Sunday, September 15, 2013

School Week 2

Week two of school was another good one. When I say "good" I pretty much mean that attitudes were positive.  Negativity and complaining are contagious diseases so when one person is in a bad mood, it spreads like nasty germs.  I confess Monday was a rough day, one of those nights I went to bed with nothing good to say about the day.  But as I was telling Josh about how awful it was, I hit upon an idea.

One of the things that seems to send one child on a negative path is making mistakes.  Getting something wrong and having to fix it.  Sometimes it's just an honest mistake.  They are learning, after all, I try to explain. But it often does no good. Anyone else have a perfectionist around the table? Or a child who rushes to get their work done and makes mistakes in the process?

"Maybe I need to reward them for each mistake they make so they learn they aren't a bad thing!" I threw up my theoretical hands.

Hmmm.... why not?  For each mistake they correct, they get a little treat. I tried chocolate chips. 

"How many mistakes did you make?" I look over each of their math papers.  "Five? Okay, did you correct them? Good! It's no big deal to make a mistake! Correct it if you can.  Mistakes help us learn!"  And I metered out five chocolate chips.

Did something so simple help? You betcha!  And no, they didn't start making mistakes on purpose.  For the rest of the week, the older two were each telling me their number of mistakes and receiving a commensurate number of chocolate chips. In fact, when Brown-Eyed-Girl was erasing things, she'd suddenly say "Chocolate!"  And bad moods were banished. 

Each child has a love language, a currency, a motivator.  My son's love language is definitely gifts.  In fact, all the kids love a gift.  B-E-G loves affection and praise.  I can't believe how motivated she is by a sticker on her schoolwork that tells her she did a great job.  The promise of a sticker if she stays on task or completes something in a certain amount of time (for she is our resident Pokey Little Puppy) keeps her moving.  Mister can stay on a positive path with just a little gift of a piece of gum or those tiny chocolate chips.  Or the promise of some DS time.  Petite is motivated by all kinds of things.  She'll pick up her toys quickly if someone will read to her afterward. Capitalizing on these motivators is a smart thing!

The kids had their second and third karate classes this week and got their gis. They were SO excited about these and can't wait to have their patches and stripes sewn on.  They love the class and I am equally excited about it. It is exactly what they need. I also met another homeschooling mom in the viewing room which was an answer to prayer.  I love how the Lord set this up for our family.

Josh is rarely home during school days, but with his new schedule, he will be much more often. This week was the first time he'd really been around for school.  I confess, he is a distraction. The kids didn't like the idea of doing school when Daddy is home. Josh is far more fun than I am and creates extra noise that distracts me most of all.  But having him home opens up so much more opportunity for all of us to learn because he has his own unique strengths to share with us.  He also was a great help with Kathryn, spending time with her so that I could teach the older two.

One of the highlights of the week was when we were learning about Galileo for our Scientist Discovery page in Considering God's Creation.  We looked up information about  him online.  Mister knew he had invented the telescope. B-E-G knew he had dropped things off the leaning tower of Pisa.  We learned about his theory of heliocentrism- the belief that the sun is the center of the universe and that the planets revolve around it. This was in direct contradiction to what the Church said was true- that the Earth was the center of the universe and everything revolved around it.  So the Church considered it heresy.  Galileo would not agree with them and was put under house arrest for the rest of his life.  Of course, we now know that what he believed is true.  The Church was wrong, he was right.

Reading the sentence of the Church, I was angry. I launched into a lesson on why we should not accept the beliefs or views of any man made institution blindly.  It's okay to ask questions, it's okay to disagree, as long as our source of truth is always God's Word, the Bible.  Galileo believed in the Scriptures and his interpretation of them and what the said about the Earth was different than the Church's interpretation. It turns out his theory of heliocentrism was true and backed up the Bible, and vice versa.  I want my kids to know it's okay to question things.  But we do have one source of absolute truth.

So after I gave them a lesson on dissent, Josh launches into a lesson physics.  Speed, velocity, force, e=mc2.  Basically, Greek to  me.  But I just love how, together, we make a great team when it comes to raising and teaching our children.  When it's time for physics, or other higher sciences and maths, he's got us covered.  Me? I teach ideas, thinking through issues, literature, the arts. Between the two of us,  our kids are going to receive a well-rounded education!

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