Schedule Changes

Well, four weeks into it and I have had to make some serious changes to our packed out looping schedule. Click here to read my post regarding my original  looping schedule, or just continue reading to see the changes that I have made.

This is what my original schedule looked like:

original schedule 2014

And here is the new schedule:

updated schedule 2014

The Kindergarten Loop has stayed the same, but in all actuality, I could have changed the time. The last few weeks, we have been able to begin this loop at 9:30 and easily make it through all of the activities by 11am. Leaving the start time, however, makes me feel really successful when starting early and right on time when we don’t start until 10. 😉

The next thing you may notice is that I anchored Math RS C (Right Start Math Level C) in the 3-4th Grade Loop time slot. I just couldn’t stand not teaching math every day. Yes, the kids still practice the math facts during independent practice time, but the Right Start curriculum is just too good, and, according to the kids, too much fun, to not do every day. Can’t argue with kids who want to do math, so I anchored it. I didn’t give it a specific time frame, but we generally work on a lesson for about 30 minutes before we move on to the looping activities.

Here is a closer look at the original 3-4th Grade Looping section:

3-4 loop before

And this is a close-up of the new schedule:

3-4th grade loop

I am head over heals for this:

grammar notebook

Kids creating their own textbooks! What a phenomenal idea! Our notebooks will be a topic of a future post, so suffice it enough to say that the interactive notebook has trumped Easy Grammar and Sonlight for now.

Another thing I have added to my schedule is a column to keep track of the lesson that we are working on and a column to mark when that lesson is completed. This addition helps me to keep track of where I am in the loop. I generally continue an activity until the lesson is complete, so if we haven’t finished the lesson within the time frame allotted, I know to continue with it the next time we meet for that looping period.

Literature has also become a larger part of our day. Originally, I was planning on a more casual read aloud time while finishing up our lunch, but this book…

21BalloonsCover

required much more attention than a casual read, as I am sure all of the others will as well. What was I thinking?? The kids love literature time. Even the twins want to know how Professor Sherman managed to get from one balloon over the Pacific Ocean to the 20 in the Atlantic. From a balloon house basket to a volcanic island, inquiring minds want to know.

Here is a close-up of our original lunch schedule:

lunch before

And the new:

Lunch after

We usually start our story at about 12:45, but again, I’m not changing the time. I like feeling great about starting early. 🙂

The Family Loop is the section that underwent the most surgery. My original schedule was just too full…

Family loop before

First, I had to drop this…

hero tales pict

Boooo! I really didn’t completely drop it however. I am adding it to our read aloud list, so Hero Tales will get its full time of glory when we finish The Twenty-One Balloons.

Next, I moved Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Jr. to Thursdays. This is a perfect fit for our shopping day and has also become the kids payday. We only have one more lesson in this curriculum, but I am planning to keep this time to practice our money counting and spending habits. So much problem solving happens here and they see the relativity of their math lessons.

So here is a close-up of the new Family Loop schedule:

Family Loop

The kids love the Bible Answers curriculum, as well as science, so allowing longer periods for both makes everyone happier.

Finally, I am so incredibly happy with The Homeschool Piano curriculum from Jazz Edge, that this also begged for more scheduled time. Originally I planned to continue with the Family Loop during this time slot, but the kids actually wanted to watch more Willie, the piano instructor, so I couldn’t argue.

Here is the original:

Music schedule before

And here is the dedicated time slot:

Music after

At about 3pm, I review the kids remaining independent practice work and head out for my jog with my dog and my much needed alone time with my Lord. He is the One who gives me daily strength and patience.

But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Psalm 86:15

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2014-15 Looping Schedule and School Goals

This year, we have decided to implement an official looping schedule. In the past, I have naturally looped subjects with my oldest’s high school schedule. This was before I knew that this form of scheduling actually had a name, so this year I decided to make it official with my 4 younger kiddos. I believe this form of scheduling is ideal for larger families.

I have 3 blocks of time during which we loop through subjects. During the first block of time, I work with the twins on math, cursive, and reading. Also during this time, my 2 older kids are working on independent practice items, such as math facts, reading, and typing. Their list of independent practice is rather long and will be a subject for a future post, as I am working on managing this as well.

The second block of time is dedicated to my 2 older kids, during which I loop through their core subjects, such as math, reading, and spelling. Much of this time is spent teaching the kids a concept which they can practice independently. For example, I may take about 15 minutes to teach them how to find subjects and predicates so that they can independently work on their Easy Grammar lessons.

