Read Aloud

The road down memory lane is paved with read-aloud books.Questions 15

I watched the clock intently. When the big hand was on ten and the little on three, my stomach started turning, I felt nauseous, occasionally I even threw-up. This ailment persisted for four years of elementary school – because at 10:30 I was pulled out of class and taken to remedial reading. I hated reading. I hated books. I hated being singled out for being “dumb.¨ Then in fifth grade something changed- instead of a sick feeling I got cookies and milk. At exactly 10:30 a cart rolled into the room with milk and cookies. I munched on my raisin oatmeal cookie and sipped my milk as mind traveled to unknown places as my teacher read aloud. Iḿ almost fifty and I can still remember the books Mr. Foley read aloud. “Mandy,” “The Great Brain” series, and my favorite childrenś book of all time, “Where the Red Fern Grows.” I simply couldn’t wait til tomorrow to find out what happened to the Great Brain  – I went to the library, checked out the books – and this reluctant, remedial reader became obsessed with reading. I learned that the right book read aloud at the right time can change reluctant readers to book junkies.

I remember the last book my mom read aloud to me. I was in sixth grade. We lived in North Dakota and the winter felt like Danteś ninth layer of hell. After school, I cuddle up on the couch, under a quilt, drinking hot cocoa, as my mom read aloud. She read, ¨The Girl of the Limberlost,¨ saying it was her favorite books when she was my age. To be perfectly honest, I thought  the story was boring – but it didn’t matter – I felt a close bond with my mom. In my mind, I pictured her sitting on a couch, under a quilt, drinking hot cocoa as her older sister read the same book to her. My motherś words, as she read, floated around me and warmed my insides more than the cocoa. I learned that reading aloud creates a special bond between the reader and the listener.

Justification 6

When my oldest children were five and eight – I read a biography of Helen Keller After it was finished I asked the kids to tell me about the book. My eight-year-old told me a timeline of Helenś life – all the dates and places included – but he failed to mention that she had a disability. My five year old detailed her disability, saying how God made each of us special and can use each of us.You would have though I read two different books. I learned that children hear and process information differently.

Once, I read  “Johnny Tremain” out loud at lunchtime. My husband happened to be home for lunch – he forbid (or rather begged) me not to continue reading unless he was at home for lunch. He didn’t want to miss a moment. I learned reading aloud bonds a family together.

CPS called us to foster a fifteen year old girl. She had been sitting in the police station, for stealing a car for three days. She told us, all tough like, that she was being initiated into a gang. One of the things I remember most about her is that she would plop onto the couch next to me, as close as she could get, lay her head on my shoulder and ask me to read to her. I learned that reading aloud can melt hardened hearts.

Justification 4

Another sweet foster daughter we had was just a year old. The only book she wanted me to read was “Mama, Do you love me?” I must have read it dozens of times a day as she sat on my lap and twirled my hair in her little fingers. When we lost custody of her – I gave her the book. To this day, I can’t read the book aloud to my daughter or grandkids without sobbing. I learned that books are attached to memories and just the mention of a certain book that was read aloud at a certain time of your life will bring all the emotions of that time flooding back to you.

I remember reading “The Giver” in seventh grade, and I’ve read it to all of my kids. When many Junior High girls want little to do with their Mom, my daughter sat on my bed until two in the morning as I read it – we simply had to keep reading. One of my students came to me crying one day. She been assigned  “The GIver” by her English teacher. The content so upset her and she hated the book. I learned that the content of the book, the emotional maturity of the reader must be considered alongside the reading level. I also learned that heavy subject books are often better as read alouds – even with older students – because some books must be dissected  and discussed.

My eighteen year old just confessed that he has no clue how “Where the Red Fern Grows” ends – because I was crying so hard at the end of the book that he couldn’t understand a word I read. I told him he could read it himself. “No thanks – Iḿ not into dog books.” I learned one person’s favorite book is not another’s.

Inside the binding of a read-aloud lies not just a story but a Pandora box of memories.

Hereś a few of my favorite read alouds. They are not listed by subject. This is not the end all list. This will not be your list. This is my list of go to read- alouds. This is my list of books I love.

*Are my don’t miss books – my favorites.

1 Book  to read aloud to a One-Year-Old

  1. Doggies by Sandra Boynton (forget this is about numbers – but please make different sounds for each dog – promised to make your child laugh and say “Again! Again!”)

2 Books  to read aloud to a Two-Year-Old

  1. Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown
  2. But Not the Hippopotamus  by Sandra Boynton

3 Books  to read aloud to the Three-Year-Old

  1. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  2. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes Mem Fox*
  3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle

4 Books  to read aloud to to the Four-Year-Old

  1. Curious George by H.A. Ray
  2. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  3. Weŕe Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
  4. The Spooky Old Tree by  Stan and Jan Berenstain
Dragon 15

In my opinion, the BEST chapter book to read aloud

5 books to read aloud to Five-Year-Old

  1. The Story of the Root Children Sibylle von Olfers
  2. Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow
  3. King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood*
  4. My Fatherś Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (in my opinion the BEST first read-aloud chapter book)
  5. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

 

 

 

 

6 Books  to read aloud to a Six-Year-Old

  1. Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter
  2. Old Mother West Wind by Thornton Burgess
  3. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Ericsson*
  4. The Velveteen Rabbit  by Margery Williams*
  5. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  6. Owls in the Family  by Farley Mowat
alice in wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

7 Books  to read aloud to a Seven-Year-Old

  1. Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis*
  2. The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka
  3. Charlotteś Web by E.B. White
  4. One Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  5. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  6. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
  7. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

 

 

 

 

wind in willows

Wind in Willows

8 Books  to read aloud to a Eight-Year-Old

  1. Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  2. Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
  3. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
  4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  5. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
  6. Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry
  7. Frindle by Andrew Clements
  8. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame*

 

 

 

 

9 Books  to read aloud to a Nine-Year-Old

  1. Cricket in Time Square by George Selden
  2. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
  3. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
  4. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
  5. Gentle Ben by Walt Morey
  6. BFG by by Roald Dahl
  7. From the Mixed-Up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by  E. L. Konigsburg
  8. Stuart Little by E.B. White
  9. The Railway Children by E Nesbit

10 Books  to read aloud to a Ten-Year-Old

  1. Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
  2. The Twenty One Balloons by William Pène du Bois
  3. Little Britches by Ralph Moody
  4. Caddy Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
  5. The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
  6. The Courage of Sarah Noble  by Alice Dalgliesh
  7. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  8. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
  9. Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
  10. Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld
secret garde

The Secret Garden

11 Books  to read aloud to  a Eleven-Year-Old

  1. The Great Brain by John Fitzgerald*
  2. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls*
  3. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  4. Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  5. The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
  6. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  7. Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Gray Vining
  8. Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
  9. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowlings
  10. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  11. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

