“Homeschool Dailies”

Some days we are just like Unschoolers and we have unschool days, where some kid work on art and some learn science. They learn, but they learn what they want to learn. Some days, I teach a formal lesson to all of the family at once. Some days, we watch DVD lessons taught by amazing teachers so I can rest and let someone else teach.

A great many of the days, the kids ask me what they should do for homeschool, and I give each individual a list, which is generally the same for that child, every time we do this kind of a day. 

“Homeschool Dailies”


It is such a tradition and has lasted so long (most things don’t) that today I decided to make it official. This morning I made a list for each child called “Homeschool Dailies,” which is this list of things that I generally assign them every time we have a day when I want them to just do those repeated things I usually list for them. These are things which I think they are used to doing, don’t generally give me any complaints about (because they most generally have agreed that they like them and are o.k. with doing them for learning). These are also things I ask them to do because I have decided for them to do them based on:

  • What their interests are
  • What their weeknesses are for a well-rounded general education
  • The level at which they are understanding and learning
  • The areas which I think their focus needs to be on, or is naturally on at this time
  • Curricula or methods which work best for that child.
  • Curricula or methods I like because they are awesome (the montessori method, for example)
  • Which subjects our family needs the most focus and improvement on

I posted these lists in the homeschool room and will explain them to the kids one at a time to make sure each child understands. It is really a routine that works for us but which is now more official because it is written down and even has a large caption.

I must make it very clear that they will only be doing the “Homeschool Dailies” on days when say, “Today, I want you to do your Homeschool Dailies.” That will not be every day.

For the older and middle kids, “HomeSchool Dailies” are a list of things they can do for homeschool on their own in their textbooks, workbooks and with computer software we have. The list for the oldest will take about 3 hours. The list for the middle children will take about 2 hours.


For the younger kids, “Homeschool Dailies” are a list of things I generally have to do with them because they need a guide and someone who can teach, right by their side. It is an eclectic mix with the majority being Montessori reading and writing. It will take me 1.5 to 2 hours to do that with each child, totalling 3 to 4 hours for me.

Change of Plans in Homeschool

I love that I CAN have a change of plans in homeschool, either after much pondering, or on a whim and of a sudden. I have no need to contact a teacher, a principle, a common core standards creator or implementor or any government leader. Yesterday  was nauseous and vomiting. By mid-day, I was fairly sure it was a virus. By evening when my husband started vomiting, I knew for sure it was a virus. However, from 5 am until 10 am, I suspected it was because of anxiety over political things, things about the future of our nation and homeschooling. 

     One thing that came of it was a journal entry about how I need to make homeschooling easier on me and on the kids. The big thing I decided was that my child will not be taking any tests for college credit this year. Possibly, she will not next year, either. I am glad there are people who homeschool who can do that kind of thing and I am glad to know about the option t get college credit while a child is young. However, it is not for us right now. Still, we will learn the things about history because the DVDs and books about ancient world history I bought are great. The childrens’ fun “interactive notebook” (lapbook) and Power Point Presentations Bundle from a Teacher’s Pay Teachers store are also great. I will use them. The difference will be in my anxiety level and the anxiety level of my child. We will do it more slowly, more casually and more enjoyably! We will do it at our own pace with no pressure or worry. We will be enabled to enjoy the journey more.

     Another thing that came of it was a decision to write down one or just a few things, to focus on for each child in our homeschool. That is pretty much what we do at the beginning of the summer and I like it. I focus on their biggest needs and do not worry about anything else. They do a lot of teaching themselves based upon their interests, either intense or “on a whim.” I have come to see that the latter is how they learn more and learn more intensely.

     Recently, for example, my son learned Power Point from his cousin, so yesterday, he got on the computer and made something in Power Point. He really is doing things he could d better in Photoshop, so I need to teach him Photoshop! My daughters learned more about sculpture by making sculptures. She wanted to sell them on Etsy but I told her that making ten good sculptures and submitting slides to galleries will be a better way to go. She seemed upset, but I told her she could sell her sculptures for more that way. I also told her I did not learn that until I was thirty years old, so she is blessed to know it sooner. That is fodder not taught when you get a Bachelor of Art Degree in Visual Arts. It should be. One of my children has also been working much on learning to follow recipes and is having much learning happen there. Another really wants to learn many things but I have been too worried about other things to get to any of it nad help him. 

     I am still going to keep my rules for them, which rules regard television and technology, which I have listed in another post at length. I do not believe in having kids do whatever they want all day. I do believe in telling them they must be doing learning, housework, yardwork or doing something productive. I consider much play to be productive, too, which is crazy. I think they will understand Physics when we watch the physics DVDs and read the physics books I have on my amazon wish list, better after all of the playing they have done this past week. They learned much about gravity, acceleration and safety hazzards after their recent intense play as a group of siblings. I also taught them a lesson about wisdom and discussed with them how I was a child like them once and did learn by getting injured, just like them. I told them that people who have more years on them were always once children and that much of what they tell you, such as not to do this or that because they could get hurt, comes from learning that happened in their childhoods.

