About this time every year the same thing happens. We’re going along, doing our thing when all of a sudden, I have time on my hands. It always takes me by surprise. Our evenings are free, our afternoons are free, everyone seems to be out of town. It usually takes me a couple of days before I realize what has happened to all our friends/activities/social engagements. It’s Spring Break.
Spring Break to our family is that week, just before Spring, that our co-op takes a break, any activity involving public school kids takes a break, everyone seem to be going camping. What do the Dows do? We do school as usual. The one difference is that we have lots more time to get it all done. It is really a nice week.
In fact, I thought a couple of times this week that it would be nice if every week were like this. Maybe we should quit our outside activities. The kids don’t need co-op, do they? Those trips to Nacogdoches for cello lessons and youth orchestra rehearsals aren’t really necessary, are they? Do we really need a sports day? A home school orchestra is over rated, isn’t it? If we dropped these activities, I might get my house back in shape. I might have more time to work on some of the hobbies I’ve been neglecting.
Then, I come to my senses and remember the reason we’re doing our outside activities. What a blessing it is to my boys to have a co-op where other home school moms are willing to teach them those subjects I’m weak in. What a great time to develop friends — both the boys and myself. What a blessing it is to have a university near enough for my cello loving son to get quality cello lessons. How nice to have a time when the boys can get outside and play softball with their buddies. All of these outside activities are helping us to give our children opportunities that we never would otherwise be able to give them. The break this week has been nice but I’m ready for tomorrow when everything returns back to normal.
Have you ever wondered why some co-ops seem to work better than others? Have you ever thought you’d like to be part of a co-op but didn’t know how to get started? I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the subject of co-ops.
Co-ops come in all shapes and sizes. Some are quite large while some are just a family or two getting together to do some activities. Some of them offer academic type classes while others are all about the extra-curricula activities. Some incorporate both.
I’ve been involved in a small co-op for the past 6 years. Before that, I had dabbled in participating in another co-op that was just getting started. The rest of my 20 years of home schooling have been co-op free. I never considered co-ops an essential part of our home schooling. I knew that if one was convenient, and fit into our schedule and our lifestyle, I’d probably give it a try but I didn’t seek out a co-op. Thankfully, a good co-op found me.
The co-op I’m part of now is a Charlotte Mason co-op. We offer classes in Music (appreciation, shaped notes, folk songs, patriotic songs and hymns), Art (appreciation, drawing, painting), Shakespeare (reading, discussion, performance), Latin/Spanish, Nature Studies/Science. Our schedule gets tweaked, expanded, compressed and adjusted every year as we continue to strive to give our kids the best education possible. We have approximately 30 kids representing about 20 families.
That briefly describes our co-op. There are successful co-ops that involve 100s of children. Some cost lots of money. Some involve paid teachers. As you can see, there are all kinds. They all fill a need. Which ever one fits your family’s style is perfect for you. But there are a few things that I think can help a co-op succeed. Here’s my thoughts:
A successful co-op will:
- Have a focus. Our co-op has a specific educational philosophy. Another one might be focused on sports or unit studies. Perhaps religious affiliation or age of children is the focus or field trips. The focus might even be one person — the person that started the co-op, makes all the plans and organizes all the events. Whatever the focus, it needs to be understood. A well-defined focus will keep the co-op tight and running smoothly.
- Respect the Families’ time. Everyone is busy. The co-op should keep in mind that they are a small part of each family’s home schooling. Keep co-op events limited to co-op day. Excessive planning/preparation days that take mom out of the home or field trips that are time-consuming can cause burnout and dissatisfaction.
- Involve everyone in the planning and preparations. Everyone in the co-op should feel like they belong and are a part of it. Including everyone in the planning stages and the preparations will help build cohesiveness among the members. Even if the co-op has been started and run by one individual, including the members in as much of the planning as possible will make it a stronger group.
- Keep the costs down. Most home school families are on a tight budgets. Keeping the costs down will be appreciated by everyone. Finding a low-cost or free location for the co-op is a huge help here. Asking families to pay for copying is fine but be sure to only copy what needs to be done. Our co-op has some supplies lists sent out at the beginning of the year. These can be expensive if you have several children. Be aware of what you’re asking families to spend.
- Keep homework to a minimum. Unless the co-op is academically focused and a major part of the students’ regular school work, home work should be little or none. Again, this goes back to respecting the families’ time. Sending home extra work for Mom to supervise may be more of a problem than a help. Personally, I prefer no home work.
