Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Is Homeschooling Sheltering Our Children?

I have heard many people shout that homeschooling is sheltering your children.  I disagree and agree with this thinking.  I will agree that I am sheltering my children.  But I disagree that the “sheltering” I am doing of my children is causing them any harm.   If anything, I see it paving the way for them to become kinder and more social individuals.

While our children were in school, they were picking up very bad habits.  Rudeness that was unlike them.  They were imitating what they were seeing and hearing from others.  Our oldest had a continuous fight in his mind about whether or not it was ok to repeat something he had heard or saw being done.  If he chose to say something, he learned very quickly that it was not a good thing to say.  So then he would ask us why it was ok for the student he overheard saying it, but not ok for him.  Thus the struggle continued.  With autism, there is no gray area….it is black and white.  It’s right or wrong.  What a world we would live in if we all could live in this world!!  How many misunderstandings could be avoided?

I have to say after a few months from him not being in this setting, he wasn’t struggling with the same things.  We had to make other adjustments, including what he watched on TV.  We were inviting that extra influence into our home.   After these changes, he wasn’t having as many problems with the struggle anymore.  He knew what was right and wrong, and if he wasn’t sure he also asked. 

We allowed him to think freely and this allowed him to be a kid.  We were still in the background gently reminding him about how to be a better person and how to be kind.  But he didn’t have anyone picking on him about what he was wearing or what television show he enjoyed watching.  Many of the kids that he met up with at co-ops and clubs were enjoying this same freedom of being a kid.  They were not worried about texting on a cell phone, they were playing with LEGOs and Transformers….Star Wars….and video games. 

I have noticed that my now 15 year old has grown into a wholly sympathetic and caring young man.  He worries about others and if they are ok.  He can talk to adults and toddlers like they were his best friends.  He doesn’t mind getting down on the floor and playing with a little one.  He doesn’t mind sitting with an elderly individual in a museum and will even carry on a conversation and hold open a door for them. 

He is not perfect, and we have many more large hurdles to overcome when his autism rears its ugly side, but I am very proud of the young man he is becoming.  I was watching him hold open a door the other day, and thought to myself, “What if we hadn’t sheltered him from nasty influences?  Would he have been allowed to be the person he is today?”

I am not saying every kid in public school is a bad influence.  There are so many shining examples there and the educators doing their best to be good influences.  Joey just happened to be most affected by the negative influences that were around him.  I am grateful that we made the decision that allows him to think clearly in his right and wrong world and not struggle as horribly. 

So I do disagree that Homeschooling is Sheltering our Children.  I see it as allowing them to grow to be the people they want to be and not be forced to be someone they are not. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Week 36 - Marsupials, Sun, Sun and Fun with Friends

We had a wonderful week in Florida.  We started it out by taking the kids to Key West for the weekend.  Joe and I went here on our honeymoon.  And since we were so close, well 5 hours away, we decided to take them for a short trip.  We enjoyed the drive down on Saturday morning.  I almost cancelled though because I woke up with a borderline migraine.  I was the walking dead.  Lots and lots of peppermint oil and Feverfew tea.  But we got going.

We took them to the Lighthouse.  Brayden never climbs lighthouses.  He decided to try this one.  It was a steep metal staircase.  He was freaked out most of the climb, but he did it.

We took them to the Southern most point.
And the Sunset Festival in Mallory Square.
The Shipwreck museum, which we also did on our honeymoon.  The part about wreckers was so interesting.

We did a history walking tour of the area.  We saw the biggest banyan tree.  I didn't even know that a tree could get that big.  It was amazing.  We also saw the roots, they are hanging roots.  That was neat.
After we posed at this tree, we found out that it was used by the KKK to hang people from.
This is the banyan tree.  Largest on the island.  Takes up the whole property.

At the Sunset Festival, Brayden and I were sitting and watching the sun go down. This pelican was right in front of us.  We got to see his mouth as he stretched.  It was pretty amazing.  The bird laid down right in front of us then.
We walked about 7 miles.  This is the next morning.  A very worn out Brayden.

We also visited Fort Zachary Taylor.  A Civil War fort on the island.  The fort never saw any firing action.  
The view was amazing from the top of the fort.  I wouldn't have minded being stationed there.  Minus the wool uniform of course.

While in Key West we also visited Truman's Little White House and did that tour.  It was pretty interesting to see this presidential home and even learn that high level political figures and their families can still stay at this home.  

