Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This Week

This week has been interesting...typically, we would have one playdate for the entire week....this week, everyday. The kids have had a lot of fun and I have adapted our school to fit this "unique" week, and I mean unique!

After their friends left today, I went to go sharpen the pencils to get started on language arts only to find that Austen sharpened an eraser that was now lodged in my brand new, very nice electronic pencil sharpener. Needless to say I was quite frustrated and just felt the Holy Spirit say, " put down the pencils and play games". So with the girls sleeping, I went into the boys room and we played Rat a Tat Cat and Silly Sentences. Both of these games covered what I was wanting to discuss in both of their language arts and math so point in case, the Holy Spirit knows best mamas.

DK Games: Silly SentencesAnyways, Silly Sentences is a really fun game that makes learning the parts of a sentence funny. The kids roll an odd shaped die, do what it says and if they land on "article, noun, preposition..." we say ok, " prepositions find the noun" and they pick one from the stack on the board and put it on their sentence structure. We always end up laughing our heads off at the silly sentences that are made. The best was Austen's, " The pink carrot reads to the old child" and " The fast clock sings to the red dinosaur" ( article-adj-noun-verb-preposition-article-adj-noun). You get the idea. I bought this game 2 years ago and I'm so glad I did!

Rat a tat cat focuses on greater than, less than, subtraction and memory. Its a really fun card game and I love that Austen is as into games as Jay and I are. Games make learning so much easier and fun! Finally, I read a bunch of books on pets and responsibility. One interesting book in particular was " Pets of the White House". A very interesting and informative read!  Hmm, do you feel a theme here?? :) The boys then had a quiet time, played playmobil, used their imaginations ( what more could I ask for???!) and then Austen and Riah came downstairs where we worked on SSRW and Austen completed reading another small book! Yeah Austen! He is making such great, S L O W progress and I love it :)

Two weeks Worth of Crockpot Meals!!!

So yesterday I went shopping for two weeks worth of meals. This season in life is either, its in the crockpot or its going to be "jack-crap". We have had a few too many pb&j sandwiches the past few nights simply because the entire day gets away from me and Ben is on his own right now eating something completely separate....so its me and the kids that I'm preparing for.

Anyways, I was pretty excited to find a new crockpot website and found all my recipes there:

Crockpot Lasagna
Corn Chowder
Kale Soup
Enchiladas
Slow Cooker Vegetable Minestrone
French Onion Soup
Western Omelet

There is NOTHING I love more than home fragrances and the smell of a meal simmering in the crockpot is one of my favorites. Tonight, we are doing the kale soup, something I've never cooked with before. I will let you know how it turns out. You may have noticed, I said two weeks worth of meals....the best part about crockpots is that large quantity and that, for me, it serves as lunch too! Score! No more handfuls of nuts and a couple of carrots :)

Come Thou Fount

" Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love...." . What a desperate plea to acknowledge our carnal and weak nature to stop running the race. The kids and I focused on Robert Robinson yesterday. I am learning so much!!!! Me, that's right ME! We read how he wrote the hymn at 23, fell away from the Lord and came upon a woman humming the hymn he wrote and broke down in tears saying, "Madam, I am the poor un­hap­py man who wrote that hymn ma­ny years ago, and I would give a thou­sand worlds, if I had them, to en­joy the feel­ings I had then.”

My heart broke reading these words because once you have truly, TRULY experienced an authentic relationship with Christ and fall away, there is never a more empty and hollow feeling as that. I brought it close to home for the kids explaining that Robinson lost his Dad when he was just 8, a little older than Jayden. Reading through the words is an experience in itself. Understanding some of the history and reasoning behind the words makes it come alive even more! We located England on the map and talked about how he was sent away, by his mother, at 14 to apprentice as a barber.

I love youtube. My favorite version of this was by David Crowder band. The kids and I stood in the family room, praising the Lord as I encouraged them to raise their hands and be leaders, never followers. I am so thankful for them! Keep on training for His kingdom!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Schedules

Today was quite an interesting day, to say the least. I am going to revamp some things in my life to remain but yet change at the same time. My head is kind of spinning today with every emotional outcry from my three year old, frustrations at the stores and school that was not accomplished today. I am ok with a day or two like this but honestly, I think this year, especially, has been my learning year that life typically needs to happen in the afternoon after naps and mornings are a no go.

I love morning time but with all the school that the kids are doing this year, and the NEED, not want, of a quiet time in the afternoon I am going to try and workout later in the day, before dinner. Maybe a 75/25 change. I need my workouts, so this part is not changing but I am still fumbling, trying to find a routine that benefits us all.

Managers of Their Chores (Managers, 1)I think I am purchasing, Managers of Their Chores. I think this will be a great investment not only in my life, but in my children's lives as well. They did such a great job this morning, sorting laundry, cleaning bathrooms, making beds, cleaning the kitchen that if I can get them to learn to do these things on their own accord, eventually, it will be such a great, practical teacher, in initiative.

Home Educating is a family effort so taking care of the home is as well. Sorry this is not that interesting of a post, I am just rambling my thoughts together trying to figure out how to feel "on top" of something. That is all. On ward :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Homeschooling is Just Not For Me

Yes, the headline of this blog was a statement I have made over and over and OVER in my short lifetime, and I meant every word of it. The kids are all sleeping and Ben is busy with something so I"m on a blogging roll tonight so "ride on Nelly, ride on". I have come across so many moms and dads, in general who say, " Wow, I could never home school", and I have to agree, neither could I.

My husband was homeschooled and honestly this was a subject we discussed very intently and I explained very clearly this was not my thing, I felt suffocated at the thought of it and could not understand how moms could not or would not ever "get" a break from their kids. What a horrible way to live?! He had a great upbringing and did fine but I was not convinced that it was a very "smart" move academically. How could a parent teach a child better than a "college" educated teacher? Even looking back now, I think these are valid concerns for so many parents. My kids could never spend this much time with me, how can we afford to do all this on one income, what about my breaks, what if I can't teach a particular subject.....and this list of questions and concerns goes on and on and on.

When we moved out of state, it was one of the best things that could have ever happened to us. We were forced to be our own family unit, apart from our extended family. I am so thankful this happened. I remember very clearly working with Jayden doing fun, educational games and thinking " wow, this is great!". I also remember going to Sedona and having this almost instantaneous thought of , " homeschool your children". Get behind thee Satan. Who said that??" I whipped my head around and wanted to know what insane person or being put that thought into my mind and then I realized, ohmigoodness, I kinda, sorta, wanted that thought in my mind. From that moment on I secretly began to pray and ask God if this was something He wanted us to do then to increase my passion for "it".

On a drive back home from New Mexico, Ben and I were discussing gaps in the school systems and christian worldviews vs secular worldviews. We are Christians, unashamed and choose to raise our children in accordance to the Bible....yet, thinking of how at five years old we would be handing over our precious, impressionable child to a system who's values reflected nothing of our own was a very overwhelming feeling, to say the least. It was that car ride, driving through the plateaus of New Mexico, observing rabbits and coyotes dart past us and 40 degree mornings chill the outside of our vehicle that God began to solidify this journey we are now on.

