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Everything posted by stm4him

  1. Right now my kids just write whatever they want, but they have to fill up a page. My children that are under 10 can choose copywork and so far this year that is what they want to do. My oldest (14) is into writing song lyrics right now, but she also writes stories and letters. She has yet to write me an essay, but that's ok with me at the moment. My children have never done much free writing, so it is refreshing to all of us that they are doing so. My 12 year old is mostly choosing to write chapters to his book about Pokemon at the moment, but he also started a book about King Henry (the 8th I think). Every day or every other day, I sit with them and go over their work and help them correct their errors. We are all enjoying it so far.
  2. I am studying theology and want some focused time to study daily. I usually consider myself a night owl rather than an early bird, but that usually isn't very conducive to homeschooling so I am considering other options. I'd love to hear what time you get up, how long you study, how you get school going, etc. and what your night has to look like in order to make that work. Thanks!
  3. Does anyone use this for memory work at home? How do you like it? I am considering using it in the fall. We used to do CC (left at Christmas break of 2014), but we can't afford it anymore. Thanks!
  4. This isn't popular on here, but Hunter (one of the well known posters on here), does recommend for certain families in certain circumstances and apparently I fit those. I have been homeschooling for ten years so I don't know if that counts or not, but I have tried most of what is out there over the years. After all of that trying, I have settled on ACE because it is pretty inexpensive (and gets less expensive as you go since you don't have to repurchase score keys) and it gets done consistently around here with plenty of time left over for whatever else we want to learn about or do together. I can juggle five children that are school age and allow the sixth and seventh kiddos to tag along with number 5 so that I am only actually teaching out of one manual. The kids can check their own work (for the most part) and the record keeping is really organized and straight forward. There are a lot of bad reviews online, but those who have stuck to it over the long haul and done it in a homeschool setting have had great success with it, especially if they added oral reports, book reports, and had their kids use the software they sell for practicing math facts, spelling words, typing, and reading speed/comprehension. They also have Rosetta Stone, which some people dislike but others have had great success with. The other thing I like about ACE is that you can have the kids tested for free with their diagnostic test online and find out exactly what gaps they have and know exactly what to order. You can order a little at a time so that if it doesn't work for you you haven't lost much money. There is a facebook group of moms that are very willing to help you with any questions you might have. The website is www.aceministries.com Also, if you are wanting to add some memory work in, I recommend crossseven.org
  5. For us, I would have my high schooler bring an expandable 7-pocket folder with her math, English, science, social studies, and Bible PACEs and score keys. I would have a container of 4-color pens and pencils. I would have one small bin with a lid containing her other score keys and PACEs, and we would throw away the used PACEs as we went, keeping only her notes and compositions or drawings (or Activity Pacs if they are still in there) in a binder. The only other books I think she would need would be a Bible (I just like to hold it) and a Bible handbook. I would have her bring a Kindle (or other device with a Kindle app) for reading and a laptop for Rosetta Stone, Reading Master Plus, Teaching Textbooks (as a backup resource), and Alfred's Music Theory. I would probably have a sketch pad and colored pencils and/or watercolors and an instrument for creative expression purposes. She would have one pack of small, index card sized goal cards to keep her daily assignments written down, which could also probably be thrown out as we used them up. In our house, we would also include a hymnal or some copies of hymns for her binder. If she had a favorite devotional or one she is trying out that year we might bring that. For the math and science courses there are DVDs, so I would probably have one small cd case with all the software and DVD discs in it. I think the English courses don't usually have more than 2 books, but I would have her read on a Kindle any other books mentioned in the PACEs. So I am assuming there may be a couple of literature books to bring that would fit in her folder. The catalog says they need an Advanced Dictionary their senior year, so I might include that in the senior year, but that could also probably be done via some app. Here it is as a list: Expandable 7-pocket folder Binder with reinforced filler paper and dividers Container of pencils and 4-color pens Artist kit Sketch pad (with tear out pages for the ones she wants to keep) CD/DVD case holding various software and DVD courses Small bin of other PACEs and score keys Instrument Bible Bible handbook Hymnal (or hymn copies in binder) Devotional (optional) Literature books as needed for English (probably 1-2/year or 7 total) Advanced Dictionary (optional) Kindle or app Laptop (software capable) Expandable file with record keeping pages and forms Pack of goal cards or index cards for assignments
  6. ACE. All of it. I don't have to supplement with anything except music theory and living books. Done and done. Gets done and the kids actually like it and have asked to never switch. Successful for four months straight and very consistently done. I could go on and on about why we like it. I so wish we had started with it and never left it. If it weren't for Hunter, I probably never would have given it a chance.
