when she gets them all together it can be overwhelming. So I will make sentence cards that will match each rule. I will let you know how it works.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Can I Take a Math Test, Please?

WHAT?  Did I hear that correctly?  Humm...checking all identifiable birth marks I am certain that G just asked for a test, and not just any test but a math test.  Perhaps I should swab her mouth and be certain she truly is G.  This is a huge turn around and with all the different advise I asked and different things I tried it seems that using the same curriculum and adjusting its delivery just a bit not to mention the patience of waiting until it "clicked".  Ok Ok, so I was not so patient but G was and God was I get the benefit of patience as well. 

So what is different in our methods?  Well I am using lots of hand on time with play money, using my ABeka flash cards more but with her at the white board. The beginning of math is always board time. I review math facts at the board with her but she does the writing. Somebody loaned me some math rods but that was not easy for her and she always understood the concept. I have the abacus available at all times for the moment she feels stuck and she feels comfortable that it is there. The abacus we have clearly enables her to visualize it  too. Generally, she can see the answer before she completes the use of the abacus. The biggest thing I did to help her was to reinforce the same time saving concepts over and over again so that she did not count on fingers and toes.  I worked a lot on groups of ten and five and our repeating number table so that she could visualized better.  I also permit her to add on using a dot system if she does not know the fact by heart. I am comfortable with he level right now. I recall being the same way but when multiplication came it was easier for me to memorize by then.  Her language skills continue to be her favorite classes still.

Then there is F! I have been taking it very slowly with her phonics and reading so that she recalls it better. She is excited to read a story and color the picture at the end so now I find her wanting to finish the story and not be finished after two pages.  I was happy with two pages when done with good effort but she is beginning to push herself. 

My greatest issue now is the stubborn child (F) who is no longer that baby but the middle child.  I knew that the new baby would bring on a change in her but I was not prepared for how big the change would be.  We are all happy to be back into lesson time again.  One thing I am certain of however is that I will not be able to keep the girls doing the same history and science. F's attention to the material is not so great but at the same time she is recalling the information. Still, she is one of  those who look like they are not paying attention but can recall all that you say. 

Home school affords a closeness to a family but it was better displayed this week when the girls were found playing "colonist"  together and "Mayflower". 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reading blogs use to be helpful

I use to find it helpful when I first got into blogging. I began at homeschool blogger but like many others made my way to this provider. I was discouraged by the other site's times that the blog was not available or other glitches.
I did find others on that provider that through their experiences I would learn more about homeschooling. But this provider all I am discovering more and more business blogs. Sure the products are nice but many are focused on the early learner and my girls are past most that I see. I rarely get a glimpse into what others are doing to overcome a struggle or to celebrate their accomplishments.
I am a very busy woman and even with my busy life I wonder how the bloggers who put so much up for giveaways and such manage to teach their children. A blogging business is timely. 

On another note I do believe we will get into the swing of school again. Yesterday ended up being another day of appointments. Baby O had to go for a weigh in as he is down to 6lbs 3 oz but on the up side he has been feeding well for the past two days and I expect he will stop loosing. My daughter K has a wound infection and had to see the doctor as well. 

We did make some Christmas crafts later in the day and the girls decorated a small tiny tree for our lesson room. I look forward to moving on again with school.

I wonder what others do to get through these type of days. I am now at 21 days behind my schedule. Looks like some Saturday classes will take place come January and February.

Friday, November 25, 2011

So now we have to get back to some lessons

Seems we have been having more of life lessons lately than core education lessons. That is fine of course but I am ready for the calm down.
Baby O was born on 11-20-2011 and is a healthy boy. Mother K is doing well but had a rough way to go from the beginning of this pregnancy to the end. G and F have been clearly making their adjustments and I no sooner announced to them that we could get back on track with school when suddenly an "appointment' came up. OH NO they tell me, thinking we could calm our days a bit.

We have not been in any class for ten days now. This is going to come as a hard one for them as we will be going well in to the summer months to catch up what is now twenty days. I expect Saturday classes to be necessary. Then again, we did decide that we were interested in a break that was a bit into the fall so perhaps that is a natural way to fall into our next  school year schedule.  hehe the pun was intended

Plans for this upcoming week will be more work on our dinosaur lapbook at our KTM format. The girls are really looking forward to this when they realized that there is an appointment with the pediatrician on Monday. No problem as we all ready know that we can do some of this lesson in a car.

We got a cute small tree to put in our classroom and some craft items to make ornaments for the tree. I imagine we will do that Monday as well. Today we went to the Santa parade and the girls were filled with Christmas Spirit.  They told many people Merry Christmas as they passed them on the sidewalk. It became contagious as it was not long that others expected it from them as they passed and initiated it on their own, only to see them passing it on down the road. It was a great day! I really needed it.  The stress of the past week mixed with the excitement and lack of sleep turned me into someone I really do not know well at all.
Feeling revitalized I am excited again to face each day. It has been a rough week and to be honest it is a good thing that we did not get lessons completed as my teaching ability really has been impair during a stressful week.

So next week I will move on with F in her reading as we slowed down for her to catch up a bit with the many new special sounds of phonics. G will move on in spelling and oddly is enjoying all her capitalization rules and finding the errors in a sentence. Our last math class with G was a test day and she did great!

I really do not have much to post about but think next week I should be ready with pictures of the dinosaur study.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Finally a moment to make a post!

What a whirlwind life is sometimes. By the time I get a moment to keep up the blog I am too tired from all of life experiences lately. So it would seem that there is no time for school...but we are still making progress and learning goes on.

G is enjoying math a bit more, it seems we are getting into some newer ideas mixed with the old. She seems to like creating graphs and tally marks.  As we are going places we make a choice of what I want her to observe and she is keeping her tally marks then making her graph.  There is so much available for her right now to enhance her learning and I struggle to keep up with her.  Soon the St. Louis Magic House will have a special exhibit on three of the Magic Tree House books. Additionally another local museum has a homeschool day coming up that will focus on the Civil War. She often asks me what the Civil War was about as our Tennessee heritage home is near Fort Donnelson and so she has been exposed a bit anyway. So today I think I will have her begin reading her Magic Tree House books out of order so she is better prepared for the Magic House display. 

I need to decide if we are going to attend the other museum program on Monday or not. Their baby brother will be born on Wednesday, his due date is actually 12/3/11 but he has been a challenge and it is time for him to stop. 

F has had her birthday and enjoying a new swing set that many tossed in their cash to make it possible.  She has been a classroom challenge lately and I am thinking it has more to do with the baby coming than her core. We has slowed down her phonics a bit as she knows it for the moment but I do not see it being retained like her basic phonics was. So I am probably going to see her working well into next year with her first grade phonics and language (remember she just turned 5).  I want to see her become a strong speller and reader so we will take it as she can handle it.  I love to see her blossom. The other day she made a shopping list and spelled it all herself.  Her list included celery which she spelled  s-l-r-r-y  sure she was far off but I could read it and knew what she wanted. :)

It seems I had so much I wanted to say and since sleep is not in the cards for me I thought I would type out a post but now I discover that my thoughts are rambling and my concentration is poor.  Some days I am more like my students than I care to admit.