The third time block for looping is when the whole family comes together to work and learn through various subjects. We are working through the Answers for Kids curriculum and God’s Design for Life by the same organization. This is our favorite part of the school day.

Even though it may seem like we may not get to each subject every day with this schedule, the reality is that they are working through each subject, whether during their independent practice time, or even during the family loop. So far, this type of scheduling is working very well for our family.

Below is a copy of the schedule, followed by a subject key.

 Times Looping Schedule
10am-11am Kindergarten Loop 

Math: RS A
Cursive
AAR 1
11am-12pm 3-4th Grade Loop 

AAR 3
AAS 2
LA Teach: EG 3, SL LA 2 and Vocabulary
Math: RS C
12pm-1pm Lunch- Memory VersesLiterature
1pm-2pm Family Loop 

Answers for Kids
The World of Animals
Dave Ramsey
Hero Tales
2pm-3pm Music LessonsContinue Family Loop
3pm-4pm Complete Independent Practice

Key:

AAR: All About Reading

RS: Right Start Math

EG Easy Grammar

SL LA: Sonlight Language Arts

Our school goals for the 2014-2015 school year is as follows:

Subject 11yo 8yo 5yos
Math Right Start C Times Tables Telling Time Right Start C Times tablesTelling Time Counting: 1-100, 10s, 5s, 2sRight Start A
Reading AAR 3 Literature AAR 3 Literature AAR1 Literature
Bible 2 Sam. InductiveAIG 2 Sam InductiveAIG StoriesAIG
Spelling AAS 2 AAS 2
Vocabulary Notebooks Notebooks
Writing TypingIEWProverbs TypingIEWProverbs Cursive: Full name, alphabet, address, phone numbers
Science The World of Animals The World of Animals The World of Animals
Language Arts Easy Grammar 3Sonlight LA 2 Easy Grammar 3Sonlight LA 2
Social Studies Hero TalesWorld History Hero TalesWorld History Hero TalesWorld History
Economics Dave Ramsey Dave Ramsey Dave Ramsey
Music Guitar/Drums Piano Piano

Unfortunately, I am unable to format the charts above, and get them to actually look like they do in my Word Doc, so in order to save my sanity, I am going to leave it as is.

Below is our literature list for the year:

The Twenty-One Balloons, by William Pene Du BoisAnd finally, here is this year’s literature list:

Detectives in Toga: by Henry Winterfeld

The Door in the Wall: by Marguerite de Angeli

Red Sails to Capri: by Ann Weil

I am hoping that we read many more books than this, but I don’t want to set us up for failure, so we are starting small.

I pray everyone has a successful and rich school year.

Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Proverbs 24:3-4 NKJV

Graduation Day!

We did it! We graduated our first born son from high school this weekend. The process was an intense emotional roller coaster, but the event went smoothly, and family, as well as the graduate, enjoyed their time together in celebration.

Family w Grad

We participated in the WHO (Washington Homeschool Organization) Commencement Ceremony. The ceremony was intimate and well organized. Each parent wrote an 80 word statement about his graduating student, which was read by two preselected, honored readers. While this statement was being read, the parent handed his or her graduate the high school diploma and the graduate handed his or her parent a rose in return. Some of the graduates greeted their parents with the traditional smile and hug, while others, my son included, decided to be a bit more comedic in their approach. My son, donning his bow tie, scanned me with his sonic screwdriver before determining that it was safe to take his diploma. The Dr Who fans in the audience got a kick out of that, but I was left not quite knowing how to react, since I can’t get through even one episode of the series. It’s just not my sort of thing.

IMG_2603

This is the 80 word statement we wrote for our graduate:

Our son is the first home-schooled high school graduate from our family. He has persevered through everything from research reporting to classical piano training. He is dedicated to his church worship band and helping people in need. In his leisure time, he can be found composing music in his studio. He is a visionary in every aspect of his life from music to science. Son, we are proud of all you have accomplished. Seek the Lord in your journey to come.

After the ceremony, the family gathered together at our church to celebrate the graduation of four high school students, including our son. It was a fabulous party, for everyone. Church members provided a delicious spread of food. We made a slide show with pictures of the graduates looping through to my son’s composition pieces. Each student had a display board representing their achievements and they even announced their goals for the future to the crowd gathered before them.

