Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sleeping potion

Several months ago I was wearily wanting my kids to just go to bed.  I'd spent all day with them, talking etc., reading to them, listening to the chirping of their pretending in the other room, and frankly wanting some selfish quiet time.  I don't remember when exactly I remembered the spray bottle of scent from Bath and Body, but the word SLEEP jumped out at me.  They carry a line of aromatherapy products and I have had this bottle called sleep for years!    It came to me that I could tell the kids it was sleeping potion and spray them right before bed.  

The kids were giddy!   They got sprayed and pretended to be immediately effected and then they went off to bed with a smiles on their faces.  It was a welcome change.

That was several months ago, and somewhere along the line we stopped doing this.  We are back to kids dragging their feet when told to scoot off to bed.  This drives a parent nuts.  It isn't news it drives us bats.  The words, "I just need a few minutes to call my own!", want to escape my mouth.  So......where did I put the sleeping potion??!!!    Today I am going to find that stuff and reinstate sleeping potion time again.  I made a little mental note too that they would do better if I tucked them in bed at night as they love that and THEN spray them with sleeping potion.  Their rooms will smell better too.  Nervous giggle.

Bath and Body or your local lavender farmer will supply all your needs.  Sleep well!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kids are normal

The phrase that kids will be kids is so true.  I'm trying to wrap my head more around this when finding messes and taking it all less personally so hat maybe my marbles will stay somewhat together.  A lot of thing in life are just normal.  The toddlers rearrange the house as a regular rule in the name of curiosity.  The energy of pre adolescents can amaze us.  The ability for them to bypass messes is really normal.  It doesn't really matter to them.  They are not of an age to understand the value of what food costs or whether a cup has sentimental value to you as it gets broken.  These events are not personal threats to you.

I can mentally understand the concept of oblivious accidents and messes and even remind other parents of the same.  The puppy dog eyed five year old who might have spilled twenty pounds of oatmeal on the floor really wasn't trying to upset his mom.  So why can't I always recognize this for myself.   Giving kids to do lists without believing they have secret meetings to make you crazy by ignoring you.  The behavior is just normal.

I want to remember this to lower my own stress and just simply have normal cleaning times and lists without internalizing it all.  Every normal child has waited to the last second lest they've discovered.   I remember doing it.  I was an expert.  I was normal.  So talented too I'm sure.  I fought with great skill with my brother and I'm not sure how we made it out alive.   Such awesome memories.

Moving forward with today's tasks and routine is just normal too.   I can't add anything more to our live or implode.   Yeah.  That is a thing.  I do hope that improves as the littles get older so exploring other activities doesn't add to my work load but for now I will just try to be at peace with the normal which is mine.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Learning together and not panicking together

There are all these subjects I'm supposed to get to with my crowd at home.   I personally just want them to know how to learn.  It is a challenge not to panic.  I know I don't want to sign my name on a diploma which does not include the bases covered so there in lies the challenge.  I truly believe that if kids acquire the skills of curiosity and how to find out information then they will be able to do whatever is laid before them.

I'm currently puzzling over how to cover he sciences even though they know a lot just by experience. Math seems to shadow everything for attention.  Grrrrrr.   Apologia is really college level and very time consuming.  I suppose I could pick out some of the chapters and not feel pressured into doing it all.  If the student has an affinity for the sciences then they can forge ahead.  I do not remember science being that in depth in high school so why kill the day going nuts over this time.  I'm thinking this through while writing as time is of a premium for me.  

I am fighting the panic as I have two kids still working on transitioning to being more confident readers and an older kid who struggles with approaching directions on his math and grammar lessons and I need him to gain confidence in those areas.  It......can......get.......overwhelming.  

We love our group time reading books together and I think everyone would love to just stay there.   Perhaps biology needs to become a family project in order to get it done.  Why not.  We can hang together with the sciences and get through.   I think I'm going to give this thought a whirl.  The younger kids love learning so I can't magi be they would be turned off by this.  I want a plan which requires more hands on experience I think.  If I could find an older text book it probably would just move along better than Apologia.  Why do we all use Apologia as if more is better for our young people.   Sigh.  I will never get the kids through all that is expected if we have to do it perfectly.

