Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our Learning and Teaching Styles

Well, I'm so blessed because God has revealed to me a way to truly hold on to Him. I had never really thought about my teaching/learning style before, but going through this book I have found out that I'm a lot of different things and my personality seems to stretch beyond the normal bounds! Haha! Anyone who knows me can attest! LOL

My oldest two children seem to be very different as well, different from me and each other - and this I know is going to be used to God's glory, because I'm starting to wonder how we managed so well for so long - only God! It also explains to me why at times I've been so frustrated with our curriculum choices and also so overwhelmed. In that overwhelmed state, I chose to go with curriculums that were totally not us at all, ending us back up at square one. Does anyone remember watching square one in junior high? You watched it every morning during first period for about 7 minutes - news, current events, etc. But I digress...

Realizing that I cannot in good concience, or probably with any legality, write out all of the characteristics of our learning, and my teaching, styles, I will be brief to give you a good idea.

I'm somewhere between a Perfect Paula and Sociable Sue, with a little Competent Carl thrown in. I like order and things neatly planned out ahead of time - for certain areas of my life. I like to follow a schedule (to a degree), but like to leave room for activities with friends. And apparently prefer to teach with a preplanned curricula (see previous post! ha!). I like to make long term plans and like to understand reasoning and logic behind ideas. Oh, and I like to be in control! Hahahahahahaha My dear hubby is nodding his head at that one. Have I mentioned lately how much the Lord has done in my heart in 13 years???

Apparently have this much of a diverse learning style can have it's benefits. It will help me to more easily handle my very different children.

C.13.B. is about 1/2 Perfect Paula (Paul!) and 1/2 Competent Carl. He loves order and schedules. Loves to plan out the day and would get up at the crack of dawn to do his schoolwork. One thing cracked me up and I will quote Cathy Duffy right here. She says, "They follow rules and respect authority, and they often feel it their duty to make sure everyone else does likewise." Amen! Hahaha He also loves to talk and has lots of ideas of his own, but has a hard time listening to others ideas.

P.9.G. is a very even cross between a Wiggly Willy (or Wilma!) and Sociable Sue. She often belts out in song and dance at the onset of any boredom. She loves reading though writing is not her strong suit. She loves creative endeavors, but has a very hard time cleaning up after herself - though after all these years of training is beginning to do so. She is wonderful in groups and thus loves to go on field trips and spend time gabbing after church. She's a hands on learner.

I just wanted to share where we are at. Funny thing is that I'm 1/2 way through chapter 4 and we've already gleaned a ton of information and things that I've never thought to check out. Amazing!!

What I really like about the book is that Mrs. Duffy has picked the top 100 curriculums after checking out so many on the market. Now, of course, there are new curriculums coming out every year, but I'm more reasurred that she has done some serious homework. She has several other books where she lists out EVERYTHING on the market by age. I think in this book she wanted to update everything and put more into splitting it up by learning style and educational philosophy. It's a really super book!

I'm actually going to bed early to read!! Check the time!!! Big P will fall over in his desk chair at the site of reading that. Love you honey!

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Our Educational Philosophy

It's late, I know, but I'm so glad that I got this done! I feel like I have a firm grasp on the direction that we are going in. Funny thing is, we are already using curriculum that hits most of these requirements - but one major thing is lacking - thought provoking discussion and strong Biblical Worldview.

So I will continue on this journey and you are welcome to walk alongside me.

Here's our Educational Philosophy:

To know the Savior and have a strong Biblical worldview are our primary reasons for homeschooling. We want them to have a heart to serve others and their families, having the skills necessary to provide for their family (our sons) or run a home efficiently (our daughter); meaning they also must be hard workers. We want them to love learning and be able to teach themselves anything they desire to know or learn. In the process of their education we want to help them find their special gifts and talents as well as have strong reading and communication skills.

Although I have a lot of experience homeschooling, I’m not exactly sure how much confidence I have. I think I have more confidence than discipline, which is something I need to work on. Thus, I need more structure and routine.

While I enjoy preparing for our school year, I’d rather spend the time directly with my children and enjoying learning together. I’d prefer that much of the planning and thinking be done for me. I may like unit studies, but the reality is that school won’t happen if unit studies are our primary method of education. I also have littler ones to think about, and will have a kindergartener soon. With a nursing baby, and no way of really knowing if God will bless us with another baby in the next year or so, I need to steer towards more of the planning or at least thought processes being done for me.

I’m not terribly thrifty when it comes to curriculum. I can be pretty thrifty with most other things throughout the year, but with the right planning, I’m not really limited on what I can spend on curriculum, within reason. Big P doesn’t mind spending the money as long as we use it! I always sell what we won't use again of the previous year's curriculum, giving me some of the money I need for the next year.

Our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is the primary reason we Homeschool, so I would say that the majority of our curriculum needs to encourage a strong Biblical worldview. It’s an area that I know we want to see our children very strong in and our plan is to focus on it very strongly in Junior and Senior high.

So I would add this to my philosophy:

I have children with various learning styles and I love spending time with them individually but would like the majority of our learning to be done together with real books and thought provoking discussion. Although unit studies would be ideal for this type of learning, I need to look to something that has more of the planning done for me, because of time constraints, but that also incorporates ideas based on Charlotte Mason’s or classical education. With proper planning and budgeting, I’m able to purchase what we need for learning.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Approaches to Learning Narrowed Down

As promised, I'm taking you on this journey with me. And I see someone is actually reading my blog! LOL Thanks ladies!!