We did get started on our KTM dinosaur study yesterday and it was a huge hit. We did some at the kitchen table but much of it was in the back seat of the car while we managed hospital appointments and other baby preparations. This unit is going to be fun but I need to get moving on it as we are also going to the Butterfly House with two of their friends in December to see the thousands of Paper Kite Butterflies that they expect.  I want to do a KTM on a butterfly too. 

K will deliver Owen on Wednesday on way or another. They will attempt to change his breech presentation and then induce or they will take him via c-section. Either way my newest grandchild will be here tomorrow.  K is feeling disheartened as nothing is working out the way she had planned it. I know how she feels but also know that God has His way of reminding us who is in control.  As her mother I do believe she is getting a valuable lesson in this pregnancy and I thank Him for that.

This week is the last day of the semester for Lyceum enrichment classes. It has been a good time!  However, my car was broken into and the dirty thieves took the boxes that held my lesson material and lapbooks for my class. So the project that my 4-6 year olds have been working on have been taken and they do not have anything to show for their efforts.  It is a sad thing indeed.

On a final note, we are indeed blessed with lots of love and joy in our home. We may struggle for other things from time to time but we are never short of love and encouragement.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Back in the lesson room

After what seems like a month long absence from our lesson room we had an uninterrupted week there. Huge accomplishment!  No one was sick and while K remains on bedrest / limited activity we were able to move on with our lessons.  I have been experiencing a "difficult " child though.

F turned five years old on Halloween.  She has been a challenge of wills for a few weeks as it is. Today she did not want to do her math book work and all though she was being a stink about it I did not let on that she was making things hard on me and creating a negative feeling. I took down the balance and bear and the play shapes.  Next thing you know I was telling her good thing as I thought she would like to do math with shapes. We worked on halves and wholes as well as names of different shapes and how to create the shape using other shapes.  She spent about 40 minutes non-stop playing math.  Not like she won't get to that page. Still the silent worrier in me thinks she is becoming a willful child and I raised one of those all ready. It is a very ugly task to get through that will without breaking the child. 

I know that some of the change in F is about the new baby coming but it has always been within her.

G is really enjoying all her language arts lessons. Reading has been fun. She asked if she could begin to read the bible so I added the book that comes with the curriculum--they call it the Bible reader.  She loves doing her journal. I plan to get her through more self expression before I get firm about her sentence structure. We are nearly through capitalization rules and then will move onto comas.  Within the next two weeks I will require better use of the rules of language she is learning. Right now I seek expression and she is doing great. 

G got a little upset with her math at the end of lesson today but she has been doing really great in math.  What a big difference it has been. 

Our plans for next week will include a morning at the Magic House on Monday but the rest of the week will be typical and I hope to see a lot of progress. 

We got news this week that their public school has failed and the state is likely to take over.  So many people are stopping and asking me about home school or telling me what a great choice we have made.

As for baby O, well he is still in and breech. We will meet him in three weeks if he does not come on his own but I will be surprised if K get the natural birth experience she was seeking with this one.  All is ready for his arrival!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"break" is over

Oh my gosh, it has been an unbelievable busy month. It was a struggle to get lessons in as there was so much happening then the household became ill, baby O tried to come early and a million other little things that slowed us down until finally we came to a halt.

Tomorrow, Halloween, is F's 5th birthday.  We consider birthdays as holidays and do not have lessons.  That will not be the situation this time. The girls agree that we need to skip the holiday and get some real lessons done. Not the KTM program either but get some other work done. They also want to cut our winter break that is planned short and not take a break when baby O arrives. 

So here I sit thinking about our lessons that need to get done. I know that each time we have a period of time that we slow down it is hard to get moving in the right direction again.  This time we had to halt so I hope they settle into getting some work completed and some traditional lessons done.

Of course, life lessons keep moving along even during a work stoppage. I have lots of great seasonal craft ideas but am afraid we will not get to them as I want to get further along in our lesson plans. 

Today we will bring in another rescue Great Dane into our home. We plan to keep him but he has some serious behavior issues and may not be adoptable to others.  It is my hope that I am able to turn this Dane around. I have not found one yet that I cannot return to his greatest majestic stature.  Yes, I am a Dane lover and would not want any other breed.  This is a male and I generally do not own male dogs. I am talking to God for guidance on this matter. He will be a great little brother for my young girl Allie.  Allie is the nearly perfect Dane so he will have a good teacher.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sick Days

When I planned out the school year we took a bit of a break around the expected time of baby O. Well this week for F has been a sick week and now G is ill.  Looks like I will once again adjust the plan.  Seems I am always re-planning something.

Guess I will be away from the blog for a while as I have nothing to tell about. Think it is time for a much needed nap while everyone gets well.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Math without tears

Yes indeed it was a great day!  G moaned and groaned about math when she got on in the recliner with me. Yep, math in the recliner yesterday. Then she opened the book and to her surprise she did her warm up lesson without a single issue. She was completed in record time and all correctly done. I said, "wow, seems you have been learning something after all" she tucked her head into me with a huge smile and clearly was proud of her work. We then did some lesson time briefly together and she completed the rest of her lesson page. She did it diligently and without a single tear. She sees that she is learning and likes to know new things.

This week F has been absent from class. F has pneumonia and not feeling well at all. Her little eyes plead for relief that only her mommy can provide. K has not been able to leave her side for one moment, which is not difficult as the little stinker Baby O tried his best to come too early so she is on bedrest at home.

This week G and I did complete our lessons on wolves and attended a field trip to the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri.  We also have been to the library to get the books I ordered in. The past two night we have read about SUE the T-Rex and the entire story about her discovery, the journey to claim her, the auction, the process of preparing her and putting her puzzle pieces together. It was a great story, the book is called- Sue The Colossal Fossil.  I still have not gotten the entire time line down great but for now just understanding millions of years is enough. 

Someone has permitted us to borrow their math rods to see if it helps G to grasp math. I have concluded that for her the rods do not help the matter but confuse it.  When I speak with others about her addition and subtraction issues they keep referring me to a MathUSee program. I have reviewed that program before but never felt it was the right fit. So now I am playing with the idea and still do not see how it is going to help her. G does understand the concept just fine but is slow because she does not have them memorized. She is not good at memorization. SHE IS THE LEARNER!  So as we worked with the math rods she even realized that herself. She told me "I get it"  "but this is like math for babies". She let me clearly know that she understands the concept she just does not enjoy it like other subjects and gets frustrated because she does not remember them. It is too boring by her standards to do the same math over and over to get the same answer over and over again. She tells me that she can do the math but it is too time consuming to have to figure the problem out every time. So I know she does understand the concept but also, even G, gets that her memory of these facts (or the lack of memory) is slowing her down.  So we are moving on! I know we will eventually develop memory of more facts but I want her to find the fun part of math so I do not want to drag her and hold her in one spot just for lack of memory.  OH YES, back to the math rods.  She wants to fiddle with them a bit more and not give up to quickly but I do not see us investing in them anytime soon.

In the long run I find that G understands her learning style better than I do so I am going to let her be my guide.

I am beginning to think our fall will be a short one as it has been very cold for this time of October, even for the Midwest region.  Highlights for our region is that the St. Louis Cardinals are in the world series again so everywhere you turn you are reminded of the experience. I know those poor Texas Rangers will have a hard time in this type of cold. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Perfect Day

Today we took a hike in our vastly wooded area next door. My neighbor is the Kaskaskia Fish and Wildlife Area. What a good neighbor they are as I have access to a wealth of nature resources to share with the girls.

