Sunday, August 20, 2017

Homeschooling "Extra" Kids With Your Own

The first thing you need to know - not everyone will thrive teaching their own kids, let alone extra kids.  I just happen to have a talent for tutoring and teaching, and the bigger my group, the more dedication I put into it.   So for me, teaching others kids actually helps me teach my own.

So ... here's my story .... and how we manage....

Most people who have known me a long time, claim that I was born a teacher.   Now, I really can't make any claims there, but by the time I was in 5th grade, I do know that my mom was already putting me next to the two kids who needed the most help during homework times at night.   We kept foster kids and babysat from the time I was 5 until I was 17.   But at 10 years old, I was usually helping at least 2 younger kids while I did my own homework.   And they thrived!   Their grades improved, their work improved, and their parents or teachers were impressed with how much they learned.   Of course, my mom was also helping, but with sometimes up to a dozen kids, I had my end of the table, and she had hers.

Each summer, we participated in VBS.  Many of them.   Most churches in the 70's had buses that they sent around to pick the kids at 9 am to bring them to VBS.   We usually participated in the same 4 or 5 each year.  My mom always helped when our own church ran VBS, but the rest ... we took the bus.   Now, at 12, you top out of most VBS programs, so my mom asked could she send her 13-year-old to help out?   Unlike today, most churches back then were more than happy to say yes.   Usually, I was put in with one of my younger siblings.   That was when I first heard the term "Born Teacher."   That year I went to 4 or 5 VBS programs, all more or less knew me and my family from the years before attending summers and sometimes other programs.  BUT, that summer, several of the adults that I worked with made a point to seek out one of my parents to thank them for sending me ... telling them I was Born Teacher.   Of course, that meant very little to a 13-year-old kid who was shy and self-conscious about everything.   But the next year, they asked my mom if I would be able to help out again, and they let me be a lot more involved in the program.   I thrived on the positive experience.

At 15, my parents helped our pastor start an AWANA program.  I got to help with Sparkies.  The next year Awana introduced the Cubbie program.   I joined them, and nobody quite knew what they were doing, even at the training, it was fun working out the program.  I loved it.  The main leader quit midway through the year, before Christmas, and I suddenly found myself the Cubbie Expert, as the two of us were the only ones who had gone for the Cubbie Training.  By 18, my dad put me in charge of the whole Cubbie program officially.

I went to college, married, and started teaching at a Christian School.   It took the principal only a few weeks to discover that I was just as good with 3 and 4-year-old kids as I was teaching Geometry to the 10th-grade class.  In fact, while I was not aware he was testing me and observing, he kept putting kids in my path that needed extra help.    Although I can't say I was overly impressed when he moved me down to teach kindergarten!

Then we had Story.  I quit teaching to stay home.  She was a February baby.   But a few weeks into the next school year, maybe it was October, my principal called to ask if I would take on a student who needed some extra help.   In January, I gained another student.  And then a third with 2 who came by for extra tutoring.   That began a kind of symbiont relationship with the school, where I homeschooled kids who just needed away from other kids and a lot of extra help.   We moved when Story was 5.  But most of her babyhood involved other kids in the house with her.

Over the years, I've helped my sisters, friends, and others as a teacher or tutor.   Occasionally, I do still hear that "born teacher" bit, but at 49, most just think I've got a degree in teaching.

About 2 years ago, I took on a friend's two younger kids where were of an age with Scholar and Sunshine, I'm calling them Scholar and Star.


All that to say .... I have a box load of experience in Homeschooling and teaching other peoples kids.


So how do you handle mixing in other kids?  Some people appear to do this effortlessly - my mom was one of those.  Not me.  Though I try, I rarely feel like I've succeeded.   Just getting a new student in my class was enough to make me panic!

I never panicked teaching Cubbies though - because I had a plan of action, my workers knew I was painfully shy and they knew the plan as well.   As an INTJ - it is always about "The Plan".