For those of you who are thinking of homeschooling, never homeschooling or unsure about homeschooling, hear me out. Pray and do not be closed off to the idea- if you are open to what God has for you and your family, the Holy Spirit will solidify these feelings in your heart.

Questions: How are you qualified to teach, you do not have a teaching degree.
Answer: What makes me qualified? I am his/her mother. I gave birth to them, fed them, cared for them when they were sick, I am the one that cleaned up their vomit, comforted them when they fell or others hurt their hearts, I sang and read to them over and over, taught them to talk, to recognize faces and smiles. I am their encourager and ever present cheerleader. I am the runner behind the wobbly bike, the net behind their wobble legs. I am the guardian at night when the darkness creeps in and begins to form mental images and fears. I taught them what a bug was, how many legs it had, and who created that small bug. I have dried countless tears, tickled countless tummies and held countless hands in my own. I have played make believe, play dough, interpreted Picasso type paintings and melted down broken crayons. I have purchased pets, read pet care books and cleaned countless fish bowls and hermit and anole cages to teach my children how to care and be responsible for another living being. I show compassion, frustration, love, anger, but a constant jealousy of love towards my children. I am weak but Christ makes me strong. So let me stop you right there, how am I not qualified?!

What is a teacher. Does a college degree equate teacher just as much as my sociology degree equates me an expert on society? Does a business degree equate success or a medical degree equate great bedside manner and expertise?

Question: How will you teach calculus?
Answer: I won't. If my child is wanting to learn calculus I will find the best possible expert, be it at the collegiate level or a homeschool support group where someone will teach him/her calculus to a successful degree.

Question: Won't you get sick of your children or them of you?
Answer: Who doesn't get sick of being around anyone all the time. Are you telling me that teachers, who are not even blood related to their students, do not get sick of them? Of course I want a break. I have breaks but let me explain something, I did not have birth my children so I could hand them over five years later to a system of strangers. I birthed them so I could nurture and shepherd their hearts with the strength and grace of the Holy Spirit. Do they get sick of me? I'm sure....we have designated nap/quiet times EVERY SINGLE DAY. Do you know what, I tell them, " no talking to me for the next hour" and you know what- they do a great job sleeping or playing in their bedrooms quietly while I recollect my thoughts and put my mind on a hiatus for a bit.


Question: How do you do it? I could never do it.
Answer: I have no idea how I do it. I do it because I love my children and opened my completely closed off, needing to control everything heart to God. There are definitely hard days. However, the hard days are so much less than the great days. I deal with their heart issues immediately instead of letting them fester and grow if they were not with me all day. I ask God for inspiration and help each and every moment of the day. Its not easy teaching- let alone adding grace and patience into that mix. I desire more for my children than any teacher could ever give to them and yes YOU can do it. Do not underestimate yourself or your ability. YOU are their parent and only YOU can give them what NO ONE else could ever do in the school system, unconditional love. Yes, YOU can home educate your child(ren).

I leave you with this final thought....although I will be revisiting and adding to this topic again- you have not heard the last of me because there is so much more to discuss. When I was  senior and all set to go to cosmetology school, marry Ben in a couple of years and feeling confident my college writing teacher, Mr W ( cannot even remember his full name) asked what I was going to do after school. I stated cosmetology and he stated, " Wow, you are really wasting your talent and could be doing so much more with your life." SLAM. What am I suppose to do with that comment. I will tell you one thing, that one comment in the autumn of my senior year shaped the rest of my college life. I completely fell of the bandwagon, has so many insecurities about my decision and in June after graduating I switched last minute from cosmetology school to my university only to finish my senior year with a surprise pregnancy and at the end, a sigh of relief. Why relief, because now, I was out of the academic rat race of others expectations of me...people who mean nothing to me now or then and I could finally take a step back and see what did I really want, what did God really want for my life. Funny, I can't even remember his name....a teacher who means nothing to me now or then but used his unwarranted influence to change the course of my life.

Who do you want influencing your children?
To be continued.....
 Our day was very laid back today. It consisted of lots and lots of reading. We read pet poetry, books on responsibility from the Bernstein Bears, Karma Wilson, Psalms 8, and a myriad of other library books.

We looked up different breeds of dogs on the computer as my breed book from the library as not come in yet. I had Austen identify the breeds and Jayden write one sentence about three of them.

I am kind of hooked on petfinder.com. Call me crazy I really want my rottweiler now. However, then Hannah goes and chews on crayons, pulls cords from the wall, throws her sippy cup over her high chair with the top flying off and liquid splashing and sploshing everywhere, plumb skins sticking to the cabinets with disintegrating cheerios and I ponder, while cleaning this all up for the thousandth time, why do I want a puppy??? Yes, we are holding off for yet a few more years- sorry kids.

We ate a simple lunch, prepared in simple fashion with a simple hug and kiss before a short and simple nap that was had by all. Overall, just a relaxing day and a workout during nap time. Hoping the energy levels of my two middle ones starts coming up, I really miss their normal selves.

Another Busy Day


So I have to brag on Jayden for a moment, simply because Austen and Riah have had the week off thus far due to getting over a fever which took a very tiring toll on their bodies :( Anyways, I was a little nervous at the start of this year trying to figure out if I should really move Jay into 3rd grade math. He did so well at the 2nd grade level but he is barely seven and I am all about moving at their pace and not my own. I wanted to make sure that it was really him and not me that was ready so I prayed and prayed about what to use for him for school this year and I am so thankful we are using Horizons.

I am not gun ho at all about the spiral method. I truly feel there are so many other, much better ways to teach math. For me, at this point in time, I feel that it gives me the structure I'm looking for as well as the confidence to veer off and teach something in a "real life" way or in a different way but still making sure we are heading in the right direction. A few years from now I'll probably laugh at myself as I prance to the trill of my own flute ( like that mental picture? :)) while doing my own math ideas but for now.....this is where we are at....still a little unsure of the math waters.

Mainly, I think my apprehension comes from the fact that math and language arts are two very sequential subjects. All the other subjects, honestly, it does not matter when you teach about the human body vs inventions vs the civil war and the revolutionary war. As long as you show connections...but l.a. and math....you can't jump to paragraphs when you don't know what a sentence is and you can't jump to multiplication if you can't add 1+2 , etc. Sooo, anyways, sorry for rambling.

Ok, so we started with horizon. I have a bunch of supplements that I am using along with math for both boys, especially Austen but we are moving steadily through the first few lessons of math and Jay is doing fantastic! The first lesson, wow, we spent 1.5 hr working through it together. My brain was fried afterwards and I was like, " Umm, this is going to be very slow going" but, by the 3rd lesson he started branching out with his white board, multi colored dry erase markers, counting blocks, pencil and his book; he started solving problems with carrying and sums resulting in the 100s all by himself as well as subtraction problems like 98-72=26!!! I was thrilled! He never even needed to ask me questions! Even if he needed to that would have been fine; simply to see him working hard on his own, independently and solving and understanding made me feel so proud of him! Great job Jayden!!!!! His proud little smirk made my day!


