Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting started in Home Schooling Part 2

Before you get too far into deciding just which methods work best for you, it is wise to write out your mission statement for your home school.
A mission statement will help you in deciding which method are best for you.
A mission statement will contain just what you envision for your home school.
When you are preparing your mission statement, please try to think only of what YOU want to see in your home school. Don't let others opinions effect your home school.
Included in your mission statement may be things like...What you want your children's character to be like when they graduate, what you think is most important for them to learn in the short and long run, how you would like to see your children learn, what you want to develop in your children.
A sample mission statement may go something like this.

In our home school, I see my children laughing and joyfully learning as we do our studies.
I see lot's of read alouds on the couch together, lot's of hands on experiments and free time to explore and learn on their own.
I want my children to have a good solid knowlegde of our history and how we have gotten here today. I want to emphasise Christianity in history.
I want my kids to have a basic knowledge of science, but more importantly,I want them to have fun with science.
I want my children to have a really good grasp on math and stay fairly close to grade level in math.
I want my children to be able to write well to express their thoughts and make their own books and notebooks, not just to be able to write for the sake of writing.
I want my children to be able to read well, so that they can enjoy learning, and be able to learn on their own. I do not want to push them to learn to read too young if they are not ready. This should be fun and something they enjoy. I do not want to squelch their enthusiasm for reading or learning.
All in all, I want my children to have a good education tailored to their specific talents and bents and not just what everyone else is learning.
I want to remember that God created them differently than other children and that they do not need to learn everything that everyone else is because God has a purpose for them and he instilled in them what they need to succeed. I want to help them develop their God given talents and abilities.
I want my children to have fun learning.
I want my children to be able to have real life experiences that will help them as adults. I want them to have real skills, not just degrees.
I want my daughters to learn how to keep a home and to love being a mom. I want my sons to know how to tke care of a family on a single income and to be a Godly husband and father.
I want my children to have enjoyed home schooling so much that they want to home school their own children.
Above all, I want my children to see God in everything we do. I want all of our learning to be Christ centered and I want them to build a strong faith in God and have a solid faith before they step out into the world.

Your mission statement may be similar to this one or not even close. Either way, once you write out your mission statement, you can use that to help you decide which methods of home schooling fit best in your hoe school.
If your mission statement has a lot of emphasis on education and college or degrees, than you may want to consider a more textbook approach.
If, on the other hand, you have more emphasis on having fun and enjoying time with your kids, you may enjoy the Charlotte Mason approach or learning with living Books.
We will get into this more later. For now, take a while to really think about what you want to see in your home school.
Talk to your husband about it also and see what he wants to see in your home school. Make sure to implement what he wants to see.
If you would like to share your mission statement with others, let me know and I will post it on my blog!
Have fun making your mission statement and I will be back soon with Part 3.

Getting started in Home Schooling Part 1

So, your thinking about home schooling, or you've pulled the kids out of school suddenly, or perhaps you have been home schooling for a while now but just havn't quite got it all figured it out just yet; if this is you and you are stressed or worried about just how to do this thing called home schooling, this series will be very beneficial for you.
I have been home schooling for 8 years now if you go by grade level; 12 years if you go by the age of your child. (I believe you are teaching them from the time they are born).
I have been through probably hundreds of different curriculum's, struggled with the thoughts of "I am doing enough, will they learn all they need to know, will I leave any gaps, etc...", and I have been through criticism, ridicule, fear, doubt, pressure, and many other feelings that I am sure you are feeling right now.
This is all very normal and know that you are not alone. Know also that it takes years to gain the confidence that you may see in more experienced home schoolers. I honestly feel that this last couple of years was when I finally started feeling more confident and less stressed.
It does take trial and error, and a lot of it, to find what works for you and your children. Take this as a learning experience and try not to get too stressed when you find that something is not working.
There are many different ways to home school, many different curriculums, many different methods, some that use curriculum, some that don't.
If you can, take some time to just get to know what home schooling is all about.
Buy, or rent from the library, books on homeschooling, talk to other home schooling moms, join home schooling support groups and ask lot's of questions, learn about all of the different methods out there and see what you think might fit your style.
Remember though, that if you try something one way and it is not working, you are not failing at this, you just need to keep on keeping on, and you will find your way.
I recommend Cathy Duffey's book, top 100 Home School Curriculum book. It has reviews of many different things out there and it can give you an idea of the different types of curriculum out there.
You do not even have to use formal curriculum, if you choose not to. You can give your children a great education though living books.
Whatever you choose, just remember to take it slow and ease into it so that you do not get too stressed out and experience burnout.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Are you tired of constantly telling your kids the same thing over and over and would like to see some change? Changing Habits

