Happy Birthday to My Mother

Mom, you’re going to be a hard act to follow.

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This is a photo of my mom with ten of my kids and me. I found out I was expecting Kenzie a month after this was taken.

     Today is my mom’s 79th birthday. I know she won’t mind me saying that because her favorite saying is, ”You’re only as old as you feel.” I wish I felt the same. The closer I get to 40, the sadder I get.
     Having said that, today’s post will be a tribute to my mom, Jean.

– Happy birthday to the woman who, upon finding out she was five months pregnant at the age of 39 (my current age),chose not to take the doctor’s advice and have an abortion. I wouldn’t be here today. The doctor was concerned that her advanced maternal age would cause her to have a Mongoloid baby (the doctor’s words, not mine).

– Happy birthday to the woman who did not have a baby with Down Syndrome but did have a baby with club foot in both legs. (Me)

– Happy birthday to the Mom who, along with my dad, drove me to Philadelphia over and over again to see a specialist.

– Happy birthday to my mom who never gave up on me, despite being told that I would never walk without crutches. She enrolled me in dance classes and skating classes, hoping the doctor’s predictions wouldn’t come true. They didn’t.

– Happy birthday to a mother who accompanied her daughter to countless dance classes and recitals. Because of her, I eventually became a certified dance teacher and a member of a dance company. I never did need those crutches.

– Happy birthday to the Granma who, despite still working full time, still finds time to be with her grandchildren who love her dearly. 

You’re going to be a hard act to follow, Mom! I can only pray that I will approach motherhood and, eventually, grandmotherhood with the same tenderness, hope, and determination that you have.

I love you, Mom!

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Sometimes Simple Is Hard

Keep it simple; don’t complicate things.

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Leave it to me to take something that is pure simplicity at its core and turn it around into something complicated. It happens unintentionally; it always does. As a former ”gifted” student, I’ve always excelled in areas of academics but failed miserably when it came to common sense.
Unfortunately, simplicity is all about common sense, and therein lies the problem.
In this post last week, I discussed the panic I was beginning to feel with allowing my children to follow their own interests and the fact that I felt they weren’t following any interests. They just seemed to be existing but not learning. Every time I would tell them to pursue something…anything…they wanted to, I would get a deer-in-the-headlights look from them. They honestly didn’t have a clue as to what I expected of them.
So over the weekend, I started thinking that maybe we should go back to our old eclectic method of homeschooling. They seemed they were doing so much more self-directed learning after I would finish their lessons for the day. I even went so far as to tell them that, come Monday, we were going back to our old routine. Believe me, they weren’t happy about this, but I guess they’re used to my indecisiveness because they took the news better than I thought they would.
And then the unthinkable happened. After I talked to them about this, I noticed that they did more self-directed learning in two days than they had done in the four weeks since we began unschooling!
Arianna made her own lipstick, learned how to paint her nails in a swirl pattern, and helped her dad change the brakes on the car!
She also made her own makeup tutorial and uploaded it onto YouTube.
Dillon went snowboarding, researched all kinds of mods for Minecraft, and made several batches of playdough for himself and the younger kids.
The younger kids were making paper dolls, crafting with playdough, and playing games all.day.long.
These are the same kids that weren’t doing much of anything last week, other than arguing with each other or staring off into space while petting the cats!!
     That’s when it hit me…I was to blame! I wasn’t giving them the space they needed to pursue their own interests. Sure, I was telling them to do it, but that’s the point…I was constantly telling them go find something to do, why aren’t you doing anything, find a project to do, etc. I also kept reminding them about making sure they were doing something educational, and I think the problem was that they didn’t think their interests were educational.
     I took something as simple as natural learning and complicated it as only I can! I made unschooling into something separate in our life, instead of a way of life!
     So I decided to give this whole unschooling thing another shot- with a twist. I took away the media blackout that I had instated because it made that period of time seem too schoolish. I also tried really hard not to interfere with their pursuits today. (I think I did really well, if I do say so myself!) I also made a point not to keep using the word ”educational.” As a matter of fact, London asked me if something was educational, and I replied, ”It doesn’t matter! Just have fun!” (FYI it was educational.)
So what did happen today?

