Posts Tagged ‘kids’

Keeping Home Education Organized: Part 1

Howdy to all of you!  For a while there I thought it was almost spring… until I heard the weather report on the radio while driving the kids to the 4-H building to pick up their fruit orders from the fundraiser.  As fundraisers go, it’s one of the better ones we’ve had to do over the years. At least it’s useful and I can definitely come up with something to do with a box of cooking/baking apples (apple pie comes to mind) or 6 whole pineapples (like freezing them for smoothies or other later use.)

With temps. being below normal all winter (except for a freakishly nice streak last week), it’s too early yet for the many gardening tasks ahead, a so far only a few precious tomato seedlings just beginning to sprout this week, I’ve been turning my attention to other tasks… teaching the kids to cook, trying to keep school lessons graded on-time and recorded in the grade book, looking over the lessons for the rest of the spring term and doing lesson planning, making lists of curriculum subjects we need more of before the rest (so I don’t have to pay over-night or 2-day shipping fees, or else lose a week or two waiting on books) and planning for our trip to the nearest home-school convention in May.

A lot of these tasks are paperwork organizational ones.  I don’t claim to a paper organizing guru… especially in some areas… like the incoming mail from my (snail) mailbox.  On the grade-book, lesson planning and student planner front I’ve gained a great deal of confidence in the last year.  Through trial and error, we’ve learned more about ourselves and what works (and more importantly what doesn’t) for our family.  I’ve tried a lot of planners and planning pages that are out there in the marketplace (mainly 2 types… those available in the stores and those that are available online that you can print out and use), but they always seem to end up requiring a goodly amount of “tweaking” in order for them to work for my family and I always end up with this random mix of pages I printed out that really don’t look like they belong together.  From an artistic point of view, I find the lack of cohesion annoying at best.  My main complaints of store-bought student planners are number one that they are almost always dated and lack flexibility and two that they are typically designed for high school students.  Research has shown though that these organizational skills are best formed in 2nd/3rd graders, not jr. high and high school.

The best store-bought planners I’ve found for Elementary students are little spiral-bound assignment notebooks made by Mead (yes the people that make notebooks and Trapper Keepers that you remember from your school days.)  These are inexpensive (usually $3 or so) and I can find them at a couple my local (non-chain) grocery stores.  Each page has sections for 3 days and (Subject, Assignment, Date) at the top of each section.  You can use it one of two ways: 1 section per subject and all the assignments for that subject for a week (probably how the manufacturer intended it) or you could use it like we do.  I simply list all of the subjects/assignments for one day in a section and where it says Date:  I write the day of the week.  Then I just cross the completed assignment with a highlighter.  It’s simple and it works… for assignments… but it lacks planning pages for activities, home- school co-op, sports/clubs, church and for longer-term school and club projects… you would have to get another different planner for that sort of thing.   My kids’ complaint with these little planners…” THEY ARE SO BORING-LOOKING MOMMMMMM! ” I ask you… just how many planners should a 2nd to 5th/6th grader really be asked to maintain (even with a great deal of adult help)?  The answer to this question should never be more than ONE!  These are kids who have trouble keeping track of their shoes, toys, mittens and just about everything else that comes in pairs or more… so a pair of planners (one school-work and one social life) is just too much!

Having your student’s “paperwork organizational brain” all in one book makes their life and yours a great deal easier.  I had some specific requirements I struggled to find elsewhere (or if I did find it the format was super boring or not quite what I needed in some aspect or other.)

My Requirements:

* We school 6 days a week,  so we need either a 3-day per page or 6-day per page

* Longer-term Project planner pages for research papers (which we will be starting in the Fall), literature log/book report to ensure independent reading, and projects/goals for 4-H etc.

*Social organization pages.

*Month at a glance calendars to accompany the 5 weeks of assignment pages every month.

*Cohesive artistic design.

 

To this end result I used the Printmaster Platinum 6 program on my computer to design something that would work for my kids,  a planner that met our needs and wouldn’t bore the children to tears.  I may eventually design another version or two… or three…. as we all know that all children are very different.  For now the boys and decide we all like the “chalkboard” look… so we went a little old-school for our first home-school student planner.  I am going to try to add this on here as a downloadable file (you all let me know if it didn’t work.)  I will add pictures of the completed project after I try my link myself from our other computer which is the one that works with our printer.  It is meant to be copied with additional copies of the assignments, social and project pages for each month.

