Let’s Talk Homeschool

Keeping it real, from my perspective.

There is no wrong way to homeschool, except to do nothing.  There are endless varieties of curriculum, learning styles, and teaching methods.

We are finishing up our 17th year of homeschooling this month.  Although it may seem like we have it all together, with all things running smoothly, we have definitely had struggles along the way.

Within 17 years we have had:
long lay offs/minimal income/faced bankruptcy
two kids within one year had surgery to remove their appendix
had 3 babies added to our mix over these years
moved 11 times
faced health issues
cared for a loved one with severe dementia

Some of the behind the scene challenges:
Adhd
Sensory Processing Disorder
Dyslexia
Dysgraphia
Asperger Syndrome

We’ve dealt with:
struggling readers
reluctant writers
precocious learners
strong wills
perfectionism to a default
flat out defiance

In the first 8 years we tried 8 different curriculum styles.

What gets us through it all?

FLEXIBILITY

The willingness to take a look at what needs to be accomplished, what goals we want to strive for, and what approach best fits the child.  Personally for us, we ventured out of the box (curriculum) and discovered the freedom of self-learning.  The key point is letting them work at their learning level (whether advanced or a slower pace) to gain mastery level learning which creates a solid educational foundation as their maturity and ability allows

The less complicated I make learning, the more my children seem to absorb knowledge and gain wisdom.  The less stress I can offer, the more willing they become.  My only requirement is a good attitude and sincere effort; the process of learning then becomes limitless. 

How do you approach homeschooling?
What works for you?
What helps your children thrive?

 

 

Dear Younger Moms, Thank You!

Mentoring others is such a gift, because really it’s simply about loving on others.  And how cool is that?

*this letter is to all the moms that I’ve got to reach out and care about

Dear Younger Moms,

Thank You!!

Thank you for letting me love on your littles.  As much as you are in the throws of chaos of these tiny humans, I am missing these days.  As incredibly tough as these days may seem, savor it!   The days are incredibly long at times, but the years are oh.so.short.  Before you are ever prepared, you blink into silence…. unless you are me.  Then you go around loving on other people’s kids and showering their mom’s with kindness!

Thank you for teaching me just as much as I try to teach you.  Motherhood is never perfect.  It is a continuous journey full of trials and victories where we continue to always learn and grow.

Thank you for knowing my intentions.  I do not have all the answers, but I’m always willing to share what has (and hasn’t) worked for me.  I will never judge what you feel is best for your child.  In all honesty, we are already our own worst critic.  I will always pour out gentleness and grace, yet speak hard things when necessary.  In turn, I am grateful when you speak truth in love towards me as well.  We are in this crazy thing called motherhood together!

Thank you for loving me.  I value our friendship!  I treasure our conversations and visits.  I adore your kids.  I applaud your bravery.  Please always feel free to ask for help.  Be proud of yourself; you are enough!!  And remember in the hardest of times… inhale patience; exhale grace.  God’s got this!!

Happy Mothers Day!! 

Yelling at Our Kids is Not the Answer

Once upon a time, years age, I had (just) 3 young boys (3, 7, 11).  The youngest by far was my wild, rambunctious, and sometimes fierce child.  After a particularly rough morning of having to rush out the door, this youngest son proceeded to have a full on screaming, kicking tantrum in the back of my car.  As I’m cruising down our country road, having had enough, I slammed on my brakes, turned to the back seat, and proceeded to scream “That is enough!!!!”.  Said young boy could care less that I was screaming at him; however, the look on my 7 yr old’s face and the distraught feeling I had created for him totally made me pause… and deep in my heart I knew I could not be a screaming mad mom.

Seriously.  Why did I think it was OK to scream at my child?  Like I expected that to add angry actions towards my already frustrated child would calm him down?  Like screaming teaches self control?  Like screaming is suppose to fix ill behavior when screaming is ill behavior in itself?

No.  Yelling at our kids just is not the answer.

