Missing Homeschool

I got to cuddle next to the kids last night and watch Miracle on 34th Street. It was so great. I feel like I haven’t spent enough time with them since they started school. I miss these moments.

The kids have been in public school for 3 weeks now.

At first, we all really liked the change. The kids made friends, they have been doing well on their work, and they said they enjoyed school. But not so much anymore.

Now our mornings are full of grumpiness and sometimes tears. They don’t have that same excitement when they wake up, and frankly, neither do I. I am on their side. I think homeschool is where they need to be, it’s just a matter of timing now. It’s going to happen. I miss them so much and teaching them and watching them grow and learning something new. I miss all that. And I’m sad when I think of all those kids in school whose parents miss out on that too. I feel more distant with both kids since they started. I don’t know what’s going on in their lives and even though it’s only been three weeks in PS, their personalities have already begun to alter, and not neccesarily for the better.

We are going to keep them in school for a little while longer. I’m thinking until Christmas break, so I have time to get our business up and going and then I can quit my job too.

Homeschool is one of the best things our family has ever done. Yes, it’s completely stressful and sometimes we have lazy days, not accomplishing much, but wow, I miss every second. I miss making breakfast with them, eating lunch at our table or maybe a picnic. I miss reading to them. I miss teaching them. I miss their smiles and laughter. I miss it all.

The saying where the grass is always greener on the other side is so true. We thought it would be better for so many reasons to put them in school, but we were wrong. We are a homeschooling family and always will be.

I am glad we tried public school out. I think it was just what we needed to give us a boost when we come back to homeschooling. The kids had started to take homeschool for granted and I believe they will appreciate the way we do things much better now.

Just finished our first week of school!

Actually, we only had 3 days of school last week, and 3 this week. That’s why we homeschool though, so we can go on trips or take off days when we need to 🙂 We were supposed to start school on Monday last week, but I ended up needing to watch my sister’s two kids, and this week we took a field trip, so it was  another short week. It’s kind of nice starting off this year slow, to get into the groove again. We ended up having a 6 week break (WAY longer than I had planned)!

Here they are, proud to be moving up the ladder and getting more independent. Turner, our 3rd grader.

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Lilly, our 2nd grader.

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Caden, my nephew, also in 2nd grade.

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The kids said they had a ton of fun this week, my daughter even said she liked Math! (Although, I’m not sure why, because we didn’t do anything different, other than have complete one-on-one time, only her and I were at the table at once. Oh, and she loved writing on the window with dry erase markers!)

I really like our morning meeting time that I have implemented with things such as talking about famous quotes, learning a new ASL phrase, setting goals and plans to achieve them, assigning the kids an endeavor (they LOVE this!). We also meditate for 5 minutes, I recently read this interesting article about how good it is for you, which I’ll link to soon.

Another thing we do is have a character trait of the week. They each spell it on the board and we look up the definition in the dictionary, whoever shows that trait the most during the week wins the card and we will count them up at the end of the year to see who has the most with a small prize.

I am really trying to focus on character building, learning through natural ways and great discussions this year. There are so many ways to learn and grow without workbooks.

For History we started where we left off in SOTW Ancient, chapter 17. The kids really liked the story and compared it to The Hunger Games, it sounded just like it too (the people put names in a bowl then drew 7 boys and 7 girls to be sent off to another island with a Minotaur, then a prince ‘volunteers’ to go and kill it, which he does). They had fun working together as a group to build a Lego labyrinth (which Turner then compared to The Maze Runner!)

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We are studying a famous artist each week and this week we focused on Paul Cezanne and his painting, ‘The Blue Vase’. They used oil pastels and drew their own vase. I think they turned out amazing. I really like the look of oil pastels. Lilly has been crazy about them since we scored some for $1 at yard sale, and draws each day.

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For Physical Education we are working on our golf, bowling, and running skill sets.

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We call them skills, so the kids can see the progress they are making, and can see their progression each time. Just going and playing golf is fun, but to work on a skill set, such as putting 3 in a row, or hitting off the tee… they can then see how well all their hard work is paying off.

Actually, I’ve been calling everything a ‘skill’ this year and they love it. Instead of saying let’s do some Math, I say, ‘Hey, let’s work on your factoring skills, or you multiplication skills.’ In Language Arts, right now we are working on our ‘how to write a paragraph skills’. For some reason, it has helped them focus more when we work.

