homeschooling 102


part two-the details of homeschooling


our school day started around 8 in the morning, sometimes earlier if we i wanted to get a head-start [like some nerdy child] and it would usually end around noon if we had completed all of our schoolwork.

we sat at our kitchen table together while my mom was usually close by in case we needed help. every time we would ask for help, she would ask, “what do the directions say?” we would proceed to read the directions out loud to her. often, upon answering her simple question, a light bulb would magically go off and we would understand what we had to do. if we still didn’t understand, she would then proceed to explain it to us.

we got very good at reading directions and guiding ourselves through our homework.

we had workbooks and reading books. our workbooks included a school-years worth of double-sided worksheets, so we completed one every day. sometimes, it was really fun to get done with three or four math worksheets so you wouldn’t have to do any for a while. [can you tell i was a nerd?]

our subjects included:
language arts

am i forgetting any, mom?

my mom would correct our worksheets every day, and we would have to redo what we got wrong.

sometimes we would have history and science tests, as we just read a section of those every day. we’d also have spelling test every week over twenty some words, we’d usually give those to each other.

it usually took us the morning to complete all of our work and the rest of the day we were free to imagine, run around, play with the homeschooled neighbors, or light each other on fire [as my two older brothers were fond of doing]

to be continued…


homeschooling 101


part one-the basics of homeschooling in my house


do you want to know how i learned to read?

well, i followed my mom around the house when i was 3 and begged her to teach me. despite my persistence, she only managed to sit down and complete the first few pages of the abeka reader with me, which mostly taught me how to sound out vowels. i guess i can’t blame her, she did have a toddler and my two older brothers who were actually supposed to be homeschooling.

however, those first few pages were all i needed to be on the fast-track to reading everything i could get my hands on. it kept me busy until i was supposed to start school a year or two later.

that’s how i learned to read, i basically taught myself.

and that’s pretty much how we homeschooled in my family. we taught ourselves using the materials we were given. my mom was a very relaxed homeschooler compared to moms who teach their kids latin and stuff nowadays. don’t get me wrong, i think that’s amazing, but if we do homeschool our children [which we probably will for a time], i’ll probably do things more like my mom.

hopefully you don’t get the wrong idea, i truly feel all 6 of us duvick kids got a pretty stellar elementary education and we all started public middle school with ease. my mom just didn’t stress about teaching us creative lessons or worry about how to explain things just right. she just made sure we knew what we were doing at the end of the day.

to be continued…

please comment if you have any questions about how we homeschooled, i have two more short posts written for the next two weeks, but i’d love to answer any specific questions you may have about how my mom homeschooled six kids through elementary school!

[photo credit]

when in doubt, sack out.


i was planning on tackling “homeschooling, ami style” this week, but it’s taking me longer to say everything i want to say about it.

so in an effort to produce high-quality blogs, i’m going to work on it another week. this week, i’ll explain yet another ami quote. [check out the new ami quote tab at the top!]

blog 011
“when in doubt, sack out.”

my mom chose not to vaccinate us [another post to save for later], and we never had anything like that hateful tylenol stuff in our house. that would be an abomination! [catch the sarcasm, please] instead, my mom put onion juice in our ears for ear infections, and lathered us up in melaleuca oil when necessary. essentially, my mom was into homeopathy, though i never recall that word being used.

but mostly, and more specifically, my mom’s mantra was that sleep could heal almost everything, and that sickness was your body’s way of telling you to slow down. it seemed to work well for our family.

“mom, i don’t feel very good.”
“take a nap.”

“mom, i have a fever.”
“go to bed with extra blankets.”

“mom, my stomach hurts.”
“drink some water and take a nap.”

get the idea? oh yeah, my mom’s second favorite thing is water.

water and sleep, they can cure the world.

so the next time you’re feeling ill, just remember, when in doubt, sack out.

[photo credit]

deprivation is key


my mom has lots of “famous quotes” that we repeat as a family. one of them was mentioned in the last post, “what does that mean?” i wish you could really hear my mom say it, because the tone is everything.

to name a few other quotes,

“when in doubt, sack out.”

“the whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead.” [this is more of a loretta original, my mom’s mom]

“fruit ’til noon.”

