Monday, August 31, 2015

Homeschooling Means... #13

...the girls get to take a long weekend vacation to Lake Tahoe with grandparents to visit great-grandparents.  Mommy may still send along schoolwork to be done, but it won't be too much because seeing new sights and visiting with family is more important.


(This series is meant to be mostly lighthearted and fun.  Some may be serious, but most will be silly, braggy, or of the keepin'-it-real variety.  Not every homeschool is the same.  And some of these things could be said by public school parents.  This is just to highlight MY experience with MY homeschool and MY children.  Enjoy these little insights into our life and feel free to share your own "Homeschooling means..." in the comments!)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Easy Oven Chili Burritos

Tonight I started doubling this quick recipe before I realized,  "Hubby hates this and I don't remember if the kids like it!"  So I put half in a pan for us and the other half in a disposable foil pan and started praying to know who I should deliver this meal to.  I decided to take it to a neighbor who recently had a new baby. I also took it as an opportunity to invite them to my upcoming Tent Town. They may just throw the dinner in the trash, but it's the thought that counts, right?  :)

This really is an easy meal to throw together from things I keep in my pantry and fridge most days.  And the kids ended up loving it!  Even Quartus inhaled it without hesitation.  Shredded cheese may be his favorite food ever, so I'm sure that helped.


Mix together:
1 can chili with beans
1/2 can diced tomatoes

Divide chili mixture between about 5 flour tortillas.  In each tortilla, also add a handful or two of shredded cheddar cheese (tonight I ran out and had to use some mozzarella, too.)

Roll up tortillas and place them side by side in 9 inch square pan.

In blender, puree the other 1/2 can of tomatoes.  Pour over the top of burritos.  Cover with more shredded cheese.

Cover with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for about a half hour (until cheese is melted and middle is warm.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Poetry Lesson: Chiasmus

We had the most interesting poetry lesson we've ever had by studying chiasmus poetry in the Old Testament. 

In the morning, I had been doing my personal scripture study in the Old Testament and read about Hebrew literary styles and poetry in this study guide.  

Many years ago we had touched on chiasmus in Seminary while studying the Book of Mormon.  (The fact that the Book of Mormon contains several chiasmus- not fully understood and discussed by Western scholars until the 1930's- is used as further evidence of the validity of the B of M as true scripture, and not simply the literary work of Joseph Smith, a man with a limited education.)  I thought that was pretty cool at the time and it excited me again to learn about this beautiful literary style in the context of the Old Testament.  

When you read a few verses and realize you're reading a chiasmus, it feels like discovering some buried treasure.  Armed with the information and examples in the two links above, I quickly planned a fun lesson for the kids.

We started by discussing general information about chiasmus.  Then I copied several small examples from the scriptures on the white-board and helped the kids identify how the lines match up with each other, even if the same exact words aren't used each time.  

At first reading, they didn't understand what I meant by saying that the opposite lines matched with each other.  It was awesome to see their eyes light up as I pointed, numbered, and reread the matching lines.  When it clicked for them, I could see them get excited.  

After several scriptural examples, we worked together to write one on the board.  Then I turned them loose to write their own.  Primus chose "Family Care" as her topic and wrote all of it completely on her own.


Secundus decided to write about her pet fish, "Rainbow."  I wrote the first half as she dictated to me her ideas.  Then I helped guide her just a little as she flipped it around and wrote the second half.


I was amused that Tertius really latched onto the idea that chiasmus was used in scripture.  I guess he figured that meant his chiasmus needed to be about God.  He dictated to me the first half, listing things that God doesn't want us to do.  Then to write the second half, I would point to a line and ask him, "what's another way to say this?"  His frowny-faced illustration was a nice touch.





Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Co-Dependency Support

I met a new person at the Spouse and Family Support Group tonight and wanted to make sure she is able to find the link to my Co-Dependency Reading List.  So here it is!

Also, if you want to see everything else I have written on the subject, click "Addiction Recovery Program" under labels on my side bar.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Spouse and Family Support Guide, Ch 5 Working Out Our Own Salvation

My intro from Chapter 1: "Last semester Hubby had a class on Tuesday nights which made it difficult for me to attend the Family Support Group that I used to facilitate.  But now I have started going back and am loving it!

"I used to go primarily to help other people.  But now I have to choose to go for myself.  It's a wonderful mid-week gospel study and testimony meeting.  You don't have to have an addiction or know someone who has an addiction to benefit from this group!

