Thursday, February 19, 2009

Timeline update

I really had hoped to reach my goal of having it available by last weekend. I have run into a huge problem. The program I used to create the pages is not compatible with the program I plan to use to share these pages free of charge to you. I have the time line ready to go except that it is taking time to convert each page into the correct format so that I can then upload them. I am sorry that this is taking me more time that I planned. I will be out of town this weekend but by the end of the month I should have it finished. I am so sorry for the delay. My own children are now pushing as they want to restart, cleaner looking time lines.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What book have you found to be the most helpful during the course of homeschooling?

There are so many Catholic home schooling books. They all help a little but the book that has given me the most help in these years while the kiddos are at home has nothing to do with home schooling. I Should Have Seen It Coming When The Rabbit Died by Teresa Blomingdale is a book that I go back to over and over again. It was first printed in 1979 and was one of my mom’s paperback books. I read it when the older ones were young because the title looked funny. The author had ten children in 12 years. She was a mom from the late 50s and the 60s. She loved her family and children. She was Catholic and the book is about her experience of having ten children as a Catholic woman. She writes with so much humor and love. Her children all went to Catholic School but her drive and passion for her children is like mine.

After the author tells many amusing and moving tales of her children the book ends with an Epilogue chapter. The title is “The best is yet to be” and this is my favorite part of the book. The author describes various conversations that she had with her father as she grew up. He would always tell her not to worry because the best was yet to be. She was very sad that he passed away before her oldest son got married. She describes how she couldn’t wait for college, then a job, then true love, then marriage, then children etc. etc. etc. She says that she thought watching her young children open gifts at Christmas was the best it could ever be, but her father tells her the “best is yet to be”. She understands that statement more fully later when she enjoys watching her older children helping their younger siblings on another Christmas morning.

The book ends as she looks over the ceremony of her son’s wedding. She ponders how it could ever be better than this moment. A beautiful Mass with her son so in love with his bride on the alter surrounded by all the siblings. Everyone is there dressed to the nines. They are all with God in church and together as a family, except for her deceased father. As she wonders how any moment could ever compare to the joy she feels right then she hears her father whisper to her. She knows he is whispering from heaven to tell her, “The BEST is yet to be.”

There have been many times when things are bad in our family life. Like when we had to decide what to do with the one that needed open heart surgery. There have been many joyous moments. At every one I hear those words and am reminded of heaven. This silly little paperback book written years ago has helped me to remain focused on Him and on heaven. For the my family, heaven is the reason we home school.

How have you taken advantage of having home schooled children?

We take trips when we want. We do school when we want. We sleep in and stay of late talking. We help people when we see a need. We can always do school later if someone needs our help today. If we are sick we don’t school. We have been able to go on trips with Dad.

Years back I was hurt in a car accident. We ended the school year early but still learned so much about feet while we watched mine heal. The girls learned to cook, clean and run the house all while I was in a wheelchair and pregnant with number 7. The kids learned compassion and so much about pregnancy that summer.

I love the group learning. I think it has helped us all learn so much more. We can do that being homeschooled.

If your children were offered a Catholic School education for free would you send your children?

We have had offers over the years and have always said no. The cost of a good Catholic school is not the reason we homeschool. As our oldest grew the schools wanted her on their teams and in their classrooms. She would have made them look good. The offers were never ones that would be better for our children just better for the schools.

Extended family tried to get the kids in school that way. One family member had someone from the parish approach us and offer to pay for the children’s education at the parish school. I suspect family was behind that first offer and that they would really have been paying. At first we were a littel temped but then that same year the new principal banned rosaries from the campus. (Hello Catholic School here!) She thought they were too much of a distraction for the students and forbad them. No rosary was allowed in the pocket or anything. If she saw it, the child would be punished. I knew then that there was no way our children would ever spend time in that building. Later that principal was fired but I have always wondered if any children have lost their faith because of her years.

In all honesty no one cares about my children as much and their father and I do. We are the only ones that will answer to God for them. No teacher will ever care for them that much. Unless of illness, death or some other extreme situation we will never put them in school, at least I have yet to see one that can measure up.

What are some reasons you decided to home school?