Night Time Coffee

Smooth.Creamy.Chocolaty. Warm. Relaxing. Tantalizing.Refreshing.Calming.Not Sharing.Peaceful.Favorite Red Mug.Quiet.Still.End of Day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Its Raining Pigs and Dogs!

Wow! I can't believe that we have only one more week left in our pet sub unit of our responsibility study! This time flew! That's ok, I still need to fit in a few field trips and then we are moving onto beavers for a week and then ants! Ok, today was a pretty low key day. Both Austen and Moriah came down with fevers last night and that was pretty much the extent of it, fevers. However, they have both been pretty lethargic today and so they spent the morning watching Lady and the Tramp, Aristocats and 101 Dalmatians while I worked on school with Jayden and chased Miss Hanns around.








We recited Old Mother Hubbard and dramatized it together. Jay was not at all happy that the poor dog never did end up getting a bone. " Is that the end of the poem, he doesn't end up eating anything??" Also, we created a sock puppet and sewed on a cute pair of ears, nose and Jay colored in its eyes and spots. He morphed into character and put on a monologue of " The Day and the Life of a Dalmatian Dog". Interesting fact, did you know that Dalmatian dogs were first a status symbol among the Aristocrats and the fire department, back in the 1800s or so, wanted to have the same effect on the general public ( the gawking) when they rode on their engines drawn by work horses so they adopted the dog as "their" dog. It achieved the same effect and then the dog began to work for the fire department. They were calmed the horses, chased other meandering dogs away, protected the firehouse, guarded the horses when the firefighters were fighting fires, etc. We thought this was all very cool! I don't know, love learning new facts that I never even thought about before. We need to look up the origin of the German Shepherd!

We sand B-I-N-G-O again and got the words right, thank you dear friend Kelly :) Jayden also added his rendition of F-R-I-S-K-Y to the tune Bingo. Moriah and I were very humored, to say the least. Jayden and Moriah pretended to be puppies and we "trained" them to come, sit, roll over, shake. Also, Hannah was the unknowing mouse and Jayden " stalked" her. This was hilarious because as soon as Jayden would stalk and creep like a cat towards her and she noticed, that one year old bod took off like a speeding bullet. We were laughing so hard :)

Finally, we talked about if a cat purred, meowed loudly, ate grass, etc what was he trying to do or communicate. Honestly, I hate cats, love kittens, hate cats. They creep me out they are scary and skittish so I am just happy we even discussed those crazy animals.

Jayden finished his language arts and is really getting good at spelling thanks to Diana Crafts methods of pictures, colors and "gross factors". Hey, whatever works. We worked on his math and now, I am going to work out! It is so hot outside and I cannot wait for it to cool off so we can start playing outside more and having our afternoons consist of sun and nature vs inside and a/c. Just a few more months, we can do it- at least its not snowing. That I will say- sun or snow- I'll take the sun.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Her Name Written in the Lamb's Book of Life! Rejoice!

Getting off the phone last week with my brother, Jayden and Moriah come walking up to me holding hands. Jayden said, " Mama, I helped Riah ask Jesus into her heart right now" What!?!
"What did you say, how did you say it?" I asked Jayden. He then went on to explain that Riah stated naughty people did not go to heaven and he said, " but Riah if naughty people stop and ask Jesus into their hearts, do you think they will go to heaven?" and she stated " no" where Jay then said, " actually, yes, if you ask Jesus into your heart and say you are sorry for all of your naughty things you can go to heaven too- do you want to do that?" and there, right in my living room, oblivious to me my son leads my daughter in the sinner prayer. She repeated after Jayden and all of heaven rejoiced. How incredibly awesome is that! I am thrilled and in awe that my seven year old has lead both of his siblings with passion and prayer to their Savior. He is living his mission field- he is my inspiration! Jayden, I pray power and divine direction over your life- my God use you powerfully both now and in the future my precious, precious son. My God say to you one day, " Well done thy good and faithful servant"- you are like the wise servant who was given resources and did not hoard them but used what you had to grow them and flourish them- I pray wisdom over you- may you always be the head and never the tail. I love you my little evangelist, my pilgrim. I am so proud of you and so thankful for you!

Barley Soup


A favorite recipe of mine that I have been making a lot lately! It is super easy, healthy and cost effective- paired with some fresh baked bread, it makes for a perfect meal!

Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup ( recipe taken off the back of the Quaker Barley box)
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
7 c water
1 14.5 oz can unsalted whole tomatoes, undrained, cut into pieces ( I've always omitted b/c I never seem to have them around)
1/2 c barley uncooked
1/2 c celery, sliced
1/2 c carrots, sliced
2 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 t dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 9 oz pkg frozen mixed vegetables

Brown and drain meat. Add onion and garlic, cook until onion is tender. Drain. Stir in remaining ingredients except frozen vegetables. Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 50-60 min. Add frozen vegetables; cook 10 minutes more. Makes about 12 cups

Enjoy!

Barry The Bravest Saint Bernard

Barry: The Bravest Saint Bernard (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))If you have never read this story or heard of it ( like myself) I highly recommend it. We read this book today and honestly, its a tear jerker, not like it takes much to evoke tears from me but its such a great book!!! I am sure we will read it a few more times before bringing it back to the library. We also read  " Favorite Poem Old and New" which is has a copyright from 1957. What a sweet, sweet time and a great age to collect both old and "new" poems. We focused on the animal poems and tried to identify the different types of animals the various authors were describing. I read " My Dog" by Marchette Chute and Jayden illustrated what he felt that dog looked like. I love literature so its been great to open my children's world even more to the classics.

Jayden became a photographer and shot some pictures of his anole and betta fish. Austen has not seemed like himself today so I'm hoping he is ok. He fell asleep at 10 am, woke up for a bit and is now sleeping hard at 3pm. Praying that his body is fighting hard whatever seems to be bothering him. Poor little lovers.

We, including Austen, did a TON of math and language arts this morning. Honestly, school is completely passed the 1.5 hr it was back when I only did Jayden. It is so much. Does it seem like that to anyone else who has older kids or schooling more than one? I read an article from a friend who talked about hiring cleaning help and I completely agree with that. Once life settles down in the next couple of months having someone deep clean 1-2x/month would be very worth it!

Here is another interesting site dedicated to Barry http://www.dog-breeds-and-dog-gifts.com/barry-the-great-saint-bernard.html . If I ever go to Switzerland I want to see this statue so I can take a picture and send it back to show the kids. Love learning!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Much Is That Doggy In The Window??

Tabby

pet store owner

interviewing Miss Mama
Today we continued on with your study. I started with reading Genesis 1-2 and going through each day of creation. My Grandma made this awesome fabric book that keep turning into itself to represent each different day that God created. After I finished we discussed what responsibilities God gave to Adam and Eve and the kids took turns drawing pictures of something they remembered from our reading.