Daily Assignments

(Please Note: You are welcome to download and print it for personal use only, but please be respectful and don’t copy for commercial use.)

Guest Post: Writing Your Own Spelling Curriculum

A very good friend of mine, Aimee, a fellow homeschooling mom just posted this on her blog, Scribing Life.  In her post I am  the “first homeschooling mom” friend she talks about who gave her some ideas to getstarted with spelling.  I am re-posting Aimee’s article with her permission.  (*After Aimee helped me get started with www.spellingcity.com I started writing my own spelling lists into this antique/modern fusion format and after a short 4 hours work I had the words from the 1st 14 lessons in the McGuffey’s Spelling Book  divided into ( lists I felt were from grade K to 3… 79 of them)  grade appropriate spelling lists by phonetic spelling rules.)  We began our spelling this week with our 1st lesson in this method which is probably a late 1st/early 2nd grade list.  My older children are a little beyond the: cat, hat, sat- type spelling words now, but I made the lists anyway… so they will be ready to go whenever baby sister is ready for those basics in a couple years (or can I hope earlier that that?)

Spelling

  • SpellingI have been toying with starting spelling as a separate subject for a while.  I like our phonics for decoding, but I feel encoding needs to be taught also; or at the very least practiced.  I really haven’t found a program I like.  I want/ed to teach spelling by spelling rule / phonics rule.  Some programs I have seen group words ‘by other criteria’ such as vocabulary from a story or all words that end in “th”.  That might be better, I don’t actually know, I am not setting out to make any professional recommendations or comment on the different ways to teach spelling.  Actually, I like the look of Sequential Spelling and reserve the right to switch to that.  Nevertheless I wanted to start with spelling by spelling rule / phonics rule.  I was not happy with what I had found and had pretty much decided to make my own lists (10 to 12 words a week) and I was going to pull word lists from the Explore The Code books that we have finished (book 1 to 3.5).  The books work though the phonics rules one at a time, focusing on one per lesson, I thought I could pull words out for our spelling list that ETC had used (for example a list of words where “oa” makes the long o sound).  Then, ah then, I realized that since we are living in temporary housing (and have moved so many times since Oct of 2012) I have packed up to store all our competed books and do not have access to them, to use them for this great idea.I was talking to a fellow home school mom one night and she suggested I look at the McGuffey’s Eclectic Spelling Book.First publish in 1836.  I discovered that it was available for free on my Kindel Fire so I “bought it”.  “This 1879 revised edition conforms to Webster’s International Dictionary, and associates each lesson with some principle of sound, meaning, or accent”.  Have a bit of history with your spelling, there lad?Another home school mom – you have to love the home school community; many hands make light work and there is never any reason to recreate the wheel – had, in the past, turned me on to spellingcity.com where you can create worksheets and activities based on your own spelling lists.  (There is a free version, and a pay version, but the free version allow you to do some stuff).  I had never used it, since we had never done formal spelling, but here, here was an opportunity.  Now I had spelling lists, and a way to create worksheets and activities.I took the two ideas – one the start of public education in America, and one from the “modern technology age” and crafted us a spelling curriculum.  I created spelling lists for us; following roughly the order of the McGruffy Speller, and using most (though not all) of the words in the Speller’s lists.  I also found http://www.k12reader.com/first-grade-spelling-words/ where you can download graded levels spelling lists; again I cherry picked the lists, or part of lists that met our needs.

    I happily stole the first home schools mom’s idea and did the first spelling list on “math” words (see below) because these words are practical and functional.  I know, that cries out against my “not wanting to group words by subject rather than spelling rule” logic.  However I felt that ‘math words’ were necessary for word problems and so on as we move forward with math, so I made an exception.  I made five lists of math related words that I felt Big Brother should be exposed to assist in him more independently doing his math work.  However, I did not do them one a week for five weeks; I felt that was a bit much, so I mixed them in with the other “more traditional spelling rules” lists.  I plan to make more “exception lists” as we go on and they become an obvious need.  As he learns to read better, I want to be sure Big Brother has the tools he needs to be able to work more and more independently.

