Saturday, December 29, 2007

Consistency is...

One of the hardest parts
of homeschooling.
What are your secrets to
being consistent?
Maintaining a schedule...etc.

How do you deal with
a ringing phone
during the
school day?

Family emergencies happen...
What are your solutions to
these interruptions?

How do you tactfully let
someone know that homeschooling
is your "job" when they assume
that you must be available
during the day since you don't

Becky K.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Caroling...

Yesterday Warren, the boys and several others from church went Christmas Caroling to some elderly friends in three local retirement communities. Chelsea and I had to stay home because her cold was worse and we had company that did not go caroling.
It never ceases to amaze me how much there is to learn from those who are retired but have active lives and minds. This is our friend Gordon. He is building a huge telescope in his retirement apartment. It is able to be controlled from his living room while it will be sitting in a local field. He will watch it on his TV.

Isn't that crazy...but awesome?!?

This is Pastor Jack and his lovely wife Anne. He was a veterinarian for many years then God called him into the ministry. When he retired from his church in Delaware they moved to Lancaster County and have been helping in our small church ever since. Pastor Mike loves having him here. We love hearing his vet stories and asking him our sick pet questions.

This man is one of my biggest encouragers (spell check doesn't like this but that is ok because that is what I wanted to say) at church. He loves to come over when I am playing the prelude and carry on a conversation....I love it!!!! We have many a giggle over the fact that I cannot play and sing at the same time unless it is a song that I know every word to. He delights in giving me grief about this. Its the little things that make a friendship sometimes.

Anne suffers from Parkinson's and is a terrific example of joy in long suffering and perseverance. Most Sundays find her struggling in to church to enjoy the service with a smile on her face! Many healthy people just can't quite bring themselves to get out of bed.

Sometimes it just gets to be too much and little ones must sleep.

I believe that this made Bill very happy!

Another former pastor, Larry, on the left. Our retired Elder, Leonard on the right. He turns 91 today!! Happy Birthday, Leonard. Love You!!!
Our lives are made richer because of these dear people. I hope you and your family have elders to look up to and learn from.
This is a peek into a nearly 4 hour marathon caroling session that spanned 40 miles and four buildings.
Blessings on your day! Have a very Merry Christmas!
Becky K.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More on Integrated Learning

This year I am teaching a literature class at our co-op for 7th-12th grade girls. Well, it was OPEN to all students that age, but only girls signed up! The book we are reading and studying is Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. No brave boys!

I made the decision to show A&E 's miniseries of Pride and Prejudice to my class, the week before classes started. I did this because many of my students are in junior high, several have some learning issues, and I think this version is close to the book. This way, the girls would be able to read the book and follow what is happening. The parents and the girls tell me this was helpful to them.

The day they came over for our miniseries watching, we also had tea, scones and sweets.

When classes started they were able to jump right in with discussion. They really have enjoyed discussing what Jane Austen was trying to tell us about the culture, society etc...

In addition to this I decided we must have a Christmas Ball, since dances were such a huge aspect of the social scenes in the Regency Period. I found a company on line
that sells dvd's that teach children how to do English Country dances. This was very popular with the girls. We learned two dances, and then last week we had our Ball!

The parents made dresses or pulled together outfits that were Regency style. We had researched how to do their hair and what kind of jewelry they wore. Many of my students whole families came. It was a blast! Even the brothers of one of my students learned the dances at the Ball and then danced!

During our reading of the book, Mr. Bingley tells Lydia Bennet that when his cook has made enough "white soup," they would set the date for the Ball at Netherfield. This intriged us all and while doing research at I found out how to make white soup. Apparently this was something that they drank at balls, since they did buffets, not sit down dinners. I made white soup for our ball, and all the girls tried it. They found it to be quite tasty.

By adding these real life activities to your learning, your students end up with real experiential knowledge of what life was like, how people interacted, what historical things were happening in the world. Your students will have a better understanding than simply reading a book or studying a text!

