Thursday, July 23

We're in This Together

My post is up at Heart of the Matter today: How NOT To Talk to a Teacher. It seemed important after I began to evaluate all the conversations I've had with folks who are classroom teachers. Of my friends who are/were classroom teachers:

  • One has completely lambasted homeschooling.
  • A couple have accepted that I teach them at home, but have reservations.
  • Some recognize what I do as a legitimate option but believe strongly in the institution too.
  • A few looked at me in awe when they found out I homeschooled and said, "Wow. I could never do that."
  • Most have strongly encouraged me in my endeavor and regularly ask me, "So how it is going?"
  • One is no longer a classroom teacher because she pulled her kids out so she could teach them at home.

I'm okay with all of these responses. The relationships are more valuable to me than the differences in educational philosophy. Sometimes, however, homeschoolers can be a bit insulting toward classroom teachers -- though I've seen it go both ways. (Most of the ugliness I have seen happens in the blogging world.) It will not serve us well to build walls up. Assuming the worst in one another will not get us anywhere. This is just a gentle reminder.

Read more here.

Monday, July 20

A Summer Geography Lesson

My husband surprised me with a trip for two to Great Britain to celebrate our 15th anniversary. We leave soon and I'm so excited.

One of the neat things about this trip is that the boys and I studied Great Britain last year and so we are familiar with some of the sights and history of it.
  • We studied the life of George Mueller and all that was happening during the Victorian era.
  • We searched online for some of the more mysterious places in GB (and there are quite a few!).
  • We learned that England gave us the magnifying glass, the Christmas card, the stapler, the piggy bank, the postage stamp and the television.
  • We read "Daffodils" and wrote our own poetry.
  • We colored maps of the area and even learned how far reaching the Victorian Empire was.
  • We learned that twice as many of its people claim to be of no religion than those who claim to be Christian.
  • We learned the difference between the British Isles, Great Britain and England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland.
  • We put ourselves in the shoes of a Victorian servant and a 19th century coal miner.
  • We learned about the life of Queen Victoria.
Homeschooling has been so beneficial for the boys for so many reasons. And now I'm reaping a personal benefit having been prepared a bit to experience a culture firsthand. I wish I could take the boys so they could see it all firsthand as well. But that's not the purpose of this trip.

If I can figure out HOW, I'll try to post pictures.

Wednesday, July 8

Heart of the Matter Summer Edition

The Heart of the Matter Magazine Summer Edition is out today. I'm on page 26, but there are a lot of other great things in there! If you're a home educator go check it out and leave your comments on the articles you read. The writers dig that kind of thing. :-)

Monday, July 6

Giveaway from The Crafty Crow

Here's a giveaway at Crafty Crow that might inspire your homeschooling in new directions. You can get a free issue of Around: the Homeschooling Lifestyle Zine. I'm always on the lookout for homeschooling sources that aren't the same ol', same ol' if you know what I mean.

To be entered in this giveaway click the link above and leave a comment there by midnight P.S.T. on Saturday, July 11th. The five winners will be announced on Monday, July 13th. This giveaway is available worldwide.

Sunday, July 5

Intentional To-Do

I have a definite love for making lists. My to-do list, specifically, has bounced over and over again from a spiral notebook, to my Outlook task folder, to full-page organizers, to little pieces of scratch paper. Once that list wants out of my head, I get it down in whatever medium I have available.

One summer my satisfyingly extensive to-do list wasn't even enough. As I was recording daily what my baby was learning and doing (see, another list!) I began to also journal three or four things that the entire family had done each day, thus underscoring all the things I had been able to cross off said to-do list.

After nostalgically re-reading some of that journaling this weekend I noticed one thing. It was all about what we did and nothing about how we did it or who we became in the process.

Last month I had the opportunity to attend a workshop by Keith Dorscht of Live Fully Engaged. Among all the really useful things he said, one thing that stuck with me was the idea of how to approach my to-do list. What it boiled down to was to ask myself this question, "At the end of the day what will "well done" look like?"

In the past few weeks, that phrase has been priceless to me.

We so often push "well done" into the heavenly scenario that will take place at the end of our lives. But this mentality seems to only give us space to blow-it daily and fall back on idly trying again tomorrow. But what if we only continue to screw up our teaching, our marriage, our parenting, our priorities? What tragedies befall us if we keep putting off the changes we need to make? What if there isn't a tomorrow?

Asking, "What will 'well done' look like?" daily opens up my to-do list to the true priorities: making my voice respectful, looking my kids in the eye when they ask for my attention, responding with patience to the irritating things of life, doing the hard things in relationships, thinking outside the box, tackling the tasks that will bless others, show love in ways that are meaningful to the recipient, [insert your own personal growth issue here]...

This summer my to-do list seems much shorter than in years past. Truthfully, I have plenty of things to do, but I'm not nearly as focused on what I have to do as I am on who I aim to be at the end of the day. It's amazing what at little mental shift will do for you.

So, at the end of your day today what will "well done" look like in your life?