  7. When I am lost, I seek out Hunter. She always has the key. Sometimes I think our brain waves run parallel. Which makes no sense because our lives are SO different. My kids and husband know who you are and you regularly come up in conversation as if you are a distant cousin or something. I seriously think we should have a Hunter Homeschool Conference and Hunter can be the speaker. I would do everything I could to be there. And I totally second the book thing. But I think she should write two books. One autobiography and one book of homeschooling advice. I almost cried when she took down her old signature. We love you, Hunter!
  8. I also thought about those 8 pocket portfolios, but I'm not sure they are thick enough to hold the pace and the key in one pocket. I saw one at Walmart that had an elastic band to hold it together that I thought was cool. I also need to have a spot for their goal card and that other chart that you put stars on. We haven't started the record keeping part yet but I want to soon. And a place to put their composition book would be great because I hate loose paper.
  9. We have a large family so these are going to add up quickly. I am trying to figure out the best way to store them. We will most likely buy the paces one at a time per subject and throw all but the front cover (or other special pages) away when done, but I am not sure what to do with all the score keys. Also, I am thinking about what to put their current paces in. Right now I am thinking a file jacket. I will probably put their tests in a binder. I might store the test keys with the score keys or make a separate binder. The reason I am leaning against a binder for their paces is the annoyance of opening the ring so many times. I thought about a storage clipboard, but I don't know that it would hold all of their paces plus score keys and the opening and closing of that might be annoying too, plus there would be several of them stacked up since we have so many kids. 8 file jackets in a filebox seems smarter to me for their current paces. That way each morning I can just pull out each child's file jacket from the filebox and hand it to them. They can pull them all out into a stack on top of the file jacket and file them as they go. They are cheap and easy to replace and I can probably color code them. Any thoughts?
  10. So, a month out from this and I am feeling much better I think. At least about homeschooling. My oldest is doing well at the school though she doesn't really like it very much. She does recognize that she is getting a lot done, so that is good and we have much more peace at home, which is also good. She has been very responsible to get up on time, pack her lunch, get her uniforms ready, do her homework (when she has some, which isn't often), etc. We are very proud of her. We are still working on not talking back, but even that has gotten better. We have been using some PACEs to fill in "gaps" and that has gone well. They are doing well with checking their work. Soon I think I will be ready to order one of each subject and really get them going. Right now the one or two PACEs they are using is not filling up enough time, so the last few hours of the day (like right now) kind of drag on. Our computer that can do software bit the dust so now we are not able to use our Teaching Textbooks. Once we have a "new" computer I can't wait to begin adding software programs for them to work on. I haven't decided if that will be something they use on rotation throughout the day or if they will be required to finish all of their other work before getting on the computer. Probably a rotation would be needed for them to be able to fit in a Rosetta Stone lesson, a Teaching Textbooks lesson, and drill in one area (math, reading, spelling, typing, or music theory). Once they test out of the drill they can choose a different elective from SOS. I read some awesome reviews about ACE that have me really excited despite all of the naysayers on here. I just ordered the first grade manuals and the first workbook for each subject they start with (animal science, Bible reading, math, and word building) for my 6 year old. Once she finishes the first 12 weeks I plan to order the K program for my 4 year old (who may be five by then). I don't want to be doing intensive teaching with both at once. I am also about to do the Review Manual (which takes 3 weeks to do) with my 7 year old. She is going to go through the first grade science, social studies, and English paces because she needs to build up more stamina and the phonics clues help her. She is ready for second grade math and word building, though. I am having her eyes checked Monday to check on the stamina issue. I have all our things so far in a small filing box. I am hoping to only need one more. I LOVE keeping things minimalist. After each pace I tear off the front cover (which has the goals, character definitions, and new vocabulary) and save it with the test which is a good sample of the work covered. I throw the rest of the pace away. And except for math (which I bought as a set for one of my kiddos), I am just buying one pace at a time for each subject and that is helping it seem