Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Homeschool - Boys at Play

"Do you see the boys at play? Yes I see them; there are five of them. Tom is too fat to run fast. Nat can catch him. I like to see boys at play" -McGuffy's Eclectic Primer

I have good days homeschooling. Sometimes I think I'm not getting through, but today was proof that I am doing something right.

Today as a family lesson, I used "Nature - Evidence of Heavenly Father's Love", adapted for young children, from the Family Home Evening Resource Guidebook (which I will be using frequently as it promotes good discussions on a wide variety of topics). We had a fruitful discussion about nature, how plants purify the air, and the three states of water. It wasn't the most spiritual discussion we've had, but that will come another day.

During our quiet study hour, Colin surprised me by drawing two street signs (one of which he made up): a stop sign and a "go" sign. What surprised me was that he spelled the words correctly even though I have never gone over them with him. He just sounded out the words and wrote them down, taking note that the "o" in "go" is a hard sound. I guess I'm getting it right in teaching him phonics.

Watching Colin learn to write has been interesting. He has been learning to write the way a baby learns to speak. Starting with random letters, then copying words from a page, and over time is now starting to write simple words he thinks of by sounding them out slowly and writing down the sounds he hears. I honestly was afraid for the days ahead wherein I would have to teach spelling. This might not be as scary as I previously thought.

I give each of the kids one on one instruction time and will do so until each has become proficient in reading, writing, and arithmetic.With Karyn, I have been teaching the upper and lower case alphabet, the numbers 1 through 20, colors, shapes, and to predict simple patterns and observe differences. We play a lot of "One of These Things is not like the Others".

Colin has started lesson 19 in the Mcguffy Eclectic Primer. His reading gets better each week. I've heard boys can have a difficult time learning to read, but that doesn't seem true in Colin's case. Some days are more difficult than others, but over all he is making good progress. Actually, the bigger struggle has been learning to add and subtract with accuracy. He seems to understand the mechanics of single digit addition and subtraction, but the actual functioning is still difficult for him; but he will get there.

My kids are smarter than I was at their age. They are going to challenge me.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Meeting Fear

Written as a response to an article about a boy's shyness on Free Range Kids:

If a child's fear is becoming unhealthy, irrational, overbearing, or excessively inconvenient,  then it should be addressed.

Courage is a form of self discipline that most shy people can learn. It hurts, but not as much as a lifetime being paralyzed with fear. Know your child and what he is capable of, and set reasonable expectations. Don't be afraid to say, "No. I won't do for you what you can do for yourself". If he is healthy, then expect some tears and frustration, then watch for him to either do what he wants without you, or find something else to do. If it takes more than 48 hours for him to overcome his fear or find other things to do, or he gives an extreme and prolonged emotional reaction, you may need to see a specialist.

Recently my three yer old daughter overcame her fear of water. She had very good reason to be afraid. Last year a wave knocked her over and she went under and couldn't stand back up (she was 15-20 feet away from me, and thank God I saw her go under and got to her quickly). However, her fear was becoming a nuisance to the entire family. She would refuse to play in (or frequently near) the water while everyone else wanted to go swimming and wading. Even washing her hair at bath time was traumatic at times. Fortunately she has a daddy she trusts who her took her by the hand and walked her in ankle deep in the water along the shore of a still lake. She cried, and fussed, and after a while found some daisies growing at the water's edge. Then talked with him as they went out shin deep. Then she noticed the water was at her knees and squeaked a little, but realized she was safe. Now she plays happily with the family when we are out swimming. She doesn't have any problems now.

Obviously, fear of water is not the same as shyness. The reason I mention my daughter is to illustrate that fear can be overcome in the right conditions. It depends very much on the child, but sooner or later, their fears must be met.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

How Cookies Are Not Made

As I am writing this, my children are grounded upstairs. First thing in the morning, I do not coming down to the living room only to find what looks like the remains of a viking village raid...

Okay, that's overstating it, but it's really disturbing to come downstairs in the morning and see that it looks like an animal with rainbow blood (of liquid food coloring) was slaughtered on the "cocoa" table. It's rather aggravating to find that a minor explosion involving flour and sugar has occurred in the same area as the rainbow slaughter. Then I find six or seven discarded glasses with a viscous mixture of flour, sugar, food coloring, vanilla and mint extracts, and olive oil.

Upon inquiry, my two children justify the mess as an attempt to make cookies. Somehow I doubt that, as they've never seen me make cookies with ham slices and breakfast cereal.
No, children. This is not how cookies are made. Lifted from

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My Mother Told Me...

"More and more good things will happen, and everyone will be happy".

I was a screaming, angry, nine year old girl; just furious with the world. Mom made me repeat it several times even though I did not believe her and just wanted to smack someone. I was exceptionally angry with her for making me say it when I felt like the world was ending (I can't remember what had set me off in that moment).

"More and more good things will happen, and everyone will be happy", I growled, thinking just the opposite.

Wouldn't you know it... she was right.

I am happy and everyone I surround myself with is happy. Sometimes I feel like crying about what I lack; and sometimes for a moment (several times a day) I get angry about people or things I can not control; but overall things work out. I have food on the table, a warm home, good friends, a close family life, and a God in Heaven watching over all. Life is good.