Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Relaxing into home education

One of the things I am learning to enjoy about home education now is: I feel FREE!!!

A conversation with a friend the other day made me realize just how blessed we are as home educators.  We have the freedoms to decide what is right for our children, and be the designers of their education.  This is a life changing phenomenon for our kids.  They are "stuck" with the results of our home education system.  So...I want it to be a truly relaxing and beautiful process for us.  I want it to be inviting, adventurous, and fun.

The more I write about homeschooling, the more I become completely aware of how little I knew just a few short years, even months, ago about the real core of education.  All of these years I've homeschooled, I have been searching for the one "key" or "secret" to homeschooling success.

I have come to a very abrupt and powerful conclusion that there is no true secret...but if there would be that we parents should RELAX.  Our kids' minds and hearts will grow and mature with time, plenty of patience from us, and a relaxed and enriching atmosphere.  They also just need a set of teacher-parents who understand them and provide for them the materials and resources they need (along with some guidance).

It is really not that difficult.

And I think now that I am a few weeks into developing the Start Homeschooling Easy site, that is what my focus will be: delivering content that helps homeschoolers (myself included) begin to homeschooling with a relaxed mindset and a confident attitude. 

***update, January 2012- I no longer keep up the Start Homeschooling Easy website.  Most of the information that was there is now located here on this blog***

Wow, do I look forward to this academic school year.  Why?  Because I am no longer afraid, unsure, uncertain.  Sure, I don't know everything there is to know about curriculum choices, but I don't feel that same kind of uncertainty I felt in the beginning when attempting to find just the right math book.  Now I understand that it's about the kids...what do they need?  Really need? Not just what do I THINK they need.

Being this intimately involved in my children's education also helps me to appreciate God more.  I see how that He has created us so intelligently.  We were designed to grow in intellect and emotional maturity.  I love watching my oldest daughter bloom into a beautiful and wise little 8 year old.  I adore watching my 2 year old's sweet and vibrant personality unfold as her voracious appetite for learning increases triple-fold with each passing week.  I LOVE that I cant keep up with my kids!  It means they are learning, enjoying life, and loving every bit of it.

And it makes me...this natural homeschooling mama...very, very happy.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Poem For my Baby

What do I do when you're all grown up?

Ready to move on, ready to explore?

What do I do when you take hold on the reigns

of life...grab on, and run after more.

Life is your name, life is your pleasure.

Baby, it's your game...but forever I'll treasure

the times that we share.

You and I...snuggled up

Close by me you are

side by side, heart to heart

You can never be far

from my Love.

I will do...

whatever it takes, to make sure that I set you free

Free to be

Who you are.

Free to be

Who you are.

Technology, toddlers, and Starfall…

Today we had an interesting shot at trying BabyZ's hands at

She had been watching Big Sister on the PC for quite some time now, so of course, she was itching to get on the computer and mouse.

So for her very short lesson, I taught her to move the mouse across the screen, place the cursor on a letter, andclick.  Really just three short moves.
  1. move mouse
  2. control cursor on object
  3. click

During the process she learned a few more letters and had fun along the way.

Here is a YouTube video I created to show you what we did (I apologize for the rough footage- I'm using a low quality camera).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Homeschooling and Coffee

Earlier this year (2nd grade), NyGirl and I would often do our school work at the coffee shop (both for work and fun).  I would tutor her a bit and get her started on her school work and then work on some of my writing., while BabyZ spent a few hours that morning each week at a Mom's Morning Out program.

NyGirl LOVED this time alone with me.  It was fun for both of us and really helped strengthen our relationship since the birth of her sister.  It was our mommy/daughter time alone, and although we did some schoolwork, we played some games too (sometimes Life, sometimes Guess Who, and sometimes Uno).

We would just order our hot chocolate, complete our grammar pages and math assignment, and then move on to some 'good times'.

It felt so  Nothing incredibly pre-planned (with the exception of the workbook pages), but enjoying the spontaneity of learning practically anywhere.

Here is something I wrote about that experience a few months ago:
I don't even know why I've bothered to worry myself about my daughter's education.  Now seven years old, full of life and creative energy, I can see why a home education was the best option for her.

Today our school day was full of the smells of coffee and hot chocolate, a tapestry of art on the brick walls surrounding us, and the pulsating beat of smooth jazz.  We had school at a local coffee shop- reading and writing, calculating math problems, reflecting, resting, thinking, observing.  We surrounded ourselves with books and just breathed in life.

It was relaxing. It was beautiful. It was education.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Planting Our First Garden

Honestly, I have never been a gardener, nor have I had some innate desire to work with dirt for any length of time...

It just suddenly dawned on me a few years ago, though, that my parents (who garden all their veggies each year) are not only saving loads of money but are eating healthy.  I am amazed at how God could create a plant- which creates seeds- which create more plants- which produce fruit and vegetables for our nourishment.

How awesome is that!

So...I have imagined myself to be a potential gardener, and with the help of my father's expertise, and my children's excitement, I am trying my hands at this gardening thing.

Hello summer science!

Today was really hot.  I mean HOT.  (This is typical in Alabama, you know).  But nonetheless, the kids wanted to get out and start on that garden that I never got around to last week.
So, about a week ago, my father came over to our house and helped me dig up a little (probably 3X4) patch for a garden. Our VERY first garden, and my VERY first time at anything hands-on, as far as gardening goes (unless you count that one sunflower seed NyGirl and I grew  for her kindergarten three years ago).  So it is all new to me.

He showed me a few tips and tricks.  It was all very basic instructions and simple to understand.  Yet somehow, I still don't feel confident with this gardening thing.   I just really want to try, though...and my girls are especially excited about harvesting the veggies (if they even grow!!!  Oh, I hope they do).  From what I understand, I waited a tad too late to begin planting most vegetables, like tomatoes.  I have organic seeds, but will hold on to these for next year. (Not really even sure if they will last that long?  More gardening research for me and the girls, it proves).  I will definitely have no lack of science lessons for the year.

After daddy dug up the dirt for us and prepared the soil, all I had to do is go down to the store and quickly buy some seeds and get them planted...but it took me a week to get out and go run that one important errand...and by the time we got out this morning to plant the seeds, of course -- you probably already guessed it: the dirt was washed over and hard.  So, more digging for me and the girls.

We did finally plant all rows of peas, and one row of squash.  (Since my parents already have tons of squash harvested which they are giving to us, no need for me to plant too many).  Maybe next year I'll try my hands at organic tomatoes - and maybe I'll start in the Spring instead of right in the middle of  100+ degree heat index in June.

The girls got a great lesson in the hard work of gardening.  NyGirl helped me dig (although she wasn't dressed for gardening- she had just jumped out of the kiddie pool and was wearing her cover up and flip flops).  Fun. It was great to see my girly girl getting her hands and finger nails dirty, digging in the hard, baked, rock dirt until we hit some real soil, and then covering up our newly planted seeds with fresh earth and mineral soil we purchased.

Next on our agenda- keep a watch over our little seeds and watch them sprout (or not).  Science notebooks and lots of picture taking will get us through a summer of science.

Another birthday, another year...

I had a birthday this week.  I realized that looking at 33 is much like looking at 23, but with more wisdom.  I imagine that hitting 43 and 53 will be higher benchmarks in the wisdom department.  I wouldn't hope for anything less.

My prayer: "Lord, may I glorify you in all that I do this year.  May each birthday that rolls around every year remind me to celebrate Your wisdom, as You graciously give me a piece of it.  Lord, I long for You, Your ways, and Your Truth.  Direct my path.  Help me to make wiser choices this year than I did the last, and help me to always seek You out in every corner of my life.  Sweep clean every cobweb hanging around from yesteryear that doesn't bring glory to You, and may I seek YOUR face, YOUR will, YOUR ways, and YOUR wisdom in my 33rd year of life.  In the name of Jesus, Yeshua, my Messiah.  Amen."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Explorers Bible Study Curriculum Review

(*****NOTE**** I apologize but this review has been lost during a web server shift.  I will do my best to do a brand new review soon.

Sorry!!  Thanks for your patience.)
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