Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Speech Class

Our Chelsea is very shy.
Painfully so sometimes...

But she is strong!
She is a very determined
young lady who will achieve
whatever she sets her mind to.

This year her desire at our
co-op was to take flower
arranging. Not a bad course,
at all, and I could have let her
do that...

However, there was a speech class
that I thought would be just
perfect for Chelsea.
It was for resistant
Whether they are shy,
or just disliking
of the process of
writing and giving of

I signed both she,
and her brother, Jonathan up.

I know that Chelsea struggled
with this... a lot.

At the most surprising times
over the months and weeks before
the class began she would make
comments about the upcoming class
and, at first, how she really did not
want to take it.

Once she figured out that I wasn't
changing my mind...she is not the only
strong willed person here...
The comments began to change to,
"I have decided to just do my
best in the speech class, Mommy".
She would say things like this out
of the blue.
She was just pondering it and making
up her mind to work through her

This was what she posted at her blog

"At co-op this year I'm taking a class on public speaking (something I'd always dreaded) but my teacher is awesome and she makes it fun (just like my mom said she would, I have to confess). Anyway, it's not that bad, my brother, Jonathan is in this class too, and so is one of my friends. Besides it's not like I'm the only one giving speeches, the whole class has to do it.

On Thursday I'll give a demonstration speech,
I'm going to show how to make chocolates, because that's something I like and know how to do. But I still have to practice here at home so that I don't forget anything while I'm there. You know, so that I'll have a fresh idea for it.
I need some for everybody to try and I'm not going to have time to make them and let them harden there."

This girl is making her Momma very proud. I am thrilled to call her mine!

I just know you have children who pleasantly surprise you with the maturity that pops out when you least expect it.

I hope you'll tell them how proud you are of them today.

Becky K.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Day Interrupted...

I usually get much satisfaction out
of completing our schoolwork
while the "regular" schoolkids, for
lack of a better word, get snow days.

Friday, however, their snow day
and our "sick" day coincided.
So, while we are not behind...
we are not a day further ahead either.

Oh well!

No big deal...

Becky K.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Pre-Review Review

As I think back over this school year,
thus far,
I am mentally attempting to track
our progress against my preconceived
notions about what this year would be

Let me see...

The Bible side of things is better
than I imagined.
Our Pastor is doing
a fabulous series of Sunday School lessons
from the minor prophets. There is so much
history and theology discussion starters in
there that I never even thought to think
And...as we prepare to begin a new Church
Work there are by-laws to read and understand.
This is an ongoing process for Jonathan.
It is good.

Math is slower than I had hoped for.

Science is different than I originally
planned but is falling into place very

Literature has been very interesting and
we are seeing results of the labors.
Poetry is being read and written,
books are being consumed. They are
coming alongside each of the other
subjects nicely.

Two children are taking a speech class.
Chelsea brought books home from
the Library to learn to be a better
public speaker...she looked them up
on the computerized system herself.
Mommy was pleased at this initiative.
She has been looking books up for a long time
it was the subject that pleasantly surprised me.

History is tying in with our reading.
We have studied many far away places and
have done more of a unit study this year than
ever before. It has been fun.

One child is working and is being quizzed by his
boss on various subjects.
Somehow Mikey learns better from his boss
than from his Mom. Hmmmmm.....
As long as he is learning...right?

Chelsea continues to progress in her
French lessons.

Jonathan continues to show a good
attitude and has mastered math concepts
that he never could before.

Mikey continues to "HATE" school...
but watches Mythbusters....real world science...
in his spare time.
I do not tell him it is science.
Mums the word!

He did make several favorable comments
about our current read-a-loud this week
and was inspired by it to draw a picture,
unsolicited, of one of the scenes described.
He thinks they should make it into a movie.
Think it has his attention?
Remember, he hates books...ha!

The rocket building and blasting fun
will pick up again soon, as the weather
gets more agreeable.

We have been budgeting, researching, and
learning about how the real world works financially.

We have been active with friends and church.

Co-op has again been a huge blessing in rounding
out the edges of our school year.

There are so many things that are positive...
things that keep us going.