I love having our computer in the school area. In our other home, it was in our bedroom and made looking up things very difficult for school. Anyways, I looked up " We Are Siamese If You Please..." from Lady and the Tramp, the Old Yeller theme song as well as Lassie. We listened to these a few times over because they are so darn cute. Then, we did a comparison chart of how cats and dogs are similar and different. I love how engaged Moriah is and she just jumps right in with suggestions and most of the time, she is right!

Another fun thing was learning about working dogs. I learned so many interesting facts today on dogs. Did you know that the St Bernard dog was named after a monastery in the Alps. It was built as a refuge for travelers and the dogs would haul supplies and turn the spits used to roast meat for the guests. We are waiting a book from the library about Barry the famous St Bernard who saved forty people....hopefully it arrives soon!

I asked each of the kids if the had a dog, what would they name it?
M- " When I have a girl dog, I will name my dog Sadie."
A- "Softy because it will be soft."
J- " Bear if it would be a strong Rottweiler and squeak if it were smaller"

Finally, we set up a "pet store" where Austen and Riah dressed up as customers and Jayden was the owner. This worked out wonderfully because, honestly, for the past 6 months or so Jay has cleaned out and read almost every child and adult pet book the library has to offer so he is quite knowledgeable in this area.

The kids asked Jay, depending on their home situation, what pet would be best suited for them. Riah, wearing my heels,  had a black cat sitting in her stroller and Jay walks over to her, introduces himself, shakes her hand and leans down patting the cats head and goes, " And what kind of friend do you want for you Tabby??" Hahahaha, I about died. Funniest comment ever :) Austen , dressed up in Ben's clothes was a complete grump so we named him Mr Grouch and he decided that his son " Froggy" needed a pet turtle. However, according to Jayden the aquarium would be $70 and Austen insisted he only had $50 but would still buy it. Oh Austen!

We then read many, MANY library books including our all time favorite author ever KARMA WILSON. If you have never ready any of her books I highly recommend them and we love, LOVE them. They are so rhythmic, cute, and well written. 

Finally, Jayden's Horizons math came in the mail and ohmigoodness is it challenging. I love it that way! I would rather take it slower and have it be challenging than faster and have it be too easy. He is doing third grade so its fine to slow down anyways. That took us a whole 40 minutes and Austen fell asleep, I think he needed it. Overall, a very fun day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Day and the Life of a "SAHHM" ( stay at home homeschooling mom)

I was laughing so hard when reading an article posted on facebook about the daily, insanely busy life of a stay at home mom with young children....however, I wanted to shed light on an even more complicated aspect to add to it and that is homeschooling mama. So here it goes, a sample into my daily life, ie: today ( nothing unique, just life)

My one year old daughter wakes up screaming bloody murder at 4 am. I stagger, incoherent to her bedroom where I pick her out of her crib and meander slowly, very slowly, stumbling downstairs to try and find a glass of water, teething tablets, Tylenol, fruit or any other object that may calm her down and stop her ear piercing screams at this God forsaken hour where the only noise should be the hum of the refrigerator and sleepy breathing.

After stumbling my way through the darkness I turn on the ever so bright oven light to find my precious belongings. As my daughter archers her back, screams and throws everything down that I hand to her, I try and rock and sing softly to her. This is not working, so I put her in her high chair where she has puffy, red, sleep deprived eyes and sadly sucks two of her fingers. Finally, she takes a couple pieces of fruit and some Tylenol, calms down and I am able to lay her back down to bed. It is now 5:30am.

I then hear little doors opening and shutting and children with acute vision see the dim shadow of the oven light on and saunter downstairs to find me. It is 5:32am. I have two choices. I can go back to bed and have them play quietly or I could stay up and start prepping for my day and have them watch a quiet movie in hopes of them not saying much to me so I can still try and reclaim this " quiet hour or is it hour of power???" . I decide to stay up, put in the Aristocats and keep the volume at a 10. This causes extreme silence so that they cannot possibly talk without missing a part of the movie.

I turn to the kitchen. I go out to put the recycling out. Come back in and change into my workout clothes. One knows that when your workout clothes are on there is not turning back, your workout must occur at some point during that day or those nasty, worn out pieces of rags will be worn ALL DAY LONG as punishment.

I am excited at the stillness and quietness of the morning, thus far. My brain is starting to function at the ripe ole' hour of 6 am at quite a fair speed so I decide to try a new recipe of bran muffins and become the domestic goddess I strive for each and every day. I open the fridge to pull out the milk to add to my bran sitting in my kitchen aid. Stop, stop STOP!!!! as a large metal bowl containing a 22 lb watermelon crashes not only on one shelf but on shelves two, three and four, splatting into the crevices of the refrigerator and oozing pink juice into unknown dark areas that are inaccessible to human hands. The seeds and fruit fly all over the kitchen as the large bowl misses my bare feet by .2 mm. Seriously, did this seriously just happen I exclaim in a quiet whisper. A too excited response would have elicited help from my dear friends quietly watching a movie from the other room. So, I found a towel, cleaned up the mess, filled up the sink with pine sol and mopped my entire floor- first sweeping up hidden areas of food near Hannah's highchair that was missed from our early morning encounter.

Okay, let's try this again and finish adding the ingredients. Ok, things are going well. The muffins are now baking and I go back and retrieve the recycling bin realizing that today is NOT the day for it to be picked up. No big deal, the fresh air smells great. Ok, it is now 7:14 am. Now the time clock starts ticking. I have to be at the gym no later than 8:15am if I want to get a very pathetic 40 minute workout in. A dear friend and her kids are coming over so I do a quick once over through the house, making sure there is toilet paper in the bathroom, soap and that there is nothing clogged. You know what I mean.

Alright, two of my three children are in pajamas and the fourth sleeping angel still needs her hobbit 2nd breakfast, diaper changed and clothes put on. The oldest son is dressed and ready for the day so I set him down with his language arts and circle the parts I want him to complete.  I tell two children to go upstairs and find some clothes. My son starts crying, " I can't find any shorts." So I run upstairs and open one door- oh my, look there are ten pairs of shorts sitting there! With a sheepish look he pulls one out and does a doe see doe dance around the room. He then finishes getting dressed but prances out of the room with food all over his face and no sandals on. Please go back in your room, put on your sandals and wash your face, brush your teeth.

I move on to my three year old's room. For some odd reason, she decided that today, of all days, she would pull out all of her winter clothing from her bin in the closet and color code them on her floor! Did I mention its 115 degrees outside??? Daughter, could you please help me pick up these clothing. After we go through and reason why we cannot wear any of the items on the floor and why we need to pick them we move on. The interesting thing about three year olds is that they desire that "perfect outfit" . The shirt needs to be of a certain hue, shape and design. Only the best will do. We locate this "perfect shirt" a salmon colored tank top with a colorful butterly design.