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Dillon worked on some crafts.

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Puppets and paper dolls were made.

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The kids played ”restaurant” for hours, complete with making menus and taking orders.

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We watched A Little Princess. Arianna read it last year, so we watched the movie, and it’s a family favorite now. I cry every time I watch it!

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I asked Arianna what she was supposed to be, and she said, ”I’m a fish-monster, duh!” Preteens…

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Caollin journaled on her tablet.

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We played a makeshift game of Twister using our living room rug.

     Although I don’t have a photo, Dillon also made a YouTube video about how to download and install Minecraft mods, and Arianna emailed me her journal entry for today.
Would I count today as a success? Absolutely. When my children were actually given the space they needed without pushing or prodding, the learning continued beyond what I ever expected.
My lesson today? Keep it simple; don’t complicate things. I wish I would’ve realized this all along.

How has simplicity, or lack of it, affected you? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

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Throwback Thursday Blog-Style

Our Homeschool Month in Pictures

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Our new kitten, Violet

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Ireland and Summer ”hanging out”

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Dillon drawing

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London’s ”Noah’s Ark”

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Kenzie and Caollin

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Summer watching Dora

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Summer multitasking

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London making paper dolls

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Bailey in his ”boat”

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Arianna…building

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Dillon working on his blog

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Kenzie asleep in her exersaucer

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Jace and Violet

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London and Ireland doing science experiments

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Dillon sewing…yes, sewing

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Luke, Caollin, and London making chicken fingers

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Caollin with the fake lung we made

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Ireland doing her ”schoolwork”

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Ireland after Arianna did her makeup

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Devin makes an appearance

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Daddy playing with Kenzie

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Devin made this headband

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Dillon’s puppet

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Arianna’s math

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Crowley

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One of Ireland’s ”experiments”

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How I feel after posting all these pictures

So there was our January! What did yours look like?

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You Want the Truth About Homeschooling?

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Are you new to homeschooling or thinking about doing so in the future? What do you think of when homeschooling comes to mind? A beautifully coiffed Mom teaching her neatly dressed children, while simultaneously polishing the furniture and baking bread? Exquisitely mannered children doing everything they can to please said Mother? This is my wake-up call to you…that’s not reality!
Don’t fall into the trap of believing all the sugar-coated stories you hear of homeschooling! While there may be amazing families out there who seem to exemplify perfection- this is not the norm! Homeschooling families are real families with real issues, just like yours.
This was almost my homeschooling downfall- I was comparing myself to the fairy tale version of it, and if you’re a new homeschooler, you need to know the truth! That’s what I’m going to tell you today.

– Your house will be messy at times, but learning is happening, and memories are being made!

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My table looks like this at least three times a day.

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It will get cleaned!

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This is where the learning and memories come in.

Remember that your house is lived in 24 hours a day. Don’t beat yourself up if it gets a little cluttered at times. It happens when you’ve got kids at home- all the time.

– Your laundry will pile up, but that’s a great excuse to do school in your jammies!

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Don’t panic. This is extreme- I’ve got twelve people in the house and one washer and dryer.

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Bailey learning in his jammies

Yes, there are going to be days when your kids have to wear mismatched socks (that happens a lot here) or you will remember the night before church that your son doesn’t have clean pants (that happens a lot here, too). That’s okay. It’ll get done. If my kids are perfectly happy wearing their pajamas, and we’re not going anywhere, that’s fine! Less laundry for me!

– There will be bickering and crying at times (and not always by the kids!!), but love and friendship will win out!

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Notice the mismatched socks!

– There will be days…or weeks that you feel just plain burned out, but flexibility is one of the benefits of homeschooling.

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Take the day off and go somewhere!

Put in a DVD or let your kids follow their own interests for a while. Believe me, that’s learning at its best!

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That’s a salamander she’s holding.

