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Friday, September 16, 2011

One size does NOT fit all.

I love when people email me asking what we do for homeschooling. At the same time it's hard for me to answer sometimes. We truly believe every family is different and every family is going to educate their children different. We desire for our children to have a love for learning. So we do "school" all the time. We believe that life is learning too.

The other day we had the privilege of going into the Oklahoma Governor's Manson. It was so neat the conversations we had with the kids during and after. (and yes my forth child, baby Judah, is in a pink stroller ha)

We read all the time!!! We love "living books."

The kids love going to the Zoo and building dams in the children's zoo.

We climb lots of tress!!!

We take lots of nature walks and talk about all the amazing things God has made.

We even do Phonics outside.

All this to say learning is all around us and is so fun!!!

My sweet friend Deleise sent this post to me from FIAR and I thought it was amazing! It is so freeing to know that we will have different seasons in our life and the Lord will show us what that looks like.

Have you found the Lord's rhythm for your homeschool this year?

"Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Mt. 11:28-30 (The Message)

Finding the right rhythm for your homeschool is different each year. Your children are all a year older this year. Maybe you've added a new baby since last year, or maybe you're pregnant this year. Maybe your mother-in-law lives with you now. Maybe your oldest (and best helper!) has graduated and gone away to college this year. Maybe your husband is home more because of work hours being cut back during the recession. Or maybe he's home less this year because he's working a 2nd part-time job. Each year is different. Each family is unique.

As you discover the Lord's "unforced rhythms of grace" you'll find that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Being out of rhythm in your homeschool is like trying to push a chain up hill.

• When do you begin your day?
• Which days do you homeschool?
• How often do you take breaks during the day?
• How long do you spend with each child today?
• When do you take a day off to recharge?
• When do you begin this school year?
• When do you wrap up this school year?
• How long do you spend on phonics each day?
• How long do you spend on fractions each day?
• Which child needs the most attention this year?

The list of choices is endless and your options vary from year to year, from season to season.

One size does NOT fit all!

One size fits NO ONE!!

• It doesn't matter what your co-op leader is doing this year.
• It doesn't matter how your sister-in-law does it.
• It doesn't matter when the public schools do it.
• It doesn't matter how you did it when you were in school.
• It doesn't matter how you did it last year.
• It doesn't matter how you did it when your oldest was age 8.
• It doesn't matter...

What matter is finding HIS rhythm and stepping into HIS grace for this unique season of your life.
If you're already "pushing a chain uphill" on most days take time to ASK HIM about what HE wants you to do this year- and HOW He wants you to do it.

You just might be surprised at His answers.

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Day of Co-op/What should a 4 year old know?

We had our first day of co-op this week and it was AMAZING!!! We're so blessed to be apart of an amazing homeschool group.
My friend sent me this blog today and I wanted to share it.

What should a 4 year old know?

I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough. “What should a 4 year old know?” she asked.

Most of the answers left me not only saddened but pretty soundly annoyed. One mom posted a laundry list of all of the things her son knew. Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only 3. A few posted URL’s to lists of what each age should know. The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.

It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mom by adding to her concern, with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn’t. We are such a competitive culture that even our preschoolers have become trophies and bragging rights. Childhood shouldn’t be a race.

So here, I offer my list of what a 4 year old should know.

1.She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.

2.He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.

3.She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.

4.He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.

5.She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that– way more worthy.

But more important, here’s what parents need to know.

1.That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.

2.That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.

3.That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.

4.That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like legos and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.

5.That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay! Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US. They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.

And now back to those 4 year old skills lists…..

I know it’s human nature to want to know how our children compare to others and to want to make sure we’re doing all we can for them. Here is a list of what children are typically taught or should know by the end of each year of school, starting with preschool.

Since we homeschool, I occasionally print out the lists and check to see if there’s anything glaringly absent in what my kids know. So far there hasn’t been, but I get ideas sometimes for subjects to think up games about or books to check out from the library. Whether you homeschool or not, the lists can be useful to see what kids typically learn each year and can be reassuring that they really are doing fine.

If there are areas where it seems your child is lacking, realize that it’s not an indication of failure for either you or your child. You just haven’t happened to cover that. Kids will learn whatever they’re exposed to, and the idea that they all need to know these 15 things at this precise age is rather silly. Still, if you want him to have those subjects covered then just work it into life and play with the subject and he’ll naturally pick it up. Count to 60 when you’re mixing a cake and he’ll pick up his numbers. Get fun books from the library about space or the alphabet. Experiment with everything from backyard snow to celery stalks in food coloring. It’ll all happen naturally, with much more fun and much less pressure.

My favorite advice about preschoolers is on this site though.

What does a 4 year old need?

Much less than we realize, and much more.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Baseball Game

It was amazing outside!
Family walking to the game.
The boys caught t-shirts.
Watching the game.
We had great seats.
The kids LOVED the baseball food.
Nathan loves some baby Judah.
Baby Judah's first baseball game.
Nathan and Micah had so much fun.
Love me some Knox boys!
Watching the game.
Baby Abigail had a blast and wore herself out=)
My parents blessed us with RedHawks Baseball tickets today. We had such a wonderful family day.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

First Day of School 2011

Nathan 1st Grade
Micah Kindergarten
The kids loved looking at all their new school stuff.
We made grandmas homemade banana bread.
We did the Diet Coke and Mentos science experiment.
We did it 4 times. It was a blast!!!
We love to dance
and play games.
First day of school was amazing! I am so thankful I get to do this with my kids.

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