Church GradKids eating

Putting together the display board and the slide show, was a very emotional experience. I found myself crying and laughing, both with tears, at the various pictures of different life events throughout the last 18 years. I was delightfully surprised however to find that the portfolios my son had put together at the end of each year made the job of displaying his achievements much easier. Family and friends were able to peruse these well organized and content rich portfolios going back to 7th grade. I even put out some elementary work we had saved, including a letter he wrote to President Bush about the “invisible children” in Uganda.

IMG_2602

The process of preparing for my son’s graduation also boosted my confidence and made me proud to be his parent and teacher. If you have been following my blog, you know that my oldest struggles with dyslexia and auditory processing disorder. Sometimes when talking with my son, I feel like he hasn’t learned a thing, and that all of the work we had done was a waste of time. Sometimes I even wonder what we did. Did we even do anything? But we did! And we did a whole lot. He has read over 100 books, since 7th grade, and written countless essays and research papers. He won the presentation award and advanced to state level with his team in the First Lego League competition. He participated for 2 years in Search and Rescue, and not to mention the 7 years of Piano Guild evaluations, winning International to National awards and receiving superior scores. The kid has a dream transcript, with well rounded activities and a 3.6 GPA, but he can’t take a test to save his life. That is when all the flipping happens. He understands the concept, but getting the correct answer is a challenge.  I pray that in his maturity, he will remember to use all of the test taking strategies he has learned. He can’t get by without them.

 

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IMG_2610

 

IMG_2613  IMG_2612

So what’s next?

The first step for my composer will be to spend time in LA this summer networking with people in the movie industry to see if any doors will open for him to compose music for movies or video games. And yes, we have connections to Hollywood movie and tv producers, so he will be able to make these connections easier than the average person.

If this doesn’t pan out, he will come home and attend a community college while working and learning how to program with his father. He will continue to compose music and network with potential employers until his dream career opens up. Thankfully, he is picking up programming languages quickly, so if need be, this will be the medium he uses to make money until he lands his dream job.

So what did I learn in the 10 years homeschooling my first born son?
Probably the biggest lesson that I learned in these last ten years is not to project myself onto my kids. My son and I butt heads most of the way through elementary and middle school, because I expected him to be like me, to learn like me, and to think like me. I taught him according to how I learn best. But he is not me! In fact, he isn’t anything like me at all. It wasn’t until he reached high school and I started to see the same struggles magnified in my second born, that I started to let go of my expectations and really look at him for who he is. He is a visionary. He wants to create and solve problems, musically and scientifically. If I could go back, I would have done more science and interest led schooling. Because of his auditory issues he didn’t learn much when I was reading to him. Instead, he learned best when he was able to build, experiment, create and design.

Now, I intentionally consider each child separately. What are their interests? How do they learn? Even my identical twins are different learners. If I need to teach one concept using 4 different methods, I will do so.  One may need explicit instruction, while the other just picks it up logically, with little instruction. One may be more art orientated and the others may learn best through classic literature or text books. Regardless, all of their needs will be met, because of the flexibility homeschooling allows. What a gift! I have been blessed to be able to homeschool my first born son from second grade to graduation. We both learned a lot through the process, but I am also convinced that his education would not have been as rich, nor would he have been as successful had he attended public school. I constantly thank God for putting it in my heart to homeschool, and I thank all of the pioneer homeschooling moms who have made it so much easier for us now to do what is best for our children.

Christian Heritage Conference

This weekend, my husband and I left the kids with Grandma and went on a retreat to the Christian Heritage Conference with key note speaker Ken Ham. It was not technically a retreat. It was actually a homeschool and family discipleship conference; but, since we stayed in a hotel room without the kids, I’ll call it a retreat. Our family supports Answers in Genesis and the outreach this ministry provides through conferences, curriculum, and the Creation Museum, so we were tremendously exciting to have a chance to listen to Mr. Ham speak in person.

I took away several encouragements during this conference, but want to share 3 of the big ones here with you.
1) It is of the utmost importance that we teach our kids how to defend their faith Biblically in this Greekified culture. Mr. Ham explained the difference between an Acts 2 evangelism, which is spreading the gospel to a society that already has the foundation of God as creator and understands sin with death as it’s consequence, and Acts 17 evangelism when one is evangelizing to a culture in which there are many gods and death is believed to be a natural process of life. America has become an Acts 17 culture. Most have become Greekified, and therefore we, the evangelizing Christians, must be sure to define our terms. By started with Genesis, we can define God as The Creator and sin as the cause of death. We must teach our children that the Bible is the authority and that science proves God’s word is true.

