How I Teach My Preschoolers

January 31, 2006 at 9:46 am (Uncategorized)

These are my notes from a talk I did at a Homeschool Convention on teaching preschoolers:

Preschoolers a Unit Study Approach with the Alphabet

How to use the Internet and Community Resources to put
together a low-cost preschool curriculum based on the ABC’s

What is the Purpose of  “doing”  preschool?

I define my purpose as follows:

1.  Providing a happy learning experience.  (Laying the
groundwork for the joy of learning.)  This means I must not over
do it.  If my child isn’t interested in something I am teaching I
need to move on.  Also limit the time I teach.  (I do approx. 1
hour per day with my preschoolers.)  A Montessori Preschool
teacher told me once you should always stop teaching while
your student is still interested.  It makes them look forward to
tomorrow.

2.  Provide an opportunity to be exposed to a wide variety of
learning experiences.    This will allow me to see where my
preschoolers interests lie. It will also begin to expose my
preschooler to the world of learning that surrounds them.  

3.  Provide an introduction to letters, numbers, cooking,
crafts, reading together and most of all FUN!  My children
will have many years to gain book knowledge.  The most
important thing for my kids to learn in the preschooler years is
to LOVE LEARNING!

4.  Provide opportunities to socialize with other
preschoolers.    This can be accomplished through weekly 1
hour preschool Co-op Class, Ballet, YMCA or Park Department
Sports, Awana, Sunday School,  Swim Lessons,  Play dates,
Park Days & Homeschool Field Trips.  The opportunities are
endless!

5. To establish myself as the teacher and build a good
teacher/child relationship.    Up until now I have been “just
Mom”, now I m going to be “teacher/mom”.  As opposed to
children who will travel through tradition school and have many
teachers, my kids will be with me for all there grades.
Preschool is a good opportunity to help my children see  me as
their teacher and establish a routine we will be following for
years.  It is also a great opportunity for me to begin to learn
about my child’s unique learning style and start directing their
learning in a way they can learn most effectively.

So, now that we have an idea of what we want to do, how do we
do it.

A Unit Study Approach

By definition a Unit Study approach is using a single theme or
topic to teach all subjects.  The Alphabet is very easy to do this
with since you are basically just taking anything and everything
you want you preschooler to learn and organize it by teaching it
alphabetically.  

Example –  Letter A

1.  Teach the Letter Sound of A  (The Letter A Make the short
Vowel sound /a/ as in Apple.)
2.  Make the letter A on Card stock with Aluminum Foil, Apple
Seed or Allspice.
3.  Cooking – Make an Apple Pie, Apple Sauce or Alphabet
Soup.
4.  Music – The Ants Go Marching In, Animals Crackers In My
Soup
5.  Bible Story –  Adam & Eve
6.  Math – Introduce Addition or the Abacus
7.  Science – Birds – Albatross, Flower- Aster, Mammal –
Antelope
8.  Social Studies – Johnny Apple Seed, Africa, or the job of an
Astronaut.
9.  Art – Apple Stamping, Animal Paper Bag Puppets
10.  Game – Act out animals, or be Acrobats!
11.  Field Trip –  Visit in an Aquarium or an Apple Orchard.

Keep a Letter Notebook.  Write each letter of the alphabet on a
page an keep the notebook handy for organizing your ideas as
you prepare for the weeks to come.

There are many ways to get together your ideas easily.

The number one place to get ideas is the Internet.  You can
find tons of ideas by searching Google.  Just type in what you
want to know.  “Where can I find preschool crafts for the letter
A?” 

The Library  is a in inexhaustible resource for books and ideas.
Go to the Library with your child and pick out books for the
next 3 letters you will be studying.  (This will reduce trips to the
Library since you get books for 3 weeks at a time.)  You can
also search for  books online and reserve them in advance.  

A Children’s Encyclopedia set is great for having a wide
variety of topics on each letter.  You can easily pull the letter
you are working on each week off the shelf and have all kinds
of information to share with your child that it written on their
level.

Felt Board Stories  are an inexpensive way to build your
preschool library.  Felt is very inexpensive and a wide variety of
free graphics, stories & ideas are available on the internet. 
Not only  an you cut things out of felt for the stories, you can also
print picture on card stock and glue the felt on the back of the card
stock.  If your children are going to be handling the cardstock
pieces a lot you may want to cover them in clear
contact paper to protect them.

Arts & Crafts  Let’s face it preschoolers LOVE to cut, glue and
create.  A HUGE part of our school week is doing crafts.  So get
use to having paper scraps all over your floor and get creative!
My 2 favorite craft books for Preschoolers are “Preschool Art”
& “365 Things to Make & Do”   Both of these
are excellent resources for creative ideas.  Don’t forget the
Internet too.  You can easily go into Google and search for
preschool crafts for each letter.   My daughter and I made a
Alphabet Craft Scrapbook this year.  We made a craft for every
letter of the alphabet and then made them into a scrapbook.

