29 August, 2012

SCHOOL!

Time of the year to gather the books, the materials, art supplies, rework the lesson plans, set the goals, buy the backpack and even get some new sneakers!  Yes back to school has arrived for many of us.

Homeschooling is no different, there are the supplies, schedules, and books to gather.  Difference being, I control the books, the supplies and the schedules.  As the parent, I am choosing what curriculum or method of education will be used in the home.  I choose how many social outlets we will sign up for and when we do it all.

So some basics of homeschooling......

Socialization is a big concern for non homeschoolers.  Well there are many opportunities for homeschooling families to gather and socialize.  Typcially, homeschooling families schedule park days, meet ups at area nature reserves, hikes or programs at libraries etc.  Homeschool children are widely socialized and not just with their peer group, but with humans of all ages.  They are not taught to only be with their peer group or those old enough on the playground.  They interact with everyone they meet and have very well developed sense of themselves in doing so.

Academics, are they able to read, write and do arithmetic? Why yes they can and will do so when they are ready to do so.  Just because the norm to do these things has been set by a school board in terms of standards, does not mean they are the only standards.  Many educational philosophies differ on when certain topics are introduced to children.  Point being following the child's need is important and understanding their readiness for certain topics is equally important.  To help the homeschooling family, there are several options regarding curriculum, methodology and tracking.  It is up to the family to decide what works and this may change over time and from child to child.  Flexibility is key to keep in mind and again, allow the inquisitive mind to explore and find solutions.

It also must be stated that the parent is not the sole educator of their child, their are sports coaches, music teachers and other learning outlets such a museum classes, naturalists etc.  It truly depends on what is important to the family unit and then finding the resources to assist in the life long learning journey.  Some resources are pricy and some are free... there is a wide range of what is available online and locally to choose from.

booksThis family is going to use a bit of Waldorf inspired curriculum, participate in weekly theater classes, swim classes, continue our piano lessons, adding guitar and enjoy fabulous field trips.  We have our reading lists, our binders ready and all of our supplies.  Of course learning is life long and I am raising life long learners.. so the schedule.. well learning never stops does it?

Hoping your schooling experience is what you are wishing it to be.  

11 May, 2012

Momma Moments.....

This week has been a whirlwind of activity!  It is as if this was the week for final preparations, presentations, performances and rites of passage... all marking time, achievement and maturity.

Here is our list for Friday, marking the wonderful accomplishments along the way.

Little guy, V, celebrated his First Communion.  He was so happy to wear his suit, have his party and be welcomed into the sacrament of communion.  I was very proud to watch how grown up he was.  He truly grew right before our eyes, as he remained composed and focused on his day.

Both boys have been preparing for a Piano Evaluation, by memorizing 4 songs and matching scales of new complexity.  They are starting to create a nice portfolio of songs.  This week they performed for their evaluation and felt confident they gave a solid performance.  Results will be available Monday.  I am just happy to see their hard work and enjoyment for piano continue.  Music is such a gift and when you have the ability to hear the notes and understand the dynamics of a song... well then share that gift!

This week also marked the end of a unit study on Egypt.  With the help of another homeschooler, they read, studies, watched, researched many aspects of Egyptian Life.  Mostly focused on Ancient Egypt, they learned about a strong culture and influence of our current world.  They each took their interests and shared their findings with others in this final presentation and did really well.  Very nice to be a witness of their growth and learning along the way.

Tomorrow will mark the last swim lesson for this session.  Each one did exceptionally well, either passing to the next level or proving the necessary skills to maintain a high level of proficiency.  As a swim teacher, I am very happy to know they are both learning valuable skills and can learn from other teachers who have loved having them in their classes.  I also was able to pass a couple of students along in my beginning classes.  It is so nice to observe the growth and pride that comes with a new learned skill.  This particular skill is critical and life saving, so again, happy to be part of this process.

Lastly, our daddy started his new job, ended the old patterns that kept us wondering what if and when and started a new pattern of excitement and anticipation.  Mystikman is very happy in his new role and his excitement has actually made it easier for us to be apart when he is traveling, which is most of the time.  Luckily we can see him everyday via skype or facetime, so we are never really losing touch.  Technology has been a true life saver.  I did explain how lucky we were to have such advances.  When I retold the immigrant experience and how the daddy went ahead to find work, a home and then send back for his family... the boys realized this was certainly a better situation.  Additionally, they understand so many families are split up due to the armed services and other work situations.  When you think about where our daddy is... not so bad.  He is at luxury hotels, in a safe environment.  The alternatives could be much worse, so again counting our blessings!

