Friday, October 31, 2008

Environment and Mentoring

I'm a little behind on what I'm doing here. There has been a lot going on, so I thought I would try to catch up on two subjects at the same time.

Mom: Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover. I think we have made every possible financial mistake one could make. Now to take the challenge to get out of debt.
So Sexy So Soon. Very interesting and shocking. It is about the sexualization of our children and how to prevent it, work around it, and explain things to our children that are happening long before they are ready for it.
(I started writing two children's books yesterday. I have one other I will work on through the winter for the boys (about a dragon).)

Dad: The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

Isaac: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Jesse: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Hannah: Rocks
Simeon: Do I need to repeat it? Thomas the Tank Engine

Environment and mentoring. Many, many times I will be looking up something, browsing through news articles, laying awake at 4 a.m. thinking about ancient Egypt or somewhere and do research on my own. Since we have computers all over the house, the boys usually get involved in what I'm looking at or learning about and it spills over to them. Their environment around me is usually full of little tidbit things here and there of stuff I have learned and passed on. Jesse (age 8) is now getting to the point that he will read up on stuff by himself. When we go to the library every other week they are usually required to check out a fun book and a book to learn about. Bugs, aliens, rocks, weather and natural disasters, dinosaurs and dogs have been the norm lately. I get specific movies from Netflix on subjects we are learning about. Anytime my kids ask me about a subject I don't hesitate to help them research it, talk about it, find some activity that supports it, or make a way for them to pretend play about it.

As I've stated before we are learning about Colonial times this year and I have to say I think I'm learning more about it than my kids. I hope that with me being excited about learning these things they are becoming excited about the projects and learning. This week we have been learning about Colonial homes. What has my attention the most is Milk Paint. It's natural, and more colorfast than modern paints. I'm excited to try making our own and trying it out. Figuring out stuff like this leads us to learn about oiled paper, homemade candles and soap, cooking from scratch and home remedies. I love the Love of Learners. Isaac is a little more into this stage than his younger brother and it's been fun to teach Isaac, discuss stuff with him and it is simply amazing to me some of the things he remembers or figures out. Before learning about TJ Education, I think I dragged my kids along with me anyway. Homeopathic medicine, animal care, house building, arts and crafts, sewing, canning, gardening, Feng Shui, automotive care, baby care and cooking. I guess I never thought about this much before but they are always underfoot, underarm, or sitting on my desk, counter or chair with me while I work on these projects and naturally it carries over to letting them work with me. We made bread last week and I have made the recipe a couple times before, but them doing it last week, whatever they did with it, found it to be the best bread we have ever made.

The tales they'll be able to tell when they are older. Hopefully they will be good ones.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bringing Home to the Environment

We have received an opportunity to attend a Constitutional Class. Recently due to the LEMI Commonwealth school we have our two older girls in, it has come to my attention that my 11 yr old is severely lacking in some core issues when it comes to government. So I brought her with me.

It was a little boring for her, but she stuck it out until we were ending and then disappeared to find her sister. I didn't mind because it was quite a lot for an eleven yr. old. In fact, for awhile I wondered if I was doing the wrong thing. Then something funny happened. She started asking questions, and talking about things. The only time I worry about my children is when there isn't a dialogue going on!

It occurred to me that by bringing her with me, she might not be absorbing everything said, but she is in an environment where seeds of truth can be planted in her heart. Things said will come back later in conversations as the exposure begins to take hold and someday, I believe, these things will no longer be boring but passionate for her.

I would love to have these kinds of discussions in my own home. You know, passionate, informative discussions. But first I must expose. First I must inspire. Then I will get to respond. Sometimes, we as mothers have to look outside of ourselves for the inspiration to happen - and then we go get it. We bring home to the environment of inspiration.

What are we reading this week?

We are getting ready for a homestudy - which means what would normally pass the Mom inspection does not pass now. So reading is at a minimum but we are still reading...

Dad - ???

Mom - Prophets, Pinciples, and National Survival complied by Jerreld L. Newquist, King James Version Bible (NT), Making of America by Cleon Skousken, and No Doubt About It by Sheri Dew

Scholar - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury & BOM in both Italian and English

Practice Scholar - John Adams, Reluctant Patriot of the Revolution by Lenard Falkner & BOM in both English and Italian and Making of America by Cleon Skousken

Love of Learner - The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz

Core Phasers - The Very Hungry Caterpillar and If You Give A Mouse A Cookie Series...