12 Books  to read aloud to a Twelve-Year-Old

  1. The Hobbit by  J. R. R. Tolkien*
  2. The Cay by Theodore Taylor*
  3. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.*
  4. Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare*
  5. Door in the Wall  by Marguerite de Angeli
  6. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  7. Through the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
  8. Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  9. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  10. Cheaper by the Dozen by Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
  11. A Wrinkle in TIme by Madeleine L’Engle
  12. The Phantom Tollbooth  by Norton Juster
lettle women

Little Women

10 Books  to read aloud to a Junior Higher

  1. The Lord of the RIngs by  J. R. R. Tolkien*
  2. And Then There were None by Agatha Christie
  3. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne*
  4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  5. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  6. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  7. Shane  by Jack Schaefer
  8. Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Beowulf
  10. Godś Smuggler by Brother Andrew*

 

 

 

10 Books  to read aloud to  a Senior Higher (all lead to excellent discussion)

  1. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
  2. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton*
  3. My Sisterś Keeper by Jodi Picoult*
  4. The Giver  by Lois Lowry*
  5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  6. Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals*
  7. Freedom Writers  by Erin Gruwell and Freedom Writers
  8. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  9. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  10. Lord of the Flies  by William Golding

 

 

Transitioning Rhythm

rhythm 2Sometimes it is hard to transition between the  musical improvisation of summer and the march of school year rhythm. The last couple of weeks of August become a jazz piece – with a steady beat but lots of improvisation thrown in.

I scramble to organize my calendar, school space, and household tasks. I make sure my school supplies and bookshelves are stocked, as well as checking the dresser drawers to see if they contain anything besides swimsuits and cover-ups.

When I was little – summer vacation ended and school began – changing everything about my day to day life in one swift swoop. It was exciting, but a little scary. Now, I slip from one rhythm to the next almost like embracing a new movement in the same symphony – a completely different tempo but carrying across the same motif.

Officially, we start our new rhythm the day after labor day – September 6th this year.

This is what I hope my new rhythm looks like:

Monday

8:00 – Wake, Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

8:15- 9:00 Mom coffee, Slow Cook Dinner, Sack lunches

9:00 Leave for Co-Op

10:30 – 11:30 Co-Op

11:30 – 12:30 Socialize & Lunch

12:30 – 5:00 Errands & Groceries (every other week)  Zoo (every other week)

5:30 – 6:30 Family Dinner

6:30 – 9:30 Church Home Group

9:30 Bible, Prayers & Lights Out

Tuesday – Thursday

8:00 – 9:00 Mom Coffee &  Bible Study

9:00 -9:30 Wake up, cuddle, Read-aloud in bed

9:30 – 9:45 Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

9:45 – 10:15 Breakfast & Dinner Prep

10:15 – 10:30 Trampoline

10:30 – 10:35 Candle Lighting & Memory Verse

10:35 – 10:50  Story Time

10:50 – 11:30 Circle Time

11:30 – 12:15 Art or Handwork

12:15  -12:45 Lunch

12:45 – 2:00 Household Chores

2:00 – 2:30 Snack

2:30 – 5:00 Health Club

5:00 – 6:00 Mom cook, Rose free-play

6:00  – 7:00 Family Dinner & Clean up

7:00 – 8:00 Free Time or Family Game TIme

8:00 – 8:15 Bedtime Snack,

8:15 – 8:40 Bath, Brush Teeth

8:40 – 9:00 Bible & Prayers

9:00 Lights Out – Bed

9:00 – 11:00 Mom – computer, reading, research and/or Mom & Dad time

Friday

8:00 – 9:00 Mom Coffee &  Bible Study

9:00 -9:30 Wake up, cuddle, Read-aloud in bed

9:30 – 9:45 Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

9:45 – 10:30 Breakfast, Sack lunch &  Dinner in Slow-Cooker

10:30 – 11:00 Household Chores

11:00 – 4:30 Forest Day

4:30 – 6:00 Free TIme

6:00 – 7:00 Dinner & Clean Up

7:00 – 8:00 Free Time or Family Game TIme

8:00 – 8:15 Bedtime Snack,

8:15 – 8:40 Bath, Brush Teeth

8:40 – 9:00 Bible & Prayers

9:00 Lights Out – Bed

9:00 – ? Mom & Dad time

Saturday

Sleep in as late as want

Extended Family Day

Family Field Trips

Free Time

Every other week – date night & babysitter

Sunday

9:00 Wake & Get ready for church, Mom

10:00 Breakfast & Lunch in Slow Cooker

10:30 – 12:30 Church

12:30 – 5:00 Extended Family

5:00 – 11:00 Mom’s much needed time alone, Dad’s turn with Rose

(Rabbit Trail: Notice I didn’t start early and we read aloud while cuddling in bed first. Being that neither Rose or I are morning people – I didn’t want to set us up for failure right off the bat. Also – I know that ART and HANDWORK should be separate events – but I also knew that if I pushed either back to after lunch – it wouldn’t get done. I also scheduled in flex time, driving time, and time away from Rose – for my own sanity.)

That’s my September march. My August jazz improv looks more like this:

rhythm 1Tuesday – Thursday

8:00 – 9:00 Mom Coffee &  Bible Study

9:00 -9:30 Wake up, cuddle, Read-aloud in bed

9:30 – 9:45 Brush Teeth, Get Dressed & Make Bed

9:45 – 10:15 Breakfast & Dinner Prep (That’s a crescendo from sleeping as long as possible every day)

10:15am – 8:00 pm Cut technology back to one hour a day for Rose: Free play; Run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to do all the organization that I should have been doing all summer: Swim – don’t forget there are still swim days left in the year – so trying to take advantage! 

8:00 – 8:15 Bedtime Snack (I have three weeks to re-establish the bedtime routine we threw out the window when the days were long and nights were warm)

8:15 – 8:40 Bath, Brush Teeth

8:40 – 9:00 Bible & Prayers

9:00 Lights Out – Bed

9:00 – 11:00 Mom – computer, reading, research and/or Mom & Dad time

Night Dance

So – I’m trying to start and end the day with the new rhythm – with total improve in the middle. As the days grow cooler and the march approaches – I can feel the excitement in my bones. My dance step is changing as I anticipate the andante days of summer turning into the allegro of a new school year.

What does you school year rhythm look like? What do you do to transition from summer?

