To Summer, that is! I know, most people love fall. I too enjoy it. However, here in Western Washington, fall means rain and thought I love the rain while in the house, sipping hot cocoa and reading a good book, I don't get to do that very often. So, I'm rejoicing in the fact that it's nearly 90 degrees outside today and we are going to enjoy every last minute of this sunshine!
I bought a membership to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this spring and it has been well worth the investment. We go about once a month and every time we have fun and get to see something new and exciting.
Earlier this week the girls and I decided to go and it was the perfect day. When we got there at opening time (9:30 am) there was literally only one other car there. The zoo was empty and the animals were active. We also got to get up close to the walruses who were being fed and cleaned (teeth brushed, etc.). There is one particular female walrus who is trained to do all sorts of tricks that we got to witness. Let's see, she nods yes and no, she waves, she rolls over, she gets in the water with a big splash (which we got a little wet from) or she can get in the water very calmly without any splash at all, she makes funny noises and does many more tricks that I don't know how to title. Pear loved every minute of it.
As usual, we left in the morning and were home in time for lunch. I hope to continue taking trips to the zoo as it's fun and educational. If your kids enjoy animals and you live within a reasonable distance from the zoo, I would encourage you to get a membership and become a regular. It's quite fun.
A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for. Author Unknown
With this in mind, we are adding to the number of little blessings we have running around in our home. Little baby Backholm #3 should arrive in early May 2010. We are thrilled and can't wait to see what this next one looks like, how he/she smiles and laughs and all of the other little things that come when having a baby.
I don't know if I've just been out of the loop but the Jersey Boys have been performing the songs and story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons around the world and wow! What entertainment and true talent. I would love to see this on Broadway.
It seems that one of the biggest problems people have with homeschooling is the whole "socially deprived" idea. Yes. I agree, that can be a problem. So how do you prevent social deprivation from kids that spend the day at home with no peers other than their siblings? You participate in the world around you! When there is a community project, go as a family and participate; pick up trash with the community, throw a neighborhood BBQ, go to the park and encourage your kids to be friendly, play sports with other families or friends. This is just the beginning. There are so many ways to introduce your kids to the world and prepare them to venture out on their own. You see, I think that teaching my kids from the home will provide so many more opportunities to be a part of our community. We won't be tied to certain hours of the day being at school or homework at night. We will have our own schedule and routine and be able to jump on more opportunities around us because of that.
I think that parents can communicate with their kids things that are going on in the world; over sheltering can be a huge disadvantage to the child and we have to be sure to keep that balance in check. I also disagree with the thought that a grade-school or high-school is a good environment to introduce my children to the world. Why would I want my kids to be in an environment that my child is influenced by kids with little parental guidance, very little mature discussion and very much immature talk of all sorts of trash? In my opinion, placing kids in school with the intentions of it being a place to learn of the world is like teaching a kid how to play catch by throwing a ball at their face. Sure, they will learn, they'll catch on, but at what price? Does it not seem more logical for them to learn of the world under my supervision and guidance. Should I not be the one to explain the dangers and effects of drugs. Should I not be the one to explain the purpose of sex? Even if your children are in public school, you can be the one to talk to them of certain things but who knows what else they are hearing or at what age.
Another thing I consider when thinking of my children's social skills is that I want them to learn to communicate with all ages. I want them to be comfortable discussing with and entertaining infants, children, teenagers, adults and the elderly. I want to prepare my children for college, the workplace and their future spouse and family. I feel that when they are in school and mainly interact with kids only their own age it puts them at a disadvantage for this. So, what is my plan? James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. I hope to help my children keep themselves unstained by the world, yet prepare them to live life on their own. I hope to teach them what is going on in the world around them without pushing them into an environment that makes the said task extremely hard for a child who isn't yet mature enough to face such an environment. We will serve together, talk together, play together, eat together and learn TOGETHER.
I want to end with this: Home schooling children and teenagers is not for everyone. If you are not passionate about it and or ready to take the selfless commitment of time and energy, I don't recommend it. Your kids may stumble, they may have to go through the boring classes in high-school and forget half of what they learned but they'll make it and you can still be a big part of their lives and education. However, if you are willing, your kids will reap the benefits of a home education.
Do you have kids? If so, you undoubtedly desire for them to be smart, confident, disciplined, kind, respectful, obedient, unselfish, and blessed. I desire all of these things and more for my children. This is why I am staying home with them. This is why I take my kids to the grocery store with me and teach them how to pick a good ripe peach, the smells that the fruit gives, the colors of the vegetables. This is why I let them make a mess in the kitchen so that they can learn to bake a cake and measure ingredients. It is why we sing songs in the car, read before bed and count things throughout the day. Being well educated, in my opinion, is not about textbooks, how early you start school, or even whether or not you go off to college. To educate children well begins with giving them a desire to learn.
