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Monday, November 10, 2014


Recently, I read from a post of Paige at Elemental Science about things she didn't predict as she conducted her work-at-home-mom life.  Number three on her countdown of things she wished she'd known was about remembering priorities. Well, around here, we all have differing priorities, but a few things unite us.  Music is very important here.  Reading is essential here, whether you listen on the text-to-voice kindle or read word-for-word from the screen/page.  Outside time with the lawn mower or gardening is a wonderful escape and exercise.  Lego time is, dare I say, "Holy" here.  There's a room dedicated to it, or mostly because the guest couch and sewing machine also live there.

The Mommy on the other hand continues to aim at doing the best she can with what she has. So many lessons I learned about life from My Grams who was born in 1914.  That was a tough time to be a little kid, especially one in rural Iowa amongst 8 brothers and sisters.  Their parents were first generation in the United States and the Old Folks still spoke lots of harsh Swedish over their heads. The Great War and the Depression were R-E-A-L to them and she shared so much of that with me as I was the only one of my siblings to go to get my bachelor's degree back then (since then my sister who came 20 years later has done the same as me).  I lived with My Grams in order to go to teacher's college.  And so much of that time is very evident in how I teach, guide, cook, clean, organize, drive, all of it. Waste not, want not, so don't even think you are going to get away with dawdling.

But mostly, TRAVEL IS ESSENTIAL AND NECESSARY.  It's how we think about all of our studies and church events and purchases and chores (frugal living-stewardship affords us to plan our errands to save fuel).  Band participation, science lessons each week (this can fall thru the cracks if spelling seems more important) and Bible study are those hills I'm willing to die on here at Paisley Classical Academy.  What would my kids say is the priority in their lives? Why is that what they classify as a priority? Take a minute to visit with them or a nature walk to discuss it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Unexpected Field Trips to Review a Rain-forest Habitat

Kudos to all you teachers out there who are constantly carrying out a unit study.  But when you don't know if the Daddy will authorize an attempt at empty seats on a plane (because he works at the airline) it's hard to plan ahead for the unit study opportunity. Most often, our field trips don't relate specifically to what we are studying in history or science.  With exception, our trip last month to Gettysburg National Park came just as we finished our studies and reading about the United States Civil War, but the trip to San Jose, Costa Rice this month was an unscheduled review of HABITATS (as well as a visit to our church's international workers here).

I seem to recall from my professors in teacher's college that we, as teachers, must repeat something three times before a student will process it (even to the smallest degree) - or maybe that was in church from one of our pastor educators.  Either way, we've completed physical geography lessons from Hands of a Child regarding the (cloud) Rain-forest Habitat and visited the big island of Hawaii once to see the Hilo side where everything is lush and forested in like manner.  But we never expected to take a day trip to the La Paz Waterfall site north of San Jose on a perfect October morning with the guide extraordinaire.

We saw brilliant foliage, indigenous animals and waterfalls. This trip made an impression on my kids so that if given the choice again, they would go to the mountains before trekking to the beaches on either side of the isthmus between the Americas.  And maybe they will visit more sites in the future to make reference to their habitat studies, but that only reinforces how important it was to be intentional and make the effort to teach them nature study no matter what habitat they found themselves (irregardless of our unit study status).

Friday, September 12, 2014

Troops Investigate the Civil War

Our attempt at a unit study with mapping, book study and field trip is a success, and we've done the best with a wedding trip to the Harrisburg, PA area that is possible thanks to Dad (for going to work at the airline), Papa and Gramma for our investigation at the National Park.  Also thanks to the other Grandma for building Mom's LHOP dress that G2 got to wear.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's a Long Trek with These Troops (a 'day' in the life)

I recently posted their 8th first day of homeschooling. Their first day ever (back in 2007) wasn't such a big deal except that I didn't know so much. I was trained in secondary (junior and senior high) teaching methods. I didn't know what CIRCLE TIME was as used with elementary aged students.

So recently, I read Kendra Fletcher's directions and guides of how to do it.  She tells how to begin each day of "school" in a group with prayer, pledge and each day a separate academic lesson.  She uses read alouds during the children's history coloring book page exercise.  She helps each one around the circle understand handwriting exercises.  She also takes narration from a little who isn't able to write their version of the story on their own.  I used to pray for a quite minute to do read alouds with everyone listening to me, but my voice would give out and I'd rely on to read a story for me (or in the case of history lessons, Mr. Weiss would read).

In these days of hormones and sleep deprived, hungry teen/tween-agers, I do "circle time" during my car schooling sessions. That is, if we are to drive somewhere, we then bring up the chapter needed for one subject that each student shares on the kindle, then listen over the mini-van speakers to the material read by the computer text to speech voice.  We continue to use our time more efficiently, cooperating in our education as we study thus we talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up (Deut 11:19).

And the days continue along this way doing the best with what we have where we are.  Asking of each student what is left in a student planner to do each day or how better to use each hour to do each task.  I'm sure I'll be doing this for a long time yet to come whether in a circle or not.  Marching toward the goal...

Friday, August 15, 2014

How to Rally the Troops

And, as always, support independent work with discussions and follow-up in their student planners. So very thankful for this way of life and these special people.