Tag Archive | children

Homeschool – Fourth Week of September Overview

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We began school this year officially on the 8th of September. We’ve been using these first three weeks to get comfortable with our routine. The kids extracurricular activities have also begun in the past two weeks and our weekends are now pleasantly full. We began the year with a recap on the ‘why’ of learning and discussing our aims and goals for the year, as well as the ‘how’ we are to achieve this. We discussed the major terms of each subject, for example what history is and why it’s important for us to learn it. I think it’s vital to constantly remind the kids as well as myself what the point of anything we do is and find some way of motivating ourselves to achieve our common family goals.

I’m especially happy about the many activities my children have begun as they now have a greater incentive to achieve well in school, in order to impress their peers. I highly recommend children to be part of a movement such as scouting as it is excellent for character building, social interaction of all ages and encourages positive self discipline. (And I am speaking from experience)

The kids have also enjoyed their first ever ice skating experience. It was an amazing sight to behold! They each had their fair shares of grand falls, yet they were ever so resilient and picked themselves up and kept going. It was a great show of perseverance and I was mighty proud of them. Even upon waking up the next morning with shaky legs (reminding me of Bambi’s first steps) they begged to go back! These types of character traits can only be learnt through experience and not at a desk. So I want to encourage this and will need to look into attempting to fit in some lessons in the near future.

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”

Albert Einstein

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My Heart, Mind and Habits

Regrettably, I have taken a long break from blogging recently, as I have been preoccupied with some personal issues and have been forced to concentrate on that. I am not and have never been very good at multi tasking. I can easily become consumed with a certain task and my brain cannot switch to anything else until that task is resolved. It is not a nice quality because sometimes it can take a few weeks to resolve, as with this past issue. I have still been fortunate enough to accomplish a few things this month, however have neglected quite a few of my goals. Unfortunately, I have been forced to compromise my kids and my own daily structure and I am working towards getting this up and running again.

I find it extremely difficult to split my attention and concentration on my children and other people. Whenever I am speaking to my children, I usually slip into some type of acting mode, either the ‘stern’ mom or the ‘affectionate’ mom. I cannot seem to speak with them the way I would to people who have known me as a child or during my ‘pre-kids’ days. Unfortunately, I even feel uncomfortable sorting out issues with my children in front of others because of how my actions may be judged. It seems that when I am reprimanding them, I am seen as being too harsh to my children and when I am praising them I am either too soft or showing off. I know in my heart that I shouldn’t worry about what other people think, but I cannot seem to stop the worry in my mind, maybe someone can share their own experiences or advice?

I need to incorporate a good amount of ‘me’ time into my schedule this week. By ‘me’ time, I mean a good quantity of alone time at night when the kids are asleep, in which I can reflect on myself and my life. I’m feeling slightly lost at the moment, like everything is up in the air, which I think is due to the fact that I have been concentrating on these ‘issues’ for quite some time and neglecting myself in the process. I need to sit down and reflect upon where my life is leading now and the person and parent I am now, and think about the life I want and the type of person or parent I want to be and create for myself the goals needed to get there. I need to purify my heart and mind and be clear about the goals I have in life as well as purifying my intentions. I need to renew my focus and create structure for myself and my kids. Its time I built new habits for myself and my children and be diligent in their practice.

“Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize.”

Swami Sivananda

Homeschool – Third Week Of January Overview

This week we learnt the interesting fact, that Barack Obama is Calvert Homeschool alumni. We’ve spent the week stepping away from our classical learning to have a somewhat ‘motivational’ learning week. We began our Solar System unit in science and managed a trip to the Natural History Museum’s Earth Hall, which I have previously wrote about. We continued learning and exercising our ‘mental’ math through flash cards, concentrating on multiplication for the younger students and division for my eldest.

We have begun learning about verbs, but have restricted this to oral work. I have given them a break from writing this week, in order to strengthen their listening and conversational skills. It has helped me to concentrate on and notice certain colloquial and grammatical mistakes in their speech, which I usually ignore or have gotten used to. For example, my 1st grader has been using the words ‘me’ and ‘I’ incorrectly. My 3rd grader has had a slight stutter for quite a while, however it seems to be getting worse and have been researching methods to correct or support her. I would love to hear from anyone with experience of this or any advice.

