What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Homeschooling Q&A


In which I (try to) answer questions relating to educating at our home...

I'd love to know where you got the colored pencils (in this post)! 

I've been eyeballing colored pencils like these for many years.  I found them originally in the Magic Cabin catalog for sale, but never sprung for them.  Then one day, I was out shopping at Home Goods and they were there!  $5.00 bought the box and NO shipping!  (Good things come to those who wait!)

 I love the reclaimed barn wood (in this post) - it's all the rage right now! Who's idea was it?

You know, I *THINK* it was mine.  But it might have been Matt's too.  Our wave lengths cross often, so I am not sure.  

 Do you also have a written record of what was done which day? If so, when do you fill that in? And do you use a planner?   and
I know you have a lesson plan book, and I'm interested in knowing where you got it.  It isn't a lesson plan book per se, but just a calendar/organizer book that I am using to plan to school year.  I just got it in the calendar/organizer section of Target.  It will be interesting to see if it is what I need or if I will have to come up with something different. 

Having the laminated child-work pages helps tremendously .  I don't feel like I need to write down every single subject/every single lesson( Saxon, page 20)- but more the things I need to accomplish (like get library books on ____________.  Do this science experiment. Laminate poster.  Etc.)

I fill it in monthly (with composer/artist/poet of the months) but my big goal is to set aside a portion of each week (an hour or so on Fridays, perhaps?) to look over the work for the next week and fill out anything that needs to be done/printed/requested/prepared in advance.  This has been a goal of mine for too long, without coming to fruition but this year, I hope to finally implement it.  I am certain it would help me tremendously.

What made you decide to teach your children Latin?  

Matt did.  I'll be frank with you here- I am not looking forward to it.  I don't know it myself so it will be one of those things I will have to learn alongside.  But it is a pretty common thing to learn within the classical community and I have read articles about how valuable it can be....but mostly, I am just doing it for Matt.  :-)

How serendipitous that the barn chairs match your theme- or did they inspire it? 

Ahhhhh, the proverbial, which came first- the chicken or the egg question.  I think it was serendipitous- since I already had the "map" color scheme going. 

What do you have to do as far as reporting to the school district?

Too much.  PA is one of the top five (maybe even top TWO) worst states for homeschooling freedoms and I hate that.   Here are the requirements for our state.

Do you ever worry about the "social" aspects they may miss?

You know, it's funny.  I worry more about the social aspects that they imbibe when NOT homeschooling than the other way around (like when we go to a park and there are a bunch of crazy kids there).

 I think that people often define socialization as having contact with people of the same peer group when in fact, socialization speaks of being able to participate and be comfortable with....people.  In general.  NOT peers, specifically.

I laughed the other day with Matt because, the road on which we live houses many an old-person.  I don't know of any children at all.  We are surrounded by retired people, often in failing health.  And those retired people, often in failing health, are very often visited by my children.  In fact, this summer, it was hard not to become frustrated that the children were always off "visiting" when they should have been home HELPING.

We laughed because I was grumbling that our children were TOO socialized.  (I thought we were HOMESCHOOLERS.)  I always comfort myself, though, that it is not only important for my children to learn to socialize with other people but to have kind and compassionate hearts.  I know the visits mean a great deal to the cooped up elderly on our road. 

Also- I have a large family with lots of little children running around all the time so the children have many friends that way AND we attend a church where the children outnumber the adults by a lot...so my children do not lack opportunity to visit with even their own peers. 

I am going to go on a bit of a soapbox here (but it will be a short one) to say that children who are unsocialized are often taught to be that way by their parents...not by their circumstances.  I better stop there though, or this post will get MIGHTY long!

Do your kids participate in team/group sports or other activities?

One thing I am adament about is that I not become one of those chauffeur moms.  It is important to me that our lives not be a juggling act...but ones in which we have time to pursue our own interests and have time to ENJOY them while not letting them master us or stress us out.  We are only given so much time in a day-I don't want to waste a second of it being frazzled by a hectic and harried schedule.  So I try and avoid too many activities that have us committed throughout the week.

 That said, I'd love to see my children participate in a theater group of some sort down the road-but they are a bit young still for that.

We aren't big sports people here and wouldn't want to participate in games that happen on Sundays- so we don't have the same sports issues as some do.  We choose to be that way.  We play sports as a family and our goal is to eventually have enough for a team anyway (I kid, I kid.  sortof.) so it really isn't an issue for us.

