Posts Tagged ‘after school’

Journey Into History with The Modern Pioneer Family

Sometime in April or May (date is still T.B.D.) our family will be traveling to my hometown in Missouri to attend my younger brother’s wedding.

Why you say is this of significance to this blog (I mean other than it is the wedding of a family member and thus an important family even to welcome a new sister-by-marriage and a new auntie to our family)?  Well, let us consider then that my “hometown” in my youth was Independence, Missouri and that I was born in Oregon City, Oregon.

Independence, Missouri holds an important place in the history of the United States of America.  It was the hometown of our President, Harry S. Truman and it is also the city from which most of our Nation’s expansion toward the Pacific Coast began.  Independence, Missouri is starting place of the 4 major traveling routes into the West:  The Santa Fe Trail, the California Trail, the Mormon Trail and the Oregon Trail (not listed in historical order on purpose.)

We have noticed some huge holes in our children’s study of American History at their local school.  Thus my husband and I have decided to put together for a history lesson project a unit study of  The Oregon Trail  for our family, in order to turn what would ordinarily be a mini-vacation to just attend a family event into an educational field trip for the children.  This is part of our efforts to “after-school” the children to augment what is turning out to be a lack-luster public school education.  To this end I visited out local lending library and checked out some books on this topic and am now working on preparing a lesson plan to outline our study of this subject.

 

Here is a list of just some of the resources we’ve found relating directly to the Oregon Trail and to the Pioneer Period of U.S. History in general:

1. Pathways of America ” The Oregon Trail” by Lynda Hatch

2. How I Survived the Oregon Trail (The Journal of Jesse Adams) by Laura Wilson

3. The Oregon Trail- Let Freedom Ring

4. If You Were a Pioneer on the Prairie by Anne Kamma

5.  The American Frontier by Melanine Ann Apel

6. Black Frontiers (A History of African American Heroes In the Old West) by Lillian Schlissel

7. Cornerstones of Freedom “The Oregon Trail” by R. Conrad Stein

8. Homesteading on the Plains (Daily Life in the Land of Laura Ingalls Wilder)

9. Pioneering Women of the Wild West by Jeff Savage

10. Discovering Geography of North America with Books Kids Love by Carol J. Fuhler

11.  Pioneers (An Activity Book) by John Artman

12. Cowboys (An Activity Book) by John Artman

13. Indians (An Activity Book) by John Artman

While studying the history topic of the Oregon Trail; we will also involve Reading & Literature, Spelling, Arithmetic, Geography, Science and Music and then conclude our unit with a memorable field trip to historical sites in Independence, MO and nearby towns for some hands-on-learning.

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New Frontiers in Education Part 2

(The 1st “Homeschool” many of us remember, reading aloud with grandma. Pictured are Aimee Packard’s sons, Theo and Charles being read to by her mother Patrica Wells)

Welcome back if you are returning to read this sequel to New Frontiers in Education (Part 1- The Why’s of Homeschooling).  If you are a new reader to Modern Pioneer Family and interested in the topic of Homeschooling (or interested in supplementing the education your child is recieving from a public or private school), then we encourage you to read our previous post on this subject.

I asked my dear friend, Aimee Packard, a homeschooling mother of two wonderful boys, to write a guest post for us on my blog about Homeschooling (as a New Frontierr in Education.)  It just happens that Aimee is very passionate about this topic and not only did a fabulous job writing about it, she went above and beyond and wrote 2 guest posts for us to read and consider here on Modern Pioneer Family.

One of the reasons I wanted to cover this topic is that in the Colonial and Pioneering periods in North American (both in the United States and Canada, our northern neighbor), education of the family within the home was a mainstay of our culture.  Even when those homes were represented by a covered wagon for families moving westward, children were being educated.