Our Social Homeschoolers

One of the biggest questions we, as homeschoolers, are asked is about the socialization of these children. I understand the concern if someone is not familiar with how most homeschools work. If your perception of homeschool is Mom and children at home all day doing paperwork and seeing no one that would be a problem. Most of us do not work that way.

As stated in an earlier post that kind of gives an idea of our schedule you can see that we are extremely active and busy. Our children interact with various people in many settings:

1. Obviously at Home: The family interactions. Learning to get along with each other, to respect their parents and even greeting the UPS man sometimes. O.k, I threw that in for fun. Having friends of all ages in, Bible Studies, hosting those without local family for Holiday meals and often in between.

2. Church: We encourage our children to interact with people of all ages at church. Ours is one that does not have a children's church because we want to worship as families. I understand that not all feel this way and that is fine with me. We have enjoyed watching our children develop relationships with the elderly and the young toddlers underfoot while also enjoying those their own age.

3. Co-op: Our co-op goes a long way to promote friendships among the young people. They share in classes, field trips, fun activities and many, many play dates and sleepovers....or sometimes wakeovers. While you have your occasional cliques forming, it is neat to see that for the most part the kids are considerate of each other and kind.

4. Part time jobs: Many homeschoolers, when they are old enough, begin working part time. This allows them the opportunity to meet and greet those in the work place and begin to learn skills that will help them to determine what it is they would like to do with the rest of their life.

5. Kids in the nieghborhood. We are the house to be at. I love to have the children here. One, I get to know them. Two, I know what is going on. Lately, though, Chelsea has been spending a lot of time at another neighbor's house who shares our values and is good to check with me about activities. At this home Chelsea interacts well with the younger brother of her friend...undoubtedly as a result of her never being taught that she shouldn't play with younger children. She has always been encouraged to care about everyone around her.

6. Volunteering: Getting the kids involved politically, in the neighborhood, or painting a gym at the local youth camp. There are many, many things to allow them to give back to the community. They meet many awesome people in the process. Each year our guys go to Philadelphia to pack food baskets for Thanksgiving handout. This event is held in a Korean church and peoples of all cultures are participate. It is an awesome sight to see and be a part of.

7. Youth Group: This has not been my favorite part of my boys socialization. I am finding that the young people coming in to the youth group have a very different value system and while, our youth leaders make an effort to keep things in control there is a very different atmosphere when you take most adults out of the equation. Maybe it is just me...and I am weird...but I really prefer my childrens' biggest influence to be someone other than their peers...This is controversial, I know. Would you care to share any experiences, either way?

I am sure that if I just thought for a few seconds more, I would come up with more ways our children are socialized. We lead very full and busy lives...sometimes too much so. I am thankful for the opportunity to pour ourselves into our children over these few years and rejoice in the support and assistance from those around us.

Blessings on your day.
Becky K.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sibling Relationships in a Homeschool Family...

One of my favorite blessings of homeschooling is watching our children get to be friends with each other. The amounts of time they spend together are amazing. This year each of them has been on a separate shopping trip with a Grandmother to do Christmas shopping for each other and other family members. The excitement with which they come home is wonderful.

Today, I took Jonathan along as I shopped for Mikey. He was such a huge help as he knows Mikey's likes and dislikes so well. I just know that Mikey is going to be thrilled with what we found for him today.

My mother took Jonathan and Chelsea out shopping last week. She told me later how much she enjoyed their joking, laughing and just enjoying each other as they went about town.

Our kids have friends in common, from church, homeschool co-op and the neighborhood and can very much enjoy doing things in groups without someone complaining of being left out.

It is not always so easy. They do get on each others' nerves sometimes and we have to be aware and give them each their own time and space... but overall, I think our children will be friends and great support for each other the rest of their lives.

Another benefit of homeschooling.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Integrated Learning

Doesn't that sound professional and grand?

What it means to me is to take a subject, for us usually history, and to incorporate as many other subjects as possible.