 

Rhythm of Grace – K6 -Trial Curriculum

Questions 15

I am writing a Christian homeschool curriculum using Waldorf pedagogy entitled “Rhythm of Grace.” I am currently in the process of writing the Kinder6 curriculum, which I will be using for my own daughter this upcoming year. I would love to offer my curriculum FOR FREE to anyone who is willing to use it. It does not need to be used 100% as is – I know I have never used a curriculum 100%. It does need to be used with your children and not just read through. Here are some details about the offer:

Goal:

  • Develop a Christian curriculum using Waldorf pedagogy .
  • Provide an educational path that leads kids into a relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Blossom children into well rounded  people (heart, head, hands) for the purpose of loving the Lord with their hearts, minds, souls, and strength.

questions 14Elements of K6:

  • Fairytale Storytime
  • Circle TIme (Seasons, Fairytales, Bible Verses, Spanish, Counting, Waldorf Verses, and Classical Poetry)
  • Spanish as a Second Language
  • Handwork (Cooking,Fabrics, Gardening)
  • Art (Drawing,Modeling,Wet-on-Wet Painting)
  • Music (Incorporated in Storytime and Circle TIme)
  • Holiday Ideas for traditional holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Passover, May Day)
  • Once a Week Forest Day
  • Daily Verses
  • Recommended Read-Alouds and Bible Stories
  • Samples of Daily, Weekly, and Seasonal Rhythm

history 3My Qualifications:

  • Experience
    • 24 Years Homeschooling
    • 20 Years Teaching Co-Ops and Private Schools
    • 20 Years Debate Coach
    • 10 Years Tutor for Reading and Writing
    • Taught Students (other than my own) at every grade level (K – 12)
    • Worked with gifted, typical, and special needs children
    • Written curriculum for homeschoolers, private schools, and churches
    • Homeschooled using: Unit Studies, Classical, Unschooling, Waldorf
  • Education
    • Studied Traditional Music & Theater Education
    • Minored in Literature
  • Waldorf
    • Self-taught and researched
    • Read All Articles and Books pertaining to Kindergarten on Waldorf Library waldorflibrary.org
    • Read Waldorf Blogs for homeschooling in practice

Nothing is Really Free: I’m willing to exchange my curriculum for:

  • Editing for grammar, spelling, organization
  • Helping me source materials used and obtain copyrights
  • Feedback on how to make the curriculum more user friendly
  • Feedback on content: what needs to be added or is not needed
  • Written Reviews I can use in the published curriculum
  • Free publicity: When I am ready to publish, I need people to write about the curriculum on their blogs and social media
  • Curriculum can not be republished as your own, given away to others without my consent, or quoted without permission

il_570xn-149738294My Basic Christian Beliefs:

  • God

I believe there is One God who exists in three persons: Father, Son/Jesus, Holy Spirit.

  • Bible

I believe the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God. It should be read literally, taking into consideration the type of literature. It is the ultimate means of truth (truth is not relative).

  • Man

I believe man was created by God to bring Him glory (to make Him famous). Man is born sinful, which separates him from God. Salvation is through belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ which restores our right relationship with God.

Disclaimer:

  • I do not claim this is a Waldorf Curriculum – It is a Christian Curriculum, using Waldorf pedagogy

questions 6Timeline:

  • Fall (Sept, Oct, Nov) will be delivered to you via google docs on or before July 31
  • Winter (Nov. Dec, Jan) will be delivered on or before September 30
  • Spring (Feb, Mar, April) will be delivered on or before November 30

If you are interested in using “Rhythm of Grace” Kinder6 Trial Curriculum, please send me an email at mrs.joyce.pinero@gmail.com. Please include information about your particular family and children. Include what you would like to do for me in exchange for the curriculum (see Nothing is Really Free section). Thank you for considering my curriculum.

 

Kiwi Branch of a School Year

Our school year didn’t go as planned. It never does, but this year more than most.

I look longingly at my “Kinder Rhythm and Verse” post from last July – visualizing the plans that never materialized. Oh, we may have followed the rhythm a few days, weeks, or months, but life got in the way.

Some years grow like plum branches straight and fruitful, but this year looked more like a kiwi branch: four surgeries, one birth and one death

12088336_1066691830030562_4793359496729730022_n

The year started with Grandpa, who lives with us, having open heart surgery.

1235485_1172177552815322_6665565665587265866_nLater in the fall, we learned Rose had lost all of hearing in her right ear as it had filled with liquid and pushed her eardrum back so it was touching her cranium. The ENT also suggested having a cranial specialist look into repairing her nose, as scar tissue from her cleft palate surgery had built up and completely blocked her nasal breathing. Thus Rose’s New Year began with ear surgery by the ENT, followed shortly after by a plastic surgeon repairing her nose and cleft palate. Both Rose’s hearing and breathing have been restored – praise God.

The month between the two surgeries, I got sick, and more and more of my energy was draining out of me. I held off going to the doctor until a week after Rose’s surgery. Two doctors, a nurse practitioner, an emergency room visit, three sets of blood work, and two ultrasounds later – everything but cancer had been ruled out. I underwent surgery and a biopsy three weeks after Rose’s plastic surgery.

12552744_1117192741647137_1985837118826774253_n

Before getting the results back, my daughter-in-law gave birth to twins. We’d been joyously anticipating their births. Rose had helped me search out cashmere sweaters, felt them,  cut them and design them into patterns. I taught her to hand sew – and she sat beside me making little hearts as I hand sewed the quilts. We talked about the babies and how they would play some day together. Every night Rose prayed and thanked God for them. Our baby boy was born healthy, but our baby girl had died shortly before birth. It was such a bitter-sweet moment in time.

Between the birth and the funeral I found out the results of my biopsy. It was benign! It was truly a miracle! The doctor said that after doing the surgery she was positive I had cancer. She had practiced medicine for over 20 years and never done a surgery like mine that wasn’t cancer. When she got the lab results back, she even recalled the lab to confirm the results – because she was so surprised. It can only be considered a miracle. So, it was determined that my health problems were the result of a complete imbalance of hormones. I started hormone treatment – and have been regaining energy little by little.

12043182_1061671697199242_1466387004428668948_n

Needless to say – Kindergarten wasn’t quite like I had planned.

Isaiah 55: 8 – 9 says:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I had plans for Rose’s Kindergarten year – but God had other plans.

Instead of learning to read and write – Rose learned:

That God is sovereign. He is in control of our days, and not we ourselves. God is the giver and taker of life.

With the death of Baby Girl, we talked about the fact that one day in the presence of God is better than a life lived on earth.

God is the Healer. He heals miraculously, and He heals through doctors. He chooses who and how He heals.

Loving and caring for others is more important than personal growth.  Reading and writing are not the most important things in life. People are.

A few years ago there was a survey done in which Christian Parents were asked what they want most for their kids – 80% said a good education, whereas less than half as many said a relationship with God. I’m glad God reminded me once again – through circumstances out of my control – what was really important to teach my daughter:

“Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 28 – 31)

kiwi-vine-branches_med

The Kiwi branch is beautiful – because God made it that way.  Our school year as well was beautiful because it was designed by God to teach us what He wanted us to learn.

