Thursday, December 20, 2012

The right to choose

I like to give my kids choices. Sometimes the choices aren't what they would like, but they do get to choose. Giving children choices gives them a feeling of control in their lives. Children need to learn how to make choices when they are young. They need to know that their opinion matters.

This is so true in school work. There are few places where children are programmed as much as they are in brick and mortar schools. Teacher can't really give children choices about the work that they are going to do. When you have 30 some odd kids to tend to it is just not feasible. You can't just let them choose what they want to learn. This is an unfortunate condition of brick and mortar schools.

With home learning you have a lot more freedom to follow your child. To see where their passions truly lie. Kids are generally full of wonder and want to know more about their environment. Allowing them to have choices allow them to feel like they can control their own life. They have the ability to grow where they want to grow.

Now in our family there are a few things that I feel must be covered, basic math, reading and writing. I give choices in these area of what to do. We try and make it fun, we play games for math, because generally I find math boring and worksheets me me want to go to sleep. Why would I ask my son to do something that I would never do if I had the choice. Though I do leave the option there for him, some days he does it for fun. We write as a family and we read as a family. We really try to keep things less stressful.

This year I am really focusing on enjoying learning. Part of enjoying learning is finding passion. Finding passion is a lot easier when you can choose. We don't do book work everyday or even every week, but we learn all the time.

If you give your child the option to choose to learn about what interests them and how it interests them, you might be very surprised but what they will do.                                

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Let them be little

Most adults I know wish they could be kids again, free from the worries and stresses of the world. Most kids cant wait to grow up. I cant blame the kids or really the adults, while you are young adult life is so amazing. We constantly are getting kids to grow up or think about the future. You know what who cares what they want to be when they grow up. They are kids they have years to grow up. Right now my son tells me he wants to be a superhero who saves the world. Great! there is nothing that he needs to do right now to prep for that because it could change next week. If he wants to be a doctor, great! At 6 he doesn't need to do anything. Right now he needs to be a kid. He needs to explore life and find out what he likes. He doesn├Ęt have to think about getting old and getting a job right now. That will come with time. Right now he needs to be little and have fun. Don't try and get your kids to grow up to fast, childhood is short let them live it.
Pirate SuperHeros



World explorer



He can be whatever he wants when he grows up but right now he can be a kid!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Letting it flow

I have struggled with just letting go. I'm a teeny bit of a control person, but I know it will be better for my children if I just let the learning come. I find they actually learn more when I don't try and force it. Crazy I know , but it works.

Today was an example to me of how things can flow if you just let it be.

It started with Bug grabbing The Usborne Geography Encyclodeia ( great book, contact me to purchase) and finding a page about continents. He asked me what they were. So we then went to our wall map.

We looked at the different land masses. shouted them out a bunch. I then asked Bug if he would like a coloring sheet. He did so I found him one online.

They then colored and made up songs and had some reinforcement with the words on the paper.

It flowed it didn't seem push or stretched, and I think we both got more out of it. I later asked home how many continents there were and he remembered.

Will he remember them tomorrow, who knows, did we have fun and a stress free learning time, yup so all is good

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Growing crystals

Bug got a science kit for his birthday. Yes we are those kind of parents, but you know what he loved it. The first thing he wanted to do was get right to work with it. We started with the growing crystals.

Adding and mixing up the solution to grow the crystals

It was a success, after a few days they were there growing. Bug was happy :) much more science to come!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Learning to Navigate

We recently went on a little adventure,  A friend told me about Wolf Camp down in Sumas WA. She has boys right around Bug and Bobo's age, so when she tells me about things my ears perk up.They have a homeschooling classes every few month, which is neat so there is a larger range of kids. I love getting together with different ages of children who are homeschooled!

So we went and it worked out that grandparents were in town so I just took Bug. I was nice to have a few hours just us :)

It was a great class. He learned how to properly use a compass, and so did I! that way we can come back to it. Learned about directions, sun time and different way to orienteer and navigate. We both had fun and learned something. It was a very engaging teacher and he worked really well with the kids. I was very happy and definitely plan on going back again. they have classes on Edible plants, survival and animal tracking coming up. So much fun for a little boy who wants to learn all about nature!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bug's water and sand experiment

 Bug has always had a love of science. He wants to know how things work. How things come to be the way they are. We have been taking about reversible and irreversible reactions ( or changes). It has been fun. Right now his main focus is on water and it's changes.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Not back to school?!?!

Well another school year is upon us. What does that mean for us? Really nothing much other than I need to be a bit more aware of what Bug is doing, at least so i can report it. The first few days have been wonderful we have gone to a few picnics. The picnics have been with different groups of area home learners. It is always wonderful to get out and meet new people and talk with others about the community.

