Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Debunking Home Schooling Myths Series: A religious approach

Debunking Home School Myths

Meet Jenny Harwood - A religious approach


Q:   Take us back to your decision making days...what convinced you that home school was the way for you?

A:  For our family, homeschooling was a very unexpected direction. I had sensed the Lord calling me to resign from my job to be home with the kids full-time, but didn't know that that would lead to homeschooling. It was a very intimidating and daunting task, something that I felt very fearful and honestly resistant to for a while. But as the Lord confirmed that this was indeed the direction for our family, He was very faithful to calm my fears and bring people and resources along my path to help me feel not so alone in the journey. And He has also been very faithful to change my heart and perspective, and I surprisingly LOVE our experience so far. I'm very thankful to have this time with my kids, even on the harder, more challenging days. I appreciate being able to know things about them that I wouldn't otherwise if they were going to school outside of our home.

Q: How did your family and friends take your decision?

A: My family and friends have been very supportive of our decision.

Q: What method of Home Schooling do you use?

A: We are still very much in the prayerful stage about homeschooling, trusting the Lord to direct our steps regarding curriculum and our approach. I've been very guarded to not expose myself to a lot of different resources at this point to try to hear from the Lord about what He would have for our family specifically. We prayed about Mother Goose Time after I saw there was an opportunity to receive the curriculum for free, which is a great blessing for our one-income family. We're still praying over what curriculum we will use for our daughter this fall as she starts Kindergarten, but MGT will be a great resource for us this summer at least, for us to step into a more structured approach for a time where both my kids will be doing the same activities (daughter, 4 & son, 2), as we've just been using a PreK curriculum through Confessions of a Home Schooler for my daughter (4) so far.

Q:  Take us through a day in the life....

A: We don't really have a 'normal' day so far, but most days consist of reading a short devotion (my husband, myself, our two yr old son, Peter, and my four year old, Natalie). My daughter and I sitting down at our kitchen table around 8:30 as my husband leaves for work. We start the Pre-K curriculum I was given from a friend from Confessions of a Home Schooler and go through our daily tasks (day of the week, date, writing out the date in words, weather graphing). We then usually do 1-2 days worth of curriculum in one sitting because a lot of the content has been review since my daughter was in school from nursery -halfway through her 3K year before I resigned to be home with the kiddos full-time. Once we're finished with those worksheets, we usually do a little art project - possibly cutting and pasting out of a workbook with cutting activities, painting, writing letters (my daughter loves to send mail), etc.  We then join the two year old in the living room for either an educational Leapfrog video or doing puzzles. I'll then leave them to play independently while I start lunch. That's about the jist so far, but I am sure this will look dramatically different next week as we start MGT all together.

Q:  If you could give advice to any "on the fence" home schoolers what would it be?

A:  I'd encourage you to pray about it and really see what the Lord would have for your family specifically. I've recognized A LOT of the benefits of homeschooling since we committed to this path, but that also relates directly to our family and what I believe the Lord's plans are for us. I have also seen friends' kids' thrive in public and private schools as well as they seek after the Lord as well. He promises to direct our steps, and He has been faithful to do that for us. There are just SO many choices out there and so many possible traps in terms of comparison and competition that it's hard to really look at what anyone else is doing and not get sucked into all of that unless you know for sure what you need to be doing yourselves first.

Q:  Debunk the following myths:

  a) Home school kids are behind traditionally schooled kids

A:  I'm a newbie when it comes to all of this, so I am not really familiar with a lot of the statistics of homeschooling vs not. But I would say that I believe one huge advantage to homeschooling is that you can really focus and tailor your kids' education to their strengths, abilities, and interests. They have an opportunity to really thrive and dive into subjects that they wouldn't otherwise in a larger school setting. I think it also allows you, as the parent, to recognize how God has designed your child in order to best encourage them in the possible directions the Lord may be calling to towards.

