Category Archives: Homeschool

Homeschool Workboxes And Settling In

I finally feel like we are settling in here in TX.  I started back up with homeschooling a couple of weeks ago and I have been swamped with that and the housework ever since.  I’m finding that a smaller space is much harder to keep up with and not having a dishwasher makes for twice as much work, though I don’t hate it.  I’ve been busy most days from morning till night going and going.  It’s not all work though, we do spend a lot of time at the park. 

I also discovered “Workboxes” about 2 weeks ago.  I heard another mom on my homeschool email group talking about it and couldn’t resist looking it up.  The whole idea has changed homeschooling for me in a very positive way.  I may have mentioned a few times that teaching can be overwhelming, while I love it, there is a huge amount of information I have to keep in lists or in my head, I have to be able to direct one of my children to work on an assignment while I’m working with the other and keep prompting them with what is next.  The workboxes idea has cut that down to half, at least.  I saw the best presentation of different workbox ideas at this website http://www.squidoo.com/workboxes  I went with the roller carts which I will explain in just a moment.  The idea is to enable your children to work independently and have their entire day’s worth of assignments arranged in one place.    This is how the idea is working for me;  Each assignment or project is placed in a different box (drawer in our case) and a removable number is attached to each drawer with work still in it.  Once the child has completed the drawer, turned in the work and put away the book/supplies, the drawer is finished and they get to take the number off the drawer and place it on a chart that holds all the numbers.  When all the drawers are empty they are finished for the day.  Some people, I noticed, placed snack time or play time in some of the drawers.  I have found that I might put some “went to the park/Library/Field trip” cards in a spot where they can exchange them for work in the drawers if our day gets interrupted (which happens often) so for example if we decide to go to the park, I can allow them to skip an assignment since the time got cut short.  On the top of the roller carts I have a file box where I prepare all the work a week in advance so that I can simply fill up the boxes each night without a lot of  prep.  So far this is working very well.  The first week, I assigned too much work in my enthusiasm.  This week is going much better now that I have a  sense of how much work is realistic.  The kids seem to like it too because they know what is expected of them.  Picture number 3 shows the file box where I put all the work.  Picture number 2 shows a couple of assignments in the drawers.  We do a lot of work on the computer so I often just have to put a note in the drawer.  Picture number 1 shows the workboxes about half full with the numbers and charts.  I hope this all makes sense.  The Workboxes idea has made my life SO much easier!      

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Keep Sailing,

Mary

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Not A Formula For Perfection

I recently purchased a writing course for my son.  The course comes from the Institute for Excellence in Writing.  It’s been a really great curriculum so far and I’ve observed at least a 90% improvement in my son’s writing!  That being said, the writing situation was pretty bad to begin with.  I could barely get him to write more than one sentence and they were awful.  I couldn’t seem to find the words to help him.  Now he is writing whole paragraphs about really interesting subjects or any subject that we might be working on.  I can’t say that he loves it or even likes it but I can see how it is helping him and building confidence.

There is a teacher course that I’m watching alongside the student lessons and while I was listening the teacher, Mr. Pudewa, he made a point that resonated so much with learning doctrine, I had to write it down.   Making sure that we understood that this was a very important point, he said, (I’m going to paraphrase) ” This is not a formula for perfection but instead practice of skills which will make complicated scenarios easier to navigate in the future”.  He was referring to the idea that each skill taught will be required in each piece of writing from lesson one till the student either leaves home or gets a new teacher.  So eventually there may be quite a check-list of skills to apply at writing time.  He was also trying to express that this may not churn out the most beautiful papers you have ever seen but it will create a storehouse of skills to call upon when a difficult piece of writing is required in the future.  I thought of how much like learning doctrine this was.  We learn day by day one skill at a time and from that time on, skill one is required just as much as skill 200.   In just the same way it’s not a formula for human perfection and I often think it is, I get hung up on thinking that the skills I’m using like rebound and the faith-rest drill are leading up to experiential perfection, like shooting a perfect basket in basketball.   The practice of skills is training for our benefit because when we face a complicated scenario, we can look at it and see something in it we have practiced many many times and it becomes less complicated.  The fruit of God the Holy Spirit will be a result of daily training not a result of some system that promises to lead to perfection.  I love the daily aspect because the application of skills learned one by one gets awkward at times and messy but God has a plan that is perfect and I only have to take it day by day. 

Keep Sailing,

Mary

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Busy Time

I’ve been asking myself lately why I can’t seem to come up with anything to write about on my blog.  I’ve done a pretty good job of thrashing myself over not writing posts but since that didn’t really inspire me to want to write anything, I have come to the conclusion that this is just my busy time of year.  From January through Spring we do a pretty large chunk of school work and with packing up the house.  I am swamped.  At the end of the day I don’t have a lot of energy for writing. 

So, no more thrashing myself for not having any “deep” thoughts, I’m not supposed to right at the moment.  On the other hand, school with the kids is going really well, we are having fun and also moving forward.  I’m not stressing but I do feel motivated and I think that is from the Lord.  The packing is also going at a steady pace and that feels good too.  We have a leave date of April 12, which is coming up pretty fast.  I’m looking forward to getting settled in Texas. 

Keep Sailing,

Mary

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Resistance to Peace

No sooner do I find a measure of peace in homeschooling and I start to resist it, push it away.  Instead of constant insecurity, I find a new angle to obsess over and dedicate myself to working on, until I have no peace.  It’s like I can’t leave it alone, peace isn’t good enough, I want to DO something.  I’m finding that there is a lot of pleasure in the process of working on an area that usually brings insecurity.  That very process of thinking about it and obsessing over it makes me feel like I’m bringing it under control, that I have power over it. 

