What Type of School is Best

When my daughter was entering kindergarten, my husband was convinced we should homeschool her.  I was not as convinced but after much prayer we made the decision to homeschool without intention of sending her to public school.  I proceeded to homeschool my daughter for two years.  Honestly, we loved it.  Then it happened, that life changing moment when God calls you to completely change your life to pursue his call.  God called us to pack up and move.  He said my husband is to go to nursing school and thus I had to go to work full time and my kids needed to go to school.  Now my kids are going to a very good public school.  Guess what?  They love it.  They are enjoying all of their friends and are growing in their confidence.

Now I have been in a unique position to experience both sides of the debate of homeschool vs. public school vs. charter schools.  I have heard people say public school is awful and I have heard people say homeschooling is awful.  I have heard so much judgement.  Parents let me say this,  every family needs to make their decisions based on their kids unique situation.  Both types of schooling has merit and both weaknesses.  I miss the one on one with my kids but my kids are enjoying getting to make lots of friends.  Their confidence is growing.  I miss getting to have direct control of what they are learning, yet I believe my son who is a bit ADHD seems to respond better to his teacher than to me.

My point being if you are considering school choice, let me encourage you to pray about what will work best for you and your kids.  Pray God directs you.  I believe you can raise your kids to be well educated, healthy, And loving humans no matter what school choice you make.  Neither school option is bad.  Know that with homeschooling, you need a lot of dedication but it is fun, doable, and you get to spend memorable days with your kids.  With public school, your kids get to learn that they are able to function, make friends, and build confidence.

Moms and Dads don’t stress!  Seek the Lord and make the decision that is best for your kids.  If you mess up, no worries, God covers our mistakes and you can always change your mind,

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Kindergarten Graduation

The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster.  We have been working to wrap up the kindergarten school year with my daughter.  The year has been full of both victories and struggles.  I have seen her catch on to some things quickly and other things have been an absolute battle!  For Michaela, math has been easy.  In fact, we still have three weeks left of kindergarten, but she has been done with her math books for a couple of weeks.  She just decided to get it done and she did.

Reading has not been like that at all!  It has been hard.  It has involved tears.  It has involved changing curriculum mid way through.  It has involved a lot of work.  Some small victories, and my daughter just not wanting to do it.  She often complained that it is hard.  We decided that she is right, it is hard.  So we decided to reward her for trying her best to read (not reading correctly, but just reading with a good heart).  We set up a sticker chart and rewarded her with a new book of her choice when she filled her chart.  At first, this was effective to end the fighting.  Gradually, it changed to my daughter looking forward to getting a sticker and counting down to her next book.  I also slowed way down and repeated pages for months on end.  All of a sudden, it seemed to be easier.  Now she is actually reading.  To see her face light up when she realized she just read an entire story without having to sound out words, was an amazing moment.  It was probably the most satisfying moment I have ever had in regards to seeing work that we have done paying off.

My girl has learned so much this year and changed so much this year.  That it really does blow my mind.  It makes me feel like all of the crazy sacrifices to actually homeschool her has been worth the investment.  I feel honored to have the opportunity to play such an integral part in her education.

Needless to say, this past week as I have prepared and helped plan her kindergarten graduation, I have been a bit of an emotional wreck!  My baby is growing up!  How is it possible?  It feels like yesterday that she was born.

Congratulations to my sweet daughter.  This is just the beginning and I am preparing my heart to enjoy the ride.

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They grow up so very fast.

Farm Fun: Where Does Our Food Come From

One of the things that we have focused on in our homeschool this past year is learning about where our food comes from.  When the opportunity arose to visit Shamrock Farms Dairy Farm with our 4H group, I could not turn down the opportunity.  Shamrock Farms is after all one of the largest Dairy Farms in the United States.  Let me tell you, I have never seen so many cows in one place in my life!

Prior to our field trip, we studied about cows and dairy farms.  We looked up information online and we checked out books from our library.  We learned as much as we could about cows and milk production before we ever stepped on to the farm.  We did this for a couple of reasons.  The first one is obvious, we wanted to learn about where our food comes from and educate ourselves.  The second reason is that it increased my kids anticipation of our trip to the farm itself.  Every day we learned something new, and every day my kids got more and more excited.

The day of our field trip finally arrived.  Let me tell you, my little ones were totally excited to see cows!  We had to drive about an hour and a half to get there, and I was asked probably fifty times if we were there yet.  Finally I went with the answer, you’ll know we’re there when you can look out your window and see cows.  Then the question was, “Mommy, why can’t I see cows yet?  Are they invisible?”  So funny!  No they were not invisible.

