Monday, December 28, 2009

Encouragement For Mothers

Sally Clarkson is an author, speaker and owner of WholeHeart Ministries with her husband Clay, and home educating mother of four.

I have read her several of her books, including "Educating the WholeHearted Child," "Seasons of a Mother's Heart." I have always been encouraged to continue on this path of educating my children the way God called my husband and I to.

She blogs at 'I Take Joy'.

Her post from today was one of seeing the 'fruit' of her years of home educating now that her children are all adults, or nearly adults. It is an encouragement to keep our vision and keep doing the invaluable work of mothering and educating.

Here is a bit...

"Often, I find that in the absence of a clear enough vision for their children and homes, mothers replace conviction and vision with lots of activities and distractions for their children. This hyper-activity and rushing around to an endless list of expensive lessons and experiences and toys, and the buying of the newest expensive curriculum and technological options make moms feel like they are accomplishing something.

However, when the home-life of children is rich with excellent, classic literature and great stories, passionate Biblical devotions, rousing dinner-table discussions around sumptuous, tasty meals, lots of love and affection given and household chores attended to— a child will become committed to all that is good and excellent and develop a moral and compassionate soul for all the divinely important values."

Go here to read the rest of today's post.

Blessings,
Deanna

Monday, December 21, 2009

World Views...What are You Passing Along?

Can you believe I have heard
parents say they don't believe
they have the right to influence
their children's belief systems?

I KNOW!

It blows my mind.

That the culture of wishy-washy
thinking and "no absolutes" would
creep into our homes and families.
So very sad!

Scripture is so plain on our
responsibility to pass wisdom and
knowledge from generation to generation.

As homeschoolers we are in a unique
position to teach our children what
we believe and why. We can share the
scriptures in very natural and systematic
ways. There are many, many resources
available to us that teach a Christian
Worldview as it relates to Government,
Science, Bible and Literature.

Non-homeschoolers have it a bit tougher
as it is hard to find quality time for
such things. However, I do hope that every
family is taking time to study the Bible
together whether homeschooling or not.

If you think about it...there is absolutely
nothing we do, short of breathe, that isn't
impacted by our worldview. So...even if we
aren't aware of conveying it to our children
a message is getting through.

What is the message you are
giving your children?

Our three children can tell you what the
evolutionists arguments are...
and they can tell you the truth of God's
Creation. We have not sheltered them from
opposing beliefs, however, as it was age
appropriate we have taught them both points
of view and what we believe and why.

Just because we want them to believe one thing
is not reason to keep them in a bubble of only
that train of thought. This kind of sheltering
leads to uncertainties and often troubles later
as the young people grapple with ideas that are
totally new to them. It is much better as the
parent to bring other views into the open and
deal with them in your timing. Sometimes we
don't have all of the answers to their questions
when in discussion. These are awesome learning
opportunities as we search out the answers together.

Teaching our children to learn.
It is fun!

Some things to think about as it relates
to your children:

Are they getting a scriptural basis?

Can they defend their Faith, if necessary?

Do they understand the importance of
Faith in your life?

Do they see you ministering to others?


I do hope you enjoy passing on the
Faith to the next generation.

Just for the record, I didn't make this
up...Some scriptures that encourage us.

He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children...Psalm 78:5

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Proverbs 1:8

When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
For these commands are a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline
are the way to life...Proverbs 6:22,23

Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning...Proverbs 9:9

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death...Proverbs 13:14


Happy Homeschooling!

Becky K.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Never Give Up!

We are in our eleventh year of home education.
There have been highs and lows.

We began this journey as what we thought would
be a "catch-up" year for our eldest son, Jonathan,
for third grade. It was our intention to give him
intensive intervention and then put him back in
the very "wonderful" public school he was in.

Well, those plans certainly were changed.
There were many factors in that decision.

However, this post is a success story.
One that was all of these years in the making.

You see, Jonathan is dyslexic, and has
processing delays. Those are the titles
he wears. He has an extremely high I.Q.
and is a very smart young man with certain
undeniable challenges that make learning
harder for him than some.

Over the years we have done vision therapy,
tutoring, many unique programs. I have
visited special schools to see if they could
teach him better, we have cried together and
very often laughed together. We have prayed,
studied and I have read aloud for hours and
hours.

It has been quite a journey.
I would do it all again....
no questions asked!!!!

This year we discovered the Dragon
Speech Recognition Software.

You see, for all of the difficulties
Jonathan has with reading he absolutely
loves books! He loves many kinds of books.

Somewhere along the line we received some
excellent advice...Don't let Jonathan's
physical ability to read stop his progress
in the books he is exposed to. So...we
didn't. Through my reading to him and the
depth of availability of Books on Tape or CD
Jonathan has continued to progress with his
interests without hesitation. He loves to
visit new libraries as he has exhausted our
library of new, to him, material.

At the end of last year, Jonathan mentioned
that he would like to write a book but the
process of using pen and paper or typing is
just stifling. He has to think so very hard
about the processes involved in writing and
typing that he loses his thoughts and gives up.

So...we investigated speech recognition software.

Bingo!

Jonathan has written chapters in his new novel.
There is a sequel forming in his head...
and a second series that he wants to begin in
between this book and it's sequel.

Do you know what else?

The Dragon Software sometimes messes up and Jonathan
has begun to override it and type first and speak
second. He is consumed. He will type as long as
he knows the words and now just uses the software
for those big words that he wants to use but is
clueless to spell.

Maybe one day you will know his name as a published
author, maybe not. But what I know is that he is
finding satisfaction in the one area that we never
would have guessed he would.