Now, however, my daughter has found her Cinderella and Tinkerbell clips and asks to sit me down and style my hair. Because I treasure my time with my children I sit for a quick style and consolation. She maneuvers my hair, chastising me for moving my head and I end up adorned with Tinkerbell and Cinderella clips on each side of my once plain ( and what I felt) sufficient "work out" pony tail. Speaking of working out, are we going to make it???

My daughter is satisfied with her work, skips off to find her pink sandals and begins to cry, they are "wost". We locate them, brush her teeth, brush and fix her hair and I send her back downstairs to wait for me. I turn and wake up my sleeping one year old. She is bright, cheery and acts as if we never rendezvoused in the dreaded hours of the morning that ended up becoming the genesis of my morning. I changed her sopping wet diaper, found some clothes for her and looked at the clock. It is now 8:15am. This was the latest that I wanted to be at the gym. Oh well, we are going to make it work.

I usher everyone outside, pile everyone in a van that resembles nothing short of a dumpster being blown up in and say my usual " everyone buckle, buckle up, come on let's go, everyone buckle." I go to buckle in my one year old, smell her bottom ( which is customary to do before you put your baby in a carseat) and of course she now is dirty. Run back inside, run upstairs find a new diaper and wipes, change her, wash my hands go back outside. At this moment my three year old is sitting in a seat that is not hers , smiling smugly and causing complaints from her brothers. I tell her in an ever so firm tone, " get into your seat now"   " I sorry mama" . I buckle my one year old, close the door. Move over to my three year old, buckle her only to realize that she once again unbuckled her main seat and would be simply free styling it in the van if I had not noticed. I unbuckle her, tell her to step out, buckle the main seat, put her back in, buckle her in her seat and back out. " I"m thirsty, I have to go potty, oh no I have no books to read, screech, I can't reach my toy....." all within a mere 2 seconds of backing out of the driveway. Really, its only 8:22 am!

Because I was smart, I had already buttoned a bib on my daughter and snagged two of the fresh bran muffins and sippy cup of water for the trip to our fitness center. We arrive and after five minutes of people strolling out of the van, checking in and moving up I finally am onto my workout. Phew 8:38am!

A speedy workout and quick shower land me pretty much into dejavou with the kids. Slowly piling back into the van and moving back to the house to meet a friend. We had a great visit and the kids all shared wonderfully with their playmate. However, all good things must come to an end so my friend left and lunch hour began.

Typically, everyone wants something different. For the most part, I have lunch narrowed to two different types of sandwiches, fruit and veggie along with a beverage. My five year old is insistent upon making his own sandwich. I let him, to teach him independence but jelly and peanut butter are smeared all over his sweet little hands, cheeks and face as he licks the remnants, that didn't make it onto the sandwich, into his mouth. My three year old insists that her sandwich is two pieces, not one, but in half. Try doing that mathematical equation. My oldest is pretty neat and clean and capable of doing his sandwich and lunch pretty much goes off without a bang.

Oh side note, I forget to mention the revolving door kitchen. The part where you barley have time to clean up from breakfast when the kids want things out for snacks. Cereal is pulled from the pantry, only upside down and spills all over the floor; you need to now clean it up and sweep it up as super crawlers and unassuming three year olds scramble to pick it up and throw the cereal into the ravenous mouths quicker than I can say, " Wait!". By the time this is cleaned up and the milk that was in the sippy cup has leaked all over the highchair and floor next to the highchair and the bananas that were neatly cut are now mountainous globs stuck into the tile and squished between unprotected toes and feet its lunch time and ALL the food comes out again.

I lay the younger ones down and prepare school now for the older ones. Typically, we do our unit studies as a family; however today, we did not due to company during the day so I focused on the two older boys. We began with language arts. My oldest, completing his writing assignment. He was nearly done when he broke into tears due to his dislike of writing and wanting to move onto our unit study. I sat with him and explained that although writing was difficult for him it was very important to learn and improve on because it would be something that he would take with him and use the rest of his life. I get him going again with that then I switch over to my five year old. He is learning to read. We sit and go through a little reader together. Although this is painstakingly slow I love watching him and listening as he gets closer and closer to moving the sounds faster together to form the words. A question from my oldest, moving on with my five year old. This goes on for the next few minutes. We then move onto math, interruption from my three year old who now has an empty glass of water. Ok, teaching two different grade levels to two different boys with two different learning styles. Need I say much more. This takes talent, patience, understanding and grace. Wouldn't trade it for anything. We move through that, I look at the clock and realize I need to start thinking about getting the kids ready for their geography co op, making a meal for a friend who just had a baby, picking up mail at the post office, returning library books and buying more crickets for starving anole.

We have about an hour left before we need to leave. The one year old wakes up, screeching again from her crib. I go and pick her up and move her downstairs. We begin with our unit study and read many books all the while having to read over some hair pulling, crawling over and under and sloppy wet kisses from an adorable little sister. We do our activities based on that and truly enjoy every aspect, read the bible and start switching gears. If people think that homeschooling means there is no distraction, they are out of their mind. There will be so many distractions, its just up to us to choose which ones are a natural part of our lives, ie: crawling baby and which ones to avoid, ie: constant texting, phone calls, etc.

I end up waking up my three year old. This elicits crying, and some break downs. She is not one to wake up cheerfully. After a few minutes and a potty break, " Mama, I did a stinkies can you come wipe me??" we are pretty close to heading out the door. The same scenario takes places as prior to my workout as we are getting in the car. However, we are off! As we listen to a myriad of children's tapes, yes I said tapes ( a blast from the past 80s christian style) we cruise down the road.

Upon nearing the home where our geography co op is I still need to quickly decide if I should pick up something for my friend at a restaurant, buy a gift card or pick something up at the store. I decide on the third choice, load everyone out of the hot car, into the hot sun and quickly herd them into our local grocery store. Trying to move " quickly" through a grocery store with four children 7 and under is an oxymoron. We locate our items after the kids suggested many different things. I love their help but when I am in " fast mode" I can only compute things at a high rate of speed so when I am bombarded with twenty million questions there are mostly quick yeses and no. Sometimes this can get me into trouble. " Mama, can we each of one of these?" " yes, no, yes we may have one, no you may not EACH- work together, figure it out, you are a team...."

After 7 minutes of getting everyone into the store, into the cart, through the store and checkout and out the door we are heading to our co op. We arrive. I have water bottles floating throughout my car, library books piled up to the ceiling, the smell of strawberry gum wafting through the air and now we need to unbuckle everyone again to go inside.

Typically, for a homeschool co op the parents take turns teaching a subject, preparing it and presenting it to the children. This comes with a lot of responsibility and creativity and thankfully today was NOT my day :)

Inside, my one year old decides to be giant baby and go after a three week old; how kind of her. She is busy, busy, BUSY. I wouldn't have it any other way but maybe one of these times she could give me a break. She wants crackers, doesn't want crackers, gulps water, spills water, the water falls on the ground, drenches her dress, my leg and mixes with bread crumbs. You get the picture. Co op is wrapping up and I am eyeing the clock knowing I need to rush to the post office, stand in line, gather our mail and mail a package all before it closes. This particular post office is known for its extremely long wait lines and slow staff as well. Sounds like a fun "field trip" to me. We say goodbye, pile in the car, re buckle, turn on "agape land" tapes again and I toss two half drunk water bottles onto the passenger side. Mental note, van must be cleaned tomorrow.

