Tag Archives: Homeschool

The Magic Mirror by Ben Sherwood

As part of Homeschool I’ve decided to let the boys dictate stories to me while I type them out. This is the first one Ben ever did. The look on his face when we printed it out and he held it in his hands was priceless. He felt so proud…like a real author. Then while his dad read out loud to all of us…oh his face! Needless to say I think I will like this tradition.

The Magic Mirror

By Ben Sherwood

Once upon a time there was a mom and she threw a mirror in the garbage and a boy was going hunting for treasure and he found it so he took it. He brought it inside and when he put in on the ground he was also scared. He stepped on the mirror and instead of stepping on the mirror he stepped into the mirror and fell into a different place that he’s never seen before.

He saw a man that looked so strange. He had a black hat that was a majesty hat. He had a red ribbon with a bow on it that he wore on his head and on his shoes. He had a magic wand in his hand. And his name was The Weird Majesty. And he lifted his hand out towards the boy and the boy disappeared.

The place where he was he saw a clown and The Weird Majesty again. But he was different. Instead of red bows on his hat and shoes it was blue bows. And the boy thought that it was snowing and there was actually a window into the whitest place you’ve ever seen. He looked closely into the window and he saw icicles and snow. And the water in the snow was actually melted Popsicle. And the normal snow was ice with it.

The Weird Majesty made the boy disappear again. This time he was wearing yellow bows on his head and shoes. There was a clown there and a summer guy this time. He looked outside and it was so bright he could barely see anything. And when he looked out there he went blind for a long time although he could still sense the light. When he was small he had touched a rock wall and now that he was bigger he knew what a rock wall felt like so he touched the rock wall and felt it and tried to climb it even though he was blind.

The Weird Majesty all the sudden made him disappear again and then he wasn’t blind anymore. He was on a trail in the woods. Also when he was little when his mom took him to Wild Island so now that was bigger he could recognize it and that’s where he was. All the sudden he saw a movement in the bushes and it was tiger. And then he found that there was a mark on the tigers face. And he remembered the tiger when his mom was out hunting for chickens on Wild Island. And his mom said that to kill the tiger you just need some hot sauce to shoot at the spot on his head. If it touches anything, the hot sauce will be on fire. And he had a pack of hot sauce on him so he threw it at the tiger and the bottle of hot sauce was tipped over upside down on his nose. It was stuck on him. His mom did not find chickens. All the sudden another movement in the bushes arrived. And there was a “BAAhhhk!” And he caught it! It was a chicken!

And all the sudden a magic wand fell from the sky. And the boy disappeared back to home. His mom was so surprised she was looking for him. The boy told her all about the stories he had and she was also surprised that there was a chicken that he found. Because without the chicken they wouldn’t have thanksgiving dinner.

The End.

Homeschooling Ben

When we moved to this house in Wellsville I started my research on schools for Ben. Of course there was the public elementary school down the street but the Wellsville school never really showed up on my list when I did my ‘best schools in Cache Valley’ search. I had conversations with his former preschool teacher who assured me that Wellsville school had just gotten a new principal and that her niece teaches there and had nothing but praises about it.

After getting the news that Ben didn’t get into a charter school we were hoping for (it’s lottery after all…what were the chances?) we decided that we would try the public school.

It started out good. He was so excited and so was I! His teacher seemed really amazing (she is). We got his backpack ready and all the anticipation and excitement of the first day of school was as expected. We were in it for the long haul. The programs, the homework, the volunteer opportunities for the parents, the school schedule and even all the germs that were being introduced those first few weeks! Ha!

I thoroughly enjoyed dropping him off and picking him up each day to hear all the cute girls in his class say, “Bye Ben!” as he would get into the car.

He really got along with the girls in his class. Not as much with the boys. He was just as his preschool teacher predicted, the teachers pet. He was a fantastic student. Before we pulled him out he was tested; I think they are called dibels or dimmels or something; and out of the entire cache county school district he scored in the 96th percentile.

But before that happened I started to notice something. Yes, his homework was too easy. He already knew everything they were going over. He was a bit bored. His favorite time was recess (which happened twice during a 3 hour period). But that wasn’t what concerned me. I know that a lot of kindergarteners are bored and already know everything at the beginning of the year. And ya, they weren’t cramming those 3 hours with learning only, which I wouldn’t want anyway…that’s too much for 5 year olds. It did seem like a lot of his time was filled with fluff but that wasn’t what bothered me the most either.

It was a day that the morning wasn’t going as smoothly as others and I probably threatened him that I’d keep him home from school if things didn’t change. In preschool that threat always got his attention and things changed. He loved preschool. LOVED it. It was an amazing school…his teacher was probably the best in the county which is why people didn’t mind driving long distances for her. Anyway through that experience he learned to love learning. We saw it happen before our eyes. We knew and his teacher knew that he is a very bright boy and it was such a perfect atmosphere to kindle that. He excelled. I know you might be thinking, he was four Anna! It’s just preschool. But it’s a fun experience when you see your child grow so much and do so well, even beyond his years.

So that morning when his response to my threat was, “OK, fine, I’ll stay home from school, I don’t care!” I knew something was off.