 

 

History of Education in a Nutshell

Questions 15I was out to prove the book wrong.  It was a well-known, well-loved book on classical home education. I felt bipolar reading it. One paragraph, I’d be cheering, and the next I wanted to throw it against the wall. At one point it made the statement, “As soon as your child begins to talk (which will be early if she’s this immersed in language), teach her the alphabet…As a parent-educator, your number one goal should be to have your child reading fluently when she starts first-grade work.” – And then the thought hit me – That’s not “classical” that’s a fairly new – actually 21st Century concept. So I did what I always do – research…obsessive research.

What I found was bigger than the argument I wanted to make (which was correct, just for your information). Our very thoughts on what constitutes a “good education” lay on the shoulders of civilizations and philosophers of the past.  I truly believe that as a homeschooler – we should know what we believe the goal of education is, what subjects should be taught, and how they should be taught.  Reading the concepts of the past can help us to formulate our personal family education philosophies.

I’ve done the background work – and tried to summarize it in a simple format – chronologically. “Age” refers to the age in which children who attended school would attend – everything else is self-explanatory.

historyAncient Greece

                Age: 7 – 13 or 14 (Some 18)

Goal: Good Citizenship & Well Rounded Individuals

Methodology: Physical education (Gymnastics), Playing Instruments, Singing,   Memorization,  Acting

Subjects:  Athletics, Music, Art, Literature, Science, Philosophy, Math, Speech,  Logic

Philosophy: Outcome based education: Educate for the benefit of the State

Plato, “(boys) may learn to be more gentle, and harmonious, and                                   rhythmical, and so more fitted for speech and action; for the life of man in every part has need of harmony and rhythm.”

Ancient Hebrew

                Age: Age 6 – 13 (Some 18)

Goal: Instill values (Love of God and his laws and to interact in society in how God                   wants)

Methodology:  Imitation, Memorization, Practical Skills, Testing, Discipleship;

Subjects: Religion, Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Geography, Agriculture,                             History, Accounting, Economics, Sociology, Medicine

 Philosophy: Educate for Eternity

history 1Ancient Roman

                Age: 6 or 7 – 18 or 20

Goal: Good Citizenship & Effective Speaker

Methodology: Technicalities of grammar, Memorization, Mechanics more important than understanding, Imitation and Apprenticeship

Subjects: Reading, Writing, Counting, Grammar, Literature, Latin, Greek,                                Literature, Law, History, Customs, Oration, Logic, Rhetoric

Philosophy: Outcome based education: Educate for the benefit of the State

The Middle Ageshistory 3

                Those Going Into Church Work and Educated by Clergy

Age: 6 – 16

Goal: Prepare for work in church

Methodology: Taught adults and children side by side – childhood did not exist

Subjects:  Trivium: Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Latin; Quadrivium: Arithmetic,                          Geometry,  Music,   and Astronomy; Art if someone showed talent

Philosophy: Body “sinful” or evil – suppress physical needs in favor of the mind                     and spiritual; Childhood did not exist; Cannot question truth

Those Going into Secular Work

Age:  Varied by family

Goal: Prepare For Job or Place in Society

Methodology:  Apprenticeship, Code of Chivalry not Curriculum Based

Subjects:  Poetry, National History, Heraldry, Manners, Customs, Physical                                Training, Dancing, Music, Battle Skills

history 4

The Renaissance

                Age: 6 – Mid 20s

Goal: Well-Rounded Individuals

Methodology: Grammar studied for literature not technically,

Subjects: Reading, Writing, Math, Music, Art, History, Philosophy, Astronomy,                       Greek and Roman literature, Physical Education

                 Philosophies: Humanism, Learning is exciting and fun

 

17th- Century

In American Colonieshistory 5

                Age:  7 – 14

Goal: Training the Mind for God

Methodology: Apprenticeship, Memorization,

Subjects: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Religion, Latin, Grammar

 

 

European Philosophers:

 Johann Amos Comenius (1592-1670): “Education according to nature” – must understand the    nature of the child. Children are not miniature adults. Ideas come first as objects one can    understand with the senses, not as words – therefore, teachers must use objects to teach with.  Education should be pleasant not forced.

 

John Locke (1632 – 1704): “Tabula Rasa” – the mind is a blank tablet. All knowledge comes from   what is learned in the physical world, therefore personal experience is a better teacher than books. Subjects are taught for the purpose of training the mind to think.

 

18th-Century

                Goal: Practical Skills for living and contributing to society

Methodology: Drill and memorization,

               Philosopher:

history 7

Benjamin Franklin (1705 – 1790): Believed in student-led education and teach according to a child’s temperament and personality. Studying English is more important than Latin. Education should be humanistic and not religious. Education should be practical.

European Philosophers:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78): Children born “good” and the aim of education is training his  natural development. Character and morality are more important than teaching techniques. He believed in child development and developmentally appropriate teaching.  Child lead education  is best practice.

19th-Century

history 9

            Age: 6 – 13

Philosophers:

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827): Natural development of the individual child is the goal   of education. Education should start with concrete objects and move towards abstract words   and ideas. Teachers should guide to discover information not tell them facts.

Friedrich Wilhelm Froebel (1782-1852): Developed the concept of Kindergarten (a garden where children are nurtured and bloom like flowers).  Children are not a blank slate but have knowledge within them that can be brought out by experiences that teachers provide.

Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776-1841): Education’s purpose is to cultivate a child’s mind by  giving him knowledge. Understanding not rote memory should be focused on.  Teachers should    present knowledge in the ways that are best for children to understand it. Teachers should also inspire students to learn.

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (1861 – 1925): The goal of education is to develop morally   responsible well rounded individuals. The whole child should be educated and  academics balances with artistic, physical, and practical skills.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952): Focused on individual development and children’s         independence.  Children learn by doing things themselves. The teacher’s job is to provide activities and objects that a child can learn on his own.

20th Century

history 8

Marie Clay (1926 – 2007): Developed the idea of “emergent literacy.”  Children learn to love language and have a desire to read when they reach school age if they are exposed to certain skills and knowledge before they reach formalized school age.  For example, they will learn to   read quicker if read to by a parent when they are young.

In the 20th Century the responsibility of teaching children under the age of 6 or 7 moved from  the parent to the government.

1950s – 1970s – Children begin learning to read around 6 ½. Before that, they       should be  exposed to books and language by their parents.

1970 – 1990s – “Emergent Literacy” and exposing children younger than 6 to books evolved into   teaching prerequisite skills for reading.  In the 70s the focus shifted from oral language,   vocabulary, and retelling stories which were read aloud to memorizing letter names and sounds  and learning to identify the letters in written print and beginning to write these letters.

For most of the twentieth century the National Association for the Education of Young Children  (NAEYC) has set the standards for what is taught in preschools.

A 1987 NAEYC document “Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs    Serving Children From Birth Through Age 8 “ declared preschools should be play based, with meaningful reading activities but skill work in recognizing single letters is inappropriate for child’s development. In 1997, they revised the document and stated preschoolers should learn  letter names, sounds, and combinations before entering Kindergarten.

questions 3

What are your thoughts? 

