Posts Tagged ‘homeschooling’

Unconditional Love

April 2, 2013

Dear God,

Please help me to love my children today… not for what they might become tomorrow or in the future.  Help me to like them even if they never master a certain skill that I want them to master.  Let me love them unconditionally, never withholding my love or approval from them based on their performance.  Let me see the good in them and make me blind to their shortcomings.  Forgive me because I know that I have been forgiven so much and yet I hold my children’s failures against them.

Amen.

Possum is 6 years 10 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 8 months

Little Princess is 2 years 2 months

 

I am struggling with Possum just now.  He is, once again, very highly strung, angry and well PRICKLY.  Although, when I say angry, I realised today he isn’t really.  He is acting angry; behaving angry.  If he slips up you can see that it is a cover, that he isn’t really angry.  This continuous nastiness is just the behaviour that is working for him right now.

And work it does.  It gets him attention.  It gives him control of the family (Eldest kids! *sheesh*  DH and I are much more easy going and have spent our lives chorkling in our sleeves about such neediness.)  We know that we are being played, and that he is (currently) winning, but short of leaving him in danger (oh, he is smart about when he does it) we haven’t worked out what to do.  Yet.

*~~~*

I am reading this book:  “Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe” by Todd Wilson.  I so wish it was available as a hard copy!  It is aimed at homeschoolers, as you might have guessed, but so much of it is relevant to all of my parenting experience.  (But then, that is the thing about homeschooling, isn’t it?  It isn’t compartmentalised like sending your child to school, it is a complete lifestyle.)

After yesterday reaching the point where I really did not like Possum because of his behaviour – I mean really.  REALLY.  I got upset at DH for not driving off and leaving him behind – I stumbled upon this prayer.

I prayed it.

Twice.

And again this morning.

Help me to like them even if they never master a certain skill that I want them to master. 

Help me to like him even if he never learns to control his emotions and temper.

Let me love them unconditionally, never withholding my love or approval from them based on their performance. 

Help me NOT to make the mistakes my Mum and Dad did that hurt me so much.

Let me see the good in them and make me blind to their shortcomings.

Let me see the real little Possum, not just the angry ball of emotion.

And you know what?  Today was much better!  Oh yes, we went out and yes, he did the flip from sweet and fun kid to obnoxious toe-rag, but this time it was different.

For a start, this time it wasn’t about me.  It wasn’t about me being a failure as a Mum.  It wasn’t about me not coping or not being good enough.  It wasn’t about him being a terrible person.

This time I loved him as he is today.

Even if he never grows out of it.

Even if we don’t learn to control it.

Even if we don’t ever help him to manage it better, despite our efforts.

Ever.

I didn’t loathe him.  Or me.  I loved him; my dear, obnoxious, angry, 6 year old, struggling to find his place in the world.

Which got me thinking.  Maybe our role as parents isn’t to solve all the problems with our kids.  Maybe it isn’t to fix them.  Maybe it isn’t to make them perfect little people.  Maybe our role is not so much to lead them through it, maybe it is simply to love them through it.

Yes, it is important to be a guide, but it is more important to be their support, surely – to love them unconditionally.

I know that is all I ever craved as a kid.

And still now, when I face life’s muddles and make them worse, that is what I need.

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Technology

March 29, 2013

Possum is 6 years 10 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 8 months

Little Princess is 2 years 2 months

 

DH is currently working interstate for a month.  Despite being in the IT industry, working remotely does not happen very much in his work.  Who’da thunk it?

So…. being a homeschooling family and all, we are spending four weeks in a unit in the National Capital.

This has many wonderful perks to it, especially when we have a daily food and expenses budget.  (I am impressed.  Years ago, even ‘though the budget was the same, it was tough to stay within it.  Now, with five of us, not only does it significantly aid the supermarket budget, but it also lets us eat out fairly often.  I must have learnt some housekeeping skills along the way!)  There are so many museums and attractions to enjoy, as well as lots of outdoor space.

Internet access is not one of the perks.

We can have internet access for $10- per day.  Yup.  That’s right. $10- per DAY.  Which makes it approximately $300- for our time down here.  We do need some internet for DH’s work and for Possum’s schooling, but we are trying to just do it in spurts as much as possible.

This is not good news for blogging.

