This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Friday, February 9, 2007

Why We Homeschool the Way We Do--

Journey and Curriculum Choices
A Meandering and Musing

Part Three—In Practice
(Part One & Part Two)

We homeschooled even though I was working nights, which I did on and off for almost three years. I will tell you it can be done. At what cost to health and relationships I don’t know. But it was that important to us. There was no option. And the boys were little, so the amount of paper work didn’t need to be huge.

Those were our “desert years.” I felt often like the Children of Israel wandering…but those are different stories. Let me say, I never felt God was far, I felt we were learning and growing and we never saw an option not to homeschool. God is good.

Thankfully I have been home for the last year and a half. I have seen the world through less than bleary eyes.

It is apparent Roo adapts to structure more than Boo. He likes a yardstick to be measured by. Now saying that, he still likes the ability to bunny trail at his whim. So we have come up with the things I am sure he cannot live without doing, many books to read, workbooks to use. Then I have boxes checked for “them” –you know, those people who might come and check up on us, whoever they are.

It also includes a lot of piano. Which he has both facility and desire to do. And then the rest of the time he explores his interests. He isn’t completely following things through to a conclusion yet, but at nine I don’t know that he needs to. He will wander away from things for a while, seemingly done with something, and then come back with renewed ideas and he has time to grow and pursue and be creative.

Boo is my “fence-rattler,” button pusher, limit tester child. “I just want to be a little boy, Mom.” Peter Pan in the making. Because of Boo, I delved into unschooling. I stepped back and let him do it his way. He decided to watch movies with sub-titles. He told me he was learning to read. He played games and didn’t want help with the dice, pieces or cards. He could do it himself. And, to my surprise, he managed. But sit him down at a table with a pencil and try handwriting? Well…see HERE. Give him math worksheet. He would rather sit and stare at the wall.

Now some would say he needed discipline. We have never shied away from discipline. But after so much of it and he still was resolute, I began to worry I was losing my son’s heart. And I think I was. After having been gone physically at night for so long and only being present in a barely functioning body during those days, and then arguing with how God created him, I was losing him. So I really did back off. And spent a lot of time learning about Grace Based Parenting and Attachment Parenting, which I was already practicing at some level.

I needed to work on balance.

Part Four

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Herding Cats

Basketball—third time’s a charm!

Yesterday was Roo and Boo’s third time for homeschool group basketball. Once again I must say the mom in charge has unlimited patience and is great with the kids. But I did overhear her tell someone it was the equivalent to “herding cats.” She’s got that right. But she does it well.

Roo and Boo were most anxious to get to basketball because of last week’s fiasco getting there. I hadn’t added that chronicle to the blog because I had just shared the fact I melt down with the world and didn’t want to wave that laundry yet. I’m a bit better now.

Last week’s adventure was due to a surprise bout of snow and the whole city went berserk.

MapQuest says it should take us about 30 minutes to get from our home to basketball. I say they’ve never driven the traffic. I’ve been told I am a bit OCD about being on time and I allow an hour for the trip. Well last week we got on the road and AN HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES LATER we arrived quite shaken and stressed. A gravel truck overturned, there was another wreck in our way, and in other news a different free-way had a near forty car pile-up. I was happy to arrive at all, but the boys were reduced to less than 20 minutes of play. And they were incredibly sad. They accepted it well, but I felt so bad to see their disappointment.

So this week, we started out even earlier than I usually do so that the boys might have some time before class started to shoot some hoops and hang out with the other kids. Driving was uneventful if you don’t count the arguing over the Jedi characters in an imaginary game that occurred. Roo (who inherited my compulsion for early arrival) never asked once if we were going to be late. Boo only used the high-pitched whine once and I was only slightly disheveled. Success.

Basketball was once again a great experience. And I am glad that I have allowed us to join with this loose-knit and relaxed group of homeschoolers. But I am thankful that I don’t have to try to herd the cats.

Reminders for Myself

Joy is the Flag
Joy is the flag flown high
From the castle of my heart
From the castle of my heart
From the castle of my heart
Joy is the flag flown high
From the castle of my heart
When the King is in residence there
(So) let it fly in the sky
Let the whole world know
Let the whole world know
Let the whole world know
(So) let it fly in the sky
Let the whole world know
That the King is in residence there

Psalm 27
Triumphant Song of Confidence
Of David.

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strongholda of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh--
my adversaries and foes--
they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD,
and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.
6 Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 "Come," my heart says, "seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, do I seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger,

you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
10 If my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will take me up.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they are breathing out violence.
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Why We Homeschool the Way We Do

Journey and Curriculum Choices
A Four Part Meandering & Musing

Part Two—Research and Beginning
(Part One)

Reading everything I could get my hands on.

About the time Roo was one I knew I must get moving on this homeschooling thing. I was certain my child was a genius and needed to be reading by three. I knew that unless I produced nothing short of a 14 year-old Ph.D. I would be a laughing stock and “they” would take my children away. You know “they” & “them,” the people we worry about for most often no reason.

So I went online, requested every catalog I found and read every article online. Eight years ago the web was not what it is today and I was even more lame with techno stuff than I am now. Hard to fathom.

This is where Sonlight came in. I got their catalog and I was hooked. It is a very different catalog than they have today. I still have it and what hooked me was their mission statement. My sister was so impressed she took it to our church and presented it to the board (of which she was a member.) She also became convicted to homeschool her children.

I planned our Sonlight journey. I planned us all the way to high school. Money was tight and I was trying to figure how I was going to buy a “Core” from them. When Roo was four I found their forum and gleaned wisdom from these goddesses of homeschool, these mothers who had gone before me and were willing to share. I learned to lurk.

