Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Moving Beyond the Page - More than Just a Curriculum

I certainly have one of those "square peg" children. She is such a thinker, and I don't mean that in the oooh-look-at-my-child-she's-so-smart kind of way, although she is bright. I mean that when Madison was on the playground and another five year old said, "you're not my friend anymore," Madison believed her.

I'm talking about when I took her to story time at our library and all of the children were told to get an instrument out of the box, she was last because she watched everyone else go first. And when it was time to play the instruments, she stood there holding hers in her hand because she was listening and enjoying all of the different sounds around her with a smile on her face.

I'm saying that she's 8, and plays classical piano on a Middle School level effortlessly - it takes her anywhere from 2 days to one week to learn a new song, and she has composed several songs and wants to record them to cd.

And lastly, I'm describing a child that when she was told to do a simple task, she actually took time to think about what you were telling her to do before she did it. She observed her surroundings. I don't know why except that she was a different sort of learner.

In fact, her kindergarten teacher asked me one day at a parent/teacher conference if I'd noticed that Madison takes time to think when given an instruction. My response was, "yes, she's a thinker and I think she's thinking about what you've asked her to do." Besides being mildly irritating for the impatient parent that I was, I didn't find anything wrong with this. Her teacher on the other hand was ready to label her, saying to me that "maybe there is something wrong with how she processes information." Although I was impressed with her seemingly unique ability to give an amateur medical diagnosis, right there in the kindergarten pod of a 30 year old school while sitting at a tiny table in a tiny multi-colored chair, of a child who she'd known for about 5 months and interacted with for a few hours a day in a classroom with 20 other children; I was not willing to accept that label for my 5 year old, or to fight with the system for the next 12 years while she attended school.

What am I getting at? What I'm saying is my child is very bright, but she did not fit into the traditional classroom environment. She was too much of an abstract learner. "Abstract perceivers take in information through analysis, observation, and thinking." (Gordon Lawrence, 2011)

Moving Beyond the Page is proving to be that curriculum for that type of child. Madison's kindergarten teacher also told me that she was a linguistic child, and that she couldn't be good in both Math and Reading. Well, she was only "good" at reading because I'd taken the time to teach her how at an early age, not because it was her innate strength. Well after homeschooling for 3 years, that child who learned how to read at 4 years old and scored above average in all linguistic categories, will tell you that her favorite subject is Math.

The deal here parents is that if you have taken educating your child into your own hands out of frustration, passion, or just plain old conviction it's probably the best decision you will ever make in terms of your child being able to actually grow and thrive in a way that suits him.

Moving Beyond the Page is a curriculum for that square peg child who just simply does not fit into that round peg classroom. I was fortunate enough to have one of these children and I had to do something about it. Rather than force her to fit, I took her out and began our homeschooling journey. And we are excited about the "square peg-ness" of the Moving Beyond the Page curriculum!

Abstract perceivers, however, take in information through analysis, observation, and thinking. - See more at: http://www.funderstanding.com/educators/learning-styles-3/#sthash.nBWwbjqR.dpuf
Abstract perceivers, however, take in information through analysis, observation, and thinking. - See more at: http://www.funderstanding.com/educators/learning-styles-3/#sthash.nBWwbjqR.dpuf
Abstract perceivers, however, take in information through analysis, observation, and thinking. - See more at: http://www.funderstanding.com/educators/learning-styles-3/#sthash.nBWwbjqR.dpuf

Monday, August 18, 2014

What a day...

I know lots of moms out there use home school planners and such to keep everything organized in their heads, and their home school. I completely see the benefit of that especially if you are home schooling a large family. However, can I just share how wonderful it is to have a God-directed home school. Now just because one feels the prompting of God or the Holy Spirit while teaching their children certainly does not mean that there is no room for a planner in your day.

Maybe this post is more about state standards than planners, but at the beginning of this year, there was a prompting in my thoughts about what my 6 year old needed to cover. Sure, because I'm her teacher and mother, I'm instinctively aware of her strengths and weaknesses. However, I was prompted to focus on spelling.

What does all of this amount to? PROGRESS! It just feels good when you pay attention to your spirit while home schooling.

I know some moms who are so stressed out with keeping up with state standards and believe me, I am a standards-driven mom. I believe that it is my responsibility to make sure the girls know what they should know for their age-range. We as home schooling moms though, should not ever forget to allow room for our intuition or God's guidance (whichever term you feel most comfortable with) when it comes to the kids.

Today, I am over the moon at the progress that both of my girls have made. Chelsea made a 100 on her spelling test. This is a big deal because last week, she struggled hard to get them down, but we kept at it, and here we are. She's also become a master at skip counting her odd and even numbers. She said them today from 1 to 100. She's got her 5s and 10s down from last year, and she's a pro at adding 10 and counting by tens starting with any number.
Chelsea's choice for read-aloud today.

Madison finished her first research paper, and it was good! She researched and wrote about zebras. This was not some little 8 year old barely-three-paragraphs kind of research paper. This child has got to be writing on nearly a 5th grade level, using commas, semi-colons, hyphens, correct sentence structure, and content all so very effectively.
Madison's research paper...

Listen up home school moms out there, let's not take our accolades too soon, some of us have a long way to go, but let us stop, take a breath, and enjoy all of the little and big successes on this journey. We have been called to a most wonderful - some would say, the highest calling in the land - don't waste it by  focusing on your shortcomings and imperfections. Don't spend your year worrying over state standards. Take a breath and realize that you have more tools at your disposal than planners, schedules, and "how to home school" manuals.

You have your God-granted special gifts to raise and teach your children everything that they need to know in order to fulfill God's will for their lives.

Granted, it's no small task, but it has been given to you by the Creator of  the world and you CAN do it! You can enjoy it! You can succeed!

Don't throw out your planners. Don't negate state standards altogether. Listen to your heart. Heed your inclinations. Take a moment to just sit and watch your child and to think about him. Don't worry about what they do well, or don't do well. Just think about your child, and then listen to you heart. Sometimes this process can get you farther down the road than any manual, schedule or planner could.

Happy Home Schooling Moms!

Oh and don't forget to check out Moving Beyond the Page curriculum for gifted children!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Some Summer Fun

We had a pretty great summer. The girls spent a week with my husband's side of the family up in North Carolina. That was a first for all of us, but it was fun, and they learned a lot! They did some quilting with Mammaw, and according to her they did every single stitch of their own quilt. I love that we are still able to reach back to the generation before us to glean skills that just should never die out no matter the level of technology and efficiency we reach in our world today. Thanks Mammaw! ;).

They also went fishing with PawPaw, and I'm told that Madison baited her hook. That's my brave girl. I did the same as a little girl. "We don't need nobody to bait our hooks!" LOL

Here at the home front, we did some of the summer activities that the Chicago Science Museum put out for free. We only got to two of them, but they were CRAZY fun to do. We built our own ski ball jump. We also built a newspaper tent. The tent didn't go as well, but it was fun to do as family.

We got quite a good bit of swimming in this summer. We went to Six Flags with some friends and I decided that the girls could not go back until they are a little older. They wanted to ride the bigger rides, and that's great, but I could not relax with my 6 year old on the Mind Bender and other rides, so I figured we just wouldn't go back for a couple of summers.

That's our summer recap!

What was your summer like?


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