Encouragement (confidence, inspiration, stimulation) is the result of boldness toward a cause. Encouragement is the heart beat of the strength us Momma's, and Daddy's, need as we school our children. I love that encouragement has a profitable route word, courage! Courage is what takes a soldier through battle and the broken to healing. My courage to school my babies, my gifts, comes from their countenance. My encouragement from their character. They are my cause. Courage sustains our calling to teach and to train our children. So today, I bring you encouragement from one Momma to another. You are doing good! You are doing what is right! You are doing what is needed! You are courageous!
I remember a very personal talk with my Baby Girl when she was a tween. Her later response to our discussion has fueled me for years. She said, "Momma, I know I can trust you because you were the first one to talk to me about it". I was brave in her perception. What I saw as "my duty" she saw as noble. What is small, inconsequential, in a parents retrospect are monumental in value to our children's apprehension.
Therefore, go out wield your weapon with strength and character and determination. Shape your children into the priceless man and woman they were created with such care to be. You have the most valuable job you could be doing right now. Be courageous!
" This is my command-be strong and courageous!
When we first decided to homeschool, I thought I knew why we had chosen to do so. However, as we are rounding up our first year, I am realizing I was off-target.
I have learned more about my babies personalities, temperaments, thought processes, hopes and dreams than I ever knew I didn't know. I recognize now, I am homeschooling to enjoy my treasures. Homeschooling is not a freedom we have. No! It is much more than that! It is our gift, our award as parents. It is our allowance as a family. Homeschooling is for our benefit.
I can still recall the unexplainable wonder my heart had as my very soul lit up when our Baby Girl smiled for the first time, our miracle child. The extreme excitement when we brought home our Buddy who I had believed for. Our uncontrollable pride when our Baby Girl held her baby brother up to help him walk his first steps. Their first words to their first athletic games. Tubing down the rivers and camping and four wheeling as a family. Being there for the moments of joy and a comforter for the moments of brokenness. Seeing our babies grow up as best friends having allowance for one another.
My God has mercy for this Momma's heart, these years to reap the full benefit of his award. My reason for homeschooling.......................
I never thought I would hold the "Hero Status" in someone's eyes. I persist now in our adventure with my target in my sights, maintain hero status. So, here to all you hero Momma's and Daddy's out there giving yourselves to the benefit of your families. You are the true hero's! You hold hero status!
You may also like:
I look at choosing my homeschool curriculum this way. I have a favorite book, one that I find myself regularly reading over and over again. Well, an author I return too. I find that the older I get, the more addicted I become to the written word. As I read his works of greatness, I am constantly finding pieces of them that I see anew. My mind is lead on a new adventure in a new way. Almost always I realize a piece of the book that I did not recognize before. I fall in love with the book in a new way each time.
After 125 years, studies show that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to remember what is learned and store it in the Procedural Knowledge tank. This is the type of knowledge for math. Makes since as math is a building tool and much review makes mathematics very successful. The encoding or retrieval of stored knowledge, is done through relative learning and repetition. The learning of a subject as it relates to knowledge already learned thus keeping it in the forefront of the mind. This is what the pure definition of learning is according to the Department of Psychology at the University of Berkeley: "a relatively permanent change in knowledge that occurs as a result of experience; that learning changes the individual's fund of knowledge".
This is the learning style that I have found to be so vital with schooling my babies. I am constantly amazed at how they each interpret their books. What they drawl out of their studies. How they each come out with a totally different diagnoses of what excited them when we read together. When I first started teaching my babies, I thought that learning a curriculum was all about the amount of information they would get out of the lesson. Making sure they get through everything and do good on the tests. After all, I thought, isn't test scores how we know they are learning? Blah!
Now I am realizing that it isn't the quantity but the quality of their retention; which can not be determined by a "test". It's not what they study so that they ace get an A (see my post on grading here) but what they drawl out of their studies. What they remember months later verses the blank glazed over "what you are saying is not computing" teenage stare. Just as I have found as I get older and learn how to learn, repetition and the love for learning is the key. Students are not cattle. They can not be herded though their school years with a bombarding of meaningless facts and dates. They need to know why their studies are important, piece them together.