I’m sure there are others that could be added to this list. I’d love to hear your suggestions and experiences with your co-op. Before I finish here, I’d like to make one more list. An excellently organized co-op with a strong focus won’t succeed if individual members don’t follow some basic guidelines. These are the same guidelines that need to be followed no matter what group you might be involved with and they are just good manners.
A successful co-op member will:
- Be flexible. Things happen unexpectedly. A teacher might have a sick child at home or a class might run over time because the children are so engaged in their learning. Be willing to go with the flow and everyone will be much happier.
- Seek opportunities to help. Anytime a group of people gets together, there are always things that need to be done. The trash needs to be taken out, floors need sweeping, snacks need to be brought, moms of nursing babies might need an extra set of arms for a little bit. Always be on the lookout for ways you can make the day run smoothly.
- Control her children. Sometimes, our precious darlings and their antics are not appreciated by others. We need to be aware of our children’s behavior towards the adults and the other children at co-op. Insist that they treat everyone with respect and do as they are told.
- Be on time. Gathering the family and all the stuff you have to carry to co-op is hard. Remember that every family is doing the same thing. Being habitually late shows disrespect for others and teaches your children that co-op is not important.
- Use her talents. If you know something, be willing to teach it. We are blessed in our group to have a mom that majored in art in college teach our kids art. We have a grandma that shares her love for Shakespeare in such a way that the kids love it as well. The mom that teaches outdoor games to our youngest class has a degree in physical education. You don’t have to have a degree to teach something but if you have a love for something, offer to share it with others.
I wish everyone could see our co-op at work. We have a such a wonderful group of moms and their beautiful children. I get to teach the music classes. It is so much fun. The kids seem to really enjoy our time together. If you’re interested in a co-op, I hope you find one you enjoy as much as I enjoy ours.
Yesterday we went to the zoo. We had not planned on this little outing but when you wake up in the morning and it’s a beautiful day and your 8 year old says, “Let’s go to the zoo”, what’s a mom to say. So, we loaded up the car and went to the zoo. Usually spontaneity makes for the best kinds of field trips. We had a really nice morning.
Our local zoo (Ellen Trout Zoo) is really pretty amazing. Lufkin has about 35,000 residents — not a large city by any means but it has a very nice zoo. We used to live in much larger city in Texas (over 200,000 residents). There would be the occasional article in the paper about folks wanting a zoo. The conclusion was always that a town that small couldn’t support a zoo. Well, apparently they had never heard of Lufkin and its zoo.
One thing I’ve always wanted to do at the zoo is to eat near the Giraffe exhibit. There are some really nice covered observation areas in the zoo and they all have nice clean tables and chairs. It’s a great place for a picnic. I usually don’t think about it until we’re there but this time, we actually succeeded in doing this.
The Hippopotamus is always a big hit with the boys. The exhibit allows you to see them above ground and underwater — which is nice since that’s where they seem to always be.
One thing the zoo has plenty of is peacocks. There are beautiful males, females with their young and even a couple of pure white ones. They are very pretty and very tame. They let you almost get close enough to touch them and then scamper just out of reach.
There is a bird aviary that is always fun to go through. The birds are beautiful and you feel like your walking amongst them. On this day though, my husband stayed outside the aviary with the cooler while we all walked through it. Three of the birds (are they parrots?) began following Danny up and down as he walked. When he walked, they walked, when he stopped they stopped. It was quite funny to watch. We got to thinking that maybe their keeper drags a cooler like ours around when he feeds them so Danny left the cooler and walked down aways. Sure enough, the birds stayed near the cooler.
My 10 year old has shown an interest in photography. In fact, he was the photographer of several of these photos. He wanted to take a picture of Benjamin sitting on a bench looking at the lake. I thought it turned out to be a nice picture.
It was sweet seeing him pose his brother for just the right shot so Danny tried to take a picture of Jonathan taking a picture of Benjamin. He was a little late and got a picture of Jonathan as he scampered off from taking the picture.
It’s that time again. Tomorrow we begin our 20th year of home schooling. That makes me sound a lot older than I really am. Although, since Danny and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, I guess we are as old as it sounds. This year, I have 3 students. We just married off our second son and we have one in college. That leaves us with Timothy — 15 years old, Jonathan — 10 years old and Benjamin — 8 years old. I have worked out schedules for us that will hopefully allow us to get all we need to get done at home in 3 1/2 hours. Every afternoon except Friday we have somewhere to be after lunch so we don’t get to enjoy relaxing reading times or craft times at our house.
