My Homeschooled Kids are Weird

June 3rd, 2009

Newsflash! Yes, it is true that homeschooled kids are weird. At least my kids are.

2335080161_6c96f831b1_m-by-milena-mihaylova

We have all been sick for a couple of weeks, so life has been a bit slower than usual. Now that the kidlets are feeling better, they have been begging me for school work! Do kids in regular classrooms do that?

This morning C5 demanded that she read a book to me before my morning coffee. She was not going to wait to read it to me either. In my blurry-eyed state I listened and coached her as she read. Even though I thought that the book was not the right match for her, she insisted on finishing the book. Alas, we got through it. I must say her persistence will get her far in life!

The begging continues throughout the day, too, but sometimes it just isn’t feasible to give them work. For example, they desperately wanted some work during that awful time of day right before dinner. I had to give in to the pleading tonight, though. They just wouldn’t back down despite the fact that we were running late on dinner, and they were starving. Amidst all the rushing around the kitchen while Daddy prepared dinner and I cleaned up, the kids worked on a puzzle together at the kitchen table. (It was the best thing I had on such short notice that didn’t required much supervision.) It was a sight to see. C5 was giving A2 a lesson on the letter names and sounds. She was instructing her little sister in the shapes of the letters, too. I heard a lot of, “Good job!” while they were working together. It was so cute!

I just shake my head in these moments. Thank you, God. My children love learning. My children are weird.

Photo courtesy of milena mihaylova

Trust the Process, Homeschoolers

January 20th, 2009


Photo by ninjaeil902

Trust the process.

I think homeschoolers often want their approach to education to work, to be the right way to go. Then the children hit a wall with their learning, and you get frustrated and discouraged by it. It makes you want to push to try to force “it” to happen. It’s as if you think that if you try harder, something will click in your child’s mind. I find that I sometimes push too hard in this very situation.

Trust the process.

As a teacher I know about how children learn. I know that it pays to be patient and encouraging. Children need time practice. They need time to store and retrieve new information. Children need time to synthesize new information. It all takes time. I know that.

Trust the process.

As a mother I want the very best for my children. I know that our society values beauty and intelligence, and I want both for my children because I love them so. As a mother, I believe that my children are both beautiful and intelligent. Somehow I feel like they have to prove that to the rest of the world, though. Sometimes I push them so they can prove themselves to this fallen world.

Trust the process.

Then I hear that little voice in the back of my mind telling me that I need to back off. I need to love my children and teach them about our mighty, loving God. I have to trust the process because there is nothing that I can do to make “it” happen or to speed up that process. In fact, proving themselves simply is not important.

Trust the process.

God is in control. He loves my children more than I can imagine. He has a plan for each of them. According to God, my children do not have to prove themselves to anyone in this fallen world. They have to love God and their neighbor. That is what He wants from them. Through that process they will learn and do great things because they are doing things for God – not me.

Trust the process.

Photo by ninjaeil902

Discouraged Homeschooler?

January 13th, 2009


Photo by Saad.Akhtar

Photo by Saad.Akhtar

Have you been a discouraged homeschooler lately?

I know that we all go through that from time to time. I found a great post about this very topic on the Alpha Omega Publications Blog. The post is encouraging and reminds us that we are not home educating our children alone.

God will provide for you in your time of need.

When I talk to other people about homeschooling, I get mixed responses. I love talking to people who completely support me and my husband for being able to do it. Then I get discouraged when I talk to people who are naysayers. When I am discouraged, it helps to talk with seasoned homeschoolers. The homeschoolers I know are willing to share their ideas and tips when you mention that you have questions or need help. Remember that it is imperative to have support and seek out help when you need it. You are not in this alone!

God will provide for you in your time of need.

Last week I met a seasoned homeschooler at C4’s dance class. She homeschools five children, so she knows what she is talking about. She had many great tips to share with me this week based on the conversation we had last week. I find her presence comforting, too. Her personality is very different than mine, and I appreciate that. I feel as though God place her in my life so I can learn from her. Just seeing her interact with her kids over the next few weeks will teach me more than I could imagine. I feel blessed to know her! I feel encouraged now that I am on the right track.

God provided for me in my time of need.

A Christmas Tradition: Eric Felz

November 8th, 2008
Photo by Digitoxin

Photo by Digitoxin

Today Eric Felz shares his family’s Christmas tradition with us.

Our Christmas tradition was to go to the candlelight mass on Christmas Eve. Many Catholic churches have a midnight mass on Christmas Eve, but our church had a couple of masses. The candlelight one wasn’t always at midnight, but we made a point to go to the candlelight mass. There was just something about the the warm glow of the candles and the beautiful music that made this tradition special. Oh the music was wonderful. The choir sang, and their voices were angelic. The organ, which I really only heard at church and baseball games, also played. The whole experience was what people envision when they think of Christmas.

The candlelight mass was a truly reverant experience. I treasure the memories of being in church with my family on Christmas Eve.