The 100 Top Picks book has this really incredible chart that helps you to realize what your preferential approaches to education are for your children. I was so curious what it would say and how close it would actually hit for me. I was pleasantly surprised that it was really right on the money to what I thought. I'm always astounded at how those chart people figure this stuff out. I love excel, but when it comes to putting something like this together, I'm boggled - Cathy Duffy did it well!!

So, here are the results (along with some of my interpretation):

Traditional: *glad we homeschool*
32%

Charlotte Mason: *love natural learning*
87%

Classical: *love good/great books and lots of thinking*
83%

Unit Study: *love field trips*
82%

Unschooling: *love structure!!*
68%

Independent Study: *love being with my children - all of them!*
38%

Eclectic: *i think i need more structure than this provides*
67%

Umbrella Program: *I'm a rebel? LOL nah!*
36%

So, it looks like my preferred methods of education would be Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Unit Study. This is right in line with what I thought we believed about education. It makes me so glad that I'm the one doing the educating, as they wouldn't receive any of these types of instruction in public or private school.

I'm about to formulate my full philosophy of education, based on some other questions that Cathy Duffy asks in the book. Not sure if that will get done before this evening, though. I just stopped mid post to do a preschool activity with my boys and to pass out some cookies (of which I chose not to partake of. :I).

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Priorities for Homeschooling & Christmas gift

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I've been working through the 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. It's interesting that we have been homeschooling for 8 years and I've never really sat down and formed a philosophy of education. I mean, I know what I think education is supposed to be like. I know what it shouldn't be (at least for my children) and I know what curriculums we have used and liked and disliked in the past. I think one problem that we've had over the years, and the cause for switching programs so much, has been because I never really sat down and thought through this thoroughly.

So, as I start this journey, I'd like to take you alongside me. If only to encourage you to do this for yourself and to give you an idea of what kind of family we are and what kind of children we have.

So, here are our priorities for homeschooling, compiled by Big P and I, in as close to an order from greatest to least as is possible for us. I truly feel that some of these are at the same level, but I'm not willing to do a fancy diagram to explain it. Haha!
  • to know the Savior and have a strong Biblical worldview
  • to learn the Scriptures and memorize some of them
  • to be wise and discerning
  • to have a heart to serve others
  • boys: practical life skills girls (just 1 right now): to manage a home efficiently and with passion
  • be hard workers
  • to be able to teach themselves whatever they desire to know
  • to read well and express themselves well through writing
  • figure out their special gifts and talents
  • give correct change $ (interesting how this made it in, huh?! I worked at Sonic)
  • love learning
  • go through the normal subjects so they can pass tests when necessary
It was pretty interesting how this looked when it all came together and I'm glad to have it down. It's changed over the years, but I know that we have learned a lot, too. Our reasons for homeschooling have changed as well, so I'm sure that has something to do with it.

I hope to take you further on this journey with me and I would highly recommend the book. Image is linked to Amazon, but I got it locally at a homeschool store near me. Paid a bit more there, but I feel like the advice and general mom help I got was worth the extra dollars. Plus, I didn't pay shipping, so it really wasn't that much of a difference.


And one more thing that I forgot to add into my last post. This is what we gave our family for Christmas. Sweet hubby forgot to mail his dad's to him, but it is coming, I promise!




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Much to update on!

I'm sorry for my negligence in updating my blog. It's almost been a month! So much has gone on this last month that I don't know where to begin.

My sweet Mema passed away towards the beginning of the month. My mom called and said that things were not looking good for her. My mom had hospice coming in to the nursing home to be with her. I felt a strong prompting by the Holy Spirit to go that afternoon to see her. My mom met us over there and we visited with Mema for a bit. I'm not sure that she recognized us, but I was so glad we were there to give her our love. She passed away just after midnight that night. Things went into full swing the next day to prepare for the funeral, which was held down near Houston.

While we were in Houston we got to see my Grandmother (my dad's mom). We had an absolutely wonderful visit with her. We havne't seen her in several years. She is also in a nursing home and my aunt is with her every day of the week. She looks wonderful for 90. Here's a layout I did about our visit.


That reminds me that just after we got back from our Christmas camping trip, I was asked to be on another Creative Team! This one is for Brenda Smith designs. The above layout is using her products and template for a challenge she is about to issue on color blocking.

Then my oldest son celebrated his 13th birthday!!! Wow! I simply find it almost impossible to believe that he is already 13. Do I feel old? No! LOL I was 18 when I had him, so I'm not old - yet! Heehee!

My parents then celebrated their 35th anniversary! Wow! That's a long time. They have taught me that Love is a Verb and not Noun! The original plan was to have a party for them at their church with several of their friends. My sister and I had everything going when my Mema passed away and I, again with the leading of the Holy Spirit, made the executive decision to cancel the party and just do a dinner thing with our immediate family. Kimbo and I were also working on a very special project for them. An album of their 35 years together. It's not done, but I have gotten through 10 years. Kimbo picked out the pictures and I was putting them together. We put it into a slideshow format and showed them after we took them to Razzoo's for dinner. I have to do more scanning, and that is my primary scrapbooking project right now.

Here's what we showed them:


video

Here are some layouts that I have made for various challenges or for my Creative Team obligations:



Currently I'm reading Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, A Charlotte Mason Education, and 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. I'm working with Big P on a philosophy of education for our children. I'll share more about that later. I really will! :D

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