The children are maturing at an alarming rate
and soon will be putting all of this learning
to the test...out there!

It has been an interesting year... this year.

We have had our ups and downs but progress is
being made!

I'm good with that.

Becky K.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Giving a deserving teacher Credit!

There is a teacher at our co-op
who for years has quietly come in
and served without much notice.

He is one of the few Dads who are
there each week. In fact, for the
first three years he taught he never
even got a name tag. He is just that
quiet that we can easily overlook

Jake teaches about the Civil War.
He served in the Navy...no, not during the
Civil War...he is not a ghost! lol
But he has taught about the Naval Battles,
Ground Skirmishes and even a book study on
Uncle Tom's Cabin.

This man puts so much time and effort into
his classes. This is after working the overnight
shift at the local post office.

So, here I am right now, saying...
Thank You, Jake!
You are appreciated.
My boys have learned so much from you.

Last night Jonathan drew a map of
"your world" for me on the television
in Dry erase marker.

Too funny!

Thanks for having the kids get together
today for the viewing of Gettysburg.
They are looking forward to the pizza, fellowship...
oh, and the movie too! Ha!

So, you see, we have the greatest teachers in our
co-op and I am so glad that we get to enjoy the
fruits of their labor!

Having parents share their knowledge and talents
has worked very well for us.

We are thankful for the pooling together of
the resources available.

Becky K.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

4-6th Grade Music Today

Our class today will be learning about Patriotic Songs.

We will be learning the history of and singing parts of the following songs:

The Star Spangled Banner
You're a Grand Old Flag
Yankee Doodle Boy
My Country Tis of Thee
The Battle Hymn of the Republic
This is My Country!
America the Beautiful

In this historical time of debate about religion in government, I have found it interesting to reread the lyrics of many of these songs and to find that the writers did not hesitate to give credit and glory to our God and Creator.
Our country has been singing them without hesitation for many years.
Why begin to cringe at mention of our Creator now?

Blessings on your Day!

Becky K.

P.s. I know it is Valentine's Day and could have done a theme about that but I looked briefly and did not see any songs that were exceptional enough to do an entire class on.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Jonathan - the Poet

I got a kick out of this poem.

This morning I told Jonathan that it was a free writing
assignment. In other words he could write about anything
his heart desired...as long as he was writing.

We have been studying poetry for a while now and
for most of this morning a flock of starlings had
been hovering and landing off and on in the field
across the street.

Put those two things together and add Jonathan's
creative vocabulary together...you get this:

The Birds, Birds, Birds
By Jonathan K.
Inspired By
Edgar Allen Poe’s
The Bells

The chittering, chattering
Birds, Birds, Birds,
The twittering, twattering
Birds, Birds, Birds
The Kickling, Cackling
Rippling, Rattling chorus monotony
Of the
Birds, Birds, Birds
Birds, Birds, Birds
The beady blinking eyes
Of the
Birds, Birds, Birds
Birds, Birds, Birds
Birds, Birds, Birds
Birds, Birds, Birds
As they sit…

He amuses me!
He must be my son!
Becky K.


I have a friend who has a daughter with some math challenges. She knows that this is one of the biggest areas that Jonathan struggles with, so she came to me to see how we deal with it.

I encouraged her to focus more on her daughter's attitude than the quantity of the work completed.

This is why I say that.

When a child struggles with a subject it can be that either they have no desire to learn so are not putting forth an effort or they really do not get it.

I have seen both at work here. Jonathan really tries and cannot easily get concepts whereas Mikey gets most everything and is therefore bored and thinks that he hates school...sigh. I am working both ends of the spectrum here.

If I continue daily to expect Jonathan to move on through and past information that he did not grasp just to keep up a schedule
I am not helping him.
It serves to make him angry with himself for poor performance and then self-fulfills his prophecy that he can't "get" math!

If I can break that same schedule up into bite sized pieces that he can handle and he sees himself with some level of success each day it enables him to build the confidence that he can do it...sometimes this is possible for him...sometimes not.
As I said in a previous post we have made compensations for his inability to memorize the multiplication tables in the interest of his being able to move forward in higher math processes.
That has been a very good thing.