There still exists in North America today where public schools are so few and far between that parents consider homeschooling a better option than busing their children 40 miles or more one way to the nearest school (that would be the length of the trip if the family drove it, add in the school bus route and you could easily end up with a 2 hour trip one way  or more for students to just to get to school and another 2 hours + to return home.)  If school began at 8:20 am and got out at 3:30 (an average school day most places), this could easily put a kindergartener getting on the bus at 6 am (probably waking up at 5 am) and not  returning home until after 5:30, if they happened to be the kids furthest from the school.  This is a situation my own family has faced at our current public school and when the school district was considering consolidation with the next nearest school which would have added at least another 45 minutes each way, well that would not have been an option we’d have chosen as a family had it materialized.  By the time our boys get home, do their few little farm chores (feeding the dogs, rabbits and chickens and gathering eggs) and eat supper they are too tired or too irritable to really apply themselves to doing any assigned homework.  Thus both their grades and their learning is compromised.  If, I want to keep them caught up to their grade level, I must supplement their education on weekends, school holidays and in the summer.

Another reason I asked Aimee to write these posts, is that my oldest Farmer Boy, Charles is deeply interested in doing  his “schooling” as it was done during the Pioneering Period of American history.  He longs for a one-room schoolhouse and a tiny class consisting mostly of his siblings in which he can get all the personal help he needs to learn.  The larger public school classroom (while it does help with many of his social skills challenges) seems to be too distracting for him to adequetly  learn his most difficult subjects like reading for comprehension and other subject matter heavy in reading skills (social studies, science).  Farmer Boy Charles, has requested to make his sister’s playhouse into a one-room schoolhouse (at least for summer use) until his sister is old enough for playing house with her dolls, which will probably be 2 to 3 years.  The playhouse in question is larger than most storage/garden sheds, approx 10 ft x 14 ft and nearly tall enough for a small loft area to store things. (We already have 2 folding desk-chairs we found 2nd hand for $10 each and there is probably just enough room for 2 1/2 students (baby in a playpen), Ma a small table as teacher-desk, a blackboard and maybe a bookshelf for reading and art materials.  Given we have a busy, sometimes chaotic household with several dogs and other distractions, we are definitely considering using this space as a schoolroom for a time, because both boys are having serious struggles in education and the school doesn’t do the excellent job we would like to see them doing in many of the major core areas.  There is also our decided lack of a Sunday School space in which to do much of their religious education and such learning begs for a “special space” without in which to really study and play WITH GOD. (I have been teaching a curriculum of Sunday School Education called “Godly Play” based on Montessori method for over 10 years.  For info you can check out www.godlyplayfoundation.org & for resources  www.godlyplayresources.com.)

And now that I have gone into some depth about why I asked Aimee to cover the topic of Homeschool (because I felt my own children would benefit from my learning more about it mostly), here is her post for you to consider and ponder in your hearts.

New Frontiers in Education

(Part Two)

The “How-To” of Home Education

by Aimee Packard

*REPEATED Disclaimer:  I am going to discuss how to home school; actually I am going to discuss how to gather information if you want to really research home education for your family, this post really doesn’t talk about the how-to of homeschooling at all, not in a daily schedule or curriculum for a certain grade level sort of way.  However, none of this, or any of my comments should be taken as an attack on parents that choose to use the public school as a tool to educate their children.  This piece will be pro-home education

There are many basic steps to “seriously thinking about homeschooling”.  I will list them out, and talk about them, give you a few options and starting places.  Again, remember entire books are written about this topic, and actually about some of the subtopics; this is a brief concise starting point, how-to get started in seriously considering the option to homeschool or the option to supplement a lackluster education being provided in public schools at home with additional help for struggling students or to cover subject matter NOT covered in local schools.   However I am not going to be put them in a strict order.  I’ll order them for the sake of writing clarity; but the order you choose to approach the steps in doesn’t need to conform to my sequence.  Everyone thinks, takes in data, and processes information differently, that is what makes homeschooling work.  Adults are no different than children – and we all have our own “needs” when approaching a new, or not so new, topic.