The leaves are perfect, the weather was perfect and so off we were. I had the day off from my job because we did not have enough patients in the ICU. On our hike we found owl pellets that we explored, mussel shells, newly fallen trees that have created a terrific tree house and jungle gym, fresh kill of some feathered critter with some scattered fresh remains, beaver signs, animal tracks, somebody's deer stand, camouflaged tree frog, and great examples of hitch-hike seeds.

I love where we live. Life experiences are great especially when you have curious and eager learners at hand. It was not a school day but the way the girls were into things you sure would think it was. The told me all I would want to know about so many things that my mind is still spinning. Every day is an opportunity to make new memories with them and I am lucky to have made many today.

Each girl made me a fall time sensory box today.  It is filled with pine cones, pecans, acorns, pine needles, moss, drying leaves that crunch small branches with tiny red berries but they caution me not to eat it.  I am so lucky to have such excellent teachers.

"Your girls are so happy"

This is the last rant post I am going to make. K was told yesterday, by a parent who I respect a lot, that her girls are always so happy and friendly.  I can't imagine a better compliment that a parent can get!  G and F are indeed always "so happy".  Disappointment is not easy for either of them as they are very joyful children, yet they take disappointment eventually and move on as they know joy is just around the corner.

You may ask how this is a rant post by now.  While I attended one break out session at our last coop meeting K attended a different one. She attended a session on discipline. Let me say that how you discipline you child during lesson times is critical to their approach in learning. We so disliked the excessive attention to the red, green, yellow light and the standing along the fence line for five to ten minutes during recess that is is one of our core reasons to leave the public system.  Our public system would move a five year old child to yellow for talking in the lunch line.  If a small child lifted their bottoms off the lunch table bench to lift and see what their friend across the table had they would be removed to a solitary table.  Lunch itself becomes a stressful event. 

Now back to the discipline session that K attended. I have to first say that there were coop leaders as well as another father who conducted this session.  Using the idea that the Christan father is the leader of the home there were not any mothers heading up this panel at all.  Since they are "leaders" in the group then there are some who will listen to the material and go right home and decide that they must attempt the methods of discipline and when to use them.  It is fortunate the my K is an independent thinker and takes in the information and determines how it best fits their family.

The recommended discipline is spanking. That's right, if your child is disobedient they should be spanked. You tell them no and then if you tell them no again you get off you chair to spank them. If they stop what they were doing when you get up then you must spank them as they were still disobedient.  You use a paddle or a wooden spoon.  After all, they are disobedient because they are children still carrying the burden of the original sin. Since they are sinful children they must be spanked to stop from being disobedient.

So where do I go from here?  I guess I will tackle the sinful child. First off, I understand that we all come from differing religious stances even if we all call ourselves Christians. I understand and accept original sin. I do not accept ANY Christian's stance that their child is sinful. IF you are following your Christian faith then someplace in time you either bring that child to the alter and wash that sin away or you dedicate to raising your child in a Christian home and teach them about the Word of God; thus understanding the innocence of a child until an age of accountability and acceptance of the Lord.  I cannot (and will yell it at the rooftops) tolerate, that's right, even tolerate a person who thinks their child is sinful. Finally, if Jesus died for our sins then he also washed away original sin. Take your pick but either way there are not sinful children in the world. I will not waste anymore time on this nonsense.

Where do I go from here? Spankings! I did spank K one time in her life for a huge infraction but not until then. She was thirteen years old.  Did she learn how to follow rules without spanking?  Yes!  As a matter of fact, she had a moral conscience at an early age and all she had to do was feel that she disappointed you and she would cry and effectively correct herself.  There was a brief period that G needed to sit in the corner as a chair time out was not effective.  G rarely gets a time out anymore. F is still getting some time outs but she is younger and not always able to comprehend the problem her behavior created. 

A child's neurological system is not completely developed so their ability to understand and reason with a situation varies with their physical development. If you raise a child to understand and reason then your days of needed discipline will be few while your days of providing direction will be many.

There is a danger when a group of "leaders" present their view to the struggling young parents in the world.  I am thankful that my daughter, the young parent, has a mind of her own and understood the dangers of what she heard. Because my daughter does such a good job, even when she thinks she will pull her hair out, we will get complements about my grandchildren. They are happy!  We hear it often actually, because they are happily loved and treasured as the gift that they are.

My conclusion to this subject is: As an enabling mother my goal is to raise independent, effective adults so that they to will be enabled to do the same for their children. When we all do that, what a terrific place this will be.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Common Sense View

That is what I feel I have. I am an educated woman capable of reading a law and determining just what that law says. I also know that when we joined HSLDA there were boxes to mark that indicate our understanding of and acceptance of terms. Those terms included but were not limited to keeping records of child's education progress, to exercise diligence in teaching the children in a responsible way, and to use a thoughtful and intentional program of education to instruct the children. 

I am in Illinois. I am not required to register my students with the state or our school with the state. The Geralds Learning Academy is a stand alone private school in my state. I have a compulsory attendance law that went into effect when G turned 7 yrs old and I do keep a desk calendar that shows dates of attendance and dates of field trips. We must attend school 176 days per year. 

I must teach in the English language in my state. I must teach in the branches of education that correspond to the age and grade level they would be in if they were in the public school.

Permit me please to break this down. I have the due diligence to know what subjects are being taught in their public school for like grade. Now, if they were in public school and were to be held back then it is reasonable to also assume that I can hold them back if they have not mastered the material.  So I could do two years of second grade if it was appropriate.  So let me look at what I was told last night. When she reaches sixth grade then it is OK that she is only performing second grade level math.  I am more than willing to say that one cannot expect more than a child is capable to do. However, should I consider my student a sixth grader if they did not meet the basic knowledge of information with at least an 80% comprehension of a third grader?  If they are doing third grade math and sixth grade language then yes, we now have a special math program for that child. If they are doing third grade level work in all subjects then we do not have a sixth grader, regardless of age, we have a third grader- period.   BUT to not have goals of achievement is nonsense.  Use a thoughtful and intentional program of education to instruct the children.   

You are not planning out and giving thought to each aspect of your daily life. You may be living an intentional life to the best of your ability but that does not meet this term. 

Therefore, I submit my conclusion that one cannot take a day at random and play Yahtzee and call it math. Sure it is a great game to reinforce but it will not teach math. Yes, you can cut you pizza up at dinner and find a practical application for your intentional teaching but it is an enrichment activity and not your math lesson. 
This idea that so many have about the freedom of Illinois law really should look at that freedom and respect it or it will be lost.  I am not saying you have to have a workbook lesson everyday but you should have an evaluation process that will display the learning progress of your child.  You cannot do hands on science every day without keeping samples and photos of the project. It is my opinion that if we take lesson books away completely then we are not teaching them how to express their own curiosity and question the validity of a statement.

We must teach language arts, fine arts, math, science, health/physical development, social science and we must include character development.  I am not all about standardized testing but I am able to read the education standards for the correct level and find a means to broadly address the standard. Lets face it, the standards do not give specific items to master but general material and of course year to year it will overlap as education is a process.

As homeschoolers everything we do is an education process so we teach 365 days per year.  Nonsense!!!!  Other parents who do not home school are also teachers to their children. Does that mean that they can take the time from the public school and declare it as education. This is by far the most disturbing comment I get from the hard-core HS group.  Go back to the HSLDA terms and I believe it will guide one using common sense.  Use a thoughtful and intentional program of education to instruct the children.   