2) The second point I got out of this conference was from a workshop hosted by Jennifer Bliesner about the effects of technology on brain development. Research has shown that technology changes the size and texture of the brain by keeping kids at lower level thinking patterns. Computers only teach through patterns and do not require interaction with language; therefore, higher levels of conceptual thought do not develop when a child is learning at a computer. Bliesner encouraged us to promote empathy in our children by labeling emotions with meaningful words and fostering meaningful discussions within our schoolwork, rather than sitting them at a computer where language rich interactions with a subject do not occur.  Computers and TV are a primary reason for language and information processing disorders in today’s culture.

3) This workshop also confirmed and encouraged my conviction to homeschool for the glory of God. Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. explained the fact that our children are made in God’s image; therefore, since we are to render to Ceaser what is Ceaser’s, that is a coin with his image on it, we are also to render to God what is God’s, that is our children made in His image. My goal is to educate my children so that they will understand God’s world: how He created it, and how He saved it. God’s Word will equip them for every good work. His Word will be the main text in our homeschooling and our life learning.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17

 

Checklists

Well, we have been successful without checklists since September, but I am finding that they need to be re-implemented. My daughter prefers to build with legos or play with her My Little Ponies first thing in the morning, and then wonders why she is still doing schoolwork at 3pm. She needs a checklist to keep her on track. She can’t complain when she knows exactly what she is required to do each day. Legos and My Little Ponies can come after her schoolwork is complete. Even then, she has plenty of time to play.

Activity

M

T

W

F
Typing
Reading Log
Piano
Drawing

My drummer boy works hard for most of the day, but due to his learning disabilities, he does not get as much completed as his sister. He needed a checklist to help both of us keep track of what he is actually accomplishing each day.

Activity

M

T

W

F
Educational Therapy
Typing
Drums
Guitar
Reading Log
Drawing

Generally, I am getting a bit spring feverish, so I need the checklists just as much as they do. My 7 and 10 year old each have a checklist for their individual, independent work, and I have a master checklist for the subjects we complete together.

Mon Tues Wed Fri

Bible

AAS

Grammar

Memory Verses

Math

Current Events

ReadAloud

After assessing this weeks implementation, I will finalize the lists, laminate them and have my students check each item with a dry erase marker, in order to save on paper and ink.

Graduation Update

I am currently preparing my graduate for a senior finale, which will include a career exploration, resume, and a 2 year plan of action. I need to go through pictures for his graduation party slideshow. His transcript is just about complete, minus those classes he is still finishing up, and his senior pictures are being edited. I can’t wait to see how those have turned out.

Happy Spring

Next week is spring break, and we are looking forward to spending time with family. Don’t forget to stop and smell and flowers.

The Little Bug that Bites

The other day, a little bug told me that a 6 year old was working on a higher math level than both my 7 and 10 year old. I thought it was such a cute little bug that I tucked it away in the corner of my heart, all safe and protected, appreciative of the message, for I was truly impressed with the child. Slowly, this little bug began eating away at the peace in my heart and yesterday it took a big chunk out of my patience.  cute bug

My 7 and 10 year old have been transitioning into level C of Right Start Math for what seems like forever. We are only 2 lessons away from beginning this level, which at our rate will take at least 2 weeks. Today, we spent 30 minutes on just the warm up section. They just don’t seem to be retaining the addition strategies and every time I go to review, I end up teaching it all over again. Today, I became so frustrated with them, that my voice could be heard in the basement. They were laughing and giggling while I was trying to teach something that I had taught 100 times! How dare they try to have fun while learning!

But at the heart of this frustration was this little bug. As this little bug ate at my peace and patience, it became fat with envy. I should have squashed this bug when it was small. 

