Tuesday, April 30, 2013

March and April Photo Dump

So I'm late on March's photo dump so I'll merge it with April!! We had a busy March!!!

April was pretty fun too! Global Wildlife, exploring Camp Salmen!

Here's to a super fun summer!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Humble Beginnings...

We are just starting our homeschooling journey, the boys and I. At the moment, it's just H and I home as E finishes up his time at the local Head Start. I'm enjoying this time with H to learn how we best can work together on this journey. I'm figuring out his learning styles, what works and what doesn't. Of course I suspect I'll be learning this ALL along the way! For a LONG time.

I have been busy setting things up, researching curricula, planning lesson plans and more. Here's a little sneak into what we're doing.

 My nerd organizing tendancies are paying off as I sort out paperwork, lesson plans, worksheets.

 I repurposed an old computer armoire into storing our work.

 Collecting books, folder games and work books for next year.

 Loving this book which shows how different every homeschooling family is.

 Some of H's apps that he can play.

 Math worksheets to use with dry erase markers.

 We love our local library for great educational movies. We also really like Veggie Tales!

 Repurposed an old music cabinet from E's preschool into an art/paper caddy.

 Box O' Craft Supplies.

 Also scored these great weather charts for free!! 

 Love these posters that show REAL math work, not the discombobulated "new math".

 Saved up for this beautiful Ten Commandments. Since we are writing scripture in the morning, H has been writing the commandments.

If I can keep on schedule, sometimes I cook dinner ahead of time so all I have to do is reheat when Daddy gets home!

We've attempted a few science experiments, including this failed grow your own crystal kit. It's still pretty though.

All in all it's been an interesting few weeks...getting used to everything. It'll definitely be interesting when BOTH are home full time. We are staying busy with swimming at the gym, PE classes at the gym, park days, skating, and other activities. Whoever said homeschoolers aren't socialized must have a grossly inaccurate picture of what goes on...I know I did!! 

We've had E home a few days with us and I am learning that it will be a struggle to juggle their schedules and learning styles/techniques. I may even have to work in shifts with them...working with one while the other goes off alone to do computer work, reading, etc and vice versa. It's definitely a learning experience for all of us!

I'm finding the homeschooling community fairly open and helpful, especially how homeschooler friendly the gym we joined is. We're not "the freaks" there, we are just another family.

My house has been a mess, but it was a mess BEFORE when they were gone all day! Dinner might be cereal some nights...but that happened BEFORE! I drank wine at 4 in the afternoon BEFORE....okay..bad example...

I have no doubts it'll be tough but it's worth a shot. It's an important decision I didn't take lightly! 
Come along with us on our journey, the good and the bad!! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Hesitant Homeschooler

You know how they say, "never say never."? Well, there is a reason I NEVER said, "I will NEVER homeschool." I did say, "I don't WANT to home school, I'd rather NOT home school" and then that turned into, "I accept one day I will have to for awhile." and now it's, "We are homeschooling next year."

Why the change? It wasn't exactly by choice. I had decided to homeschool my boys when they reached a certain grade because the school has gone downhill rapidly in recent years and it was not the school I wanted them in. I thought I had one more year of "peace" until that time.

Then I learned about Common Core State Standards.

There is a plethora of information of on many blogs. I have a list on the fan page I have created: https://www.facebook.com/notes/parents-and-educators-against-common-core-in-louisiana/helpful-websites-groups-and-fan-pages/174245322724830
You can find a lot of great information on that list.

I won't rant too much here, I'll save that for the fan page. But I implore you to do your own investigating...do your own research, learn what Common Core is REALLY all about, read articles from BOTH sides, not just what the government is putting out. I have actually read the curriculum (for my children's grades.) I have actually read the boring details, the sample tests, seen the applications for textbook authors. Nothing you say will change my mind about Common Core, I am against it and it has solidified my need to homeschool.

And although I love my children with all my heart, and I'm becoming at peace with our new situation....I am MAD. I am PISSED that my husband works 50+ hours a week in the outdoors, sweating, hurting himself, busting his butt to pay taxes for an education we will not be able to use because now the system will be so corrupt, I cannot trust them to do the job we are PAYING them to do. I will not be able to use the FREE homeschool program with the state because it uses the same Common Core Standards.

Am I mad at teachers? No. I was a teacher, I have many, many friends who are teachers, and many of them are just as appalled as I am. Many have been struggling handling these standards and teaching the nonsense to the kids. This is not a new problem. It's been downhill since No Child Left Behind was inacted. This is the icing on the cake, the last piece of ice that brought down the Titanic.

I am looking at this as a lesson, as something God wants me to hear and learn.....surely he must be working on my patience if he wants me to be with my children nearly 24/7. I fully anticipate more purchases of wine, vodka and chocolate.

In theory I respect and understand the idea of home schooling. Now to actually implement it...well, that will take great prayer and preparation. I am prepared to have to shut down my Etsy shops, or only keep my wholesale customers. Shops can be reopened, the kids are only this age once.

When I sat down and looked at it, it really wasn't much. H is in 2nd grade, so 3rd for next year. So it's what ten years for him to home school. Thirteen for Eli.

It really sounds wimpy when I look at that....when I realize what a drop in the bucket of time that is. I will have plenty of time to "be alone" when they are older. Not to mention as they get older, they learn more independently. It's not as if this is a prison sentence...30 years to life. 13 years...less if they go faster than their grade 'suggests'. Can I not make this sacrifice for their education?

I don't know what will happen, none of us do. Maybe Common Core will get repealed and I could put them back in school. I know at some point I'll have to do a couple of years of "approved" home study by the state, which means dealing with their curriculum at some point but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. We can't predict the future...they could make homeschooling illegal!! I won't put it past them.

In the meantime, I prepare, talk to them, research curricula, make lesson plans, think of field trips. H is genuinely excited to homeschool and I must capitalize on that.

This may be the greatest reason to homeschool. When I asked H, "Why do you want to homeschool, what do you think it'll be like?" He replied, "I can play outside, work on computer, read, and do my work and learn in peace and quiet." That is telling. He just wants to learn in peace and quiet. I can't help but think school is crushing the desire to learn!

So here we go, down this new road.

Hope there is a daiquiri shop on the way...



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