Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"I Hate Grating Cheese" - Household Tasks We Hate...

It ain't gonna grate it itself. Haha.
     A big part of our homeschooling is making sure we are raising our kids to help out around the house.  There is much less chaos when everyone is aware of what is expected of them and the daily tasks get done.  I think it is important to let our family know that many of these tasks are boring, tedious, annoying, etc.  When we agree with our kids that the tasks are not fun, it is easier to move on from complaints and whining.
     "You are so right Marley!  Cleaning up your room is not fun at all.  Let's do it together really quick, so we can get it over with."
     This approach has worked pretty well so far with my little ones.  I acknowledge that what I ask them to do isn't meant to be enjoyable; it just needs to be done.
     I recently started sharing with Marley that there are some household tasks that I really do NOT like and do NOT look forward to, for example: grating cheese.  Ugh! I don't know why I dislike it so much.  I just sigh when it needs to be done.  And truth be told, I avoid lots of recipes that require shredded cheese. ;P  I also dread folding or putting away clean laundry.  
     I tell her while I do the task, "Marley, I really do not like folding laundry.  But it does need to be done.  Otherwise, there would be clothes all over the place and we wouldn't be able to find things.  Isn't it so much nicer when we can find the laundry folded and clean in our drawers?"  I usually get a "Yup" and a smile as a response.
     The kids benefit from the lesson that sometimes we do things we don't want to do, to maintain peace and order.  There are many people in our country that would benefit from learning that lesson. ;)


Monday, February 23, 2015

IndoctriNation: Public Schools & the Decline of Christianity in America {Review}

IndoctriNation DVD Review
     IndoctriNation is a project completed by Colin Gunn of Great Commission Films.  Gunn had an unsatisfactory experience with public school and in his research felt that public schools were a major part of why Christianity is looked down upon in our nation.
     As a parent, early childhood educator, and a faithful Christian, I have a lot of hands on experience with the concepts addressed in this documentary.  Right away, the title strikes me as a conservative view that aims to prove that public schools are not the best option.  Since I chose to be a homeschooler, I figured I might agree with a lot of the content in this film.

     The film includes several interviews and testimonies of parents, authors, and educators.  Being that the documentary aims to sway people to remove their children from the educational system, I found the film to deliver extreme views that demonize public school.  As much as I dislike public school, I feel there are other factors to consider when it comes to the decline of Christianity.   However, there were many good points the film brought to my attention.
     I was interested in the history behind public school.  The film tells us that the founder of public school aimed to create an educational institution that specifically excludes religion.  I can actually see the good intention behind this concept, because when children from many different faiths come together, it is difficult to adhere to everyone's educational preferences based on religion.  BUT, I do agree that when putting a child in public school, people of a certain faith need to understand that school is not a place where their faith will be encouraged.  In fact, nowadays, it is strongly discouraged.  As a person of strong Christian faith, I do believe this is a big downside to putting my children in public school.
     I also thought it was a valuable point when the film discussed that public school supports the use of prescription medication for young children.  When parents feel their child might need to be medicated for ADD or ADHD, it is often because they aren't able to sit still for very long and their attention span is very short.  These kids seem to think and learn in a different capacity than the "average" child.  But when you look at public school from further back and question the entire concept...why should young children be expected to sit for that long?  Why should they be expected to learn a certain way?  I think if more parents questioned the standards held within public schools, they just might realize there is more leniency that can be given to a child in their educational journey.
     One of the parts that I thought was hilarious was when they say that public school was established to psychologically condition a child to be submissive.  One of the teacher points out that that is why public schools use bells between classes.  Like the Pavlov's Dog studies, they use the ringing of bells to condition the children to get up and move to the next class.  Haha! I think it's funny because I have never thought about why there are bells between classes.  Come to think of it, why don't the teachers just say, "Okay, that's all the time we have.  See you tomorrow."  Weird.
     The film brought to mind some very interesting and thought provoking questions.

     IndoctriNation can be rented to watch online through vimeo.com for $4.95 or purchased through the same site for $12.95.  The DVD can be purchased here for $19.95, where you will also find the book for $14.95; but BOTH can be purchased together for $24.95.

     I don't think public school is all bad, but I do think that all of the aspects presented in this film are important and should be thought about.
     In any event, it is important for everyone to take a closer look at the public school system.  I feel the decline of education in our country is due to the lack of parental involvement in education.  We should all be constantly be asking: What are our children learning? How are they learning it?  What is the importance of the subjects being taught?  How dedicated are the teachers to each individual student?
     I don't have a general aversion to the idea of public school, but under the current circumstances, I see so much wrong with the procedures and goals of the public school system.  And personally, when it comes to my kids, I will always have the right to choose a better path for them.  It's time take back control of our children's education!

IndoctriNation DVD Review
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, February 16, 2015

Presidents Day - Field Trip to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum

     On Presidents Day, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum gives free admission and cherry pie to the first 300 guests.  Such a fun way to celebrate the day and to experience an educational feel trip with the family!  We arrived a half hour early and barely made the cut, but as you can see..we got our cherry pie and my girls were thrilled about it.
Yummy cherry pie!