So...people, please be encouraged. Everything you
do in an effort to assist your children pays off.
It may take years...eleven maybe...but it is not
wasted!

Hugs!

Becky K.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Some Days We Just Have to Listen...

In my last post I tried to encourage
you in thinking outside the box when
it comes to fulfilling your role as
a homeschool parent.

It is so easy to fall into the textbook
trap. Ask me, I KNOW!

Textbooks are easy for us...but they are
not always the best for our students.

Before you go crazy, I am not saying that
I do not use textbooks. I do use them, but
in their place. They are a great resource for
timelines, dates, names of important people.

They are a wonderful resource to see what has
been deemed worthy of covering during a school
year. Then I take that information and break
it down at the library in biographies, quality
historical fictions and videos.

By offering information in multiple sources and
in varying types you will hit most students
learning style at several points during the
year. This means that our students get the
discipline of working at things that may not be
their favorites...for me that would be textbooks...
but they also get a break as they read a living
book about those they are studying.

Also, I believe strongly, that our high school
students are not too old to be read aloud to for
some of their coursework. It is fun...there can
be discussion at any given point as there are
multiple people at the same point in the book
or text.

If you are not accustomed to this it may seem
strange at first, but it is something that works
very well for us. We are now at a point where
we take turns reading out loud to each other.
It is amazing to hear how everyone's reading skills
have improved and how much more they get out of it
when they have these opportunities to "teach" each
other.

There have been many days where I have seen one of
my children somewhat distressed by an assignment I
have given. On my better days, I am in tune enough
to take that child aside and ask what is wrong and
how we can make it better.

On my really, really good days after I ask that
question, I shut up! I listen to what they are
saying and then I make adjustments. Do I take the
responsibilities of the work away? No.
But, if possible, I make it more tolerable.
Learning does not have to be a painful experience.

Learning is something we should be doing all of our
lives and enjoying the process makes it more likely
to continue even after graduation. That is my goal.

Not to make it to graduation...but to watch my kids
love to explore and gain new knowledge about life,
God and career...always!

Happy Homeschooling!

Learning or Work Processing?

When I was in High School I attended a
small Christian School where I got quite
behind. In the 11th grade I transferred
to another Christian School where the standards
were much stricter. In order to graduate I
had to cram three years worth of work into
two.

I am sure this had its benefits in my life.
I definitely learned goal setting.
I excelled at memorization,
which helped me pass fact filled tests.

The down side was that there is very little
from those years that impacted me or made a
long term difference in my life.

As we have homeschooled for many years I have
come through many phases. This means my children
have been subjected to many phases...poor things!

Initially, there was the attempt to be a
"School" at home. We were very, very structured
and I was very demanding.
Mikey still bears some of the ill effects of this
approach. Chelsea thrived with it.

Important lesson learned....
Know your child's learning style.
Embrace the differences whenever possible
and use them to your advantage.

Then I went through the many, many
field trip phase. We were so busy
and put so many miles on the car.
Of course, my fear of school district
intervention had us doing stacks and stacks of
paperwork during these years as well
so that our portfolios could be thick
and impressive.
Again, poor kids!

Finally, we have reached the High School
Years. What an eclectic blend of learning
styles in our homeschool.

I have one artistic and creative learner.
One busy, active and practical learner.
And one work processor with a creative bent.

Before school began this year I purchased
expensive Accounting curriculum for the two
youngest. We learned the terms and tried
valiantly to go farther. I am not totally
giving up yet...however, for the months
of January through April we are using the
concepts in a very practical manner.

Each child will run their own "financial
household", so to speak. They will maintain
their own checkbooks, pay their own "bills"
and "repair their own vehicles"...all on paper.

They have already estimated the expense of
living on their own...now they will experience
the time consumed in being a responsible
budgeter and billpayer.

Each of these months will find "bills" in their
"mailboxes", "medical emergencies", "company for
dinner" to drive up their expected grocery bills, etc.

Will they learn accounting?
Not in the most formal sense of the subject.
Will they learn something of value?
I'll let you know!
Based on our first couple of sessions on the
subject, I would have to predict - definitely!

I hope that you will always keep in the front
of your mind..."Are my children learning today
or are they busy processing work?"

Every subject can be approached from many sides.
Not all are as effective.
Always seek the most effective for the giftings
and skills of your students.

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Curriculum Suggestions...

As our boys near graduation
they are seeing the light at
the end of the tunnel and can,
at times, be just as happy to
pass on the daily schoolwork that
has been such a part of our lives
for years.

It is a struggle for all of us
to focus. That is just a fact.

We are in between our co-op semesters
and I have been leaning on the
classes they take there and expanding
them for Literature and Science...
so that has taken us out of a couple of
subjects over the past few weeks.

We have focused on Government, Music,
Writing and French (for Chelsea) as we await
the beginning of the new semester.
There has been a lot of baking, cooking
and gift making going on around here.
Mostly by Chelsea.

However, the other evening I got
a new infusion of enthusiasm as
I found two new pieces to fit into
the rest of our year.

One is Dr. Ben Carson's book called
"Think Big". Dr. Carson is very
special to our family because he
trained the neurosurgeon that performed
the tricky surgery on Warren's Dad, Gene.

Our surgeon referenced Dr. Carson with
the utmost of respect and awe each time
we would visit Johns Hopkins with Gene.

Then we watched a video biography about
Dr. Carson in a Sunday School Class.

So...this was a great find.
I do so want the boys to think big.
To get excited about the possibilities
that lie before them.

The second piece that I am adding to
our curriculum is a dramatized version
of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters.
Focus on the Family has produced it.