This is just me thinking this through.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Building blocks of Home Educating

Teaching your little people requires patience and viewing little bits of progress as the recipe to success and even fun times between the parent and the child. With a wee little one, the time that is taken to teach them to sit through a board book and finally stop flipping the pages, leads to being able to sit through all of the book.  The child's attention span increases as the level of complexity of a book increases.  This is NOT twaddle but learning.

Math for a little involves beginning with board books and all of life during the day.  Simple counting of things like stairs, stuffed animals, blocks going on a block tower is math.  Counting peas and potatoes.  You don't have to be neurotic about it but there are opportunities to ease kids into listening, learning, and most importantly the ability to sit still and pay attention.  Do little people HAVE to sit still?   No, but it seems to me that even those kids who are defined as hyperactive, can be trained to temper their wiggles bit by bit as the parent cranks up the time paying attention slowly, having patience to let time pass and attention increase.

What a parent shouldn't do is expect their little people to go from never sitting in anyone's lap listening to stories to instantaneously expecting them to be able to listen to chapter books.  That is unrealistic.     It is similar to learning an instrument.   You begin at the beginning, learning notes and practicing and it takes time to make progress.

Hope this pondering is helpful to someone.  I just think it is wise to break down the learning process so that learning is just a natural thing.  More later......

Monday, November 2, 2015

Lowering Expectations

The best homeschool convention talk I ever went to was from a lady who spoke on how we need to lower our expectations for our schooling endeavors.  Less is more. ( I restarted blogging as a mom once said that she learned a lot from m blog back when I wrote more regularly.)  I think every home educator feels the panic that they think they need to cram in as many subjects as possible AND be some sort of house keeping wonder people.  I know I have deceived myself into thinking this was possible.

How to implement structure of less in my book is to actually have structure to the day.  I mentioned in a previous post the course of my day going in a regular order of Catechesis, to read aloud time, history reading and discussion then breaking into phonics, writing and older kids working on their math and practicing.  This is the rhythm of each day.  We get stuff done.  I still get tempted by other sources to implement but I have to tell myself "NO!"   Sticking to the tasks at hand is a must or I start getting very irritable and frustrated and the immediate reaction of the kids is to scatter to the four winds.

Unschooling's only appeal to me is to instill a love of learning.  I'm sure I will have talked about so many topics, philosophical musings, theological chats, truths of life as they proceed in living their different stages and choices, that I will surely sleep well in my old age.  I do wonder how I will keep everything straight as more stages of my life and theirs come along but hanging onto living this day in faith in my vocations is more the obvious solution.  Simplify and routine just solve a Miriam of stresses.  I cannot say enough to guard your time for the sake of family sanity.   If someone suggests some twaddle activity consider the loss to the time available.  24 hours is all we get and it can be anxiety ridden or stepped through as a matter of course.  All I desire is peace in my family and a handle on my children worrying more about their own choices and running from the temptation to compare.

More later.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Richness in Learning

Sticking closer to home has resulted in a steady increase in learning experience.  Our day begins as soon as we can manage it with Catechesis.  Cecilia has been working on playing the hymn of the week on the piano with us so that in itself riches our experience.  I've felt for a long time that the practice of praying and singing together has the added benefit of the kids learning what it means to sing well.  I learned from hearing my parents and growing up in a rich music environment. The environment of music does matter in being able to carry a tune that's for sure.

This year we have revived the read aloud.  Training their little ears to pay attention to hearing books in general read.  The kids ask questions while we read, everything is enhanced with better understanding of word use and a clearer picture of the characters of biographies and fiction which shape our history and world. If I read some random fact I didn't know before than I tell them.  I think it adds to their love of learning knowing their mom doesn't know everything and is still learning.

The rest of our day in stepping through teaching the little people to read and work on their math.  I love watching their faces in the effort.  They can hardly contain themselves as reading gets easier.  The action verb of learning is very cool to watch.   Most of the kids have music to practice and I have tried to take a much larger role in their practicing and helping them with their goals.  I can't lie, working with our cello player is loads of fun as I love the instrument and my little cello player is very connected with his work.  My brain feels like it overflows with happy as learning continues.

I think I'm addicted to learning.  There seriously are days when I don't want to stop teaching.  These are my little charges and I'm thankful I still have the opportunity to play a part in their education.  I have about three weeks left to keep up this pace before we take a little break.   I want to make everyone's books to see where they are now and where we end up.  Focusing on learning at home has been a huge blessing this year.