Posted in Homeschool Adventures, learning with kids, Raising kids

A new school year already?! My thoughts and wishes

School has already started for many or will start in a matter of days. I can imagine the spectrum of feelings a lot of us are experiencing: first-day jitters, anxiety, excitement, fear, relief, dread, freedom, anticipation, happiness, hope, among others.

I have mixed emotions. Since I’m my kid’s teacher, I feel an enormous amount of pressure. I do love my role and see it as a privilege to homeschool, but it’s daunting at times.

When I feel overwhelmed though, I try to focus on my long-term goals: education involves learning how to tackle new challenges (it’s not all fun and games); comparisons accomplishes nothing positive; celebrate individual successes; choose quality over quantity; and lastly aim to cultivate a discerning and reflective mind.

Being a homeschooling mom teaches me to trust that my kids’ minds are actively processing even when results are not tangible right away. And it makes me wonder the blind faith my parents had in me.

Growing up I was a late bloomer and things clicked way past the time it should’ve occurred. Compound that with the effects of brain trauma from a car accident: I was a hot mess. I fumbled through classes and feigned tummy aches. Despite them all, my parents cheered me on, paid for endless tutoring, and believed (or faked it well) that I would succeed. I wonder how they must’ve felt waiting for me even when I wasn’t showing much progress.

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. β€“ Confucius

This year I pray that I will become a better teacher, co-learner and investigator, and guide. I want to have more motivation, patience, and a spontaneous mindset to explore new things. Eeek…I enter it with trepidation. But I know God will sustain me through the doubts and insecurities. In the big scheme of life, my mundane stuff seems insignificant to God, but to Him they are not.

Psalm 120:1:   
β€œIn my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.”

Isaiah 40:31:
“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

And my hope for kids, parents, teachers, and others involved in raising kids have a blessed, peace-filled, and fruitful school year!! Wishing many “a-ha” moments and joyful hearts pursuing mindfulness, God’s wisdom, and gratefulness.

And how can I forget the most important factor?? Fun and happiness.

Have fun, laugh more than usual, be spunky, love your kids for who they are, and pat yourself on the back more often.

 “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”Winston Churchill

Posted in Homeschool Adventures

With school starting soon, find curriculum materials at Education.com!

As a homeschooling parent, I’m constantly searching for engaging, interesting, and curriculum to use with my kids. When they were younger, I would make my own learning materials to accommodate their ever-changing interests. But it was a laborious and time-consuming process, so now I use curriculum from various sources to fit my kid’s learning needs.

One resource I frequently use is Education.com. Their various teaching materials cover a broad range of subjects and skills to master for grades preschool to 5th grade. You type in your interested subject in the search box, choose a grade level, and voila! The search results generate rows of sample materials accompanied by user’s review ratings. A favorite feature for me is their colorful and kid-friendly format that piques kids’ curiosities right away.

So when Education.com asked if I would be interested to share a printable worksheet with my teachers, and I was happy to do so. It’s a great resource I use that you may find useful too.

The attached worksheet is a fun word activity that introduces keywords about the upcoming season. It’s one sample of the kinds of resources they provide. I hope you get a chance to check it out and have your kids try it out too.

Children will ‘fall’ in love with this fun autumn crossword puzzle! Also be sure to check out many more great reading activities at Education.com!

*This is not a paid promotion but my honest feedback about my positive experience with Education.com.

Posted in Homeschool Adventures, photo challenge

Ribbit’s Picture Day

Yesterday when I wrote the “Unexpected” post, I only added a tadpole photo but not Ribbit as a frog. Its habitat was not picture-friendly, but it’s much better today with a water change. https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/lens-artists-photo-challenge-30-unexpected/

Hello! My name is Ribbit. My favorite things to do are pooping, swimming, eating, pooping (oh wait, I already said that), stretching, playing, relaxing, exploring, and smiling to those who admire my cute face.

Nice to meet you readers!
I’m thinking…I’m thinking…yes, I do want flies for dinner.
Don’t mind me. This is just my fancy way of coming up for air.

Posted in Homeschool Adventures, learning with kids

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Unexpected. This tadpole of ours.