At about my kids age I discovered this
incredible work and listened to it as
my parents played it in small group studies.
What an impact it made in my life.
I am hopeful that some of it sticks in
our children.

We are implementing a budgeting class
that is helping the kids to see what it
costs to live today. I had thought that
they were pretty savvy about these things
but it is obvious that they have a lot to
learn. They were pretty interested and got
quite animated in their discussions.

I first had them estimate the cost of an
apartment. Alone or with roomates.
Then all of the costs that go along with
setting up and maintaining a household.

They were stunned.
They said it was depressing.
However, I think that in combination
with Dr. Carson's book it will come
together for them.
At least, that is my prayer.
I know they have a tendency to
think that they are not smart enough
or good enough to do anything special.
But, with God's help and a lot of
hard work the possibilities are
endless. Time will show them these
things...I can't wait to see it
come to pass.

In the end, it all seems like such
little time we have with our children.

But, it is good.
They are such a driving
force in all that we do!

Enjoy your homeschool day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Encouraging Day

I was invited to speak briefly at a
homeschool co-op yesterday. It was
a definite pleasure to go and meet new
families who share similar goals.

What I did not anticipate completely
was how totally blessed I would be by
my conversations with the leaders of
this group. These are Godly ladies
who face real challenges of their own.

From these challenges they have gained
wisdom that was great to be reminded of.

I'll pass on one tidbit that has been
repeating itself in my head.

"You cannot allow yourself to compare
your children against each other."


Oh, how true this is.

I was struck by how often we, as parents
are tempted to do this. After all, isn't
this how we determine health of a baby.
We look to see how they measure up on a
chart...against all others in their age bracket.

Don't we have to take those mandatory achievement
tests that tell us where our children are on that
massive educational curve.

It is how we think.
We compare and contrast.

But, when it comes to our children and their
unique differences comparing them is not necessarily
a great idea.

We have three uniquely different children.
It is a good thing.

One is slow.
He moves slowly and is proud of it!
He gets things done in his own timing,
thinks things through before doing anything,
and generally makes excellent choices.

One is FAST!
Can't grow up fast enough,
can't get his dirtbikes to go
fast enough or fly high enough,
and has tendency to make quick
decisions. He gets a lot done and
is very popular for his outgoing
and fun personality.

The third is somewhere in between.
She has yet to show all of her
unique style, although I have to say
that this year is a big one for her.
She is stretching and growing both
physically and mentally.

So...as you can see...I can do comparisons
but I should stop that process when I pass
from recognizing differences that are helpful
to judging and criticizing because of those
differences...

I have to say that God knew what he was
doing. Two slow and steadies would make
a fast and busy person like me a bit nutty...
Two fast and impulsives would have me in my
grave already.
Yes, God got the
mix just right.

All of our children are unique and need to be
accepted and treated as such. Always striving
to bring out the best from those traits.

It is so good to sit with Godly women and just
chat from time to time. It brings out possibilities
for encouragement that would not happen any other
way.

Hope you are having a blessed day.
Homeschooling is not easy but it is
certainly worthwhile. We are, with
God's help, making a real
difference in the lives and futures
of our children.

Melissa shared this verse and an
excellent clip by Voddie Baucham in
her post this morning. Stop by and
say hello if you have time...


"Here O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength. These words which I am commanding you today are to be on your hearts. Teach them diligently to your sons; talk of them when you sit in your houses and when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. They are to be bound as signs on your hands and frontlets on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Blessings,
Becky K.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Science at our fingertips...

Yesterday and today we have had our television
volume turned down and kept an eye on it as we
did our other work, while waiting for the launch
of the test flight of the Ares I-X rocket.

At one point yesterday we stopped watching after
learning that the weather was not cooperating.
Today looked as if it could be a repeat and then
suddenly they were counting down.

Watching this event brought questions from Mikey
and just a few quick clicks on the keyboard brought
some answers. I thought perhaps you might be interested
in the NASA sight on this particular launch...

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/ares/flighttests/aresIx/index.html

For example we learned that this mission lasted:

2 minutes

After this two ships were assigned to gather up
the important items which fell back into the ocean.

The rocket flew at Mach 4 - Four times the sound of light.

...and more.

Enjoy!

On another science topic...
we were so sad to see a fire cause
much damage and destroy more than
$120,000 of neighborhood property
while costing the life of a family dog.

This morning I looked at this link
http://www.qfd57.com/fullstory.php?95265
and found out more information about
our fire company and this fire.

Most 911 systems are likely linked
to similar fire house blogs where you can
follow stories that are pertinent to your
young students. I had mine write a page
about this fire and their feelings as
they processed this, too close to home, tragedy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

High School Curriculum Recommendation



John MacArthur takes all of the knowledge and history of Truth that we, as Believers, claim to understand and states it with such clarity and organization that you will find yourself saying "Amen!" and "Oh, so that's where that came from!". These are the things I have not been sure how to communicate to my children and it is clear as clear can be in this book. All in one lovely package!

Granted one son has complained about the large vocabulary employed, but, as we progress into the book his mind is adjusting and he is understanding and interested.
Just because something meets with resistance is not good reason to set it aside. Especially when the content is so filled with important nuggets.

If you are not clear on Modern and Postmodern thinking you will be after reading this.

If you wonder why it is possible for our world to be so deeply committed to the philosophy of no absolutes, Pastor MacArthur will trace the steps philosophers have taken to arrive at this grandios idea.

I highly recommend this for all teens and adults,high school, college and beyond.

Becky K.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Pay More to Educate My Neighbor's Children Than My Own!

I've been doing just a few minutes worth of
research. I read the headline and some highlights
of an article talking about the additional millions
of dollars being directed into a neighboring school
district. This got me to thinking....