Let me say from the start I LOVE my library and I love my librarian and I LOVE that she does Inter-Library-Loan (I.L.L.) for me.  (I love her for many reasons, but her active I.L.L. is on the top of the list).  It is a strict rule of mine I do not buy any homeschooling book – either for my own edification, or to use directly with the kids – with out physically viewing it first.  I have requested so many books I.L.L. (because we have a small local library) and been so glad I did when I did not like them; or after reading the book once did not feel it was worth buying to own.  Get to know your librarian!!!  He or she will be an amazing resource for you now, and especially as you start to educate at home.  Request books you library doesn’t have; check them out, read books before you buy (or decide not to).  There are so many good books out there; search on amazon.com and then go to the library.  You’ll find some you need to own; you find some you don’t read more than a chapter of and some you will be glad you read once, but can always request again later if you want to reread it.

  1. There are many “schools      of thought” on home education; Montessori (http://www.montessori.edu/) ,      Waldorf (http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/),      classical, Charlotte Mason (http://simplycharlottemason.com/      — one of my all-time favorite homeschool websites, by the way),      un-schooling.

We are a classical education family that schools at home: that means our education at home some what resembles the school classroom, with many text books, work books and seat work.  We seek a classical education; one based in great books and a challenging outline (see more here: https://scribinglife.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/classical-education-at-home/ ).  When you start reading, you will find a “theme” that fits your personality and your family, and your faith, and then go from there.  Look at all the books and websites and media available as a big buffet.  It doesn’t hurt to look, even to try a taste.  Take what you want, what works, and leave the rest; but do not be afraid to LOOK,

1.    One free resource is http://www.currclick.com/product/22668/Homeschooling–The-Other-Side-of-Education?it=1  Homeschooling- The Other Side of Education.  It is a much more complete look at what I have been discussing in these two posts.  It is free and a fast easy read.  This e-book is worth the time to cover the basics.

2.    http://classicalacademicpress.com/images/free_resources/20091210_ICE.pdf  is another FREE e-books (about 45 pages if I remember correctly) that give a solid introduction to Classical Education.   It is an excellent resource.  Even if you do not feel drawn to Classical Ed it is a good (FREE) read to start you thinking and asking question about education.

3.    State laws for the State you live in.  Every state has laws that govern home schooling, school attendance and school recording.  LEARN YOUR LAWS.  If you are in a highly regulated state and thus will be expected to do a great deal of reporting and recording, that could realistically affect you schooling choice.  http://www.hslda.org/laws/ is certainly a starting point; just be sure you are aware of what is legally required of you in your home state.  Knowing the laws to which you are required to adhere will help you in making your homeschooling decisions and it also will help you defend your rights to homeschool, if there is ever a problem with your school district, local or state government.  If you know your rights as a homeschooling family, then you will know if educational officials ever try to encroach on those rights.

  1. Network.  Find support.  Most states have yahoo groups.  My locations have live support groups (Park Day and other events are very common).  Make connections, homeschooling can be very lonely; and experienced home education families can be a Godsend to get you up and running and though that first year (or that first year of high school). Join a message board to two; great conservation and tons of experienced parents happy to help you.
  2. Surf the web!!!  There are some great sites (and some real losers too).  Look around, browse.
  3. A good site, not so much how to, or why to: but to show you what tools are out there to help you, to guide you, and to assist you in educating your children, either full time or after school if you decide the education they are currently receiving is not up to muster (and trust me, test scores be damned, it is not) go to your local library and check out (or request on inter-library-loan) 100 Top Picks for Home school Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child’s Learning Style by Cathy Duffy.  The last actual publication was 2005 (I hope there will be a new one soon) but there is up-to-date data on her website.  http://cathyduffyreviews.com/.
  4. http://oldfashionededucation.com/
  5. http://www.homeschooldiner.com/ is a fun site, and not overwhelming.
  6. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/  join the discussion board too – very active.  (I am there)
    1. Finally, most important, is READ, read, read, read…..here are a few suggestions to get you started.  Look them up on amazon.com and look at all the linked books, explore – be a kid again, nothing you look at or read can hurt you.  If you do not like it leave it and go on.  There are many many good books out there, and many great websites.  All you have to do, all you can do, is start reading and educate yourself about your child’s education.
    2. The Well Trained Mind. http://www.amazon.com/The-Well-Trained-Mind-Classical-Education/dp/0393067084/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333066699&sr=1-1  It is a blue print to home education, both they why (not from a Christian stand point, from and education stand point) and the how.  Read it now, even if you never plan to home school
    3. Honey for a Child’s Heart. http://www.amazon.com/Honey-Childs-Heart-Gladys-Hunt/dp/0310242460/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333066983&sr=1-1   By Hunt the power of reading with your children, no matter where they do their school work.  The greatest power a parent has is the power of reading.
    4. When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy for Today  http://www.amazon.com/When-Children-Love-Learn-Application/dp/1581342594/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333068776&sr=1-1
    5. Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home http://www.amazon.com/Real-Learning-Education-Heart-Home/dp/0971889511/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333749060&sr=1-3
    6. Finally one I have not yet read; but really want to:  Educating the Whole Hearted Child — Third Edition http://www.amazon.com/Educating-WholeHearted-Child-Third-Edition/dp/1932012958/ref=pd_sim_b_24

