Friday, October 29, 2010

26 Reasons

26 Reasons Why Homeschooling is a Perfect Fit for Our Family...
(and counting)

1) We can pray in school.
2) We get to choose our curriculum.
3) Our calendar is as flexible as we want it to be.
4) Education is tailor-made to the needs of each individual child.
5) I can deepen a love relationship with my children all day long.
6) My children aren't exposed to 'revisionist history' -- where every ounce of God has been removed from it to satisfy the powers that be.
7) They aren't taught that self-esteem is their problem.  They are confronted with the truth about sin, the wretchedness of their sin condition and their need for a Savior.
8) My children encounter linear, sequential, expository, doctrine-based Bible teaching with life application most school days.  We just finished Exodus 32.  We started in Genesis.  Verse by verse.
9) Twaddle has been removed.  (If you aren't a homeschool parent you may need to Google that one.)
10) We don't go over dress code 6 times each year.
11) Parent Teacher Conferences are spectacular ("date night" for those of you who might be a bit slow on that insider tip)!
12) We have ZERO fundraisers.
13) We don't teach tolerance.
14) God is brought into EVERY subject vividly, richly, abundantly, and unashamedly.
15) My children have one-on-one tutoring whenever they need it.
16) Grandparents.  My kids have time for their grandparents.
17) Family.  We have time for family.  We aren't doing two hours of homework into the dark part of the night when we could be creating long-lasting memories.
18) Ill.  When someone is ill we don't have to coerce them to tolerate the ride to school and back twice because everyone else is going to school.
19) Dress code.  The mismatched hand-me-downs that my kids love are sufficient.  We don't need a new wardrobe each season void of silk-screening, complete with collars and side seams.
20) Life.  Real life.  My children are exposed to real life over and over again.  Real people.  Out in the world.  And we love it.
21) Academic breaks.  When my parents are in UC Davis for their kidney surgeries here in a few weeks we can all go and we don't have to worry about meeting academic goals while we are gone.  No independent study paperwork.  No academic expectations at all.  My kids can cry.  They can pray.  They can ask questions.  They can go the park.  They can visit the zoo.  They can manage the stress they encounter in a way that doesn't include a full load of academics.
22) I don't have to answer sex-related questions far earlier than is necessary in light of some school yard talk my kids were exposed to.
23) Unteach.  Not really a word; I know.  I'm glad that the amount of "unteaching" that I have to face has been significantly reduced.  My kids would come home from school and call each other wretched names.  They would try to bulldoze each other by demanding that XYZ game be played because they said so.  Their superior, abrupt, rude, abrasive, harsh, unkind words were absolutely unacceptable.  I'm delighted that this happens with far less frequency now that they are at home.
24) Worship.  Worship is a part of our school program as well.  Air guitar too.  And kitchen rock band sometimes as well.
25) Siblings.  Last year on our field trip to Fresno Pacific University we bumped into a random stranger (post-homeschooler).  She said [paraphrase], "I love that my siblings and I were homeschooled.  All those years we had together are irreplaceable.  We're now all in different areas of the country and we will forever have those years as blessed memories.  I loved it!"
26) Whatever.  We can study whatever we want whenever we want.  And that's school.

27) Science.  How could I forget science?  Hello!  My kids won't be told for the next 13 years that they are the product of some cosmic accident.  They won't be told that they came from some random amoeba and that they accidentally turned out...just like the rest of the universe.  They'll find out over and over again that they are the product of God who designed EVERYTHING for His glory.  Everything.  He's purposeful, orderly, organized, unchanging, perfect, and beyond our comprehension.
28) Domesticity.  And lots of it.  Scrubbing floors.  Scrubbing toilets.  Cleaning clothes.  Cooking.  Baking.  Budgeting.  Picking weeds.  My kids learn early and often all the detail that go into making a home.  My prayer for my sons include that they will know deeply the hard work that their wives do to manage their homes successfully, and that they will take a small part in aiding them (their future wives, that is) in their roles as home managers.  For my daughters, I pray that they will be successfully prepared for the work that is before them as they will one day become home managers, meal preparation experts, chief budgeters, stewards, servants, homemakers, wives, and mothers (disciples and mentors).

Why are you in love with homeschooling?

Melissa Culver

PETCO -- Field Trip 2010

You might not believe this, but I didn't take my camera to this field trip.  I know.  Unbelievable.  But, since I had  been on this tour two times already, I knew that I had pictures here on my computer.  What really changes much on a trip like this?  The size of my children I suppose.  So, enjoy some pictures from the last time we went.

Nana went with us both times.  Here she is with Little R.
Here's my Big K.
The chinchillas sold out the day before we arrived this time.  Both of them!  Hard to believe.  Their fur is amazingly soft.
 Little R.
Dog food.  The first time we took the tour the guy said we could try the open bin treats.  I didn't have the nerve to eat it.  Others in our group each tried it, but I didn't.
 Yes, dog treats.
You can just see the amazement in his eyes.  And what a beautiful bird.  Such rich colors.
The next one might take you by surprise.  Huge.  I know.
My Little D is getting so big.  What a sweet, sweet boy.  He was full of curiosity and wonder this time around.  And he was able to name many of the animals.  At dinner time when we told Daddy all about our adventures, Little D had to tell Daddy all about it.  So precious.  What a beautiful boy.

