Thursday, April 22, 2010

We have been winding down our school year around here. We have completed our curriculuum for the year, so I am trying to find ways to use up the rest of the school year. Unfortunately, school has taken a major backburner this week to a ton of other things I have going on...busy, busy, busy.
Isaac mostly needs practice reading, so I have been having him read out loud to me while I am working on things.
I recently changed my blog title to better reflect my philosophy on home priority is relationship with my children, and finding joy in that relationship, while homeschooling. What a joy and blessing it is to have my babies with me all day every day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring study

I have recently stumbled upon a great resource for nature study resources here
We used some of the free downloadable worksheets to do a nature study today.
Isaac had to identify four signs of spring and record them on his worksheet. He noticed the grass turning green, the plants starting to grow, the buds coming on the trees and the sound of birds chirping.

Then we talked about the three primary types of clouds, and he identified that the clouds in the sky today were cumulus. We recorded today's weather information.

Lastly, we began our seasonal tree study of the Oak tree in our backyard. We saw that the buds are just starting to form, and are a bit behind the buds on the tree in our front yard. We will take another photo of this tree in a few weeks and compare them.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I have been praying for awhile now for a verse that I could "claim" for homeschooling my boys. There were a few I had heard here and there that I liked, but they just didn't seem like quite the right verse. Then, a couple of nights ago at my women's Bible study, we happened to be reading this verse (for a reason that was completely undrelated to homeschooling), and it JUMPED off the page at me. I really feel like this is it: Isaiah 54:13-14
"All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace.
In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you."
This verse touches me deeply on two levels. First is the obvious--I so wish my sons to be taught by the Lord through me. Secondly, so many of the world events happening right now disturb me. This verse does something to just put my spirit at ease.
Thank you Heavenly Father for your promises!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pinecone birdfeeders

This year, we have used "My Father's World" for kindergarten. Its an OK program, but there are several things I have not liked about it, so we won't be using it next year.
This week, we are on the letter "Q for Quail", so we are trying to do as many bird-related activities as possible. Today we finished up on our peanut butter-sunflower seed-pine cone-bird feeders. And yes, those would be gloves on my hates-to-get-his-hands-dirty-or-sticky son.

Mommy was too lazy to hang them up in the yard, so we set them out on a table. The squirrels promptly went into a feeding frenzy

So we had to get out the binoculars to watch them

side note: It is not customary for me to allow my two year old to be in a diaper only on the deck in early April in North Dakota.
Then, we got a bang out of watching each other with the binoculars instead.

Dollar Store Finds

I love the Dollar store for homeschooling stuff! I hadn't found anything new there recently, but today I went in and they had gotten a new shipment of school things. I got several posters, some writing books, workbooks and games. Some of these things will be workbox items for next year. Graham will also be a lot more involved in our school activities next year, and will have his own set of workboxes. He needs some big help on colors especially. I found a really nice Sesame Street colors workbook that I think will be helpful and some color flashcards.
Here's a side note: Sometimes the most effective things are the easiest things, and also the things we don't think of! I got this idea from a homeschooling blog the other day and did it today with Isaac and it was very effective: take picture cards (most of us have something like this in our homeschooling stash), and letters (I used foam letters that came with the "My Father's World" curriculuum and have them spell out what is on the picture card. DUH. Seriously--did I need to read a blog to come up with that? But, its somthing I hadn't thought to do, and obviously needed help coming up with. He enjoyed working with the letters hands on, and got every single one correct (even the ones with digraphs--we have been focusing on those lately)!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Magnificent Obsession

I have been so bogged down recently with thoughts of the future regarding homeschooling and my many times I wonder if I am doing it "right" or "wrong," and I spend countless hours thinking about ways I am going to do it better next year. This is all probably OK, because it pushes me to do better, but at some point, I find myself stopping to ask myself what is really important. I did that tonight. I was lost in some thoughts about my past tonight and something occurred to me...all that really matters is that my boys have a magnificent obsession with Jesus. I want them to be unafraid. I want them to stand on the precipice, their toes perched on the very edge, and leap off, knowing they will be safe in everlasting arms. Every generation hopes their children do better than they do, and I especially hope that in regards to spiritual things for my boys. There are so many things I already, in my 33 years, wish I had done differently in regards to my relationship with God. I wish I had left nothing reserved, and gone completely to the brink with him. I know I still can. But, I wish this to be a lesson my boys discover early in life. I want them to see things and experience things I never did. Things I was maybe too scared to, or things I worried what others would think of me so I didn't do.
Thinking about this stirs my heart, and I want to be up for the challenge. I don't want my life, my fears, my baggage, to in any way hinder them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recent Field Trips

We have taken lots of fun field trips lately! That is one thing I especially LOVE about homeschooling...the BEST learning is NOT done at home reading books!
We have been to a family farm to see baby goats, lambs, ducks and chickens (thanks Dennis and Wanda!)

To the Heritage Center in Bismarck

To the Science Center at Buffalo State Park

And, we took a quick peek at one of papa's new babies
I have been sick. Like, puke your guts out until you can't even sit up straight sick. Honestly, in my adult memory, I cannot remember ever being quite this sick. I am finally back to "normal," but all of the things that I have let slide over the past few days came pounding on my door today. I feel like I am always one step away from all of the balls I have in the air crashing to the ground. I heard someone use the analogy of "margins" to explain this phenomenon once. The idea being that most of us live our life with no margin-room, we plan and schedule and prepare right up to the very edge of our life. Then, when "life" happens (i.e. you get sick), there is no wiggle room. That would explain me, and I know if I am to be successful in this homeschooling thing, I need to change it.
This first year has been a real year of identification for me. I have evolved from a person who not once referred to herself as a "homeschooling mom," to one who does so frequently. And, let me tell you, this transformation has not come quickly or easily.
I can't say I ever had that one great spiritual "experience" where I felt God "calling" me to homeschool my boys. Frankly, I still have doubts nearly every day if this is what I am supposed to be doing. And, I have no close family members who have undertaken this same journey. And, let's remember that I have never walked this road before either. My entire educational experience can be relegated mostly to public school. Therefore, I have no experience from which to draw. Most days I feel like I am in a black hole, feeling my way around for the next step. And, I send up a prayer that I am not doing damage to my precious babies in the meantime.
So, I ask myself: WHY am I doing this? What is really motivating me? Because, let's be honest, homeschooling is not something one takes on as a hobby.
In a nutshell, here are my primary reasons for doing this:
(1) relationship with my children: I want to be the one to teach them and to watch them learn.
(2) I want them to learn what I want them to learn.
(3) I want their education to be completely focused around God and the Bible.
(4) I want them to have the benefit of one-on-one time with their teacher (me!) every day!
(5) flexibility: I want to be able to go places with my children whenever I want.
(6) Homeschooled children are generally brighter and more confident (generally).
(7) I would love for my children to avoid the "socialization" that occurs in public schools today (and is getting worse with every passing year).

I wish I could say I have finally reached that point where I am completely sold out on the notion of homeschooling. I think I am almost there. I need to be there, because my heart has to be completely settled. I need to answer with a voice of authority when my son asks me why his life is different than his friends.

I pray He continues to open my eyes to ways He can use this adventure to glorify Him.