So, here is my "plan of action".


Getting Started
First, find out what the laws are in your state.   If you start with kids that have been home schooled all along, it is easier.   The parent just keeps filling out the paperwork and you provide the proof.  Still, there are states that frown at parents sharing the load.

I was able to help out our Christian School.   If you can work under the umbrella of a Christian School or a Homeschool Co-op, then that is a great option.

If you live in a stricter state, you will want to find the backing of the Homeschool Lawyers.    https://www.hslda.org/   In fact, this is a great idea even if you only school your own.

I also plan homework for the kids to take home.   If the parents are ever questioned, they have some idea of where their child is in school.


Making A Plan
Back in the late 90's and most of the time I have taught and tutored, the kids went home in the afternoon and returned the next morning.   BUT, the two I have now, live with me for several days and then go home.  It pans out at about half of the time they are here, and half at home.   Otherwise, their mom would be driving 4 hours a day.   When I took them on, it was only for a 6 - 8-week agreement and gas was very high.    But that is one thing you will have to consider.

The curriculum will have to be chosen.  We used Alpha Omega lifepacs with my original students.  The school used them too, and they would take the finished ones to the school and get the next one.  This made curriculum easy for me and the parents.   Later, as I helped my sisters and friends, I just adapted to whatever they choose.   But if you know that you are going to assimilate them for an extended time.  It is best to use whatever you are comfortable using with your own kids.  The fewer different curriculums that you have on the table, the easier it is to teach it.  My friend and I share the cost of some of the curriculum because I will be doing the teaching and we only need one set of teacher books.

In my case, my boys are both in 7th grade, and the girls are in 4th and 2nd.   We use a lot of Rod and Staff.   So all of them are in RS English, Spelling, and Reading.   This way the terminology and methods are consistent throughout.  They can help each other, no matter which levels that they are learning, and if they listen to each other's lessons, there is constant new or review information.   In math, I use a computer curriculum, and they take turns.  In Science, they are all together, and I give the boys extra research and reports to challenge them, as well as tests at the end of sections.   History and Bible are much the same, although the boys and girls are separate.    If you have a bigger group, you'll want to clump them up as much as possible.   Lifepaces are a good alternative if you want them all doing their grade level and don't feel confident teaching a group.  There are also some really awesome online schools now that were not available 10 years ago, many have started in the past 5 years.  This allows you to supervise, but also be able to teach multiple ages and grades.  You will need a computer for every  child and room to set them all up.

Space is another consideration.  Where will each child sit?  What will they need for school supplies?  What about bookshelves, art supplies, and other such items?  Wall hangings?  Calenders?

Finally, sit down and make up a calendar.  It won't just be your kids, so having scheduled days of vacation and school will help you all stay together.   You'll need to provide about 36 weeks of work, although most states allow up to a week off per 6 weeks, so the reality is, 30 weeks must be recorded for attendance to be acceptable.    What is working for us?  Starting the beginning of August, we school for 7 weeks (I'm calling them Rotations), take a 2 week break, school for 7 weeks, take a Thanksgiving to New Year break,  Rotation 3 is another 7 weeks, then a week off,  Rotation 4 is another 7 weeks (although Easter we will take off a week in the middle),   then another week off (2 if you count the Easter week), Rotation 5 for a final 7 weeks.   Now, some of the kids will have a tiny bit extra leftover to work on in June, but it will not be a full schedule.


Making It Work
I've never in my life had a plan work on the first run.  Never.   So, now that you have a plan, be ready to tweak it.

In my first set of homeschoolers, back in the 90's.   One of my student's moms could not bring him on Wednesday.   So he stayed home and came to my house for a couple of hours on Saturday's instead.  Another student only came half days on Friday.

This year, Squirrel and Star's dad has decided to run off to get up close and personal with the eclipse.  They left Friday.  But this is week 4 of "The Plan"!   So, we slid the next 4 weeks over.  I'm sure he'll surprise me a few more times before the year is out.

