Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Awana

We are at that time of the year where everything is coming to an end.  A break.  I can relax.   Last week was award night at Awana.  I am so thankful for the teachers and helpers that make the whole Awana experience one that my daughter enjoys and wants to continue with. 

My girl did really well.  She learned all of her book by November and then went on and reviewed all the verses for a second time and then went on to do an extra credit book.  That is a lot of verses.  She learns them by song and goes around the house singing all day long.  I love that.  She is truly hiding God’s word in her Heart. 

award

Congratulations, Mickey!  Job well done. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gardening

We have taken a break from the books and head outside.  We live in the high desert and that means in the spring we have had a lot of winds.  The closer it gets to summer the hotter it gets.  But that does not stop us from getting our hands a little dirty.

We took last year off from gardening and we missed it.  We made it through the summer by getting our fresh veggies from the farmer’s market.  We headed out every Saturday and got our fresh veggies.  But we missed our own garden. 

So this year we planted again.  Nate is old enough where we can go outside and he can play while we tend to the garden.  He is an outside boy so he is loving it.  Mickey is enjoying getting her hands dirty which is a surprise for this momma.  Usually she is upset to get dirty but I am not going to complain. 

Mickey Planting

Nate Plants

We also set up a pool outside so we can cool off and have some fun.  It is a little pool big enough for the kids to have fun and momma to cool off.  Yes, we are having a great time on our break.

Are you still in “school” or have you put the books away?  What are you doing instead?  Let me know I would love to hear about it. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

What curriculum should I use?

I remember back to the beginning days of homeschooling I asked this question to EVERY homeschooling mom I would see.  Now as I am a few years into this homeschooling gig, it is the question I see most often asked. If you go to vendor halls full of curriculum and various companies trying to get you to buy their product they will tell you how this particular curriculum is the way to go.  You think, yes, and then proceed to the next booth and get convinced of the same thing.  curriculum to buy

Our children are all unique, our families are all unique.  We each come to the table with specific goals and needs.  I can’t answer for your child or your families needs but I can do so for mine. 

I will venture to guess that those of us that are asking this question did not grow up in a homeschooling family.  We were in the public school system and have the public school system way of thinking when we start out.  We are also overwhelmed by the choices or do not even know where to start looking.  A all in one box way of doing school seems to be the best option because we are overwhelmed and want the best bang for our dollar. 

Sometimes those all in one box curriculums are out of our budget or for whatever reason doesn’t work for our particular child or family.

So what questions should we be asking instead of “what curriculum should I use?”

1.  What are the learning styles of your children?

  • kinesthetic or tactile learners – These are kids learn best when there are hands on projects and learning.  They need to be involved with the lesson. 
  • auditory learner – These are the kids that learn best by listening. 
  • Visual learner – These have to see it done and learn by watching.

2.  What is your learning style as the teacher of your child. 

  • This often influences what we buy because it appeals to us but it is not the right fit for our child.  An example of this is reading all those living books and stories appeals to me as my children’s mother.  But my daughter is a doer.  She needs to get physically involved in her learning.  So this is not the best curriculum for her.

3.  How much time do you want to invest in the putting together the day to day lessons.

  • There are curriculums that you open up the book and do the next lesson.  It even gives you what to say when teaching your child.  It doesn’t take much time to prepare. If you are in a season of life that you need all preparation done for you then this is the way to go.  This helped me especially when I had a new baby in the house.
  • Do you want to be preparing and finding those projects with your children?  Do you need to be hands on.  This is going to take more time commitment from you but you thrive on this and even need this in your life. 

4.  Goals

  • What are the subjects you want to cover besides the basics (reading, math)
  • Do you want to do teach each of your children their own subjects or
  • do you want to combine as many subjects as possible.
  • Do you want flexibility to choose between curriculums and build your own?
  • What do you want to have accomplished in your school life and your family life by the end of the school year?

5.  Budget

  • What is your budget.  You NEED a BUDGET.  Otherwise you will keep picking up stuff to fill your day.  And you will spend more than you need or afford to.
  • Do you have room in your budget for those bigger curriculum packages?  Or do you search out other ways to teach your child subjects that are free or just more affordable? 
  • Do you want to spend most of your dollars in one or two areas and find alternatives for other areas? 

6.  Ask your children what they would like to learn.  I think that their answers may surprise you.  I think that if we can some way to get their input they begin to feel that their opinions matter and they will be invested in their learning. 

Once you have answer to these questions start doing searches on what your needs are.  Ask about those curriculums that you have heard about and see if it matches your kid and your teaching style.  Can these things be adjusted.  There is so much out there for us to pick and choose from.   Do you research and see what other people have to say about that curriculum that you think may fit your family.  Also remember that the Lord cares about what we pick and I think that in prayer and discussing it with your spouse you will find what works for you. 

It is always scary to push the buy button but after a deep breath you will be okay. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

She Is Beginning to Soar

Anxiety has been a constant companion for my daughter.  I can tell her that it is not worth the worry but that doesn’t always help. Her battle with anxiety is something is a part of her.  I think that some of it stems from her Sensory Processing Disorder and some of it comes from who she is. 

My daughter has always been a person that had to KNOW that she was going to be good at something before she even tried.  When I had her in preschool, she stopped doodling and coloring because she didn’t think that she could do it right.  Once I pulled her out of preschool it took a LONG time before she would begin coloring or writing again. 

Mickey is super confident when it comes to math and science.  She enjoys learning about the different states.  Reading is something that in her mind she sets herself up to fail.  I as her teacher and mother know that she is capable.  I have seen her growth and I know where her weaknesses are.  This doesn’t really matter when she is faced with a new reading assignment she decides that she can’t do it and she begins to shake and worry and set herself up for failure.

I know how she is feeling I have a tendency to do that very same thing when I don’t believe I can do it.  I have a Heavenly Father who is right there with me telling me that I can do things.  He is also there to walk me through it when I haven’t learned the lesson.  I have to learn to continually trust and believe him. 

This week after I began to get extremely frustrated.  I started doing something with my girl.  I have had her repeat truths about herself and her capabilities before we start reading. 

  • I am SMART
  • I can READ
  • I can do this
  • Mom is not going to give me anything that I cannot do.

Amazing how this has changed her reading time.  She is not shaking or fearful of getting a word wrong.  There are still words that she doesn’t know but she is now able to calmly sound out the word.  Her anxiety can get the best of her but now that she is reminded that she CAN do what I am asking her to do.  She is beginning to soar. 

An exciting thing is that she now beginning to leave notes for me around the house.  She is becoming confident in her writing.  This has been a long road and we are finally seeing the fruits of our hard work.  I think that writing letters to the tooth fairy helped.  She has been losing lots of teeth lately.