Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Special Blessings’ Category

” 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these. 28 Now if God clothe in this manner the grass that is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more you, O ye of little faith? 29 And seek not you what you shall eat, or what you shall drink: and be not lifted up on high. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek. But your Father knoweth that you have need of these things. 31 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give you a kingdom. 33 Sell what you possess and give alms. Make to yourselves bags which grow not old, a treasure in heaven which faileth not: where no thief approacheth, nor moth corrupteth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 35 Let your loins be girt, and lamps burning in your hands.”

I love following the threads at 4Real.  They really help me to think my own thoughts on oh so many issues regarding homeschooling, parenting, faith and my children (not in any particular order).

There was a post the other day that really got me thinking…and remembering.

About this time 2 years ago I was starting to plan for high school homeschooling for the first time.

Ordinarily, during planning time, I would pull out my notes that I had been accumulating throughout the year.  These planning notes mostly came from a  spiral bound notebook I always had with me for fast scribbling when an impulse would hit me to try something new or take a new direction.

Hasn’t it ever happened to you??  ~Distraction! …Here I would be

~armed with my coffee(in my pre-pregnancy state…or would that be post-pregnancy..hmmm..I mean, caffeine only in a non pregnancy state but something hot nonetheless)  and running the circus…all the players assembled around me working.   I would be watching the children with that day’s work and  I would begin to see these already implemented plans beginning to bear fruit.  Mind you, the process is not idillyic or smooth running…remember!  I am an optimist.  I see good even in its distressing disguise [:)]

It typically would hit right about then…wanting to change things or tweak things…which could be disruptive.  I had to compose myself…I felt like a kid in a candy store the day after lent was over! I wanted to try it all.  I found that scribbling in my “Mommy’s Brain in a Book” was the BEST thing I could do at that moment.   It was my way of ‘sitting on my hands’ when I wanted to bolt to the shelves or the computer or the library (all at the same time ….at just THAT moment) which would of course disrupt learning and cause me to lose my audience.  I had a plan and I was going to work it, but I had to scribble to leave me room for inspiration that could be implemented LATER…like the next day or week….not right then. Disordered creativity doesn’t help anyone…it only causes frustration…even just for the note “Make copies of coloring page for 5yodd” would be recorded or “buy dress shoes for 7yo before Sunday”.  I would write ANYTHING that would make me move or distract me so I could stay on track.   There is no guarantee I will remember anything if I don’t write it down.   Be patient with me if you call.  I have to write down the fact that “I can’t talk to you now and I will call you back later”  or I will forget when I place the phone in the receiver.

So, ideas  both big and small, scholastic and domestic were pressed into the “Mommy’s Brain in a Book” book.  This would be used with a variety of other homeschool sources to plan things out later, editing out the non-essential of course!  In some cases,  I had been planning almost 2 years ahead, but that was for elementary school.  I was wondering if the stakes were changing for high school and was I prepared for it?  I have to admit to feeling unsettled and unsure of how to proceed as my eldests had some processing issues and I wasn’t too sure how that would work if they were planning on being in a college setting.  They were improving by leaps and bounds, but would that trend continue?

I also considered their younger brother, Young Einstein, and that he would be college material by the time the high school experience was over, but what would HE need?  He is gifted in some ways.  I could see a young engineer budding here…that would take some careful consideration.  He would need a well-rounded education to be sure…logic, latin, writing, science, math…..and more…

I have always enjoyed using an eclectic combination of several ‘methods’ such as Montessori, Catholic Charlotte Mason (lots of living books), Classical…etc…sometimes in an unschooly kind of way in that we followed lots of rabbit trails when the interest in a particular subject was high.   I just LOVED gleaning this way!  It fired me up to do more. In those circumstances they studied far more than ever would be required of them just for the joy of learning a new thing…  could I keep that up?

I love sliding along through the stacks of books and inspiration with a touch of enthusiasm.  After all there is only so much tugging and pulling I can do with some of the children.  I would rather leave those kind of battles to the laundry monster or any of the other unpopular chores they also had to accomplish.  I wanted learning to be an adventure (wherever possible) in that even if I had to poke an prod a little, the process would soon (usually after 15-20 minutes..I TIMED it one day) pick them up and build their confidence and propel them ahead into learning.  The first 15-20 minutes took FOREVER but the last 2 hours FLEW! I was comfortable with this and then you throw the monkey wrench of SATs and whatever other monsters that might be ‘lurking under the bed’ and I get a little weak in the knees.