    b) Home Schooled kids aren't properly socialized

A: I think that there are still a lot of opportunities for kids to have social interactions outside of school, and in settings that you can feel comfortable about instead of not having a lot of say or knowledge of these interactions at a school setting. I also think you have an opportunity at home to encourage your children to grow in character and discernment, so that as they grow older and more independent, they can make wiser choices for themselves in terms of who they choose to hang around with and be potentially influenced by.

    c) Parents aren't equipped to teach

A: Well, I know that I don't feel equipped to teach my kids, in and of myself. But I also know the Lord promises to give me what I need to do the things He has called me to do. And so this is my opportunity to rely on Him in a greater capacity in my life than I have before, where I can't get by on my own attempts and natural strengths, but really have to ask Him for the wisdom and patience and endurance, etc., etc., to offer my kids on a day to day basis. But I would also argue that all parents are teaching their kids, whether homeschooling or not. It's just choosing whether or not you're going to be intentional about what you are teaching them and how you are teaching them. I personally don't believe that everyone is called to homeschool their kids, but I do believe that as parents we are called to shepherd and disciple our kids, and so for our family, that is through the vehicle of homeschooling.


 Q:  What are the biggest challenges you face when it comes to your style of Home School?

A: I don't really know that I can answer this intelligently yet, as we are just getting started. But I do know that I really love structure and a plan, and that doesn't always work well with littles. :) So I am anticipating that I will be learning how to be a lot more patience and flexible with my plan vs the reality of the day.

 Q: How did you decide on your style of Home School?

A: I don't know that we have a style of homeschooling at this point, in terms of a specific approach (Charlotte Mason, etc.). We are just seeking the Lord for what He would like this to look like for our family and what curriculum He brings along the path, so that the approach isn't the determining factor for us.

Q: What changes would have to be made in traditional schools for you to consider enrolling your child(ren)?

A: This doesn't apply to our situation because we feel led to homeschool. We didn't have a bad experience with my daughter or son in private Pre-K, other than it was a lot of money that we can now use in other, more preferable ways (giving, missions, etc.).

Q: What are some positive and inspiring insights to give to other Home Schooling moms?

A: I am not a morning person, so I would encourage anyone that isn't to not feel disqualified from homeschooling. It can look really different in your household than anyone else's. School can start at 10:00AM, or 2:00PM - whatever works best for you and your kiddos. I was also really scared at the prospect of homeschooling, and am still daunted at times. But that doesn't disqualify me or you, either. God promises to help us in whatever we face!

 In just my short time of being home full-time with my kids and homeschooling, I feel like I am learning so much personally about myself and my kids. It's awesome to know little things like the fact that my daughter makes squeaking noises when she is writing and concentrating. I wouldn't know that otherwise. :) I also like learning what motivates my children and what also discourages them, so that I can better encourage and address these things. I like to know that my daughter has perfectionistic tendencies, so that I can start to pray for her and speak words of grace to her now, so that hopefully she won't struggle with legalism and perfectionism like I have. And I have learned that she is SUPER creative. I am not, so it's just been really cool to see this developing in her. For example, she likes to make pictures out of her date words, and tell stories about them.

I also really enjoy that our days don't feel so rushed anymore. I'm not rolling out of bed to get ready for work, rushing to get my kids' dressed to drop them off at school, and then picking them up to eat dinner quickly, get whatever done around the house that needs to be done before bedtime, maybe a short time of play with my kids, to the struggle of bedtime (can I get an amen?!), to just feel like I'm going to start it all over again the next day. For us, this was not thriving, and I was barely surviving. Now I feel more empowered to dictate our schedule according to what we value and feel the Lord leading us to.
And even though there may be a lot of negative things out there - criticism about homeschooling or how you're doing it, etc.,-there are also a lot of really great, encouraging resources and communities. I have found the Lord faithful to direct me to the right people that can speak into my life about certain aspects of this journey, and I continue to pray for that. I would encourage you to ask Him as well to bring you His provision as well (financially, but also through people, resources, time, peace, rest, etc.).

