Posts Tagged ‘life skills’

Our Furry Friends Are Hopping Into Spring

Although early spring sometimes brings cold snowy weather, here in South Dakota, it usually doesn’t last long this time of year.  After a day or two, the snow melts in late March and early April.  Sometimes this type of weather creates chaos on the farm in early spring.  You just never know a month or more in advance what the weather will be when the barnyard animals give birth, and a sudden cold snap can cause problems for newborn animals.  Several years ago we had a doe kid (first born of twins born to our alpine doe, Claire) who was delivered during a freakishly cold weekend in March and ended up with a frostbitten back leg.

On the other-hand, livestock having babies and increasing their family-size is the backbone of 4-H livestock projects.  To enable our 4-H’ers to grow their rabbit herds, we recently purchased 2 nest-box heaters for keeping litters warm until the babies grow fur (like rodents, baby rabbits are born bald.)  The mothers do pull fur to line their nests from their belly and sides, but if it is chilly and/or windy, this is often not enough and early litters are easily lost to exposure.

This year, we started off our 4-H projects by breeding Henry’s doe, Lady to his new blue Mini Rex buck, Slurpie, and Charles’ new doe, an albino New Zealand named Crystal, to his red buck, Lakota, in late Feb.  Lady delivered a nice all blue litter of 5 kits on March 26th.  Crystal kindled the day after, but had her 8 babies on the cage floor and lost them all to the cold.  Pa made a mistake in leaving her dead litter for me to see.  A rodent of some sort (out in the barn) ate the dead kits, then managed to get into Lady’s hutch and got her babies too.

The weekend after, we bred Lady’s daughter, Beauty, Henry’s castor-colored doe, Anna-Beth and Charles’ red doe and rebred Crystal. Two weeks prior to that, we had bred Charlotte to Slurpie and Blur to Lakota.  Both Charlotte and Blur are due to kindle next Saturday.

If all goes well, it will really get hopping around here.  As a side benefit, we should have a fabulous increase in rabbit manure to fertilize our garden  in the coming months of spring and summer.

rabbitpics 003CountyFair 002

Advertisements

National Cub-Scouting Week

Today marks the end of National Cub-Scouting Week, so I thought I would dedicate my post today to our 2 young Cub-scouts and their accomplishments.homeimprovement 031

Unfortunately, it’s been a couple months since they have attended meetings, between weather issues, meetings that were canceled by their den leaders for various reasons and somebody at home being sick with some sort of illness almost constantly since before Christmas.

But, back in November at our Pack Meeting, Charles participated in the Flag Ceremony and did a very good job of it.  At this meeting, both Charles and Henry also earned their Bobcat Badges… the first of many to come.homeimprovement 036

homeimprovement 039

Henry’s Tiger Den made their $200/scout quota for selling popcorn.  Charles’ Bear Den exceeded the $200/scout quota and averaged about $350/scout.  Charles was a great little salesman and earned $358 in popcorn sales for the Pack.  Both of them did AWESOME!

Both Henry and Charles have been working hard on their bowling skills with their Grandpa Bill in order to earn their belt loop awards for the sport of bowling.

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)

%d bloggers like this: