Sunday, December 16, 2012

No Answers

I don't normally cross-post stuff from my personal blog, but I am going to break my rule and do it. I wrote this Friday night.

No Answers

Nolan padded down the stairs about 90 minutes after being put to bed tonight. He says he is not sick nor did he have a bad dream.  He knows nothing of today's tragedy in Newton, CT . He just needed to be by me. Ironic, because tonight more than any other night, I needed him. He climbed onto the couch and stretched out in between my legs and was snoring in 2 minutes flat. As I look down at his lashes so long that they make a shadow on his face, I started to cry. How many of the 20 innocent children murdered today had long lashes? How many parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends are staring at gifts under the Christmas tree tonight that will never be opened? How can life ever go on when your baby is ripped from this earth in an act of such violence? How many siblings will have to live the rest of their lives wondering what little brother or sister would have grown up to be? Where any of them twins?

The pain is unfathomable. I don't want to think about it, but I have to. Just because I homeschool doesn't mean we are 100% safe. This could (and does) happen anywhere. The mall, the movies, hospitals.

After hearing the news today, I was in a farmers market. A man walked in, both hands buried in jacket pockets. He was unkempt and muttering to himself, his eyes shifted nervously. Probably totally harmless, but at that moment I had a panic attack. I walked out without buying anything. I can't run away forever, but today I did.

We have become an angry society. Someone in front of you is going a mile under the speed limit and the car behind is honking and yelling. The cashier isn't moving as fast as you'd like, so you make some rude comment. So many have no patience or kindness in their hearts.  Mentally ill people either have no where to go because there are no beds, they can't pay for it, or no one cares enough to speak up and help them.

Violence has become an acceptable way to deal with problems. Rappers sing about it like it is a tea party. Kids play violent video games at such a young age that they know no other way to deal with problems than to hit someone. Or worse, pick up a gun with bad intentions. (I was raised in a home with guns. I learned to shoot. I learned respect for them. No matter what gun laws are made, they will always make it into the hands of those that really want them.)

I'm not an ultra religious person. I believe in a higher power, but at times like this I question how any higher power could let something like this happen. People say things like, "everything happens for a reason"  or "God needed more angels." That is bull. There is NO reason why 20 little kids will never ride their bike around the block again, put a tooth under the pillow for the tooth fairy, or kiss their parents good night. Why 7 adults will never see their children get married or bounce their Grand-babies on their knees. NO REASON.

This was not a random act of violence. This person knew where he was going and what he was going to do when he got there. He is described as being "off", but was on enough to plot this massacre and get himself some body armor in the process. I'm angry that he had access to guns. Why would there be guns in the house with him? If his mom was afraid of him enough to buy a gun(s) then something else should have been done for everyone's safety.

I have no answers tonight. Only tears.

Life will go on for us, but not for 27 families in CT.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Give Thanks

Today is a day to reflect on what we are thankful for. I am thankful my husband is on-board with homeschooling and is supportive with how I'm doing it. Without his hard work, I wouldn't be able to stay home and do this.

I'm also thankful that so many institutions are now offering homeschool activities and classes. It is helping the kids establish friendships other than the kids in the neighborhood or in our multiples group.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Homeschool Field Trips

I'm excited to have found a very active homeschool "field trip" type group on facebook. It will give my kids a chance to hang out with other kids and see places we have never been or discover something new about a favorite place. Maybe make a lifetime friend. You just never know.

As my kids are getting older, the trips take on different shapes. Before we used to go to the West Side Market to just be exposed to all the sights and smells. Slowly, they started asking questions about the different foods and the nationalities behind them. Now when we go, they get some money to spend and they have to make choices about how to spend it and keep count of their money. As they get older, I'll give them a recipe to gather ingredients for and then they will have to cook it.

What about you? What places do you visit and how have those visits changed as your child grows? What was your favorite "field trip" and why?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall Lessons

Well, homeschooling is well under way, but then again it always is at our house. Learning is 24-7 for us.

We have been focusing on fall stuff and incorporating that into our daily handwriting practices and spelling words. We have done some experiments with apples, which really stuck with the kids. They talk about it all the time. We cut up an apple, left one piece out on a plate, covered one slice with lemon juice, and submerged the other in water. We observed them and noted which one turned brown the fastest and talked about why.

We wrapped up our lessons with a little field trip to the apple orchards to soak up the fall colors and get some apples.

We are so lucky to have both Patterson's & Sage's (pictured below) Fruit Farms so close.

We missed U-Pick season this year, but it is on the agenda for next year.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Homeschool Information

One main point that came out of our homeschool panel is that there is no one place to go to find all the resources you'd need to get started homeschooling or to at least send you in the right path to research. 

The panel pulled together a bunch of great resources and the News-Herald published them here.

It is a good place to find the law, find the form to send to the school district each year, find resources for classes, books, etc.

The Homeschool Panel Discussion at the News Herald- August 2012

I just want to get it in this blog, so it is always available.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Homeschool Panel Discussion

I think the panel discussion held at the News-Herald last night (8/13/12) went really well. We'd hope for a higher attendance, but at the end of the night I felt like we helped several people by giving them resources and encouragement to jump into homeschooling and that is all that matters.

