"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This Thing Called Homeschool

Last week was one of the best weeks we've had since school started.    We only had one interruption on Veterans Day, with a parade and a breakfast our church prepared for the Warriors on Wheels as they passed through our small town.  And believe you me, we've been riddled with lots of interruptions since school started.  That my friends is information for another post.  I can't even begin to tell you how accomplished we felt to have several good school days ....  in a row. 
Admittedly, some days I wonder why I'm doing this. This meaning, this homeschool thing.  It's not the norm at all, although it is becoming more and more common every year.  I wonder though, wouldn't it be easier .... if..... I sent our son to public school every day because:
1)  I could let someone else be the responsible one for his education.
2)  I could let him be around a lot of other kids his own age every day, all day long....learning "social skills" and "stuff" from them.
3) I could use the time I spend on homeschool research and prep for something else, and I wouldn't have to - - research curriculum, scope out field trips, keep up with constantly needed supplies that are non-typical school supplies, look for on-line resources to supplement our days and themes, spend so much time on-line at our library's website selecting books and then later picking them up from the library, investigate home school co-ops and groups, stalking on-line homeschool groups, figuring out the best way to keep records and stay on top of things, etc.
4) Then I could have more time to do other things, (like, have more time for me, or maybe I could get another job, keep my house cleaner,  stay up with my tasks and responsibilities at home, be a little more organized with my job at church,......Oh I can think of a lot of ways I would spend that time.)
And then, someone comes along and shares a story of their day.  A story involving several shocking scenarios that allow me to once again remember why I am in this thing called homeschooling.   After those scenarios are played out in my mind, stories from my past pop up as reminders as well, discouraging news articles I've read flip open their files in my memory banks, and all these things come bounding to the surface.
Did you know?  That in some of the high schools these days, the kids are allowed to cuss at and around their teachers, without any repercussions?  And this includes the "f-bomb."  And that a visiting parent isn't even enough to make them pause for a moment and think, 'maybe this is disrespectful?'
Did you know?  That some teachers are scared to demand respect out of the students around them.  So, the kids that are there to learn and gain an education, are exposed to the once that do not care about school at all?
Did you know?  That a large majority of students ignore their school work and don't care that they will end up in ISS?
Did you know?  That students can shut down and duct tape a teachers computer while the teacher steps out of the room and not be reprimanded when that teacher returns?
Did you know?  That middle school teens like to hang out at local fast food restaurants and it is quite common for many of those students to engage in fighting and/or threatening confrontations?
Did you know?  That elementary kids under 5th grade level, typically hear curse words and inappropriate words, such as body parts, as they ride home on the bus?
Did you know?  In some states and schools that teachers of health class are allowed to introduce your child to the details of same sex relationships?

Based on personal experiences:

Did you know?  That a child can sit in a class room and be assaulted by spit wads and no one will do anything?

Did you know?  That a child can be made fun of on a daily basis, and the teachers won't/can't do anything?
Did you know?  That a child can be pushed around out on the playground, and no one will stop the one doing the assaulting?
After you read through that list, it doesn't become rocket science anymore folks.  All these things rumble around inside me and make me feel sick to my stomach.  I know homeschooling is not for everyone and I know that there are many reasons out there that leave parents in the position of not being able to homeschool.  I am not here judging anyone their choice.  Each family has to make the best choice available to them.  

What this does do for me is it makes me feel all the more grateful -- that at this time, in this moment, God has blessed us and we are able to homeschool.  Will this always be the case?  I sure can't answer that.  Only God has the answer to that.  But, I do know that being a homeschool parent is a calling.  It is something you are called, by God, to do for your children.  Does it mean I am not nervous or apprehensive with the courses that are in our future? No, it does not.  I am nervous about all those things.  But, I also know that He WILL equip me with all I need to get that job done.  

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  Philippians 1:6

So, for today.  For the here and now, I am grateful to be able to homeschool.  Even on the frustrating days....Because on those days especially, there is no better feeling than when we do manage to pull it all together and get the job done.

Educating in Christ,


Friday, November 8, 2013

Week #5-6 - ECC - 3rd Grade

Welcome to our little place on the web.  Here you will see what we did next in ECC as we moved into weeks #5 and #6 and "flew" to Mexico.  Each time we "fly" to a new location I put my arms out to my sides and make airplane noises.  So, okay, Caleb is 8 and probably way past airplane noises.  But I love the eye roll and look he gives me.  And some day, he will look back and say, "Hey mom, remember when you used to make those airplane noises as we flew from one country to the next?  You always tried to make me laugh, and I liked that."  (I can dream, can't I?)

