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Multi-age interactive learning is the best socialization skills for life preparedness.

Have you thought about that before?

My kids that are homeschooled are not “sheltered”

Take my 13 yr old as an example:

Family Matters-

Katie has older brothers.

Her oldest brother is married.   She was able to see first hand how a lady is properly courted, how to work hard towards beginning a new (married) life, and how to wait til marriage to live together.  On the flip side (of society fairness), she is very aware that others make different choices than what God would intend.

2nd oldest brother (21) is working towards journeyman certification, chooses to still live at home, which in turn shows Katie that adults work hard; that you don’t have to hurry to move out, get married, or to move in with a girlfriend.  She gets to see first hand how hard work pays bills (car, phone, and yes, even rent), and that you can bless others with your spare money.

3rd oldest brother (17) shows her that in order to be a teen, you do not have to be >insert rude adjective here< ie rebellious, awful, wild, or the like…
He also displays that siblings, in general, can and do get along.

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Katie also has younger brothers.

One brother (10) has Asperger Syndrome.  She gets to learn about patience and understanding as she is able to discern how to work alongside his social quirks.  As a result, she also knows how to respond to others who may have special needs.  That everyone deserves kindness and a smile regardless of their mental or physical differences.

The littlest brother…. well, as cute as he can be…. is also quite the spunky spitfire.  He is getting better, yet in the process, Katie gets to exercise some leadership skills on redirecting mischievous behavior effectively… those are some life skills I tell ya!

What about outside influences?

Mommy Mentors-
Quoted from a previous post:  ” I must say God has blessed me with several friends who all have unique gifts that nurture Katie’s curiously creative personality;
One whom laughs and loves a lot, and allows Katie to explore the beauty of babysitting, and inspires her interest in Spanish.
Another who shares holistic health which includes essential oils, natural beauty products, and crunchy living.
and yet another who provides artistic encouragement such as sewing, crocheting, gardening, & photography.
Funny enough, these younger mamas think I am lovely and encouraging, when really they are the true gift.”

Friends-
Due to homeschooling, my kids are not inundated with a mega peer source, which blesses us with the opportunity for the kids to develop intentional friendships.
Katie has been friends with her bestie since she was 2.  They have distinctly different personalities and interests, which just seems to compliment the friendship.  They have had different school scenarios over the years; homeschool, private, and public.  Their friendship has survived two moves (us to Seattle area for 2 years, and them to Mexico for 15 months).  The teen years are stretching them as their lives become busy with their individual interests, but they know they will always have each other.
She also has a close friend that she has also known for a very long time.   This friend has very similar family life styles; Christian, homeschool, big family.   The cool part of this friendship is that we don’t get to see this family nearly as often, but we always seem to pick right back up where we left off.  No awkwardness, no expectations, just beautiful fellowship.

Acquaintances in society-
Our family participates in 2 homeschool co ops.  One is a science co op, the other is a “supplemental” co op (cooking, Bible study, P.E., choir, etc…) which really is for “socialization” rather than education.

Interest-led activities including (but not limited to) sports, dance, piano, drama, art studios, youth groups & clubs are some other ways to develop acquaintances and begin to develop friendships.

Other “social” opportunities-
Libraries,
shopping,
parks,
field trips,
relatives,
neighbors,
volunteering…
just to name a few things.

So when someone mentions their concern about homeschooling and socialization,
just smile as we realize that…

Socialization is not an age-segregation, but a way to experience life in real settings.  

The real lesson is to “walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
~Proverbs 13:20

Ever notice how many labels there are for parenting styles?

Can I admit I have never been in favor of labels?

In high school I avoided belonging to a specific clique,
honestly, I pretty much liked everybody.

Having a few children with unique traits could easily be labeled…
adhd?  ocd? gifted?
Even with Asperger’s, I do not have any interest in getting an official diagnosis.
why?
because the labels don’t define who my child is.

Same with parenting labels.

Parenting labels don’t define who I am.

Instinctive Parenting- ‘trust your gut” old school method.
the positive- having your own personal style of parenting
the negative- apparently this means that you will mimic how you were raised.
the reality- I believe ‘trusting your instincts’ is a God given skill that let’s you reason beyond how you were actually parented yourself.

