Thursday, December 11, 2008


This week has been great! We haven't followed my plan exactly, but we have definitely followed the 'spirit' of the plan for lack of a better way to describe it.

We had a great devotional during breakfast, and I asked the kids what they were interested in doing. So far so good. However by the time we got breakfast cleaned up and we got all of our morning chores done it was already 11:30...I still can't figure out where all the time went. We had a great time working on our Let's Play Music homework and spent 45 minutes signing, playing, and learning all about music. The kids always love to do their LPM homework...even my little Hyrum and Brea enjoy it! By the time we were done with that we had to eat lunch and head over to class. When we got back we did have a two hour 'quiet' study time which the kids did great with! So overall it was a success.

Yesterday was even better than Tuesday. I think the kids are really starting to get the hang of our new schedule. When we weren't reading or studying they played happily with each other most of the time. Its often hard for the kids to pick books off the bookshelf so what I've discovered works really well is that I'll pull 20 or so books off the book shelf and spread them all of the floor. Then its like bees to honey the kids can't help themselves. They go over to the books and start reading. LOVE IT!!! Even my little kids are really starting to look at books more. We probably read and played math games for 4 hours on Wednesday, and the funniest thing was when Jarom commented on how fast the time flew. Now that's a MAJOR break through.

So far today is going great! I had to finish reading my book (I had 60 pages left when I woke up) for my 5P class tonight so I've just been letting the kids play most of the morning. But they have been the most pleasant enjoyable kids to watch play. All four of them (the two little ones went down for naps early today) have been playing together with Lego's for almost an hour. Before that we all played a few games of Go Fish. Oh and before that Jarom made pancakes for everyone for breakfast. WHAT A GREAT DAY!

Even though the kids haven't sat down with me and done math or science (that is they haven't yet...we are going to do our 2 hours of quiet study time after lunch) I really feel like they have showed me that they have started to master other life skills like compromise, kindness, love, compassion, imagination, cooperation, how to entertain themselves, and many more. A year ago my kids wouldn't have been able to play with only themselves without a fight, break down, or request for TV or Computer time for more than 30 minutes. Today we are going on 2 hours. I've been sitting on the couch in the same room as them reading and they haven't even bothered me once. Maybe its because I spent time playing with them first before I started reading and left them alone to play, or maybe they just are happier playing with each other these days, or maybe they have better imaginations than they did a year ago. I don't know for sure but its AWESOME!

{What I've learned}
1. If I make a point to spend one-on-one time with the kids doing something they really want to do and they can tell I am totally into them and not distracted by other things then we have a happier home, they play better alone when its time for that, and they learn more during school time.
2. When the computer doesn't get turned on until after 4pm (our after school hours start then) and I don't make exceptions or break that rule our home runs better and school time goes better.
3. Every day is so different that when I am stuck to a schedule that I think is the way the day has to go everything goes wrong. Instead if I know the over arching things I want to accomplish with my family, have a general plan but allow myself to go with the flow as needed miracles occur.
4. Learning always is better when its fun! I want to try and have as much fun learning with the kids as possible.
5. Teaching the kids to work and own their responsibilities is very important to them becoming responsible hard working students.
6. When I relax and allow my house to stay cluttered with books and other school things during the day more learning takes place and I am a happier mom.
7. Have an evening routine where we can relax as a family after dad comes home and spend time hanging out and playing with dad is so important to the flow and culture of our home.
8. Night time reading is a must!!!! Sometimes the lessons and discussions I have with my kids during our night time reading blow me away and when I am tired and want to skip or shorten night time reading I always regret it!

{Love my JOB}
I am so thankful for my Mom job. Sorry Scott I think I got the better end of the job is better than yours! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Spontaneity vs. The Routine

{The OLD ME: Too Spontaneous...Not much of a Routine}
So today was great. I am starting to finally figure out what works for me when it comes to our family's 'Daily Default Routine.' I'm still FAR away from having it figured out, but I'm kind of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of person. I love to be spontaneous and do whatever sounds like a good idea at the moment. As a result I am not naturally a routine kind of person, but I am having to change this about me because always being spontaneous doesn't really work when you are trying to home school your little kiddos.

{The NEW ME: Controlled Spontaneity ...More Routine}
Last week I finally implemented a 2 hour quiet study time. This is where the kids can draw, read alone, read with me, play a 'school' game (with or without me), do a quiet project, etc... This doesn't mean we didn't have school time before...we did but before simply had chunks of study or school time throughout the day but I didn't call it 'quiet' study time. As a result 'school' time usually ended up looking like this...the younger kids would get super loud and crazy making it really hard for me to work with the older ones or the older kids joined in the loud fun and I went crazy. So during our 2 hour quiet study times last week the younger kids learned that they had to play quietly inside or go outside to play. It worked okay last week but I have to admit the kids were having a little trouble adjusting to the new rules. Thank goodness today they started (not totally) to get it. YEAH!!! We only lasted an hour of what I'd call quiet study time this afternoon, but I still think it was a success. After all it was quiet and we did get some good learning done!! During our one hour Jarom read some old issues of ZOO Books Magazines and Megan and I played Math games. I am so grateful that I am finally figuring out how to manage all six kids and learn at the same time. WOO-HOO!

