Tag Archive | homeschooling

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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Return of the Blog

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These past few months have been crazy hectic for us, so I have taken a break from blogging. We began homeschooling again at the beginning of this month and have been establishing our new routine. As the kids get older the workload and the extracurricular activities have increased considerably. The kids many extracurricular activities have also begun this month, which I feel is a great opportunity (and possibly a necessity) for the kids to let out steam. So our calendar is turning out to be pretty full this year.

The past three weeks, we have been experimenting and getting a feel for this new homeschooling year. It started with the kids full of optimism, enthusiasm and eager to learn. However, as we are continuing with Calvert homeschooling again this year, it seems that the teaching manuals and daily plans for the kids does not give much time to practice and get used to a specific topic or principle before it is already introducing the next one. It has slowly had a negative effect on the kids lowering their enjoyment of learning and making school feel more like a chore. So this week I have been rearranging the daily planner/manual. I have been busy attempting to synchronize the lessons so that we as a group are all learning the same topic but at different levels. This can allow us to go on great field trips relevant for everyone.

I have seen a few other homeschooling mothers worried about overbooking their family calendars. I am really hoping that is not the case for us and we can happily get through this very busy year. This calendar of ours is full of potential and opportunities but nothing is written in stone and we always make time for family and friends and any unforeseen circumstances. We can only take things one day at a time with much required patience, a positive attitude and always wearing a smile.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin

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 – 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

Gratitude and The Most Uplifting Blogger Award

ImageI would like to take some time today to show my gratitude for a number of things and kill two birds with one stone by showing my appreciation to http://jcmorrows.wordpress.com for nominating me for The Most Uplifting Blogger Award. I am very humbled that anyone could feel uplifted by my blog. Just like many others, I am a very busy mother striving to do right by my kids and responsibilities, whilst worrying that I’m doing everything wrong. I began blogging in order to find someone to uplift and inspire my daily life. I wasn’t disappointed as I have been moved, inspired, intrigued and uplifted by many other bloggers!

Therefore, here are my seven nominees for the Most Uplifting Bloggers. I look forward each and every day to reading their posts and am never disappointed.

http://africatoamerica.org/

http://cristianmihai.net/

http://culturemonk.com/

http://ivyleaguehomeschooling.com/

http://homeschoolpaleo.com/

http://thehomeschoolmomblog.wordpress.com/

http://amyallenfitness.wordpress.com/

Thank You, for uplifting my days and many others.

It is impossible for me to ever list the things I am grateful for in life as they are innumerate. Just the brain that God has given me which allows me to not only understand but feel gratitude, I could never be thankful enough for. Therefore this is a very very short list of things that I am currently very thankful for:

I am thankful that God has chosen and allowed me to recognize, worship and love Him

I am thankful that God is giving me a chance to succeed in life, just by breathing

I am thankful for the family and loved ones God has entrusted with me

I am thankful for the good health, warm bed and dry shelter my family and I have during this very cold and rainy night

I am thankful for the abundant provisions God has provided for my family and myself

I am thankful for the love and mercy that God has put between the hearts of my family and myself as well as many of us human beings

And finally, I am thankful for the bloggers who share their struggles through life, encouraging others to strengthen their spines and realise that they are not going through life’s struggles alone.

I would also like to take this opportunity to show my appreciation and thank anyone who actually reads what I write. I have so much on my plate, I never thought I would have time to write blogs but I have enjoyed writing immensely. I have always journalled as a young girl and loved scribbling notes here and there and I am grateful that I have found this blogging community which has given me an outlet for my musings. As a result it feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I have had more time to just relax and lie back with the kids than when I was too preoccupied attempting to sift, prioritize and think through the colossal amount of thoughts in my head. Where I once believed blogging to be an added burden to my day, It has become a great relief. I highly recommend it! Keep up the blogging!

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” 
Alphonse Karr

Homeschooling, Errands and Chores

I have felt pretty dead on my feet today as I am overcoming a cold. Today has been one of those days where I would do anything for a nap. We have still somehow managed to complete everything I set out to complete in my planner, so its been pretty good. We have been continuing our Nouns and Fractions studies. Been working through textbooks and worksheets today. It’s pretty boring work but I want the kids to have that practice of classical teaching as well. We, as homeschoolers need to always be prepared for any tests or observations and for this the kids need to be capable of understanding and answering worksheets as well as the fun stuff.
We have been learning about Clouds today with our weather unit and have done the ‘cloud in a bottle’ experiment, teaching the kids about water vapor, hot and cold air. The kids also made a display using cotton wool to depict the different types of clouds and which height you would find them in the sky. I am hoping to reinforce the many vocabulary they learnt today throughout the week and see if they can remember the cloud names. We have also been completing the lapbook book reports. It has been a pretty productive day!
I was up pretty late last night tidying up the house, as my kids need all the supervision they can get during the day so I leave it for the evening. We do not watch T.V. except for pre selected documentaries, shows or movies (and that is just during the weekends). Which means I really don’t like to leave them to their own devices during the week, so I make sure that they are always occupied and I am usually with them. However, this leaves me with a whole bunch of chores I didn’t get done in the day, to be completed at night when the kids are in bed. I would like to have an early night but I have laundry, ironing, dishes, trash to take out, food to prepare for tomorrow’s dinner and lesson plans to tweak, yet all I can seem to do is dream of my bed.
I have given the kids some chores during the week, for example vacuum the stairs (as that’s the only carpeted area of my house), tidy their rooms, make their beds, set, clear and clean the table. With this they have reached their limit, anything more I add to this will disrupt the day with moaning and disciplining. These chores along with personal hygiene has worked far better for the week days, allowing more time for the kids to focus on their school work.  Although they have added chores on weekends I cannot seem to keep up with the day to day chores during the week, whilst getting enough sleep.
I would like to know if any mothers have a better solution to the household chores. How do you handle homeschooling as well as cleaning? Do you leave it for the evening like me or do you manage to fit it in and how?
“When you know better you do better.” 
Maya Angelou