Oompa Loompas Chapter 16, with Math

My kids have been doing math this morning as I have read to them. Surprisingly, it helps them get it done faster, and I do not know why. It is some kind of brain thing. I think it is because they are using both sides of the brain at the same time. Maybe you could try it. It has been amazing. Of course, I did have to keep saying, “Keep doing your math.”

Today’s Agenda

These are my plans. We’ll see how it goes. Having a plan does not mean this is exactly what we will do. It means these are my goals for today.

1- sleep in, breakfast–catch up on rest after all the canning (whew)

2- get ready for the day (showers, etc.)

3- have life school/ discover the old testament lesson

4- housecleaning and lunch

5- complete life school /discover the old testament assignments

6- Speech & Debate homework

Update: We did do 1-5! Yay

Homeschool: Not Falling Behind

Will your kids “fall behind” if you do not follow a strict schedule in homeschool?

     My dentist asked me a question he thought I could just nod “yes” to while I could not reply. He said, “I would not be able to do that, because I would not be disciplined enough to stick to a schedule, and you have to stick to a schedule, or they’d fall behind, right?”

     I thought it was interesting what he thought of as a given. He thought it a given that if we as homeschool moms are not able to stick to a strict, public school like schedule in our homeschool, that everyone learning here, would “fall behind” for sure.

     I have home educated my kids for 3.5 years and, having met over 300 homeschool moms, and have never known of a homeschool family, not using public charter school programs, who follows a strict schedule. In fact, from talking to the ones I have met, most, I see, do more unschooling style than school-at-home style. Yet, even then, official affidavit (legal) homeschooling vs. public schooling statistics show that homeschoolers who take tests do better on the tests than public schoolers, if you figure averages for both sides.

Homeschool Domination
Created by: CollegeAtHome.com

   In short, no schedule is necessary for success in home educating a child. I do not follow a schedule. I do like making schedules on my iPad. Doing it serves the purpose of helping me see how much time I actually have in each month and week. It helps me to block out proper amounts of time for teaching what I wish to teach, because, with time, I have learned how long things take. After doing it, I do not obey it. I just use ut ti put into my brain, what I have time to teach this week and this month, realistically. This way, I can focus on my goals and on where my kids need to improve, knowing that we cannot fit the impossible into our day.

     For example, this summer I am focusing on each child’s greatest weakness or needs in our homeschool. I am sure most public schooling moms do the same. Perhaps they see that their child needs to read more, so they focus on reading. Perhaps they see that their child is just rude and disobedient, so they will focus on the behavior issues and relationship this summer. Maybe the child wishes he or she had more time for science, so the focus will be science field trips this summer. I do this in our homeschool. 

     Even then, I do not follow a schedule. I do not say, “8:00 Learning Item 1, 9:00 Learning Item 2.” How do I do it, with no specific time or schedule? Whenever I feel like it, I work on this with this child. Whenever I feel like it, I work on that, with the next child. There are some days we just relax. Some days, we do a lot of housework. Most days currently, in the evenings, we are almost constantly at a ball game. You can say for sure one of our focuses now is sports. It is just time for that now. One of the things we do a lot of now is gardening and yard work. I bet a lot of people do a lot of that now.

     Do we even get to enjoy summer? Yup! The difference is, we also get to really enjoy the fall, the winter and the spring, while publilc schooling families only have one season to really enjoy life. It makes me sad seeing people having to stuff every happiness and joy into 3 months in one season of the year. 

     This is what I mean. In the fall when the public schoolers are sitting in a classroom for the majority of the day, my kids still get to go enjoy the outdoors a lot during the day, and not just in short bursts at a recess time. This is when the weather is cooler. It is just right outside. The fall leaves get to be enjoyed more. In this past winter, we spent a lot of time working in the garden in January and February. We had no snow stick on the ground until about April. It was a crazy year. We got to enjoy this bonus season which was a little like fall and a little like spring, more hours of the day. It was nice to have it.

    I hope thinking that you are not a disciplined, schedule-driven person, would not keep you from home educating your kids! Please, try it! ADD and ADHD moms can do it, too!

Springtime And Being Very Busy!

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.!

No Slave to a Style or Method

I am in Unschooling groups, eclectic groups, montessori groups, LDS homeschooling groups, TJED groups and regular homeschooling groups on facebook. We do not fit into any style. I decided a few months ago that pretending we fit into a box “we do this style,” was just fruitless. We do what works each day, what I feel like we will do that day, and on some days, what Heavenly afather directs. Ideally, every day would be “we do as Heavenly Father directs,” but in reality, I am not perfect and I just do my best every day. Some days, my best means I took a shower and the kids are alive.