He took a picture of me this week.  At least this one is okay enough to show all of you:


Our bible sessions for the last two weeks consisted of lessons from:
*Windows of the World and some reading on Cuba
*Locating Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth on the map/globe
*Locating the Jordan river
*Windows of the World with readings on Haiti

We continued our reading in the book of Matthew covering  chapters 3 - 4 - and the beginning of 5.

The memory verse was  Matthew 4:4 - Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Language Arts: Our lessons included either copy work of the memory verse, and/or weekly vocabulary words.  With the vocabulary words, he writes the name and a draws an illustration on one side of the 4x6 card.  And on the reverse side, he write the definition.    His recent words were:  Desert, Dune, Canyon, and Gulch. I think I mentioned that he does all the work on these cards, except for the coloring.  I think I'm a few weeks behind in my coloring.  One of these days I will get them done.  I'd better get at it because I expect he will be pointing his finger at me very soon.

Spelling:   We covered a lot of ground in spelling with a new list of words to write nearly ever day.  We discuss any he gets incorrect, which has been pretty rare lately.  He's really been doing a good job.  Caleb finds it more palatable to write the words on his lap-size, dry erase board.  I need a record of the work done, for me.....so I take a lot of pictures.  Here are some of his lists.  I absolutely love his side note.  I had just received a telephone call telling me that my sweet sister-in-law was very sick and in a bad way.  I was crying on the phone and Caleb was writing me a note.  God bless my sweet son for his sweet spirit.  I don't know what I would do without him to bless my days.



We've continued with daily lessons in our Queens Language Lessons book.  We were focusing on a narration on wolves, a discussion of capital letters and the days of the week, additional narration and some fill in the blanks on the days of the week.  Sometimes the copy work is that of a poem and sometimes it's just a list of words, like for these lessons, the days of the week.

We also drafted our first letter to our pen pal, Nathan.  His momma also thinks he will have a good time writing letters to a pen pal.  We shall see how Caleb does from his end.

Math Drills:

Ten minutes of daily math drills consisting of either worksheets or flashcards.


We're still working through our Singapore Math Review Book, completing 15 worksheets, on various topics.  Things seem to be clicking a little better for him as we go through this book of review.  I am very glad we stopped moving ahead and took some time to review these concepts consisting of word problems, number bonds, ordinal numbers, patterns, etc....(a lot of which was very easy, but some of which I have found a review was necessary.)


It really is crazy to think about the things we can cover while spending two weeks in any one country.  Mexico was interesting, for sure.

* We filled out our passport with the date we started our study of Mexico and placing a Mexico flag sticker on the passport as well.  With each country, we will fill out a page in our passport and adhere the countries flag sticker there for reference.
* We discussed Mexico, what hemispheres it is in, the bordering countries and bodies of water.
*We filled out a worksheet of Mexico's flag.  Yes, we always color together or everything in our MFW worksheets would remain black and white.  :)
* We spent some time in our Classroom Atlas, A Trip Around the World, and Illustrated World Atlas: talking about the people and places in Mexico and the Nature, Farming, and Industry of Mexico.
* We also prepared and began playing our Geography Game.  Maybe for my next post I can take a couple of pictures.  It is a map of North America and comes with individual cards for each country in North America.  I laminated our maps and all the little cards for durability.  We're supposed to play the game two times a week, but Caleb loves it so much we play EVERY day.  As we move throughout the continents our maps and cards will change.  Did I say he loves to play?  Oh yes, I did.  He loves it!  I mean, literally begs me every day to play first.  I used to make him wait until Geography time, but then I realized I might be squelching something there and what did it really matter anyway.  So, we play first.  Sometimes even before bible, but, shhhhh, don't tell anyone about that, ok?

Art - Mexico:  Caleb seems to not be too excited about the art projects I've picked out so far this year.  I'm a little disappointed in that because I spent a lot of time choosing things I really thought he would enjoy.  But, one of the projects he did get into was making a "Sun."  One thing we learned was that we should have made the points of the sun all one piece instead of separate pieces because they did not dry to the sun face.  We had to go back and glue them all down before he painted it.  Maybe we used the wrong type of clay, not sure.  But, it still turned out cute.  When daddy asked him about his sun, Caleb said, "I learned that blue and yellow make GREEN."  You can see in the last picture where his paints mixed a bit and he has some green.  I think it gave his sun face character.  :)  Oh, the point of this project was that Indians were well known for making beautiful pieces of pottery.

An unfinished project - I really thought he would have fun making a picture on this piece of tin by hammering a nail into it.  What kid doesn't like hammering?  Right?  Um, yeah....maybe it was just the wrong day.  I don't know. But, it sits.....undone.

Book Basket:  

Caleb still does ten minutes daily reading books from our book basket.  He doesn't like it anymore than he did in the last two weeks.  Oh well.....He loves to be read TO.  What can I say?