    After creating the math related lists, I started over at short vowels sounds and went, week by week, vowel by vowel; after that a couple of weeks of “mixed” lists where all the vowels were still short, but all five main vowels were represented on the list together.  Then we moved on to “silent e” words and did a few weeks on that concept.  After that, lists based off different spelling rules (such as ‘oa’ = long o like in boat).  By the end of the first night, sitting with my McGuffey’s Eclectic Spelling Book and brainstorming “math related words” with my fellow home schooling mom, I had 21 lists; not all of them had 10 words yet, but I had a plan; and over 5 months of spelling lists.  I love a good plan.

    In case you are interested here are the spelling lists I have so far, note that do not all have ten words yet, I will be filling them in before I use them.  Next week will be week three for us, and we will be doing short U; week four we will do another ‘math list’.

    OneTwoThreeFour

    Five

    Six

    seven

    Eight

    Nine

    Ten

    SumAddTakeAway

    Plus

    Minus

    Total

    Equal

    Less

    More

    TwentyThirtyFortyFifty

    Sixty

    Seventy

    Eighty

    Ninety

    Hundred

    Number

    TimeDayHourSecond

    Year

    Month

    Penny

    Dime

    Nickel

    Dollar

    HalfThirdQuarterFoot

    Cup

    Pint

    Mile

    Yard

    Inch

    Week

    GapMadLagJam

    Bag

    Talk

    Lark

    Dark

    BedDenTentLed

    Men

    Beg

    Bell

    Hen

    Met

    Jest

    RibSinLidRig

    Fix

    Hip

    Pig

    Fib

    Did

    Lick

    CobBoxJobJot

    Rod

    Pot

    God

    Top

    Not

    Jot

    RutDustCubMust

    Rub

    Tub

    Tug

    Sun

    Slub

    Cut

    DateSameCageLate

    Lace

    Bane

    Dame

    Page

    Mate

    Wake

    CrabPenFitHot

    Hum

    Brag

    Wet

    Mix

    Rot

    Hut

    ChipGrabBlotSpot

    Bent

    Bulk

    Frog

    Gift

    West

    Hush

    FireLikeHideWife

    Code

    Bane

    Hope

    Vote

    Cube

    Duke

A Holiday Craft Re-Post

Today I am re-posting a craft project idea, an Ornament How-to for the Christmas Season that was written by one of my dearest friends and fellow blogger.

As I’ve mentioned before, Aimee is a Home-schooling Christian mother and she is full of great ideas for Christmas gifts and decor on a tight budget.

The recipe included is not gluten free, but I will look for one that I can add to this later.

DECEMBER 9, 2010 · 8:06 PM

Salt Dough Again

The boys and I made salt dough ornaments again today; and things went much better.

It has been very dry here, the humidity in the house dipping below 40%; so I have been boiling a stock pot of in the kitchen for hours at a time to try to combat the dry skin, static and other effects of low humidity like the struggles we have been having with out salt-dough (the bread I made over the weekend was pretty bad too).  Today’s dough worked much better than the last 3 times I have made it this season, so maybe the boiling water helped the humidity in the kitchen enough?  I’ll be doing it next time too, just in case it is the key.

The recipe I used today:

  • 1.25 cup HOT water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 cups flour

I started with the cup of salt and the 1.24 cups of HOT water and spent a good 3 or 4 minutes quickly stirring the mix to dissolve the salt as much as possible before the flour.  The salt did not dissolve 100% of the way for me though.

As I kneaded the dough I still had to add more water – but by bit – but I got DOUGH.  I suspect in total it ended up being 1.5 cups of water or even a little more, but that last part I add so “little by little” I can’t be sure.  This time the dough rolled out nicely too, such a pleasant change.  I was able to get the dough rolled out thin, thinner than the other 2 batches we’ve made.  (2 batches of “cookies” made, one attempt at dough thrown out).

We work on flexible plastic cutting boards.  I love them.  They define a space for each person; especially the boys.  They also move an entire project if I need to slide the boys part (they do tend to drift into each other, must be my boys).  Also if I need one of the boys to “hand me” their project, they can slid me their entire cutting “board”’ like when I help Big Brother roll the dough and he does the rest.  The flexible cutting boards protect my counter from the cookie cutters and other tools; and they make clean up easier since I can simply pick up a good part of the work space and dump it in the sink.  Salt dough can be a very messy project, even for adults alone, and any help in the clean up department is always welcome.

