Posts Tagged ‘homeschooling mom’

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.

IMG_5147

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 words. 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?

 

 

Advertisements

President’s Day 2013

February 18, 2013

mount rushmore

On any holiday that is not Christmas and Easter, my homeschooling students ask if they get the day off.  We do take off each of their birthdays, and MINE, obviously!  But Valentine’s Day is not a day off.  Neither is Groundhog’s Day nor the first day of any season….nor the equinox of the moon… nor any eclipse.  Nor the first day the NHL starts again after a strike.  However, President’s Day was granted as a day off IF the kids could recite the entire list of the presidents of the United States.  Didn’t even have to be in order.

We have a handy dandy Presidents of the United States place mat that re-arrived on the table during breakfast this morning, being that it IS President’s Day.  (Remember when we used to get off Lincoln AND Washington’s birthdays?)  None of my pupils have given their recitation of the country’s leaders as of yet… 2:48 p.m.

My 9-year-old was fascinated with all the “funny looking” men.  She asked how many of them I knew personally.  Um… none.  Then she asked if I was alive with George Washington.  Um… no.  “So how many have you been alive for?”  Good question. I took a gander at the place mat.  Nine.  I have been alive for nine presidents.

How many presidents have you been alive for?

 

True Confessions of a Mother

January 18, 2013

When my children were 7, 4 and 2-years-old (back when I only had three kids!) I read a book that stated, “A seven-year-old is capable of running a household.”  It shocked me.  But I bit into it…. with my jaws wide open… similar to my first bite of a Krispy Kreme donut.  That night, as I laid in bed with my eyes wide open, I dreamed of training my 7-year-old to take over all the menial tasks that I dreaded as a mother and keeper of the home.  I envisioned my next two offspring also reaching the ripe old age of seven…. and helping their older sister do EVERYTHING!  Oh, sweet baby Jesus, this was the answer I needed … my ticket to sanity… the train bound for the hot bubbly bath surrounded by candles …. and TIME to read a good book without interruptions.

The chore chart was born that night and materialized the next day.  It worked like a gem.  I taught each kid a single chore, one at a time, year by year, that they could master at my cleaning expectations.  Oh, would my future daughters-in-law sing praises to my name!

You may be asking yourself what I would do with all my new-found free time…. well, I’m a homeschool mom.  BAM!  (Homeschool mom = no free time.)

Reflecting back, after 12 long years in the saddle (and 9 to go, but who’s counting?), I have come to see the harm the chore chart did to my children.  Yes, it’s true.  And I am admitting it here for all the world to read.  (Well, that is…. the 80% of those in the world over the age 15 who are literate… according to a 2002 statistic.)  (Homeschool moms are experts at finding statistics to prove their point.)

As the teen years encompassed our home, I realized that my sweet chillin’s wouldn’t lift a finger for any chore that did not have their name next to it on that particular day. “WHAAAAT?  Is that how we brought you up???  To be selfish and petty?”  Made my blood boil.  (That only happens at 212 degrees F…. and I was THERE, baby!)

Discussions revolving around teens and the spirit of helping, a willingness to serve, desiring to be like Jesus, etc. etc. etc. were had by yours truly and many others in my life.  Since then, we have regrouped and are trying something new and improved… it’s called being nice.  Being thankful.  Not feeling entitled.  An announcement was made at the dinner table not long ago…. it went something like this:  “We are a family.  We help each other.  We serve each other.  If someone cared enough to plan your meals, go grocery shopping, cook for you and set the table….. then you need to stick around until the whole kitchen is cleaned up and the food is put away.”  BAM!  It has worked beautifully for three nights now.  I will keep you posted on the success of trying to teach my children to be helpful without their name written on a chart.  Pray for me.

Now, those who have great faith in my chore chart abilities, do not fear.  Only the kitchen tasks have been removed.  Their names are still next to chores that include wiping toilets, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning windows, collecting trash, etc. etc. etc.  Some things just need routine.  Ok, I just need routine…. and a long bubbly bath surrounded by candles.

