Category Archives: homeschooling

Going Public Book Review

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I recently read the book, “Going Public, Your child can thrive in Public school” by David and Kelli Pritchard. It’s a brilliant title, don’t you think?  The book has popped up a few times within my circle so I resolved to read it through. My goal in reading the book was to find a resource that would help parents with  practical ideas to be intentional in their child’s education within the public school system.  I was  a teeny bit nervous that I would be compelled to change direction in our children’s education and when the girls saw  the title of the book they were more than nervous of the implications of my reading material.

Do I recommend that you read the book?

That depends on what your looking for.  If your children are going to public school, and you’re not considering private, Christian or homeschool education then you should read the book. The  book is written in a tone that will encourage parents to be proactive in their child’s education, give ideas about  communicating with the school, having discussions with your children and staying ahead of the curriculum. The Pritchard’s are sincere about parents taking  ownership of their children(s) education regardless of where they’re being educated either public, Christian  or home school.  My heart soared with agreement when the authors wrote about parenting children in character, obedience, respect to authority, biblical truths, creation and sex education.  As a note, they have excused their children from the sex education classes because they see sex education as the responsibility of parents and want to be the first to talk to them about sex from a biblical view point.  (The book was written in 2008.  Parental rights are being challenged in the courts today regarding parents excusing  their child: here, and here are articles regarding my local school board)  The authors also  give examples of how they’re supplementing and compensating secular viewpoints, such as evolution.  Excellent stuff there!

However, if you are in the process of deciding where your child will be educated than this book is not the book. I will say that they did their best at making an argument to “go public” but it lacks logic and the  verses that are sprinkled throughout are taken out of context. ( I don’t know of a verse that encourages parents to have their children be educated from a secular view point….. It may be permissible to have children educated within the government system using it as a spring board for conversations, knowing where to  compensate and supervise their education with in the system, but there’s no verse that will actually encourage or support that decision.) The tone of the book is  pro-public school  the authors communicated negatively regarding those who chose alternative education options. The following are a few of the arguments they discuss regarding  having your child, “Going Public”. And this is where the book falls apart, in my opinion.  If the authors had kept their script to  “how to help your child thrive in public school”, the book would be a better resource. Instead, it seems that that one of the goals of this book is to convince the reader that placing your kids in the public school is a God honoring decision. Here are a few of the authors arguments as to why your children should “go public”.

  •  Government schools have been around a long time.

  • Test scores need a context (i.e. some kids didn’t eat breakfast, don’t have home support, and by the way the U.S was not the only country which lagged behind Japan in math – other countries did too).

  • Admittedly some public school teachers  have done sickening things but what about so and so which involved a Christian school teacher? They do bad stuff too.

  • Public schools have some good hard working people….

  • Like it or not, 9 out of 10 kids today go to public school.

  • Staying in the public system builds community which strengthens our communities [the authors states that it’s a better approach than moving your child to a better school: “those who follow the path (of leaving the public school) can unwittingly end up hurting their own property values if the local school district keeps falling down and gets a bad reputation.”  – I laughed with horror when I read this. I mean, really?]

  • Nobody’s perfect.  Jesus was obedient to imperfect parents, Mary and Joseph. Mary and Joseph showed their imperfectness  when they lost Jesus in Jerusalem after the Passover and found Jesus after three day’s of searching.  The authors write.

    ” The Son of God voluntarily placed Himself under the authority of a less-than competent mom and dad. He knew this was His appointed station in life for the time being, and He would submit to it. The application to school life is obvious. We have been assigned to live compliantly with less-than-perfect school authorities. We are not subversives or undermines; we have been called to show a Christlike attitude by humbly and willingly submitting to their authority.”

    This rhetoric is confusing. It’s a legal right for parents to choose alternative education for their children. The authors seem to be implying that those parents who choose alternative public  education are  unwilling to be under Christs authority  by choosing to not go public.  Our first and final authority is God himself, not the school system which is under the direction of the government.

To close this post I  recommend that you read this book if your children are in the public  school.  You may  find inspiration to parent intentionally, take ownership of your child’s education and be encouraged. The book may become a conversation starter with other parents regarding their family rules, attitudes and conversations they are have with their children and resources they have used.  I appreciate the authors convictions to help parents raise Christian children I share the same conviction and passion.  However, I wish they didn’t add their apologetic regarding why you should placing your child in the public school because it lacks logic.