Homeschoolers, Make Math Facts Fun!

November 3rd, 2008
Photo by Dicemanic

Photo by Dicemanic

Learning math facts can be boring and tedious. Here are a few ways that you can make learning them more interesting in your home school. Trying these ideas might motivate your children to memorize those facts instead of counting!

Photo by apesara

Photo by apesara

  • Teach fact family trees. For example, one fact family tree is 2,3,5. 2is 2,3,5. 2
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    3 Many peoples shall go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Yahweh, To the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.
    +3=5, 3+2=5, 5-3=2, 5-2=3. It also works for multiplication and division – 2,3,6. 2×3=6, 3×2=6, 6÷2=3, 6÷3=2. Remembering three numbers is an easy way to memorize the basic facts. Also have your child write the equations on trees with the three numbers written on top.
  • Practice addition facts by playing dice games. Create a game board and game pieces. Roll the dice and add the two numbers together. Move that many spaces forward on the board.
  • Another way to practice addition facts is to play “Make 10″ with a set of cards numbered 0-9. It is played just like “Go Fish” except you add two numbers whose sum is 10.
  • Practice multiplication facts by playing “Circles and Stars”. Roll a die. Draw that many circles. Roll the die again. Draw that many stars in each circle. Write the equation that your picture represents.

Have fun learning basic math facts by making a few simple changes in your homeschool curriculum.

Time to Connect

September 14th, 2008

This is such a busy time of year for homeschoolers. The school year is just starting up, and you’re still working out the kinks, trying to find your rhythm. The kids may be reluctant to start school again or perhaps they are so excited that you can’t keep up with them. In any case, you are doing a lot right now. Do you find that it is difficult to find time for your spouse? It is so hard to do it all, and often times something has to give. I encourage you to consider a few ways to stay connected with your spouse even when it seems like there is no time.

  1. Have dessert or tea together after the children are in bed. This is your time to reconnect and discuss the day. It is a great stress reliever, too. The only rule is that you cannot do anything else like watch TV. It also only needs to take 5-10 minutes of your evening.
  2. Leave each other love notes. You can leave a note in your hubby’s brief case telling him how much you love him, or leave a note in his car to tell him that you are thinking about him. Send him an e-mail to say, “I love you.” It means a lot when you take a moment out of your day to remind your hubby that he is special to you.
  3. Choose a date night. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or even go anywhere fancy. The only thing that matters is that you are together. You can even have your date at home if you have to.
  4. Take a moment to sit outside after the children are sleeping to talk.  This is a great way to spend a brisk fall evening cuddled up under the stars.
  5. Laugh together. Tickle each other. Tell jokes. Watch a funny TV show. Get silly. Laughter is a great way to deal with stress!
  6. Reminisce. Rekindling those memories helps you to feel the same way you did way back when. Look through a photo album or remind each other of stories from when you were dating.
  7. Do something unexpected for your spouse. Meet your hubby at the door with a long, passionate kiss. Make a special meal for your husband. Watch the football game with him. Meet him at work for a picnic lunch. It is fun to think of the possibilities!
  8. Give your hubby a back rub. It doesn’t take long, but he will feel more relaxed and grateful for the gesture!
  9. Listen to a book on cd together. You both can do other things while the book is playing (like laundry and dishes), but you will have a shared text that you can talk about. Choose something that is fun and interesting for both of you.
  10. Pray together. This can be intimidating if you don’t usually do it. To get you started think about making it a short time of prayer and make the prayer about praises. As you both get more comfortable, you can pray longer and about more intimate requests. You will find it amazing!

What are some ways that you and your spouse connect when you are busy?

Mallard Math

September 5th, 2008

We have practiced our math skills in a variety of ways through Make Way for Ducklings. There are a few mathematical possibilities in this particular book that you might find helpful if you are also working on this particular lapbook.

Since there are eight ducklings in the book, we have practiced counting the number eight. Since my kiddos are kinesthetic learners, I need to incorparate manipulatives into our math work, and a great manipulative for this particular lesson is plastic Easter eggs. First, we sorted the eight eggs by color and counted how many eggs there were of each color. We compared which color we had more and less of. We also dabbled in addition and subtraction by adding one more egg and removing one egg. After all of that manipulative work, we made a counting book with the numbers 1-8. It’s a graduated page book. On each page the children drew the amount of eggs that correlate with the number on the page. Creating this book is also a great way to address the unique the needs of kinesthetic learners since there is a lot of interaction involved – turning the pages, drawing the eggs, counting the eggs, and coloring the eggs. My children needed a bit of guidance with staying focused on the task, but overall, this was a hit!

We also used the song “Five Little Ducks” to talk about counting backwards from 5. We used it as a finger play while I a read a great picture book of the song, Five Little Ducks illustrated by Ivan Bates. They really love this song and adding a kinesthetic piece to it just makes it more engaging. Having the visuals (pictures) also makes the song more interesting. Lessons are so much more dynamic when you weave multiple disciplines together.