Caty went on to start reading larger books this week.  She read me all of Red Fish, Blue Fish.  And went through the entire two sets of Bob Books that I brought with us.  She also started the 2nd half of her Singapore Math book for the year.  She was excited!

I tried hard to work with all that was going on.  I made the bed into a desk so I could watch the ocean out the balcony window.

Brayden was well cared for by the front desk staff.  They kept him in M&M Chocolate chip cookies.  They would call up and let us know when they were ready.

We enjoyed the beach as much as we could.

We reserved a cabana on Tuesday when our friends from Miami came to visit.  Joey was resting from the wind and water and watching Psych on his tablet.

Even Brayden got into the Body surfing.  That totally caught me off guard.  He NEVER goes into the ocean.  But out of the blue, he did Tuesday.  He went in every time we went back to the beach.  He really loved it.

Working on science this week.  This week in our Sassafrass science journey, the twins were sabotaged.  We explored a Eucalyptus Forest and a Bamboo Forest.  Here the girls were coloring sheets while I read.  We talked about koalas and how their pouches keep their babies warm.  We heated up my rice pack and used a dish towel to show the warmth that the baby is getting.

We worked on the beach patio for our writing.  The girls have started using Here to Help Learning.  Watch for our review next month.

Our friends gave us National Geographic version of Mad Libs.  We are having so much fun creating the stories.  I had to force the girls to stop the one day because they didn't want to stop making up the stories.

They all successfully finished their January reading challenge.  We started our February reading challenge. 

Joey struggled a bit with finishing his work.  He had plenty of time to finish his assignments, but instead chose to sneak and take constant breaks on his game.  We had lots of discussions this week about taking our student responsibilities seriously.  Brayden tried to pull this one too.  But he realized that I wasn't going to let him get away with it.  Next week we will be working on doing our work thoroughly and not rushing through it.

This was our last week in Florida for a few months, we will be heading out Friday for Indianapolis for our next adventure.  

Hope everyone had a wonderful week! Linking up with other moms on:

Weekly Wrap-Up

Friday, January 29, 2016

Week 35 - Schooling at the Beach, Rainforests and Jellyfish

We had a pretty good week. We enjoyed the view from our room all week.   There were some nasty rain a couple days, but even that was pretty while staring at the ocean.

I finished up my first 30 days of the Whole 30 Diet.  I think I am going to continue with this diet.  Joe has said he is going to give it a try too.  So I am going to keep chugging along and helping Joe change around too.  We are hoping to travel with him a few more weeks before he will be gone for a while overseas.

On Sunday we went with Daddy to a local science museum in Palm Beach.  It was very small, but the kids enjoyed the few interactive activities.

I introduced Caty to Sudoku this week.  She is getting better and better with thinking games, so I thought this would be a good time to sneak this one in on her.  She had so much fun with it.

In History we read more about the Castillo de San Marcos that we visited last Sunday.  We also looked up more on Coquina, which is an unbelievable building material.

Then I had them try to build the fort in Minecraft...

On Tuesday we went to Zoo Miami and met up with a student on our Homeschool with Minecraft server.

This large iguana is in the wild.  It was very cool to see.  We saw quite a few!

Hanging at the park with our friend...

During one of the storms, a bunch of Portuguese Man-o-War were washed up on the beach.  It was quite a sight.

We found lots of sponges and coral also.

Caty is really taking off with reading this month.  She is reading up a storm and is making improvements.  She is at a late kindergarten level.  She still struggles in many ways, but has been making great improvements.  She also told me that she has now decided that she likes reading.

What a week in math.....ugh!!  I have Caty working on early multiplication/division.  Lydia is working on decimals, and Brayden is working on long division with remainders.    Math was a bit stressful for me this week.

In the girls Sassafrass science, we worked on a rainforest habitat.  We talked about various animals including sloths, poison dart frog, and the blue morpho butterfly.  We also talked about the different levels of the rainforest.

Our January reading challenge is almost over.  It's been a bit of a struggle to keep them on top of this, but I am happy that we did.  I really think it has helped Caty.  They are all enjoying the balcony reading.  How are we ever going to go back to Ohio?!?!?

In history we also covered the start of the Pennsylvania and Maryland Colonies.

The girls started a new writing program.  We are getting a chance to review Here to Help Learning Homeschool writing curriculum.  The girls are pretty excited to get started.

We had a good week and look forward to one more week at the beach!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful week!!  Linking up with other moms at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Weekly Wrap-Up