Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Real Meaning of Homeschooling

I haven't blogged in a bit. Please forgive me and allow me to jump back in as if no time has passed.

We have recently moved to Idaho.  To list the reasons for this move, I would need to start a whole new blog on my families spiritual journey this past year (hey, maybe that's a good idea).  However, this is my homeschooling blog and so I'm really going to focus on that part of our journey.

Ever since my boys were babies I have felt the call to homeschool.  It really was a call for me.  I felt a pull to read every book I could find on homeschooling-how it looked, how it worked, successes and failures. I wanted to know about every method-Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unschooling, etc.  I felt as if it was my purpose in life.  Even though most of my adult life I had worked in Promotional Advertising, I suddenly realized that my degree in Elementary Education (that I used briefly after graduation teaching 3rd grade and then kindergarten)  was not necessarily obtained for making a difference in the lives of children in public or private school, but instead was now a tool that God was going to use to make a difference in the lives of my own children.  I felt incredibly thankful that God was so much bigger than to steer me on the right path when I was 18 years old so that I could take steps to guide my own children 15 years later.  How awesome is that?

Since moving to Idaho I have really felt that God is asking me to be brave and trust in him.  To take a new step this year with our schooling.  My comfort zone is joining a co op and going with the flow.  We sign up for classes, we go every week, we do school at home, we supplement with a few other activities. Easy Peasy.  However, sometimes the greatest gifts from God are not obtained on the Easy Peasy road.  

Right before we left Seattle for Idaho, I received an email asking if I would be interested in teaching at a co op that was just starting.  They wanted me to head up their preschool program.  One week after we arrived, I met with the director and immediately liked her and I liked the concept of the school.  In that moment, I felt excited and was ready to sign on.  However, deep inside I felt a little voice saying "no!".  So I told them that I wanted to think it over and talk to my husband. I'm so thankful for a husband that talks me through situations.  He encourages me to listen to my heart and even though a teaching position would guarantee our children spots in the school, I felt it was not a right fit.  I turned them down and told God...."Okay, this is all in your hands".

Yesterday I received an email that there was a spot for us in another co op. Co ops down here are very very hard to get into.  A month ago the waiting list was 60 families!   My first thought was, God must want us in this co op.  This is His plan for us!  But I looked at the class list and not one class was a fit for us.   No matter how I looked at it, I could not find a class plan that would be good for my boys.  And the deep inside, the whole time I was looking I thought....this is not what we are supposed to be doing next year!  So I'm going to turn them down. 

For the past year I have lived on this verse "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future".  Jeremiah 29:11.  So much of our year has been unknown.   God worked out each piece and the end result was better than I could have ever imagined!   Now I am trusting this verse again in regards to our homeschooling.

I don't know what God's plans are.  I don't know what our year will look like.  But I'm excited to find out and hopefully do better at my blogging and take you all on the ride with me! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making a Puzzle

 We've been all about puzzles at our house lately.  After dinner we gather around our puzzle table listening to music, chatting about our day and working on our current puzzle.

So it was no surprise when my 2nd grader, who likes to create things, decided to make his own puzzle. 
First he drew the picture.

Then he photo copied puzzle piece shapes to the back so that he knew where to cut-and create the puzzle.  And then we laminated it and cut out the pieces.

Then I had the honor of putting it together for the first time.  It was tough.....let me tell you-he had me puzzled a few times!  Next time we will put the puzzle onto cardboard or card stock to give it a little more stability. 

The finished product!  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Scenes from the School Room

This week we started learning about the election process and what makes a good president.  

Here is what my 2nd grader wrote: 

"I think the President should believe in God, should make good choices.  He should be brave and have good ideas.  He should have a plan.  He should stop pollution.  He should be honest."

Here are some scenes from our school room this week:

Reading these fun books on elections.
The ballot 2nd grader created.  He's sending these to friends and family and they are returning them.  Then he will count up and declare the winner! 

Pumpkin Art by my kindergartner.

Pumpkin Art by my 2nd grader.

Seasonal Art

Spooky Art

Some block creativity.

A little Life with Fred......

A rare moment of sitting still !

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Books, Books and More Books

I don't know any homeschool family that isn't obsessed with books.  We get gitty around libraries and bookstores.   Book shopping can become a social event.  We share favorite books as our status on facebook (and yes, Annette I'm talking about you!)  Books are the key to what we do every day in our choice to educate our children, so the more books we surround ourselves with the happier we feel.  

Recently I spent 4 days visiting an old friend from college.  We are kindred spirits when it comes to books.  In fact, that is one of the only things we have in common!  People often are puzzled by our relationship because we are as different as night and day.....but after 20+ years we still enjoy drinking coffee, sharing our favorite books and browsing around dusty old bookstores together.

 On this last trip I filled my suitcase with books I found for $.25 at  various yard sales and bookshops.  My hope is to snuggle up with my boys and read these aloud before bed each night. 

 And are you familiar with Little Pear?  My friend Kristen told us about him last year and I put him on my list of books to read.  Had I known back then what a true treasure he is, I might have read him right away to the boys.   Instead we waited until this fall to coordinate with a unit on China that we are doing.  Little Pear is such a delight that it's difficult for us to put him down.  However......there are many books by this author and our plan is to tackle each one.   (please forgive me as I talk about my books as if they are we read that is exactly what they become!)

 Were you a fan of the Hunger Games?  To be honest, I was and I wasn't.  I enjoyed the first one (kind of) and actually read it in one day.  But I never read past the first book.   However, I really really liked the movie.  It's kind of put me in the mood for futuristic type novels.  So I just finished this book, Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'brien.   I read this in in less than 3 days.   It was fascinating!  I can't exactly say that I loved it, but I was so intrigued that I could barely put it down.   One night I actually couldn't sleep because I kept thinking about the story line.......  And so, I'll be honest now and admit I started Catching Fire today (sequel to the Hunger Games).  I need to be ready for the second movie when it comes out.

 And this stack?   It's my 7 year old's stack of library books.  He checked out 8 books yesterday and has already plowed through 2 of them.   They are silly little chapter books about a mouse that solves mysteries.  He's also in the middle of Frindle by Andrew Clements and Wagon Wheels, my mom's 4th grade reader.  

And what's on my kindle these days? 

A Room of My Own by Ann Tatlock.   Have you read her books?  Fabulous! Thank you Annette for this wonderful recommendation!

Or if you want a good mystery-I'm loving Cheryl Bradshaw these days.  Her Sloan Monroe books are quick and easy reads. 

I would love to know what you all are reading!  I'm always looking for new authors for me or the boys.  So please share.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Hope

This video is about a year old.....Joy talking about New Hope Girls Academy.   After watching this one, scroll down to watch a video of the girls themselves. 

On my heart today......

My friend Joy runs this school in La Vega, Dominican Republic.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Good Knight!

We are all about Knights these days........

A few weeks ago 4 year old picked out his Halloween costume.  After looking at Pirates, Ninjas and Super Heroes, he finally decided on a shiny shimmery knight costume.   And homeschooling mom that I am, I jumped at what I thought would be a very fun learning project. 

Watch out ferocious dragons! 

We've been reading a huge stack of Knight, Dragon, Castles type books.   One fun book, showed us step by step how to draw the characters and pictures that have been in all of our stories. 

 And a letter to our sweet friend Danielle-complete with castles and guards.

And of course in our house no project is complete without a little Lego fun!