Friday, August 31, 2012

Being and Becoming Trailer

From PourquoiPasProds's YouTube description:

"Being and Becoming explores the concept and ultimately the choice of not schooling children, but of trusting and letting them learn freely what they are truly passionate about. The filmmaker's journey of discovery takes us through the US, Germany (where it's illegal not to go to school), France and the UK. This film is a quest for truth about the innate desire to learn."

My thoughts:

After viewing this trailer, I feel excited to watch this film at some point and learn from the families featured in it. It's always intriguing for me to see how other families choose to learn. It's also encouraging and enlightening to re-examine what learning means for children over again and consider what might be an exciting adventure to embark on! Sure, some days are better than others, and every day is not as fun as a circus, but there sure are plenty of ways to enjoy learning as a family.

The short trailer here prompted me to consider the following.

Most of human history is made up of people who did not go to formal school. They learned naturally and gained their knowledge and expertise from personal experience and those around them and, sometimes, through books. Leonardo da Vinci comes to mind as to what is possible when a person has limitless freedom to explore their interests, not to mention time. According to Wikipedia: He was an accomplished "painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer".

The question is: why not now? Should the freedom to teach one's own be encouraged and valued? What is possible for human beings in our own time? Do we really think we and are children are capable of great things? What kind of educational models will take us there?

Most importantly, what do we want to create for our children?

Genius or not, every child deserves a measure of freedom in what they spend their time on learning. It is the parent's right and responsibility to ensure that their child receives the education he or she needs. Homeschooling is one way to meet this goal.

May God bless us, that as parents, we may seek for and receive all the support and resources we need in order to facilitate our children's learning and growth. I know that God stands ready to help and strengthen us because He knows what we are capable of, what our children are capable of, and He wants our success, too.

Home education is a much-needed and highly-valued option!

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Preschool Decisions

I'm re-posting something I wrote about a year ago relating to that decision some parents wrestle with: about whether to send a child to preschool or to try preschool-at-home.

I meet so many parents who are at this stage with a child, some of whom have not thought seriously about teaching their child themselves. Preschool is a great place to start this process, especially if you are already considering homeschool later.

One important reason to give this a go is this: you get to practice learning-at-home methods and routines before it actually "counts", as far as state law goes. You have time to really explore with your child with less pressure on yourself to be the perfect "teacher" and you and your child have the space needed to establish your "learning together" relationship.

Consider this: you've cared for your child this far successfully, from pregnancy, to birth, babyhood and now: they are healthy inquisitive and happy, so you must be doing something right! Preschool can just be a continuation of that relationship, expanding in a new and fun direction. It can be your own unique milestone together, a new adventure beginning! Lead the way, allow them to lead a little, too, by following their own interests and exploring them together: remember, it's a fun partnership.

Best of all, preschool-at-home can be a lot of fun!

If it leads to further years of homeschool, great. If not, you can pat yourself on the back, knowing you've given your child great memories for them to move forward with into the rest of their education and a solid foundation of feeling loved and cared for by their Mom or Dad. Studies show that spending time at home learning age-appropriate material with family actually helps a child learn at school better later than if they attended a formal preschool.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with different forms of preschool, but so little is talked about preschool-at-home and it's benefits in the media and in our society at large, that the purpose of my posts are to shed a little light on that option.

If you, like many parents, are concerned with getting that much-needed break, consider a variety of other options, like trading playdates with another family so you can have a few hours to yourself or ask your spouse to give you a night off during the week so you can do a hobby or meet with a friend. Putting a child to bed an hour earlier so you can catch up on a project is always an option, too.

There are plenty of ways to practice healthy self-care and offer your child the kind of education and childhood you want for him or her! The secret is that it is possible to have both. If your heart desires it, you can create it. Creativity & flexibility lead to solutions in this area.

Making a childhood a meaningful, less-fast-paced experience is not that hard and is such a blessing for any child! If you have the means to do so, to spend that kind of time with your child or children, count yourself privileged and consider it as a blessing for both of you that you can choose it if you so desire.

Now, for the original post.....

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mormons Give Humanitarian Aid

To learn more about why LDS church members feel so strongly about humanitarian aid and to see ways you can get involved, visit

Saturday, August 11, 2012

'Not' Back to School: Our Curriculum

Believe it or not, I am actually a little late to iHomeschool Network's 4th annual blog hop, Week One.

I think I am about #500 to join this week's hop about curriculum and supplies.

Well, the more the merrier, right?  : )

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Although it looks like we have/do a lot, do keep in mind that we do not use ALL these supplies everyday and we rotate subjects throughout the year. Being well-organized just helps life to flow better around here and makes MY life easier, in the short and long run. Happy Mom = Happy Family.

My plans and supplies, like many homeschool parents, come along with much prayerful thought and consideration. If you have questions, I am happy to answer through the comments section here.

Divide and Conquer

I have two 'sets' of learners this year, plus a new baby.

Cute Kids 1 and 2 are (almost) age 10 and (almost) age 8.
Cute Kids 3 and 4 are age 5 and (almost) age 3.

The first year of homeschooling my oldest when he was 7, I wanted to expand our routine and added in a 'light' version of Charlotte Mason home education via Ambleside Online with our usual relaxed, unschool-y learning routine. It was just my oldest that I had "table time" with at that point, but there was plenty of learning going on in an informal way for everyone. We did narration, copywork, and nature study. Science experiments happened occasionally and math was intuitive: counting and spending money, cooking and measuring, and other normal things.