I did purchase the L.I.F.E. School LDS Homeschooling Curriculum

I love it. I won’t say we do it every day, but usually whenever we do anything formal for aademics, we include it. It is what keeps me sane. I used to have to make lesson plans for all those subjects, but now I don’t have to and I know that it is included. I don’t have to worry over what to teach, as everything is right there (every subject is included except dance and math). My kids even have a lot of past workbook material to catch up on in LIFE School, so some days, when I di not have time, ability or desire to teach a formal lesson, I just say, “Do 6 pages of Life School,” and they know that means, from past lessons which I have taught, that they have yet to do work for. It takes them anywhere from one hour to never getting it done, to do that, depending on whether they try or not.

We still use Spelling Workout sometimes, too, because my kids need extra TLC in that area. We also use God’s Design For Science as it fits in with our Science in Life School, as a supplement, because it’s the most awesome Science program ever!!! It is not LDS, but Christian, and I add in LDS stuff because I am the teacher!

For more LDS and Scripture learning, we also use Discover the Old Testament, because that is where we are on the timeline of history in LIFE School, is Old Testament and Ancient Book of Mormon Times, for which we use Discover the Book of Mormon. One uses grades 1-3. The others use grades 4-7. They finished 1-3 in a different homeschool year.

Then there is the math, of course, which is also the best math ever because I am re-inventing the wheel. I have seen homeschool moms say of facebook, things similar to, “Why Reinvent the Wheel?” Well, in my case, because I do not like the wheel that is there. It is broken, so I am fixing it so that it works. The math used in public schools is the math used in homeschool, in most cases. I have heard of lots of homeschool math programs which just do not work for homeschool moms, unless they have just one, or very few, kids. I have 6, though, so it needed to be re-thought. It is a lot of work, but I do not follow a math program. Instead, I am creating a Homeschool math program which is a one room schoolhouse approach like LIFE School, which lets me teach math to all the kids together, and when it is fully ready, we will have math lessons as a family (instead of 5 separate math lessons for 5 separate kids old enough for them).

It is not fully ready yet. It is in the works. I do some of it, but mostly, I still have to teach each child a separate math lesson (which I think is so time-consuming)!

In addition to all that, we go when my husband is off work, on field trips to museums and kids learning places. I think it is easier on me not to try to do it without my husband’s help. We also are in a bunch of facebook groups and now and then, we do things with the others in the homeschool community locally. We used to do this more often, and have even tried the Co-Op thing. The Co-Op thing has not been in the mix of late, but I am trying to start my own LDS Co-Op lately, and we will see. Right now, I just plan a get-together once a month. That is all I can do now.

Here is a related post you will want to check out, too. The Current Mix of Our Homeschool Day

What is LDS Homeschooling?

LDS Stands for Latter-Day Saints. LDS people are Mormons. They are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You can learn more about this church and its beliefs at About the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

LDS Homeschooling is teaching our children the Gospel of Jesus Christ, from doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in our homeschools, which is legal. Just like people of other faiths have the freedom right now, to teach their beliefs in their homeschool, so also do members of this church.

In the public schools, teaching religion is not allowed. Secularism is taught in schools. This is a freedom from religion in schools. It is not a respect for all religions, but a lack of respect for any religion in particular, keeping everyone from the teaching of any religious beliefs in the government-funded and government-run schools.

Secularism requires that the most recent theories developed by scientists who do not add religion to their theories, are taught to the students. Currently in the world, there are a great many political beliefs and philosophies of humankind taught in the public schools. In the U.S.A., I include the charter schools, since they are also controlled by the Common Core or an exact likeness of the same in most non common core states.

If you, your childrens’ other parent and your children are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, then there is no reason to feel guilty about the legality of or the time in your day, taken up in teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in your homeschool. You can start small and with something very simple, and add or change things with time.

Here is an idea for how to begin to teach the gospel during the daytime, family-home-evening style in a way that is cost-free, using free resources peprovided by the church.

I recommend that together, you sing primary song or hymn, followed by a family prayer (for all present). I call this the devotional, and do not do it every day. I just do it as much as possible. I would like it if I were more consistent, but I am o.k. with doing my best. You should be, too.

When you feel ready to move beyond having this simple devotional, you may wish to add some small additional item. It does not have to be formal. You can teach the gospel while working and talking together, or while walking and talking together!