But I did it.  I prayed and I figured it out.  After all, that business of the children is really just ENTRUSTED to me..they really are God’s and He knows what He is about….even with beautiful talented girls with processing issues.  I had to trust in that and just move forward knowing that their crosses were no fault of my own.  I had to help them carry them…not jump on the back of them and make them heavier by “trying to keep up with the Joneses” .  They learned how to talk and to walk and to read and to write,  and so on with steady progress.  There was NO WAY I could go through our day with anything less than sacrifical peace.  Sacrificial in the sense that I would do all I could to help and I shouldn’t sweat the bumps along the way.  What good would it do to offer a curricula and have not love…something to that effect.  My daughters even told me that if they went to college, they would more than not study theology and teach outdoor survival and maybe get into domestic sustainable farming…hmm

Then with Young Einstein,, who was doing much of the same work with his older sisters would be going to college and majoring in something to do with math and science….

I really needed a planning hand to hold.  I consulted my Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum book, and CHC’s High School planning book and a few other planning books that I used as place markers to make sure all of the concepts were covered in each subject.  The most unlikely place I found a helping hand was already on my shelf.  I had purchased the books for making lapbooks, but I realized that they were full of lists that would help me ensure that if the children continued to pursue their own interests in a particuar subject, like…WWI in 20th Century History…they had basic points covered in their notes.  These books helped them take notes and include what they would need in order for the NOTES to be a good review tool.  I didn’t expect them to make them into lapbooks, I expected their notebooks to trigger their memory quickly…ok..there are 2 things to compare here…here are the important dates to remember…here are

I had to steer the ship for high school and yet still cover grammar school (K-5 ATM)  I needed some good overview lists to make sure each individual person covered the subject areas needed as well as each group…without being tightfisted about them.    I decided that the twins were either freshmen this year  if I ‘hold them back a year’ or sophomores if they decided they want to finish up quickly but I wouldn’t alter the course of their learning…they can do it on their own muster in three or slower in 4 it is up to them at this point.

  • Freshmen  the twins (16yo)  and Young Einstein (14yo)
  • 4-5th grade dd(9) and ds(10)
  • K-1st grade dd(5) and ds(7)

I divided the groups then I divided the data..

  • subects
  • skills
  • extra projects by season
  • individual goals
  • family goals
  • book lists
  • library lists

Each child had their own planning/assignment book and they have to ck in with me during the course of the week to adjust goals and to review whatever was covered.  We were looking for areas of improvement and areas that still needed tweaking.  In these books were also kept extensive reading lists.  This one was hard to stay on top of because they didn’t always want to write everything down.  But, by having the weekly meeting with mom(teacher) and the weekly report with dad (principal)  it became something they were proud of….confidence goes a long way …especially with a certain 10yo here…

Well, in hindsight, I guess we did all of those things.  God has a unique plan for all of them and I have been praying about that for a long time.  I was praying I wouldn’t ‘get in the way’ of His Grace either.

But your Father knoweth that you have need of these things. 31 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you…

I am still planning on the twins attending a good Catholic college (only God knows where that $$ is coming from..and if Young Einstein goes the same year??!!  …ONE day at a time, Mama!)  and at the same time I am relaxing my fearful heart over if what we are doing is good enough.  I can see looking back, they are still going strong and making steady improvements.  They are growing in grace and I feel the Spirit blowing strong with them some days.  It took me some time to figure out a new way to ‘plan’ for the year and still meet the objectives that they would need for any potential college.  I sometimes worry about
TIME

and well…I have learned to put prayer before all things and put religion first during the day (at least in some form) and it does make the road a bit less scary to travel from a gulp, I am in charge of all of these people and all that they …..etc…perspective

Back to the 4 Real post though…

I identified the one subject that made me uncomfortable planning for high school and that was science….  I realized that I had somethings at my disposal to help in that area.  I have a few high school and college texts that I just picked up at the thrift store or garage sales…so I could see WHAT was being covered and HOW.  The creative mommy in me wanted learning to be fun and meaningful.  I wanted them to remember.  I hadn’t found a text for the high schoolers that I was sure would be a good fit.  I was wondering if I could continue using mostly living books to cover this subject.  I loved MacBeth’s Opinion…and other such resources, but would that be enough?

