Teaching Empathy, the Social Emotion; High E.Q.

I highly recommend these two books I have. Get them!!!    

The Difference: Never in a Public or Charter School

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! 

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

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.

LDS Homeschooling Northern Utah fb group

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.

I Love That My Daughter Asked, “What’s a 4.0?”

Just now, my daughter found out her cousin of the same age, is in all likelihood, going to get a 4.0. She asked, “What’s a 4.0?” It will be difficult to explain my elation to most people around here, because in my “neck of the woods” here, things like that are so important.

I am an Alfie Kohn fan, and Alfie Kohn does really great job explaining why grades are bad. I will sum it up and then give you a link somthat you may read his awesome and very true essay.

Why grades and grading, in school, are a bad idea:

-Society cares about them, gives importance to them, and does not ignore them. (Ignoring and not valuing them would help a ton).

-Grades can cause suicidal thoughts, whether they are good ones or bad ones. Kids with good ones feel very much pressure to keep getting good ones, because others value grades so much.

-Kids do not see their value the way God does when they see their worth through their grades. They feel like the love they receive is received by merit.

-They do not feel unconditional love when their parents or teachers are “proud of them” for their grades. They feel love dependent upon the achievement of good grades.

-Grades do things to teachers. They make teachers say things like, “If you do not, you will have a lower grade.” The grades make the teachers forget the real reason why the child should do as they ask, which should be, to learn. I would prefer no grades so that thr teacher could say, “If you read this book, you will become more wise, and wisdom is a great treasure!”

-Kids feel like as long as they have perfect grades, they are done with the learning in that area. If they have a perfect score, they figure they are perfect at it and cannot go higher. Grades give the sky, a limit.

-In Alfie Kohn’s book, he talks about a study that shows that kids who get a 3.99 feel a lot worse about themselves than kids who get really low grades, because they were close to perfect but did not make it to perfect. These kids are so dramatic that they feel like their lives have been destroyed, if they get a 3.99

-See with the other perspective for a second, which is my perspective. If there is no “A” or “C” or 4.0 or 2.0, the child can focus instead on learning and learning and learning some more. There is not the pressure to achieve. Whatever is learned just makes the child want to learn more.

-My daughter’s reasons for writing a story now are, “because the article made me want to.” Desire fuels learning. She just read an article in the paper about the McKenzie Wagner’s “Benotropia,” which my daughter bought just because she wanted to read a book, because reading is her hobby. She used to be in public school. In public school, she says, she hated reading. She doesn’t know why she didn’t lie it then. She just didn’t.

-My son loves to learn science because it is awesome. He loves learning about animals, especially. He loves learning history because you can learn about the past because it might happen again. He loves learning about other cultures because when you learn about what they do, you may want to do it, too. My son likes learning math because it will help him with science.

I know to most people around here, my family is very strange and these ideas are so foreign that I belong in a museum of the weirdest things on earth. Only experiencing it would allow you to see how great learning for the right reasons, really is!

I promised an Alfie Kohn link, but I have found a few really good ones, so I will post all of them.

No Grades + No Homework = Better Learning

The Case Against Grades

From Grading to De-Grading

Grading: The Issue is Not Why, But How

The Dangerous Myth of Grade Inflation

It’s Bad News If Students Are Motivated to Get A’s” (Youtube video of lecture)

Achievement vs. Learning (youtube video of lecture)

The Advantages of Homeschooling Outweigh its Disadvantages

Most people are completely blind to the advantages of homeschooling. I think the problem is, they have a world view holding them captive.

This will be similar to trying to explain to non-parent, what joys there are found in having and raising a child! Let’s imagine a conversation involving a person who does not want to be a parent, and a person who loves being one.

“I would never want to have a kid. They are too much work.”

“I cannot imagine my life without my children. I love them so much!”

“Children are a burden, though. They hold you down.”

“I will not tell you that there are not sacrifices, or that it is not really, really hard, because it is very hard, and there have been many sacrifices. I will tell you, though, that it is worth it!”

This mother will not likely ever convince this person that the advantages of having a child outweigh the difficulties and sacrifices, because the other person’s worldview is so different from her own. The other person does not see the children as often as the mom does. She does not experience the day to day joys of parenting.