How much per student does the average PA district
spend?

I found out that it is between
EIGHT and TEN THOUSAND...PER STUDENT...PER YEAR!!!

Oh..my..goodness!!! I wouldn't know what to do with
that much money in our homeschool. If I calculate the
books, electricity, prorated mortgage for "school time",
prorated maintenance, field trips, co-op fees, craft items,
music lessons and everthing else I still don't think I
spend more than $500 per year per child.

Even if I spend that much I run out of time to get everything
done that I think we will. There are just too many great
ideas each year.

So many good books, so little time.
Free Art shows, museums, senior citizens to teach living
history. A kitchen full of math and homemaking lessons.
A community full of people who are delighted to allow our
children to serve and learn in real time.

Teaching our children does not have to
cost a fortune.

So...it occurs to me that by the time I pay my school
taxes, I have spent more to educate the neighbor children
than my own.

How does that strike You??

Grrr.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bowling Leads to Thinking...sometimes.

Chelsea, Jonathan and I have just returned from bowling with other homeschoolers. At one point it was only families from our group that came to Tuesday Bowling but over time our group has really slacked off and others are coming in. This makes me sad but, at the same time, allows us to meet other local families.
That is really fun!

Today a new mom and son joined us. It was as we were chatting that she told me that she had plans to put her son into public school in a year or so. She stated that she is very nervous about her abilities to get him through the high school years.
I don't know what came over me but I just had to say...
kindly, I hope,

"If it truly is about your fear of teaching him,
please reconsider,
because you didn't get this far
in your own strength".

Oh, my...did I just say that to a near stranger?
She was very gracious.

But, I have to say that it got me thinking.

We have not homeschooled our three children because we have all of that much to offer them when it comes to the academics. I am confident in my ability to teach reading...very weak when it comes to math....History is good, Science is o.k.

We have a son who is very motivated for his future,
we have one who is unsure of his plans.

One who would have gotten into all kinds of trouble
in public school,
and one who really doesn't care what others think and would
have been "fine"... when it came to peer pressure.

We have a daughter who might be more outgoing had she
gone to public school, but at what cost?
Does it matter as long as she is respectful, polite, energetic
and complimented this morning by her physician for her
involvement in many things.

None of this even takes into account the Christian heritage
that we are able to teach our young charges. What a major
change for the future if more and more of our young people
understood this heritage and the gift that it is for all
of us.

If God has called us to homeschool our children He WILL
give us the means to accomplish it. Praying that you will
feel His pleasure in the work and love you are pouring into
your children.

You are not in this alone.
It is not in your strength that your children
are set to succeed or not....and we could go
on for days about the definition of success
.....

Love to all who read this post,
whether you homeschool or are just
curious about those of us who do.

Becky K.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Schooling over the Years....

....As we begin a new one.




Today, we at Hospitality Lane,
officially began our 2009-2010
School year. While much work
has been done independently
already, this was the first day
we sat together and studied in
this school year.

Mrs. Rabe and her gang have been
back to school for a couple of
weeks, I think.

I celebrated our first day by making a
mosaic of the kids on field trips
over the past several years.

It was a fun day.

It is bound to be a challenging
year as we stretch and learn new
things. Chelsea is particularly
concerned...I think she will be
just fine. I have purposely set
the bar high. She is feeling the
challenge. A necessary part of
the process, I think!

Hope your school days are going
well. We are here to encourage you
and share with you...Your feedback
and questions are very welcome.

Becky K.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reading Suggestions for Middle Grades

Nicole had this to say
after Mrs. Rabe's last
post:

"I am looking for books for Alex, he is in the 3rd grade but at a 7th grade reading level. He loves adventure. Do you have any thoughts?'

I have been thinking about it and
remembered a series of books that
we enjoyed. It came to me yesterday
as it was the anniversary of the
Mt. Vesuvius disaster so many
years ago.

Caroline Lawrence has written a
series that is set in Roman Times.
It follows Flavia Gemina, the daughter
of a Sea Captain, and her friends, as they
solve mysteries.

We found the series to be believable
to the time period and interesting.

The book titles are:

The Thieves of Ostia
The Secrets of Vesuvius
The Pirates of Pompeii

I see at Amazon that there are many other
titles by this author. It seems that the
characters in these books are involved in
some, if not all of these.

I found these three books at the Library but
will have to look for more titles. Chelsea would
likely still enjoy them.

I think you would find them interesting for
Alex. Of course, I always recommend previewing
everything for yourself.
Our childrens' personalities
and likes are all different.
You know better than
anyone what he would like.

For example, in the first book,
someone is killing dogs. That is
the basis of the mystery. If this
would be too upsetting to your child
it would be best to skip this book.

We didn't find it to be so gruesome
and we understood it to be fiction.
The story was very intriguing.

Does anyone else have recommendations for
Alex?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Book Talk!


We have tons of books! Whew! Where to begin?

Beth, I would recommend Louisa May Alcott's "Old Fashioned Girl." This is a sweet book. I do not know whether you are thinking of books for boy or girls so I will just share some of the books we have enjoyed here at our home. We love the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. We also have these in Radio Drama form from Focus on the Family! They are so well done and we enjoy reading or listening to them. As always the books are much more detailed and richer but the radio dramas are great for listening to at bedtime or in the car! We wore out our first set and had to replace them this year!

Another series that has been beloved by one of my children is the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. This child of mine learns by delving deeply into what she is interested in. She read these and the appendices. She has learned some dwarvish and elvish.

We have read Little House of course, but we also have enjoyed the whole Anne of Green Gables set of 8 books.

