All posts by Heather Walton

Creative Writing Classes Start Jan. 13

Live Writing and Pen with Notebook.jpgDo you have a budding writer or a reluctant composer in your home? Would you like a way to get your young author to the next level? A+ Education Solutions is offering a creative writing class Mondays, 12:30-1:30. Students in middle or high school may participate in person or online. Classes take place at A+ Education Solutions. Online classes are offered through this service. Students will learn from models of good writing to compose original work in various creative writing projects. Classes cost $15/student weekly and meet from Jan. 13-May 18, excluding March 30. Tuition is paid at the beginning of each month. Students need a composition notebook, and should expect to work an hour or two outside of class each week. For more information, call/text 502-438-4680 or email heatherpwalton@gmail.com.

Word for the Year: LESS

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By Heather Walton

For a few years I’ve had the tradition of picking a word for the year, a single word that could serve as inspiration and keep my priorities in check. This year my word is LESS. Why? Because I’m continually drawn to MORE, as is our entire society. But this year, I’m determined to try out the idea that LESS is MORE.

Here is my “Less-is More-List”:

  1. Less busyness. More intentionality.
  2. Less stuff. More open space.
  3. Less buying. More progress toward financial freedom.
  4. Less computer time. More relationship time.
  5. Less worrying. More appreciating.
  6. Less fragmentation of my time. More focus in areas where I’m called.
  7. Less medicine. More natural health.
  8. Less striving. More trusting.
  9. Less outside the home. More in the home.
  10. Less of me. More of the Lord.

Most moms, whether we homeschool or send our kids to a traditional school, whether we earn income in or out of the home or are primarily homemakers, whether we have a diploma or a doctorate, whether married or single, most of us moms second-guess ourselves. I want to do that less, and I want to enjoy the journey more.

Mid-year homeschool blahs? It may be time for a “New Day”

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By Heather Walton

January is traditionally a time of new beginnings, new resolutions, and for many, new vision. However, in the academic world, it’s not the beginning of the year, but rather the half-way point. Whether you approach this time of year as the beginning or the middle, it is an excellent time for reflection, assessment, and realignment.

Perhaps you aren’t as enthusiastic about your homeschool goals, curriculum, or routine as you were in August. Maybe you don’t homeschool at all … yet. Or, if you’re like me, you generally take this time of year to consider which things you’ve been doing you want to continue and which you’d like to change.

For example, in reflecting on my homeschool year, there are parts that I believe have gone very well, such as converting from some workbook-type activities to almost 100 percent reading real books and requiring narrations in all subjects (except math, though that may be coming). Another thing I am satisfied with is our “together time,” in which we sing a hymn or two, read Scripture, read classic literature, and do picture study.

However, I feel we could do better in a few areas. For instance, I have not incorporated composer study well into our “together time,” and I need to do a better job of keeping our environment tidy. As a result, I have developed a plan for the children and me to tidy as we go, attending to a few problem areas and regular chores at various times throughout the day. After all, education isn’t just about academics; if my children can’t keep an orderly house or understand that they need to contribute to the home, they won’t be prepared for life.

I am a homeschooling mom, but I don’t only homeschool my own children. I have two additional full-time students and one part-time student. As an educator by profession, I have been called to teach. I know not everyone who would like to homeschool is able to do so, so I enjoy being able to partner with families to educate their children according to a Biblical worldview. If you find yourself needing a full-time homeschool solution, I would be glad to discuss that with you.

If, on the other hand, you would simply like your middle or high school age student to meet with other students a couple mornings per week to discuss real books and do some hands-on learning in a group setting, check out New Day Academy, a cottage school program I’m starting Jan. 14. This program features Charlotte Mason philosophy and a Biblical Worldview. Students will have assigned readings from living books, and they will complete written narrations. We will meet on Tuesday and Thursday meetings for discussion and activities. Students may attend Tuesday or Thursday or both. The days compliment each other while being independent of one another. If you are interested in joining New Day Academy’s cottage program this school year, please let me know by Jan. 6. Those who enroll this year will have first option to enroll again in the fall.

January may be a great time for you and your family to make an educational change that will breathe energy into your homeschool and into your home.

For more information, contact Heather Walton, 502-438-4680, heatherpwalton@gmail.com, or complete the form below.

Natural Remedies: Do they really work?

