Monday, September 29, 2008

Bike-a-Thon and Cub Scout Picnic

Last Saturday, we finally were able to have the bike-a-thon to raise money for the sound system at church (no rain). The children were to ride a maximum of 100 laps around the church parking lot. Krista and Kendrick both rode the 100 laps, Kara rode 54 laps, and Kaylee rode around a few times. It isn't real noticeable, but the parking lot slants slightly so riding around the one side took more effort than the other. Kaylee would get on the uphill side and not be able to go anywhere. Some of the teen girls would push her a ways until she could get going herself. Mostly she rode in the center of the lot where the "official" riders were not allowed to ride. It was safer that way anyway. I was proud of Kara; she rode much further than I expected she would.

Here they are waiting in line for instructions and permission to begin.


I didn't get many pictures of them. I was helping to count laps, and they all went around so fast it left our heads spinning. ;>)

Later we went to the Cub Scout family picnic. We ate, visited with other cub scout families, fished, and hiked. Krista and Kendrick both caught fish.

Krista's fish is a little hard to see because it blends in with the cattails on the other side of the pond, but if you look close, you can see it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why I Homeschool (Part 3)

(While this has not been an exhaustive list, this will be my final one on my reasons and benefits. For now any way;) I am glad that we have chosen to homeschool and would not trade it for anything.)

#12. MORE FIELD TRIPS We try to go on at least one field trip a month. This gives us more insight into the world around us. (Check my "Butterflies Up Close" post.) This past school year we have seen interesting animals; toured a bakery, a fire station, police station and a post office; participated in a music recital and education fair; Christmas caroled at an area nursing home; and many other things. We have some interesting things lined up for this year: Noah's Lost Ark, Schoenbrunn Village, and the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland. (Can't wait!)

#13. FLEXIBLE VACATION TIME I can choose to take family vacations when vacation spots are least busy and not have to worry about my children missing valuable class time.

#14. LEARN TO BE SELF-RELIANT Character qualities of self-reliance, initiative taking, leadership and being a self starter are much sought after by employers and people in general. My children have the freedom to pursue things that interest them. They can do so in a safe, accepting setting in which they experiment and try things without the worry of being teased or bullied if they don't succeed.

Today I found a study done by the Fraser Institute entitled "Homeschooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream".
It is an interesting read. While it is 24 pages long, some of the pages are not full length, the first page is a table of contents, and the last five pages are references and "about the authors". An easy read. One fact I found interesting is this list of homeschooled Americans: Presidents George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Also homeschooled were John Jay, Thomas Edison, Robert E. Lee, Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain, and Andrew Carnegie.

In case anyone is concerned that I am not "doing it right", I am accountable to my local school board. I have to agree to provide 900 hours of education per year. My children have to be tested or assessed at the end of every school year. Those results are sent to my school superintendent. I have to provide an annual list of curriculum and outline of what we plan on learning this year. If I do not follow the guidelines, I will be denied approval to excuse my children from the compulsory school attendance law.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why I Homeschool (Part 2)

(Here are a few more of my benefits and reasons.)

#6. CUSTOMIZED CURRICULUM I don't have to stick to one curriculum if I find that one is not working for a particular child. My child can also work at his/her own pace. If one struggles with learning, we can take a little more time going through it. If one excels in learning, we can go a little faster.

#7. I CHOOSE MY CHILDREN'S FRIENDS I have a lot more say in this area then I would if they attended school. Not all friendships made in even Christian schools are healthy, Christian relationships. (I know! I attended a Christian school all my school years and also taught in one for 6 years.)

#8. MORE PEACEFUL MORNINGS It seemed that no matter how early we started getting ready for school in the mornings, there was always this last minute frantic rush, especially if for some reason the children did not get to bed on time the previous evening (revival, etc.). Our mornings now can be a little more relaxed since we don't have a deadline. If we had a late night, the children can sleep in. Well-rested children learn better and are in a better mood. Everyone is happier, especially MOM.

#9. BETTER SOCIALIZED CHILDREN I know this a biggy with a lot of people. Since we began to homeschool, we have kept our old friends, but have made so many more new, wonderful friends. My children are not just learning to socialize with their peers, but know how to interact with people of ALL ages.