What I don’t want to do and what I think I resist most is believing what God says.  It goes back to not faith-resting.  I’m not convinced that I can’t control the outcome so I haven’t stopped trying.  Peace isn’t hard to have when I’m applying faith to God’s word about my life.  What I find interesting is that I don’t want the peace as much as I want control.  Peace is scary, as a friend of mine was pointing out this week.  Not having something to work on and take credit for is so opposite of human values.  I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it.  I’m sort of seeing peace now in the light of it’s always being there, it’s always an option.  The question is am I going to accept it/believe it on a daily basis or am I hoping that it’s a one time fix.  Peace like happiness is learned and is a daily choice.  I find that to be a challenge but I also know that going forward in the word of God day by day under the filling of the Holy Spirit and my right Pastor Teacher, with God as my perfect shepherd,will accomplish His work in me. 

Leaving today behind me and pressing on towards fellowship with God, learning Bible Doctrine, and living in God’s pre-designed plan for my life,

Keep Sailing,

Mary

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Finding Peace in Homeschooling

I love home-schooling as anyone who has talked to me knows.  The experience has been equal parts totally awesome and anxiety inducing.  I have wrestled over the last 4 years with feelings of inadequacy and fear of failing.  The lessons from the conference and the current lessons have begun to do what I never thought possible.  I am beginning to be set free from the constant nagging worry that what I’m doing as a teacher is not good enough.  The Faith-Rest Drill is my friend, one that I had not spent much time with when it came to homeschool, I felt that it was all MY responsibility so I had to trust in myself (which of course is just plain idiotic).   Knowing without a doubt that God has a plan for my kids that isn’t dependent on human systems or my ability, is giving me incredible peace of mind.  God’s word is dogmatic in stating that He will accomplish everything that concerns my children and that His plans for them are complete.  I think it’s funny how it’s not the “great” revelations that set me free but the simple basic doctrines, like the Faith-Rest Drill, that set me free time and time again.  I just keep learning them and applying them  on new levels. 

School is also going really well, we took a trip to the zoo today.  The local zoo has a free day each month in the winter, so we bundled up from head to toe and had a little adventure.  My daughter became enamoured with a Radiated Tortoise, named it Slowy, and talked all the way home about how she was going to get a pet turtle when she turned 13.  Caleb has always loved animals and really liked the lizards and snakes this time.  We managed to eat lunch in the Giraffe house since they are indoors this time of year, which was nice since it was so cold outside.  I personally enjoyed the Falcon we saw, the Gorilla, the Giraffes, and my kids.  We had a great day.  Our regular days are going well too, I’ve been given some new ideas for curriculum that I’ve needed but other than that we just take it day by day.

Even with the worrying I wouldn’t give up the freedom and closeness that comes with homeschooling, not to mention that a tailored education is a huge plus.  Without the worrying, I feel very relaxed and confident about the future.  The frustration is gone which means I’m in fellowship and can focus on the Lord’s leading. 

Keep Sailing,

Mary

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First Week Of School

It begins again.  We are having a great week!  Still taking it one day at a time and enjoying ourselves. 

Caleb was very excited when I explained that history is really His-Story.  He loved making a compass and thought it was really cool.  Samantha too.  It’s been a nice beginning to the school year. 

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Keep Sailing,

Mary

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A New Home-School Year – Almost

It’s almost here.  Another home- school year.  I’m torn between dread and booming excitement.  A couple of days ago I had a short panic and wanted to put the kids in regular school.  Let someone else take responsibility.  Why me? I cried.  Why did I ever start this?!  Only I didn’t really mean it.  It just sounded great to be able to leave it all behind and have an endless summer.  Which never really works even if the kids were in regular school.  There would be homework(with tired and grumpy kids), assignments(that I have to mostly do anyway), volunteering, peer problems and that deplorable schedule of getting up early to drive them to school and then fighting the huge line of cars after school with half days and teacher issues and curriculum problems…it goes on and on. 

When I sit down to think about it, my life is WAY easier than all that;  We get up when we want, eat breakfast at a leisurely pace, then when everyone is ready we do a short Bible lesson and read a portion of a book I picked out and library books I approved of.  Then we work on the most pressing school subject of the day.  Then maybe we go on a nature walk ( you wouldn’t believe what your kids will discover just by doing that, they come home totally inspired to find out more about the world around them).  We do only what needs to be done and some of it is hard and some is not. And if we have a subject that is a real challenge(there always is) we can take the time to master it and no one gets behind.  Plus I get to pick the curriculum tailored to my child’s needs.   The whole while I get to correct attitude problems and administer discipline and teach about the Lord all day long (Cuz trust me they ask).  And there are a lot of days where nothing goes as planned.  Maybe we just need to get out and so we can.  We go to the park and on field trips and the kids meet all kinds of interesting people so that they are comfortable talking to all ages.  Kids and adults.  Oh yea, and I get to say who they can and cannot hang around with.  When I don’t get all wrapped up in my educational plans and all goes well, we are a really happy and relaxed family.  There is nothing in the world like teaching your child to read and watching them grow.  I wouldn’t trade it for all the endless summer in the world.  Plus I’d miss the school supplies, I just love pens and paper!!

Last year was hard.  I think that when I was looking at the upcoming year I was associating it with all the mistakes I made(and we survived) last year.  Funny too, that the kids are no worse for wear despite any mistakes I made.   I’m excited to see how the Lord leads me through the days this year.  No more unbendable schedules or strict adherence to the curriculums.  I can’t wait to see how it goes.  I also can’t wait to see the new Noeo Physics things that I ordered.  We had so much fun with their Biology stuff last year I have high hopes.  My daughter is learning to read and write and is a snap in math.  While Caleb is so excited about science…

I love being the Mom/Teacher.  It’s the hardest and best job I can imagine. 

Keep Sailing

Mary

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