When searching for a curriculum, finding one that instills the desire to return to the stories in history, relate the science of physics or biology or geology with what their talents or gifts are. To want to use the math they learned while you are at the store. A curriculum that instills the adventure and the draw to come back. These are the curriculums that will instill a retentive knowledge in our students. One that builds upon itself. The amount of dates and highlighted information they know for standards or a test or a grade will not get them through life. But the stories, those stories that hold place in their hearts will. The stories that draw them in again and again. The stories that impact the way they see others, they see the world, they make their choices, they lead their lives. The way they succeed in higher learning. These are the stories, the sciences, the mathematics, and the information that is true learning.
I want to encourage you to not be bogged down by the one size fits all idea of how to home educate your student. Rather your student is
There is a curriculum for them all. The most important thing is to spend time evaluating and reevaluating your student. Every student changes with each year. One curriculum might fit them one year while as they mature, another will fit them the next. Don't get stuck on the one curriculum for all time, maybe that will happen but don't force it. As always, enjoy the time you have with your kids. You only have 18 years with them. Every moment, treasure it in your heart. I guarantee you that no matter what curriculum you choose, being called to homeschool, what you give them will be enough. Don't let the frustrations or standards or worries choke out the joy of being with your kids and them being taught by you:)
*The curriculum listed above are just a few that are available. Do your research and match what is right to your student. Mix and match and have fun! I am not an affiliate with any of the curriculum mentioned. I have however, either used one of the above curriculum or have a very close friend who does.
*"How Students Learn...and how we can help them" by John F. Kihlstrom, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
So, today was a great day! I went in this morning to have Basal Cell Carcinoma removed. For the first time of our homeschooling, I left the kids at home with an agenda of what their lessons were for the day. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect for their productivity. Sometime it seems like such a fight to keep them on task. Just one year ago if I had left them with homework to do from PS by themselves, it would have been conveniently forgotten or done so quick half would have been wrong.
To my delight, they finished all their lessons with 1.5 hours left from their normal finish time. I am so full of joy in my kids growth in just these 5 months. Such a change. Their demeanor and how they carry themselves is night and day different. They have found themselves. They no longer take on the personalities of other kids they are around but actually get quite annoyed by their immaturity.
My baby girl was always very shy and a bit of an introvert. Last year I couldn't even get a hug from her, 13 year old at the time, in the car when she went off to school. Today, she makes jokes and includes herself in discussions. She hugs me in public, asks me to sit with her at the ball games, even kisses me on the cheek in front of everyone "because I'm the best Mom".
I am starting to find our nitch on what type of learning suites my babies best but I'm not sure what you would call it. Maybe you guys can name this for me;) So, I wanted to share with you what we have learned these past few months and how I believe is the best way to determine the efficiency of our learning...ie, grading. Now, I posted in a previous post about how I feel about learning, you can find it here, so I won't go into detail now. My goal today is to encourage anyone who is feeling stuck or having a hard time not knowing if your kiddos are getting it.
To begin, I will say it again, I despise regurgitation of info to receive a letter grade. I'm not dissing grading in itself, or I hope I'm not;) I do give my babies grades, namely for college transcript and sport eligibility purposes. It has, however, taken about a good 3 months to retrain my babies on what grading is. They have been getting so down on themselves when they miss work, mainly math or "tests". Finally, I sat them down individually and explained to them, in their own way, that getting a problem "wrong" is not bad (thanks public school for indwelling fear that it means they are not smart!) but that missing a problem is learning. Even Albert Einstein had problems with learning, that is until he found his nitch to how he learned; ie didn't get board. It took Thomas Edison multiple times, some say 100's, to innovate the light bulb. He didn't fail but learned what was not the best way to make a light bulb (thanks National Treasure for that, love that movie, but I looked it up and it is true). Thomas Edison was not successful because he got it right, he was successful because he persevered through not getting it right. Anyway, that helped them a lot.
To get back on track. I am training my babies to be critical thinkers and how to find their nitch on how to remember and recognize info they have learned, not just repeat it back for a test or grade only to forget. I don't want my babies to be the kid that says "oh yeah, I remember now" when someone explains info they should have known in length only to recognize it at the end. I want my babies to say "the Mayflower Compact was written before the starving pilgrims even got off the Mayflower because to have the right to govern themselves and live according to the Scripture was that important. That's why they prayed before doing anything, even writing the Compact. And that's why they came to America because they loved Jesus and Scripture so much they were willing to die for it but they were getting tired of dying for it. That's what a pilgrim is you know, a person who takes adventures for what they believe."...actual conversation my Beauty had. That my friends is knowledge! That is an A+ in my book:)
My goal is to train them the way they need to study and understand so that college is not a struggle. If they can remember and recall the info at a later time, then they know their stuff and therefore they get an A on their "test". Note some times Science calls for an actual test so they do get those but I have them explain the answer so I know they get it. For example, my Beautiful "got the answer wrong" but she knew what she was talking about because I taught her to explain herself. In that explanation, she was able to fully define the answer in correct terms, just the name was wrong. We went over the answer as a great explanation but pointed out why the "answer" was wrong and how to better look for what the test was asking. Learning Win Win! She does get credit for those times. We spend a lot of time where my babies read back to me their answers. They love to share what they learned and see mine and my Lovers faces light up when they "teach us"; yes even my high schooler.
