Saturday, May 26, 2012

FPEA 2012 Lessons Learned

Here is a lengthy post, but worth it!

This is my fourth year attending the FPEA Convention, first year as an ambassador and first year attending workshops. It was always encouraging every other year, however this year was plagued with many doubts about myself in many areas of my life.

1) Am I doing anything right?
2) Will I be able to do this with my super disobedient child (Logan)?

God continues to affirm many aspects in our decision to homeschool our boys even when I allow my sinful nature attack me. So, I have to give a shout out to Christopher Hopper from Spearhead Books.

You know those moments when you say something to someone and it was exactly what they needed to hear. Well, that was Chris for me on Friday. God showed me grace in that moment through our meeting. It was clarity. Clarity in more than one area of things I was accomplishing, but I was not giving myself any slack.

Clarity given by complete strangers.

Clarity from brothers and sisters in Christ.

Things I Absorbed:

Workshop: Raise Them Up, Don't Crush Them Down" The Strong-Willed Parent with Mark Hamby
Lamplighter Publishing
*Stop trying to finish the curriculum but to teach Biblical Character. (read about my biggest challenge here)
*It's not about what you keep away from your child, but what you pour into them.
*You cannot lead your family from the rear. You must lead by example.
*"You cannot control anything when you have outstretched arms."  -the cross- with grace, you will get nailed. Grace given freely will cost you to give.

Books I purchased after this workshop:
- "Teddy's Button" (book only) - a character builder in self-control... what six year old doesn't have this problem.

- "Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince" - this builds on combatting selfishness... what PERSON doesn't struggle with this?

-"Little Threads" - a lesson on disobedience and unwillingness... I'm not sure how this book was written in 1863. I am almost certain that this author is living in my home! I already started reading it because a helpful man by the name of Roger told me how encouraging it would be for me and my fight with my unruly two year old. NO JOKE! EXCELLENCE!

If you LOVE Classical Literature like this English major, you will eat these books up. It's beautiful! The icing on the cake? They are written by Christian authors always turning back to the Creator of all things.

Workshop: "Proverbs: God's Character Curriculum" with Rick Boyer
The Learning Parent
*Through King Solomon we learn that the wisest man knows things from Botany to Music to Government, yet his first words in his book of wisdom... "To know wisdom and instruction... righteous, justice, knowledge..."
*We learn to be more profitable servants when we put Christ as our front in character.
*An educated fool is more dangerous than an uneducated fool.
*Knowledge separated from wisdom is apart from God's will.
*If your child wants to learn something, you must learn it, too.

Keep reading for what I got from here.

Workshop: "Gotta Love Those Preschoolers" with Marilyn Boyer (wife of Rick)
The Learning Parent
*Savor the Season
-the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world
-look for the preciousness of the season
-a preschooler is a bundle of potential
-You are raising a child (generation) to follow Christ.
*Nurturing a heart for the Lord
-Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
-"thou seest me..." Psalm 115:13
*Build a sense of destiny in your child
-"God made _____ in a special way, for a special purpose."
-instill a sense of vision in prayer
*Build a Foundation of Character
-Maximize your time... it could be short...
-systematic teaching of character qualities- character does matter- It's foundational to living a God-honoring life.
-teach the meaning of character qualities in simple language
-Character is the most important subject.
-Teach scripture where the negative character can be positive
*Teach Responsibility at an early age (chores, etc)
*Include your preschooler in teaching time
*What do I do with them while teaching?
-lace and trace
-more on this with the next workshop
*Remember to have fun (give 15m sections of time to have mommy time of learning)
*Growing a Servant's Heart
-Those who learn to be servants will become leaders.
*Foster Patriotism
*How you manage them brings success to school

Logan is my disobedient child. He is the boy that laughs in your face when you do correction. Marilyn really put things into perspective for me in this session. As a result I bought two books. They are Character Builder books. You learn the character, it's definition, and the scripture of support. This is our CORE curriculum for my unwilling two (soon-to-be three) year old.