The opinions expressed by Guest Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Chicken Nugget Mom or any business or blog they refer to. Chicken Nugget Mom is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Guest Blog.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Sea Stars and Sea Horses

The sea star activity was great.

Fine Motor Skills - peeling and sticking the small bumps onto the sea star

Math - counted 5 arms

Direction Following - drawing what I dictated

We were all so in awe that the daddy sea horses carry the eggs!!

We played our number pouch game and pretended to have tails and grab items.

Fun fun fun!

Learning with Mother Goose is so fulfilling!

Jellyfish Fun!

This week we learned about jellyfish. I have to say this Jellyfish hat was a HIT!

Life Science - learned all about jellyfish, their predators and how they protect themselves

Math - counted 8 tentacles

Gross Motor skills - cutting and taping

Dramatic Play - pretended to be a jellyfish
Mother Goose Time rocks!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Life Science fun with Sea Turtles, Tortoises and Sharks, Oh MY!

Watching your child(ren) learn concepts and actually enjoy them enough to keep asking questions is simply breathtaking. Since we started learning about ocean animals and plants, Sonia is constantly asking me what animals eat, what their babies are called and how they "grow babies". It is a joy to watch her listen intently as I answer all of her questions and then an even bigger reward when she teaches her younger sister!

I taught her about the difference between sea turtles and tortoises and decided that instead of still pictures, we should shoot our very first video! So, here you go!

What is great about this activity is that it gets her moving, thinking and learning all about Life Science. Without even knowing it she was learning anatomy and physiology! How great is that?! Mother Goose Time laid out this activity in a way that a 4 year old could really grasp the difference between flippers and toes and how they help tortoises and sea turtles navigate their environment.

The cards that are in the video also had fun facts on the back of them and talked about their diet. Because of this great curriculum, Sonia now understands what animals and plants need to survive and the different ways they can get them.

The beauty of this program is not simply knowledge but character building. We are a BIG animal loving family over here so with each animal we introduce, we talk about their babies, the importance of these animals to our environment and the big difference we can all make by loving and caring for animals in our own way.

Can we make a shark our pet? No. But what can we do? We can learn as much as we can about them, respect their place in our environment and love them. I can model empathy by showing them that even though they live far away and aren't equipped to be pets, we do not need to harm them and we should respect them as we respect our fellow human being. 

We wore our bracelets that came in our monthly package to remind us that being respectful is one of the greatest qualities we can possess.


To illustrate respect while incorporating sharks, we decorated shark fins with black sand. The sand was to show that, although, shark skin looks smooth, it is actually rough. A great way to add in a sensory activity.

When they dry, we will show our respect to each other while dancing with our shark fins. We will respect each others personal space and not bump into each other.

Mother Goose Time has really brought me closer to my children and my God. Through this wonderful program, I have been given an opportunity to grow with my children on our spiritual path as well as having a bonding, home school experience that I could not have without this very informative and complete curriculum. For more information on this curriculum, visit Mother Goose Time.

Got a moment? Come stop by one of my Home Schooling/Blogging Mama's blog page! You won't regret it! Lots of free, fun ideas! Click here!

To see what other Mother Goose Time Bloggers are up to, click here!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Whale Blowing Art

Kids manipulate different art items in ways that, sometimes, we adults do not even think of. So when a time comes that I am able to show my kids a super cool technique, I am thrilled!

We are learning all about Whales and other ocean animals this month and both Sonia and Daniella were loving the whale the most. They especially loved the blowhole! So, when I saw this was an art activity, I knew I'd have their attention.

It was hard for both girls to actually blow the paint with the straw, but eventually, Sonia was able to do it while Daniella used the straw to actually paint with.

Watching Sonia's fine motor skills at work is simply amazing. She was able to thread the tissue paper through the whole without a problem at all!

I was able to incorporate a quick Science lesson by teaching Sonia that air is what pushes the paint when we blow through it. She was so impressed that she could move the paint around with her mouth!

Both girls were very proud of their work!

