Category Archives: Home

teaching my boys

Let’s Grow!

Life is a garden. 

Dig in!

Today’s post was I nspired by a local nursery sign. I have had veggie plants and flowers for awhile now, but was afraid to move them off my sheltered porch given our May showers ranging from torrential to frozen. But with my hubby’s help, we’re off and growing.

 

Onions and oregano, showing how it’s done

 

Front porch family

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Listen (or Play!) and Learn

I am being lazy again, but I dug this out of my archives thanks to my brother who commented on Monday’s post on Facebook. Unfortunately most of the links there to these research studies are no longer working. But I can provide a link to NAMM Foundation research page.

This post is dated March 11, 2009 on my old blog.

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I was intrigued when I read that the top academic countries in the world place a high value on music education. The study is showed that countries like Hungary, the Netherlands and Japan that rank high in science achievement also have required instrumental and vocal music training at elementary and middle school levels.

I dug a bit deeper and found that music study equips students to grasp advanced math and science concepts. Spatial-temporal reasoning is the ability to create, maintain, transform, and relate complex mental images, even in the absence of external sensory input or feedback. More simply put, this reasoning skill deals with proportional reasoning–fractions, proportions, ratios, and thinking in space and time. Music, math, science, physics, and chess all involve spatial-temporal reasoning.

In one study second-grade students were given four months of piano keyboard training and newly designed math software. A second group was given just the math software. The group given the keyboard training scored over 27 percent higher on proportional math and fractions tests than the software-only group.

In another study with pre-schoolers, one group was given private piano keyboard lessons and singing lessons, while a second group received private computer lessons. The children who received the music training performed 34 percent higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability.

Other studies seem to indicate that simply listening to music can enhance spatial-temporal reasoning. I was warned of the dire consequences of allowing my son to have headphones on “while he was supposed to be studying.” (He wasn’t listening to classical music either.) Because his school work and test scores proved that the activity didn’t seem to be hindering learning, I didn’t interfere.

In the current academic climate which stresses teaching to testing and where funding cuts often limit classes in the arts including band and vocal music, it would appear wise for parents to make sure that their children have a solid foundation in music. An investment in a keyboard and lessons may well be an investment in a child’s learning ability. At the very least, make sure after-school activities involve music, perhaps even while doing homework!

Keyboard photo by Manuella Hoffmann via Creative Commons
Calculator photo by Jek Bacarisas via Creative Commons

 

Contemplating My Universe

It is not a secret by any stretch of the imagination that I have loved every minute of being a mom. I kept waiting for the twos to get terrible.  It never happened.  I waited for the sullen, silent misery of the teen years when my boys would become distant.  Never happened.  

That’s not to say we never saw a tantrum, nor was everything smooth sailing during the turbulence of adolescence. But for the most part we experienced bumps.  We worked throughout them.  We still work through them.

As much as I loved being Mom, I always tried to remember that they don’t stay little and that if I was doing my job right, I would gradually play a lesser role in their lives. I did my best to make room in my life for pursuits of my own that could fill in the gaps when mommy-hood disappeared.

Well, here we are.

I miss having little boys in the house and this has been compounded by the fact that I spent much of August culling old school papers so that I have room in the filing cabinet for stuff I may actually have to retrieve some day.  At this point having the dated and completed algebra worksheets that match with the school schedule, saved to prove we were providing an “equal education” here at home is unnecessary.  All the proof we need now are the framed degrees and certification cards for my two professional Sign Language Interpreters.

It’s been an exhausting week and last night my emotions got the best of me. I was a melted puddle of “the best of my life is over; all I have to look forward to are endless days of cooking, cleaning and laundry and if this is retirement who needs it?” 

My dear, fix-it hubby encouraged me to do what he knows I love to do. Write about it. 

“It” being our successful homeschooling adventure.

This isn’t the first time he’s tried to guide me down this path. I have resisted him for many reasons.  

  1. There are already a ton of books out there about homeschooling.  
  2. I have no credentials. Much as I prefer a person with experience in the trenches over an expert with letters after his/her name, I do have to accept the reality of the fact that those letters mean something to some people, namely people who publish and purchase “how to” books on something as important as giving your child a sound and solid education.  
  3. It seems a daunting task. Where to start. How to make it interesting.  What slant to take.

He was so kind as to point out that: 

  1. Our story is not out there and it, like every home education story, is unique. Perhaps our unique parts would help someone else. And who said it had to be a book.
  2. Our sons are professionals in their chosen field and live successful, moral, productive lives. They are our credentials.
  3. Just put it down in bits and pieces and tie it together later.  As Nike is so fond of saying: Just do it.
So why not just do it here? It seems like an endless source of blog fodder. 

Photo by Kelly Boesch

 
Because home has played such a big role from the time we found out our first child was on the way, I’ve decided to use the category Home for any posts that relate to this subject.  The posts won’t be dry clips about the nuts and bolts of things like curriculum and organization.  What fun is that? The fun of our educational process lies in the stories we generated.  
 
Who doesn’t like entertaining and informative in the same package? 
 
Here’s to my next chapter.