Thursday, August 20, 2015

Simplicity

Simplicity- it's my keyword for this year of homeschool. When I'm looking through curriculum, planning our routine, writing out assignments, I ask myself if I've made things unnecessarily complicated or if there's anyway I can further simplify it. 

Complications frustrate me and the kids- frustrated mama and kids cause arguments and tears. Arguments and tears make learning a horrible experience. My job is to teach my kids to love learning, so I see simplicity as a tool to ensure I can do my job. 

Simplicity won't always keep arguments and tears at bay, but they can keep some of it at bay. And every little bit helps! Instead of laying out a full worksheet of addition problems, I give out a small worksheet of only a few addition problems. Instead of assigning pages of copy work for them to rush through, I assign just a few lines for them to take their time with. Instead of textbooks for science and history, we take field trips, read living books, watch documentaries and create our own 'text books'. It's simple. It's fun. But they're still learning. 

My hope is that we have fun this year and that the kids get excited about learning each day instead of waking up to dread each school day. My hopes are lofty, I know, but I like a challenge!

Homeschooling: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

We finished our first full year of homeschooling. It was... an adventure for sure! I didn't know what to expect, so I went into our first year with an open mind knowing that changes and modifications would need to be made. For the start of this year, however, I at least have a better idea of where to begin. But I still have an open mind ready for changes!

So. Our year in review. I'll start with the ugly so that we can end with the good!

The ugly:

Getting my kids to cooperate with all that I intended for them to do each week was a nightmare. I was ugly. Nora was ugly. Collin was ugly. Once I did more research and realized that I was expecting too much out of them and backed off some, we did much better.

The bad:

Collin struggles with sitting and doing his work. I try to keep his more hands on but some things you just have to sit and do! The kid hates to write. HATES! TO! WRITE! It took weeks and weeks of struggling, but he'll now sit for a few minutes at a time without getting angry at me.

Nora struggles with math. Especially division. A lot. She could sit and do the steps if I prompted her step by step, but she totally shut down if I told her to try to do a problem on her own. I finally backed off of long division and found a new book to start us off with this year (Ready For Division). We used the same series for fractions and she did great. Hopefully she'll do just as well with the division book.

The Good:

I've learned that my kids love a little bit of every subject. Nora likes cursive, multiplication and history told in story form. Collin likes fractions, reading and also history told in story form. They also both love anything to do with science. There's not much I can do about the other areas of math-- they have to be taught. But at least I know that they don't hate all of math. Enjoying history in story form lets me know how to give them at least 1 fun subject each day. They might dislike spelling and math, but at least they have history to look forward to. I make that the bulk of our day and sneak language arts into it (narration, copy work, reading comprehension). And science... I can plan pretty much anything and they think it's cool. That makes for some fun science units!

So, there ya go. Our first year. Finished. I can't wait to see what the next year holds!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Modesty

Modesty isn't something I just recently began to mull over. As a child of an Independent Baptist Preacher and now the wife of an Independent Baptist Preacher, who has been to her fair share of Bible conferences and church camps, modesty has been drilled into my skull. More recently, however, I read an article written to girls about how they affect boys that riled me up and made me want to write a few words of my own. While I believe that it's a good topic to discuss with your kids, I didn't appreciate this particular article's conclusion. You see, the responsibility was placed squarely on the girls' shoulders. Basically, it went like this:

Boys like girls. Boys like how girls look. Boys are easily distracted by girls and how they look. Boys being distracted by girls and how they look make boys sin. Therefore, girls, you should dress modestly. 

First, I'll start with the good. I agree with the first three statements. Boys do like girls and they can be distracted by girls. The last two statements, however, are problematic. Here's why:

I never, ever, ever want my daughters to feel like someone's sins are their responsibility. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I believe in the concept of the weaker brother. I think that, as Christians, we need to be concientious of other Christians' struggles. But to declare to the world, via your blog, that boys struggle with sexual sin because of the way girls dress does a disservice to those boys as well as those girls. Boys struggle with sexual sin because they're humans. A girl can dress in a sack cloth and he'll still have to control his wayward thoughts.