– You’re going to want need to be alone at times, but that’s okay! Everyone needs some downtime. If having some alone time is going to help you be a better parent, by all means, do it! If you can’t actually get away (like me), get creative. Take a few extra minutes in the shower, send the kids outside, or let them watch TV (they’ll be fine).

I didn’t write this post to discourage you, but to encourage you. Homeschooling is such a tremendous blessing and joy, but if you go into it with unrealistic expectations,  you run the risk of disappointment, which homeschooling is not.

What advice would you give to new or prospective homeschoolers?

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A Mama’s Story

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Five Random Thoughts from a Frazzled Mom

I’m linking up with The Pebble Pond today for Random Five on Friday.

     One of the reasons I write is because I constantly  have thoughts running through my head throughout the day- some thought-provoking, some just plain stupid.:-)  Here’s a snippet of some recent ones:

1. Luke(5) broke my only broom, so which should I use?

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My broken broom?

My broken broom???

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Or Summer’s toy broom???

Hmmm…. I actually tried both. The broken one worked better, even though I had to do it on my hands and knees.

2. How do my kids know when I go down in the laundry room when they’re playing all the way upstairs?? Do they have radar??

3. Why do people spend so much money on jungle gyms when we’ve got what we need right in the house??

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The kids jumping on the laundry pile as we’re getting ready to take it downstairs

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Ireland pushing Summer in the washbasket

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The kids made their own washbasket obstacle course.

See??

4. Will I ever sleep through the night again? It’s been soooo long!

5. I wish there were little cleaning fairies who would come to my house to take care of this…

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I keep telling myself that someday I’m going to miss the mess. Okay, maybe not the mess itself but the cause of it.

What goes through your head??

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Weekend Review: Momentary Panic

Tuesday was when I had my meltdown.

     I can’t believe another week has come and gone already! Time flies when you’re having fun, right?
     Unfortunately, the winter doldrums are really hitting our whole family right now. Constant snow, ice, and below 0 temperatures means no outside activities…not good in this  houseful of antsy children. We’re pressing on, however, looking forward  to those beautiful spring days that can’t come fast enough!
     It snowed again on Saturday, which meant no church on Sunday…again. I honestly think we’ve missed more services than we’ve gone to in the last couple months. That darn global warming! 😉
     With the extra time at home, Devin made herself and her friend flower headbands.

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     Anyway… Monday was finally warm enough (25 degrees) for Devin, Arianna, London, and me to walk to the library. We borrowed several movies, which we’ve been busy watching all week.
     The first movie we watched was Tangled (this would be the first of four times…so far). I’ve seen it before but must have seen it through different ”lenses” this time because I noticed how much Rapunzel exemplified the traits of an unschooler, which I pointed out to my kids. She reads, paints, plays guitar, bakes, sews, does chores…this gave me a great example of natural learning for my kids because I think they’re still unsure of themselves in this new endeavor. They haven’t quite grasped the freedom they now have.
     We also did a really cool activity demonstrating plate tectonics using graham crackers and whipped cream. Seriously, any experiment you can eat will be a hit with my crew.
     Other than that, some of the kids watched some Liberty’s Kids episodes, and the younger kids made paper dolls.
     Tuesday was when I had my meltdown. I just didn’t see the kids doing anything that day besides arguing and petting the cats. Maybe the combination of being cooped up and the fact that I ran out of decaf and was drinking half-caf contributed to it, but I started panicking. How am I going to report what the kids are doing to the school district when they’re just sitting around? Was this a mistake? Why don’t my kids act like the genius unschoolers I always read about? I’m not proud of this…I’m just telling you like it is. This led to me lecturing the kids about how they’re taking advantage of the fact that I’m giving them the reins and how they’re letting me down. It wasn’t pretty.
     It did get them to actually get up and do something, but at what expense? It’s obvious the kids aren’t the only ones still unsure about this new path.
     So, here are some pictures I took post-meltdown.

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London did a baking soda and vinegar experiment.

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Dillon put an egg in vinegar, which he left in overnight.