Books I purchased after this workshop:
"Character Trails" and "Crossroads of Character"

Workshop: "Occupying Pre-Schoolers While Teaching Older Children" aka "Educating, Involving,  Occupying ONLY WHEN NECESSARY While Teaching Older Children" with Jami Phillips
My Father's World
*Is. 40:11 Anything worth doing is hard!
*Reading Levels: Pre-Reading ---> Learning to Read ---> Learning to "Love" to Read ---> Learn by Reading
*Learning to read is the most important phase that needs the most instruction.
*What every toddler and preschooler needs:
-meet emotional and social needs
-devote your first 10-15m of the day to schooling them
-have a flexible routine, prepare snacks and drinks before the start
-expect them to want to prepare for school like the others
*Involving little ones as much as possible, some ways this can done:
-unit studies
-Bible activities
-Arts and Crafts
*Creative Scheduling
-schoolbox for school time (let them decorate)
-strategic naptime
-learning centers
-read aloud
-toy rotation
*Educating Little Ones
-shapes & color starter
-peg stacker
-lace & link letters/shapers
-kids puzzles
-pattern blocks
-pipe cleaners
-play doh
*Pre-Reading: Stages of Learning to Build-On
-Ages 2-6
-Structure and security
-Educate and Involve
-15-30 minutes daily
-very concrete learners
-like repetition
-mimic oriented
-foundation oriented instruction (4-5 subjects)
-focus on obedience
*Set-Up a School Box
-Target Areas: pre-reading, pre-math, language development, large motor skills, fine motor skills
-new items
-used, but looking new items
-created, but simple (junk mail to open, photo book with magazine cut outs of a topic [animals, etc], pipe cleaners, magna-doodle, nuts & bolts, mat (toys must stay on there to play with)
*School Time
-worksheets that siblings have (maps, etc)
*Training Mentors for the Younger Ones- allows the older child to teach and learn about their sibling

I bought a foam ABC board lower and upper case, a lace board, and color & shape sorter.

Knowledge from the workshops. More to come in another post about what will come into play for our school year.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

FPEA Ambassador & Why we love FPEA

This Thursday starts Florida's largest Homeschool Convention done by the FPEA. At the beginning of this year I became their ambassador for Twitter. If you live in Florida, you should consider joining us as we celebrate 25 years! If you can't...

There are a couple of things to check out. It is really what makes them an amazing part of our homeschooling journey.

FPEA Convention Mobile App

Getting Started Guide with 6 easy steps

Myth Busters in Homeschooling

Guide to Homeschooling (one of my personal favorites & free to download)
This is really just a small portion of what they offer homeschool families in Florida. Their website is full of knowledge to get you through your homeschool journey. Browse around even if you don't live in Florida you may find many of their things valuable to your schooling. You can learn more about our homeschool ride here

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Homeschool Photo Portfolio 2011-2012

Homeschool Photo Portfolio 2011-2012
I am thinking that this coming year I want to get more photos into this. We did much on geography, but it was mainly in writing. Hopefully, this year I can get a better grasp on everything we did through a photo portfolio.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Single Moment of Impact

My six year old never ceases to amaze me. Let me preface this with the reality that he is a typical six year old. He is disobedient frequently; he argues like a teenager; he is obnoxious; he lacks tact. However, he has one trait that I am particular found of...

COMPASSION! Does he always show it? No. He's six still grasping control of his emotions, and is aware of his incline to sin. Yet, when he executes this trait, I have to step back and watch it. It was really a beautiful thing. It is one of the main reasons I am so excited about him coming to Peru with my husband and I in October to meet one of our Compassion children, Smith.

If you read my blog you know that I have met Smith and his wonderful family. So, this reunion is going to quite a moment for not only me, but the rest of my family. We have a strong heart for Compassion, and their work for the nations.

Smith is our first family sponsorship:
 I chose Smith knowing that my husband has a connection with Peru. Now, I have it more than ever.

As a youth group family we chose Pataso from Thailand:

Our last addition to our Compassion family was Abdou. Now, this was Luk's decision. He said to me one day as we were talking about different countries, "I want to be a missionary in Africa!" I stood silent for a moment. Then I asked if he would like to have a Compassion child from Africa that he can have a relationship with. Needless to say, he jumped on that really fast, asking for a boy.

That night I emailed a friend of mine that works for Compassion for a child that need a correspondence sponsor, and the next day we had Abdou.

Seriously, we have some handsome boys in my family! You see God carefully placed these three boys in our lives, and after meeting Smith the clarity in our decision of cutting back on luxuries to have these three in our lives has been several moments of impact for us.

There's a single moment of impact for us all, and I think it was the day that Luk got Abdou. He finally made the decision to be apart of each of these boys lives. Before he didn't really write Smith or Pataso, it was a picture here and there, but nothing that he started. I usually asked him to, and he would do it without complaint.