#10. BETTER STEWARD OF MY MONEY Especially with gas prices these days! We have less wear and tear on vehicles and are safer than out driving twice a day. Also, I never have to "school clothes shop". My children wear the same old, same old until they outgrow it, and no one cares.

#11. NOT ALL LEARNING COMES FROM BOOKS When we are finished with "book learning" for the day, we can move on to other activities. My children can spend more time with me in the kitchen and doing household chores. We are building a house, and the children have become involved. They have painted, put together kitchen cupboards, learned to use hammers and screwdrivers and have a greater knowledge of things then I ever did at their ages.

(More to come.)

September Birthdays

We got together with my family to celebrate the birthdays of Larissa (1) and Shane (14).

I guess when you are 1, you need LOTS of help :)


... has joined the Cub Scouts. He is very excited about it. Now he is actually doing "boy" things with other boys instead of just tagging along doing "girl" things. While we have done things that he enjoys (i.e. canoeing, fishing, etc.), this is the first time he has joined something specifically for him. He has a couple of friends that also joined the pack, and I expect he will make more friends as the year progresses. There are 14 or 15 boys which is a large pack when the average is 6-8. He is going to have a great time. Here he is in his brand-spanking new uniform.

Here he is receiving a new patch from his Cubmaster for joining. (Camera flash wasn't working well so it is rather dark.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why I Homeschool (Part 1)

When I began to homeschool three years ago, I had my reasons for doing so. We sent Krista to a Christian school for three years and Kendrick for one before we chose this option. As time progresses, I find more and more reasons why I think this is the best choice I could make for my children. Many people think homeschooling is a new concept. Actually it has been the predominant form of education throughout history. Many of our Founding Fathers were educated at home. I realize homeschooling may not be an option for everyone, but here are some of my reasons and benefits: (Feel free to comment. I would love to hear your opinions.)

#1. (First and foremost) IT IS MY GOD-GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY TO EDUCATE MY CHILDREN Deuteronomy 6:6-7 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." Ephesians. 6:4 "And you, fathers, ... bring (your children) up in the training and admonition of the Lord." I am best able to do this with my children with me. Some choose to give others this responsibility; I choose to do it myself.

#2. I LOVE HAVING MY CHILDREN WITH ME The hardest part of taking my children to school was leaving them with someone else all day long. It did not get easier year after year nor child after child. Now I know what my children are doing all day long and don't have to be concerned about their safety and welfare while not in my care.

#3. NO ONE LOVES MY CHILDREN LIKE I DO While I know there are very dedicated, loving teachers out there that really enjoy teaching, none of them love my children the way I do nor have the time in a school setting to show them that love.

#4. LOW TEACHER-TO-STUDENT RATIO This is a big thing in schools now days. Teachers do not have enough time to give students that one-on-one individual attention that many children need. Yes, it can be a little hectic at times at home when all need attention at the same time, but sharing time with 3 siblings is a lot better than sharing time with 15- 30 other students.

#5. INSTANT FEEDBACK One of the things that always frustrated me when my children were in school was the fact that often times I would not see their work until a week or so later. If they were struggling in an area, I would not find out about it until they had moved onto other things. Now I know TODAY if we are having difficulty and can correct it right now.

(To be continued.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Butterflies Up Close

Today we went to a butterfly house at a botanical garden. They had several different species of butterflies and moths in a little greenhouse sort of building. We were given a Q-tip to dip in sugar water. Then we put it under the mouth of a butterfly, and it could climb up on the Q-tip to eat the sugar. Some of them just landed right on us. The kids were pretty intrigued with the whole thing.

This one landed on Kara almost as soon as we entered.

Kaylee isn't too sure about holding a "bug".

Kara got this one to climb onto her finger. It stayed there for quite awhile. She got tired of holding it, and the lady in charge helped her transfer it to a flower.

When Krista was done holding butterflies, she got out her notepad and began taking notes. (So she could "remember what I learned today".)

Below is a close-up of the one Kendrick is holding.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Day of School

We started school this week. I was going to wait until we are in the house, but that may be a couple of weeks yet. That seems a little too long to wait. So even though we are not very organized, we are getting the work done. Here are pics from the first day.