Cooking.  Okay, I admit, this is the one I do the least with my
kids.  I really don’t like to cook much, so adding kids to cooking
is really no fun for me!  I do however have a daughter who loves
to cook, so this year for preschool we made Chocolate Chip
Cookies, Banana Bread, Gingerbread Cookies (& a Gingerbread
House), Pizza, Sandwiches, Quiche,  Smores, Upside Down
Cake & Zuchini Bread.  

Math  Beside the suggestions from the letter of the week there
are all kinds of Math Activities you can do with you
preschooler.  Board games are great.  Sorry, Jr. Monopoly, Uno,
Trouble,  Math Mat Challenge.  If you like a workbook
approach they are readily available at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, etc. 
Numzels are also fun.  Ues fun foan to cut out big numbers. 
Then cut each number into that many peices.  1=1piece, 2=2pieces, etc. 
You can use these to learn the numbers and basic addition. 
Give them the 2 and the 3 and have them figure out by counting
the pieces that 2+3=5.  Math Mat Challenge is also fun. 
Make a circle of felt big enough for them to stand in the middle. 
Around the outside edge write the numbers 0-10.  Have the child
stand in the middle and call out math problems.  2 + 1= and they
step on the number.  You can also count 4, 3,2, and have
them find the next number. 

Letter Sounds  We also do  lot of letter sounds games and
activities.  I have accumulated a few audio tapes with letter
sounds song (Sounds Like Fun – Discovery Toys,  Sing Spell
Read & Write Letter Sounds Tape.)  which we listen to together
everyday.  My new favorite way of teaching the letter sounds is
The Leap Frog Letter Factory Video.  These videos are an
excellent way to “teach” the letter sounds to you children with
little or no effort from you!   If your child like to use the internet I
recomend <a href=http://www.starfall.com>http://www.starfall.com</a>&nbsp; Our favorite letter sound games are
ABC Stomp & Clever Catch.  For ABC Stomp  I took  Fun Foam
and outlined one of the kids shoes on it.  I then cut out 26 shoe
sized footprints.  On each footprint I wrote a lowercase and
uppercase letter.  One for each letter of the alphabet. 
(write on both sides with a Sharpie marker since the frequently flip
over while playing the game.)  Now, lay all the footprints on the floor. 
Start with teaching the letters.  Step on the letter A, step on the letter B, etc. 
When they know all the letters you can start the letter sounds. 
Step on the letter that shounds like “ku”, step on the letter that sounds like “buh”. 
From there you can continue sometimes I have them spell out words,
sometimes I have them find the last letters of a word.
Clever catch is a inflatable beach ball with the alphabet on it. 
I bought mine through Scholastics years ago.  However, you
could just buy a beach ball and use a Sharpie
(My favorite writing implement!) to write all the letters on it. 
Then you toss the ball back and forth.  When the child catchs the
ball they say the letter, letter sound and a word for the letter they
find under their left hand.

Science  Since I have an older child I do school with
also  I use some of that time for my preschooler to watch
educational videos or television shows.  My preschool daughter
LOVES Magic School Bus & Stanley.  She has learned an
amazing about of things from those 2 shows.  She is always
telling me about some animal she knows about or talking about
gravity!  DK also has a great line of Science videos. 
Don’t forget to check the Library, they have tons of
great videos.

Bible – Learn bible verses for each letter of the alphabet. A is
for According to the scriptures,  B – Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ and you will be Saved,  C – Children obey your parents
for this is right.  

Basic Supplies  you may want to have on hand: (To keep you
from running to the store!)

white glue
glue sticks
cardstock
Felt
Scissors
paint
crayons
washable markers

Places to shop:  (for ideas and supplies)

Dollar Tree
99 cent store
Sam’s Club
Michael’s / JoAnn’s  (Scrapbook paper comes in tons of themes
can be great for making letter of the week.)
Big Lots
Ebay – (cheap place for pre-made felt board stories)

Things to Make:  ABC Letter Stomp,  Clever Catch,
Numbzels,  Felt Stories & board,  ABSeas Go Fish Letter Game,
ABC Wall poster,  Letters of the week notebook (or wall art),
Letter Art Scrapbook , Math Mat Challenge

Things to Purchase:  Leap Frog DVDs,  Preschool Workbooks,
ABC Art Book,  Preschool Art Idea Book

Co-op:  I  encourage familiesl to get together with other
preschool families and have a co-op class.  I did this last year.
We met once a week for 1 hour and did crafts, stories, show &
tell, snack games, etc. with other families.  The kids LOVE it!
This is a great socialization experience.

Any Questions?

 

 

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Our 2005 Travel Pictures

January 31, 2006 at 12:17 am (Uncategorized)

My son is teaching me how to get photos on my blog.  Here are some of the great places we visited in 2005!