My conclusion is that Illinois does have laws that clearly direct me to what needs to be done but I have the freedom to choose how to do it.  I believe I have made myself clear.  I do not expect you to agree but at least read it with an open mind.

Frustration at justification once again and ENABLING

WHY can't a person do school at home and also be homeschooling? WHY can't others realize that there is no one fit?  I find myself tonight justifying ONCE again the methods that we use to teach. All in all my grandchildren are learning and they enjoy the process. Sure we have a tough day from time to time, like a few days ago when I took F out of the room and "suspended" her.  WHO THE HECK DOESN'T? 

I took this one as a request from my daughter and her spouse. I felt called to do it, honestly a calling by my creator to do something that was more than just me.  I had the same feeling when I decided to be a nurse. DO NOT get me wrong, I became a nurse to assure that I could provide for my family, because I learned it easily, and so I would never find myself stuck in a situation that I felt I could not get out of. Even with those motivators I felt the calling from my creator then too.

So tonight we have break sessions at our coop meeting and I went to the one that was to tell about ideas and tips to homeschool with toddlers present and what you child needs to learn in elementary school.  I got some great ideas for when the new baby becomes a toddler and can even see them being useful now for the current kiddos to have quality busy time when the other needs some extra attention in a lesson.  But what I got about what my student needs to learn in elementary school is not a satisfying response.  The answer is --what ever she is able to do-- NO NO NO.  I do not accept this response. No matter what you want to say it is an undeniable fact that live can change in an instant. Perhaps the picture perfect life that so many see blinds them to this possibility. WHAT IF YOUR CHILD HAD TO GO BACK TO PUBLIC SCHOOL NEXT WEEK?  WHAT if your family has a life altering experience?  GET real with yourselves people! 

I have special insight on this. I deal every day with life threatening illness and know how it can change. I have been on the brink of death on more than one occasion.  I tend to clients facing the same thing every weekend. I see how it impacts a family and how unprepared they are for the change they are facing. Maybe it is a permanent change or a temporary change. Either way, they are caught unaware and unprepared.

NOT ME! NOT US!  You cannot go through life with rose colored glasses on and think that your children will never be expected conform to the rest of society.  Today you walk, talk and take advantage of the blessing you are given. Are you prepared for the possibility that it could crumble tonight?

Then I heard the word, "enabling" as well. Enable?  Yes, I enable!  I enable my grandchildren to feel my love each day that I am present in their life. That, by the way, is not every day of their lives.  Yes, I enable my daughter to have better quality of time with her children by teaching the other one while she is occupied.  Yes, I enable the girls to choose their KTM project and do the research to make it happen.  Am I enabling my daughter by teaching her children. YOU BETCHA!  I enable all my family to the best of my ability. I enable them to develop when they were children into adults.  Does mothering have to stop. I do not pay their bills, clean their clothes, buy their clothes, buy them beer, supply them with drugs, make excuses for their poor choices that are made from time to time, patch up their family spats, tell them what I would do if I were them (that one really gets them irritated as they want to know what I would do from time to time) or make their curriculum choices for them.  I do not have to agree with them but I will honor their wishes in how the core subjects are taught as these are not my children.  I enable my family to be part of one whole extended family. 

So now I know how this particular person feels and being a leader of sorts I know the truth about how many of her kind feel as well.  Talk about feeling a total lack of respect! 

The woman in me wants to strike back and say---what's wrong, are you jealous of the wonderful relationship that my daughter and I have--- but I know that would be a petty and useless response.  So the educated person in me will realize that I am comfortable where I am at.  I know what God calls me to do and I always have responded when I felt a call, even if it was good for some and not particularly me.  The calm professional inside of me will understand human behavior from not only a biblical standpoint but from the well trained and research that teaches us about human responses and psychological effects. 

I know that I can only ask my student to perform to their best ability but I also know that there is an expectation at each educational level.  IF I was in a different state the response would be different. In Illinois we are a free state in regards to regulations. As a member of the HSLDA I had to agree to teach according to state law and keep records of their work and attendance. So I have to then decide what that is.  I will tell you about that in my next post as this is now too long.

I suppose the real issue is that the "others" feel the need for others to confrom to their standards. At least that is how it feels and I feel attacked.  NUFF Said!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hodge Podge of Stuff

As it turns out, I made a good choice to keep F out of lesson time when she became totally unruly. The next day she did her lessons with serious effort and enjoyed the day as well.  So just what is happening in our lesson time these days?

G is advancing in he knowledge of our language. Her writing skills improve each day and we are at capitalization rule number 5. Seems she likes the structure of each rule gradually being introduced. He spelling in naturally improving as well.  Math has not been tears for three days in a row. She really seems to enjoy our classroom money and we are going deeper into how to count your money. Yesterday she got a huge pile of coins and first separated them and learned to count coins by beginning with your largest value coin. She has great reading comprehension for the short stories in her book but also for a timed reading lesson.  It is funny that she has added on an extra class to her routine. She does not have a phonics lesson now but a little review from time to time. Well, she got a book as a gift that is too easy for her but does take thought to complete. It is a great review for her and she has begun each day with that book on her own. If she wants to take on more why not let her but it is a real confidence booster for her.

F is doing well but still that drag it out reader. I like that she blends her words but dislike that she blends every single word before she reads it. I think she would enjoy reading if she would just let loose and let it flow.  Her phonics are newer concepts and I think I will need to slow down as they are becoming so many special sounds that it is beginning to clutter in her thoughts. I will probably spend more days on each sound for a while. Yesterday she kept getting confused with TH,SH, and could not think it through when it was at the end of the word. I am not concerned about when she completes first grade. I thought it would take two years for Kindergarten but maybe this will be the grade that she settles for a bit and gets closer to her real age level.  Her math skills are better than G so we will move on. I just hope that she does not pass G in math level as I know that will be hard for G to take.  I am seeing more and more age level actions in F.  I think I need to bring down my methods a notch as she wants the "baby" and fun preschool type of stuff too.  I ordered a Blueberries for Sal from the library and will do the FIAR lessons to go along with that book. 

We got a few little fall time crafts to do which will be on the agenda for today. I disliked the lessons in the book for nutrition and got a book called  The Monster Health Book: A Guide to Eating Healthy, Being Active & Feeling Great for Monsters & Kids! and it will be a great fun book for years to come. It covers lots of impotant nutrition and eating habits material in a fun manner.

Tonight is our coop meeting and the 4H club has arranged for a group of reptile handlers to be there to discuss the animals. Girls are looking forward to this but G has a girl scout meeting. Her scouts only meet every other week and it really makes it hard to feel like a group that way.  G wants to go to the coop meeting so K will let her make her choice. The SCCCHE coop also has a family night next weekend that will include hayrides and bonfires. Sounds like a great night! 

On a final note, the baby's room is all decorated. I need to get some photos of the room but it is all fireman theme including a mural that K and her friend painted on the wall. That same friend is holding a baby shower for her. They do not have any boy items and K loaned (gave away) so many of her baby items to help others out that she finds herself without. Seems when she loaned out her very nice swing to a friend who had twins that it did not come back but instead that friend loaned it to a sister and that sister gave it to a friend. Sharing is a valuable trait to have but sometimes it sure can bite you hard.  I am old fashioned and do not geneally consider a shower for your third child proper but her friend put together a cute theme that clearly revealed that the frills are being put away and there is a need to welcome this boy.  K has a friend who is about to have a daughter so she has clothers from 12 months to 4t that she will give to her. That will clear some space in her house as well.