                Do you believe children are a blank slate or a flower to be watered?

Should learning be teacher lead or child lead?

Should understanding or rote memory be emphasized?

Should education be religiously led or should it be separate from one’s religion?

Are the arts (music and art) essential to a good education, or are they extras?

Should physical education be an intricate part of education?

Do students learn through concrete objects or imparted knowledge?

Should students be taught according to their own personal development, or                               should all children  be taught the same way?

Should “enjoyment of learning” be a priority in education?

Should education be based on society’s needs or individual needs and desires?

What age should one teach a child to read?

What is the ultimate goal of education?

Continue reading

Tortoise Brain or Hare Brain?

brain running

Doctor’s Illustration of Rose’s Brain

Explaining to a five year old why their brain doesn’t work quit right is a challenge. The psychiatrist gave it his best shot, “There is this little man in this part of your brain (He points to a picture of the brain and the part that controls impulses and self-regulation). He runs really, really fast. Then there is this guy (he points to the picture of the stick figure standing in the thinking part of the brain). He doesn’t move as fast. We want to play a game to stop this guy (the impulsive one) and speed up this guy (the thinking one) so that he (the thinking one) wins the race.”

hare 1

My first thought – Rose’s brain is The Tortoise and the Hare. How can I use the story to help her in her therapy?

I love, love, love the book “Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviors.” (Did I mention I love this book?) The book asks the question, “Could truths contained in the rich realm of story reach children more directly, and in a way more in tune with their innate imaginative capacities?”  Later in the book, Susan Perrow answers this question by writing, “All stories have therapeutic or healing potential. If a story makes people laugh, the laughter can be healing. If a story makes them cry, this can be healing too. Folk and fairy tales, through their universal themes and resolutions, have healing possibilities. They can offer hope and courage to face the trial of life and help the listener find ways to move forward…But over and above the healing potential of all stories, specific stories can help or heal specific situations…When (we) use a healing story with children, the story has the potential to bring the behavior or situation back into balance.”

Perrow’s advice for writing or rewriting classic stories for a specific child’s needs:

  1. Focus on specific behavior (“throws a toy” not “acts out violently”)
  2. Use Repetition, rhythm and rhyme (these stick in the mind)
  3. Have a happy and hope-filled ending

I decided to write a “healing” story to help with the process. Here is my humble attempt:

hare 3

Once upon a time there was a hare. He was very bouncy, and jumped around aimlessly. He moved so fast, he never stopped to think about where he was going or what he was doing.

In the same meadow, lived a tortoise. As everyone knows, tortoises are very slow. What they may not know is that tortoises are also very wise. The reason they are slow is because they think about every step they take.

One day the tortoise said to the hare,

“Run a race – if you dare.

The race is won by the one with care.”

“I am so much faster than the tortoise and I so like to win.” thought the Hare.

The tortoise repeated,

“Run a race – if you dare.

The race is won by the one with care.”

So the race began. The tortoise thought about where he was going and began moving. He did not move fast, but he kept his eye on the finish line and kept moving forward – thinking about each step as he went. As he strode along, the tortoise kept repeating,

 “Run a race – if you dare.

The race is won by the one with care.”

The hare knew he would win – and he had a little time to spare – so he jumped and hopped and spun around in circles. The hare accidentally kicked a rock and stubbed his toe. It hurt, but he could still hop on one foot faster than the tortoise could walk.

All of the sudden the tortoise passed the hare – still saying,

 “Run a race – if you dare.

The race is won by the one with care.”

The hare became really angry when he saw the tortoise passing and instead of hopping faster towards the finish line, he kicked a tree with his good foot. “OWWW” yelled the hare.

Just then the tortoise crossed the finish line and said,

 “Run a race – if you dare.

The race is won by the one with care.”

The hare was sad that he had not stopped and thought about how to win the race like the tortoise did – but the wise tortoise promised to help him STOP, THINK, and 

 “Run a race – if you dare.

The race is won by the one with care.”

BRAIN T & H

My Illustration of Rose’s Brain

Let Me Move You

movement 13Out of mothering instinct – I did a few things right. Two out of three of my children probably would have been on Ritalin if they’d been in the public school. They just couldn’t seem to sit still to learn. So, instinctively, I used their wiggles for them instead of against them. We ran and played, or swam every day. We skipped rope or hopped up and down stairs to memorize spelling words. We wrote math problems with sidewalk chalk in the driveway. Before I had even heard of Waldorf Education – I was doing instinctually what Waldorf does intentionally, and what modern science has deemed beneficial to education.

movement 2

Waldorf emphasizes movement. In early education (before age 7) kids move through free play and games, whereas elementary teachers organize it and make it an integral part of the educational process. During circle time, children move to music and beat – reciting literature, math facts and foreign language. In the Waldorf classroom, students may march around the room spelling words, or toss bean bags to recite times tables. To learn to “write” student’s learn hand-eye coordination and finger dexterity by learning to knit and modeling with bee’s wax, as well as reciting finger plays in circle time. Even high schoolers are encouraged to move and exercise in a Waldorf setting. If a child has special needs – he gets “extra lessons” – which are taught almost completely through movement.

movement 10What Waldorf teachers have been practicing for a century, scientific studies (mainly conducted in the 1990s) have proven to be beneficial to the educational process. Scientists have connected the dots between movement and education – physical activity and the ability to learn. Studies have proven the link between physical movement and vision, physical movement and the development of language, physical movement and memory, physical movement and the ability to pay attention.  Researchers have also found that as well as improving academic performance, exercise improves behavior and social skills. And movement dramatically improves dexterity, reading, speaking, and comprehension in children with learning differences and special needs. In a study done in 2003, children who spent a larger portion of their day in physical activity scored higher on standardized tests than those who learned traditionally by sitting at a desk.  One of the coolest things I’ve learned is that physical movement can regenerate the brain – for one’s entire life! As an adult, the more I exercise the more learning my brain will be able to accomplish.

 

movementI recently sat on an airplane next to a woman who had taught kindergarten for 30 years. When she started, the kids went for half a day, in which they played, read a couple of books, learned to cut, tie their shoes, sing the alphabet, and count to 20. She said, kids used to have fun – they wanted to come to school. Then she told me about the changes – how now the kids come to school all day and have a 20 minute recess. If they are “bad in class” – although they need the recess more than other kids – recess is what is taken away as punishment. The kids are expected to come into kindergarten knowing their letters and numbers and to leave reading and doing simple arithmetic. Kids no longer enjoy coming to school. She was planning to retire – because she didn’t enjoy coming anymore either.

 

movement 11Maybe I’ve been doing a few too many jumping jacks, because I’m putting all the facts together. I’m excited that my instincts and natural inclination are backed up by science – and that there is a proven educational philosophy, which at its very core, implements these practices.