By Heather Walton

MagnesiaPhosphoricumI have had restless legs syndrome since I was a child. As a result, I’ve been on Gabapentin for about 20 years. I recently learned that Gabapentin has some nasty side effects, including many that I personally have experienced. Apparently, you’re only supposed to stay on it for a short time. Therefore, I decided that I wanted to wean off. I do not recommend doing this without a doctor’s supervision, by the way.

I did not expect this process to be pleasant, and I didn’t know whether or not to expect it to be successful. I had learned about some natural remedies that intrigued me, so I decided to try it and see if it would work. I have been very pleasantly surprised. I have been using a homeopathic remedy called Magnesia Phosphoricum, manufactured by Butterfly Express. Every time my legs started to bother me, I put a few drops under my tongue. After a few days, I no longer needed it because I haven’t had any issues with my restless legs. So far, I’ve gone three nights in a row on half the gabapentin dosage I usually take (600 mg) without restless legs and without taking the magnesia phosphoricum. Soon I’ll try going down to 300 mg. I’m optimistic about the potential results.

Butterfly Express has many products, all reasonably priced, including essential oils, homeopathic remedies, salves, and more. I’ve signed up as an affiliate, and I’m trying out several of their products on myself and my family. I will update as I learn more. If you want to try any of their products, please visit https://butterflyexpress.shop/?beid=HWalton.

Discipleship: The Goal of Education

By Heather Walton

water-ripple-d-blue-splash-ripples-drops-free-60988“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40 ESV)

Education is not a neutral activity, disconnected from the rest of life. Instead, it is a system of discipleship. The goal of education is to bring about change and to mold the student in some way to be more like his teacher. We cannot simply instill knowledge into our students;  we leave with them an impression of who we are, of our very essence. I believe that’s why James said that teachers are to be held to a higher standard (James 3:1); they bear a high responsibility for their students’ outcomes. They are disciple-makers.

Who do you most want to influence your children? What qualities should that person have? Can you hand-pick every person who has a part in the discipleship of your children? Perhaps not, but you likely have much more control than you think. Why? Because parents are responsible to be the primary discipleship-agents in our children’s lives. We can be our children’s primary teachers. And, for the most part, we can dictate what other influences are allowed in our children’s lives.

How is this possible? Through home educating our children. Home education equals home discipleship. There is no distinction. The term homeschooling can be somewhat misleading, because it carries an academic connotation. However, it is much more than that. Home discipleship is primarily about training our children up in God’s ways. Academics are important, but so are life skills and talent training, among other things. Above all, we should desire to instill in our children a love for God and for other people (Deut. 6:1-7; Matt. 22:36-40; Mark 12: 30-31).

We may delegate a portion of that responsibility to the church and to others, even to Christian schools, but we need to be careful to make sure that everyone we allow to influence our children is worthy of that privilege. Even the best intentioned teachers can steer our children wrong, and though we shouldn’t expect perfection, we should expect those who want to influence our children to have a holy and humble reverence for God’s Word. Those who don’t can inflict great damage.

The Lord had harsh words for hypocrites and for those who would harm the innocent (Matthew 18:6; Luke 17:2). We must be vigilant in the care of those entrusted to us. Our children will be disciples; the only question is by whom?

New Day Academy cottage school program begins Jan. 2020

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By Heather Walton

The new year can be a fantastic time to make needed educational changes. While some parents may be ready to pull the plug on public school, those who already homeschool may be ready for some new opportunities in the homeschool community.

If you have a middle or high school student, check out what A+ Education Solutions is offering, beginning Jan. 14. New Day Academy, a cottage-school program based on the principles of 19th century British educator Charlotte Mason, will operate Tuesdays and Thursdays. This program features real books, narration, Socratic discussions, and short lessons. Students will do the bulk of the reading and writing at home, and will meet to discuss the material, complete hands-on learning, and receive their assignments. Tuesday offerings include science, worldview/apologetics, literature, logic, and social time. Thursday features science, worldview/apologetics, writing, geography, and social time. Students may participate one or both days, as material on both days will compliment, rather than depend on, each other. Each day will cost $25/weekly.

Students will be taught in a small group by a certified teacher. Classes take place in Louisville near the zoo. This is a drop-off program, so parents are not expected to stay.

