Close in Age – Bull

Close in Age – Bull

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

My kids are close in age and I have a million of them. Am I setting myself up for failure to try and homeschool?

Love,
Dubious in Denver


 

Close in Age – Snow

Close in Age – Hyacinth

Close in Age – Doodle

Bull:

Dubious,

I don’t think I can say it any better than Dood, so I’ll just summarize her key points in Bull lingo:

1) Don’t compare apples to oranges. Your school will be different than the factory model. It will look and function differently. And that’s good, because I doubt your true goal is to recreate the public school system at home. So, I think the first thing you need to do is determine, “What are your goals?”

2) Then, establish a routine and stick with it. With a little forethought and preparation, productivity abounds. Without it, days can be lost to good intentions. In the early stages of home-schooling, it’s easy to get excited about the possibilities: uber-smart, obedient children, well-disciplined teens brimming with maturity, and young adults filled with the character to choose wisely. All of these accomplishments are possible, but not without a lot of hard work on your part. Your part comes first, so focus on it first.

3) Recognize and accept that there are sacrifices. We’ve talked about this before, but you can’t maintain a model showroom home, cook every meal from scratch, linger over long lunches with friends, indulge in weekly mani-pedi’s AND oversee a high functioning home-school. Educating your children is a job and should be treated as such. You wouldn’t keep any job for long that you only attended to occasionally. Give it your best — it’s a deserving profession.

I hope you’ll choose home-cooked over McDonald’s. I’m certain you can and that it will be the most satisfying “meal” you’ll ever choose. Bon appetit!

Bull

Close in Age – Doodle

Close in Age – Doodle

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

My kids are close in age and I have a million of them. Am I setting myself up for failure to try and homeschool?

Love,
Dubious in Denver


 

Close in Age – Snow

Close in Age – Hyacinth

Doodle:

Dearest Dubious,

I think the most overwhelming aspect of homeschooling is looking at the range the educational needs in your own home and wondering how you, the parent, can possibly serve each of your child’s specific needs. Part of the problem for me is that I am looking at modern education and using that as my model. While there are some great advancements made in education, parents have been educating their children since the beginning of time and the modern segregation by grades is a fairly new idea. Actually, it was birthed from the desire to bring education to the masses. Think: small “mom and pops” business to “corporation.” While more and more people grew in their desire to have their children educated, the sheer population of those needing education grew, which created the problem of “how to educate the masses.” Even though this was good problem to face, it does not mean that the old “style” of home education or the “one room school house” was a broken one. It just was not serving the masses, thus the breakdown of education by age.

I have five kids, but I have friends who homeschool with their 10 or 12 kids. Teaching a range of kids takes some creativity and patience. But, I actually feel that home education is more of an organic and natural approach to education. Our little “homeschool” gives my older children a chance to be reviewed on subject matter that may appear “beneath” them, but it offers them reinforcement on core elements that have become familiar, yet are essentials. My younger children overhear discussions on subjects that have not yet been introduced, but it provides them a beginning vocabulary that will eventually give way to understanding. My younger children are often reviewed by my older and sometimes my younger children review my older with vocabulary flashcards. So there is this natural flow of introduction, repetition and review.

I like to think of it this way: I can run my family through McDonalds or I can spend a little extra time, energy and focus to make them a home-cooked meal. While there is a valid need for a McDonalds style education in our fast paced world, I have chosen a home-catered education that is full of life-giving substance that gives way to a long-satisfying healthy education.

Love,
Dood

Bull wraps is all up tomorrow, May 31st! Stay tuned…

Close in Age – Hyacinth

Close in Age – Hyacinth

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

My kids are close in age and I have a million of them. Am I setting myself up for failure to try and homeschool?

Love,
Dubious in Denver


 

Close in Age – Snow

Hyacinth:

Dear Dubious,
This is a common situation with homeschooling families, so you’re not alone. As I mentioned in last week’s post, our own school experience can paralyze us a bit. We need to hearken back to the one-room schoolhouse, which none of us know about except through Little House on the Prairie. Here are a few ideas of how it works:

Grammar – we do a lot of dictation of sentences, and we start with a basic subject/verb sentence. My second grader can identify and/or diagram the basic parts of speech, and my fifth grade student adds clauses and modifiers and diagrams them. This also can serve as a handwriting exercise with the older students using cursive while the younger students print.

History – We like the Story of the World series, and I’ll read the narrative aloud to all the children, and the younger students can answer the most basic comprehension questions; the older students answer more in-depth questions. The older students can write a summary; the younger students can draw a picture and write a simple caption to summarize. I try to find
books at their level to correlate with the history we’re studying.

Science – all students can participate in a science experiment, and the older students can write up lab reports and research the scientific principles of the experiment. Younger students can dictate their results to their mom, and she can write down their findings, and they could even use this for copy work.

