Kids

As usual, things are busy in the World of Weeks.

The girls both had orthodontist visits.

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Naomi got a mold taken of her mouth so they can make her an expander.  She just doesn’t have enough room for her teeth to come in.  Hopefully this will prevent the need for braces, although it’s more likely that it will simply reduce the amount of time she’ll need to wear braces, which won’t be needed for a few more years.  She still has several teeth to lose.

 

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Lili, on the other hand, did get braces on her top teeth.  She’s had minimal problems and is taking very good care of her teeth so far.  She will only need to wear them 12-16 months.

 

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Little Bit is growing and changing daily.  She is really working hard on holding her head up and is beginning to use her legs more.  She is not fond of tummy time, but she needs to work on those core muscles.

She is no long swimming in the newborn outfits.  In fact, she fills them out quite nicely.  It won’t be long until they will be put away and saved for other foster babies we might have in the future.

 

We took a trip to a local farm with our homeschool co-op.  The girls fed a long-horn bull, cows, calves, llama, goats, rabbits and chicken.  We were entertained by the llama chasing the calves.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day on the farm.

We’re beginning to gear up for the holidays now.  It’s hard to believe that Christmas is only 8 weeks away.  Seems like not so long ago we were opening Christmas presents and now we’re planning again.

 

 

New Year, New Curriculum

Every once in awhile, I feel it is necessary to try some new curriculum.  Since we’re in the new year, I figured there is no time like the present.

Honestly, the curriculum isn’t new to us.  We tried it a couple years ago, but for personal reasons, decided to go back to what we were using before.  Still, I was very impressed with this curriculum and felt we should give it another go.  So a few weeks ago I purchased “Build Your Library.”

I have one who is turning into a real history buff and I especially liked the history aspects of this program.  I also like all the reading involved.  There is, after all, a reason the program is called “Build Your Library.”

We are just now on Week 1 and so far I have one that is following the program and one who is trying to avoid it at all costs.  “Oy vey!”  We’ll see how it goes.

As we move along, I’ll share my thoughts on this curriculum and how my kids are or are not liking it.  For now, here is where we are:

For history, Naomi will be learning about the Middle Ages and I am excited about learning more right alongside her.

Her literature is “The Trumpet of the Swan.”

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Sadly, I don’t think I’ve ever read this book, so reading along with her will be a treat for me as well.

Lili will be learning about the Modern World in her history program.

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Her literature right now is “Alice in Wonderland”

and she is also reading a book called, “The Capture.”

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Both of the girls will have Science, Language Arts, Poetry and Geography as part of the program.  I’ve also incorporated some of their original curriculum which dive a little deeper into Language Arts, Vocabulary and Spelling.  Of course they will also continue their original Math curriculum.

So far, the biggest complaint I’m getting from the girls, is about the writing portion or the program.  Neither of them are necessarily fond of writing.  However, it’s not a lot of writing and will be good for them.

We’ve moved into this slowly, but as time goes on, we’ll get into a better rhythm.

 

 

Some Homeschool Etiquette

by Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling, Issue #1, Fall 2007

1 – Please stop asking us if it’s legal. If it is — and it is — it’s insulting to imply that we’re criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 – Learn what the words “socialize” and “socialization” mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you’re talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we’ve got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 – Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 – Don’t assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 – If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a “reality” show, the above goes double.

6 – Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You’re probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you’ve ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 – We don’t look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they’re in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we’re doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 – Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 – Stop assuming that if we’re religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10 – We didn’t go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 – Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn’t have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don’t need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can’t teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there’s a reason I’m so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 – If my kid’s only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he’d learn in school, please understand that you’re calling me an idiot. Don’t act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 – Stop assuming that because the word “home” is right there in “homeschool,” we never leave the house. We’re the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it’s crowded and icky.

14 – Stop assuming that because the word “school” is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we’re into the “school” side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don’t have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 – Stop asking, “But what about the Prom?” Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don’t get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I’m one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 – Don’t ask my kid if she wouldn’t rather go to school unless you don’t mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn’t rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 – Stop saying, “Oh, I could never homeschool!” Even if you think it’s some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you’re horrified. One of these days, I won’t bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 – If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you’re allowed to ask how we’ll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can’t, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn’t possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 – Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child’s teacher as well as her parent. I don’t see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 – Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he’s homeschooled. It’s not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 – Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she’s homeschooled.

22 – Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23 – Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 – Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won’t get because they don’t go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 – Here’s a thought: If you can’t say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

CCFT

CCFT?

That is what hubby and I refer to when we speak of our plans for a Cross Country Field Trip.

