Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

For You They Signed - Looking ahead

I'm always looking ahead. My oldest two are finishing their freshman year and we have loved almost everything we have done. This time of year however, I start looking at my bookshelves, checking out the curriculum magazines that magically appear on my doorstep and looking forward to what I want to do next year with the kids.

Today is Monday. Mondays are usually not a great day to just sit around and pour over books. Usually there is washing to be done, chores to be caught up on, music lessons to run to and normally I'm delivering my Avon orders. But today, it's snowy, my husband is home not feeling well. I'm not feeling well. We have a sick chicken, yes chicken, and well I simply thought I'd take a look at whats on my shelf and sit and read awhile.

It's been several hours and I am now surrounded by Abeka 10th grade geography, Bob Jones geography, British literature, American Literature, 5th grade spelling, Vocab and Spelling, Writing and Grammar and well a host of other things. Yes, all from just thinking I might take a peek on my shelf and grab a book to read.

I  have this love hate relationship with living books vs boxed curriculum. I love a good book. I love the conciseness and non parental involvement of boxed curriculum. I hate trying to fit my living books into a perfectly organized curriculum by subject, date and relevance and I hate not having the full story in a textbook. Every year I go through the same problems. Geography is a great example of using a text book. It's organized and I know they are going to learn just enough. Literature is a poor example of a text book. While it's good for organized learning, reading half-stories is boring and I think does not feed a desire to read good literature. It takes the best parts of a book and leaves it at just that. You kind of miss the connection you get with the author and the characters when you don't read a book cover to cover . Don't get me wrong, textbooks are a good tool. I just don't feel like it's going to be what we want. Yet I believe I own every literature text book every made.

So, I've gotten way off my topic of what I wanted to talk about, but since this is a blog you get to read along with my spastic thought pattern.

Amongst my looking at books today I came across a little gem that I bought at the used curriculum fair last year. Marilyn Boyer's For You They Signed, The Spiritual Heritage of Those Who Shaped Our Nation. I picked it up last year because I had remembered hearing great things about the book and well, if a book has made any impression on me that I remember it while in the throws of  the pure joy of a book sale I must purchase it. I hugged my book, loved it a little held it close and when we got home gazed at it longingly as I put it on my shelf to be rediscovered today. Yes, a year later I pulled it out to peak inside the cover. I was even so excited I handed it off to my husband only to be greeted with "Oh yea, I read that last year when you bought it" (LET DOWN)

Before you faint, let me just remind you that I had already picked out what my kids were going to be doing for this year before I bought the book.

I curled up on the couch, surrounded by these loads of textbooks and started reading. It was the first time ever.....(I can not believe I'm admitting this) that I have read the Declaration of Independence. My immediate thought after the first few paragraphs was I have got to post this on Facebook. People need to read this. I popped over to facebook on my phone, yes I was still in the middle of reading, and started to post only to stop myself and shy away from telling everyone in the world that I had never read this founding document that our entire country rests upon. Um, yeah, no. Instead I'm sitting here telling you and I'm going to go post this on Facebooks so......yeah, throws a big knot into my thought process. Seriously if you have not read this document you really need to get your eyes on a copy now. Especially today!

I spent the next two hours devouring this book. I have to say it has been a sincere pleasure to read the stories of our founding fathers. Marilyn has outdone herself with the history and research that reside in-between the covers of this book. This is not a TEXTBOOK, it is a beautiful story interwoven with the lives of those who took a stand for our freedom when it was not the popular thing to do

I know I will not do it justice to explain how this book is laid out. I will however give you the link to their site. They have a sample chapter you can download and of course they have spent way more time concisely telling you about this book. No rabbit trails like my blog. :)

For You They Signed - Marilyn Boyer

Needless to say, my children will be reading this next year. It really is quite an amazing book. I consider it a must absolutely own book.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What About Socialization?

Ah yes, the all time most asked question from New Homeschool Moms and home education doubters. Why is this? Are we really worried about socialization? Do we even know what socialization means? Is it possible you mean socializing? Is there a difference?

Let's look at some definitions and then I'm going to open it up to Veteran Mom's to post what they mentor new homeschool mom's with. I believe having many opinions on this topic is just tools a new mom can use.

Let's look first at the word Socialization.

Socialization - from wikipedia
Socialization (or socialisation) is a term used by sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, political scientists and educationalists to refer to the lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs and ideologies, providing an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within his or her own society. Socialization is thus ‘the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained’.[1][2]
Socialization describes a process which may lead to desirable, or 'moral', outcomes in the opinion of said society. Individual views on certain issues, such as race or economics, are influenced by the view of the society at large and become a "normal," and acceptable outlook or value to have within a society. Many socio-political theories postulate that socialization provides only a partial explanation for human beliefs and behaviors, maintaining that agents are not 'blank slates' predetermined by their environment.

Interestingly it seems to have nothing to do with how many friends you have or if you have friends or if you can interact with another human. Mom, this is what YOU want to instill in your children. You do not want friends or teachers or the government telling you or your children how to view the social issues of our society. We as Christians want to filter everything through the Bible. 

Read on....

Socializing - socializing  present participle of so·cial·ize (Verb)
  1. Mix socially with others.
  2. Make (someone) behave in a way that is acceptable to their society: "newcomers are socialized into our ways"
  3. To take part in social activities.
Oh? A verb?. Last time I looked verbs are actions. Does it require work? Yes, you will need to make effort and opportunities for your children to make friends. But that is not the end all to the question. Thankfully it's not that hard. Church will offer plenty of opportunities to meet families. Homeschool groups and co-ops are another good way to meet families that have children. Taking advantage of park days, classes or just hanging at the library are all going to offer socializing opportunities. Honestly, if you have more then one child, a grandparent, a family member or even your neighbor you're going to be hard pressed not to interact with someone at some point. (socializing)

I want you to come away with two things. The knowledge between the two different word forms of socialization. Most of the time when you are asked "Well, what about socialization?" they mean are your kids going to have any friends. Rarely do you run into someone who wants to know how you are going to teach your child to view their world.
I also want you to feel confident that just because you homeschool you will not ruin your child socially. Truth be told when you look back in a few years you will laugh as you try to figure out how you are going to find time to "do school" in between all your socializing commitments.

Breathe, Mom who is new to homeschooling! You've already conquered one of the biggest battles in homeschooling. Answering the world when they ask "What about Socialization?"

Let's open this up to veteran homeschool mom's now. Tell me, how do you answer the above question?

Notgrass History

We are so close to finishing our first year with Notgrass History. This year my freshman have been completing the World History program.
What I love:
It is NOT teacher intensive (this could be why my dislikes are dislikes)
It integrates Bible
Includes intensive questioning that make the kids think and apply
Great Literature
Grammar points
Includes writing ideas to incorporate it with the History
Friday's or the 5th day is Bible Study and intensive
Includes living documents for study
Is written in a way that is interesting!

Since this is an honest opinion and I've not been asked to give my opinion for any compensation I'd like to cover what I am not liking about this program for my children.

What I do not like:
While the literature is great, it's very heavy reading for a freshman
There is not a lot of  "literature discussion"
While writing is included, I didn't feel there was a great writing support for the parent or child. (It's kind of an on your own thing)

Not much to not like, right?

I suppose if you had the time and you put forth the effort you would find my dislikes are not really anything more then personal to our homeschool.

All in all I love the curriculum. My kids are loving the curriculum. The content and quality far outweigh my not so excitedness (is that a word?) of the literature portion.

I do highly recommend this company and their products. It's a small homeschool business compared to the big wigs and I love supporting them. They are real and available. I love it!