more affordable. It also means that we don't have a ton of paces to store at any one time; just the score keys. I am feeling good about the idea of donating the rest of my curriculum (minus anything resembling a living book). School and little ones and a trip I took last weekend have been keeping me busier than I was before so I have made very little progress on my religious studies; however, I am totally looking forward to tonight and tomorrow when I can totally focus on my own studies. In the past, we used to not take Saturday off unless we had something specific to go do and I think that was part of burn out. Having one day to myself to study is glorious! Plus Sunday we go to church and I consider Sunday time to run errands or work on house projects. This feels much more balanced. Part of the reason for the evenings being scattered is because we just started baseball this week and we have practice 4 times a week. This is tough but at least it is close by and only lasts a few weeks and doesn't interfere with weekends. I am hoping to reserve Saturday nights for learning with my husband and discussing our views, etc. We just got paid again though it was a small amount. This allowed us to make a few orders of paces over the last month. Now it is hold our breath time and see if we can make it to the next check (and since we don't know when the next check is coming this is especially hard). This is the biggest part of my life that is still bothering me, but if there is any hope that I could make money at some point to help us get out of debt it would be a curriculum like ACE with software supplements. Perhaps I could take on a part time job in the late afternoons/evenings after my youngest is done nursing. Maybe my oldest will get a job within this year and begin to help out by paying her own expenses (which aren't much anyway). Maybe the leads my husband is handing off now will prosper. Anyway, the future is looking brighter :-)
  11. So you saved the day again, Hunter. I implemented the same schedule as the school at home and it is working very well except for the fact that I keep ending up in my pjs until the afternoon. 7:00 seems to be a bad time for me to wake up in my sleep cycle or I just need to get up earlier to have time to wake up. I'm not one of those people who can just hop out of bed unless there is an emergency (needing to make sure her uniform was washed counts as an emergency). So we are doing this: 7:00 Wake up and do our B's (bathroom, bedroom, body, breakfast, brush) 8:00 Blitz (we attack the living areas together) while husband drops off daughter 8:30 Pledges and read a chapter of the Bible together that we are memorizing, prayer, sit for school 11:30 Lunch 3:00 Whatever we want the rest of the day: free time, errands/to dos, yoga, family time, read aloud, etc. 9:00 Blitz, then bed We spent the week doing testing for the ACE curriculum, which gave me an idea of where they were weak. We continued with Teaching Textbooks, which both boys love and my oldest is doing as her homework since most nights she will not have homework. Since money is tight, I think we will just start by ordering Reading Master Plus software which has typing, spelling/vocabulary, reading comprehension/speed, and math drills and Alfred's Music Theory software program that I've been wanting since my kids are not doing any music lessons right now. I may also subscribe to the Rosetta Stone Reading to help keep my 6 and 4 year olds busy during school time. That is much cheaper than the ACE reading programs, though I would like to order those, too eventually. Other than that, they will have the freedom to continue studying what they would like to during school time. Since we have only one computer that can do software right now they will have to take turns. The Rosetta Stone Reading can be done on our chromebooks, so the little girls probably won't have to take turns because we purchased a few used chromebooks a year ago when we were trying out Monarch. They will all need a pair of headphones, but I think we have two already to get us started. I have a set of The Book of Knowledge and a set of Childcraft from craigslist, so I will have them read or draw from those if they get bored. Right now we are using the Epic app and I absolutely love it because we have it on the tablet and ipad and it has audiobook and read aloud options that are wonderful. We have 4 different profiles going and only pay $5/month for it. It's great! Thank you, Hunter, for your words of wisdom. I underestimated how well I am doing. Tonight I even cooked dinner for probably the first time in two years or more!! With three short clean up sessions each day the house is staying pretty nice, which is good since our baby is crawling all over the floors now. My oldest mops when she gets home from school. My husband is really blown away with how productive our days our now and he is getting more work done. He is working on possibly handing over the majority of his business from our former state over to a large brokerage to manage for him and we are praying that that will generate a more steady income and allow him to put more focus on his business in our state. Having