How I Teach Upside Down Children History


Last year we sorta unschooled history and geography.  No curriculum.  We started off our year off with a trip to New York City, cruised to Canada, trip to the Liberty Bell and back home.  From there the kids just though of stuff they wanted to learn and learned it. We used living books and Google to learn from and videos, live Drive Through History, to broaden our horizon. It worked.
With both older boys I’ve used a Charlotte Mason approach to teach History. I’ve used Beautiful Feet for many years and also have used the resources from History Heritage.
Small lessons. Living books. Notebooking.

This year I tried to used Early American History with the two younger ones and Robby was wanting to Study Ancient Greek History.   I really felt like it was not going well.

Let me pause for a moment.

Here is what I wanted my day to look like.

But really my day may look like this:
6:30-my alarm goes off.
Either my husband or I have already been up with babies hours before.
I attempt to get dress and 1 cup of coffee. And brace for kids.

6-8am emerge children. They can be happy or cheerful or I should back up.  I can simply ask for one to get dress or feed the cat-and we can spiral into a 30 screaming fit just because that task was just too much for that moment.
Just one thing not right -like vitamins not at the right moment-can throw them into a screaming and running through the house.

Even what they wear can be an issue.  Pants, socks and shoes are always an issues.

Other mornings-dress, chores, fed with out one melt down or concern. You don’t know.

I start school with two little ones. I’ve moved them to the kitchen tables things work better with the babies. Two working. Isaiah tapping his foot. AnnieQ screaming “stop it.”  Me- not sure what is wrong. Isaiah doesn’t know. I settle them down. Foot taps-screaming-Isaiah makes the connection-more foot tapping-more screaming. Momma calming them down again and more coffee.

This is now one subject. Me -moving them along. Math -science-lang arts.  Something will be bothering Isaiah.  His clothes are not right.  Too much noise.  My breath is too much for him.  AnnieQ can end up on the floor like a rag doll screaming about I don’t know what.

I turn grab another cup of coffee and then try it all again.  Robby is pretty much self guided (thank goodness!!!) but will come and ask questions when needed. So some subject my kids do better at than others.  Some they don’t.  The way I had history set up this year just didn’t work.  It was too much for them and too much for me.  So I moved to Alpha Omega for all three.  I could use Beautiful Feet with Robby-I have all the books and such.  But I went with easy for me.

Two weeks in and I have to say it is working well.  We can still use the shorter lessons for Isaiah, AnnieQ is thriving off the worksheets, and Robby says it is too easy for him so he is happy.  AnnieQ and Isaiah are starting out with learning about themselves  and families. Plus the 1st grade teacher book came with a lot of extra stuff for the kids to do-Isaiah likes the cutting instead of worksheets.  AnnieQ is not so great a cutting.    It was a good starting place for us.

BUT “history” for me doesn’t stop there.  I guess regardless if they were homeschooled or went to a school away from me I would think this was important to learning about our local history and our family history along with American and World History.

Like the other day Isaiah and I was driving back from the Doctors office and drove by this house.  He made me stop so he could take this picture.



This is one of the older homes in Huntsville.  I was talking to him about how the downtown area us to be the main area of Huntsville.  He wanted to know how lived there, who built the house, where did the family work.  I found out a bit through Facebook friends.

Family history is very important to me.  I want my kids to know where our family comes from. We have history of family who fought in the Civil War & WW2.  My great grand father designed the rose gardens for Mr Heresy.  I have a Great Aunt-Anna Keichline– who was a secret agent in the WW2 along with being the first women architect in Pennsylvania.  My great grand father was a sheriff, mayor and own early Ford dealerships.  It is important that my kids know this history too.  Learned through visiting and stories and seeing pictures.

Pictures are very important for my kids.  It is a visual thing.  Also being adopted they have a need to look more.

I am in day 4 of a 5 day series. Day 1 I  blogged about how I homeschool my upside down kids Language Arts. Day 2 was about Math. Day 3 was Science.

Check out these other homeschooling families and how they teach Language Arts.

Hopscotch with us January 13-17 as we share a round of posts detailing how exactly we teach within our specific niches.

Day 1: how I teach language arts
Day 2: how I teach math
Day 3: how I teach science
Day 4: how I teach history
Day 5: how I teach fine arts




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Jim Henson: A Puppeteer Legend {A Birthday Lesson}

Back at Thanksgiving my husband and I took our younger three kids to see the new Muppet movie. Boy, childhood memories flooded back, and by the end of the movies I had tears in my eyes singing “Mahna Mahna” all the way back to my sister-in-laws house. I grew up with the Muppets. They were one of the molding factors of my childhood. I loved Kermit and Ms. Piggy, and the whole crew, along with the special guest every week. I looked forward every week to hearing this.

Back then I didn’t really didn’t know who Jim Henson was. As I have grown I learned who Jim Henson was. He was a puppeteer, a visionary, and a man who would leave a leave his mark on history. He became a puppeteer legend.

I asked my Facebook friends what was the first thing that came to mind when they thought of Jim Henson. Frog-pig, laughter, cookie monster, genius, Kermit, “hello this is Kermit the frog here”, The Muppet Show followed by a bazzillion images, “Hi Ho Kermit the frog here” and Animal.

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending”. Jim Henson wanted to make a difference in the world and leave it a better place. No doubt he did. I think that quote is the best thing to live by.

The Swedish Chef still cracks me up, Pigs in Space, Kermit, Big Bird, Ok, I’ll bite, who is Jim Henson, Gene Krupa: jazz drummer, Animal’s inspiration. Being in England, meeting someone who knew him and visiting his house. WOW!!!!