The next year, I added in his younger brother, but did less narration with both, choosing to focus on basic reading and writing skills, plus establishing habits and character training and learning to do housework as a family. I'm really grateful I followed the Spirit and my intuition to establish that routine and healthy foundation to move forward from. It's vital as we begin this year.

This year, 2012-13, I want to be sure to have time with the older and younger set, (I enjoy being with them!) and it really does not work for us at this point to combine everyone, everyday. From the previous years, I also took notice that the kids learn very quickly with a 2:1 child to parent ratio, so a 5 day-a-week schedule was not necessary!

Monday-Wednesday-Friday in the morning for about an hour is my oldest set's "Table Time".
Tuesday-Thursday in the morning for about an hour is my younger set's "Mommy Time".

Having three kids ask me what day it is and what they will be doing was driving me up the wall!

This provided a fantastic solution: the magnet is placed on 'today' and the kids know what to expect!


I am very flexible, so while this is the 'default' (to keep us in a habit), I don't mind taking things out of order every once in a while, such as reading practice at nighttime with an older child or including the younger ones in an art project with the older ones occasionally. We are a family, and that has it's advantages!

I am also considering doing our weekly routine for 6 weeks and then taking one week to just relax, catch up on errands, go places or have friends over.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Few { F U N } Things Lately

July was a month full of fun!

Independence Day was great : simple and memorable. We invited family over for a BBQ with spiral-sliced hot dogs and fix in's. I had some sparklers, snap & pops, fountains and smoke bombs for the kids to enjoy out front with the adults watching. We had cupcakes and other goodies to round out the evening.

Then, we packed up and visited family in Utah for a few days. It was so refreshing to be in cooler weather and wonderful to spend time with cousins, siblings, and Grandparents on my husband's side.

Our third son turned 5 and enjoyed his BIG birthday presents and family party.

Our garden grew some more :    T a L L   S u N f l O w E r S  &   W i D e   watermelon.

My husband was in China for about 10 days for work and we made due at home as best we could without him. I'll share a few photos from his work trip in another post.

We kept cool indoors while the outdoors sizzled by setting up the marble run and playing games, doing fun girl hairdo's and taking walks when the sun went down. Plenty of movies were watched and video and computer games were played!

We attended our baby girl's first story/music time at the local public library (our home-away-from-home). The kids love the glass block wall in the children's area that is filled with items in hues of the rainbow. It was big sis' first time there as a big kid and she was enthralled with the toys trapped in glass!

We spent a few days at the local park and were lucky to have a train pass by. The kids looked....and then leapt! They wanted to get as C L O S E as possible as it rumbled past....I was thankful for double fences that kept them contained and safe!

Last of all, in early August, a dentist near our home was opening a new office and threw a community appreciation day, complete with gourmet BBQ sandwiches, snow cones, kids' games and face painting.

They had me at the word "FREE", so off I went, with my 5 kids in tow and met my sister up who brought her oldest daughters. The kids had a great time, even with  the triple digit heat. (I held the baby in the shade near the fan and misters as much as possible.)

Here's the proof-in-photos.


Up, up & away! BIG birthday gift for boy #3 who is now 5 years old (the pilot).
Blurry photo taken by 7 year old son...the cool "dummy"gift we made for sword practice.
Wrestling break in the evening, when Dad was away for work in China.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

By Your Example

When he lived on earth, Jesus said he loved the little children. He showed it by asking his disciples to "let the little ones come unto [him]". He took the time to bless them!  

Do we place as much value on our children? 

I find myself asking this question often. It is helpful for me to evaluate what I am prioritizing.
Are we looking for ways to bless our own children as Jesus Christ did? Do we share our time with them?  Sometimes life gets hectic. Sometimes there are important things that need our attention. But let's not forget our greatest treasures, our family, in the busy-ness of life.

Just a little thing like simply spending some time together can mean the world to our kids.

Will you join me?
Let's each find just one way to show our children just how precious they are today!

Some simple ideas follow know, because for kids, it doesn't take much!
Even just 2 or 3 minutes of your time can help your child feel valued today.
  • Read a book together
  • Say "I love you"
  • Give a hug 
  • Make a meal together
  • Play a game
  • Take a walk
  • Ask your child what they would like to do together and do it!

 For my part, today I will do something playful with my kids, like hide and seek, and maybe sing some songs together or color together at the table.

    "And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation."
              Moroni 8:17

    Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

    Jesus loved the little children,
    Little ones like me.
    He would bless and help them
    And take them on his knee.

    Many lovely things he taught them,
    Things we all should do:
    Love and help each other,
    Be honest, kind, and true.
    Words and music: Moiselle Renstrom, 1889–1956

    Extra Credit  ;-)

    It has been said that one of the best ways to teach, is to teach by example.
    That means that who we are speaks louder than what we say.

    If you are looking to have more power in your parenting,
    try examining yourself and what you stand for. Who are you?

    What do your actions teach your child on a daily basis?
    What could you improve in order to show a better character to your child?
    Choose one improvement to embrace and work toward it with patience for yourself.
    Even a small improvement means moving ahead!

    Today, decide to be the kind of person your child can look up to, with confidence!

     Helping Family Members Live the Gospel
    Personal Integrity-The Key to Example

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