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/Sept2005507.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”> 
Biosphere 2, Arizona

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/Sept2005336.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Camping In Houston, TX

“<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/DeathValley2005.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Death Valley In Bloom! CA

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/Sept2005244.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Eisenhower Presidential Museum, Abielene, KS

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/Sept2005208.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Aspen, Co

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/Nov.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Shingle Springs, CA

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/Dec2005667.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Meteor Crator, AZ

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/FebMarchApril2005243.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Mt. Charelston, NV

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/decjan20032004107.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
San Diego, CA (Date is wrong on photo)

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/Dec2005533.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Snowball Fight!  Derby, KS

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/FebMarchApril2005344.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Disneyland Anaheim, CA

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/FebMarchApril2005144.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
San Diego Wild Animal Park

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/decjanfeb20032004001.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Red Rock, Nevada

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/AprilMayJune2005064.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Calico Ghost Town Calico, CA

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/JellyBellyNov2005.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Jelly Belly Factory Fairfield, CA

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/FTTNov2005.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Fairytale Town Sacramento, CA

<img src=”http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f87/jaminacema/GraceSacZooNov2005.jpg&#8221; alt=”Image hosting by Photobucket”>
Sacramento Zoo, Sacramento, CA

Traveling is  big part of our homeschooling, can you tell?

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When To Hold Em"?

January 30, 2006 at 11:49 am (Uncategorized)

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run.
—-Kenny Rogers

I don’t know why these are the 1st words that came to my mind when I
started thinking about this topic, but they were. So, what is the
topic? When to start letting your children make their own mistakes.
(When to hold em’, and when to walk away?) My husband and I are having
a difference opinion on this one. Yes, you guessed it I have stepped
with our oldest son (age 11) where maybe I shouldn’t have. Or should I?

It’s really hard for me to let my kids fail. Part of it is
that as the honeschooling Mom I am always there, I see what is going on
in their lives. Sometimes the solutions are so obvious to me I just
never really think not to say something. But, my husband really
challenged me tonight. What he said was simple, “I think your getting
too involved. Let him make a mistake, he’ll learn from it.” But all my
Mommy senses went wild! Let him make a mistake!?? What kind of parent
does that?!! (A good one, because my husband is a very good parent. I
learn that over and over in watching his dealings with our kids.) But
the truth of the matter staying out of “it” and letting him learn from
his failures had never occurred to me? Maybe that is a Dad’s way of
thinking. I can remember my own Father (Who was also an excellent
parent.) saying to me “Well you make the decision, you can always learn
from your mistakes.” YIKES, I don’t want him to learn from mistakes. I
want him to learn from ME!

Recently my cousin died at the age
of 46. (She was also my sister-in-law; she was married to my husband’s
brother.) It was a very sad time. One of the things that came to mind
as I reminisced of all the good times we had shared, was a trip we took
when we were young. I mean REALLY young! She was 16, my sister was 14
and I was 11. Somehow we convinced our parents to let the 3 of us take
the car and drive 500 miles to visit another cousin 2 States away! It
was a great trip and we had a blast. We were good kids (as our parents
must have known.) and we didn’t get in any trouble. I have such great
memories from that trip. But, here’s the kicker…My son is 11! I don’t
even let him go into the grocery store by himself! He has stayed home
alone a couple times. (But only if the neighbor is home, they know he’s
home, he knows they know he's home, and I’ll be right back! LOL)

Am I too protective? Too involved? Or have times changed? Where my
parents just permissive? Maybe this is a side effect of homeschooling.
I am with him so much that I just never realized WOW, he’s 11! His
friends are of varied ages so I have never really compared what others
are allowed to do vs. what he’s allowed to do. Don’t get me wrong, he’s
not asking to do things that I am saying no to. He didn’t seem to think
I had overstepped my boundaries with the situation that came up today.
I think in many ways he was glad to have me be the scapegoat. I got him
out of making a hard decision, but now I am wondering if that was the
right thing to do? Yes, he may have made the “wrong” decision and had
to “learn from his mistake”, but in this situation it would not have
been the end of the world.

So back to the Kenny Rogers
song…I want to hold him, I want to fold him up in my arms and keep him
safe. I certainly don’t want to walk way and no matter what happens I
will never run! This parenting thing is hard…

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Homeschooling And Technology

January 29, 2006 at 1:53 pm (Uncategorized)

Technology is such an intergal part of our homeschooling day I cannot even imagine homeschooling without it!

My kids use the computer every day.  My 4 yo daughter plays phonics and math games while the 2-year-old watches.  My 11 year old reads the news, plays game and talks to friends all over the world.  He also uses it for school projects.  I love that whenever he has a question about something and I don’t know the answer he’ll say “Don’t worry Mom I’ll just Google it.”  (He comes up with really good questions that just stump me, last night he asked me “What’s the difference between and Empire and a Kingdom?”  I must admit I didn’t know.  But <a href=http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=1006010604543>Google </a> did! LOL)  He uses Wikipedia all the time too.  I didn’t even know about Wikipedia until he told me about it.

