Category Archives: Homeschooling

The challenge of teaching boys

Homeschooling my middle school and high school age children is the most challenging job I’ve ever had.

Yesterday for instance, was a disaster. Being goofy, disregarding instructions, and inattention creates a frustrated teacher. Ok, maybe that’s not quite a disaster but it was certainly “one of those days.” Ever had one?

In my work life I’ve been a nanny, store manager, executive assistant, controller of a large company and a children’s minister. But teaching my own children and one nephew is harder than any of those jobs.

Last night – at the end of a stress filled day – my son runs into my bedroom wild-eyed. He’s coughing, choking and spewing green foam from his mouth. He grabs my water bottle as I rush over, ready to Heimlich him. Once I see he can breathe, I push him toward the bathroom screaming, “What did you do? What the H#%! is that? After he vomits green gunk (and everything else) into my trashcan, he wipes his mouth, looks at me like I’m crazy and says…

“What?”

It turns out, he took “the Gamma challenge” which is the gamer version of “the cinnamon challenge.” I was so angry I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Oh, by the way, my son is a gamer and Gamma is a powdered energy drink. It’s kind of like Tang, but with added junk vitamins. I tossed the Gamma and shut my bedroom door for the rest of the night.

Boys are different and I haven’t yet mastered the art of teaching them. Most of the time I can’t imagine why they do some of the things they do. For example…

Samih tied to door
Why? Why would you tie your drawstring to the front door?

He thought this would be an appropriate cold-weather Halloween costume. I didn’t.

"I'm going to go as a man."
“I’m going as a man.”

I just need to take one picture of you in front of the tree son.

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Now, my girls are better. For the most part they’re easier, except one likes to do her work and get on with life, and the other is not in any hurry.

DSC_0077

Yes, each gender has challenges and goes through difficult seasons, but you know what?

I wouldn’t change a thing. They each teach me about a different side of life and I always remember . . . Tomorrow is another day. And I’ll keep headache medicine and a stress relieving ball nearby at all times.

♦♦♦♦♦

The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) offers an excellent e-book entitled, Teaching Boys, by Andrew Pudewa and Woody Robertson. I’ve ordered products from IEW and highly recommend their site for great info and writing curriculum (I don’t get paid in any way to endorse them). I got my copy of Teaching Boys last year, but I found a link to the free e-book on homeschoolgiveaways.com.

Your turn: Do you have any boy related teaching tips to share?

The true heroes

Chris Martin Writes

I’ve been watching the TV show, Cops, quite a bit lately. Spike TV has been running marathons on Fridays and Saturdays. I’ve watched the show in the past, but with a much different attitude than what I have now.

I used to take joy in watching people get thrown to the ground, shot with a Taser, and eventually handcuffed. I would shake my head in disbelief as people constructed lies to try and cover their criminal activity. I would call them stupid and deserving when they resisted arrest, and were forced to their knees by officers with guns drawn.

I watch the show now with a deep sadness in my heart. Policemen encounter people during their worst moments. Some in desperation. Some in the throes of addiction. Most all of them with little or no hope. I watched one the other night where a guy wouldn’t put his weapon down…

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Homeschool help: The book that started it all

Have you ever had a crisis of faith?

A couple of years ago, two of my children began having real problems in public school. One day Katya, my 8th grader, (and the one who wasn’t having problems) insisted she wasn’t going to high school because she didn’t want to be tempted by drugs, sex or alcohol. She asked me to homeschool her.

What do you say to that? “Sorry honey, I can’t; I’m not qualified.”

Well, that’s exactly what I did.

We happened to be sitting together in Barnes & Noble at the time. When I explained that I couldn’t possibly homeschool her because she was smarter than me, she walked away. She came back five minutes later and slapped this book in my lap:

homeschool

I laughed, but she was serious.

I prayed about it – hard. It’s one of those things I said I’d never be able to do because I didn’t have the desire or the patience. God confirmed that this was the path I need to take.

Just a note – Don’t ever tell God what you’ll never do.

Anyway, that’s what’s caused my crisis of faith. At the time, I couldn’t see the many ways in which God wanted to bless me. I was like the blind men that came to Jesus:

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”

     When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

     “Yes Lord,” they replied.

      Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; and their sight was restored.” Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region.”  Matthew 9:27-31

Jesus never turned down the requests of those who came to him and he still doesn’t. That promise held true for me and it will hold true for you just as soon as you decide to go to him in faith.

Dear Jesus, thank you in advance for equipping us to do what you ask us to do. May you always get the credit for your power! Amen.

Our Great Nation

I’m laid low in bed today because I have a chronic illness and it’s been out of control lately. However, I did get up and out for two very important things: A trip to my pain management doctor and a trip to the polls.

nation

I hobbled to the voting booth today because I love my country and more importantly, I love teaching about it to the next generation. I want to be a good example to them.

In our school, Civics is as important as Math and English. I use every election cycle to educate them about their duty as citizens of our great nation because after all, they will be our leaders one day.

Deuteronomy 4:8-9 says: And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

As the world leaders of democracy, we do indeed have a great nation. Many would argue that our greatness is fading but I’m not sure about that. However, I do know that if we don’t uphold the constitution, pray and teach our children to do the same, we contribute to our country’s demise.

So here are a few of my favorite hands-on tools for teaching Civics and American History:

for you they signed
This can be done as a devotional study and I’ve used it as a character study. It’s informative and fascinating!

foundations of character
These videos are fast-paced and informative – the kids and I learned many new things.
1776
The copy I have also comes with document reproductions.

The National Constitution Center is also a great place for loads of information for kids and adults.

What do you say?: Do you have any favorite resources or tools for teaching Civics?

The joy of learning in their own way

There’s nothing that fills my heart with peace more than seeing my children learning in an environment custom made for them. I mean, how often can you walk from room to room in your home and see your kids fully engaged in learning?

Katya working

I can relate.  I’m a “floor sitter” too and do my best learning that way! In the picture above, my daughter (the floor sitter) is working with a friend on a literary analysis paper.

Dania working

 

In this picture, my oldest daughter is engrossed in a Marketing course she’s taking through The Keystone School, an online high school.

For us girls, the free exchange of ideas and relaxed learning style is paramount to success. My son does better sitting upright at a desk,  that is, when he’s not bouncing on my exercise ball.

Your turn: In what ways do your students learn best?