{The Plan}
I want to keep the good momentum going so tomorrow I have a plan...we'll see if it works. After breakfast and devotional I am going to make sure I have (just started doing this so I need more practice) a planning meeting with the two oldest kids to talk about what they are interested in learning that day. Then we are going to have a two hour morning 'family quiet study' time before lunch. Then we'll have lunch and do our Let's Play Music homework. After that we'll go to LPM and once we get home we'll have a two hour afternoon 'individual quiet study' time. Once we're done with that the kids will be free to play and I'll read Laddie like crazy to try and finish it for my 5P class on Thursday. Okay so that's the plan we'll see if we can stick to it and get four good quality quiet study hours in tomorrow. I'll post the results tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The One Minute Teacher

{New approach to goal setting}
I've been reading the One Minute Teacher this last week in between my other reading, and I am really enjoying it. Its an easy read and one you can pick up and put down without getting lost. One of the things it talks about in the book is setting the one minute goal (I think that is what they call it). So this morning as I was making my bed I made a few goals for the day, and its really helped. Its not like I didn't make goals before, but the way the book approaches goal setting is really empowering and its helped me not get overwhelmed, recover when I fail, and keep my expectations of myself reasonable. Which is awesome because in the past I've typically set too many lofty goals and not get any of them done!

{Today's Goals}
1. Have devotional with the kids before the end of the day.
2. Read 2 chapters out of Life of Fred (our math book) this equals to about an hour of math.
3. Read 30 minutes out of our History of the World book
4. Spend 30 minutes reading with Megan
5. Read to the little boys for 20 minutes.
6. Read Man of the Family to the older kids.
7. Encourage imaginary play and drawing time.
8. Work on spelling and definitions during reading time.
9. Spend time reading my book Laddie try to read 100 pages today.
10. Start my new budget system!!!

So far we've done math, history, imaginary/drawing play, spelling/definitions and its only noon. We do lots of these things every day, but when I set goals and can measure what we've been doing its makes it so much better. It helps me stay on course and headed in the right direction.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Walking Drum

{out to lunch}
For the last month my computer has been sitting on the floor in our once office. So I haven't really spent much time blogging or writing. Which means I've lost a ton of memories because I didn't take time to write them down. Shoot! Oh well all I can do is start doing better from here on out. So here's to doing better. To kick it off I am going to post a paper I just finished writing for my 5 Pillar class on Thursday. Its not the best paper in the world and its my first draft, but what the heck I thought I'd go ahead and post it. I discovered a few things about myself as I was writing it, and know I need to do better in a few other areas.

{The Walking Drum}
Most of the time I don't feel like I have enough of it or that I simply waste to much of it. I swear I run from here to there taking care of things that seem important in the moment, but all to often at the end of the day when I look back and try to think about what I've done that will really matter tens years down the road my mind draws a blank. So am I just the weird one that can't seem to get a handle on it or have I simply seen the light and now realize my potential which has translated into a lot more expectations of me and my family? I'm not sure but I do know that my vision of what a mother needs to do in a day has expanded from cooking, cleaning, and keeping my kids safe to pushing myself to become the person I was meant to be and inspiring my kids to become the people they were meant to be in a way I didn't understand only a few years ago. Maybe this new perspective on life has made me realize that I can't afford to waste a second of it on anything not important to my vision, mission, and purpose. Who knows for sure, but I do know this never yielding thing called time never seems to be on my side!

I think part of my trouble with time is my attitude that I must fit everything in today. I have trouble pacing myself and seeing beyond today sometimes. That must be why as I was reading The Walking Drum I admired Kerbouchard's slow methodical approach to time. As the book begins Kerbouchard has a clear mission to rescue his father. In my mind I probably would have focused on finding the shortest route to where my father was being held and go straight there so I could accomplish this goal quickly and move on with life. However this is not the approach he takes. He sees time differently than I usually view it. Wise beyond his years Kerbouchard begins his journey to find his father realizing that it is not the speed of the journey that matters but instead what he does during the time it takes to make the journey that matters. He understands that the journey itself will prepare him to rescue his father if he will allow the experiences he goes through to teach him. At the beginning of the book he is captured as a slave on a ship. It seems it would be hard to do anything but survive as a slave on a pirate ship however Kerbouchard sees the time he spends on the ship as an opportunity for growth to help him with the next leg of his journey. He says while on the ship "For I wanted a life wider and deeper than my own Breton shores could offer. To make my way in a larger world to see more, to learn more, to be more. This was my dream. Even now I was learning, I was becoming." (pg 25) Even in the mist of being a slave he was allowing himself to become who he wanted to be. The fact that he did not see his circumstances as limiting his ability to grow is amazing and inspires me to want to do the same. All to often my circumstances don't appear 'ideal' but that doesn't mean I can't be learning and becoming who I strive to be.