_____________________________________________________________

movement 12

Sources used in article (and for your own personal research)

“High physical activity levels in a Waldorf school reflect alternative developmental understandings” by Elisa J. Sobo

http://sheu.org.uk/x/eh311ejs.pdf

“Teaching with the Brain in Mind, 2nd Edition” Chapter 4, by Eric Jensen

http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/104013/chapters/Movement-and-Learning.aspx

“Practical and Ethical Considerations: The basis for a school-wide, all-students approach to learning foundations” by Jeff Tunkey and Amanda Boyler

http://www.movementforchildhood.com/uploads/2/1/6/7/21671438/remedial.pdf

“Remedial Education” by Mary Jo Oresti

http://www.waldorflibrary.org/images/stories/articles/remedialeducation.pdf

“Games, Gymnastics, Sport in Child Development” Rudolf Kischnick, translated by Edeline Le Fevre

http://www.movementforchildhood.com/uploads/2/1/6/7/21671438/kischnick_pt1.pdf

Fairy Circle

 

Fairies R 10We are the sunshine fairies (Twirl clockwise)

And with our sparks of light (flick fingers as sparks – right hand flicks left side/left hand flicks right side)
We shimmer and glimmer in the air (Twirl counterclockwise)

Hugging flowers with colors so bright (hug self and rub hands up and down over folded arms)

 

 

 

 

 

fairy 2

Aquella hada* (flap arms like fairy)

Que va por el sol (Hands over head as sun)
En cada ramita (Arms out as tree twigs)
Que lleva una flor. (ballet arms above head, spin in circle)
(like presenting self at court)

Viva la gala (Right arm from left side body stretched out to right side of body)
Viva el amor (Left arm from right side of body stretched out to left side of body)
Viva la gala (both arms crossed to open up at sides of body)
De aquella hada (curtsy)

This fairy (flap arms like fairy)
That goes in the sun (Hands over head as sun)
On every twig (Arms out as tree twigs)
That bears a flower. (ballet arms above head, spin in circle)
(like presenting self at court)
Long live the elegance,
(Right arm from left side body stretched out to right side of body)
Long live the love (Left arm from right side of body stretched out to left side of body)
Long live the elegance (both arms crossed to open up at sides of body)
Of this fairy (curtsy)

* caracol/snail

(“Aquel Caracol” Rhymes from Mexico – http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=3374)

Fairy Edmond 2

(From Big Voice to Tiny Voice)

I am the giant. (Stomp march – very big steps)

When I mumble and grumble,

The whole earth doth rumble.

I am the gnome. (Shovel like movement)

I dig in the ground

That gold may be found.

I am the witch, (Gallop – pretending to ride on a broom)

And I spit, and I spat

With my skinny black cat.

I am the King. (Stand with hands on hips)

I hold in my hand

The laws of the land.

I am the Knight. (Move like riding a horse)

I fight the King’s foe

With battle-axe and bow.

I am the Queen (Twirl/dance holding “gown”)

In my shining crown

And silvery gown.

I am the Lady. (Wave self with “fan” while step-ball-change from side to side)

I primp and I preen

And I follow the Queen.

I am the fairy. (Fly and flitter)

I fly in the air

And live everywhere.

I am the elf. (Hop, skip, leap)

I whisper and peep.

I hop, skip and leap.

(An English Manual for Elementary School by Dorothy Harrer)

Fairies R 7

Deep in the kingdom there spreads a great forest, (Stand like a tree)
Deep in the forest a mountain soars high; (Pointed arms above head – like mountain)
Deep in the mountain a high vaulted cavern, (Arms straight in front of body with hands above head)
Secret and solemn, where fools may not pry. (Arms made like X over body)

Deep in the cavern there stands a great granite, (Arms form circle in front of body)
Solid and silent and strong as the earth; (Stand strong with arms at sides)
Deep in the granite there glistens and gleams (Bend down and scoop up jewel)
A radiant jewel of wondrous worth.  (Hold jewel in cupped hands in front of body)

(Hidden by Paul King)

(From Standing to sitting – Use silky – as magic carpet & picnic blanket to sit on floor)

Fairies R 8
A little magic carpet came sailing through the air (Run around with silky waving)

With some little fairy folk a sitting on it there*

Each had an acorn basket with a picnic lunch inside (Skip –silk in one hand – “basket” in other)

They stopped and ate their goodies (Lay silky on floor as picnic blanket)

On a stone – I sat beside it

They had frosted, tiny cookies – as round as that (Sit on silky and pretend to eat)

Some sandwiches of bees meat

And they sat and sat and sat

Lo, when the fairies flew away

A crumb could not be found (Crawl on the ground looking for crumbs)

Then I looked and looked and hunted

Over ev’ry inch of ground

*With some little pixie people

(“The Magic Carpet” from Rhymes for Little Hands by Maud Burnham)

Fairies R 6

Once I thought I heard some fairies (Cup ears)

And I looked the garden through (Hand over eyes – looking)

I peeped in every flower cup (Bend fingers slightly, keep hands together)

And in the wee buds too (Curl fingers into palms – hands still together)

I looked beneath the toadstools (On had top of toadstool other stem)

And the tufts of stripped green grass (Fingers up like grass)

Then I just sat down quietly (fold hands in lap)

To let the fairies pass!

(“In the Garden” from Rhymes for Little Hands by Maud Burnham)

Fairies R 2

Way up in the sky the fairies* fly,(Connect hands to make a fairies fly upward)
Down, Down in the flowers the fairies rest (Fly your hands downward)

With a wing on the left, (Show only one hand open to the left)
and a wing on the right, (Show the right hand open to the right)
We’ll let the dear fairies dance through the night. (Fingers wiggle and “dance)

*Little birds

(Way up in the sky – Traditional children’s verse)
Fairy 3One, two, three, (Slowly rise to feet from sitting)
The garden is growing.
Four, five, six, (Hoeing movement)
Now it needs hoeing.
Seven, eight, nine, (Pick weeds)
Down go the weeds.
Ten, eleven, twelve, (Water Garden)
Water it needs.
Thirteen, fourteen, (Hands make rain  – full movement from ceiling to floor)
Here comes a shower.
Fifteen, sixteen, (Full movement – from floor to arms above head – flower grows)
A fairies very own flower!*

*Changed line from “A carrot and a flower!”