We also use the computer to communicate with each other.  Whenever he has a writing assignment I have him start with his rough draft on paper, then put it in a Word, then the final draft is put up on a webpage to be stored.  When this is all done he emails me to tell me to go to the Webpage and check his work.  Sometimes I email him his assignment sheets when I get tired of him loosing them!  Frequently I send him emails to clean his room.  Dad Instant Messaged him the other night from our bedroom to his to tell him and his sleepover friend to get off the computer and go to bed.

Actually using the computer for school is just a small part of what we use the computer for.  The most important thing I use it for is support.  I love that at a click of the mouse I can talk to other homeschool Mom’s all over the world.  I can visit the forums for the curriculum I use, read a blog or pose a question to someone I’ve never met in person.  I have been on a Christian Attachment Parenting Yahoo Group for 7 years.  Some of those women I have never met have more influence on my day to day life than my in real life friends!  But, it doesn’t end there.  We get all our local homeschool groups information through the Internet.  All the classes we take, field trips we attend and meetings we know about come to us via the World Wide Web.  I research curriculum, reserve library books, make playdates, etc, etc.

There is so much more than “just” the computer though.  We have TV’s, CD’s, DVD’s, Leapsters, Turbo Twists, Digital Camera & Video Camera.  We use all these things on a day to day basis and barely give them a thought.  When my oldest son was in 3rd grade he was struggling with Spelling.  I felt like we had tried everything.  Then I came across the Turbo Twist for Spelling.  He LOVED it and bloomed in his spelling!  Within weeks I could tell a huge difference and within 3 months he was up to grade level in his spelling.  He’s in 6th grade now and he still uses the Turbo Twist everyday! (We also have the Turbo Extreme, Addition and Multiplication models now!)

We learn our Phonics with Sing, Spell, Read & Write using our CD player.  We learn our Multiplication Facts in Math-U-See from CD too, not to mention we watch our video Math teacher on DVD every week.

The list goes on and on…We TIVO educational programs off  TV,  Rent educational videos, listen to composers like Mozart and Bach on our CD players (No, we don’t have an IPOD yet!)  

I think about all the actually work that I would have to do if I started homeschooling 30 years ago.  Wow, what a difference!

There is a downside though.  Using all this technology we have to be careful not to let too much of the World creep into the safety of our home.  We have time limits on the computer and television use.  Filters and Ad blockers installed.  Rules about what we watch and what type of websites we visit.  We fast-forward through commercials and never give our real names or mention where we live online.  The kids know the rules and understand why they are in place.  I know I cannot protect them from everything! 

So yes, we do have to be careful with technology.  I can never see anything replacing the joy of curling up with a good book.  But, I am very grateful I am homeschooling in the day and age that I am…

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The Wonderful World of Advertising!

January 28, 2006 at 1:07 pm (Uncategorized)

Last night I went to our local YMCA to meet a friend of mine to co-host
our monthly “How to Begin Homeschooling” class.  I walked in the
front door and BAM there it was, advertising!  Okay, I might as
well admit it right here.  Advertising is my pet peeve!  I
couldn’t believe it right above the sign in desk were brand new (HUGE)
signs for Shell Gas and Green Valley Grocers.  YUCK!  I have
a big bulging folder of articles and information I have collected over
the last 6 years regarding advertising.  I don’t really know why I
am collecting it, but in the back of my mind I keep thinking maybe I
will put together a homeschool curriculum to educate kids on
advertising.  

Advertising makes me crazy! Especially advertising to children.  I
cannot believe how our society is handing over our kids to become
little commercialized consumers.  It seems to me it all started
getting out of hand with Happy Meals.  What a great idea.  A
gift with every meal.  Let’s get those kids hungry for stuff! Ah,
but don’t just giving them something to ply with when you can attach it
to a product.  Let’s partner with Disney and advertise directly to
kids every new Disney movie coming out.  But, it gets better,
let’s get parents to actually pay for the stuff!  Wow, what a
concept!  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just McDonalds, it’s
everywhere.  Branding, product placement, celebrity endorsements,
advertising in schools, in school text books (What you haven’t heard of
that one? Adbuster.org webpage in June of 2001 had an article on Brand
Names in TextBooks.  “…as the old textbooks depict Dick and Jane
skip down generic streets. It’s a place where Michael Jordan eats
Whoppers and Leonardo DiCaprio relaxes at the Viper room.”)  It’s
out of hand.  One of the Articles I have collected says the
“Americans daily witness as many as 3000 ad messages.”  (Mothering
Magazine 2004) and according to a New York Daily News article the
annual budget for advertising is $15 billion dollars.  How can a
mere parent combat that?

So what can we do?  Here are a few of the things we are doing at our house.