It should be fine.  I love Microsoft’s Live Writer.  This is what I use at home.  It does have some flaws, ‘though.

  1. It does not have an android equivalent, not that typing on my tablet is my preferred way of going
  2. It does not have a Windows 8 equivalent, which means that we cannot load it on the “school laptop” (our newest baby)
  3. It does nasty things on DH’s laptop, apparently.  Well, not Live Writer itself, I don’t think, but all the other stuff that it now downloads with it.  Remember all those missing posts from January 2012?

So that means, no LiveWriter.  No blogging offline.  No easy posting of pics.  (Oh, and just to make it even more fun, we do not have Office on the school laptop, and I can’t cut and paste on the tablet, so writing in another programme and copying it over is pretty tough going, too.)

What a nuisance.

Hopefully I will be able to keep you up to date with all our exciting happenings in SOME way.  Hopefully.

Nature Study–Close Up

March 7, 2013

Possum is 6 years 10 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 8 months

Little Princess is 2 years 2 months

 

One of the tricky things I am finding with homeschooling is to fit in all the “extra” subjects.  You know, anything that isn’t one of the Three Rs.  It seems, in an attempt to keep up with (or ahead of, because there is always the extra pressure when homeschooling) the best students in our local schools, I am unintentionally NAPLANing Possum.

For example, we are currently working on a Reading Recovery Level of 16.  Compared to our local schools, this is a bit slow.  Of course, nationally, this is about a year ahead of where the average lies.

Realising this, and realising that Possum was not having as much fun learning as either of us would like, I have decided to take a step back and put a big effort in to getting the other subjects covered.

Our main “curriculum” (not that we are covering it to the letter) is Mater Amabilis.  I love the way it is done.  It works with our interests, pushes us just enough in the other areas and allows room for Possum to keep working ahead in Maths if he likes.  It is also quite easy to “Australianise”.

In Level 1B (equivalent to our Year 1), the main Earth Science focus is on water.  Specifically, right now, we are looking at waterways.  As a part of this, we need to choose “our waterway”, which is the one that we will use as our study focus and visit eight times during the year.

Today we made our initial visit.

We sat with our eyes closed to listen and smell and feel the air.  We looked.  We discussed who uses the river just there and how.  We recorded various observations and sketched interesting things.

 

And two of the three kids ended up in the river.

(This lead to the observation that the wet moss on the rocks was slippery.  It also lead to tears and extra washing for me.)

I mustn’t have been too surprised.  After all, I did have a towel in my bag.

 

Now I find the timing of this particular incident funny.  Just today I got this article in my in box from one of the blogs to which I subscribe.  I have to laugh:

Do you remember how much fun field trips were as a school student? I can only imagine how NOT fun they must have been for the adults. The constant worry of losing kids, the noise and chaos, shushing kids when tour guides spoke, slowing kids down, hurrying kids up – it had to feel like herding geese. Home schooling field trips seem to be a little more relaxed for us as teachers and parents.

and:

Can you imagine taking a group of kids to the ocean for the day as a field trip?

Hmm.  I can imagine.  Do you think there is a reason why my kids still haven’t been taken to the fantastic tidal pools on the rock platform at one of our (relatively) local beaches?

Two Days in the Life…

February 6, 2013

Possum is 6 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 7 months

Little Princess is 2 years 1 month

 

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It is only the second week of school for us, so it is awfully early to be doing a “Day in the Life” post, I know, but I am linking up with Jamie over at Simple Homeschool for her series.

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We are no where near settled in to the year, yet.  And, gosh darn it!  Despite myself, we will be having some kind of rhythm to our weeks this year, I promise you.  Or I promise me.  We are also pretty much still only doing the basics at the moment.  More of the extras will fit in, or fit in in a more regular way or be fleshed out more, as the year goes by, but at the moment they are pretty basic, ad hoc or missing.

But here it is.

Monday

Trying to get homeschooling and Possum to get along, as well as get Bandicoot and Little Princess away from the tv can be quite a challenge, so this year I am trialling a new plan.  The bulk of our week’s work is done on Mondays and Tuesdays while Bandicoot is at preschool.  Then Thursday through Friday we do a little, just to keep the cogs ticking over and to keep Possum in the routine of doing schoolwork.  Great plan?