On Mondays, either Danny or I have to be out the door with Timothy at 2:30. He has a cello lesson, a youth orchestra rehearsal and an Orchestra of the Pines rehearsal that night. He should be in Nacogdoches about 6 hours. Since he’s got so much music that day, his schedule is light that morning. He can spend extra time practicing or catching up on anything he might be needing to work on.
Tuesdays is co-op day. This year, the co-op meets just down the street. That will not only be nice because we don’t have to leave so early but if we forget anything we can just run home and get it. Our co-op starts at 1:00 and ends at 5:00. The kids study Latin or Spanish, Shakespeare (Macbeth), Roman History or Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Music (I teach this one — acapella, shaped notes, hymns, folk songs, patriotic songs — lots of fun) and art (appreciation and application).
Wednesday is orchestra day. There are 3 orchestras this year so I’ll be busy from 12:30-5:00. I think I’ll have about 13 in each orchestra. I never know for sure until the first day arrives. This too is down the street.
Thursday I teach violin lessons from 1-5:30. Danny and Timothy go to Mr Morgan’s to work on making their instruments (a cello for Timothy and a violin for Danny). They are usually there from 1:30-4:30.
Friday, we don’t have anything specific planned after lunch. :) :) :)
Below are the boys schedules. I always like to see how others schedule their days so I thought I’d share ours.
I have several friends and family that are either expecting a baby or just had one. I’m grieved every time I hear of a young mother that wants to nurse her baby but in the end, her confidence is crushed and she resorts to giving a bottle. I thought I would share what I have learned about feeding baby.
When I first started having babies, I didn’t know too many people who nursed their babies. My sister was the only one I knew and she did a wonderful job — wonderful enough to give me the confidence to do it myself. Both my sisters in-law nursed theirs as well. I lived in a place, far from my relatives, that did not go for the whole nursing thing so I had to go it alone with my long distance support system from back home. I was able to successfully nurse 6 baby boys through at least their first year. None of them received any supplement until they were at least 4-6 months old. It was an experience that I will always treasure.
As I thought about having babies and feeding babies my mind kept going back to Eve. What did she do? Why would we do things differently than she did? God designed her and God designed us. All of us are designed to nurture a baby while in utero as well as afterwards. Every aspect of childbirth is natural and perfect. The more we interfere with the natural processes, the more complications arise and the more trauma moms and babies go through. So, how did Eve feed her baby? The only way she had available — she nursed him. There was no bottle standing by just in case she didn’t make enough milk. She made enough milk. There was no question about it — her body was designed to feed that baby.
Keeping Eve in mind and knowing that for centuries and centuries women fed their babies the way God designed them to, here’s some tips on nursing:
1) Have confidence that you can do it because God designed you to do it.
2) Be prepared for pain for the first 2-3 weeks. It’s probably going to hurt but nothing good was ever achieved without pain. If you weather this rough time, then it’s smooth sailing. The joys of nursing far outweigh the painful beginning.
3) Do not take those freebie bottles and formula home from the hospital. Leave them there for someone else to use. Don’t ever supplement. Eve didn’t have to supplement and neither do you. Keep nursing. I recall nursing every hour for 20 minutes at a time on occasion. It was exhausting but I never supplemented and my body supplied what the baby needed.
4) Don’t ever stop nursing. I hear over and over that a medical professional recommended that mom supplement (means you’re going to miss out on a nursing session) or give it up all together. Don’t listen to them. The whole idea of nursing is that the more baby nurses the more milk you make. This is so important in the first weeks of life. If you skip a nursing, then you do not benefit from the sucking that will increase the milk supply. Your body thinks that it shouldn’t make as much milk because the baby obviously doesn’t need as much because he’s not sucking as much. It’s all about supply and demand.
5) Drink lots of fluids. If you get dehydrated, you won’t be able to produce enough milk. Actually, baby will probably get enough but you’ll start losing the good stuff you need. If you don’t think you’re producing enough milk, drink more water.
6) Nurse on demand. Forget about all of those rules and times. I don’t picture Eve sitting there with a watch to determine when the baby needs to eat. Only the baby knows when it’s time to eat. You’ll think you’re feeding 24/7 sometimes — that’s ok. That’s what you’re there for. There are times that it will seem like the baby, that has been nursing on a relatively easy schedule, all of a sudden can’t seem to get enough. This is not a time to panic and think that you’ve quit making milk. Remember, your body is designed to make milk. This just means that the baby is going through a growth spurt and needs more milk. The extra nursing time tells your body that it needs to produce more. Before you know it, you’ll be satisfying that baby again and he will be fat and happy. You can expect these times to happen around 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months.
