Homeschool Interview

The very lovely and sweet Elizabeth Riley interviewed me about homeschool for her blog.  I was honored to be featured with so many other great women that she has interviewed about homeschooling.  You can read the other interviews by clicking here.  I thought I would share a portion of our interview and then you can click over to her blog to read the rest.  Thanks for reading!

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What are your long-term education goals for your family?  My long-term educational goals for my family are that everyone knows how to learn, that they love to learn, and that they continue to learn for the rest of their lives.  I think that if you know how to learn and you love to learn there isn’t anything in the world, especially now with technology the way it is, that you can’t teach yourself.  So many people have self-defeating ideas that learning can only take place in a classroom and that learning isn’t necessary after you graduate from school.  But, to me learning is fun, it’s exciting, it helps me become better, it helps me grow and do new things.  It helps me fulfill my dreams.  Learning has meaning and purpose, and it benefits you and all those around you.

What do you love most about homeschooling?  I love that I get to spend time with my children.  I love that I get to help them discover the joy of learning.   I also get to watch their passions and dreams materialize, and I get to help them work toward those dreams. I also love that I get to learn right along with my children.

Click over to Elizabeth’s blog to see why I homeschool, what our daily schedule looks like, how I teach different ages, and to read an interview I did with my 20 year old daughter about her homeschooling experience.  You can read the full interview here.

Leave me a comment.  I would love to hear your thoughts and/or questions!

Laddie, A True Blue Story

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I’m so excited to finally be  participating in “A Year in Books” over at the lovely blog A Circle of Pine Trees.  Every month she writes a post about a book she is  planning to read that month and then she has a link up so everyone else can share the books they are reading as well.  I found her blog almost a year ago and have planned on joining every month, but this is the first time I’ve actually done it.  Also, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the book I am reading this month. Laddie: A True Blue Story, is one of my all time favorite books and picking it up again is like being reunited with a best friend.  Oh, how I have missed Little Sister and her big brother Laddie.

I am rereading Laddie this month for a book club I am hosting and I can’t wait for the discussion.    It’s going to be a great one.  There are so many lessons to learn from from this book, everything from statesmanship and education, to family unity and faith in God.  It’s wonderful to become reacquainted with all the characters; the parents because of  the great examples they were to all who knew them,  Laddie because of what an outstanding, hardworking, upright man he was, and  Little Sister and her love of the outdoors and faith in God.

I am also putting this at the top of our list for our next family read aloud.  I can’t believe I haven’t read this to my kids yet.

Last month, I read  another of my all time favorite books,  A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century, by Oliver DeMille.  In this book, Oliver addresses the myth that one person can educate another person.  We can inspire others to learn through great teaching and mentoring, but ultimately the education we get is up to us.  Oliver also outlines the the phases of learning and the 7 keys to great teaching.  The principles outlined in this book are what I use in my home for homeschooling my children.  It was great to reread it again and to be reminded and inspired about why I do what I do every day in homeschooling my children.

Linked at:

Circle of Pine Trees

Homeschool Rules!

 

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“Schoolhouses are made wrong. If they must be, they should be built in a woods pasture beside a stream, where you could wade, swim, and be comfortable in summer, and slide and skate in winter. The windows should be cut to the floor, and stand wide open, so the birds and butterflies could pass through. You ought to learn your geography by climbing a hill, walking through a valley, wading creeks, making islands in them, and promontories, capes, and peninsulas along the bank. You should do your arithmetic sitting under trees adding hickory-nuts, subtracting walnuts, multiplying butternuts, and dividing hazelnuts. You could use apples for fractions, and tin cups for liquid measure. You could spell everything in sight and this would teach you the words that are really used in the world.”                                                                         –Gene Stratton-Porter, (Laddie p.260)

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Some Thoughts on Homeschool

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I’ve been homeschooling my children now for 8 years.  You’d think I would have this homeschooling thing all figured out by now, but I don’t.  Each of my children are different and each year brings new challenges as my children learn and grow and change, and although I don’t have everything figured out here are a few of the things that I do:

  1. Children learn much more and retain so much more if they are learning about something that they have chosen to learn about.
  2. Homeschool isn’t something you do for a few hours in the morning.  Homeschooling is a way of life.
  3. Education should be about becoming a better person, not just about getting a job. The kind of person they become is much more important to me than the profession that they choose.
  4. No two people are the same, so no two people should have the exact same education.
  5. Everyone is different and has their own timetable, so no one can/should be compared to anyone else.
  6. I’m learning to trust my children in their interests, and to let go of my preconceived notions of what I think they should be learning.
  7. I’ve leaned not to say no, when they come up with an idea that I think is impossible.  They learn best by experimenting and trying, even if their idea fails, it can be a very valuable learning experience.
  8. Sometimes the most valuable lessons learned in a day have nothing what-so-ever to do with academics.
  9. As the parent you are the expert in your home.  No one knows your children and what they need as well as you do.
  10. EVERYONE is a genius.
  11. Children are naturally curious and love to learn.  The parents’ job is to create the right atmosphere for learning to take place, including mentoring and modeling what they want their children to do.  When the right atmosphere is created, children naturally take off on their own.

