Posts Tagged ‘homeschool’

Homeschool Bible Class

March 15, 2017

As previously mentioned here at MSJ, we are using Picture This! Bible curriculum. We love it! You get to color and discuss the Bible. It takes us approximately a week to get through one book of the Bible because the pages are so detailed as they summarize a whole book. We are in the middle of Leviticus currently, learning all about priestly duties and sacrifices and forbidden food, etc.

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Here is a rundown of how our Bible time went:

10:37 We gathered at the patio table with colored pencils, our color sheets, the fat curriculum binder and Nora’s chunky pink Bible.

10:38 I started coughing and returned to the house for water and cough drops. The washing machine buzzed and I changed the load of laundry.

10:43 We turned to Leviticus and reviewed what we have already covered/colored. Okay, this book was complicated. I didn’t even remember what all five sacrifices were for and there were code words to help you remember. Nora looked up several verses and we made our own additional code words on our papers.

10:55 A formidable shadow circled the back lawn drawing our attention and rendering us speechless as we looked at the shape of the wings.

10:56 The second circling shadow had us out of our chairs and onto the lawn, shielding our eyes from the sun, and staring at the hawk 30 feet above our heads. A discussion followed as we stood there, about why it would be circling above our house, what they eat, and what type of hawk it was. It was close enough for us to see it moving its tail back and forth with each turn. So cool. We realized it was not flapping its wings, simply soaring in a slow upward circular motion. So we waited on the lawn to see how long it would take the bird to actually flap.

11:02 I yelled through the screen door to my husband/pilot, “There is no wind. How can this hawk be circling for such a long time without flapping its wings?” He explained wind currents and changes with altitude.

11:06 THE HAWK FLAPPED, but just once, and kept circling.

11:07 Back at the patio table we read about the foods that were forbidden for the Israelites. Nora was truly sad for them because they could not eat bacon. For reals. She read through the list of fish that were approved and not approved. Then we googled an image of a shrimp so she could see what they look like before they get to Panda Express. She thinks they are ugly. She is right, of course.

11:20 We moved on to the moral laws for God’s chosen people. I decided to read these as they listed all the sexual sins and she didn’t need to be trying to pronounce all of those monstrous unfamiliar word. I refrained from glancing up at her because I already knew her dark chocolate irises had white circles all the way around them as I uttered those sins aloud, for God and country to hear out in public. When the list was exhausted, I casually closed the Bible and looked at the the next section in the teacher guide.

11:25 Nora was staring off at the tree over the fence while the wheels in her brain were processing SIN.

11:27 Processing complete, she inquired, “I thought the Bible was for everybody.” I reassured her that it is. “That part you just read is not for kids!” True. To aid to her disbelief of the contents of the Bible, I spouted, “Can you believe that God talked about all these things?” Discussion followed as to why in the world our holy God felt it necessary to mention women’s monthlies, incest and all the others thrown in with them.

11:35 She abruptly changed the subject and asked if we could have grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Sure. And Bible was concluded for another day.

Do you understand now why it takes us a week to get through one Bible book?

 

 

Thankful!

March 14, 2017

Today while I was minding my own business in the Butterfly Pavilion at the Desert Botanical Gardens, a woman approached me and gushed, “I don’t want to embarrass you, but I know who you are and I want to thank you for the article you wrote about your son not reading until he was nine.” I thanked her for saying something, asked about her kids and met her friends that she was butterflying with. She wasn’t done, however. “I cut out that article and put it up in my bathroom. I read it every day! And I say to myself, ‘If Linda Crosby can make it through this, I can make it through this.'”

Her willingness to approach me and spill her beans blessed my socks off. I am so fortunate to be able to speak to homeschoolers through seminars, articles and day-to-day meetings around town. My passion is to encourage others to keep on keeping on. I am so blessed this year to be speaking in five other states, so I can love on some hurting mothers who just want to quit. This home educating gig ain’t for the faint of heart!

By no means am I the Wonder Woman of homeschooling. Far from it. I have made more mistakes than most… ask my kids! No, don’t. It might hurt my homeschool mom feelings. But there is something to be said about hearing how another mom failed over and over again, and seeing that their kids actually turned out okay… mostly, as contributing members of society who aren’t too socially awkward.

Be encouraged, homeschooling mama! The days when everything goes haywire are the days the kids will probably remember the most. (Unfortunately!) Usually they recall how you handled rough situations and they watched you get up out of bed the next day and try again at the homeschoolin’ deal.

My advice for the “End of March Blues” is to relax. Hardcore-Textbook Mom, play some board games. Stick-to-the-Planner Mom, read a good YWAM biography to the kids. Neatnik Mom, break down and let the kids papier mache outside… with the back door locked. OCD-Math Mom, cross out half the problems on today’s worksheet. Live on the edge. It’s okay to relax once in a while and have some fun. Funschooling is real.

Know that you are not alone. Find another homeschooling family… or five, and go to the Botanical Gardens! We did! It was a great break and math will still be there tomorrow!

Homeschooling is More than Workbooks at the Kitchen Table

March 5, 2017

When we were diligently studying WWII in American history in our homeschool, I assigned the kids the project of making a game. Foolishly I assumed they would come up with some sort of board game with the Axis and Allies picking sides and battling it out with cards, or dice or Popsicle sticks to dominate the world. I should have known better with MY children.

When I give my students active assignments such as this there is always a laundry list of requirements for their “class” presentation. Just like real school. This particular list included, but was not limited to: make a game that 4-6 people can play, design a game board, include historical information, wear an applicable costume when presenting, have props for the players and make it fun!

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(To my dismay, I did not take a picture of Austin wearing his costume… but this shows what he looked like at that time… thrilled to be giving a report!)

To say I was surprised when my son walked in dressed like Hitler is an understatement. He had absconded the master closet with a tan Royal Rangers shirt of his father’s. He designed a swastika arm band, found a skinny tan tie, and made gold medals for the getup. His blonde hair was slicked over and he had a felt mustache in miniature taped to his upper lip. Scarily, he did resemble the German fascist.

For props we all wore similar black felt mustaches and hand drawn arm bands. The game board was pretty straight forward with six columns leading to the top where he had boldly scribed, “Who Wants to Be Hitler?” … sort of like Jeopardy. At this stage I was falsely assuming that my son was glorifying a mad man and I was simply waiting for the moment to stop the game.

To my surprise (and relief), as we rolled the dice to move up the board, we had to answer detailed questions about the Jews, Germany, death camps, Hitler, the Nazis, Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), persecution, ethnic cleansing, the death trains, etc. The strategy of the game was well thought out. As players, you didn’t want to be Hitler, so you had to understand the times and his hideous plan in order to stay where you were on the board and not ascend to the top. For every wrong answer, you moved closer to “being Hitler.”

The process of playing the game brought home the idea that if you didn’t understand what was going on in society, you would be caught up in the nightmare becoming part of the problem. Discussions following the game were extremely contrite and somber. These kids understood the sins of at least THIS past generation, hopefully being somewhat equipped to stand up against injustice if a situation arose in their lives.

My son received an A on his game and presentation and the game was laid to rest forever.

Unfortunately, somehow the swastika-armband-clad-shirt ended up on a hanger in the front room of our house before it made its way back to my husband’s side of the closet. In the 18 hours it hung in the front room, the doorbell must have wrung at least five times for various and sundry reasons. When spying the shirt, several eyebrows were raised heavenward wondering what in the world was going on in the Crosby homeschool. Fumbling through various thoughts in my head, I knew I should NOT say, “We just played Who Wants to be Hitler!” I feebly came up with, “We are studying World War II,” and smiled my pretty homeschool-mom-smile… the one that makes people assume I have my act together.

Hindsight….. again…..

March 3, 2017

skiing-with-noraLast week, I took the kids skiing in Flagstaff on Tuesday. It is a 90 minute drive from our house, which is surprising because we live in Phoenix, AZ. But when you drive up to 10,000 feet, even in Arizona, there is snow in the winter. A blustery storm had blown through the previous weekend and the mountain was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. for my three skiers. No, I didn’t ski. Being the planning maniac that I am, I brought a list of TO-DO items that I was going to have checked off while I sat in the cozy lodge sipping cocoa. Much to my dismay, there was no phone service NOR internet connectivity at the lodge. What century are we in? And I brought NOTHING else to do. My to-do-list-checking-self had a hard time for eight long hours, as you can imagine.