I think a big reason we are starting off strong, is that I have really taken a lot of time to plan and have a goal for everything. There must be a reason we are doing something, otherwise it’s a waste of time. With this mind set, I have been able to see the smiles on their faces, knowing they have accomplished something great.

We all have weaknesses… knowing yours and improving

My son is eight. If you believe in the theory of left-right brain, he would be labeled a definite ‘lefty’. I don’t really like labels, and prefer to just think in terms of weaknesses and strengths and improving those. Labels seem harder to overcome once someone puts you in that box.

Here lately, I’ve been thinking about a few of his and one has caught my attention the most: he has trouble being creative. I’m not technically ‘worried’, but I do want to to help him in this area.

He loves Legos, but not in the traditional sense, he can’t stand creating on his own. If you’ve seen the Lego Movie, he’s the guy that wants to super glue all the parts together 🙂 He follows the instruction books to a T, then puts his finished product on the shelf, which looks cool and I’m glad he enjoys it, but every now and then, it would be nice to see him creating something from his imagination.

When we are doing something for school and he needs to create a sentence, yes, just one little sentence, he seems to be struggling. He just wants someone to tell him what to write. He doesn’t even like to try.

So, a weakness my amazing son has is creative thinking. He has plenty of strengths (and I won’t list them now), but to better ourselves we need to work on weaknesses.

To help him with this, I have bought a journal and 4 days a week we will do some creative writing. I hope this will help, and will post back later and update how it is going in a few weeks.

It may be a struggle for him at first, but I’m hoping he will start to enjoy writing and enjoy expressing himself and his thoughts.

Everyone has weaknesses. Some may not be fixable, others may take a lot of time and effort to change. I am just hoping to open him to the world of creative writing and maybe it will trickle down to other things he does as well.

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Sometimes the Timing is Just [OFF]

I was thinking last night how we, as parents, introduce our kids to new things

thinking it will be exciting or helpful in some way, only to find out, they resist it, don’t like it, or just don’t care.

When they react negatively a lot of us think, ‘well it’s just not for my kid’ and move on, figuring ‘oh, well, I tried and they didn’t like it’. Maybe you’re right, but what if you’re not.

Maybe it is for your kid. Maybe they will love it. Maybe your timing is just off.

If you introduce them to something new and you really believe they would naturally enjoy it, but for some reason don’t, maybe put it away for a bit and reintroduce it at a later time.

Perhaps they need to mature more. Or they need to be able to read better without being frustrated. Maybe they need to learn more patience.

Whatever it may be that’s holding them back, they just aren’t there yet, but don’t give up on them.

Think about why they say they don’t like it. Talk to them about it. Maybe they are scared, nervous, or need more confidence. As parents we are there to support them and mentor them along the way. This isn’t just about academics, it’s about everything in life.

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Example #1 
When we first got Miquon for Math. I didn’t understand it, so it was hard for me to communicate to my kids what to do. It was frustrating. I put it away and got another Math book. After a few months, we got bored and then I decided to give it another shot. I dove in and did the page myself to make sure I knew what to do before having them try it. What a difference. The timing was off for us before hand, but a few months later it turned out great. Now, we love the books and I recommended them to everyone. And, yes, I tell them it’s hard to understand at first. If we would have given up before, I’m not sure what we would be doing right now for Math, but I do know our Math now is amazing and our kids are excelling because of these books.
Example #2
I bought the game What’s Gru? when they weren’t that great at spelling or reading. They hated the game. I mean hated it. So I put it up. 2 months ago we got it back out. They had a ton of fun because they could actually play it without being frustrated. They had built up better spelling skills and confidence before I reintroduced it to them.
Example #3
We bought my son a Razor electric scooter for Christmas when he was five. I thought he’d love it and zip around everywhere…. nope. For the first year and a half, I drove him around on it. He was scared, and he really couldn’t handle it that well. I almost got rid of it, but we kept it in the garage, and when he was 6 1/2, he decided he could do it. He got out there and rode that thing like a champ! He loves it!

Timing is crucial. Don’t give up because they say “no” or aren’t into it at that moment.

Try again later.

If they still hate it, then maybe it’s time to move on. But ask yourself if they are truly ready for what you want them to do. Don’t set them up to fail.

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4 weeks in and already changes

Things always look good on paper. In fact, if we all lived in a world where we wrote down our goals, to-dos, etc and then it magically happened liked we planned.. the world would be much different. However, paper is just paper. Ideas, thoughts, and goals are all good, and should be written down, but it’s not black and white. Things happen. People change. Interests change, sometimes overnight. And we all have to learn to go with the flow. Pick up the pieces. Let go, and move on. Yet stay positive and find the good in all.

