One of my favorite KONOS memories….

(This was posted on my other blog in July of 2005, but it refers to a memory from the fall of 2001.)

This particular moment came very soon after we started using KONOS. We had an 11 yr old, 7 yr old, 3 yr old, and 8 month old. We started with the character trait of Attentiveness, so the children would learn to be good listeners. The first dramatization was the story of when God called Samuel. First, we read the story from the Bible. Then I told the 11, 7, and 3 yr old to work together to dramatize it.

The 7 yr old decided that he needed to play the part of God first, and the 3 yr old wanted to be Samuel. That left the 11 yr old girl to be Eli. So they dramatized. Then they switched parts and did it again. Then they switched parts again and did it one more time for me. Later when we had moved on to something else, the 3 yr old could be heard in the living room pretending to be God calling Samuel. He did this for months afterwards. And they did the whole scene for Dad several times, too.

I also have to say that now that they are older, they still love KONOS, and they have asked to study the Civil War from Volume 3 this summer while we are on break.

Have a blessed day! Tami

A Typical Homeschool Day (circa 2005)

(I thought I would post a typical homeschool day for us from a few years ago, and then I will post a typical day for us in 2008 in the near future.)

This originally was posted on my other blog on June 28, 2005.

I have long wanted to write about a day in our school. Thank you, Gena, for the opportunity to share a day in our homeschool.

Our day typically starts out with me rising about an hour before the children. This gives me time to spend some quiet time with the Lord, and also gives me a few minutes to prioritize the things on my list that I need to accomplish for the day. I will write a daily chore list on our dry-erase board for the children. That way they know who is supposed to do what chore, and I have a way to monitor the chores being completed.

I wake the children around 8:00, and while they eat breakfast, I start the laundry and any other chores that I am responsible for starting. Then I will shower while they finish breakfast and get dressed for the day. They know to start their chores for the day after they are dressed.

We usually begin our school morning at 9:00 with a Bible verse or verses that pertain to our KONOS lesson for the day. Then we will spend the next 45 minutes to 1 hour on our KONOS plans for the day (see below in my blog for my plan sheets). After that, the children being their grade-level work in math and language arts. The younger ones typically end before the older ones, so it has worked best for us to start with the one thing we all study together, and then move into other subjects.

Normally, we will work on schoolwork until lunchtime. Then we will have a lunch break and do a few more chores for the day. Usually, I am running back and forth from the laundry room putting clothes in the washer, then the dryer, and then folding. The children will help move things along in the laundry room, too. We try to share in this monumental task.

After lunch, my youngest will take a nap, and we will do any big hands-on projects that need to be worked on while he is otherwise occupied. After this, the next two younger ones will have a quiet time. Then the older two children will have time to work on other educational things that interest them, such as computer time or foreign language time. They also can use this time for reading any books related to our KONOS lesson for the week, or they can work on their writing assignment for the week. The afternoons change a lot for us, since they have so many things they like to do.

Around 4:00, we try to go through the house and pick up anything the littlest one has scattered about and vacuum the kitchen and living room. We like to have an orderly house when dad arrives home from work. I will also start dinner at this time, and each day, I have a different child assigned as the kitchen helper. This child will help set the table, as well as clear off the dishes at the end of the meal.

After dinner with dad, the children will have a read-aloud time with Dad, and a family devotion. Sometimes, I use this time to work on something that I could not attend to during the day, or I will use the time to spend some one on one time with my youngest.

Then we will spend time together as a family until bed time. Sometimes we will watch a family movie or play a board game.

That is a typical day in our school. We also go to some support group functions during the month where we get to have PE together. And we also attend a 4-H meeting once a month. So we have some outside activities, but they are not a daily or even weekly part of our schedule. This fall we are planning on particpating in our first KONOS co-op once a week.

Have a blessed day! Tami

Why I chose KONOS for our homeschool

(This article is a real blast from the past. I posted it on my other blog on June 29, 2005! So it is a bit dated in terms of the references I have to that particular school year. But it is a good article none the less!)

We have completed our 5th year of homeschooling. And we have five children. We use KONOS as the spine of our school. I was first drawn to KONOS when I read about it in Diana Waring’s Abundant Life Homeschooling. After I read her review of it and looked at the KONOS web-site, I talked to my husband about it. When it was time to go to our state homeschool bookfair, the KONOS booth was one of my first stops. I talked to the rep, and then I left to walk around the bookfair. That night I spread out all the information I had gathered on my hotel-room bed, and I compared everything I had looked at and written down. I prayed about what God wanted us to use, and I felt that He was leading me to purchase KONOS. I was drawn to two major factors about it. The first was that it is a curriculum based on character traits from the Bible, and the second was that I could use it multi-level.

The next day, I went back and purchased the first volume and timeline figures. The only other curriculum decisions I had left was our math program and language arts program.

Now that we have used KONOS for the past 4 years, I have to say that my children and I all love using it. We love reading and learning together. And you cannot beat the hands-on learning that takes place. My youngest ones also participate. They love the dramatization and experiments! They can remember so many of the people they have dressed up as and re-enacted scenes from their lives.