"I'm trying to be better (again) about my personal nightly scripture study.  I've decided that every night I am going to study the Spouse and Family Support Guide.  This is the manual we discuss in the meetings.  I'm journaling my answers to the discussion questions, and thoughts I have as I study the Personal Learning and Application section.  And since I do better at sticking to things when I have outside accountability and feel obligated, I'm going to blog my journals here.

"These will not be my unedited journal entries.  The really personal stuff will be saved for my own reflection and for sharing in the confidential meetings.  I also won't be including the many, many quotes that touched my heart and that I highlighted in the additional readings linked at the end of each chapter.  You're going to have to go read and find those gems yourself!"

Please follow the link, read along, and share your own thoughts in the comments if you feel so inspired.

Chapter 5 Working Out Our Own Salvation

“Forced obedience yields no blessings.” True with spouses and children!

When we desire to support a loved one, it's because we love them. Because we love them, we want them to have peace and joy. We think we can give that to them, but we can't. They have to use their own agency to CHOOSE for themselves to turn to the Savior. We cannot override their agency and force them to do anything. That's not God's plan!

I can't force others to change. I can't make others make right choices. Trying to change others only brings me pain, frustration, despair. But I CAN change myself. I CAN turn myself towards my Savior. Jesus will heal me if I let Him. I let Him by placing my loved ones and my burdens at His feet and surrendering myself in faith to Him, trusting that He knows best in all cases.

I have to focus on myself and take care of myself (physically, emotionally, spiritually) in order to be fit and in a good position to be Christ's hands in serving others. But as I do that, I need to make sure I am heeding revelation and serving others as Christ would have me do, not the way I think should be done. Otherwise, I end up back in the codependent habit of trying to override others' agency.

To take care of myself, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I need to be better about eating healthy, exercising, and studying and pondering the scriptures.

I see all of life as a big balancing act. One thing that we need to balance is service to others vs. taking care of ourselves. We are constantly told to “lose ourselves in service” and to be selfless. But I also need to remember that I cannot fix everything for other people. I cannot fix others. I cannot take away others' agency. And I need to focus on myself. Take care of my own physical, spiritual, and emotional needs so that I can be a better servant to others from a place of strength.

Partaking of the Sacrament is one time that is entirely for ME. It is not a time to think of others and their problems. The ordinance of the Sacrament is the time for ME to talk with my Savior and rededicate MYSELF to following Him.

Participation in temple ordinances is a time when I am providing selfless service to others on the other side of the veil. But I also go to the temple for MYSELF to fill MY spiritual cup and receive revelation for ME. We need balance!

I can be sure of the Lord's promises.

Establish a house of order-a house of God. All things balanced. All things done with wisdom.

How do I put God first in my life? I need to reprioritize morning personal scripture study and prayer. I should not let myself get distracted with doing dishes or any chores that I should have done the night before.

The Church is constantly improving and seeking to better align itself with God's doctrine and the purpose of His church as we gain more knowledge and insight into His will and plan. Therefore, I would rather study and focus on the words of recent Prophets and Apostles rather than those of the early Saints of this dispensation. So what if there's “precedence” for this-or-that?? It went away for a reason. I have faith that that “reason” is revelation. I'm so thankful for General Conference!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Calzones

Tonight we had some friends over for dinner so I made one of my favorite meals.  They all said they loved it, so either it really is good, or my friends are just too nice.  One asked for the recipe because her husband ate three.  So there's that.  

Sorry, I'm no good at tutorials.  But here is the recipe!  I was introduced to this by a lovely woman in my ward who had the Activity Day Girls make these for me after I had a baby.  I've only altered it slightly since then.
The kids inhaled the leftovers for lunch today and I didn't think fast enough to get a picture, so this is the best I've got.  They turn out to be rectangular in shape and this is one of the short ends.

Calzones

preheat oven 425

Mix in bowl:
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pound cooked and drained Italian sausage

On floured surface roll out 2 cans Pillsbury pizza dough.
Cut each in 4 pieces.
Fill with a little bit of sauce (see recipe below) and cheese filling.
Fold and seal edges with water.

Place on ungreased baking sheet that is sprinkled with cornmeal.

Bake 12-15 min. 
Serve with extra sauce.


Sauce

Mix together and simmer in saucepan for about 45 min:
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 Tbs olive oil
salt/pepper to taste


Sunday, August 16, 2015

No Summer Is Complete Without a Trip to the Beach

Or when a beach trip isn't possible, a crafty snack is a good alternative.  :)

Remember how you can make "dirt cups" with chocolate pudding, Cool-whip, and crushed Oreos?  

