Archive for September, 2010

Qualified to Homeschool

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

When I first began telling people about my decision to homeschool, one of the common responses I heard was that we were a perfect fit, since I have a background in education. While I was flattered, it gave me pause. The notion that parents need to be certified to teach their own children erodes the freedoms that homeschoolers currently enjoy in this state. I do not believe that teacher education is without value. However, it targets classroom teachers. The coursework focuses largely on educational theory, classroom management, and the imparting a certain set of professional beliefs.

Homeschooling requires an entirely different skill set. At least in my limited experience, I have acted more as a facilitator. Despite how it may seem sometimes, we have never drilled Levi on his reading. We started Starfall as a means of entertainment and now he begs us to play it. On his own, he has begun sounding out words in books and on signs. Just tonight he read “sea salt” on my grinder. Of course, I’m not recommending flying blind into this either. Nate and I have done a great deal of reading about homeschooling, content knowledge, and education in general. Another helpful trait is insatiable curiosity. Lately, it’s like I look at life through homeschool glasses. Nearly every life experience is another opportunity to teach some bit of important content. Finally, parents already have the most important qualification for the job–they know their children better than anyone else.  Homeschool parents can use this powerful relationship as they teach their children–and learn by their side.

It Takes Teamwork

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

The Boys Coloring Together

With two boys that are 17 months apart, it gets pretty wild at times.  They like to mess with each other or work together in their water works projects.  Once in a while they will sit down and do something quiet and constructive like coloring.

In a rare moment, I was able to get a photo of the boys coloring together.  It is just like our parenting and homeschooling; they also require teamwork.

Mandi and I try to work together in raising our kids.  For years that meant one coming home as the other went to work or dropping off or picking the boys at the babysitter.  Thankfully those years are over. Raising and educating three children is a challenge and will require teamwork to be successful.  Just like the boys coloring together, it takes teamwork.

Excuses, Excuses

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I know my posts have been lacking substance lately, and couple of hours ago, I sat down and bang out a nice, meaty post.  About that time, I heard what sounded like one of the boys pouring out water on the floor above me (this is something we hear more often than we’d like in our house).  I assumed Levi was playing in the sink again.  No such luck.  Actually, he had gotten sick in bed and at least three times down the hallway.  I spent the bulk of my blogging time scrubbing the carpet while Nate comforted Levi and gave him a bath, so needless to say, I won’t have much of consequence to say this evening.  Dear readers, please forgive me.  I promise that I have at least two interesting ideas up my sleeve.

Not Just Parents

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

The boys playing a game with Grandpa

Today we had a nice Sunday afternoon with the boys playing at their grandparents’.  As many homeschooling parents can attest, it’s not just parents who teach their children but aunts, uncles, friends and grandparents as well.

This teaching varies from an outdoor game that would be a form of physical education to even teaching a trade.  The possibilities are endless.  I believe our Secretary of State wrote a book that it takes a village to raise a child.  I disagree;  it takes a family to raise one.

Its nice for the kids to spend an afternoon with their grandfather and play.  Its not just parents who teach their children and its not always traditional academics.  Sometimes its just playing a simple game.  Even Albert Einstein thought that play was the key to success.

Who am I to argue with Einstein?
“If A equals success, then the formula is A equals X plus Y and Z, with X being work, Y play, and Z keeping your mouth shut.” -Albert Einstein

26 Hours

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Last week at the recycled crafts class that I teach, we made clocks from old CDs. One of the girls in the class mused that she wanted her clock to go to 13 instead of 12. I only thought of her suggestion as cute at the time, but looking at it symbolically, I realized how I really could use an extra two hours in every day. I’m not formally teaching yet, but I still find it challenging to fit everything in. I have a question for you, readers. How do you find an extra hour or two in your day? What time-saving tips and tricks can you share? Share a great idea in the comments area, and you may just find yourself featured in a future post! :)

I Can See It Now

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Levi getting his eyes checked

Levi has been squinting quite a bit lately.  He has also been mixing letter order up a bit.  We decided while I still have my group policy from my previous employer that now was the best time to get his eyes checked.

We took him to a local optometrist and Levi kept trying look at the wrong copy of the letters that were behind him.  The doctor uses a mirror to project the letters.

He also answered the question “What is that, Levi? with word “that.”   As funny as it is, we finally got him to answer the number.  It was 1.  He was actually messing with us. The doctor took it well.

Well Levi has an astigmatism like his father and he needs glasses.  So we ordered ones with a bendable frame.  I am glad to live in a time where issues like this are easily fixable and Levi will have less difficulty reading.

Food for Thought

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

This may be loosely related, but one thing I appreciate about homeschooling is that I can feed my kids at home.  Celebrity chef  Jamie Oliver recently exposed the inadequacy of the public school lunch program.  His solution seemed to be a revamped cafeteria menu and (surprise!) more funding.  Instead, in a school situation, I tend to believe that parents who want their children to eat better should simply pack them a healthy lunch.  Thankfully, unless we’re taking a field trip, I can eliminate the step of packing the food.  I’m certainly not perfect when it comes to meal planning.  We end up eating a fair bit of processed and convenience food when time gets tight–like now with Nate trying to start up a business.  Still, I strive for a good balance, and am moving toward more natural, from scratch foods as time allows.  When the kids are a bit older, cooking and meal planning will provide countless learning opportunities.  They can learn fractions while baking or budgeting while planning a grocery list.

If you’re interested in nutrition, you might like my other blog, The Best Darn Diet Blog.  It is essentially a food diary, where I post pictures of everything I eat along with their calorie counts.  I feel that our nation’s problem with obesity has systemic roots, which I intend to discuss in more detail on both blogs once I have had time to do more research and clarify my thoughts.

Eh-Eh-Epsilon

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

We have been listening to the Song School Greek CD to see what it contained.  I thought Levi ignored most of it.  He came over and I pointed at each letter in the student book once or twice.  He looked at them and went back to playing.  So I continued to play the CD on our TV not really thinking much of it.

Levi kept playing with his blocks.  He stopped and brought two E blocks up to me.   In one hand was one of his Greek blocks (Epsilon) and in the other hand an English E block.  He held the English E block up and said, “Eh-eh-E, Daddy” and then with the other hand he held up the Greek Epsilon block up (looks like a capital E) and said, “Eh-eh-epsilon, Daddy.”  I was stunned.  I never thought he paid that much attention, let alone get some of it so quickly.  He was mad when I turned off the CD.  Kids are surprising sometimes as to what they are actually listening to and are learning.   I guess I had better watch what I say around them.