Last year, in the middle of Rotation 3, my extra 2 got sick, the stomach kind, and then horrible colds with fevers.  No sooner were they feeling better, than my entire family finally succumbed to the stomach bug, and a few days later, caught the same cold.   For 3 weeks, they all stayed home, and I did a lot of sleeping.  Being sick was totally not part of the plan!

We also set up their schedule this year so Science is the last subject.   We just finished week 3, and it is not quite working.  So when everyone comes back, Science will be the first subject.   It also didn't work for the girls to do reading first, it takes them a while to get going, and often we didn't get back to finish the lesson.  On the other hand, the boys have a Study hour, and I've decided it will work better to put that at the end of their day.  Working on the girls Reading at the same time as the boys English was also not working.   There is only so much of me to go around!

This is our 3rd year to combine the kids.  So we've worked out most of the bugs, the kids know their routine and who has what chores.    And everyone knows where they will sleep at night, where their clothes go, when to take their showers, and all those little details.   An unexpected side effect of our arrangement ... the kids operate now as a 4 kid unit pretty much everywhere that they go.   We make it work.


Staying Even

Now, if this is all one-sided.  You might burn out, and fast.   This is especially true if one side is doing all of the giving.  (Of course, there are exceptions - like when my friend was very ill and I kept the kids for almost 6 weeks.   But then she has returned the favor many times - though not 6 straight weeks, she would, she just hasn't had a need.)   So it is important in a long term agreement, to make sure neither side feels taken advantage of - it's a great way to ruin a relationship!

For most of the time I've had tutoring or teaching of others kids, I have been paid.  And the kids always help with chores, washing up after lunch, sweeping and vacuuming.  And one year, my student came in 2 hours early and stayed until supper.  Newborn Song was not a good sleeper.  So CH had a key, came in early, fixed the Ref breakfast and lunch, helped Story get her 2 1/2-year-old self up and running for the day, and I slept an extra 2 hours with Song.  At some point, she would come get Song so I could get up (Her absolute favorite time of her day!).   But most of the time there was money involved.

Currently, we get extra groceries and they help with cleaning and big chores.  Just this week, the dad of the family fixed a leaky pipe.  And the kids are a huge help in getting all of the morning and night chores completed so school happens.   Squirrel loves being in charge of breakfast.   The boys do the supper dishes, the girls feed the pets, and everyone has some part of laundry chores to do.   In this way, the job is not a burden, and most of the time, it's a lot of fun.  They certainly giggle a lot about it!  This arrangement had worked very well for us, and I hope we both still feel good about it!

It doesn't really matter what you decide, as long as you both feel like you are getting the better end of the deal - this is Win-Win.   Even the noblest mom or the most strong of friendships will take a beating if one side feels overwhelmed and unappreciated.   Again, I'm not talking about a friend having a long term illness, death in the family, or more on their plate than they can handle and you volunteer to help out to give them a break.   I'm talking about the situations where you are now under a lot of stress, but your friend seems to now have time to bake cookies, run around shopping, and letting you do the work.    When you get tired, your perception can get skewed.    It can make a world of difference if they send a cooked meal, clean the kitchen when they pick up the kids, trim some bushes ... stuff they may be good at and you, not so much.   The point is that both sides need feel happy and content with the situation, and neither should feel taken advantage of.


Prayer

Yes, there is one more area you have got to be sure to do.  Pray.  Because it won't be easy, not even if you are a born teacher.   There will be days you want to pull out your hair and give up entirely.  There was the night 3 of the 4 were sick to their stomach, one right after another.   Thank goodness my aunt was on hand, as well as Story and Song.   That was one really long night!    There was the night (more than one really) that it stormed all night and into the next day.  HARD storms.  Knock your lights out and shake the whole trailer!

But with lots of prayers, we've gotten through.  If God is for us, who can be against us?