When we studied Lewis and Clark a few years ago, we read historical fiction as well as biographies, and we also did geography. We used a book called "Westward Ho" which had projects for kids to make such as a leather "handy" bag, and portable soup, which was dried vegetables and bouillion to make a meal when the Corp of Discovery couldn't hunt or find meat. I had a daughter make this soup for lunch at least once a week for months!

We took the dimensions given in a journal of a grizzly bears footsize and made life size paw prints. We were amazed at how huge the things were!!!

We ended our studies up at the Whitaker Science Center in Harrisburg watching an IMAX movie of Lewis and Clark's journey. It was an awesome year of learning.

All I had remembered about Lewis and Clark from my schooling was that they were explorers and it was the two of them with Sacajawea and her papoose in a canoe. My children know that Lewis and Clark lead an expedition of over 40 men, including York who was Clark's slave. They know that on that journey the men expended so much energy at times that they ate 9 pounds of meat a day each! That though unheard of in those days, on the journey both York and Sacajawea were given an equal vote with all the men. The list goes on and on

To say that I am passionate about that kind of learning is an accurate statement. I find that my children have a deeper knowledge of history and feel as if they have experienced it for themselves.

Give it a try sometime - especially those of you with boys, or children who need hands on learning. They will love it!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Homeschooling Jonathan

If you were at Hospitality Lane and read my very first posts then you have read is the story of our special son and how we came to Homeschool. I apologize for the length but it is necessary to truly understand who we are and the experiences we have come least, in part.

Homeschooling Jonathan

It wasn’t that we had never thought about home schooling. In fact I had decided that I could not do it. After “home schooling” our first son for kindergarten I knew I was a failure. He was not responding academically. So we then made one of the larger mistakes of our lives. We handed our firstborn son, Jonathan David, over to the Public School System.

Now this was one of the best schools in one of the best districts in Central Pennsylvania. The teachers were very nice and caring people. I believe that the principal was very well intentioned. It wasn’t long before his teacher caught on that our Jonathan had some learning “issues”. One thing I have learned about schools and learning issues is that their answer to the problem is to structure a schedule chock full of those things which the child is weakest in. From morning to dismissal our Jonathan was faced with failure. He never got to do the things he was strong in. While his class was having social studies or science, he struggled to read or do more math or tried to get his pencil to cooperate. When he came home he got to do more, in the form of homework. What did we know? We weren’t professionals. We just tried to do what the teachers felt was best for our son.

It seemed so difficult for this sweet boy to catch onto even the simplest of concepts in math or even knowing where to begin writing on a page but he knew the name of every dinosaur ever “discovered” and animals were no strangers to him. Their habitats, likes and dislikes, he knew them all. He even found ways to distract the teachers and get them talking about his favorite subjects. They would find themselves sidetracked by a child who could use his words and communication skills to his advantage. This child was not stupid!

This was confirmed when I was called in to request my permission for Jonathan to undergo testing to find out what was “wrong” with him. The IQ test came back strong. Our child was intelligent. They discovered a “processing delay” that was interfering with his learning process. To understand where this most likely came from we have to go back to how Jonathan began his life.

In March of 1991 as I was into my ninth month of pregnancy, I began having dreams that my baby wasn’t normal. I would wake up terrified and have trouble shaking off the feeling. The routine ultrasounds were normal and I was reassured that everything was fine. After passing the due date it was decided that labor would be induced at the York Hospital. Warren and I were as excited as we could be. This was our first child and we knew nothing about what to expect other than you can read in those books or pamphlets the Doctors give you, or perhaps what we remembered from our Lamaze classes.
Labor was fairly normal and the delivery would have been, as well, had it not been for the need of a vacuum delivery. It would seem that in a “teaching hospital” such as York that this necessitated the observation of about ten lovely students. Yep! It was a special moment. But Jonathan was delivered and did not look bad, considering the plunger that had so recently been attached to his head. Then he began to cry. It was a soft, gentle cry. I, being very naive said that it was a nice cry and I could live with that. How wrong I was! Pretty soon the nurses said they were going to take our son and get him cleaned up. We were euphoric and began calling family. I called my mother in State College and she said she was on her way. Warren’s parents weren’t far away in southern York County so they were in quickly.