Having success nearly every day has enabled Jonathan to proceed much farther this year than I would have predicted possible. I am excited for him and look forward to seeing how far he gets.

Having my friend ask these questions was good...but to get an e-mail four days later with much excitement that her daughter had gotten a concept that she had been struggling with was even better!!!

Sometimes we, as the mom/teacher, need to relax a bit so our children can succeed.

Do you know what I am saying?

Have you ever been in a pressurized situation where someone is just really on your case to do something and the harder they push the more you focus on the fact that they are pushing and less on the task that they wish for you to complete?

I think of myself at a grocery store counting out change. If the cashier is all anxious and huffy I can be distracted by her attitude and lose count making it take all the longer. This just makes the situation worse. I believe that many times this is what we do to our children by expressing, verbally or not, our own frustration at their seeming inability to learn.
They focus on the "Can'ts" instead of the "Can's".
They worry about our level of frustration to the point of distracting themselves.

When we relax and watch for an attitude that is trying...and then work along side the struggling child...in an encouraging way...we get much better results than we would have by just trying to be work processors with these challenged children.

So, that was my point about the attitude. If your child is demonstrating that they are trying but just are not getting it...make a compensation...cut the lesson size down...let them do it in three days instead of one...whatever it takes for them to see success. Sometimes I have just skipped a chapter if need be and come back to it later.

Be flexible. Relax. Your child will get what he or she is capable of and that is what God designed them to achieve.

I would be amazed if God has a career in math planned for Jonathan.

However, I can easily see Jonathan in ministry, counseling, writing, art or many other areas where he is extremely gifted.

Let us try not to major in our children's minors...but keep keeping on...getting to the next level...at their pace.
Always encouraging and lifting these children up!

Your friend,

Becky K.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Adding on to Mrs. Rabe's Post

I guess you get the idea that there are two writers here.
You'll just have to check out the end of the post to see which of us it is that is doing the post.

Our family has been judged by neighbors and family,
at times,
for choices we have made to
keep the children close by.
To really be their primary influencers.
We strive to keep their social life rich
and enjoyable by hosting many functions in our
home and allowing them to have friends over often.

This does not mean that our children
live in a vacuum!
They are exposed to many different
thoughts and ideas, they visit other places.
Mikey has a job that he is at most days
in the "real world".
It simply means that we are intentionally
exposing our children to the world
in a controlled manner.

This may rub some the wrong way.

I am not sorry for our choices.

The fruits are being born out.
We have children who socialize well
with people of all ages,
who have a multitude of friends,
who love us and express it,
who love the Lord and
for the most part strive to serve Him.

We are not perfect...
by any stretch of the imagination.
We have issues.
The kids still manage to meet bad influencers...
but imagine if we were not as closely
involved in their lives as we are?
It is a very scary thought to this momma.

Recently, we had to assist one
of our boys in pulling the plug on a
bad relationship.
Someone he met at a Christian Camp.
Nothing is perfect.
We cannot protect them from everything.

We can, however,
do everything possible to
maintain a loving and safe environment
for them to come home to.
A place of unconditional love and support.

Are we odd?
In the sense of the general population,
yes, we are odd.

Is it worth it?
Yes! For us, it is!

We are also not blind to the fact
that we can do all that we know to do and
one or more of our children may not follow
the Lord, for a time or forever.
That is in the Lord's hands.
All we can do is be obedient
to His leading in our lives.

If you are struggling with any
of these issues, I would love to hear
from you and to encourage you that part
of loving your children means protecting
their minds and hearts in those growing years.

It is a battle in today's society.

The commercials on tv are enough to make
me want to throw it out the window on most days.
It makes me tired.
But, that is the battle that we
have been called to as Christian Parents.

Rise Up!

Lets raise up a Christian Generation, for the Lord,
with His help!
Your Friend,
Becky K.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Obeying God, Even If It Makes You Odd!

Dear Friends, I am so sorry that I have been basically absent from this blog! Call it busyness, sickness, dealing a with difficult son....call it life!