The boys had a great time.  Big Brother worked and worked on his dough, in his space.  He really made an effort at rolling out the dough nicely, though he really struggles at it; rolling the rolling pin AND applying pressure at the same time is more than he can do, but he is only 5.  After Little Brother and I finished our’s I helped Big by rolling his dough out for him, so he could just use the cookie cutters and then transfer the shapes to his pan.  However, he worked at least 25 minutes independently and really made a good effort, did not get frustrated or give up.  I love to watch him.  For Little Brother I roll the dough and let him place the cookie cutters, and then I help push them down “hard”. Little brother then picks up the cookie cutters and I pull the extra dough off and transfer the shapes to the cookie pan.

Momma puts the holes in the ornaments and puts them in the over. 

I set the oven at 170 (the lowest it goes) and just let them dry.  After the first 30 minutes I flip them over and then I just leave them.  Today we put 28 of them in the oven.

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2 Responses to Salt Dough Again

  1. Wow! This is great stuff!
    “If people were concerned about what really matters in life,
    there would be a shortage of craft supplies in the stores!
    Blessings!
    Julia</strong)

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Well, this is our 20th blog post at Modern Pioneer Family!  We’ve been blogging almost a month now, so we’d love to know just what you, the readers are thinking!  We want to improve your reading experience.  Please take a few seconds to vote in our poll, so that we can bring you more of the posts that you will love most!

We are thinking of posting blog posts on our various topic catagories on different days.  Make them “regular features” here to keep us sort-of-organized.  We already have our Mystery Recipe Monday features.  Are  you all liking that one?  We are definitely going to start doing a middle of the month-ish, after the 4-H meeting recap and update on the Farmer Boys’ 4-H projects.

What else would you like to read about regularly?  Service Dog Saturdays with the K-9 Pioneers?  Lots more recipes for Gluten Free cooking?  How-to’s on fixing or building things with Pa and the Farmer Boys? Crafting and household how-to’s with Ma?  the Littlest Pioneer Girl’s lessons in grammar and vocabulary?

After a month, it’s time to find out what is going to bring you the readers, back for more? We always welcome your insights, questions and comments to our posts, and are especially looking forward to them when do a post like this one.

Besides, it’s an important election year, so we think it’s a good thing to practice voting… that way maybe we will all remember to vote in the Big Election this coming November.

*In other voting news, my Senator, John Thune, has a Bill before the Senate to stop the Labor Board from making it illegal for youth from working on their own family farms.  Please write, call or email your Senators and Congressional Representatives and ask them to support Senator John Thune’s Bill and the future of our rural youth. (Young pioneers of today grow up to become the leaders of tomorrow. In the uncertain days ahead of us, we will need strong, opinionated voices, well-developed leadership skills and a tireless work ethic… there is no better place for the modern young pioneer to learn these skills than “on the family farm” no matter how small or large that farmstead may be.)

Re-engineering the Chocolate Chip Cookie Gluten Free

Well, it is the start of another busy day. Yesterday, I had to unexpectedly drive out to the kids’ school (60 miles round trip from home) to pick up Farmer Boy Charles, who wasn’t feeling well and who’s eye was all red and weepy. That brought me to an unexpected stop at the eye doctor, my boy has viral pinkeye (nothing doctor could do except ell him to wash hands frequently, not to rub it and keep hands to himself.) So, he’s at home until the problem passes.  Hope it doesn’t take as long as it did with my goats back in the fall of 2006, when they got exposed at State Fair to it (exhibitor in the neighboring stall had a doe down with it really bad and tried passing it off as allergies!  I was very upset, one of my favorite does, Vienna, went blind after rubbing up against that next-door stallmate.)

In the interest of a busy day and recipe days being our most popular days… we will literally keep this short and sweet.

Over the Christmas holidays, Charles requested Nestle’s Toll House Cookies after seeing frequent commercials on television for them.  Part of autism is a symptom called echolalia (affected people frequently parrot/repeat information they see or hear over and over ad nauseum to the point of driving everyone else completely batty.) When he was little he constantly repeated entire scripts of kiddie programs like Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder. Now that he’s getting older, Charles echolalia is evolving… he’s becoming very susceptible to advertising, particularly food advertising… which seems to peak during the winter holidays.