By the way, we’re  staying the course with the girls education.

 

 

 

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Your homeschooling? How do you find that?

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I was packing up our swimming paraphernalia, three wet kids with  their shellacked hair tight to their scalps, and the remnants of our pot luck dinner. When I was asked,

“Your homeschooling? How do you find that?”

I don’t know what to say in one sentence or even two.

I stumbled over a few of my lines.  “Some day’s it’s crazy other day’s it very rewarding the day’s balance out”.  But now I am home thinking of all the sentences I could have said.

“How do I find it, I ponder?” as I trip over three person’s shoes in the entrance,towels and toy’s that need to be picked up.

I find that at any given time I can have three to five rooms that need cleaning.

I find that my spare time is often thinking about how to help a child understand a concept or pondering  better strategy in my parenting or school routine.

I find that I don’t get out  much and my wardrobe consists of five of the same t-shirts only varying by colors.

I find that I say sorry often because I’m learning character as well as the children.

I find that I’m constantly surprised of all the things I don’t know like; in the arctic they pick clams from under the frozen ice when the tide is out.  And Jack and the bean stalk is based on a true story…. ( sick)

I find that I’ve developed  goals of  how I want my children to grow up.

I find that there are godly woman to learn about parenting, relationships and education.

I find that I  love teaching, so much so that I’m compelled to help the kids learn to add when they come to play with the girls.

I find that I love to learn and I love to teach and that’s what I want to give to my kids.

I best get to the things I find myself doing.

Friday’s favorite finds

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I like blogs, mostly art and craft blogs but also home school sites for idea’s, inspiration and help.  I thought I would add my finds here for others to be inspired  maybe find  helpful too .

First off you should know that if you are following a few blogs web sites you will probably want to set up a Google reader. There are other ones too but I don’t know about them. The Google reader holds all the blogs that you like and when you sign into your Google reader the blogs you have subscribed to will   appear in bold and have the number of posts that you have not read yet. It saves you from going into each blog that you follow only to find that there is nothing new there.  It is very handy and the most efficient way to keep up with blogs and websites.  There are other organizing features  too but that’s the jest of it.  You can watch a u tube  video about it here if you want.

My favorite site  is  one pretty thing. This site has compiled and sorted DIY projects from all over the blogo’ sphere. That’s how I found the  Molly Monkey pattern. Some very cool stuff here. They share  a small picture of each project  so you can look quickly through the post until you find one that interests you.  The DIY projects are sorted into  birthday parties, seasonal decorating/ events,  kids crafts, gifts for /granparents, dads, mom’s you get the idea and the best is that they are all free courtesy of bloggers.  This site it the best I have found.

A favorite bread recipe of mine is  focaccia bread. Oh, it is so good! And simple to do.  I am surprised it is so expensive in the stores, but everything has become expensive the past few years. I’ve been thinking that I should consider  making bread more regularly.

I have wanted an IPod for quite some time.  So this past October when Jason heard an employee was selling his, on my birthday and he was facing coming home with no gift he bought it up….  smart move on his part and happiness for me!

I have an app for that…. Arithmaroo1  simply put it is counting balls or boulders  in different shapes, like what you would see on a dice, your hand, or in row’s of fives. The first level is 1-5, then 5-10, 10-20  ect,  perfect for all ages,  way better value than a work book from the dollar +  store  at the price of 2.29 with tax and the exchange rate.  If you or your kids are  in need of brushing up on math skills, I highly recommend the Arithmaroo.

And I would be completely irresponsible if I did not tell you about starfall. It  is  an amazing on line early literacy program, which teaches letters; upper and lower, sounds and reading. It is used by many home schoolers  and parents with great reviews. Perfect for dinner preparation hour computer time and the holiday’s.  You will find printable work pages and books to print off.

There is more in my brain and in my favorites folders but slow and steady win’s the race….. have a good weekend.

The art of art

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I never thought of myself as crafty or creative growing up. In fact I used to ask my sister what to color each and every section of the page, until she got really annoyed for some reason and wouldn’t answer me.  Then I stopped coloring.

It wasn’t until I became roommates with a friend with great talent that I began to play around while I watched her create at the kitchen table, or actually everywhere she went for that matter.