Here are some free church resources to use as references and helps in the Gospel education of your kids:

The Childrens Illustrated Scripture Stories
The Scriptures
the primary manuals (organized by age)
the current or past year primary theme and lessons
The Childrens Songbook
The Hymn Book
“The Friend” Magazine
“The New Era” Magazine
The youth curriculum
“For the Strength of Youth”
“Gospel Essentials”
“Gospel Doctrine”
“The Truth Restored”
“Jesus the Christ”
“The Articles of Faith”
“Teachings of the Presidents of the Church”
Seminary Manuals
Sunday School Manuals
“Teaching, No Greater Call”

All of these and more, are found here on the church’s official web site for members: The Church or Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Facebook group for Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who Homeschool

LDS Homeschooling Northern Utah fb page

Homeschooling with Uncle Steven Lessons

I just read an article about things that will ruin your homeschooling day and year. A lot of these rules are o.k., but number 6 really bothers me. Number 6 rule says to not to allow for interruptions, such as visits from people. She said she only allows phone calls from her husband, during the homeschool day.

If I had told my Uncle Steven that we could not be disturbed during certain hours of the day, my kids would not know him. He passed away this year in the end of September.

Whenever he came, all my kids gathered around to listen to his stories. He always wondered why we were not “doing school” or outside playing. He did not know that my kids and I adored him and that they would come in from outside just to visit with him.

He did not know how much we loved him. He did not know that I felt like they could learn more about life, and more wisdom, from listening to him than from any “academic” lessons out there. He did not know how wise I thought he was, or how I wanted so badly for my kids to learn everything they could from him.

My point is, do allow for “interruptions” in your “homeschool day.” Let all of life interrupt your academic and book studies. Everyday life is far more important than formal academic studies. Perhaps you think that later, when they are 18, that is the time that they are less busy learning important academics and time for them to face “the real world.”

At age 18, kids graduate from High School and many go on to technical colleges, community colleges, Colleges, Universities, or jobs. Active young men in the LDS church will go on missions. At age 18, they will leave home or be away from home most of the time.

If things are the way they were for me, perhaps Grandma will have dimentia when they get back. That grandma time will not be over, but very changed and very hard on the heart.

If I had waited for my kids to feel the real world, and had told Steven he had to leave and come back after we were done with our homeschool day, they would not have had the chance to know him at all. Steven did not have until they are finished with High School or a mission. He passed away while most are elementary school aged and one is 12.

Most of the very most valuable and important lessons in life will go away and be gone by the time a child becomes an adult. At 18, is there more time for such important family life learning? No, there is not more time. In fact, there is less time. When in the mission field or away at school or in a full time job, an adult does not have time to sit and listen to his or her great Uncle tell stories. There is too much to be done.

When that person is steady dating, becomes enganged, gets married and has kids, there is not more time to sit and listen. In short, if I had not decided on purpose, to make listening to and visiting with Steven, a priority, even with 6 kids to take care of, homeschooling to be done and housework to be done, I would have let that time with Steven be lost. I could not have made it wait until my kids were married and gone.

I have something important to say here. Life will not wait until you are ready for it. It must be lived now. Long visits with loved ones cannot wait. They must happen now. Time given to our children, our siblings, our parents, our cousins, our aunts and uncles, our friends and neighbors, must be given now. Time for people cannot wait until later. People are the important part of life. Academic studies are not.

This is big. This is true. This is real.

The Current Mix of Our Homeschool Day

We were asked in an Eclectic Homeschooling facebook group about our current (not year-round average, just current) mix.

I have been changing the numbers around and this is my guess, including the “homeschooling hours” Mon.-Fri. between 9 am and 4 pm only.

This is how we learn at our house, in order from the most to the least

Mom:

breastfeeding
cleaning up Vomit and getting more pedialyte
keeping kids dressed and fed
responding to kids and their needs
Teaching and correcting academic work
helping with Hope Haven Events, and preparing presentation and booth for Winter Homeschool Conference
Reading aloud to kids

Kids:

Playing with other siblings
Reading books/ magazines/ news of choice from our home library & internet
Legos and other toys
Self-Directed Learning
Fighting, discussing, negotiating and learning to get along
Playing with the Baby and teaching him to walk
Childcare
Learning about and Discussing our religion (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
Learning about and Discussing Current Events and Politics
Housecleaning
Personal Grooming, Health & Nutrition
Early Childhoold Education
Life Skills
L.I.F.E. School Curriculum
math via Utah’s former core curriculum (before common core) via worksheets, iPad math and Constance Kamii math
iPad and YouTube learning by taking turns
Discover the Old Testament
God’s Design for Science
Serving each other, and others
Art and Art History (my own curriculum)

I love that homeschooling is so auto-flex. What we need more and what works best, always naturally becomes what we do more of. What we need least naturally falls off of the bottom and just becomes a memory when it no longer serves us.

