Sunday, January 4, 2009

Keeping It Real, homeschool style...

Random thoughts about organizing homeschool life:

Don't fix what works. Yeah, I am always looking for a better way to do something, even when it is not necessary. My kids do better with consistancy rather than changing it up.

Don't compare. This would be with other families, along with not comparing our own children. Every person has there own learning curve, bent, style...go with it.

Don't do too much at once. Unit Studies are fantastic for us. It is adaptable to any age or learning style or grade requirements. School subject titles are an endless opportunity here. You can request more from an older student, and simplifiy for the younger ones. Example: for my highschool student transcript on Henry Ford I could list ... economics, basic mechanics, American History, sketch artistry, etc... For my 2nd grader I would only list reading, writing, spelling, science, and art.

-have fun
-be creative
-enjoy the moment

-implement daily life into a learning atmosphere...

Chores for us are pretty simple. We have four areas downstairs that I call "jurisdictions"; kitchen, dining, living, family rooms. We (me, and the 3 homeschooled kids, 15, 11, 7) are assigned 1 jurisdiction for one week (we rotate clockwise each week). Twice in a day we are required to clean our area which mainly means clear the floor; before daddy gets home ;^), and before we go to bed. Whatever is overseen (as in not picked up) is put in a Goodwill box. When someone is kind, etc they can pull something out of the Goodwill box for someone else-thus the name, lol. This avoids the excess dumping of one's stuff in anothers area (again, I don't listen to "that's not mine")

Routines (as requested by a viewer)-
Rise n Shine: dressed to shoes (this includes clean undies, lol), bed made (comforter straightened), dirty clothes to laundry, and a good attitude...reward: breakfast.
Light's Out (done atleast 1 hour before bed): Our jurisdictions, clean clothes put away, '29' Boogie Time (exlain next), shower/bath as needed... reward: snack with TV and/or family game time.

'29' Boogie Time: A fast scramble to put away 29 things... we do this upstairs often to help Andrew with his gigantic mess.
For the littles: It's in the Hat~ list all the stuff that needs to be put away (or draw a picture if needed). Then cut each job into a strip of paper, fold, put in hat... then pick a paper out to do. Great for children that get overwhelmed with a random 'clean your room'. My kids work as a team (aka family), but could be done for one child also.
A great family lesson in this: Learning to help others out also makes you realize that those others will always be there for you too!

In general, we don't spank. Yes, I have before, twice to be exact, when all else did not work for a very strongwilled child with an out-of-control behavior... not particularly proud to have resorted to it, yet it was a quick fix. NO, I am not judging anyone else, nor saying spanking is wrong; I do know several good families (most really) that do spank as punishment. I do believe it can be biblically based, as in Spare the rod, spoil the child, but I believe the rod (Sheppard's staff) can be used to guide our sheep also, thus our style of discipline:
*the thoughtful spot: Listed on a previous post. A place to sit by one's self when having a particularly difficult mood. To read, pray, write apology letters, draw, or just think, etc.

*A revoked public pass: one needs to behave in public if one wants to be seen in public. In general, the terrible 3's seem to bring this one on the most.
Curb appeal: Scream, yell, fight in car
...I will pull over and let you sit on the curb (within safety ofcourse) until one can choose to behave. Yes, this does include in the rain. (note: stay calm and matter-of-fact, this one is very effective at any age. I do give one warning, and have had to only apply this once per needed child).
*Military Style:
We have 5 boys ;^) that being said, we expect them to horse around, as in rough playing. All in fun is ok... in anger is not. If someone gets hurt randomly, then they just have to stop, period. But if there is an angry attitude or teasing (or the like), then it will require push-ups or wall sits. If they have enough energy to pick on each other, then they have enough energy for physical punishment. ;^)
Admittedly, we do not have to punish our children very often. We are blessed with children that seem to be reflective of how to treat others, which is how one would want to be treated.

So, those are just a few How to's that go on in our house... feel free to take what is useful to heart, and toss what is not... every family is unique, and you will know what is best for yours!

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