After the initial rush of phone calls we were ready to see our baby again, but the nurses didn’t seem to be bringing him back so Warren walked out to the nursery where he was shocked to find a team of nurses and doctors working frantically with our new infant. He returned to my room confused and shaken. Soon after, the pediatrician we had chosen came into the room and told us that our son had a very unusual and very serious birth defect. This was called a diaphragmatic hernia and our son had a 50 percent chance of survival. He would need immediate surgery and we would have to wait three days to see if he would survive, this, his first challenge in life.

A diaphragmatic hernia happens when the diaphragm does not close in development allowing the stomach and intestines to grow into the chest, suppressing the lung development. This explained our son’s gentle cry. To fix this defect a pediatric surgeon must immediately open up the baby’s chest and move the organs to their proper places then stitch up the diaphragm. After this is done, you must wait and see if the lungs are capable of inflating and working on their own. This process takes three days. Our doctor explained that in the York Hospital five infants had been born with this condition and three had not survived. Our son was in serious trouble.

Of course we gave our consent for surgery and as my mother came jubilantly to the hospital to meet her first grandson, she was met with the news that she must visit him quickly as he was being taken down the hall to surgery. She may never see him again. Talk about highs and lows. This brought new meaning to those words for all of us.

Jonathan survived the surgery to begin the waiting process for his lungs. The findings of the surgery were strange. Not only did he have the diaphragmatic hernia, but also some extra spleens. They were removed. After putting things back as they should be in his abdomen, Jonathan’s appendix ended up on the wrong side so the wise surgeon removed it, as well, so that it would never fail and be undiagnosed because of its placement on the wrong side of his body.

The first time we saw Jonathan after surgery we were struck by two things. One was his size. This child was a whopping 8lbs 15oz next to preemies that were less than 3 pounds. The second thing that really sticks in my memory is the size of his chest. After having everything up there during his time in the womb Jonathan looked like a linebacker!

My father had arrived by this time, coming separately from Mom after learning that Jonathan was ill. He had stopped at the hospital gift shop and picked up a sweet stuffed lamb. This little lamb stayed with Jonathan in his incubator the whole time he was in the hospital. That lamb is always in the picture in my mind’s eye as I look back on those days.

There were so many tubes and so much equipment. We waited. They sent me home. That has to be one of the hardest things a parent can do. Leaving the hospital without your child. It isn’t natural. But it was necessary. They were right. I needed to go home and get rest. I could visit my son all day but I was taken home at night. They knew that if Jonathan survived we had a long road of healing and just plain newborn sleeplessness to get through.

After the three days had passed it seemed that Jonathan was going to make it. He came off the respirator and breathed on his own. We visited him in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for two weeks and then were allowed to bring him home. His doctors were amazed. They called him a miracle baby. Children with this birth defect simply do not go home this quickly!

Maybe you have received a phone call or email with a prayer request for a parent and child who are suffering illness. May I just ask you to take a moment and really lift them before the Lord immediately? It really does make a difference! We know that God could just as easily taken Jonathan home to Heaven. And He would have been every bit as Just and Powerful as He was in his healing of our son but the prayers of the people sustained us and encouraged us as things were so intense and difficult.

Because of the time spent in NICU Jonathan was followed up by a developmental specialist. She was very pleased that Jonathan was doing everything on schedule or early. His bright mind and gift for communication at an early age kept all of us in the dark about the struggles that were yet to come apparently as a result of the lack of oxygen and/or the medications used.

