Homeschool Day Boxes and How They Work!

August 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

I tried this day boxes system, based on the system called, “work boxes,” which I did not like, as I am an Alfie Kohn fan, and it worked well. It works well as long as I have time to get the day boxes ready that morning early, or the night before.

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I found that the kids like new and different things in there. They despise having very similar things, day after day. I found that even a toddler has to have things, because he wants to be like the others and have something made for him to do, so he can work, too. He did get bored fast, so I must have always had very boring things in there for him. I tried to get something from each subject we were doing that day. I also put the book they are currently reading for fun, in there.

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I also put the ruler, the scissors, the glue stick, the markers, the pencil and the paper they needed for that day’s stuff, in their box. This makes it so nobody has to go look for something they need, giving them about a 100% chance of getting distracted and not coming back for quite some time!

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They really liked them and they made my job much easier during the homeschool day! One thing I did not like was that the boxes took up so much space on the table that it does not give them much space to work. I solved that by getting out a card table, but then they fought over which table they wanted to sit at. Oh, my! That’s the way kids are!

 

 

The Difference: Never in a Public or Charter School

May 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

2 of my kids went to public school for few years and 2 have never been to public school, nor to a charter school. I wanted to write about how I honestly feel about this.

I am so glad 2 of mine have never been to elementary school. My 2 older ones learned things I cannot unteach them. One of my kids feels constant pressure and constantly compares herself to others. She feels pressure to “stay at the top” and to be doing exactly what her top performing oublic schooled peers are doing! My son who public schooled still talks about killing at the drop of a hat, which he learned at public school recess. He also unlearned empathy and kindness. They both learned things like: learning is drudgery, mom’s job is to clean up (like the custodian’s job is to clean up), if someone is crying, ignore them and do your work, kids who are normal do not like their siblings, people must play with kids their own age, and much more, that I have been working on unteaching them.

My daughter who never went to public school has been doing very well in learning and I would say she learned so much more and is so much more advanced than her older siblings were at her age. It is amazing how much farther ahead some can get if not sent to school to get behind. 

Do not take a kid who could learn Items A through J that you want then to learn in homeschool and send them to public school so that they can learn A through d that you want thej to learn and A through J that you do NOT want then to learn and some that you may never be able to unteach them!

As for junior high and high school, my two oldest are now in baseball and softball. They said their teammates use swearwords like crazy and it bothers them really bad. My daughter is also bothered by how immodestly her teammates dress for softball games. I told them ai am so sorry and tood them, that is the way it is in Junior High and High School. 

I think today, I will have a talk with her about doing something bood and brave–asking her teammates not to use those words in her presence. I have done that in my life, and it has worked. People will respect people if you ask them to boldly.

Some people want their kids to have the social experiences that come with public school. I think without those social experiences, my kids will be fine. They have the positive social experiences I think kids need from other kids growing up, without all the negative social experiences I had growing up. 

My girls and I recently went to a homeschooled mothers and daughters retreat and learned a lot of really great, positive and uplifting things in a very social setting. My sons and I are going to go to the same, but with boys and their moms. It is great that the social experiences they have are positive and healthy, and chosen by me. I do not get to handpick which boye and which moms will come to this upcoming event, but the fact that I will be there and lots of moms will be there, helps! 

My eldest daughter just got to go to her first boy/girl dance and she is 7th grade age. It was part of a weekend of learning and socialization with peers. The kids were homeschooled and of our religion (LDS) and they learned how to be queenly or how to be chivalrous. They learned table manners at a special dinner in semi-formal attire. They played games which teach moral and leadership lessons. They had classes and listed to speakers. It was like an LDS Youth Conference, only there were just 18 kids there (plus 20 more who just cane to the dance) and they were all homeschoolers. My daughter laughed, learned and really enjoyed herself. She said the boys were not shy and were great at conversationalism. She said, “they were not how you said they’d be.” She seemed to have had a great experience. She is full of wonder and excitement. She danced with 10 boys. Her experience was very different from my first 7th grade dance.