At one point, I folded my arms on the table, in the middle of the noisy ski chalet between the cafe and the bar, put my head on one of my children’s discarded sweatshirts and took an hour-long nap. Nap. Check!

Wednesday, I drove north again. This time to Sedona, land of the red rocks, where my husband was on a three-day work retreat and wives were invited. Unfortunately, the first day was Tuesday… ski day. Rick and I enjoyed a flavorful Mexican meal at our favorite stop Javalina Cantina. Unfortunately, my mind was still frozen from the previous day and I thoroughly squandered salsa loaded with cilantro. Cilantro is my newly discovered #2 highly allergic food. DUH. That night didn’t end comfortably.

Thursday, for the first time in my life, I visited Jerome, Arizona. Rumor has it, people drive for forever to go there. Seven of my homeschool-mom-peeps and I were spending Thursday through Sunday at a cabin in the woods in Prescott… just to get away from it all. It was sublime. Anyway, there is a “highway” from Sedona to Prescott that goes through Jerome, a very sleepy little mining town that is truly built on the side of a mountain. I’m convinced that a map of the town would look like a Chutes-N-Ladders game. Currently it is an artsy tourist metropolis with next-to-no parking. Public restroom are in the fire hall… FYI.

The “highway” reminded me of the Road to Hana in Maui…. however, palm trees were replaced with pine trees, the drop off the cliff into the ocean was replaced with sheer rock cliffs to solid rock cavern, and the one-lane bridges were replaced with very narrow jaunts through the town. I can add this adventure and then check it off my bucket list. Jerome. Check!

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Sunday 1:00 in the afternoon… pending doom hit. I got chills that were multiplying. My body’s ability to regulate temperature was losing control. I climbed under the power that the electric blanket was supplying. It was electrifying. But I never shaped up. I needed a friend to drive my van home with me in it. After days of coughing, chills, fever, sweating and “sleeping” in my green birthday chair (instead of flat on my back in my bed) I succumbed to a doctor’s visit. Prognosis: Flu and Bronchitis. She inquired if a note was necessary for work to excuse me for several days so I could rest. I declined.

Then it started. ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE DOCTOR! I hadn’t even made it to the pharmacy to pick up my meds and my very first inhaler. “Can you swing by Costco and pick up a battery for the van?” “Mom, what’s for dinner?” “Can you cut my hair?” “We’re going to the park tomorrow, right?” “There’s a birthday party on Saturday.” “Can you please change a few things on my business receipt original copy?” “Are you washing laundry?” “I got Bon Jovi tickets for Saturday night!” “There’s no milk.” Oh my stars.

Never should I have declined the note qualifying my need for rest. What in the blazes was I thinking? I could have taped it on my bedroom door…. or my forehead. (I even declined the opportunity to see John in concert…. THAT’S how much rest I need!)

Rest well, my faithful readers. And use hand sanitizer. You don’t want what I got! Trust me!

Homeschooling and Brain Surgery

February 14, 2017

An 18-year-old, non-homeschooled friend of my son’s was at our house during our Bible lesson with my 13-year-old daughter. He was sitting on the couch not far from the kitchen table where Nora and I sat coloring our Bible lesson. Yes, you read that right… coloring. It’s the BEST Bible curriculum out there, in my humble 16-year homeschooling experience.

“Picture This!” is a walk through the Bible system that has pages for each book with lightly shaded lines for you to draw and color the history from the Word of God. We read Bible verses, then we draw, then we color, and then we read more Bible verses talking about each as we go along.

This is not a sales pitch for the curriculum, but I love it so much I wouldn’t have a hard time selling it. (I am making no profit from this…. in case you thought I had figured out how to make profits off my favorite homeschool ditties. Um… no.)

Here is the page we were working on when our story began:

“This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time,” says the Lord.
“I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.” Hebrews 10:16

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Wanting to always be RIGHT, my daughter asked, “Mom, what color are brains?

An honest question. I replied, “I think they are sort of pink.”

Nora inquired, “How do you know? Have you seen a brain?”

Then, as most homeschooling lessons go, we veered off to a bunny trail on youtube and watched a video on brain surgery so my girl could see a real live brain. The surgeon was removing some dark colored blob and we could see the blood still pumping through different veins. She thought it was the most supremely awesome video in the history of the galaxy. How is this my child?