Yup, unless the dentist’s receptionist is not aware of this and makes an appointment on Monday at 10am.  (I am not blaming DH, the other party in the conversation, as he hadn’t been filled in on the plan.)

So on Monday, we worked with the flexibility of homeschool.

Possum (and then Bandicoot, who should have been getting ready for kindy) worked on his nature journal.  This took w-a-a-a-y longer than I had scheduled for it, but the end product was a beautiful piece of art work.  I need to remember to allow more time next time.

Then, as the lion’s share of the work hadn’t been touched, it was packed in a tote bag.

Readers in the car.  English (language arts) and maths in the waiting room while Daddy and then Mummy had a turn in the dentist’s chair.  Spelling and other sneaky educational conversations in the car to homeschool group.

Ah, yes.  Monday is homeschool group day.  This is proving to be a wonderful thing for us.  Possum is fitting in with the other kids brilliantly and I am really enjoying the other parents.  There are even a group of 2yos for Little Princess.  It is just a really good fit.  The only two problems seem to be that it is on Bandicoot’s kindy day and it would be great for him to join us; and remembering the time so we get home before Tuesday.

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We even managed to sneak in a bit of practical maths with a helpful kiosk lady providing maths problems for Possum when he wanted to buy a snack.

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Tuesday

Tuesday was a more conventional (and hard core) school day.  We managed to get through loads of work, which was great because it frees up the rest of the week for stuff that is more fun (painting, craft, swimming, stories, music and lots of playing)

It was not an early start – Possum was exhausted from a fun afternoon in the sun the day before, so it felt like it took more of the day than it should, but we got there.

Bible: I like to start the day with Bible, but it doesn’t always work out that way.  Today we discussed the presentation in the temple and the feast of Candlemas.  This lead onto all sorts of interesting conversations about the dangers of childbirth.  It is always amazing how these conversations turn.

Catechism: We started Catechism today with a “chapter” on God the Father.  It is sad that I have so little confidence in my own faith, but it is comforting to be teaching using a curriculum for this.

Maths is always fun, we are such “number” people in this family.  We did a lesson from Miquon Red Book on odd and even numbers (and played with Unifex blocks.  It seems that my anti-manipulative boy is enjoying manipulatives this year!)  This was followed by some 2D geometry from a Mathletics workbook (Guess what!  More manipulatives!) and finally some work on vertical addition.

English: We continued working on our current reader from Fitzroy, as well as the matching worksheets.  We completed a level in All About Spelling (yay, Daddy!  I got a spelling award!) and have begun a review (I think it will take about a term) on his Magic Words sight words from last year.

Some serious trampoline time was needed by now.  And a MotoGP race enacted with his model bikes.

We started work on an Angry Birds anger management unit (from Keri at The Home Teacher), too.  Possum is mad about Angry Birds, and we could all use some help with our anger management around here!

Finally, there was some mental down time while we watched the Disney version of  “The Jungle Book” (again).  DH is reading a kids’ version of this book to the boys at bedtime and they are loving it.  They keep begging to watch the movie over and over again.  Good thing it is a childhood favourite for me, too!  By evening the house was abounding in 3D paper crafts of Bagheer, Sheer Khan and Baloo.

And then it was time for art class!  Possum does art lesson’s once a week with the mother of one of his friends, who is both an artist and an art teacher.

*Phew* what a busy day!

Meet the Students – 2013

January 30, 2013

See?  Isn’t that a hopeful title?  It implies that there will be other years.

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Firstly, here is Possum.

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He is our “official” homeschool student.  He is 6 years and 8 months and is starting out Year 1.  He is missing a front tooth.  He is going to be a MotoGP rider when he grows up.

 

Next is Bandicoot.

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He is our “part-time” student.  He attends a pre-school 2 days a week.  He loves it, but there is no way he will ever go without a protest.

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He is 4 years and 6 months old.  He is going to have a Christmas shop when he grows up.

And that is a shark on his picture.  Sharks, flies, snakes, spiders… they seem to appear on his pictures quite a bit.  I was very impressed with his colouring on this one.

 

And here is our Little Princess.

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She is 2 years and 1 month old.  Biologically.  She reckons she is a lot older, even if she refers to herself as “Bubby”.

 

So that is our little lot this year.  Amazing how much mischief three cute kids can get up to!