enough money to pay our bills AND purchase curriculum will be wonderful. But for now we can make due with what we have and still do our schedule. Tomorrow we are taking off to do some deep cleaning for guests that are staying for the weekend from out of town. I don't feel guilty at all because we had 4 solid days of school and I plan to do that Tuesday-Friday next week as well. (Monday our guests will be leaving, it's my husband's birthday, and my son has a checkup so we are going to just take off that day, too). I even got to do quite a bit of reading during school time since they were working pretty well independently. I am so encouraged about this coming year! I also want to say that the more I look at ACE the more I think it is misjudged based on former versions of it. I think if one adds in book reports/oral reports (which I saw mentioned in an article they have on their website) and uses the software and art supplements they offer it can be pretty well-rounded. I only Teaching Textbooks because I am nervous to switch from spiral to mastery and the Rosetta Stone Reading is just to have something the little girls can do for fun that is educational when I am not available or for extra reinforcement. It keeps them focused and quiet so that the others can study in our small house when the weather is too cold for extended outdoor time. 7th grade is supposed to contain 1/2 a year of state history and I may decide to just use Switched on Schoolhouse for that instead of the extensive research project ACE suggests. Also, they have a lengthy project suggested for Computer Science and I may decide to use SOS for that as well. SOS electives may be an option depending on what the kids are interested in, but I am pretty impressed with the ones ACE has in the homeschool catalog. They even have some they are calling Advanced Highschool/College and so if our kids finished things up early they would still have plenty of credits they can earn beyond the normal. I like the idea that I will know exactly what credits have been earned and that the grading will all be objective minus the writing assignments. It takes a lot of weight off of my shoulders that way. I love knowing that they can be done at 2:30 and have the rest of the day to play. Other things we have done have made school last all day and that was just exhausting. homeschoolhowtos.com is going to be my new favorite website I think. It actually addresses many of the things I am researching out with my faith and advocates ACE as a base to build on. She talked about reading The Bible Story and Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories to your little ones each night and it reminded me of how I have neglected to spend enough time reading Bible stories at their level and short devotionals like I did with my older ones. I have been so focused on whether they are getting a steady diet of the classics that I have neglected some of their spiritual education. It is amazing to see how she addresses so many of the things I have been wrestling with on her website and I am excited to learn from her. (I know others think she is over the top, but I find it amusing and convicting and practical, actually.)
  12. Thank you so much for that encouragement. Every story I hear of ACE working well for a family gives me hope :-)
  13. I talked to my husband more about all of this last night. He told me to just start slowly. So I think we will begin by having all of us copy what the oldest will be doing first thing in the morning, even if we are in our pjs. We will do the pledges and read aloud together the chapter of the Bible her school is doing and then pray together. Then my two boys will sit down and do their Teaching Textbooks lesson and read a classic (they'll have to take turns with the computer). Eventually we will add a music theory program for them. And I want to do Reading Master Plus which works on spelling, reading comprehension and speed, math drills, and typing. And Rosetta Stone Hebrew and Reading. These are all on the computer so they won't need me to do much. We can try to follow the school schedule little by little with break times and work times. When we add Reading Master Plus we can add in my fourth child and when we get Rosetta Stone Reading we can add in my fifth and maybe sixth child. That will give them Bible, math, reading, spelling, typing, foreign language, and music. ACE has an art elective for elementary that we can do, too. Once all of that is going smoothly, we can think about adding paces. The computer programs obviously don't include writing, so I will have them do some copywork or a written narration from their current classic when they finish it (or if it has stories they can do one for each story), or a journal entry or letter to someone. My six and seven year old already know how to write their letters and how to write lowercase in cursive, though they may need a refresher. I only have my 4 year old to teach handwriting to. If/when we do paces we can have them give us an oral report or a written narration and we may keep their tests for reviewing what they learned in previous paces. I think I can handle a slow ramping up like this.....