My first 7th grade dance found me in shock. The music had lyrics that were awful and made the Holy Ghost leave. They music was so loud! There was not much lighting, so it was really dark. It was extremely crowded and I remember feeling a great fear and nervousness. I remember praying it would be over soon. Boys were not asking girls to dance and girls were huddled in groups. Everyone was pretending to have fun, even though I bet most felt as nervous as I did. I had friends who “set me up” with boys who were short like me, because that is what you gotta have in common–height. I know they meant well, but from that I learned that even some of my friends only saw me as “our friend who is short.” My companion dancers and I were so afraid and hardly talked to one another. We did not have much in common. We did not have similar interests. We did have fear of school dances in common! 

What Should I Do If My Child Suddenly EXPLODES with EXTREME Behavior Issues?

April 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

What if your child is throwing things, breaking things, ruining things, on purpose? What if your child harms others badly, on purpose? What if your child yells loudly and angrily? What if your child verbally attacks you or others? 

I have seen much about how you are the parent so you need to learn to control your child’s behavior, and about discipline and rewards and punishment. I do not like those. I am working on NOT using those strategies. In fact, I am working on ceasing to think in terms of “HOW TO CONTROL A CHILD’S BEHAVIOR,” because controlling my child can no longer be my goal. It does not ultimately work. Instead, helping my child to innately (with no reward or punishment) want to be a better person, who is kinder and does not have explosions, even when no authority figure is present, is my goal.

There could be many reasons why your child is having explosions. It is likely for a different reason every time. Getting to the bottom of it is important. How can you find a solution without knowing what the problem is? This is how I begin, every time (it is probably one of these). It is usually one of the first ines listed. Go in order. I have tried to put them in the most likely order.

1) Has the child has been eating too much fat, sugar, junk food, red 40 or other dyes, preservatives, additives or microwaved foods lately? Has the child had enough water lately? Has the child been eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber, whole grains, vitamins, minerals, protein, iron, calcium  magnesium, and so forth, lately?

2) Has the child been getting enough sleep, rest and exercise lately?

3) Has this child been injured, in pain, sick, constipated, or other similar item? Is your child currently effected by this?

4) Have you or your spouse been giving the child daily or regular one on one time with just you or just his or her dad?

5) Is your child lacking in slow, unstructured outside-in-nature (nature exposure) time? Is your child overscheduled with lessons, workshops, classtime, homework, practices, games, church functions, etcetera? If you have gone trick-or-treating for 3 hours straight with a child who is 7 or under, that is too much structure. If your child has been sitting still for almost 6 hours straight at school  that would be too much structured time. If your child comes home from school and goes to piano lessons, then soccer practice, then out to eat with you, that is too much structure time. If you are on a vacation in Disneyland and have been go, go, going for one week straight, that is WAY TOO MUCH STRUCTURE TIME, whether disguised as “fun” or not! Is it near APRIL and test-taking month for your child? That alone is way too much for kids, whether other adults prescribe it or not! If you are not opting out of the tests because you want to help the teacher or the school  please consider putting your child’s needs first and the teacher’s and school’s 2nd and 3rd. 

6) Has your child been witnessing confusion, chaos, messy house or stress? Is your child feeling pressure of stress about something? Is he or she having worry issues?

7) Has your child had too much media or technology time lately?

8) Is your child old enough that it could be something to do with puberty?

9) Who has your child been socializing with lately! What is their behavior like? (Even adults, like grandparents and parents have behavior issues). Has your child been having too much or too little social time lately? Social time with a person who is fun and has kind, positive, happy, moral and good behavior, is a plus!

10) I am sorry to have to ask this, but it’s out there. Has your child been physically, emotionally, socially or  sexually abused, ever? Perhaps, discuss it, help it end, if it hasn’t! Even if you do not think this has happened, ask! Don’t assume it has never happened. If you don’t ask, they may never say anything!

11) Is your child addicted to anything (food, drugs, alcohol, pornography, social media, video games)? is anyone in your family? These affect everyone in the family, even if they aren’t aware.

12) Does your child have siblings? It could be sibling rivalry. Ask and observe. Be careful not to compare your child to his or her sibling(s), ever! Do not play favorites! Celebrate uniqueness and love them unconditionally.

