It’s School Time.

English: Motivations regarded most important f...

Motivations regarded most important for homeschooling among parents in 2007. Source: 1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2007 Issue Brief from Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. December 2008. NCES 2009–030 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

School is almost upon us for the year. That means it is high time to look at your school choices.

Especially if you are unhappy with your collective school, you need to think about slipping out of that situation and readying yourself and your children for schooling at home. 

I hope you’ve spent quality time thinking about your children and their future. I hope you’ve inspected a bit of curriculum and even used my curriculum guide, which begins here.

 

You have hardly a month for organizing your life around a new normal.

You need to start now.

Your curriculum company and your children will be grateful if you do not wait until the week before school begins (as too many other people do) to place your order, expecting it to arrive timely. Timely arrival follows timely ordering. Like, hurry…

Okay.

With that in mind, I’d like to direct you to the homeschooling posts on this site, created just for you, for inspiring, motivating, guiding, and helping you make the transition.

Oh, and if you just need a booster and wish someone would give the beginning lectures to you all over again, hey, help yourself to these! You are welcome!

Why we don’t want them there in the first place:

My Sweetest Homeschool Memories; 5 pages!

To help you with inspiration and incentive:

Traditional Education

From Infancy to the Four-Year-Old, begins here and continues for 3 more pages.

To guide your choices and other decisions:

What Homeschooling is Like; 2 pages.

Do NOT Try Homeschooling (a trick title, but you’ll like this); 3 pages.

Is There Life After Homeschool? Yes!

To help figure out what curriculum you need:

A 5-Page Curriculum Guide by an Unbiased Person (me) (I love them ALL! and I am not to be sold.)

Okay. There is a LOT more on this site. Just use my search engine to search “homeschool” and you will find all sorts of help.

Have fun!

And don’t forget: Home’s Cool!

The Blessings of Habit–Part 1

Do Your Kids Have Habitual Blessings?

Light switch habit

Light switch habit

“Hey! Turn that back on!” I heard from the hallway one day.

It had happened again.

We have taught our children, from the time they were young, to turn off lights as they leave a room. Someone had turned out the light while there was someone still in that room.

It was a case of what I like to call “good habit—bad timing”.

It takes 21 days to form a good habit.

How amazing that the brain, once trained, knows what to do on its own! Eventually we no longer have to think about what to do and how to do it.

Imagine if you had to reinvent tying your shoe, each time you did it. We can turn off a light without thinking, even without looking at the switch. We can be thinking about the next task in the next room while we finish the task in the current one.

The mind is wonderful!

During an exercise class, I heard a phrase worth remembering:

“That which is used, develops; that which is not used atrophies.”

At that time, I did not know the meaning of the word “atrophy”, so I guessed it meant the opposite of “develop”. Since our family has a motto of knowing, instead of guessing, it bothered me I didn’t know for sure, so I looked it up.

So many habits go into each action…

Think of all the habits working in this experience:

  1. The phrase, repeated, became a reminder of the good of learning, repetition, and training.
  2. The habitual use of English caused me to guess correctly at the meaning of a word in context.
  3. The habit of exercise, itself, gave me a lifelong urge to keep moving, partly spurred on by thoughts of atrophy.
  4. Our habit of being sure of facts caused me to bother with a dictionary.
  5. A family habit of returning a thing to its place enabled me to find the dictionary.
  6. A habit of working alphabetically caused me to turn to the front of that huge book.

Imagine life without habits!

How difficult it would have been for me to benefit from the experience had I not had all those habits! Oh, the drill, supplied by faithful adults, that formed them in me!

The sad thing is that some children who lack faithful training might be learning to hate exercise instead of fearing atrophy. We have many such children living among us, these days—lacking drill in good habits—and this loss causes many problems. They never reap any benefit from life’s normal experiences. They become abnormal.

And we have to make up for their loss all around us.

Our children do not have to be among them, though. The home is the perfect environment for instilling good habits.

Let’s do it!

_______________

More tomorrow.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

What a Rush!

Author: Anonymous Date: 1893 Source: http://fa...

Young Einstein

3/14/14 – Reposting this to honor the man.

This is not about speed.

It’s about that rush I get when I teach.

Sometimes I say my bones are aching and it helps if I teach. Ever feel that way?

I think it’s maybe being part of the Creation process. When I see the lightbulb coming on in someone else’s understanding, it moves me, thrills me to the bone.