Those who register for this initial program have two advantages: They will get the first opportunity to enroll in the fall, and they will not have to pay a registration fee. They will be required to pay a deposit that will go toward their tuition. Tuition is due monthly on the last school day of the preceding month. A deposit of two weeks’ tuition is due to enroll. There are currently 5 spots open for each day for students in grades 6-12. Response will dictate whether additional classes are added.

The course schedule is as follows:

Tuesdays: $25/week

9:30-10:15 Science 

10:20-10:50 Worldview/Apologetics 

10:55-11:25 Literature

11:30-12 Logic 

12-12:40 Lunch/Break

 

Thursdays: $25/week

9:30-10:15 Science 

10:20-10:50 Worldview/Apologetics 

10:55-11:25 Writing 

11:30-12 Geography 

12-12:40 Lunch/Break

 

For more information, contact Heather Walton, heatherpwalton@gmail.com, or 502-438-4680.

Defining education then and now

By Heather Walton

alt-5b51feb34c621-5439-8e988795982d8b2f6e682380a3b0adb6@1xEDUCA’TION, noun [Latin educatio.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties. (http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/education)

This is how Noah Webster defined education.

Today’s dictionary defines it this way:

Definition of educate

transitive verb

1a: to provide schooling for
//chose to educate their children at home
b: to train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession
2a: to develop mentally, morally, or aesthetically especially by instruction
b: to provide with information : INFORM
//educating themselves about changes in the industry
3: to persuade or condition to feel, believe, or act in a desired way
//educate the public to support our position
What stands out as you examine these definitions?
There are quite a few differences, but what I notice most are two things, and I would venture to say that these are two sides of the same coin. First, there is a not-so-subtle shift in the view of education. In 1828, education included all aspects of child training, but today it is primarily limited to schooling. I am pleasantly surprised, though, that today’s Webster used the example, “chose to educate their children at home.” The fact that people can choose to educate their children at home, versus not educating their children at home, is telling. There was a time in our country’s history when all parents were expected to educate their children at home, and some outsourced the academic portion of education to the local school. Today the norm is to expect the school, and sometimes the church, to do the educating, and some parents also consciously choose to educate their children at home for some things, such as character training.
Another standout is that Noah Webster assumed parents would provide a “religious” education for their children, and what he meant by that was a Christian education. Often Webster employed Bible verses as examples in his dictionary.
Today’s definition does include moral training, but it’s not presented with the same importance as it was in the 1828 version. The older version seems to include academics but the emphasis is on child-rearing and formation of character. Today the emphasis is on academics, with an eye on career readiness. It’s not until the second part of the definition that moral training is referenced.
There is no accident here. These two facets are intertwined. As America gradually traded Christianity as its primary religion and basis of ethics and morality, for another religion, known as humanism, many words and concepts were redefined. It has been said that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” The signers of the Humanist Manifesto I would likely agree. In 1933, this group, which included the father of modern American education, John Dewey, set out to transform the culture, and they were successful at redefining the American way of thinking. These men, and their disciples, have successfully banished Christian ideals from the public square, and traded them in for the new religion of humanism. With a new paradigm comes new vocabulary.
Today’s idea of education typically brings up images of academics, which are relegated to their own sphere of life, and thought by most to be best left to professional educators. Students and families who practice religions other than humanism are to keep their ideas out of the schoolhouse, especially if their ideology is Christian. But this wasn’t so in the past. For the vast majority of Americans, everything fit within the paradigm of faith. Even those educated at school learned religion at school — yes, even at public school. Even more importantly, families understood the Deuteronomy 6 mandate for parents to teach their children diligently as they went about the business of daily life. Education was a natural part of life, and it didn’t merely incorporate academics. Character and habits were the top discipline, the Bible and life were the key curriculum, and the parents were answerable to God alone for their children’s upbringing.
There has been a dramatic shift in our culture’s definition of education, and this is reflected in the change in the dictionary entry.

Come Alive Summer Camp

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Louisville Creative Arts Academy is having a summer camp, called Come Alive, and it’s only $100 for 2 weeks of amazing instruction in the arts, if you register by July 1. I am teaching a creative writing class, and there are classes in jazz dance, drama, music theater, opera theater, music video, visual art, and videography. Students get to choose two disciplines to work on during the camp. For more information, click the link below.

Registration Information

Top Tips for Home Educating Any Child

 

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by Heather Walton

If you are considering homeschooling, just starting out, or burning out, check out the following tips for homeschooling any child.

