Updates about our life of learning!

Archive for April, 2007

Starting A New Routine!

    Today we started with a new schedule so I can have time to work one on one with each of my children in a more structured way. My goal is to give them focused time with me without interruptions (that is the goal remember…. 🙂  and to give planned schoolwork/activities for the other children to do during those individual times so they are accomplishing something productive instead of wandering off or getting distracted while I am out of the room.

I have done this type of schedule in the past–especially when the kids were younger– to make sure the youngest ones could be “entertained” or receive attention while I worked with the older kids. It worked well during the time we used the schedule. The last year or so I had gotten away from that rotating planned schedule because the kids are all getting older and each needs to be working on “school” not just playing. Our schedule has been hectic and sometimes unpredictable (still is) so I had adopted a more flexible approach to our “school” days. This worked for awhile, but I really have been feeling the need to get back to more structure in order to make sure we are accomplishing our basic goals for each day/week.

This change will require more discipline on all our parts but the Lord revealed this new plan to me, so I know that if we make the effort to follow it, this plan will be successful! The Lord gave me insight to see how I could make my previous schedule and ideas of rotation work with where the children are now.

Today was a bit bumpy as we were all up late after attending an event (International Dinner) with our SHINE homeschool group. We got up a bit later than I had planned and my middle two children weren’t being as loving as they could have been toward each other right from the start (read–bugging each other enough to make my younger daughter cry). We moved forward through the schedule and did get more accomplished the we have in the same amount of time the past few weeks. Though we didn’t get to everything, and there were numerous interruptions, I know that if we stick to the plan our days will continue to improve!

One of the biggest challenges to homeschooling for me is NOT the planning and preparation but the carrying out of those plans! If it was just me, I could follow through no problem, but when you add in four other individuals–all with their own likes, dislikes, attitudes, good & bad days, etc.–it makes it a bit more difficult to see all those plans fall into place!

For me, it was easier when the children were young–we stayed home more (less outside activities), it was easier to do their short lessons each day and I didn’t worry so much about “fitting it all in”. Now that the children are getting older, their lessons require more time, the amount of help they need varies, but they do much better if I make sure to “meet” with each of them to go over Math issues and do their Learning Language Arts Through Literature lessons. They feel they are getting much needed attention and I know they are actually accomplishing their work. Of course, we still do our KONOS reading and activities, as well as Bible time all together.

One great thing about today was that my youngest child did well during and after his lessons. He wasn’t bothering everyone or refusing to cooperate (which has happened a lot recently because he wants our attention or because he is bored–we are working on these character issues!!). He is now ready to work on his lessons more consistently as he has matured a lot over the past few months and he has actually been learning/practicing various skills on his own now. I am very thankful that I learned after my first child’s experience’s to give the kids time to learn to read, do math, etc. We work on various skills, but I don’t push it until they are ready and even then we take breaks as needed. This approach leads to children who don’t dread learning, but look forward to it! This is especially important with reading!

All this to say that we are now going back to a rotating time schedule so we can accomplish our “basics” and move onto afternoon outside lessons or KONOS activities. I have various children paired up as I work with one child so they can help each other with their read aloud practice and start on Math before their time with me. I will get my Excel file schedule updated and post it on my website: http://www.konoskarats.com .  When I do, I will post the link here also.

I know, but still have to remind myself often, that if we will just seek the Lord first in all things He will provide what we need. Always, the first thing He gives us is His Word and more of Himself, then “all these things” come after!

We often end up “too busy” to seek the guidance of the One who knows all. Instead, we keep trying to figure things out on our own over and over until, finally, we give up and the Lord shows us what to do! How much time and heartache we could save ourselves from if we would just give up right away!

Keep looking to the Lord for guidance as you plan your schedule and He will help you see just how to plan it to fit your family and your needs.

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Should We Expose Our Children to Worldly Issues?

This topic was brought up on my local homeschool group’s moms’ discussion board. I thought I would post me recent post here also.

A friend who had been teaching an Essay Writing class this past semester, brought up the question about protecting our kids but also making sure they are aware enough of the world around them, especially as they approach the high school years, to be able to answer questions that will come up on essay tests, SAT, etc. intelligently. If they have never had the opportunity to discuss various issues openly at home in light of a Christian Worldview, how can we expect them to go out into the world and share an intelligent witness to others?

Anyway, my post below is about a book I just finished reading that should be a priority to read for every parent! I encourage you to buy it and check it out for yourself!
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I have just been reading through For the Children’s Sake–Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.

This is an excellent book. She covers many aspects of the Charlotte Mason approach to learning as well as many other great ideas.

It gives you a lot to think about and ways to examine yourself to see how you are doing in the “job” of educating your children for LIFE.

The section I am reading now is related to what S.M. originally posted about making sure we discuss issues with our children.

This Chapter is– Education: A Science of Relationships. She covers many areas in this chapter, but in the section below, she is referring to how we are teaching our children to have what we now refer to as a Christian worldview—how we look at everything in relation to the God who created this world and who is ever present–not just making things “separate” but how to truly make all of life into one complete “picture or story”–no separation between “religion” and “academics” or the “real world”. God’s world IS the real world!

Anyway, here is a section from this chapter, just some ideas to think about! From pages, 101 to 103.

“It is an imperative priority, as never before, to allow our children to learn to think, understand, and see the central truths quite explicitly and clearly. This is a central part of the “Christian” aspect of our education.

We were able to show the film series Whatever Happened to the Human Race to our daughter’s school. Attendance was optional. The children were between thirteen and sixteen years old, from average homes. They were absolutely riveted by the ideas of who the person is and his worth, and the topics of euthanasia, abortion, old age, and so on. Discussion afterwards was lively and penetrating. Children need to consider practical issues. They want to think. They want answers. Christianity is part of that rock of reality about which youngsters long to know. They need to understand how contemporary issues fit into what the Bible says.

Have you read The Plague by Camus with a group of fifteen-year-olds? Have they wondered over the problem of evil, the human problem? In reading this novel, do they notice the fallacy of the priest’s argument? ‘God has willed this child to suffer.’ Do they think about how different the biblical perspective is: that the suffering was unleashed by man’s choice to disobey God? That all individuals, and the course of history, are caught up in this river of consequence; an abnormal world?

Do they read Brave New World and discuss the logical conclusion of the humanist view of man, his morality, humanity, and social purpose?

Can they pick up something like Time magazine, read it, and think about where it fits into the Christian framework?

Do they come home from school, or from having seen a TV program, and spontaneously discuss what is right, what is wrong?

Have they thrashed through the reasons why the Bible is true? Do they understand the fallacies of other positions? Can they remember numerous occasions when the Bible was seen to fit like a key into the keyhole of reality? Do they know about the historical and archaeological evidence? Are they amazed at how the philosophical ideas of the Bible fit into the way we find reality to be?

They should not be left with only a feeling–‘I know it’s true because I feel it in my heart.’ That is not enough.

One morning they will wake up and you will be gone, and so will their feelings.

Do they know?

All of this is ‘Christian education’.

Seeing fallacies. Understanding. Knowing the Bible. Thinking. Judging ideas. Seeking and keeping ears open. Being in touch. “

You’ll have to get the book to read the rest of what she has to say! )

This book will be an inspiration to all homeschooling families!