Setting my phone down, so I didn’t have to hold all seven minutes of brain surgery in my hand, I concentrated on non-gagging images in my head… like watercolor pictures of flowers and birdies. I get queasy with blood and guts and bones and such. I realize this is surprising to some who know our family’s history of frequent ER trips. But it’s true. I’m an injured-anatomy wimp.

When brain surgery ended, we found another video (like one wasn’t enough!) with a scientist holding a recently harvested brain before it had hardened up. I didn’t realize brains harden up, but they do. I am learning so much from homeschooling. Miss Scientist was naming the different lobes while holding and squeezing it in her gloved hands, and showing the characteristics of a fresh brain. It was so gross to me I had to keep my eyes averted most of the little show. However, my daughter’s dream of becoming a scientist was planted a little deeper in her blood-n-guts loving heart.

Back to the non-homeschooler on the couch… his interest was piqued and he sauntered into the kitchen and viewed the videos with us. His only comment, “I thought you guys were doing Bible?”

“We ARE doing Bible. This is homeschooling.” And back to coloring we went.

STOP! In the Name of the Law!

January 22, 2017

Tonight I was reminded of a story from my high school days which I gladly share at this time. It is a homeschool science lesson in the making, mixed with art and civics. Thank you for bringing this story to the forefront of today’s news, Connie, my partner in crime more than once in our late teen years.

It has escaped me where I obtained this gem of a fashion statement, but somehow I got my little 17-year-old hands on a pair of these stop sign sunglasses.

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This is EXACTLY the pair that I chose to wear in high school. See how they have shatter-proof lenses? Safety first! See how it says for children 5 years or older. It should have said for children ages 5-15… let me explain.

The lenses on these beauties were green and they were quite dark, which aided my shielding of the bright California sunshine while donning them. One bright shiny day, I was cruising down El Camino Real in Sunnyvale, California (But not cruising at night on El Camino Real in Santa Clara….. that was naughty) minding my own business… wearing the above glasses… because I was fashion conscious. I’m sure I had on a red or white or royal blue Izod polo shirt with the collar turned up with a matching cherry red patent leather belt in the belt loops of my 501 Levi jeans. (Button fly! Rock on!)

Unusual, to be sure, the stoplights were out on El Camino that day! I was quite surprised that so many in a row were out… block after block. I approached each intersection with caution, stopped, looked both ways and proceeded with care.

Next thing I know there was an officer of the law flashing his blue lights at me in the rear view mirror. Odd. I had never seen them only flash blue. (Not that I had much experience being pulled over… ahem.) After pulling my car to the side of the road the nice police man came to chat with me. He asked why I was running all the red stop lights on El Camino. WHAT? “They were all out, officer! That is why I treated them like stop signs.”

Then I pulled off my awesome stop sign sunglasses and realized his patrol car WAS flashing red and blue… but I couldn’t see the red lights with the green lenses in my fashion eye wear. Figuring he would believe me as I made the discovery and explained it to him….. he simply stood there looking at me like I had used too much VO5 hairspray for too long in too small of a bathroom.

Finally, I handed him the glasses and offered, “See for yourself!” He did. He put them on, glanced around at his police car lights and the red street light in the next intersection, removed them and handed them back to me shaking his head.

The kind public servant did not give me multiple tickets for running multiple lights that day, but did instruct me to NEVER wear the stop sign sun glasses while driving! OKAY!

Here is the science lesson part of this story from physicsclassroom.com:

A pigment that absorbs a single frequency is known as a pure pigment.

Pigments absorb light. Pure pigments absorb a single frequency or color of light. The color of light absorbed by a pigment is merely the complementary color of that pigment. 

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And so, dear students, green lenses on fancy sunglasses shaped like stop signs absorb red traffic lights because green and red are complementary colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel. You cannot see red lights with these glasses on! Don’t try this at home!

Be safe! Don’t drive with green or red lenses! And there you have it, from the archives.

Phoenix… We have a Problem!

January 15, 2017

My parents were blessed to spend New Years in Maui with my sister and her family, relaxing on the beach and enduring the rooster calls on the island. Being the kind and thoughtful daughter, I volunteered for pick-up duty on their arrival home. When they booked the tickets, I remember hearing the return date as January 11th, a date that coincides with a special occasion for one of my nieces, who is from Maui. I thought it coincidental that the dates matched.