Well, off to make my oatmeal and get my day flowing. Have a blessed day to any and all who read my blog.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I suspend a child from lessons yesterday

I do not know what else to call it but F kept on whining about everything she did. She got up and down and wandered which I did not care about but then she was constantly interrupting what was going on with G. I discussed how rude that was and gave kind encouragement words as her project was 85% completed and was done well.  Then I had time that we were all dealing with time and money. She began hopping jumping from recliner to recliner and getting loud. So I took her out of the lesson room and said to her that her disrespect of other will not be tolerated. I let her know that learning at home is a privilege and she had run out of opportunities. I had corrected her at least 20 times in an hour. So out she went. I took her upstairs and she got busy doing things to help mommy instead. I was taking on lesson alone yesterday as K had millions of task that needed to get completed.
As the day was completing she begged to come back and as hard as it was I did not permit her to. That was a difficult thing for me to do, however, had I taken her back into the lesson room it would have extended my day by another hour and a half as we were finishing our last item. 
I sure hope today goes better.  F has been a bit difficult lately, baby is coming in five weeks and lots going on with preparations.
G is really making progress in her writing and spelling, she has found it enjoyable to create her own story.  Math has not had a lot of tears but inside I cry every time as she take soooo long and drags it out. I have to find a way to cut the time of math or we will both burn that book soon.  I may ask her if she wants to split the class, do some in lesson time and then have homework in the evening.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vet for a day.

So I have always used the first initial to protect the girls on the Internet. Their mother tells me that this is not necessary and to share who they are. Still I have not done it. UNTIL NOW. WHY?

Grace made a picture I had to share and it has her name clearly written on it.  We took a field trip to a vet clinic this morning. Grace always says she will be a vet when she grows up. After the trip she has created an elaborate clinic in my bedroom. Found items suitable to be used in daily vet use and attire. Then she sat back on the bed and made a picture to illustrate her day.  Here it is.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

In My Lap Math

So, yesterday I had g sit in my lap as we did math. It eased her tension right away and overall she did well.  The concept is hard for her but we did not have any tears and I promised her that I would give her all the time she needed and not be pushy or get frustrated as well.  I do not know if this is healthy to do in my lap math but I need her to feel comfortable about math.

Today we will return to our lesson room because we have been doing class in the camper all week. They really have enjoyed it. We had the field trip on Monday and the girls stayed the night with me as K had an OB appointment early Tuesday.  Then again K had an appointment for a business matter on Wednesday so we did lessons later in the day at my house, which is where the camper is located.  This morning I will pack it up and carry it back to their home. We have several test to be completed today. I do not like to have more than one test per day but K had not brought that material here. Since there are several test to be completed I will not do lessons in those subjects today. Generally we still do lessons after the test but I hate that they have so many testing in one day. It will make for a shortened day so I will try to spend extra time on the other subjects and get some quality to them. I must say that I am not thrilled with the ABEKA health, science or social studies. I think they are capable of so much more and each subject should be more exciting than they make it. I always find ways to supplement the material. 

The fall colors are beginning to show and I do believe it is time for a walk in the woods. I would much rather use the season to better explain photosynthesis, which of course is not even mentioned in the material. I know at some point it will be mentioned but they are so VERY curious now.

At Lyceum the girls are taking a solar system class and seem to really be taking in the information. I hope to use that information to better learn about our seasons.

Tomorrow we are taking a visit to a veterinarian office, G is looking forward to this trip.  F has really come a long way in her reading this week.  As long as it is not in a reading book she does not moan about it. The language book of course has many sentences to read and I see progress in her ability to blend quickly and read faster ( not fast but no snail slow). 

There is a retreat this week in Chicago so our Lyceum is cancelled which permits us to get together with another local group of homeschoolers to go to the vet office.  I do not know them but we must venture out beyond our little group from time to time.

K did get a confirmed induction date for baby O. I am not thrilled as she is to be induced in order to control her delivery time in association with her blood thinners. Her perinatologist wants 11/21 but her primary OB wants 11/30.  He does not want to risk being too close to Thanksgiving Holiday.  I am concerned that she will go before then and we risk not being in control of all risk factors then.  I also do not want her to risk being in labor on a weekend as I must be at my job.  Overall, it is not in any of our hands and God will do as He plans.  She is eating well and baby O is growing well but she has only gained 7 pounds and she is 31 wks gestation. It seems she will weigh less after delivery than she did when this began.

Off to dishes I go then off to lessons.  TTFN

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

One week later...

Last time I  posted was one week ago. Not a big deal but funny because I last commented that I need to post often or risk forgetting or creating too long of a post.

Yesterday was Magic House Monday and the girls enjoyed the experience as always. We met a new family last week that homeschools and went apple picking. That was a huge success. The family has girls of similar age and everyone got along terrific. I see future gatherings with this crew.  We got back into the classroom and got some traditional lessons again. We went to the Dolphin Tales movie with our SCCCHE co-op.

F is still a sound it out slow reader but is reading. She does very very good at her phonic testing. G is still frustrated with math but is very capable, thinking of taking her to Sylvan to evaluate this process for us and maybe get her some help and build her confidence.

So that is how things are here in a nutshell and gotta run again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Must Blog Often or Risk Forgetting the Week

Now is the time for me to reflect on how the process is going so far. Are the girls learning?  Am I enjoying teaching? Are they getting the correct instruction needed for their age and abilities?

The answer to the first two questions (or interrogatory sentences) is that they are learning and I am enjoying this.  The last one is a bit more difficult to respond to. If I was to answer it based on our desire to keep them up to date with current instruction that they would get at school then they are not meeting that goal.  If I answered it from the "other" type of homeschooler then yes they are getting what they need.

It has been a whirl-wind week.  We have not been in the classroom for one week. We were at two field trips, one Lyceum day, one Kitchen Table Monday and suddenly we have not had a traditional lesson in one week. I really feel sorry for them tomorrow when we return to our classroom but I hope it also a motivator for them  I hope to show them how much we have done to give the the extra things they want and use that as a catalyst to work diligently so we can plan other days and weeks like this past one.

Yesterday as generally a big success as we finished up the unit study about the rain forest. G worked on it for a long time while F demonstrated her physical age rather than her typical approach to these things. She will gradually color her pages to the book they made over the next several days as I know she wants it to be nicely done but the 4 year old in her directed her differently.  Otherwise, she participated in the activity to day and watched the movie Dolphin Tale without issue. Actually, a theatre full of homeschoolers, which means lots of children yet we did not experience the typical child interruption that generally takes place in children films.  It is an amazing story and we all enjoyed it.  K had to see her high risk OB so we took along a family friend it was enjoyable for her as well.

Our rain forest, (see back about three posts) is doing well and it was a fun unit. There is so much more to learn but we must stop at a point that is right for them. We will of course readdress the rain forest in the future.
G completed a project in her scrapbook class and is ready to begin the next one. She has decided to make it a book of pets and animals she has contact with or has had in the past.  I need to hunt down the photos to print for her. She enjoys telling stories like this. Our Pizza Hut Book It materials came and we will begin coloring in a nice calendar I found on their web site to keep track of the extra reading they do. Yesterday was a library day and F really is enjoying her efforts to read books.  G has read her books several times and enjoys it each time.

