Friday, October 28, 2016

Does God Want You to be Happy?

The culture today in the U.S. is one that baffles me. How in the world could things fall apart so much? Well I've discovered a trend in all this craziness and that is this, "God wants us to be happy." It's an excuse used by everyone to do whatever they please whether it's right or wrong.

Now please prepare for my rant.

I am a Bible believing Christian. I believe God's WORD is completely truth and truth cannot be changed. Even if we change God does not. I have never read in my Bible where God says, "And let everyone be happy." God never talks about us being happy. Have you ever read Job? The book is full of sadness and heartbreak. What was God concerned about, Job heart and whether he was continuing to trust and rely on HIM. If God wanted Job to be happy, he wouldn't have let him lose everything.

Now let's talk on a practical level. I believe that God the Father loves us as any parent would. Now letting my kids play in the street might make them happy, but I'd rather they stay alive. My kids might be happy eating candy everyday and lots of it, but I as a parent know that it can make them sick, it's very unhealthy, and too much sugar affects the brain in a similar fashion to illegal drugs sold on street corners. Do I care about my kids happiness or do I care about their safety and wellbeing?

Now let's get into the real meat and potatoes of my frustration. The current two mainstream ideologies that are being forced on me and others who believe like me are gay marriage and transgenderism. Let me start with saying this, ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????? I can list hundreds of other things that deal with basic human rights and we have to talk about people's feeling getting hurt? How about we talk about babies being slaughtered in the womb because it's inconvenient. How about human trafficking or the AIDS epidemic that is still spreading. How about the gang wars that have completely taken over neighborhoods and the cops who won't enter them. What about kids growing up with only one parent or even no parents. Did you know we have a homeless problem among our vets and many are suffering from PTSD that is driving them to take their lives. How about the drug cartels coming over our border, killing and kidnapping. How about people all over the word starving because they live in areas or war, droughts, or just very poor areas. Let's talk about the Muslims killing women because they are tired of her or killing the homosexuals and Christians because they don't fit in with the Koran's teaching. These are concerns about basic human rights not a temper tantrum because someone wouldn't make the cake you wanted or you feel uncomfortable because you can't figure out what bathroom to use.

Now we can't stop what the LBGT stands for and we shouldn't force them to. We all are given free choice by our CREATOR and because of that I can't tell anyone what they can and cannot do. So why does the government think they should take the beliefs of 3% or .3% and shove it down everyone else's throats? It's always about CONTROL. I believe that we need to get out of other peoples lives, bedrooms especially, but also small businesses. If a bakery doesn't want to bake a cake for someone, don't give them your business. That's their loss not yours. There's another one down the street. If I chose not to shop at Target because of their beliefs well that's MY choice based on MY reasoning and it's their loss.

I'm sure you figured out by now my stance on the LGBT community. Since I'm a Christian I believe that homosexuality is a sin and you are right. I care and love others and don't want anyone to miss the chance to know and understand who God is. I'm not perfect and sin everyday. Since God sees sin as sin,  my sin is just as great as yours and everyone else in the world. I am NOT better then anyone else and struggle daily to follow Jesus. God still gives us the command not let our brother (or sister) fall to sin. We are to point out sin in a loving way but reserve the eternal judgement for God and God only.

Now lets get back to the idea of God wanting us to be happy. It is complete BS, but is being used as an argument to let people throw fits to get there way. I would never allow my kids to do something because they throw a fit. For the LGBT group there has been no scientific evidence that says it makes them happier. In fact depression and suicide increases. If people want to live a gay lifestyle then that is there choice, just don't tell me God wants you to be happy and that's why you do it. Same with those who support it and call themselves Christians. For those who are transgender, I've heard more then I care to from psychologists about how confused they are and that parents who allow their children to chose their sexual identity are completely messed up. They are not happy, they are confused. So stop using a stupid reason to get what you want. Let's use common sense, show love and support, and help them feel good about who God created them to be. I care more that you spend eternity in heaven then "be happy" for a short time on earth.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Year Two of Logic of English

After completing Level C and D of Foundations from Logic of English, I have to say I am so totally in love with this program. The results from this curriculum are outstanding.

Level C is just a gradual increase in ability from Level B. The books are set up the same with the same type of activities. Level D is a bit of a jump in ability and required skills. If I had more then one that I was teaching, I would have split the lesson into two days. Even with the amount of work on each lesson I really loved Level D and so did my daughter for several reasons.

  1. The readers are non-fiction. Most kids today have no idea how to read non-fiction. These readers are fabulous non-fiction books that my daughter absolutely loved.
  2. The extra books are super fun and classic books that again my daughter absolutely loved and would read to her sisters over and over.
  3. They begin teaching grammar. I think this is super important. I didn't understand grammar until high school and grammar education is really lacking in most curriculums today.
  4. Handwriting in Level D consists of copy work and dictation. I love that both are included but not everyday. Copy work helps with spelling and sentence structure. Dictation helps with both but in a way that requires listening skills.
  5. Review lessons are more of a testing day including testing their reading comprehension and speed. This is really important because it will help you see where you may need extra review.
  6. My daughter would say one of her favorite things was the games. She loved playing games with me in her workbook. Tic Tac Toe and Bingo are often in her book and she loved playing them.
At the beginning of Level D, my daughter was a little nervous about picking up books and reading on her own. After she finally picked up her first beginning chapter book there was no stopping her.

Although she was reading some on her own, I was still a little frustrated that her testing had her around 40 words per minute. This is really low for her reading level. She was missing a lot of words and spending too much time trying to sound a word out. At the half way in D I instituted a mandatory 30 minute quite reading time every day. This made a HUGE difference in her WPM. She went from 40 WPM to 70 WPM in about 4 weeks. She also went from getting 15 or more words wrong to 2 words.