The topic of sharing something “unexpected” fit right into a picture taken 3 weeks ago. Thank you Anne-Christine for hosting this challenge. https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/lens-artists-photo-challenge-30-unexpected/

An “unexpected” package arrived in the mailbox. It was the size of an upright tissue box and felt like it held nothing but popcorn inside.

I brought the box in and wondered out loud what it could be. My kids immediately dropped what they were doing and asked, “Is it a package for me?”

The package held a clear cube-shaped box with a plastic bag of water in it. This was our mail-order tadpole for our homeschooling science study this term.

Our new tadpole

This tadpole was specifically bred in a Florida laboratory, and it has special characteristics: its tadpole body is transparent; and when it becomes a frog, it will live entirely in water and only surface to breathe. This specific breed is called Pipadae found in Africa and South America. The facts sheet clearly explains that these frogs have never been to those places.

Our tadpole may have went through a quicker metamorphosis due to our overzealous attempt to make it happy with natural rain sounds. We learned that tadpoles like the sound of rain, which can be mimicked by slowly pouring spring water into the tank. As I did more research about this, I learned that this sound hastens metamorphosis.

We can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl yet. If it makes a sound, it’s a boy. If the body size is larger, it’s a female; although I have no basis for comparison. I’ll just have to wait for that sound or lack of it.

And as I was writing this post, I learned something totally unexpected. Pipidae is the family name for the species African Clawed Frog. It is an invasive and very aggressive species that like to eat anything in its path and cannot be released into our local waters. If you can’t care for it anymore, it could be sent back to the supplier or to a pet store for proper…you know….and environmentally friendly farewell. Also, it could live 5-15 years. Gulp. Knowing beforehand that this species cannot be released into the local waters and its long life-span would’ve been helpful information.

You learn something new and unexpected everyday. With all the surprising facts we’re learning, it’s more likely that the kids will remember this frog life-cycle and frog-care study. Also, they enjoy feeding it and interacting with it, but cleaning the tank is mainly my task. .

p.s. I was going to show a picture of Ribbit metamorphosed into a frog, but its water is too cloudy and not camera-ready. I’ll have to take a picture right after replacing the water.

Posted in Homeschool Adventures, Uncategorized

Do all kids read by the beginning of second grade??

This is hard for me to admit, much less put it into writing. It makes me feel vulnerable, but here I go.

My second grader is struggling with reading. When we do phonics or attempt to read together, he immediately gets uptight and starts to fidget. It’s like he convinced himself that reading is too hard. Reading is not his thing; he is more drawn to science and math (like his daddy, not mommy).

It’s frustrating. I feel responsible for his lack of reading skills, because I’m his primary teacher. With homeschooling it’s so easy to blame yourself when things don’t go well; and easy to take for granted when things do go right.

When I wrote this post yesterday, I asked Elliot to write something (about his favorite season) for a new spelling book we started this school year. He asked why the following page was blank unlike the previous pages. When I told him (in a very uplifting tone…or so I thought) he could write whatever he wanted any way he wanted, he burst into tears.

I almost cried with him; my heart hurt. I could sense his frustration and fear. After a long talk reassuring him that learning is hard, no matter your age or subject, and praying together that God would give him courage to try and to learn from his mistakes, he decided to give it a try.

With the time set for 10 minutes as advised by the Instructor’s Manual he started to write some words down. He used inventive spelling. When I looked over his work later, I so wanted to correct the errors and ask him to write in complete sentences.

20180915_0055002366570704779928719.jpg

I had to look at the bigger picture and think long-term. I overlooked the errors and instead praised him for working on this challenge. This was not an auspicious time for that discussion. He softly asked me if all his words were wrong. I said it was okay. There’s always the next lesson and plenty of opportunities to improve.

Second grade started less than a month ago, and here I am freaking out that he’s not a fluent reader. Being a teacher is not only about teaching but building up my student (my kid) to become a confident, persevering, and thoughtful learner. There’s a lot of learning for me too: learning to teach according to his interests, pacing ourselves, and respecting his learning style.