However, it was when he got Abdou that he took over. It wasn't me asking anymore. It was Luk saying, "Let's write Smith, Pataso, and Abdou!" OKAY!

The importance of letter writing to your Compassion is something that is hard to explain. It's when you go and visit and the children ask you, "Do you know my sponsor? They don't write. Do they love me?" My response was a huge hug. Hearing Smith say... "I have only three letters."

Shook me. I wanted him to have a better foundation than that.

I had a single moment of impact that almost broke me, but decided instead of being broken to embrace my shame and write. Write with more intent, with more heart, and giving more of myself in process. I'm excited to see it in Luk, now.

Here is his letter writing process:

1) I ask what he wants to say.
2) He tells me. (He responds to Abdou's current question.)
3) I write it on our board.
4) He copies it on his paper.
5) He draws his picture.
6) We look and remember just how far our friend is from us.

Luk has asked to meet Abdou. He knows that we are planning a trip by the time he 10 years old. He is actively reminding me when that will be. Countdown... 3-4 years...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Here's what's coming in First Grade

We have had a great time in our first year of schooling at home, and now that first grade is coming this fall I have been planning away. In our Homeschool Co-op, many of the moms are doing FIAR for their core curriculum while matching it with Galloping the Globe.

Two years ago, my husband and I bought the Galloping the Globe bundle, and after seeing how our co-op was doing their program I realized very quickly how I was going to set up first to fourth grade for Luk. The beautiful thing about this is that Logan can tag along with the maps, books, and worksheets we are doing. 

I had to find something that included Logan into our day because right now he was a distraction wanting to sit on his brother's lap to do the work. Since he is two, I found it hard to fit him into what Luk and I were doing this year. I never imagined that he wanted to be so involved in the formal aspect of our day, but he does. So, here we go teaching a six year old and two year old with the same work. The expectation is for him to have fun doing what his brother is doing, and who knows maybe he will become a geography wiz! ;)

I haven't see many sites showing how they link FIAR with GTG, just that they do. Here is what our month-to-month looks like following the books from FIAR to the countries of GTG.

AUGUST 13-31:
Introduction to Geography
Bible Verse Copy work
"How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World" (week 1)
Prince Henry the Navigator (week 1)
Writing Prompt: "If I were an Explorer"
Considering God's Creation Lesson 2 (week 1)
Make a Paper Mache Globe (this will be labeled and pinned throughout the year)

Label Map
Bible Verse Copy work
"Katy and the Big Snow" (week 2)
Ponce De Leon (week 2)
Writing: Making a funny story

Bible Verse Copy work
"Miss Rumphius" (week 2)
Christopher Columbus (week 3)
Alphabetize the Explorers List
Field Trip- MOSI Mummies

Each Month we will do "Children Like Me," Finding Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives, Country Facts, Who's Famous, Vocabulary sheets, and Book It! Daily Reading (refrigerator reminder).

Also, during the countries we will cook recipes, reading about missionaries in the area with two books, looking at historical figures, Zoo and Aquarium Guide. 

Here is the World Map we use.

One last thing, for each country we will be visiting Compassion International's website to pray for some of the children in that country that will find sponsors. If you don't know Compassion, you must! It is an amazing organization with a sponsorship program. Luk will get to meet one of our sponsor children, Smith in October. Peru with my son, husband, and church! We can't wait! 

More to come...

Kindergarten is Coming to a Close

I haven't written in two months and they were a busy two months. Out time in kindergarten is coming to an end, and I must say that our relaxed scheduling will come to an end at the start of first grade. Luk was already doing most kindergarten work, but really wasn't ready for "all" the demands in first grade. So, through the year we took our time in the class room not really rushing through anything. Here is a post of what has happened in the two months gap and then another post on things to come.

My trip to Haiti

Drawing Dinosaurs

Baby Boy's first hair cut

Is there a DR in the house? Yes, yes there is!

Preparing for Easter

Pinterest Idea: Sight Word Tower


Happy/Sad Gorilla


LegoLand for a six year old

Happy 6th Birthday!

A Case of Croup

Panning for Gold

Surprising me with his Alligator eating those numbers

Things that have worked this year: phonetic understandings, catching on to reading fluency, math (always), Science is fun at LegoLand (video below), flash cards for sight words, and we are ready for a tougher schedule.

Things that didn't work: spelling test with sight words, and separating the boys during school.

Watch his car fly!