Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Reminder I Needed

To My Child

  • Just for this morning, I am going to smile when I see your face and laugh when I feel like crying.
  • Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.
  • Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.
  • Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.
  • Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles..
  • Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one if he comes by.
  • Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.
  • Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.
  • Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys...
  • Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how yo u were born and how much I love you.
  • Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.
  • Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.
  • Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.
  • Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.

I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore.

And when I kiss you goodnight I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask him for nothing, except one more day...

~Author Unknown

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Interesting new law on the books here.

Next fall, a new law in Florida will require its school districts to set up optional online schools for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The law will give parents more options for schooling their kids. Supporters of online schooling say it allows kids to learn at their own rates and get specialized instruction. But others say that it's important for kids to interact with other kids at school.

Again it goes back to that age-old question of the dreaded word "socialization". Webster's defines "socialization" as such:

transitive verb
: to make social ; especially : to fit or train for a social environment
2 a
: to constitute on a socialistic basis <socialize industry> b: to adapt to social needs or uses
: to organize group participation in <socialize a recitation>
intransitive verb
: to participate actively in a social group

Our job as parents is to help our children grow and learn how to be responsible adults one day. I don't think that having children be in an homogeneous group day in and day out will teach them how to be members of society at large. Once they are grown and on their own, they will not be living in an homogeneous society - they will need to know how to interact with people of all ages and stages. That's one of the benefits of teaching children at home.

Additionally, children come with all kinds of different abilities - some advanced and some needing a little more help. Take my middle son Sean as an example. He taught himself how to read when he was just a little over 3 years old. According to state laws, he can not enter kindergarten until he is a month from being 6 years old due to when his birthday falls. What would that mean for him? Chances are, Sean would be insanely bored by the time he got to kindergarten - where the minimal expectations that a kindergarten teacher has for incoming students is:
new kindergartners should know how to sit still and be quiet,to take turns and share, and to follow basic instructions. She also said they needed to know how to take care of themselves like knowing when to go to the potty, how to tie their shoes (or work the Velcro), how to get their coats on themselves. They should also know their address and phone number and their parents' names. She told me that some children will come to kindergarten knowing their ABCs, their colors and how to count to 10 or 20, and some will come not knowing any of that. Those basic academic skills will be taught during the kindergarten year. Children who have that knowledge beforehand will have to wait for the rest of the class to catch up.

Based upon Sean's skills at the age of 4, I have no doubt that he would end up not only bored, but would probably become a "problem" student because of it. Doesn't it make sense that children learn at their own pace - in an environment that enhances their skills and nurtures the areas that they need a little help with? I think it's a wonderful advancement that Florida is offering this opportunity to parents, and look forward to what the future of home education here will bring.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My Three Kings

Brian, Sean and Colin got a special treat tonight. We all stayed up a little later than normal to watch Dora Saves Three Kings Day. So while it wasn't the most religious event, we still got to talk about the significance of the day. Happy Feast of the Epiphany!