Kindredmamma as Mentor

Reading the post of Mother as Mentor really got me thinking about the TJed philosophy, "Teach what is mine." This is a very appropriate focus for my mostly Core Learners and for when the enter LoL. I have struggled with this because, what is mine, doesn't feel like enough. Therefore, I need some more "what is mine." After all I must chart the path of example in order for them to follow. So I have begun reading a lot and sharing what I am learning. But when it comes down to it, until I have broadened my own horizons, I am really all about the fiber and paper arts. So lately I have begun to teach A and C how to knit and I let them have some scrapbooking supplies just so they will be busy so I can scrapbook, but check out this site. What a prefect solution.

SCORE!!! Right now I would just love for the Hockey Jams song to come on (they one they play whenever my favorite teams (the Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks) Score. (I am sure other teams have this song too in the NHL, but that is not my focus).

I will write more later becasue we are off to the scrapbooking store. I figure it is a lot like scrapbooking and notebooking combined. "Hey!! It's educational, so I have a GOOD excuse to spend more money on my paper fetish!" Well that and I have coupons for Michaels, JoAnn's, and Hobby Lobby that are burning a hole in my pocket.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mother as Mentor

Mothers are mentors where they like to think of themselves as such, they are. We as mothers really do inspire, motive, and we teach.

The past 3 weeks have been difficult for me and many outside things came up. Due to these disturbances I have been feeling "stressed" in our homeschool and thinking I should do more. Then reality hits. I do so much I cannot add anything more or the scale will break. It was during one of those moments when I had to go to my room to think and contemplate life, homeschool, and my role. I prayed that I could sort out the what's and why's again. I needed inspiration and needed to be reminded what I do as a mentor.

When the answers came I realized how I inspire my children. I realized how I mentor them. Sometimes it really is important to re-evaluate life and homeschool.

I'm going to make a small list of things that I came to a realization that I do personally as a mentor and what they do to inspire my children. Perhaps this list will help you remember the things you do too.

  • I run a business online (for 10 years): it has taught my children how to run a business and all about customer service.
  • I write articles and wrote a book: my children love to write and are always jotting down notes.
  • I am a social butterfly: my children socialize well too.
  • Healthy eating, exercise, and wellness are very important to me: my children are accepting to a variety of foods, are accepting of herbs and vitamins, and study my books with relish.
  • I love homemaking. It is my passion: my children all love homemaking, one daughter studies cookbooks, my son tries to help cook, my eldest is an expert at all things mechanical around the house like the vacuum.
  • My religion is my life: my children have testimonies of God, they enjoy scripture study time, FHE, and love going to church. They enjoy being involved in church activities and the older ones try hard to read scriptures often.
  • Books are like Food to me: my children are read to from birth. They love reading and being read to. Just tonight my toddler pulled out one of my books from a book shelf and flipped through it with interest for ten minutes.
When you are feeling that you do not do enough, take time to write down things that you do or have done and the positive affects it has had on your children. Your list may surprise you!

Baker Reads

Sorry, ladies, live got very hectic for me and so I hope to get back on track by next week.

Mom (Shiloah)

Still working on Jane Eyre
and Sense and Sensibility

Cailynn: LOL/Scholar

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Robinson Crusoe (which she plans to take with her to the youth temple trip to work on)
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Chrisy: LOL

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Benjamin Franklin Young Printer

Benjamin: Core/LOL

Dr. Doolittle

Monday, October 20, 2008

What We've Been Doing

Last week was a bust. I managed to do maybe 2 days worth of school. The rest of it I flopped on. Last week was about sewing, clothes, material, did a field trip to a sewing store so we could feel different samples of cloth, and I attempted to make a colonial style skirt for Hannah and me. Well, a seamstress I am not. Somehow the skirt is higher on the sides than the front and back and the elastic waist looks terrible. I've not returned to the project.

This week we are doing cooking. Already we've tried doing some cast iron cooking. The boys made a rice casserole last week in it and let's just say it didn't come out as tasty as I was hoping. We made up for it by making a dutch baby (puff pancake) for breakfast the next day. I think this week will be a little easier though. We are working on some grammerical stuff to, like synonyms, antonyms and homonyms. We did some haiku poems. Had to share this with you. It's about diaper wipes. Maybe you can guess what Jesse has been learning to do?

Reach in Dispenser
If you could hear what I smell
Swoosh, fresh baby butt

They will also be learning about table setting and some nursery rhymes this week too. Ugh. I've been listening to some of those songs on Not for the faint of heart. We all commented on how they sounded like amped up versions of Barney songs. But, it's for history's sake, so we'll listen.