Krista is in 5th grade, Kendrick in 3rd, and Kara in 1st. I was going to do the K4 with Kaylee, but for right now, she wants to do what Kara is doing. The thing is it is so much review that she actually is able to do it. I think at some point it will go too fast for her. Then maybe I can talk her into doing her own thing. Right now it is actually easier on me not to have to get things ready for her.

I am using the Bob Jones University satellite program. They really like it and are learning quite well.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Welcome Back, Dad

Welcome Back, Dad
By Michael Reagan

I’ve been trying to convince my fellow conservatives that they have been wasting their time in a fruitless quest for a new Ronald Reagan to emerge and lead our party and our nation. I insisted that we’d never see his like again because he was one of a kind.

I was wrong!

Wednesday night I watched the Republican National Convention on television and there, before my very eyes, I saw my Dad reborn; only this time he's a she.

And what a she!

In one blockbuster of a speech, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin resurrected my Dad’s indomitable spirit and sent it soaring above the convention center, shooting shock waves through the cynical media’s assigned spaces and electrifying the huge audience with the kind of inspiring rhetoric we haven’t heard since my Dad left the scene.

This was Ronald Reagan at his best -- the same Ronald Reagan who made the address known now solely as “The Speech,” which during the Goldwater campaign set the tone and the agenda for the rebirth of the traditional conservative movement that later sent him to the White House for eight years and revived the moribund GOP.

Last night was an extraordinary event. Widely seen beforehand as a make-or-break effort -- either an opportunity for Sarah Palin to show that she was the happy warrior that John McCain assured us she was, or a disaster that would dash McCain’s presidential hopes and send her back to Alaska, sadder but wiser.

Obviously un-intimidated by either the savage onslaught to which the left-leaning media had subjected her, or the incredible challenge she faced -- and oozing with confidence -- she strode defiantly to the podium and proved she was everything and even more than John McCain told us.

Much has been made of the fact that she is a woman. What we saw last night, however, was something much more than a just a woman accomplishing something no Republican woman has ever achieved. What we saw was a red-blooded American with that rare, God-given ability to rally her dispirited fellow Republicans and take up the daunting task of leading them -- and all her fellow Americans -- on a pilgrimage to that shining city on the hill my father envisioned as our nation’s real destination.

In a few words she managed to rip the mask from the faces of her Democratic rivals and reveal them for what they are -- a pair of old-fashioned liberals making promises that cannot be kept without bankrupting the nation and reducing most Americans to the status of mendicants begging for their daily bread at the feet of an all-powerful government.

Most important, by comparing her own stunning record of achievement with his, she showed Barack Obama for the sham that he is, a man without any solid accomplishments beyond conspicuous self-aggrandizement.

Like Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin is one of us. She knows how most of us live because that’s the way she lives. She shares our homespun values and our beliefs, and she glories in her status as a small-town woman who put her shoulder to the wheel and made life better for her neighbors.

Her astonishing rise up from the grass-roots, her total lack of self-importance, and her ordinary American values and modest lifestyle reveal her to be the kind of hard-working, optimistic, ordinary American who made this country the greatest, most powerful nation on the face of the earth.

As hard as you might try, you won’t find that kind of plain-spoken, down-to-earth, self-reliant American in the upper ranks of the liberal-infested, elitist Democratic Party, or in the Obama campaign.

Sarah Palin didn’t go to Harvard, or fiddle around in urban neighborhood leftist activism while engaging in opportunism within the ranks of one of the nation’s most corrupt political machines, never challenging it and going along to get along, like Barack Obama.

Instead she took on the corrupt establishment in Alaska and beat it, rising to the governorship while bringing reforms to every level of government she served in on her way up the ladder.

Welcome back, Dad, even if you’re wearing a dress and bearing children this time around.

Mr. Reagan is a syndicated radio talk-show host and the son of former President Ronald Reagan.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

For All Conservative Moms

Since the choices we have for Presidential candidate are less than ideal, I was feeling rather depressed about the whole thing, and avoided too much reading that would depress me further. When McCain chose Sarah Palin for his running mate and I learned some of the things she stands for, I now find myself getting excited about this election. There have been some conservative women who have found fault with her being involved in politics and not staying home to raise her children. Julie Gurnee has posted a great article by Elizabeth Foss on her blog. Read it here!