Ok, this one is not written from the viewpoint of having gone through it already and having the answer, but rather, it is written as I am going through it myself.
I have decided that I will work on one thing at a time with my kids. When your kids argue, talk back, leave their clothes all over the floor, respond to their sibling by hitting them, whatever the case may be, they are doing it because they are in the habit of doing it that way.
You have to break that habit if you want change. If you want a habit to be broken, you will need to replace it with a new one.
For example, if you are having trouble with your child hitting his sister when he is mad, somewhere along the line, he has gotten into the habit of responding that way. If you make the decision to change this habit, you will need to be consistent and patient.
Each time this happens, you will go to the child and you will remind him that this is not how we respond when we are mad. Now, I am sure you have done this many times, BUT, did you stick with it each and every time for at least a month?
Most of the time we do these things periodically, or even all day or for a few days and give up becuase "they are not getting it", True?
I know because I do this myself and I hear mothers all the time saying the same thing.
Now, if you were to make up your mind to do this and you responded this way each time telling him "we do not hit our sister when we are mad, remember, we.........."whatever you want him to do instead, and kept with it, eventually he will remember this and this new habit will replace the old one.
We can not expect to teach our kids something a few times and expect them to get it and to behave that way from now on. It just won't work. I mean,look back and see if it has worked or not.
It can be SO overwheming as parents to try to fix everything at once though.
If you try fixing everything at one time, you will soon experience burnout.
You can feel as if all you are doing is discipling the children and not enjoying them.
If this is the case, try to focus on one or two things at a time.
If you do this this way, you could have 12-24 new habits formed and 12-24 bad habit gone by the end of the year.
I know for me, that is a lot more than the usual year in my house.
If you think about it, all that we do, we do because of habit.
A habit can be a good or a bad thing. If we are in the habit of getting up early every morning and having devotions, that is a good habit. If we always have laundry all over the floor, it is because we are in the habit of placing it there instead of putting it in the hamper.
If you are having trouble with the kids leaving their clothes on the bathroom floor after their baths, then you must commit to going in the bathroom each and every time they take a bath and check to see if they put their clothes up or not. If they did not, you will call them and gently remind them that they forgot to put their clothes away. Have them put it where you want it to go, give them a hug and say "thank you for putting it away, that sure helps mommy out!"
The next time, you do the same thing. if they put it away, you say, "Hey, you did an awesome job of remembering to put your clothes away, good job." The next time, they may have forgotten again and you will again gently remind them. Keep this up for at least a month and they will get into this new habit and you will not have to keep reminding them each time.
Now, if they do forget after this time, don't let it slide, remind them again, and they will keep in the habit.
If this was to work, wouldn't it be so much better than hollering and getting on to them for the same things over and over?
Lets try it together. Tell me what you are going to work on.
I am going to work on my daughter leaving her clothes on the bathroom floor and her not leaving her dishes out.
For my son, I will work on the same things for now. I think it will be easier this way to work on the same things with both kids for now, so it will not get overwhelming. I am going to work on some of these smaller things before I work on the harder issues. It will allow me to get practice doing this and when I get to the harder issues, these smaller ones will not be in the way anymore.
I will keep you updated on how this is going.
Keep me updated on how you are doing and with any tips that are helpful to you!
Ok, I will be talking to you soon!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Winter Visitor!

Today, the wind blew the kitchen door open, and in flew a bird!
It was so funny. My son came in the bedroom and said, "there's a bird in the house" We didn't know whether or not to believe him, but sure enough, there was a bird flying all around the kitchen! LOL
We are having SO much snow here; it is crazy! We have not had this much snow here in Oklahoma as far back as I can remember.
I will post some pics here shortly.
Have a great Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

RUN-AWAY-NA

Tonight, my son walked away with another woman!!!
We were outside of El Chico, and Nathan was playing at the candy machines, looking for candy, of course. He walked around to the other side, and didn't come back around so I looked for him and didn't see him! I looked all around and saw him walking with his hand attached to another ladies bag! He thought she was me!!!!
I kept hollering, Nathan, Nathan, but he couldn't hear me. I was going after him, hollering, and the lady's friend realized that there was a little boy with them, and I had been going after them hollering the whole time.
When the lady looked down at Nathan he realized she wasn't me and was looking all around, and I had been hollering the whole time and he didn't hear me. When they stopped walking, I finally caught up with them. I got Nathan's attention but it took him a while to realize what had happened.
I asked him if he had just went with her or if she asked him to go, and he said he just went walking alongside of her thinking she was me.
Here is the kicker.. I told him he had to be more careful, and make sure he was with us and not someone else, and he said to me..... You are supposed to hold my hand really tight so I can't let go!!!!!!!! HAHA That kid. (He's right though, huh?)
Now, mind you, this all happened within a few seconds, but it was scary.
I knew he went on the other side, and it was only a few seconds before I realized he didn't come back around. They were probably only 20 feet ahead of me, but it was SO busy and loud in there that he couldn't hear me.
I am careful with my kids. Most say I am too overprotective, but even then, something can happen in seconds.
I hope that I will be even more careful in the future.
God bless you all with more protection over your children.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Are seemingly harmless shows like Hannah Montana really harmless?