As previously explained, the early days of school were challenging for all involved. They were so difficult with a very dark day happening unexpectedly. I volunteered at the school in Jonathan’s classroom and that of his younger brother, Mikey. On this day the school principal called me into her office and showed me a note that Jonathan had written. In his poor handwriting he had struggled to write that he wished he were dead. Oh, the pain and agony that went through me as I vaguely remember the principal saying that we should consider parenting classes and she seemed to place the blame on my dear husband for making Jonathan do the homework that this very school had insisted be finished nightly. I knew then and there that things were out of hand. We had observed anger building in our naturally gentle child. We had observed him begin to bully his younger brother. We knew something wasn’t right but now it was beginning to come together for us. How many adults was our pleaser son trying to please? I counted. Mom, Dad, Teacher, Teacher’s Aid, Specialist, Principal…and more! How was he attempting to please? By doing things that were impossible for him to do. He simply did not have the ability to accomplish the tasks set before him each and every day. He surely did try, though. This child is one who craves peace and approval. He worked so hard to try to provide that for all of us.

As we came to the understanding that there were processing delays we understood why classroom learning was not working for Jonathan. The tests revealed about 20 minutes from information intake to the ability to express it back to someone. In a classroom you simply do not have that luxury. The class has moved on. Jonathan was left terribly behind. I mourned the future that I had expected him to have. I cried for the pain that he had already suffered and what was to come. This came as a shock to me as I did not strategically plan out his future in my mind. It was just kind of there, all of those expectations that you hold for your firstborn son. How could I expect his future to be normal now? Ask yourself, what is normal? Interesting question.

While we were made aware of his deficits, we were also being told about his progress. In their defense, I believe the teachers felt there were true gains, however, in reality any information that was apparently gained was lost quickly in the weeks to follow. I did not become aware of this until we had taken a huge step. The day we were made aware of Jonathan’s statement of despair began a process for me of learning all I could about home schooling. Warren and I agreed that pulling Jonathan out for a “catch-up” year would be a good solution. I could then work on the processing issues, get him back on track with his class and put him back in the following year. O.K. so I was still na├»ve!

The principal at the school was very supportive of our decision and allowed Jonathan to attend all music and gym classes with his class over the year he was out. This worked out nicely as the classmates all really liked Jonathan and were happy to see him several times a week.

I recruited the help and support of a Special Ed teacher from the district who was also a family friend and shared our values. We agreed to meet quarterly and review Jonathan’s plan. Remember, I already “knew” I was a failure at home schooling. I needed the confidence that came from this woman.

It did not take long for me to begin to grasp the importance of what we were doing. The very first day of our home school experience we snuggled on the couch with our books and opened with prayer. Two really big hazel eyes stared up at me in amazement as he said, “Oh, Mommy, we could never do that in school!” What a huge smile was on his face. I was hooked! This kid would never go back to school.

Jonathan began to learn. As we met quarterly with our advisor she would document progress. We would spend time learning through his strengths. Jonathan liked dinosaurs so we read together about dinosaurs. He liked science so his writing assignments could come from science topics. I could pace the lessons so he could keep up.

At the same time, our middle son had been through kindergarten and was now in first grade in the same public school. Each morning he would get on the bus, often in tears. I was feeling such a pull in my heart as I let him go each day. This lasted only through that year and then Mikey joined our home school.

Our second year of home school began in Lancaster County as Warren got a new job. We now had three in our home school. Miss Chelsea Lynne began kindergarten. What a ray of sunshine! Chelsea made teaching easy as she loved learning to read and write and is currently pursuing the life of an author at the tender age of 12. She is building web pages and writes music, as well.

We joined a co-op of home school families in the Lancaster County area and found a new kind of support. While it took the children a while to make friends they have now built bonds that will last a lifetime. Each year as it is time to begin co-op the excitement builds in our home. I have found myself on the co-op committee serving with an absolutely outstanding group of women. I am finding that there are many, many children who learn differently out here in our home school community. I have learned of many sacrifices that parents are making to meet their children’s needs. I have sought out and found many resources that are available to our children with learning “issues”. It has finally sunk into this insecure brain that there is no one on this planet who can love my children as much, know them or want the best for them as much as my husband and I do. With God’s help we will produce the people that God intends for them to be.