Just as this would be diffiult for the mother, to help the other woman see it from her worldview in this imaginary scenario, so it is difficult for me to explain to people who have or have had, their kids in public school, what it is like on a day to day basis, and how muh joy there is, teaching my kids without any help from a public school.

However, I am motivated, because I would really like for others to try to see a tidbit of the joys of homeschooling, so that more people around me will understand why I do what I do.

So, here goes nothin.’

My kids never have to feel the day to day peer pressure. They do not have to feel the day to day awkwardness of not fitting in. Every day, they are themselves. If someone said to them, “Just be yourself,” they wiuld be confused as to why that person said that, because they have never tried to be anyone else. They have no reason to. My younger kids do not know what “popular” means. My oldest does, because she is 12 and experienced some of that weirdness from public-schooled kids at church activities.

My kids don’t ever get teased for being smart or for listening well when I teach. They don’t get teased for learning well and understanding things. They don’t get grouped into a peer group based on their learning or skills or talents. They don’t get put on a pedastal for their accomplishments, filling them with destroying pride. They do get to be treated as unique, special, and as people with special talents which can be used for good, to help make the world a better place.

The children who have never been to public school in my home, do not know what grades are. They do not know what tests are.

Pizza Party

I have a son who used to think he was worth very little when he went to public school. I went and observed in his class and then I could see why. The teacher was putting a lot of pressure on him and making him feel like he was ruining the chances for a class Pizza Party, all because he was not getting high enough scores on Rocket Math. She did not say anything directly to him. She just said, “Some of us are doing really well, but those who are not, are holding the whole class back from a pizza party!” I wanted to cry. My poor son, who could not get any higher than the lowest level on the timed speed math drills, was looking down at his chair. He was using all his emotional strength not to cry.

I was not blind. All the other kids had colored in their cartoon rockets one level higher, or had already progressed some.

This is thr crazy thing, though: They were doing math problems that, in kindergarten, he could do even faster than likely the fastest in that class, and this wqs his 2nd grade year. His teacher had just recently told me that he was doing poorly in math. I had been shocked to hear it, because the image in my head had been or a child of mine who had begged me for math problems to solve, before entering kindergarten. In my mind, he was still that good at math, and he still loved math.

It was not over 2 months into homeschooling that he was begging for more math again. He still loves math today.

I do not believe in shaming. I do not believe in the kind of peer pressure that teacher used, or making a kid feel awful by saying the things that teacher said.

As sad as it was, I know she did not mean any harm. I see her as innocent, because she did not see what I saw. She was not thinking about my son as an individual that day, or any of the days she had said that before. She was seeing a class of 28 students. She was doing her best, and in her eyes, she was quite simply being a nice teacher by offering an incentive. I forgive her.

I am glad that I started looking for charter schools after that visit to observe in the school. I applies for all of the charter schools. I “made it” into all of them. I turned all of them down. By the time I was offered chances to go to charter schools, I had looked at all the details and had talked to people. I had found out that all of them used Rocket Math or similar things.

Most important if all, though, I had experienced what homeschooling could do for my kids, and It was an amazing difference! I knew my kids so much more, that I thought, as my friend Tammy expressed for me, I realized that in comparison, I had barely known them at all when they were in public school all day long. Spending all day every day with my kids was so much different from seeing them only after school every weekday and on weekends. Even on weekends, their grandparents took them away on excursions anyway, so I had not been seeing much of them.

I had also experienced the friendships and support of the local homeschooling community, which was vast and deep! Homeschool moms and homeschooled kids are so friendly and there are many of them. The moms are supportive and help one another. There are monthly meetings for just moms. There are holiday parties like the Not Back to School Party on the “1st day if school” for everyone in the community, Halloween Parties, Christmas Parties, a big Valentine’s Day Party, Spring Fling, Field Day and things all summer, too!

In fact, when people worry about socialization, it makes me laugh inside, though I do understand their worries. Kids that homeschool can have play overs or olay dates during the day, and are never told, “If you talk to each other, I will change the seating arrangement!” or some such silly thing. At recess, my kids on a daily basis are becoming best friends with each other, too. This is not a bad thing. They do have friends outside the family, but on a day in and day out basis, most of their time is with each other. This is the way God intended it to be. He created the family and the family is the most important unit in God’s church and kingdom. They should love one another, as Jesus taught us all to do. The best way for them to learn how to get along with others, is by learning in this microcosm of society, which is the eternal family unit!

I share this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.