Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ordinary Days

The typical look in my living room.

And on my kitchen counter.

Little flowers brought to me by a special boy.

Storm windows up, screens down.  Too soon, I know, but fresh air smells so good.

April Fool's Day, green milk. Matt, I knew it was you.

Abbey presented me with this photo she took of Janey for her photography class.  It captures Janey perfectly, and I was overjoyed to receive it.  Her curls, her shy look, her sparkly eyes and little nose.  
Thank you Abbey!  

I am reading this right now and it's good.  
No, I'm not going to home school anyone probably ever (never say never)-I love our little parochial school, and I'm hoping it will always stay special-but I like to read about learning and teaching and education.  I understand more and more why parents are choosing to go this route, and I think it's just pretty darn cool.  There are things that have been happening in education lately that I don't love-the introduction of the one-to-one IPad program in high school and junior high (don't even get me started, honestly) and I am not loving the Common Core especially for the younger years.  And "school" (it's called school now, for even toddlers?) for younger and younger children makes me sad.  I remember when kindergarten was optional and the best way to learn was to be at home with your mom.  So much of it is NOT about the child and learning-which is the purpose of school, right?- but just about everything else (politics, competition, marketing, and money, ick.)
Do any home school moms that might be reading have any other good books to suggest?  I would love to read more, I just bought this one randomly from Amazon.

Three days straight outside, ALL day.  Sunburn on faces, fresh air in lungs, I LOVE IT.

42 comments:

  1. I received a book for Christmas by Anthony Esolen called Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of your Child.

    So good.

    http://www.amazon.com/Ways-Destroy-Imagination-Your-Child/dp/1610170792/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396467038&sr=1-1&keywords=ten+ways+to+destroy+the+imagination+of+your+child

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  2. I really enjoy your Ordinary Days posts. Thank you for the book recommendation. I will be picking that one up. That topic is something I have thought about a lot lately. As a stay at home mom I feel more and more like we don't fit into the mold of other families necessarily. I really don't need my kids gone from the home and in school all day and sometimes it just doesn't feel right for me. I have thought about homeschooling a lot in the past but I do worry about post secondary education and how all that comes into play. I agree though I feel like schools are more and more concerned about money, competition etc. I am interested to see if any other moms will share some good reads on the topic. Jealous of your nice weather. Here in Canada it just keeps snowing and snowing....

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  3. I loved For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. I have 6 children ages 18 to 4. I am homeschooling my six year old now and enjoy it.

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  4. We have a four-year-old and an 18 month old who we plan to homeschool, but would send them to a classical school if one was nearby. When we were first married, a friend recommended Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, by John Taylor Gatto. What an amazing and eye opening book! It's only 144 pages. We keep an extra on the bookshelf and give them away. This reminds me that I should read it again!

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  5. My husband and I homeschool our oldest three boys (16, 12 & 12). Recently, we stumbled upon this book, War Against Grammar by David Mulroy. It helped me give voice to some of the things that I find disturbing about educational philosophies these days. We would read it out loud to each other at night so we could both try to understand it. It's a little beyond casual reading, but we loved it. If you are up for a challenge, give it a try.

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  6. I so enjoy your beautiful blogs and want to encourage you to start exploring the idea of home educating your family. I've done it since our oldest son was in third grade, he's 22 now. Love it. So many graces and blessings that came from it, I could write a book. So much easier these day now too.

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  7. Love the photo of Janey! Abbey is quite a good photographer, just like her Mom.

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  8. Have you seen the homeschooling section on thepioneerwoman.com? There's a forum there for homeschooling that a lot of people comment on.

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  9. Beautiful picture!

    I heartily recommend the book Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss.

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  10. I have home schooled for going on 11 years!! I wouldn't have traded it for anything!! There are a couple of good books that I always suggest to people who are considering it.."So, you're thinking about homeschooling", by Lisa Whelchel (Yes, she was Blair on the Facts of Life), the Charlotte Mason Companion, by Karen Andreola, any of the books by Ruth Beechick, and For the Children's Sake, bySusan Schaeffer Macaulay. There are tons more, but these are great at introducing the subject. They give insight to how different families do it and some of the different styles of teaching your family. Everyone has different ways that work for their kids and it's fun to read about all of them.

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  11. Abbey's photo is amazing! And I've never read that particular book you have on your night stand, but it looks like a good one. The book I've loved the most is "The Well-Trained Mind" by Susan Wise Bauer. Much of the book is about different homeschool curriculum, but it also gives reasons for Classical Education and reasons for homeschooling in general. I like it because it's so practical.