Calling my brother, who had taken them for their departure, I wanted to confirm the airline and flight time. All was good. Here’s my sticky note.

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I feel the need to point out the extent of my niceness. That 6:49 is A.M. The airport is 30 miles from our house in the same direction all the Phoenix metro traffic heading downtown. Big fat bumper-to-bumper bummer.

Before I volunteered for o’dark-thirty parent retrieval, I checked with all driving family members to see if it was “more convenient” for someone else to go. Nope. Two had to go to work and one to band class. The glitch in this scenario is that our daughter had to be to her reading specialist at 8:00 a.m. From experience, I knew that I couldn’t make it back from the airport in time to take her and I didn’t want to wake her up at 5:15 a.m. either. The princess needs her sleep.

I called a faithful friend who also has a child in the reading class and asked if Nora could sleep over at her house. Sure! That’s what friends are for. I delivered her to her pajama party late on Tuesday night.

My alarm, which incidentally is only set a few times a year, blasted it’s jovial wake-up tune at 5:15 a.m. Please remember at this time that I am a homeschool mom. One of the top reasons we homeschool is so we can get the rest we need… i.e.: we sleep in…. almost every day.

I threw on sweats, brushed my teeth and hair, and went out the front door into the chilly AZ air. Brrrr… in the low 50s. Black skies laughed at me. I am always surprised when it is dark in the morning, for I rarely see this phenomenon.

Traffic wasn’t bad at all and I pulled into the parkade with 15 minutes to spare. After making mental notes of the level and parking area, I checked the screens for arrival times. 412 from Kahului just landed….6:28. Early! Good. This should go quickly. My comfy bed might even still be warm when it welcomes me back!

If you have ever landed at Sky Harbor in Phoenix, you may be aware of the dual runways and the occasional need to taxi for 15 minutes to get to your gate. It adds to the suspense of deplaning. Thankfully I remembered this little tidbit and was not alarmed by a 20 minute delay between the landing time and seeing weary travelers in Hawaiian shirts getting off the red-eye flight. Finally several vacationers trudged by wearing neck pillows and carrying pale green Hawaiian Cookie Company bags. I was a tad alarmed when I didn’t see my very own weary parents. There was no way I could have missed them walking by. There is only one gate for them to come out of. I was there the whole time. But they didn’t show up.

Baggage claim is right down stairs from where I had been sitting for 30 minutes. I decided to take a trip down there to see if Dad and Mom teleported from the plane to the baggage area. Nope. All the Hawaiian shirts were sitting on the floor awaiting their tardy suitcases.

Back upstairs I went… a bit concerned. Could something have happened to one of them on the plane? I called both their cell numbers several times. Both went straight to voicemail. I didn’t want to call my sister to see if she put them on the plane because it was 3:45 in the morning in Maui. I called my husband who was across the tarmac in his office. “I can’t find my parents,” I lamented. He comforted me by telling me they were probably just lost. Great! Where do I report missing persons?

My husband suggested checking my text messages again from Maui. I opened up my brother-in-law’s message and it read, “Mom and Dad arrive Thursday morning at 6:49.” Big fat early morning bummer. It was Wednesday.

Their flight WAS on the 11th of January… but arrived on the 12th of January. I was 24 hours early. I decided not to wait for them at the airport.

A Starbucks caramel apple cider soothed my weary soul before I left the terminal. After handing over my $5.00 for parking and I was on my way home to my snuggly bed.

(In a couple weeks I am scheduled to pick up my niece ON THIS SAME FLIGHT! Hopefully I will get it right next time.)

 

Jury Duty, My Nemesis

November 28, 2016

Since it’s been 18 months and zero days since my last jury duty, the flimsy white postcard arrived in the mail as scheduled announcing my day(s) off from homeschooling! Yay!

It’s that weird season between Thanksgiving and Christmas when most homeschool mamas are torn between math and cocoa with whipped cream. Grammar and Elf. History and fuzzy socks and a snuggly blanket and a good Christmas storybook. Turning on the heater or playing wii Dance 2 for P.E.