Attachment Parenting- the goal is to build a strong emotional bond.
the positive- being sensitive and emotionally available to your child(ren).
the negative- pressures specific choices in your parenting.
the reality- by definition alone, I suppose this is what I am.  We homeschool.  We let our kids sleep in our bed.  We don’t spank.  baby wearing?  never managed the whole cool wrap thing mom’s do know-a-days, but I definitely was a baby-on-the-hip mama.  Ummm, natural childbirth?  not.so.much- only my first and last (of the 6) were considered “natural”.  I tried that whole birth-at-home thing (love the idea), but yeah, the results were a high-risk hospital delivery.   See?  I don’t fit into labels much.

Authoritative Parenting- my roof, my rules.
the positive- clear expectations, firm discipline.
the negative- sometimes a quick decisive correction lacks nurturing and understanding.
the reality- kids need rules, and they need consideration.  I always ponder the ‘why’ behind the actions when disciplining.

Helicopter Parenting- I don’t even know what this one means, but it makes me laugh.  I get the gist that it is smothering your child, but when I see explanations of this, sometimes I see mixed messages, like ‘dependent on advice from parents as adults”.    pshhttt, I don’t know about you, but my mom has had the best advice ever and always!
the positive- being available as a parent helps create security
the negative- to lack the ability to switch from a nurturing stage to a mentoring stage at the age appropriate time.
the reality- I am on top of all thing related to my child(ren).   From habits, to peers, to interests, to struggles.  However, they are not bossed nor babied, and thus far are turning out just fine.

Permissive Parenting- lenient with little discipline.
the positive-  child is allowed to think for themselves
the negative- creates chaos and lack of boundaries
the reality- let’s face it.  We all want our kids to like us, right?  and honestly, my mom is my best friend.  That being said, God gave us our children to nurture, love, and guide.

So basically, all of these titles apply to me, none of them define me.

We chose parenting by grace.

Ever hear, “I must be doing something right, because my kids turned out ok” ?

or

“through you, you can make a difference for your kids” ?

Well, honestly?
Through my skills on parenting alone, I will certainly not make a difference…

however…

Christ through us can make a difference for our kids!

You know that old Bible verse… The Golden Rule.

Do to others what you would have them do to you.

Yep, that one.  That is how we parent.

Take the time to listen to your child when they are young,
and they will take the time to listen to you as they get older.
Be available to your child, and later, they will be available for you.
Live out your faith by action, and they will begin to act by faith.
Love them unconditionally, and they will be able to unconditionally love others.

Parenting by Grace~
…intentional kindness,
…to be considerate,
…a thoughtful way of responding to our child(ren).

Therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
   ~2nd Timothy 2:1

One of the common questions I receive when people find out that my kids use the Robinson Curriculum style,
which is to do their core studies of reading, writing, and arithmetic independently,
is “Does your family do any activities together?”
Obviously, this is a question from folks who don’t know us,
but none-the-less folks are often referred to this blog.

My favorite answer… Life IS Learning.
Although we get a well-rounded education utilizing RC doesn’t mean learning stops there, right?
After all, most our hands-on activities we simply consider to be family time,
but could easily be deemed “school”.

Here is an example of just the past couple of weeks…

SCIENCE ACTIVITIES

A study on Binary Planets, as well as as doing an experiment using centripetal force vs centrifugal force.
We flung around a bucket of water, a bucket of rocks, and a bucket of carbon dioxide (baking soda and vinegar) to observe how the forces changed based on content.

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We continued our Solar Physics interest by studying Mars.
The experiment this day was to observe how rust is created by using steel wool, salt, and vinegar.

P.E.

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Kinect if it’s raining…

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Playing outside if it’s dry out;
which includes backyard baseball, running in the woods,

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going for walks in the hills, or strolling the riverside.

The last couple of topics of our Biome study:

We had this cutie over to join us for our POND study!
He is my cousin Cassandra’s boy, Eli.  I just love that sweet lil face!