     This was my first visit to the museum and I was very impressed.  Inside the museum there were interesting facts at every corner.  The rooms were gorgeous and full of educational information and historical significance.
Marley posing as if fascinated. Haha. Silly girl.
Our future leaders. ;)
"DO NOT TOUCH" - What better place to break the rules than the Nixon Museum.  Haha, just kidding! My Dylan is always getting into trouble. 
The Declaration of Independence is my favorite!
     The grounds were beautiful and I loved that there were plenty of grassy areas where children can run and play.  We sat in the middle of the courtyard and ate our lunch on the lawn.  It was a perfect sunny and beautiful day for the occasion!

We got to go inside of the presidential helicopter.  Dylan was especially excited about it.

     My girls are still a little too young to really appreciate what is offered, but they still had a great time and said they would love to come back.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Disneyland Fitness & Nutrition Worksheet

     Now that I am getting back into regular life after having a baby, we are able to make more trips to Disneyland again!  YAY!  Seriously, it is my home.  I always feel happy at Disneyland and could stay all day long.  Since we do stay most of the day, we end up eating there a lot.  I am a huge fan of Disneyland food.  It is SO good.  A little pricey, but very delicious and filling.  A few of my favorites are not very expensive like the Corn Dog (best corn dog ever!!) and the Clam Chowder Bread Bowl.  I usually just share one with my kids and it is plenty for half the day.  My husband would joke about all the hidden calories in something like a corn dog or churro, so I decided to do some research.  I was pretty certain that with all the walking we do at Disneyland, that the calories are gone by the time we leave the park.  I put together a worksheet with some of the staple foods at Disneyland for those interested in finding out the results.

Here is my
Have fun!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Homeschooling Dads: When Our Sweethearts Homeschool...

     With Valentine's Day only a week away, I thought it appropriate to dedicate a post to our beloved sweethearts.
My husband with Marley and Dylan at Yosemite.
Hiking and learning about the Giant Sequoias.

     One of my most favorite things about homeschooling is seeing daddies take an active role in the process.  Luckily, my husband is 100% supportive of our decision to homeschool.  He finds it enjoyable to be involved in all the educational experiences, and he even comes up with some great ideas to include in our curriculum! I love it!!
     I saw a couple photos of dads teaching their children, and I was inspired to write a blog post about it.  Usually, dads are at work the majority of the day and cannot engage in most of the activities we plan.  However, there are some very dedicated dads who make sure to find some time to take an active role in educating their children.  These dads are, well, for lack of a better word...AWESOME!  I had some homeschoolers send me photos of their husbands leading some homeschool activities and enriching their children's education.  These photos are just darling!!

     Here is Randy and his son Edan learning how to take care of a garden, making tissue box shoes for lace-tying practice, and constructing a bird feeder.  Way to go Randy!

     Here is another dad constructing with legos with his daughter and helping his son build with wood.  Great job!

      This is 5 year old Joshua with his daddy at the zoo, taking a closer look at the elephant and rhinoceros. Adorable.

     Here is Taylor, Brent, and their dad building lego sets together.  Aww, legos are a timeless activity!

     The photos below were sent in by Cassi, who says, "What we have learned as a homeschool family is that it's not always about the quantity of time, but more about the quality of time. When your there BE THERE COMPLETELY!!!"  Dad helped his kids build a windmill to charge a AA battery.  Checking out the space station.  Enjoying a football game.  And just doing homework together.  Wow, looks like lots of fun!

     This daddy took some time to build with legos with his kids and also give them some pointers on firearm safety. Haha ;)

     Here is Don teaching about the brain and teaching his son Caleb about the surface of Mars.  Uh oh, looks like an alien attack! Heehee ;)

     Here is a dad AND a grandpa assisting with some archery practice with their little ones. Awww, love it.



     This is dad Shane with his family: Christina, Jon, Sam, and Ben; as they volunteer their time at Feed My Starving Children.  Keep up the good work!

     These last two photos were taken by personal friends of mine.  They are not homeschoolers, but they were able to capture precious teaching moments between their husbands and little ones.

     Here is Nicole's husband and their two sons.  She shared the photo expressing that seeing her husband teach their sons how to use tools & build was a precious moment. <3

          This is Sara's son sitting with dad in front of their map.  Sara said her husband was giving his son a fun geography lesson by discussing where different cartoon characters live throughout the world.  Haha.  Love it!
     This Valentine's Day, take a moment to hug your sweetheart and thank him for his involvement with your children.  These efforts make all the difference in the world to our kids.  Our children are cherishing these moments in their hearts.  They are not only learning skills and concepts, but more importantly, they are learning that their dads love and respect them.  They will grow up knowing their dads believe in them and are always there to support and encourage them.  This is an invaluable lesson that is guaranteed to pave the way for happiness in their lives.  
     To all those devoted daddies..THANK YOU! <3