I could sit here complaining about how things haven’t worked out like I had them written down a few weeks ago, but instead I’ll move forward, and think of the good that has come too.

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I had our perfect year planned. We were going to start (and did start) July 7th, after a 2 week break. Everything started off great. I had all the curriculum that I wanted to use. I was excited to jump right in. But after that 1st week things already began changing and I realized my yearly plan was about to be rewritten.

History is awesome. I didn’t always think so either, homeschooling actually brought a new found love of the subject to me. I look forward to relearning history with our kids. For this year I had decided to use Story of the World, Book 1. We actually started back in May with this book. It’s really interesting and in depth, but I also had another book I wanted to use, A Child’s History of the World. We were using both of these, side-by-side.

But it became to much, even after finding this website that breaks down the chapters that coincide with each other.

So I decided to put down Story of the World, and just read through A Child’s History of the World first, then start jumping into all the SOTW books.  Change #1

I also was printing off a page for the kids to see what they needed to do each day, but it seemed like things always went unchecked, or something added, after I had printed it off. Now I am going to just try and keep a mental tab on what we do and how much time it takes (in MO we must have 1000 hours of instruction). They liked checking things off the list, and we may go back to something similar later, but for now we will stick with my general plan that I type out (and can edit at any time).  Change #2

All in all, the first 3 weeks were really fun and we all grew and learned a lot. Our break week went amazing, even getting in some reading time and a few board games throughout.

When things just don’t feel right, don’t be afraid to change them, or alter them in some way. It will never be a perfect system. It’s doesn’t mean you’re failing, it means you’re growing. When we grow, we change. Our likes, dislikes, the way we do things, or don’t do things. It’s life. Embrace it, and move forward.

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Slug Bug Happiness

It’s days like yesterday, and the little moments that occurred that gave me one thought in my head: I’m so glad I can homeschool.

We started our school back last week for this year. Yesterday, when my daughter was at piano lessons, my 7 year old son and I were on our way to the store to pick up something for a neighborhood BBQ we were attending soon.

At the stoplight, he leaned over, punch me, and yelled, “Yellow Slug Bug!”  His face was pure happiness, and we laughed. However, me “Queen of the slug bug game”, was already in ‘game mode’ and looking for a different slug bug to get him back, and 10 seconds later I spotted it, an older yellow one. So I punched him back, “Old Yellow Slug Bug!”  He couldn’t see it, so I showed it to him and again we were smiling. As the light turns green and I am driving into the parking lot, I spot 2 more.  Punches going Turner’s way, and me saying, “White one…. and another old white one!”  He couldn’t believe I got him 3 times in 2 minutes.  [Non-stop laughter and smiles] Turner saying, “Oh my gosh, you’re so good, how do you see all those?”

Well, at that moment I felt so close to my son over something so simple as playing Slug Bug with him.

He had the biggest smile, and I knew in that moment he was one happy kid, one of the happiest maybe in that moment in time.

A thought came over me, about how lucky I am, how lucky my kids are, how amazing it is to be able to homeschool them.  To know where they are during the day, to know how they are doing, to know that no one is picking on them, to know they got enough to eat, to know they weren’t rushed in the morning and had a good nights rest, to know they aren’t playing alone on the playground, to know they are learning, to know that they are safe, and to wonder, no, to know that they are happy.

For that’s what we all want in life, for our kids to be safe, healthy, and happy. And what better way to ensure our kids get that through homeschooling.

Thank you Turner for the little moments, I look forward to them each and everyday with you and your sister.

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Biking is awesome, you should try it

I just wanted to share with everyone my love of biking.

I picked up this hobby about 2 years ago while living near Houston, TX…. League City actually. A ton of people bike there: BMX, mountain, road… everything.

So I went and bought myself a mountain bike and road bike from Sun Ski Sports (both on sale, an added bonus!)

And so the love began. I have always enjoyed biking, but now am more serious about it, I mean I wear an $80 bike helmet, gloves, you know, the whole shebang!

I just want to encourage who ever is reading this to try out biking, or at least another outdoor hobby you have always wanted to get into. It’s never too late to start.

The mornings when I get up and ride I feel so much more alive and an overall better sense of happiness.

It’s amazing what nature can do for you, and riding next to groundhogs, deer, snakes, etc is really something else.

So, hop on a bike and start pedaling! Even better —  find a bike buddy!

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