So looking back over the past year, I am so amazed at the skills this curriculum provides. Kids are provided skills to read and spell any word in the English language. There are rules for every word and every possible strange spelling is explained. The kids aren't just shown sight words to memorize but instead explained the reason behind the spelling.

The next step for us now is Essentials. We have the 2nd addition which will take awhile as it has 3 levels. My daughter is only a few weeks into the curriculum. I will review that later on.

My two kindergarteners are currently half way through Level A and so excited to get their first reader. They also love showing off their letters. I cannot recommend this curriculum enough.

Friday, October 21, 2016

First Time Mommy vs. The Seasoned Mommy

I remember spending time with my sister and sister-in-law shortly after my nephews, were born and watching how they dealt with being first time moms. I found it fascinating to watch how they dealt with being a mom and what that meant compared to me who was on my third baby. I had come a long way from where I had started.

First time mommies and seasoned mommies do things differently and all mommies will end up in each category at some point. I look back and laugh at how I was when I had my first daughter. Boy has my parenting changed.

    • The first time mommy carries around the giant diaper bag with everything possible stuffed into it and overflowing. 
    • The seasoned mom carries a small backpack or a large purse with a diaper and wipes. She keeps a few extra diapers in the car along with a change of clothes and a blanket.
  • THE CRY: 
    • Once your child starts moving and discovering they also start testing mom. The first time mom rushes to see whats wrong whenever they start crying. 
    • The seasoned mommy knows that there is a whimpery cry to see if they can get mom to come running and there is a wail that means something is wrong.
    • The first time mom reads all the books and tries to follow the advice of half a dozen experts trying to find the best way to get them to sleep. 
    • The seasoned mom knows that you just need a routine that works for you and that you will probably have either a good napper or a good night time sleeper. If you have both
      you are in the minority. 

    • The first time mom wonders how anyone with more than one kid can get anything done. 
    • The seasoned mom wonders why someone with one kid can never get anything done.

  • The Paci and the Floor
    • The first time mom will immediately wash the paci that has dropped on the floor. If no sink is available they use paci wipes or butt wipes.
    • The seasoned mom will only "wash" the paci if it fell on a floor in a public place. By "wash" I mean brushing off any obvious dirt and then sticking it in your to "sanatize" it.

We moms have all gone through that first stage of being a new parent. It's hard and you always think you're messing things up. The truth is we are just tired and often unsure of what "right" is. Every parent has to make choices and rarely is there a clear right and wrong.

We all handle things differently because of our stage of parenting and that makes our experiences unique. I've loved having those experienced moms mentor me and loved being able to listen help those new mommies as well. Moms need to be around other moms and support not always the "right" answer. So if you have a diaper bag overflowing, embrace it. It's okay. Be the mom you are in the stage you are.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why only a 3 Day School Week?

Last year I made the decision to only do school 3 days a week. I have to say it was one of the best decisions I made when it came to homeschooling. It has kept me from feeling burnt out and our weeks over planned. 

 Here are my 5 reasons for only doing 3 days school week: 

1. My kids are 7, 6, and 5 so they don't need intense instruction anyway. My kids still need to play and play is proven over and over to help with brain development. My 7 year old is in 2nd grade and school only lasts a few hours in the morning and we finish up in the afternoon. Morning we all do Bible, Science, History, and Math. The 2nd grader will do some copy work and reading on her own while I work with the Kindergarteners.  Afternoon we finish up with our English and writing.

2. Tuesdays are our gymnastics day. We are fortunate to have a gym that has a homeschool session. After gymnastics we run errands and get groceries. I love being able to take the kids (most of the time) because they are learning at a young age how to make a grocery list, price compare, and question what we need rather then what we want. These are skills they will need as they become adults. 

3. Our school days are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday is called "Friday Fun Day" which gives us a chance to get caught up on work, take a field trip, or work on life skills. We try to have tea time on Friday and the girls rotate with helping cook a treat. 

4. We are not contracted to only teach September-May. We don't take the same breaks that the schools do. Often we have some school time during the summer, usually covering math, reading, writing and spelling. My kids are where they need to be grade wise, if not slightly ahead because we started a little earlier then their peers for two of them. Most of our curriculum is level based so we go through the first level and then start on the next once we are done. There is no actual start date or finish date. I found this really helps for year round schooling and there is no real backslide.

5. I don't teach "fluff" or things that aren't necessary for my kids. We learn from questions and exploration. I have a flexibility that our awesome classroom teachers don't. We work instead on the things they have to know. I can choose curriculum with substance and skip over things that my kids may already know or aren't important to their education. I've skipped work book pages for my oldest in math because it is so easy for her. I've also combined lessons or split lessons in two based on their needs. I always try to follow their lead.

One thing to remember is that kids in a school setting will have some "wasted" days because of holiday celebrations, homecoming, testing and other activities. So if you feel like 3 days a week isn't enough, don't worry too much. Although I do think these days can be important, very little work is actually done on those days. Kids also spend more time then may be individually necessary working on each subject. They may spend 8 hours in a classroom but don't spend all that time in instruction. Knowing this, you don't need to try to push your child to have school every day and complete a mountain of work every day. We have 3 long days that for my 2nd grader can last up to 6 hours. So compared to kids in school, she has up to 18 hours a week completing school work and they would have about 40 hours in school. Most kids also have an hour or more homework after school as well even in the younger grades. Our 18 hour weeks leave a lot of time for so many other fun ways of learning and exploring.