The constant bombardment by Nestle’s products resulted in this request for Toll House cookies. Not that I don’t frequently bake chocolate chip cookies anyway, but we had to go through this excercise to understand WHY these particular cookies were different or special by duplicating it Gluten Free

. (*Please note that  Nestle’s Toll House morsels are NOT dairy free, they contain milk fat and as a result a nominal amount of casein… I usually use Ghiradelli semi-swee choc. chips in baking or another dairy free brand … but in this instance I had some of the Nestle’s brand that I had bought to make fudge for hubby’s office and decided to administer enzymes to my son for casein digestion. )

I stuck very close to the original recipe with these cookies.

          Gluten Free Nestle’s Toll House Cookies

(An adaptation of a Famous Recipe for Gluten Intolerance)

Equipment:  large mixing bowl and electric mixer (or a heavy duty stand mixer like KitchenAid which is what I use and I usually double the batch size), wooden spoon, parchment paper, cookie sheets, cooling rack, a metal pancake flipper and a cookie scoop.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter or margarine (I use BestLife or Earth Balance)

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 cups of Gluten-Free All-purpose Flour (if using a blend with xanthan gum already added, omit xanthan gum later in recipe.  I like Jules’ Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour  www.julesglutenfree.com , but  also have used Namaste GF All Purpose flour to good result in this recipe too, if you are new to GF and not sure what brands to choose.  I do not recommend a garbanzo/fava bean based AP flour in this recipe as it will result in “beany flavored cookies”)

1 1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 pkg. Nestle’s Toll House Semi-Sweet Morsels (other one of the dairy-free brands)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional, if you have nut allergies either leave them out or use sunflower seeds or shredded coconut instead.)

Instructions:

Cream ” butter” and sugar until light and fluffy with an electric mixer.  Add eggs one at a time and mix well between additions.  Add vanilla extract and mix again.  Sift together dry ingredients, add slowly to butter mix mixing well between additions.   Add in chocolate chips and mix again and then add nuts and mix those in too if you are using them.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place cookie dough on cookie sheets lined with parchment using cookie scoop or by heaping spoonfulls. Bake 8-12 minutes depending on your preferred doneness and your oven until lightly golden (we like them soft and chewy here).  Allow to cool slightly (5 min or so) on sheets before removing to a cooling rack or platter.

Great warm or cold and served with a glass of milk substitute (almond, rice, soy etc.)

You can also make this dough in advance, form into logs and wrap in parchment or wax paper, place in a zip-top freezer bag for later use. just partially thaw a log of dough as needed  and slice off cookies and bake them as usual.  Great idea to have on hand for when the youngster forget to tell you it’s their turn for snack day at school or Sunday School until the last minute or for busy days when a sweet snack or dessert is wanted in a hurry.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen depending on size of cookies

New Frontiers in Education (Part 1)

The post below, New Frontiers in Education (part 1) was written by my dear friend, Aimee Packard.  Aimee is a homeschooling mother of two sons with special needs, who contracts through her local school for Special Ed. services, but otherwise educates her children in the family home.  Aimee also writes a blog about their family’s adventures as they homeschool and raise children of faith. Her blog Scribing Life can be found here a this link http://scribinglife.wordpress.com/.

“THE POWER OF HOME EDUCATION”

(Aimee’s oldest son 5 years old, “Big Brother” drew a butterfly coming out of a crytsalis and descibed it to momma using correct scientific terms . Unfortunately he erased his drawing before Daddy got home from work. )

New Frontiers in Education- Part 1

(The WHY’s of Homeschooling)

Note:  this is PART ONE – where I talk about WHY,

in PART TWO I will talk about how

Disclaimer:  I am going to discuss why TO home school, why it is important, why someday it may be necessary and not a merely an option.  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 and will discuss what, to us, are negatives in the public school system.  Nevertheless every family has to make their own choice, as led by God.  I have dear friends who are not Christian; I have dear friends who make use of the public school system.  This is food for thought and is certainly not a judgment on anyone.
In the New Frontier there are going to be many ‘new skills’ that are skills our Great-Grandmothers and their mothers will shake the heads in dismay that we have to learn and that we do not simply do with our mind occupied with prayer or something else of value.  There is a good chance your life, or your daughter’s life, may resemble your Great Grandmother’s mother’s life more than your mothers’.  I pray to be wrong, but the fact is we must be ready.  You and I are going to have to learn to cook from scratch, to cook things we never thought we’d eat (maybe), to can, to sew, and to knit, among other skills.  One thing we simply must do now, and will certainly be forced to in the days to come, even if we do not choose it today, is personally educate our children.  On a mere moment’s notice, if necessary.  Read, think, keep materials on hand (great for a rainy Saturday afternoon or the summer).  Be ready; know what the kids know and what they need to know.