Back to my review of our progress. I am tossed. I know we learned new things, that we enjoyed it and that goals were met. I know that we must push on to the traditional subject matter, after all, even though our laws are few in our state that does not provide me reason to ignore the material they need to learn and learn it now while they are young and it comes easier.

I am finding my balance and when I do LOOK OUT as it can only create a more balanced child too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bob died today and the city of St. Louis lost a friend

Two post back I told about the City Museum and the creator, Bob, who sees his city and wants to keep the beauty, restore what he can and make it a place where people want to come and live at again.

Well, Bob had another new vision at an old concrete company and was killed today in a bulldozer accident.  I did not know him personally but did run into him at the museum and his dog during lunch last Febuary. He was personable and one could not help but to realize he had found his purpose on earth.  Those who work at the museum have always been joyful and I am sure it begins with Bob and makes it way through his creation.

I know he will be missed by many. 

Give-aways and internet wonder

I have not yet won any give-aways that have been on other blogger sites and my site is not an income site by any means. I am amazed at the mothers who blog and add printables to their sites. They clearly have a better understanding of blogs and their gadgets than I do.

Here is another freebie I hope to get so not sure why I am telling you about it. There are so many wonderful resources out there to help teach. I could not imagine this years ago but now there no reason not to educate your children at home.

Here is the link to win a great item. If I do not win this one I am certainly going to check into purchasing it.
http://homeschoolgiveaways.com/2011/09/giveaway-wondermaps-bundle-package-bright-ideas-press/

Sunday, September 25, 2011

St. Louis City Museum

Just a hop, skip and a jump across the historic Eads Bridge is an old warehouse. This warehouse became the vision of one man and has turned into a profitable work of art.  Bob saw the beauty in an old warehouse, in a part of the downtown city that really needed and has been getting a face lift. I do not know anything about this Bob except that he is a talented man with his creations. He takes old junk and turns it into creative and living art. In the process he has created a fun place for children to play and to be touched by art in a way that is unique. If you ever take a vacation to the area it is an entire day event for the family but I do suggest you take the day and participate. The St. Louis City Museum  has a web page of course to tell you more about it.  It consist largely of repurposed architectural and industrial objects, housed in the former International Shoe building in the Washington Avenue Loft District. The best description of the City Museum is found on Wikipedia as it has a floor by floor description of what is available. Wikipedia link will tell you more.

One of our friends needed us to take her oldest daughter because one was sick at home. It turned out to enhance the experience because it created a play friend for G and F rather than the two of them playing all day together AGAIN. 

We have been so busy at the beginning of our school year that we really need to buckle down and get some academic learning going as well but that will have to wait a while as we have a busy week planned for next week too.

This welded tunnel begins on the second floor of this old warehouse and goes upward over the large open staircase.


When you look at this with your naked eye you see the shells, the marbles and crystals that create a mosaic picture but when you snap the photo you get an entire different view.


This area is one favorite of the girls. In the ceiling are tunnels to climb through, under the floor are passageways that surprise you and the new tree house area is an amazing fun play on sculpture.


One of many slides and this one is almost straight down.
 It would be too much to take in if I put up too many photos. As a home school the museum has created days this year that are a huge savings compared to the general admission price. It is amazing how the home school craze is being recognized by local businesses and museums.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crack pipe for show and tell

Yes indeed, that was the headline for today. It seems that a kindergarten student brought in their mother's crack pipe for show and tell.  I know little ones find ways to carry lots of trinkets in their pockets. When G goes someplace it is often like a pat down to see what contraband she has on her, but that is generally in search of tiny dinosaurs or Polly pockets that do not need to be present.

Might I suggest to these drug moms that they check their children's pockets before they leave the house and if it is your child's turn for show and tell then at least know what is going on with them and find a stuffed animal.  GOSH!!!!

One more very valid reason to teach your children at home and hold them close to your values.  I cannot even imagine how many children played with that thing before it came out in class for show and tell.  I would hate to hear what the child could tell about it as well.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kitchen Table Monday- make a rain forest


We begin with an old fish tank and store bought gravel.

Add a layer of charcoal and then stones that they found outside


Next we seek our natural compost around our wooded yard and begin to get dirty

The old end of the woodpile is a great source of composted material




We end up in the woods and find lots of matter that is decaying for natural compost


See the layers in this picture


Top view waiting for plants


Now to the yard to gather moss, as we do live in a rich environment.



Begin by adding the moss while it is freshly taken.


Layer view of our rain forest; see ferns, umbrella plant, orchids and moss in our forest.

Top view before we put the cap on top and some water in the environment so it can now produce its own rain and compounds it will need to thrive.  WE HOPE!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This has been a busy yet productive week. The girls are really looking forward to another Kitchen Table Monday but I find that it adds to my planning process. Coming up will be taking a large old fish tank and getting it cleaned up so we can make a Rain Forest. Just one more item I came across from the enchantedlearning.com site. I still need to get the plant for it which do not seem available to me locally so we will make a trip toward Belleville but probably end up at the Missouri Botanical Garden shop in St. Louis. It should be a fun project for them complete.

Friday was our second enrichment day and it went very well. My class sizes are not too large and it seems we get a lot accomplished. Additionally, I have only one distracter in each class which is so much better than last year. My helpers are indeed helpful and I think I am doing too little to help out some times. The children think I am a bit weird as I try to get them to act out the story but they cannot seem to do so without feeling uncomfortable. One boy even told me that I was too crazy and he just cannot do that.

G is enjoying her class in tumbling probably more than ballet and loves her other classes of scrapbooking and read a book make a craft.  I have to find other pictures as she will have her first project completed nest week.  F tells me "I just love Five In A Row".  She was very proud to mark the location of Ohio on the large map in the room this week as well.  She first found Illinois then point and said Indiana, Ohio.  "There it is, just to the East of  Indiana that is next to our state Illinois."  (show off).  She enjoys the social aspect that goes along with tumbling, as there is wait time while each child does their trick.  This year the tumbling class has a mother who is also a tumbling instructor so they are double blessed.  The last class of the day is Solar System and K stays in that room to help. F is first grade but young which means she barely makes it as a class participant, for that reason K thought she would be present.  She is glad she did, yes F needs a bit more help with some things and we learned that just because she was doing well cutting we need to be better about adding that into her class plan as it is apparently a lost skill.  That class is large, it is at the end of the day so for a home school student who does not spend a long day at home we find this is a stressor at the end of the day. G does well although she had five class times all together and has to wake at 0645 and hit the road with me by 0730, then she is several class times until 1430 with a 30 minute lunch break.  There are likely a few others who are in the same boat but begin at 0830. Well my point is that this class has many girls who are disrupters.  During the first week that was bad for the room but this week G ended up sitting next to one who had brought toys to class. So now K will be choosing G's seat in the future.  I plan to send an email to the leadership crew and discussing the toy issue in the classroom. 

