Adding: How refreshing to hear homeschooling discussed without the predictable, jaded questions. It would bore me to even type them out. ;)
I was particularly interested in the part of the conversation regarding boys. Your comment that especially boys need to play, run and even play with guns rang true for me. Did you see my post on my other blog about weapon play?
In closing, you spoke about the importance of children experiencing manual labor and working with their hands. I completely agree. We are not a TV free family but I certainly think the amount of screen time the average child gets today is a co-factor in many of the pressing problems we have with youth.
Listening to the 3 of you talk it occured to me that it was true womanhood. Work, passion and mothering co-existing. Hearing the baby noises in the background added to the sincerity.
I feel a post brewing about genderlessless and its danger. ;)
Don't tell Mike, as I haven't talked to him yet. But, I'm thinking of asking him for a modest (very modest!) decorating budget each month. The plan when we moved was that Mike was going to paint a room a month. However, his travelling is so much that he's weary and doesn't want to spend his little time home painting. I understand! I'd rather he wrestle with the kids, go to the pool and play catch, too.
But, you know, I can probably paint most of the interior of the house. I especially want to paint the entry, stairs, loft and all the yellowing trim.
We have a wonderful, spacious backyard. And a doggie door that was already built into our sunroom. And 2 fifty pound dogs. In the 5 months we've been living here, I've not been able to use the doggie door (not that *I* would use it, but you know what I mean). Our "mom dog", Callie, (Mike suggested the name using "C" "A" and "L" for the kids) is an escape artist. She found an infinite number of ways to escape from the fully fenced yard.
So, the poor pups are tethered outside. We aren't in the position to replace the fence (thousands of bucks!). So, I finally went to Lowe's and while getting a sheet of plywood to go under Andrew's mattress, I also got some plywood for the fence. The lumber guy was very kind, but wasn't thinking in terms of "do-ability". I can not hammer nails through the plywood he suggested. I'll be going back for wood glue and some less dense wood today.
You know, Frank Bielic lives in town. You'd think he would come help. Or, at least send Ty.
*sigh* More false starts with school. I managed to convinced the practical and realistic side of me that I could school through visits from Mother in Law and guest and a visit from Aunt Gail. We sure had a great time, but we sure didn't school!
I planned to start, in full, Monday. But I'll be caring for 2 boys in Andrew's Scout Den whose father is a widower. The good news is that the boys are 8 and 10; perfect playmates for Andrew. They visit other boys in the neighborhood frequently, and so everyone is used to each other. I'm new enough to them, though, that my authority isn't compromised by familiarity. :)
I think I'll let Andrew (who is doing mental multiplication and division and reading on a high level) justbask in the testosterone.
Larsen, however, will need plenty of time and attention. I think a tea party is in order. And, settling down in our sunroom with short, frequent lessons from her Sonlight LA program.
Cameron will try to run with the big dogs, but will tire and retreat for mom time. He can join Larsen and I with stacks of books. :)
The following Monday, I will start our full curriculum. Honest.
Tammy reminded me about homeschooling. ;) I mean about actually home*schooling*, not just blogging about related aspects.
We did school today; in fact history and science are suspended above us, looming in the "should we do it or put it off until tomorrow zone".
I'm very pleased with Singapore's mental math. At first, I was frustrated with Andrew's seeming inability to do mental math. But, today I noted a clear improvement in speed and understanding. We did a page of mental word problems. He did a related page of his workbook.
For Language Arts, Andrew is reading The Beginner's Bible. It's reading level is very low for his ability, but it's perfect to be learning about language arts. Today, he found a homonym, separated a compound sentence and simplified a sentence.
Larsen did math on a computer disk (I have a stack of "educational discs" that are for use during "breaks" in our school day. She did fractions by making pizzas. :)
She's slowly progressing using SL LA. She's beginning to be able to see a word and say "and" instead of a--n--d, a-n-d, and. :) Her ability to focus on phonics before breaking out in major squirms (minor squirms are encouraged) is still liimited. It still hasn't occured to her to even try to sound out words in the world around her. I'm hoping for sometime in the next few months. She's doing very well the the Explode the Code workbooks.