We love Right Start Math. My kids are transitioning from Math U See because I felt it left a lot of holes in regards to place value, and just wasn’t enough all around practice. The mastery of one step at a time, was keeping my son at one level for entirely too long, and he became frustrated and bored. The curriculum just did not meet the needs of my intellectually disabled son. With Right Start Math, my kids are having fun playing games while learning math concepts. The math foundation they are getting is complete and solid. They really like it. But they really like it when Mom is on their side. They like it when Mom has fun with them, whatever level they are at. They like it when Mom laughs with them and does not get hung up on where they must be and how much they have accomplished. stickyegg

On my jog that day, the Lord showed me how big that little bug had gotten. It was so creepy looking that it took great courage to approach it in order to squash it. With the Lord’s strength, I was finally able to, but it had left a big hole in my heart…. a hole that only the Lord could fill, so I prayed:

Lord thank you for the children you have given me. Thank you for the gift to homeschool them, so that they can flourish at their own pace and become exactly who You have designed them to be. Lord fill this hole in my heart with an abundance of patience to work with my kids at whatever level they are on. Lord give me peace to accept each child for who they are, not comparing them with any other child, but seeing and loving who they are and the gifts you have given them. And Lord, most of all, remind me that those little bugs get big and that they bite hard. Remind me to squash it and not to feed it, so that my heart will stay Holy filled with You. Amen heart

Learning the Hard Way

My first and second born are 7 years apart, so I have learned a lot in regards to homeschooling at the expense of the first. Unfortunately, he was sort of the guinea pig. Gratefully he didn’t fair too bad and the 7 years worth of one on one time made up for what I might have done wrong. I am not saying that I am now a perfect parent, but I have learned a few things from the journey of homeschooling my now graduating senior.

My oldest son is 2E. He has always read well above his grade level, is an excellent problem solver, and understands high-level math concepts. He was a difficult child to teach however. We butt heads often and I always felt he just resisted my teaching and me. At the age that he should have been able to do more independent work, he seemed to get slower and lazier. It seemed as if he wasn’t retaining anything. After all the incredible literature we had read and analyzed together, all of the countless hours I had read to him, and all of the spelling and phonics lessons we had done, how could it be that he was still an atrocious speller, takes hours to complete an assignment that should only take 20 minutes and constantly makes what I considered to be careless mistakes? I was certain that he was just lazy and disobedient.

By this time, my second born was about 3 years old and I saw in him a lot of the same developmental characteristic my first born had. Neither of them spoke very coherently until they were about 4, but my second born was much more delayed than my first.  My second born is a musical prodigy, but this gift could not cover his language disabilities, whereas the gifts of my first-born were able to mask some of those same language challenges that my second had. Because of the language delays in my second born, I started to research learning disabilities. Through my research, I discovered stealth dyslexia, auditory and language processing disorders, and the twice-exceptional child. I was humbled and convinced that my oldest had all of these. I was determined not to overlook these issues with my second, but this is a subject for a future blog.

I had assumed that my firstborn’s resistance to school work was because of laziness. Now I understand that he just didn’t get it. The words and information get jumbled up in his head. Information retrieval is not an inherent skill of his. It doesn’t matter how much I read to him, or how often we analyze literature, the information in his head just does not get processed correctly. In the last 5 years, however, things are finally clicking and I think it is because I am seeing “him” and God’s design for him. He is a visionary and science orientated and I wish I had seen that in the beginning. I had on blinders, and could only see my vision for my child, but my vision was not God’s.

Now with my little ones, I look for those things that they delight in, and that drive them and I let them run with it. I don’t get hung up on what lesson they are on, or how much they have read. If my daughter wants to spend the whole day sewing and designing clothes, I let her. If my musical prodigy wants to spend the whole day drumming and playing his guitar, I let him. Fact is that in order to get good at the things they delight in, they have to know how to read, and they have to have basic math skills, so that is how I hook them in.

My second born has to work 5 times as hard as my younger 3 to be able to read and comprehend as well, so I have to ask myself how much of that is necessary in the big picture. Honestly, I believe he was created to be a rock star for God’s glory, so how much reading and math is really necessary? I will teach him the basics and if he wants to know more I will teach it. This was never my attitude with my oldest. It was always that he had to be at this level in reading and math or else I was a failure. Now days, if my children show frustration, resistance, or even tears, I change it and find something that they like. If they aren’t getting it, I stop and bring it back later, sometimes even a year later. I don’t care what level they are at, but only that they know more than they did last year. I focus on the things they can do well. We move as slow or as fast as we want. They play a lot. They create a lot. My younger children know who they are, because I have let them discover the things that they are good at and delight in.