It didn’t happen just that one time either. He subsequently showed signs that he didn’t really care to go to school or that if he missed it it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Once or twice he even asked if he could stay home and play with William instead. Complete opposite of the year before.

And this is not because he wasn’t getting along with his classmates, or that he was being bullied. It wasn’t because he wasn’t doing well. A meeting we had with his teacher at one point made that all very clear. Ben was well loved by everyone and was an excellent student. But for some reason it’s like I could see his beautiful light of learning slowly start to dim. It scared me to death.

So that’s when the door opened in my mind to homeschooling. I never thought that door would open. I really didn’t. Not for me. I knew that someday when David had his dream of starting his own school come true that we would pull our kids out at that point and he would take over most of the grunt work. I never imagined that I would be doing it myself. I had a small belief that moms shouldn’t confuse their role as moms with that of teacher because it’s confusing for the kids. I knew that the social aspect of homeschool was complicated but despite all this and more I knew that it was the right choice for Ben.

A conversation with my family (mom, brother and sister in law) also really helped me take the leap forward. They also know how bright Ben is and helped me see how much more freedom we’d have with him at home. Yes, he could learn at a faster rate but more importantly we could facilitate the love of learning that public school just wasn’t doing….already.

We went in for another meeting with his kindergarten teacher to share our thoughts with her and ask for her thoughts about it. She was so understanding and kind, not at all like I was expecting. You know, judgmental and concerned about the ‘homeschool’ mindset. She understood where we were coming from with Ben and said that she didn’t worry about him as she does with others who do homeschool. She did in a way beg for us to keep Ben in school because she just loved him so much. She said if she could have 20 Ben’s in her class her life would be bliss. She said she would miss him.

A week later Ben was home for good.

Most of the questions and concerns that I’ve had about homeschool have been resolved since then. For instance, concerning the confusion of roles, teacher or mom, I feel strongly now that that simply wasn’t true. Who else might I ask, is better suited to teach my child than me? And isn’t that the literal description of my responsibility as a parent anyway?

The biggest concern I still have is about the social aspect of it. I’ve actually been have a bit of anxiety about it the last couple days. I worry and wonder about what Ben is missing out on at school. What life experiences is he missing that could be super beneficial to his growth? Am I ruining him in some small way? Or big way?

I still don’t know the answer. But, I do know that we will do our best by getting him in activities like karate or soccer or music lessons. Also that we will have him in play dates and group activities with other kids. I also know that public school ‘socialization’ isn’t necessarily the best form of socialization out there so I can take comfort in that. I just have to have faith that even though I don’t know all the answers right now, this is still the best choice for Ben and everything will work out!

Plus he’s only in kindergarten. No better place to start right?

I’m grateful for this little learning journey I’ve been on with Ben and am excited about the ones to come!

M.I.A….again

It’s clear that I am not great at this blogging thing. This is why my blog could never be something big or important. I’m ok with that. I think that if I tried to turn it into a money maker it would lose its charm for me. Or just stress me out.

Life has been a bit crazy for me these last few weeks. Seems like all I’ve been doing is running around crazy trying to get the last minute things ready for baby. Yet, there still seems to be a lot more to do. But I’ve accepted that everything I want done, probably won’t be done.

Breathe.

It’s OK.

The most important things are done.

I really do feel ready for him to come. I am so ready to snuggle him and smell him and feed him from the outside and see his cute face!

One of the things that I got done that I felt was important was getting a little office area set up for all of us. This included finally getting my own computer!! Yay!

This will (or I should say SHOULD) help me become more consistent at blogging instead of depending on David’s computer in those fleeting moments.

I feel pretty giddy about it. I haven’t had my own computer since college. I’ve laid awake at night with excitment at what I can do and how I can organize my life on here…pictures etc.

Also a project that has been ‘haunting’ me for years I can finally get done! It consists of converting all my families home videos (VHS) to digital. I am probably going to upload them to youtube as well as have them backed up elsewhere. I’m excited about that.

To do this, I needed a stable desktop where the VCR could stay plugged in while I tackled a little bit of it everyday.  It’s going to take a while.

The next biggest news in our life is that we have decided to homeschool Ben!

This was another reason the office area was so important to set up. He needed a place to ‘homeschool’.

We didn’t come to this decision lightly. And I’ll be the first to remind you that I was always one of those women who when the topic of homeschool came up in conversation said something like, “I could never homeschool! No thanks! Send them away! I am not that cool and organized etc etc.”

So this is as much a surprise to me as anybody else. But that’s what having kids do to you! Unpredictable! They come with their own personalities and needs…throw your own plans out the window…you need to do what’s best for them.

I might be writing a post on this decision alone. It’s a big one. The decision. Not necessarily the post but we’ll see. There are a lot of factors and other things that go into this and even as I type this I still have questions regarding whether this is the right thing.

You may wonder how could I have made such a huge decision unless I was absolutely certain it was the right choice? Well at this point all I can say is it was the more right choice between the two choices.

And we’re going from there.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. Will I be there contributing a cake or pie? Or will I be home in bed with a brand new baby in my arms. Who knows? Either way sounds good to me! Bring it on!

Happy Thanksgiving friends!

What a blessed world we live in!