Saturday, October 16, 2010

Questions for me to answer.

Andrea at Harvest Academy tagged me over a week ago to answer a few questions. It is very flattering to be tagged since I don't comment very often on blogs. I tend to read and then move on without adding to the conversation. I guess the shy side of me comes out and I just don't think my opinion or thoughts are that exciting anyway.

These are her questions for me.

• What are your top 5 favorite books?

It is too hard to pick books. How about authors?
Jane Austen - I never get tired of rereading her novels.
Elizabeth Gaskell - Even named Molly after one of her heroines.
Chaim Potok - He may be writing about Jewish characters and communities, but each of his stories makes me think about myself and my own struggles with doing what I know if right.
Shannon Hale - I can't say her works are life changing but they are fun "mind candy" to snack on.
C.S. Lewis - Narnia is great and all but I actually really enjoy reading his other books too. I don't do it often because they are a lot of work to get through. I have to really decipher and work at these but the insights are worth the effort.

• What is one of your favorite scriptures?

Mosiah 3:19 - It is a seminary scripture and everyone has heard it many times. But It took on special meaning while on my mission and has been helpful ever since. In the margin of my scriptures I wrote "bloom where you are planted" next to it.  I reread this scripture all the time to remind myself that when I am struggling it is usually my attitude that is making things difficult. I need to be more submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love and willing to submit my will to the will of the Lord. Then my struggles seem to vanish and I progress or bloom in whatever the situation.

• What is your favorite homeschool curriculum that you have used?

This is actually really hard to answer. We tend to use curriculum as a jumping off point or a guide but study from many different sources. But when I look back there are a few things we have used from the beginning that just seem to work well for me. Singapore math has been with us since I started homeschooling. I think it must progress though the concepts and explain things in the same way my brain works because I can see why they teach this or that before going on to this other idea.

I also love Story of the World. It has been my go to History curriculum for years. It has been a little frustrating to have to find my own way through modern history this year since the 4th volume is a little too advanced for my kids. But we will most likely go back to it and rotate through the series again use it as the framework for our history studies for the next few years. I have learned so much from this series. Having never studied history sequentially I never saw how everything that was going on in the world was all linked together. It has been so good to finally put pieces of many years of history study together to understand better the story of how we got to where we are.

But I almost always talk about Five in a Row. It was what gave me confidence in teaching my children. I started to use this curriculum when Sophie was only 4 years old. She was ready for more than just reading and playing so we jumped into "doing school" by rowing a new book each week. I learned a lot about how to bring out the important aspects of books and to look at children's books as only the beginning of our studies. I think this is a great place to start for homeschoolers. It is a natural transition from just reading books to your child to doing school work.

• What led you to homeschool your children?

When Sophie was tiny we lived just down the street from a middle school and I used to push her in the stroller past the school yard in order to get the park. The language and dress of those kids was such a turn off. It brought back all those memories of how ugly kids can be to each other. Those middle school years are hard and from what I could see there it was worse than even I remembered it.  I don't remember actually sitting down and talking about homeschooling with my husband we sort of both agreed that it was what we wanted to do. Some people are worried about socialization when kids are homeschooled. I would worry more about socialization if I sent them to school.

There is also the fact that despite getting good grades and being at the top of my class each year I still didn't get a very good education. Most of what I learned and remember the most, I learned at home from my mom and the many, many books, movies and such that we had around the house. Those are the things that stayed with me, not the memorized facts that I crammed in for the test that was coming. So I figured I could save them the boredom and drudgery of school by just creating a learning environment at home and hopefully instilling in them a love of learning. I think so far we are doing pretty well.

Those are just a few of the reasons that led us to homeschool. But really the best reason is that I get to stay home with my kids, play, read, and learn right alongside them. It has been wonderful (at least on the good days).

• If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?

There are many places that would be really interesting or fun to see. It is hard to pinpoint just one. I don't think there is any one place that stands out above the others. Any place can be fun if you have people to enjoy it with. My family loves cruises. It really doesn't matter what the destination. We have so much fun on the boat we almost don't care to get off when the ship is in port. Days at sea are some of our favorites!

• If you had one day all to yourself, what would you do?

This idea seems so foreign to me that I can't even think what I would do. Most likely I would sleep as long as I could, lay in bed and read a good book. Take a long shower or soak in the tub.  Sip a cup of hot coco while I read some more.  Take a walk or hike to get fresh air. And then return to watch a good long costume drama with no interruptions.  Then go to bed early so that this day could end. I am sure by the end of the day I would be bored and weary of being by myself and not doing anything except my own pleasure.

• What is your favorite food group?

Fruits and Vegetables? bread and grain? meat and dairy? no... I think my favorite is always that little one at the top of the pyramid that says "eat sparingly". Who can pass up the sugar, salt and fats. I have no will power when there is chocolate around, or chips and salsa or warm bread with butter and honey on top. Oh.... those always sound so good. But I need to stick to my green smoothies and stay away from the top of the pyramid if I plan to ever get these extra pounds off.

• What is something that your child(ren) did recently that made you laugh out loud?

I have made each of the kids their own mix of songs and burned them on a CD. Henry's includes the Herman's Hermits song I'm Henry the VIII, I am, I am. He puts that CD on every chance he can and always makes us listen to that song over and over again.  It makes me giggle and smile every time I hear him sing it to himself.

I am choosing not to pass on the tag. I know I am a party pooper. I don't forward emails either. I am just that way.

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