1. Don’t watch commercials! 
We use TIVO for much of our TV view and zip right through the
commercials.  I tell the kids.  Don’t watch the commercials,
I want you to think for yourself.  (Not to mention way too my
commercials are filled with sexual content not appropriate for kids!)
2. Don’t shop major brands.  We
do the vast majority of our grocery shopping at Natural Food Stores
that focus on the quality of the food not on advertising to bring in
more sales. (Trader Joe’s Wild Oats, Whole Foods)  This way we are
buying THE FOOD not THE HYPE.  I have never seen s advertisement
for most of the products on my pantry shelf.
3. Shop 2nd hand.  We buy
almost all our clothing 2nd hand.  This neutralizes
advertising.  By the time my kids get the clothing we are just
looking for things we like, that fit and are in good condition. 
This of course has a lot of other benefits such as saving money,
helping the environment and becoming a fun hobby (yard sailing and
thrift shopping) for the whole family!
4. Don’t let it in! I am amazed
when I go into house and see a room decorated in Coca-Cola!  I’ve
seem Oreo’s on a bedspread & SpongeBob on about everything! 
We don’t use advertising products in our decorating.  We also
don’t wear advertisements on our clothing!  The only clothing my
kids have that advertise anything are the ones that we buy at the
Christian Bookstore saying things like “Get Life – Accept
Christ!”  (My son actully has a shirt like this that looks like a
Nintendo Game Advertisment, but is actually a Christian Witness.)
5. Give kids an allowance. We
start our kids on an allowance when they are 4.  They get $1.00
for each year old they are.  (Yes, our 11 year old gets $11.00 a
week!)  Why you ask?  To teach them about money.  You
can’t learn how to be a responsible consumer if you don’t know the
value of a dollar.  My kids NEVER ask me for money.  It just
is unheard of.  They know exactly how much they get per week and
they save for things they want.  My oldest now even has a few
magazine subscriptions and online games he makes monthly payments to
out of his allowance.  They are less likely to want something just
because it’s a certain brand if they are paying for it with their own
money.
6. Homeschool. –  One of
the many beauties of homeschooling is you get to select what gets into
your kids heads!  You don’t have to use a curriculmn that uses
Brand Names in their Text books.  (You don’t even have to use
textbooks. Plus, by being home they are not seeing advertising signs in
the hallways, having free handouts of products between classes and
eating out of vending machines at lunch.  My neice, who goes to
public school was recently telling me that on Fridays they have Papa
John’s pizza at school, but she hates it because it doesn’t taste like
Papa Johns.  I asked her what made her think it was Papa Johns and
she said.  “They hand it to you in a Papa Johns box.”  Being
home your kids have less chances to be exposed to those 3000 messages a
day!
7. Be Aware. Pay attention and
get into a mind set to notice advertising.  If I had allowed
myself to become desenitized to advertising I probably would not have
even noticed the new advertising signs at the YMCA.  Because I
make a effort to keep advertising influences to a minimum they hit me
the minute I walked in the door.  Recently I was out running
errands and I needed some BarBQue Sauce for dinner.  I was right
by a Wal-Mart Superstore, so I thought I would just run in and grab a
bottle.  I rarely go to SuperWalMart.  It overwhelms
me.  But I run in since I was sans kids.  I search and find
the BBQ Sauce aisle.  That’s right aisle.  I measured they
had a 7 foot by 6 foot section of the store dedicated to BBQ
Sauce!  I couldn’t believe it.  Who need this much
choice.  Trader Joe’s has 1, maybe 2 types to choose from.  I
stood there for quite sometime trying to make a choice.  Finally a
woman walked up and grabbed a bottle.  I decided to just buy what
she bought, I fugured she must have seen all the ads and “knew” this
one was best!  LOL  I know I was probably the only person in
the store having a crisis over what BBQ Sauce to by.  When I left
the store I felt drained .   We have protected ourselves from
this time of mass commercializem and when we experience it we feel
overwhelmed.  
8. Talk to your kids. I know if
you’re a homeschooler you are already doing this one.  I am
constantly talking to my kids about advertising.  We see a
comercial, a billboard, a product placement and I ask them “Why do you
think they are advertising here?”  We discuss who the clientele is
for which products and why advertisers choose to advertise where they
do.  My 4 year old is frequently daying “Oh, we don’t need that,
thay just want our money!” Mothering Magazine 2004 says “Research has
shown that American children spend almost as much time everyday with
TV’s, Computer & other media as they do in the classroom.” 
The great thing about the world being our classroom is we can combat
this!  We can raise our kids to think for themselves nd be wise
consumers.  Homeschoolers can make a difference.

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What Qualifies Me?

