Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Bre and her friend Avery having fun in the first real snowfall this year! Too cold for me. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Joys of Chores and Homeschooling

Do you ever have one of those "down" days when you feel nothing got done? "I spent all day just helping the kids clean up the house," you moan pre-emptively to your husband, forestalling any questions about how your day went. "I was so tired afterwards I asked them to make supper." You then give hubby dearest a look that suggests it's probably best not to ask about the lumps in the casserole. "We did get a few loads of laundry done, too, and neatened up the garden, but not a speck of math or language arts," you sigh.

Well, you might not have accomplished great things academically, but take heart, because you were teaching your children priceless real-life skills that not every kid today knows.
You see, there are teens, college students, and even adults out there who do not know how to:
Sort and wash laundry
Mop floors
Organize toys, books, and clothes
Bake cookies, pies, and cakes
Make dinner
Do the dishes
Sew on a button
Mow and edge a lawn
Weed a garden

You might find this unbelievable, but I have heard of children who do not even know how to use a can opener or to measure with teaspoons!

A Can of Beans and Thou
While today we don't live in the "Little House on the Prairie" world of Laura Ingalls Wilder, we still need some practical skills. We might not have to track and snare rabbits, but it should be possible to track and snare an open can of beans. Cooking, baking, cleaning, gardening, basic health care, basic car care, and much more are all necessary for comfortable existence in today's world... even though they are not covered in any academic curriculum!
In other words, chores are curriculum. And kids need to learn to do them.

Top Chore Traps
You might be tempted to do most of the chores yourself, because it is always easier and simpler - at first - to do the work than to teach it to someone else. Also, those of us with a "progressive" or "liberal" background may feel some guilt about making kids work. (And no kid on earth has ever wanted to do the dishes, night after night, for "fun"!)
But kids do not live by "fun" alone. Self-confidence can only be obtained by knowing how to do work, and do it well.
Which leads me to the second trap: letting kids get away with sloppy work. After all, you're already tired and overworked, and don't feel like getting into a battle over the dust bunnies in the corner. (
It takes less time in the long run to "come alongside" your child, show him how to finish the job properly, watch him finish it, and then commend him. Your child may initially gripe, but he'll actually feel better inside from doing it over until it's done right.
You don't have to be a cranky "white glove" perfectionist to see the benefits in not accepting poor performance. If your child is at an age and stage when he can do the work, but somehow always manages to do such a ghastly job that you end up redoing it or assigning it to another child, you're seeing "strategic incompetence" in action. Or should I say, "in inaction"?
The proper response to strategic incompetence is to assign more of the sort of work the child is attempting to avoid. Don't treat it as a battle of wits, though; let him know your goal is for him to be able to do the original chore quickly and well, so he'll have more time for himself. After all, dawdling away all afternoon pretending to work is actually both tiring and boring.

Top Chore Tricks
Here are a few tricks for your chores grab bag:
Time it! Set the timer for 10 minutes and tell everyone to clean their rooms as much as possible. A prize for the "most improved" room adds incentive.
Model it! Show them how to do it, then have them show you how to do it. And have them show you again. And again. This is also helpful with etiquette transgressions, such as plopping on the couch or slamming the front door. A kid might feel resentful the first or second time he has to close the front door properly, but when he does it 10 times in a row, usually he finds it funny by then - and the lesson is learned.
Team it! Often a "people person" personality who hates doing chores alone will perk up when working with another person.
Schedule it! "We'll have lunch when the living room is cleaned up." Hunger is a great motivator!
The main chore "trick," though, is not a trick. When kids realize their work is meaningful, real, and appreciated, you will not only have taught them to do chores with a good attitude, but you'll also have made a start on giving them a sense of mission. All this, and a cleaner house, too.

You can read more of Mary Pride's articles here:

Five Homeschool Tips for New Homeschool Mama's

I found this on another blog and was impressed with the reality of it. If I only realized the truth of this when I started. :)

1. Give yourself some time to deschool. Letting go of preconceived notions about school and learning, is a gift you can give yourself, and your child/ren. My own deschooling is a work in progress and the more I see unschooling first hand, the more I question what I once thought about education and learning.

2. Expect a period of deschooling from your child/ren. It's been said that one month per every year of school is common. As I said in this post about deschooling, "your child/ren has probably their natural desire to learn squashed and will need time to recover from that. With a parent's help, they can gain back most, if not all of what they lost and begin to see the world as a place where learning is enjoyable, and all around us."

3. Let your children feel your energy and passion for life. Light a fire within yourself. Let it burn so bright that they see it! What are your interests? Is there something you've always wanted to learn? Do It! Let them see YOU learning and living life to the fullest. Be curious. Be interested.

4. Don't make the mistake of duplicating at home, what you didn't like about school. Sometimes we just automatically repeat the same patterns, without even thinking about it, just because it's all we know, it's what we're used to or it's what we've always done. Replace school with a full and interesting life. The public school system can not compete with that. They can't even come close.

5. Don't make cookies just to teach math. Make cookies because they taste good. :-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mallory Town Canada

Ok so the day trip to Canada we envisioned didn't exactly turn out how we expected. BUT, we had a great time anyway! We ended up leaving the nondescript little ghost like town and headed back to the states to Alexandria Bay to find out that it too was a ghost town because everyone left for the season. Before leaving Canada we stopped and let the kids exchange american money for Canadian money for souviniers. They also had fun posing with the bear as you can see.We did find Bonnie's Castle Hotel and Restaurant across the lake from Boldt castle (which was also closed) that was open and serving lunch. It was an enormous elegant dining room with a beautiful view of Boldt Castle. Matt's great Grandfather helped build that castle so he being the history buff he is REALLY wanted to go tour the Castle. We decide that come May we are going up there for the weekend and take boat tour and everything. It was overall a fun time. We got a big laugh out of Mallory Town which we were "bragging" to all that would listen that it was named after one of Matt's Ancestors. Oh, well humbling one self is a good thing. hehe.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When the Boys go a Hunting the Girls go A Picking...

Apples that is. :) I'm a few weeks late on posting it. We as in Cass, Bre and I took my mother in law to the local apple orchard. We had so much fun and the weather was absolutley beautiful! My mother in law Maggie had her first hayride EVER! I couldn't believe it. We all had so much fun and we had cider and donoughts afterwards. We ended up with 3 huge bags of apples. Cassie mad 4 pies and I made homemade applesauce. I also dehydrated 4 baggie sized bags of cinnamon sugar apples for on the go snacks. I love Fall and sad to see it leaving so quickly.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Halloween Fun

Bre and Ty had a great time Halloween night at ALCC;s Church Bash as you can see from the pictures. Bre's costume won first place in her age division. Another Homeschooler won first place in the younger age division. HOMESCHOOLERS ROCK!! Crassie was Edog and helped out with everything from filling candybags to face painting. There were hayrides and Bouncy thingys among other goodies. Bre and I had a blast making her costume and thinking up things to add to it. Ty opted out on a costume this year. Cassie dressed up as an Toy Army Figure using her brothers CAP uniform. Even thought the kids didn't go trick-or-treating they had a ton of candy! They still have more waiting for them at NaNa's house. The ladies at Chiropractor's office took pity on the poor kids for not trick-or-treating and gave them each a bag of candy. lol. They are very sweet.