We took an air tram ride around the farm.  Here are some pictures of our adventures

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This is a picture of the actual milking facility.  This picture doesn’t fully capture just how massive this facility is, this is just one of the lines of cows.  There were several lines of cows just like this.  I found this really interesting.  Apparently, among the cows have a hierarchy so to speak.  Basically, among the cows, they decide who the lead cow is in the herd.  Every day the cows come into the milk facility.  They follow the leader cow, that they chose.  The cows go into the facility themselves, and line up in the exact same order every single day, and get themselves into position to be milked.  We actually had the pleasure of watching the cows line themselves up and get ready to be milked.  I was amazed at the intelligence and organization the cows had, that was not facilitated by people.  The cows just knew what to do.  They all get milked twice daily.

We also got to see milking machines.  I knew it was more efficient to utilize machines to milk cows, but apparently it is also much gentler and it is also more hygienic.  This is a picture of my son checking out the milk machine.  We got to put a finger in the machine to see what it feels like to get milked.  I would argue that after nursing two kids, I am kind of aware of how it feels to be milked 🙂

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My kids favorite part of the tour was when they got to feed the baby cows.  The baby cows are so adorable.  We had to wear gloves in order to feed the babies in order to keep things as hygienic as possible.  I was truly impressed with how clean Shamrock Farm is and very surprised that it didn’t have an overwhelming cow poo smell.  They really go to great length to keep things as clean as possible.

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I love doing things like this as part of our homeschool!  I think sometimes, it is easy to get caught up in the book part of school and forget to get out and experience the hands on learning.  The things I remember about school the most are the special trips we took and the experiments we did.  I learned stuff out of books but it is memories like these that I treasure.

Simple Science: Ice Cube On A String

Today in school, we did a fun little science experiment.  The nice thing about this experiment is that I had all the items on hand and my kids adore playing with ice.

The materials that you need are salt, thick thread (we used a piece of yarn), and ice cubes.  You could also use a record sheet if your kids are older.  My children are only three and five and really don’t write well enough to do the record sheet part.  The idea of the record sheet part is to divide the experiment into the three steps and explain what happened.

To do the experiment, first soak the string in water.  Have the student lay the string on top of the ice-cube.  Have your child sprinkle salt along where the ice and the string are touching each other.  Then have the child lift the string.  The ice-cube should be stuck to the string and yes my son is dressed like Anna from Frozen….he has a sister, what can I say.

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We then talked about why the “trick” worked.  Basically, the salt melts the ice where the thread lies.  The cold ice freezes the water again and traps the thread in the ice cube.  We expanded the discussion to talking about icy roads and why they put salt on the roads.

This was very fun and very simple.

Reasons I Love Homeschool: A Secret Journey

When I started out to homeschool, I honestly did not want to do it.  I am doing it as what I feel is an act of obedience to the Lord.  I wasn’t one of those parents that have a long list of things that I hate about the public school system.  I have no judgement whatsoever to all of the parents that are currently sending their children to school.  I actually wanted to be one of those parents, but God has a funny way of interrupting plans.  You can imagine my surprise, that I have found I actually really love to homeschool.  I don’t know what I thought it was going to be like, but it is actually really fun.  My house is always a mess, I am no June Cleaver, things around here are organized chaos, but with all of the messy there is a lot of joy.

I have been homeschooling my daughter now for a whole six months, I know this makes me a veteran right?  Well maybe not, but it has given me a little time to realize the things that I surprisingly love about homeschool.  There are also things that stress me out a bit but I don’t really plan to talk about that right now.  My assurance when it comes to the things that stress me out is that I know the Lord is with me on this journey and will guide my steps.

Right now, as I am writing this post, my two kids are hopping through the house on bouncy balls, carrying swords and shields.  You see, they are on a secret journey.  I have no idea what the journey is, it is a secret after all and the journey is 100 percent in their little imaginations.  I have concluded that the balls they are bouncing on are their valiant steeds.

If I wasn’t homeschooling, my daughter would be sitting in a kindergarten classroom right now, not on a secret journey.  At the school here, she would be going to a full day of kindergarten.  That means my five-year old daughter would be sitting at a desk for the vast majority of the day.  I love the fact that we are done with school in about two hours (it is a lot more efficient to teach one child than I imagine it is to teach twenty) and then the rest of her day is filled with doing other things.  She gets to she gets to sit and read whatever books she wants, she gets to run and play outside for hours on end, and she gets to go on as many secret journeys as her imagination can dream up.