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Our Pond

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coffee filter butterfly, handprint cattails, lots of finger painting, cut out lily pads and dragonfly stickers… not bad for a late morning of fun!

Our Ocean study:

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Our 4 ft wall mural

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Some Sea-Foam

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This was suppose to be Sea-dough, however it was more like snot… sea snot?

slime
and our Sea-Slime!

In Our Down Time

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siblings hang out…

or

enjoy some quiet time… with nature (see the turtle?)

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or

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do a 2nd lesson of math while watching a old TV show,
or practicing her photography,
or writing for her blog,

or

playing board games with one another; battleship, sum swamp, and yahtzee.
enjoy active games; such as ‘ball tag’, hide-n-go-seek in the dark, and Wii Sports.
observe nature; explore the woods, bird watch, identify animal sounds and tracks

or

discussing politics; with such topics as Ferguson, ISIS, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah
studying scripture; such as reading about lent, forgiveness, and communion.
watching documentaries; such as Planet Ocean, Men Who Built America, and Wings of Life
do read alouds; such as Up From Slavery, Lincoln’s Letter and Speeches, and Wind in the Willows.

Learning really is limitless don’t ya think?

What do you do as a family?
What hobbies do you enjoy?

 

ALL ABOUT THE RAINFOREST
with a splash of Brazilian knowledge too!

So going through a BIOME each week has proven to be fun!
In all honesty, it is actually my class I teach at our Tuesday Science Co op,
along with my co-teachers discussing a country  per week,
thus we compliment each others activities well!!

This Week:  The Amazon Rain Forest & Brazil

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We opened up class discussing the 4 layers of the Rain Forest,
and what animals lived in each level.
I was fortunate that my co-teacher can draw!

I then passed out a small picture of each animal to the students
where they had to act out that animal for the rest of the class to guess which one it was.
Sometimes the most simple game ends up being the most fun.  This was one of them!

We then moved on to the map to show where Brazil was…

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Story time covered details about Brazil;
Although the Amazon River runs through Brazil, there is no bridges to cross it.
The cacao plant aka the cocoa tree is a small evergreen tree where we get cocoa beans,
yep, those beans that are used for cocoa powder and chocolate!  Mmmm….
The Rubber tree can be tapped for latex once it matures to 6 yrs of age,
which is much like tapping a maple tree.    Fascinating, huh?

The fun part of participating in a Homeschool Co op
is that you get to take home the lessons to live out loud for the week!

We all know that our family’s core studies (via Robinson Curriculum style) is reading, writing, and doing some math, independently in most cases.  However, I find that doing group activities as a family in the afternoons adds some fun to our day.  All ages included.

OUR RAIN FOREST

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Katie-girl began by making all the leaves…

Then TJ put together the base of the project;
tree trunk, branches, and layers of the rainforest.

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Next, the boys (Andrew & Bryson) made snakes…

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and birds.

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I, the least creative of the bunch, simply cut out monkeys.

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Katie-girl worked on a Cheetah…

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then added the finishing touch of a Red-eyed Tree Frog…

tree frog

and low and behold,
A Rain Forest!

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Other Rain Forest activities included watching a couple of videos on Netflex;
2 episodes on Wild Kratts, and 1 episode on The Magic School Bus.
This gave us the extra details to explore further on,
such as learning about the peccary, spider monkeys, and sloths.

If you would like to know the details of how to do these crafts,
Please visit Katie-girl’s DIY blog:

Concealed Foundation

 

It’s a bit wild to be a homeschooler!

An Arctic Blast

Got snow?

We do!

Well, not the real stuff, but what does one do when the winter is mild and the season is coming to a clear end?

Why, add your own snow of course!

Our Arctic theme!

We began by discussing the habitat and landscape, both in the summer as well as the winter.
which then led us into doing a Venn Diagram~

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where we observed the variety of arctic (land vs ocean) animals,
as well as discussing these animals and their camouflage coatings.