Arrive at the post office, ask my son to hold my place in line. Rush over with three kids, holding one, struggling to find the keys with one hand in my oh so deep purse, find the keys and pull out a weeks worth of mail.  I move over to the line. Thankfully the line moves quickly, mail my package and receive two VERY LARGE packages in its place. Ok, I give one package to my son who insists he cannot hold it because he has a national geographic kids magazine in his hands. My look has him change his mind. I have my one year old in one arm, the box in the other, mail on top of that and my brick of a purse/diaper bag over my shoulder. We shuffle on out of there. Thankfully, my remote control unlock decides to work today. We all load up AGAIN, buckle, buckle, repeat. Oh daughter! She had unbuckled the main buckle again! Repeat!

Arrived at the library, 1/2 mile away. Unload everyone again. I delegate the return books to the two boys and we head in all the while my three year old is blowing a new found whistle. She stops when we hit the door. We find our books, my one year old crawls through the shelves, one side to the next. I can see her, so I let her do this. Then, however, she is bored of that so she starts deshelving EVERY single book! Stop! I reshelf the books, look for one last book while my other three our still loading up their arms with as many books as they can handle. We SLOWLY move to the self check out. This, actually is more of a burden than an actual librarian. I will explain why. With self checkout, you need to not only dig through your purse for your library card, scan it, and scan each book but you need to watch your three year old try and pull the defibrillator off the wall, your five year old standing on the stool next to the computer and jumping up and down, your seven year old wanting to responsibly scan each and every one of his books and your one year old, whom you have let down for a second find the one and only plug, have the strength to pull it and shut down the entire scanning computer. All this and the librarian will simply come over, turn it back on for you and say , " ok you are all set to try again".

My kids understand now that after each has had his turn to check out his/her books respectively they much sit quietly on the bench until I am done with the remaining books. We finished that task, the kids wanted to look at the toys at Target. Why not? We have already gotten in and out of the car twenty times today. I drove another 1/2 mile to Target, got the kids out, they asked for their free cookie and we moved onto the toys. Finally, we load up and come home, eat dinner, exhausted by days end only to stare at a mountain of dishes, spilled food and beverages, leftovers that need to be swept and washed before tomorrow and this isnt' even touching on the rest of the house cleaning and picking up, organzing, email responding, etc.

We pile the kids upstairs to get pajamas on, half of them want to sleep in their big girl/boy pants, brush their teeth, read the Bible, put them in bed, pray. Yet, two minutes later you will hear, " mama, daddy??? I need new pajamas, I am cold, I can't find my blanket, I have no water, I need some new books, my puppy is missing, what's that noise, I need another hug/kiss......"

Finally, when it is quiet and its just you and your husband, you let the kitchen sit for a bit longer, brew some coffee ( making sure its decaf), sit, talk, watch some tv, and laugh. Next, its time to plan your day for tomorrow. There are a myriad of field trips, lesson plans, books to be requested, co ops to organize, be apart of or attend and for what? Why do I do this to myself? Why do I change sheets that were drenched by spilled cups, bed wetting, throw up, or wash clothes that have had goodness knows what on them, teach my children at home instead of sending them to school amidst crying, laughing, chaos, tantrums, teething or sickness, taking full responsibility for the hearts and education.....because I LOVE THEM. I am in love with my family and this crazy, running around, at times thankless job is what I live for each day. I love my husband and my kids and to be truthful, I actually enjoy, no, LOVE what I do and who I am. I pour out my life into my mission field, my family and I couldn't be more thankful for this opportunity. I am a SAHHM.

So when you are weary, tired and begin to lose heart, remove yourself from the chaos, take a picture that one of your children scribbled, colored, a beloved stuffed animal that they have, a lego creation that they poured over for hours and go into your room quietly, lock the door, cry and ask the Holy Spirit to once again renew your heart and give you fresh vision. Because you know what sweet mamas, HE WILL!!! Be encouraged!

More Than One Way To Get Up Early

I've been wanting to wake up before the kids for awhile now but with the move and unpacking and the sheer exhaustion of it all it just hasn't happened. Well, I think little Miss Hanns is breaking in her nasty little one year molars because she just woke up screaming at 4am. Poor Honey. This is the 2nd early morning in a row. I gave her some tylenol, water and fruit and she mainly wanted to just cuddle and chew and rock. So we did. I just laid her down and she is quiet so I am sure she'll fall back asleep. Now, that I am fully awake I have two options, go back to bed or start my day. Sooo, I think I will begin it- its a busy one anyways.... starting with bran muffins :)
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in raisins and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!            *** recipe found on allrecipes.com***

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Anatomy of a Dog

Austen's Dog Anatomy



Jay's Dog Anatomy
What a productive day we have had so far and I am operating on a mere four hours of sleep- thank you Growing Hanns! The kids had some friends over this morning and they had a blast! The played legos, dress up, chased each other, baked chocolate chip cookies and played playdough all within a mere two hours.

After their friends left we had an early lunch and played some more. I then laid Miss Hanns down and the four of us read a very large amount of books on dogs, cats, birds and Curious George. Riah was acting quite tired so after laying her down we continued with our responsibility unit and pet study. As I am typing this, the boys are currently watching the Aristocats and tomorrow we will watch Benji to compare and contrast. They drew pictures of dogs and then we went through and labeled the most important parts for their age group to learn and recognize. Also, we sang " B I N G O" which ironically enough I am SURE we sang it wrong because I could not remember the words for the life of me! " There was a dog who had a "name" (????) and Bingo was his name 'o??? Yeah, how could I forget the words?

We moved on to "Where O Where has my little dog gone...." and I clued them that the writer of this song was from Germany and had them guess what type of dog he was talking about. We located Germany for the second time today, after reviewing Martin Luther again, and Jay guessed " German Shepherd". Yeah, cutest puppy ever! I would sing that sad song too if I lost this little love!

Jayden began cursive today. I was not going to waste time teaching it but I figured it is important to be able to read it due to historical documents as well as sign his name so we have the time, why not. He did "a" and "c". To be honest, I have horrible cursive writing and it is a mixture, and always has been, of print and cursive so this is something I will not be at all strict or anal about.

Austen is getting better and better at pushing his sounds together to form words!!! Yeah! We slowly work our way through the SSRW stories and are having a great time learning to read, write, spell and sing together. Now, just need to get my workout in and this day will be a perfect 10!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Princess Play

My daughter dressed me up as a princess today. She gave me a crown, a beautiful necklace that she carefully clipped together. I had two seperate bows clipped to my hair and a beautiful purse strung over my shoulder. She told me I was a princess and that I was "great". She doesn't care about the pile of papers that need to be shredded, the dirty dishes on the counter, the demanding grocery list or the new messes that pop up every two seconds. No, we secluded ourselves in her bedroom, as we whisphered because her babies were sleeping, and she treated me as royalty and we played. Blissfull, carefree play.

