Monday, May 31, 2010

Home-schooling James

First a little history.....

I have always home-schooled my kids. They are not part of the school system, so to judge them by the school system is counter productive. They are what they are, a work in progress...trying to learn the skills and abilities that they will need for their mission in life.

That being said......

My James has never been one who has enjoyed reading. He is 10. In the past he has declared his ultimate hatred for reading. He has said that he doesn't need to read since there is a movie for everything anyway. It has been very discouraging for me for James refuse to read. All of his friends were reading and kids said mean things to him about his lack of reading skills. It was very, very painful for me to watch James go through this. I have prayed A LOT and cried frequently over his "hate of reading."

So...what was this home-schooling mom to do?!?! I was very tempted to force it on him. "You WILL sit down and do your reading before you do anything!!" But forcing this skill upon him was not what I wanted to accomplish. I knew I could force him to SIT DOWN and DO IT OR ELSE but I didn't want him to just do it. I wanted him to realize how important reading was and to choose to read and to love reading. Whenever I am "forced" to do something, without it being my choice, I resent doing it. The scriptures even say that if we serve with an ungrateful heart that we might as well not serve at all!! In the scriptures it says that it is our choice whether or not we do something...whether we are righteous or wicked. There are consequences for whatever choice we make, but it is ultimately our decision whether or not we go to church, read our scriptures, say our prayers, and I believe that this even applies to the more worldly things such as reading, writing, playing musical instruments, even relationships that we have with others-- it must be our choice. Things forced upon us or without it really being our choice, the results are short term and a testimony is not gained. It reminds me of trying to feed a baby baby-food. I can open the jar, spoon the food, and present it to the baby but it is still up to the baby to open his mouth and even then he can spit it out.

Agency to choose to learn is agency to choose to learn. It isn't the agency to choose to learn...except when I say so. (Although that would certainly be much easier.) HOWEVER, I really do want my kids to read and learn everything that they will possibly need to succeed in how do I do it?? It is a process that I could talk and talk and talk with James and his reading it has been a lot of me reading to him. We have read A LOT of books together. And for some reason there is always something that I need to do when we get to an exciting part. I love it when the kids just beg "One more chapter PLEASE??" (I have learned these skills through THIS book and its principles. ) Anyway, for years James and I have done our reading together. I would ask him if he would want to read and he would usually reply "no thanks mom" I would say "ok" and then I would read to him. During the last year though I have caught him secretly would be reading the comics page in the newspaper or the signs on the side of the road. It gave me hope!!

About 6 weeks ago his brother checked out an A-Z book from the library. I don't think Luke was interested in reading it, it was just another book that he had grabbed. Well, James snuck it into his room when they went to go to bed and quietly began reading it. That night I didn't make them turn the lights off on time, I let them stay up and quietly read. Well, the next day James came bounding into my room..."MOM!!! I finished this book!! Can we go get another one??" And while I wanted to jump up and down and scream "YES!!" I restrained myself and said "You bet! Lets go!" Well, he kept reading and reading...finishing a book every day or two. About 2 weeks ago he came up to me and said "Mom I love reading so much!!" and again I had to restrain myself and I simply said "Me too. I love reading too!! "--then he was able to revel in that awesome moment of self-pride in what he was able to do. I was one happy mama!

Homeschooling is not easy. If I ever tell you it is, I am LYING! HOWEVER, if you ever tell me that you couldn't do it, then you are lying too. Ok I guess that sounds a little seriously, if I can do this, than anyone can. If that still small voice spoke to your heart and told you to do this, you would. Just like if that same spirit told me to put my kids in public school I would.--at least I would like to think I would.

A few days ago James finished his A-Z Mystery series. He counted up the pages that he read and it totaled at about 2040. I am so happy for James and for the love of learning he is experiencing. He is thirsty for learning and experimenting.

I know that everyone's path in life is different and that home-schooling isn't for everyone. God has a path for everyone, none of which are the same. This is just the path that he has presented to me.

Way to go James!! I love you!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Look who's 4!!

He loves his new Tonka truck!!

We made his cake was chocolate cake with oreos on top and yellow sprinkles! Ben picked it all out all by himself.

We made root beer, grilled hamburgers and corn on the cob, and had fresh watermelon. MMMMmmmmm!!

My BEN is now officially 4 !

I love you Ben! :-)

Friday, May 7, 2010

The trapezoid delema.

My sisters "lovingly" refer to me as "crafty." So when a few months ago a good friend of mine gave me a handmade washcloth. I loved it! And I wanted to make some too. How hard can it be? right?

-this is the one my friend gave me. See how nice and squarish it is!!

My mom can crochet one of these babies in just an hour or so. They are my favorite washcloths and I really wanted to make some myself. I am not an expert crochet expert, but I can chain, single chain and double chain. What else would I possibly need to know???? So, I set out to find a simple pattern. My first attempt went fairly well.

It was recognizable as a square washcloth and I was feeling pretty good about myself. :-D Pin a badge on me! Well..maybe not to fast with that pin. My second washcloth and several afterwards were..well..not exactly square.

In fact, I would classify them as a trapezoid but that would be a disservice to the adjacent angels theorem for trapezoids. With my ego freshly popped, I set out to try again...and again...and again...and again.

All of them were lacking the proper 90* angles and straight edges to have it look "squarish."

I attempted the circle washcloths and they turned out..ok...but it was the square ones that were the desire of my heart.

I thought about them incessantly, looked up patterns for hours.

After many many many more tries, I have finally made a couple that were acceptable, although still not square.

Needless to say, I have not given any as a gift--who would want a trapezoid washcloth anyway???? Maybe my sisters??? :-D