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  12. Thanks for recommending that book, I look forward to reading it. I am with you on education. It saddens me to see what's going on today. We just got a letter saying that our 12yr old has been recommended for a new program they are starting next year (7th grade) called 'blended learning'. I Googled it (of course) and about flipped my lid - it's basically online school and the school is picking only certain students to do it -as it turns out, it's the gifted cluster that has been chosen - I think they are the last kids that should be doing that kind of thing. There is a parent meeting on it next week so we'll see what the principal says when I ask my 8 million questions. But honestly, it almost brings tears to my eyes thinking how these kids are being shortchanged. I wish we had the parochial option here but we don't.

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  13. I have homeschooled for 3 years now I'm sad that the school system doesn't meet the needs of my kids. Sarah, be grateful for your school. Good ones are hard to come by. I have been enjoying a Facebook page "simple homeschool".

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  14. I emailed you about pre-school [I don't know if you remember] and I want my sweet 2-year-old with me for as long as possible. My son has been baptised Catholic, like his daddy, so we want him to go to a Catholic school. A brilliant little Catholic school is around the corner from our little home but if it wasn't, I would homeschool in a heartbeat. I'm hoping to 'homeschool' him until he goes there .. they go to school earlier over here [he will be 4, almost 5! sob!]. I love learning about homeschooling - I am not Catholic so I worry about him getting that aspect of education in school, or else I would.

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  15. Sarah...
    I was thinking about this post and homeschooling and preschool and babies...

    As I was getting my coffee with my 4 year old today at 8:00, I thought about how thankful I was that we recently decided to home/cyber school.

    This is our first year. We took our children...ages 17, 13, and 11 out of our Catholic School System( which we had been very happy with up until recently...lack of religion...too strong focus on sports...etc. ) and packed up our formal dining room and made it into a school room.

    I am sooooo very thankful for that decision. You see, we also have a preschooler... a blessing to our family as I had her at 40! And I realize now just how quickly time goes.

    What I am trying to say...although not very well...is that I think it is not a debate of homeschool vs. public or private school as to which is better for our family. Rather...which is better for our family at this point in our lives.

    Years ago, I would have never been able to homeschool. It wasn't the right choice for is then. I was young...I had three children 5 and under...and I loved the excitement of school and homework and classrooms and holidays. I had energy to get them up and dressed and on their way every morning. Our lives were much more fast paced.

    Now, as my children enter high school, I see our lives changing and realize how quickly it is passing and how now, as I am older, I see our lives slowing down. I cherish the flexibility of our days. I enjoy the slower mornings with coffee and milk with my 4 year old as we watch Little Bear. I look at the clock and realize that if the kids were not homeschooled, we would be up and dressed and busily rushing off to school. I would miss these precious moments.

    I am not saying one is right and the other is wrong. I guess I am just sharing another view on the topic.

    Forgive me for taking so much space here!

    Oh, and I did want to throw cyber school into the mix for you. It is wonderful! Not what I thought at all. My children have actual teachers they interact with daily...they are actually learning as opposed to memorizing and spitting back facts on tests... They work ahead and we have Fridays free...and they are learning and laughing together. : )

    Ok, enough...Have a cozy day!

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  16. I am craving your calm, serene home right now. :) Looks Heavenly.

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  17. Oh! And Janey's photo....priceless. Great job to Abbey! Wow!

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  18. Love the photo that Abbey took!

    I recently did a series of posts on homeschooling. This particular post includes some links to some of my favorite books: http://bit.ly/1o8Sstn

    And thank you for not polarizing the issue. I so appreciate it when non-homeschoolers can say, "Hey, I get it, but not for me" (and vice versa).

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  19. Beautiful photo! I'll second the Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss recommendation and also A Little Way of Homeschooling by Suzie Andres.

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  20. Homeschooling has been a huge blessing in our lives. It gives the kids more time to be kids--so much time is wasted in the classroom. We use a solidly Catholic curriculum from Mother of Divine Grace (search online). I love teaching my kids, and I love that we are together all day. They take drama/piano/dance classes outside the home. I started 11 years ago, by pulling our oldest out of the parish school after second grade. She's now a freshman in college on a full-ride scholarship, studying chemistry. She has 4 sibs (15, 11, 6, 4).

    If you do decide you want to homeschool, I think you'd be great at it--organization and keeping a schedule are keys to successful homeschooling (in my opinion) and you've got those skills already. You'd be AMAZED at what you, the teacher/mom learn not only about your kids, but about the subject matter you're teaching--even in the younger grades. It is a great way of life.

