Monday, May 1, 2017

New Beginning....

I have decided to make a separate blog for all my homeschooling thoughts and ideas.  I am not sure how often I will write here, but if you would like to see what we are up to, please come join me over at the new blog: 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Homeschooling Manfiesto

Homeschooling in the last few years has been hard.  There is no other way to put it.  It has been H-A-R-D.  I have not always felt that I have been successful in teaching my children to really love learning.  

I look now at the six children still under my homeschool mama’s wing and I wonder what exactly can I do, right now, to make them love learning more, to become more inspired, and, most importantly, self directed learners.

It is important when considering this to realize that no homeschool is perfect.  No matter what it looks like or what someone is trying to sell you.  Home education is not always going to be this dreamy wonderful time where everyone feels loved and no one ever sheds a tear or gets frustrated.  No matter how much money you spend or what method you use, there will be ups and downs.  There will be failures and successes.

I have spent the last few years, especially, drifting from methodology to methodology, trying to find the perfect fit, the perfect way to school my kids. The only thing that did was leave the kids frustrated and myself broken hearted.

My inconsistency is what is killing my homeschool.  My inability to commit to anything has left us all wandering about with no one to lead us.  I firmly believe, that if I even decided to loosely homeschool and plan simply week to week, we would be better off.  Committing to the next perfect curriculum and then after a few weeks tossing it in the garbage or selling it online is not going to work, anymore.

I would be better off filling our home with good books and taking things week by week.  Tying ourselves to a curriculum or workbooks (unless they are much beloved) is not a good fit for such a large and chaotic family.  We have spent too many days inside, unable to go out and play because we had school work to do. 

That is not to say that we should never do any formal learning.  But it should feel different.  Yes, we have to do math.  I am not as gifted in that area so I am not sure I could really tackle it in the later years like a freewheeling joy ride.  We will need a textbook for that.  But other things, yes, even science, can be more free, more adventuresome.

I want to guide and inspire but, perhaps, not demand so much.  There will be things that must be done.  Manners and habits will be a must.  Time outside and less technology a must.  Routine, an absolute must.  It is time to have the homeschool of our dreams.  Not mine, but ours.  A culture in our family that will serve us and encourage us to be excited about learning, even when it is hard.

Schedules will be looser, more open to adventures that pop up.  The kids have been too isolated.  I have been too isolated.  We will use lots of living books and do things like copywork, dictation, freewriting, and have commonplace books.  We will stop homeschooling out of fear and become brave and bold.  Ready to conquer but also to recognize quiet times and to also embrace peace and days of tranquility.

We will hike more, play more, read more, and learn more. 

No more schedules for weeks, months, or years.  Take it one day at a time, one week at a time.

And above all we will trust in God and live in His love.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter!

Oh my.  I don't know about you all but I am so happy it is Easter.  My Lent was very Lent.  And I learned more lessons than I imagined or really cared to learn.  Even up until the very last day, challenges abounded and I was more than overwhelmed by it all.

Easter was a blessing.  A chaotic, sugar induced blessing.  The words of Saint John Paul II played in my head all day, "Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”  

The morning started with a beautiful mass surrounded by the people I love.  My husband barbecued tri-tip (so that was one thing I didn't have to think about!),  we had mashed potatoes (that my son started for me), deviled eggs (which Becca made), and asparagus wrapped in bacon.  We have two pies, Paleo Key Lime and Against All Grain's Lemon Meringue.  

The best part was just being able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of Lent and the celebration of our Risen Christ!

Portuguese Sweet bread.  I didn't get any  Poor me.  Evil GLUTEN.
I used lard, doubled the yeast, and added lemon zest.

Books the kids got:

Playing with Becca's Nintendo Switch

"Hey dad!  Don't worry!  I caught the Easter Bunny!!
Becca and her wonderful man Kris.
We were so blessed to have them both able to come and spend the day with us!

Some of the eggs were just too obvious to find easily, I guess.

And some people were more interested in dandelions.

Hope you all had an amazing Easter.  

Here is to a beautiful and blessing filled season!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Mercury Socks

I did it!  I did it... again!  I finished a pair of socks!!

I am really starting to love this process and the idea of actually having a million pairs of my own hand knit socks.

I even made all my family let me trace their feet on cardboard, so that I could make them socks too.

I am a little giddy about this folks.

As for the Mercury Socks by Kim Drotar, I will definitely make another pair someday.  I am not sure I liked it with the yarn I chose though (Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Holi Festival).  I loved the yarn and the color was so fun, but it was not that easy to knit with those shop needles.  It kept separating and such.  The lady at the yarn store recommend it when I said I was looking for a speckle yarn to make socks.  But I think it was really the only speckle they had.  Anyway, They are lovely, if not very matchy-matchy.  Hmmm, I sound like I am complaining too much.  I really do love them and I am excited that they are done.  I think, however, that this yarn would have looked better knit as a plain vanilla sock.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lent 2017

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and what I should do for Lent.  I am notorious for going overboard and failing too soon in am ambitious goals.

So this year I wanted to take a step back and do something truly meaningful and something that will bring me closer to God and to those I love.

Over at the Blessed Is She community the theme for this year is Put on Love.  This struck me very deeply and I have been watching their instal-stories where people share ways they put on love everyday.

I realized that there is so much more I can do.

Saint Pope John Paul II said, "As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”  When I read that quote I knew that this Lent I was going to really focus on taking care of my family and my home.  I want to make sure that the relationships we have our being nourished, by me, every day in a myriad of ways.

I have been feeling as though I have been that mean mom lately and I also feel that a lot of things have been let go around the house with illness and busyness.  So for the next 40 days, my goal is to make more time for those I love and to work on creating a more loving home for my family.

It will be a conscious effort, not just something I do, but something I strive to do. 

I will let you know how it goes over the next few weeks and share with you some of the ways in which I plan to PUT ON LOVE for those around me.