Instead we used vanilla pudding, Cool-whip, and Golden Oreos.  That formed the basis of each kids' beach.  Then crushed vanilla wafers was the sand layered on top.

Blue Jello became the ocean, with Swedish Fish splashing in the waves.




















What I did:
1. mix the pudding with milk (the kids often help me with this, but not this time)
2. stir the Cool-whip and crushed Oreos into the pudding
3. prepare the Jello (the kids often help me with this, but not this time)

What Primus did:
1. crush the Oreos (I doubled bagged them in a ziplock for her.)

What all the kids did:
1. scoop the "beach" onto their plates
2. scoop the Jello onto their plates
3. crush their own small bag of Nilla wafers and sprinkle on top of beach
4. add Swedish Fish to "water."  Some of them buried their fish under the Jello, and some made them look like the fish were jumping out of the water.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Homeschooling Means...#12

...you count your school as successful when your 7 year old decides that she wants to learn how to do magic and then fills her library bag with books on the subject.

Bonus: She has no desire to become a magician, she just wants to be a magic teacher.

Cute side note: Since her speech isn't perfect, she gets mixed up and instead of "magician," she says, "mugician."  Like a combination of musician and magician.

(This series is meant to be mostly lighthearted and fun.  Some may be serious, but most will be silly, braggy, or of the keepin'-it-real variety.  Not every homeschool is the same.  And some of these things could be said by public school parents.  This is just to highlight MY experience with MY homeschool and MY children.  Enjoy these little insights into our life and feel free to share your own "Homeschooling means..." in the comments!)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

First Day of School 2015


Thanks to a fun tradition (our Schultuten), the first day of school is exciting!  It's like Christmas!

After they opened their Schultuten and ate breakfast, I did calendar time with the boys then spelling review with the girls.  They each also had a small independent assignment.

After that, we did "history" time, which consisted of the girls practicing our favorite Horrible Histories sketch (eventually we will record and post it).  Then we read a story book about an origami girl coming to life, a la Pinocchio, because we ended last school year learning about Japan.


Before lunch we did "P.E." at the bowling alley, which was empty!  After lunch we did a little bit of our new literature studies and a quick, messy art project.

Today was a success and a great way to start the school year!  Primus kept telling me several times that "Today is the best first day of school ever!"  I think it helped that she won at bowling.

Primus, 4th grade
Secundus, 2nd grade


Tertius, Kinder
Quartus, 2 year old


Spouse and Family Support Guide, Ch 4 Draw Near Unto Me

My intro from Chapter 1: "Last semester Hubby had a class on Tuesday nights which made it difficult for me to attend the Family Support Group that I used to facilitate.  But now I have started going back and am loving it!

"I used to go primarily to help other people.  But now I have to choose to go for myself.  It's a wonderful mid-week gospel study and testimony meeting.  You don't have to have an addiction or know someone who has an addiction to benefit from this group!

"I'm trying to be better (again) about my personal nightly scripture study.  I've decided that every night I am going to study the Spouse and Family Support Guide.  This is the manual we discuss in the meetings.  I'm journaling my answers to the discussion questions, and thoughts I have as I study the Personal Learning and Application section.  And since I do better at sticking to things when I have outside accountability and feel obligated, I'm going to blog my journals here.

"These will not be my unedited journal entries.  The really personal stuff will be saved for my own reflection and for sharing in the confidential meetings.  I also won't be including the many, many quotes that touched my heart and that I highlighted in the additional readings linked at the end of each chapter.  You're going to have to go read and find those gems yourself!"

Please follow the link, read along, and share your own thoughts in the comments if you feel so inspired.


I need to take care of my spirit just like I need to take care of my body. My body needs sleep, healthy food, exercise. My spirit needs faith, feasting on the scriptures, prayer, etc.

It is easier for me to receive revelation, and easier to recognize it when I receive it, when I am doing all I can to be closer to the Lord. When I am praying sincerely every morning and night, and when I am studying and pondering the scriptures and other gospel resources every day. Journal writing helps, too.

Taking the sacrament is my opportunity to reflect on myself and my own conduct. The sacrament and renewing my covenants has nothing to do with anyone else. It's just between me and my Savior. So when I take the sacrament, I should be focusing not on what blessings my loved ones need (that can be done in prayer at a different time), but rather on what transgressions I have done and what I need to do to better align myself with His will.

He knows my heart.