13) Tell your child you love him or her. I hope you do! If not, that is the underlying issue, for sure! Ask your child what it is that is causing this behavior. Have a good long talk. Be the parent you dreamt of when you were a child.

14) If you passed all of the above, it is likely the behavior has stopped, because you have had to talk and ask some things. Usually that will trigger some good behavior replacing the bad behavior!

Truths About Homeschooling, in Order to Dispel the Myths about Homeschooling

April 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

Public schooling is something our family has a history with, and it IS NOT EASIER THAN HOMESCHOOLING. IT IS ABOUT THE SAME in terms of stress on the mom and dad. The stress is from different aspects. Some stressors, you add or give up when your kids are in public school. Some, you add or give up when you homeschool.

  

MYTHS are rampant about this. The following are TRUTHS!

1- My kids (legally) do NOT TAKE TESTS, do not legally have to learn certain prescribed things, nor do they get the kind of stuff public school families call homework. They do get assignments and are given responsibilities. If they don’t do them, they have consequences which are individualized base on the child’s interests. Housework and gardening assignments are just as important in this area as the academic learning ones. I teach LDS DOCTRINE and values in homeschool. I teach with many different methods and I am not good at following a schedule. 

2- We (legally) do not keep track of days of attendance, subjects taught or number of friends made.

3- Sometimes for fun and experiment, the kids and mom use alarm clocks. Mostly, they are toys in our house.

4- We TRY TO shower, eat breakfast and get dressed before noon.

5- Some learning is done on WEEKENDS, some LATE AT NIGHT and some IN THE SUMMERTIME. I used to track when the kids were learning something I wanted them to learn, until I figured out that other homeschool families had it right– EVERYONE IS ALWAYS LEARNING.  I do my best to be a better person so my kids can learn only good things from me. WE DO GO ON FIELD TRIPS a lot more than any public schooling families and a lot less than most homeschooling families. We no longer keep track of number of field trips.

6- YES, WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS ALL THE WAY THROUGH SCHOOL. I can legally issue them a homeschool diploma. They are likely going to go to a University and hopefully, I will be good at helping the ones interested in getting done with their Associates degrees early, to do so via CLEP, DSST and AP tests so that we can have a lack of need for a High School Diploma. Kids of mine who do choose this have a mom who has read up on this and knows much about how to teach early college test prep from home. None of my kids will be going to classes at a community college, college or University while they are children, but they will be able to get their Associates Degrees by going on campus to take the tests, should they so choose.

7- The original reason our family started homeschooling and the reasons we have now are very different.

8- I do not think people who public school are less than me or not as good as me. I am surprised at how often I hear from people, that they think I am looking down my nose at everyone around me. NOPE! I am far from perfect. I know that. There is a beam in my eye. Before I help you get the mote out of your eye, I will try to remember to first to remove the beam from my eye.

9- I love teaching my kids, coaching them to learn, our homeschooling friendships, homeschooling, etcetera. I really do. It has its hard things, but public schooling has them, too.

10- I do not believe that any child or adult is smarter than any other. I simply believe that everyone has different kinds of “Smart” or intelligence. If you have not found one in someone yet, that does not mean it does not exist. Just keep searching and one day, you will find it. It is likely an intelligence the world does not find important. I guarantee you, these are likely the MOST IMPORTANT and valuable ones in existence! Heavenly Father knows this!

If You Chance to Meet a Homeschool Mom…

April 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

Mosiah 8:18 “And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;”

A homeschool mom has had a very difficult days, weeks, months and years. She has had ups and downs just like you have. The difference between a homeschool mom and other women, though, is that when other women say their lives are difficult, people do not usually tell them to quit whatever it is they are doing because what they are doing is futile or too difficult.

If a woman works as a nurse and tells her friends about the difficulties of working with doctors, for example, other women do not tell them, “If is is so hard, then quit being a nurse!” or, “That is why I am not a nurse!”

However, when a homeschool mom says to another person, “I am having a rough time with (this or that),” without hesitation, the other person says something like, “Then quit homeschooling!” or “That is why I do not homeschool!”

