Friday, August 27, 2010

Posts For The Homeschool Junkie

Today I was thrilled! OK, I'm a homeschool junkie! I get my thrills from reading homeschooling blogs and books! What's up with that?!!

I couldn't read fast enough during the "twippets'" naps!

And now I get to pass them on to you!

Se7en - Things I would Do If I Had To Start Homeschooling Over

Rockin' Granola - Practically Imperfect In Every Way

The Homeschool Village - Guest Post Carisa from 1+1+1=1

Simple Homeschool - Encouragement-Reflections From A Homeschool Graduate

Have fun reading!

Watch out for more Posts For The Homeschool Junkie and a linky to add yours as well!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our Adventures and Misadventures of Kindergarten

We started homeschooling our oldest when he started Kindergarten. Our main reasons were to give him more one-on-one time, let him explore what interested him, and to spend more time reading together and talking about God and His creation. We loved that "homeschooling" is "family oriented". We had a couple friends homeschooling. How hard could it be?

The Adventure:
I'm so glad we started in Kindergarten. Wish we would've always had that mindset. The funny thing is is that we started out like many homeschooling families. We tried to "imitate" a "school" at home. We had our flag up, our alphabet border and posters, our schedule. We quickly abandoned the schedule and found our rythym to our day. We delved into our Kindergarten Unit Study from My Father's World and loved it! We spent our days discovering God's Creation while learning the alphabet, days of the week, art, science, and math! MFW curriculum was great for our preschoolers to do along with us as well! And we did join a small homeschool co-op at our church.

Looking back that very first morning taught me more about "how" and "what" homeschool should look like in our home than anything else. Just before we started off, we got a phone call to turn on the TV. The first of the twin towers had just been hit. We watched in terror as the scene we all know played out. I can't remember if I sent the kids upstairs to play or what, but when our morning "school" time started, it was with tears in our eyes as we said the "Pledge of Allegience". Our morning got off on a different schedule that day, but nothing was more important than stopping and praying for our country and the lives that were lost. Taking the time for "real" life, unscripted, and God-led should've always been my focus, but sadly I let alot of other things creep in.

The Misadventure:
Sadly, I started to compare myself, my family, my children  to other homeschooling families. I had a lot of growing up to do during this time. But it was very hard not to compare myself to others when I was feverishly trying to see what everyone else was doing. Making sure I was "doing" this right. That I had the right curriculum. And so on! It was exhausting. And I paid for this constant compraring dearly! I lost some of the JOY! I couldn't let myself believe that I already had everything that God needed to do this job. To trust Him and enjoy the process! It's alot of pressure! It's alot of letting "go" and relying on Him! To take the time to find out by just "playing" with each child, their learning style. And then I found out that I had a distinct teaching style as well.

I learned the hard way that OUR family will not now or ever  look like anyone else's. Try as I might, we are not a Norman Rockwell family (not that I even want that). My children bicker and fight (heaven forbid). There are belches at the dinner table (gasp! followed by "excuse me"). There is "not" so appropriate dinner conversations going on around our table. My older three have never "taken" to music (There goes the idea of a traveling music tour!) Doing daily devotions is not something that comes easily for me, therefore, my children (cringe!). Does that make us any less Godly? NO. Does God judge my family because this is who we are? NO. Believe me HE created this Crazy Funny Farm in the first place! In some homeschooling groups I know there is quite a high expectation for others. Or do I put it on myself and again assume that "they" have it all together?

Although internally I was struggling, we had a blast. We built forts. Jumped in puddles. Grew a small garden in our neighborhood garden. Read books snuggled on the couch. Watched Bible Stories on video. Listened to Adventures In Odyssey tapes. (Tapes and videos? What are those?) Made models of the earth and moon and participated in the science fair. And so much more.

That about sums up our first year in Kindergarten. Next will be our Adventures and Misadventures of First Grade.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Homeschooling Two Year Old Triplets

This year we will have one starting High School. One starting Middle School. And one still in Elementary.

