Monday, October 17, 2011

Playdough vocanoes

The boys and I made salt play dough the other day. They played with it for a while, then came up with the idea of making volcanoes out of them. They were fashioning play dough lava coming down the sides when I told them I could make it look like real lava exploding out of the tops. We played with the baking soda/vinegar solution for a while and had great discussion over it.

Student Whisperer essay

This is my essay on the Student Whisperer. I took my notes from the book and wrote them into a story form about how I could use what I learned. When my husband was a boy his Dad used to call his future wife, 'Suzy'. In this narrative I am writing, I will refer to myself as Suzy because I am not yet the perfect wife that my Father in Law painted a picture of, and I am not yet the perfect homeschooling Mom that I am going to portray in my writing. This is to show me who I could be, and how I could be.

   It's 6 am and Suzy is alone in the quiet of her cozy front room. She has already read in her core book to get grounded for the day and now we find her deep in silent thoughtful prayer.
   Suzy has a son that she has been seeking to mentor.  She has read many books, sought the counsel of others, and has prayed many times before this on behalf of her son who is the central theme in her current prayer.  In her prayer, she is asking guidance about this one certain child.  She wants more clarity about his special mission in life. It's important that she understand her boy better so that she can help him to see his own genius and help him work hard towards the mission that will be his. 
  Suzy's prayer is interrupted by the sound of children waking, so she ends with a thankful heart and stands to begin the rest of her day.  She has learned to embrace motherhood and all of the toils and joy that go with it so it is with a smile that she stands.
  As she is preparing breakfast and cleaning up with the kids, she is pondering her morning prayer and the thoughts that have come to her since then.  She has an idea of her sons strengths and weaknesses and she can't wait to help him along.
  It is one o'clock in the afternoon a week from the day we first met Suzy. Lunch is over, the young ones are napping or reading.  Suzy goes to the room of the son she has been praying over for the last week.  She has set the stage for a transformational experience by building this meeting up over several days and making it into a special occasion.  She has been telling the children stories about important men in history who have had missions in their lives and what they did to accomplish those missions.  She's included in those stories the pain of what those people had to go through, the hard work and the sacrifices.  Suzy had also been reading classics to the children to expose them to greatness way before she made this date to talk to her son.  She wanted to plant the seed in his mind that he too had a mission and she wanted him to see that it would take hard work when he was ready for the challenge. 
  Since her oldest was small, Suzy had been planning frequent sparks of inspiration for her children.  She would find books they would love, plan field trips they would be drawn into, and she would also do the things she wanted them to do so they could have a first hand example of how it was to be done.
  Now Suzy walks into her sons room after hours and hours spent pondering, writing, and brainstorming about her sons needs.  She is ready to do the things she has come up with through the long process.  Suzy's son looks up from one of the many books he has been in love with reading lately and beckons her to come sit by him.  He is ready to move on with his education - excited about it. 
  The first thing Suzy and her son do in this meeting is to have a prayer so they will be guided by the spirit.  Then Suzy hands him a paper and has him brainstorm all of the things he can think of that he is interested in, what he wants to learn, to know, and to do this year.  He does that while they are sitting together and then they talk about how those things can lead him to his life's mission.  As they talk, more ideas come and are written down as possibilities for study in the near future. 
  Suzy's son feels that she is truly interested in him and he takes comfort in it.  His Dad holds regular monthly interviews with him too, so he feels very secure in his parents love for him and their devotion to being there helping him. 
  Next Suzy has her son circle the things on the list that are the most dear to him right now.  She only has him circle a few so that his energies can have a sure direction and so that they can make a plan that won't be too overwhelming and complex.  They make a plan together including academic, personal, and spiritual, and then talk about commitments that the son is making and that he will be held accountable for those commitments.  Suzy's son is comfortable making commitments because he has been through a comfortable love of learning phase and knows that he needs a mentor to progress.  He is ready to move forward.  Suzy has taught him the techniques he needs to be able to learn and she will teach him more.  He has learned how to learn well and will benefit now from having a mentor.
  When Suzy and her son have his plan worked out on paper and signed by them both, Suzy brings out a package that she had slyly brought in the room.  Inside is a beautiful book that she tells her son is his very own commonplace book.  He has seen her write in hers and knows that he will keep his study hours in it, and write his thoughts on what he has been learning.  Suzy has been a good example of keeping up on hers and she has been inspiring her boys with books filled with other peoples written journals.
  Suzy's son is ready to get started on his mission path.  He has been given a certain free time in the day that is his own study time and he is excited about it.  Suzy has no doubt that he will use this time well, but is also prepared for the times that her son will fail to meet his commitments.  They have talked about this and know what the consequences will be.  Suzy knows that allowing her son the freedom to fail will give him tools he would not otherwise have.
  Suzy leaves her happy son's room to go to her own where she offers a prayer of thanks for the direction and inspiration she has been given.  She's inspired now to make a bubble list of her own, and see what is most important for her to be studying right now.

   You'll remember that this 'Suzy' is not the true me and she has done this process with lots of grace and love.  Having it clearly written before me will help me to do likewise but I know that life doesn't always go so smoothly as a storyline. I'll just have to allow myself the freedom to fail like Suzy gave to her son and know that I have learned valuable lessons in the process.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Goins on Lately

We have begun a family education again separate from the public schools and we are loving it. I had seen such a positive difference in my boys the last part of the summer that I couldn't start the unrest again. The problems we were facing have melted away and there is continual learning going on. So happy.

Here I will list some of the things we are busy with so far this year.

We joined a Commonwealth School in Fort Collins where my older two boys participate in a Shakespeare class, and a writing class. The next two boys are learning about Native Americans and taking a science class, and the youngest is with kids his age doing various acitivities(this week they made salsa).

I am taking a 9 month webinar course on Mentoring the One. It is a course that I found through my search for a mentor for me to learn from in order to make our family education as rich as I can. Friday was my the first webinar, and I am enjoying the study that was assigned.

I began a book club here in Cheyenne with a group of homeschooled kids. My oldest two boys crave to be around their peers these days, and they need people with whom they can discuss what they are reading. This month I have them reading Carry on Mr. Bowdich and they are to come to the discussion with something to say about it. After they have all had a turn to talk I will open it up for discussion.

Once a month we attend a P.E. class for homeschoolers. This month we played kickball. The boys had a blast and so did I!

My oldest boy is taking piano lessons. He practices for hours and hours perfecting his lessons and making goals for himself.

The two oldest boys are involved in boy scouts, and are also den chiefs with the cub scouts. The next two boys are in cub scouts. I really like the lessons they learn there. I am a den leader for the wolves also.

We are studying Shakespeare with a family that we are friends with. We haven't gotten very far yet, but it is another thing that is adding richness into our lives.

These are some of the things that we are involved in right now. They don't mention the many books we are studying and the outings, adventures, memorization, and so forth. All in all we are loving our family education and wouldn't trade it. We are working together and bonding together. Heaven.