7) Get plenty of rest. I know you’ve heard this over and over but you have to get plenty of rest. That means that you won’t be going to back to the previous schedule you had before baby was born or before you were pregnant. Things are different now. You have a baby to take care of. Nothing is more important — not a job, not school, not anything. If you begin to feel a little feverish and your breasts are tender to the touch that means you’re doing too much. Stop what you’re doing and spend a day in bed. Spend that time nursing your baby. The more you nurse the quicker the symptoms will subside. I know, you’re going to say this is impossible but it’s not really. You can sit the other kids in front of the TV or send them to a friends’ or relatives’ house on occasion and no one is going to think you’re a bad mommy. There are times that you just have to take care of yourself. The worst time I had with this was with baby #4. With a 2 and 4-year-old running around and home schooling a 8-year-old it was hard to take time off. I learned that if I would rest as soon as I began to feel those symptoms come on that I would be up and running as usual the next morning.
8 Eat right. Now is NOT the time to be thinking about losing that baby weight. Remarkably, most of the time, you will return to pretty close to you pre-baby weight because you are nursing, but if you don’t eat right, you won’t be able to nurse and then you’ll have to depend on a rigid diet to lose the weight.
9) Eat enough. This goes along with the last one but I didn’t want it to get lost in a long paragraph. Not only do you have to eat the right foods but you have to eat more than you did when you were pregnant. Think about it. You’re feeding a baby 100% of what he needs and that baby is growing everyday. As the baby grows he needs more food. You’re the one producing it so you’re going to have to put more in to get more out. The trick is to make the extra calories be good calories, not junk.
Nursing is one of the most wonderful things you can do for and with your baby. You were designed to nurse and you should ignore anyone that tries to discourage you. I’m sure some of my more experienced mom friends can add to this list. Feel free to do so.
One other thing I’d like to add. I thought I would attach a photo and while searching for an appropriate one I was reminded of one last bit of advice.
Nurse modestly. There is never any reason to reveal yourself while nursing. If you can’t nurse discreetly, find a quiet place that you can nurse your baby. A woman should be able to nurse her baby and others in the room not even realize (unless their really focused on the situation) what is going on. Always think about what you’re wearing before you go out. Is it something that you can nurse modestly in. Always carry a light blanket to cover up any parts that may be showing. The whole debate over women nursing in public would not be necessary if women would show a little respect for those around them as well as for themselves and their baby.
Here’s another encouraging article about breastfeeding you might like to read: Breastfeeding Gets Easier
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In our home, Thanksgiving is about getting to spend time with our family — either immediate or extended. All of the trappings of other holidays are set aside for Thanksgiving. There is no emphasis put on gift giving/receiving so we aren’t going broke and aren’t feeding the greed machine that Christmas and birthdays can easily feed. It’s in the Fall (my favorite time of year). Here in Texas the weather is usually gorgeous. You might want to wear long sleeves but a jacket is usually not absolutely necessary. The young ones (and old ones if they want) can play outside without freezing or sweating. It’s just a good holiday at a good time of year. I love it!
We have entered into a phase of our lives that makes celebrating Thanksgiving as a family challenging. We have a son and daughter in-law that live on the west coast, a son going to school on the east coast and we are in the middle. We have not been completely together (our immediate family) in a few years. Last year, we were missing both of those on either coast. It really saddens me that we no longer have the flexibility to get together like we used to.
This year, the son on the east coast is driving in to spend Thanksgiving with us. There will be one other event added just before Thanksgiving. I will be spending 3 or 4 days with my sister while she recovers from surgery. So, with my east coast son and myself coming home the day before Thanksgiving, I decided I needed to get organized.
Some year, in the recent past, I wrote down a menu and a list of what I needed to do to prepare the Thanksgiving meal. I have hung on to this list and referred to it ever since. For a meal that is basically the same every year, it seems smart to not "reinvent the wheel" every time it rolls around. So, I’m going to put my plan on my blog so I can refer to it even if I’m not at home. I plan to include recipes where they are needed.
Our family has a feud every year over which Sweet Potato Casserole to make. Danny and I like the one we picked up when we were living in Mississippi (brown suger/pecan topping), the boys like the one Danny and I both grew up with (marshmallow topping). They are both good but since there are more boys around here than the 2 of us, we’ll probably do the marshmallow topping again this year.
