Takayiyo's World‎ > ‎

On my mind

Wide Open Space?

posted Oct 17, 2011, 6:06 AM by K Day   [ updated Nov 10, 2011, 11:41 AM ]

Living in Chicagoland and being Claustrophobic do NOT always go hand in hand. I guess growing up in the wide open spaces of rural Ohio where my closest neighbor was literally a mile away and probably Amish didn't help either. Throw in that I regularly went outside to the garden to "pick dinner" and I'm Jonesing for a bigger place to call home. This is not so easy to find here in Chicagoland, if you still want to be close to the city - which we do. Dad works in the loop, Taka spends a day a week in Lincoln Park for classes (not to mention all the other reasons we are regularly in the city) and we love living so close to the amenities Chicago offers. So moving an hour or more outside the city isn't going to happen anytime soon... But alas, I dream of gardens, solar panels, wind turbines and space, wonderful space. So what's a country girl to do? Buy 6 properties, string them together and pay a million dollars in taxes? Ummmm, No... So we dream...

As I dream, I research and read and learn. Right now I'm learning about Aquaponics, PV Solar panels, metal roofs, cargo container building and more. I need a place to keep all of the great websites I've found recently so I'm creating this post for that very specific purpose. I know, I know, what about Taka and Homeschooling, etc., etc., etc.? Well just clicky over to another page and you'll be fine dear. It's just that sometimes us mommies need to have other interests or our minds turn to mush :) 

Great blog by a realist, Ronin (not his real name), about architecture, "cargotecture", sustainability and general common sense that is so lacking today...

Ronin's Friend

Tonnes of great solar power info

Local Cargo Containers For Sale

Amazing Cargo Container Designs

General Common Sense and ways to be more "Green"

And the Prefab stuff

Winning with Nos

posted Sep 2, 2011, 8:13 PM by K Day   [ updated Nov 10, 2011, 11:45 AM ]

I've just picked up John Holt's "Teach Your Own" and in the preface Patrick Farenga talks about John Gagliardi, the winningest college football coach of all time. He doesn't drill his team or follow traditional methods to train up a great team. He wins with nos.

Gagliardi's success is attributable to more than just football strategy and tactics. He creates an environment of fun and high expectations and he concentrates on methods and practices that truly focus on winning football games. In short, Gagliardi's approach is one of concentration at the critical point and flawless execution. It is accomplished through a practice regimen that is purposeful -- emphasizing repetition and fundamentals. His coaching methods have been distilled into a series of "Winning With Nos," some of which are listed below.

No blocking sleds or dummies
No athletic scholarships
No compulsory weightlifting program
No whistles
No "coach" - players call him John
No tackling in practice - players wear shorts or sweats
No long practices - an hour and a half or less

Each year, over 150 students turn out to be part of the Saint John's program. Through his current and former players, his accomplishments on and off the field and his place in the records of NCAA football, John Gagliardi has built a legacy that is unrivaled in college football.

I wonder if anyone ever thought to stereotype John Gagliardi as a misfit for not following "traditional" methods. I also wonder why more of a lesson isn't take from his playbook and used more frequently in other schools around the country. Why not make this the new model? Of course every model won't work in every situation but surely, there is something of value to take away here.

To Captain Underpants or Not to Captain Underpants?

posted May 31, 2011, 6:18 AM by K Day   [ updated Nov 10, 2011, 11:46 AM ]

Previously I had taken the position that we wouldn't bring books like Captain Underpants into our home. My thought was that since there is no real academic value in them, why bring them into the house. I've recently reconsidered my position. 

Recently our local library started a book club for the 6-8 year old crowd and the book this month is "The Adventures of Captain Underpants". WHAT?!?!?!?!!? Are you serious! I couldn't believe it... Taka was excited by the book club so we checked the book out anyway. 

When we got home we began to read... It was a quick read, very simple, silly and beyond logic - Taka' loved it. It was the silly, unbelievable humor of it all that got him. The fact that he read it by himself got me. Here is a book he is so interested in that he reads it to himself, quietly with the exception of the excited laughing. 

In the end we have decided to allow Captain Underpants into our home. Not for the cerebral stimulation but for the fact that Taka' likes reading it. It is promoting a very important skill which will develop into deeper reading habits. I also like the way it develops imagination. Too often in our world today imagination is frowned upon. I hope this will inspire Taka's imagination in ways I had never thought of before. 

Socialization - What is that anyway?

posted Mar 28, 2011, 5:37 PM by K Day   [ updated Nov 10, 2011, 11:45 AM ]

Socialization is one of the "Hot Topics" of homeschooling and I worried about it endlessly the first few months we homeschooled. Life is an everlasting opportunity to live and learn and in the last few months I've learned not to worry about socialization. I often wonder if people talking about "Socialization" actually know what it means. Here's what Dictionary.com has to say about it

1. A continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position. 

Much of the chatter about homeschooling and socialization is the question of "How will a homeschool child be socialized?"  It's as if people have this idea that all kids entering Kindergarten are not "socialized" and they can't be considered to be "socialized" until after they go to an institutionalized "school", because the only place a child can "get socialized" is "at school". I submit that children are socialized from birth. It could come in the form of internal family dynamics or external play dates, youth groups, dance class or any other group setting. Children are becoming socialized BEFORE they ever step foot into "school". So why should it change just because they reach the age, the government deemed it appropriate, to go to school? I'm not sure. 