As for daily life, last week was kinda rough. While I have long suspected it and was not surprised when the therapists suggested Simeon was autistic (not Asperger's) it was still a shock to hear it become reality. I know that there has been a suggestion of the correlation between vaccinations and autism. I read through some old emails last night and found that 5 days after he had gotten his 9 month vaccinations is when he spiked a fever of 104.5 for a week straight, and after that, it seemed he had lost a lot of his abilities. Does a mother ever stop feeling guilt? Should I have gotten him the vaccines? Was there more I could have done earlier to help him? How do you not feel sadness for what will seem like a life long struggle for him...but he's always smiley and happy?

So, anyway, that was the main thing that set me back last week.

Family Reading
Erma Bombeck Aunt Erma's How to Cope in 12 Days
Abigail Adams: Girl of Colonial Days

Isaac and Jesse
Adam Lost books


Thomas the Tank Engine (same three books he always checks out)

C.S. Lewis The Four Loves (hmm...seems to be more classically minded than his wife) :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Reading

I thought I would get a jump on this week since I totally forgot last week.
Let's see

I am reading:
Sarah's Quilt
Resumed reading Jane Eyre
The Read Aloud Handbook

Son (core/LoL)

Daughter (core)
Bob Books
being read aloud to: Anne of Green Gables

Family Reading
Gospel Principles

It is a light week since we are busy doing fall festivities. Oh and we just went to the library to get a bunch of books on frogs as some friends of ours just gave us two frogs. My daughter is really excited.

This week I have struggled with the SECURE, not stressed aspect of TJed. I suppose as mothers we all worry about whether or not we are doing the best for our kids. As a mom of all core children, I am not always able to see the end picture. I struggle with trusting in the process, and yet I have seen it be successful in other families. I find myself caught in the trap of comparing my children to others or worry that I didn't do enough to "educate" them. While I realize that these can be "conveyor belt" mentalities, never the less, forsaking them is hard to do. It is hard to change the thought process and to view as what seems a little accomplishment is actually a lot or in reality it just doesn't take as much time to ready our children for the world as it would seem to do in the public school education. At least this is the thought I am holding on to for now. I see all to often that my structured time is interfered with or that I can not give my time to that "magical moment" or that opportunity for QUALITY, that one of my kids are in at the time, because we have to leave for another appointment for our son with special needs. So lately I am struggling with the Secure aspect and I am feeling a LOT of STRESS.

Well, back to deep breaths and baby steps. Did Rachel DeMille Say 1 day in 10 is good? I think that that is doable, definitely not hitting 5 in 7.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Fourth Year

I realized today while I was talking to my sister how I have changed as a homeschooler. When I made the decision to homeschool I think my family thought I had lost my ever-loving mind. Over and over I heard about socialization, "don't you want the break with them in school?", and just flat out WHY? Over and over I explain my reasons. I always feel like I somehow lose the arguement which then gets me to start waffling on my decision to continue to homeschool or send them off to public school. So far, I've held my ground, but I wonder how often this thought crosses homeschooling parents' minds.

I thought I would list some of the things I've noticed about our homeschooling style.

Past: workbooks
Now: more hands on, creative play and projects.

Past: clock watcher (HAD to get 4 hours in and freaked out if I ran out of stuff for them to do before 4 hours)
Now: I watch the clock for certain subjects, like math. They should be able to get 10problems done in 15 minutes, right?

Past: Thought school had to be done at a table and on a chair.
Now: School can be done in the car, on the trampoline, on the porch, on the coffee table. We still try to start at the table, but I'm not as strict about staying there.

Past: Was overwhelmed with information out there for homeschoolers: the curriculums, the methods, the groups.
Now: Know what I want and search out particular things.

Past: Overwhelmed the kids with a schedule that none of us could ever possibly keep.
Now: Schedule lessons/themes for the week, and only plan for Monday through Thursday, with Friday as a day for catch up, or if there is one day that life takes over and we do no school.

I'm feeling more confident in my decision to homeschool and more at ease. When I consider the possibility of sending the kids back to school I actually start to panic a bit. My help will be gone, who will I talk to all day, what would I do with my time, I'll miss them. I really enjoy homeschooling. I said before that we are doing the Epic Adventure and I'm LOVING it!! I am learning just as much as they are, probably more (and probably enjoying it much more than they are). It is very much how I envisioned doing homeschool with the kids from the very beginning. I won't lie: there was a ton of learning I had to do to even get to this point. Maybe some beginning homeschoolers don't realize that. You have to and will grow as you homeschool.

What have you learned as you have homeschooled your children?