Year before I met my husband I met an incredible family. This family was unique in that they homeschooled. The mom said that it was because she wanted a stronger faith instruction for her children. These kids were the coolest kids I had ever met. They were all beautiful and smart. They were all very athletic and had an incredible love for life and each other, even the cousins. These were not dorky kids at all. They were a part of the community in their social work, volunteered at church, had jobs and yet were kept home for school.

These teens and young adults went to Mass everyday, they prayed the rosary as a group just about every day, they stomped each other at some game (soccer, football, waffle ball, hoops etc. ) every day. The more I spent time around them the more I wanted to get to know Christ. My faith grew so much just being around these people. Where did that passion come from?

I think it had to do with the fact that they were home schooled. Their moms pulled them out of the strong Catholic school because the faith wasn’t a strong enough part of the day. These were fun people who were real. They could have cared less what I thought of them. I asked my friend where that came from. He said it was home schooling. He was allowed to grow up with confidence because his mom believed in him and he had never heard to the contrary. I was in love with my faith but couldn’t share it like these kids. I decided then I wanted that passion and self confidence for my children if I was ever lucky enough to get married.

Convincing dad was another issue. As it turned out is was God's will. I still thank him for allowing me to see that humble example in my young life.

Do your children enjoy learning?

Learning is very natural. I do not know if I would say enjoy because it is just a part of our daily life. My children are curious about everything. When they want more information on a topic they find it. They have learned to see their passions in everything.

Our oldest son struggles with reading and yet loves to learn about history. He also loves cameras, picture taking, computers and being creative. While watching a history show about an Egyptian pyramid he commented that he was enjoying the show. He seamed a little too interested. I had not known that he like Egyptian history that much. I asked why he liked this so much. At the next commercial break he explained.

He saw his passions of history and of filming put together. He said that he would love to know history and filming enough to get to be the person that films those types of shows. He understood that to be in a pyramid he would need to understand history so as not stand in the wrong place. He would have to know where the camera had to film. He would also need to know quit a bit about filming so that moments of discovery would not be lost. You can't reopen a tomb if your filming was bad.

These kinds of things show me that my children are learning all the time. They have learned how to learn. I didn't need to point out all careers involved in the show we watched. My son thought that one through on his own. He wasn't wanting to be the host, he wants to be the camera man. He was looking at the entire picture not just what was in front of him. He was thinking and that is what real learning is all about.

Has homeschooling helped your children to be more able and willing to stand up for what they believe?

Their faith is their life. It is part of everything we do. They can not imagine things happening without their faith. They have never had the misfortune of seeing things happen outside of faith. Yes I think they stand up for it all the time without even knowing they are doing anything special.

A few years back the then 5 year old noticed that one of the swim team coaches said something about not knowing who The Blessed Mother Mary was. This child took her coach the small statue she had bought on vacation the previous summer to give to her. I was worried she would offend the girl. My daughter didn’t care. She said, “Our coach needs to know Mary. She doesn’t know her and Mary wants to get close to her.” Our daughter gave it to her with great confidence. Two years later this same daughter was having a bad day at swim team. This coach told her not to get upset. She told her, “I know that your friend Mary would want you to be strong. I still have her on my dresser. I talk to Her every day!” Wow, our strong willed daughter is spreading her faith without even knowing.

Do your children seem strong in their faith as a result of homeschooling?

On 9-11, I watched the beauty of home schooling unfold as my family reacted to the shock of this attack. We were at Mass that morning. One of the old guys told us something bad had happened as we walked into church. We smiled and told him we would pray. Nothing was said during Mass, we stood outside and talked with friends before heading home. On the way home we turned the radio on. As we passed another Catholic church we heard the announcer saying, “Oh my God, a second plane has just flown into the second tower.” We made the sign of the cross and prayed devoutly the rest of the way home. At home we watched the news for about one hour. Then our oldest walked up to the television and turned it off. Dad and I are both news junkies. We were like, “What are you doing?” In response she handed us a rosary.