Our science topics were from our Living World Encyclopedia and Properties of Ecosystems books.  We discussed deserts, how animals cope in the desert and with dryness, oases, and rain in the desert.

I will admit, Caleb says science is boring this year, and I guess I agree with him.  Did I mention this already?  I can't remember.  Too much has been going on for me to recollect and I don't want to take the time to go read my previous posts.  So, he says he finds it boring.  It's not as hands on.  He likes to dig into experiments, not read about deserts and the animals that live there.  But, we keep on plugging along because all of this really is important.  Actually, I think he loves learning about the animals, but how it's tied to science, not so much.

And then, sometimes he comes up with an experiment on his own that he wants to do.  He talked about his one for nearly two weeks and finally things settled down in our lives enough that I could say yes, let's do your experiment.

So.  Here is his experiment on melting ice.  He insisted - - three plates with an ice cube on each one.  #1 - ice with hot water, #2 ice without water and #3 ice with cold water.  He wanted to see which ice cube would melt fastest.  Honestly, I think he knew the answer.  He just wanted to do something he knew he could "win" at or come out as "right."  But hey, that's okay.  He learned that one dose of hot water did not completely melt the ice like he thought.  The ice cooled down the hot water and it was no longer hot.  So, he replaced it with additional hot water, and ..... success.  :)


We continued listening to our Wee Sing CD.  We have learned that it's easier to "take" the music if we listen to it in the car.  So, we'll listen to 2-3 days worth at a time while we are riding around.  Otherwise, he sits next to me, eyes rolling, and just wanting to run away.  But, if we're riding around in the car, for some reason, he's good with that.  


*Polar Bear Morning
*Red Hat
*If You Want to See a Whale
*What Floats in a  Moat


We read started a new Read-a-Loud book called Cameron Townsend.  We're only a couple of chapters in, but so far it sounds like he plays a big role in getting bibles translated into other countries.  It's a bit of a dry read.  Caleb, who normally loves to be read to, is not getting into this one.  We will keep at it and see.

The Complete Book of Animals:  

We did worksheets on the the grizzly bear, Moose, Otter, Wild Turkey and Porcupine.

Cooking:  The conclusion to our study in Mexico was supposed to be a Mexican Feast.  But, in the midst of it all, there was just too much going on and too much to deal with in order to "do it right."  While we WANTED to have a pinata and all the typical foods for a Mexican feast, including homemade tortillas and having family come over and share it with us, it just did not happen.  

What we did have was:



And Not Pictured:   
Let's face it.  Caleb is a picky eater.  And I could have spent all the time in the world making all these delicious Mexican foods like enchiladas, tacos, chalupas, or whatever....and he wouldn't have eaten a bite.  But, chicken fajita and cheese dip?  Now that he will do.  Everything else was for daddy and I just because we like it.

Misc.:   We've had this puzzled sitting here since we did Adventures.....finally, we pulled it out and put it together.  Caleb had such a great time!  I think we will look for more fun, EDUCATIONAL puzzles to do together.  We tried another just for fun, but it was quite difficult and I ended up putting it together by myself.  But, here is our puzzle of the U.S.

Wrap Up:  I don't want to end our post with too much doom and gloom, but Oct and part of Nov has proved to be a challenging month.  We had a very close family member who became seriously ill on Oct 7th, which lead to their departure into the arms of Jesus on Oct 23rd.  Caleb underwent three very serious dental appointments that no 8 yr old should ever have to go through.  But, that is over and we are so glad.  I also lost another person (my older kids Aunt Kari), who I have always thought very highly of on Oct. 29th.  Both funerals were in the early part of November.  

Suffice is to say that school was hard pressed to get done during this time. It was intermittent and half-hearted at best when we did get to it.  But, what I keep telling myself is that Caleb learned many valuable tools during this very difficult time.  Maybe it wasn't a new math lesson or a new spelling word, but it was how to be compassionate to  those around you who are scared, sad, and grieving.  How to be a brave boy for a momma who cried many a tears in these weeks.   Let's just say a lot was learned in these weeks, even if we didn't crack a book.  And, it might mean we will have to do some school in June in order to make up time lost.  Or, maybe we can fill in with school on some otherwise planned days off.  I do know that God knows where we are right now and He knew from the beginning that we would be right here, right now.  It will all get done.  It will.  

I'm excited to say we ARE back to school now, EVERY day, and are doing our best to just keep moving forward each day.  We finished week #7 and are in week #8, so we will have a new post for you very soon.  I'm finding these posts take quite a bit of time to write.  I guess it's just because there is a lot that goes into each themed set of lessons.  I'm so glad to get this one done and be able to share some more of our adventure in ECC.  

Stay tuned for our trip to Canada....

Educating in Christ,