Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yes! A Post! With Pictures!

I Love this Gate

I am still using my little netbook and my tablet thing these days which make blogging a challenge.  I have also been reading and creating so much that my thoughts are quite scattered and finding a few minutes to write is a challenge.  I am enjoying reading what everyone else has to say though.  I am trying to leave comments as I am able so you know I've popped by, but many times, I just can't.

It's been so interesting to see the changes around here as we head into Autumn.  It will be our first Autumn here in Idaho and I am excited to see what she brings.  The fields around our valley still have some green to them, but most field crops and all the hayfields have been mowed.

It has been a dry Summer here. The rains that had accompanied every day of Spring ended on June 21st.  They have only briefly dropped by for quick visits that barely moisten the ground.  And I find that I miss them.  In Colorado, it was quite common to have afternoon showers throughout the Spring and Summer.  All is new and different here.  Some days, I feel like I moved to another planet, not another state.

For a girl born in the desert who lived nearly all her life in cities, this is quite a change.  There are a lot of challenges, but so many wonderful gifts as well.  There are the gifts from the bounty of the land, but also the gifts of new friends.  People are quite open and welcoming here.  Though I know a few think we're crazy and wonder if we'll make it through a full winter, most are just happy we are here.

I have been heads down quite a bit as I am studying myself and preparing for our first "official" season as homeschoolers.  That being said, we have actually "done school" nearly everyday of summer.  To say that Pumpkin is a motivated learner is an understatement.  And anything Pumpkin does, Dumpling believes he needs to be a part of.  :)  At only 21 months apart, they are best friends and rivals.  Dumpling gets "frusterated" because he simply cannot do all that Pumpkin can.  And he can't.  Those 21 months at this age mean a lot.

We bought a book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons to use in teaching Pumpkin to read about a year ago.  I had read that so many people loved it.  Somehow, I managed to be a "real" teacher for many years, but didn't know how to teach someone to read.  My sister had taught me as she learned back when I was four so I don't even remember I time I wasn't reading.  I kept asking when we'd learn to teach kids to read in my teacher education courses, but it was not done.  Weird.

Luckily, I ended up teaching older kiddos most years so we all survived.  The year I taught Kindergarten I was taught the summer before how to teach the Language Arts curriculum.  But that is not the same as teaching someone to read!  I wonder how many kids are struggling in schools today because their teachers do not know how to teach this basic thing.  We learned a lot of other things, but sadly, the college I got my certification from was heavy on theory to the total neglect of practicality.  (This was NOT Biola where I got my BA.)

Anyway, we had bought this book and I struggled with the theory behind it all.  I kept picking it up to read it and understand it so I could teach it, but I just didn't get it.  One day I laughed out loud when I read a post of Renee's talking about teaching her children to read.  She had the same book.  Want to know what she did?  She had her husband teach it!  I knew that was the answer.  The book is so...left-brained...that it is perfect for Sweetheart and Pumpkin.  I told him he should be the one to teach it.  Well, one day this summer they sat down and started it.  100 lessons later, Pumpkin is reading!

We've worked it out for Sweetheart to do the lessons with Pumpkin each morning after breakfast.  Cupcake usually heads down for a nap and I would do some morning housework and then "do school" with Dumpling.  He was more interested in just hanging out one on one with Mommy, but he has learned quite a lot in those morning times.

Over the last few years, I have been sporadically reading about Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education.  I LOVE it!  As one in love with reading and writing, married to another one in love with reading and writing, it is a perfect fit for our family.  I've laughed to discover several of my favorite writers (Tonia, Ann, Sally) have used or are using, her ideas.

There are some great websites out there with a lot of information on Charlotte Mason.  I had read some of the various things and e-books they offered.  I like the quotations from Charlotte the best, but felt a bit lost in the various writings other people wrote to explain what she said.  I was finally able to just sit down with her original writings and LOVE them.  There are simple to understand on their own to me.  Maybe it is because I am always reading other English authors from that time period, I don't know.  :)

To me, it is a bit like devotional books.  Well-written ones have a purpose and can provide insight, but if all we read is what others say about the Bible with an occasional quotation from the Bible thrown in, we will miss so much.  (No, I am not equating CM with Scripture.)  We need to read direct from the source of anything to truly understand it.

That said, I did get Educating the WholeHearted Child by the Clarksons.  Sally's writings have often ministered to my heart and have made our home a much better place.  As we move into this time of more formal education in our home, getting this book made sense.  And I am so glad I did.  It is so well written and researched and organized.  It's a bit overwhelming to suddenly have so much laid before you, but in a wonderful way.

See, it's not just a regurgitation of Charlotte's writings.  It is a framework, an outline, for creating a home that educates children not just in reading and writing, but more importantly shows how to disciple your children in Christ.  It is living a one-piece life at its finest.

You know, I wasn't planning on writing this post this morning.  I was going to share all sorts of other things!  Like about all the art we are making, all the pickles and preserves I'm putting up, our berry hunting trip, and our Tasha Tudor weekend.  But the goat is roaring and the kids are all up so I must go now.  Hope you all have a wonderful day!  I'll try to get back and write on some of the other thoughts soon.


Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Sally's first CD (1997) about education (Home Education) is available on their Whole Heart Online website.

It is FABULOUS. I listened to it over and over on tape and then bought it for Stephanie on CD when she started homeschooling.

Amber said...

What a relief to know I'm not the only one who never learned to teach kids to read during college- BS in Elementary Education and my teaching certificate. I never really thought about it until my oldest son was four- he knew letters and sounds, but we didn't know how to make that next leap to reading. I started him in homeschool kindergaten a year early, then started using Abeka's K4 curriculum with my other kids. It really amazed me that I could get through all that schooling- from a university known for it's teaching program- and not learn some of the basics!

BaileyZimmerman said...

ps tell me about your Tasha Tudor weekend...??


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