Later that night we had volleyball practice and soccer practice. The church offered a Mass, and we went and then to practice. We found that at practice these other kids needed to talk and understand. My kids had already spent the day doing that. These kids had not been allowed to think for themselves at school, and they all went to Catholic school. It was at practice with our Dad that these other children got to say, “Are we going to be ok?” My husband told them as long as they stayed close to God they would be fine. They had not heard that at school, or from their parents. Their parents had just not had the time with them. My children looked at the real world and could respond with their faith, these other children needed to be told how to respond. They needed to be reminded to respond with faith.

Our faith isn’t a test we pass at 10:00am every morning, it is our lives. The joy of a new baby coupled with mom and dad’s fear of how to pay the bills. The trauma of a death in the community or the result of a hurricane are real like situations. They all are handled with prayer. That is our real faith and home school children see it in action all the time.

What are some negative effects you see in homeschooling?

As a mom I don’t get alone time. It is so important for us moms to have some social interaction of our own. It becomes limited when home schooling. I have to search it out to get it.

For the kids I see a wondering what school would be like. I don’t think it is really a disadvantage. They also get to see mom at her worst. I don’t know if this is really bad or not. Some kids that go to school just think mom has an easy day cleaning, laundry and running errands. They don’t see her stress out when a bill is due and there is no money to pay it. Some might think this is a good thing. I don’t. I think it is unrealistic. My kids see the good and the bad.

What are some positive effects you see in homeschooling?

The most important effect I have seen is self confidence.

This is an old example but still very appropriate. Many years back we were at the home of relatives. Many extended family members was there. One of the Aunts corners me and begins a conversation out of the blue. She is telling me how concerned she is about the social life of our children, (I don’t even think she knew their names but was still concerned for their socialization.) It seamed beyond her comprehension how I could even consider that my daughter was getting all the interaction that she needed.

While I was trying to truly listen with charity knowing that another family member had set her up. I watched a scene in the corner of my eye. I watched this kind woman’s heavyset grandson. He was awkward in his actions. He was about 9 or 10 and would not look any body in the eye. He was hiding under the kitchen table where his grandmother and I were talking. My oldest (who was apparently so anti social that she was considered a freak by family) walked up to the table, pulled back a chair. She was only about 7 at the time. I watched her coax this “well adjusted schooled” child from under the table and down to the basement to join the other kids while they were playing. She wasn’t told to include him and she had never met him. I watched her just be Christian and work to include someone when that person was having a hard time. It was so ironic to watch while I was being shown the ‘truth’ by well meaning family.

My children are very aware of each other and others. They are kind, polite and thoughtful. They remember everything, we have huge discussions as we pray for people at night prayer time. I have watched them help at functions put on by schools, they always help clean up and never leave someone out. I never see those same things in school children.

I see this strong character in each of my children. I see children that are polite, kind, trusting, helpful and independent thinkers. They value heaven and they know Christ. I ask for a more important positive effect from homeschooling.

Are your children responsible enough to one day have a family? If so, how has homeschooling influenced this?

An example from our daily life might illustrate my answer. Dad and I were sitting in our bed room just off the family room. A candle was lit on the coffee table as it usually is. We heard a scream and cries which we often hear. As it turns out the four year old had been ‘reading’ a piece paper that she kept moving closer to the light. It caught on fire. The little one froze and did nothing as this paper burned in her hand. We heard the 10 year old screech and looked out to see the 11 year old pushing the four year old out of harms way, taking the paper and shoving it into a cup of coffee that was sitting there. That was impressive to us. At 11 I would have been frozen, this young one took action. We have seen things like this over and over again.

Home school kids are in the real world. Our son didn’t need to go to a special presentation from a fire fighter to learn not to panic and what to do. He knew he needed liquid and fast. He didn’t wait for an adult to ‘give him permission’ to react he just took care of things. In one week I can give you 100 stories just like this. Kids in school wait to told to try something, to do something etc.etc. Home school kids seam to not be afraid of life. They understand family. They do not get to hide from their family at school. I feel that a home school family has a more rounded and real family life.

Yes they are responsible enough to one day have their own families. I think that also have a better idea of what to expect. More realistic.

Do your children interact with children from all age groups better than most children their age?

It seams that no matter where we go our children are sought out. Other children love to be around them. I think that has to do with the fact that they are friends with children from all ages. They have never known age as a boundary like children in school do. They can talk to adults and babies alike.