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We watched American Girl- Saige and more Liberty’s Kids.
     Arianna started a butterfly lapbook and Caollin wrote about dinosaurs and made some out of clay.
     Wednesday was definitely better…I was more relaxed and the kids were more productive. Dillon, Arianna, and Caollin all wrote plays. Caollin acted hers out with London’s assistance.

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     Dillon took the egg out of the vinegar. It felt like a rubber ball- and it bounced!

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And then it broke all over a purse I got for Christmas. No harm done. It didn’t even smell, so we’re all good.
      We started the day Thursday by doing some dancing.

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Then we watched part of The Wizard of Oz before we started what I’m calling Life Skills Day- in other words- cleaning.
     We were missing two library books (we’re still missing one), and our upstairs has been…um…neglected lately, so I thought today would be a great day to get organized. Oh my word. I didn’t know what I was getting us into. The amount of dirty laundry upstairs was atrocious.

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This is only a portion of what was up there, but at least it provided some fun!

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     While the older kids were upstairs, the little ones kept themselves busy.

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Ireland doing an ”experiment.”

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Notice all the different outfits. Ireland and Summer must change their clothes five times a day.

     Friday we’ll plan to finish the upstairs.(Yeah, it was that bad.) Then, when Shawn gets home, we’ll take Devin to her friend’s house, which is an hour away. I think the drive will do us all some good.
     Spring, come soon!!!

Are you ready for spring??

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Navigating the Red Tape- Part 3: Our Path to an Accredited Diploma

High school is approached differently than the younger years.

     This is the last part of this series, and I saved this topic as the last section for a reason. High school is approached differently, even more intentionally, than the younger years. There is a reason for this…
     We have decided to use a homeschool accreditation diploma program for high school diplomas versus me issuing one myself. From what I’ve found in my research, parent-issued diplomas can sometimes run into problems where lawyer-backing becomes necessary, so this is the most comfortable option for us.
     Since I wrote about Devin’s decision to approach school in a more textbook-driven way in an earlier post, today I’m going to focus on how we will fulfill the necessary requirements next year.
     Devin and Dillon will both be in ”high school” next year. It’s very important to me that their learning is self-directed, despite the fact that more structure will be necessary than for the younger kids. (I addressed the accreditation requirements right here.) Once again, thanks to Renee over at FIMBY, I was able to take what they’re interested in and create their entire curriculum around these subjects.
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     Dillon loves Minecraft. There’s no getting around it. I fretted and fretted about the amount of time he spends on it and got sound advice from Renee. Can you incorporate this into his curriculum? After some research I discovered that yes I can! I stumbled across Minecraft Homeschool, an online (obviously) class that is sufficient to replace curriculum.
     I totally get how it covers math (to a point), history (the class involves researching ancient structures and replicating them), and a gaming elective. As of right now, they are planning to add science and language arts curriculum in the fall, so that would be perfect. We’re also looking into computer programming through Khan Academy but haven’t come to a definite decision, yet.
     If you’re wondering whether Dillon’s time is going to be completely consumed by the computer, trust me, it won’t be. Dillon loves the outdoors- catching slimy critters that disgust (and scare) me, wading through the creek, and skateboarding are some of his favorite pastimes.
     The only concern I really have right now is the fact that he has to read 25 books next year, including 3 classics. Sometimes it’s really hard finding books that he’ll actually finish.
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     Devin loves the PBS show Sherlock and the USA show Psych. She’s fascinated with body language (kinesics) and logic, so right there’s her perfect curriculum! She’ll be reading the classic Sherlock Holmes books and will possibly write her own private investigation short story (a requirement is that she must write three compositions of any length and one ten page composition). She’ll be studying Psychology with a textbook (I’ll post our curriculum choices in a future post. We’re not 100% on almost anything yet.) We were going to just utilize the library for this, but I want to make sure she learns psychology with a Christian-based curriculum versus new age ideologies. We’re going to cover kinesics through living books and logic through a Christian-based curriculum. She will also be taking geometry- a requirement through the state- and astronomy. (I know this has nothing to do with the curriculum, but this was her choice for science, so she’s doing it. Incidentally, I do know for a fact that we’re using Teaching Astronomy through Art because it combines two of her favorite things, so it’s a no-brainer)
     So is this approach still considered unschooling? I guess it depends on who you ask. These curriculums have been created solely on their interests, so self-directed may be a better word. It honestly doesn’t matter to me, as long as they are learning and loving it!