I think of it that getting something wrong only better instills the right answer. It helps you remember how not to do it therefore remembering how to do it right when you have to recall it at a later time. This is helpful with math for us. I let my babies retry a problem they get wrong immediately and if they get it wrong again, they are explained how to get the right answer having to write it right next to their wrong equation and point out the discrepancies. After all work is done, they go back to what was wrong with a fresh paper and do it again. This works wonders. My Beauty who struggled in public school math has excelled greatly. She went from making "D's" to having a 99.02% off of the programs tests alone. My Buddy is able to skip ahead to pre algebra as a 6th grader cause he tested out of the other 2 years of math, no more being bored!
I hope that this helps anyone who struggles with if they are doing a good job teaching their babies. Or anyone who doesn't know if they can teach them, on the fence about homeschooling. Or struggling with wondering if their babies are retaining the info. Or have public schoolers who are struggling with the fear of grades. Please let me know what works for you in the comments:)
So, the first quarter of our first school year has come to a close. Man, how it went by so very fast! The change I have seen in our home has been astounding. We are starting to get a hang on things, working out our schedules and how things flow the best. We have chosen a year round school year so that we can really focus on studies and making sure our learning is concrete...I say we and us because I am learning so much along with the kids. I am a firm believer in understanding is knowledge. I despise regurgitation of facts just for a grade or to maintain a schedule or busy work, what a total waist of time! I LOVE what Michael Jordan says:
Knowledge should be the same way. Learning is not regurgitating shallow facts to get a letter grade. Learning is being shown something you didn't know before in a way that it changes your life. I am firm in learning as a life long journey.
Thus, we have taken on what I am calling "the Michael approach", my babies are also avid basketball players so it works for us. I would rather my babies be able to walk into a museum and see the displays alive in their minds. To be able to carry on a conversation with details about subjects. Not be board wishing rather to play video games or watch Netflix because there is no love for knowledge. In the last three months, it has begun:)
My babies have even physically grown, it's crazy! I'm not talking little normal growth spurts. I'm talking stress free, adequate sleep and good diet major growth here. Like inches...my Beauty has grown nearly an inch, at 14 (right at 6'3" now), and my Buddy has grown 1.2 inches (5'6" at 11) and a full shoe size, the big one is on it's way they say...in three months time. My kids are giants anyway but it is out of the ordinary for even them. The doctor even says our home environment has given positive effects on my babies physically. Yeah Buddy!!!
Lastly, my babies have come into their own persons. My Beautiful is so peaceful and joyful. Her countenance has completely changed. People outside of our family are seeing the difference. My Buddy has had a peace as well. He doesn't have a heaviness in his eyes or a defensiveness about him anymore. He isn't jumpy or frustrated constantly. They have begun to become their own persons without influence. I see the baby girl that I have missed so much come back. Her personality is starting to be unique and genuine and her choices are becoming exceedingly wise. I see the sweet boy that was so gentle and helpful return to us. A trust between mother and son is developing. And a young man who is a critical thinker with insightful discernment is immerging.
If you are a homeschooler, I pray encouragement and a renewed vision over you and your family. If you are in limbo, I would say to take the leap but one year at a time. You don't need to go full blown at first, ease into it and see where the LORD takes you. If you want to homeschool but have hindrances, press into the LORD, prayerfully seeking His provision. He will not falter.
"Be patient and in all things with prayer and petition before the LORD and thank Him for all he has done:)"
Welcome! Marie is a wife, mother of two teens, and a fur baby. Marie and her family live in the north-central US. She is a homeschool Momma, avid outdoors man, and is disciplined in the study of Jewish and Christian Scriptures along with Hebrew and Greek dialect. Marie has been asked for years to share herself, so, welcome to Marie' life:)