Saturday, July 30, 2011

Minimizing distractions -- hopefully

I plan on starting this new school year on the right foot (though plans often change).  I have got his books, the whiteboard, desk, and maps all set up.  But, I am learning that we as home educators are responsible for so much more than making sure they know the right states and capital facts, and their multiplication, etc. 

We are also going to be working on minimizing distractions – keeping focus.  

photo from

Last March when I attended the homeschool conference in Cincinnati, one workshop caught my eye. 
The workshop on by Jessie Hawkins, called The Sidetracked Child: How Botanicals and Nutrition Can Increase Concentration and Reduce
Distractibility in Your Homeschool. 

I immediately knew I had to make it to that one.  And it was very interesting. 
She was very informative – in fact got me to thinking  rethinking, my set up for Noah’s fourth grade year. 
Just three of the points I thought were interesting.
1.  Make sure they have plenty of sunlight, or better yet, if it is a nice day – take your work outside.  I must admit we don’t usually, in fact, I don’t think I have ever had him do his work outside.  Though I have thought it a very cool idea. 
2. Put some plants in your schooling area – plants help to filter out those invisible bad house toxins.  Great idea!  Love this concept, just not so sure how well it will go over considering I DO NOT have a green thumb at all.    I will need to find some really hardy plants. 
3. Maple syrup is good for you.   You know the real stuff…  the Grade B is best. 

In my way of thinking if we start with just these three we will have  -- 1.) a pleasant school area, and 2. )  a good breakfast!

Oh by the way, I think Jessie Hawkins’ Vintage Remedy and other books will make a great health class… maybe next year… I’ll have to save the money for it.   

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Busy summer fun…

These past two weeks have been busy, but fun.  We have had cousins visit, camping trips, and a trip to Maine.

FIRST camping with Grandma and Grandpa and his cousin.
fire 1
camp fire
Working together to build a fire…
Some play time…  When I saw this, I couldn’t resist taking a picture.
Noah laughed and laughed – quite a few kids gathered around.  Noah and his cousin wanted to sell tickets to this “attraction”
After camping, was our day trip to Maine…
This water was FREEZING.  It felt like ice cubes, but Noah declares it as his “best day ever!”
In fact, this is the look he gives me when I tell it it is time to go. 
Cape Neddick Lighthouse!
What a fun past two weeks he had!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Time’s getting away from me

I wish I could say that I have everything done for this coming school year.  I. do. not.  And it’s driving me crazy.  I mean I have scheduled in that we are starting on AUGUST 15th. 
On top of that I made the mistake of checking  -- just to see – how much I had left.  Umm, quite a bit of it…
I like to have the whole year, put into folders, schedules, and notebooks BEFORE we start.  So far, it is slow going.  I do, however, finally have all of his books bought.  So, we are getting somewhere…
This past few weeks kinda got away from me.  {summer fun}

And it will be okay. 
On the bright side our summer activities are going great, and Noah is having lots of fun with his cousin who has come up for a visit!  (pics to come in the next few days)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Notable Noah – Doing his part…

So, I am SO GLAD that Noah can mow the lawn this summer.  I taught him, and he can actually keep a straight line pretty good.  Now, I like to mow the lawn, (when it is not hot out), BUT when it is that’s when it is Noah turn.  He does a really good job.

mowing 1
I know… he’s kinda far away, but I was sitting under the shade tree!  :)
and no, he doesn’t have to mow all that grass. 
mowing 2
Collecting the grass for the garden. 
He seriously likes mowing… he doesn’t even ask for money!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

More than just book learning…

I absolutely love having the opportunity to teach my son at home.  I like watching that lightbulb come on in his head when he understands something new.  And while, I wish for Noah to know all the knowledge and facts that he can soak up, I also wish for him to be a Godly, whole – human being.  (not merely a robot that can spout of facts at any given moment)  I want him to know why, to be free to ask questions {which he certainly does}, and to THINK!   And for this reason, I like Charlotte Mason, and her style of teaching children A LOT. 
{Taken from the simply charlotte mason website} ~
Charlotte Mason was a British educator who lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Her method, the Charlotte Mason method, is centered around the idea that education is three-pronged: Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.  By “Atmosphere,” Charlotte meant the surroundings in which the child grows up. A child absorbs a lot from his home environment. Charlotte believed that atmosphere makes up one-third of a child’s education.  By “Discipline,” Charlotte meant the discipline of good habits — and specifically habits of character. Cultivating good habits in your child’s life make up another third of his education.  The other third of education, “Life,” applies to academics. Charlotte believed that we should give children living thoughts and ideas, not just dry facts. So all of her methods for teaching the various school subjects are built around that concept.  For example, Charlotte’s students used living books rather than dry textbooks. Living books are usually written in story form by one author who has a passion for the subject. A living book makes the subject “come alive.”  She taught spelling by using passages from great books that communicate great ideas rather than just a list of words.  She encouraged spending time outdoors, interacting with God’s creation firsthand and learning the living ways of nature
The Charlotte Mason method is simply of living books, narration, dictation, copywork, and instilling good manners.  Now, I put that quite simply and if you would like to read about her method in more detail than check out her website HERE.   One of the greatest opportunities we have as homeschoolers is that our children can learn through everyday life.  Through doing, rather than just sitting down with a textbook all day.  She encourages that much of the child’s time be spent outdoors, playing, learning, discovering!  Have a nature journal. 
That being said… I like quotes.  and this one I came across of Charlotte Mason’s is one I am going to put up in our schooling area. 
If you went to one of Charlotte Mason’s schools you received this motto.    You can read the whole 5 –part blog post on her website beginning here.  They all must work together, one cannot have more focus than the other. 
Another great quote from Charlotte,  “to aquaint a child with himself—what he is as a human being – is a great part of education.”

Noah's 4th grade reading list

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