Tony Chachere’s Creole Butter Turkey
Mema’s Cornbread Dressing
Mom’s Homemade Yeast Rolls
Janet’s Sweet Potato Casserole
Emeril’s Scalloped Potato
James’ Favorite Green Bean Casserole
Susie’s Shoe Peg Corn Salad
The Shopping List:
refrigerator (canned) biscuits
cream of chicken soup
french fried onion topping
shoe peg corn
sharp cheddar cheese
unsweetened chocolate squares
pumpkin (fresh or canned)
ice (preferably from Sonic)
Go to the grocery store
Thaw turkey if it is frozen
Clean out refrigerator — we’ll need the space on Wednesday.
Cook pumpkin (this year mine is already frozen and ready to go)
Cook sweet potato
Bake cornbread (2 pans)
Prepare 3 for pumpkin pie
Prepare 1 for pecan pie
Prepare bottom and top crust for Apple pie
Save scraps for the kids to make crust cookies
Prepare Betty Crocker’s chocolate pies (at least 2) refrigerate after cooling
Prepare pumpkin pies (at least 3)
Prepare apple pie (just 1)
Put together casseroles (sweet potato and scalloped potato) refrigerate
Make cranberry salad — refrigerate
Cut veges for shoe peg corn salad
Start rolls – this should be done at least 3.5 hours before eating time.
Prepare coffee so it can be turned on when needed
Put dressing ingredients together — begin cooking about 1.5 hours before eating time
Prepare green bean casserole — begin cooking about 1 hour before eating time
Prepare shoe peg corn salad — refrigerate — don’t add fritos until just before serving
Turkey should be done
Turn on Coffee
School has been going on for 4 weeks now. Everything is running smoothly and we are very busy. One thing that really helps is the menu. I’ve done this off and on over the years and every time I get back to it I wonder why I ever let it slide.
I make a 4 week menu that we repeat every month. This allows me to have one less thing to think about. I make my grocery list from the menu each week and cook from it as well. This also eliminates the need of pricey convenience foods for the quick lunches we so desperately need. There are usually leftovers that we eat at lunch. By the end of the week, there is usually a selection of leftovers that keeps everyone in the house happy.
There are some recipes that I cook in bulk and freeze so I just have to make the mess and take the time to prepare occasionally. These are mainly the recipes that call for hamburger meat. I will also freeze beans. I buy the 10 lb tube of ground chuck for these meals. One week, the "tube of meat" made 5 meatloaves. Another week it made 4 recipes of chili. I made 3 recipes of taco meat out of one of the "tubes of meat". One "tube of meat" was browned and frozen in 1 lb portions to be used with spaghetti, casseroles or whatever else I might want browned ground meat for. I used a chuck roast to make a large batch of beef stew (I froze half).
Here is the menu as it stands now. There are only a few meals that we eat more than once in the month. There are occasional nights out that we either eat at a restaurant or at someone’s home.
We are about to start school for the year. One of the most important things I have to do (for my sanity) is to get schedules ready for the kids and myself. I think I have come up with something workable. There doesn’t seem too be too much free time but who said life would be leisurely? I will post them here for 2 reasons: someone might be interested to see what we do at or house and if they ever get lost around here, I’ll know where I can find them.
It is that time again. I’m finding it a little difficult to settle down and get myself ready. With one son living in CA and another going to school in FL, I find myself more distracted than I did when they were all little and under one roof. This year I will have 4 students. My youngest is 6 so he will be considered a full-fledged home schooler. I will also be teaching son #3 for his last year at home. The other two are 13 and 8.
This year we will participate in a Charlotte Mason co-op. This is our 4th year to participate. It has been a blessing in many ways. We study Latin, Shakespeare, Art, Nature and Great Literature. The younger 2 boys have not been old enough to participate until this year. We are adding classes for the little brothers/sisters of the older kids as well as grandkids of some of the moms already involved. The little kids will be studying Latin, Shakespeare, Drawing, Art/Crafts, Nature, Violin and Art Appreciation. All of this will be done in short segments (Charlotte Mason style) so the little kids will be done in about 2.5 hours. The older kids will be in class for 4.5 hours.