It is in these first few days of school I usually am reminded of why I have chosen not to send my child to school. Every year I hear complaints and worries about the children in the school system.Every parents fear of what is really going on in school.

Now I often hear the argument that kids need to leave their parents. That in order to learn and grown that children should be "thrown to the wolves". This idea is just so awful to me. I just don't understand why you would want to take your young impressionable child  and toss them into an potentially bad situation.

I was realistic about what I know my child can handle. I know where his strengths and weaknesses lie. I know that there are situations that he just simply doesn't do well in. He is still so young, and developing skills he needs to. He should not have to develop skills on how to please everyone around him, how to conform to the mold or even how to avoid the school bully.  These are not life skills. Theses are school coping skills.

We work in life, by being around people and learning how to communicate even when our differences are great. Realizing that you can not be perfect but you can strive to do your best. Life does not give gold stars or grades. Life is a give an take flow of learning what is right and wrong, and how to tell the difference.

For our family we choose to learn through real life. We don't go to a brick and mortar establishment. We go where the wind takes us. Different activities, lots of time outside, and learning how things work outside of the walls. There is much to learn out in the world and we are just getting started.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The power of language

Language is so extremely powerful. There are so many aspects in your life where simply stating things out loud can really change how life goes for you. Some call this prayer, or releasing energy out to the universe, whatever you want to call it it works.
Now you may be wondering what this has to do with schooling? It is really quite simple, your children do hear you. They may not always listen but on some level they always hear you. How do you talk about your children? How do you talk about their schooling experience? Are you respectful of your child, even when they are uncooperative?
How many times have you been so frustrated with life and when something is hard you don't put in full effort and just say "I can't". How frustrated do you get with your child when they do the same thing? There is much truth in the Henry Ford quote, ' Whether you think you can, or you think you can't- your right.'
When you are in the midst of frustration, have you ever told your you child that they are stupid, or that any idiot could figure this out or really any other comment on their lack of intelligence? This can be damaging to your child.
If you are regularly being told by the people who love you that you are less than intelligent, don't you think that would have a lasting effect? I really try to focus on my language with the boys. I try to lift them up and make them feel like they able to do things. Even when it is hard, and they are not understanding. I refrain for telling them that anyone could do it, because clearly anyone can't as they are unable to. I acknowledge their trouble, and ask them what they need. I encourage them that they can do it, and I will help them to succeed.
Now there are times where I slip and I say things that hurt feelings. Sometimes you just say things out of frustration. What you do need to do is acknowledge your mistake, and rectify it. Just like most people expect their children to do when they make mistakes. The best way to have good behavior is model good behavior.
Remember your child is learning. While it may seem like a simple task to you, it could be a challenge for them. You had to learn once too!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Force and motion

Don't you just love how learning can happen anywhere at anytime? I find it truly amazing how smart my boys are. They can figure things out pretty easily for themselves. Then what they don't know they ask questions. Questions are wonderful tools to facilitate learning. Questions start conversations, and conversations can lead to amazing learning.

I have found that a lot of newer parks are full of amazing pieces of equipment that allow children to explore the use of their bodies through force and motion. Recently we were at a park with this interesting device. I have this thing with hopping on playground equipment before examining what it is going to do. This looked harmless enough right? WRONG! I felt a teeny bit nauseated after this but as I was spinning in circles clinging on for dear life, the boys got interested. They wanted to know how it worked. So while I was trying very hard to not toss my dinner Darling Hubby showed the boys how it worked. Then asked Bug a wonderful question. "Why do you think it works like that?"  " Energy and gravity!" Bug shouted. Gee what smart little boys they have. Darling Hubby is very much into Science and did well in school with all that stuff. He is the go to guy in the house for the advanced math and science things. He did a little explanation and demonstration for the boys and we continued playing. Who knows what they retained but learning by life is so much more fun than learning from a book.

Look for learning options embrace them and let life teach you. The kids are little sponges when they are young. They learn so much just by answering questions.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Summer Learning

I have a plan to keep the learning going through the summer. I don't want to get out of our system too much. Though hot summer days I want the kids outside, enjoying themselves. I know they all are interested and keep learning through play and life. Though I may or may not have a few control issues. I want to keep up on basic reading and writing with Bug. I know his math is good and he does it in play along with Bobo. So I have started a Summer journal for Bug. It's really simple it is just about what he did that day. There is usually something that stands out to him. or special events that we do. So far he is doing pretty good with it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Reaching New Heights