Fantastic and Interesting Things to Know About Jim Henson

  • Fun Trivia about Jim Henson LOTS of great information!
  • Jim Henson Company. There are AMAZING THINGS HERE! Worth checking this site out! This is the main web page for all Jim Henson movies.
  • Make a puppet lesson
  • While this lesson plan is to get ready to visit Jim Henson’s Fantastic World-a traveling exhibit -it has some great things to pull from it to use at home.
  • Did you know the same person who does Cookie Monster, Miss Piggy and Yoda? (not Jim Henson but it was interesting!:)
  • A great time line of Jim Henson’s life
  • Sam and Friends was his first show-staring Kermit the Frog

This was from Jim Henson’s 1966 Academy Award nominated short film. Henson, as the writer/producer/director/star, created the experimental short about the effect of time keeping on us all.

Movies of Jim Henson’s

We watched a movie earlier this year called Being Elmo. While this movie isn’t directly about Jim Henson, it is about Kevin Clash-the voice behind Elmo. He was a man with a dream about being a puppeteer just like Jim Henson and was inspired by Jim Henson. And he is now inspiring others the same way Jim Henson did. It is worth watching.

In honor of Jim Henson, we made paper puppets. We first talked about Jim Henson, who he was and what he did. Then I grab a few craft boxes and let the kids go. They had a great time.

The best way to end this post to honor Jim Henson….

now you all will be singing!



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Parenting is a lot like Ancient Map Making

Been thinking about being a parenting lately.  It is hard not to think about it when you have 4 kids and have parented over 20 kids.  I am not sure where the notion came into play that just because we have done that we have become better that those who parent 1 or 2 kids?

Parenting has been around since Adam and Eve.  It hasn’t gotten any easier or harder.  The situation different for each family.  It isn’t anything new.  No book came with parenting.  While 1000’s haven been written, it is not a one size fits all approach.  I have always said that.

Working as a DCE for the last 15 years or so I have helped many parents.  I have counseled, given resources.  I have listen to teens complain about their parents, listen to parents concerned about their teens.  I have taught countless parenting classes, and have read countless parenting books.

When I was pregnant, I thought I had it figured out.  Day one.  I was wrong.  I was a failure as a parent.  I couldn’t even give birth to my child, they had to do a c-section.  He didn’t want to breastfeed right.  Didn’t want to sleep.  But as the weeks went on, as the years went on, I started figuring it out.

Different things change.  He grows.  We make adjustments.

When you adopt, sometimes you don’t start with a baby.  I started with a 3 month old, a 3-year-old and a 13-year-old.  You just jump in and figure out your way.  It is like having a newborn.  Except some of them can talk back to you.  No need for diaper changes.  But you are learning rhythms and as they grow you have to adjust.  Sometimes quicker than you are ready to.

There is no right way to parent.  Sure there is 1000’s a books out there to help you.  My husband and I were watching Pawn Star on History Channel.  They where looking at an old map.  The comment was made that back then map makers just had to go out there and do it.  It was a hard job and took a while, but they typical did a good job in the end, all with out GPS’s.  I laughed and said that parenting.  We just have to go out there and do it.

We are still figuring out our territory, surveying it.  Each of our children’s map will be slightly different.  But what is going to be true is when we are done, our map is a picture of a beautiful young adult.  No, I guess parenting doesn’t really stop there.  There are different stages.  Just like making a map each part comes with a painful process of getting as right as you can.

As parents we trust in the One who gives us the peace that with Him by our side we can and will handle anything.  It isn’t easy.  Talking as easy as it seems isn’t easy.  You have to unravel things that were heard or assumed or told.  You have to back track to the point where something got off track, and stick it back on track.  That is what parenting is about.  Just like mapping, if something didn’t work right, they would back up and figuring it out.


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New Drivers

It is such an exciting time for new drivers.  Finally a sense to have a new found freedom in the game of growing up.  A chance to go where they want. An opportunity to show off a little, like a toddler learning how to walk, the  “look at me” – I’m so proud of my self as I learn this new skill in life.  I remember getting my permit. It was a thrilling time.  Drove here and there, but not often.  By the time I finally got my drivers license I was 17.  Yes I admit I failed that test about 5 times before actually getting my license, but I did that in-between my dad’s Chemo treatments, so it was limited time to go.  And of course having the “of course I am going to pass” only crushed by the fail stamped on the sheet, knowing I would have to come back again.  But I finally did make it and became an independent driver my senior year in High school.

I know find my self as a parent of a teen learning to drive.  It is a new and scary experience.  And maybe more so for me, because I have a hard time being in the drivers seat.  When my husband drives, I don’t really pay attention, if I do, I get too work up over traffic.  Guessing this comes from having accidents.  Always this fear of what I can’t control.  It is a bad fear when teaching a teen to drive.  The knowing that there are other cars around that your new driver is learning to maneuver around.   Then there is the learning how to ease into stops….gaging turns well, and the whole learn just learning to drive.

This is an exciting time for us, I love the idea of having a new driver in the house, one who can go pick up the kids or drop them off.  One who can run to the store when I need milk.  And in the mean time we will just have to ease into this learning how to drive.  Since driver’s ed isn’t till this summer, I will have to wait for those independent steps in life.  And it gives me time to do a little be more letting go of the reins….as I start slowly getting my teen ready to be released into this big world.  Till then (2013—achemmm since his dates moves to like 2015 -says he needs to be feed well LOL) I have a year and a half to finish getting my son ready for the world outside of our home.

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Truth in Life

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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