I’ve been trying to detox the kids off technology, as there has been quite a few fights over games during our school break. During our scheduled school weeks we have no technology but are rewarded with time for each of the kids to play on Sunday. We’ve been spending time as a family, enjoying life and playing many family board games. It’s hard to keep up with kids today, as it seems they need a lot more attention with all the many varieties of technology and games available.

I have been tweaking my master schedule for the children and myself, including schooling as well as chores. I have wanted to have a set routine according to time, which I haven’t been able to accomplish. I would like to have at least my wake up, bed time, breakfast, lunch and dinner to be at a set time everyday. Therefore, I can work the rest of my very flexible study schedule around it. We must always just do the best we can and be immensely grateful for the opportunity.

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

Aristotle

Homeschool – Second Week Of January Overview

ImageI have had an incredibly busy last few weeks. We have been getting back into the hang of things with our homeschooling this week. It has been a very rocky start back after the holidays. Even though this is quite common with many children, especially seeing as my kids have been without a set routine for the past month or so, it isn’t any less frustrating.

At the beginning of the week I gave a small review quiz of the previous months work and they did not score a satisfactory enough mark for me. So we have taken this week to really review and revive their school routines in the process. I have also begun the Writing With Skills curriculum by Susan Bauer this week with my son. Its a bit sad that the eldest child is the one we all experiment on and practice our parenting skills with. I’m hoping if I like this writing curriculum then I shall incorporate it with my younger daughters. So far it is very good as it reminds me of the very basic skills, which I don’t think I have taught my son. I love the fact that it shows how other writers organize their work and gives practical tips on how to organize and summarize your own writing. It even includes extra tidbits that slip my mind when teaching my son about writing, such as superscripts and footnotes.

We have completed and reviewed our weather, air and water unit from last month and our nouns work. Therefore, I am happy now with their progress to begin our Solar Systems unit next week as well as learning about verbs. We are still going to be continuing our fractions work this week, as the multiplication and division of fractions has taken quite a few more lessons than I had planned. I have been reviewing different teaching methods in order to make this easier and will try a few more approaches to this next week.

I have been having a slight problem with my disciplining technique recently. I have said before that I have needed to update my techniques quite a lot as the kids have gotten used to them and end up arguing and disobeying them. Therefore, I really want to stick this one out but am at a loss as to how to approach this new development. I am currently disciplining by rewarding good behavior and ‘correcting / punishing’ bad behavior. This has been working great for a while with the kids eager to earn points and receive their rewards. However, recently they have become great negotiators. They have been asking me what the punishment is and deciding that its worth taking. As well as negotiating their rewards, saying they will obey as long as they get … I have not yet lost my temper which I am very pleased about and want to keep that way, but it ends up turning into a serious (and sometimes long) negotiation. Where I am convincing them that there is no choice in the matter you either complete what I have asked, whether schooling or chores, and as a result you will receive a reward. They are in turn attempting to convince me that the reward isn’t worthy of the task and I should therefore increase their rewards.

I am astounded by this. I honestly don’t understand what the difference was between my parenting and my parents’ parenting, however I would NEVER even consider talking back to them let alone negotiating rules. I don’t know how to overcome this current hiccup in their behavior. However, I do want to nip this in the bud before it gets worse. This technique has been working so far so I need to try to find a way to keep this reward and punishment system but perhaps include harsher punishments and sweeter rewards. This requires more studying and researching. I will need to go back and read more of Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson this week.

Please feel free to share your disciplining techniques and what has worked for you.

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” 

Sigmund Freud

Homeschool – First Week of January Overview

We have been ill this week but managed to get better by the weekend. Once our sicknesses were over we did a very well needed spring clean of the house and managed to organize all the places I always put to the bottom of my list of priorities. Therefore, we got rid of the germs and have prepared for the next weeks homeschooling. I have received the ‘Writing With Skill’ books by Susan Wise Bauer and have been preparing the lessons I need to add in our schedule this week. My kids are looking forward to beginning their schooling again, I’m sure kids secretly or in this case openly crave structure. They have been quite difficult when there is no structure and they are all free to do their own thing. This is usually when we need to expect the fights, screaming and tears. I managed to do a little shopping and get a few items I’ve been wanting to get for the house during the January sales. Its better late than never, right?

My eldest has Saturday school which gives him a chance to get the social benefits of interacting with other kids his age as well as learning through a school environment. He was very excited about his first day back after the holidays and has enjoyed himself there.

