Sunday, January 27, 2008

Allowances - Habits with money

Making Children Mind Without Loosing Yours by Kevin Leman suggests giving the children weekly allowance to match their age. A 10 year old gets $10. A 5 year old gets $5. This is a good model since the older children usually get more responsibility and are capable of doing more. A workplace comparison would be that a person with more seniority gets a higher pay for the same reasons.
This works well for our family. Receiving an allowance comes with responsibilities. I teach my children that the Bible tells us to tithe 10% and that it's between them and God. They don't have to report to me when they tithe or the amount they tithe.
They also have to put 20% into savings. This savings is for their first car or their first apartment or books for college. It is for the future. Just as adults, we should be saving for retirement.
The rest of the money is for them to do with as they like. If they want McDonald's, they have to use their money. If they go to the skating rink and want to play video games, they must use their own money.
A couple of years ago, my younger daughter wanted a "Nursery Bear" from Boyd's Bear Country. The thing cost $50 and of course they had additional accessories that you could buy for another $25. I told her that I would not spend $50 on a teddy bear, I don't care if it is a "Boyd's". She had to save her allowance and had to keep in mind that there would be 6% sales tax. To my surprise, she did it. She was able to save it in a couple of months. On the day she got her bear, we made a big deal of it by taking pictures and making a little album of the event. 3 years later, she still treasures that bear. So there is value in the child saving for something they really want like a bear or a car, etc.
It is our responsibility to teach our children good habits in all aspects of life.

Here are pictures from our Boyd's Bear Experience:

Hmmmmm....So many! Which one do I choose?

Filling out adoption papers.

Using the money she saved to pay the "adoption fee".

Proud new mommy!

Friday, January 18, 2008

A typical homeschool day???

A typical homeschool day? Hmmmm. Let's see. Nope, no such thing. One of the Many beautiful parts of homeschooling is that you can adjust to your family's natural rhythm. In Pennsylvania, there is no set time for kids to be homeschooling. (Yes, there are states out there where the law says that school must take place during certain hours. If a child is out in public during those hours, he could be considered truant.)

So a typical day? What does that look like? If you were to come to my house on any given day, this might be what you see....
The children usually arouse between 8:30 and 10. No bus to catch so why push it?

On a typical day, there are things we do together. Right now, we are reading Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable. That's a fun one to do in the mornings with my ds(3) at the table. I will read, the girls will narrate to my son. While I am reading, they are allowed to draw pictures of the story I am reading. My son loves to draw and color, so this is right up his alley. He especially loved the story of Perseus slaying the sea monster to save the beautiful girl. His favorite part was the sword going into the monster's shoulder.

In the mornings, the only other things we do on a regular basis are math, copywork, dictation and poetry reading.

For Latin, we are doing Latin roots. Once they have the meaning of the root and the definitions of a few vocabulary words, we may play a card game after dinner in the evenings.

We do artist studies that usually carry on throughout the day since I tape the pictures on the wall and let the kids look at them all day for several days.

My dd(9) loves her guinea pig and she just completed a unit study on that. She and I will read together library books and other assignments while her older sister is off reading independantly.

My dd(10) just loves to read at bedtime. Once in a while she will "sneak" her math book to bed and get her assignment finished for the next day or she will take her history reading assignment and narrate for me the next morning.

We usually start going to bed around 10 and lights are usually (not always) out by 11.
There are many other parts of our day like chores, but I'll leave that for another post on habits. I love this schedule and our "typical day" and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Back on Track

I can hardly believe I'm going to say this, but we had a great week. We started using Spelling Wisdom found on and Greek and Latin Roots found on .
The copywork is definitely something we needed instead of a text book. The Spelling Wisdom helped to walk me through how to do copywork appropriately. I mean, I knew how to do it before, but this really simplified it for me.
So far as the Latin and Greek goes, my kids love it. It is set up so you have a different root each week. Each day you do a different activity with that root and vocabulary words that use that root. On Thursday, when I started taking out the activity for Latin, both of my daughters lit up and said they couldn't wait.
We also went back to Ambleside Online and I am sooooo glad. I am doing Year 5 with dd(10). Dd(9) had to finish up a Guinea Pig unit (also found on this week and next week she will start Year 3. I am so relieved that we went back to this.
Maybe next week, I'll be pulling my hair out again. For today, all seems right. Praise God!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Beatrix Potter

This is a quote from Beatrix Potter -
Thank goodness I was never sent to school, it would have rubbed off some of the originality.
~Beatrix Potter

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Living My Dream

All my growing up, all I wanted to be was a teacher. I went to college, got my degree and teaching certificate and my first "real" teaching job in 1991. I found the love of my life in that same year and married in 1992. For 5 years, I struggled with teaching in the public schools. After that, I thought the private arena may be a better option for me. It was worse. The school I taught at was trying to get accredidation. I started to dream about opening my own school and following my philosophies in education. My sis-in-law homeschooled her kids. At first, I thought she was nuts. Then, I was inspired. I knew before I even conceived that I wanted to homeschool my kids.
Then I had kids. 2 beautiful girls 15 months apart.
And it was so.
Now my children are 10, 9, and 3. (The three year old was a surprise, but beautiful just the same.) My children are homeschooled and I am teaching them in ways that I have always dreamed of. I don't know of too many people who can say they are living their dream, but I am!!! I'm teaching in a more natural way not worrying about national standards or writing out lesson plans or being observed by the district administration or going to endless hours of in-service or keeping 30+ kids under control and entertained. This is what I've dreamed of. Just teaching and learning along with them. Talking with them about books we read and getting to experience their "aha" moments.
I am blessed.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mir Bojzi

Mir Bojzi!!!
Merry Christmas!!!

Today, my mother's side of the family celebrates Christmas in the Serbian Orthodox Church. My family is about 4 hours away from us in McKeesport, Pa and this year we won't be able to make the trip. I'm a little sad about that, but am hopeful that next year we will be able to go.
I am not an expert on the Serbian Orthodox religion, but here I will attempt to put down in words my understanding and experiences of this blessed event.
Orthodox Christmas is celebrated according to the Julian calendar on January 7. It starts on January 6, Christmas Eve, with a yule log burning ceremony. During the procession, walnuts and coins are scattered on the ground for children to pick up. The badnjak, or yule log, is from a young oak tree representing the Christ Child. The log is sprinkled with red wine representing Christ's blood and burned representing his crucifixion. The smoke rising reminds us of Jesus' ressurection.
On Christmas Day, the family gathers. There is a fire burning in the fireplace and a table spread with many meat dishes because this is the end of a 6 week fast from meat. The main dish is lamb. Under the table is straw representing the manger and on the table is wheat growing in a vase representing Christ, the bread of life.
My daughters' favorite part of the meal is the Chesnica, or Christmas Bread. This is a mildly sweet, yeast bread with a coin baked inside. Whoever gets the coin will have good luck for the upcoming year.
This celebration is dear to me and I am glad that I am able to share it with my children. Last year, my 9yo dd made a notebook and my 8yo dd made a lapbook on this event. This year, we will take them out and look through them and be with our family in McKeesport in spirit.