I got an email today from a gentleman in the neighborhood and the parish we just switched out of. He emailed asking why he hadn’t seen us. I replied that we left the parish. He quickly emailed back explaining that he had wanted to talk to dad and I about our children. A few of our children had done him a favor the summer before. We had helped his family move some boxes. The man said that he was very impressed with our children.

This neighbor said that he and his wife still discuss how articulate and fun these young people were to interact with that afternoon. He commented that he had never seen such young people act so mature when needed. He also pointed out that they were also able to play with his children at the same time. He had been thinking about and after six months still felt compelled to point it out.

Are you children, especially your older children open to big families?

Oh My gosh YES!!! Our oldest has been reminding me that she will go away to college soon. She wants us to have another one so she can get to know him/her before she goes to college. Our last one was a shock. To be honest mom and dad were taken back by this news. It wasn’t in our plans but all of the children were ecstatic. I can not even begin to describe the joy we can see in each of their faces when they share in the joy of a new life.

They all seam to want to have bigger families when they get older. One says that says she might not home school her six because it would be very hard to be a doctor and a home schooling mom. She also feels that six is all she will have. I don’t think that she realizes that is a large number. Another has always said that she wants a dozen. One is undecided between being a nun or having 14. I just pray that they are open to what God wants of them. It is very contrary to society but I do hope that they can accept God's will no matter what it might be. I have tried to teach them the skills and a strong faith base to handle things if God has in a path that doesn’t include children. I know it would be hard but I am confident that they will accept his will and continue to love God. If any of them can not have children it will be very hard.

How has having children with learning disabilities affected the older student/sibling?

That is a very interesting question. Our oldest has never known any different. At times she would follow my example and get angry that they were not catching on. I think she thought, like I did, that they were just lazy and not really trying. That frustrated her to no end. She was also worried about ourside family and what she would say to them. It did become easier for her when we found out about the ‘disabilities’ we were looking at and actually labeled them. She let me do the research but always wanted an update. She often offered her opinions that helped me decide what issues we were dealing with.

She also defended them at times. She was in a girls group for awhile and when the next daughter joined; the other girls made fun of her for not reading. Our oldest wasted no time in defending her sister. She wasn’t embarrassed by her. That would be different if they were in school, I think. Our oldest felt like she had invested herself in raising and teaching her sister right along with me. She felt a little guilty that her sister wasn’t reading, just like like I did. She also saw how hard her sister really worked to read one word, she saw for herself that her sister was very smart even though it didn’t look to this group of girls.

Last year we decided that the math program we were using was too difficult for the ones with the learning issues. I would never have thought that our oldest had learning issues and yet she asked if she could change programs as well. In all of our searching for what worked in the other kiddos the oldest paid close attention to her own learning styles. She now asks for stuff that works better for her. I think that will give her a huge advantage in college. She will know how to search out help if she needs it. Knowing when to ask for help is an important skill to learn in life.

I don't think she is burdened by any of it. I really believe she is a better student based on her siblings and their issues. If anything she has learned the kindness and compasion that we all need to succeed in life. She is closer to heaven having had to learn to deal with it all.

How has having children with learning disabilities affected school?

One is the way that we are affected by the learning disabilities is the way in which we school. My kiddos that can’t read still want to learn. I don’t want them to be denied the history and the science that they love. So we group many classes together. We do history as one big read aloud and adventure as a group. Younger ones do not work on a time-line but the older ones (3rd grade and up) must prepare the picture while mom reads the history. You will then add your item to your own timeline.

We have done science work as a group also with mom doing most of the reading aloud. Everyone has their own notebook. Each must copy notes off the board and add to their books. Mom helps to create the notes by writing the high lights on the chalk board. Hopefully this is also helping to prepare them with note taking on lectures. These science binders where the notes are stored are fun. They make the science touchable.

Most of our subjects are done as a group. This does not included the high school students. I feel that high school needs to be more independent. This is when the child is preparing for college work. It is truly when the student needs to take over the learning process. It isn't hard because the foundation has been set.