  1. Relax. You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to do it all right now. You don’t have to do it all at the same time. Enjoy your children’s childhood with them.
  2. Make a list of goals for each child and check it at intervals. Include spiritual, academic, social, emotional, physical, and life skills goals. Check them at predetermined intervals, such as monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly.
  3. Curriculum is a tool. Make it your servant. You are not its slave. You do not have to have prepackaged curriculum. If you choose textbooks or packaged lesson plans, you do not have to do everything that is recommended by the publisher.
  4. Balance is important. Homeschooling takes a lot of time and energy, but you also need time for other things, like housework, errands, and exercise. You may even have a part-time or full-time job. Trying to work on academics 6-8 hours per day is likely to burn you and your child out.
  5. Delegate when possible and practical. Which chores you can teach your children to do? Do you need to partner with tutors or homeschool enrichment programs, such as cottage schools or cottage schools? Are there things that other family members, such as Dad, grandparents, or your older children, can teach or model?
  6. Education is not just academics. You can count a variety of things, such as life skills (grocery trips, chores, etc.), social skills training, creative arts, specialty lessons, swimming, exercise, nature walks, therapy sessions, service, theater and museum visits, and more.
  7. Don’t isolate yourself. Find a homeschool support group, in person or online. There are lots of local and national groups on Facebook and elsewhere. Some are even specific to certain ideologies and methodologies. Meet other homeschool families for outings or just to hang out. It helps to know you’re not the only one. On difficult days, you have someone to reach out to for encouragement. You also can bounce ideas off each other.
  8. Invest in homeschool PD (professional development). Give yourself permission to buy books, watch videos and download materials that will help you learn more about homeschooling. You may even want to attend homeschool conferences. If you don’t have a budget for this, there are many blogs and other resources available online for free. Taking time to educate yourself will make you a better homeschool teacher.
  9. Know your state’s laws and follow them. Ask veteran homeschoolers in your state how they comply with the regulations.
  10. Join HSLDA and your state homeschool organization. These groups work hard to keep our homeschool rights intact. They also have many resources available, including consultants in a variety of areas and legal support. I would not consider membership in these organizations optional.

Why homeschool a child with special needs?

homeschool mom girl 2By Heather Walton

Sometimes parents wonder if they should homeschool a child with special academic, social, or emotional needs. Even if they believe they can properly educate a neurotypical child, they may feel intimidated about working with their children who struggle. Others are considering homeschooling specifically because they have a child who is having difficulty in school. Though homeschooling any child has its challenges, an individualized education can be a delight and a blessing, both to the child and the parent. Here are several reasons to consider home education for a struggling learner:

  1. You can create a program that targets your child’s specific needs. You can remediate those areas of challenge, while also giving him opportunities to do things he’s good at, so he experiences success.
  2. You eliminate the social stigma that comes with being “different.” Often kids (and even teachers) will look down on a student who struggles academically or socially. Unfortunately this is par for the course in many schools.
  3. You can work with your child when she’s at her peak time of day to be successful. You don’t have to keep the same schedule as the schools do. Your state may require a certain amount of hours, but that doesn’t mean you have to work at the same times as the local schools operate.
  4. You can incorporate the educational components that most schools leave out, such as life skills and social skills. These are important for all young people to learn, but even more for struggling learners. Home education provides you the opportunity to spend necessary time on instruction in these vital areas.
  5. Children who need to see therapists and tutors have more time in the schedule to do so, and it counts as part of your home education plan. Often parents of children with special needs spend afternoon and evening hours shuttling exhausted kids to appointments.  However, the sessions would likely be more effective, and the family less frazzled, if they could be fresh for these appointments.
  6. No more fighting over homework after an already long schooldays. Since you can create a tailor-made education program for your child, no need for homework, and hopefully you can have an enjoyable learning experience with your child.
  7. Avoid bullying. Many kids, especially kids who are perceived to be different by their peers, deal with bullying, which is so destructive to a person’s self image. Today, more than ever, bullying presents huge risks, including and up to suicide. It’s not something to mess around with.
  8. Avoid social pressure to conform. Let’s face it: Everyone wants to fit in, and kids with special needs are often tempted more than neuortypical children to do whatever it takes to be accepted.

These are several great reasons to homeschool a child with special needs. The list could go on and on, as reasons are as diverse as are the children we love. Now that we have explored some reasons to homeschool your child, stay tuned for tips on how to successfully work with students who have challenges.