Our World

Our World

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Security Within My Home While Learning

If you have any knowledge of TJED, then you most likely have heard of the Seven Keys of Great Teaching.  Well, there is an eighth key which just makes absolute sense and goes with the others.  This key is Secure, Not Stressed.  When first starting this homeschooling adventure I was worried.  Let's admit it, most of us are and not because we believe we are making a mistake.  It is because we are worried what others might think and listening to those non supporting little voices in our head shouting out all of the reasons that we should not.  You heard the voices, right?  I knew that I was not stressed out anymore when I was able to answer to someone that I homeschooled because I can and it fits with everything I believe in.  Short and simple.  That is really all anyone needs to know.  Yes, I am always going to make changes according to my children's needs, but I know that I will be guided into doing so. 

I am so grateful for the area that I live in, because my family does not feel out of place and our family and friends have chosen many types of schooling for their children.  Some are public schooled, some are private schooled and others belong to charter schools.  Those who homeschool either belong to a charter or do not.  How awesome to me that we all have made choices and no one puts anyone else down.  After all, we are all doing what we feel is best for our children and our family. 

Morning time is something that I enjoy, because my children and I are working along side each other contributing to doing daily morning chores and eating breakfast together.  A wonderful blessing for me.  Right after we always have spiritual thoughts for the day and then we start reading about animals.  One of the topics that my children and I are so fascinated by is Heavenly Father's creatures and there are so many.  Also, science in general is something that my son enjoys learning about and I am happy to learn with him.  My kids have four magazine subscriptions that we get to learn from.  I am also the mom who knows the value of these and in our family and they are considered classics for us.  To keep our magazines in great condition, we put them in sheet protectors inside big binders.  Such a great tip to know!  We also use our library to check out books and science kits that always include experiments.  Like I mentioned before, I absolutely enjoy our morning time.

Today is one of our math days.  We set up time specifically for math a few days a week.  Now, we also learn about math on other days, but it is not part of our structured time on those days.  It just happens to flow into our day.  We use Singapore Math as it was given to us free of charge and  it happens to work well with my son.  He is a visual child and he likes using this curriculum.  The only thing I would say with curriculum is that technically you do not need it, but if it works well with your family then by all means use it!  We read a lot of books about math topics on our math days as well as the rest of our week.  I love the Math is CATegorical series, Sir Cumference series, and many more.  They are great classics for us and all of my children enjoy reading them.  Think about the kitchen, so much math and science goes on in there as well.  We definitely use this great space with teaching both of these subjects in our home.  Math journals are also fun for kids!  My son has one and he jots down what notes that he would like to have from the books that we read.  I think having a journal for any subject is a fabulous thing if it seems fit with your child.

Feeling Secure, Not Stressed in knowing that what you are doing is right for your family!

Math and Science can be made fun within your home! 

Caleb enjoyed reading this book.
 On the Scale, a Weighty Tale!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Blessing of Family Executive Meetings

Having three children in Core Phase and having to run our household while my husband is off at work could be hard with educating them at home.  But, I am so thankful to know what the Seven Keys of Great Teaching are and it gives me great comfort to put them in use on a daily basis to the best of my abilities.  Everyday my kids and I are growing and therefore our abilities should be changing as well.  When I first took my son out of public school, I had already started reading A Thomas Jefferson Education.  Everything I had read was truly what I knew I wanted for my children and myself.  I was just not sure how to put everything into motion and get things going in a way that would work for my family personally.

 I was thankful that a friend of mine had lent me her Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning a while back, because it answered some of my questions I had after reading the first book.  Sundays are an important day all around for us.  It is the Sabbath Day, a day of church fellowship and meetings, a day of rest, and now the day for our FEC meetings to help prepare us for the week ahead.  Last night my husband and I discussed our children, what they are doing well with, what they could and need to be focusing on along with what our calendar will look like for this week.  Since our children are all in Core Phase, our priority is their core values along with their learning through play.  Work always comes before play, and when we work hard we get to play hard. 

Learning has become something that is just fun for my children.  They are able to really use their imaginations, find what gets their juices flowing and run with it.  Reading aloud as a family (around 1.5 to 3 hours per day) has also opened the doors, especially for my son on what excites him as well.  He enjoys learning about the Middle Ages, knights, drawing, building with legos, painting, learning about animals, playing outdoors, learning to read, reading with others and so much more.  I truly believe that the environment he is in, as well as my daughters has made all of the difference. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My Love For The Library And Learning My Love for Annotation

I enjoy reading so much and enjoy being captured by something I have read even more.  Books are just so amazing and I could not picture a world without them, nor do I want to.  So many to buy and even more to be read.  We have a collection at home and it is growing slowly.  It is growing slowly because I have a section in the house for them to be stored nicely and I do not have a whole room in my house just to store books.  There are certain classics that I just have to put in my personal home library, but I add them a little bit at a time.  Being a homeschooling mom, I already have places in the house that are set up the way I need for storage and I am fine with that.  I actually prefer it this way.