It wasn’t until  found myself in charge of the sewing room at His mansion ministries that I fell in love with sewing and in the past year drawing.   Now I consider myself a copy-cat art groupie. Enough skill to make some decent  projects but not enough talent to make it up on my own..

 

Last spring  I read  drawing with children by Mona Brook  and have since   become a believer in teaching my girls drawing skills and art….. for more reasons than the fun of it, although that is worth it as well.

It was while reading this book that I  come to realize that I can draw!!!  Drawing is a matter of looking at the details and recognizing shapes and it  can be learned .

Furthermore, drawing benefits children’s ability to recognize patterns, shape, spatial awareness, coordination, attention span as well as stick-to-it-ness.   Children are residulant, they have a desire to create and will make many attempt to create the perfect picture.

Encouraging children to persevere with their art project and problem solve will give them the skill of developing strategies, which will carry through to reading, math, and science ( nature study;noticing the details). Drawing with children, is therefore on my recommended list for parenting/educating books.  ( I view parenting and educating as synonymous)

The problem lies in the carry through.

My children  love the art of glue, small pieces of paper and in short a mess.  And don’t get me wrong I love a good o’l hog wild mess myself from time to time. But they are not learning any skill, they’re not  happy with the results of their work,  and I have no use for it but to recycle it, so the mess has no silver lining.

So I have come up with a plan.

drawing station

An art  station, drawing station to be specific. At this table the girls have available a few art supplies,  a board  in front of them which I have taped up simple drawing that I have found from clippings to give them ideas to draw. A book with a variety of different weather scenes and landscapes. As well a few projects that have been completed that turned out well….. The scissors, and glue are gone for other projects that we will work on together…

Now the nitty gritty of my post.

 

I have found a gold mine of doable art projects for kids. These art peices once completed will have actually taught your child different elements of art,  creating potentially  wonderful art that would make great children’s wall art, for your home or be added to their own  portfolio. These bloggers, That artist woman , Art projects for kids and Deep Space Sparkle are real life  art teachers and thier projects are tried tested and true with real kids in a class room. You can choose the age group catagory that you are looking for and look around for interesting projects that inspire you.

I’m  excited because I finally  have an art teacher myself now in the form of these blogs!  The instructions for the projects are great, and because they really do know about art and are talented they are giving me something to teach and focus on during art time rather than the free for all that I was talking about earlier.

The girls have enjoyed looking at the projects  students their own age have complete on the blog too, which give them ideas but also does not set them up for unattainable expectations. ( me too, after all they are just kids and they have only been cutting and gluing for most of their life)

What books or blogs have you found useful for teaching art with children?

The alphabet song goes to church

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My dad sang this song to us all the time growing up, and I have been singing this song to my girls. I have never met anyone, other than my sisters, who know this version of the alphabet song.

These are the words sing  to the tune of,  Twinkle Twinkle  Little Star.

A,B,C,D,E,F,G; Jesus died for you and me.

H,I,J,K,L,M,N; Jesus died for sinful men,amen.

O,P,Q,R,S,T,U; I believe God’s word is true.

V and W, God has promised you, X,Y,Z, A home in eternity.

That’s it my friends.

My dad didn’t make this song up, so there has to be others who know it. Have you heard of it?

Is your sink shinning?

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I recently found flylady.  It is a forum for cleaning and organizing your house After your free  sign up  you will receive notices via e-mail telling you what  to clean and while adding daily habits to a tip-top home that is ready for company and peace. 

The first task is to clean out your kitchen sink and dry it out till it is shiny. The kitchen sink becomes your inspiration for the rest of the house. And  it is working. I have had my kitchen sink cleaned out after most meals since Saturday night when I scrubbed it out after 11 pm.  I have finished the laundry to completion, I mean the cloths are actually back in the drawers. I was contemplating getting rid of the dressers until this week.

So here goes to a new home improvement “diet”…. Egham rather life style. So is your kitchen sink cleaned out? and  if you just got up to clean it out do you feel any better? what other tasks did you undertake?

I have been thinking a lot about habits this past year as I have begun my homeschooling  journey.  I need some habit training if I am going to have a successful homeschool.  I have been making plans for the girls and everyone else in the house but really it needs to start with me.