Monday, June 30, 2008

Our Charlotte Mason Beginnings

We are so EXCITED! We have our Nature Study Notebooks, we have fingerpaints, new colored pencils, new pencils, new crayons, and a couple of roll of old blue prints to fingerpaint on the back of.....We also have a turtle shell from Church Camp, frogs on our windows (this happens every year) and we have a new adventure starting today.

I forgot last Wednesday to take my kids to the library for the safety day and story time. I have been so busy with getting my house back in order and trying to get our school stuff organized that I havent had time to think of much else. So when I realized I forgot it, I immediatly felt bad, like a horrible mother. But Kylie came up with a solution. "Why cant we take a book to the park and read it Momma?" So that is what we are going to do sometime today. WE are going to take our blanket, some water, a book and a ziploc baggie for any nature finds that we have and we are going to the park. Crazy huh. We have no shade in our back yard and Jack will be mowing today so we couldnt very well go in the yard and have our nature study. The park has lots of big shady trees and lots of stuff to find and ducks to feed!

So we are in a very good mood around here!

What are you doing in your school this summer or are you even doing school this summer?

Many blessings and good luck!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Discouraging People

I know, not a very good title for a post on a homeschooling blog. But honestly a question that needs addressed.

I have had many experiences where people are not very encouraging when it comes to Homeschooling. Some are downright hateful about it.

What are we to do when someone makes a derogatory comment or when they put us down for our decision to do Gods will in our life and Homeschool our children?

I personally used to get very angry with them. I would be to the point that I didnt want to even visit with them because of the hatefulness and the hurt. And it isn't always strangers, most of the time, it is family or close friends. They think that we are so strange and crazy and asking for trouble because we homeschool. And the number one argument I have heard is...."But they can get such a good education in school...How do you think you can meet the standards that the school is meeting..You dont have a teaching degree."

My responses. I know I dont have a teaching degree...I did go to college for three years to work towards my degree in early childhood/elementry education. I went long enough to know that the public school system is not for me. It is not for my children. It is not what God wants me to do with my life.
2nd. I know they can get a good education in school. I know that the public school system has its good points. But I have also seen the bad points and most of them outway the good. I have seen what happens when a child gets shuffled through the system and ends up not knowing how to read or comprehend. I've seen what can happen when you take that child out of the public school system and give him one on one attention and patience and confidence. He is now reading just two levels below his grade instead of 5. Not bad huh.

3rd I am not interested in meeting the public schools standards for my children. I dont want my children to become a statistic. I want them to individually reach their own potential. Not the potential of 30 to 500 other kids in the class....(That boy I was talking about, his graduating class would have been a class of do you keep track of each kid when there are that many? ) I want my kids to strive for something and be able to reach it and not be put down because they didnt get as high as so and so.

Now given, the public school system has good things to offer, but it is just not right for our family.

People have been asking me....Why homeschool? Why not just put them in school and go to work.

I have several reasons for this. #1, I prayed long and hard about homeschooling. I watched my oldest child become smarter and smarter just working with me at home. I was in the middle of taking classes to finish my degree and it was like God answered my prayers. It was like all of a sudden, I just knew that this was what God wanted me to do...this was my purpose in life. Other than being a wife.

#2 If God hadnt led me to this decision, he sure led my husband to it and as a wife, I am supposed to do as my husband says and he says homeschool so that is what I am doing. Nough said.

# 3 What better way to spend my day than with the blessings that I asked God for and he granted. What better way to spread His word and His glory and His wonder than through teaching it to my children. I cant think of any.

#4 When my four year old is learning to bake and sew and keep house (no not slavery, life skills) I have to wonder why I didnt learn all of this in school....Yeah they had Home Economics...but we didnt really learn a whole lot in there. It was more of a fun class to take when you didnt want to take anything else.

