Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wally - Our Newest Addition

My 3-year-old grandson, Landon, saved a baby squirrel from our dogs the other day. They were torturing him by playing with him to death! LOL! Poor thing was mortified! He named him Wally. Wally still didn't have his eyes opened as of yesterday, but he is bottle feeding well and growing quickly. He's the sweetest tiny boy! Here are a few sweet pictures of him...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Propane Tank Makeover

The propane tank on our property has probably been here for many, many years. It was rusty and flat out ugly to look at. However, it was still working well, so why completely get rid of it, right? So, we decided that it needed "a makeover" of some kind. This is what we ended up doing at the kid's requests. We still need to have Doug, Andrew and Dustin put their handprints on, but otherwise, we have every one's on there somewhere or another. :+)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

OUR Homeschooling Way

Lately I have thought a lot about our way of schooling…how my family schools. What brought this all on was after having gone to an all day long Charlotte Mason Seminar a couple of weeks ago. About every three months or so, my husband, who really doesn’t have a thing to do with our day to day schooling, will ask me some sort of a question like…”Are they doing any book work?” OR “Do you think the younger kids are as smart compared to what the older kids were?” As you can imagine, this is frustrating to me as he is too busy with work most of the time to even ask the kids what they did on any given day. So, I discussed this with a friend of mine who has known me for many years now. They too, are a home schooling family, and have been home schooling even longer than our 16½ years.

This is what I came up with…No, we are not as go-go-go as we were with the older kids with Sign Language, Dance, Drama, Spanish classes, Science Experiments… However, we do a lot more “outside” things now that we didn’t do then - like caring for farm animals, building forts, building go-carts out of old riding lawn mowers, working in our flower or vegetable gardens, hauling trash to the burn hole, working in the barns, riding their bikes, riding the 4-wheeler, mowing the yard, building different things that they imagine, blowing in insulation to our attic, building walls, taping and mudding, running electrical wire, sanding, painting, adding gas-oil-antifreeze to the vehicles, etc., etc. The boys would loathe having to be go-go-go like the older girls did. They would not like being in the car soooooooo much like we were with the girls. I don’t want to be gone as much as I am, let alone as much as I used to be!

(Now this is what my friend clearly pointed out to me…)
I do school, but I also school in a different way than anyone else because of my personality, our kid’s personalities, our circumstances, our family size and ages, our surroundings in the country, the learning styles involved, the dyslexia and other issues, the babysitting and lots of family time, having Zach in placement etc., etc., etc There is such a HUGE range in homeschooling---some families spend so much time in music and piano; some spend lots of time and effort on art; some families do lots of field trips and outings; some families are so scholastic that their little ones are reading and writing w-a-y before most kids are; some families delve into sign language with their babies (like Saph does with Kaden); some families run businesses and their kids learn those skills… Our family’s strength is … well, family. We are a hands-on family where the house is being built from the basics outward so our kids are helping do what our family is involved with---including picking up nails, clearing brush, cutting and hauling wood, and assisting Dad. Our family learns child care at an early age and every child of ours can relate to children in a multitude of ages---our older ones can change diapers, calm a fussy child, entertain a toddler, and put a sibling to bed. As they grow older, they are able to run a household in my absence for short periods of time, and feed the family and watch their siblings. Our kids know how to relate and do home life including cooking and laundry and cleaning---skills most high school graduates don’t have a clue about. Think of Ashley as an example---she may not be quite able to read at a 12th grade level yet (though she has read the Twilight series – 500 page books – all on her own now which is a HUGE accomplishment from several years ago!), but she can run the household and care for anyone who is sick, with her hands tied behind her back---very necessary skills in life, but not necessarily academic ones---every family is different and God wants us to pass on to our kids what WE have to offer our kids. Our kids have also learned how to care for animals (a big responsibility), build fences, deal with death of pets, watch out for their niece and nephews and keep them safe, plant a wonderful garden, relate to each other and a multitude of other skills that are not in the books at school because they would be impossible to teach to a classroom, but I have been able to teach them at home. Our family excels at babies---every one of us!!! That is a gift of our family. I don’t focus on music, art, demanding they attend college in high school, or athletics---but I always focus on my family and include school in our family life.

So do we do bookwork? Of course we do! I spend much time in preparation, planning, research, ordering, spending time reading to our kids during the day, and on and on. At the minimum right now, daily we do Bible, Poetry, Church History, Math, Reading, Copywork, (and Cory also does Cursive), each day. The kids are 5, 7, 9 and 11. They are all still in elementary school. That is just the things we are doing to finish out the end of this year’s school work. I know for certain that next year, we will see what the Lord brings us to. But I know that we will be using the Charlotte Mason theories for schooling again next year as well.

(To learn more about who Charlotte Mason was, and her teaching theories, see my ‘older posts’ entitled: “Our 16th Year of Home Schooling is Almost Upon Us!!!”)

If You Don't Want Something...Scrap It & Get Rid of It!

We have had this old, old camper sitting on our property since we moved here almost 2 years ago. At first, the kids had fun playing outside in it, climbing on top of it, and having sleepovers in it. We'd run electricity to it so that they kids could have a small t.v. in it to watch movies and the like on. Lately, however, it has become more of an eyesore, and a big annoyance. So, I got to thinking that that spot there would be a perfect place for my breeding dogs outdoor kennel area, since it is covered by shade trees all summer long. So, yesterday for "school" the kids and I decided it was time to tear it down! :+) It was quite a project, and though we still need to remove some of the metal from the wood (the metal for my SIL and the wood for the burn hole), we are basically finished with the main tearing down part of it all. We would have finished it today, but it's been raining, so we have done just a little here and there between rain showers. Hopefully this week we can get it finished up and attach the two kennels together to make it twice the size, and have a nice shaded area for my dogs.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another Homeschool Graduate

Ashley, our 3rd oldest, will graduate this coming May 2nd from our home school - Calvary Christian. Her graduating class consists of 33 other homeschooling seniors as well. WOW!! How time flies! Her birthday is tomorrow, April 11th, and she will be 19 years old. She has many, many goals for the future, and has been apprenticing under some family friends for the last year learning all about dog breeding and dog grooming. She has also been approved for a grant and will start her CNA Nurses Training in July. She will be taking a short trip be going to Alaska for 2 weeks in June, before she starts college, to visit one of her best friends. We are so proud of the wonderful person she has become!!! She is a wonderful daughter!