My kids have enjoyed a variety of books, there are books by Ann Rinaldi dealing with Henry the VIII time period. "Red Headed Princess" about Princess Elizabeth (Henry's daughter by Anne Bolyn, and a book about Lady Jane Grey called "Nine Days A Queen." These were fascinating to my 9th grader last year and she even ended up doing a big report on what she learned. The are historical fiction and not written like a textbook or anything.

Of course I definitely recommend all of Jane Austen's books. Many of the sequels are excellent too although not all are. I do NOT recommend the books by Linda Berdoll. They are very inappropriate!

I also love the books by Grace Livingston Hill. They are old fashioned "romances" but in a sweet way. The characters always grow spiritually, and she has really neat domestic scenes in them. Great for encouraging homemaking!

I love Emilie Barnes books! I have the one you mentioned, it is my favorite! I learned so much about making a house a home - I definitely will have my girls read her books!

We read alot of historical fiction - Sonlight curriculum has great lists of books that are age appropriate. Although if you read aloud a child can enjoy a book at a much younger age.

Hope this is helpful to you!

Deanna



Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some Favorite Girl Preteen and Teen Reads...


I find my self perusing the web a couple of times a year for books to recommend to our children. I admit that finding books for Chelsea is somewhat easier than the boys.

Therefore, most of the books I will recommend will likely appeal more to girls...but not necessarily.

First, if your daughter has not read the Little House on the Prairie Series, it is an excellent place to start. Chelsea is reading it through for the second time after a few years. She loves it, as did I.

Two books that I enjoyed so much and passed on to Chelsea, who also loved them are by Kate Seredy. They are The Good Master and The Singing Tree. The author is also the illustrator.




She is fabulous! Kate Seredy is a Hungarian born author who draws from this background and knowledge to weave wonderful stories. These are older books so they may be harder to find, but in my opinion, they are worth it.

This year a sweet little book that I have asked Chelsea to read is In Grandma's Attic by Arleta Richardson. She is probably older now than she would need to be to enjoy this book but I just got around to buying it for her as I think it will be a keeper.

Some of Chelsea's favorite series and authors are Nancy Rue and her Lily Series as well as The Sophie Series, Sandra Byrd's books Island Girl and Chopsticks.

I found another series at our Library Book Store.
It is called Tales from Grace Chapel Inn.
Guideposts is listed as the Publisher. There are different authors but they are all of a similar genre. Chelsea really enjoyed these. Two Titles that are in front of me now are...The Way we Were by Judy Baer and Steady and Slow by Anne Marie Rodgers.


Most recently after our Book Club read a Sisterchicks book, Chelsea has been interested in these books. She is enjoying them very much. The first one we read was Sisterchicks in Somberos by Robin Jones Gunn. I don't remember how many more of these she has read, but CBD had some of these as audiobooks in their clearance section so we have just added to our collection but as audiobooks.

Both Chelsea and Jonathan listen to books on tape as they fall asleep. It is just another way to get literature into their lives. We started this with each of them for different reasons but it has become a fun challenge to keep them supplied with fun literature to listen to.

In another post I will talk about Jonathan's preferences. They are quite different but for a student who struggles so to read, because of physical challenges, he surely does love books! He often asks to go to the Library.

A literature rich home is a blessing.

We are very blessed.

Are You?
I would love to hear what
books you enjoy....
for any age!
We have a housefull of readers...
in all shapes and sizes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gearing Up For a New School Year...

Some of our friends have begun their
formal 2009-10 school year already.
We have not.

We are certainly marking many things
on our log books as our daily life
lends itself to learning, but as of
yet we have not begun the Accounting
curriculum or the American History, etc.

Chelsea can be found on the computer
working on French sporadically. Not
at my direction but out of her own
interest.

Mikey is getting eight weeks of horticulture
through his Internship at Longwood Gardens.

Jonathan can be found perfecting his art
with a friend who majored in graphic arts
in a trade school last year. Just for fun
they have done ink drawings, watercolor and
sketching.

However, my mind is turning to the days when
we will gather in the living room discussing
the merits of a republic over socialism or a
dictatorship.
How God made our various body parts in just
the right ways as we study anatomy.
Reading aloud a piece of literature which
captivates and inspires.

You know,this kind of time with the kids
will be done after this year.
Mikey and Jonathan will graduate
leaving Chelsea and I on our own
for her last three years.

So, I intend to cherish our time this year.
To pack in as much about God, His goodness
and Seeking His will as is possible to do
without making the kids too crazy. This is
the lesson I most wish to get across to the
boys as they head into manhood and the
responsibilities that brings.

It is happening.
I see it daily.

Praying for wisdom and strength as we
have a very eventful year ahead.

Becky K.

P.S. A Partial Curriculum List:

John MacArthur - The Truth War
BJU Press - The American Republic
W. Cleon Skousen - A Miracle that Changed the World- A 5,000 Year Leap
A Beka - America, Land That I Love

Alan L. Gillen - Body By Design
I. Edward Alcamo - Anatomy Coloring Workbook

Alpha Omega - Accounting I

Rosetta Stone - French

Again, this is a partial list of this year's curriculum
but we will use these resources to gain an understanding
of the subjects studied.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

eBay and I Are Bonding!




O.k., admittedly I am sick and tired of
posting items for sale. It would be so
much better to just make a huge post and
sell all of our items in one grouping.

While that would save time.
It really wouldn't be the best way to
go about selling the many, many things
we have collected over the past couple
of years.

If you are interested in seeing what I
have listed so far...go to View Sellers Other Items
on this page.

You will find that on the right under
"Ask a Question".

I have much, much more to list.
The photos are taken but for now
I am headed to plant more pretties
in the flower garden.

