Smile for the Joy of Others

Smile for the Joy of Others

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When Pencil Doo-Doo is an Issue

From our classroom....Brother B, frustrated: "C, quit wiping your pencil doo-doo on my page! Keep your pencil doo-doo on your page!"

 Brother C: "Stop calling it pencil doo-doo. I don't have pencil doo-doo!"

I hear a book being slammed shut. "I'm not helping you anymore."

I finally make it the room: "What is the problem?"

Bother B: "He keeps wiping his pencil doo-doo on my paper."


Me: "what is pencil doo-doo?"

Brother B: "that stuff from the eraser. He keeps having to erase and that stuff is pencil doo-doo and he keeps wiping it on my paper."

 Brother C just about in tears from the angst: "Momma, please tell him to stop calling it pencil doo-doo. I don't have pencil doo-doo"

Anyone? anyone else?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Not So Long Division

We introduced long division, today, in school. I was worried it would be a fight as this is a somewhat complex concept to grasp. As it turns out, they have enjoyed learning it. Even though it's been a challenge, it's been without tears. With a sheepish grin, they've actually asked for additional problems to work. We are working the problems together on our dry erase board and notebook paper.

But here is where the real joy in homeschooling is...I made the executive decision to forgo a few of our other subjects, today. While they were interested and willing to continue to work on long division, I took advantage. You see, when homeschooling, you can do that. There are times you let the child lead. We don't have to cram in the other subjects or assignments because of an upcoming test waiting at the end of the week or year. We approach each day on a need basis. If we need to continue to focus on something we do, if we can move on, we do that, too. Today has been a successful day of homeschooling not because we accomplished every subject or every assignment I had planned but rather because we learned. We learned something new and we enjoyed it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Brother B: "Momma, I don't want to eat that anymore."


Brother B: "It makes my doo-doo stink."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Best vs Best

It's not unusual for me to wake up in the morning and just lay here thinking about my family and current events of life. So, this morning, one of the thoughts that came to me was "when did the schools become so worried with their ranking?" Growing up, I was either blind to it or we didn't have it bc I don't ever remember waking up in elementary or high school so excited to be attending an "A or B" ranked school. I knew I was going to a good school bc I enjoyed my teachers and... the overall experience. I may be wrong, but I just don't see high schoolers caring, even today, what ranking their school is unless the staff and admins build it up to the point that the student can't seem to get away from it.

You see, this ranking system isn't about the students. It's about bragging rights and money. Sure, it's great when a school earns good reviews and they can acknowledge the success of their students and teachers but to acknowledge them with a "rank or grade" isn't always telling of the lives inside of that school.

The idea of these rankings being tied to these test, no longer makes schools accountable to the students, it makes the students accountable to the schools. It's no longer about what the school can do for the student but what can the student do for the school. The pressure to perform becomes the key element in learning. It's no longer about doing your best but about always being the best. Doing your best can't always be measured with a ranking or grade. And it certainly shouldn't be tied to tests that dictate those rankings and funds.

I heard 2 moms talking at our baseball game last night. They were frustrated with the amount of homework their children had this weekend and all other nights. While they might not be pressuring their children to be the best in their school, the schools are pressuring the kids to make them a highly ranked school. These parents were recollecting the days they enjoyed school and didn't remember having to do this much work and taking these many tests. I highly doubt they went to a ranked school, either. And you know, these parents are successful. One even owns her own business that is thriving.

JFK had it right about our country, he was referring to adults, grown citizens. But as we rear our children to be responsible citizens and adults...we shouldn't be asking what our children can do for our schools but what can our schools do for our children. Those rankings fall on the shoulders of our most vulnerable and that is no burden a child, who needs to enjoy learning should have to deal with.

And for the record, I'm not advocating mediocrity in the system, I believe children need to be and should be encouraged to do their best but that is a different facet in life then pressuring children to be the best.

....This blog is going to be random to those who don't know my fight against Common Core.  Common Core is one of the reasons I pulled my children to homeschool them, however, it's not the only reason.  The federal government becoming more increasingly involved in schools is a reason also with Common Core being a venue in which they do it.  So many voters are simply ignorant, apathetic or both of the depth the Federal government has gone to involve itself in the every day routine of the public school classroom.  If you are true, grassroots conservative, then you should familiarize yourself to the issues of Common Core and No Child Left Behind.  If you unwillingly do not, I consider you apathetic.  Harsh, maybe, but it's your tax money and the future of our nation that is at stake and to turn a blind eye is irresponsible. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Reality: They aren't ours to Keep

CB: "Momma, I hope God calls me to be a missionary."

Me, catching my breath: "Well, son, He may just have. He may just have."