     I am eager today and tomorrow to learn, without throwing up, from the leaders, apostles and Prophet of God in the General Confence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I hope everyone is healthy today. I am grateful I am not throwing up!

Unschooling Style Math

     My kids are doubling not by multiplication but by addition. It is what they do for fun. Do they know about calculators? Yeah, but calculators don’t allow this many numerals on a screen anyway. Do they know that someone else has probably already done all this doubling? Maybe not, but if they thought about it, they would probably think it is probable. They do not care. This is something they are crazy over. They love doing it.

     Do they know that multiplying may be faster? Beats me. This is creative, Constance Kamii math. She would say, let them at it and let them figure things out their own way.

     So what does the homeschool mom think? She thinks, “Oh, YEAAAAAHHHH!” I think it is awesome. I bask in it like the emperor penguins bask in the sunlight after a long, cold, windy winter.

     They are on day sixty of doubling the mini m&m’s you’d have to eat if you doubled the number daily. For 60, they have a figure of 1,146,582,183,045,318,976. I do not know if that is accurate, but that is what they have.

The Freedom’s Light Festival 2016

The Freedom’s Light Festival

September 15-16, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

at Bountiful Park in Bountiful, Utah

(Free)

The Freedom’s Light Festival is Sept. 15-16, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Please attend one of the hours of day or night you can spare. These fesitivities celebrate Constitution Day (September 17th). http://www.freedomslight.us/

The events are open house style with the exception of the late-night programs. These are very important for learning about our history, our liberty, the founding fathers and mothers of our country, the original 13 colonies and their plight, the Declaration of Independence and our U.S. Constitution (includng the Bill of Rights).

The events with the exception of the late night program are for adults, youth and children. There is food available to purchase, but not much of it, so please eat before or bring a sack lunch or dinner. There are boweries to use.

This is worth even a ton of petroleum and time in order to come to it! It is amazing: Extremely fun for children and full of learning for all ages! and you will love that you came! Bring your children or grandchildren! Invite everyone who loves the U.S. Constitution! Plan on at least 2 hours, but to get through all of it you will need more like 4. If you cannot spare but one hour and live as close as or closer than within 30 minutes, it is worth your time! 

Spread the word to all who love God and Liberty!

http://www.freedomslight.us/

The Career of Homeschool Mom at Midnight

At midnight, this mom is still up searching for books, youtube videos and answers to all of the questions, interests and passions of her children. Sigh. 

First it started like this:

‘I will read “Better Than College…” again and see if I catch some new things the second time reading it. Before long, this came to my head.:

‘I wonder if I could find youtube videos about what it is like to be a nurse.’

After watching a few and saving then for my children to watch, I decided to look up some other careers my children have had interest in. I watched and saved those. 

Before long I was again on amazon adding book after book to my wishlist for the kids. This wishlist is forever long and I have to prioritize and decide later which of all things I want to buy, will be best for “my littles.” 

I cannot belive time flies so fast!

******

O.K., FYI, I just fell asleep leaning over my iPad. I really should go to bed.

Why College?

I have been having a battle in my mind. Sometimes, I work so hard to learn everything about getting my kids ready for college admittance and college degrees. Other times, I work so hard to get my kids the best learning opportunities I can get them to prepare them for life and career based upon their age, abilities and interests.

Tonight the battle continues in my mind. I am reading my highlight marks from the book, “Hacking Your Education,” by Dale J. Stephens, the man who started UnCollege.com (similar to Zero Tuition College by Blake Boles).

Here is a small piece from the beginning of the book that got me thinking just now:

“Why had I felt compelled to enroll in an Ivy League school? I had seen articles in Growing Without Schooling about unschoolers who had gone to Harvard. I thought I would do the same and that would show all the cynics. But is that what unschooling is about: finding a back door to traditional academic accolades? 

“What Astra discovered that year at Brown is that unschooling is a lifelong commitment. It’s not something you do until you’re eighteen. It’s not a stepping-stone before college. It’s an ethos. She realized it was her duty to take the reins of her education.”

I don’t know. It seems that way. Once I started down this unschooling path with my kids and myself, it is hard to understand the “normal” way of doing things anymore. I cannot really explain it to others very well yet. I feel like I am a baby just learning to walk. All the same, something is so changed in me that I feel I cannot go back to depending on others to “motivate” me to do research, speak out, write, learn, experiment or do crazy projects. It just isn’t me anymore.

I don’t think it is me anymore to push my kids to depend on others for all that, either. I will let you know about my journey and thoughts as time goes by if you just follow the story. 

Goodnight for now!

Homeschool Academics as a Prevention Method

I apoligize for those who may have come to this post thinking it is praise for Academics in homeschool. That is not what this post is about. This is about the positive things that your homeschool could have which academics can possibly prevent from happening.

My definition of “Homeschool Academics” is: 

Formal teaching by the homeschool mom or homeschool teacher (if in a co-op) usually by subject, such as math, science, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, speech, geography, history, careers, p.e., health, art, music, theater, dance and library sciences. These are usually learned one subject at a time at a certain “grade level.” They are usually taught either by specific planned curricula, usually via books, workbooks, assigned projects and so forth. Much of it is also memorization, copying and reciting. Sometimes there are field trips and videos. Sometimes even hands-on things are done to aid with the learning. Some or all of it could be fun and made just right for the learning style of the child. There is usually an assignment, project or quiz given to the child to do to aid with and show the learning. This “work” that is completed which has evidence is many times useless to anyone except for possibly as scrapbooking material for evidence in portfolios to show that this “work” has been done. More than 90 percent of this fodder is, or should be, recycled because otherwise it would overrun the house, giving nobody a place to sit, sleep or eat. About 10 percent of it is wonderful, beautiful and unique. Usually the homeschool academics are so rough on the kids that they need a formal recess, a formal lunchbreak, a formal starting and stopping time, formal days of the week when “homeschool” is done and formal summer, spring, fall and winter breaks, just like they would have in school. 

Most homeschool families, at least the ones I know of, started out nearly 90 percent of the time using the “homeschool academics” methods. Most homeschool families I know about don’t keep doing it more than a year. This is for those in their first year who have maybe “just getting started seeing the big picture of what homeschooling can be.”

My definition of “just getting started seeing the big picture of what homeschooling can be” is:

You have just begun to realize that using the “formal school structure, curriculum, schedules and methods” is not required, that nobody is going to check up on you and shut down your little homeschool and that your kids learn more watching television and playing than they do from your “homeschool academics” lessons. (Perhaps this is frustrating to you). You have possibly also noted that having your own children raise their hands to ask you whether they can use the bathroom is pretty silly. (That one is a chapter from our own starting out story). There is a very slight possibility that by now you have also had conversations with some seasoned homeschoolers. These people who have homeschooled for a few years and have stopped using so many of the “homeschool academics” methods. Possibly, you have even met a mother who told you, “We unschool.” I am sure you asked her what that was, so I will not tell you in this post. (If you have not met such a person, you will, or you can google it).

Now I will move on to what homeschool academics will likely prevent, with a story.

A couple weeks ago, we were thrown a new learning curveball. It was very unexpected and unplanned. We were out in the back yard peeling polyetheline tape off of cardboard boxes so that we could use those as weed barriers to start our “Back  to Eden  Garden.” Suddenly we heard very loud wings flapping with fervor. A large raptor was chasing a dove. The raptor had knocked the dove out of the tree first. It was so surprising that we all screamed loudly, scaring the raptor away. Then we had a limping, flightless dove hopping around the yard with cowardice, looking so afraid that we  tried  to feed it. Then we started to worry about the CAT. Oh, dear. Poor helpless bird. We did not want this lovely bird killed by a cat.

We made a couple phone calls and then we had a very scary mission: to pick the bird up with a towel and put him in a box, then take him in to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. (My sister-in-law did this with our little bit of help. Our hero!) Little did we know, that was just the beginning. We went to a volunteer training meeting and today, my son and I were in volunteer training there for 3 hours. We learned as much as I learned in one whole week in a class in college. I cannot even put it all into words, and that was just in three hours’ time. We plan to continue and next week my daughter will be in training, too. They will learn more than any school kid could possibly be learning at the same time sitting in school.

Now let me say something about this. If we had been inside doing academics and not outside ripping tape off from cardboard boxes, this opportunity for EXTREME LEARNING opportunity never would have presented itself. We would still not even know that this place exists. By the way, they told us that the bird who chased the bird out of the tree was a Cooper’s Hawk and that the dove is a Eurasian Collard Dove. The dove is now being treated by being fed from a tube. He has a popping sound when he breathes which indicates he has internal injuries. His wings work fine but he is too injured internally to be able to fly. 

Once a week as part of our learning, we will go in and volunteer there. This will be a great opportunity for my kids to learn service, hard work, introducation to veterinary science, biology and medical care for injured wild animals (mostly birds). I think even the “academic homeschooling” moms would love to have their kids doing things like this for learning, but I do not think they will find such opportunities in their communities until they slow down the academics and start working their way into the adventurous side which is called “unschooling.”