(http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/songspoems72.html)

Challenges of an Unknown Syndrome

Kymee's Turning OneAt three months, Rose was diagnosed with Fetal Valproate Syndrome by a geneticist. That geneticist is the only doctor’s she’s ever had who knew what the diagnosis was without looking it up on google. If the doctors we deal with on a regular basis don’t know what it is – you can bet friends, family, babysitters, teachers, and random people who see her at the park or store have never heard of it.Kymee's Turning OneFetal Valproate Syndrome is a disorder caused by exposure in the womb to certain prescription drugs. For Rose, the symptoms included cleft lip and palate, a hole in her heart, specific facial and body features, and sticky ear – sometimes causing hearing loss. As she grows older, we are encountering both learning challenges and behavioral issues.d49c7-grandmaThere are many challenges with parenting a child with an “unknown” syndrome. There is next to no research and studies done on it. Little information is found through google. There are no other parents around whose kid has the same thing and I can compare notes. The lack of information available makes me as a parent questions everything I do – “Is this behavior because of the syndrome or am I doing something wrong in disciplining?” “Is this naughty behavior, or unavoidable behavior?” Another frustration is the inability to streamline all of her treatments and therapies. The Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center says this about treatment, “Currently there are no specific treatments for fetal valproate syndrome. Each symptom or birth defect associated with fetal valproate syndrome are managed individually, and may require a team of specialist.” The team thing never happens – it just means I have to go through a ridiculous intake program every time Rose sees a new doctor or therapist. This is time consuming and inefficient.3e604-12-may3So, what can you, the reader do?

  1. Be kind. Have empathy. If you see a kid having a melt down at the store don’t automatically assume the kid is a brat in need of better parents. Mom is frustrated – she doesn’t need your judgmental look or underhanded comment. You don’t know what that family is facing – so just be nice.
  2. Be informed. If someone with an “unknown syndrome” is in your acquaintance – find out about it – to the best of your ability.
  3. Don’t compare. My child is not like other kids her age. She is not like kids with other syndromes. She is not defined by her syndrome alone. She is beautiful and she has some challenging behaviors. She is herself – period. Let’s celebrate her growth – at whatever speed it is, and work on her challenges – without comparing them to others.
  4. Listen. I need a listening ear. I get frustrated and sometimes just need to talk about it.
  5. Ask.Don’t be afraid to ask, “How can I help you?”
  6. Do respite care. I trust few people with the care of my daughter – I trusted even less when she was smaller. If you are in the “trusted few” – I need you. I need you because somedays I need to get away or I am going to go mad. If you aren’t in the “trusted few” – spend some time with me and my daughter and become one of the few. My few are getting burnt out too, and I need you.
  7. Be patient with me when I am having a bad day. It probably isn’t directed at you – but at the frustrations of dealing with my child’s behavior, or the countless calls and visits I make to doctors and therapists.

Kymee 1

I remind myself often of the question the social worker asked us before we adopted Rose. “How do you feel about the possibility that she may have disabilities?” I responded, “God has given her everything she needs to accomplish everything He has set out for her to do.” Our job is to stay close to Him allowing him to direct us as we navigate this unknown syndrome – because it is not unknown to Him.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Answer Questions about Homeschooling

questions 3People will ask questions. Expect it. Some are curious. Some are concerned for your child’s well-being. Some are defensive against homeschooling. Some are thinking of homeschooling themselves. But, people will ask.

Most of the questions are the same. They may be worded differently, but at the core, the same questions are asked over and over again.

Be prepared. If you know you are going to be asked the same questions over and over again, it seems only logical to have a response ready. I like to have two responses – depending on whom the person is and why they are asking. I have a short, to the point answer – which will suffice for most people. A buzz phrase, so to speak.  Few people really care about your educational philosophy, what curriculum you use, and an hour by hour play list of your day. If it is a relative, close friend, or someone interested in homeschooling themselves – someone who really cares and wants to know – I can give longer, more detailed answers.

Answer politely. Do not get defensive. Don’t be argumentative. The fate of homeschooling does not rest on your shoulders, but public opinion might. This is one reason I believe it is important to have a response prepared. You are less likely to get irritated and confrontational when asked. Though, I have to admit – sometimes I resort to sarcasm.

questions 17Why do you homeschool?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. It’s what is best for our kids.
  2. It’s cheaper than private school.
  3. It’s what my husband and I think best exemplifies our family’s worldview.
  4. It is a personal conviction (God called me to homeschool)
  5. It’s cheaper to take vacation off season.
  6. I don’t like to do housework alone.
  • For Those who Need to Know

This is as varied as the people reading my post. For me it is because it is the best way to teach my children on a day by day basis how to glorify God. Homeschooling allows me to go at each of my children’s individual pace and meet their specific academic level of learning. I can teach in the way that my child learns best. We love having the time to develop each child’s personal interests and talents. We want the family to be the core of their world, and it gives our kids time together to develop lifelong relationships with their siblings and parents. And, I love spending time with my kids – I simply can’t imagine them being gone all day five days a week. I simply love it.

questions 18What about socialization?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. My kids spend time each week with people of all ages.
  2. Children are best socialized by their parents, not their peers
  3. I’m simply not worried about socialization, it will happen naturally.
  4. We socialize so much with other homeschool families – sometimes I have to remind myself to stay at home and do school.
  • For Those who Need to Know

When people ask this question they want to know if your child is going to be able to get along with others and be a productive member of society – or if they are going to be a recluse who doesn’t know how to relate to others. The assumption made in this question is that spending time with peers teaches you how to get along with others. It does not. It simply displays the social skills you already have. Socialization is the ability to get along with others. It involves meeting new people, having manners, the ability to share, the ability to compromise, conflict resolution, the ability to lead, and the ability to follow.  I believe the best way to teach these skills is at home. A small child first learns by watching his parents and older siblings as they interact with others. Then they imitate how his parents and siblings act. If the people in this imitation game say “please” and “thank you” the child will too. As a child sits on grandpa’s knee and listens to his stories he learns to respect the elderly. As he helps mommy with the new baby he learns to care for others.

Along the way, it is a good idea for families to get together with other families who have children similar in age – and allow the kids to play together in a completely supervised manner -supervised in that there is one on one adult to child ratio. If a child takes a toy away from another child – the parents can address the issue immediately and teach both children how to resolve the conflict. Around the age of five through seven, children can be left more and more on their own to play with each other – with parents still close by to help with conflict resolution when the need arises.

In a homeschool setting, children are also exposed to people of various ages. When you get together with another family each family has children of various ages and all the kids play together. The older ones help nurture the younger ones, and the little ones imitate and try to keep up with the older. All of the parents interact with the children, and sometimes there are even grandparents thrown into the mix. From this mix of ages, children learn how to respect their elders, they develop mentors and people they want to follow after, and how to contribute to the good of those in need who are following after them. As they grow, they get to experience being in different positions – one who needs others and one who is needed – a follower and a leader. Children learn they have a place in society and they are able to interact wisely within that society.

A school setting – whether private of public – cannot teach the same level of social skills. First, the adult – child ration limits the teacher’s ability to teach conflict resolution well. Secondly, the people group the child is placed in is fabricated – surrounded only by children his own age. When one is only surrounded by one’s own age, a hierarchy develops – one must set himself up as leader and one as follower. It is breeding ground for bullying and for the “queen bee” mentality. The leader-follower is not a natural result of experience and age, but rather personality and aggression. The biggest personalities win, instead of each contributing in his or her own way. Nowhere else in society do we relate only to those of the same age as ourselves, so it is not the best training ground for socialization.