It doesn’t teach self-discipline, or communication, or (in my Christian conviction) it most definitely doesn’t teach how to treat others the way you would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).  It doesn’t teach life skills, because really, do we (or should we) scream at other people?  A boss?  A spouse?  A cashier?  A stranger?  Better yet, how effective is it if someone screamed in our faces?  Would our emotions feel validated?  Would it resolve conflict?

No. Yelling at our kids just is not the answer.

A gentle answer deflects anger,
but harsh words make tempers flare.
Proverbs 15:1

This isn’t about mom guilt but more about facing reality of our actions.  I’ve heard (and used myself) common statements such as “they know better”, “they deserve it”, “if they would just listen to me”.  This is not about being a pedestal mom, nor about striving for some unreal standard of perfection.  Lets face it, all moms have yelled at their kids at one point or another.  We are human; we get overwhelmed, angry even.   But there is a difference of yelling “Hey, get away from the road” or “quit teasing your sister” from the kitchen toward the living room, which is quick corrections that need to be followed up on.  What I am referring to is that moment that we lose our sh…, er, when we snap.  Where we blindly hurl harsh, cruel, and angry words at our child.  I get it.  Moments can be maddening, but if this type of reaction has become a frequent scene, I sincerely suggest a review of motives.

Lets be proactive, not reactive.

Let’s be their voice of reason.
Let’s be their safe environment.
Let’s be their calm to so many chaotic emotions.
Let’s show their worth by treating them invaluably.
Let’s teach them self-control by being in control ourselves.

So my story has a happily ever after ending, as 18 years later I am reaping the rewards of kind parenting.  I rarely yell, and never scream towards any of my kids, and you wanna know the best reward of that?  Because I quite screaming at and began talking to my kids, the teen years were amazingly easy.  The communications skills were developed through treating them exactly how I wanted to be treated.  ~by God’s grace only.  Praise Jesus.

 

April Wrap Up

April showers… will they bring May flowers?

All in all, we’ve actually had a few sunny days this month, yet we definitely have had plenty of rainfall as well.  I’m excited to see spring come in full bloom here soon.

In the meantime, school carries on consistently.  Grateful that we are staying focused, hopefully for another month before the 2017-2018 school year wraps up!

History Adventures

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A few years back we were gifted almost the entire Landmark book series which are fabulously written historical books.  I find them very complimentary to the Robinson Curriculum reading list, and we blend them in often with our chronological order of studying history.   This month’s focus was Roanoke Colony and Jamestown.  Many adventures were found as we explored some native traditions and mapped the Virginia area including currents landmarks as well as rivers that were traveled in that time era.  We limited our geography focus to this area because my intention is to study the United States as we travel through early American history next year.

Science

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It’s All About Birds around here.  We had a great tree out front where we were observing a Downy woodpecker,  2 black collared doves, Stellar Jays, Chickadees, lots of Robins (they do love their worms!), and tons of Starlings.  Dad has since then pruned said tree and we are left with now going to the backyard which isn’t as window-watching friendly.  I can’t really complain because we do still have plenty of areas here to explore.

Math

Bryson– solidifying his borrowing/carrying, as he is wrapping up his linear, liquid, and time measurements.

Andrew– continuing to get comfortable with long division, introducing decimals, and reviewing symbols and money problems.

Katie–  wrapping up ratios and geometrical volumes

Literature

Bryson– chose a fun read this month with Hank the Cowdog
Andrew– took a break
Katie– Scarlet Letter, Pride and Prejudice

English

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All about punctuation; commas, quotations, colon, semi colon, etc…

Andrew has invested a lot of time in his writing (which is why he took a break from literature this month).  As much as my Katie-girl reads non stop, he is writing non stop with illustrations.  This is the child that struggles with dysgraphia and dyslexia, and has overcame penmanship and is finally beginning to conquer spelling too.  It’s been a huge year of growth for him and I’m just letting him flourish in his new found hobby!!