Sometimes its hard for me to stand alone. As a homeschooling mother of six children 9 and under I often feel alone and isolated. Even those who attend my church often can't relate to my decision to home school and don't understand how I cope with six children. They can't figure out why we limit TV, computer, and activities outside the home. Because they aren't reading what I and my children are reading they can't discuss the thoughts and ideas I have stewing in my head. Often I wish I was able to help them understand how awesome what I am doing is and how life is easier not harder and my joy is full. Most of the time though they aren't ready to hear what I have to say which is just fine, but again leaves me feeling alone and a bit isolated. I know what I am doing is the right thing for me and my family. I know that by deciding to study and read classic books with a group I am becoming who I am capable of becoming. Something more than I thought I was capable of becoming. I love how Kerbouchard described this feeling..."Alone I was, but he who stands alone is often the strongest. By standing alone he becomes stronger and remains strong." (60) I find that when I am alone with my books or with my family I am growing and becoming. No one is entertaining me and allowing my mind to stop working. I still find myself sometimes wishing I was being entertained by others more. I fool myself into thinking it would be easier. I know that even though time seems to fly when your being entertained if it happens to often I start to feel empty and powerless. The worst part of it is that my desire to study and learn decreases as the amount of time I spend being entertained increases.

As I have thought about the way Kerbouchard approaches time I find wanting to ask him more about it. What did time mean to him? How did time effect his decisions? How did time influence his goal setting? I believe his entire perspective of what time meant to him is very different than the way western civilization views time. I know different cultures think of the passing of time differently. Cultures such as British, Native Americans, Greek, French, Japanese, and some other Asian cultures, tend to view the past, cultural history, and traditions as having the most importance, and use them as a guide in making present-day decisions. Other cultures are present-oriented, and see the present moment as the most significant. Tradition holds little importance, and planning for the future is not emphasized, but rather spontaneity and impulsiveness are more appreciated, and lifestyles tend to be relaxed and casuals. Some examples of this can be seen in Latin America. Other societies are future-oriented, and place a firm focus on planning and forward movement, and the present activities are viewed as a bridge to this future goal. This is the dominant tone in the US. ( By learning from other culture's perspective on time and how it influences their lives I believe my concept of time would expand I would be able to understand its importance and how to use it more purposely.

"Which of us knows the direction of his life? Who knows what tomorrow may bring? Often, when pausing at a crossroad, I have wondered what might lie waiting on the road not taken?" (142) I think in order to use my time more effectively I need to always be thinking about where I want to go and how I am going to get there. Setting small goals often and making time to revisit those goals and evaluate how I am doing with them would allow me to be constantly making course corrections to keep me headed in the right direction. Just the other day I was reading about one of the Apollo mission and how if they were off by a few degrees when leaving the Earth they would have missed the moon by more than a million miles. Our lives aren't really that different. We are on an important mission and by taking time to think about where we are and where we want to be and making goals to reach our destination allows us to stay focused on what really matters and use the time we have to make a difference to who we will become.

"I do not learn to obtain position or reputation. I want only to know." (pg 179) Over the last few years I have started to undergo a life changing transformation that I am sure will continue for the rest of my life. I have more faith in my own and my family's ability to become something I thought was only reserved for others. We can be amazing people, understand complex topics, contribute, and become scholars. But how? Its a process. "What kind of scholar was I? Or was I a scholar at all? My ignorance was enormous. Beside it my knowledge was nothing. My hunger for learning, not so much to improve my lot as to understand my world, had led me to study and to thought. Reading without thinking is as nothing, for a book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think...all knowledge is interrelated..." (pg 201-202) I know that using the time I have to constantly be learning is crucial to becoming the person I was meant to become. "For the mind must be prepared for knowledge as one prepares a field for planting, and a discovery made too soon is no better than a discovery not made at all." (pg 255) Each day I use my time wisely and become a better mom, more loving wife, and a more educated person changes me a little from the day before. And the more little changes I make the more I become a little more like the person I was meant to be. Kerbouchard has helped remind me to slow down, and with a purpose in mind spend my time becoming who I am meant to be rather than rushing through life to get to the finish line no better than I was when I started. "Victory is not won in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more." (261) "Everyone has it within his power to say, this I am today, that I shall be tomorrow. The wish, however, must be implemented by deeds." (373)