Thursday, November 21, 2013

Week 12 - Gladiators, the early church, and a few good emperors

Here are a few highlights from our week...

Pretty simple this week. The kids got to draw whatever Christian artwork they wanted according to early church history, so there was very little push-back. Of course, my blue-eyed boy didn't want to color anything, so his were just pencil drawings.

We are in the book of Revelations now and I have to say, I am very disappointed in the commentary and explanations (or lack of them) for this book on the Rome to Reformation teachers manual. This is a very difficult book to read through for an adult much less a child. Lots of imagery and symbolic language. Aye! - So easy to get confused :/ I just wish there would have been more info behind the passages in the teachers manual.

We learned about the gladiators, played an online game, and watched some Rotten Roman videos (animals and gladiators), (gladiator vs mouse), and (gladiator school).

Watched a few more Rotten Roman videos about Nero, reviewed the most evil emperors of Rome, learned about the terrible Christian persecutions, learned more about persecutions, and finally got to the 5 decent emperors Rome had. Whew! It's about time for someone decent...

Still truckin' along with Galen. We also learned more about the brain. It was also interesting that our guest speaker at church talked about the brain. Because the kids had been studying about the brain, they totally knew what he was talking about. Love it when things line up like that!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

So why exactly is homeschooling so controversial?

This has been on my mind lately...a lot. It could be due to recent comments people have made to me or to others or recent discussions I have been a part of. 

Whether you feel it is a calling or a choice, either way, a decision is homeschool or not to homeschool.

So, why exactly is this particular decision SO controversial?

I actually had an educator not too long ago tell me that the reason the public schools are in such disarray was because of all of the Christians leaving the public schools. So basically, this person point blank told me that I (and others like me) were the reason schools were failing. 


My head was spinning! I wanted to get into a discussion with this person and "enlighten" them to the facts. No, no, it couldn't possibly be the schools were already failing their children and because of that, they chose to pull them out and seek alternative means. It could not possibly be because lofty bureaucrats who have never set foot in a classroom or even taught children were handing down new regulations and laughable curriculum. Nope, it couldn't be that terrible educators were teaching their children and they wanted something better. Not all, but some. There are a lot of excellent teachers out there, but sometimes, 1 rotten one is all it takes. (I can say that because I was an educator myself and I saw firsthand. There are just some people who should NEVER be teachers.) Nor could it be that, for some people, like myself, felt called by God to homeschool their kids or people who simply wanted to homeschool to give their children a biblical worldview. However, this was not the time or the place for that discussion, after all, I have to see this person at church week after week and I don't think it mattered what the facts actually were, this person had their mind made up.  

What I find really ironic is it is mainly the homeschooling families that are targeted as being controversial. You can pull your child out of one public school to put him in another (even if it is a totally different town) and it is accepted. You can pull your child out of public school and enroll him in a charter school and people don't bat an eye. You can even take your child out of public school and put him in a Christian school and usually no one says a thing. But HOMESCHOOL?!? You might as well have committed some unpardonable sin!

I think, what really gets to me the most though, is that some people...people I had considered friends, would think this way about me. And that hurts. How do I know this? Little comments here and there, snide remarks, or just plain ol' ignorant statements. I have always been respectful of others education choices for their children. I have never been one to push my views and my reasonings onto anyone else. I try not to 'jump on the bandwagon of negativity' even when they come to me upset and talking about whatever recent thing is going on in their children's schools. I try to listen and be a supportive friend. Having been a public school teacher, I try to offer advice that is relevant for their child in their situation. I only offer advice on homeschooling if it is asked of me always pointing out my personal reasons for homeschooling. I always make sure to tell them to pray and seek what God has for them and their families. I cannot make that decision for them. They must make it for themselves. 

It's honestly hard to know who to trust when it comes to talking about homeschooling. I mean, I know I can trust my fellow homeschooling friends, but I worry about people who come to me for advice or information who do not homeschool. I know most are sincere, but there are those who take what I say and twist it or think that I think they are horrible for having their kids in public school or something.

Aren't we all just trying to educate our children the way we feel is best for them? Whether it's homeschool, public school, charter school, or private school?

Then why the controversy or competition? 

I don't look at my friends down the street at a different Baptist church and think any less of them because they don't go to MY church. We are all believers doing our best to give God the glory and point others to Him.

I don't criticize others for eating at The Olive Garden instead of Jason's Deli. We all just want some good food.

I don't question anyones choice to enroll their child into one sport versus another. They all just want to play.

Then why would I think any less of someone because of their schooling choices? We are all just trying to educate our children...Aren't we?

I like what Matt Walsh said in one of his recent blog posts. I may not always agree with what he writes or how he puts things, but I loved the punch line in this particular one..."we are going to homeschool our kids, but that's only because we hate education."

Hmm, maybe that's why homeschooling is so controversial...we must all hate education...LOL!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 11 - 2 field trips in one week!

Here are a few highlights from our week...

So, this week proved to be just as crazy as the last with 2 field trips AND a co-op day, but again, we managed to get in 3 days of school work and the kids got to do lots of things they have never done before. I think we are making up for our lack of field trips last year. This year may be a record :-O

With such a busy week, something had to give...and this was it. Besides, the kids remembered the portrait of Caligula they drew last year in God and the History of Art.

Paul was one busy guy. It has been interesting tracking all of his trips tho and to see how everything fits together with history.

Caligula (Gaius) was one messed up dude! He tried to attack the sea, killed numerous people (just because), and made his horse a senator...among other things.

Here are a few Rotten Roman videos to go along with history this week:

Caligula's crazy speech
His attack on Poseidon

Galen and the Gateway to Medicine is actually a pretty good read. We thought it was going to be boring, but it's not too bad.

We also learned about teeth. Here is a short video from Chloe and the Nerb about teeth.

The bone activity and the skeleton model we were supposed to do last week, but moved to this week, will have to be moved the next week. Maybe, just maybe we'll get it done then :/  

Since we are studying Rome to the Reformation this year, we decided to go to the Texas Renaissance Festival. We went on a school day and BOY am I glad we went then. I can't imagine what it is like on a regular day! Some of the comments and attire pushed my limits of acceptability especially for a school day.  

We went with their cute little cousins which made the day even more eventful :-D

We also went to Berryland farms. The kids got to launch mini pumpkins, walk through a corn maze, climb a hay bale tower, ride a culvert swing, go on a hay ride, and slide about a gazillion times down this HUGE hill slide.

Week 10 - A very busy week

Here are a few highlights from our week...

This was a very full and busy week...add in a last minute trip we decided to take with my husband for his job, a day long vomiting episode (because my brown-eyed girl got a hold of some gluten), AND a fall festival and you have one crazy homeschool mom.

We still managed to get 3 days of school in there and we turned the hubby's business trip into an extra field trip for the kids, so it was all good ;)

Here are pics of the skeletons the kids finished up. Don't ya just love the way the kids posed them? LOL!

We also watched a short video about skeletons.

The bone experiment and an extra skeleton model activity we have to complete would have to wait until next week...

Here is a picture from our field trip to the Texas Zoo.

Sadly, I didn't get a single picture of the kids at the fall fest in their costumes :(

My brown-eyed girl went as an 80's valley girl and my blue-eyed boy went as an arctic forces ninja.
They had a blast so I guess that is all that matters :)

I'm hoping next week will be a bit more calm....