Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My "Dear Abby" Letter

I'm not the go-to person when it comes to "social savvy-ness" admittedly, so forgive me if this post is a little off color.  I just know how I fell in certain situations and what I think is fair and unfair.  I'm always keeping my eye out for real-life learning situations and I think this is one of them.  The only problem is I'm unsure if what I teach is what should be taught.  Something happened with my beloved Sunshyne this past weekend that has been bothering me and I'm struggling with how to deal with it.  Perhaps some of you could help me with my issue in a "socially savvy" way.  So here's my letter:

Dear Somebody:

The kiddos and I were invited to a friend of ours home for dinner on Sunday evening.  They live right down the street from us and we've known them for about three years now.  My daughter refers to the little girl that lives there as her BFF.  Sunshyne has spent most of her free time with this little girl over the past year and a half and invites her to everything that she is involved in.  So now that you have a little history, I'll move on.  As we are sitting at the dinner table, the conversation shifted to what the children did during the weekend.  The little girl begins to tell us about what she did and said "I had a sleepover and Maria* (another girl that lives down the street) came over, we had a girls night," and smiled.  When Sunshyne heard that, a very sad look came over her face and she looked at me and made a quiet grunting noise.  I looked at her and shook my head slightly to imply not to let on that she feels down about what was said.  The girls mother quickly changed the subject and we continued on with our evening. 

After we left I asked Sunshyne how she felt about her BFF saying that she had a sleepover.  She said she felt sad because she didn't invite her over for the girls night.  I told her that I would feel sad too.  I haven't really said anything else to her about it but talked it over with my hubby and he said something may have happened between them that I don't know about.  I don't think so, just like Sunshyne is BF with BFF, I'm pretty close to BFF's mama so I think something somewhere down the pipeline would have seeped out.  Anyway, like I said before all I know is that my little girl was hurt by the situation and I'm MAD.  I don't know about you but I feel all kinds of primitive STUFF when it comes to my kids.  I was sitting there with a smile on my face but my mind was looking a little more like "Whatthe#*&#*@**....and &%#$@&&#***....We're LEAVING!!!" However, that's not the Christian-like way to think, so I regrouped and continued on gracefully with our evening.

I think that I handled the situation "okay" but it seems like there is something to be taught here and I'm missing it.  Maybe something about feelings or how to handle a situation.  I think that my feelings are getting in the way of being able to figure it out though.  Please Help!

Well, that's my Dear Abby letter, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Primitive Reactions in Texas

* name has been changed to protect the innocent

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Passport To India

My students (I love saying that) and I started a new add-on to our history curriculum this semester.  It is a free adventure provided by Mission India and Sonlight Curriculum which provides families the opportunity to explore India from the comfort of their own home.  How great is that!  It's called My Passport to India and you can still sign up to view all the videos Just click here to view the trailer.  The start date was October 5, 2010 but we didn't begin viewing our videos until yesterday.  Here's the overview:

About My Passport to India

Join Mission India and Sonlight Curriculum for My Passport to India, beginning October 5, 2010!

During this 5-week program, you will:

◦See and experience the real India - without ever leaving your neighborhood!

◦Explore India's incredible, diverse culture, people and places

◦Enhance your homeschooling with unique educational resources

◦Meet the people God is using to bring the Gospel to India's 400+ million unreached

◦Discover how you can reach boys and girls in India with the love of Jesus by supporting Children's Bible Clubs!

We are still accepting registrations - sign up today!

The videos are lead by our tour guide Chris and are available every Tuesday and Thursday of each week throughout the five weeks.  There are activity suggestions and discussion topics to help engage the kiddos.  There are even suggestions from participants to help children identify with the culture and lifestyle of the Indian people. 
My kiddos were shocked by some of the images they saw and the stories they read.  I was happy to see my children react in such a compassionate manner.  Yesterday's activity was for them to create an inexpensive product for them to sell and make money.  The money will then be used to send to the Children's Bible Clubs for India's children.  How great is that???  Children actually have an opportunity to get involved personally and lend a hand. 
Personally, I'm enjoying learning about a different culture, I've always been fascinated with diverse cultures and people.  Learning about the foods they eat and their traditional dress.  Their everyday lives are intriguing so I'm content with just watching and learning to be honest. 
I hope you join us on the incredible journey...see you in India:)

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Beauty Of Homeschooling

Friday, a couple of Sunshyne's new neighborhood friends came over to visit (they attend public school).  They came in and greeted us, and then headed into the classroom.  I went into the kitchen to begin preparing dinner and when I came back to check on them, about 30 minutes later, they were all working on different "school" subjects, math, reading, and cursive writing.  It was one of those moments when the clouds open up to reveal the sun shining through and you hear the beautiful sound of a harp playing in the distance.  Yeah, I was shocked too... not really.  It's one of the beauties of homeschooling to find children in the "classroom" working on projects or honing in on skills that they enjoy.  It's all about accessibility, it's fun!  The children stayed in there for hours, when they're mother came down to pick them up they were super-excited about the things that they'd done and wanted to show her all of their work.  I could tell that she was impressed and I proudly observed her taking account of all the cool stuff in my classroom.  It feels good to know that learning can and should be fun, that kiddos would do it just because, IF it wasn't made to feel like a chore or that they didn't have to compete for attention or status.  I love seeing learning in it's raw state.  It was definitely a beautiful thing!  It'll be great to get a new camera so that I can share exciting moments like that.

