I see your box of toys and raise you….

Posted On April 2, 2011

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We’ve never shared where Grace ‘is’ as far as Achievement testing…and we don’t really intend on sharing specifics. But, she has been tested for the last 2 years and both times passing our expectations of her knowledge! Every parent wants their child to be a savant, but when it comes down to it we all just want them to be ‘average’ or at least PASSING! We went in with that mindset both times she has taken the test. We would pray “Lord, please let her at LEAST pass. All we need is for her to be in the 25% for us to continue homeschooling. I promise we’ll do better next year!” I can laugh at the now…but to have your child sit in front of someone measuring their level of understanding really puts your own beliefs on the line.

*I* chose to homeschool my child. *I’m* the teacher. *I* chose what to teach her this year. *I* decided what to focus on and what to leave out. Did *I* do a good enough job? What if *I* have failed my child by not sending her to a public school? *I* feel like we’re making progress, but will the test show that? *I* have no one else to put the blame on. No one to hold accountable for her education. It’s *me*. All *me*.  And that’s scary.

Well, needless to say for the last 2 years Grace has tested ADVANCED in all of her subjects….UH, excluding punctuation! For the life of me I had no idea that in K she needed to be able to vocalize WHAT a period/question mark/coma does. We were focusing on learning letter sounds and blending! And this year…well, she was expected to proof read a paragraph (which included adding punctuation and correcting mis-spelled words). I’d like to add that we still write most things phonetically. She can read anything and loves to write. But spelling? Not so much! But we’re working on it!

Anyway…this weekend was the Midwest Homeschool Conference and Nick and I set out (by ourselves thanks to my Mom & Grandma who stayed with the kids) to find new curriculum for Grace (and even Trey this year who starts Pre-K 4 next school year).

Our first stop was Apologia Science.

A lot of people have suggested their “Astrology’ program as a great 1st starter book in their series. Well, we looked at the Astronomy and even though I was sold, Nick wasn’t. He preferred the Anatomy book. We debated for a while and after seeing the Junior work book I was sold (the Junior Astronomy book comes out next month…I still might pick it up!)


I was worried that this might be too ‘advanced’ after seeing a parent buying a child Grace’s age a ‘Science curriculum’ that had a fun kitty cat on it and included 12 ‘experiments’. The child proudly looked at his parent and exclaimed “TOYS!” I uncomfortably looked down at my cool Anatomy book and back to Nicholas who also heard the conversation in front of us.

This kid was going to be putting rubber bands around an airplane to make it ‘fly’ and our daughter was going to be learning about how she can confuse her ‘somatic nervous system’ (responsible for voluntary movements) by crossing her hands in front of her and flipping them upside down and having someone point at a finger to see if she can make her mind move that finger  (really,  it’s harder than it sounds! and fun too!). But it made me start thinking about Grace and our expectations of her.

Nicholas and I take our job of teaching our children VERY seriously. They have a lot of educational activities that they do and educational games that they play, and we have fun with our lessons (probably more fun than we should have). But,  when it comes down to it, we expect our kids to rise above their level and to learn more. 12 fun experiments that teach ‘Newton’s Law’ might be fun, but Grace learned motion, mass, force, levers, pulleys and inertia when she was in Kindergarten.

Thankfully, Nicholas was right there next to me to assure me that we were making the better choice for our daughter. We can still do fun experiments with our curriculum, like make a jell-o mold of a cell using various candy and making a model of a diaphragm with a balloon and an empty bottle AND we bought a kit that can make 70 ~messy~ Science experiments (OUTSIDE) this summer!

My fears we’re put to rest when we got home tonight. Grace was eager to see what she was going to learn and when she started flipping through her new Anatomy & Physiology book there was a lot of “Cool!”, “Neat”, “That looks like fun!” and my favorite “Can we start now!?” *heart* She even went downstairs to her work table and brought up some fresh paper and a pen so that she could copy down words like ‘Hypothesis’ and ‘Mitochondria’ and then we looked up their meaning in our new book! 🙂

In the end, we made the right choice. Would she think a box with a cat on it filled with ‘toys’ is the best thing ever? Absolutely! But at the end of the year would she be any better for it? Would she have learned something new? Something more? We chose to homeschool to better our children!

So, little boy with your box of Science Toys….I see your toys and they look like fun, but I raise you….Nothing. You’re not my child. I’m raising children who are so excited to have a new Science book that they beg to start learning at 8:30 in the evening! :o) I’m proud of their achievements and I’m proud that Nicholas and I have the sense to see the potential in each of our kids and recognize that their educational foundation is worth more than a few ‘toys’ in a box.


What’Snooo with You?

Posted On October 6, 2010

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I’ve been trying so hard to log into our blog and update daily. But it just doesn’t happen. Maybe tomorrow? ha ha

So what have we been up to?

Nicholas has been attending school and has Wednesdays off. Because he wants to be able to spend all Wednesdays with us he stays late the rest of the week. It’s no fun being a SAHM during the week, but it’s worth it for ‘Daddy Wednesday’!

Grace is learning her skip counting. She can now do her 10’s & 5’s! Last week we attending the Ohio Renaissance Festival and had a lot of fun with friends learning new things. We are pushing through with our school work every day. I, of course, have my ‘mommy moments’. ‘Am I teaching her everything she needs to know?’ ~ ‘Could I have done more today?’ ~ ‘Am I doing the right thing by keeping her at home?’ Uh! I hate those moments. I know that I am doing the right thing  and that she is where she needs to be for who she is. I have to remember daily that *this* is why I am keeping her out of the school system. We have the ability to take our time with our lessons so that in the end she *knows* her lessons. That is what is important!

Trey is doing well with his colors, numbers and letters. His vocabulary grows stronger every day and I know that we are taking the steps needed to lay the ground work down for a K program next year!

Mama is busy as always. Although I’ve not kept up with MY blog I have enjoyed reading $5 Dinners andSmockity Frocks ! Both of these Mamas are awesome! I love the recipes and home organization!  Connie from Smockity Frocks has a great video showing how she homeschools and organizes her family of 10! Yup! 8 children! I love it!!  I hope to one day have a master list as awesome as hers!

And Erin, at $5 Dinners, has the most amazing (and Thrifty!!) recipes!

If you get a chance you *must* check these blogs out! They are now a part of my daily readings and they have inspired me to be a better mom & housewife! =o)


Our first week went great!

Posted On September 6, 2010

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I sat down to post SO many times last week and each time I did something else came up.

Last week our topic was ‘Family/Self’. We learned about our family tree, our bodies, our personality and all the wonderful way that God made us different and special!

‘I am wonderfully made!’ -Psalm 139

We’ve eased our way back into school this year. I have planned on Monday’s being our ‘slow’ days. Have you ever enjoyed the weekend SO much and when Monday comes you just wish you could go back a day or two instead of jumping back into your daily grind? Well, we decided to avoid that! =o) Our Mondays are reserved for our ECHO (Explore Columbus Homeschool Organization) meet-ups and extra activities. Whether it’ll be grocery shopping, baking cookies or dinner, playing at a friends house or an impromptu trip to an indoor playground our Mondays will have one thing in common~They will be fun and stress free! I can’t think of a better way to start a week!

Tuesdays and Thursdays I have Grace (and Trey) journaling (in addition to other things!) Tuesdays Grace and Trey will sit down with their journal books and will journal about a topic that I have given to them. Thursdays (for Grace) will be a little bit more free style, as she can write about whatever she wants. The catch? It’ll be here. On our homeschool blog. I love this idea! It’ll give her a chance to use the computer, work on spelling and most importantly learn to type! Media and computers are a way of living these days. Knowing how to type and work independently on the computer are going to be great tasks for her to learn.

This week we take our school on the road. We are heading to Bellaire for the week~leaving tomorrow. We were going to leave on Wednesday evening, but I thought the kids would like to have a night at my grandma’s since this trip we will be staying with Grama & PopPop Taflan.

We start our journey into history as we will start to read ‘The Story of the World’ by Susan Bauer.

Our main topic this week is colors and shapes. Grace knows her colors and her shapes so we are working on mixing colors, reading/spelling color names and all the different ways we can use our tangrams and building blocks. The kids already love to use their imagination to make different pictures with the tangrams so this week will be a lot of fun! =o)

Hope everyone has a fantastic week! We’re packing the van and cleaning the house today…that’s never very much fun.