The Millennial Homemaker

The musings of a Stay at Home Mom

Simple Wonder

“Wonder is the fundamental condition of education.” ~Sarah Clarkson, The Life Giving Home

The freshly mowed grass gleams brightly across the desert landscape. The sun shines down on the earth like a warm, incandescent light-bulb, blurred out by a few cirrus clouds and cooled by the occasional breeze. In the distance a large fence separates two fields of grass. One field beckons the patrons to relax while the other field frames the scene for two teams of players. Spring Training is here. And in full swing.

I feel like a child again. I am so giddy.

The All-American pastime game, Baseball, brings about wonder to most people who attend on any given day. The smell of crackling popcorn, the large pitchers of soft drinks or beer, the fresh hot dogs boiling in the water, and the shaved ice represent the familiar food frenzy that must be consumed during the game.

What is so special about that?

I come back to my childhood memories. Although I did not attend many baseball games during my youth, the games that I did attend were well remembered. Seared into my long-term memory, these games helped me establish the WHY of Wonder.

Sometimes I believe that adults would give anything to return to the innocent days of wonder. To wallow in a pond, run through the sprinklers, chase fireflies at twilight, or even sit behind a wired fence to listen to the crack of a bat and an umpire yell, “Foul!”

Young children may not realize that wonder is a form of education. The young brain is constantly stimulated through real life events and experiences. It begs for more stimuli until the call of mother’s voice begs said child home for dinner. Once a new day begins, the wonder continues again to search for and absorb new memories and delights.

The Simplicity of Wonderment

To Wonder is to embrace the simple joys of life. To chase a butterfly, to sit still and listen to the birds singing on the branches, to lie on a blanket at dusk and wish upon the first star that winks in the night sky.

One of my goals in my mid-life is to slow down and enjoy the wonder of life. Otherwise, the spinning wheel of the daily grind continues to distract, to beg for its own attention, or to discourage the availability of what is always around… the simple wonder of nature.

I slow down. I stop to wonder. I unplug from society and look heavenward. Why?

So I can feel like a child again.

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Real “Face” Time

mattncadieBeautiful Children –

Gifts and Blessings from God

Yes, these two belong to me.

My oldest and my youngest.

I am such a proud mama.

It occurred to me the other day how much time we spend on our electronic devices.  We are in the same room. Yet separate. In our own little worlds.

We are spending time chatting, but not with our mouths. We are using the technology that promises to bring us together.

To reconnect.

The house it too quiet.

Face to Face

My kids know that I enjoy spending teachable moments with them. We sit around the table and have real conversations.

A lot. Face to face.

Even if it seems boring, I want them to know that I am here for them.

Once a Mom… Always a Teacher

Never forget that if you are a mom, you are also a teacher. You are your child’s first teacher. You taught them how to walk, to speak, to eat, to obey, to listen. You may not be certified to teach a classroom, but you were chosen to be his/her mom.

Take the time to unplug, to read a book, to color a picture together, to complete a puzzle, or to go for a bike ride or walk.

The investment of real face to face time is much more valuable than any electronic device, more than any classroom.

This is my reminder.

Someday soon my oldest will be going off to college. It seemed like yesterday I was walking with him to the park everyday, pushing him on the swings, wiping off his boo-boos, singing him night-night songs while I tucked him into bed.

He remembers those moments of time spent with him. He appreciates the fact that his dad and I would spend face to face time with him. On purpose. For a purpose. Now, he is truly grateful.

My little girl needs that same amount of attention. Not negative attention, but just… attention. I have to fight against the tide of technology, though, but it can be done. I will win this battle for her attention. I want her to know I was here for her.

In person. Not on the other side of the chat screen or instant message.

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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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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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