Do you have any similar moments to share???


Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Wish

I'm sitting here, super early in the morning trying to get myself together to type something.  What, I don't know.  I read through some of my favorite blogs to get inspired and had a few laughs, but now I just have this desolate look on my face (you know the kinda look you can just feel).  Anyhoo, my hubby gets out of bed breaking my already troubled sleep to go workout...his normal annoying routine.  Why would anyone interrupt such a wonderful pastime as sleeping to go WORKOUT anyway???  Charlie Brown has had his alarm ringing for the past hour without budging, I guess somebody is enjoying their unconscious state (envy, envy, envy).  Wish it was me...sigh.  Since I'm up I decided to get an early start on the daily schedule.  But first a list of things I'm wishing for:

~A super cool high tech camera (so that I can post some great pictures and not feel like such an amateur blogger...Hey it's my delusion, I own it).

~Long flowing model hair (so that when I turn my head it slaps people that are standing too close to me).

~A cool hood over my stove (just because they look so klassy...maybe I could hang something on it).

~A bed that I'd have to have one of those three step stairs to get into...a queen should definitely live like that.

~More time for my hobbies which are sleeping and eating...but if I had to pick just one right now, it would definitely be sleeping:)

~I knew more words that start with the letter X, so far I've got  x-ray, xylophone, and xeriscape (It's early...don't judge).

Well, If I come up with some cool homeschooling stuff to share later on I will, but for now, in the great words of Forrest Gump..."that's all I have to say about that."


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Free Typing Lessons For Kids

I've been wanting to teach Miss Sunshyne how to type, since she loves spending time on the computer anyway.  I think it's a valuable skill to have in today's high tech world.  Now that we have a "working" computer we can finally do some of the cool things that I'd like to add into our daily curriculum, such as typing and blogging.  I went online last night to research some of the free typing lessons available for kids.  I found quite a few and actually put some to the test.  I think I'm still a big enough kid to determine which games are fun enough to keep my Sunshyne's attention.

The first one that I tried at, I bookmarked because the beginning game gives lots of practice using the home keys, but also kinda zaps the little character when you get it wrong.  It's funny but at the same time I felt bad to get one wrong and watch my character get zapped.  I think Sunshyne will feel the same way.  I like this site because there are all kinds of learn and play games for the kiddos and I didn't run into a single hidden pop-up or ad.

Next, I found the BBC Dance Mat Typing program which is an introduction to touch typing for children aged 7-11 years.  Each of the 4 levels are divided into 3 stages which give them a total of 12 to enjoy.  Beginning at level 1 the child can build up their skills gradually to get to level 4.  What I really loved about this program is that it shows you where to put your fingers for the home keys and space bar and then allows you to continually practice where to touch the home keys as well as adjacent keys.  By the end of the first level, they are already typing words.  There's even a little song and dance by the animated characters to reward you once you've completed a level...very cute.  I think this one is very kid-friendly and teaches the right technique at the same time.  This one is definitely a keeper for us.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Creative Writing Series: Prickly Pear

I decided to do a creative writing series this year to kick off our introduction to notebooking.  The notebooking idea seems to have ignited a whole new excitement for homeschooling this year for both my kiddos.  They also both LOVE creative writing and so I've been trying to add some cool new topics for the kids to write about.  I decided to step outside of the whole "textbook" teaching method on this one and look for inspiration that is all around us.

This week it's the prickly pears on sale at Walmart for 16cents each.  Well even though we've lived in Texas for the past 4 plus years, we've never had a prickly pear...what the heck do you do with it anyway???  This question was the epiphany I needed for my newest creative writing assignment.

I quickly gathered up about 5 or 6 of the strange looking fruit and began to have a flurry of ideas that the kiddos could write about.  Some of the questions I finally settled on for the assignment:

1. Describe the fruit in detail to the reader (the most obvious assignment).
2. Research the history and origin of the prickly pear and write a short story  or poem about it.
3. Make a recipe using the prickly pear.

I thought I might allow them to pick two out of the three to focus on for the assignment (do the motherly thing and provide choices:).  However, knowing them, they won't do choice number two which is the one that I want to see.  So I'll make number two mandatory and let them choose their own second option.  Great!!! Don't you just love writing to help get the ideas flowing.  

If you have done a similar activity or even something on the prickly pear, please tell us all about it.  I welcome helpful suggestions:)