The Millennial Homemaker

The musings of a Stay at Home Mom

Back to Basics

The remainder of my schooldays were no more auspicious than the first… but as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me.

(Chapter 4, Voice of Scout, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee)

These words have pierced my soul a time or two this summer, as I re-read this forbidden novel with my two high school aged sons. The tone was cynical music in my ears, yet truth rang through each syllable. Even though this was written over 50 years ago, with the story taking place over 80 years ago, somehow the tragedy of forced education is surfaced through a child’s memory, embedded in disgrace and bitterness while yearning for real life.

I used to be envious of the stories that I would hear of the past century. Although life in general was much more difficult back then, I enjoyed listening to the pastimes of lazy summers that bled into a new school year filled with patriotism, prayer in school, and learning the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. I thought that the “happy days” of the 20th century were truly happy, but if one were to dig deep into the archives of education, she would see that not much has changed in its mission.

As I ponder over the direction of education in the 21st century I want to be that mom – that advocate – who fights for putting the basics back into real education! I don’t want to hear about “no child left behind” or the new “common core standards.” I want to know that the schools are teaching the children how to read properly; how to perform the four foundations of mathematics; and, how to write in both styles: print and cursive. My knickers are in a twist of the recent awareness that the new nationalized standards will not be teaching cursive writing. And, the icing on this political scheme of a cake is that the experts are more concerned about teaching the “process” rather than finding the correct answer! Really? 2+3=5 is not necessary as long as you know how to discover your own path. I sure hope that these children do not become surgeons or pharmacists or rocket scientists. We will be in a world of hurt if the right answer is not necessary.

I had to take a moment to vent about this change that will forever alter our children’s future. I can’t help but think that there has to be more to these standards than test scores or trying to fit all children into one common mold. It will be my new plea, rather, a new passion, to encourage all parents to teach as much of the “old” style of learning at home. Forget the matrix of multiplication… teach them how to multiply the old school way!

I know there is no perfect school out there. As humans we will always error when it comes to human-made institutions. And yes, the current educational system is bleak at best. But, please, don’t make it worse by further dumbing down the children. Take back the control into the local schools, by starting in your own home. Read to your children every night. Do the math flash card practice. Play a board game to strengthen the logic skills. Print out and copy some cursive practice words.

There’s one thing that cannot be taken from you, and it is your intelligence. Just don’t let some “expert” tell you what and how much of that intelligence will be allotted to your child. That type of progress, that type of control, that type of spreading-the-wealth… it’s not healthy, nor is it good for our future.

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Train Up A Child…

17091_SA_13It’s hard to believe that my first born son will soon be 18 years old. Seriously, where does the time go? It feels like yesterday that I walked him into his kindergarten classroom; pretty soon I will be watching him walk down the graduation aisle from high school.

This season of raising a child (or children) is so amazing, daunting, and blurry. When I used to worry about doing the right thing or the best thing for my child, now I am questioning myself, “have I done enough to prepare him for the rest of his life?” Have I trained him up to be the man who will be a servant-leader for God and his fellow citizens?

As I look back on these past 18 years I see where I could have been more relaxed and enjoyed each day, rather than wondering if I was doing my best. My son and I laugh at the old photographs of him with his cute little side part in his hair, with his shirt tucked neatly into his pants, held up by an adjustable belt. I ponder about his first words that he spoke, such as “e-e-e-outside” when he wanted to play outside, or “Putnunch and Batnat” to describe his favorite movies (Batman, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame).

But, then I also look back and smile, knowing that I did do the very best I could to train him and prepare him for his future. I am proud of the fact he learned to read at age 5 before he attended kindergarten. I am proud that he taught himself all 50 capitals and state names before he entered first grade. I am proud that he loved to draw and write creative stories. I am so proud that he made the commitment to be baptized at the age of 10.

“There is no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” is a verse from 1 John in the New Testament. I am so grateful that my son, and my other three children, have chosen to embrace the truth of God’s word, even during the tumultuous teen years. He could have chosen a different path, but he decided that his faith in God would direct his steps. As a mother I cannot contain my joy for his choice, knowing that in even an opportunity of rebellion or temptation, he knows the truth.

My wish is for all moms and dads out there to experience this wonderful fruit of their labor in child raising. But, I will admit that it is a narrow path, a difficult road, and a journey of many detours, changes, and tears. Many parents give up too soon in their training of children. They want the short cuts, the easy road, or the opportunity to pass the baton of responsibility to another person. I am glad that my husband and I kept trudging along when we felt the pressure of taking it easy. I am glad that there were friends who gave us support and accountability when we lack the direction. Above all, I am so glad that I followed the truths of God’s word in raising my children, so they will also have the proper foundation for taking the reins as they lead themselves into the future.

 

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There’s no place like home!

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So glad you took a peek!

Since other moms are posting their homeschool curriculum choices, I thought I would share what I will be teaching to my boys.

It is not that difficult to teach a 7th grader or a 10th grader. In fact, I have learned right alongside them in our journey of homeschooling in the past.

Here are the subjects my 7th grader will be learning (and following the guidelines according to the Arizona Department of Education):

1) Science: Apologia General Science by Dr. Jay Wile

2) Mathematics: Saxon Math 8/7 with Pre-Algebra by Stephen Hake and John Saxon

3) History: The Story of the World Vol. 4: The Modern Age (From Victoria’s Empire to the End of the USSR) by Susan Wise Bauer

4) Language Arts: Language Arts 7 by Harcourt, Spelling Workout “G” by Modern Curriculum Press, Test Prep 7 by Spectrum

5) Reading/Writing: Following Narnia by Institute for Excellence in Writing, with completion of several novels in the Narnia series

In addition to the lessons taught at home, my sons will be participating in extra-curricular activities outside of the home through a homeschool co-op group called KEYS. They are excited to be exploring the world of drama and art as well.

A new year of learning starts tomorrow! The curriculum we use are just tools for the trade. The real learning takes place through character development, self-directed study, respect and responsibility for self and those in authority.

I am so thankful that my family and I live in a country that supports home education. It wasn’t that long ago when education was only taught in the home. I am grateful for the time we have spent in public education, but there’s no place like home!

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Curing Boredom with Board games

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My little girl just loves to play this game! Of course, when I was her age, I loved this game, too! I can remember sitting outside on the sidewalk, setting up the game, and hoping that someone would play with me. There’s something special about playing a board game, and every kid knows it.

Bored? Get on Board!

The cure for boredom can be found in playing a board game. Even though it may be less entertaining than the latest electronic gadget, a board game allows two or more people to connect on a social level that is also educational, fun, and heck…. face to face! The best way to feel connected with another person is to interact with each other, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy each others company.

Self Education

So much can be learned through a board game, too. You can learn about strategy (especially when playing checkers or chess); you can learn about mathematics (such as making change in monopoly); and, you can learn about certain life experiences in a surreal way. No matter what is learned, you will feel more accomplished at the end of the game.

Real Socialization

A board game must be played with the foreknowledge that two personalities may clash at any time. There are two levels of intellect that come together. There are two worldviews that may see the board in a distinctive light. Yet, all of these differences can be enriching and nourishing for the developing brain. Even the soul can feel “fulfilled” through this type of entertainment and interaction.

Get Real!

Get unplugged and pull out a board game. Gather a friend or family member to the table, set up the scene, and start playing! You won’t regret it 🙂

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