January’s homeschooling theme for us will be about the Solar System. This will be our new unit in Science and therefore we will begin learning and crafting to decorate our classroom for this theme. The kids have enjoyed school a lot more now that we have more of a visual classroom than a living room and are all around happier with homeschooling. Therefore, I am more motivated about teaching them and being innovative and creative to keep up their enthusiasm. Nobody said parenting or homeschooling is easy but its such an amazing experience which I can not even put into words. So, I am looking forward to going on this January journey of learning and teaching. I am just hoping that they appreciate this as they grow into well rounded individuals and I successfully fulfil my duties towards them as a mother!

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” 

Rumi

Accept The Unexpected

ImageOur lives and actions are based on our intentions. As humans we are no where near perfection. When we intend to do good and things do not go according to plan, as they often don’t, its all right. No matter what or how big the problem, there will always be a solution. This has been a hard learned lesson for me, which has come from experience and with the very limited wisdom of my years. We must accept that everything is truly out of our hands and the only thing within our control is our intentions. For example, when intending to cross a road, despite careful calculations, anything may get in our way, such as a car or a sprained ankle.

Having said this, I was taken off guard when on our first day back to our homeschooling, the kids and I were taken ill. We ended up spending the majority of the day in bed or watching movies. I’m sure many parents can agree that one of the worst feelings in the world is the feeling of helplessness a parent feels towards their child going through any type of suffering. It’s the unexpected reality of life which we need to accept, do what we can to overcome and move forward. We will need to begin our schooling in a couple of days, once the kids and I have recovered enough. I may try to schedule in some easy fun crafts to lift their spirits, but nothing too mentally strenuous.

I’m sure now that the holidays are over and the cold sets in, many people are re-evaluating the past year and searching for ways to make 2014 amazing for them. As for me, I am working towards living a life I love and am proud of, so that when I am asked, ‘What would I change in my life if I were to die tomorrow?’ I am able to truthfully and sincerely reply, ‘Absolutely nothing!’

“It is more Important to be of pure intention than of perfect action.”

Ilyas Kassam

Discipline and Parenting

ImageI always look forward to when I am able to relax with my cup of tea, in a quiet and clean house at the end of the day, especially days like today where the children have completed their work joyfully. It is especially pleasing, seeing as it doesn’t happen very often. We’ve been wrapping up our nouns, fractions and weather units this week and will just be working on putting everything together over the weekend. The kids have been working well in order to earn their rewards, which is 15 mins at the end of the day on either the computer or the ipad. They haven’t regularly earned this in the past, however somehow they have managed 4 days in a row!  

I am currently studying a TEFL course which ends in February. I’m starting to feel the beginning tingling of pressure and have been working on it this week to try and alleviate that stress before it starts. I hate to leave things to last minute but there are many more priorities for us as mothers. I can’t help but marvel at my ‘pre-parenthood’ days, where I cannot remember what I did with my time or even full days.

There has been the odd argument or two, usually involving someone making funny faces at another. I am still working on finding the best disciplining technique, I currently aim to go the ‘praise publicly and discipline privately’ way. Yet, I do have a problem with my own self-discipline sometimes and resort to raising my voice, usually whenever there is the possibility of injury. This is because I have these weird flashes of a ‘final destination’ type accident. Am I the only one? I hate the disciplining technique of withholding certain things, whether toys or electronics, from one child and not the others. I have always wanted to be a fair mother regardless, as I was the middle child and had what my siblings referred to as the ‘middle child syndrome’. I have always felt that I was treated unfairly as a child, even though looking back, that was not the case. Somehow, a child’s mind can perceive things in astonishing ways. It seems like a battle sometimes, trying to prove your intentions to your child in a given situation so as not to have it misconstrued. Nevertheless, I find it incredibly hard to discipline any other way. I cannot reward or correct collectively as that too would be unfair to one or the rest.

I know that as new parents we usually want for our children better than we had for ourselves. However, as I go along this parenting journey I have been through about 20 different disciplining techniques in 10 years and still need to update them when my kids get too used to them that they are ignored. I have realised that everyone of us are just trying to do our best while utilizing what we are blessed with, including our parents. Nobody is perfect. I remember I heard someone say once that you should never say ‘you tried’ with a child as your time isn’t over yet and you still need to constantly be trying.

Please share your disciplining techniques and how they work (or don’t) for you.

“Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows
with the ability to say no to oneself.” 

Abraham Joshua Heschel