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500 Books Read

I made this chart 5 years ago.  A chart to log 500 books read by the Lowry family.   I started it as a motivation to get everyone in our family to read.  I’ve never had a problem getting Tabetha to read, but my boys were a bit more reluctant.

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How it worked was, each time someone read a book they wrote the name of the book on the poster and then colored in one of the squares in their color. Everyone had a different color to represent them.  I am red, Shawn green, Jarom black, etc.

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Tabetha was pink.  Tabetha wasn’t very good at logging her books.  If she had been we would have been done years ago.  About once a year, she would write down a list of the books she could remember that she had read recently, and she would color her squares in.   I’m glad she  didn’t record everything she read, because it gave everyone else the chance to work for it.

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 I told the kids when we completed the chart and read 500 books we would go to Anchorage and go to H2Oasis.  (It’s an indoor water park.)

  I chose 500 books because I didn’t want it to be something we could just finish in a month or two, without any real effort.  I wanted it to be something that we all  had to work for and, when we were done we could say, “Wow, we really did something great,” and feel a real sense of accomplishment.

This poster has been on my back door now for 5 years, reminding everyone to read.

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Well, yesterday we finally completed our chart.

Yay, we did something awesome.! We read over 500 books as a family!  

H2Oasis here we come!

 I’ll post a list of the books I read soon.

Are all your children avid readers or do you have to find creative ways to motivate some of them to read?

Choosing The Best Books to Read To Your Children

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested…”–Sir Francis Bacon

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My family has been after me for ages write up a list of great kids books.  I have put it off for so long because the amount of work I thought it would be.  Today while thinking about making a list once again, I had a great idea, to write up a list and then add to it whenever I remember or read another great book.  So that is what I have done.  I will leave a link at the top of the page with the book list, and I will continue to add to it, so check back.

First, before you read my book list I want to explain why I have chosen the books I have.  I have, in the past few years learned that all books are not created equal.  Some books are like wholesome food that nourish your soul and help you to grow.  Charlotte Mason called these books living books.  Other books are like junk food for your soul, there is no real substance to them and your soul is left feeling hungry for something better.  BFF Amy and I call these books mind candy.

Just as we would never feed our children a diet of junk food, we also shouldn’t feed their souls a diet of junk food either.  Their characters and their souls are being shaped by what we feed to them through books.

Victor B. Cline said, “Nutritionists tell us we are what we eat.  Similarly the quality and character of our spirit is a reflection of what we feast upon—Including the books and magazines we read and the motion pictures, television shows, plays, and other public entertainment we witness.” (emphasis added Ensign, April, 1984)

The books on my book list are books I consider to be living books, or the best books.  The quality of the books you read to your children is much more important then the quantity of books you read to them not only in shaping who they are, but also in creating in them a desire to read themselves. Reading mind candy to your children won’t inspire a love of reading like reading living books to them will.  Living books satisfy a hunger in your soul in a way that mind candy never can.

How do you tell the difference between living books and mind candy?

Living books:

*can be enjoyed by the whole family/not age specific

*bring your imagination to life

*are filled with wonderful life lessons

*feed and nourish your soul

*leave you longing for more when the book ends

*are remembered long after you have read it

*are books you want to read again and again and each time you read it you learn something new.

* teach morals and values.

*are well written and often include beautiful language and imagery

*teach truth

Some examples include:  The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, The Little House on the Prairie Series, The Chronicles of Narnia Series

Mind Candy is the opposite of living books.

Mind Candy:

*is usually a fad book, meaning it won’t stand the test of time, popular one day and then forgotten,

*is just entertainment

*doesn’t really include any morals/values or life lessons, in fact…

*the lines between good/bad may be blurred

*Doesn’t require you to use your imagination much

*not something you want to read over and over

*may be targeted for a specific age/ not something the whole family can enjoy together

Some examples include:  Captain Underpants Series, Junie B. Jones,  Most books featuring the latest popular TV character like Dora, or Barney

 Where can you find living books?  A good place to start is with a list of classics.  They have already stood the test of time, usually with good reason.  However, the only true way to know if a book is a living book or mind candy is to read it.  You can usually tell in the first chapter or so if it has any real substance or not.  If it doesn’t, don’t waste your time reading it, put it down and pick up something else.  Don’t feel obligated to read the whole book simply because you started it.

If you are not sure if a book is a living book, or not, compare it to one of your favorite books that you know is a living book.  What do you like about the living book?  Does the book in question have the same characteristics as the living book?  Is it on the same level as far as language and imagery goes?  Does it promote the same kinds of lessons and values?   I have cleared a lot of books off of my book shelf by comparing them in this way.

In assessing any book ask yourself questions like:  What is the purpose of this book?  Is the purpose simply to entertain me or does it teaching me something?  If it is teaching me something, what is it teaching me?  Did I enjoy it enough to read it again?   If I read it again will I learn anything the second time around?  Ask yourself these questions about the books you are reading to your children as well.

The more you read living books the easier it is to recognize the difference between a truly great, living book and a book that is simply mind candy.

 

Click the “Book List” tab  at the top of the page to see my recommend list of books

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