How do you homeschool high school? Leave a comment and join the conversation!
    

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Navigating the Red Tape- Part 2: How Do I Comply?

How I keep the daily logs, portfolios, and how we will prepare for standardized tests

     Okay…it’s confession time. After watching my kids do seemingly nothing today other than petting the cats and arguing until I intervened and made them find something to do, I was feeling pretty panicky. I mean, even though I know they’re learning, I really don’t think the school district is going to accept ”If they’re living, they’re learning” as proof of adequate progress, so that old (okay…not that old) anxiety came creeping back today.
     I can’t tell you enough what a treasure trove of information is over at FIMBY, so once again I turned there for inspiration and some much needed advice directly from Renee Tougas, and, as always, her wisdom has grounded me again. (I highly recommend her blog to you. If you’ve never visited it, trust me. You’ll be glad you did.)
     So now that I’m feeling rejuvenated again, let’s get on with this post. Today I’m writing about how I’ve been keeping the state-required daily log and portfolio and how I plan on preparing for standardized tests.

Daily Logs
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– In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about how I break down each of my children’s activities into subjects. This is where this categorization would apply.
     I bought several teacher plan books at a teacher supply store and labeled each subject on the pages (English, Math, Social Studies, Science, Health/Safety, Art/Music/Phys. Ed., and Consumer Science aka Life Skills). Along with writing the date for each logged entry, I also write what number school day we are at. (Example- Today Arianna completed her 139th day of school, so under today’s date, I’ll just write 139.)
     Around 8pm every night, the kids will journal about everything they’ve done that day, and then give it to me. Either that night or the following morning, I will use the journals to log in what they did. Sometimes this takes some creativity, as the school district would probably sneer at Dillon’s phrase ”played military”, so some rewording is necessary. In this case, ”played military” became ”military strategy activity.” The journal is probably the easiest part of the requirements, although it’s very time consuming.

Portfolios
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– I have a feeling portfolios are going to prove to be much trickier now than when we were completing more seatwork. In prior years, I had no problem submitting portfolios as thick as phone books. That won’t be so this year, as most of our activities are hands-on projects that you can’t very well put in a binder.
     This is why I must be creative this year. While I can always ask the children to write summaries of their activities, I find myself really liking the idea of taking pictures- and lots of them. There’s something about seeing the actual project or experiment in color versus just getting a written account. I feel it brings more life to their activities. Another great asset to record-keeping requirements is this blog. It’s like a diary of our homeschooling journey, and I’d be more than happy to share it, if needed.

Standardized Tests
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– Aah…the lovely standardized test- a thorn in the side of students everywhere- homeschool and public school, alike.
     My state requires that standardized tests be taken in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade, which means that I will have anywhere from 1-3 kids taking them every year in the foreseeable future. Sigh. Only reading and math tests are required, but I did notice that the test that we use does throw in some grammar and punctuation.
     The main thing that worries me the most is that, since we’ve changed homeschooling styles, I’m a little fretful their test scores may drop a little, as they were testing anywhere from 2-4 grade levels above where they were at.
     I have a feeling that Khan Academy will be our friend this year. Dillon is the only one taking it this year, so starting a week before I plan on doing his test, he’ll go through an intense math review by watching these videos. My kids actually really enjoy this website. (They like the colored markers…it’s the little things…) I’m not too concerned with the reading portion, as reading is a large part of our lives.
     I used to have to take the kids to the nearest school to take the test there, or I had to find a homeschool group who would administer the test for a fee. Last year, however, I learned about the online California Achievement Test through Christian Liberty Press, and it was truly a godsend. This test is taken at home, and you can take however long you want to complete it, although it is a timed test. You can just take however long or short of a break between sections as you want. The results are then emailed to you within five minutes of completion of the test.