I will be teaching a String Orchestra again this year. This is our 4th year for this as well. Last year, there were about 30 students involved. I’m not sure of the final count yet this year. There will be 3 groups meeting at 12:00 (1st year), 1:30 (2nd year) and 3:00 (3rd year and above). I do know that there will be 3 bass players in the 1st year group. That’s a lot of big deep instruments. So far, there is 1 cello and 3 violins. The other two groups should remain pretty much the same.
Other things we’re going to be doing this year? Andrew and Timothy will continue their instrument making (Luthier) lessons. Andrew finished his mandolin and Timothy finished his violin. Andrew has already started work on a 5 string viola. Timothy has been learning how to rehair bows (we’ve had several around here for him to practice on). He hopes to make a cello but will probably work on another violin.
Benjamin and Jonathan are working on learning the piano and will be learning violin in the co-op. Benjamin still needs work on his reading skills. Jonathan wants to learn about inventors. We’ll probably start off the year with a study of Benjamin Franklin. Then, if the interest is still high, we’ll study Thomas Edison.
Timothy needs to officially start his high school career this year. He’s done a few high school level classes but this year, it’s for real. He’ll be doing Alg 1, Biology, English (Gray book from LLATL), History/Geography of the Bible and the stuff from co-op. He will be learning the bass (one of the 3) in the 1st year orchestra, playing viola in the 2nd year orchestra and cello in the 3rd year orchestra.
Andrew is the one finishing his high school career this year. He is going to finish the Writing Strands series, Apologia’s Physics, Notgrass Government, work on clepping out of some college classes, take his SAT and do the stuff from co-op. He will also be in the orchestra. He’s going to learn violin with the 1st year group, bass with the 2nd year group and viola with the 3rd year.
So, what am I going to do this year? Other than facilitate all of this activity, I will be teaching Bible class twice a week (early elementary), I have a "how to teach Bible class" session planned in a nearby town in September, teach private violin lessons, and attempt to keep my house in some sort of order.
Now that I’ve written it all down, maybe I’ll have the strength and courage to get it going. Our official start date for co-op is Sept 1, for orchestra is Sept 14 and for school is probably going to be Aug 31. Where did the summer go?
Here is a note I wrote for Facebook. I thought I would share it here as well:
My mom made a comment on my most recent status that got me thinking. She made the comment that she wish she had home schooled us kids. Thinking back on our school years, Mom was the first home school mom I knew. No, we didn’t stay home from public school, but that didn’t stop her from teaching us at home.
My first memory of mom teaching me was when I was 3 years old. Mom took a poster board and drew a music staff with all the notes on it. She sat us down in front of the poster and proceeded to teach us to read music. I don’t know how often this happened or how long we did it but I learned to read music when I was 3 years old. That is a skill that has brought me much joy and even extra spending money throughout my adult life.
I also learned to read early because of Mom. She must have Read Dr Seuss a hundred times. I remember sitting on the couch in our house in Pampa. My 2 sisters were at school. I guess my little brother was taking a nap. I was trying to read one of Dr Seuss’ books (Are You My Mother was my favorite). I would read a word or 2 and hop down off the couch, run to the kitchen where mom was and ask her what a word was. I would go back to the couch, read a couple more words and go back to ask mom what a word was. She was always patient with me, told me what I wanted to know and let me go on trying to do it by myself. I remember people listening to me read and commenting that I was lucky I had learned to read with phonics. I didn’t learn to read with anything except a mom that loved to read and read and read to me — no fancy curriculum.
I recall Mom always being willing to help me with my homework. I was the kind of kid that loved math, loved school, loved home work. What I wanted from Mom was for her to write out math problems so I could do practice my math facts at home. She didn’t need a fancy computer or a workbook to help me with this. I would get a piece of paper and a pencil and while she was fixing supper ask her to write down math facts for me. She stopped what she was doing and wrote out a page of math facts. She wasn’t one that loved math but I did and she encouraged me to do well in it.
Mom didn’t limit her "home school mom" tendencies to book work. She believed in teaching us or finding someone else to teach us life skills. I remember going to JC Penney one evening a week and learning how to knit. She taught me to crochet. She was always willing to buy me some fabric and a pattern so I could sew. It didn’t bother her that I was going to be using her sewing machine. She didn’t mind if I made a mess. She didn’t even care if I finished the project or not. She encouraged me to try something new. In my adult years I have sewed for fun and profit.
Even though Mom didn’t technically home school us, she definitely has a home school mom’s heart and probably her willingness to teach us what she knew or to find someone else to teach us what we wanted to know planted that first seed of a desire to home school in my own heart.