Today Mikey is 15 and works part time at our local Agway. Jonathan is 16 and a history channel buff. Really! I don’t think there is much he doesn’t know about any weapon used in battle or most wars. Jonathan is still a struggling reader, having been through vision therapy and many phonics programs, tutoring and computer helps. Does that hurt his exposure to great literature – heaven’s no! He raids our library’s books on tape library as often as I will take him there. Who would think that this young man would love the library? He actually was reading at a 9th grade level when last tested so I can’t even tell you that his silent reading is behind that much. He really struggles with losing his place as his eyes really don’t like to track that well. Jonathan’s biggest deficits remain in math, where he works at about a third grade level. But science, communication, history and Bible are strong and important to him. He recently joined our church and is very active in it, operating the overhead projector and taking the offering. He is a very key person in the Youth Group and cares very much about those around him. I am extremely proud of the young man my son is becoming and am thankful that God led us to pour ourselves into him and did not allow my insecurity stop the process.

If you are struggling with a child who learns differently, I would encourage you to seek God’s will and follow His still small voice in your heart. These children are loaded with potential and we are being given the tools to find and release it!

Geography/History/Literature Tie-In

Last year I developed a curriculum element for the kids that on the surface may seem simplistic or young for my boys. However, this approach can lend itself to any age because you are choosing the books that it is based on.

We do a lot of reading of historical fiction. We also read biographies and science based history, i.e. stories about the Great earthquakes, or other natural disasters.
I decided last year that for every book we read we would study and draw or label a map for the country or area in the world that was the setting for the book. On one occasion our map inspiration came from a television program we watched together as a family. It inspired a curiosity about the area and so it was studied further and then mapped out.

We took the maps, after they had accumulated, and mounted them on matching background paper and then the kids designed a book. I made up two pages that went with each map on which the kids had to create their own illustration for the book and then answer questions specific to each book. They had to know whether the book was fiction/non-fiction, first person or other. Chelsea made good use of stickers to dress hers up, the boys drew accompanying illustrations on some pages but here is our book list from last year, as it applies to the Map Book.

The Hiding Place - Holland
The Broken Song - Russia
Chariots of Fire - England
Fire in the Hills - Italy

The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds - America- The Wagon Trail
The Earth Dragon Awakes - America - California
Ask Me No Questions - Bangladesh/New York

Anastasia - Russia
Isabel - Spain
(Television Show) - Borneo

Mary Slessor Biography - Calabar, Nigeria
No More Tears - Nigeria

This was fun and the children learned a lot more than they have in the past from working straight from a text book. I am not against text books, I just think that sometimes we get burned out on chronological facts and we need a refreshing break.
This was very effective for us. I loved the discussions that were started from the books we read. I don't think that the kids caught on to the literature lessons they were receiving in the added on pages. They are used to seeing it in the form of lists and labels.

Of course, I have not included everything in this post that went into it but if you are interested you can contact me or draw up a book list of your own and check to see how many are available to you at your Public Library.

Just an idea that you can incorporate into your home school if you so desire.
Becky K.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bowling is Exercise

Our group has discovered bowling as a great winter gym class...actually we enjoyed it in the summer too. I have always loved to bowl but never took the time unless we were on vacation or it was a Church activity. This year our Jr and Senior High kids in the co-op had a bowling activity. Since I am the "7-up" Coordinator I organized it and was able to participate. This got us going on a weekly basis with kids of all ages. It surprised me to hear my 16 year old son saying he was sore a day or so afterward each week, but you know I was sore too. We were working muscles in our legs and arms. It is a great opportunity for fellowship among the students and parents and all of it supervised. The friendly competition is fun. Most bowling alleys are not that busy during the day and will give you exceptional rates...if you ask nicely and show up when you say you know basic common courtesy.

If this is not something you have considered as a part of your school week. Try it!
You may like it!


Thursday, December 6, 2007

What do you do When...

Did you ever have one of those days when you really just did not feel like doing school work?

O.k. you are either laughing, yelling at the computer screen or just shaking your head about now.

Of course you have. Every homeschool Mom gets tired of school! If you are an exception, please don't tell the rest of us. We really don't want to know.