When I am in the temple, I feel profound peace. I feel that everything is ok, there is nothing to worry about, God is in control. I need to go often so that I can continually be bolstered by that testimony so I can get through the struggles and trials in between.

I'm still learning to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost vs. my own ideas and emotions. It is easier to feel confident about it when I am doing what I need to to feel close to my Heavenly Father. And I put a lot of faith in the scripture that talks about a burning in the bosom vs. a stupor of thought.

“Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?”

The Holy Ghost speaks to our minds and to our hearts.

The Spirit enlightens our minds and fills our souls with joy.

Heavenly Father, through the Spirit, teaches and guides us with peace and joy, not FEAR.

“If ye will NOT HARDEN your hearts, and ask me in FAITH, BELIEVING that ye shall receive, with diligence in KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS, surely these things shall be made known unto you.”

Scripture study, prayer, and fasting are needed to receive revelation.

My testimony is strong even though I haven't received “frequent, miraculous, or strong impressions.” It has grown line upon line over my whole life.

I have to CHOOSE to be faithful, humble, and obedient to God's laws as I understand them. THAT is how I will receive revelation and a testimony of the truth.

What am I sacrificing to serve and bless others?

Holy Ghost = feeling of light and joy; calm, quiet, peaceful. Confusion, doubt, anxiety, fear all come from darkness.

When we perceive the light through the fog, we can only take a few steps at a time. We can't see the end of the path.

In addition to all the obvious and oft-repeated things we should do to increase our spirituality and be more receptive to the Spirit, we also need to take care of our physical bodies! Taking care of the temple of my spirit “increase our capacity to receive and understand revelation.”

I need to be better about recording direction, inspiration, and revelation I receive.

“Sanctify yourselves” = keep the commandments

I'm thankful for good friends that took me up on my crazy idea of exchanging babysitting each month so we each have a guaranteed date night/temple night. And I'm especially thankful that they are so good about remembering it! If it were up to me, I'm sure we would frequently miss our temple night due to my own failure to write it down and plan for it each month!

Thank the Lord for the “trust He places in us when He gives us the opportunity to overcome difficulties.” Ask what am I supposed to learn from this experience?

I need to stop complaining!

Friday, August 7, 2015

One personal story of addiction, and another on the way...

I want to share a blogger with you who is very special to me.  My friend-in-real life, Alysha, blogs at Millennial Mormon Mom.  Read her, bookmark her, subscribe to her.

We have been attending the Spouse and Family Support Group (part of the Addiction Recovery Program) together and hearing about her journey in life is really inspiring to me.  She's decided to write about her experiences with the addictions of herself, her spouse, and a parent.

She begins her new series with this wonderful piece: "Why I Chose to Blog About Addiction Recovery."

Through the Family Support Group, I have met countless other wonderful people who have struggled in the depths of despair because of the addiction of a loved one.  Many women have been drawn to our group because of their husbands' Pornography Addiction.  Follow that link for information from a secular source, Fight the New Drug, about how pornography addiction is like any other drug addiction.

Pornography addiction and how it harms individuals, spouses, and families, is something I am fired up about!  I would love to share one of their stories here on my blog.  I'm working with one couple in particular and hope to post that heartbreaking, yet touching piece soon.

If your life has been touched by addiction, whether yours or a loved one's, whether pornography or something else, please consider attending a support group near you.  And if you would like to share your story here on my blog, contact me (shirleypretzel at gmail dot com).  I fully support the confidentiality and anonymity that are so important to making the Addiction Recovery Program a safe place to share.  Therefore, your name and personal information would be kept completely secret.

Addiction and Co-dependency thrive in darkness and isolation.  The more we talk about it, the more we realize that we are not alone!  And the more we talk about it, the more we can help ourselves and others rise out of the darkness toward peace, hope, and healing!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My Nephew Was Bullied

Today my sister-in-law, "Sarah," joined us at the park.  We weren't there long before I noticed that some new kid in a red hat punched my 8 year old nephew in the arm.  Then I watched as "Red Hat", his friend "Blondie," and his sister chased him around the playground.

With my four, Sarah's four, four of our friends, plus extra kids we didn't know, there was a lot of children of all ages running around the playground today.  My nephew, "Andrew," his brother, and Tertius always play really rough together.  From where we were sitting, I couldn't tell if that was what was going on or if these new kids were being mean.  Therefore I turned to Sarah and told her what I saw so we could keep an eye on the situation.

After seeing them chase him some more and whack him with toy handcuffs, it became clear that Andrew was not playing with these mean kids.