New Homeschool Routine For January 2015!

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Jeff said, “They only get 10 minutes of one on one time per day?” I said, “That is not all of the one on one time they get in a day. When they need help with Life School workbook, math, or discover the scriptures, they get one on one, but that is usually 2 minutes for this one, then 2 for that one, when they say, ‘I need help’ or when I check their work.”

Lest any forget, they get a ratio of 6 kids to one teacher (mom) all day long. That’s better than 25 kids to one teacher! When they have a question, it gets answered. Everyone’s every question gets answered almost every time. When they need help with their work, they wait in line behind one or two siblings for a couple minutes per sibling, then they get their one on one attention and help.

That is not even to mention that my 2nd grader can get help from my 5th grader or from my 7th grader if I am momentarily busy. My 5th grade son can get help from his 7th grade sister. Sometimes, my 7th grader can get help from my 5th grader (especially in Science, but, sometimes, he remembers some math things better than she does, and he reminds her). My kindergarten sin can learn how to read from 3 older siblings, when they read aloud to him. My 7th grade daughter makes teaching preschool and kindergarten one of her free time hobbies, which is wonderful and very helpful! She even uses the standards I have written up and in a book for each individual child, and asks me about teaching methods. I love that she is so willing to help in that way!

In case you are wondering, Life School teaches all subjects except dance and math, I believe. DTS is Discover the Scriptures,

I am excited for this, so I hope this works!

Peace out!

Public School, Homeschool and Behavior Issues

My son used to have major behavioral and psychological issues when in public school. In a week, I noticed slight changes. In a month, I noticed more changes. After 3 months, his issues had been cut to 60% what they were when he had been in public school. After one year of homeschooling, I think the behavior issues were about 40% what they had been in public school. Now it has been almost 3 years. He is older, so, granted, that could make a difference, too, BUT I think homeschooling has made a bigger difference than age. He has behavior issues still, but they are down to about 20% what they were when he was in public school.

I wonder so often, whether they would even exist, had he never been in public school, but that does not solve anything, so I shouldn’t.

I will tell you some things that I think made a difference for my son. They are important to me. I cannot guarantee they will work for you. Every family will do different things. I am sure something here could help someone, though, so here it is.

When I began, I had already read about 6 books written by amazing author Alfie Kohn, including “Unconditional Parenting” and “The Schools Our Children Deserve,” which I recommend you start with. His books are very thick because of solid references which are in the back of the books. These take up about one third of the book. I looked at the references and used them to decide which books to read next. These were also very helpful.

I love “The NDD Book,” about how your child getting enough sleep, exercise and the right nutrition, will spfor sure affect his or her behavior. My child does get more sleep out of public school, because if, for example, we happen to stay up late on a Thursday night, visiting relatives or something, the he sleeps in the next morning (Friday). When we do an exhausting field trip, project, co-op or gathering, he eats and naps. He naps whenever he needs it and I let him, because he does not do it very often, and I have talked with him about how his body will tell him when he needs it. Usually when he has a meltdown, we feed him (that helps) and then he will go lie down for a one hour nap. When he gets up again, he is cheerful, kind, helpful, obedient, etcetera.

We have discussed what works best for him, with him. He likes this. When we forget to do this for a while, things do not work as well. He also needs regular one on one love and individual attention. Before he really “got into” reading, I used to get up in the morning and, first thing, read to him sitting in a chair in his room, to help him wake up. I read for half an hour. This helped him get out of bed cheerfully. It also helped him feel loved and helped us bond. I cannot deny that it made him love books, as well.

I teach my kids via eclectic homeschooling, and one thing included in 60 to 90% of our homeschool, depending in the day, week and month, and what is going on, is letting him learn however he wants, and whatever he wants, as long as it is within our religious standards. A lot of people call this unschooling, but I prefer to just describe it, as the “un” has such negative connotations. He learns a ton this way, and the freedom of this approach takes away a lot of behavior issues.

We also use an LDS curriculum called “L.I.F.E. School.” “L.I.F.E. Stands for Life Integrated Family Education.” The kids all get the same lesson. Then they do their work, which is similar, so they can help one another, but it is different for each grade level. I love it. It makes things so much easier for me. I do not have to do as much work to out things together for my kids to learn. The gospel is woven into every lesson. It teaches art, geography, history, science, literature, poetry, theater, reading, grammar, paleography, spelling, and many types of writing. It teaches dictionary work and research, essay

The only subject not included in this curriculum is Math. I am fine with that. I work hard at math teaching, most of the time. When I do not, I have to make up for it later.