Showing posts with label Homeschooling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homeschooling. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 1

Animal Adventures!

This past Sunday we headed out on an adventure, to a local park called “Animal Adventures”…it’s a small zoo, at which you can feed most of the animals. It was so much fun! We were there when they opened, which was great! There wasn’t a ton of people, the staff was awesomely informative and helpful, and we all had a lot of fun!


All of the zookeepers were willing to talk and answer any questions.


When we were learning about the camel, Avelyn was VERY informed {via Wild Kratts} and could answer all of the questions the zookeeper asked…very much like her daddy.IMG_5710

They even let the kids feed the animals. {The whole zoo is outfitted with feeding tubes for the animals you can’t reach and you can feed the giraffe and the camel carrot sticks.}



The kids were so brave! I was a bit nervous about how they would feel around the animals, but you can tell from Henry’s face that he had a blast!


I’m not too fond of zoos, I really don’t like the idea of animals in captivity. We asked the zookeepers where they got their animals from and they were very open to talking about it: Some of the animals are donated, particularly the birds and more domesticated animals, by people had them as pets and didn’t know what they were getting themselves into, some of the animals are from other zoos, and some are from DEC raids {ie. people who had animals that are not permitted as pets…for example, lemurs}. All of the animals looked well cared for and the entire place was impressively clean.

Friday, February 27

Decisions on Schooling

One of the biggest things that has been on the discussion table for the past few weeks years is schooling for Avelyn. In NY schooling is not mandatory until the child is 6 years of age before December 1st. Last month we received the letters from our local school regarding Kindergarten enrollment and knew it was time to make a decision.

It was not an easy decision, as neither answer {homeschooling or public school} is without pros and cons. Matt and I literally sat down one Saturday afternoon and weighed every option and discussed the entire thing for 2 hours…I’m not kidding.

We talked about the logistics of schooling with a newborn and the triplets, from having the time to homeschooling, to getting Avelyn there and back every day for public schooling. We talked about what is best for her and her personality, what is best for me and my personality, and our personalities together. We talked about the monetary cost of homeschooling and the other costs of public schooling. It was not a decision that was reached lightly.

The biggest fact that made the decision somewhat easier to make, is that whatever we decided doesn’t have to be permanent. We’re not committing to anything for the next 12 years. We’re making a decision for this year, for one child. That’s it. Talk about taking a weight off your shoulders.

So what did we actually decide?

For this year, we’ll be homeschooling 1st grade.

This past school year we did a lot with and working on our own learning and LOTS of reading. I’ve compared what Avelyn is able to do with what is the requirements for Kindergarten in our area, and for the most part she’s spot on, and we still have 3 months of this “school year” to accomplish things.

The other part of the discussion was since we have decided to homeschool what are we teaching, what curriculum will we be using. My sister was homeschooled {I was not}, so I’m a bit more aware of the whole thing than most beginners {but not by much}. My mom always pulled together her own curriculums, but always enjoyed Sonlight for their reading and book lists. Last year I had purchased a bunch of the recommended readings for Avelyn for Preschool/Kindergarten and we’ve loved them all.

Matt and I checked out Sonlight’s catalog and were beyond impressed with the whole curriculum for 6 year olds {which Avelyn will be}. We also felt that this being our first year, with a newborn, and triplets, that having a whole curriculum and lessons planned out for us was our best bet. I just don’t know how much time I would have to figure out what we need to learn and a schedule; this will free me up to focus on what needs to be accomplished and give me a format to do it in.

Of course, I still have another 5 months to sit here and deliberate and hem-and-haw about the decision and whether we’re doing the right thing, but that’s just me. Deep down, I know, and Matt and I agree this is the best decision for us, for now. For right now, this is where we’re feeling our family to be led and knowing that God has it all in His hands, regardless of where our children are schooled.

Here’s to starting homeschooling in September!

Sonlight Blog Party

Monday, November 3

America and the Stay at Home Parent {psst…it’s not what you think}

This past weekend the internet has been a-buzz with the words of Mr. Obama regarding stay at home parents, specifically moms, and how that’s not a choice he wants Americans to be making. While insult and offense are the common response from the Stay at Home Community…I have a different perspective, and it’s probably NOT what you expect.

America and the Stay at Home ParentI know the majority were upset at the trivialization of the Stay at Home Parent, by Mr. Obama on the 31st during his speech at Rhode Island College. I say just the opposite is true: Mr. Obama, and the government, absolutely, hands-down realizes the importance of a parent who stays home with their child, and that’s why they don’t want you to do it. If they can guilt and shame people into believing that their decision to stay at home is negatively affecting them personally and the community as a whole, they win.

Why would the government want a parent home with their child? Someone who is in control of the information that child receives, the activities they are involved in, the people they are in contact with, 24/7? Why would they want a parent home with their child, when they could be out working and paying taxes on their earnings? Stay at home parents are one of the biggest threats to the political agenda.

Mr. Obama does not value the stay at home parent, he values what that parent is capable of doing {raising their child with possibly counter-culture morals and beliefs} and that’s dangerous to the political agenda, because what you believe and what the government believes are probably not the same. Secondly, if you’re at home you’re not making money, and they want your tax dollars to further those agendas.