They love it so much that they have asked to study the Civil War this summer while we are on our break from school. Next year, we will enter a new level of KONOS as our oldest begins KONOS, “History of the World 1 – Ancient Times.”

I am also very blessed to be a part of the KONOS on-line community through yahoo groups. It has such a family atmosphere. We share our joys and our trials. We are able to share and ask questions. My family was privileged to attend the first KONOS Retreat in Oklahoma. It was one of the highlights of our school year this past year.

Homeschooling a Houseful

(This is reprint of a post I had on my other blog on June 18, 2006. I am trying to bring over some of my favorite posts as time allows.)

How do you homeschool a houseful of children? And why would you want to homeschool that many children? Wouldn’t it be easier to send them off to school all day? Couldn’t you get more done, if your children weren’t around all the time? You have how many children? Are they are all yours?

These are all questions I have encountered since we began our homeschooling journey. I thought my reader would like to read some of my responses to these questions. In doing so, I hope that you are encouraged.

Starting with the first question, I will tell you that homeschooling 5 children while pregnant with a dying grandparent to visit every day and three surgeries for two of our children was definitely one of our harder school years. Would I change anything? No. So the “how of homeschooling a houseful” starts with prayer and planning and mercy and grace. I do pray about our homeschool. And I pray that I teach the children exactly what God wants me to teach them. I use the unit study approach for most subjects. And I have picked math curriculum based on each of my children’s different learning styles.

When we had a day when we needed to visit my grandmother, we went to see her. When we returned home, we worked on our schoolwork. When a child had to have surgery, I gave all the children the day off from school. We would make up the day later. They have been known to do two days’ worth of work in order to catch back up. I do have a lesson plan. The children know what is is expected each day, and they know that we can adjust it if necessary. This summer, we are focusing on spelling, reading comprehension, and math skills. I know which child needs review in which subject. We are using Spelling Power to bring up our son and daughter’s spelling levels. I have never tried this program before, and we like it.

Why would I want to homeschool 5 children (and more, if God sends them to us)? Simply, because God told me that He wanted us to homeschool our children. We take the passages in Deuteronomy and Proverbs very seriously. My husband and I want to train our children for the Lord. We want them to know what the Bible says, and we want to direct their education. We have sent our oldest two children to public school, so we know that parents do not have input into what their children are taught or exposed to in public school. Our relationship as a family is stronger, since we began our journey as a homeschool family.

Wouldn’t it be easier to send them off to school all day? No, we have had that experience. And it makes the evenings very busy and chaotic. We also have spent hours getting a child to complete her homework. Would you want to work at your job all day, and then come home to 2 or 3 hours’ worth of additional work? I know some professions do require that of their employee. Usually in those cases, there is compensation for that type of work. It made our child hate learning.

There are more time-consuming parts of sending your children off to school. You have to get them transported back and forth each morning and afternoon; you either have to get them to and from the bus or drive them or carpool. And there is the fund-raising, parent-teacher group, the push to volunteer at the school, and many other things that take a lot of your time.

Couldn’t you get more done, if your children weren’t around all the time? No. I did not get as much done in the hours that the children were in school compared to what I get done now. The time they were at school, I had to take care of a preschooler, so I only had the few hours that he napped to really get anything done around the house. Now, we have a schedule each day, and the children are responsible for helping out with household tasks. Or they will supervise the younger children while I work on chores.

You have how many children? Are they are all yours? In most homeschooling circles, these are not common questions. Normally I get these questions from people when we are out in public. God laid it on our hearts to leave the number of children we have up to Him. And since we have given that area over to Him 8 years ago, He has blessed us with 3 more children and a another one on the way. We also believe that we are married for as long as we are on this earth.

I would love to hear any comments about what I have shared today.

Have a blessed day! Tami

Overcoming Obstacles (part 5)

Another way we have overcome obstacles to our homeschool routine is by having mercy and grace as parents and teachers. There are days when it is just best to put the bookwork aside and spend time building our family relationships.

There are days when one or more of the kids is out of sorts, and there are days when the teacher is out of sorts. Those are the days when it is best to take a field trip that we have been putting off. Or it may be a day to spend time baking or doing arts and crafts. Or may be just be a day to stay in our PJ’s and play games all day. Whatever the change in routine, I am being sensitive to their needs and showing mercy and grace on how our schedule goes for that day.

If you realize that there are 365 days in a year, and in my state, I only have to have to do “school” 180 days. That leaves me days when we can have mercy and grace with our schedule. Our son, who just had eye surgery, is going to have a week of mercy and grace while he heals. He is not able to read well with the ointment I have to put in his eye four times per day, and he is not yet 7. So I am not tied to counting his school days anyway.

I am going to do end-of-grade testing with the older two this coming week, and then the next week, we will all be ready to start back on our regular schedule, Lord willing.

Have a blessed day! Tami

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Overcoming Obstacles (part 4)

Hello, last night as I went to bed I was thinking about this post, and for me, another way to overcome obstacles while homeschooling is to be creative.