The other way the learning disabilities have affected us is not as positive of an observation. Having the non-readers come along really seeded doubt in me. I worried so much that I was failing them by not putting them in school to learn how to read. By becoming friends with moms in similar situations I gained the confidence that I needed to persevere. I have found that we need to maintain a little more privacy in how we home school. More privacy in where each child is or isn't. I will not reveal in present terms where exactly we are or are not.

My in-laws do not like that we home school and they would often use the non-readers as reasons to try to push school. I can not even begin to tell you the number of family “fights” that have started by outside family trying to convince us, our friends and even our priest to force us to send the kids to school. We have even had legal issues threatened. That makes us very nervous.

I know that each of the children are learning. They grow in their knowledge and ability every day. I am thankful that we have been in Texas where the law has been on our side. Showing progression is not that difficult but it can look bad if you just compare a child with learning issues to the public school peer. The true peers with learning issues often have very low self esteem but on paper look like they are doing so much better. I know that we are better off but it does require me to be a little more private about where the non-readers truly are in their scholastic endeavors.

How has having children in all age groups/a big family affected school?

I used to think that the different ages could really make it difficult at times. Then I was put into place many years ago by another home schooling mother. This woman had 16 kids at the time and I was just pregnant with number 6. I remember asking her a question that I thought was very profound and her answer shocked me. She started her reply with, “Well if I ONLY had 6, I would blah, blah, blah.” I had never thought of it that way but she reminded me that the ages, the numbers, the personalities that I had were all from God. Someone else always has it worse and someone else has it better. It just depended on how they looked at it. I decided right then that until I had 16 like she did I would never complain or allow myself to use the number or age range as an excuse to not learn. We might learn differently but we would still learn.

It would be a lie to say that our school day isn’t influenced at all by the ages. I can’t even begin to say how many times we stop a lesson to deal with a very poopy diaper, or stopping because one of the little ones is running through the room with a knife. It is a good day when the older ones sit still no matter what the distraction.

To be honest the biggest issue we deal with is dad working from home and not the babies. He often comes in to share news, or ask my help or wants to kiddos to talk to his mom or whatever. He is our principal so we try to not get too upset and he tries to only interrupt when it is important. I love that we are all together to get good or bad news. We can pray right away and I don’t have to wait for people to get off an ugly old school bus before I tell the kids.

What are some ways you have used family life to influence school?

We start the day with prayer. We first begin by talking about what family news we might have or reminding each other of what we might need to pray for. Like our family friend might need special prayers because of a medical test she is having done today, etc. We might also remind them that dad will not be home all day today, that is odd for us because dad works from a home office, or that mom and dad might be going shopping that afternoon. During our brief time in a group in the morning everyone is present, except dad. I have nursed babies during this time and now the 2-year old must color in her book. It is as much family time as it is school time. The two are the same thing in our home.

What are some ways you have incorporated school into family life?

Home school is part of us. We have never done any other form of school. Learning is very natural. We all have a desire to learn about things that interest us. Being a home schooling family means we dive into things we really love.

Last semester we studied Ancient Egypt. We read aloud from books on Ancient Egypt every day. We watched movies about Egypt. When we went to visit family in St. Louis we made sure to fit in a visit to the museum that had three mummies and a huge Egyptian display.

Last year we focused on Astronomy that meant that as a family we held passes to NASA and we often cuddled around to TV to watch the latest show about the planets. One child got a telescope for Christmas last year. We all enjoyed watching the stars with him.

We try to study many things as a group even though we are different ages. That way we can have great conversations and our trips can interest everyone. The younger kids don’t get as much out of it and don’t take notes like the big kiddos. They are learning though. When we come back around to those subjects they will already know some of it.

There is no incorporation needed it is just who we are!

Heaven is the goal!

(originally written in 2005)

So you are home schooling your children and you have had a friend over to play with your 4th grader. This kid is smart. He plays the piano, he is in advanced classes all across the board, you about pass out when he starts quoting a book that you didn’t even read until college. You then look back at your beautiful 10 year old son. This poor boy cannot read at all. It is near impossible to read what he attempts to write. His work is always sloppy and he would do anything to get out of the classroom. You send his friend home and begin to really judge your son. How can he be this lazy and unmotivated? What, how dare you judge your own son that way?