Friday, August 18, 2017

Weekly Web Finds, August 18, 2017


HOMESCHOOLING

 Solar Eclipse - USE CAUTION, the sun is especially dangerous at this time







How to make a Pinhole Viewer





Meteor Shower - we missed it due to sky conditions, but here is more about it



Salt Lake and Creation



MINISTRIES And CHRISTIANITY






MARRIAGE and PARENTING




COOKING AND HOMEMAKING POSTS

Unusual uses for zip lock baggies

Loving your cast iron skillet - we sure love ours!







HEALTH POSTS

 Reducing Lectins in your diet


GARDENING AND BUGS AND PESTS






POLITICS  (Sort of) … HISTORY

 Honoring our vets

How the clothing industry is polluting our environment

What Happened? 


http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/revisiting-condoleezza-rices-take-on-monuments-to-slaveowners/article/2631669

This beautiful young lady has a great view point.   And her closing arguments are spot on.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S2TZOdXAtQ


JOBS and FURTHER EDUCATION



MONEY





TECHNOLOGY




JUST AMAZING STUFF

 Story of a female runner









If you like getting free Kindle Books of all types (mostly clean and kids) and learning about bargains… you might want to join my twitter feed.   
Momma Eagle



Friday, August 11, 2017

Weekly Web Finds: August 11, 2017


HOMESCHOOLING

 Great ways to help your preschooler learn to spell and recognize their own name

More on the Eclipse
http://shadowandsubstance.com/

The NEXT total eclipse

Read aloud stories

Identifying Rocks and minerals

Design sketching Class

Online School


MINISTRIES And CHRISTIANITY

The ref's radio show - discussion of the Gap Theory





MARRIAGE and PARENTING

 100 ways to get unstuck in life

Car safety drills - teaching a child to help themselves

Too many activities



COOKING AND HOMEMAKING POSTS





HEALTH POSTS

 Blood Pressure Findings

Essential Oils for healthy hair  -  my sisters and daughter sell these.


GARDENING AND BUGS AND PESTS






POLITICS  (Sort of) … HISTORY

By the time I was in school, integration was a done thing, not so my parents, who lived through high school as they were uprooted from friends and bussed to different school.  Especially if that school did not offer everything that you had planned to take.  My mom was in an upper ranking school, she was considering college, she took .   But the reality was, once we got to know each other, we didn't think much about our looks.  And it was just as common for a white child to be teased about looks, as it was for a black one.   But the reality was, we really didn't think about it much growing up.   We were also free to compliment hair, eyes, skin, no matter what color it was ... and not worry about offending anyone.   




JOBS and FURTHER EDUCATION

Scholarships

 some kind of save for college tuition plan

Online degree





MONEY

 Cost of Living comparison for 50 states

 Saving money on Amazon


TECHNOLOGY

 Missing the instructions to your lego kit?

Safe Viewing for the Eclipse



JUST AMAZING STUFF

Tax Free Weekend means big sales for retailers









If you like getting free Kindle Books of all types (mostly clean and kids) and learning about bargains… you might want to join my twitter feed.   
Momma Eagle



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Feb 11 - Science and History for Kindergarten





Our public library has about 50 books on CD 
in the category of science or history.

Scholar loved to check them out,
and he got to choose the ones he wanted.

He loved Ben Franklin.
And the Bats.

He sat for close to an hour,
with his headset, listening and turning pages
in the books.

Sometimes he changed books,
and sometimes, he didn't.

He did the same thing with his MP3 player.
On his player right now are "50 Famous Stories Retold"

with stories from the Greeks and Alexandar all the way through William Tell.
Some of the stories are more legend,
and some are more supported by facts.

He also has a Beatrix Potter Treasury.

Both free through LibriVox.

He had a lot of songs and other stories as well. 





Sometimes, he likes to play with his Legos
while he listens.

So he get's math and physics in too.

Do you like his airplane?