“yes mom, coming mom” [what she would make us say when she called for us]

today, i want to highlight a quote that has had a particular impact on my life. she used to say, “deprivation is key.” the key to what? well, happiness, contentment and gratefulness mostly. basically, we didn’t have much growing up. we had enough to stretch between eight people in my family, but we never had an excess of anything and understandably so.

but instead of focusing on the lacking, my mom as well as my dad always focused on the character-building that came from the lacking.

for example, every single person in my family has been excited about a simple glass of milk. why? because my mom only let us have milk in our cereal, and that was it for the day. deprivation is key. a simple glass of milk brought us so much gratefulness.

this has applied to many things for me. i often test myself just to see what i can go without. not in a fanatical way or anything, but in a “do i really need to buy some more clothes right now?” way or “do i really need chocolate, or is it more of a severe want?”

this principal has ultimately instilled in me that i don’t need stuff to make me happy.

so, moms, the next time you think you just have to have something for your child, the newest innovation, the coolest toy, the most convenient item, remember that your kid might just be happier with the cardboard box or the homemade drum [aka pots and pans]. be encouraged!

she doesn’t look down upon


over 26 years ago, when my mom was preparing for her first child [i can assure you my mom is still 29, so you can stop trying to calculate her age] she took many roads less traveled.

and while my mom is known for her adorable and seemingly ditzy “what does that mean?” questions, you would probably underestimate how well-researched she is on the decisions she made. what are some of those decisions, you ask? to name a few, she chose to birth naturally at home, not to immunize her children, and home-school later on. all of these choices were definitely not common 26 years ago, though they are slightly more mainstream now.

i want to talk about my mom’s experiences in all of those things, but before that, i want to share with you one of my all-time favorite things about my wonderful mother: she is the easiest person to talk to. ever.

now, this may not seem like a big deal, but when i choose something unconventional, i can become a monster. all i want to do is prove that my way is best, and that really, everyone should do what i’m doing. does this happen to you? we get up on our pedestal, preach to anyone who will listen, even if they didn’t ask. sometimes, we indirectly ruin relationships. we become those people that no one wants to approach, because everyone already knows where we stand on these controversial issues. frankly, it’s ugly. i know first-hand.

so this is the biggest reason why my mom is so amazing. ever since i can remember, she’s always had women approaching her with questions or concerns and almost always, they walk away encouraged. that’s right, encouraged, not depressed, not judged, not feeling like they’ve done everything wrong, not feeling like they have to change anything. it’s amazing!

this is ultimately what i want to be when i grow up. the best way i can describe her in this way is humbly wise, and simply sweet. she’s attracts people to her.

she did half the laundry


so you hate doing laundry. and you don’t want to smell. what would ami do?

wear the same thing twice in a row.

simple, yet genius. before i saw the beauty of this, and thought it was kind-of embarrassing, i would wear an outfit and then hang the clothes that didn’t seem too dirty back up in my closet. but after they sit in the closet for a while, they get smellier than i realized. i was talking to my mom a couple weeks ago and she made some joke about always wearing the same outfit two days in a row. we chatted about it and i realized: my mom has done it again, she’s a freaking genius.

monday and tuesday i wore the same outfit twice. it was awesome and i didn’t smell, but i’m still doing half as much laundry. the best part was, i didn’t see anyone on monday that i saw on tuesday, so it wasn’t even embarrassing!

[photo credit]

what would ami do?


to any of my readers that haven’t met my mother, you have no idea what you’re missing. she is a treasure.

so i’m starting a series entitled:

what would ami do?

it’s about things my mom does or did that inspire me and have made me into the *ahem* totally awesome person i am today.

are you excited? yeah, me too.

as an intro to this series, i’ll tell you some fun facts about my super awesome mom.

she is not only my mom, but also the mother of 5 other children. for those of you that have trouble with simple math (like me), that’s six kids in total. four of those children are boys.

she is amazing, and she knows it. she has more confidence than…something really confident. one of my favorite “ami quotes” is, “well, of course people like me, what’s not to like?!”

she was born and raised in des plaines, il, which happens to be where the first ever mcdonald’s opened.
she’s just all around adorable, fun, and wise and she’s cool enough for me to write a bunch of blogs about. stay tuned!