Nine More Days

December 28, 2012

My husband of 25.5 years and myself will leave our home on January 4, 2013 with a van stuffed full of college paraphernalia and our firstborn child…. to just drop her off in Oklahoma and run for the border.  It’s a first for our family.  Children leaving the nest.  Much preparation, turmoil, tears and rejoicing have gone into this event.  Way more turmoil than I originally anticipated for a college departure.

There are nine more days to teach her everything she needs to know for infinity and beyond.  That is the key right there that keeps me from losing it… again.  Infinity and beyond is what really matters.  Kingdom thinking.  Have we prepared our daughter (the one who once asked for scotch tape and a box of envelopes for Christmas) to love God and serve people?  That people are more important than things?  To build others up and give a helping hand?

Yes, she plowed through algebra and ancient world history… but that is knowledge and not necessarily wisdom.  Wisdom is what matters in life.  Proverbs says that we should seek after wisdom and that it is found in those who take advice.  And wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men.

Yes, she can effectively run a household, hold down a job and save money… but it is her heart that matters.  Getting to this point with child number one has helped me focus with children numbers 2,3 and 4.  They will also make it through algebra and ancient world history… but I need to be an example of love to them no matter the circumstances.

My firstborn daughter and I watched Les Miserables in the theater in Mission, B.C., Canada last night.  My favorite line was “To love another person is to see the face of God.”  A GREAT movie to see before heading off to college.

(I can do this. I can do this.  I can do this.)

G R A D U A T I O N ! ! !

June 4, 2012

We did it!  We successfully got one whole child through homeschooling.  This is a monumental achievement for a homeschool mom.  We wonder all along if this day will ever come.  We hope and pray that we aren’t wrecking the kids by doing this ourselves.  And that right there is the key…. I never felt like I was doing this by myself.  It was me, and my terribly supportive husband, my co-op mamas, our support group, the state organization (Arizona Families for Home Education) and mostly God, who called us to this way of life and education 12 long years ago.

I have no regrets for choosing homeschooling.  All the sacrifices and tears have been worth it…. every little bit.  I do have a few regrets involving course choices and follow through, which we all encounter our first time.  I have learned from my mistakes and have already made corrections for guinea pig #2 who just finished his first year of high school.

I liken the homeschool journey similarly to childbirth.  The painful memories diminish as the joys grow each day.  Truly my happy homeschool experiences outweigh the horrible ones 100 to 1, for which I am stupendously thankful.  Our family is close and we love each other.  We love being together.  We love playing games together and they don’t end in yelling matches or wrestling fights.  We even love vacationing together.  Secretly, the kids even love learning together, but they try to keep this under raps.

The great news is that I am still looking forward to planning next year!  I still love homeschooling.  I love being with my kids.  I love learning and teaching.  However, it is with great relief in my ever-loving-heart that I have exactly 81 days of NOT homeschooling ahead of me.  They will be busy days of summer movies, packing and planning for college for our graduate, swim parties, a 9-year-old birthday celebration, a marriage retreat, a relaxing vacation to the beach and then Tahoe, the homeschool convention and a visit to friends in Kansas and Colorado.  I have waited for THIS DAY…. June 4, 2012 for a Loooooooong time.  It arrived.  I am beyond elated.  :o)

I’ll Start this Thing….. Tomorrow

August 21, 2010

Yes, I’ve been MIA for five days.  My roommate from college (c. 1985) came with her family from Manitoba and visited us this week.  We have not seen each other since 1995… and between the two of us, we had one child at that time.  Now we have six kids and this was their first meeting.  I always wonder how two families will mesh but I assumed the kids would do just fine as they are flexible, well-behaved, socially aware children.  (Bahahahahaha!)  They did do remarkably well and hope to see each other again.  A successful and fun time was had by all.

Their youngest son was eight-years-old and it reminded me all over again how different it will be to have a little girl running around our house.  Our youngest is 11 and he’s so mild-mannered and quiet, we forget he’s here sometimes.  Seriously.  The dream third child, in my humble opinion.  As we near the adoption referral (sometime in September it will arrive) I’m having great fear and trepidation, as most adoptive parents do at this point in time.  It IS like nearing the end of a pregnancy…. but with the unknown feelings of the first pregnancy.  With my second and third births, at least I knew what to expect.  With international adoption, it’s all a big unknown.  Yes, I’ve been reading blogs of those who have gone to Colombia before us, but there are so many unanswered questions… some that will never have answers… and I’m supposed to be OK with that?