Remember if you choose to educate your child fully at home, or to supplement, you are not facing teaching everything a child needs to learn and you have forgotten off the top of your head.  There are books and full curriculums to walk you though it; you are not alone.  There are  many resources out there that are available for free or of little cost, so do not be daunted in your desire to educate at home by advertisements for expensive full-curriculums that all insist they are THE BEST, you can pick and choose from affordable and/or free lesson plans and materials to piece together a curriculum that will suit your child’s needs.

Mystery Recipe Monday April 2, 2012

So, this week will be insanely busy. Thus I’ve asked a dear friend to do a series of guest posts on the topic of New Frontiers in Education.  My friend, Aimee Packard is a mother of 2 special needs sons who homeschools her children and also has them duel enrolled through her local school district for Sp.Ed. services only.  In her first post, aimee discusses the “WHY” of homeschooling and “WHY” it may be necessary for families to return to home educting their children in the near future.  Her 2nd post will cover the “How-To” of getting started with homeschooling.

As for my crazy week…

We have our Littlest Pioneer Girl, Anna’s baptism on Easter Sunday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in DeSmet, SD.  This is the last Sunday for the St. Stephen’s Congregation in our church building.  I am heartbroken over this, I feel like I am the only person in the world who cares about the history of our parish and how it is deeply tied to the Pioneer History of the Dakota Territories.  We tried for several years to get the Laura Ingalls Wilder Society to purchase the church building and start necessary repairs, but with the economic downturn affecting tourism, the Society itself didn’t have the money to do it either.  It frustrates me that me and my family arrived several years too late in order to try reviving the parish with a Sunday School and youth programs to draw in new families.  And it angers me that most of the former parishioners (for whom it was their 2nd church, only to be attended on special occasions) ran off many would-be church goers and refused to donate moneys into the offering plate to provide for the church’s routine expenses (such as the electric bills) or assist with fundraising for repairing the roofs, floors, paint and to update the furnace and electrical systems or to supply some sort of toilet facility.  For over 50 years they neglected their church into such disrepair that now it is beyond all reasonable hope for the dwindled number of congregants (there are 7 of us now, not counting the retired supply priest) to maintain, let alone repair.

I insisted that IF the church were to be closed, we were going out with a BANG!  The biggest bang, would of course have been a wedding… but since nobody is of marriagable age that isn’t already married, the next best thing was a baptism… and that we CAN DO.  We want our little girl, Anna, baptised anyway and Easter is such a lovely time to do it.  We will be having a lovely “after-party” with cookies, cupcakes, maybe some sandwiches, juice, coffee and tea.  I bought a new camera Friday  to replace the one my boys broke, so be looking for lots of pictures next week.  I plan to take some of the original church building Charles Ingalls built with the help of neighbors, which later became the parish hall (although it’s not been used in years due to the disrepair).  Charles Ingalls was well known as a carpenter and builder, he often took construction jobs in order to make ends meet for his family.