This week began our second year in the 4H Cloverbud program. I expect it to be a great experience as long as G can hold on that long. It meets once per month at the end of a Lyceum day so it is an extra long day for G. The group is small with only three youths meeting the age requirement.  Then there are three children who are tag-a-longs that for now will participate as well. Our leader Mrs. F. headed up the group last year but her girl went onto 4H, still next year her youngest will be a Cloverbud so she has decided to stay on with the program. Thus the third tag a long. As for G, well she was all giggles and squirmy and a bit disruptive. I can say in her defense that it had been a long day but most of all the group was so wild and out of control last year that she sort of learned that it was part of the process.  I think she will do fine now that she has had it revealed to her that no one else was wild in the room.  I say that like she ran and screamed but she was just a bit --center of attention- mode I guess.  We likely put a halt to it as well as I did have her go tell Mrs. F that she was sorry for being disruptive.  Overall, we know where we are headed to this season and have some project books ordered for G to complete.  I think she will really enjoy it and I expect her daddy to help with this, not for it to be part of what we do in class time. 

Coming up this week is a field trip to THE CITY MUSEUM in St. Louis.  This is a place unlike any other museum. This creative man takes items from Old St. Louis and creates, recycles, it to a fun center surrounded by art with tunnels and caverns and slides. Climbing all around the center even on suspended tunnels made of metal bars all vibrant in color. I will be sure top post pictures of this. IF you ever travel to St. Louis and stay it would be a great day of fun to take your family too.  It is not a museum in the sense of displays and tablets to read but it is indeed a tribute to much old architecture. 

It is Sunday and I am not at work. I had an anaphylatic reaction to something I ate in the cafeteria yesterday and at 0100 today I was still in need of steroids and Benadryl. So now I am at the point of feeling good enough to get a few things done and pace my day.  Head if foggy so it is possible that some of the event yesterday was related to my APS.  The doctor tells me that my chest and face were beet read when I arrived and we both know that means I could have tossed another pulmonary embolism.  A little Epi, respiratory treatment, and IV Solumedrol to the rescue.  I use to do this a lot until I got fully anticoagulated.  Often events show like an allergic reaction and the treatment for symptom relieve is the same anyway.  I checked my INR and I am therapeutic  so nothing more would be done either way.  Our ER doctors are so kind to not drag me into a million tests as well;  they have come to know me over the many years and have seen some pretty odd manifestations.  Oh well, here I am today to tell about it once again.

At the end of the week K will have a 3D ultrasound completed. Should be interesting to see if baby O looks anything like his pictures. 

Well, I think I will head to get some charcoal and plants for out rain forest.  "till next time

Thursday, September 15, 2011

When to teach about the 9/11

That question has no answer as there is never a good time to introduce such a terrible subject; but with all the information that was out there as we reached the 10th anniversary it seemed to be a good time to find a gentle approach. After all, Hunter is a dear family friend and K's best friend and he has been off at war.  The girls have been taking care of his dog while he had to go fight the war. Hunter is a Marine.

So I did some searching and found two books I would use. Both books are written for 4-8 year old. One book I could not get from out local library system but this one came in right away.

It is a wonderful true story and we chose it because it is something the girls can relate to simply because being a firefighter in their local community is an important thing to their father.  They are that typical "firefighter family".  It permits an introduction that something terrible happened when the planes went into the twin towers but is more a story about the retired fireboat that pumped water to the firetrucks when the waterlines failed as the towers fell. It is a terrific story.  I had to convince G that it was a true story as she could not imagine the events to be real.  We did explain that it is because of the attack that Hunter is off fighting a war. 

I would recommend that this story book can be used anytime and not just in September.  Read it first as I did  before to your children as there is that single moment in the book that I choked.  It begins very light hearted as it tells of the events of the year the John J Harvey was built. 

The other book I am waiting on is call The Little Chapel that Stood. I heard about it from another home school mom and the reviews look promising.  It will take a few weeks to get it to me which will be nice as it is not necessary to give the young ones too much worry. It too is written for 4-8 year old.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Study about a structured homeschool and Mondays

Today I was lead to an article about the success of homeschooling.  It came from Concordia University and another institution that I cannot recall at this time. The point that it made was that a homeschooler who was taught in a structured program scored better than their peers in the brick and mortar schools. That is not a shock but it was a huge relieve to me to read this study and see also a comparison to the unschooling approach to education.

We are very flexible and toss in lots of interesting extras that the girls want to learn but we are also traditional.  I tend to justify this to other home school parents when I meet them. The fact that we have a lesson room and a very specific curriculum that we follow nearly to the letter making adjustments as appropriate for each child. I make sure to tell them that I have a chronic illness and that our family knows all too well how life can suddenly make a change. that we want the girls to be able to more easily step into a regular classroom in circumstances require it.  I do not tell them that this is our preferred way of teaching and seems to be ther preferred way to the girls as well.  If we get too off the strucutre they seem to seek it.  I always feel judged by teaching in an old fashion manner.

The study further identified the unschooled approach scores and they were lower than the public school students in all seven areas of testing. On the other hand the strucutred homeschool student was 2.2yrs ahead in reading/language skills and scored  0.5yr higher in math.  Of course, this is an average and we will all know that exceptional student that the statistics will not accurately apply to. Still, I find comfort in knowing that I can finally rest easy and not feel compelled to justify my methods to others who are more relaxed than us.

Now, as I type this I must tell you that we did decide to change up our structure a little. It seems that the girls want to do some lapbook and additional studies but we just loose our zest at the end of the day when we finally complete our lessons. On Mondays I am very very tired and my feet hurt so bad from working my two twelve hour shifts that it is hard for me to get down the stairs and stand in the room to teach.  So today we did what we are going to coin as "Kitchen Table Monday".  It will be the day that we review any of the work that our Lyceum needs to have completed. It will be the day that we learn from special items I get, such as the rainforest books and printouts that I came with today. It will be a day that scissors will be used, glue and colored pencils.  Today we used several items from http://www.enchantedlearning.com/ .  It has been one of the best $20 I have ever spent.  Next week we will make a rainforest in an aquarium during Kitchen Table Monday.  They enjoyed coloring the Morpho Butterfly today and making a Rainforest Animal Wheel. 

G had some work as did F from Lyceum and it permitted time to do this. As it turned out, G spend a few hours of uninterupted independent work to get her project completed and loved it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

79 enrichment opportunities in one place

I did manage to feel rather exhausted by the end of the day. I would like to think that it is my age but all the parents looked a bit whipped at the close of the day. I am going to be brutally honest in this post.

Our co-op is called St. Clair County Christian Home Educators (SCCCHE) and I know that last year there wer a little more than 180 families. I heard it said that we no are around 200 families strong, and as our leadership team clearly states, we have 3-8 kiddos on the average per family. There are parents who have been educating at home for over 20 years. I cannot imagine how difficult it woulld be to do this 20 years ago.  We also have an enrichment program called Master's Lyceum and there are 143 families registered to participate this semester as of 9/1/11.

Lyceum is an enrichment opportunty that I feel is like no other. Of course, I do not have others to compare but it is a blessing to be connected with this group.  This year there are 79 classes offered plus a group PE.  We use two floors of their classroom section and they have a huge classroom section.  Some classes are very artsy crafty, some are logical and thought provoking, some are direct learning of a particular subject, some chalenge our bodies to bend and flex. The leadership team is very clear that this should enhance what we are teaching in our homes and should never be in place of what we teach at home. Julie, our rock, makes it cleat that "we are not a school, we do not aspire to be a school, we come beside you as you teach you child".  (oh her voice is so firm but soft and sweet when she says this). 

