Camp Wrap Up

With counselors Dan and Anna.

Yep, I know…you are all very sad that these are the last of the 100’s of camp pictures posted!

My turn at camp with Lilah Jane came.  Our time together was sweet, short and long all at the same time. Two days without my baby and I was sore and needing to nurse ever so badly and missing the rest of my babies at home. But, oh how I never get to have one-on-one time with just one child! It was a blessing to just dote on her.

I did learn something though. I thought our little miss was always getting into mischief because of a desire to have more time with mommy. I always thought that if I could give her undivided one-on-one time then she would be content to be still and there would be less chaos in my house. But I was wrong. There is nothing like spending a large amount of quality time individually with a child to really see their true personality shine through. And this little girl does not have it in her to sit still. Oh, she would try. We would worship and sing and she would try so hard to sit on my lap or the grass but she literally didn’t have it in her. She had to move. I mean had to. I watched her with fascination. She literally could not help herself. And she would lose focus easily and instantly. This went way beyond mere age development of a three year old. My two year old has no problem focusing on something or sitting with mommy when it is pleasurable to her. This girl…well, she would want to sit with mommy…she would want to listen and dance to the music…she would want to participate in the activity but still she was losing focus and constantly needing to move. It was a blessing from above because it made me very aware that some things I was disciplining her for weren’t about discipline at all. And that when I do discipline, it will need to be done with that in mind. I will have to bend down to her level, gently guide her face to me and repeat many times the command of what needs to be done. Even when she was dog-tired at 9:30 at night and wanting a story and asking to go to sleep and go home, she was still moving. It did not stop until she finally just gave into sleep. I think knowing this will also come in handy when teaching her formally at home. A kinesthetic learner maybe?

Our time together ~

~ At the Barnyard ~

~ In the Chapel ~

~ Hayrack Ride ~

Lake View

Tipi Village

~ Trying to sit still for evening worship. ~

~ Canoeing and Paddle Boating ~

~ Petting a Tree Frog ~

~ Swimming ~

~ Smores ~

~ Making Friend Bracelets ~


~ Worship and Bible Study ~


~ Camp Shirt, Cuppie, and a New Friend! ~

“Cuppie” came everywhere with us. It was our life line to water (which also went everywhere with us) during 100 degree weather with a heat index of 115!!! And if you think that’s hot, try bearing it while cooking out hotdogs and marshies over a fire!!!!!!!
The Homeschool Mother's Journal

A Week of Camp

My babies went to camp this week. It has been my first real week without them. Sure, they’ve spent the night at gram and pop’s house or their cousins. But one night is not a week! I was a nervous wreck. I tried properly preparing them last week with a training boot camp of learning how to take showers by themselves (we are bath takers here) and making sure they knew address and phone number for pen pal exchanging and that they could still tie their shoes properly (you’d be surprised by how many times they slip their shoes on without actually ever tying them!).

By the pictures below you will see that they did absolutely fantastic! The camp very graciously kept us updated daily through their website and emails. They put up daily pictures of the campers for us parents to download and share. They sent us a daily email letting us know that days events and general camp happenings. And they allowed us to email the kids daily. Each camper received their letter at roll call in the morning. It was a nice tangible way to stay in touch with them even if they couldn’t email back! Amazing how email turned into something actually important and how all other emails suddenly became very unimportant!

Gabe's Camp Group

Lily's Camp Group

Lily singing morning camp songs.

Gabe gardening for a service project.

Lily dancing.

Gabe and Lily at worship.

Gabe ziplining.

Half way through the week the camp correspondents took time to sit with each camper and talk with them about how their week was going. Then they wrote a personalized email to me about each of my kids. Gabe enjoyed ziplining the most and Lily said she loved swimming the most. But, I will admit, I cried when they sent this picture of Lily with a smile of utter joy on her face. This is after her brave attempt at doing high ropes. I was so proud it just bubbled out of me in a big gushy mess!

Lily doing high ropes.

Gabe at the talent show.

Half way through the week Luc also got to attend camp with his Pop at Grand Camp. He was counting down the days the moment the older kids left. I can’t wait to hear how his week went! He sure looks like he had a good time!

Luc visiting the barn animals.

Luc with Pop in the background.

Luc and Pop on a hayrack ride.

Pop singing Rise and Shine!