Melissa Culver

CHP Atwater 2010 -- Field Trip

We had an opportunity to tour our local CHP station two weeks ago.  Here's some of what we encountered.
 Many pictures from various eras are on the walls of the CHP station.  It was interesting to see the progression of the uniforms and the cars.  What a rich piece of history.
 John Patterson did a fantastic job on our tour.  Not every person leading our tours is well equipped to keep the learning going.  Wow!  He answered all of our questions and then some.
 These are evidence lockers.  When evidence is stored it is housed in these boxes temporarily and then moved into the evidence room--located on the reverse of the lockers.
 9-1-1 call center.  All cell phone 9-1-1 calls come here.  They are then rerouted to their local area so that local personnel can adequately respond to said emergency.
 Maintenance is taken care of on site.

Joy in the Journey,
Melissa Culver

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Read EVERY Book?

I got this question earlier today and wanted to post it for others.  Paraphrase: So, do I have to read EVERY book my child does to help him/her with comprehension?

Great questions!  Thanks for asking.  I don't have a grand source to answer that, really.  However, there are some tools out there if you look for them. 
a) Here is one site that has questions for some books.  At the top of the page you'll find other grade levels too.  It's not just for one grade. 
b) Wanna know what grade level a book is?  Try this site.  Punch in the title; you'll get word count, year published, and you'll get RL (reading level).  Two-point-nine means grade 2 at nine months. 
c) Amazon sells teacher companion books for other literature as well.  It will have questions and helps to go along with it.  But, unfortunately, you have to buy it per book that you teach.  Sometimes you can pick them up used.  I love used.
d) If you choose to read a good number of books with your child/ren then HOTS are fantastic.  Check out these questions.  Another linkThis one is more extensive--much more detail.

And if you subscribe to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine look for my upcoming article in the summer 2011 issue.  It has some great ways to connect with literature.

Keep the questions coming!

Happy Reading,
Melissa Culver

Friday, October 15, 2010

UC Merced

Our field trip this week was to UC Merced.  David did a spectacular job of taking us around the campus.  What a delightful young man.  Great tour!

Here are just a few of the highlights we encountered on the way.
According to the staff in the gym this little device scans the pathway 
of your blood vessels to identify you.  If you clear, then you are in.
 The view from the second floor of the library.
 Big K couldn't hold back the moves.  The music was just too contagious.
 The library.
 Some random wall art in the library.
 Study room located in the library (above).
 An artsy one for you.
 David!  Yeah, for David.
 Lecture room.
 Science building.
 Yeah for random art with a story behind it.
 Wow, mom.  Can we go there again?  That was fun.

Had a blast,
Melissa Culver

Homeschool Mission Statement

Here's our homeschool mission statement:

My purpose is to create an educational environment where CHRIST is prized, honored, adored, and worshiped.

It is my desire to mold, shape, teach, love, encourage, direct, and guide my children as they grow in wisdom and in stature.

I will model self-control, humility, gentleness, and discipline as I work diligently toward realistic and appropriate academic goals.

I choose to homeschool because I want to foster and deepen a love relationship with my children in the context of a God-honoring family model.

I trust in His sovereignty, His provision, His love, His grace, and His mercy.

LORD, help me today to honor You in all I think, all I say, and all I do.  AMEN

Melissa Culver

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Melissa Culver

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Un-Fabulous Duckling

Are you in the throws of parenting an un-fabulous duckling?  Bear with her/him.  And trust that they will one day care about their overall presentation.  Here's one story of hope.

Meet one un-fabulous duckling
Warning: images get larger when you click on them.
who later turned even less un-fabulous.

Then realized there was hope.

And began to turn things around.

And ended up receiving this at one of these.

Are you rolling on the floor laughing yet?  Is it because you too were in front of that laser background?  Or, can you ever imagine that I looked that awful?  Yes, all of those are me.  Every last one is me.  (Close mouth.  Breathe normally again.)

If you are in the throws of parenting through this stage there is hope.  And as you explore many topics with your child in this season, please consider the topic of modesty.  If you have not explored the topic of modesty yet I want to share with you a starting place on the topic.  Here's a fantastic article by Pam Hardy.  The article is free.  At the end of her 24-page article she references a few other sources.  I recommend those as well.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss covers the topic in more than one book in a very unapologetic fashion.  And if you haven't read C. J. Mahaney's book Worldliness, I encourage you to read that one too.  Chapter Five deals with modesty.  That last dress up there shows that I hadn't been coached on these matters at that point in time (smiles).

So, again, take heart, beloved.  The un-fabulous duckling can grow out of her/his awkward years quite delightfully.  Parent on.  Don't panic.  Do the Godly thing.  Stay the course.  Have hope.

So glad I'm done with the electric green eyeliner,
Melissa Culver