I bought my first Sonlight Core. It was the Kindergarten Core. And while it was beautiful and slick and organized—I was overwhelmed. But I pressed on. I knew my darling children (by then Boo was a little more than one) would need MORE than the basics. So I added to the load. I pushed forward and I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I think, no I know, I pushed to hard with Roo. Thankfully he was eager to please. We were all about drowning. Sonlight, while a great company with great product and it meets the needs of so many was not a good fit for our family. I really didn’t know what to do.

Then I met Elijah Company—oddly enough from a post a mom made on the SL forum (the old days forum, for those familiar with the new). I got their catalog. I devoured everything Chris and Ellen Davis put into that catalog. They ministered to me and I soaked up all that they had to offer.

I learned about Classical learning, unschooling, text book learning unit studies, delight led learning, many different personal learning styles, . I learned there were so many curriculums out there and if I bought them, they shouldn’t dictate to me, they should be a tool to make my life easier. And easy was the only way it was going to work.

I became more confident and developed "my own curriculum" based on our needs, which was mostly picking and choosing from several sources, and which included a severly limited budget. I learned about writing Mission Statements for our personal homeschool. I’d recommend that everyone should have one as a work in progress, not so much to haul out and show everyone, but more to have as a working guide to think about and measure your family’s goals. It should be flexible and grow with your family. I spent time reading and trying to pick anyone's mind that I could to gain wisdom and knowledge. The boys were still small and I am so thankful we started early because it has been a constant work in progress and still is.

Little Roo was still trying to please Mommy, who hadn't learned to relax or back off at all. Baby Boo was coming into his own very unique and strong personality.

With many job changes, moves and thin times we never quit homeschooling, although many times it would have been much easier. We kept marching on.

Part Three

Part Four

Monday, February 5, 2007

Why We Homeschool the Way We Do

Our Journey and Curriculum Choices
A Four Part Meandering & Musing

Part One the Instigators

The best thing about homeschooling is that each family should look a bit different. It is not a one size fits all proposition, although many will tell you otherwise.

I shared awhile back about why we homeschool, I thought I would add a bit and share how we got started homeschooling and how we homeschool. You would think to hear me talk that I have been doing it a long time and am an expert. I have been homeschooling for a long time because, as I’ve said it was on our hearts to teach our children at home before they were born. So that puts me at a little over nine years. Not claiming expert status, though. Just opinionated.

How did that happen? We had every intention of me going back to work after I had our baby. The only homeschoolers I knew of were from someone who knew someone and had an awful tale to tell. Why would I venture down that odd road?

I was working in an ophthalmology office and when I was pregnant with Roo I was introduced to two very different homeschool families. The first was a large family and the mother had need of the doctor I worked for.

When you work in a doctor’s office and you see a large family come in with many young, very young children you get a little nervous. But these children were so well behaved, not automatons, not Stepford children, but really sweet with great smiles.

Well the doctor I worked for was a chatter and she gave each patient a lot of time (which is a good thing if you are getting her attention but if you are the one waiting…not so much). I had taken the mom back to a room with her children and Doctor was running behind and I shut the exam door behind me wondering when the shrieking would start. But it never did. What started was the sweetest singing. So foreign to me to have children like this. I didn’t learn much about homeschooling from them, but it planted a seed. And I saw that children could be happy with little more than their mother and siblings to entertain them.

The second family was smaller—just two boys, I believe, one who came in because he was hit in the eye with a homemade arrow. I won’t let you fuss and wonder—it all turned out well, his eye ended up fine. But of course during a weekday when you have a child come in, hit with a homemade arrow by his brother, you start to ask questions. Like was school out that day? No. What where you doing? Well the arrow WAS part of school. Shooting each other had NOT been in Mom’s plan, but good trouper and boys’ mom that she was she was answering questions to a naïve and pregnant mommy-to-be about the joys of homeschooling, unit studies and all the while patiently waiting for the doctor to finish treating her son. The son was an adorable boy, well behaved for everything he went through. Well spoken and everything I wanted my not-born-baby to grow up to be.

I was hooked. How was I going to get my children to turn out that way? Who did I think I was, presuming I could teach my children anything more than how to tie their shoes and get past sippy-cups?

Research was in order.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Come bless the Lord
All ye servants of the Lord
Who stand by night
in the house of the Lord
Lift up your hands
in the holy place
Come bless the Lord
Come bless the Lord

Psalm 134
A song of ascents

1 Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
who minister by night in the house of the LORD

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD

3May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Meltdown

Unfortunately at our house the children are not the only ones who have meltdowns. Mommy has been known to have one or ten or so during a certain, ummmm…phase of the month. Friday was the day for the big doosie. I’d been doing a little better lately. I’ve been very aware of my symptoms and try to not create more stress than is necessary. Trying to make sure no one else has to deal with my evil twin who comes to visit once in a while.

But what with the employment situation, the uninterrupted ice age that has descended, the unsatisfactory amount of daylight, and then the cycle from…well…from not a good place…Friday was stressful. I was dusting and dropped a two pound candle on my face, on my glasses and therefore on my eye. And it hurt. And I just. couldn’t. take. anything. else. And I lost it.

DarlingCaveGeek was at an interview and the boys were stuck with me. Alone.

Bless their hearts, my two little men do have compassion. I have always said that they know when the chips are down, when I’ve tied a knot in the rope, and am sinking fast. When the only thing left is the clichés.

One of the sweetest things is a child’s hug and I received many along with pats on the back and tissues handed at appropriate times. After pulling iy together, it was time to finish the day’s list which included a run to Sam’s Club and since they had shown me grace and compassion we stopped at Target for a tour down the Transformer aisle.

Whatever young women they marry are going to have gracious young men who will be prepared to face the monthly hormone attack. Or as my husband so kindly stated, the boys may just be afraid to get married if that was an example of what’s to come…Oh so helpful there Dear…

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths."