Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sarah's Creativity

Last week while John was TDY I got Sarah's "dot paints" out and let her have fun with them at the table. Here are the materials I gave her:

plain white paper
coloring book
small white paper plates

Here is what she'd made by the time I checked back on her:

She made a pretty design on the paper plate. Then, she got a pair of her Barbie's pinky-purple tights. She chewed a hole in the paper plate and strung the tights through the hole. Last, she tied the tights in a knot (something she's very good at, by the way) and she had a beautiful, creative refrigerator decoration.

It's amazing what children can do when given a few simple materials and then left alone with their imaginations!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Someday a Tree

Someday a Tree by Eve Bunting

This is a book we have enjoyed immensely. It it such a sweet story and the artwork is absolutely beautiful. Sarah (5) and Caleb (3) like looking at the pictures almost more than they like the story.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Morning Schedule

Of course, all of these times are merely my goals. As the children grow I imagine I'll move towards a "block" schedule. I've also written in times for Anna to nurse, but she's really still nursing on demand so those times usually change. My goal for her is to get her nursing every two hours so I can know (generally) when she's going to want to nurse.

(click image to enlarge)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First Reading Lessons

Before we begin more "formal" home-schooling, I thought we'd try Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I've heard from many mothers who highly recommend it and I'm eager to see how much Sarah has with it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Our Homeschool Curriculum

This is the curriculum I am probably going to use with Sarah. I chose My Father's World over ABEKA because I think it will be useful for both Sarah and Caleb. I don't think Caleb would do as well with ABEKA and I know Sarah will do well with nearly any curriculum. I can always supplement MFW for Sarah if need be.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Took His Hand and Followed

I Took His Hand and Followed
Mrs. Roy L. Peifer

My dishes went unwashed today,

I didn't make the bed,

I took his hand and followed

Where his eager footsteps led.

Oh yes, we went adventuring,

My little son and I...

Exploring all the great outdoors

Beneath the summer sky

We waded in a crystal stream,

We wandered through a wood...

My kitchen wasn't swept today

But life was gay and good.

We found a cool, sun-dappled glade

And now my small son knows

How Mother Bunny hides her nest,

Where jack-in-the-pulpit grows.

We watched a robin feed her young,

We climbed a sunlit hill...

Saw cloud-sheep scamper through the sky,

We plucked a daffodil.

That my house was neglected,

That I didn't brush the stairs,

In twenty years, no one on earth

Will know, or even care.

But that I've helped my little boy

To noble manhood grow,

In twenty years, the whole wide world

May look and see and know.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

With liberty and pre-k for all?

The Home School Legal Defense Association has recently published an article that analyzed the risks and benefits of government-mandated and controlled Pre-K. In the article, Smother Mother Strikes Again: Why Government Should Stay Out of Pre-K, the author writes

Early education constitutes yet another intrusion of big government, this time imposing itself directly into the home. Institutionalized, government-approved pre-K programs threaten parents’ right to direct the upbringing and education of their children by forcing subjective screenings and state-approved, politicized curriculum upon America’s impressionable youth. Some pre-K bills, including H.R. 2343, include provisions for socio-emotional/mental health screenings, which, unlike vision or hearing tests, are based on inherently subjective diagnostic criteria. After children are identified as needing mental health services or medication, it is not clear if their parents will have the ability to refuse such treatment. Similarly, once trusting parents enroll their children in institutionalized early education, there is no guarantee that they will have any warning or authority over what their child is exposed to in the classroom.

The article goes on to point out that while such Pre-K programs are completely optional, parents may not know the programs are optional or may feel pressured into enrolling their children in them. This is a valid concern, but my concern is much greater: that these programs will become mandatory.

As we seem so apt to do, we quickly forget how things were just thirty or forty years ago. In my grandmother's school-days, as well as my mother's, kindergarten was not mandatory. For my grandmother, it wasn't even an option yet. When she entered school she was nearly seven years old and entered directly into a first-grade class. When my mother entered school, it was through a then-voluntary kindergarten class. Yes, voluntary kindergarten.

These days kindergarten in the United States has become mandatory, as it is a normal, regular part of an elementary school. As with most educational "experiments" the U.S. government implements, voluntary kindergarten became mandatory kindergarten. When this country was founded, public education was not mandatory. When public schools were first formed, they were completely optional. Then they became mandatory. Then there was voluntary kindergarten. Now it's mandatory. So you can see why I am concerned that what we now call "VPK" (voluntary pre-K) will quickly become a compulsory part of our children's education.

I already hear some of you saying, "well, you homeschool your children so why are you even worried about pre-K?" My concern lies in all of the comments we get about our children, our oldest in particular. "She's sharp as a tack! Are you going to put her in pre-K?" The assumption seems to be that without pre-K, my daughter's intelligence will somehow vanish. Then I get comments like, "I know you're going to homeschool her, but why not put her in pre-K so she can learn to read?" This is how the government will lure parents into the pre-K trap. "Try it, you'll like it". Then before we know it, it will have become an accepted part of compulsory public education.