I am in the beginning stages of educating my children and I am beginning to realize what a huge task I have on my shoulders and at the same time what treasures I have in my hands and how vulnerable they are. To send my children off to childcare or preschool isn't even a question. Why would I send my children off to learn basics that I can teach? Why let other kids habits rub off on my vulnerable little girl that is soaking things up like a sponge? Why let other men and women, who don't know my child like I know my child, try to teach and train them? Not only can they not prevent accidental or purposeful disagreeable behavior, but they also can't train my child the way I see fit to have her behave in a kind, unselfish, polite way. And then, once the basics are taught and my child behaves, then what? Do I want to send them to school to spend time with one teacher and 25 kids? Do I want my child to face peer pressure prematurely? No. I want to raise my children to be grounded. To stand for what they believe and at what point they are ready for this will probably vary from child to child, some might not be ready to face peers and decisions on their own until they are 18 while others might be ready at the age of 14. Some may say, "you are preventing you're child from being used by God." Or, "they're going to be socially awkward". With this, I would have to disagree. My job, as a parent, is to teach, train and protect my children. I do wish for my children to socialize. I do want my kids to have friends and have opportunities to bless this world and those around them. I do want my children to be witnesses of Christ. But is a schoolroom or high-school hall the most effective and best model? In my opinion, the answer to that is no. Stephen and I hope to always be welcoming people into our home, those who love Christ and those who do not. I never want to shelter my kids to the point that they are socially awkward. We hope to entertain, serve our community and share God's love as a family. Under our guidance, our children will get to communicate and spend time with other children, of all ages and stages. Yes. I have decided that the best place for a child is in the home.
If the best place for a child is in the home, how do I ensure that she is properly educated? After all, I didn't even go to college! I honestly do not think that you have to have a college degree to teach children and inspire them to learn. Education begins first thing in the morning and ends when your child lays down to sleep. It's not a matter of "okay, let's start school now," or "it's time to go to school so you can learn." We count, identify colors, read books, identify letters and most importantly discipline and train in character all day. This is our education. Now as my children get a little older (Pear is only 2 1/2), we will move on to do more things, different things. But the core of their education will remain the same: in the home, throughout the day, in all we do, both work and play! (Kinda corny, huh?)
Why do you have to "do school" for so many hours a day, days a week and months a year? Why is it that we feel we must complete the text book in order to ensure a decent education. Do you think it would be better to read a chapter in a history book full of dates and numbers and facts that the child is really not interested in or would it be better to read through an intriguing book on a historical figure, invention, war, etc. Let's say your child is really intrigued with dinosaurs, science inventions, wars, cowboys, whatever it may be, captivate him through that interest. Make learning fun and something that isn't just a bore. Play games that help with times tables, State capitals and spelling. Have your kids dress up and act out a historical moment. There are so many creative outlets for teaching and learning. I am so excited to be a part of my children's education. Not just a part that helps with homework and listens to them talk about their day. I am going to inspire, be creative, have fun with and BE a part of their day.
This all sounds good and it's easier said than done. I have no doubts that there will be many days that I will want to throw in the towel. I'm sure there will be times when I feel my children are lacking in one way or another on the education front. However, I don't think that I will ever regret it once it's all said and done. I will create memories, build character, and inspire my children to learn, more than would ever be possible if I sent them to school.
I was home-schooled. I was slightly stereotypical. There were days that we didn't "do school". There were weeks that I should have devoted more time and energy into learning. I graduated at the age of 17. What this means is that I completed enough "school" to take a test and obtain a high school diploma or rather the GED which is equivalent. I have never stopped learning though as my curiosity about life, history, science, health, English, and more (basically everything except for math) has been spiked because I was encouraged and inspired to learn. My parents taught me that I can figure out, learn and do just about anything I put my mind to. I hope to inspire and encourage my children even more and hopefully, the tradition will follow from generation to generation.
New word: If you've spent any amount of time with Pear you know that when she says "kay" it means yes. Well, no longer. When she approves of something or answers a question, you'll hear a "zzzyeah".
Funny thing said today: Pear walked up to me proudly with a band aid wrapped around her thumb (a band aid job that looked like it was done by a two year old). "Look mom, I got a band aid." I replied, "did you put that on by yourself?" Pear, "zzzyeah." Me, "good job!" She then went on to look at the band aid all stuck together in the wrong places and noticed it wasn't really staying on her thumb very well. "Mom, this band aid is dead. I need a different one."
Favorite Food: Other than dessert, Pear likes "macarongi" (macaroni & cheese) or "pancetes" (pancakes).
What she would love to do at any given moment: go to "the girls" house (Taffi & Libbi's, also known as my parent's).
Where we're at potty training: Still struggling. She makes it to the potty most of the time for peeps but that is still counting on me reminding her...constantly. And we made it to the potty for poops today for the first time in a while.
Article of clothing that gets the most wear: Jammies. Kitty jammies, princess jammies and Dora jammies. Oh, yeah. They're going to be remembered. We change into a fresh pair before bed, change into another pair after breakfast. Get dressed to run errands. Come home and put the jammies back on. Jammies are Pear's staple.
Education: Pear can say her ABC's and count to 13. Colors are hit and miss. I wonder if she's colorblind. Stephen thinks I'm hysterical.
Her status as a sister: She loves Jovie most of the time...however she does not like Jovie to play or EAT her toys. She can be very sweet and she can be very saucy.
All of this to say, Pear is really growing up. It is so much fun to carry a conversation with her. She is very talkative. Pear makes us laugh all the time. I need to record her as she comes up with the silliest things. She is also in her "trying twos" and is testing my limits. I have so much fun with her though. I love my sweet Pear.
In case you didn't guess...EATING! Jovie loves food. My day is full by trying to fill this little one's stomach and give her a taste of the joys food can bring. Jovie currently eats 3 meals, 2 snacks and nurses 4 times a day. By the time I fix her food, feed her, clean her up, and nurse her, I have about 10 minutes left in my day! (Just kidding.)
Here, Jovie devoured several strawberries and cottage cheese. She then decided to play in her mess and attempted to color her hair red!
Somehow, Jovie got a chocolate bar out of the cupboard, unwrapped it and began eating it. All within about 5 minutes while I was getting ready for the day.
Her first chocolate chip cookie. Only the best, this was an aged New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie. Again, if you're going to give kids sugar, you might as well give them the best! A Top Pot Double Trouble doughnut.