18 entries categorized "homeschooling"

First Day of Homeschool 2012

At some point yesterday, I captured each of our four kids in a quick iPhone shot, to document their first day of homeschool 2012.  I haven't always remembered to take these pictures, but this year is special:  we have a senior in the house!  

First day of homeschool 2012
Senior, Freshman, 7th grader, and 4th grader.  No, I don't know what I'm doing most of the time.  No, I don't know enough to teach them; we must learn together.  No, I'm not special for trying.  

I'm brave because they're worth it. 

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We're Swinging!

I'm so excited that swing dancing has come back en vogue for the younger generation.  It's so much better than the dirty dancing of my era (that goes without saying!). Our area teens love to swing whenever they can. They're all learning, so it's fun for everybody.  

Last weekend, we attended a 50's Sock Hop for area homeschooling teenagers.  About 40 kids came.

  50's-007

Here are our teens, 16 and 14, dressed up for the 50's theme...

50's-002

Tonight, we're driving 40 miles to another town to attend another swing dance, where the entrance fee is $5 and there is no drinking or smoking allowed.   They teach lessons for an hour before opening the floor to a night of swinging.  I haven't gone to this spot yet, so I can't wait!

Do you swing? 

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On Similarities

I took a photo of our teen lying in a box on the ground (no.  I do not know why) at our homeschool field day, and it flashed in my mind that I had taken a photo of something oh-so-similar just a month before on a field trip to the New Orleans Audubon Zoo.  'Nuff said.  Let the photos show the proof.

 
image from www.flickr.com

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com

This explains my last post, right?

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Teaching What I Love

A homeschooling mom who successfully graduated her beautiful children says stop stressing over the "shoulds" and the things we think are important just because school systems say they're important.  Instead, teach our children what we love and what we know, because God totally knew what that child needs when he gave her to that mama with those talents and those dreams. 

Teaching a love of learning photography2 copy

I'm enjoying the thought of how much fun we could have, if we followed that.  Why, we'd sew, we'd bake, we'd raise chickens, and we'd photograph at the beach together! 


Teaching a love of learning photography2 copy

What beautiful days we would have, and such sweet memories, if we make time to do things like these instead of spending our days in frustration over textbooks.  Since books are important, too, I'll teach her to love them as I do by sharing only the highest quality books with her.  Instead of writing in workbooks, we'll write freehand in pretty spiral notebooks, our subjects coming from our days and our topics about the things we love.  We'll study art in the field up the hill, and physical education will come from long walks along the Bay and kayaking trips upriver. 

And above all other busyness, we'll preserve lots and lots of time together and with our little family.  Because if I teach her what I love, I'll teach her to know herself, since she is one of the things I love the most.


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p.s. Yes, that's our 13 year old ballerina there.  I know.  She doesn't look 13.  But she is.  Please spread that news to the 16 year old boys along the Gulf Coast.


Our Little Homeschool: Then & Now

image from www.flickr.com

from my 2008 journal, but still so true:

On our first school day, we were ready for school at exactly 8am.  We had textbooks out, the United States flag out, and our students (ages 6 and 4) sat perfectly still at their desks, while the baby ....... ah, yes, the baby.  He interrupted, the preschooler fidgeted and the 6yo was soon distracted.  I realized our homeschool can't be exactly like a "real" school.

 

Our school day yesterday, about 7 years after that first day, began after a morning of chores and waking slowly. The 5yo was taught how to fry her own egg, baby animals (ducklings, chicks, bunnies) were visited and fed, the 12yo dictated to the 10yo, a little was done on math worksheets, the 8yo read to the 10yo, music played in the background, and at one point (for nearly an hour because we just couldn't stop) we all gathered around the table for a read-aloud of Anne of Green Gables.

 

Homeschooling has been so much easier and our days have been much less frustrating since we chose to learn from life and good books instead of from what I thought school had to be.

 

~ Lori Seaborg, 2008

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How to Teach Your Child to Love Reading

I posted this on that other blog I have this weekend.  Thought I'd share it with you, too...

20100419_2619 (our 13yo gal in a favorite reading spot)

Our four children have such different personalities, but all four are avid readers. A friend, who has five children who do not enjoy reading, asked me how we taught our children to love reading.  The question surprised me, as we didn't do it on purpose.  I had never wondered about it. After thinking it over, these might be the reasons why our children love to read:

