Nourished

nourished

Switching gears for this post today and focusing on health.

About 6-8 months ago I started having pain in my hands and feet. At first, I didn’t want to believe that anything could be wrong with me. I have tried to be healthy most of my adult life, so there couldn’t possibly be anything seriously wrong with me right? By Christmas, I could barely open my presents my hands were so swollen and sore. At that point, I realized that this needed a doctor’s attention and I would not be well on my own. I tried to keep a positive outlook through the process of blood work and doctor’s appointments but there were moments, I felt defeated. I felt sorry for my son, robbed of a healthy mother. I felt sorry for my husband whose wife isn’t in tip-top physical condition. I felt sorry for myself that I couldn’t pick up any exercise I wanted.

After two months in limbo, I began to pray earnestly that I could see my referred specialist soon. I was physically and mentally at a breaking point. God answered, in two weeks of my prayer, I had an appointment and a diagnosis. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints.

Recently, I logged into the patient portal to view the notes that the doctor had written and to see my labs. I read this “appears nourished”. That word struck me, nourished. I know the meaning but I wanted to look it up anyway because it spoke to me on a very spiritual level. Here is the definition.

Nourish- verb- 1) provide with food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition or 2) keep (a feeling or belief) in one’s mind, typically for a long time.

While I had allowed some defeated thoughts during this time; God had still answered my prayers and my physical body was still nourished. I was not forgotten or forsaken. I know that my illness is not in vain, I’m not sure what His will is through this, only that I must follow Him. God will nourish me through this process and through His word.

I pray this blesses you.

Homeschool Calling

When we first had our son Jack, we didn’t anticipate homeschooling him. I had no doubts that public school was in our future.

My stepson was actually in the biggest school in our area and at the time I had no major complaints with the school system. In retrospect, there were some alarming behaviors from the school and from him, we should have listened to more closely. But, I thought sending a child to the most diverse population with the most resources would benefit the child. That’s not exactly what happened. We naively thought it would get better and it didn’t. As we had more issues pop up going into high school and beyond (he’s 14 years older than Jack) we started to realize, this isn’t just happening to him but to several kids. Our wheels started turning so to speak and it was compounded with one school crisis after another.

While we were dealing with his school crises, Jack was hitting milestones earlier and earlier. I became concerned that school would bore him and we put off enrolling him in pre-school, though just a few years before I was a big advocate of giving kids a head start. After a particularly rough year in the public school for the oldest, I looked at my husband and said to him that Jack at the very would need to be in a small public school. He agreed and I started asking around for a public school I thought would fit his needs. I began to pray that God would show me the way for Jack’s education. Public School, Private, or Homeschool. I had my answer in a week. I wish I could tell you the exact epiphany but it was more of a mulling over and a few conversations with different friends about their experiences with homeschool, public, and private. I went home one day from work that week and I told my husband we have to homeschool him and I think I can do it. He said he felt the same and we began our adventure. I know God answered my prayer because my husband and I had the same idea on the same day as to what direction we would go, I sometimes still ask for guidance. I question if I’m a good mom or if I’m letting my son down somewhere but God always answers me and sustains me in this direction.

If you are looking for a direction in which to educate your child I strongly recommend lots of prayer.

 

What’s Cooking?

I love cooking as a part of homeschooling, or just life really. It’s so important that children feel like they can accomplish and do what adults can, this is how they learn. I also like that cooking goes hand in hand with math skills. Just like my previous posts states my son hates workbooks and some days it is just easier to sneak a math lesson in by cooking. I’ve learned that it’s totally okay to count it as math and move along. Pre-K and Kindergartners may not be cooking as a math lesson down at the brick and mortar school but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t count in my homeschool 🙂

Another reason I like to cook with Jack is because he has had texture issues. He doesn’t like to touch certain things. He came by this honestly, his mom didn’t touch hamburger meat until she was in her late 20s, LOL. The child in the picture below hated and I mean HATED the feel of eggs and refused to crack the eggs. Fast forward to a year later and he cracks eggs all by himself. This wasn’t by magic, but by example and practice and lots of patience.

In a year we went from him refusing to crack an egg to writing our own egg recipes. He does everything but cook the egg on the stove. I’ll save this for a later age. I have listed below a few cookbooks we started with. Now we use Pinterest as well as the below books to find easy recipes that kids can follow. You can follow me on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/wildhomeschool.