What am I talking about? Your son will need to lead a family some day; he must learn his math and his reading. He will need to provide for a wife and children (God willing) or better yet run a parish, a diocese, or maybe even the entire Catholic Church. Wow, how can you see your little under achiever as the pontiff. Those men need to know several languages and you can not even master English. Maybe you should put him back in school. Will that be the best for him?

Let’s think about that idea for a moment. If your child was in school you would be on his side and not out to point out his faults. Why have you abandoned him? He still needs your support. He still needs you to see his potential. If a teacher was telling you how slow your son is, you would be pointing out how smart he is. You would remind her that he comes home every day sharing what he has learned. You would be pointing out that he is the only one in the family that knows anything about hooking up the DVD player or getting the computers running. He might not be reading but he is brilliant.

Now you are the teacher and the mom. You have to see both sides. You need to see him like Christ does. The Father created your son; of course He knows his faults. Remember our Lord sees the complete package. He sees the child as a temple for the Holy Spirit. He sees the potential and the love. It is so hard, but that is what we are called to see. The math and the reading are very important but Heaven is the real goal. Don’t ever forget that.

Where we started

(originally written in 2006)

Are you a new homeschooling parent and wondering if you will ever feel at ease with what you are doing? Have you been homeschooling for a long time and wonder if you will ever feel comfortable? Did your best friend convince you to try it and said you would love it, but you can not see why?

For me it took 10 ½ years before I felt completely at ease with it. I have had many friends start homeschooling and give up. It always makes me so sad. Why did we keep going while others get overwhelmed and stop?

I always knew that I was supposed to be homeschooling. It is my call. I had always wanted to be a teacher so when I found out that I was pregnant. My husband and I decided that I shouldn’t continue to take out student loans to learn to teach someone kids. I would have my own child to work on.

I had always wanted to homeschool. My husband didn’t want me to. We knew that we would be not using public schools. Our Catholic faith meant so much to us that we would do anything to see that their education was from the parochial schools, just as ours had been.

We prepared our first for the beginning of school and toured the facilities of our parish. We took her in for the state testing and in to the school for their testing. She had so much anxiety that afternoon. She faced it with Grace and style and she would prove to do as time went on over and over again. She would have handled school with ease if we had sent her. Her father stated to worry that she would not be challenged because she was clearly very smart. So just in case I also gathered some information about different homeschool programs as we prepared all the paperwork for her to enter the private school.

We received a note telling us about the expenses for the year, uniform fittings, and to send in payments by certain dates. In this same mailing was letter telling us that there was not a spot for our daughter because they had too many children in the class already. We had turned stuff in early and had jumped through every hoop. She was number four on the waiting lists. She should just wait until a spot opened. I was so upset, we had sat down with the pastor and discussed this very subject when we registered in the parish. At that time we were assured that every child would have a spot in the classroom.

We sat on that note for two weeks. We were very upset. Did the pastor lie to us? In retrospect I am sure he did not, but it felt like he did at the time. I sat there one afternoon looking over the packet of information I had just received from one of the Catholic Homeschool providers. My child would excel with these books. The cost would be much less. What would everyone say? My mind was spinning. Dad was home that afternoon. He came down to the kitchen to see me looking over these books.

When the phone rang he took my spot at the table and let me get the call. As it turned out it was the school. They were upset because I had not sent in my last required pre-payment for our daughter’s tuition. I asked what the payment was for considering they didn’t have a spot as of yet for my daughter. School was to start a few weeks later and they still had her on the waiting list at number 4. One student had dropped out but another younger sibling of a current student got that spot.

The secretary was rude as she asked for the payment and laughed when I asked why I should send payment in for class. While at the same time she was telling me that I needed to get our daughter registered for public school and let her go for about three weeks. By then a spot would open. That would be only if I had sent the next two payments in by the end of the week.

Looking back I am very thankful that the secretary was so rude that day. It was just enough to get my husband thinking. We knew that public school wouldn’t happen and we were now very angry that this school needed several thousand dollars by the end of the week to hold our daughter’s spot even though she didn’t have a spot. He told me, “Let’s homeschool one year. We will see how it goes and we can put her in school next year. If it works we will talk next year about what we should do.”