In case you haven’t noticed, America is not family friendly. We have the worst paternity and maternity laws in the world, we penalize parents who have to take time from work to give birth or care for sick children; this is not a society that respects and honors the importance of a parent {values yes, respects no}. The government very much realizes the importance of a parent being present in a child’s life as their primary caregiver {primary referring to the number of waking hours a child spends with someone}, and they don’t like it.

For years, people have lobbied for better laws and policies regarding a parents availability to care for their children, without being punished, and for years those policies have been caught up in paperwork, never coming to fruition, because the government doesn’t want them to. {FYI If the government wants something to happen, it happens.} Mr. Obama even directly tugged on these heart-strings during his speech, saying, as so many before him have, that this needs to change.

I know this all sounds conspiracy-theorist and that we all want to think our elected officials are following our will and have our best at heart, but they don’t, and I don’t think many people truly believe they do. The government doesn’t want you home raising your children, they want your kids in preschool as soon as possible so they can begin raising your child with their beliefs. They want you back in the work force so that you don’t have the availability to be directly involved with every facet of your child’s upbringing, and they want your tax dollars. Plain and simple.

The bottom line is this: Parents if you were able to make the sacrifices to stay home with your children, don’t feel disheartened, don’t feel that your “job” doesn’t have value, because it does. Stay at Home Parents: Your job is the most valuable job in America, raising and instructing today’s youth for tomorrow’s world, and Mr. Obama knows it. There is no one else on this planet who is better capable of raising your child, no one knows your child better, no one wants what’s best for your child more, and don’t ever let anyone tell you that’s not true.

*Here’s my disclaimer, because I know I need to say it: I am not seeking to offend working parents or say that they are not in control of their children and the stream of information they receive, or that they are less aware of their child, and I apologize if I have. I know that many parents work out of necessity and would love to stay at home with their children, but that it’s not an option for them. I know many parents work full time and are successfully raising their children in their family’s morals and beliefs. I am specifically addressing Mr. Obama’s comments regarding stay at home parents.

**PS. I also apologize for getting political. It doesn’t always happens, but sometimes it does.

Friday, November 15

Homeschool Preschool

This post does contain affiliate links. Please view my disclosure policy Here.

We decided this summer that we would take the first few tentative steps into homeschooling. We knew that we wouldn’t have to report anything to our local school district until Ave is 6 years old, which for us will be 1st grade {for the homeschool-image5triplets we won’t have to report until they’re almost 7, 2nd grade, since their birthday is after December 1st}. For now, homeschooling is about fun, finding out what works for us, and how we want to function as a homeschooling family.

Over the past few years I’ve collected quite a few things for homeschooling via the internet, most of them free. Now, I don’t know if you could legitimately managed to homeschool for free through high school, as I haven’t researched it, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve managed to get some great e-sources for only a few dollars, from other moms who have put together curriculums, and I have found a plethora of things that were free.

There is one great blog site that I HIGHLY recommend called, 1 + 1 + 1= 1 {that is a link} written by Carisa. I had the privilege to hear her speak last year at Allume, where she discussed being a homeschooling mommy blogger {got all that ?} She has a vast multitude of information on her blog about how to beginning “schooling” with the under 5 group. Also check out the blog Confessions of a Homeschooler: Another great resource of materials!

There were several preschool and kindergarten curriculums as part of the Ultimate Homemaking Ebook Bundle that I had promoted in May. The whole bundle was just under $30, but it had 2 full homeschool curriculums in it, and a ton of other homeschooling materials….definitely something to keep in mind for next year’s sale.

What we went with…Avelyn Homeschool Preschool Collage

My sister was homeschooled and one of the curriculums my parents used with her in Kindergarten was Sing, Spell, Read, and Write…which had this really catchy song for the phonetic pronunciations of the alphabet. Put it this way, it’s been 16 years since my sister was in Kindergarten and the song is still in my head. It must be good. However it was backordered. Thus why I didn’t share a homeschool post in September.

We soldiered on.

I pulled together a bunch of things myself: From an alphabet to hang on the wall with bible verses, a selection of books from Sonlight's preschool curriculum {I love their literature selections, and will most likely be using them for English, Writing, and History when we get into the higher grades}, as well as something I found online, They had a free one month trial and we figured we’d give it a shot.

I was impressed, but realized that Ave wasn’t. She was frustrated. She was used to an iPad, that she had to touch the screen to use, not a mouse. I figured after the free trial we definitely wouldn’t be signing up, because she never wanted to play on it, despite how fun it was. Then it “clicked” {pun intended}.

After a few weeks she figured out the mouse, and away she went. She loves the music videos for each letter of the alphabet, she loves the puzzles, she loves the games, she loves that she gets to have a pet hamster and that playing all these “games” gives her tickets to “buy” things for her hamster.