There is the idea that, even if your child is socialized before school, they need to go to school to learn "the rules", how to follow instructions and of course get to experience the "bully" on the playground. I don't get that. Most of us had to face the bully on the playground and most of us wouldn't want that for our kids. It certainly didn't teach me conflict resolution, how to interact with people or "how to deal". In fact one might say having to deal with bullies, peer pressure and teachers would cause a child to become introverted, not socialized in a positive manner. 

If you look at the definition literally several questions come to mind. 
- Do I/you believe a child can be unique and acquire a personal identity spending all day with 30 peers of the same age, region and being taught the exact same thing? 
- Do I/you really want our children to be "normal" & "socialized" when normal means (as of mid 2010)
        - About a 50% drop out rate
        - More than 11,000 babies being born to teenage girls 
        - Graduating from high school with a 3rd grade reading level? 
- Do I/you want our children to learn their values, behaviors and social skills from the other children (and the teacher), their age, whom you may or may not know? 

I think it's good to have the conversation but in the end it is the responsibility, not just the right, of the parent to guide their child through life in the best way they can. Every child is unique and what works for one may not work for another. Homeschooling isn't right for everyone and neither is conventional, institutionalized school. Perhaps the lesson to take away is to treat one another with respect, keep your comments logical and filled with value, leave judgement at the door and always, always deliver your message with all the love and kindness in your heart. 

Vacation anyone?

posted Mar 17, 2011, 7:53 PM by K Day   [ updated Nov 10, 2011, 11:45 AM ]

We always say we will but we never do - go on vacation that is. I mean a real vacation, not just visiting relatives in distant lands. Today I was dreaming about getting Taka' out of the city this summer and began to seek out some places. All of these places seem to have nice reviews and aren't too far away. Maybe, just maybe I can manage to convince the men of the family to leave the hustle and bustle behind :) 

Time Out Chicago Kids had a great review for Feather Down Farm in Northwest Illinois. This reminds me my childhood, growing up on the family farm. It may be a little pricey but probably money well spent so a city slicking family can get back to basics. 

Wisconsin's Blue Mountain State Park also looks like a place our family would enjoy. Biking, camping and hiking - what's not to love? 

The last place I found that reminds me of growing up back home is Blue Springs Ranch. They have swimming, canoeing, hiking, etc and cabins if you're not up for roughing it.  

Hopefully we'll get to one of them this year to enjoy a little family time away from home. 

What Taka' needs to know and when

posted Jan 29, 2011, 1:06 PM by K Day   [ updated Nov 10, 2011, 11:46 AM ]

I am fortunate enough to belong to a great homeschooling community with families who run the gamete from first time preschool homeschooler's to veteran homeschooler's of high schoolers and college bound kids. Each as unique and individual as snowflakes, who are tireless in their contributions to newbies like me. Even though I have these great women (and men) to lean on, I still worry sometimes - am I'm doing enough with Taka'? Is he learning enough, are we "on target" (whatever that means) and am I doing enough to at least keep him at a level where he can still be articulate with other kids his own age, that are still in an institutionalized school? So far the answer is yes, but I must admit I still seek confirmation from the "traditional" school world from time to time. In my search for a "Check List", to tell me what Taka' needs to know when, I came across World Book's website. Here you will find a general "Typical Course of Study "Enter Grade" Curriculum Guide". Everything from Kindergarten to 12th grade. 

Taka' has just turned 6, so in our state he would be eligible for Kindergarten. Thus I began with the

"Typical Course of Study Kindergarten Curriculum Guide"However, upon reviewing I quickly went to the "Typical Course of Study Grade 1 Curriculum Guide".   And then onto the 2nd grade document just for kicks and giggles. I think it's interesting to see what is recommended for each grade. 

I sometimes lose sight of why we chose to homeschool. So continuing to learn more helps to keep me grounded and on track. The more I learn the more I recall the reasons we chose to homeschool. I still struggle with finding balance between what I grew up being told and this new path we've chosen for our son. I have a friend who would say that I still need to be "De-Schooled" :) I would say - I'm working on it. 

Although our family isn't a good fit for traditional institutionalized learning it doesn't mean that others aren't. I still find value in discovering what Taka's friends learn in public and private school. And there is always value in learning from those who have gone before us. 

"I'm forkin' ya mom!"

posted Jan 29, 2011, 10:46 AM by K Day   [ updated Nov 10, 2011, 11:47 AM ]

Taka's really been getting into Chess lately and is getting pretty good at it too. He has learned about things like forking, pins, etc. and he plays almost every day. 

Today while making breakfast Liam says "Mom, let's play a game of Chess". I grab my coffee cup, sit down and we begin. After a few moves (of incredibly weak chess on my part) Taka yells out "I'm forkin' ya mom!". In my still sleepy, non-chess mind I was immediately alarmed. To my surprise Taka began to explain what this means in a Chess game. Crisis averted, it only means that he is attacking 2 of my pieces at one time. 

Lesson Learned - I am clearly under-qualified to play chess with a 6 year old :) 

1-7 of 7