Goodness. That random comment during our lessons took my breath. As parents who seek to rear our children in the will of God, we absolutely want them to become who God created them to be. But in order for us to do that, we have to remember, our children aren't ours. They belong to God and we are just the ones He has entrusted to care, to teach, to love and to rear them according to His will until they leave our home to live their own independent life of God's will. And when we pray that God's will be done with our children and when we accept the blessing, the honor and the privilege God has allowed us to have, we must realize that His will may take them to places we as parents don't like, doing things that may very well be dangerous. Our children aren't ours to give back to Him...they were and are always His. The ultimate being for their life, is to glorify Him and that sometimes means, "go ye throughout the whole world making disciples of all men." The world doesn't end at the US border, it has no ending. The world includes Syria, Iran, China, Iraq, Africa. Those places need missionaries, too. 
I know, he's only 9. But God knew CB before he was conceived. And since CB's conception, God has been actively molding him into the person He created him to be, even today with that random comment in our little classroom studying math.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Educating the Heart vs Educating the Mind

I was skimming through a book I recently found at a local thrift store. It's about the benefits of reading aloud to your children. One of the headings:

How Does this Fit with the Calls for Higher National Standards?
IQ= Intelligent Quotient...
HQ= Heart Quotient

"Yes, student exam scores are important, but both scores must be addressed-the IQ and the HQ. When we focus exclusively on the paper scores, we need to remember that the most educated nation in nearly 2,000 years led the world in math and science in 1930. It also became the Third Reich. The Holocaust could never have happened if the German heart had been as well educated as the German mind.

"So how do we educate the heart? There are really only 2 ways: life experience and stories about life experience, which is called literature. All the great preachers and all the great teachers of the heart have used stories to get their lesson plans across---Aesop, Socrates, Confucius, Moses, and Jesus---stories about mustard seeds and shepherds and vineyards and prostitutes and fishermen and travelers. It is the power of story to educate upstairs (the mind) and downstairs (the heart)."

As I find myself becoming more intrigued with WW II, I find the above fascinating.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Perspective trumps Patience

Last night at a church fellowship, another mother asked, "How do you have the patience to homeschool? I lose it just over nightly homework."

"My patience or the lack thereof hasn't can still be a struggle on some days. My children are like all others, they try me and some days, fewer than most, it gets the best of me. But what changed was my perspective as a mother and what it truly means to educate my children. When you fully grasp what homeschooling is about and the innocence of our children, patience is no longer the intimidating issue we make it out to be."

I have been asked this question so many times.  I find myself laying awake at night wishing I had a better response when people engage in a conversation about my choice to homeschool. And one night when thinking about this question, I kept asking myself, besides prayer, "how has my patience has my patience changed".

And in praying for that answer, I felt God telling me...your patience hasn't changed, you still struggle with that. (one of those thorns in my side) But, instead, your perspective changed. When I started praying about homeschooling our children, God changed my perspective.  I no longer focused on patience, or the lack thereof but instead I started focusing on perspective.

We aren't Job, and if we think we have to have the patience of Job, we set ourselves up to fail.  So, if you are considering to homeschool your children, focus on your perspective.

You will see that Perspective trumps Patience.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Annual Honeymoon

For the past few years, hubby and I have taken an annual mini honeymoon.  We've been going to Orange Beach for a few nights.  We tend to be among the youngest down there amongst the snowbirds.

This past week, we incorporated 2 nights in New Orleans.  Hubby won a 2 nights stay a hotel of choice in NO as the leader of the winning group from work. 

We are stayed in this fancy place called the Roosevelt. It's so fancy I soaked my pajamas while still wearing them when trying to figure out the shower before getting in. We were also greeted with valet parking.  As nice as valet parking is and it is employment for people, I would much rather serve than be served. 

We walked to the WW II museum. I moaned and whined the whole way there about my feet and legs hurting from the walk. Then we watched the WW II documentary Beyond our Boundaries and I shut up with the complaining.

We ate at a fancy restaurant called Antoine's. Our bill was $200 (on the company). I couldn't help but think of families in other countries who just want bread and water. In my whole life, we've never paid that much for a meal.

I don't like Bourbon Street. It makes me both uncomfortable and concerned at the same time. A girl on the corner trying to sell me her ecstasy, just isn't my kind of fun. Give me a cabin in the woods or a condo on the beach during off season, I like serenity and non populous. Don't get me wrong, hubby earned this trip and we enjoyed our time in NO but I'm not fancy and I'm not a partier. I appreciate my modest house, Honda cars, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fried okra, homegrown tomatoes, cathead biscuits and sweet tea. I am ever so grateful for the life I have with my husband, my boys and homeschooling. Nothing fancy or "Bourbon Streetish" can ever take the place of the life I have now.

Oh, I did manage to damage the toilet lid while raising it. Now, that's more like home.

After our 2 nights in NO, we drove the coast line to Orange Beach. Ah, serenity and few people.  I don't have to be entertained 24/7 while at the beach.  Sitting on the balcony or by the sea is my idea of relaxing and enjoyment. 

We are now back home to our daily routines.  We love our life but enjoy our time together to relax from all the distractions and schedules.