Here are a few cookbooks we use in our homeschool:

Pretend Soup- I love that it has a section for parents and a section for kids. It’s a true collaboration style recipe book.

https://www.amazon.com/Pretend-Soup-Other-Real-Recipes/dp/1883672066/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485717595&sr=8-1&keywords=pretend+soup

 

This is the first cookbook we bought Jack was this Super Hero cookbook. If you have a superhero lover I highly recommend this book. The drink recipes are a great way to start little ones started

https://www.amazon.com/Official-DC-Super-Hero-Cookbook/dp/1935703919/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485717983&sr=8-1&keywords=super+hero+cookbook

 

cooking

Yes, he is on the floor stirring. No, I wasn’t concerned a floor germ would bounce off the floor and attack our pancakes 🙂

Let us know your favorite recipes to cook with your kids! Below I have our easy pizza night recipe

This feeds exactly 1 dad, 1 mom, and 1 6-year-old.

Ingredients:

1 package crescent rolls

1 package mixed cheese

1 package pepperoni

Directions: a flat cookie sheet at least 9×11

Spray or grease a flat cookie sheet at least 9×11. You and your kiddo rollout and press down flat the crescent roll to make a pizza crust. After this is finished let them spread the cheese on the rolled out dough. Add pepperoni’s as wanted. Bake at 400 F for 10-15 minutes until crust is brown and cheese is melted. You can add or change toppings as wanted. Enjoy!

The Ever Changing Curriculum Path

Hang around a few homeschoolers long enough and you’ll find they all use different curriculum and different ways to teach their children. I think it is because “Education is custom work.” John Taylor Gatto. I also think it’s because we are all wired differently. I also decided to write a post that I wish I had read when I started homeschooling. It’s okay to throw your curriculum away!

I work full time and I had a ton of bricks (self-imposed) on my shoulders to makes sure Jack had the world’s best education. As a result, I put a lot of emphasis on pre-packaged curriculum and workbooks. I think I was stuck pretty hard in the “public school is homeschool” mentality. It didn’t take Jack long to let me know that this isn’t how it’s going to work. Now, I agree with him. Workbooks aren’t that fun and quite frankly you can homeschool without them. So, we threw several to the side and we wing it with library books and research. I do keep the workbooks mostly for guidelines on where he should be grade wise. But, quite frankly he is way ahead in most subjects.

This catharsis of throwing away what a standard requirement is of my child has recently led me to realize that I have become an anti-helicopter homeschool mom. Don’t get me wrong I still use pre-packaged curriculum but now I use it sparingly. It’s nothing for us to go a whole morning or day only discussing Dinosaurs or Argentina and not really crack a book. I try and just incorporate what he is interested in with what he needs to do, like writing. If he was suffering or behind in reading, writing, or math skills maybe I would feel differently. But once I really gave up trying to control our homeschool day and forcing him to do the pre-packaged curriculum it really has become much easier. Is it going to be the end of the world that in 1st grade at the local public school they are learning about flowers while he is at home learning about the digestive system because he’s all of sudden obsessed with it… I doubt it. But this is our life, it’s mostly child-led learning and I’m very grateful we follow it.

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“We can best help children learn, not by deciding what we think they should learn and thinking of ingenious ways to teach it to them, but by making the world, as far as we can, accessible to them, paying serious attention to what they do, answering their questions — if they have any — and helping them explore the things they are most interested in.” ― John Holt

 

 

Our Path to Reading Success

 

A major concern for all parents is for their children to learn to read. While I was pregnant with Jack it was definitely high on my list of priorities. I google searched for the perfect books to add to your kid’s library for literary success. I bought Dr.Seuss and read all sorts of books to our boy with great hopes he would love to read. Maybe it was the concern and priority that turned out a great reader or maybe it was just the perfect storm of reading to him all the time. Either way, here’s my very simple list of suggestions to raise a reader.