 

 

For a homeschool mom, taking the risk of telling you that homeschooling is very hard, is a risk. That risk is a big deal. She has heard from many, that she should stop homeschooling if it is so hard. She wants you to be a listening ear or a sounding board. She is testing the waters with you. She will test the waters with many, until she finds someone who will allow her to have frailties, to not have to pretend she is someone she is not.  She does not want to stop being a homeschool mom because she feels overwhelmed, just like mothers do not want to stop being mothers when they feel overwhelmed.

Next time you feel like saying to a homeschool mom, that because what she does is too hard, she should quit, remember that she could have been a dear friend. This homeschool mom may not risk being truthful with you again. She may add you to the bottom of her extremely long list of people to whom she cannot vent.

Is it the duty of a homeschool mom to bear this life without complaint? Must she live life telling everyone homeschool is going perfectly, even if it is not, because of potential passing of judgement about her incompetencies? Does the homeschool mom not get your part of “bear one another’s burdens that they may be light,” because she has chosen a path of which you do not approve?

Please do not be a person she knows she cannot vent to, or dares not try venting to for the first time. She needs to vent. It is a healthy thing all women must do to keep their sanity. She who homeschools is not extra-human. She is NOT more amazing than other women. She does not think she is. She is humble and does not think she is  better than you because she has chosen this different path. No, she is not judging you, so please allow her the same courtesy. She is a normal, everyday woman, as unique and complicated as any other woman, who needs listening and caring from other women, just like all other women. Just like all other women, she needs a sounding board. Please do not tell her to quit telling you the truth by telling her that if homeschooling is so hard, she should quit.

Instead, support her as a friend supports a friend. This is what we homeschool moms crave. We need badly, people who listen and empathize, but do not tell us to quit homeschooling. So, please, whether you understand the homeschool thing or not; Whether or not you support it or agree with it, Support the woman. She is a child of God, and she has burdens that she would like to tell you about. Just listen. All she needs is a listener. Be that person for her!

Perhaps instead of telling her to quit, you can say,”Oh, that must be hard.” Then you can tell her you also have troubles, and she will listen to you, too. She will then say to you, “Oh, that also must be hard.” You do not have to have the exact same life to be friends. Friends are just people who support one another. They listen to one another. They are there for each other. Just be that for a homeschool mom! She will be so relieved to have finally found someone. 


Lisa C. Jackson’s Judgy and Preachy version of LDS Living Article

April 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Based on LDS Living Article: “7 Mistakes LDS Parents Make and How to Avoid Them”

10 mistakes LDS parents make and how to avoid them: Preparing Your Kids to Serve Missions.”

1) Sending them to a public or charter school. 

2) Trying to Control your kids and make them do what you want them to do.

3) Forcing them to go to church, read their scriptures, do church activities, etcetera.

4) Using body language and facial expressions like the ones this woman in the photo Facebook Shows with the Link to the LDS Living Article: 

  

5) Expecting your child to learn the gospel by concept and memorization in church, instead of by daily life and by your example.

6) Not putting love first in your relationship with your child. Putting love and the relationship last.

7) Avoiding family home evening and, if married, weekly dates with your spouse to keep the family strong.

8) Not giving your child what he or she needs in the relationship with you, when it is needed.

9) Not listening and caring about your child’s desires and decisions, therefore killing your child’s ability to make them on his or her own.

10) Telling your kid how it is and to face it, rather than letting your kid grow up naturally and gradually, helping choose his or her life, learn about life on his or her own, etcetera.

Springtime And Being Very Busy!

April 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

I have been so busy gardening, organizing, de-junking and cleaning the house, that I have not made a blog post in a while. This past weekend, my husband and son finished building our Shelf Reliance shelves and we loaded them up with food storage cans. I am excited about that. Lately, we have been working  lot on that. 

On Saturday, before LDS General Conference, I worked hard putting the math in its own binder. It is a red binder, so it stands out from all the white ones I have for other reasons. I went through the math checklists and evaluated, knowing full well what the kids know and don’t, where each one is in math. Then I made lesson plans. I made plans for 6 homeschool days. 