I do not care if your child goes to the best school, with a great teacher, at the end of the day you need to be sure your child is learning the skills and acquiring the wisdom they are going to need.  You need to be fact checking their education, and being sure they are obtaining real time-tested knowledge and the ability to use it, and not merely propaganda set forth by liberal government entities.  You have be in their books, in their assignments, reviewing their class notes.  You have to know what your children are being taught and what they are being exposed to, tested material or not.  When the rubber meets the road, maybe in ways unexpected, grades are not going to help anyone.  The schools and school teachers, no matter how good, have no vested interest in your child or their life beyond the end of the year test score and beyond high school graduation.

God gave us the gift of children on loan my dear friends and we have to answer to Him for their care and the path we put their tiny feet on.  There are many places where the public schools are excellent and many good private schools are an option.  There are many places where that is not the case.  Either way, God is going to ask you, not Timmy’s 3rd grade teacher, about Timmy’s lack of long division skills or his lack of understanding of Seward’s Folly  (if you need to look that up:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Purchase).

Think about it; let’s talk about it.  Please remember entire books are written about these subjects, so this coverage is going to be brief, at least as brief as I am capable of making it.

It is extremely difficult to compare home school students vs. public school students; at least accurately.  Even if it could be done, it really doesn’t matter as we all know correlation does not prove causation.  So even if you could truly compare the two, as if comparing the ingredients on a cookie package, you could not say beyond a doubt that the benefit of either was caused by the education choice.  Education choices come down to parenting, and good parents assure their children a good education no matter what tools they choose to use.  Nevertheless there is clearly no empirical evidence that homeschooling produces negative results compared to standard institutional schooling.  Homeschooling is an extension of parenting, and if the parenting is good, the homeschooling will be; but good parents are good involved parents to children in public school too.  Parents need to take responsibility for their children, children God has given to them, and the State needs to remember it is NOT the parent and the school needs a strong and constant reminder that they are employed by and function at the pleasure of the parents. If this reminder is in the shape of many children being removed, so be it; if it is the shape of the votes packing the School Board with people of faith, that is another option.

What you and I must remember are our God given roles, our responsibilities to our families, and to our Nation.  Home education can be, though this is not a primary reason for our family, it is something that I think of, an act of preserving the Republic.

As a Nation, we were founded by home educated men; we all have a responsibility to the Nation (under God).  Home education is preparing the next generation to lead, not to follow.  Home educated individuals founded this nation and it may indeed be up to home educated individuals who are called upon to save it.

Consider this: from the 1620’s to the late 1800’s in the United States there was no mandatory public education; for a long time no public school option at all.  Education was parents, older siblings, at the kitchen table and a strong commitment to the best the child could be.  Parents taught their children to walk, to read and to be adults.  Literacy rates in the colonies, (1640 to 1700) particularly in New England, were extremely high relative to those in the Old World; and sadly relative to today. Shipton, New England has a 95% literacy rate. By the middle of the 1700’s nine Colleges / Universities had been founded including Harvard, Yale and William and Mary.  All stressed Classical studies and a Biblical foundation.  Learning to read, learning to acquire and use information, to manipulate language (written and spoken), learning to think… not learning to pass a test.

Freshmen at William and Mary had to “be able to read, write, converse, and debate in Greek”.  The King’s College inNew   Yorkrequired applicants to translate the first ten chapters of the Gospel in to Latin.  Nevertheless Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Monroe, all educated at home, of course, entered college at age sixteen.  (page 118 The Right Choice Home Schooling by Klicka).

There are three main elements, as to why we home school; there are other less critical aspects that make home educating ‘even a better deal’ but for us there are three main ‘deal makers”.  Our reason to home school, will not be the same as your reason (or your reasons not to home school).

First being we as parents do not want others (adults or peers) having a strong molding influence on our children, we want to strengthen our children’s values before they are loosed into the world and asked to make their own choices.

Secondly we dislike the public schools and their humanistic, politically correct, worldly view point; that we feel is not merely neutral (which would be acceptable if not desirable), but actually progressive and liberal.