Grandpa is a great teacher!

Service Project

I get to meet the kids at a family camp worship time this afternoon and then visit their cabins and help them pack up. It will be bittersweet for them, I know. But I will be SO happy to see them again! I will be going with Delilah on Sunday and Monday to a Taste of Camp and she is getting very impatient for her turn. So I will be back next week with more pics and camp stories!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

How to File Paperwork if You Are Not a Planner {a.k.a. Unschooling}

That time is upon us once again….

Yep, filing paper work with the state education board. Fun. Fun.

This is my yearly quandary…

One of the huge advantages of homeschooling is following a MUCH more relaxed schedule. For us that contains a fair amount of unschooling…or child-led interests and rabbit trails. These really can’t be planned per say. But our state requires curriculum to be approved ahead of time. How do you balance spontaneity with a detailed plan to your state?

I do plan…in a general large-scale sorta way. We do history generally chronological. This year it will be modern history with an emphasis on the Great Depression, WWI and II, and the Industrial Revolution. But most of my planning comes in the form of strewing. I look for great living books to have on hand during chunks of learning time. I keep a running book list that I can use when purchasing on Amazon or at a library sale. We follow math and phonics in a somewhat sequential order but even these I hate to delegate to a “grade” because each of my children learn at different rates and sometimes we are still in the middle of a book when the school year “ends” and sometimes we are already in the middle of another book.

When I was trying to write out detailed plans to my state I was getting bogged down. What would we cover this year…when would we cover it…when would we be done? These questions my state would want to know and I would start sweating and becoming grumpy mommy as I desperately tried to put something on paper.

Don’t get me wrong…the planning part felt good. When I was done I felt this sense of accomplishment. Oh, of course that’s what we’ll study this year (i.e. science lessons all mapped out in great detai)! Happily I would start our year and miserably I would end it feeling like a failure because we were SO off track. Never mind that my kids were learning at a rapid pace. Never mind that they had filled their time with way more additional learning then I had written down. All I saw was those original lessons plans with a big red F across them!

Then I came up with a brilliant idea. Why not just write down a Scope and Sequence based on everything I had? I just started typing by category. Math? These were the books I owned (text and living). These were the manipulatives I owned. These were the games I owned. I put general grades after them. For instance, after listing Math U See I put K-5th Grade in parenthesis behind it. Suddenly I began to see a skeleton take shape. Eventually this is what I would teach to all my kids through all of their elementary school years and some beyond. Before I knew it I had an 8 page Elementary Scope & Sequence that MORE than covered any paltry state requirements.

I am free! This year all I had to do was pull up that file, delete and add a few things and in less than an hour I was finished. Print. Mail. Ahhhh….THAT felt good! The best part? Doesn’t matter that I’m homeschooling (officially) three children all at different grade levels. This one paper covers them all. Doesn’t matter where we are at the beginning of the year or the end. We have the freedom and leisure to learn any of this stuff at our own pace and our state has the peace of mind that we will be covering all the bases…eventually!

Here is a peek at my copy (your own will, obviously, vary) as well as a copy of my statement about using living books as that inventory list is WAY too long to send my state!

Elementary Scope & Sequence

Learning History Through Living Books

Feel free to download and steal these and modify for your own use!

Happy planning!!!

(P.S. please let me now if these links do not download right and I will try to fix! I tested them and so far so good.)

The Homeschool Mother's Journal 

 

 

Entrepreneurial Lemonade

What is a 5 year old boy to do on a hot summer afternoon after returning from the park and discovering the cooler jug of lemonade sitting on the porch?

Why make a lemonade stand, of course!

But it’s tough to find customers when your house is in the country. After watching him chase down the lawnmower man trying to entice him to buy a drink, I decided to throw him a bone. I went in and found some dresser change.

“May I please have some lemonade?”

“Sure, mom…orange lemonade or banana lemonade?”

Apparently if lemonade is yellow it can be banana lemonade even if there is no banana in it!

“Banana please.”

Here is what 25 cents gets me…

Guess inflation is going up!

His sisters took my lead and each bought a glass too…some with quarters some with pennies.

This boy is quite entrepreneurial considering he won’t do chores for money. But he has been learning math and counting and he has been watching his older brother and sister with their pursuits of earning and spending money. I think he wants some of that!