  14. Also, if my older kids were in school, I would still have to teach my 6 year old and 4 year old and maybe even my 7 year old because I'm not sure she reads well enough to start there. She would have to pass their reading test to get in. Plus I would be taking care of my 2 year old. So my hands would still be full at home with the oldest three or four gone most of the day. Money and my husband's thoughts are the real barrier.
  15. What do you mean by "seen this play out"? Which part? You are being gentle enough but I just don't know exactly what you are referring to and I want to understand your point. Hunter, I can't tell you how many schedules I have written up over the years. The trouble is that when you are usually pregnant or nursing (or both), following an exact schedule is so hard. It sometimes made me a tense mom because I was trying so hard to follow the clock rather than focusing on their hearts and individual needs mine. I was putting the ideal over the reality in my head and therefore I always felt like a failure because the day didn't look like it "should". Rather than being satisfied that I addressed the needs that came up, I beat myself up over falling behind. I have tried to make rest a priority for healing purposes, and that isn't conducive to early mornings for me since I have never been a morning person. And yet not getting up early can make the day start off in a somewhat chaotic way if your goal is to start some structured learning. My husband usually runs the morning around here, but he doesn't really seem to want to get them on track with studying or chores. And since they know how to make their own breakfast he sometimes isn't even involved in that. All of my kids love to cook so part of the constant mess around here is their cooking mess. But it is so awesome to see them be creative in the kitchen and sometimes I think I undervalue how educational that is.....especially if their future involves something in the culinary world perhaps. So I could change that and have less mess, but I'd also be losing the opportunity to allow them to continue to grow in that area. I don't often feel like cleaning up after it, though, and feel it should be their responsibility. But often "Somebody did it and Nobody knows who", you know? We actually don't have that much clutter in our house. The only unorganized areas are in my boys' closet and our school closet. Those would be a 2 hour job combined so not that big of a deal. I do have some papers to sort through since I am a recovering paperholic, but I am making progress there. Maybe three more hours to go with the papers still in my house not counting any scanning if I choose to deal with it that way. I DO have oodles of paper and books in storage, though, but that is a long term project. I can't seem to let go of my library, but there is nowhere to store it on shelves right now and we don't even have money for the kind of shelves we would need in this house to put up 1/3 of the books. I'm thinking maybe a library shed at some point in our future? We do use the local library a lot and I find things at Goodwill about once a week or so. Our house becomes a mess everyday, but we clean it up almost every night after dinner and it only takes about 30 minutes for the living areas to be clean if we all work together. The problem is that when baseball starts our evenings will be in the ball fields unless I stay home and clean up, which I may decide to do. But it may be better to move the clean up time to earlier in the day. I just prefer to do it when my husband is not focused on work because there is far less messing around when he is involved. Our life has been more of a situation where I have a list of 10 things every day that I want to get done and I go about my day doing those things and interact with my children as they join with me or as they invite me to do something with them. I try as much as possible to always stop what I am doing and do whatever it is they want me to do with them whether that is a picnic, a story, a game, or a conversation. And they often want to join me to cook meals or do yoga or run errands. In case you are curious, the ten things I try to get done are: 1. yoga 2. chores (laundry, make my bed, clean my bathroom) 3. hygiene (including brushing their hair and teeth) 4. one to do item or errand 5.personal study or hobby time 6. devotional 7. prayer 8. family time 9. read aloud 10. time with my husband Public school is not an option. I don't need to be plugged in with lots of families, but a few like-minded ones would be nice. The high school is like 15 miles away and the schools here are not doing well. The teachers may be very nice and the families might be ok (I don't want to judge since I don't know them), but academically it isn't a good situation. There is actually a classical charter school nearby that I think goes up to 8th grade, but we'd have to get them in there (lottery system) and it would probably have very high expectations and lots of homework. The reason I am not as interested in that (besides all the homework) is that my kids would be separated all day. At the little ACE school they would all be together and have breaks and lunch and PE together. It is like a little family there. I don't want my children to lose their bond with each other. There is nothing more precious than that to me.