At one point, Andrew had moved to a different area and was minding his own business, playing with my kids.  Red Hat strolled over, took off his hat, and whacked Andrew with it!  I could feel the Mama Bear inside me start to rise.  I wanted to run over there and pounce on that kid!

Andrew, though, is no sissy, so he quickly yanked the hat away and whacked the kid back.  At the same time Sarah jumped up and separated the boys.  Andrew's older brother and sister were instructed to shield and defend their brother and tell the bullies to leave him alone.

After that, we hovered a little and continued to keep a close eye on the situation.  As I was standing right there, just a couple feet away, Red Hat and Blondie walked past Andrew to stick their tongues out at him and tease him by saying, "Greenie Grinch," or something equally stupid and nonsensical.  Each time, Andrew's older brother and sister stepped up.

A little later Red Hat was sitting with his posse, which had grown to include a few much younger girls who didn't really know what was going on, and Red Hat's sister noticed Andrew climbing up a slide nearby.  She declared, "Look, he's going up the ramp!  Let's get him!"  I was standing very close to them and just said, "Ya know, there's lots of adults around here watching."  I think my niece said something to him, too, that was more direct.

So the group ran off into the trees next to the playground to plot how to lure Andrew away so they can "get him" or something like that (my niece listened in a little.)

Thankfully, nothing more happened.  A little later, Blondie started playing with our group of kids and had a really fun time.  Apparently Red Hat took issue with that and claimed our kids were "stealing his friend."  The group told him that "well, if you act like a jerk, you won't have many friends."

The whole thing was so crazy!  Even a couple hours later, as I thought about the situation, my blood pressure would rise.  I was never bullied as a child but Hubby was, mercilessly, all through elementary and middle school.  It's something I don't think I had ever truly witnessed before, outside of movies.

Perhaps we should have told the kids' mothers what their little darlings were doing. But I'm a fan of letting kids figure out things on their own, as long as nothing physical is going on (one more punch and this Mama Bear would have dragged the brat so quick to his mother!)

It wasn't my child directly involved so I definitely let my sister-in-law take the lead.  I think it was a good learning experience for all the kids involved (well, I don't know if Red Hat and his sister learned anything...)

Andrew hopefully learned how to stand up for himself and not put up with crap.  His brother and sister learned to stick by their brother and defend their family.  My kids got to see what bullying looks like first-hand and learn what to do in that kind of situation.

Spouse and Family Support Guide, Ch 3 He Will Take upon Him the Pains and the Sicknesses of His People

My intro from Chapter 1: "Last semester Hubby had a class on Tuesday nights which made it difficult for me to attend the Family Support Group that I used to facilitate.  But now I have started going back and am loving it!

"I used to go primarily to help other people.  But now I have to choose to go for myself.  It's a wonderful mid-week gospel study and testimony meeting.  You don't have to have an addiction or know someone who has an addiction to benefit from this group!

"I'm trying to be better (again) about my personal nightly scripture study.  I've decided that every night I am going to study the Spouse and Family Support Guide.  This is the manual we discuss in the meetings.  I'm journaling my answers to the discussion questions, and thoughts I have as I study the Personal Learning and Application section.  And since I do better at sticking to things when I have outside accountability and feel obligated, I'm going to blog my journals here.

"These will not be my unedited journal entries.  The really personal stuff will be saved for my own reflection and for sharing in the confidential meetings.  I also won't be including the many, many quotes that touched my heart and that I highlighted in the additional readings linked at the end of each chapter.  You're going to have to go read and find those gems yourself!"

Please follow the link, read along, and share your own thoughts in the comments if you feel so inspired.

Chapter 3  He Will Take upon Him the Pains and the Sicknesses of His People

Christ took upon him not just my sins, but my PAINS and SICKNESSES. Which I believe includes pains and sicknesses of the heart.

There is a difference between believing in Heavenly Father and Jesus, and believing in Their promises. If I believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus are real beings, that doesn't necessarily mean that I believe they actually care about me. 
 I believe that they exist and that they know me AND love me. I believe that they love my loved ones AND me. I believe they bless those that seek them INCLUDING me. I believe that they keep their promises to others AND me. I need to not lose faith in that when Their timetable is not the same as mine.

The healing power of Christ's Atonement “is available for every affliction in mortality.” 

We have had limited income for over 5 years now. These 5 years have been very hard. It has been a huge struggle for me to be patient, faithful, and optimistic during this time. But I have had large portions of time (and getting larger and more frequent) of feeling at peace and content. This is only possible through my Savior.