I have two classes I lead this semester but the subject is the same. We do a lapbook all around the book Curious George Rides A Bike.  At the end of the ten weeks they will learn about the story sequence, ordinal numbers, general information about monkeys, ostriches and have an opportunity to recreate the story as a group play.  I have Curious George party face mask that we put on when we are feeling curious about something. I identify that George is a monkey and point out as the story goes along the opportunity that presents itself and how George could have made better choices. After all, this was written in 1952 and nobody gave second thought to George hopping into a truck with strangers.  We will weigh and measure each child and compare height and weight and we will create classification cards as well as we separate items with one, two, three and four wheels.  It always amazes me that so much can be done from one simple storybook that children love to read and hear. 

G enjoyed her first tumbling class very much. She has seen her girl scout friends doing cartwheels and such so of course she wants to be able to do this too.  She was full of energy and tried it all.  Her second class is a beginning scrapbook class.  She loves to do crafty things but I am very weak in this area.  There are only three girls who are taking this class and I must say that there were so many good choices during this time slot that it was hard to make a choice. As the adult there were other ones I would like to see her do but we us this time for what she wants to do.  We sent our photos of the Missouri Botanical Gardens but they expect to do four projects and so I have to get more picutres once she knows her theme. From there was ballet class. This class is taught by a professional but this year they are both in the same class due to age breakdown. All I can say is that we expect a prayer intervention as they sure did not do well in the same class together.

--off topie--why did they have issue in the same class...they are next to each other every day when we have lesson time...one faces one wall and the other faces the opposite wall...there elbows nearly touch as we put the desk in the middle of the entire room ---back on topic---

Following ballet G went to group P.E. and then joined K and I for a picnic lunch.  During the next hour of class, G was in a book called "Read a book, Make a craft" then to a class about the Solar System.  At the end of the day, when she is beginning to drag she finally reaches a class with an academic nature.  She enjoyed her day very much but it is long as she has five classes. 

Next is F, who enjoyed her first experience with FIAR.  She has outgrown the Learning Centers time and this was a natural progression for her.  Then there was the famous ballet class as discusse above, followed by P.E. and picnic lunch. After lunch F was in tumbling and then Solar System.  They did well in Solar System class but K was there to help out in that class.  F was not as tired although she did have to get up just as early. Nope, not true as she was still asleep and K was helping G to get ready when I arrived at their house so maybe those extra 15 minutes made the difference.

So what about the brutaully honest part of this post?  Here it goes!  Homeschoolers have certain stereotypes that we face. Well folks, the reason that stereotypes exist is because the NORMAL people blend in so well that no one can tell we homeschool.  It is the extreme one that stand out in the crowd and prompts others to look and observe what is going on. With 143 families I am certain to run into some. Now let me say before I say...that.... I appreciate the individual wonder of every family God has created, that I do NOT live in a glass house so I am not trying to toss stones...BUT......BUT

If you have a child who has serious medical needs that you must attend to and you do not have the time to pick up your child from his class as you must keep the sick child away from others. PERHAPS you should not participate or find another family that is willing to take on the responsibility of your children.  If you have a child with a learning disability then you should participate in the class with your child as I am only a grandparent or parent and I am not educated in the special teaching methods for your child.  OH and do not wait until after the first class to tell me that your child has a learning disability.

IF you tell someone you will help in a busy class that has lots of cutting and glue then you should show up and stay for the entire class. 

If your child does not learn to contain his wildness or learn to accept accountability then you should keep him in the walls of your home as you are harming the future view of homeschoolers and ultimately harming the future of homeschool. 

I feel like I am making up a bunch of  "red neck" jokes.  Seriously though, some parents just do not have a handle on managing their child in public yet it really is not the child.  It is the adult.  Adults that make poor choices and their choice effects other people.  They must have a headache every night unless God has shielded them from that possibility. I wonder how some manage to get from home to church when they cannot read a map of a building and understand that 203 means it is on the second floor while 309 is on the third floor. 

Back to the kiddos and families that do not drag the homeschool community into the lime-light.  It is amazing that these children make it through the hallways in a somewhat orderly fashion and no one breaks out in a fight or pushes others out of the way.  I know that in the next two weeks almost all the children, even the four year olds will be able to move from room to room with east.  BTW the doors have monitors and no one leaves without the proper adult or enters without the proper ID. No one walks a hall without a name tag, and trust me if Julie finds a person without a name tag she has the perfect solution and is not afraid to initiate operation name tag sheriff to the offender.

I must say that my class went smoother than I had anticipated and I am ready for next week. 

First day of the semester at our enrichment program

So today will be the first day of group classes.  We will do this every Friday for ten weeks.  G and F will participate in several learning opportunities and gather with others while I will monitor two classes to promote good behavior and teach two classes. 

I want to take a moment to tell all about it and how it went. I know I will be too exhausted to write in the blog at the end of the day and of course I work my job on Saturdays and Sundays.

We got to bed later than desired the night before so I woke very tired and needing to prepare our sandwiches for the day as I generously offered to help. I began this blog then at 0550 to tell you now while I am at my most rested point. 

Guess what, this does not work!!!  (haha) You cannot blog about an event before you are exhausted by the event; but wouldn't it be nice to have a crystal ball sometimes? SO off to the showers with me so that I am at the girls home in one hour.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Why do I do a summer break when I love the Fall so much better

I was reading another blog I follow and it suddenly came to me.  Why am I taking the traditional summer break?  It really makes not sense at all.  I know I do not want to do year round school although it seems G has forgotten a lot of math (of course).  But what I mean to say is that if I love the Fall time so much and there is so much we can be outside and doing all day long then why do we break at summer. After all, I could swim in the morning when temperature is hot but the sun in not blazing down on us. That is rather important as I wear a big floppy hat to protect myself from the sun due to medications and the effect of the sun on my skin.  We could then come in for lunch, and spend the afternoon, in the heat of the day, within cold air conditioned climate control setting.  This makes so much more sense to me.  We could play in the park, ride our bikes in the middle of the day, hike the trails without DEET applied really take advantage of the best time of the year.

Years ago students were taken from school to harvest and did not attend school in the summer months as it was just too hot "in the olden days" to have school in the summer.  When I attended school, even my children the air conditioned rooms were the office. Gradually the schools that my children attended got central air but even now some classrooms do not have that luxury.  So of course the summer vacation had to happen. 

I do believe I will discuss this possibility with K and see if we can change our routine a bit.  Maybe a late Summer and early Fall break would be a good thing for us. 

I know most of you are feeling it too. The air is crisp and the windows are opening. 

Tomorrow we will attend another trip to see the rest of the Missouri Botanical Gardens as G needs more photos to make her scrapbook with.  We will also begin our Master's Lyceum on Friday.  I have been trying to put together the planned art project for the week but so far it has failed me.  I think I may have to reschedule this one and come up with some other idea.  I cleaned the classroom on Friday when we were finished so I am looking forward to beginning our second week of school with an up kept room. I have lots to do with my lesson plans as I prepared them way to far in advance. We are too flexible for such structure. I will need to bring home some books and redo some things for the next seven days. I hope to find that the program I downloaded will run on K's laptop, if not she will need to bring it here and download it as it will be so much easier that way.  She does not see an Internet at her home anytime soon. They can come use this one when the need to.

Oh yes, there it was again, a crispness in the air!