His take home pay…

53 cents…or, as he argued with his sister, $39! Well, tomato, tomahto…I’m just pleased he’s taking initiative!

And, because I couldn’t resist, a little girl drinking lemonade appropriately attired in a citrus dress handmade by grandma, passed down twice! Nothing could be sweeter to pair with a little sour!

Joining in the conversation…

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Play Learning in the Summer

What do you do with leftover strawberry tops after making strawberry jam?

Well, the sensible thing to do would be compost them.

That is, unless you have a three and five year old in your home. Then it seems much more sensible to play with them!

Pretend gardening anyone?

Harvesting with your “tractor”.

I see the kids emulating us…playing Adam and I as we embark on this journey to grow all our own food and buy only local, in-season food.

Sometimes, especially after watching an episode of Sid the Science Kid, I long for my children to take a school lesson and run outside to “play” it, allowing the learning to sink to that deeper long-term memory center of their brain. Occasionally a history figure will capture them like Sacagawea and they do play what they learn, but mostly not. That’s not to say that they don’t use the concrete in play…like letters and numbers and reading…they most certainly do…just not those stories of history and science and art and music that I had hoped would captivate them. While they enjoyed their history, no one was outside “playing” Statue of Liberty last week!

That said...playing is an integral part of learning and it reaches us in a way no other learning can. Do you know what a three and five year old play? They play what seems of value…what is important…what they want to do and try when they grow up. Why do you think dolls never go out of style?  They see and sense what is really of value to us as an adult. We can say one thing with our lips but they are much more intent on watching our actions.

This is the secret that the unschoolers embrace and are not afraid of. This is the truth that us homeschool listmakers who want to track progress usually fail to grasp. And even if we know it we are mostly afraid to allow our children to live it. I know for myself there is comfort in the checking off of the yearly school list.

But if playing gardening and composting is where they are at, I think of what their futures hold and I smile and relax. I am teaching the important things even if they weren’t in a school lesson! Maybe my kids won’t remember everything I taught them about history…okay…most definitely. But maybe they will be a part of history, changing it for the better and passing that down to their own kids. That is a lesson worth teaching!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

A Boy’s Responsibility

What can turn a boy into a man?

Responsibility.

How do you instill responsibility without being a naggy mom?

Allow him his first pet that he buys with his own money.

Meet Mike the hamster.

And how to weave into our homschool week?

A pet project ~

  • Check out two library books on hamsters.
  • Read said library books.
  • Write a paper on The Top 10 Things a Hamster Needs.
  • Write a paper on a hamster’s original habitat and where it originates from.
Results?
One very happy, very occupied, never bored, eager to do school boy!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Writing Organically

While there is always a time and a place for formal writing and learning grammar and techniques, I find my kids make the most progress through a more organic method of learning. By organic I mean naturally occuring…a term I fell in love with while reading this article in Homeschooling Today.

I have a five year old boy and a three (almost 4) year old girl who are at that age where writing has suddenly become very important. If these had been my first I would have been lining up the preschool-kindergarten curriculum. But they are numbers 3 and 4 sandwiched between six kids and I’d like to think I’m a bit wiser now.

They really don’t need much from me. They seek out writing utensils whenever they possible can…pencils, crayons, markers, chalk, sharpies…whatever they can get their hands on whether it is out to use freely or locked up. They write on everything…paper, scraps, notebooks, recycled material, the walls, furniture, cement. They mark their territory as individualism starts to shine. (As I type my laptop cooling pad sports the name “Luc” in sharpie). They are fascinated with letters and all I have to do is where t-shirts for quick 5 minute lessons as they point out and sound out letters on my chest. They draw picture upon picture upon picture and sign their name to everything.

Why was I ever worried with my first that I had to “teach” writing? God gave them these amazing brains that develop and unfold in His perfect timing. In the same way we don’t sweat teaching our children to talk, I’ve learned that we don’t need to do much for writing either. Showing them how letters are formed here and there, providing them with tracing opportunites so they can “do” school with the others, and writing down (dictating) their stories as they want is about the extent I do now. I know that later there will be copywork and dictation that will ease them into excellent grammar, spelling, and composition work. But, for now, I will thoroughly enjoy watching them discover writing on their own.

Unadulterated passion for learning…

A natural extension of who they really are…

Isn’t that worth stepping out of the way for?

Linking up with ~