I had a wonderful phone call today from a member of our co-op. Her family is being lead by God to be careful with their children's influences whether it be movies, friends, youth group...They, by the choices they are making, are feeling abit lonely, even in their church. It was neat to be able to encourage her that they are not alone.

I find it so sad that so many Christians today are swept up in the things that the world tells us are important. For their daughters that often means boys, makeup, trendy clothing, an attitude. For their sons it means, attitude, girls, trendy clothes, walking the edge of appropriate speaking...It is sad that families who are being lead to lead their children, who want to be the main influencers of the kids, are made to feel well, odd, old fashioned, out of touch with reality.

My family has been through this. We have felt alone at times, but now I simply do not care. my husband and I are called to lead our children in the way they should go....Now this is not to say that your child as they grow up will not choose to walk in the way of the world. Doug Phillips says that if your child walks with the Lord, it is the GRACE of GOD! I agree. I have a child who is no longer a child. This one has chosen to walk in the world. That does not change the responsibility my husband and I had with him to teach him truth, nor does it change the responsibility to our other children. We will continue to obey God, in the paths He has lead us down.

There is peace in being where He wants you to be. Don't be afraid, you are not alone.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Demmes talk on Family Relationships

Last evening our Countywide Homeschool Organization Presented a Workshop for Parents and teens. Our speakers were Steve and Ethan Demme who travel extensively and speak on relationships in the family. It turns out that the Demme's live in the Lancaster Area and were very much looking forward to offering their speaking gifts to the local homeschool community.

They were excellent. I warned Jonathan and Mikey to be on their best behavior since we are on the Board of this organization and as soon as I said it I flashed back to my time growing up as the Preacher's Kid. There were just certain things expected that not everyone else had to live by...I did not like that and here I was doing it to our boys.

I don't think I would have needed to give that admonition. From the moment Steve Demme took the podium he had every one's attention in the room. He was good! I could not resist taking a peek out of the corner of my eye at the boys when certain things were said...they were right there...getting it!

After Steve Demme spoke his son, Ethan, came up. This guy connected with everyone so well and with such humor. Mikey said afterward he felt like he was watching a stand up comedian. The points that this 25 year old homeschooled, college graduate got across were great!

Between the two speakers here are the highlights:
1. The Love of God for us and then the Love within the family.
2. Children are to obey their parents.
3. Parents are responsible for the instruction of their children.
4. Fathers are reminded not to provoke their children to the point of anger.
5. That parents should not be hypocrites. Our children know us better than we know ourselves.
6. The importance of the company we keep.
7. How important it is to understand the learning style and personality of each child. It matters!
8. That we are raising these children to be adults so there is a time that is hard for all involved as changes happen and we let go more and more...
9. God has no grandchildren and so the spiritual walk of the child will be different from ours. We are not making clones of ourselves, spiritually.
10. Teaching kindness and compassion for others.

These were Steve's main points. He shared them with such humility and humor that his time with us just flew.

Then Ethan talked about his experience with his brothers and how different they each are from one another but how they interacted.
He brought in the different learning styles and how his oldest brother is in graduate school now going for his PhD but is kind of lacking in the common sense things of life where he and his younger brother are more average students who have both graduated from college.
Ethan is now doing the things for a living that he hated most in his school years, writing and public speaking...and he loves it! He encouraged the students to keep an open mind to these things all the while telling them how much he had hated it.

Ethan talked about the moments that every homeschool family is familiar with...how every activity is a teaching moment. The grocery store...shopping for the cheapest price per ounce, the historical markers along side the road, anything and everything is a learning experience...Ethan is now married and is still homeschooling himself as He now stops and reads the historical markers and he reads lots and lots of books and he shops for the cheapest price per ounce.

He stressed that he had to learn to think critically for himself because he truly bought into everything his parents had taught him until he hit college and found out they weren't right about everything.
Steve backed him up on this.
It is true that we, as parents, need to be sure to offer our children the information that there is more than one way to think about anything. We can give our reasons and support it with scripture if it is available...otherwise it may not be something in which our children need to think exactly like us.

There was so much! I highly recommend the Demmes. You can find their web site at www.thefamilythatstaystogether.org.

You may also know of Steve's math program: Math-U-See.

Have a great Day!