Well this year has come to a close for us. Today was term end and everything handed in up until today counts towards his Kindergarten year. This for me is a exciting time because it forced me to sit back and look at the year and see where Bug has come this year. In reviewing everything I know homeschooling is the right path for us. He has grown so much but he has grown with us as a family unit still intact. He has grown a sense of independence and knows he is capable of so many things, but on the same token he knows where his roots are and his best relationships are with his family members.
Bug has learned many basic academic skills and has really improved in so many ways. He is really enjoying reading and is so proud when he is able to read something himself. He writes in his journal and can do a good chunk of the spelling and printing independently. He can do some basic addition in his head without the need of his fingers now.
I have learned so much about Bug and his likes and dislikes. I have learned what he enjoys doing so much more than if he was away from me learning all of this. While I'm sure he would enjoy playing with other children all day everyday, that is not what school should be about. Bug has developed great friendships with some other local home learners. I know this has been the best choice for our family and has given Bug such a feeling of greatness. He knows he can do great things if he puts in the work. He knows that if he wants something he just sometimes has to try a bit harder. Bug is going higher and reach new heights all the time, both figuratively and literally. Give him roots and wings, and let him fly!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Finding the balance

Sometimes as a mom you just need to let them spread their wings. Sometimes you just need to let your babies do their thing even if it's not exactly as you would do it.

For many mom things is a hard thing to do. I'm not saying shove them out of the nest and see if they can fly. Though depending on the child that could be an option. We moms need to realize that our children are smart capable people, baring special circumstances, that they are a lot more capable then we like to believe. Given choices and options many kids will surprise their parents.

In regards to homeschooling there are many different families and different values, that you come into contact with. Everything for the fully free range families who allow their children total freedom, to the helicopter families who hover and restrict everything. Neither is wrong but neither is fully right in my opinion, there needs to be a balance.

I'm working on trying to get my own balance in my life.Right now my focus is on trying to find what I want to do for Bug's schooling. I have a vision of what I want but I just don't know how to fully achieve everything I want.

I would like Bug to have a love of learning and have a desire to go out and achieve whatever he wants. I don't want school to be something dreaded. I want him to know how to seek out information. I also want him to know basic academic skills. Reading writing and math are so important and basic skills in these areas are important for any area in life.  I don't want to have the stress of making sure that he is achieving everything that he must according to their standards. At the same time I do want us to be held accountable for making sure that  the learning is in fact happening.

Right now the balance I'm going to work with is guided and unguided days. Where two or three days a week we work on guided lessons which are required for work submissions. These days we will cover and reinforce basic academic skills and develop new ones. This will be time for assignments, worksheet and workbook that I decide that we need to cover. On unguided days this will be the time to see where bug wants to go with his learning. He will get to choose what he wants to work on based on what he is interested in. The unguided days will still have things he is required to do like reading and writing but they may be of his choosing. unguided days allows me to get what I need done because life with three and doing full time guided schooling is just not feasible.

 Bug will only be going into grade one this year and looking at the outcomes of next year we have covered a lot of them already. I'm hoping this balance will work for us and will work into our lives much better then last year.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Aquarium fun

Checking out the coral reefs

Look out for the sharks

Cute little birds. Bobo liked watching the birds

The resident sloth

 We had a class that the Aquarium put together just for the area home learners. It was a lot of fun and the boys really enjoyed themselves. It is definitely something we will do again. We were able to make it to three of them. It's nice for Bug to get to go to classes at times with such a large range of children.

 Bobo was really excited to participate in the one class that he could. seeing all the sea creatures was really fun for both of them.  Bobo loves to learn from other people and you can usually find him sitting right next to the instructor, in most classes

 Gentle pinky finger touchs only!
 Off to explore the tanks

The dolphins are always a fun thing to watch at the aquarium
Same goes for the belugas. They were actually the boys favorite part of the day

Thursday, April 26, 2012

life as I know it

Well jeepers life just whizzes past you when you are busy. Between Christmas extra activities and a bit of school I haven't had a ton of time to write.
So what have we been doing the last few months. Well Bug is really coming along with his reading and printing. We are begining to work with geometric solids and life is moving into 3-D definition.  Farm animals is the talk right now. Names of the mommy daddy and baby animals. It is a lot to remember but he is doing pretty good with it.  We just take it one day at a time and the learning comes through experience.
I just love listening to Bug and Bobo's explorations of the world. They are so inquisitive and just love to explore. They also love to get into things and create stuff. there is usually something on the go with them and they hardly sit still. Maybe when they watch TV if it is really interesting but not usually.
Lil Squish is into full exploration mode. He is walking and on the go. I have to watch him because he wants to explore his world and doesn't really have anything that resembles fear.

Well when i get my thoughts together a bit more I'll get some more posts going.