Monday, August 24, 2009

Still Here

Just wanted to say that we haven't totally dropped off the face of the Earth.... we are just rearranging a big area of our house, so I'm spending all my free time there. I'll be posting more soon!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Crunch Time

Time is ticking away!

If you've wondered why you haven't heard from me too much recently, it is that I have so much to get done before school starts!

I had planned to start school on Aug 31st... but now I'm thinking September 7th will be the start date - (hm - or be wierd and start on the 2nd or something?) - or the 8th because the 7th is a holiday here?

Why the change? Well, I still don't have the "schoolroom" setup! We have a big loft upstairs, that right now is storage. (very, very unorganized storage) - that I have figured out will be a great schoolroom. Ok - I know.... Mike suggested it a long time ago. But I hadn't figured out how to make the stairway safe for Foxtrot, so it was a no-way. Well, I had the sudden realization that there is a little room up there - that I could set up as a safe playroom for her and put a baby-gate on the doorway. We could school right nearby!

Yes, I could start school in the main room and move upstairs once I had it organized.... but I figure I will be WAY too busy for that!

(Oh, and I do think I like the look of the Workboxes - which someone else calls in her school "Discovery Boxes") - and there is no room on the main floor for any system like that at all...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Drawing Instruction

In an earlier post, I had recommended doing drawing instruction without any formal curriculum, but by practicing observing and drawing what you see.

I have to admit that I am getting nervous about doing that myself however, so I am looking at some more resources.

I have not yet made a selection, but I am looking into the following resources....

Drawing With Children - Mona Brookes
Teaching Children to Draw - Barbara Ward
Draw Write Now - ?

Illustrating Nature - Irene Brady (for about year 4+?)

I would really appreciate any opinions on these resources, or other resources that are suitable to teach drawing - especially of nature. I would prefer resources that use observation as its main focus. Thanks!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tomato Staking

Ok, I have recently been doing some reading on a parenting practice called Tomato Staking. I have to admit, that I have mostly been reading from a website called Raising Godly Tomatos. This particular website seems very controversial, and I'm still trying to decide what I think about it. A lot of the ideas seem to fit in with ideas from Charlotte Mason - but I am thinking that the way this site does it just doesn't feel right. I do need to look at other information about the general idea.

Tomato Staking seems to be mainly keeping your children with you almost all the time, so that they aren't getting into trouble. The website I mentioned uses it to train their children in total obedience - and done with a good attitude. They do use spanking.

So, here are my thoughts so far. I think that Tomato Staking, as far as keeping your children near you while training makes a lot of sense. I see this as doing the family chores together, having all the children in the same room while doing schooling, etc. I do think that children need to have time on their own while playing - but if there are problems, bring them back.

I do like the practice on obedience - figuring out what you want the child to do when you call, and have them do it over and over until they do it right - for example. I guess I just worry about anything that demands total obedience without thought. Yes, children generally should be obeying their parents without question.... assuming the parents aren't asking anything wrong of them. But obeying other adults takes more thought for the children. I don't want a child so obedient that they are in danger - or adults that are so obedient that they will do things morally wrong on an order. (I'm thinking here of soldiers obeying a command that is from a superior - but is just plain wrong.) Obedience takes thought - because a part of being human is knowing when not to obey.

Anyway - Tomato Staking is something I'm going to be doing more research on - and a LOT of praying.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Kids Need Stamps

A Year or two ago, I found a fantastic resource for a hobby I had had as a child and wanted to share with my kids.

Stamp Collecting is a fantastic hobby, and is very educational as well. I feel it makes a fantastic hobby for the homeschooling family. It is fairly inexpensive, can be worked on individually or as a family, and can be done by the very young right up to senior citizenship age.

I have sat around the table with Delta and Echo when they were 4 and 2, with them carefully sorting through stamps. They love looking for ones they don't yet have. At this point, they just store them in a stock-book - but at some point they will start making stamp pages, and probably even decide on specialties.

But do you want to know the great thing? The resource I found gives away free starter kits, including free stamps! I know I found a couple of other great resources too - but I think they are all available on the blog that I am going to give you. The blog also has information on how to actually do the stamp collecting. (I think they also have free starter kits for stamp clubs too, or for groups like scouting or guiding to work on collectors badges.)

Another great source of stamps can be families with missionaries servingin in other countries, or people with family in other countries that still mail letters.

Kids Need Stamps is this fantastic resource. I think it is great that people provide this type of service. Here is their article about the free starter kits.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

That Time of Year

Well, it is August. Where I live, school starts in about a month.... and the nerves have started. Am I doing the right thing? It isn't too late to enroll my son, who is starting 1st Grade, at the nearby school.... and this would be the latest time to get him into French Immersion.

I seem to go through this a couple of times each year.... in early spring when the nearby schools all put up their signs for Kindergarten Orientation and enrollment meetings - and in August as it moves towards the first day of school.

I spend a lot of time reassuring myself that I am doing the best thing for my family. I also spend a lot of time praying about it. I also know that this feeling will go away soon - until the next nervous season.

I'm hoping that these feelings will fade to memory in the next few years as I see the results from our homeschooling.

In the meantime - it may be time to go on our local homeschooling message list and see if there will be another Annual "Not-Back-To-School picnic" this fall. That always helps.