Then the fun began…

Shaving cream…

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used for Arctic spelling words;
Arctic, Antarctic, caribou, fox, owl, seal, whale, walrus, winter

Blubber Science experiment…

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2 bowls ice water, 2 sandwich baggies.
1 baggie with a chunk of shortening (or butter).
Using your index fingers,
stick one finger in the “blubber” baggie,
on the other hand is just a baggie.
Place fingers in ice water.
Which one feels colder?
Why?

Snow dough…

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2 boxes cornstarch, 1 can shaving cream; mix til crumbly.
Appears like real dry snow, yet it does mold into shape also.

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Throw in a few arctic animals,
and you have yourself hours of fun!

POSTER BOARD WALL MURAL

Snow Paint!
Elmer’s glue and shaving cream;
mix 2 parts glue to 3 parts shaving cream,
lightly stir to keep fluffy.
It totally dries to a fluffy, spongy, soft texture!

We added snow to the board,
then colored arctic animals using card stock.
Strategically place animals to be camouflaged.

Katie and Dad worked together on adding the Northern Lights,
by using this Chalk Pastel Lesson.

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I must admit the board wasn’t chalk friendly,
but they smudged it on as well as could be expected.
They used a clear sealant to keep the chalk from dusting off.

The final masterpiece:

“The Arctic Blast”

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and the snow?  that snow dough stuff? 
continuous entertainment I tell you!

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It’s snow much fun to be a homeschooler!

Got Snow? 

Why no, as a matter of fact we don’t. 
We will just call this The Winter of the Great Fog.
So much fog this year.  Makes for an odd winter nature study.
I mean seriously, the trees are starting to get buds already.
I walked outside early one morning to run an errand,
and the birds were chirping away as if to say “Hello Spring!”

~FEBRUARY GOALS~

Bible:
1st & 2nd Corinthians
We will be reading through both books as well as doing an in depth study of 1st Corinthians 13:4-13.  After all, it fits well around Valentine’s Day right?  We are not into the commercialism of such holidays; however, to discuss true love and grasp the opportunity to share what that looks like in our daily life IS a lesson worth teaching.

INDEPENDENT STUDIES

Literature:
Up From Slavery
Slave Dancer

Writing:
Daily essays; emphasis on predicate nominative, adjective nominative, & direct objects.
The younger kids will be learning the basic subjects/predicates.

Math:
no clue.  ha ha.  and I’m serious.  *confession of a homeschool mom*  My older students are self-motivated, so I’m not quite sure where they are.  TJ faithfully goes along doing his basic requirement (give or take a lesson here or there), and I’m pretty sure Katie is still devouring her math book (15 lessons per week average).
Andrew and Bryson reviewed tally marks and telling time in detail; we will continue with our flash cards while skip counting to get familiar with the multiplication process.  Money and measurement is always added in for fun!

GROUP STUDIES

History:
African American History Month.  Well, honestly, as much as I love my darker skinned friends and I love the opportunity to learn history, I wonder sometimes why there isn’t a month labeled for every ethnicity?  Indian American?  Mexican American?  Irish American?  Russian American?  French American?  Is there even such a thing as British American?  seems bit of an oxymoron, eh?  especially when referring to American history, but I digress…
Anyways, we are continuing our study of the Civil War…
Lincoln Speeches & Letters

Science:
Meteorites, volcanoes, & touch on the topic of retro grade motion.
TJ & Katie- The Health Hazards of NOT Going Nuclear by Petr Beckman

Fine Arts:
composer- Johannes Brahms, Hungarian Dance No. 5
artist- Pablo Picasso, Mother and Child
poetry/verse-1st Corinthians 13: 4-8,  Love is…

Nature Study:
We are continuing a weekly biome study…
This week will be about the Tundra…
I look forward to sharing our fun ideas for this.
We are going to have an Arctic Party to make up for the lack of a winter we had!

It’s cool to be a homeschooler. 

 

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She’s a cuddler…

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and she loves everyone!

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For being a puppy still, she has been really easy to train!

She really doesn’t have any bad habits really.
An occasional chewed up water bottle or ball,
but the furniture is intact, even when we leave her for a few hours.
She doesn’t get into the garbage, nor bark incessantly.
She doesn’t run off…

Echo is just a big lovely girl who likes to snuggle!

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Do you have any fur babies in your home?

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