Dubious, you can do this!

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Hear from Doodle tomorrow, May 30th

Bull lays out her thoughts on Thursday, May 31st!

Close in Age – Snow

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

My kids are close in age and I have a million of them. Am I setting myself up for failure to try and homeschool?

Love,
Dubious in Denver


 

Snow:
Dear Dubious,

I cannot speak from experience on this one. I only have 2 kids plus one on the way, and they are fairly far apart in age… What I can say is that I see families doing it and doing it well! These families have a common thread running through them… They have a vision for homeschooling! They have a plan and a purpose. They have committed themselves and their family to something that they believe in 100%. I greatly admire each of them!

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Spacing

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I have kids far apart, how do I teach them all?

Love,
Confused in Cleveland


 

Bull:
Dear Confused,

Three things instantly come to mind: develop an efficient schedule, treat it like the Holy Grail, and give those kids jobs. As for your schedule, put the most important subjects at the top of the list. What are the most important subjects? Heck, I don’t know – that’s your call! If you want me to start bossing you around, which is something I usually reserve for my closest pals, I’m going to have to charge something. So, let’s get back to the free stuff. When you’ve developed a schedule that works for you, stick to it. You don’t have time to waste, so don’t waste any! Stay off the phone, the computer, the TV, and allow your wisely-devised schedule to work for you. Then, give your kids a job. Your olders can certainly lend a hand with grunt work. Have them check the youngers’ math facts, administer spelling tests, listen to read-alouds. The thought of passing the buck on read-alouds make me g-g-g-g-giddy! ;)

Bull

Snow:

Dear Confused in Cleveland,

Take Bull’s advice! Schedule, jobs, pass the buck… Sounds like a plan!
Spacing Day 2

My girls are 5 grades apart but we do more together than you would think. Anything that is on audio, we listen to together, mostly because we do that in the car, and they are trapped like mice! I have them read to each other, too. I have a schedule where I get one started with something and send them on their way. Then, I get the next one started on a subject. I juggle having them work on the things they can do independently while the other is doing the subject they need me to teach. I alternate back and forth. If I had more than 2 kids, I imagine it would work similarly. The older they get, the more I see them being independent for longer amounts of time. This all helps with my one goal in life: an uninterrupted shower!.

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Hyacinth:

Dear Confused,

Fear not! I suspect you are picturing yourself as if you are a classroom teacher, so the task seems physically, mentally, and hormonally impossible. Remember, homeschooling is a different animal – you aren’t delivering lectures all day. Ideally, homeschool students become independent learners; you’ll get your student started, but you should expect him to complete his work with minimal intervention (over time).

One of my friends with six children spends a good deal of time helping her kids to become early readers, then when they are in the older elementary years, they can soar independently. They are immersed in great books, and probably because of this, they are all wonderfully creative and accomplished. Many people find that their oldest child has a way of snagging all of mom’s time, but my friend makes sure she pours the most time into those early readers so they can work independently later.

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Spacing – Hyacinth

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I have kids far apart, how do I teach them all?

Love,
Confused in Cleveland


 

Hyacinth:

Dear Confused,

Fear not! I suspect you are picturing yourself as if you are a classroom teacher, so the task seems physically, mentally, and hormonally impossible. Remember, homeschooling is a different animal – you aren’t delivering lectures all day. Ideally, homeschool students become independent learners; you’ll get your student started, but you should expect him to complete his work with minimal intervention (over time).

One of my friends with six children spends a good deal of time helping her kids to become early readers, then when they are in the older elementary years, they can soar independently. They are immersed in great books, and probably because of this, they are all wonderfully creative and accomplished. Many people find that their oldest child has a way of snagging all of mom’s time, but my friend makes sure she pours the most time into those early readers so they can work independently later.

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Click here to read Bull’s thoughts from Tuesday!

Find Snow’s post from yesterday here

Spacing – Snow

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I have kids far apart, how do I teach them all?

Love,
Confused in Cleveland


 

Snow:

Dear Confused in Cleveland,

Take Bull’s advice! Schedule, jobs, pass the buck… Sounds like a plan!
Spacing Day 2

My girls are 5 grades apart but we do more together than you would think. Anything that is on audio, we listen to together, mostly because we do that in the car, and they are trapped like mice! I have them read to each other, too. I have a schedule where I get one started with something and send them on their way. Then, I get the next one started on a subject. I juggle having them work on the things they can do independently while the other is doing the subject they need me to teach. I alternate back and forth. If I had more than 2 kids, I imagine it would work similarly. The older they get, the more I see them being independent for longer amounts of time. This all helps with my one goal in life: an uninterrupted shower!.