  16. Oh, and I became almost vegan (for health reasons mostly) and I'm doing yoga.....neither of which I am sure I actually agree with philosophically when lined up with my scriptural beliefs, but they are making a huge difference in my health. And I think I have always wanted to be a mom of a large family and a teacher and since we are supposedly done having children now and I am not really homeschooling in the traditional sense of the word, I think I am feeling lost as to who I am or what I am meant to do exactly. And for me that feel sort of crisisish. I realize that I can't be everything for my kids and that no matter what we do, they might wish we had done things differently or choose to do things differently with their own children. And that all my picturesque views of homeschooling were never reality except in snapshots of our life here and there. I wouldn't change one moment of the time I have spent with them, but I just can't see the way ahead right now without either daily battles or surrendering to the idea that they'll probably never learn grammar or be very good at math unless they want it enough to pursue it themselves. And somehow I need to take into consideration my husband's desires for their education, which seem so very black and white to him. Tell them what to do and make them do it. Easy peasy. But that is draining when you have so many kids and I don't want to do that every day for the next 18 years all day every day.
  17. I don't even know where to begin. I have been on a writing drought for months now and I think it is all about to come out. This isn't going to be pretty. I doubt any of it will make sense. But I think somehow, Hunter, that you will have the clue yet again that I need to go forward. Somehow you always do. My son's leukemia treatment is over now minus monthly checkups and an antibiotic for a few more weeks. I have been able to finally turn the corner in my health and I think it will only get better from here. So I have so much to be thankful for. So many changes have taken place in me that I feel like I am having some sort of mid-life crisis inside. In the last few months we have been unschooling after switching from a Robinson type layout, which I continued two months after having my baby at the end of June. I was still fighting all the time to get them to do their work and my relationship with my oldest was a mess. I knew that nothing academic could be as important as our relationship so that was part of what led into unschooling. I read enough about it to be confident that many, many children turn out just fine without a curriculum and I came to believe that their education was really their responsibility in that no matter what I tried to shove down their throat, they were the only ones who could decide whether or not to swallow it. And that I would rather feed them when asked and have a thankful child than one who was gagging or spitting back in my face what I had attempted to force feed them. Relationships began to be better and I had the space I needed to focus on the nutrition and exercise I needed to heal. Things have been chaotic, but they have always been even when I tried to have structure. There have been times that I have loved allowing two of my girls to sight read (GASP) and marveled at how much more pleasant it was to allow them to progress slowly this way with no pressure or forced lessons vs. the phonics lessons I did with the oldest three. Allowing our days to unfold naturally with very little interference most days has been refreshing on what feels like some evil level. As in, how is it that everyone else doesn't want to live this way and why is it "wrong" for us to enjoy our life this much? Am I lazy? Or is it a given that any mom of eight children can't possibly be lazy? There was so much less fighting and forcing to get them to achieve MY academic goals for them. It began to seem ridiculous that I had ever even tried. BUT when we finally got paid (we'd been waiting for almost two months), I retested my oldest using a CAT test online. She had progressed in almost every area, but she had sometimes not progressed as much as she "should have" and in some areas was 1-3 years behind. Now, this is my child who has ALWAYS struggled and so this wasn't necessarily surprising. Maybe I should just be glad that she had several scores that were on grade level considering how hard it is for her to learn. We had bought her Teaching Textbooks to rescue her from years of Saxon and yet she got stuck on lesson 12 and never moved past it. She just basically stopped all writing, grammar, and math work since it wasn't required of her. She was in constant arguments with my husband (who works from home) about how unproductive her days were and she wanted to go to school (after being homeschooled her whole life). So we finally gave in and we are sending her to the local ACE school that is a few minutes from our house. It is run by two sweet elderly ladies who do it as a ministry. There are about 14 other kids there, one of which is her age and is so excited she is coming to the school. I really think this is the right thing for her right now and so does my husband. In addition to the benefits for her, our thought is that when she is not around, perhaps I can get more done with the other children since the oldest has always had such extensive emotional or academic needs. So for the first time in months I began to think about curriculum again. Or about educational requirements (such as read for 2 hours, write/draw for 1 hour, math or language arts for 1 hour). What would it look like to homeschool again instead of unschool? Do I even need to homeschool again, or should I just keep unschooling? Because here is the thing. They spend most of their time outside or watching something. Now, they do "educational" things