Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday

December 1!!  I am so thankful that this is the last full month with lots of business before our little Striker is here!  Yes, I am hesitant to right this because I do not want to wish this pregnancy away BUT we are all very excited to meet him!  Turner can't wait to see if he has hair, or if he does have hair then how much does he have?!?!  He is such a mover, I wonder if when he gets here if he will be this active?  We have learned so much about his little personality!  We can't wait to actually meet him!

I am thankful for homeschooling because Sam has actually been able to see and spend time with the kids this week.  Had they been in public school, they would've been in bed when he arrived home every night this week.  I will admit, getting back into the swing of homeschooling after a week of this week was difficult.  And I've thought about throwing in the towel a few times this week alone, but watching Sam get to spend time with the kids well past 8pm has been so worth it!  Plus, we are heading out today to have lunch with my Mum at her work then to Sam's robotics competition!

I am thankful for a new washer and dryer.  This is the first *new* nice thing we have bought!  Well, minus our van but this is our first NEW household thing we've bought.  We bought a large high efficiency set.  I can't wait for it to get here!  I have been coaxing my old set along now for a few months and with every load I rejoice that it survived!  I am so thankful for my husband who was bound determined to get me an awesome washer/dryer set!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reading, reading, and more reading!!!

We took a week off from school.  Even though I didn't officially teach lessons from my teacher books, I still had the boys working on different areas of their learning.  They just didn't know it :)  For example, I challenged them to read 20 books for a prize and then picked out a number of books that centered around Thanksgiving.  The boys were so excited to have days of freedom.  To wake up and not have to buckle down and work on school work.  My Mum came into town and spent the morning and evening with us for a day (she spends the afternoons with my grandmother! I'm so thankful she will divide her time between us!) so the boys loved having the free time to be with her!  We crafted place cards for our 2 Thanksgiving dinners and the boys wrote the names on all the cards!

I have been hesitant to blog about homeschooling and where the kiddos are at.  They have struggled each in their own areas and I didn't want to 'out' them, if you know what I mean?  I know I'd hate for other to be blabbing about my short comings.  And while their struggles are a far cry from 'short' comings since they are doing so well and have far exceeded the standards set for public school students, I still have been hesitant to post about it. 

Isaiah was on a reading spree this weekend.  He sat with my Mum and read a bunch of books with her.  I sat back and listened in awe of the leaps and bounds he has grew in his reading journey since we started homeschooling in August.  He is more willing to challenge himself now and is becoming very fluent with his level 1 readers.  I listened as he added inflections in his voice and his reading became quite 'alive'!  I may have cried a bit.  It was so encouraging to hear him read so comfortably with someone else other than myself!  He still loves math, but when I was telling my grandmother that reading came second to math on his 'like' list, he quickly added that he does enjoy reading!  The library found him some easier leveled comic books that he enjoys so much!

T-man started adding 1 before we had Thanksgiving break.  This opened his eyes to a whole new world in math!  He is doing so well with his number recognition!  I don't feel like I am pulling teeth to get him to the table for his math lesson anymore!  He comes very eagerly!  He loves to be challenged and to have new material placed in front of him.  I struggled with knowing how much to push him at the beginning of our school year when he was getting off to a slow start.  I didn't want to discourage him by pushing to far ahead but I also didn't want him to feel not challenged with the material.  I am very thankful that we kept plugging away.  He finds sight words to be incredibly frustrating and I find him sounding out everything he can!  I love to see his passion grow as he learns more and more every day!

Hannah is working on colors and counting.  She loves to color and just needed a fresh box of crayons for her box as she colored the tips right off her current crayons!  She loves to sit on my lap and color while I am teaching the boys!  She is very excited next year to get her very own school books!

The boys are begging to start cursive.  I had ordered the books but mailed them back out of fear that it would be too difficult and now I am regretting it!  I am going to look just a basic cursive book to start them on once the baby gets here and then I will order the cursive book with their curriculum next year.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Edition: Thankful Thursday

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

New International Version (NIV)
 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I am battling some serious tiredness.  I don't feel necessarily sick, just crazy exhausted.  I am in the third tri so I guess it should be expected.  I have just felt really good this pregnancy (minus the sciatic nerve pain and the heartburn).  We are praising God that this pregnancy has been uneventful!  Not that I am known for problematic pregnancies but with Hannah I had numerous ultrasounds because I measured 6 weeks behind and she was unbelievably relaxed in the womb.  I know, shocking.  She is currently running around my house with the boys like a wild chick and never stops talking!  And T, well...he isn't known for his health! :) 

So it is Thursday.  And we have so much to be thankful for.  I have so enjoyed just listening to my children laugh together this week.  Hysterical laughter.  It has been fantastic.  To see them bond together as we succeed and struggle through our school work has been absolutely amazing.  Isaiah is such an encourager.  Earlier this week he told me that I was so good at math!  He stopped his work, to cheer on his brother while he was rocking out his number recognition (through 59!!!!)  And Hannah just so happened to guess a word correctly that he was sounding out and he was so eager to give her a high-5!  Don't worry, all encouragement from him is tossed aside during a round of Mario Kart on the Wii!  He is ruthless with the controller in his hand, beware! :)

I am thankful for a husband who works so hard for us.  Right now he is nearing his robotics team competition so he is putting long hours in at school while still needing to do all of his regular grading and planning.  He has only a few more days before his basketball season starts, for a few weeks he will be pulling double coaching duty...and we will see how his robotics team does...it could go longer!  I am so thankful that he enjoys what he does!  I am thankful that he puts the kids to bed at night while I either go to bed myself, or just crash on the sofa in the quiet for a few minutes.  I am thankful that he will say "How about subs for dinner?" when cooking is nonexistent and he knows I'm tired.  

