Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer School for Mom

I'm spending my summer doing some serious studying--for my OWN learning. My brain has been so swamped lately and on autopilot for far too long, I needed the time to refocus. And I am really enjoying it, I have to admit!

A huge portion of my summer reading and learning has to do with our homeschooling journey, that is officially re-starting (even though the younger girls have been "enrolled" in home education since birth) with Morgan and Jamie entering first grade this Fall. I've come to realize that kindergarten skills are just so vague that it's almost hard to determine when they've officially "started", so I'm just going to stick with first grade as being our "start" point for recordkeeping purposes. Shoot, Danica and Shelby are even learning some kindergarten skills, and there is NO way I'm going to bother with keeping records for a 3-year-old and a 22-month-old. a tad off-topic there for a moment, now didn't I?

ANYway....if you've read my blog for a while, you know that I've been struggling with the gaps in my older children's education--namely, their spiritual and moral education. Pete and I have always thought we were doing things "right", keeping things more spiritually focused than they would have been had the kids been in standard schools....but lo and behold, the same problems arose for us that hit our public-schooled peers head-on in their own parenting journey. You know what? I've come to realize, it's not just the "school" part of it that was the problem (although I admit we were WAY too laxidaisical and didn't require nearly as much dedication to excellence as we should have), it's far more than that. One of my reading assignments to myself this summer has already been completed--R.C. Sproul, Jr.'s book When You Rise Up. Let's just say my eyelids are still sore from being flung wide open, shall we? That little book, even though I do disagree with the author on certain points (I don't believe in the authority of extrabiblical....well, anything--if it's not found in God's Word, I'm not interested in placing it as an authority or equal with Biblical doctrine), has truly rocked my quiet little boat, and I'm still trying to get my bearings! WOW. I'll say this--if you want to be challenged, it's an excellent book to blow up the borders of your comfort zone, that's for sure!

Along with reading some other books, I have fully engulfed myself in products from The Old Schoolhouse. I first saw their magazine at a bookstore at one of the bases in Germany and I fell in LOVE. However, it had always been so hard for me to keep up with subscriptions while moving all over the world, so I placated myself with the occasional bookstore find. Now, though...well, now I know we're going to be planted firmly right where we are for what I hope and pray will be a good, long time, and now I don't have the slightest issue with purchasing subscriptions to our favorite periodicals! TOS has a deal going where you can get a two-year sub, a cute little tote bag, plus a whole boatload of free e-materials (my puter desktop is just crammed full now!) for $39, which is a GREAT deal...and yup, I took 'em up on that little offer! I downloaded all of the e-books and have just immersed myself in digital reading these last few weeks! Oooh, and I love my little tote bag--it's so cute! Okay, I know, I'm silly when it comes to tote bags. I'm a bag-a-holic, and somehow if a tote bag is included in the deal, I just can't resist! But ya know, with five little ones around, I've always got a reason to have a tote bag packed for something.

Wow, am I scatterbrained today, or what? Oh well. If you want to sample a couple of TOS's freebies (they have TONS! Just go peruse their site and look for the beach ball!), I'll share some links that I've been enjoying as of late. These are both digital downloads--the Homeschool 101 download is great for newbie homeschoolers as well as vets in need of a little refreshing. There's also a wonderful resource that I'm just loving--a product review in a digi-mag format--the Guide to Examining Curriculum. Aside from Cathy Duffy's book on curriculum, this has been my favorite go-to resource! TOS reviews bundles and bundles of homeschool products every year, and finding those reviews in one place is just fabulous!

Now I've gone and turned into a commercial, haven't I? Well, sorry, but when I find something I'm just in love with, I want to share! While I'm at it, go check out their 2010 Homeschool Planner. This is, bar none, the most wonderful planner I've EVER found...and Pete can attest to the fact that I've purchased just way too many planners. It's a PDF download, and the fill-in fields are writable, so it's fully customizable. Big plus--there are over six HUNDRED pages of forms and resource articles to'll take you all year to go through it, and honestly, I couldn't think of a form I'd use that wasn't on this thing! Okay, in all fairness...I still love my and she's got many resources and forms on her site that TOS's planner doesn't have, but between the two, I'm set for YEARS!

I'm gonna go now....I have a ton more reading to do! tell....what are YOU reading this summer?

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