Needless to say, I wasn’t super disappointed to be leaving my children unattended for a day or three. (This will be our little secret, k?) My remaining offspring are 13 and 18 and fully self-reliant… with eating and staying alive. Not so resilient with doing school work unsupervised, but hey, it’s December. (Well in three days it’s December, but close enough to already have Christmas cheer!) And lying cozy and warm in your bed reading a fantastic book for hours IS school! Yep!

The day started off with a BANG! From the short walk from the shuttle bus to the front of the court house, I crossed paths with a very angry black woman who spewed, “White supremacists!” to me and my fellow non-assuming, white, middle-aged, minding-our-own-business jurors. Her words literally shocked me. My mouth dropped open. Turning to the lady walking right behind me I shared, “I have never been called that before!” She hadn’t either. Wow! I felt sorry for the name-calling woman. To harbor that much anger must make life horrible! I thought of singing Christmas carols to bring up the Christmas cheer but she walked off too rapidly for my first tune to commence. Joy to the World would have been top of my chart.

Being a returning expert to jury duty, I arrived on time. Signed in and got my sticker badge. Most of my morning was spent reading two months of text messages and trying to figure out who was the other texter. I lost all my contacts on my phone except those who left text messages… but they were nameless numbers. For two hours I READ texts from September 26 to November 28 and tried to remember who I had that conversation with followed by typing in every blinking name. When would I have had time to do that if not for jury duty? Thank you, Madison Court House!

Finally I sat working at a desk until my name was announced. Dang it. I have heard rumors of people getting the notice and sitting in the waiting area ALL DAY. Think of it! ALL DAY pretty much alone to read or look up papier mache Christmas ornaments on Pinterest or make grocery lists or doodle or nap or knit. Sugary bliss! But no.

My juror number this time, out of 40, was 2. Not good. The chances of numbers 30-40 getting selected, in my vast experience, are slim to none. But I was hopeful of being dismissed just by my explanation of what my husband does for work. The trial involved police, so I was sure to mention that Rick flies for Department of Public Safety… the governor, SWAT teams, prisoner transfers and photography… and has for worked for the State of AZ for 17 years. (So the 17 years didn’t always include DPS but I could have clarified if needed.)

This is not my first jury rodeo! (It’s my second.) So I had a much firmer grasp on my emotions as fellow jurors gave feeble attempts at being excused. There was no rolling of my eyes. There were no bursts of laughter like last time. I didn’t even snicker when an elderly gentleman raised his hand and urgently told the judge, “I have to go to the bathroom so bad I can’t think straight!”

The process of jury selection was much quicker this time around and there weren’t sob stories of abuse that we had to endure, thankfully. We returned from lunch and nine jurors were selected just like that. No questioning of any of us from the attorneys. Two minutes after lunch, the rest of us received our Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card. BAM! Civic service done! Bring on the eggnog!

December 2016 I will look for my $23 fuel reimbursement check in the mailbox!

May 2018 I will look for the little, flimsy white postcard in the mailbox announcing my next half day off!  Whoo Hoooo!

I have Returned, Dear Reader

November 4, 2016

Currently I am labouring (Wow! My Canadian is showing through!) as a missionary for the Lord watching my sister’s kids. My sister and her husband are pastors on a remote island and needed assistance with childcare so they could take some much needed time off. I am here to help. That’s what sisters are for! A helping hand in time of need. Sacrificing time away from my family so they could have a break from ministry. We all know ministry would be great if it weren’t for the people! (That was sarcasm, in case you thought it was truth from God’s word. No.) It’s a tough gig, but someone had to step up.

Okay, truthfully, I am in Maui for 17 days… but I AM watching my sister’s kids, who are 13 and 17. So basically they watch themselves. I am just here to say things like, “Did you use soap during your one minute shower?” and “Can someone please feed the dog.” and “Do you have a library card? NO? Put on your shoes. We’re going to get you a library card.” And I did bring my little Colombian princess who simply looks like a Hawaiian princess when we are on the island. So my homeschooling duties are not flailing. Fear not!

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While lounging in my Costco beach chair that doubles as a backpack, on Koki Beach just east of Hana, I sat evaluating my life. You know, what makes me happy, sad, enthusiastic, disappointed, energized, productive. I fondly remembered you, my dear reader, and realized I deeply missed our one sided correspondence.