I read another blog post that admonished the female Facebook friends of the blogger's sons. Those girls were told that they would be deleted from her sons' Facebook friends lists if they posted pictures the blogger thought were inappropriate. 

What a waste of great learning opportunity for the girls and for her sons! 

Maybe, instead of pointing fingers at girls about how they dress, you simply show them love. And, if you feel burdened to instruct them, perhaps it would be better to teach them that acting out to get attention (which is, I believe, is the only reason girls dress provocatively) gets them the wrong kind of attention. It gets the attention of creeps. And no one likes a creep. Deleting them from your sons' Facebook pages doesn't show love or teach them anything.

Now, for the other half of this problem: Why are we only addressing the girls? I have two sons and I am actively teaching them about modesty and how to be respectful. Here's what I want my sons to know: some girls struggle with confidence issues. Society has taught them that in order to be liked by boys they have to present themselves in an over-sexualized way. Don't be creeps!! Don't take advantage of those girls!! And don't assume that girls posting those pictures are sending out a call for sex, even though it may seem that they are. Be their friend. Show them Christ's love. And if I see that you've posted an innapropriate comment on any of these girls' pictures then you're in big trouble!!

Don't think that I'm just planning on coming down hard on my boys. If my daughters posted inappropriate pictures, then they'd be in a heap of trouble! But not because they're somehow the reason that boys sin. They'd be in trouble because, as I wrote above, those pictures garner the type of attention that I don't want my girls to receive. So, what would I tell my girls? Respect yourself, respect your body and dress in a way that shows how much you respect yourself and your body. Boys can't read your mind. They can only see your outward appearance. If you don't show respect for yourself, then boys won't know that you demand it from them. And you do. You always, always do. This will go a long way in warding off the creeps. 

My conclusion, then, is that you're responsible to God for your own actions and thoughts. Dress appropriately because you know it's appropriate and right, not because you have the burden of the world's nasty thoughts on your shoulders. And, boys, don't be creeps!! Respect girls! Always! No matter how they dress. Don't shun them or treat them like trash (no matter what society or other Christians say, people are not trash. ever. never, ever.) when they make poor clothing decisions. Be a friend.

To my daughters and my sons: be a Christian of a fallen world. Don't isolate yourself from the world. We are called to teach the world about Christ! We are called to help the helpless and love the loveless! We can't do that if we've put ourselves above the world.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas 2014

For once, we were home for Christmas this year! It was hectic, though. I think it's actually easier to be out of town to celebrate the holidays. Between cooking and cleaning and planning, I was exhausted!











Friday, November 21, 2014

Homeschool Day at the Tree Farm

The tree farm we took family photos at has a homeschool day every year. For just a few bucks (parents were free), the kids were able to play with the barnyard animals, slide down hay and climb on bales of hay. We also took a hay ride with the farmer who showed us the different types of trees, what makes them unique and how to tell how old trees are. We also drank hot cocoa and apple cider!

I love discovering new homeschool days for the kids. Moody Gardens also has 4 homeschool days per year and they're free for us since we're members! I plan on taking advantage of those next year. I also want to take Nora and Collin to NASA's homeschool day next year. I think they'll love it!










Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Family Photos

A neighbor took us to a Christmas Tree farm to have these family photos taken this year. I love them all! But here are just a few favorites:
















Monday, October 27, 2014

WDW 2014!

Our Disney 2014 trip has come and gone! We went with a large group this year- all 4 grandparents, 1 aunt and some neighbors. It was a good trip, but the new fastpass+ and construction (which meant heavily crowded walkways and unannounced ride closings) made things difficult. But it's Disney World-- a difficult day at Disney is still a prett good day! Here are a few highlights:












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