January 27, 2006 at 5:40 pm (Uncategorized)

The State we lived in when we first started homeschooling required that each teacher keep on file a list of their teaching qualifications.  When we first started homeschooling I sat down to write out a list of my qualifications.  I included my education and additional classes I had taken at homeschool conferences.  I wrote out classes I had taught at Church and volunteer work I had done.  When I was finished with my list I was very disappointed with what I had on paper.  I knew those were probably the things the State wanted me to list, but they paled in comparison to what I felt in my heart qualified me.  This led me to begin to search the Bible for verses that backed up what I was doing as a homeschooler.  One of the 1st verses I found reassuring was Proverbs 6:20-21 “My son keep your fathers commands and don’t forget your mother’s teaching.  Keep their words in your mind forever as though you had them tied around your neck.”  Okay, this was a step in the right direction.  Soon I had 3 handwritten pages of verses that supported homeschooling.  It wasn’t long before I painted a little chalkboard to hang in our schoolroom that reads “Knowledge begins with respect for the Lord, but fools hate wisdom and self control.  Proverbs 1:7.  

Then one Sunday our Pastor preached a sermon called Home Improvement, Building A Healthy Family.  In the sermon he talked about making our homes a center for learning and used the verse “You must teach these commandments to your children and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk; at bedtime and first thing in the morning.”  Deut. 6:7    Well this set my mind a spinning!  This was what I had been feeling all along!  So using the Bible verses I had been collecting and incorporating what I learned from that sermon I came up with a new more accurate Teachers Qualification for myself.  

(Disclaimer:  Although I do feel that God has called me to homeschool my children I do not want to leave the impression that I feel everyone must homeschool.  I think there are many wonderful parents whose children are being educated in either public or private schools. These parents are working  hard to fulfill  the commands I now see in the Bible about teaching our children.  They have just chosen a different path than I have.  Also, the Pastor who preached this message was not a homeschooler.  I firmly believe we are ALL the teachers of our own children.  If you have children in your life they are watching and learning from you whether you realize it or not!)

My Teacher Qualifications
“Knowledge begins with respect for the Lord, but fools hate wisdom and self control.  Proverbs 1:7.  


As a believer in Jesus Christ as my Savior I believe the Holy Bible to be The Word of God and therefore true.  Based on God’s word I am uniquely qualified to be the teacher of my children.

Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  As a parent God has commanded me to train my children, to spend unlimited time with them, being an example as well as a teacher, in all aspect of their lives.

In Deuteronomy 5 Moses presents the 10 Commandments to the Israelites.  Then we come to Deuteronomy 6:6-7
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of then when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

In breaking down just 4 of the words from Deut. 6: 6-7 we learn who God sees as our children’s teachers:

YOU – Parents are their children’s teacher.  It is our responsibility.
SHALL – Something we must do, not an option or suggestion.
TEACH – You are the teacher.  Your children are always watching you!
THEM – (These commands.)  These are not suggestions; they are God given commands.

When am I to teach them?  “When you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”  God’s words tell me that it is my responsibility to spend limitless time influencing and teaching my children.


In Luke 6:40 we are told that “A student…that is fully trained will be like his teacher.”  To ensure that the teacher they are like is following God’s commands I need to have intimate knowledge of who is teaching them.  As their parent and teacher I am uniquely qualified to fill this role.  

In Luke 16:15 Jesus said to the followers “Go everywhere in the world. Tell the Good News (of Christ) to everyone.”  As a believer in Christ it is my responsibility to raise and educate my children in a way that they will believe “…there is one God;  and there is none but He: And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself.” Mark 12: 32-33.  In order to accomplish these mandates from God, I am not only their parent, but their teacher as well.  I desire to be completely involved in all that they are learning.  I am available to talk and discuss issues as they come up, anytime, any place.  I desire to be an example to them in their day to day lives.  “…be(ing) an example to believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12. I will lead them in all aspects of their education, as well as, their spiritual development.

As the teacher of m
y children I am more deeply concerned about the final result than anyone else can possibly be.  I desire for my children to be well educated, socially well balanced and responsible.  More than anything I desire for them to well educated believers in Jesus Christ and to spread the Good News about Him.  With these things as my goals I am willing to spend unlimited time, energy and patience to teach, direct and guide my children down the correct path in all avenues of their lives.

Okay, I realize this is probably not what the State had in mind, but it is much better reflection of what I believe qualifies me!
 

 

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Homeschool Baby – Jan. 26, 2006

January 26, 2006 at 11:12 pm (Uncategorized)

I tell people that our daughter started
“School” when she was 3 weeks old.  I had planned on taking a 1
month break after her birth, but my 1st grade son was so excited about
“finally” having a classmate that he couldn’t wait another week to get
back to school.  Up until this point his only classmate had been
our very uncooperative cat.  Now that he had a sister his prayers
were answered.  The last day of 1st grade he was still so happy to
have a classmate he organized an end of school year party complete with
food, games and of course a dance!

I often wonder what
baby of a homeschool family must be thinking?  Our baby just
turned 2 and has of course never known any other life.  But, the
stories he could tell if only he could talk!  I think his favorite
part of the school day is when his big brother and I do Math at the
kitchen table.  This is his opportunity to crawl out the doggie
door and play in the backyard where I have full view of him from the
kitchen table.  He’s an independent little soul and loves playing
out back more than about anything.