Cameron did his first "grown up school" (his words) today. I had him sit at the table during LA time and begin an alphabet book. We are starting with short vowel sounds. I also did mental math with him (he doesn't have the small motor skills to write numbers yet). He can count extremely well, and can identify numbers through 12. We practiced counting backwards and also finding the missing numbers in number sequences.
Of course, we began the day with God, using Leading Little Ones to God. Today, LLOTG encouraged us to learn about God through seeing and appreciating His created. We read Mark 1: 35-45. We'll discuss "healing" later today. And we are memorizing Psalm 1 from the Good News translation. (Chosen because of it's simplicity, decent accuracy and the fact that our church gave Andrew one and he can read along or do the reading outloud for us).
So, should I do history and science or wait? Hm.......
Tuesday, July 15, 2003 ::: Which is gross: Breastfeeding or Taco Bell?
I'm guessing most of you who read my blog read Tammy's. She links a story about a homeschooling, breastfeeding mom who was asked to feed her infant in the bathroom at Taco Bell. Would you like to eat your Nachos Bell Grande in the bathroom? Here's the article.
I have just finished reading a newstory regarding the breastfeeding mom and customer who was abused and harassed by your manager. I understand the manager has been terminated. I'd like to know Taco Bell's policy on breastfeeding moms in Taco Bell facilities. I'd also like to know your plans for training new and existing managers as to a mother's and baby's rights regarding this issue.
Friday, July 11, 2003 ::: Bean Dip for Homeschoolers
I've been passing around bean dip on the net for a few years. It was originally written for attachment parenting and alternative medical choice. I've revised it for homeschoolers who are facing varying levels of hostility towards their choices.
As an interesting related note, I find it telling that the spell check on my AOL email does not recognize "breastfeeding" or "homeschooling". That fact, in and of itself, is why bean dip is so needed. :)
I wanted to offer my "bean dip strategy" for homeschooling.
It's something I've learned in my years of parenting using alternative ideas. The specifics may change, but the principal doesn't. When setting boundaries, people (often moms) typically confuse setting the boundary with trying to convince the other person about how right they are in needing to set the boundary.
In setting boundaries, we don't need to convince the other person we are right and they don't have to agree about the boundary. We just need to be prepared to enforce the boundary, at any cost, using progressively more firm responses (if need be).
Here is an example:
I've found new moms often confuse boundaries and trying to convince someone of the *rightness* of their choices. They will send articles, links, books, cite statistics. All of these things send the message: this is up for debate and discussion, I may be swayed by you.
The best thing is to assert your boundary and *not* try to defend your choice. No books, articles, links, etc. If the person feels strongly enough *they* can initiate getting some information.
First, I learned early on that most of my choices were on a "need to know" basis. Most people don't "need to know."
Question: "What about socialization?" Answer: Got that covered, thanks! Want some bean dip?
Question:"They will need to function in the real world" Answer: "Yes! Thank you! Want some bean dip?"
"What about college?" Answer: "Yes, our children will be going. Thanks! Want some bean
Now, with some people you will need to set *firm* boundaries. They will need to be backed up with action (like hanging up, leaving the room or even the event). If it's a pattern of intrusion, for example. Practice kind but firm responses:
"I know you love us and the children. We are so glad. Our education choices have been researched and made. I will not discuss it again"
Don't confuse setting boundaries with trying to convince someone of the rightness of your choices. New HSing moms often struggle with this. The boundary is that no one else has a right to tell you how to parent and create a hostile environment. You set boundaries by doing the above. New HSing parents often invite problems is by citing authors, studies and sites to "defend" themselves. Each time you do so, you create more time for discussion and rebuttal and send the message that your decisions are up for debate. Don't defend your choices beyond generalities, and then only once or twice. "We are quite comfortable with our choices. Want some bean dip?"
Finally, look them in the eye and say simply "I want us to have a good relationship. I want you to *enjoy* the children. I'll parent the child - you enjoy them. Let's not discuss this anymore. If you bring it up, I will leave the room."