What do shows like Hannah Montana, Suite Life, I Carly, etc... have in common?
These are all seemingly harmless shows. After all they are on the Disney channel, right?
Let me ask you a question? Have you ever set down and watched a full episode?
I have watched many of them and I can tell you that virtually every episode I have ever seen is chock full of influences that I do not want my kids to see.
I know that most of us, as Christians, try to teach our kids well. We try to keep our kids hearts and minds pure, we try to teach them to be in the world, not of the world, and we try to teach them respect.
These shows are teaching our kids disrespect, rebellion, a lust for the opposite sex, to conform and much more.
If I were to ask you if you wanted to teach your kid these things, of course you would so NO.
But when our kids are watching these things, that is exactly what they are learning.
All of these shows are FULL of dating, boyfriends, girlfriends, sayings such as, "O, he is soo cute", "Look at that hottie", etc..
Are these things that you really want your children hearing?
When it is from someone they admire, they are not going to think it is a big deal, but it is a big deal. I don't want my kids saying those things, much less hearing those things every day on the TV. If you think they can't be just as influenced by the TV as they can their friends, you would be wrong.
They can, and they are, if they are watching these types of shows. They are not as harmless as they may seem.
I challenge you to sit down and watch these shows and see for yourself exactly what your children are learning.
I bet they are learning quite the opposite of what you are trying to teach them.

Tomorrow is my anniversary!

Wow, 13 years. I can't believe it. I never could have imagined being married for thirteen years.
It has been a wonderful 13 years and honestly each year has gotten better.
In the beginning of our marriage it really was not good, but it changed and has been getting better ever since.
I will blog sometime soon about what changed our marriage. It might help someone else.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why is it so hard to stand up for your convictions?

I routinely seem to be in a position that I have trouble standing up for what I believe in. Does anyone else feel the same way?
Why does it seem so hard? I feel like Paul when he says he knows what he should do but yet doesn't do it, instead he seems to keep doing what he knows he shouldn't do.
You know when you are visiting someone else and their kids are playing a video game you do not approve of and your kids want to play or when their kids are watching a television show that you do not approve of but for some reason you can't get up the nerve to ask them to change the channel?
I think it is because you feel like you would be telling them they are doing something wrong and you don't want to hurt their feelings. Or you do not want to feel stupid, or have someone tell you AGAIN that you are just way too overprotective, or get into an argument about why you feel that way, or you may be intimidated by that person.
Ok, so I know a lot of us deal with this, SO how do we handle these situations from now on?
My husband get very angry with me when I don't stand up for our convictions or our beliefs or if I let the kids do something I normally would not.
I don't blame him because these are his kids and he is entrusting me to take good care of them and keep our convictions intact. Trust me I get just as mad at myself as he does.

I find that I am often over looking things or letting things go so that I don't have to say anything. I wonder how that effects my daughter. It can't be good for her to see her mom waver on our beliefs.
I don't want to raise her to be that way. I want for her to stand strong and stand up for her beliefs and I can't even seem to do it.
How can I tell her to do someting that I can't even do.
If an adult can't even do it then why do parents think that their kid can withstand all of the peer pressure?
I have had to end friendships before and I hate doing it and I really struggle with knowing whether it is right to do that because then how does that look, as a christian, to say, you don't believe the way I do, so I can't be your friend anymore. I have had that happen to me before from a Church of Christ lady because I didn't believe the way she did as far as baptism being what saves you, and after lot's of bible study's and me not conforming to her beliefs, she said we could no longer be friends.
How can we be an influence on any of these people if we do that?
Where do we draw the line?
Some of or friendships do not make as big of an impact on our children as others do. We may have friends that believe some things differently than we do but we can explain to our kids that we can pray for them and be a positive influence.
But there are others that destroy our kids.
I think when it comes to the point that your kids are questioning your beliefs because of them, it is time to do something, as hard as it may be.
When your kids say to you, why would they watch that, or wear that, or say that, if it wasn't ok? When they say, so and so are christians too and they think it is ok, you can tell that those people are having a negative influence on your child.
Are you going to put your friendships above the well being of your children?
Trust me, I know this is hard. I have been there, and am there, and will probably be there again.
So, you now are seeing the influences and know that they need to stop, but what if it is your best friend?
This is a tough question and all I can really say right now is that you need to make sure that your priorities are your children and that you put their well being first.
What ever that may be to you, whether it is limiting the visits, only talking to the mom on the phone, having supervised visits, or discontinuing them alltogether.
Each relationship will be different and will require different things. It may not require any of those. I may be that you need to learn how to be stronger and say what you know you need to. This may be all it takes.
Ask your husband what he feels is best and take his advice. He only has your family's best interest in heart. Trust him. He loves you and your children and will not tell you something that is not good for you, even if you don't agree. Remember that God has placed him as your covering and the head of your family and God is trustworthy.
I know this is such a tender topic but I hope that I have at least gotten you to rethink your priorities and what those influences really mean on your family.
Keep your family intact and don't let anyone or anything destroy your convictions or your family.

One Year Anniversary!

Today is our one year anniversary. It sure has been a crazy year, but I am so thankful for my husband.