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

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Notes From the Sofa

How cool is this sofa?! My boys would have fun doing school on a sofa like this. Well, it will have to be in our dreams.

So...school this week...Week 7. Boo met Henry Huggins. And just like his brother (and me for that matter), Henry is a favorite. Boo will be reading more about Henry as the year progresses. Henry's creator, Beverly Cleary is a favorite author at this house. Boo's been introduced to Ramona and Ralph S. Mouse. He will also be reading Dear Mr. Henshaw in the near future.

Another family favorite on Boo's reading list this week was Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol. After starting with Encyclopedia Brown, Roo went on a mystery reading kick. I'm anxious to see if the same happens with Boo.

Roo has finished The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau and really appreciated the story. I've assigned The Giver by Lois Lowry and Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix for this week. These books address some really relevant topics such as: futuristic projections, overpopulation, post-apocalyptic societies, dystopian/utopian societies.

From my limited experience, it seems these books tend to evoke a strong reaction. Discussing them with others, both parents and other students, it seems people either like them a lot or dislike them a lot. I've seen around the web that some parents have decided not to assign or allow these books. I do understand that the topics can be upsetting and sometimes create volitile conversation.

I am not suggesting these as appropriate reading material for every child, they just were books that addressed conversations and issues that are causing questions at our house. I read the books myself when questioning whether they would be appropriate for Roo, something I highly recommend doing. I find that the security of a fictional setting can allow for conversation that might be uncomfortable for a child or worse, not take place at all, otherwise and often prompts questions that I would prefer my children ask me versus their peers or even other adults whom I like but disagree with.

Reading choices are an extremely personal decision and the best thing I can tell a parent questioning the appropriateness of a book for their child is to read it themselves. In this busy life we all lead it is often too easy to rely on others to form our opinions. As the person with ultimate responsibility for the education of my children, I often have to put aside my personal reading list and read what is on the agenda for my boys or what they have requested. In doing so, I've been often rewarded with books that I've enjoyed and been glad I've read. Besides, unless the parent has read the book there can be little useful discussion of said book.

In the science department, Boo is learning about the human body, organs and systems and Roo is learning about habitats, environments and ecosystems. The plan in the weeks to come is to do some hands on study on light.

I found a full set of used Cuisinere Rods at the homeschool bookstore near my house for an incredible price and both boys have played around with them. Boo is more of a Kinesthetic learner and they've helped him make a couple of leaps in areas that were frustrating last year. Roo just enjoys anything to do with math and has used them for independent learning.

Learning went on the road Friday, as we packed a bag of books and drove up to Grandpa's house for a long weekend.

After homeschooling for so long, I sometimes forget that other people aren't familiar with it. When I first made the decision to homeschool my children over eleven years ago when Roo was just a baby, I met a lot of opposition from people, even family and friends who were sure this would be a recipe for disaster for my boys. These days I don't think too much about it. It is ingrained into our lives. We've been in the same neighborhood, activities and church for long enough now that people know who we are and are comfortable with us.

So while out and about on Friday, I must admit to being surprised at being made uncomfortable by some who obviously wondered why my children weren't in school; mostly by a high school teacher taking a group of high school students on a field trip to the grocery store we stopped at. It wasn't until after the fact, seated in my car, that I considered the behavior of her charges compared to the behavior of mine.

There's been some pride, the last few years especially, for helping parents who want to understand homeschooling and decide whether or not it will be a good choice for their family. I do try to be a good "ambassador" for homeschooling. I do try to have a good Christian attitude towards everyone; but must admit to failing more often than I would like when being challenged as to my ability to make good decisions for my children's well being. Most people are at least open or tolerant of our educational choices, but I've found over the last year especially a feeling of incredulity that homeschool is a viable choice for learning.

Homeschooling is an ongoing adventure and education for me and my boys. Even with a little awkwardness and uncomfortable situations, I would not trade it for anything in the world.

Next week is the last of the four-day weeks for a while. I'm looking forward to some five-day weeks to come!!

Whether you homeschool or not, what have you been up to?

Counting it all joy,

Julie



The cool sofa in the photo was found at this blog dedicated to chairs and furniture. Cool stuff!

1 comment:

Buttercup said...

I've been decluttering and getting organized. Too much paper around and lots that needs to be discarded. Going through books and my closets. Will make a real dent this weekend. Museum tomorrow, too, and maybe a movie on Monday. Beverly Cleary was one of my favorite authors growing up.
Have a great weekend!