One thing I want to add is to *carefully* chose who you vent/rant to about parenting issues. Homeschooling is like breastfeeding in a way. Normal struggles get blamed and dumped on homeschooling (like normal baby/adjustment issues get blamed on breastfeeding). People will attribute parenting issues to the fact of your homeschooling. The more aggressive/hostile ones will deliberately capitalize on the opportunity and will use your parenting challenge as a way to force their anti Homeschool agenda. So, be very selective who you talk to about the specifics on your life.
1) Whatever curriculum you buy, make it *yours*. Write in it. Add to it. Cross things out. Tailor it to your family's values, your children's strengths and weakneses.
2) The public school approach to grade level and curriculum isn't proven effective. It's just the most commonly used model. :)
3) Homeschooling should be (mostly) a joy. As such, I recoommend books such as For The Children's Sake, Educating the Wholehearted Child and Beyond Survival.
4) Always remember that character, discipline and order should come first. Put down Shakespeare to address brotherly love between siblings. Put aside Child's History of the World to teach honesty.
5) Better yet, remember: Deut. 6:7 "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. "
6) Your children are young. You don't have to teach them to learn. You need to honor and not destroy their desire to learn.
7) Short, frequent lessons. I used a lot of Charlotte Mason ideas in my homeschool. One of the best of those was using short, frequent lessons. This kept interest high, young bodies moving and developed the habit of attention - without a power struggle.
8) School on the couch, the backyard, the park and at the kitchen table. Talk, discuss and cuddle. Although critical family and friends might say otherwise, you being the child's mother is the biggest advantage you have. Actively love your child as you read quality, engaging literature. Don't reproduce your school experience at home. Let your homeschool experience emerge from the love, rituatls and dynamic in your home.
9) Chose your support and friends carefully. Honor the roles of the people God put in your life; but don't expect any one person to serve in many roles. Chose safe, comfortable, experienced and knowledgable people to discuss homeschooling and child rearing issues with. Be pleasant but vague to the rest.
10) Find ways to honor everyone's temperment. Give the extrovert interaction, provide space to the introvert. This minimizes and often eliminates needless conflict. It fills everyone up to provide the best basis on which to behave.
11) Know that you will change, worry, make curriculum choices that don't work. Also know that your children will thrive, regardless. :)
This issue came up recently for a mom on a homeschool board I participate on. (On which I participate?).
The mom was talking to a relative about her son’s teetering between “child” and “older child” worlds. Wanting to both play with toys and put the toys away. The relative’s response was that the son “would be more mature if he were in public school”.
I have a related experience to share before I get to my point. A few years ago, on an email list I used to own (it still operates, and is wonderful) a mom remarked she could spot a homeschooling family immediately. Several of the homeschooling moms took immediate offense to the remark.
I’ve been pondering this for a while and my reasons for pondering it have been made more acute since moving and trying to assimilate into a near Houston, TEXAS, neighborhood.
I don’t think homeschoolers *can* have it both ways. Our children can’t be “normal” (defined by like other kids) and yet also be parented differently. We can claim our children are properly socialized, we can’t claim they are equally (as defined by the same in tone and tenor) socialized. We can claim that are children are prepared for the real world, but we can’t claim they are a part of the most common world for children in this culture.
Homeschooled children *are* more sheltered. I wouldn’t use the words “mature” or “immature” to describe the differences. But I won’t deny the differences. Certainly the religious aspect makes for some very different thinking and behavior. And even for those families who homeschool for other reasons, the homeschooled children still are often and profoundly different.
I’ve tried hard, so far, to present this issue without judgment. I *try* to make my homeschooling decision be about reasons to homeschool rather than reasons to not go to public school.
So………the problem I have with the issue at hand isn’t that homeschooled kids are less sophisticated. My problem is with the assumption that public schooled kids set the standard by which we should judge the maturity and sophistication of children.
It’s an arbitrary standard. A common one, to be sure, but arbitrary. There is nothing that proves institutional school to be the best or even a good vehicle to contribute heavily to the maturation of children.