“Pirate,” by my son:

  

Right now, at 7:30 a.m., my daughter is teaching my younger boys. She uses my math checklist for the math. I love the help. One son is telling her emphatically, “I already know my numbers!” He had been stubborn, but he just now passed off an item on the math checklist without any help at all. This is big for him! I am happy. My older daughter and my older son are now enthusiastically and with dancing, teaching them. My daughter just asked me, “Mom, what does fluently mean?” We have decided the one is fluent at a certain concept. Well, it will not be long before he can do even more difficult things fluently. I am so excited.

This is something most people who homeschool understand and most who don’t, don’t: The older kids teach their siblings happily. It’s awesome! It frees me up to focus on being the leader. I am not the leader and the one who does it all. I am just the leader. I give direction and my kids help it happen. They want homeschool to work. They want mom to be happy. They enjoy teaching because it is fun. 

When it comes to teaching siblings to ride bikes, play baseball, work in the garden, cook, clean, make lunch, etcetera, they are all great! I love this about homeschooling. Sometimes, younger ones even help older ones, because maybe that is their favorite subject, or one of their favorites, so they are beyond their years in ability because they have learned so much in a certain area. For example, my son loves science. He teaches his siblings all sorts of things because he “gets it.” I am usually surprised at what he knows. It’s amazing. He has the ability to explain science concepts by jumping up and down and acting them out. It’s fun to watch him. 

My daughter is still in her pajamas but is now looking over the Montessori list of skills and asking me whether this one has learned that yet. I am so grateful for her help in keeping on top of that. I used to have to do it all myself, which after a while, meant I never got to it. It is nice to have someone who gets to it on my behalf. She will be an awesome mom someday. She will be an awesome homeschool mom someday! Whe wants to be an early childhood educator, so all of this fascinates her. It is one of the things she lives for!

My son is reading “Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. He told me that he has 2 bookmarks. He does not like going for so long with these characters before getting back to what those ones are doing. He would rather just go one chapter with these, one chapter with those, instead of 3 chapters, then 3 chapters. Fine with me! He invents stories, too, so I would not be surprised if we get an author here! He is also still in pajamas. Oh, well. I am hoping he gets dressed by 9 a.m.!

Mormon/ Latter-Day Saint vs. Secular Percentages of Influence in Our Homeschool

March 31, 2015 § Leave a comment

  

I was fiddling with percentages of:

1) all-inclusive, wordly, teachers not exclusively LDS, secular, fitting in with the homeschool community, etc.

compared to percentage of:

2) exclusive, Godly, teachers exclusively LDS active members, gospel-based, standing out from the rest of the homeschool community.

I wish to figure out what percentages I want of each for my family’s homeschool.

Examples of #1:

Secular Homeschool Co-Op Group

Secular math

Secular fiction reading

Secular non-fiction reading

Homeschool all-inclusive social event

Shopping at a store

Local Natural History Museum

Local Art Museum or Gallery

Local play

Dance class

Gymnastics class

Swimming lessons

City Easter Egg Hunt

Bill Nye the Science Guy DVD’s

Any Secular Movies or DVD’s

LDS teachers when not allowed to teach with LDS influences, principles or doctrine

Friendship time with non-LDS people

Examples of #2:

L.I.F.E. School LDS curriculum

Discover the Scriptures Curriculum

Reading the Scriptures, church magazines, listening to conference

Attending church or church activities

Going to an LDS family activity

LDS teachers when allowed to teach LDS principles and doctrine

Friendship time with LDS people

Activities or social events including LDS people exclusively

LDS-exclusive learning Co-Op groups

Family History research, reunions, dinners, etc.

Family Home Evening

General Conference

If I take everything I do in our homeschool, figure what amount of hours per year we spend on each, and then figure percentages, then:

What would the percentages be if I used these 2 categories only?

How do I want it to be for my family?

I have not done the math, but just looking casually here, I am guessing that less than 25% of what we do is in #2. I  want that influence to be higher. I would rather it be 50/50 or maybe with the LDS influencers being at 75%.

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