  • I love to read.  They have seen mama with reading material in her hands every day, all of their lives.  There's no such thing as "no time to read," as all you need are a couple of minutes to read a paragraph.  Paragaph upon paragraph, a book is read.  In our house, Daddy doesn't read much, so don't worry if you're the only adult reader in the house.
  • We read aloud to them.  Not every day.  I wish we did read to them daily; it's one of my goals, and has been one of my goals for a decade or so, but we do read aloud fairly often.  When we read, it is always with inflection, sometimes with a tear (Horton makes me cry), sometimes with the deepest of belly laughs (Calvin & Hobbes), and sometimes with respect.
  • We only read quality books and magazines.  When I was first introduced to the concept of "living books," I became paralyzed by what was a good book and what wasn't considered a good book.  Don't do that.  You'll stop reading books, frustrated by the choices.  Just go with what you think is a good, entertaining book.  Do you have a childhood favorite?  Start there. Introduce it to your child.  Books are timeless.  Our children loved Dick & Jane, for example, which are such old and non-techie books!  They are good examples of a book series that someone else may not think is "good quality," as they are quite simple. It doesn't matter if a book is on someone else's list of favorites.  It can still be on ours.
  • We don't make a big deal about it.  We don't assign a certain number of pages (unless it's a book that needs to be read a certain pace, like a history book).  During school hours, for reading or literature time, I often say, "Read 30 minutes today, from a book of your choice."  Reading can be done anywhere:  on the bed, in the rocking chair, or in the yard (see photo above of our then-12yo daughter).  Also, if a book isn't preferred, and isn't needed for a certain reason (such as a history book), it can be shelved.  Sometimes, we just don't like a book.  That's okay, as long as he or she doesn't dislike every book.

If I had a reluctant reader, this is what I'd do:

I would read aloud from an interesting book, stop mid-chapter in the middle of an exciting scene, or at a point in the story where one must know what happens next.  I'd then silently place a bookmark, close the book, and set it down in a highly-trafficked spot.  Likely, your child will not stay silent, but will beg you to read more.  Say, "Oh, I have something of my own to read.  You go ahead and finish this one."  If he wants to share the experience with you, let him read aloud to you. 

Last year, I wanted our 14yo to read Watership Down, but he grew too bored of it too quickly.  I didn't want this book shelved, as I hoped for the discussion and deep thinking that would follow.  I read aloud from Watership Down for about a week's worth of school days.  By then we were well into the story, figuratively on the edge of a cliff, so that our son had to know what happened next.  I bookmarked the book, set it on the table, and said, "You go ahead and finish this, if you like. I've read it already."  He immediately picked up the book and read it through.

To get you started with great books, here are some of our family favorites:  

from our 9th grader (15yo):

The Hobbit

the Redwall Series

from our 7th grader (just turned 13yo):

A Hopeful Heart

Janette Oake's books

Corrie  Belle Hollister series

from our 5th grader (10yo):

Enclyopedia Brown series

Happy Hollisters series

from our 2nd grader (7yo):

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (as a read-aloud)

Guess How Much I Love You

As we each have our likes & dislikes, preferences & personalities, our favorites may not work well for you and your children.  So let's get more opinions!

What are your family's favorite books?  Let us know, in the "comments" section, below.

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I Faced My Fears Today...

...and, for the sake of the children whom I love dearly, went on a field trip to a...

(Fear #1) ...tunnel

(Fear #2)...a tunnel which runs under water, under a great big  river - big enough for a cruise ship to float on.

(Fear #3) We went not only went to see a tunnel that runs under water, but we also went under the tunnel of heavy zooming cars and quite heavy & loud semi trucks.  Keep in mind, as I certainly did,  that the tunnel has a heavy, heavy river flowing above it, and that there might be a heavy cruise ship floating on it at that very moment.  We were under all that, in yet another underground "maintenance" tunnel.  Oh, joy.. 

(Fear #4) To get to the underside of the tunnel with the zooming cars under water and possibly under a cruise ship, we had to climb down, down, down, down Very Steep and Very Narrow see-through metal stairs for five flights.  

(Fear #5) Halfway down the flight of stairs, on landing #3 or so, you can open a door to the car tunnel and see the zooming cars - and semi trucks (:::said in a panicky voice:::) - zooooom within just a few feet of you.  Why. Is. That. Door. Not. Locked? 

I had to pretend like it did not frighten me very nearly to death, because the other 70 homeschoolers didn't seem to mind, and the children definitely didn't mind.  Our little gal cheerfully waved at the tiny speck of me from waaaay up those scary stairsteps, as if it wasn't a very scary day at all.   

It was cool and worth it, but...

...we've been there, done that, no need to do it again. 

p.s. The photos were taken on the kids' point-and-shoot by me.  If my shaking hands didn't make the photos too blurry, I'll post them as soon as I find the camera.  I don't want to wake a slumbering angel just to post blurry shots. 

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If You Homeschool, or Want to...

...visit my post yesterday on Freely Educate, my other blog.  It's called "How to Homeschool for Free (how we do it)" .  Catchy title, eh? 

Title-making has never been my thing.

It took 9 months to decide on a name for each baby.

Finally, my man had to do it.  If he hadn't stepped in, they'd be named "I'm Not Sure," and "I Haven't Decided."

image from www.flickr.com
Also!  If you're new to homeschooling, go download this book that even I, a homeschooling "veteran" (*snort*, as if I feel like any kind of expert at it!) am enjoying. 

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