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Oh, and those ear protectors in the top photo?  Bandicoot came running out with those for Possum.  I can say that today they were not needed.  It was one of those days where the boys did a great job of not hearing me when I spoke anyway.

Year One!

January 29, 2013

Possum is 6 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 2 years 1 month

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Homeschool officially started up for the year again today around here. Possum is in Year One!  Oh my, how grown up.

The day started poorly.  There were tears and locking of self in bedroom when reminded today was the day.  And that wasn’t even me!  Although, to be fair, I couldn’t go to sleep last night because I was so worried in anticipation and wishing school holidays could last forever.  Apparently they can’t.

Once a more subdued Possum returned (probably helped along by the despatch of Bandicoot to preschool), we got underway.  We are starting slowly this year for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it is the return to school after the holidays.  Possum is not writing his PhD thesis this week.  We’ll work up to that.

Secondly, I am finding my feet.  I have some great curricula to help me along this year.  What I need to do is to learn to trust them.  I also need to work out how to fit them all together in a way that works for us.

As well as this, or as part of it, I am not sure which, I am working through a few different educational philosophies.  I am melding some ideas from Charlotte Mason and from Oak Meadow (Waldorf inspired) and trying not to push Possum too much academically, even though he is very clever.  For me it is a delicate balancing act.  I am trying to work out how to let him be a kid, feed his brain and honour him all without burning him out.  Or me.

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At any rate, we jumped in today and got going.  It wasn’t as awful as either of us thought it would be.  Just as well – we are both pretty imaginative!

Now we have the rest of the day to ponder the rain, the washing pile and try not to go stir crazy.

Oh and fix dinner.  Must remember to fix dinner.  Apparently the family will be expecting it again tonight.

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Grade One Minus Two Days

January 27, 2013

…or maybe five.

Possum is 6 years 8 months
Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months
Little Princess is 2 years

Tomorrow is a public holiday here for Australia Day.  I had planned to start school on Tuesday, thinking it was the day that schools went back.  I was mistaken on that one – they go back on Wednesday, but I thought that I would run with it anyway.

Possum, however, is adamant that school does not go back until 1st February.   He was (erroneously) told so by one of his mates. 

Hmm.

Actually, long term that could be a nice way for me to work it.

It is a point that I would be willing to negotiate, but, to be honest, Friday (which is the 1st), doesn’t work so well for me.  For one thing, Mainly Music, the Little Ones’ music group, starts again on Friday.  It takes a huge chunk out of the day, and, more specifically, the morning.  It makes for an awkward school day at the best of times, let alone for first day back.

Also, DH commented, “The excuses will be coming thick and fast”.   Really, not many kids are chomping at the bit to go back to school.  Even the weirdos like me, who, despite it all, loved school, loved holidays more.

To be perfectly honest, I still like school holidays more.  I love having the kids around.  I also love no art class, no music, no Playgroup, no swimming, no gymnastics, no Sunday school…  All that starts again this week, too.  Le sigh.

But apart from all of that, I would be happy for an extra couple of days to get organised.  As well as waiting for some supplies to arrive, I also need to get some stuff printed for lessons.  I want, amongst other things, to do a daily folder – a simple set of activities that are repeated every day as a little warm up to the day and honing a few skills.  The idea is that this becomes almost independent work.  I also want to do something similar for Bandicoot, but with different activities of course, in a quest to provide him with a more ‘stimulating environment’.

I had planned to get that organised, if not for the year, or even the term, at least for the first week or two, this weekend.  Until Little Princess killed the computer.  Oh, okay, not the whole computer.  The mouse.  Or maybe the mouse driver.  Whatever it is, the computer is useless and a locked vault is holding my printouts.  (Does that make them printins?). DH is not highly motivated to look into the matter.  It isn’t his work – he has enough of that at the office anyway.  Besides, he is quite happy to wait until Tuesday when he can bring home his spare mouse and try that out.  Eek! Tuesday night does not work so well for me.

So much for a nice controlled start to the year.

Of course, I could start coercive homeschooling this week.  You know, extra reading.  Activities from my maths cookbook. Bird-watching.  That sort of thing.  But it isn’t so much what he is doing that I am concerned with in the first few weeks, it is the discipline of schoolwork.

Maybe it will be Friday before we start.  Or next week.