We have been on a “one year at a time” basis every since. Man that is a long way until retirement. So far I will be teaching until the school year of 2024-2025. I would give up at that thought alone if I haven’t seen all the reasons of why I do this. It feels like it will never end. We reserve the right to put them in school if it is ever needed. I pray that will never be the case. I love what we do and how we do it.

That is a huge investment. But it is more worth it that I could ever put into words. We have faced many challenges and I am sure God has many more in store for us. I am confidant that with his care we can continue on.

The proof really is in the pudding. We have spent years around other schooled children. We have seen the bad right along with those parents. I know we made the decision that we were supposed to make. The homeschool movement has changed so much over the past decade. I can only imagine where it is headed. Our children are well behaved, they love to learn, they are kind, gracious and smart. Those qualities will help them get into heaven. That is all the truly matters and that is what keeps us going.

When will you put them in school?

I am often amazed when a family member will comment over and over again about how well behaved my children are.
You are such a wonderful mother! They are such great kids. You have done such a
great job. They are so well behaved in a restaurant. They are so good at church!
How do you teach them how to talk to people? They act so mature and yet still
have so much fun. How do you teach that?

Then I always get that next question,
When do you think you will put them into school?
I hate that question because it is already implying that we are failing. This is what I hear when they ask that question.
When will you just admit this isn't working? When will you love your children
enough to do what is best for them? When you let go of the fantasy of
homeschooling because we are tired of being embarrassed to say that you Homeschool the children!

HELLO, maybe they are so great because they have never been in school.
Did you ever think of that!?!??!

Am I the only one that can see that?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Special words

There are many educators out there that have helped me to form my ideas on educating in realation to faith. One would be Charlotte Mason. I like to make notes of some of her words as I refresh my own passion for educating my children.

In Home Education she is quoted as saying:

Let us save Christianity for our children by bringing them into allegiance to Christ the King!

Thougths on Dsylexia from email 1-09

The problem with the term dyslexia is that is covers so many variations of a way of learning and processing information. There are a million different sources with a million different ideas. My thoughts are that is is just a way in which the mind in some people works. I have 9 kiddos and each one has issues at different levels. I don't like the term learning disability because they are not disabled just different. The trick if finding what works for the individual.

A lot will depend on how old this child is. It is very hard to diagnose anything if the child is under 7. Developmentally sometimes reading is hard until a child is older than 7 but by 7 they should pick out the letters OK. Letters may move around on a page for any child until about 7 and writing letters and numbers backwards can be very common.

If the child is in school, the schools tend to try to label right away. In the case of dyslexia it is dangerous to diagnose to early. Remember this is not an illness just a learning style. It is hard to remember that when talking to teachers, counselors, and doctors. I found that the book that helped me the most was a book called: The Gift of Dyslexia. The first half of the book opened my mind into how this type of mind works and thinks. The second half of the book offers a trick to fix dyslexia. I did not find that part helpful at all. I also trust the information gathered about the dyslexic from that same author at this website:

We struggle with reading issues and comprehension issues and even with one child writing issues. I still find that my children are very smart and I try to encourage learning in spite of their issues. I think that the hardest thing is the self esteem issues and not the actually learning. We try to keep in mind every day that our goal is heaven and any thing else is just gravy. I find comfort in knowing that there will be no reading test to get into heaven. I think they still need to learn to read but being kind to others is the most important, even in learning how to read. I hope this helps. I wish I had more time to write stuff but that website should be a good vantage point to take off from.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Time Line Template Coming Soon

I have had many discussions with friends about how to teach History in a way that brings it alive and ties everything together. I keep Math separate but almost everything else can be taught with the aid of a time line. Our approach is to use it as the base for most other studies. We put everything into ours and love using it.

I like what we have but have wanted to improve it for years. Pooker is done but even Moogie wants to revamp as we have gone in and out of using ours. I first made our time lines about 10 years ago. Now with the use of better computers I want to update and make it a tad more appealing to the eyes.

I will soon add a link so that you can print your own copies. I will also add a history of how we developed it and how we use it. I will give complete instructions with some tips. This is in the works and will be up by mid-month (Feb 15Th) at the very latest. I just wanted you all to know that I have not forgotten it and that I am working on it now.