The thing that prevents me from coming unto Christ and exercising faith in Him so that He can heal me is my pride. The thought that I can do it on my own. That I should be able to fix things by my own power. But really I have no control over so much that happens in this life. I have to let go of that pride, put my life at His feet, exercise faith in Him, and patiently wait on His plan for me. This is Steps 1-3 of ARP! I can't, He can, I think I'll let Him.

I think “lay your burdens at the feet of the Savior” means to go to Him in prayer and admit, “I'm powerless. My way isn't working. I give this burden to thee. I commit to being patient and following thy counsel on the matter, even though I don't understand why.”

I don't understand all the details of what will happen in the Spirit World prior to the Resurrection. But it is so nice to hear an apostle of the Lord state with confidence that there is still time for improvement even after death. 

A nursing mother CANNOT forget her sucking child. Just like the Savior CANNOT forget and forsake us for He has a very permanent, physical connection to us.

Christ came into the world to “save all men if they will hearken unto his voice.” He came to save us from death. He came to save us from hell. He came to save us from the pain, despair, loneliness, grief, anxiety that we experience in mortality.

“Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you...” He's just waiting there, holding out His hand to rescue us. We just need to put away our pride, exercise faith, and reach up!

Key for repentance: Confess sins and Forsake them.

Jesus suffered so we wouldn't have to. He doesn't want us to suffer!

Satan wants us to be confused. He wants us to be depressed. He wants us to doubt.

Grace: “Divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.”

Without Him (our Savior Jesus Christ), we are truly nothing. Without Him, we would not be resurrected, would not be able to repent of our transgressions, would not have the strength to endure or accomplish what we need to in this life. Without Him, our lives would be lost.

Grace = enabling power

We put our selves in darkness by our choices.

He loves all of His creations. He especially loves us, His crowning creation, made on the 6th day after all else was prepared.

 In my "seasons of distress and grief", my soul has, can, and will find relief when I lay my burdens at His feet in sincere prayer. I also love that the hymn calls is “seasons” of distress. Seasons come and go. They are constantly changing. We know that they will pass away, and we know that they will come again in their due time. Just like our trials and tribulations. “This too shall pass.” New or similar trials will come again later, but we know that they are with us for only a short time in the eternal perspective.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Homeschooling Means...#11

...dragging the kids along to check out the Korean market I've heard so much about to look for poi, and calling it a field trip.

Probably the most exciting part was looking at the live catfish, crab, and lobster.  Unfortunately they had no live turtles that day.  They sadly had no poi, but we'll be going back again.  The kids loved getting treats to taste from other countries.


(This series is meant to be mostly lighthearted and fun.  Some may be serious, but most will be silly, braggy, or of the keepin'-it-real variety.  Not every homeschool is the same.  And some of these things could be said by public school parents.  This is just to highlight MY experience with MY homeschool and MY children.  Enjoy these little insights into our life and feel free to share your own "Homeschooling means..." in the comments!)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Two Quick Tips for Distar

Click the link on the sidebar for "Distar" under "Labels" to understand what this reading program I'm talking about is.

1. Take Wiggle Breaks
One thing that I love about Distar is that each lesson is pretty short.  But once your child approaches the middle of the book, the stories get longer and the child is expected to read them twice in a row.  That can be hard for short attention spans and wiggly bottoms!  A little bit of physical activity, and then he can focus on the task at hand better.

As soon as Tertius is done reading the story the first time, I have him stand up and do jumping jacks.  He doesn't know how to do them correctly, but at least it's getting his body moving and blood pumping.  He thinks they're really fun, too.  I used to just have him do 10.  But recently he started insisting on doing more.  The first day he wanted to do 11.  Then the next day was 12.  He is now up to doing 18 jumping jacks before sitting to read the story for a second time.


2. Skip the Writing Section
I'm sure it's meant to serve a wonderful purpose.  And I'm sure it's great for some families.  But I have always skipped it.  

Once my kids are done reading the story for the second time and have answered the comprehension questions while looking at the picture, they're done.  Everyone of them was eager to jump up and do something else. And that "something else" does not include sitting still and putting pencil to blank paper.  

Instead, I teach my Kindergartners to write their letters using colorful handwriting books in the D'nealian/Modern Manuscript style (I can never remember what it's actually officially called-it's the one where all the printed letters have little "kicks" at the end as a way to ease into cursive in later grades.)