outside a lot and we do read alouds at night and some of what they watch would count as educational. We do lots of board games. My second child is a voracious reader, though a little less so the last few months (he is on a comic book spree right now which is a huge change from the advanced literature and history books he usually chooses to read). My third and fourth children are very outdoorsy and I have to force them to read (mostly when I need quiet time or something). My fifth one likes schoolwork, but only when she asks for it. But it did bother me to see the grammar and math concepts on my daughter's testing (both standardized and for the school) that I knew my kids would not learn with unschooling or may be forgetting since we are not reviewing. So there's that. Meanwhile, during this unschooling time I became infatuated with studying the positions of another religion (not completely different, but different enough that it could cause us to lose friends or upset my family). But because of this, my family often perceived my constant studying (though I was trying to set a good example) as selfish or reclusive. And my husband, who is reluctantly researching these positions about once a week with me, is not on board yet so I can't change anything in my life yet to align with what I am embracing intellectually. So I am sort of stuck there. And my husband doesn't even want me to discuss these things with my children so as not to confuse them so I am essentially silenced. This has made it hard for me to feel comfortable teaching them anything spiritual, even though I want to and even though I feel it is my duty to. It is why I wanted to homeschool in the first place. My husband, who was ok with us unschooling (but reluctant and skeptical at the same time), now wants there to be more structure (more like TJEd or Robinson) and more hands on with them. But inside I am feeling distant from them because I can't share what I am learning about and I don't feel like going back to forcing them to do schoolwork. Today I sat them down for a short time and reviewed our old CC memory work and we read a chapter of the Bible aloud together which is the same chapter my daughter read at school today in order to keep our family doing the same passage. They were bothered by the fact that it was the KJV since we don't usually use that. And they were just not fun to work with because the longer I don't require things of them, the more entitled they feel and resentful when I do "make" them come to the table for a learning activity. I'll just come right out and say that at this point I am thinking about putting the oldest three or four in that school as soon as we have the money and the openings. My husband just told me he doesn't want to put them in school. He is bothered by the fact that I am in my room typing right now, but this is the first time in months that I have felt like really writing and I don't feel like going out there to the chaos and noise while all of this swirls around in my head. The idea of just being with my little ones during the day and just teaching them to read and preparing them for school sounds nice right now. But I would have a few things I wanted to add to their education (and most days they wouldn't have homework anyway), and I am not sure they would do this without issue. And sometimes I think we just need to increase the discipline in this house. But is silencing them right? Unschooling philosophies have me so confused. But I also was watching as several other large family moms who have teenagers were going on and on about how difficult their oldest child or children are and I know they had raised them similarly. I was at the point of thinking we've maybe done too much disciplining and not enough accommodating. But now I wonder if accommodating leads to entitlement? You have to understand that this is coming from a mom who never thought I would ever put my kids in any school. And also, we live in the country now, but we have tried to keep our life in the city to some degree. We have only recently started to mingle a little more with the people who live close to us. I like these people, but they are definitely less educated and I am wondering what my own family would look like in a few generations of living here. I LOVE our land. All of us do. I want to grow old here. Our kids are starting baseball for the first time this spring and we will be able to meet more families here. We tried to find a church to attend here and all of them were not a good fit for us. Maybe through sports and maybe through this school we will find more people to connect with. I am sort of picturing it being nice to pick up my kids from school, have some time together, and then heading over to the ball fields to hang out with each other and other families whereas before this seemed like nowhere near enough time with them in a day. One other thing is that the women who run the school are elderly and I'm not sure who plans to take up the school after them or if the school will just die. Maybe that is something I could see myself doing in the future, but I don't think they make much, if any, money doing it. They literally chart $160/month. It's crazy cheap. Of course, I would need to wait for my little ones to get bigger first. And one last issue is that we are broke and owe so much money. We can't afford to put more kids in right now no matter what I want. I fantasize about being able to help out financially so we can get out of debt quicker. The last three years of health issues just did us in. Whoever responds to this, please know that this is just an explosion of my thoughts at this moment and please be kind. And please don't insult ACE. I know all about the negatives. It won't be helpful right now. I don't even have an actual question right now. I'm just......lost.