#5 I kinda like being the primary influence in my childrens lives. I like being the first person they see when they wake up and the last person they see when they go to sleep. I like knowing what they read and what they see on TV (not that we have TV but movies you know) and What they hear on the radio and when they play with other kids, I dont have to worry about them offending someone by saying that God made the dirt or by praying over their food at a picnic or some other kid telling them that God doesnt exist. They will learn that there are people out there who dont believe in our Awesome Creator when they are old enough to comprehend that someone can actually believe that...until then, they will know about God and they will know about all his awesome the baby growing in aunt Julies belly right now. They enjoy telling me everytime they hear about her or see a picture of a pregnant women that that is how they got here...God put them in my belly and they grew and then I went to the hospital because I didnt feel good and I had them and then we all came home again...and oh yeah...Dr. Hill took care of me when I didnt feel good...(This is all their words not I also dont want my kids coming up to me and wondering why Johnny has two daddies instead of a mommy and a daddy. I know these questions will come soon enough and I know that it is a part of the world we live in now....not by my choice but it is there. And I know someday I will have to explain about all the evil in the world but for now, I am enjoying their innocence. Their peace, their love and their cuteness.

So how do we handle discouraging people? I personally just smile and go on. And then I pray for them. Because even though I feel all the above about public school, I know that everyone has choices to make and what is best for my family may not be best for everyone else. I personally have two very close friends and a sister in law that teach and another very close friend that is a librarian. If they can spread the word of God by doing what they do then more power to them. I am glad for them. I have often said that If I could send my kids to a school where it was just those four teaching and running the school then I probably would. But I dont think that will ever happen so I WILL HOMESCHOOL! With the support of my friends. I know that if at any time something happened in my life where I had to send my kids to school, they would support me too. They wouldnt say I told you so or be hateful about it, they would try to help make the transition as easy as possible.

What do you think we need to do to help encourage other homeschoolers? Please let me know as I know that any suggestions would help those who are feeling down or those who are feeling less than adequate to do this Calling that God has appointed to us.

Many blessings and prayers and heartfelt thanks
Crystal and family.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Books I am now reading and our recent nature study!

I am so excited! I had requested some books from the library and they came in yesterday.

The first one was this one . It looks to be a very interesting book.

The second one was "For the Childrens Sake" by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.

The third was "A Charlotte Mason Companion : Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning" by Karen Andreola.

Another one that I am reading is Vol 1 of Charlotte Masons Homeschooling series.

I also checked out the first book of "The Boxcar Children" series and am reading these to the girls.

I checked out several of the books that Ambleside Online reccommends for the Kindergarten age group and have liked all of them so far. I definately think that the CM way of educating is going to work for us. I have two different kind of learners in my girls and I can adapt this curriculum to fit either of them. Kylie will get lots of reading and quiet time while Alaina will still get her hands on, get in there and figure it out time.

I am so excited to get started. Even if we cant get all the books that are requested for the Kindergarted year, we will still be doing enough that they will learn alot. I can supplement with things around the house or spend more time outside doing nature studies or learning about the world around us. Kylie is excited also. I was explaining some of it to her and she is so ready to "...start doing school with real books momma...." She likes the idea of "Living Books".

We have been doing kind of a nature study over a frog that lives around our window unit air conditioner. He likes to sit under it and croak at night and sometimes during the day if he can get away with it. Last year we had one in the a.c. This year, we took the a.c. that we had in the living room and put in Jacks room. When we pulled the unit out of the window, the frog was under the ac. I had Paul take him to the garden because I am kinda squemish about such things since I had kids. So he took him to the garden. We put a bigger ac in the living room but it didnt work so we had to take it out and take it back to the store. When we took it out yesterday, the same frog was under that ac...How do I know it was the same frog you ask...I wish I had pictures but I dont. He has a diamond shape of black dots on his back. Really. I have never seen a frog like it before but it is amazing tha the made his way from the garden back to the ac....Amazing. We now have another ac back in the window and I heard him croaking this morning. So I am guessing that after I had Jack run him off yesterday, he has made his way back in the window. So our nature study has been frogs here lately. I am sure it will be alot about frogs this summer as during the late part of summer, we tend to have lots of tree frogs and baby toads climb up our patio door at night chasing bugs. Its really cool to watch how they cling to the window. We have actually seen them eat a bug or two. The girls ooh and ahh until they catch a bug and then they say gross...

Hopefully I will be back with some pictures next week. If it doesnt rain all week like it is supposed to.

Many Blessings

Monday, June 2, 2008

Work in Progress

This site is a work in progress. I am hoping to get back here tommorow to add more helpful links or interesting sites that I have been too. I am also hoping to get some pictures of my growing children posted so everyone will know what we are up to lately.


Go check this out! I am hoping to get to sign up for it. I have to talk to hubby tonight though so we will see. I missed our state convention this year because of money and hubbys work. This sounds so exciting.


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