I then perused my shelves and found these resources:

Science Scope by Kathryn Stout is a great resource book I picked up years ago.  It was recommended to me as an excellent resource for people who like to plan their own path and it DOES help planning things. I realized that despite my discomfort doing a CMish type of high school science, I found my children work that way best and this resource helped me keep my place. I also needed a way to keep them on track in their note-taking as their notebooks weren’t cutting it as good review tools. I wanted them to remember at a glance. It is one of those books that have earned their keep on the shelves.

There is a simple little checklist in the back of the book where I can plug in each child’s name(ok just 5 of them at a time [LOL] and the level covered (primary, intermediate, junior, sr high) It is easy for me to eyeball if someone has missed something. A lot less remembering on my part (I am starting to feel challenged in that area as I am divided amongst so many)  So it helped me focus on high school level and helped me keep track of the progress the others needed to take to get there.

I actually used Science Scope alongside the Dinah Zike science books
and used Dinah’s recommendations to facilitate teaching them note taking in each area so they have good coverage in their notes….
Big Book of Science – Elementary K-6]Big Book of Science for K-6
Big Book of Science for Middle School and High School]Big Book of Science for Middle and High School

Dinah has lists that are divided into subject area, skills to be covered and how many parts to include in their notes…a visual/kinesthetic must for several of my children. I felt that at least so far (even with an elementary through a  9-10th grade level in the upper ranks now) we have what we need covered.

We then used this book so they could alter the foldables (if they didn’t want to make a big project of their work) so they could easily be created on they fly and fit nicely into their composition books or binders wihout added bulk using ordinary notebook paper and highlighters and such:
Notebook Foldables

So I did learn that if I feel a bit’ prickly in the skin’ at teaching and being accountable for one subject or another to have some kind of spine or list to keep me on track.…the blood pressure goes at  more of an even keel that way…

I have one other of Kathryn Stout’s books Maximum Math, and it has helped us tremendously keeping a birds eye view on everyone knowing what they are doing and where they are going next…it made for easier projects and rabbit trails for K-8. As with Science Scope, I could make sure we covered everything. They were ‘my’ planning spines. It was my way of making sure that they had a syllabus to follow even though we didn’t fit well with syllabi but the kids wanted to know when they studied on their own ‘what came next’ and ‘how much do I do” I am VERY visual and I needed help and I think I have FINALLY? got it!??

At the end of the day, I realize that what really counts that I continue to discern and pray and put all things in God’s hands…not to mention work with my HEART.    I LOVE my vocation and part of that is my calling to homeschooling.  It is so much easier to love in my vocation and love my vocation when my heart is fully in it and that means my heart must be fully in God.  I treasure every fleeting moment I have been gifted with as I learn beside my children.  They are my gift.  I am blessed.

34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (more…)

Read Full Post »

I got hit in the head by a brick today.  I mean it!  (Figuratively speaking of course!  LOL) "It" happened while trying to teach large-motor boy(8) to learn…ok, I mean ….trying to teach large-motor boy how to buckle down and pay attention to some of the "school subjects", I had to be willing to learn too.  This child has been my biggest parenting challenge since he turned three.  (God love him!!)  As resistant to the traditional way of doing things (schoolwork only being just one of them) as he was…I found that I was resistant too.   Can you believe THAT??  Who ME??!…I have been trying hard…on the job with bells on every day….me??!!…hmmm …can you just feel God nodding vehemently??

I already know how to read and write and figure math problems.  It is ds’s turn to learn this stuff! (Can you see my hand sweeping across the bookshelves in a Vannah White imitation??) But WAIT!  before that happens…I have to learn something new… bbbut… now?  Yessir! 

I had to learn how  to:

see the world as he does
and
find out how HE learns

then….*deep breath*…*steel yourself*…..follow THROUGH!

Give and take…I have to give and take from him as he gives and takes from me. 

He reads for me…then we play a game of chess…HE is teaching. 
We do a math lesson…I then have to learn how to throw the magnetic darts correctly….(thank God ds is a patient soul!)

He listens as I read him a bible story and he draws a picture and then narrates the story back to me as I record it in his bible book.  I then learn about his plans to fashion a squirrel-proof bird feeder. 