When I got home, I looked at my blog…. TWO AND A HALF MONTHS I have been missing in action. Sadness seeped in. I was caught up in the daily grind, not doing what I love… writing! I have missed putting my spiritual gift of sarcasm out there for all the world to see. God made me to laugh and bring laughter to others (and for a few other things) and I have missed not being here. So, today, on the island of Maui, in the city of Lahaina, at 8:08 p.m. Hawaiian Standard Time, I do solemnly swear that I will no longer neglect my blog and you, my faithful reader.

You need to laugh just like I do. You need to hear the ridiculous stories of what happens to me and my family… just as badly as I need to write them. And you need a break from the hum-drum of existence to belly laugh and feel God’s joy in your soul.

With all that said, our drive on the road to Hana was very eventful as any 27 mile stretch could be with 27 u-turns and 27 single-lane bridges. The highlights for the teens who were with me (not MY highlights, okay!) were (1.) the cat barfing at Haipua’ena Falls, (2.) the elderly gentleman who followed us on several stops who was sporting the brightest tie-dyed shirt I have ever laid eyes on, (3.) Jake “using” the bushes at Puohokamoa Falls, and (4.) the tourist van that followed us all day called Temptations Tours (with an apple logo!) See? This IS a tough gig! I told you so! A cat barfing…. seriously? And it was the first stop… but it was discussed at length the whole rest of the day.

Come home, sister! Come home!

Goal Setting for Homeschoolers

July 28, 2016

When we began homeschooling in 2001 our curriculum instructed us to set yearly goals for each of our kids in four areas: spiritual, physical, academic, and character. So we did. I’m a homeschool mom. I follow instructions.

As our homeschool life developed we began looking long-term at our kids’ futures, you know, like when they LEAVE! We realized we eventually wanted them to spread their wings and fly away prepared to effectively run a household on their own. We also didn’t want them to be socially awkward. So we made up two more goal categories: life skills and social skills.

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For the first day of school every year we head to a donut shop and set goals with the kids. Then we return home and take their picture in front of the school house. Above is from 2005. Below is 2010.

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When the children were young (under 12) my husband and I set the goals for the children while eating out at Claim Jumper and sharing a piece of the six-layer Motherlode chocolate cake. Anyone can goal set with enough chocolate available.

As the kids aged, we included them in the goal setting adventure so that they had some skin in the game. By high school, they were setting their own goals with guidance from their loving and involved parents. US!

2011… the year the Colombian princess joined the Crosby family.

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We chose one or two goals in each of the six areas, taking into account the personality, skill and talents of each child. We realize goals are to be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-related. Not all of ours were, but we felt we had included enough to move forward.

We checked back on the goals at mid-December, early March and at the end of May. I would mark them with a +, 1/2, or –, depending on the success of the child. Sometimes the same goal came back the next year (like obeying the first time.)

Here are some examples of goals from each of the six areas:

Spiritual: (this was to develop good study and prayer habits) Bible reading, devotional reading, prayer time, scripture memory. When the kids were little, we would choose a time frame such as 10 minutes for prayer and 10 minutes for Bible reading. Sometimes it would be a certain number of memory verses for the year. We also taught them to make prayer request lists, and lists of family and friends to pray for.

Physical: P.E. class, sports, trampoline time, exercises, dance, potty training, riding a bike, etc.

Academic: spelling, math flashcards, phonograms, handwriting, oral reading, Spanish, grammar, etc.

Character: obedience, trust, honesty, patience, responsibility, self control, courage, etc. We would pick an area that child needed to work on and would read biographies on a person who exemplified that trait, or have the kids look up Bible verses that applied. We set a plan on ways to practice the chosen character trait.

Life Skills: all household chores, meal planning, cooking, shopping, sewing, car care, painting a room, hooking up a computer, removing screens to wash, animal care, etc. These were taught one at a time until the child mastered the skill at an adult level. (I didn’t want the bathroom to look like a kid had cleaned it!)

Social Skills: introductions, heaphone/cellphone manners, asking three questions to others, eye contact, firm handshake, ladies first, replying without sighing, asking if you can help, etc.

If you are just at the start of your homeschool journey and this seems overwhelming, pick one or two categories to set one goal for each child. Goal setting is a skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” Be the one to cast the vision for your homeschool! 

And finally the 2013 and 2015 photos.

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