Toodles!

Becky K.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What God Is Teaching Me About Educating My Kids

Why do we parents who are educating our children at home, hold up government schools as the gold standard to be copied? I am speaking about a different thing than following your states requirements. I mean why do we try to copy their way of teaching or their class offerings?

I learned recently that the higher math and sciences that most people struggle with were added to the curriculum in the 50's and 60's when the United States was competing with the then Soviet Union in the space race. Before that they weren't a regular part of the public school curriculum. I am not saying that it is bad for kids to be challenged in education, but just that we need to free ourselves from their pattern and see what works for our own kids and where they are headed.

The most important thing in educating our children is to teach them to love to learn. We do not need to fret over what curriculum to use - we need to seek the Lord for each child and ask Him to show us who each child is and what they need. He created them, He will show you.

You may have a student headed for college, but don't limit them to the government norms. Let them find their niche. You may have students who are not headed for college and this is where you can truly be creative with their education! What are they interested in? What passions do they have? This is your chance to let them take their interests as far as they want!

The most important thing to accomplish during this time is to walk along side them and disciple them in the things of the Lord and encourage them to walk with God themselves.

Freedom is what I found this year after 15 years of homeschooling!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer is Here!!!





Learning never stops!

We are gardening, cooking,
should be cleaning...

We are reading, studying God's Word,
preparing for fun Field Trips.

I am tutoring a neighbor boy...so it
looks a lot like the rest of the school
year around here. That is just the way
we like it!

Our evaluations were great.
The kids are moving into a new
stage of life and learning but
it is good for all of us.

Take the time to learn something new
about a long interesting subject this
summer. What might it be for you?

I am learning a new Web Site Program.
Challenging for this brain but I think the
end result for our church web site will be
worth it.

Happy Learning to you and yours~

Becky K. and Family

P.S. I would have put these photos into the
text of the post but my Chelsea just brought
me the best looking blueberry pancakes...I am
going to press publish and eat these instead.
((Smiles)) and ((hugs)) to you.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Evaluations are Approaching

In Pennsylvania we are required to
have an independent evaluator go over
samples of the work completed for the
school year. His or Her responsibility
is to verify that State Requirements
have been met.

They will check for the proper number
of days completed, that any testing needed
has been completed and that each child has
made progress.

This has often been a stressful time for
me as I consider it more of an evaluation
of the job I have done than that of the
children.

Every year our evaluators, we have two,
are very complimentary and stress that
I should relax.

Maybe this year!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

This Cracked me Up!

We were sitting on the couch
doing math. Chelsea was using
me for moral support.

Math is not her thing...as it
is not mine.

We were doing a review of
Order of Operations.

I like this particular exercise
because they have to pay attention
and get to review all of the basics
in nearly every problem.

However, apparently it was almost
too much for poor Chelsea.

She suddenly blurted out,
"Someday I am going to need
counseling after this math!"

I lost it in a fit of giggles!

Oh, the drama!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Keeping it Real

One of the things I have learned about teaching our children is that the more they can do in "real life" as opposed to an artificial classroom setting the happier they are and the more they learn.

This doesn't always translate well to the outside world that considers school to be several hours a day behind a desk.

It is much more common for our school day to have a limited amount of "formal" school time and much more conversation, debate, projects, activities, caring for family members, helping in the neighborhood, investigating things each one is interested in, following Daddy around the garage, and so much more. Learning is endless...our biggest challenge was learning to recognize the value of real life lessons.

When our children are young there is a certain amount of copy work and structured learning that absolutely must happen to lay the ground work for teaching them to learn. As High School students this type of learning is reduced to math, English and spelling, as it relates to the disciplines of sitting down to school.

History, Science, Geography, Computer Lab, Keyboarding, Home Ec, Phys Ed and Civics are most often caught as we read great books, work on a dirt bike, help Mom make dinner, write a blog, learn to use a photo editing program just for fun, watch those favorite shows such as Myth Busters or Netflix DVD's on a specific subject. It is always great to tie our History and Bible together and really get a feel for how the many stories we have learned all of these years fit into the known World History of the time.

We find ourselves making time to spend with friends for skating, bowling, movies, English Country Balls, Bible Study, riding dirt bike, rocketry, playing capture the flag...and so much more.

Each of these things has something valuable to offer the entire homeschool experience.

Mikey is often found outside with his garden or plotting and planning for a friend who has requested his design service...that is when he is not at work learning about business, taking care of customers, keeping a store stocked and other valuable lessons you gain in a work environment.

Our homeschool certainly looks different than it did when the kids were in elementary grades but I wouldn't change a thing.

When I find a resistant reader finishing a book because a friend recommended it...and it is non-fiction and has a great message or another son listens to a short message on the radio and comments on a subject that most kids his age wouldn't care about in the least there is that little sigh...a sigh that says these are the real learning times.

I document them as the valuable school time that they are.

This post is overly simplistic but hopefully you catch the intent.

Homeschool must be practical.
We must adjust and use the real world to prepare our
children to be adults out there.

They need to learn how to learn more than they need to
have statistics and facts shoved in their brains for memorization
for a test. These things tend to just fall back out after the
test is completed anyway.

This may be the hardest way to homeschool.
I say that because it is much easier to feel we
have "done school" when we have processed through
workbooks and texts.

It is harder to quantify a year's worth of work when
it is made up of thoughtful conversations, books read
for fun, projects and caring, added responsibilities.

But it is a worthwhile endeavor!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

In the Home Stretch

We are getting so close to wrapping up another
school year. Chelsea is tracking our days. We
have something less than thirty to complete to
meet our State requirements.