     So, there you have it. Again, I’m still a newbie at this whole natural learning thing, so if I hit any roadblocks or have second thoughts about any of this, I’ll be sure to write about it.

Any questions, thoughts, or suggestions? I would love to hear from you!

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The Top Ten Reasons I Homeschool

How our experience with public school affected our decision to homeschool

I know that “Reasons Why I Homeschool” posts are a dime a dozen, but this particular list will refer specifically to how our experience with public school affected this decision. I could probably list more than ten reasons, but for the sake of time I’m going to limit myself.

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1. My children can learn about what interests them, and God is never a taboo subject at home.

When Arianna was in 2nd grade, her teacher asked the children for examples of authority figures. One child answered ”God” and was told that since not everyone believes in God, she couldn’t include Him as an authority figure.

What kind of a message is that to children being raised in Christian homes? At home they’re taught about the sovereignty of God, and at school they’re taught (often by teachers that they assume know everything) that God has no position of authority.

2. We don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn and rush around to get ten children dressed and ready for school.

I know what you’re thinking…get everything ready the night before! In theory, this sounds wonderful, but in practice, it’s laughable. Have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law- if anything can go wrong, it will? Yeah, well, my house is a prime example to the validity of that. I could have all the clothes, shoes, and backpacks neatly lined up and ready, and without fail, something would still be missing when it was time to leave!

3. We don’t have to walk to and from school in inclement weather.

We’re a one-car family, so every morning I would have to bundle up a baby and two toddlers to walk the other children to school in all kinds of weather- heavy rain, snow, freezing temperatures…you name it.

4. I don’t have to report to anyone when one (or all) of my children is sick.

I understand the concept behind this…I really do, but when I’ve got eight kids throwing up, the last thing I’m thinking of is calling the attendance office.

5. I don’t have to worry about unexcused absences.

When Caollin was in kindergarten, I was pregnant with Ireland. At the end of my pregnancy, I had to go in for non-stress tests 2-3 times a week. I would often take her with me and then drop her off at afternoon kindergarten. The one day, the doctor was concerned and had me stay on the monitor longer because the baby wasn’t very reactive. I called the school to tell them that Caollin wouldn’t be at school that day. I explained the situation and the fact that Caollin was with me, and I couldn’t leave. The secretary then proceeded to tell me this would be an unexcused absence because it wasn’t Caollin’s appointment!

6. There is no crazy time when the kids all arrive home.

I love my kids to death, but I used to dread when they would all come home from school because they would act completely nuts! There would be screaming, fighting, backpacks and jackets thrown everywhere, papers strewn all over the place…it was bad.

7. There is no homework.

I know that technically, everything in homeschool, even play, is considered home work, but this is different. The kids used to all approach me for homework help at the same – and it was frustrating because I would have no idea what they had learned all day. Algebra homework was the worst with my daughter because, I swear, the school must have bought the cheapest textbooks available because her book had no explanation of how to do anything! The teacher didn’t help matters, either, because she would only check to see if the students did their homework (they probably could have written anything); she never went over anything!

8. There are no unexpected, um, friends visiting our house.

I’m not referring to human friends; I’m referring to those little friends that are too small to see. Colds, the flu, viruses, and the absolute worst- lice- used to make unexpected appearances in our home. To make matters worse, the school’s lice policy was terrible. They wouldn’t even inform the parents when a classmate was found to have lice because, and I quote, ”It’s not a health issue; it’s a social issue.” Yeah. Try telling that to the mom who has to treat a dozen people and rewash everything in the house. I’m guessing you can tell this is a sore spot with me.

9. I don’t have a million papers being thrust at me every day.

Fundraisers, school pictures, permission slips, PTA notices…oh my word. There were days I honestly used to feel like I was going to have a panic attack. If you think I’m exaggerating, think about it. Take a look at all the papers accumulated for one child multiplied by 10!