Anyway, I am in the midst of sewing Anna’s Chrisening Gown and have a long week of sewing and cleaning ahead. Pioneer Pa and the 2 Farmer Boys will have matching vests for Easter (the boys got store-bought dress shirts, as they had a concert at school last week and Ma was on short notice about it to sew them shirts.)  Pa will have a new, handmade dress shirt in lavender (purple is his favorite color) and I will also be making myself a new dress.  My parents and perhaps my 2nd youngest brother will arrive Friday evening for the holiday weekend.  I am hoping the weather cooperates and we are able to BBQ this weekend and eat outdoors.

I also have more seeds to start for the garden this week, for plants that must be transplanted.  Our heirloom seed order from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( www.rareseeds.com) arrived last week and I am so excited about that now that we are less than 8 weeks from last frost.

And now my friends… it is time for Mystery Recipe Monday.   I had a question from my friend Aimee about quick snacks tha are healthy-ish and Gluten Free…I answered Rice Krispie trears w/ dried fruit and another friend of hers said something about granola… I’ve been thinking on how to smash both ideas into one for a couple weeks and came up with….  Drum roll, please…..

This weeks’ Mystery Recipe is…..

Gluten Free Granola Treats

(a cross between Granola Bars & Rice Krispie Treats)

Equipment:  A large stockpot or dutch oven, a cookie sheet, 1 or 2 large oblong cake pans (depending on how thick you like your treats), rubber/silicone spatulas, cooking oil spray, measuring cupand spoons and a wooden spoon.

Ingredients:

3 (10.5 oz) pkgs. miniature marshmallows (always check label for wheat/gluten, some brands use modified food starch w/undisclosed source which is usually made from wheat, other brands will says cornstarch)

1 1/2 sticks of casein free margarine (BestLife and Earth Balance are good brands)

9 cups Gluten-Free Rice Krispies

1 tsp.  pure vanilla extract

4 cups toasted Gluten-Free Oats (to toast spread on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 F until the oats just begin to brown.. this helps take out the raw oat taste in a recipe where the oats are not really cooked)

3 cups dried fruit (I like a combination of dried cherries, cranberries and blueberries)

2 cups of shredded coconut

1 to 2 cups chopped nuts or sunflower seeds (or some of each)

Shortening for greasing pans and hands

disposable gloves

Instructions:

Place oats in oven to toast, keep a close eye on them, they can burn easily.  Coat your pot with shortening to prevent the marshmallow goo from sticking.  Put the margarine in thepan and begin melting before adding marshmallows.  Add the marshmallows and stir frequently to prevent them from burning.  Once melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Stir in cereal and then oatmeal until well coated.  Stir in dried friut, coconut and nuts.

Spray cake pans and spatulas with spray oil.  Scrape treat mixture out into pans.  Put on disposable gloves and grease your hands with shotening.  Press treat mix firmly into pans.  Allow to cool.

Cut treats into “granola bars”.  These can beindividually  wrapped in waxed paper or plastic wrap and placed into zip-top storage bags for later use. They make great on the go snacks, a quick handy dessert or wonderful additions to lunchboxes for school or work.

*Please note this is a rather large batch (you could cut the batch size into 1/3’s if you wanted), as the idea here was a make ahead snack or lunch box item that would be on-hand for grab and go use and as a more healthy option to many of the expensive ready-to-eat Gluten free snacks and bars that are available at the market.  So this batch represents about a weeks worth of bars (assuming 1 person/day) for a family of 4-6 people.

Variations:  You could substitute peanut butter, sunflower butter or other nut butter for 1/2 of the margarine.  You could also add chocolate chips to the recipe if you wanted to make them chocolate flavored.  Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice also make interesting additions (about 2 tsp. or so… i often do spices to taste and I LOVE CINNAMON!).  Other dried fruit opions: raisins, dried apple,chopped dates/figs, chopped dried tropical fruits.

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