Why am I fine with this?  I am so glad that you asked.  I enjoy visiting my local library way too much and being able to check out books for a period of time, return them and then get new ones.  You can just call my children and I regulars, just like going out to eat or shopping.  Only much better, it is such a wonderful and free service.  The library has so much more than books.  We can check out audiobooks, DVD's, CD's, magazines, computer software and more.  They also have fun classes and shows for children, adults, and the family.  We can check out free passes to the Children's Museum as well!

My only minor issue that I had, which became a not so minor issue at times, was not having the classic on hand to refer to something I had read prior that would pop into my mind or help me with something that I was now reading or working on.  Well, that is not a problem anymore.  Not sure why I have not truly been inspired to annotate before until now, but I have found riches so to speak.  Yes, I have underlined and taken minor notes here and there regarding my scriptures, articles and books, but I have not fully put myself into it.

That all changed today!  I was inspired by a post on my Facebook Thomas Jefferson Education Group and thought I can totally do this and make it a way that fully works for me and the way I operate.  I had some spiral notebooks on one of our homeschooling shelves and got to work, with reading that is.  I am currently reading Jane Eyre for my personal study and we are reading as a family Here, There Be Dragons.  I had to go back through what I had already read in Jane Eyre so I could start annotating.  Let me tell you, it felt so good to now be able to write down page numbers with important notes, vocabulary words, and more.  I do not have to worry about not having the book personally on hand, because I now will have my notebooks filled with treasures to look over and over for years to come.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Early Morning Is My Time For Personal Spiritual Growth

My days can seem so long with my very active twin kiddos and son, and even longer when this momma does not get much sleep (which is more often than not).  No matter how I am feeling each morning I take time for me.  Either I can try to squeeze an extra 15 to 20 minutes of sleep, or I can have time for personal spiritual growth, which for me is very important.  I want to be able to pray to my Heavenly Father and thank him for all of my many blessings, guidance for my day, let him know of my concerns and for enlightenment for myself, family and friends in need of it. 

I believe there is no trade off with sleep.  This is something that I need to do before the noise in the house starts.  I do enjoy the noise and I cannot imagine my house without it, but this is my time for preparing for our family's day.  Besides my personal prayer, I enjoy reading my scriptures and talks from both the Ensign and Friend Magazines (the kids have great stuff in there) from my church.  I know that with the stresses that can arise during the day, I feel comfort in knowing that I have started my day off in the right way for me.

It may be only 15 to 20 minutes, but it sets the mood for this momma's day!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Family's Homeschooling Journey

When fine tuning our homeschooling for this school year, I wanted to change the role media plays within my home.  I wanted the children to have a more active role if and when media is being used.  Of course, we enjoy a movie together as a family and so forth, but for the most part I wanted them engaged physically or mentally in some way.  I am so proud of myself for finding what really works great for us and then making new changes.

 I now let my children watch the show Word World a few days a week.  This show really gets my children thinking and Caleb likes to make it a fun learning opportunity.  He has paper to write down the spelling words that he learns as he is watching this show.  I love that he is so excited to show me what words he has just learned to spell and we just discuss some of the similarities, differences, and sound out the words together.  A lot of fun!  During this time I am getting a head start on lunch.  They are enjoying their Language Tree French DVD as well.  It is something that my son has wanted to learn since we are part French and have family who speak fluently, including my grandmother who lives near us.  It is amazing to be able to do this together and it is a great refresher course for me as well. 

Some days we have an audiobook or church/uplifting music (which is played everyday) playing while our family completes family chores.  It just puts my children including myself in the mood and can make it a better experience.  When I do not have one of these options during family chores we actually just talk about what is on their mind.  I really enjoy being able to discuss things with my children and I believe that they are starting to enjoy as well.  Also when it is quiet you can really think out loud and not be disrupted during your thought process.  It has become something that I am really trying to create more of  in our home because the twins are really needing it with always wanting to overpower one another.

The computer for me is something that I want my children learning when using and I am glad that my son enjoys his Brain Pop Jr. subscription, Reading Eggs subscription, Star Fall and a few other websites that are used with having an active participation.  This is another thing that is allowed for them a few days a week for a certain period of time.

Reading, reading and more reading is a lot of what we do, besides working hard and then playing together as a family.  We read classics from every subject you can think of.  I have learned that a great education can be pretty simple when you think about it.  It consists of reading about a topic, writing about that topic, discussing what you have just learned from your reading and what you wrote and then doing projects pertaining to the topic.  Then you do these things over and over again.  It is working well and even more so since we read many classics.

Our journey will always change according to my children changing, but at least for this year I know this is working for us.

One thing that will not change is that we are always working on and building upon our Core Phase.  Focusing on important values of right and wrong, true and false, good and bad, family values including religious, relationships, responsibilities, the value of hard work, and accountability.  These things right here are truly priceless.