10. We can follow our own schedule.

It just makes more sense for our family to learn year-round. A 12 week break can’t be very good for retention. Beyond that, my children need the structure. Even though we have started unschooling, we still have a basic schedule that we follow, and it’s a lifesaver!

We are so blessed to live in a country where we have the opportunity to homeschool our kids. Reasons for this decision may vary, but never forget to take advantage of the freedom that accompanies homeschooling.

Do you homeschool? What were your deciding factors?

 

 

 

Navigating the Red Tape- Part 1: How Do I Know What My Kids Are Learning?

This is how I’ve broken down my children’s activities into subjects.

 That title’s a mouthful, isn’t it? 🙂  My apologies; I couldn’t think of another way to convey my complete thought.

 Anyway, living in a state which requires keeping records of each subject completed when you don’t approach learning with such rigid boundaries can be tricky. It requires looking closely at exactly what your children are doing in a whole new way.
Thanks to John Holt, author of Learning All the Time, and Renee Tougas, probably one of the most inspiring bloggers I’ve ever read, (over at FIMBY) I can see value in pretty much everything my children do.
In order to demonstrate how I keep a record of our unschooling days, I’m going to break down some of what my children did last week, subject by subject. I’ll only be including the activities of my children in 4th through 8th grades because I do not keep records of my younger children because it is not required until they reach 3rd grade. I’m also not including anything by my oldest daughter because I treat high school differently and will discuss that in Part 3 of this series. Keep in mind that, for this post, I’m only separating by subject- not by child- so if I write something like ”playing house,” please realize that I’m not referring to my 8th grade son. 😉

Subject breakdown for daily logs:

English- silent and shared reading, reading aloud to siblings, writing, proofreading, and editing blog posts, writing and illustrating ”readers” for younger siblings, visiting the library, writing captions for pictures, journaling, games on tablet- Ruzzle, Scribblenauts, creating new tablet ”apps”- Brave Writer

Math- Lifepac workbooks, Minecraft math (area, perimeter, symmetry, etc.), strategy games like World of Warcraft (problem solving), geometric patterns, grocery shopping (price comparison, budgeting, mental math)

Social Studies- Little House on the Prairie (watching miniseries, family read-aloud, pioneer times, Native American attire and customs), biblical history- Book of Matthew, field trip to accountant, Minecraft project (building an entire town, researching what businesses and institutions are necessary for a town to thrive- fire and police stations, hospitals, stores, churches, post office, etc.)

Science- going to nearby creek and exploring the frozen surroundings, listening to different sound waves created by throwing different size rocks onto frozen pond, Little House on the Prairie science (how a well is dug, how to test underground for noxious gases), learning how oxygen feeds fire by putting lids on candles, YouTube science experiment- how a flame in a bottle can create a vacuum strong to suck in an entire egg, reading about cryptids, fake lung activity, how lungs work, creating mythical animals and describing what they eat

Health/Safety- fire safety while experimenting with candles, a visit to the eye doctor, how lungs work, the effects of noxious gases (Little House), checking thickness of ice on pond before getting too close

Art/Music/Gym- drawing, makeup tutorials, applying theatrical makeup, clay and play dough creations, sewing, making posters and murals, Minecraft (architecture, interior decorating), illustrating books, foam collages and mosaics, listening to music while playing, worship music, singing, playing in the snow, going for walks, skateboarding, shoveling snow.

Life Skills- cleaning, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, washing laundry and putting it away, meal preparation, grocery shopping, driving simulator game, helping with baby, pet care, making beds, game- Burger Maker

So, this is how I’ve broken down my children’s activities into subjects. It’s something I, honestly, find very tedious and, well, pointless, but it is so important that we homeschoolers comply with our state laws to protect this awesome privilege right that we are blessed to have.

What about you? What are your state requirements?

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Linking up with
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http://www.soyoucallyourselfahomeschooler.com/2014/01/25/homeschool-mothers-journal-january-25-2014-big-annoucement/