I didn't have too much to say as I am still learning the ins and outs myself, so it was very informative for me as well. I feel lucky to be a part of this community of homeschoolers.

One thing that has had me thinking all day, was the question about how to get your child disengaged from the TV, computer games, etc. We all responded "just turn it off." In hindsight, I wish I would have thought that response out a little more. Sure, turn it off is the first step, but other thing must happen in order for it work. The parent has to engage the child in another activity. Sure it is easier to turn on the TV while you cook dinner. We all know it gets done faster and there is less mess, but if you turn the TV off and invite the child(ren) to help you, you have an instant math lesson. Fractions, measuring, portioning.

So yes," turn it off, but turn the child's mind onto something else" would have been a better response.

I hope those that attended the session, got some good information form it and if you didn't any still have questions, please feel free to ask them here. If I don't know the answer, I can surely find it out.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Thinking of Homeschooling?

Are you thinking of homeschooling? Want to know why others decided to make the choice to homeschool? Have questions about what resources are available to you? Want to know your rights as a homeschooling parent?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please join me and several other homeschool moms for a roundtable discussion at the News-Herald's office.

Monday, August 13th, 7pm.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Homeschool Classes Outside The Home

I just registered my kids for the Zoo homeschool programs. Lake Metroparks has their schedule for the fall out and I'm waiting for The Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Fine Arts. Sure would be easier planning if they all came out around the same time.

Anyone else doing any of these classes? Found any others that are fabulous?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Others View on Homeschool

I don't know about you, but I look at life as a learning experience. Everywhere we go can be made into some sort of teachable moment or segue to a whole weeks worth of learning on a particular topic.

It seems lately, with school being out for the summer that I'm getting a lot of questions about how I home school and if we are "on vacation" like kids that go to "regular" school.

A friend recently commented that since her daughter was now done with preschool, we must be too. That is not the case. While we may have backed off the structured book work; we still do a far amount as well as practice writing and reading. We are also always on the go and each place we go, I find something to teach them about and we go to the library and research or hop on-line and find more information about.

As a parent, I've always felt I was the most important teacher in my kids lives. Even if I had decided on traditional school, I'd still be doing this stuff in the summers with them for retention. It is interesting to see how other parents feel and what they do (or don't do) for time off school.

What about you? What do you do for school breaks? If you are homeschooling do you take a vacation period or do you just keep on going? If your child goes to traditional school do you work with them in the summer or do you take a hands off approach?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Homeschool Mind Struggle

I'm moving forward with creating an overview of what I want to teach the twinadoes for their Kindergarten year. I think, no, I know, I was meant to be an elementary school teacher or librarian because I'm having way to much fun planning and creating activities we will do. I worked in a library for 10 years and originally started college with elementary education as the goal, but life took a different road. Little did I know it would merge back up 20 years later. Reminds me of the poem, "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost.

I've struggled a lot with the thought of "will I be teaching the right things they need to know to be successful in life". The bigger question is, Who decides what the right things are? I think I've done a good job teaching them thus far. I think about the things I had to learn in school and how much of it I actually use in real life. The more I think, the more I come to terms with the fact that it is not the subject I am specifically teaching them about, but how they arrived at that learning place. Do they know how to research to find answers? Do they know how to think outside the box to get an answer or try another solution? Are they interested in it? Sure I could sit down and have them memorize facts about the Underground Railroad, but in the end is it more important to know those facts or to have a more general understanding of why an Underground Railroad was necessary.

I've also found that the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, The Natural History Museum, and Lake Metroparks have homeschool programs that we'll be incorporating into our days to give the kids an opportunity to socialize with other kids.

At any rate, we'll go our best to have as much fun learning everything MY two 5 year olds want to know and all the things I feel they need to know.

The lesson planning continues......

Friday, January 20, 2012

Anyone Out There

I have been very lax in posting, its not that I don't have anything to say, I just can't find the time to say it. My little photography business has taken off nicely and I find myself immersed in photoshop and lightroom in the spare time I was dedicating to blogging (even my personal blog for family and friends has suffered too!) There is a little lull in the action right now and several people have mentioned this News-Herald blog to me so I figured people must still be out there and reading!

My biggest worry and decision right now is about sending the twinadoes to school in the fall. I am leaning towards homeschooling and on most days I am really happy with that decision. The one day where I'm back to old insecure me keeps nagging that maybe it is not the right call. I enroll them in all sorts of activities so they get the social time. Anyone that spends 5 minutes with them knows they have no problems with their social skills, so I'm not worried about that. It's me worrying that I will not be teaching them all they need to know. When I sit down at the end of the day and think about it, I know that is not the case since they are pretty darn smart and are having no trouble working their way through the preschool/K/1st grade stuff we do at home. They are 4 1/2 and can read, write, and are working on addition and subtraction and telling time.

I'm exploring options now because the school registration starts soon. So fill me in.....if you homeschool, do you use a curriculm? If so, which one? What programs for home schoolers do you find useful? I know Willoughby Fine Arts and the Metroparks offer homeschool stuff, where else? What websites do you find most helpful?

Please, help a mother out!