  1. Read to them from infancy. I read to Jack from the time we brought him home. It was a priority and he was a captive audience. LOL. Those babies aren’t running from you, they love to hear your voice so go ahead and read to them. Also, use your finger to show them each word as you read it, babies and toddlers pick up on this and start putting together what you’re doing. It makes reading less of a mystery for them.
  2. I was a big investor in Dr. Seuss. Love him or hate him, his books make perfect rhyming sense to young children. They are fun, they are colorful, and they teach rhyming and word families.
  3. Make a priority to take them to the library. Once a month or once a week as long as you take them and let them pick the books that they are interested then this tradition will be a recipe for success (and also for homeschooling). I started this when Jack was about 2. At first, I had this method; I led him to the fiction, science, history, geography sections and would encourage him to pick a book he was interested in from each. Today he stays far away from fiction and I don’t pressure him, at six he can read all the science and history books he wants 🙂
  4. Ask forward-thinking questions while reading.  For example, “Jack, what do you think Cheetahs eat?” right before we read the page that answers the question. It gets them thinking ahead and wanting to read for the answer. You can do the same for fiction books as well, “Do you think Dorothy will ever get back to Kansas?”
  5. Sign up for free book programs, if available. We signed up for the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and I highly recommend it! https://usa.imaginationlibrary.com/register_my_child.php?gclid=CKSV1IaG1NECFdC4wAodBmICnQ#.WIPAj1MrLIU
  6. When it came time for him to learn to read on his own, we invested in the book, “How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” https://www.amazon.com/Teach-Your-Child-Read-Lessons/dp/0671631985/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485029793&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+teach+your+child+to+read+in+100+easy+lessons

Let me know what your path to reading was and how you were successful, I would love to hear it! If you have any questions on our path, comment below.

 

Into The Woods

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Last year we began 2016 by moving to a house that’s on 12 acres. We did so mostly because we wanted our boy to grow with freedom to roam and learn outside. Even, if we didn’t have all this land we would still be outside players because we love fresh air so much! Here are a few ideas if you’re looking for some fun outside play.

Digging for bones. Paleontology has been the preferred learning topic over here for about a month. To play grab a shovel or a spoon and be armed with a little info about dinosaurs and you’re good to go! 

Expedition. We’ve been to Antarctica, South America, China all from our yard. Just be armed with a few facts like native animals. (Tip, this game pairs very well with Little Passport’s)

History Explorer. Go back into ancient times with a walk around your yard. Look, you can see the pyramid from here!

What lives here? Look for bird’s nest or an animal habitat and ask, “What lives here?”

All of this is free and easy. Trust me that your  child won’t forget these lessons. We make sure it’s child led too. I don’t control were we go on Expedition, I just suggest the game. He usually likes Antarctica.

Comment with your favorite outside games! I would love to hear feedback.

An Easy Peasy Art Program

wwh1When I started homeschooling, I never actually had an art curriculum or program. I just stumbled upon something that works by creating art myself. Here are some easy things to do to fill your homeschool with art, even if you aren’t an artist.

Buy (or check out at your local library) How to draw books. We love these and simply follow the directions together. It helps learn the mechanics of drawing for your little one. Plus there are so many out there you are sure to find one that will keep your child’s interest.

Drawing everywhere! I make pencils and paper easily accessible everywhere. He draws what he wants and I always compliment his efforts. Be sure to keep criticism in check for little ones, we want to encourage and not discourage.

Be hands off. It sounds a little crazy but don’t hover when they are drawing. It doesn’t have to be for a set time, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be.

And last, draw with them, even if you think you stink! But, don’t be critical of yourself either. They’ll want to know why and apply that to their drawing. Just use the moment for fun and let go. The more fun you have, the better everyone will become because you’ll want to practice more and who doesn’t want to have fun.

Share your kid’s latest drawing below. I would love to see it!

 

 

A New Year, A New Homeschool

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2016 while a year full of blessings left me scattered and quite frankly I’m glad to see it go. Last year we were moving into our new house and doing a ton of remodel and repairs. As a result, we did a lot of already prepared lessons. While they can be a life saver, our son just gets bored easily with it. So it was a constant struggle between he and I. One I’m grateful for.. like all life lessons. 

Here’s what I learned from those curriculum struggles in 2016 and what I’m doing in 2017.

It’s okay to teach with shows. Sometimes, I just didn’t have the fight in me to make him sit down and learn from our workbooks and so we used Netflix and DVDs. The Cat in The Hat knows a Lot About That, Schoolhouse Rock, Sing Song Latin, and The Magic School Bus are some of our favs. Bonus, you can cook or clean while they learn! I’m not saying this should take over your school day, just that it’s absolutely a great tool to use when needed.

Drawing as writing curriculum. My son hates writing and he makes sure I know it! So, I turn more to Draw, Write, Now and my own drawing assignments for him on those days where the old workbook isn’t working for us. Bonus, he’s happy and so am I.

Outside play time = expeditions to learn about the world. A few documentary shows and Little Passport’s are great in teaching about different countries around the world. We then go outside and pretend we’re there. He actually never fights me on his history or geography workbooks but this is a great break.

These are just a few things we are going to do more of this year. The workbooks won’t be going away but we will have more fun in 2017 with our  learning. Just like he wants. Bonus, it’s fun for me too.