There are many things I wish I could go back in time and do over with my firstborn, but that thinking is futile, so I have picked up the pieces. I have put together those pieces that fit into his personality and have thrown out those pieces that don’t. He has been allowed to pursue the activities that drive him and because of this, he has grown into an excellent example of a God fearing young man who takes great care of his younger siblings and has the utmost respect for his parents. He loves to be with his family and even willingly takes his younger siblings to the movies and on outings with his other teenage friends.  He is a musical composer and mad scientist at heart and I am a thrilled to see where he will go with that. He no longer has that lazy attitude. He willingly tries even those things that are hard, probably because I don’t badger him for taking too long. I keep those assignments that I know will be difficult, short and simple. I am happy if he obtains a basic knowledge of the subject and more times than not, he is now pushing himself to get it right and even to find out more. School time is more enjoyable for everyone, and all of my kids and I have a better understanding of God’s purpose for each one of us. This is homeschooling for the glory of God.

The High-Tech Schedule

I have a found a new way to schedule our school day and I am loving it! I am using the Cozi App. It has shared to-do lists, so my oldest son can check his daily school schedule and other to-do lists on his IPhone, which I have entered from my IPhone. As he completes his list, he checks the box next to the item from his own IPhone. At the end of the day, I check his list from my IPhone, and decide whether to uncheck the item in order to have it show for the next day’s schedule, or to delete the item completely from the list.

Here is an example of one day’s schedule for my 17 year old:

  • Piano 1 Hour
  • Chemistry To-Do List
  • Piano 1 Hour
  • Government To-Do List
  • Bible Study To-Do List
  • Essay 1st draft
  • Organize your desk

He is to complete the list in order and check the box next to the item when it is completed. Chemistry, government, and Bible study have their own to-do list from which he completes the first item on that list and checks it off when complete. Items on these lists usually get deleted when completed, whereas the items on the daily schedule usually get unchecked, by me, in order for it to show up on the next day’s list.

As I read through his books for the subjects with their own to-do lists, I create and enter each activity into the Cozi App’s shared to-do list, which I have headed with that subject’s name.

Here is an example of his Government To-Do list:

  • Basic American Government (BAG) pg. 17-24 and journal
  • BAG pg 24-27 and journal
  • God and Politics pg 21-41 and journal
  • Idiots Guide… Chapter 10 and outline

Here is an example of his Chemistry To-Do list for Apologia Chemistry Module 4:

  • Page 111-117 and On Your Own Questions
  • Experiment 4.4
  • Pg. 118-125 and On Your Own Questions
  • Review Questions
  • Practice Problems
  • Test

And finally, here is an example of his Bible Study To-Do list:

  • Inductively study 1 Samuel Chapter 14
  • Inductively study 1 Samuel Chapter 15
  • Inductively study 1 Samuel Chapter 16
  • Write an essay in which you explain Saul’s fall.

One of the best things about this app is that I can slide each item up or down within the list. This way, if he didn’t happen to get to chemistry one day, I can move it up on the list so that he begins with it the next day. No cut, copy, or paste, just hold down and slide it where you want it. This is just what I have needed in order to easily keep track of how he is looping through his subjects. If he decides he wants to spend more time on a subject, I just slide it on up.

I also have a list that keeps track of my younger kid’s school subjects and projects. Sometimes the day gets away from me, and I have to ask myself, “What are we supposed to be doing?” When this happens, I just go to my Kid’s School List.

Here is an example of my Kid’s School List:

  • Bible: 1 Sam 17
  • Memory Verses
  • All About Reading
  • All About Spelling
  • Right Start Math
  • Music
  • Typing
  • Current Events
  • The 21 Balloons
  • Easy Grammar

I haven’t needed to really detail out this list as I did with my oldest son’s lists, because my younger kids don’t have their own IPhones. This list is to simply jog my own memory and keep track of what we are able to accomplish in a day. I slide the subjects up and down according to what we have accomplished and what I want us to start with on the next day. If I see that we haven’t gotten to a subject in awhile, I move it up the list. These items don’t usually get deleted either. I do change some of them however. For example, the Bible chapter and literature book will change according to what we are reading, but the rest usually just get unchecked for the next day.

Of course I also use this app for the awesome shared grocery lists, but I haven’t really gotten into the calendar yet. All of our calendar events are shared on the iPhone calendar that is built into the phone, and I really don’t want to re-enter everything into the Cozi calendar. I do foresee myself using it more and more in the future however. I entered our trash day just to test it out, and yesterday my oldest said, “Mom, it’s trash day tomorrow. Know how I know? The Cozi App told me.” Oh yeah! I do like that.

