Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Day in our School

In my perfect world we would start on time in the morning and quickly, diligently work through our learning. Pause mid-morning for hot drinks -- coffee, tea, or hot chocolate depending on what you prefer. Then finish and move on to quiet play, some chores, and just enjoy our day. Well, that perfect world does not exist but the world that does exist is the one I am trying to live in. A day in that world looks a bit like.

Miss K is an early riser so she is up when the sun comes up. I am thankful that the sun no longer comes up at 5:00. She is happy to play in her room. J is a teenager and would sleep until noon if allowed which he is not.

After breakfast and clean-up, we begin out time together. We do art today. One of the reasons for doing art first is that it gives the kids something to do while I read. Then on we read Bible and History together. I have Miss K listen in to both of these. It is interesting the things that she remembers. I have lowered her requirement. While J write a history sentence, she just writes the lesson title and something she remembers.

Usually by the time we are done with that Miss K is ready for a break. I pushed her a bit long the other day and she was falling apart and needed that break. I am learning that she needs breaks. So I am trying to plan breaks. Breaks could be something physical like jumping or stretching or just some time to work on a game or puzzle or just allow her to go on her own.

J keeps busy working on his things and often during Miss K's break he and I are reviewing things.

Maths is very hands on -- using coins, cubes, bears or treats. I have a variety of math manipulative and try to vary them to keep her interested. Maths is her struggle and so anything that I can do to help her learn maths is worth it.

Often after maths she is ready for another break. I wish we could just push through and be done but that doesn't work with her.

After that break, we work on reading, spelling, handwriting, and then finally science. Reading is a strong subject for her.

That about ends her learning time. I try to do some sort of therapy or art with her.

I have learned that working with her special needs, I need to be flexible, adaptable, give her lots of breaks, and have lots of variety. It does sometimes make it difficult for me and a long day but I love seeing her learn.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Educational Trips - Learning while Travelling

We enjoy travelling whether it is a day trip, an afternoon out, or a big family excursion. I love how the world is our classroom whether is a walk to deliver newspapers and seeing various slugs along the way or a climb along the Great Wall or a stroll through the alleys of Venice. So many places to visit and so many things to learn along the way.

Here are some ways that we have made the most from our learning.

1. Learning before the trip - Learning before the trip can be a detailed as a unit study or as simple as reading a book based on that location. In 2010 we took a big family trip to China. So before our trip we spent some time studying China. I remember reading Little Pear to J and then the fun that he had eating a tang hulu just like Little Pear enjoyed.

I am glad that we took some time to study a bit about ancient Rome before our trip this summer. Miss K was able to recognise a "water duck". Of course, it took us a bit of time to realise that it was an aqueduct that she saw.

So read a book, do a unit study, watch some videos, look at maps be ready to learn while you travel.

Sometimes learning just doesn't happen before a trip. It could be that there isn't much information about the destination or there just isn't much time. Don't worry learning can still happen. Sometimes you have no idea what you will find on the outing until you are there. I had no idea that we would see the house that inspired Jane Erye when we went on our walk the other week.

2. Learning during the trip - Tour guides can help you learning through my son really doesn't like joining Chinese tour groups and I don't blame him that much. We have used tour guides at other times and that has been helpful in learning about what we are seeing. We took a free walking tour of York and learned so much about the city so not all tours have to cost money.

Take lots of photos. We took over 2,000 photos while we were in Italy. I have deleted the blurry ones as well as redundant.

Take about what you are seeing. We talked about tides as we were at Lindisfarne. If you have questions, look up information or ask a local.

Buy a book as a souvenir. We received a free book at Lindisfarne when we were.

3. Learning after the trip - I have found that often the trip can pique our curiosity and so we go home and learn a bit more. We have read books when we returned. After Florence and Rome, I read Michelanglo by Diane Stanley. That was a simple book to read but helped to fill in so many bit of knowledge.

Organise your photos so you can pull them out when you study a place later. As we have studied Justinian, I pulled photos from our time in Istanbul for reference.

Not everything has to involve long travel times. We have learned from things locally as well.

A day at Valley Forge

I realise that we are blessed in being able to travel. I know that not everyone is able to do so. I trust that you find ways to learn in the area where you live.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

A Walk on the Moor

On Saturday afternoon we went for a walk with some friends from church. It was just a short drive and then a long walk. I love the area where we live with the sheep in the fields. We walk through the fields just next to the sheep. Miss K was trying to scare the sheep and was told to yell, "mint sauce". 

There was a goose wandering along as well.

This might not be the best photo and you are probably looking at it wondering why I even bothered to include it but it has some meaning. This is North Lees which is the inspiration for Thornfield Hall, Mr. Rochester's house in Jane Eyre.

I discovered that there is a literary tour in that area from Jane Eyre to a scene in Pride and Prejudice to Robin Hood.

Here is the view of the church as we walked that way. We started up in the field and the village was the halfway point of our walk.

We were getting closer to the church and that meant closer to the cafe for our tea or coffee and some flapjack.

Before the cafe we stopped by Little John's grave. Little John is buried here.

We had our snack and then walked back to the car. We drove home and had to avoid the sheep in the road.

I live in the most beautiful part of England. I love being so close to places where we can go for walks and enjoy the beauty around us.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Week 2 - 14 August 2014

This is week 2 of school. It was a bit of a different week in that Miss K had football camp for three mornings. Yes, Miss K was at football camp. (Remember here soccer is called football.) I know you were picturing sweet petite Miss K with shoulder pads and a helmet going out there and tackling someone. No, it wasn't that kind of football.