I guess what I am saying is this- if the right thing came along (something that added to our lives, not took away from it) we would be all for it.  At this point though,nothing has really tickled our fancy.

How do you find time/logistics for the occasional "play date" or friendship fostering?

Hmmmm.  I am going to sound really weird here (brace yourselves) but we don't do "playdates".  If we do anything, I get together with women I enjoy spending time with and my children play with their children, whomever they may be, as we adults chat away .  I usually get along best with women who HAVE children so usually, my children have plenty of playmates.  (Here again- a good way to get your children properly socialized is to force them to get along with other children who (gasp!) may not be their own age!)

The end result becomes my friendships with other women often initiates my childrens' friendships with other children.  Generational friendships, if you will.  One of my closest local friends has children my own childrens' ages and her children are some of my own childrens' closest friends too.  We also happen to go to church together.  In fact, after church tomorrow, they are having a sleepover at their house- I should pack their bags.

When we get together with other people, it is only occasionally and usually during the week (so we can be with Matt as often as possible when he is home on the weekends) so we try to make up for our schoolwork in the afternoon and/or double up the next day.  It works, but it can be a hassle, which is why our visits are only occasional.

I'd love to know what you use for/how you go about teaching spelling.

Last year I used Spelling Workout books and internet lists of words that such-and-such-graders should know.  I printed lots of spelling sheets from edhelper.com.  This year, for the first year ever, I bought the books Wordly Wise 3000.  It is actually a vocabulary workbook not a spelling book.  It introduces new vocabulary words which I will use also as practice for spelling simply by having them write the words a couple of times.

Also, if I see consistent misspellings in writings/dictation/copywork/journals...those words will become spelling words.

 Just wondering what grammar program do you use? 

So far, I have used printed worksheets from edhelper.com.  I had a few Shurley books given to me so I might try them out too.  Apparently, they are supposed to be the cats' meooooow.

What phonics program do you use?

Veritas Press' Phonics Museum.  Pretty big initial investment, but when it can spread to all of your children it isn't so bad.  It has great beginning readers that are about REAL things like Benjamin Franklin (Ben and his Pen) or the Wright Brothers.  It comes with awesome phonics puzzle pieces that can help the child put sounds together in a tangible way.  And we read a lot of Bob books.  ;-)

 I would love to know how YOU get everything done in a day! (Miranda~who are you KIDDING?  You are just LIKE me!  Likely, a whole lot more productive!)  Do you follow a routine to your day or have a schedule? Do you have it written out like the kids?

 I don't really have a schedule (outside of breakfast, lunch, rest time for children, snack and supper- those things all happen around the same time.) and I don't follow a routine for my housework.   Mainly because, my life changes so dramatically from day to day.  I have to do applesauce when I have apples.  I have to do laundry when the weather is nice.  I have to mop when Judah decides to dump his entire milk cup.  (That sort of thing.)

 What I usually do is make to-do lists at night before I go to bed, listing all the things I have to do AND want to do- and putting stars next to the HAVE TO's.  Sometimes I don't even get all of those done.  But lists help me stay on track and help me accomplish a whole lot more than if I didn't have them.

What do the littles do while you help the others?  and Do you have a "schedule" for your preschoolers? How do you keep them occupied while you work with Corynn and Andrew? 

The depressing answer:  Ugh.  It can be really hard.  They, of course, want to be right with us in the school room (which is small, by the way) and it can be very distracting. 

The less depressing answer: 

Adele' really enjoys coloring and can color/draw for long periods of time so she often does that and those times are really helpful.  I have certain "secret weapons" like Play-Doh, puzzles, shaving cream and stickers that come out only at school time.  I might revert to Letter Factory movies occasionally, when we are working on difficult concepts with the older two....just so that we can get through them.

The truth is, it varies from day to day.  Some days are incredible, when the littles play nicely in the other room and the biggles get loads of work done.  Other days, it is incredible that we get any school work accomplished at all. 

There you have it. 

I hope I answered all your questions. 
I also hope that you can see that I don't HAVE all the answers. 

Homeschooling is a process- one that you can mold and shape and make your own in order to meet the needs of your own family.  And that is precisely why homeschooling is just.so.cool.
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