More Bible

If you ever want real accountability for being in the Word of God on a daily basis, then sign up to teach the kid’s ministry at church. I teach kids from ages 9-12 every Thursday evening. We are going through the books of Samuel. I don’t use any curriculum; I simply inductively study the chapter during the week and teach the lesson the Lord gives me.  This keeps me daily in the Word, studying and reviewing the chapter that I am teaching.

At home, the first thing we do each morning is our family devotions. During this time, we read through the Bible together. It took five years to read the entire Bible together the first time, and we are just finishing up Deuteronomy in our second read through. I also read a Bible story to the kids every night before bed from The Egermeier’s Bible Story Book, but I have been longing to do more. I long to teach every subject through the Bible and my Thursday night Bible studies with the kids at church have prompted me to add more Bible study to our day at home.

Egermeiers

My “intellectually disabled” drummer boy, get’s very little out of Thursday night’s Bible studies. His canned answer to every question is “God.” He really wants to understand it though, so I have decided to give him a head start in the lesson. This has lead me to teaching language arts, at home, through the Bible. Monday through Thursday, we inductively study the chapter I will be teaching Thursday evening. Now my drummer boy gets at least half of the answers correct on Thursday evening and he is much more engaged.

Every narrative element can be studied through the Bible. Studying the Bible builds character and gives value to doing school. If glorifying God is the purpose of school, of course His Word should be the main subject.

Here is a link for the steps of how to inductively study the Bible: Inductive Bible Study

All three categories of the trivium can be practice through inductively studying the Bible.  Through observation, language and speech can be practiced. This week my drummer boy and ballerina practiced summarizing and orally retelling the battle between David and Goliath. Thought is practiced through both interpretation and application of the scripture. Last week, my students interpreted the symbol of the Amelikites as the flesh. They researched God’s Word regarding the flesh. They found out what it is and what to do about it. Then they  orally explained what they are going to do about their own flesh, for more practice in the speech skill set.

It is my intent to do more of this as my drummer boy’s therapy programs are completed, but for now I have had to move our read alouds to the evening time after dinner. I am also in the process of freeing our family from curriculum enslavement so we can add more project time and science to our day. I will be posting more about how we are accomplishing this in future posts. Happy studying!

Teaching Children to Give

A teen in our church youth group went to the city tree lighting ceremony last year and her heart was moved to provide for the homeless people she had seen there. This year she rallied her fellow youth group members, and the church body, to stock bags full of items to feed and keep the homeless in the city warm during the winter.

I took this opportunity to teach my younger children the value of giving. I had them do some chores around the house in order to earn money with which to purchase items for the bags. All was going well, until we got into the car with the items we had purchased. One of the twins began to put on the beanie he had purchased for the bags. I turned to him and said, “You do know that the beanie is not for you?”

His smile turned upside down really quickly, and he almost started to cry. The other twin looked sad as well. I explained that they already had their own beanies, but there were people that did not have any beanies at all. These people did not even have any homes and they had to sleep on the streets all winter. I had already explained all of this to them before, but it obviously needed to be restated, with beanies in hand. I asked them how it would feel to sleep on the street all winter. The older kids also explained to them that it would be very cold. I am not sure if they truly understood, but they sadly put the beanies away.

Each child then put the items they had purchased in the Christmas bags, which were to be handed out on Black Friday. We prayed as a family each day that the Lord would prepare the people to receive the bags and that each person would get exactly the items that they needed.

On Black Friday, we headed down to the city. Each bag was handed out in a matter of minutes.  While hanging out in the area to witness, a man came up to us and said, “I have been out here for a while and know these guys and I wanted to let you know that each one of them got exactly what they needed in those bags.” Praise God!

My 4-year-old twins may still believe that being in need is not having a Nintendo DS or the latest Disney toy, but this experience was one step closer to giving the taste of reality beyond the plush life they live at home. It has become more and more prevalent that more of these “learning to give” sessions are necessary for all of them.  The Goodwill trips are too abstract, and there is no sacrifice in giving up extra toys. Having to work hard for the money it cost to purchase necessities for those in need is a start in instilling Godly character, but ultimately I pray that caring for those in need is a quality that will come from each of their hearts as a result of God’s love for them.

Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

 

How do you teach your children to give?