Our older three peeps will be attending public school at least this school year as we are praying about bringing them home again and preparing for the higher grade curriculum for next year.

So, why can't the Chickies (our triplets) and I still plan school at home this fall? Granted they will be only two, but they are ready to have some structured "play/learning" time. Plus this Mama Hen loves Fall and Fall is my favorite time of year to teach. So much of God's creation is out there to explore. I love visiting the same lake every season so all my peeps can see the changes all around them. Making leaf rubs. Waxing leaves to hang around the house. Baking leaf cookies. Chili and stews simmering all day long. Wearing rainboots and jumping in puddles. Reading books under a blanket fort. I could go on and on. So why not do something I love? Why wait until they are 4 or 5?

We are praying about what and how much to be involved in this year.

Tot-School - Very excited about this fun way to plan and track more sturctured playtime which of course equals learning time. Tot School Link

MOPS - I was invited to a MOPS group down the street and am still not sure if this is what I need. I miss my Women's Bible Studies so much, especially Beth Moore, and I think I will be fed more there than at MOPS. But my hubby has encouraged me to give it a try. We are still not settled in a church home yet, so it's important for me to make some friendships closer to home. When my older three were babies we spent a few years at MOPS and it served a great purpose in my life then and I made 2 great long-time friends there. Then while homeschooling Peep2&3, before I was too pg with the triplets, we served as MOPPET workers for the MOPS at the church we were attending. It was great fun and a great learning experience for Peep2&3 to serve others. "A" actually said the other day, when she found out I was going to MOPS this Fall, that she wants to be homeschooled again! Little does she know that will happen next year!

Then there is the great Indoor Play Park I found last spring! It is held in a church that opened it's sanctuary up from Monday to Thursday everyweek. I can drop in anytime between 10 and 2pm! And it averages about $3 a week for all of us! How great is that? We will definetly be doing this. But it is one more place for the Chickies to be exposed to illnesses.

Then of course we have the church nursery on Sundays and playdates here and there. With our Triplets group it seems like we get together less during the winter, so that will lessen our activities. If you knew me, you'd know that I'm spontaneous and like to be on the go. I have to plan to stay home instead of leaving the house. And Peep5's first sentence was "Let's Go"...I wonder where she gets it?

So that's just the plans I have for the Chickies. I'll post more later about the Peeps. What we've done in the past. What curriculums we've used. What works for us and doesn't. How to homeschool Dyslexic children and what our state thinks about the "D" word. Finding WHO I AM thru homeschooling. Unschooling. Where we're heading with the older kiddos.  And so much more!

Here We Go...Again!

The main reason for this blog is so that I can journal one of the most important subjects in the lives of my children, thus my life! Maybe through journaling I will find a sense of where we've been, remember how God has led us, where my heart is now and where this journey will take us in the future. My prayer is that I hear the voice of my Lord, Jesus Christ, LOUD and CLEAR re: teaching and discipling the most precious gifts this side of heaven. I am the proud Mom to 6 kids and counting! We currently are a public school/ homeschooling family. I'll post more on that later.

We've had our ups and downs when it's come to our childrens' educations, thus the Title of this Blog.....and some will agree and others, I'm sure, will vehemetly disagree with some of our decisions. But just know that none of our schooling decisions were made without the loud & clear direction from God and hours on our knees in prayer. And one of the most important of all is that my hubby and I have been in agreement re: these decisions! I could not, nor would I want to do this on my own. I need to know that God is in control and that I have the support of my husband, especially when times are tough. My hubby is my biggest cheerleader.

I'm blessed to be able to say that we are "Homeschooling" our 22month old triplets from birth and that we have homeschooled all of our older 3 at one time or another. And I'm excited to watch God unfold His plans, to both Hubby and I, to lead at least 2 of our older ones back home in the near future!

Psalm 34:1-8
"I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant;their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is that man who takes refuge in him."