I asked the Holy Spirit why I needed to leave all the other things and play. He said, you feel that mountain growing in the pit of your stomach, the overwhelming task of everything from today, yesterday and tomorrow....you need to sit, play and allow me to calm you and reassure you with the tender words of a three year old girl.

So we sat, smiled, laughed and the weight of the world started lifting off of me and the words, " my yoke is easy and my burden is light" came to me. Hold steadfast my child, for the day will come when you will reap if you do not lose heart. My desire for you is for great things, not for harm. You are my precious precious child and I am in love with you. Allow me to cloak you with my royalty and to enter into my promise, my dear dear child. Ye, the weight of the world is to much for you to bear, take heart I have overcome the world...you are mind and bought with a precious price , do not become distracted from the heart issues while the world issues try to take over. Ye, my child I love thee more today than you will every love your child in a lifetime. Allow me to love you and encourage you...my Holy spirit is here to comfort and strengthen...allow him to do so. my precious preciou child. I love you...you are mine.!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Expectations

I think there must be something in the air lately. I just came across a friend of mine's blog who had written an entire blog on the expectations we put on ourselves. This is something that with our huge move and starting a new homeschooling year I am striving to let go of. I have pretty high standards for myself, at times. I am my biggest critic and I am trying to change that.

There are so many good things that can become "bad" things if we let them, especially when you homeschool. Try to keep up with the "Joneses" while homeschooling- you will run yourself ragged. I feel that it is so important to pray and ask God which curriculum YOU should use, which field trips YOUR family should go on, what extras YOU should take on, etc. Most mamas that homeschool do so because they feel passionately about their children; however, for me, that turns into I want to do EVERYTHING to the best possible degree I can- " play hard or go home" mentality.

How important is it that everything is made from scratch, every item of clothing is uniquely sewn, I clip coupons, I decorate, my house is always immaculate, I work out, etc. All these things actually are important to me, however, when they start to overwhelm me it is ok to say, " you know what, in this season in my life, I say " no" to this or that. There is a freedom in allowing God to mold you into the woman He wants you to be. He frees us from expectations and allows us to walk hand in hand with that one who created this vibrant, creative, multi tasking woman. Its ok to say no, its ok to bring on the paper plates or "gasp" buy pre made chocolate chip cookies if you are analyzing time to make vs time to bake. We are happier and more uplifted when we stop comparing and just enjoy. I'm preaching to the choir, I know. 
 
Normally I keep these feelings at a healthy bay but lately, from the move and just everything else, I am finding that I need to take this time, once again, to thank God for giving us the ability to homeschool, for finding curriculum that works for us and for praying for peace over every extra curricular activity we join in on. Life isn't about how much to be apart of, its what you do purposefully in those moments.

My challenge, to myself, is to wake up each day and live for that day only. What can I do today to make this the most special day for my family. I know that my challenge will not always equate success but its there and I am doing it. I will not compare or contrast myself, I will not feel superior or inferior I will walk in confidence that God has placed me in this unique family for his unique purposes. If all we do is stay in pajamas and bake chocolate chip cookies together while reading library books for that day, I purposed that day for my family and that made it successful.

I am thankful for....
31. a new pack of gum
32. Empty  moving boxes that turn into forts for beloved stuffed animals
33. an empathetic and understanding husband
34. blue spray paint
35. tuffs of green grass coming up
36. my children's laughter
37. listening to the peacefulness of a day's end
38. the ability to say no to time fillers
39. creative energy
40. new starts, new days
41.watching Hannah half smile and half frown with confused eyes from her highchair
42. Austen's concern for his sister and whispering to me that she will probably have a "tape worm"
43. joy in my children
44. a successful end to a great first school week

O Where O Where Has My Little Dog Gone??

Where are the days going?? I mean seriously, they fly by faster than I have a chance to catch my breath at times! We started in on our second week of responsibility because we finished everything from Konos up early this week, having such a grand ole' time and all. I came across this poem and thought it was quite fitting for the unit, as a whole:
A Bag of Tools
By:  R. L. Sharpe
Isn't it strange That princes and kings,
And clowns that caper In sawdust rings,
 And common people Like you and me
Are builders for eternity?
Each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, A book of rules;
And each must make - Ere life is flown -
A stumbling block  Or a steppingstone.

We discussed what this poem was talking about and visually showing us stepping up or tripping over a " stone". I think this might be a poem to work on and memorize. Also, we read the Bernstein Bears " Pet Show" book, some Clifford, pet care books and " Too Many Cats". I ordered the Aristocats from the library as well as Lady and the Tramp. We are going to watch, next week, an animated movie on dogs and then an actual one, ie: Benji, Homeward Bound.... and discuss the differences that we notice in the different features of the animals with popcorn of course!
Moriah gave us a tutorial on how to care for a baby. She was quite impressive with the knowledge that she has. Demonstrations abounded from her on how to feed, pick up, carry, comfort and nurse her baby, Beulah. Also, "Safety Jayden" questioned her on what she would do if a stranger tried to take her baby. 
video
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I asked what would happen if air traffic controllers, doctors, nurses, teachers, parents, etc were Responsible or Irresponsible. The kids each took turns learning how and cleaning the toilets in our three bathrooms. They all did fantastic and Jayden is such a patient teacher! We discussed what our morning responsibilities are and for the most part, I do not have to ask Jayden or Austen to get dressed, Jay always remembers to turn his anole's lights back on and make his bed and with a few reminders they will tidy their room up quite well. Moriah is pretty organized by nature but obviously still needs help due to her age. 

One of my favorite parts of today was sitting in a circle with the kids, each holding their stuffed animals and talking about past and present pets that they have had. Moriah just received a white dog for her birthday and explained how " Sadie wuns away, gets lost and then goes to a lions cage"- wow Sadie, for such a short life in our home your adventures never cease to amaze me.

Austen had two animals and spoke very briefly on both of them and with Jayden, well, we not only got the rundown from his very first goldfish Nemo at age three, to his present day anole. Hmmm, I can tell you who is verbal and not so much in our family. These exercises are soo good for Austen though because it gets him talking and discussing something in great detail. Love you buddy!

I told the kids the story of my dog Lady, growing up. I think that is where Sadie got some of her ideas for her adventure from. We already know, as a family, what types of pets we can handle now- beta fish and lizards. I truly enjoy reptiles. I think that it is so much fun to watch "Frisky" the anole, chase down crickets and chomp them up. The kids know quite well we are NOT a rodent family nor cat family and THANKFULLY ( :) ) Austen is deathly allergic to cats, sorry Max. 

The boys finished up with their language arts and then went up for quiet time. Tomorrow, I would like to try and start our potted plants as well as make bread and reread some of our stories from this past week ( Mike Mulligan, Little Red Hen and The Three Little Pigs"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ice Cream

Sweet.Creamy.Chocolaty Goodness. Blonde Sticky Hair. Chocolate Smiles. Big Blue Eyes Dancing. Slurping. Wet. Melting. Sweet. Decadent. Gone.