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  21. I feel the need to weigh in on this. My husband is a public school teacher. There are an awful lot of politics involved in education. My two oldest attend public school and my third is in a Catholic preschool . While I do love the schools that they go to, I've seen many changes. In one district that my husband worked in, they eliminated the music program completely. In our local public school they dropped from 3 recesses to two. And the testing is ridiculous . While the catholic schools can be somewhat sheltered from this, I think they follow public for the most part for fear of being left behind. There is so much focus in the wrong places. I hear so much about bad schools and bad teachers and wasted money. If this is said enough times , people believe it and lose focus about what's really going on. We need to put children first and if good change is going to happen in schools, teachers and parents need to be included in new legislation. Teachers put their heart and soul into teaching our kids and want nothing but the best for them.

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  22. A must read - - For the Children's Sake by Karen Andreola, When Children Love to Learn edited by Elaine Cooper, and Story Killers: A Case Against the Common Core
    My children were in school for a few years in elementary school, then we pulled out to homeschool and had a wonderful two years doing so. I wouldn't trade it for anything; however, I always had an ear out for what my friends' children were doing in traditional school and felt worried that we may be lagging behind. I caved in and sent them back to school only to discover that they were now way ahead and made straight A's without effort. They were fine socially -- very well like by their peers and from their perspective I was surprised to hear that they wanted to be homeschooled again. They complained that the information was dry compared to the richness of our books and materials. We plan to return to homeschooling next year and my goal is to forge ahead without an ear out for what others are saying about their children's school experiences and stay confidant that we're doing what has been successful for us in the past, yielding the joy of learning, a heightened level of harmonious days, and great memories.

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  23. We homeschool our children and I follow the guidelines and thoughts in the book "The Well Trained Mind". It values the ideas of teaching that were behind education in one room schoolhouses. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

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    1. I want to thank you for your comment-b/c of it, I bought the book and love it! It's the first book- in the last 10 years of searching for guidance that goes with what my husband and I are trying to achieve. I feel so much more confident and excited about homeschooling! thank you so much! :)

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  24. I am so with you on the education thing. We have been happy with our parish school, but it is now adopting the common core. I have four that have graduated high school and two of them have graduated college, one in grad school and one going to medical school in the fall. The other two are at one of our state universities. I have a 10th, 8th and 3rd grader. What I have noticed is that in order to make room for common core there is less Catholicism, double yuck. I started researching common core last summer, and didn't like what I was learning. I started looking at Catholic homeschool curriculums and reading blogs of Catholic homeschoolers. From these sources I have made our own supplemental reading lists for my kids along with more faith formation. I am seriously considering a Latin homeschool program for next year. I think being well read will be their first line of defense. I will be looking into math this summer. I think I can get my 10th grader out of high school with a good education, I am worried about the other two, especially if I left it up to the school completely. I've thought about homeschooling several times throughout my children's school lives, but never thought it was right for us. I now think it may become necessary at some point in the near future.

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    1. This is happening at our parish school as well. Our principal said our curriculum would not be affected by common core yet we have Pearson textbooks that all say common core on them. Very disappointing.

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  25. I highly recommend "Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child". It's not homeschooling specific but it will generate thought and confirm some of your philosophy. Esolen is Catholic btw (!) I'm not Catholic but I think Catholics are the best hope for returning education back to where it should be. The Catholic system hasn't completely lost its way yet. But they may begin bowing to the "academics" and the current trends in education. So it's important that you keep reading, stay informed and continue caring about education! Many of the best thinkers/writers of education happen to be Catholic. There are great books out there to soak up. Another writer is Stafford Caldecott "Beauty in the Word...." Homeschooling is a great option, but not for everyone. We h/s but I think it's time for a change. H/s is taking a toll on one of my son's and I relationship and there are many other sacrifices (least of which is the toll on the house!) But the whole computers are IT in schools makes me angry. I grew up with nary a computer in the classroom (because they were the size of a classroom!) and I am fully competent on computers today. Three year olds and 90yr. olds use computers. Students don't need to learn/use them in school. And yes, we h/s with very little use of the computer.

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  26. That picture of Janey is just perfection! Abbey should be proud. Matt's green milk was cute.

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  27. Love the photo of Janey - adorable! I started cracking up at the photo of your kitchen counter because you have one of those same blasted soppy cups that we just put a regular straw in too. We threw out the original straw and parts - what a dumb design, don't you think? I complained to my engineer husband about how poorly engineered those cups were. ;) In regards to home schooling and book recommendations, I don't have any, though I read a lot about home education and we are home schooling full time next year. I found a lot of great information at The Immaculate Heart of Mary Homeschool and Parent Conferences website. On the left sidebar they have recordings of previously held conferences for sale. They cover many topics from a Catholic perspective, not solely focused on homeschooling. I really enjoy the c.d's they offer. Anyway, I really enjoy your Ordinary Days posts. -Your Michigan neighbor, Ashley

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  28. I am trying to leave a comment on my phone. We will see how this goes. My daughter's high school hands out iPads to every student. I can't name one other thing that has caused our family more struggle thus far than having that device as a school-sanctioined tool. I want to whip it out the window.

