Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Homeschooling Ramblings

I met a lady last night who is a public school teacher and thought it was really cool that we were homeschooling. She was full of questions and encouragement. It is not often that I meet someone so positive about homeschooling and yet does not homeschool and especially one that works in the public schools. My biggest critics are usually the current or previous public school teachers. Especially since we do not follow the public school curriculum nor do we have any intention of doing so. I even once had a lady checking us out ask me if I was a teacher and I told her I homeschool and she asked me shocked “They still let you do that”.

My latest joke is that my kids have an IEP (Individualized Education Program). If they were in fact special needs then people would be less likely to question that I teach towards their interests and current level and don’t follow the traditional public education curriculum. I love that we can spend days on their current interest and allow them to learn subjects intermingled (similar to real life) instead of teaching them separately at individual sittings. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for my children’s great health and that they are not truly special needs.

It is amazing now that we call what we do “Kindergarten” how much more my critics are concerned about my children’s school progress. Truthfully it isn’t very different than what we did in December, Arianna was just at the Kindergarten level or higher in most things so we begin calling it Kindergarten in January. I still teach based on her interests and at her current level.

I recently googled some Kindergarten schedules to see what they looked like and how far off we are. It is amazing how we can cover everything and more than the the kindergarten calendars in a fraction of the time. I have read (can’t remember where) that all you need is 30 minutes structured instruction per day and you will be teaching the same if not more than they do in a public school Kindergarten. So much time is spent on other things such as classroom management, potty breaks, waiting in lines, etc. An equation I once read was 6 hours/day divided by 20 students=18 minutes per student subtract: Recess, Lunch, Fire drills, Art, PE, Music, unplanned interruptions, etc. Using that equation, my kids are getting tons more individualized instruction per day than the average public school kid.

I recently read a fellow bloggers post that encouraged me. Check it out at Life In Grace . I have added the book she discussed (Dumbing Us Down) to my reading list. Now if I could only find enough time to read the many books on my reading list…that would be a great accomplishment. Homeschooling does take away a lot of my free time:) Even if I only did 30 minutes/day with the kids, I also have the lesson planning, preparing for the activities, researching, etc that goes into each day. I am not complaining at all, I LOVE homeschooling and seeing the difference made in my kids is priceless!

Just remember that if you stop by my home, you are likely to see a mess! Cleaning tends to take a backseat to homeschooling!

Monday, February 2, 2009

New Band, Video Games and Sweet Dreams

Ari and Ryan were so cute. The music center rarely got used but when I changed the playroom around, it is a well used center.  They turn on a song and then they play and sing to it. 

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This is Ari inside of Chris’ sweatshirt and playing her leapster video game.  She had her legs out the arm holes. Silly girl!ari playing _766video game

Ryan has been asking to sleep with Ari at night.  Here they finally fell asleep together. 



The kids and I changed around our school room the other day.  Before you see the pictures, I want to share my thoughts/disclaimer. 

First, we have way to many toys.  I know that.  Despite going through toys at Christmas and giving away 2 bins and having 4-5 more bins that we put up in the attic for a yard sale, we still have lots of toys.    We got enough toys for Christmas for 2 children’s entire stock of toys. 

With that said, I love our school room.  It is very conducive to self-directed play.  It also is set up in a manner that is organized and usable.  I don’t feel like out kids miss out on preschool because truly they have their own preschool in the playroom.  However I often feel guilty when I show people are school room.  We have way too much. 

Chris and I have discussed limiting the number of gifts that are given during Christmas and birthdays.  We have talked about ways to combat all that our children have.  We try really hard to teach our children to be giving and to share all that God has given them.  We try to teach them to be grateful for all that they have.  We try to teach them to love God and family more than any toy they own.  We try to teach to enjoy the little things such as cereal boxes and coffee cans.  Yet they have more than probably a third world country’s entire population of children combined. 

We do tend to have more educational toys than “commercial” toys.  I call those toys that look pretty in the box and are only played with a time or two commercial toys.  Those are the toys that are marketed on the commercials.  Those toys usually don’t last long at our house and end up in the attic ready to be sold on Craig’s list or the next yard sale.  We much more prefer the toys that encourage creativity and critical thinking skills than the commercial toys.

With all of that said, enjoy the pictures of our changed around school room…

This is the Art/Writing center. 

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This is the Music center.

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This is Library.  The puppet theatre is in the bay window.  new playroom_933

This is Block center/Circle Time Area. new playroom_934

This is Science Center.

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This is Home Living Center.

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This is Math/Manipulative Center.  

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Ari worked on labeling things in the school room.  new playroom_942new playroom_939 new playroom_940

Later, she brought labels for our bed that she taped onto to each of our corresponding sides:)

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