Scholar still learns by listening, though he's added videos to his list of options.
I frequently download videos for him to watch.
Then he deletes them when he is finished.  
I think this is safer than letting him loose with Youtube.
Sometimes it is hard to keep up with him.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Lesson: Just Enjoy the Music: Trust and Obey

You can consider this a Free Curriculum if you like - or just something fun.


Compare and contrast the different groups singing the song.

Is the music all the same or did they change it?

Do you like the changes?

Did they change the speed of the song?

Did changing the speed change your emotional response to the song?  Do you feel sadder?  Happier?  Want to dance?  Go to sleep?

Are the voices high or low?  Do you like the song better sung at a higher pitch or a lower pitch?

Which version did you like the best?

Learn this song as sung by your favorite group.  Try to imitate their pitch and tone.

Do the singers move around?   Did that add to your enjoyment or the emotional feel of the song.

Write out the words to the song.  What do they mean to you?

http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Trust_and_Obey/

What is the history of the song?  Who wrote it?  Why?

The hymn was inspired in 1886 when the composer of the music, Daniel B. Towner (1850-1919), was the music leader during one of Dwight L. Moody’s famous revivals.
https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-trust-and-obey
http://hishymnhistory.blogspot.com/2012/11/trust-and-obey.html
https://www.sermonwriter.com/hymn-stories/trust-and-obey
What other things can you learn from these songs?

If the song is Christian… Is the Song based on Scripture?   Can you find Scripture to back up the message in the song?




SONG OF THE WEEK


Trust and Obey
Daniel Towner
1886
J. H. Sammis
1887


Some of these are quite "normal" and you'll recognize them easily.  Others are "way out" there - tune, words, and even rhythm are altered.  Have fun!



Chelsea Moon w/ the Franz Brothers



Tramaine Hawkins


Bishop TD Jakes & The Potter's House Mass Choir

Big Daddy Weave

P.K. Mitchell - Rock Hymns Project - Rewritten


Sean C. Johnson - Rewritten







  In the comments - which were your favorites?  Do you have another favorite not listed?


Bonus story:  

Trust and Obey - Dr. Michael Youssef's Biography

Friday, August 4, 2017

Weekly Web Finds : August 4, 2017


HOMESCHOOLING

Oldest pear tree in America.

Dolls with internal organs for children

More Eclipse Information
http://eclipse-maps.com/Eclipse-Maps/Welcome.html - tons of maps, including over 100 years of the paths of the next eclipses
http://homeschool-101.com/eclipse   -  free book about eclipses
https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety  -  being safe during eclipse

What will the eclipse look like in your back yard?

The NEXT total eclipse in the USA - mark your calender  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_April_8,_2024

And don't miss the meteor shower!

Coloring Pages from libraries, art schools, colleges, museums and more

Fun with Physics
http://www.homeschoolfreebie.wholesomechildhood.com/physics-fun/



MINISTRIES And CHRISTIANITY

Who is the most disadvantaged?

Same Sex Marriage Debate - Reasons Against



MARRIAGE and PARENTING

 Letting a child work through emotions rather than bottling them up

Axiety Disorders 

Building a Better marriage from your own side.



COOKING AND HOMEMAKING POSTS



HEALTH POSTS

 Healthiest  Beans

Taking Naps

Essential Oils for Croup




GARDENING AND BUGS AND PESTS






POLITICS  (Sort of) … HISTORY

 10 Countries with highest slavery rates

Rare Photos from history


JOBS and FURTHER EDUCATION



MONEY





TECHNOLOGY

 Giveaway for a Typewriter designed to help authors write.

Best educational apps for ipad

How Facebook tracks you ... even if you do not have an account



JUST AMAZING STUFF

Differences between men and women info-graphic - kind of funny







My twitter feed features bargains from Amazon, sometimes free Kindle books, blog feeds from myself and my daughter, Kendra E. Ardnek, the author.
Momma Eagle



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