To see what other Mother Goose Time Bloggers are up to, click here!

Mother Goose Time has really brought me closer to my children and my God. Through this wonderful program, I have been given an opportunity to grow with my children on our spiritual path as well as having a bonding, home school experience that I could not have without this very informative and complete curriculum. For more information on this curriculum, visit Mother Goose Time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

5 Reasons Being a Toddler Mom Rocks


1. You are guaranteed happier Holidays! Or at least memorable ones! Smile for the camera...or not!



2. You can test your memory multiple times a day. How many times will it take you to remember the same story book? Just wait until your toddler falls in love with one book. You will be reciting the book in your head while you unload your dishes. But hey, at least your brain still works!



3. Say good-bye to interior designers and hello to the "artwork" your toddler is guaranteed to leave you. Markers on the wall, crayons on the side of the hamper, finger paint on tables, carpet and floor. This is your future. Embrace it!

4. First name? What is that? You are only one name now, "MOMMA". If it's a need for a drink refill, channel change or a true emergency, it is screamed with all the same urgency. If you forget that your new name is Momma, leave the room, your toddler will remind you!

5. A chance at a whole new group of like minded, just as crazy as you, probably didn't shower either and definitely do not what day it is mom friends! As toddler moms, it's hard to find where these moms hide out. In reality, we are all in our pajamas, drinking cold coffee (if we remember to grab it out of the microwave), stepping on legos and digging through clean clothes still in the laundry basket during the day. Come night time, we are cleaning up from the day, emptying out the dishwasher and tucking in our kids before we slam down and pass out on the bed. So where can we find these moms? I use an app called MomCo. It is safe, free and fun. We can set up play dates or even just chat. All through my Android phone but if you have an IPhone you can still use it too! Do yourself a favor! Find yourself a mom tribe. It takes a village to get through these years!


Friday, April 10, 2015

Worship Wednesday - Jonah and the Whale

Praying and meditating is part of our daily routine. We pray to Jesus, we meditate with Buddha. Life is amazingly balanced, peaceful and full of kind acts and love.

This Wednesday, we revisited Jonah and spoke about how God will always wait for us and save us when we listen to Him.

I asked Sonia what God wants her to do and she said, "be a good person." Shes an old soul.

We finished the lesson up by doing a color matching game and by making our own whale.

We are having an amazing time here in home school. Mother Goose Time makes it so easy to have fun, play, learn and more!

Coral Reef and Whales

Can you believe a whale can be 14ft long? How long is that? Let's find out! Even our purple giraffe had to see it to believe it!

How amazing is Coral Reef. Looks like a plant but its really an animal. Wow! Working on her fine motor skills, Sonia really had a fun time lacing her own coral.

We are having an amazing time here in home school. Mother Goose Time makes it so easy to have fun, play, learn and more!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Diving into our ocean caves

What a perfect rainy day. After we introduced the number 8, we baked Chocolate Chip cookies and Sonia placed 8 chips on each cookie.

While the cookies baked, we set up our cave with our ocean floor, shells and flashlights. Its been about 20 minutes and they are still having a blast!

When they are done, we will finish the days curriculum. Never interupt a childs process! is amazing!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Blue Ocean Commotion Sensory & Science

We introduced our new topic today, Ocean Commotion as well as the color blue.

Today, we said hello to our Blue Bird and put him in his house and then we made blue play dough. Sonia put all the ingredients in herself and did all the mixing. What a blue blast!

Little Goose was not into circle time and I dont believe in forcing children, so she took a few minutes alone and joined us when she was ready.

We talked a lot about the ocean water and we conducted a Science experiment to test water temperature. We learned that ice can quickly cool down boiling water and the more ice you put in, the faster the temperature drops! I introduced graphing and we had a blast.

For Toddler tray time, we put ice and salt into water and watched how the salt melted the ice. Then, she splashed away!

If you love what you see, visit,, and check it out! 

Take a look at what other Mother Goose Time Bloggers do with the curriculum!!