Get cracking on your math skills, homeschoolers!

Blueberries for Homeschoolers

August 14th, 2008

Homeschoolers, are you looking for a family afternoon activity this month? August is blueberry season! It is really a short season, so get out there and pick some blueberries! We had such a great time when we went blueberry picking the other day. We learned a few things about blueberries along the way, and that has inspired us to use that as a theme for learning.

While we were picking, the children discovered that blueberries grow on bushes, and ripe blueberries are blue. Don’t pick the green ones! Smaller blueberries are sweeter than the bigger ones. We also learned that it takes a long time to fill a two quart container. It’s fun to sample a few blueberries while you pick, too! It was such a special afternoon for our family to spend together. We were able to just chat about the happenings in our life. We laughed and played in and amongst the bushes. It is an experience that I will treasure because of the memories I hope we are creating for our children.

We also borrowed the book Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey on cd. I read the book to the kids, and they listened to it on cd several times. This is really a charming book that the kids really enjoy. This book is inspiration for the other things that we will learn and do together. (That’s another blog post on the way!) I think that having the experience of blueberry picking helps the children make connections to the story while we read and ultimately understand a little more about the book.

I hope you take advantage of the short blueberry season!

Homeschooling Woman of Faith

July 26th, 2008

Homeschoolers can feel isolated from time to time especially when the children have gotten into a rhythm and routine. You often forget to look up and take a break. I was able to take a refreshing break that I truly needed this weekend. I went to the Women of Faith conference. I have been thinking about what Sheila Walsh, one of the speakers, talked about. She is a funny and inspirational speaker, singer, and author. Today she spoke about what Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was betrayed by Judas. She was struck by the fact that although Jesus asked God to take away His fate if it was at all possible, He wanted to follow God’s will instead of His own.

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39Matthew 26:39
English: World English Bible - WEB

39 He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not what I desire, but what you desire.”

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Seeking God’s will is such a difficult thing. I know that I often start out trying to seek His will, but instead I seek my own. Do you find that you do that, too? I don’t want to let go of my agenda, and I secretly hope that God will go along with what I want. My prayers often sound like demands. I want my God to do what I think is best. In this passage Jesus is showing us that it is all right to ask of God, but to expect that His will is done – not yours.

It is easy for homeschoolers to feel obligated, pressured, and unsure of what to do next about their children’s education. Sometimes you are not sure if what you are doing is right. You compare your home school to another. Have you asked God what He wants for you? God has a plan for you and your children.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11Jeremiah 29:11
English: World English Bible - WEB

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end.

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God’s answers to your prayers may surprise you, but you don’t know the whole story like He does. He is the author. His plan is better than any plan that you could come up with. Draw closer to Him during your quiet time in order to discern what His will is for you, your family, and your home school. Spend time reading the Bible, listening to God. Listening to God will give you wisdom about how to proceed, which may not make sense to you in the context of our world, but will make sense in God’s greater plan.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2Romans 12:2
English: World English Bible - WEB

2 Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

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Try following Jesus’ example and pray. Ask God for what you hope for, but ready to hear what His will is.

Sharing the Gospel with Drama

July 22nd, 2008

A drama of the song Everything by Lifehouse

Have you wondered how to share the Gospel better with your children in your home school? Do you struggle with how to make really big ideas more meaningful and understandable for your kids? Many Christian homeschoolers want to do a better job with this very thing. I know that I do. Then I saw this drama done to the song Everything by Lifehouse, and it struck me that I can use this kind of tool with my children.

This drama brought me to tears! It completely encapsulates the whole of the good news. It embodies the struggle that I know that I have between wanting worldly things and needing spiritual things. I forget that Jesus us my savior sometimes, and this is such an amazing way of showing what that really means. I love the part where Jesus is shielding the girl from sin and bearing the burden for her. What an amazing visual!

As a homeschooling mom, I have struggled with how to share some of the big concepts in the Bible. Ideas like salvation and sin are really difficult for young kids to grasp, and my kids ask questions that get at the heart of these concepts. My sweet child sounded just like Paul when she described her struggle with sin. She told me that God wants her to what is right, but sometimes she can’t do it even though she wants to do it. Paul tells us:

For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Romans 7:19Romans 7:19
English: World English Bible - WEB

19 For the good which I desire, I don’t do; but the evil which I don’t desire, that I practice.

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The idea is right there for her. Since she is already thinking about these ideas, I want to give her something concrete to make sense of it all, and a drama similar to this in a more age-appropriate format would be helpful. The lyrics to the song are simple, but truly amazing, and I would definitely use it with the drama. You can find the lyrics at MetroLyrics. Maybe a multisensory approach to sharing the Gospel will bring my daughter closer to accepting Christ! That is truly awesome to me!

Verse of the Day
  • Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:11, ESV)