ABCMouse ran a promo in September, that you basically got 2 years membership for the price of 14 months, which made the cost a bit more reasonable. At that point we had to move the computer into the kitchen, because she LOVES, LOVES playing her

I figured she was having fun with it, but how much learning was actually going on: Umm more than I realized. Ave went from not knowing ANY of the letters in the alphabet by sight, to knowing almost HALF of them after just a few weeks, including what sounds they make. She’s now able to right her nickname {Ave} as well as about a 1/3 of the alphabet. I was impressed.

One thing I do realize with Ave is that unless she wants to do it, she’s not going to, which is absolutely going to be an issue when she gets older and HAS to do certain things. I just know that I will have to think outside of the box and about how Ave will be interested. She’s not going to be the kid who at 8 years old picks up an encyclopedia {never mind the fact that they don’t exist anymore} and looks up “Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo” because they want to know why the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were named that {yes, that was me…I even proceeded to write a 2 page report on each of those people…I was weird, I know. And yes, I did that for fun.}

For right now we’re doing a mix of her program {when she asks…sometimes she doesn’t want to}, reading quality literature and science books {from our own collection and from Sonlight’s Reading List, as well as doing lots of hands on activities. Most people wouldn’t even see the “schooling” that is going on, because it’s not sitting at a desk for an hour and doing paperwork, it’s reading together and playing games, answering her questions {“Mommy, how do you spell ______?”, “Why does ______ happen?”}, and doing our own research about the why and how of things. Which, in my opinion, is how learning should be.

*I’ll be sure to post a follow up on how our homeschool room is setup. This post was just getting too long to include it.

*If you’re thinking of homeschooling, I highly recommend checking out the Home School Legal Defense Association…they have an incredibly amount of information on their website. Also seek out reputable homeschooling groups in your area, fortunately for me, I’m familiar with a lot of them, because my parents homeschooled

Wednesday, September 5

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool

Once again, Summer has ended and the children are scurrying back to school. Our days are now peppered with the sounds of kids and buses driving to and from school. For us, nothing much will change. In the afternoon we’ll watch the buses go by, while I wonder how I could ride the bus every single day for 7 years and not remember this house of our’s.

Ave will have her question again, “Mommy, can I ride the bus?” I’ll have my question again, “Do we send her to public school or homeschool?” Every Fall I ask this knowing that the time to make a decision is getting closer. Next Fall she’ll be turning 4, then 5.

I have no idea what the answer is.

homeschool imageMy brother and I went to public school. My sister was homeschooled.

I’ve seen both done right, and both done horribly wrong. No matter how much I dwell on this question, how much I pray about it, I still don’t know the answer.

Matt and I both went to the school in our town, back when it was a decent school. Now, not so much: Teachers have told us we would be better off homeschooling our children. We’ve toyed with the idea of driving to the private Christian school 45 minutes away, but others say they’re not much better.

My worry is that by deciding to homeschool my children I could be one of the people that do it horribly wrong. At least if I send them to public school I can blame someone else {I jest, a little}.  I worry that if I send them to public school that they’ll turn their backs on our beliefs and become fully indoctrinated individuals of the state {again, I jest, a little}.

How wonderful would it be to have all that free time again, if we sent the kids to school?! I could quilt more, cook healthier, exercise, keep on top of chores. Of course, there would be the morning and evening rush of getting to and from school, plus homework. But those glorious hours in between….

Then I think, how I could send my babies to school, knowing the people they will be there with (Matt and I did go to school with most of the teachers and/or parents of the students), knowing that they will have very few people who truly have their best interest at heart, who see them as an individual, not just another test score.

I don’t know the answer.

Or maybe I do.

Maybe, it’s just that the amount of work and dedication and responsibility that it will take scares me and I’m not sure I can hack it.

Tuesday, June 5

An Impromptu Nature Study

The other day Ave and I were outside sitting on a blanket reading, when she noticed a little birdie hopping on the ground. She immediately flew into Diego-Rescuer mode and took off after the bird. Once I caught on to what was going on I grabbed her and explained that we don’t go running up to wild animals.

Quintessential Avelyn

We slowly made our way up to the baby bird, realizing that it couldn’t fly. Ave was very concerned. The bird’s parents were concerned too and started squawking loudly at us.

We left it alone, watching from a distance.

In the afternoon we went back out and it had moved to another part of the yard. At that point I decided to see what we could do. We walked over to our friends’ house (their yard butts up to our’s) and asked them if they had any ideas.

After googling I decided that we’d pick the bird up and put it in a basket in the tree, giving it some worms.

 DSC_0759 DSC_0784

Alas, all our efforts were in vain. The temperatures dropped down quite a bit that night, the parents never came for the baby, and it froze to death: Obviously, that’s not what Ave was told.
From the sounds of it there have been quite a few of these little fledglings lying about (Grackle, I believe they’re called).

The other night the dogs were barking to get out. I checked to make sure there were no skunks, then let them out. Immediately they bolted off the deck and the trees in our yard suddenly were shaking like crazy. Our guess is that perhaps there was a raccoon (or something) around and it must’ve gotten into the nest.

Of course, at the time, {I’m not ashamed to admit} I thought perhaps the Apes were taking over or we were being invaded by aliens…since the trees were moving so much and there wasn’t a bit of wind.