I love teaching, helping understanding to exist where it never did before. It’s not exactly creating, but like a potter with clay, I can mold someone’s mind to fit around new material, new cognizance, or even completely new thoughts that no one has ever realized before.

Research also thrills me. Discovering small things about big events or important people makes me want to teach some more. For instance: Did you know that as a child, Albert Einstein absolutely loved Euclid’s geometry and called it “that holy little algebra book” or that at age 5, he wondered what frozen light would look like? Who ever thinks of THE genius as a small child with wonderment inside his soul? Or that some adult fed him books over most children’s heads, just for the joy of watching that light come on?

See, I just taught you something and opened your thinking more. What a rush!

Sometimes I tutor. One young girl is learning so much about writing, she has developed an enjoyment for the writing process. Seeing the difference in her output this  year gives me such excitement. I think of the joy she will bring to her family as her skills increase and she cements them through practice.

I tutor a couple of legal immigrants in their new language, English, and we have fun exchanging culture, too. I explained our local phrase regarding appetites for all foods, as we say, “eat everything that is not nailed to the table.” They laughed enormously at that and now use the saying (in their own language, which is fine with me.) Then they confessed their tiredness of pizza and their longing for cultural dishes they cannot yet prepare.  I taught them to say, “I am tired of pizza, but it is better than nothing,” and as they remember their old country and having nothing to eat, they sober and regain resolve to find a way to afford gas for their stove.

And though it is a small spark, I love seeing that light.

The most exciting teaching I do is from the Bible. So much light there. So many people don’t get it, cannot see it. Or don’t want to.

But when I see that light come on, what a rush!

Overheard: Filling Your Bucket

The preacher said:

Let’s think about a bucket, some rocks, and some sand.

Let’s say the rocks illustrate our priorities, our bucket list, and the bucket represents our life. The sand represents all of the other things in life that we have to do.

What happens if we put the sand in the bucket first?

We cannot fit all the rocks in, can we?

Our priorities find themselves crowded out.

However, if we put the rocks in the bucket first, the sand sifts around the rocks. They fill in the cracks or the time we have left after our priorities are accomplished.

A woman in a traditional Icelandic costume tea...

A woman in a traditional Icelandic costume teaches a child to read. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s apply that to our “how-to” ideas about home schooling, shall we?

Our priority must be that each human being on this earth should learn to read. Why? Because of Habakkuk 2:2 “[…]the Lord replied: ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that whoever reads it may run with it. […]’”

It is recorded forever in the Word of God, that He expects reading to happen. The very fact that He inspired men to write to us, logically leads to His expectations that we read.

Learning to read does not always happen in some educational settings. The child who is slow to read might never learn in some settings.

We, however, in our own homes, have the privilege of customizing the curriculum to fit the child who needs his schoolwork to come at him from a unique angle. We can drill one phonic concept for two days, if needed. We can read while pointing to allow “sight reading” to materialize. We can try glare management, page masking, and many other techniques, at will. No matter how good a teacher might be, she can hardly do this when she is dealing with 20 new readers at once, can she?

So we prioritize reading.

As the student ages, the obvious may surface, that the child is unable to learn to read. “Unable” is not the same as slow. After a couple of years, if reading is not happening at all, no matter what, then it is time to dump the bucket out and rearrange priorities. The new priority is to make sure literate content reaches this child’s mind through whatever means it takes.

Any writing can be found or created in the audio format.

It becomes the teacher’s duty, then, to provide this input. Although this is a big job, it is not too difficult for one mom with one child, but imagine a teacher of 20 handling it. It’s unfair to her, right?She wants a life, right? But you can do it. In fact, these helps become your priority: They are your life. So at this age, we insert any learning that is age-appropriate, especially Bible, math, and science, always in the audio format. Often, this is how our greatest minds have emerged to benefit mankind. Often, those not programmed to read well, find far more capacity in other disciplines than a good reader does. Although we never stop trying to impress reading skills upon our students, and although they may learn to read as adults, we insist they learn the essentials through whatever means necessary, always looking for that one thing that will be the spark for your own child’s chance at brilliance.

Make a list. Prioritize the big rocks to go into the bucket first.

Yes, you can make a child live happily ever after. That’s a good goal for a life, don’t you think?

All Children Home School: A True Story

English: Don't waste your time and do your hom...

Don’t waste your time and do your homework!

Once, a dear friend was explaining to me how the State school experience was better, and how her children were receiving the best education available.

Have you ever noticed how State institution school parents think they must educate us to this “fact” and we must bear it patiently, but the reverse seldom holds?