Then there is the
Homeschool Group Preschool Co-op I co-teach on Thursday
afternoons.  He was 9 month olds when I started teaching it.
What could be more fun than learning to crawl with 26 little feet
dodging you as you scoot across the floor?  Now, I’m sure he
considers himself one of the class!  He sits right with the rest
of the class at  story time and snack time.  He’s not too
interested in craft time, but that’s his opportunity to have all the
toys to himself!

Field trips are especially fun.  Mom of
course is desperately trying to keep the little one happy (& quiet)
so this is a guaranteed lollipop!   Not to mention Mom
usually has a flashlight in her purse to pull out for just a moment
like this!  I just counted in my school record book and our
2-year-old has been on  46 field trips in his 2 short years!
(That’s a lot of lollipops!)

Homeschool bowling & skating
days are favorites of our youngest.  Skate day means sitting at
the arcade racing game and pretending to drive for 2 hours.
Bowling is even more fun for a 2-year-old obsessed with balls!
Not so much fun for Mom as she tried to be invisible chasing him down
the lane as he goes after his sister’s ball!

I know our little
guy is watching by the things I catch him doing.  Tonight he and
his sister decided to have a car wash.  They were in the family
room with wet rags scrubbing down their Little Tykes car.  My
daughter had gone upstairs and I heard a scraping noise coming from the
family room.  I went in to investigate and the 2-year-old had drug
the vacuum cleaner out of the pantry into the family room, had the hose
inside the car and was trying to figure out how to plug it in!
He’s been watching…

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Did God Love Goliath? – Jan. 26, 2006

January 26, 2006 at 10:15 am (Uncategorized)

I have been thinking a lot the last few days about all the things my kids have taught ME.

When my oldest son was 3 we were driving down the street one day and
out of the blue he asked me “Mommy, did God love Goliath?”  Wow,
what a question.  I had certainly never thought about how God felt
towards Goliath.  In my grownup mind the David and Goliath story
was very clear David = good, Goliath = bad.  End of story.
However, this simple question from my 3-year-old turned my thinking on
end.  What if Goliath had chosen to love God?  God certainly
loved him, he was created by God just the way I was, right?  I’m
no theologian, but according to the song we all learn in Sunday school
“Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the
world!”  That would include Goliath.  It’s been 8 years since
my innocent 3-year-old posed that question.  But,  here I am
still thinking about it!

My kids have a way  making me think that no one else does.   Maybe it is my unique position of
being Mom/protector of them.  Maybe it is all the time I spend
with them.  Maybe it is because I care so deeply for them.
But somehow they teach me things everyday.

Earlier this week my 4-year-old brought me a build-your-own kangaroo kit and wanted me to
put it together for her.  I dutifully got out the directions and
began reading.  Insert tab A into slot A, fold piece 2 and insert
left tab B into slot LB….Arghhhh.  I tell her she will have to
wait until Daddy gets home.  (I’m not that good with directions I
confess!)  Later in the afternoon I come downstairs from putting
the baby down for a nap. There is my four year old sitting at the table
with her completed kangaroo.  I was surprised!  I said “Did
your big brother put that together for you?”  She responds “No, I
did it.  All you had to do was punch out all the pieces and figure
out where they went.”  Wow, again!  My grownup mind knew the
right way to do it, read those directions, follow each step
carefully.  Her 4-year-old mind knew she wanted it done. How hard
could it possibly be?

My 11-year-old has now passed me up on a lot of things.  His computer knowledge outdoes mine on a daily
basis.  I use to be Webmaster on  couple of WebPages.
Yesterday I had to ask him to remind me how to do clickable text!
LOL  (I think having 2 babies in 2 1/2 years has killed a few too
many brain cells!)  But, the point is, he knows so much I have
never taught him!  A few days ago he says to me  “You know
the interesting thing about static electricity?”  I say
“What?”  Only half listening.  “It’s static.” He says.
“What?”  I say, paying a little more attention now.  “It’s
static.”  he replies.  “I know it’s static.”  I reply,
“What are you talking about?”  “Okay Mom, let me explain.”
He says patiently  “Static mean something without motion.
It’s inactive, it’s just sitting there waiting.  Then BAM along
you come (I had just shocked him on the head when he had passed by and
I patted his head.) that little piece of inactive electricity is
activated and you get shocked!”  Wow, yet again!  This is not
how my mind works.  I get shocked, I think “Ouch!”  then I’m
over it.  But not this kid.  He goes into deep thought about
exactly what happened, what is static?  I love that about him, he
teaches me so much!