Grace & Peace,
Snow

Read what Bull had to say about spacing yesterday here

Hyacinth shares tomorrow, May 17th! Be sure to check back!

Spacing – Bull

Spacing – Bull

Brain Trust,

Dear Brain Trust,

I have kids far apart, how do I teach them all?

Love,
Confused in Cleveland


 

Bull:
Dear Confused,

Three things instantly come to mind: develop an efficient schedule, treat it like the Holy Grail, and give those kids jobs. As for your schedule, put the most important subjects at the top of the list. What are the most important subjects? Heck, I don’t know – that’s your call! If you want me to start bossing you around, which is something I usually reserve for my closest pals, I’m going to have to charge something. So, let’s get back to the free stuff. When you’ve developed a schedule that works for you, stick to it. You don’t have time to waste, so don’t waste any! Stay off the phone, the computer, the TV, and allow your wisely-devised schedule to work for you. Then, give your kids a job. Your olders can certainly lend a hand with grunt work. Have them check the youngers’ math facts, administer spelling tests, listen to read-alouds. The thought of passing the buck on read-alouds make me g-g-g-g-giddy! ;)

Bull

Read Snow’s thoughts tomorrow, May 16th…

Hyacinth shares her perspective on Thursday, May 17th…

Hubby’s Role – Day 4

Brain Trust,

What is the role of your husband in your homeschool?

Love,
The Mrs.


 

Hyacinth:
John and guitar
Dear Mrs.,

I think the issue of husbands in homeschooling prompts a lot of “the grass is greener” sort of thinking. I’ve observed that moms with very involved husbands often wish their husbands would butt out, and moms with hands-off dads wish they could have more help. These poor guys can’t seem to make us happy!

Like many of you, I used to be a career girl, and I ultimately gave up my career because I didn’t feel like I could raise my kids well because my career consumed my time, energy, and creativity. Consequently, I try not to unfairly burden my husband with the same expectations that I wasn’t able to pull off myself. A division of labor seems to work well in our household: I try to shoulder the majority of the homeschooling so that he can focus on his demanding career. I’m grateful that his hard work funds our homeschooling life.

One word of caution, here (and I’m really lecturing myself on this point): don’t become so autonomous that your husband feels left out. Ask him for his opinions – he will have great insights into the personality dynamics and quirks of the family members, yet he may be reluctant to offer his opinion unless asked. Also, ask the kids to tell their dad what they are learning. Not only is the War of 1812 a scintillating dinner table discussion in its own right, it will keep Dad connected to your homeschooling lives – everyone wins!

Peace be with you,
Hyacinth

Read Bull’s thoughts from Monday…

Click here to see what Snow said on Tuesday.

Read what Doodle said yesterday.

Hubby’s Role – Day 3

Brain Trust,

What is the role of your husband in your homeschool?

Love,
The Mrs.


 

Doodle:

Ford Boys
Dear Mrs.,

If Snow were my wife and the mother of my children, I would be on a very long Carribbean cruise. Snow, when can I drop off the kids? And Bull? What are your discounted rates?

Each homeschool family has their own personality and dynamics. I am inspired by them all. Really, is it not amazing that these men all over the nation trust their wives and themselves to educate their children? It really is a call and sense of something much greater than probably any of us realize. I could not homeschool without the encouragement and support of my husband. His conviction has kept me trudging forward. He has never once asked about curriculum or our scope and sequence. But, on the other side, I have friends whose husbands are very involved in all of those decisions. So, each family needs to find their groove, and relax, knowing that they will find their way. Here are some pointers to include hubby:

1. Communicate. When I am overloaded or feel overwhelmed, I have learned that it’s not my husband’s responsibility to right all of the wrongs. He is my husband, not my saviour. (That’s where good girlfriends come in handy). But on the other hand, I also have learned to wave the “white flag” when I need some reinforcement. My guy is the first one to come to my aid and bring encouragement. He is a great sounding board and sometimes just having someone who has a vested interest is all I need.

2. Decisions. With our homeschooling, I do the research and have basically figured out what I want to do regarding curriculums, but I work to include my husband before making a major decision. This helps. This helps a lot. Two are better than one. And when the going gets tough, you have the moral support of each other. You are a united force in front of your children. Even if you make a wrong decision, at least you are making it together.

3. Older kids. As my kids have entered middle school and high school years, my husband helps in math, science and editing papers. My logical reasoning: I was an Art Major. He studied Biology and Chemistry. A match made in heaven!

Bottom line: like marriage, there’s no “perfect” arrangement; every family just has to find their own path.

Love,
Doodle

Read Bull’s thoughts from Monday…

Click here to see what Snow said yesterday.

Stay tuned to hear from Hyacinth tomorrow, April 26th!