I did walk to pick her up on Thursday and we enjoyed a nice walk home. Well, I did, she needed a few breaks along the way and a drink from the shop.

For some reason (I think it might be from Mary Poppins) seeing chimneys feels like England. This was one of the views as we walked home.

We wandered past the pharmacy and looked in the window. They had a display of old things.

We have been home while various others go on holiday so we have gotten the mail, watered a garden, cropped and allotment, and next week we will feed a cat. We went on holiday before the schools were out. Here are the beans that I got from the allotment. I also got some red currants, raspberries, a few black berries and courgettes also known as zucchini.

I have been walking with J as he delivered newspapers filling in for others on holiday. We had to avoid the slugs one morning.

There is lots of road resurfacing in our area. When it is finished the roads are nice and smooth and until then we are dealing with roads closed, diversions, and loud noises.

I am enjoying the flowers on our walks. The gardens are beautiful.

We did a bit of school. J kept up with most of his things this week. We are still getting the feel for the new things we are doing this year. J is doing some high school work and so it is an adjustment. He is using DIVE for two classes. I like it for him but I don't know how much he is enjoying it. We have moved up in our writing and that is a bit of a challenge as we get the flow of the new book.

Another sign of where we live -- a Mini. It looks like an older one.

That wraps up our week.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I Corinthians 13 for Homeschool Moms

As we begin our school year, I was thinking about love and how important that is in all aspects of our school days. I pondered that thinking about I Corinthians 13. Here is my own version of I Corinthians 13 just for homeschool moms.

I Corinthians 13 for Homeschool Moms

If teach French in kindergarten and Greek in first grade and my children speak Latin fluently but have not love, I am a linguistic genius.

And if I have each day perfectly scheduled and art planned for each day, and time to read the classics, listen to classical music, but have not love, I am wasting my day.

If I create worksheets and schedules to share on my blog, and if I sacrifice my free time to take the children to music lessons, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient even when you have taught the same lesson for five days because the child still does understand and kind even when the science DVD is lost for the third day in a row; love does not envy the school room of another or boast of the accomplishments of her children; it is not arrogant but understands that each has unique abilities or rude in responses to children when for the hundredth time she is telling them to focus on their work.

It does not insist on its own way but understands that children have different learning styles; it is not irritable when the schedule gets changed or resentful that math is taking four hours; it does not rejoice at wrongdoings like the child having to redo the whole lesson, but rejoices with the character qualities developed and godly truth instilled.

Love bears all things -- long days, messy dining room table, scattered books, and more, believes all things can be done with God's help as you can homeschool your children, hopes all things knowing that this is good and right to do, and endures all things so that God can be glorified.

Love never ends. As for homeschooling, it will end someday; as for grammar and reading it will be no more; as for knowledge it will pass away but when eternity comes, the learning from homeschool will end. When I was a homeschool mom, I spoke like one, thought like ones, reasoned and planned like one. But in eternity what will matter is love.

So now faith that you are doing the right thing, that you are following God' leading for this time of your life, hope that comes knowing that God is with you each day, and love for God and all he has done for you abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.

Fill your days with love. Love your children. Remember that God loves you.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Week in Review - Back to School

Let's pretend it is Friday, 7 August. Forget the fact that the weekend past too quickly and I needn't get a chance to reflect on our week.

We began our school year this week. That would be the book part of our year. J did three days of gymnastics in July which will count towards school time. I also consider our time in Edinburgh as school time. This week we got out the books and started our year.

Here is my Plan Book all nice and neat at the beginning of the year. I am sure it will have rips and stains by the end of the year. I still love the feel of my paper planner.

I make it pretty inside with washi and using my markers. Miss K brought me some flowers at the end of the day.

We are slowly getting back into our books. We started Mystery of History Volume IV beginning with Bach and Handel. It is interesting the details Miss K remembers. She remembered that Bach had 20 children.

After our summer holiday and seeing some of the artwork along the way, I was inspired to spend some time studying art history. We started this week with cave painting. I will share more of that later. At this time it is just a learn and discover together course.

J spent some time building a marble course. He said that the hot glue gun worked fine for this. It is quite an impressive marble run. I remember a marble track I had growing up. It was a small one that my dad had made. My grandparents had a much larger one.

It was a beginning and we took it slow this week. We will add some more things into our days over the next few weeks.

I am cropping a friend's allotment so we are enjoying red currants, raspberries, courgettes, beans, and the black berries are just beginning to ripen.

We are enjoying the bits of summer. The kids had water balloons out the other day. We had ice cream at the park.

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So Tired

The other day was one of the "I am tired of special needs" days. It wasn't anything specific just a number of little things that caused me to be tired and weary of dealing with special needs. It must have been some other things that day as well because that morning while it was still quiet and before there were many issues to deal with I had sat enjoying my sunny chair with a cup of coffee and my Bible. I was reading Matthew and came to chapter 11. I needed to read and ponder those words.

"Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV).

I thought about the cause for my weariness and most of it is a result of living in a fallen world. Just another reminder that this is not the way God created us to live.

Jesus understands that we will be tired and weary. Some of that is just the physical tiredness and some if the fallen world. These words are an invitation and a bit of a command. Jesus is telling us to go to him and he promises to give rest. The ultimate rest is eternity.

So the other day and other days as I face the tiredness. I go to Jesus, he gives the rest for the day. I look forward to the ultimate rest.

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