As with most upcoming events that will change your life forever, my mind is almost entirely preoccupied with Zaza’s referral, her “Gotcha Day”, our travel and her arrival in our family and home.  That’s a good thing, except that there are three kids here who need to start homeschooling ….. soon…. and I don’t feel like it.  I’m thinking it’s not a good thing when the teacher doesn’t want to start school.  Kind of like when the preacher doesn’t want to go to church.  I guess this is all part of growing up….. doing things you don’t feel like doing because it’s the right thing to do.  I’m still working on learning that lesson.  At this late date in the homeschool game, I’ve never been this unprepared.  (The singing goat’s song “Be Prepared” from Hoodwinked keeps haunting me.)  There are at least three, if not five, books that still need to be ordered.  That doesn’t include math.  I haven’t even thought of math until this moment.  {sigh}

So, with today being Saturday, I’m going to pretend that I’m still a carefree soul in the summer of life…. and enjoy my last day without lists.  Tomorrow I will make lists… and Monday I will begin working on checking off those little boxes I love drawing next to each item.  It’s quite therapeutic.   Goodbye summer; hello homeschooling!  (I must embrace my calling.  I must embrace my calling.  I must embrace my calling.)  OK, I think I’m ready.

End of the School Year

May 12, 2010

Tomorrow is supposed to be the last day of school for LAKE Academy.  (L = Larisa, A = Austin, K = Keeve and if Zaza’s real name starts with E… it will all be so perfecto!)  However, none of my pupils are finished with their work.  My most hopeful student did not pass his last math test with over 90%…. which is not a passing grade at LAKE Academy.  We have high standards to uphold… and math requires skills that need to be remembered over and over.. and mastered.  He will be doing some review and then retaking the test.  Some of you may balk at my expectations, but the kids know they can live up to them… so I set them HIGH!  If I set them low, they would live up to those as well.  We are not striving for mediocrity in this home school!  No, I’m not pushing my kids beyond their capabilities either.  Calm down.

Pupil #3 got braces put on this week and it has slowed his progress in math and grammar.  I gave him a check-off list five weeks ago with what needed to be accomplished each day.  He has been faithful and diligent until this week.  He may be able to complete his work for the year on Friday… if his mouth is not distracting him.  Wires poking your cheeks can be such a detriment to every day life.  Good grief!  Thank God for wax!

Pupil #1 has had an unbalanced year.  She had way too much of a good thing during the first semester and much making up for the lacking things during second semester.  I also gave her a list of what needed to be accomplished to complete her sophomore year.  Frankly, it will probably take her another month.  But that’s OK.  Her calendar is wide open!  She’ll be winding down the same time as her cousins in Washington who don’t finish school until end of June.  Perfect.

As the homeschool marm, I reflect on my teaching for the past year… right about now…..  Mid-May.  I didn’t do as well as I had hoped with staying on top of high school history.  Spanish for my boys died mid-winter and is still in need of resuscitation.  We may be doing that all summer.  For spelling, both boys advanced more than a year!  They also finished math and are right on course… actually, #2 son is about 2/3 of a year ahead.  Their writing dramatically improved this year thanks to an IEW course.  (Institute for Excellence in Writing)  They know how to take notes from three sources, compile them, make an outline, write a three paragraph paper with opening and closing/clincher sentences… AND know how to add strong verbs, adjectives, adverbs, clauses and sentence openers.  (More than most high school graduates!)  So I feel great about that!  Not so great about high school history.

Out of my nine years of homeschooling my kids, I would only say I did a great job one out of nine years.  That’s not good odds. I’d tell you the exact percentage, but my calculator is missing from my desk.  And I don’t do math in my head.  As soon as I have to carry a number, they all get mixed up.  My great year was last year…. year EIGHT!  But, hey, there’s always next year!  And if we don’t set our goals high… we wouldn’t accomplish hardly anything at all!  Next week I’ll be breathing easy.  Whew!