Many of our friends who start their school
year earlier are just about done.

This is the time of the year
that I find bittersweet.

I want to enjoy days to do whatever strikes
my fancy...I see those windows that need to
be washed and the sorting and organizing that
languishes while we do our math and history.

I also think about all of the subject matter that
I still want to cover and hope for the time to
get it all done.

So, I am totally conflicted as we head into this
time of the year.

Making it even more poignant this year is that
we are in our boys junior year. Next year will
be the last opportunity I will have to give them
formal training. What more do they need to go
out into the world? What am I missing?

These thoughts roll around in my head sometimes
to torture and other times inspiring me to stay
the course.

The most important thing to remember as we wrap
up the formal school year is that
the learning doesn't stop just because we no longer
need to document days. It is an ongoing and very
fulfilling process.

We should be able to continue our learning process
no matter what time of the year or what stage of
life we are in.

As an adult I have learned so much about life, how
to do new things and skills with which I earn money
or help others. These are the things that I want
our kids to know.

Learning is life long.

The switch on the brain does not turn off for summer
or immediately after graduation.

The process continues!

Happy Teaching...
and learning...
to you!

Becky K.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Back to Full Swing!

Good thing, too!

We had a Learning Fair last week.
Chelsea did a display about one
of her favorite series.
The Allison Chronicles
by Melody Carlson.

Chels spent hours and hours putting
her display together and writing a
multiple paged review.

The Rabes were there with displays,
as well. It was great to see what
the students of our co-op had been
busy reading over this past year.

Some photos of the event...






O.k. so you can tell that Chelsea wasn't feeling totally better
yet...still isn't. But she is getting there.

Fun times!

Learning much!

Becky K.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Screech!

So our plans have come to a near stop
today.

The Momma is sick!

However, thanks to a little thing
called a book...school is going on.

All three are tucked in corners reading
away. They had a choice...read or work
on their Research Paper. Funny, how
reading took priority over those papers.

In a little while Mikey will put his
learner's permit to work and drive all
of us to bowling. I will likely either
drive him crazy with my fear or be nearly
passed out from fever. It remains to be
seen.

If the Tylenol knocks down the fever I will
be good to go, if not, I may not get out of
the van.

Either way, I win as Mother of the Year for
making sure these angels get to fellowship
with their dearest friends and another gym
day is checked off the schedule...lol.

Understand that everyone else I know has already
had this or been very exposed to it. I am slow
to surrender. I am not exposing innocent people
to these particular germs.

Blessings!

Becky K.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

All About Books!

Our Homeschool Co-op is preparing for
our annual Learning Fair. This happens
when students and parents get together
to feature something they have learned
over the current school year.

This year's theme is....Books!

My 13 year old is busily preparing a display
about a series of books she devoured recently.

They are The Allison Chronicles by Melody Carlson.

She has been working on her display board and
writing a synopsis of the first story, complete
with her own drawings that would be more than
enough to meet the requirements of a ten page
report. Funny thing is she just wrote a ten
page research paper on dogs. The boys are
struggling to write ten pages on their chosen
subjects...and she just whips out two major
projects as if it were nothing.

Such are the differences we have with our
own students.

The boys are working together on a project
for the Learning Fair. It is on a book series
that Mikey has been reading this year. It is
a fictional trilogy about Mars. I am just over
anxious to see what they are coming up with for
that.

Some of the Moms were wishing we could have
tables to show off some of our recommended reading.
Now, that would be fun!

May your homeschool day be filled with peace,
love and joy today!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How Chelsea Learned to Read...


It was so simple.

After having two boys who failed to
enjoy reading after learning in the
local public school, I wondered how
I was going to manage to teach Chelsea
from scratch.

Whether it was that she was a girl,
had different interests...or just that
it was more enjoyable with less pressure
she was a great learner.

I used a very simple reader system
purchased from Amazon.com.

They are Now I am Reading series by Nora Gaydos.
Little books come in small coordinating
cardboard cases. There are stickers for
each book when read satisfactorily.

When you start at the beginning of this
series and work your way through the
foundation is there to learn to read
very well.

Just a recommendation from a system that
worked for us...did not cost a lot of money
and did not take up a ton of room!

Happy Homeschooling!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Homeschooling...The Journey

One never knows what paths life
will take when you are young.

As a teenager I watched my Aunt
and Uncle struggle through the
trials of being among the first
to homeschool. It was not popular...
it was weird.

Then I had my own children.
We tried the public school
route. I watched their
personalities change.
We saw the tears as they were
forced to get on a bus.

Things happened. We thought we would
just try a catch up year for our oldest.
Then I became "weird" just like my
Aunt and Uncle. I knew that homeschooling
was the way for us to go.

Our kids became "weird".

They had imaginations, creativity,
and the ability to think for themselves
that was in the process of being squashed
in the context of a room of twenty-plus
children and the need for conformity.

We did not need to spend a small fortune
on back to school clothes each year...leaving
more for fun curriculum. Some that worked...some
that got put back on the shelf or handed off to
others with different learning styles.

We were able to directly address specific
learning challenges and deal with behavior
issues in ways that we felt were Biblical
rather than politically correct.

We chose the friends that our children associated
with rather than having to explain why the lifestyles
of their friends parents were not right.
Been there...done that!

As they have grown older we have the opportunity to
discuss these issues. It was over the top in the
elementary ages to be forced in to these discussions.

We have children who truly adore each other.
Sure, they fight and get on each other's nerves
just like anywhere else...but how wonderful is it
that Warren and I can be sitting in a room sharing
time chatting over our day and one by one three
teenagers join us and such a pleasant spirit of
fellowship emerges.