Homeschooling socializes children better than does a school setting.

questions 20What do you do all day?

  • Shore & Sweet Answers
  1. Sleep in, academics, house and yard work, play, pursue our interests
  • For Those who Need to Know

Show and discuss your own personal schedule.

Is it legal?

  • Short & Sweet Answer
  1. Yep in all 50 States
  • For Those who Need to Know

If you are interested in the laws, google homeschool laws and the state you are interested in. Each state has different requirements, but it is legal in all of them.

Will your children be able to go to college?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. Colleges love homeschoolers.
  2. There are homeschoolers in community colleges, private colleges, universities, Ivy League Schools, and the Military Academies.
  3. It’s easier to get your child into college than public high school after homeschooling.
  • For Those who Need to Know

Every college is different. All want a transcript, with an official graduation date from high school and the required classes needed for college entry. Ask the college you are appling for what the transcript should look like.

All colleges, other than community colleges, require either SAT or the ACT scores. That’s pretty much it. I’ve gotten one into community college at age 16, one into a private college at age 17, and one into a major university at age 17.

questions 9What if your child wants to become a doctor /lawyer?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. Then they’ll go to college and medical/law school.
  2. Then they will be.
  3. Homeschooling affords us the ability to delve into that interest while they still live at home.
  • For Those who Need to Know

All of my kids have interned in areas they are interested in pursuing while they were in high school. My oldest interned at our church and now serves in full time ministry. My middle interned as a special needs therapist and now volunteers with families affected by disabilities and nannies children affected by disabilities. My younger son volunteered with the media department of a ministry and served as a sound tech for the church throughout high school, now he is in college pursuing a career in film. Homeschooling can nurture these interests rather than push them off til college and graduate school.

questions 6How can you handle spending all day with your kids?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.
  2. I can’t image life any other way.
  3. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out, but all the other days make it rewarding.
  • For Those who Need to Know

I find it sad that I have to answer this question. I love spending time with my kids. I really can’t image what I would do if they were gone all day every day. But saying that, I do realize it is frustration and sometimes parents need to get away. We do that by going on dates –without the kids. Someone else watches the kids and I go out for coffee with a friend. I like to read a book outside while the kids are playing. Yes, I need me time – but the me time is the treat, the daily interaction with my kids is the majority of my time. I have grown so much as a person because of homeschooling. I have learned all the things academically which I had forgotten or never really learned the first time around. I have learned patience and organization – which do not come naturally to me. I have been able to use my creativity and love of books in lesson planning. My kids challenge me to become a better person – on a daily basis. I can’t image sending them to school every day. I love to be with them.

questions 21Are your children allowed to go to school if they want to?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. As a parent, I make the decision as to what is best for my child.
  2. Why would they want to?
  3. Yes, I allow them to choose.
  • For Those who Need to Know

The answer to this will be personal. We made the decision when the kids were little then allowed them to choose when they were older. Only one of my four who have graduated chose to go to school He went in 7th and 8th grades then came home. The others have chosen to stay at home, but after we discussed it as a family we would have let them go to high school if they had chosen to do so.

Why aren’t your kids in school right now? (Usually ask when you are out and about during school hours)

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. We homeschool.
  2. They have a teacher in service day
  3. They already finished their schoolwork today; it takes much fewer hours at home than if they went to public school.
  4. Because they’re too busy learning about life
  • For Those who Need to Know

There isn’t a long answer for this one – but it gives me an opportunity to share one of my favorite stories.

When my oldest kids were little my husband worked a lot of nights and weekends, so we took time off from school and spent time with daddy when he was home. This was in the early 90s, so homeschooling wasn’t as prevalent. One morning we went to a local donut shop. A lady asked, “Why aren’t your kids in school.” I answered, “We homeschool.” In a sarcastic tone she replied, “I can see you do.” Without missing a beat, my husband replied, “We’re training them to be police officers.”

Questions 15Aren’t you really just brainwashing your kids?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. Yep – just like every other form of education.
  • For Those who Need to Know

More than reading, writing and arithmetic are taught in school. Energy conservation, smoking and drugs, sex education, bullying, tolerance for other religions, races, and sexual orientations – are all taught in schools. Not saying these are good or bad – just saying that education advocates for a social agenda. I as a parent choose to address these issues with my child from my worldview. As a Christian I will address social issues from a Biblical worldview. I want to brainwash my child to love the Lord and to serve Him only – this is my greatest Biblical command as a parent. I would do this even if my child were attending public school – the difference is I would have to address it as a debate and not as fact. I believe children’s brains are ready for controversy around 6th or 7th grade – before then, my child takes what I say or what the teacher says as fact, unable to logically deduct if it is a fact, theory, or opinion. To give a small child multiple points of view and choices is silly and not age appropriate. The public school does not give choices either – they teach from a specific mandated point of view that has been agreed upon by those in power. I choose for my children to learn my set of facts first, and as they get older talk over other points of view and how to deduct the “truth.” So, yes I brain wash my kids into a Biblical point of view and pray that it will stick when they are older and can choose for themselves.

questionsAre you trying to exclude your kids from the real world? (of Aren’t you just trying to shelter your kids?)

This one can go both ways – depending on your personal philosophy of homeschooling.

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. Yep – and happily.
  2. Nope – in fact, they have more “real world” experiences.
  • For Those who Need to Know

Yes: We don’t want our children exposed to bullying, violence in school, offered drugs on campus, or exposed to ideologies our family does not believe in. This is a conscious choice, and one that we feel is best for our children.

No: Our children are exposed to more real life experiences. They learn culture through travel. They spend time with friends and family of all ages who are from different races, political leanings, and sexual orientations. We take them to five star restaurants and we volunteer with the homeless. Where kids in school read about “real life” we experience it.

questions 16Why can’t your kid read yet? (Or any other question in which the questioner asks why they are not doing the same academics as public schoolers their age.)

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. I haven’t chosen to teach that yet. (This answer states that I am the responsible party, and my kids are not to be blamed for not knowing)
  2. They will learn that eventually.
  3. I don’t believe in early academics. (You had better be prepared to answer why if you give this response.)
  • For Those who Need to Know

This question will come from one of two types of people – your response should be based on who is asking, and why they ask. People that love your children and are worried about them, and people who want to judge you and tell you that you aren’t doing a good job. The first set of people you will truly have to explain why you are not teaching this and why you believe it is best for your child. You also want to reassure the asker that your child will be ok in the long run. Don’t bother with a complete answer to the second questioner – they just want to argue.

These are just a sampling of the questions that I’ve been asked over the years. What are some questions you’ve been asked and how did you answer?