We started discussing this as a possibility several weeks ago and were waiting for some things to be finalized before we said anything to the girls.  Last night, we were able to tell them of our plans and are they ever excited!

The trip is still several weeks away, but we are making our plans which, at this moment, will include stops in Colorado, California and Arizona.  It will be at least 16 days of travel and along the way we’ll visit various National Parks and spend some time with Mickey Mouse and friends at Disneyland.  There are just so many possibilities along the way that 16 days most certainly isn’t enough time, but we’ll make due and learn as much as we can.

Once we have confirmed our stops, the girls and I will begin our study of each site in our homeschool lessons.  It will be a wonderful opportunity for all of us and it’s something I had dreamed of doing as part of our homeschool program.  To me, there is no better way to learn than to experience.  This summer, we will experience!

Here is a little preview of some of the sites we hope to visit.  Let me know if you recognize any of these sights.


 

Our Geography Project Begins

First of all, I want to give a big thanks to all my readers who have provided us information that will assist us in our summer geography lesson. Currently, we have 21 locations from around the world. What started out as a simple geography lesson will turn into a geography, history, science, arts and crafts lesson by the time all is said and done.

Since we do school all year round (after all, learning should never stop), this will be one of our summer projects. A summer vacation across the globe from the comfort of our home. The girls will take turns selecting one of the locations provided from a hat and we’ll begin our discovery. First, finding that location on a map or globe, than learning the history of that area. Finally we’ll learn some interesting facts, find pictures and compile all our findings into books.  Naomi creating a book with information that is easy for a kindergartener to understand.  Lili creating a book with information that is easy for a 2nd grader to understand.  Along the way, I’ll have each of the girls share some of their favorite findings and put it out here for you to read. Hopefully you’ll learn something along the way as well.

We will begin our geography project this week and I want to encourage others to participate by telling us where you live. The more locations we have to study, the more we learn.

 

Geography Lesson

My girls are studying geography in their homeschool studies. For Naomi, this is learning directions and reading very simple maps. It’s much the same for Lili, with map reading becoming more challenging now that she’s doing 2nd grade work. Lili is also quite fond of geography and I thought it would be a fun geography lesson if each of my readers would leave me a comment and tell me where you are from. No specific addresses please. Just the city (if you’re comfortable doing so) or general location (for me that would be Central Illinois), state and/or country. I will then have the girls look up all these locations on a map or globe and we will do a follow-up study to find something unique about each location.

I hope many of you will participate in our little geography lesson and I will share our findings over the next few months.

Thanks.

Letting Go of Old Ideas

For me, one of the hardest parts of homeschooling has been letting go of my past public school experiences.  I am referring to the tendency I have to want to re-create a school-like atmosphere here at home. At the same time, that’s not really what I want because homeschooling is so much more than that. I don’t want my girls to sit behind a desk spending X amount of time on math followed by X amount of time on writing followed by X amount of time on science, etc., etc. What I really want is for them to develop a love for learning. Instead, I find myself getting into battles with my 6-year-old because I want her to complete a certain amount of pages in her writing book before she can work on geography, which she absolutely loves.  Or I tell my 4-year-old that she needs to practice writing her name before she can move on to something she really wants to do.  Instead, shouldn’t I be thrilled that my 6-year-old has developed a love for geography?  And why does my 4-year-old need to write her name if what she would rather be doing in cutting with scissors?  Isn’t the fact that she wants to learn how to use scissors just as important?

Sometime in the past, I’ve learned to compartmentalize subjects, when in fact every subject has multiple learning opportunities. It’s a carry-over from my own childhood and I have trouble letting go of that old idea.  Geography is also a great time to work on writing and spelling.  Cutting with scissors is a great time to develop better counting skills.  Obviously, these are just two examples of how learning one things creates opportunities to learn other things as well.

A big reason I made the choice to homeschool was the desire I had to provide my girls the opportunity to take lead in their learning. Unfortunately, I haven’t always done a good job of giving them that freedom. Instead of asking, “What would you like to work on today?” or even better, “What would you like to do today?” I decided to simply tell them exactly what we’re doing. Some days that works well, but on the days it isn’t working well I’m teaching them that what they want to learn isn’t nearly as important as what I want them to learn. How can I expect them to learn much at all on those days or in those moments when it’s just not something they want to learn? After all, don’t we all learn more easily when we have control over what it is we’re learning?

I write this today because I need the reminder that child-led learning is a wonderful thing. My role in educating my girls is to encourage learning. I am here to support their learning. I am here to assist them as they learn. I’m here to guide them in their education.

Homeschooling is a learning process for all of us and it’s time for me to learn how to let go of those old ideas and give my girls the freedom to learn.