It happened just last evening in the family room,
by the fire. So spontaneous...so pleasant.
These are the fruits of a homeschool family.
The rewards.
Relationships...
Individual lesson plans...
Flexibility...
Spiritual Awareness...
Love...
Respect...
Joy...

We are fast approaching the end of the
boys' formal learning at home...but their
lifetime of learning is just beginning.

We are attempting to prepare them for
the future to make a living and raise a
family of their own doing something that
God has specifically gifted them to do.
Something that will bring them joy and
satisfaction at the end of the day.

We would be delighted if it were something
that paid well but will be just as proud if
that something that they are called to do
meets their needs and allows them to serve
others.

Homeschooling...it is a journey.

It is a beautiful life!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Funny..but True!

I teach a 4-6th grade music class, as you
are tired of hearing about...but this
week I cracked up when this happened.

I was getting ready to play a piece of music
for the kids. They were to analyze what of their
vocabulary terms they heard in the music.

I accidentally used the word vocabulary when
I said, "You know those vocabulary words we have
been learning." You should have heard the mostly
boys say "No! I can't do English...We haven't
been doing vocabulary!"

I then asked them to tell me what terms like
adagio, aria, opera, orchestra, allegro, presto
and more meant. They knew, of course!

But, just do not EVER call it vocabulary Mrs. K!

Too funny!

Aren't we all like that?

Those things that we think we don't like.

If we just come at it from a different perspective.
Make it fresh and new.

Now...what can I call dusting so that
I can enjoy it?
I know some times we just have to buckle down and
do those things we dislike.
But when it can be fun...why not!?!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Teaching Music is fun!

It is!

If you use tools.

I was introduced to some videos
of Victor Borge recently.

Yesterday, at Co-op, I shared some
clips with my 4-6th grade music class.

We are learning about classical music.

I have a master vocabulary list that I
am working from each week. For the term,
Aria, I found a very funny clip of Victor
and a soprano named Marilyn. He is so funny
and she plays along so well. The kids loved
it and it will stick in their heads so much
longer than if I had given a twenty minute
lecture on the Aria...

If you are needing some music inspiration,
I highly recommend this.

You will all laugh!

Note: I did preview and pick and choose.
Nothing he does is horrible...but depending
on the age...some of it is suggestive.

Have an awesome day today and a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

If they Would Only Follow Directions....

This week has been one of frustration
and fun all at the same time.

We are working on a math concept that
should not be that difficult. In fact,
it would not be if the kids would only
bend their pride and follow my directions.

They are intent on doing the processes
we are working on in their heads. Not
only does this take the fun out of it but
it leads to frequently wrong answers.

Oh, my how often do we do this in our
daily lives. Attempt to shortcut and
"know better"?

God has given us all of the instruction that
we need. It is all in a very handy and
easy to follow instruction manual...it is
called The Bible. But how often do we turn
to the instructions as a last resort...

Sad. But true.

I am working on learning from the object
lesson provided from our homeschool week.

Turning to the manual...

Learning from the Master Instructor!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Watching the Inauguration....

...and praying for safety for
all involved.

History is surely being made today.

May the Leaders of this Country,
The United States of America,
truly seek after God's Heart.

For we are founded on the Principles
that it is "In God we Trust!"

Blessings on your day today.

Becky

Monday, January 12, 2009

We Are Back...

We basically took 3 weeks during Christmas and New Year's away from formal learning.

Today we got back to it.  Math for all, History too.  Right now we are studying Medieval History, pre- Reformation.  It is soooo interesting.  Lindsay and Emily did a writing activity from The Word Artist and Rachel did some copy work.  For Bible we have our family Bible Study, Apologetics in our Sunday School Class, Friday nights at church...the kids are always creating, cooking, playing music so it is a natural part of our day.  They also are always reading...Emily is knitting, Lindsay is working with my Dad's horse to get her to load on our trailer, so that she can be taken for trail rides....

I like our learning to flow out of our family life.  That makes it a natural way to learn and much more applicable to every day life!

Deanna

Friday, January 9, 2009

Our Most Recent School Days...

Some history by way of the HBO
movie, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee...
too much for Chelsea...but the boys
and I really got a lot out of it.

Chelsea went and worked on her
writing while we watched this.

More History by way of another
Movie...Anne of Green Gables.
We are watching the third in the
series. This one is about WWI.

Literature, Bible and Vocabulary
come from In His Steps by
Charles M. Sheldon.
We are doing a unit study on this
book.

Math. I am making worksheets
from the internet to do review of
the basics. We have also been enjoying
the process of learning more about
Order of Operation.

Unfortunately, we have decided to
basically ditch Teaching Textbooks
for now. I say unfortunately because
they were great for me...the kids did
them on their own. I found, however, that
they were just going through the process
and not really learning.

Oh well, what works for some...does not work
for all. We also had the issue of not having
enough daily computer time for all three to get
their lessons done.

The classes in Apologetics continue and science
goes on in various forms. Each child is at a
different place on the Science subject.

Chelsea wants to study grammar intensely since
it is her long time goal to be a writer who gets
published one of these days.

The boys continue to work toward their individual
interests basically self-directed with assistance
and support from us.

Thus school goes on....

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Little Phys Ed...over 2008

Bowling...


Bike Riding...


Frisbee Playing...


Corn Husking...


Skate Boarding...


Bed Flopping...


Playing with Friends...


Baseball in the Park...


Nerf War in the Woods...


Leaf Raking...


Pumpkin Smashing...


Rocket Chasing


Creekwalking...



Apple picking...


Tree Climbing...


Dirtbiking...


Horseback Riding...