  18. I'm glad you checked in, too, Hunter. Tanks for keeping us updated. I'm sorry about your relationship trials. Those are the hardest, aren't they? I have a guest house with a full bath that I wish were set up properly instead of full of boxes of books and such. It would be so fun to get to know you better. Not sure you're up for the rural lifestyle, though :-)
  19. Just checking in. I've been busy reading like crazy and haven't been on here much but I just wanted to stop in and see what was being discussed and what you are up to these days. Hope all is well!
  20. I could write a mini-book right now but I won't. I will just say that I am finding a lot of peace right now in a routine of Bible (on audio book while they draw, do legos, or puzzles, etc.), chores with memory work songs, lunch with Read aloud, free time to study or play in the afternoon as they see fit (lots of library trips and no video games or TV), and evenings of sharing with Daddy what they learned and enjoying documentaries or classic movies or board games together. Some evenings some kids have choir or youth group, but at least 4 evenings a week we are all together. I get to inspire them during read aloud and get those memory pegs or music appreciation in while we do chores. I get to get the Bible time in while they think they are playing (which actually involves art, engineering, and logic if you think about it). I get to enjoy being their Mom while we learn history or science on audiobook in the car or on a documentary. I get to practice spelling and math skills while we play board games. And I get to set an example by reading and studying on my own in the afternoons in front of them, while making myself available to help them with their ideas for learning as desired. What it lacks in organization it makes up for in depth of learning because they are self-motivated and not pushed and all of it looks like fun to them. I am not too busy or stressed about what we are "accomplishing" to train and nurture them properly throughout the day. Because I can breathe, I can spend time thinking about how to improve myself and my relationships with them and my husband and others in my life, as well as my relationship with God. And I can listen to my intuition as their mother more because I am not busy trying to follow a lesson plan. I can focus on who we are becoming individually and collectively. I have time to enjoy them and drink in their sweetness rather than pushing them away because I am busy making their sibling do math (or whatever). I am not saying that others who follow a curriculum can't also do these things. I'm saying that for ME, doing what looks like unschooling ends up giving me the freedom to teach them what they are ready and willing to learn, encourage them to learn what they might not otherwise be aware of or interested in, and love and nurture them naturally and easily. Homeschooling finally looks like what it looked like in my head originally, but never looked like in reality. And I am getting so many more hugs and kisses these days :-)
  21. I think I am only keeping the books that are Christian, out of print, hardback and beautiful, and books that I don't have in the libraries I have access to. Of course, I would keep anything that we go through or that I reread regularly (our favorites). But I haven't gone through my books yet. I have books in all the bedrooms, one tall but narrow bookshelf in our family room and one wide but short bookshelf in our dining room. Right now I'm thinking it is more important to have my book lists to constantly refer to.
  22. About four days a week this is what we are doing: Get dressed and eat breakfast Listen to an audio Bible cd while drawing, playing with legos, or doing puzzles Do chores while listening to a memory work cd (varies daily) Lunch together with read aloud Go to the library to study for a few hours Come home for outside play while Mom studies Dinner and clean up Presentations for Daddy on what they learned Documentary or board game when littles go to bed We will probably do some sort of family meeting before or after presentations a few days per week where we talk about big ideas such as joy, responsibility, and values but it may take awhile until we can smoothly add this in. This week choir starts up two nights per week and youth group starts up next week so the meetings and presentations will mostly be from Friday-Monday. I am loving our laid-back days, but also am feeling pretty productive and the kids are not fighting me anymore. Soooo great!!
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