No, I am not talking arts and crafts creative, though that certainly has its place in our homeschool. I am talking about how to creatively cover the 3R’s when doing actual bookwork will not fit in the schedule on a day when there are lots of obstacles in your way.

What constitutes a math lesson? There are many hands-on ways to learn math. One of our favorite ways is to bake. But if we have errands and appointments take us away from the house, we can count things alongside the road. We can review math facts. There are lots of ways to do math without using a book. We also can use math if we need to do some shopping. I am trying to teach my oldest child how to calculate percentages off when an item is on sale.

What constitutes a reading lesson? We can read labels on things. We can read road signs. We can play I-Spy with ABC’s. We play license plate BINGO. For my little ones, just singing the ABC song is review for them. The older children can read maps and directions for me while I drive. We can also listen to great literature with books-on-tape.

How about writing? The children can help me make a list for shopping and check it off while we gather the items. They can take puzzle books along. The little ones like to take crayons and paper. If we are going to be outside, they can do some nature journaling.

The lists are endless. You can truly do a lot of school on days when you just can’t seem to get the books out. I would love some comments with ideas on how you are creative on those busy days.

Have a blessed day! Tami

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Overcoming Obstacles (part 3)

Since the birth of our children, I had to add a new word to my vocabulary—flexibility. This is very important in balancing my day-to-day life and school. Things crop up all the time that interrupt our day, and I have had to learn to accomodate things into our schedule on a moment’s notice.

A prime example of this would be something that happened a year and a half ago. I went to take my morning shower while the children got dressed and started chores. They have been told not to interrupt my shower unless I need to take someone to the emergency room. I had no sooner got into the shower when there was a loud banging on the bathroom door. Our then 5-yr-old had jumped from the top bunk onto a double bed and hit the headboard with his mouth.

After getting out of the shower very quickly, I decided that he was going to need stitches for the gash in his lower lip. He had cuts inside and outside of his lip. So I dropped everything to take him to our pediatrician. I called my DH to meet me there, and our oldest child watched the other boys while we were gone. The pediatrician said she could not do the sutures, since he had a cut that extended into his lip. So we were referred to a plastic surgeon. We arrived at his office and were wisked into a treatment room.

After he was numbed and stitched, we were sent home with a boy with a very fat lip and lots of stitches. I don’t think much school work was done that day, but we worked together as a team to take care of the immediate need.

I was flexible with my schedule that day, because I had to be. But there are other days when it is better to visit an ailing grandparent in the morning and come home and do school in the afternoon. And there are days when we do school work very early in the morning, in order to do something later in the day.

We have also added two babies to our family since we started homeschooling. And for a time, it was more productive to do school in the evening with Dad home. Does it matter what time of day we sit down to read and write and do math? No, not really. And if we miss a day or two, will it hinder them for the whole year? No. We are being flexible with our school in order to live our lives, and I have not seen any negative repercussions from doing that.

Have a blessed day! Tami

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Overcoming Obstacles (part 2)

Next to my faith in God, my biggest asset would be my supportive husband. When I have had a particularly bad day (and there have been many lately), he is always there to pick me up and encourage me. He helps me see the “big picture.” For us the “big picture” is to raise godly children. That requires godly teaching and training on our parts. Those are the two parts of parenting that take a lot of time and energy.

We have seen some fruits of our labor in this area. Our two oldest children will do extra things not asked of them when life is chaotic for me. Most recently, we have dealt with a lot of medical issues. And the two older children have pitched in where needed to get daily and weekly chores done.

When I am dealing with a sick child or am sick myself, a lot of what I do around the house is left undone. My older children will pitch in without being asked and do some of my chores. My husband will also come in from a long day at work and cook, if necessary.

Having children willing to help when needed falls under character training. We have used the unit study approach to our homeschooling for a variety of reasons, but one of the main reasons was to use our unit studies as a vehicle for character training.

Stay tuned. I will have more posts to add to this series in the coming days.

Have a blessed day! Tami

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Part 3 in the series –

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Part 5 in the series –

Overcoming Obstacles While Homeschooling

I previously posted this 5-part series on my other blog, so I am bringing the posts over here. I hope that it ministers to some of you who might be facing obstacles right now.

It seems that our family has been tried and tested quite a bit this past year. And through it all, we have managed to do school, too. We have our year-end testing in two weeks, and I am interested to see if my children have grown as much academically I as think they have in the past year.

How have we managed to stay on track with school while overcoming obstacles? The easy answer is our faith in God and His mercy and grace that are shown to us daily. And that trickles down to the grace and mercy we use to operate our homeschool.

So stayed tuned to read more. God has given me plenty to write about on the obstacle side of things.

Have a blessed day! Tami

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Rose Book of Bible Charts and Timelines (a review)

The Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Timelines is an excellent reference book for anyone studying the Bible. You will have access to materials worth $250 if purchased separately. I have used materials from Rose Publishing in our homeschool and for church use, and I have been very pleased with their products. I am happy to have their different products in one handy book for only $23.99
If you would like to read more about this, you can click HERE to read about it on my website.