She was striving to explain her children’s bright future and perhaps she could not hear herself speaking. As I listened and tried to grasp what she was saying, I was astonished at the obvious conclusion.

Maybe it would be instructive to share it all with you.

Granted, her children were in the best State schools available in our small city. They were a wealthy family and had moved into a wealthy neighborhood for the expressed purpose of better State schooling.

That this fact was possible should be enough, alone, to terminate State education.

She wanted her children to be lawyers and she wanted them in the best colleges in the nation. I will also grant that she was a very dedicated mom, committed to performing whatever activity (except home schooling) necessary to raising up successful children.

She was misinformed, though, and not thinking about the entire scope of the picture.

To prove to me her commitment, she began itemizing the duties she undertook for her children’s education. This was a typical day:

  1. She drove her children to school, herself, to prevent teen driving troubles in their lives. They did not enjoy being the only ones arriving with Mom, but she was dedicated enough to insist.
  2. She was careful to deposit them at the school early, to give them free time to form friendships of their own choosing, so they would not be relying on whomever might sit nearby in class. This also allowed time for composing themselves before facing the day.
  3. She signed them up for sports, although they were not athletic, to help them overcome the sitting they must do daily, and to improve their chances for scholarships.
  4. After school, they had sport obligations, of course. She went to every practice and every game, with a video camera. She recorded every pertinent happening at these gatherings.
  5. During the day, she edited these videos, juxtaposing the skills of opponents and her child and his teammates, to show where more effort would benefit.
  6. After school, her children had oceans of homework. She was strict about it, allowing no play until all work was done. Since supper was prepared in advance, she helped with their homework, explaining things they could not get the teachers to answer adequately. She was their cheerleader, greeting them with encouraging one-liners, such as, “You can do it; one more hour ought to get it!”
  7. She showed them the sports videos, explaining her thinking in detail, so they could discuss how more effort would cause more success. Again, she cheered them on. (I do not know where their coach was.)
  8. Since homework reigned supreme in their home, except for a break for supper, the children labored until midnight or beyond, at which point Mom simply conked out. (She did ask me if I thought she was wrong to require them to continue until two a.m. or later, when she, herself, was unable to do so.)
  9. The next day they began again.

It was true that her children were doing well in school. They did not have as many friends as they might have liked, but they were receiving high grades in difficult subjects, and they were often on the first sports teams.

They were tired . . .

More tomorrow.

______________________

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Two Down, Four to Go!

Today is laundry day.

Two loads done and oh, so much, left to go.

Today is possibly a tutoring day.

Today is the day I had hoped to begin sewing for the fall festival.

Today is the day I must begin advertising for the fall festival.

Today is the day I need to make many phone calls regarding several different upcoming events.

Today is the day I must begin practicing for leading singing at a camp meeting this weekend.

Today is the day I had hoped to bake a pie.

AND

This is the day that the Lord hath made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.

autoharp

Autoharp

Ever have a day like this?

Kinds of Babies

Baby, reading.Our firstborn son was bookish. From an early age, he could “read” himself to sleep. (They were pre-school picture books.) He loved lining toys in rows and dressing like and imitating his daddy. He was a visual learner.

My friend had two boys who disliked reading, although they loved a good story and she could hold them enthralled for hours if she read to them. Having difficulties with bookwork, they aced the hunter-education class, which was all lecture. They were auditory learners, picking up most input through the sense of hearing. Which explains why her sons could hear Mom calling for chores better than mine could?

Some children love to learn by touch. They love science experiments, lap books, and many other sorts of projects, whereas my kids cringed at them, resented the time they seemingly wasted. Math manipulatives greatly help tactile learners, even if it’s just Popsicle sticks. Coloring a picture of a horse can teach them more than hearing or reading a description of one, but riding a horse will teach even more.

I had one child who learned the most by talking about it. Oh, he could read okay, but until he reproduced what he had learned, his lesson was not done. He was one who also learned better when moving, so when he bogged down as an older child, he would slide over the piano and pound out some Rachmaninoff and then could study better. And then he proceeded to become a computer whizz.

What lesson do WE learn from these learners?

  • All of our children may look alike, but have extremely different insides.
  • Our daughters may look like us but have their dad’s personalities.
  • A perfectly excellent curriculum may not work for one child as well as it did for the others.
  • Einstein and Edison could both be immensely successful, although one was bookish and the other was not.
  • Institutionalized teaching of scores of children via the same methods will never work.

All of which statements are another good reason to homeschool.