Every now and then...during a week...I can think of about a hundred things I would rather be doing than working out a word problem with Chelsea or struggling with Mikey as to why it is important that he write a paper.

So, what can we do to make this a more pleasant experience?

1. Imagine getting up about 6 am to wake your slumbering children, cook them breakfast and get them out to a cold snowy bus stop.

2. Try not to think about all of the hours you would have to yourself if you did that..because...

3. Imagine them coming home around 3:30 or 4:00 pm with hours of homework and a chip on their shoulder about things that happened during the day.

4. Imagine trying to help them with that homework that you had nothing to do with creating and you do not understand.

5. Imagine getting them tucked into bed by 9:00 so that you can get up and do that all over again.

6. Now think about your usual schedule, (here is how mine looks):

A. Get up about 6:30 or 7 am to come down to my computer for some quality blog time.
B. About 8 am begin waking any sleepyheads who are not up yet. This is usually a teenage male..or two.
C. While they are getting awake I can slip into the shower.
D. While I am in the shower they get their own breakfast.
E. 9:00 am we meet in the Living Room for reading and history. These we do together.
F. About 10 am we split up for math, typing, french, art, music and science. We do not do all these subjects every day, such as typing, french and art. They are in the mix during the course of a week.
G. I meander between children until about 11:30 when it is time for Mikey to grab some lunch and get to work. At his work he does inventory, runs the cash register, takes phone payments, carries customer orders, unloads shipments once a week, puts letters on the sign out in front of the store, sweeps, empties the trash and more.
H. At this point in the day, usually, our book work is complete and we are on to real life learning or gym class, an art project, home ec or home maintenance project. We take field trips, volunteer and otherwise keep busy until Daddy gets home around 5pm. Helping a Grandma, planting flowers, cleaning the home, planning a menu, bowling with homeschool friends, homeschool co-op with other families, a sewing project...these are many an afternoon project around here.
I. There is no evening homework, unless you count Youth Group, the History Channel, Discovery Channel Science Programs, Crocheting, Silent reading, listening to music, Watching a favorite movie together, playing educational games as a family, having Bible study with friends from church. Now these are the kinds of homework that help us grow together. More than once we have been gathered in the Living Room reading from our read-a-loud book at the time at the kids' request until 10:30 or 11pm. They really get into some of these books!
J. Crawl, satisfied, into bed at whatever time the family activities are completed.
Stretch and thank the Lord that HE called us to Homeschool!

I am so thankful for the opportunity to get to spend all of this time with my family. It makes the monotony of the book work worth while. Does this look like an average day for you ...or how do you do it differently?
Becky K.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

An Option for Literature - Free Study Guides

This year we read Kenneth Oppel's Book Airborn, Winner of the 2004 Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature.

If I had known it was available we would have used the online study guide available here.

In January we will begin reading the sequel to Airborn, called Skybreaker.
We will use the study guide for this.

I wanted to share this with you because, while we enjoyed reading and discussing this book, I wish I had known about the study guides.

The first book in this series, Airborn is about a young man who is an employee on an airship. It is an adventure with a sci-fi feel to it. I read it aloud and we discussed it. While it is not classic literature, it was a great discussion starter, had action and humor. You can read more about the book on Kenneth Oppel's web site.

Since purchasing these books I have seen them in the Library, making it possible to complete this course completely at no cost to you.

I am not familiar with any of Mr. Oppel's other works and so am not recommending one way or another about them. I can simply tell you that our family enjoyed this book.


This is a blog designed to build up and support fellow homeschool families. I desire to have guest writers who will share experiences and what they have learned in the process.

Since we are a homeschooling family with three children, I will share what has worked for us and what has not. Our three children are so different from each other and we have sorted through the various learning styles and personalities.

We do not get it right 100% of the time but learn, on those occasions, where we can do better.

I welcome your comments and input. I will consider submissions and will post them if appropriate and if there is space.

I welcome questions and will attempt to answer them myself, or, if I am uncertain, will go to my panel of experts...other homeschool parents who may have the answers.

Blessings on this homeschool day.

Becky K.