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  29. No book recommendations. I believe homeschooling is a calling that not everybody gets....and if and when they do, it is in God's timing, not ours. That said.....homeschooling has been a huge blessing for us....we spend lots of time together.....our days have a peaceful, non-rushed rhythm, we take vacations whenever we want.......we still have tears when little people are learning multiplication tables and algebra....but it done at home and not in front of a classroom of kids that may take this moment of weakness as something to taunt them. We cry. We sometimes yell. We hug. We snuggle while learning science or language arts. I cannot imagine our lives being lived any other way. I feel blessed.

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  30. I am a homeschooler - albeit a reluctant one. I also love to read but haven't read any books on it! There are so many blogs, homeschooling magazines, and best of all, other homeschoolers to talk to, that, until now, I've never noticed books played a non-existent role in informing me. It's not for everyone, but there are so many pros! Still, I'd put them in private school if I could and deal with the cons of that. But, it is wonderful that I can inform their world view, teach them how to interact with each other, have limited peer influence (so my 8yo can still get by w/ patched jeans - whew!), watch them bond w/ younger siblings, and have a flexible school schedule. This year, in particular, I am thankful for a flexible schedule, as we are dealing w/ a deployment, to boot. Also, there are SO MANY options out there for teaching! We use a combination of online "video" classes and reading, but I have done entirely parent-directed other years. You can really tailor things to your child's needs, something a traditional school setting is unlikely to accomplish. I also love that I have now taught 3 of my kids to read! It is so much fun to watch the light come on, even though I have never considered myself the teacher type. Though I'd put them in school if I could, I am thankful we are a homeschooling family.

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  31. That picture of Janey is perfection! My daughter was in a private Christian school until the end of 1st grade when we discovered she has several learning differences, add, dyslexia and some cognitive issues. It was devastating. There is a good private school for learning differences but they are 4 times what we paid at her private school and miles away. Long story short because of the awful school district we live in we decided to homeschool beginning in 2nd grade. The thought scared me to death and we are both very type a personalities and I was so scared it wouldn't end well. The dynamics of our relationship changed and we are closer than ever. She has overcome most of her challenges without the stigma of special ed. My daughter is 13 now and finishing up 7th grade. On a side note I worked until she started Kindergarten and I felt sad to have missed out on so much when she was little but God has restored all that time I missed and then some!

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  32. Love the picture!! And I would also say the Elizabeth Foss book.

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  33. I look forward to your ordinary days post. Our weather tends to be similar and the ordinary days posts fit well with the rhythm here at our house.
    We happen to homeschool at this point. I'm so happy to see parents take the time to find out more about homeschool, even if it's not for your family at this time. Researching a variety of educational philosophies helps parents be empowered to help their kids if their current environment fails them.

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  34. A lovely home (tidy or not), fresh air, happy kids - what more can one want. I never considered home schooling - kinder is still called kinder here and little ones only attend a few hours a day - hope it stays like that.

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  35. Love your pictures! :) The photo Abbey took of Janey is awesome, and what a wonderful gift. I am in my 2nd year of homeschooling (my 1st and 3rd graders) and we do it through an umbrella/charter school. So it is still considered public school but I teach them at home. We get funds each year to spend on curriculum and community classes (my girls have taken horseback riding, ice skating, and gymnastics so far), and a large resource library to check out materials. We check in with a teacher once a month to show what we've been working on and get help with any issues we're having. We get a regular transcript and grades. I am loving it. :) Because I am still new to it I haven't hit my groove on what "style" we are and I love Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Montessori. A couple of my favorite books so far have been the Elizabeth Foss one (on the Charlotte Mason side) and A Well Trained Mind (Classical). I think both would bring up some really interesting ideas even if you are not a homeschooler.

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  36. I don't have a great book about education to share, but I think you would like Charlotte Mason...especially the book about teaching your children good habits called "Laying Down the Rails". The place I purchased it also had two companion books where they have taken each habit and collected stories, poems, scriptures etc so that as you work on habits together you have a collection of ideas to use. That might not make sense but the 'Laying Down the Rails' book has been so inspiring to me!

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  37. I love that picture that Abbey took! It is so darling! Hope you are having a beautiful Spring!

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  38. Catching up on my blog reading... I love Janie's Tax Face! As far as homeschooling goes, I've been doing it for the past 8 years. This was certainly not the plan, but I do love it. And it is incredibly hard. You have many wonderful book suggestions here, Esolen, Schaeffer Macaulay, and Charlotte Mason are some of my favorites. There are many good articles at Ambleside Online, the book-lover's curriculum. Be careful, Sarah. You are standing on the edge of the Rabbit's Hole!

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