Overall, a good week.  We have all grown much and in the process arrived at a different time and space.  How was your week in review?

07 May, 2012

Despite Challenges.....

Overwhelmed and wondering what I am doing with my life..... yes this is where I am at these days.  There has been so much to walk through lately.  Mystikman has taken a new position one in which he will be traveling.  If it was one of those jobs, that had him home on weekends, that we could live with okay.  But it isn't.  We will see him monthly it appears and that is a bit harder to swallow. 

The position is a great career move and hopefully one that will groom him for a fantastic job in 18 months.  This is why I agreed to support him and push him forward.  But this will most certainly give me a good solid taste of what single parents go through.  Not only as a single parent that carries the burden of parenting, but I will be the sole person managing the household duties and I still homeschool!  A lot to put on my plate actually, but I am not saying I want to send the boys to school.  I truly do enjoy their company and love watching them grow into the men they are turning into. 

With so much uncertainty as to what is next... I also feel as if I am floundering to find my own path.  What is it that I am being called to do?  I have so many interests, talents, skills and so on.  But which one is calling my name?  Where should I focus my attentions?  Do I have the right to ask these questions in light of this new challenge we are facing? 

Most certainly yes, I do.  We all must ask ourselves what pushes us forward, what stirs our passions and what gets us excited.  Too often we are not asking the question and stifle the thought.  But I dare to ask the question in light of this new challenge.  I dare to wonder what it is I am going to do with my life that I have left to live.  What will be my mark?

What is it that stirs your passion and drives you despite the challenges you face? 

17 April, 2012

2012! Time Warp

It hit me that I haven't posted here this year at all!  Yikes, time certainly does get away from us, when we are on Facebook!  This is where most of my time has been spent, keeping up with new friends and being a Facebook activist.  There is so much to do on Facebook besides the little status update.  So my apologies for letting this space gather dust.

Maybe a quick and dirty update list... top ten things I am focused on might do the trick.

1 Homeschooling - methods, means and memory making.

2 Swimming - teaching swim lessons and actually earning a small little paycheck! Talk about a different kind of business suit, ha ha.

3 Knitting - socks, two at a time toe up, large project for me and simple little gifts.  I do have a quandary with one gift item that is eluding me, but will figure it out soon.

4 Shedding- trying to rid the house of unwanted, unused items, albeit clothing, small appliances, books, toys etc.  Not to mention a couple extra pounds that I am lugging around....

5 Playforts - we promised the boys a playfort, so this is the year to do it!

6 Spiritual Pursuits - looking at what spirit is guiding me to do.  Current focus would be angels and Steiner... read above, homeschooling, well there is a link!

7 Travel - want to do more exploration and travel.  If I can fit in small mini trips this year, well that is what we will do!

8 Food - always a foodie at heart, but rethinking how to be even better with the nutrition in our home.  Would love to be at a 50 % raw diet.

9 Sustainability - finding ways to improve upon our carbon footprint.  I will admit we are not very good at this one, but trying to incorporate something new every month.

10 Pinterest - have you been yet?  So much fun for a visually stimulated person!   The best way to bookmark by far!  I have even gone back to some of my pins and do what was suggested!  

What is holding your attention this year?

09 May, 2011

Mother's Day

As the Mystik Momma, I must say I enjoyed a nice and slow paced mother's day.  By big boy made me a bagel, both boys set up the patio so I could enjoy the warming sun rays, got in a few rows knitting a baby item for a friend, dinner out with family, dessert out in a quaint village.

The best thing about yesterday wasn't any of the above... it was the early morning snuggle in the bed with my boys.  My little guy was very happy to give me a hug and a kiss, but then asked so innocently... as if he completely forgot..."When is it kid's day, mommy?" 

That was it... I just smiled and hugged him more for his innocence and the knowledge I am helping him to preserve his wonder and childhood.  I am very lucky to be a mother and to spend all this time with them as the grow, learn, and consider their world. 

Hope all the mommas out there were able to enjoy their special day!