Finally, related to both is the growth my understanding and convictions.  In many cases I truly believe God wants our children at home; and in every case no matter what tools you use, God hold the parents exclusively accountable for the education of the youth He gives them.

I strongly dislike the idea of someone other than myself or my husband or family fundamentally shaping the beliefs my children hold or their point of view about life and the world around them.   This is a statement about the inherent susceptibility of young children to things around them, good and bad alike; young children are sponges. QUOTE:  Young hearts and minds are especially vulnerable, having an amazing ability to absorb large amounts of teaching innocently, naively, without judgment, prejudice or bias.”  The How and why of Home Schooling by Ballmann page 20-21.

A big part of our parental choice to home school has to do with faith, but even more so with our understanding that children, any children are not strong enough (emotionally or spiritually) to be a leader and not a follower at 5, or 7.  Peer pressure and influence is not only for teenagers.

Big Brother came home from a week of Vacation Bible School (15 hours total) with new less-than-desirable phrases added to his vocabulary.  Bullies do not live only in middle schools and high schools either; again, Big Brother came home in tears 2 out of 5 days of VBS.  At VBS, he was in a group of 8 children with an adult and a couple of older youth helpers; what could be expected from him being a peer group of 20 or more with only one adult?

Yes, there will be leaders in Kindergarten – but the question we have had to ask is “if my child is not the leader, where will that leader take my child?”  There will be bullies in Kindergarten- what a choice!!  For our child to be either the bully or be bullied!  Can you honestly expect a 6 year old to walk away from peers making a bad choice, time after time after time?  To do so without then becoming the target of that peer group continually making poor choices?  Proverbs 13:20- He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.  One of our most basic parenting principals is that we set our children up to succeed not to fail.   We do not ask of them, or demand of them what they are not capable of.  Children below the age of reason are not capable of consistantly turning away from their peers, so we do not ask our children to do so.

We choose to keep our children at home, where their moral compass can be established and made strong by us, or other adults we personally choose.  At home where their pliable understand of the world can be wrought in accordance with out values and beliefs.  At home where their aptitudes (academic and moral) can be nurtured and supported, refined; where weaknesses can be address and remedied.  At home where they are will not be bullied, or over-looked.  At home where they have all their mental energy and emotional energy available for learning because they are safe and loved and their well is not spent trying to maintain and protect themselves.  At home where they are consistently challenged to excel, encouraged and celebrated.  At home where they are not bombarded by secular humanistic ideas; where they do not have to struggle over what is popular being deemed “right.”

We want our children to grow slowly and to grow strong- to have time to be children.  We do not want them facing moral challenges or struggling with the good and bad in the world when they are at recess.  We want them safe and happy and playing, not worrying about bullies or the greater inequalities of life.  They should be wrestling with each other, not with the moral ambiguities and life’s deeper meaning.  There is time enough for that when God calls them to be a force for change, not while they still struggle to change their shoes alone.  Trees grow slowly and, if bent while young, will always be bent.  We desire our children to be confident in themselves and in the right choices they will have to make as an adult.  I [will] have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:4)

Our prayer is that, in the days to come, our children will serve God and be a force for the better in the world at large.  God can use anyone, but how much more successful will the ministry be of a proven and trained worker?  We defeat this goal before we start if we allow the evils of the world to destroy them before they are educated enough, strong enough and mature enough to stand up for the Right and be that force for Good.  To change the world for the better they are going to need a strong and straight moral compass, a rock solid faith and a stalwart education.  The Nation is going to need them, God expects me to have them ready.

I keep telling you God expects you to be accountable for the education of  your children.  Now let’s let Him tell you.  Biblical support for home schooling:

*Psalm 127:3  Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.

*Deuteronomy 6:6-7 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

*Deuteronomy 4:9:  Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

*Jeremiah 10:2  Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen

*Luke 6:40 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher the beloved teacher –

*Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

*Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

*James 3:15-16 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

The Right Choice: Home Schooling, by Kennedy is an old book but I like his discussion of Christian children in the schools.  On page 111 to the concept as Christian children in the public schools as “missionaries” or being sent there to be the Light of the Lord in the schools.  This is an often used argument for why Christians SHOULD send their children into the world rather than keep them “separate.”  Kennedy notes that nowhere in the Bible is there a precedent for a youth missionary, not even teens.  The people of the Bible sent out into the world to be a “light” were adults, educated and mature in their faith, people beyond the age of reason and accountability, not at risk of being easily corrupted by the worldview.