I could keep writing examples all day.  Things they say, the way the treat each other, the way they
interpret things they have overheard.  But the point of all this
is that one of our goals as homeschooling parents was to have our
Children become lovers of learning.  Every time they come up with
something incredible I did not teach them I know that we are
accomplishing that goal.  I just love it when the teacher becomes
the student…

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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What We Want (Our Purpose Statement) – Jan. 25, 2006

January 25, 2006 at 11:54 am (Uncategorized)

I was talking to another homeschool
Mom earlier this week.  She had called me to ask some questions
about the curriculum we use (Sonlight) because she was having some
doubt about what they are currently using.  During the
conversation I asked her if she and her husband had ever discussed what
they wanted to accomplish with homeschooling.  She replied that
they hadn’t really talked about it, but they both just wanted their
kids to get a good education so they could grow up and get good
jobs.  This conversation took me back to when our son was 5.
We were still in the exploring homeschooling mode since our State did
not require any schooling until the age of 6.  We started
discussing what we wanted our child to get out of education.  We
ended up making a purpose statement for our school.  Here it is:

The purpose of our homeschool is as follows:

To honor God and teach our children to respect, honor and love Him.

To create and encourage a mutual respect between parent and child.

To build strong relationships within our family and encourage our children to value our family.

To customize the education of our children and meet the educational needs of our children day by day.

To allow our children to be active participants in the direction of their education.

To learn along with our children.

To encourage our children to be socially active and to be a part of guiding them in appropriate relationships.
Well, after re-reading this 6 years later I am still pretty happy with
what we came up with.  I did however come up with quick list of
additions:

To
bring up our children to accept Christ as their Savior and to love him
with all their heart, all their soul, and all their mind. (This would
be number 1 on my list.  When we wrote the 1st list we had only 1
child and he was already a believer.)

To instill a lifelong love of learning in our children.

To empower our children to be independent, creative and active participants in their education.

To
provide an education that will allow our children to reach their goals
in life so they may go out into the world and impact it for Christ.

To
develop the kind of parent child relationship that will allow our
children to feel comfortable coming to us with any question, problem or
issue.

To show our children there are no limits to what they can learn.

Most of the things I am adding are because of things we have learned
while schooling and raising kids.  Some of them are more like
clarifications of the original list.  All of them are things that
we are actively working on.  I was reading a Blog by Spunky Homeschooler (See link to follow.)  http://www.homeschoolblogger.com
yesterday on Outsourcing Parenting and I realized that this is exactly
what we wanted to avoid when we came up with this list.  We did
not want our child to be raised by the village (I am fond of saying “It
takes a Village to have an Idiot! ), we did not want someone else to
have more impact on our children than we do, we didn’t want our
children to be taught the worlds views, we did not want our children to
get an education devoid of God,  We did not want our children to
feel they had to be taught something in order to learn.

And
how has it worked for us so far?  Well, I love homeschooling more
today than I did when we 1st started!  I love that it is an entire
lifestyle.  I love that my children are together all day and
consider each other their friends.  I love that as parents we are
the main influence in our children’s lives. I love that they love the
Lord and enjoy learning about Him and serving Him.  I love that
our family spends unlimited time together and that for both parents and
children the learning never ends…

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Why Homeschooling? – Jan. 24, 2006

January 24, 2006 at 11:16 am (Uncategorized)

So, why did homeschooling appeal to me all those years before I even had children?  Here are a couple reasons:

#1.  I hated school!  Okay, I loved the social parts, but the
actual education was boring and did not hold my interest!  As a
believer in Christ the Bible is my source of guidance.  I love in
Luke (6:40) were it says, “A student who is fully trained will be like
his teacher.”  How could I be “like my teacher”  when I had
so many?  How could I be “Like my teacher” when most of them I
barely knew?  Yes, I had a few good teachers, but if I count all
the teachers I had K-12 (I’m estimating the number to be at about 73
including PE and choir teachers in grade school and then 6 teachers per
day in JrH & HS.)  I can only think of 2 that I would want to
be like!  So, the idea of my kids having 1 teacher who I knew VERY
well appealed to me.  The idea of ME being the person my kids
ended up being most influenced by seemed to be a great idea.

#2.  I LOVE MY KIDS!  Okay, in 1983 I was only 18 and they
years from being born, but I knew that I would love them and would want
to spend as much time as possible with them.  Boy, was I right on
that one!  The one thing that I am grateful for everyday is the
amount of time I get to spend with my children.  I cannot even say
how many times I just pause during the craziness of the day and think
“Wow, I am so glad I am the one spending time with my kids!”
Sometimes it happens when they ask me a question I feel privileged to
answer, sometimes it happens when I they do or say something funny and
I am glad I was there to hear it, sometimes it happens when they are
arguing and I don’t have to explain to anyone the background of that
particular disagreement.   Earlier this month my husband and
I were scheduled to go on a (all expense paid) cruise to the
Caribbean.  We were very excited; this was to be the 1st time we
had ever spent a night away from our kids!  We were looking
forward to a romantic getaway.  Two days before we were to leave
on the trip our sister-in-law passed away.  We chose to skip the
cruise and be there for my husband’s brother.  The interesting
thing I learned was that although I was very disappointed that I didn’t
get the alone time with my husband, I was actually glad that I didn’t
have to be away from my kids.  I enjoy them.

Well, those are the 1st two reasons that come to mind.  I will share more as time passes…

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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