Spelling Pictures


What a busy day we had. Three of the four kids had well child check ups and wow they are all doing great, tall and light, not a huge surprise to me! Hannah comes in at a whopping 17 lbs 3 oz which is a weight gain of almost 3 lbs in two months! Moriah at 30 lbs and Austen at 41 lbs. I am assuming Jayden is between 49-51 lbs so they are all doing well. Besides Hannah, they are all at the tall end of the spectrum so great trip.

We then ventured over to a nearby store to check out some sales and I ended up purchasing a piece of furniture originally $140.00 for $19 (including tax)!!! I love saving money; we swam, ate lunchables and then came home to do some school and put the younger girls to bed.

The boys and I cuddled in the rocking chair and read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Burton together. I really enjoy this story. I love the small town feel, the hardworking aspects of Mike and Maryanne and the wisdom of the small child over the adult bickering. We discussed, again, who was responsible in the story and why. I think they understand responsibility after all this talking about it. We read a couple of more stories and then moved on to our language arts and math for Austen (I am still waiting on Jayden’s math in the mail).

Earlier this morning over breakfast, we discussed what our responsibilities are given to us by God. A few examples we came up with are: “Love the Lord your God…”, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel”, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, etc. We also read some questions from our “Answers in Genesis” children’s series that we are enjoying. This particular series really involves the kids at a young age by equipping them to learn why they believe what they believe and giving them a basic foundation in apologetics.

Finally, with Jayden’s language arts he is working on spelling correctly five words a week and I am adapting some of Dianne Craft’s (a speaker from this past year’s homeschool convention) methods. Sitting in one of her seminars, she talked about how if the left brain method is not working on a child ( logic, black and white, systematic, orderly…) then that’s fine just switch to the right brain ( sporadic, colorful, creative, spontaneous…). She then continued to explain how many kids are right brain learners and so reciting things like spelling words is not helpful to them; no matter how hard they try, they will not be able to spell the word correctly. Dianne suggests adding pictures to the words to put a visual picture in their mind, increase their brain retention thus making it much easier to remember and learn these words. This can be applied to math, spelling, phonics, etc.


Last year, spelling was somewhat of a challenge to Jayden and I know that Austen learns by pictures already so I figured that it’s worth the extra work on my part, to save on time and frustration on their part. Below is an example of how we are learning the silent “k” words. You can get more information at Dianne Crafts website: www.diannecraft.org

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Martin Luther

Today was a continuation of a great school year. We continued with our study of responsibility and read more on the life of Moses. The kids than each drew pictures of the different plagues, the burning bush or anything else that they could remember from our Bible reading. Jayden was also asked to write a few sentences that turned out quite well. He writes very well; there was just a few minor spelling issues and the biggest issue is spacing between words which only comes with time.

I read the Little Red Hen to the kids, we listened to Michelle Obama read "Horton Hatches an Egg" and discussed who was responsible in this story and why. It was a great continual introduction of our study.

Something that has been heavy on my heart is that educating our children at home is so much more than simply teaching math, language arts its more heart based. To mold their hearts to love and desire to serve God; to love the Lord irregardless of culture, society or moral declines. I feel that this is such a heavy burden at times yet I know God has the utmost confidence in us because He gave these children to us. I am so thankful to be educating them and to be sculpting their tender hearts towards God.

We are going through a hymn a month or bi monthly together. Today, we studied Martin Luther and read why he wrote " A Mighty Fortress is our God". I find all of this so fascinating because, honestly, half of it I did not even know. After reading about Martin Luther and talking about why he separated from the Catholic church we came over to the computer and listened to the hymn on youtube and sang along. My desire is that the history behind the song as well as the meaning of the song would go deep into their hearts.

The cool thing about home educating is that when you invite the Holy Spirit to fill in the gaps for all of your inadequacies and insecurities he not only fills you with amazing confidence and courage but also a sense of overwhelming grace for what is being accomplished and yet to be accomplished. Here we were, sitting and listening to these hymns in various forms, organ, contemporary, acoustic, etc and the presence of the Holy Spirit was so strong I couldn't help but cry with Riah and Austen on my lap and Jay hugging on my neck as I asked each of the kids if they would be the Martin Luther of this generation, to wake up our spiritually dead country and spiritually dead churches. It was a precious, sweet moment as you could tell they felt the presences of God and just praying that we would be a family who says "no" when the world says "yes". Wow, amazing home schooling day. Thank you Jesus! I could never do it without you!

Monday, August 8, 2011

First Day of School 2011-2012



I know its blurry but Austen asked that I take his picture with " my best friend Hanns"


another year with a vibrant learner :)




Welcome back! I am so happy to be blogging again about school and not about all the other issues of our lives. We had a great first day back at school. The kids woke up much earlier than I did as I was up late signing them up for different activities throughout the valley and reserving their places in other events. However, they played quietly, which they are great at doing now and Jay came in to let me know that Miss Dainty, our resident tooth fairy, had come again and left " two whole dollars" for the front tooth that he brushed out.

We came downstairs and enjoyed green pancakes with honey and even Hannah joined us for breakfast, something that she typically sleeps through. I decided to skip my workout today as we were having some handymen come and fix odds and ends around the home. ANYWAYS, we started with Konos- yeah!!! Our character trait is responsibility for the next 13 weeks and it is going to be so incredibly fun!!! I cannot even wait to dive into this trait!

The lesson began today by asking what is responsibility. The kids came up with very good suggestions of what would be considered responsibility ie: what would happen if the anole was not fed, the clothes were not washed ( Moriah- " they would be dirty"), did not water the plants, etc. Then, we discussed what it means to be responsible, can we be responsible for everyone else's things , etc.

The three little pigs came into play and we had  a great time reading the story and acting it out with our "three little pig felt homes" that the kids' Grandma made for them. I remember reading this exact story with my own Grandma as a child and it brings back so many great memories of sitting on her lap, looking out the huge front window into the country landscape. Also, we stood in a line and sang " I've Been Working On the Railroad" together. At one point, Austen just stared at me refusing to pretend because he didn't have a real hammer. Oh my!

Finally, we discussed different verses in the bible that pertained to responsibility. We are focusing on Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 6:33 for the next few weeks. Jayden read out of the bible about Moses and the burning bush and the responsibility that Moses was given by God to instruct and teach the children of Israel. Responsible actions give rewards while irresponsible ones have consequences. It was so fun to just hear Austen comment throughout the day, that is responsible, no that is not responsible. I LOVE how interactive activities and biblical teaching go hand in hand in this home educating journey!

We finished up with some more books, sing spell read and write with Austen, Austen's first grade math, some drawing and listening to Adventures in Odyssey. An incredibly great first day back! I am really looking forward to tomorrow and picking up some chocolate chips and butter as we were missing two MAIN ingredients for our back to school cookie cake. I hope all my other fellow home educating mamas enjoyed their day