I am learning how to relax and have fun even though my responsibilities weigh heavily on me as they are sooo numerous.  I am finding out that these same responsibilities are easier to bear as I learn the way this child does.  This child isn’t hard to teach…I AM!  God writes our lives with crooked lines….sneaky as He is ;o)…so He knew this when He entrusted this precious soul to our care.  The question of the day is….."Am I patient enough to learn something new today?"  (I love praying for God’s Will…after all He knows best and He is perfect!  Ok, so I pray this prayer with one eye closed like I am kinda hiding from the sky that may just fall on me….LOL)

All the prayers and pleading to live according to HIS way have very unexpected answers.  I guess He likes to be as unpredictable as my son!    Talk about learning more about God though His creation!

Children
Homeschooling…just WHO is teaching WHOM?

HE SAID TO THEM, "LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN
COME TO ME, AND DO NOT HINDER THEM,
FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD BELONGS TO SUCH AS THESE"
Mark 10:14

Oh wow…I am learning something new in each second now…

My littlest one just got an ouchie while playing and just now wanted me co cuddle her in my arms so she could cry just a few tears and snuggle the pain away and my eyes caught the saying on the coffee mug sitting next to me…it says "May your day be filled with love"  I never read that mug before….even though I must have cleaned it a thousand times….Imagine trying to live every day with a motivation of REAL love.…( God’s love is sacrificial after all…) looks like   that is the WAY to go…to THE KINGDOM of course! Thanks God!  Thanks to you, it surely is! 

(I can’t believe it took me five years to learn this….I needed a brick today…I could use it to build  new foundations in his learning adventures…or should I say…MY learning adventures….LOL)

Read Full Post »

Hands-on work today:

Astronomy Science! ….featuring Mercury!
Using this as our spine…lesson 3
We read this
We used this p 64-65
and we notebooked using these Astronomy pages
We added the first few pages of this that have great Astronomy pages for our notebooks!  Adding a Solar System detective page for Mercury (p 19)

using Download clip_art_mercury.doc

(images imported to a Word document) we cut out and put in a zip-loc sandwich baggie and decorated the margins  and frames of our notebook pages
….the littlies narrated to me…bigguns just jotted their own work down.  The little ones love to narrate to me and use the clip art to illustrate what they just told me.  To them, it is the equivalent of using stickers…just a touch messier….we use a lid with a little school glue in it and a q-tip.  I keep repeating…"just a dot"…"just a dot!"

Chaffeelittleredschoolhouse
We start our day with :

Saint of the Day
Character Building Story
Baltimore Catechism Questions …later during the week we illustrate the lesson using stick figure drawings much like those found in Christoper’s Talks to Catholic Children(which worked beautifully last year) or the oop Chalk Talks that were later added to the Faith and Life Religion books…much like what our beloved Helen does!

For the 6 and 7yo…
Concentration on Math today:

  • Played with Math 1 Tackle Box(I assembled a few years ago)..played with odd and even and the teens and tens boards..just for fun!
  • Played with numbers on this abacus…(We made the home made version a few years ago and they are still holding up…everyone has their own colors with pony beads, popsicle sticks and skewers and small binder clips)

100 Ez Lessons (7 yo ds made a pic about the funny story he read at the end of the lesson…great for reading comprehension and an answer to "and what did you just read" questions.
and made a "book" from CHC’s Little Stories for Little Folks
and Spelling time

The older ones:
did copy work
read about knights and castles
and more castles
and they are making plans for a creative notebooking project using this. 
Read Aloud: The Sword of Clontarf

and worked in their Developmental Math books and played Timez Attack
(my #2dd with digital and visual digit span issues is working her way through TouchMath and listening to the Concentration and Thinking Cd’s as she does her artwork.)

Not bad for a mucky Monday.  Would like to do more, but we have to leave the rest for tomorrow.  Mondays are not my personal fav’s because we are still strung out from visiting over the weekend.  We will often have a lighter schedule on those days. 

We have company coming today and I got the living room and the dining room cleaned because I held out a plater of chocolate chip cookies before them…then told them to accomplish a certain amount of exercise and chores for each one (these cookies were made cutting back the sweetener and substituting some of it it with maple syrup  and using whole grain flour so we didn’t totally trash our diets 😉  I first offered them an organic carrot while I told them the "rules".  I "made" them do jumping jacks and told them to pick up 10 things…and then they did enough to purchase one cookie.  For the next cookie, it was more jumping jacks and 20 items…etc.  It helps to make the cookies small ;o)

So we are trying to "do school", clean the house, and cook for company coming for dinner….phew!

Read Full Post »