Thursday, July 27, 2006

Good Advice

I read some advice given to another mom who was feeling overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling. The veteran homeschooling mom said to make sure and write down two lists before doing anything else. The first is a list of why you want to homeschool and the second is a list of what you want to accomplish by homeschooling. I thought it was really great advice. She said to refer back to it on those days when you're struggling and need a reminder or if you're making a choice on curriculum etc. So, I thought I'd tackle it here over the next couple of days. We're headed off to the CHN Expo in a week, and I know I'm going to be tempted by all the cool stuff. I thought it would be helpful for me to focus on my purpose for homeschooling before going to make sure it's fresh in my mind so that I don't get too distracted by all the cool ideas and stuff.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Our Homeschool Schedule

I keep telling myself that we're going to keep this year super relaxed and low-key. I mean, it's just kindergarten and ds is already reading etc. So, if I did nothing this year, he could still go into 1st grade next year. I really want to focus on getting into a good routine and creating some good habits for the whole family. I'm reading Charlotte Mason's books on educating children and am most drawn to that method right now. (Of course that could change next week. lol) She recommends no formal schooling for 6 yo and under. I've decided to go ahead and continue with some phonics and maybe start some math. After trying to add in a ton of stuff and then paring it down again, here's what I've come up with:

Morning Checklist:
Nature walk/journal
Outdoor time

Lunch Checklist:
Reading lots of good books
Quiet time

Tea Time:

Chapter Book

After typing it out, it still looks like quite a bit. I want to keep everything really short. Copywork will be one letter, phonics will probably just be some word groups, not sure on math. We'll use reading lists to read good children's literature. The history/geography/science will be really low-key. I know we're going to watch a butterfly grow, maybe read some books about the presidents around Presidents Day and play with a globe. We're going to do the composer and artist from Ambleside Online and memorize some Mother Goose rhymes and/or Robert Louis Stevenson poems.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Babies were Born to be Breastfed

Last night I watched the 20/20 segment on breastfeeding. It didn't really take a stand on breastfeeding, but mostly asked if the new ads by the government were too offensive. They make the statement that babies who are formula-fed are at higher risk than those who are breastfed. Actually, I thought they were pretty funny - a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull. During the ad, an announcer asks the question, if you wouldn't take these risks before having the baby, why after? And then the tagline (which I love) - Babies were born to be breastfed.

In several of the online communities I'm a member of, most moms think that these ads only make the mother feel bad. The general consensus is that it's counter-productive to do that. By the way, these are very pro-breastfeeding communities. I guess I've been thinking lately, what's the problem with making people feel bad? This will sound harsh, but what's the big deal with the mother's feelings? Aren't we concerned about the baby? I mean, moms who truly can't but want to breastfeed, already feel bad. I'm thankful there's formula for those moms. But, if they've done their research, they already know that it's not as good for their babies. I feel bad I had three c-sections. I wish my children would have had a better beginning to their lives than being cut out of me. Do I regret going that route? Absolutely. Was it the best choice with the information I had then? Absolutely. The moms who get defensive are the ones who know they could have breastfed but chose not too. The breastfeeding rates in this country are way too low. What we're doing now isn't working. I'm glad the government is taking a risk on these ads. If nothing else, we're talking about it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Shadetree Academy

I guess I can now say that I'm officially a homeschooling mom. B keeps asking when he can say he's in Kindergarten. I finally told him that he is. I guess since I'm the teacher, principal, janitor etc., I can decide when he's in which grade. I think it's going to take me awhile to leave behind all the old "school" expectations. I mean there are so many things I just assumed about education because that was the way I was taught. I'm excited and a little bit scared! But, mostly excited to start this journey! We have a name for our home-based private school - Shadetree Academy. My husband came up with it. It's supposed to reflect our nature-inspired, relaxed-learning emphasis. I love it! I knew the minute he said it that it was a perfect fit for us. He said he just pictured us outside reading books under a shady tree. I know it won't be like that all the time or even most of the time, but I think it's a great thing for us to strive for.

Monday, July 03, 2006

daddy hugs 123 by Karen Katz

Just wanted to say that we love this book! I have heard of Karen Katz's childrens books before - Counting Kisses and others. We've never bought any of them though. We were at the library and I threw this one on our stack of books because it looked cute. It is the sweetest book! My favorite part is at the end when Daddy and Baby snuggle to sleep together. My husband's favorite thing is to snuggle with our daughter while she sleeps. He loves holding a sleeping baby (and so do I.) Needless to say, I went to the bookstore today to buy it. I had to have it for our collection. Big thumbs up for Daddy Hugs 123! Oh, and it sneaks in some counting too.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

More Thoughts on Being Family-centered

So, I've still been mulling over this idea of being family-centered. I think I've come to some new realizations. One is that we don't make decisions on meeting needs based on the hierarchy of the family. In other words, we don't believe that mom and dad should get their needs met first because they are higher on the totem pole. I think this might be what bothers me so much about the marriage/parent-centered dynamic. The idea that the marriage or parents have somehow more value than the children. We want to meet needs based on the need. As the adults in the family, my husband and I understand that we may have to wait to get our needs met. We have the capability to understand waiting. In our family, the youngest is usually getting most needs met first. Why? Here's an example, my husband and I want to go have dinner to get "quality" time. In order to do that, my dd will have to sacrifice her need for nourishment from loss of breastfeeding and safety from us not being there. See, to me, her need trumps my need for an uninterrupted steak. Especially since I know this stage in her life really doesn't last that long and that my dh and I, as adults, can come up with other options to meet our need for quality time. So, I'm not saying that we don't take care of our marriage. We do. We just don't need to do it in a way that sends a message to our kids that we are more important than them.

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Yipee! A nice long weekend. We're all excited here because Daddy is off work through Tuesday! So, what are we doing? Relaxing! We went to Sam's Club on Friday and I succumbed to the temptation of over-spending. Ughhh! We did get a pretty cool children's dictionary. B has been asking to look up all kinds of words. It seemed like a good children's one because it looked like it had more words than some of the ones we had looked at before. So far it does not have the definitions for trilogy or squishy. We also got the ps2 game "Cars." They were thrilled, but it didn't hold their attention for very long.

B is on a Toontown marathon this weekend. It's an online multiplayer game for kids by Disney. He's been playing since he was 3 yo but hasn't played much recently. He's getting back into it since he realized that he can finally read all the instructions. (Before he'd call one of us to read them to him or just guess/use clues to figure it out.) He also loves the animated fireworks on the hour every hour for the Fourth.

A is walking everywhere now. I can't believe I was so concerned. I knew she would just do it one day and that would be it. And C, he told me this morning that my toes are beautiful. :) I had just painted my nails and put on a toe ring. It was so sweet that he noticed. It made my day!