Saturday, February 25, 2012

What Do You Do...

When you don’t want to do what you do anymore?
The excitement of starting a new school year is over. The holidays have passed. And now a long stretch of the same old, same olds looms before you. That does it. The whining, complaining,
griping and grumbling begin in earnest, and that is just you. The kids are no better. You can hardly drag yourself out of bed in the morning and begin to wonder if it is too late to enroll your precious charges in the local school. Buck up. Now is the time to introduce the unexpected and finish strong. You can do it.
When I plan my school year, I will often plan to change things up in the second semester. I
switch curriculum, not because the first one wasn’t working, but because I know that we can become complacent. I might switch up the method. We may go from hands on to online learning, or to a literature based program.
If you are suffering from the second semester doldrums, maybe you could try a few tricks
to shake things up a bit. Try schooling four days a week and taking an extra day a week for fun family times. You can have class a few extra weeks to make up for time lost if you wish. Take a few days to concentrate on all those messy science experiments that you have skipped all year. Go to the zoo, the beach, the museum, or the science center. Take some time to start a new hobby. Pick one country and study all about it. Make a flag, maps, and travel brochures. Plan a traditional meal and invite your neighbors. I bet they’ll be impressed by your homeschoolers. Check out geocacheing or letterboxing. It will get you out of the house with a purpose. Spend a morning drawing pictures and deliver them to the local nursing home in the afternoon.
Pretty soon you will have a whole list of fun activities to look forward
to. Those days of boredom will soon disappear as you plan and prepare for a new
adventure each week. I bet the second half of your school year becomes the best

A Day In The Life

I have struggled to write to you about what a day in the life of our homeschool family
looks like. That is because so much varies from day to day and from year to
year. I am also concerned that there are those of you who will read about our
family, decide that this is the way homeschooling should be, and adopt our
lifestyle for your own when that is not what would work best for you. I
understand the desire to find the “right” way to do this so you don’t mess up
your kids’ lives, I’ve been there, but with homeschooling the only right way is
the way that works best for your family at this time.
When we started homeschooling, my husband and I talked about what we wanted to
accomplish. We were pulling our child out of public school for two reasons. She
was ahead of much of the class in reading and math and the schools had just
implemented a sex ed program that would start in Kindergarten and not include
abstinence. Our goals for the year were to meet her needs in providing a more
difficult reading and math curriculum and to teach her what the Bible says
about being a godly woman. This was accomplished easily with traditional
Christian textbooks and daily family devotionals. I would sit down on Saturday
and assign her work for the week that she was free to finish early if she
desired. Most weeks she did so that she could have a friend over to play and
spend the night. We joined a support group that met weekly and things worked
out well this way for many years.
Princess is now grown and gone, but four more have taken her place in our homeschool.
What worked well for her wasn’t right for Dude and Sir. They rebelled when it
came to learning to read and Dude couldn’t seem to sit still for a full 10
minutes. Changes had to be made in our schedule. We spent more time doing hands
on activities. We built things, observed, experimented. We went to every story
time that I could find and I read to them faithfully hoping to spark that
desire to read. Little time was spent pouring over textbooks and worksheets.
Now Mo and Squishy have joined our ranks and they are all middle school and above. We
are back to incorporating traditional textbooks, but also use online classes
and dual enrollment to round out our school day. This means that we are more
structured because Dude and Sir must be at the college at certain times. Most
of our academic school day happens in the mornings. Three of them are up early
for track practice anyway so it is easier for them to start right after showers
and breakfast. The other has baseball practice in the afternoons, so he needs
to be done by then. Dude and Sir also have outside jobs that they need to work
around. They are all pretty independent learners at this point so my job is
more to be available for guidance, answer questions, and review papers before
they are submitted to college professors.
Every family, every child is different. That means that every homeschool is
different. You may be very structured or you may be a go with the flow kind of
teacher. You might be the kind of person who wonders what God was thinking when
he created 8AM or you might be one who loses steam by 3PM. The most important
thing to remember is that God gave these children to you, not to anyone else.
He did that because you were the one who was best equipped to help them become
the people He intends for them to be. I can’t tell you what your day should
look like only that you should find what works best for you right now, but be
willing to change it when it doesn’t fit later. Happy Homeschooling

Free Birth Control for All

I've been listening to the controversy over President Obama's health care plan that requires employers to provide free birth control for their employees. It seems that Catholics and some other religious groups are unhappy with this mandate. I fully support providing free birth control for employees. I think that all employers whether public or private, religious or secular ought to insist on free birth control for all employees, male or female. I think that free birth control ought to be given out in every school in our country. In fact, it is my feeling that not insisting on free birth control is one of the serious problems we face in America today.
Of course, my idea of free birth control and that of our President differ. I think that birth control should be free. I don't think the people should have to pay for it, nor should insurance companies, or our government. After all, how much does it cost to say "no"? Abstinence is the lowest cost, most effective birth control that we have ever come across and it is readily available to all. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, young or old, male of female. Abstinence works for all. In fact, there is only one reported case where abstinence has failed to keep an unwanted pregnancy from happening.
So, what is all the hoopla about? We already have free birth control, and it is truly free. Maybe instead of our government worrying about how to help Americans as they continue to wallow in their sinful lifestyles, it should focus on the job of government. If we had to live with the consequences of our sin, we might begin to think twice about some things. The results of our sinfulness are there to remind us of our desperate need of a Savior, and that Savior is certainly not the American government.