Conventional education operates on the philosophy that education is neutral – that it merely conveys fact and that facts do not require a spiritual context.  That sums up my fundamental “problem” with a public school education quite nicely.  We believe that facts, whether scientific, mathematical, historical, or otherwise, can only represent truth if they are taught in the context of a Christian worldview.  We believe there is no neutral standpoint, to try to avoid God is to deny Him.  I accept that the school system as a whole cannot teach a specific set of values, there is no practical way to address the diversity of faiths with in a school.  It would be too much to address the diverse Christian views alone, much less add in Jewish students and others.  That I acknowledge, understand and respect.  The fact that schools cannot teach values; it is inherently impossible.  Values are my responsibility as a parent.  My issue is when the schools deny the Judo-Christian values and choose in their place another set of values to teach.   If values were simply NOT taught that would be another case; and I would frankly feel better placing young children in a school like that, where it is understood and agreed that value education is to take place at home.  I do not think such a school is practical, or realistic, but it is one I could support.

Home education is always a hot topic, and as our great nation faces more and more challenges it is more and more a hot topic.  It is a topic each parent must answer to God for.  Right now there are many choices; but the A great place to start really thinking about your child’s education, if you want to home school or even if you are happy with the public schools, is to make a family Education Mission Statement.  Here is a link to mine: http://scribinglife.wordpress.com/education/family-education-mission-statment/.  Think about what you want your child to look like as an educated adult.  Think about the skills you want them to have, the wisdom you want for them.  Think about how you want this happen, think about what you want to avoid as much as what you do want.  Reality is there may soon be a day when you have no choice but to teach Sally to read at the table in the kitchen, are you ready?  Have you even thought about your education choices in the light of moral questions and the future of our Nation?

Don’t miss Part 2, where I discuss the “How-to” of homeschooling!

God Bless,

Aimee Packard

I hope you enjoyed my friend, Aimee’s article on the reasons WHY home education of children works for many families, the historical significance and the behind-the-scenes information she provides.  And WHY home education will be important in our near future as a nation, whether we choose to fully educate our children at home, or merely fill in the gaping holes in our kids’ edcuation that are left when traditional public/private schools allow many necessary for life skills and faith education fall by the wayside in favor of budget cuts and teaching of political propaganda.

With my own family, I typically homeschool my children during the summer months especially.  Both o catch them up to grade level in areas they are behind and to prevent complaints of boredom.  Both of my Farmer Boys (Charles and Henry) struggle in various areas at school (Charles in math, reading, spelling, self-direction, cooperative group projects and penmanship and Henry in penmanship, attention span, memory skills, direction following, turn taking and math.  Due to our religious circumstances (with a church that is only able to meet once a month and can not meet in the the church building from Nov. to April due to lack of heat… and actually this coming Easter Sunday is THE LAST SUNDAY we will ever be able to meet in our church building, as it is being closed due to the need for too many costly repairs and a great lack of rear ends in the pews), I have been doing my children’s religious education at home, as no Sunday School has been available to them.  Our son Charles was treated very badly by Sunday School teachers in our 2 previous parishes that we attended because of his disability.  The very people who should have loved and accepted him most in the community, his own religious community, instead treated him with abuse and disdain… simply because he was “different”.  This rejection of our child caused us to leave these parishes where we were not accepted as a family.  Withou a “place” to teach Sunday School to our children, we have no other option than to teach it in the home.  Because schools typically neglect areas of life skills these days, like home economics, wood/metal shop, accounting, agricultural education, and enterpenurial skills and because children with autism disorders need extra and very specific education in these areas, we work on teaching such subjects, year-round at home.  Schools no longer teach students things like: learning to grocery shop on a budget, how to plant a garden and grow your own food, how to repair a lawnmower, a car or a piece of furniture and how to run a small business.  Schools would rather teach your child to praise Communism than to read a map, to do advanced algebra  and other “higher mathematics” than to balance a checkbook or the family budget (to be sure our government is not able to do that, so why should students… the government is happy to be borrowing money from foreign countries to write checks it can’t afford and wants to teach students to do the same, to buy on credit then declare bankrupcy.)

Laura Ingalls Wilder and her sisters were homeschooled for much of their education, as was another of my favorite authors, Mark Twain–Modern Ma (Rebecca Hunter)

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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