Sunday, October 30, 2011

To Stay Home or Not to Stay Home?

Elizabeth was up a lot of the night with a stomach ache. This morning she jumped up and said, "I'm feeling better!" So we started getting ready for church. Then her stomach was hurting again, so she lay on the bed with a bucket near her while I finished getting all of us ready for church. Her stomach was in too much pain, so we loaded in the van to drop two pies off at church for the Pumpkin Patch Party tonight. The van ride must have helped her tummy a little, because when I mentioned stopping at McDonalds for some breakfast, she was all about wanting some hotcakes. So now she's had hotcakes and is up and seems fine. Uuugghh! We'll see how the day progresses as to whether we are able to go to the Pumpkin Patch Party tonight. Here are some cute pictures of the kids this morning though! Phoebe rarely gets her hair curled, so I got lots of those pics to show off since no one at church got to see them. :-(

Friday, October 21, 2011

Perfection in Letter Formation

Of the further stages, little need be said. Secure that the child begins by making perfect letters and is never allowed to make faulty ones, and the rest he will do for himself; as for 'a good hand,' do not hurry him; his 'handwriting' will come by-and-by out of the character that is in him; but, as a child, he cannot be said, strictly speaking, to have character. CM Vol 1 p 234

Do some of CM's methods stress you out? Especially when she uses words like "perfect"? Let me tell you, when I see the work I do, much less that of my young children, I find so many faults that I would hyperventilate if "perfect" were the only work accepted.

And yet perseverence and striving and high, yet gracious, expectations are very good virtues to practice when teaching children.

My first-born has borne the brunt of much experimenting. When she was young (probably too young), I set before her a Wal-Mart tablet with the lower and upper case alphabet and little arrows showing which direction to write them. I let her have at it, not even thinking to sit next to her to make sure she formed the letters correctly. After seeing her work, I simply thought she'd outgrow the slipshod work. Unfortunately her printing has only improved slightly and a lot of remedial work has been tried. Fortunately she has eagerly taken to cursive and typing, and with the expectation of best work and correct formation every time (or as often as I catch it), her cursive is a vast improvement over her printing.

Second child has had it better because he's been taught with me sitting beside him from the beginning. Even with keen eyes he somehow started forming his o's beginning at the bottom instead of the top! And so we erase and redo, or better yet, I stop him and remind him, "Start your o at the top." A good practice we sometimes do is for me to show him how to form each letter he'll be working on that day by writing the word or phrase while he watches. Then he can write with a fresh reminder on his brain.

Third child is spending this year tracing a letter on some alphabet cards we have, drawing it in the air, and then drawing it in a pan of grits (we had a bunch of grits on hand :-). We'll move on to forming with Handwriting w/o Tears wood pieces (actually thick poster board ~ much cheaper) and writing the letter on the chalk board. Then we'll finally move to writing on paper.

And fourth child walks around babbling. He babbles "perfectly" though!

So while I wouldn't say we have perfected "perfect letter formation", I would say we're much better at persevering in redoing letters until they are correctly formed to best effort. And this should lead to clean, nice looking handwriting with a little unique character thrown in as the children grow up.


We Gores are not especially musical, though we do enjoy certain genres of music (and the kids are exposed to a lot more through school ~ folk, classical, hymns, a new venture into instrument practice with an ocarina). We came across some cello music which the kids have fallen in love with. They made Lego instruments one day to play along with the YouTube videos. Do you recognize their piano, cello and drum sticks? "Moonlight" is playing on the iPad in the background.

Some links to our favorites:
"Moonlight" (inspired by Beethoven)
"The Cello Song ~ Bach is Back"
"Michael Meets Mozart"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

"A Love That Multiplies"

I am fascinated by the Duggar Family (from the TV show 19 Kids and Counting). I read their first book a year or so ago and I just finished their second book A Love that Multiplies. They have a lot of good tips for raising their children and homeschooling and just how to be a happy, fun family. I thought I'd share some good things I read from their book. This first bit gives questions a maturing child can ask themselves when settling on what career to pursue (page 151):

We suggest as they're considering a specific career that they ask themselves, Is this a job that I would enjoy doing for years to come? Is travel going to be involved? Will it take me away from my future family, or will I have to relocate to do this job? Will the job require me to work nights, weekends, or holidays? Will it require me to do anything that would violate my convictions or conscience? How much will this job pay? Do I want to get advanced training now while I'm young to get better pay throughout my career? Is there a creative business I could start that would provide a sufficient income while allowing me to serve others (either trying my own idea or adapting someone else's successful business mode)?

I wrote this down in my Common Book to keep for the kids for later.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

We Should All Be As Happy As Kings

My children seem convinced that they have to do school because someone is making them ~ the government, their parents, The Man ~ somebody. Where did this attitude come from? Is it inevitable that kids will have an adversarial relationship with formal schooling? (Except for those few girls who love school ~ me being one of them.) Do we parents or teachers or The System pass it on subconsciously? I wish I had the perfect attitude toward the pursuit of knowledge. But alas..... I'm working on it. Here are a couple good goals to work toward:

Now personal delight, joy in living, is a chief object of education. (Vol. 6, p. 303)

The person who can live upon his own intellectual resources and never know a dull hour (though anxious and sad hours will come) is indeed enviable.... (Vol 6, p. 303)

~ The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, October 1, 2011


The kids and I joined a Homeschool group for a field trip last Monday. We saw a cool fort and had lunch on Mantanzas River (the river comes right off the ocean ~ an inlet, I believe they call it). I played with Harrison and Phoebe while the older kids went off with one of the dads to try to reach a sand bar a little ways from shore.

I watched Jonathan and Elizabeth interact on this venture. Elizabeth, being the oldest, is usually the leader of our little family. But she was afraid of stepping on a crab. Jonathan is usually the trepidatious one and would normally stay behind with me and worry about Elizabeth getting too far from shore. But there he was encouraging Elizabeth and leading the way. "Is this where I step, Jon?" "Yea, see, it only comes up to my chest!" They worked so well together and it was so neat to watch their roles reverse. Very heartwarming.

Autumn is Here!

Elizabeth's candy corn hairstyle to celebrate this most wonderful season!