Monday, March 14, 2011

Did anyone struggle with Daylight Savings Time?

We didn't.  We did what we always do - set the clocks forward, then relaxed.  We went to bed a little earlier, and woke up when our bodies told us to.  (OK, so I got up earlier - I do have obligations outside the home.)

The only screaming was from my public-schooled grandson.  Ironically, there was no school today.

The kids got up as usual, maybe a little later according to the clock, did their schoolwork after being prompted, and went outside to play.

Gotta love it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Long Division

Mercedes is currently learning long division.  Bless her heart, I think she understands the basics, but it is confusing her.  She keeps losing her place!  I'm so glad she's learning this at home, where I'm here to go over this with her over and over.  Would she be able to master it at school?  Maybe, maybe not.  I suspect she would learn it well enough to pass the test, but not be internally motivated enough to retain the information.

I sneaked this picture of Jared over the top of my laptop.  He's doing his math - and rapidly catching up with his sister.  This is what homeschool looks like!  Doesn't he look so much happier than anyone sitting at a desk with 29 other students?  He's on the couch, with a blanket to snuggle with and Mom across the room if he has questions.  And he loves learning.

This is the way real learning happens.

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Why Did You Decide to Homeschool?"

I get asked this a lot.

I have older children, who attended public schools.  When my oldest graduated, I read an article about how little HS graduates know about history.

So I asked her, "When was the Civil War fought?"

She said, "Gee, I don't know.  1812?"*

After I picked myself up off the floor, I decided that I could certainly do better than the public schools.  I'm three years into a computer science degree involving advanced mathematics, I love history, and I have a well-rounded liberal arts education.  Loving to read and write helps.

When my younger kids, Mercedes and Jared, came along, I determined not to make the same mistakes that I had with the first ones.  I'm sure I'm making mistakes, but at least they're brand-shiny-new mistakes and not the same ones I made before.

Choosing to homeschool rather than send the kids to the government school was part of that thought process.

The results, even this early, speak for themselves.  Jared excels in math, Mercedes is already writing a business plan for her party-planning business, and they absolutely love history.

The other part to the equation, besides the academics, is that I lost custody of two of my children after a long, drawn out custody battle with their father.  Heartsick, and out of time, money, energy, and resources, I decided that I would keep my younger children with me as long as I could, rather than entrusting them to the schools.  After all - you never really know how long you will have with your children.

*Oh, and if you went to public school - the Civil War (known in the South as the War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression, and there was nothing civil about it!) began January 1861 with South Carolina's opening salvo on Fort Sumter.  The issue was not slavery, but states' rights.  It ended in 1865.

The War of 1812 was against Great Britain.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Changing the Workload

Mercedes just figured out that her workload needs to change.  She'd been doing minimums - 2 pages of math, for instance - but has now moved into advanced enough math (long division) that she needs to spend a more substantial length of time in schoolwork.  She's also starting to figure out that the earlier she can get her work done, the more time she has available to play in the afternoon. 

She's reading at a more advanced level than I thought she would at her age (she's 9).  Right now she's reading Twilight, which she reads for pleasure, and Heidi, and the Chronicles of Narnia.  I suggested that she read anything by Lewis Carroll soon (and Jared, too) because of his made-up words.  What a great help for phonics! 

Jared - is catching up to his sister in mathematics.  He's reading the Tale of Devereaux and loves it.  I really enjoy hearing the pride in his voice as he reads to me. 

We discussed the Mayflower Compact in history today, and did a Mad-Libs style Compact for our own family.  The combination of 17th century language and 21st century vernacular sent the kids into peals of laughter.  And they're finally getting the joke - "If April showers bring May flowers, what to May flowers bring?  Pilgrims!"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bringing Kids to Work

I was so pleased when one of my clients invited my children to an office party today.  (We celebrate the new month and all the birthdays the first Wednesday of the month.)  I was even more pleased to see how well the kids behaved. 

Jared happily answered questions about what he likes to do, and Mercedes chatted with the women, with complete ease. 

Socialized?  My kids have great social skills.  They behaved appropriately (Mercedes did get bored, but complained quietly to me about it rather than announce it to the room at large), and they helped clean up afterward.  They interacted well with the adults present, and generally were a joy to be around.

No, I don't want to take them to work every day - but I was pleased to see that, at least occasionally, they can be trusted to behave well!