Fine Art

Beethoven at Classics for Kids

Field Trip

Amtrak Schools on Train
Our local homeschoolers in our county from Oregon rode Amtrak to Seattle and spent the day in the Big City.  We had a blast.  Space needle, Pop Culture Park, Starbucks at Sky View building, Pike Place Market, rode the Monorail… the sun was shining, the people were friendly, and we had lots of fun!

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It’s an adventure
to be a homeschooler

 

 

 

Simple Snippets of Spring

When those brief moments of warmer days come, we tend to grasp what we can of it!!

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Schooling outdoors is always an option!!

Nature walks are a must!

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Park days add fun

Family four square is always a favorite

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and if it’s really nice, we even adventure to the river

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How does your spring days look? 
Are you able to adventure out and get fresh air?

I’ve been promoted!

I’ve waited 29 looooong years for this moment, when my oldest son and his beautiful wife announced they are expecting a baby!  Yes, I’ve been promoted to grandma!IMG_1821[1]

The joy is indescribable!!  They’ll be fantastic parents!!

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They announced it to family in mid January, and told others in February, and now in mid April we also know a little more details…

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Our first grandbaby will be a sweet Lil Miss
Let the spoiling begin….

6 Steps to My Sanity Saving Style

Are you ever desperate for some peace in the chaos?

To be honest, I thrive on rhythm, routine, and organization.  However, with a household of 8, being a control freak is not really an option.  Not a pleasant option anyways.   So what are some choice I do make to save my sanity as a mom.

  1.  Morning Meditation-
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    What gets you started on the right foot to face your day?  For me, it begins by getting dressed, complete with hair and face done for the day.  Then to sit in a quiet space (yes, before my kids are up), salt lamp on, essential oils going, lemon water on the side, and then this is where I pray for my day, read what God has to say to me, and review what’s on the calendar.  Basically this gets me ready to clearly think of my day.
  2.  Nutritional Balance-
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    You get to decide what this looks like for you.  For me, it’s to lean towards clean eating with flexibility that life happens.  Supplements are a big win as well.  Vitamins, herbs, and protein shakes all fill in the gaps where otherwise my food choices just may not be enough.   My daughter is sugar free/dairy free so homemade options are the best choice for treats.
  3.  Fitness Fun-
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    Around here, I take what I can get!  Beach Body work outs with the girls, nature walks with the boys, dancing in the kitchen… it’s all good.  Just move it and a groove it.  Exercise clears my head, improves my attitude, and reduces (my new to me) age related aches.
  4.  Quiet Time-
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    ahhh, the beauty of rest!  Nap times aren’t just for littles.  As a homeschool family, I find it vital to take out an hour to just be still.  Sleep is optional.  I admit that I usually nap about 20 minute, and the rest of the hour can be sipping tea and having the boys read the Bible to me.  Sometimes it’s just hanging out on our king-size bed telling stories and jokes and giggling about silly stuff, but it’s still a refreshing pause in our day.  This is the best gift I give myself (as well as my family).  This resets my energy levels and refreshes my motivation for the rest of the day.  So go ahead, allow yourself and your family some quiet time in the midst of your days; it’s a beautiful thing.
  5.  Delegate Duties-
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    I go through phases on this one.  Oddly, the more busy life is, the more I tend to do more of the chores.  Like maybe the added energy to delegate goes by the wayside?  However, after 29 years of parenting, I can say that a consistent chore routine is valuable towards getting everything done.  The saying is quite accurate, “many hands make light work”.   I most prefer to break household tasks into jurisdictions.  Those jurisdictions are rotated weekly.  It takes but just a few minutes out of our day, which ultimately gives us more time to play.
  6.  Be a Blessing-
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    Figure out who you are and how that can impact others around you.  Kindness matters.  Truly, how we interact with our family is vital.   Taking the time to be intentional with others is valuable.  In the most chaotic of times, let us remember to Breathe In Patience; Exhale Grace.

And that, my friends, is My Sanity Saving Style.
Go ahead, give it some thought,
and let me know what you think works best for you and your household~