I am thankful to sit next to two very eager boys who want to read to me!  I am blown away with how well they are doing!  Turner is sounding out everything he possibly can.  He is so driven to read!  Isaiah read some very challenging words today (thunderstorm! seriously! thunderstorm!) He is learning and using so many tools to help with his reading.  I love to sit with him when it is just us in the morning when the younger two are still sleeping and Sam has went off to work and we just read.  His confidence is growing daily as he reads more.  Next week I'm going to throw a reading challenge at him for Thanksgiving break.  Technically we aren't having school, but is there really such a thing when you home school?  Turner started adding 1 this week in math and wow!  He has a new found love for math now!  He loves to be challenged.  This is a side of him I never imagined!  Isaiah loves a challenge, but it makes Turner so passionate!  It also helps that he is getting closer to the work this brother is doing which drives him a bit more!  They work on their writing at the same time each day and then switch their books so the other one can choose the best written letter on the page.  Then get get to pick a sticker to put next to the letter and a sticker for their brother.  They thought this up on their own! 

I am thankful for Hannah and all of her girlie girl-ness.  I was determined to have a tomboy but she is all girl.  I am thankful that I get to experience NaNa-Mommy-Daughter dates!  I love our conversations and the cuddles!  I love how possessive she is of "HER" baby, and of "HER" boys. 

I am thankful that God chose to bless us with another baby!  This little boy totally wasn't planned but God knew exactly what He was doing!  Everyday we get more and more excited to meet him!  I wonder what he will look like?  Will he beat Turner's massive amounts of hair?  Will he be more lean like Isaiah?  I just can't wait to snuggle him!!  To smell him.  I love to feel him react to the kids kisses or a hand to feel him kick.  I feel like I'm learning so much about his personality right now, I can't wait to put a face with it!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday

1 Peter 5:6-7

English Standard Version (ESV)
 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.


Yesterday was wild.   I have a friend who is experiencing many of the same breathing troubles our T-man experiences.  It brings up a lot of emotions from Sam and I when T had his last hospital stay and he was incredibly sick.  Maybe incredibly is exaggerating, but Sam and I were incredibly worried during our last hospital visit.  More so than any other.  He didn't respond to treatment as easily as he had before, and after watching our bounce off the wall child not move from his hospital bed hooked to oxygen as he slowly battled whatever was going on in his lungs for days...incredibly doesn't feel like it does the experience justice.  I took dinner to my friend yesterday to see her little guy hooked up to this same machine that T was attached too...the beeping of when it got to low...the staring at it for hours hoping to watch the numbers increase...wondering when the next treatment should come.  We are so grateful for the awesome care he received.  We praise God for that. 

My stomach can't help but get all twisted in concern for my friend as she experiences a similar situation.  Just looking back through the pictures that I took of the pulse ox meter and of my sick T-man is enough to make my want to...well...you can get the idea without me spelling it out right?  It does things to my stomach just looking at the pictures.  I struggle with the last part of this verse, you know...the part that says, "casting all your anxieties on Him..."  Anxiety is a part of my life.  I struggle so often to cast them off to the Lord but then I find myself right there at the cross picking them back up again.  Why do I enjoy the pain of being anxious so much?  To not yield to the precious promise the God gave us?  And T being sick in the hospital how he was, was an experience totally different, totally radical.  But I'm thinking right now of more of the day to day struggles that I CHOOSE to carry.  That I CHOOSE to bare instead of casting them off.  Why do I do that?  Honestly, being so helpless holding my T-man in the hospital I found carrying out this passage much easier than in my day to day life.  I was much more willing to cast that anxiety off on Him because I didn't know what else to do.  I was, we were, helpless.  We needed HIM.  But what about every day life?  When I can, or when I believe, that I have more control.  I need to put this verse into practice in my day to day life, not just when I'm desperate and helpless.

I am thankful that I can cast my anxieties on Him.

I am thankful for men who come together to study God's Word.  It is such a privilege to host men's bible study here!

I am thankful for a husband who will spend his day off rotating our vehicles at the mechanics to have work done that he isn't comfortable to do himself.

I am thankful that my kids have been healthy for 6  months!

I am thankful that God's ways are NOT our ways and He chose to bless our lives with another little boy.  We can't wait for him to join our family.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mom, Teacher, Referee?

We have been busy!  My concerns about my children not getting enough socialization because of homeschooling have been totally unfounded.  We have been having multiple play dates a week with lots of friends.  I have had the privilege to watch my children grow in their relationships with each other as they are constantly working through struggles and rejoicing together as they master a difficult task. 

It is incredibly moving.  It is also quite the growing experience for all of us.  Growth isn't a walk in the park.  It is a painful process of being stretched and refined.  I often think of the pain my oldest would experience growing pain in his legs in the middle of the night.  He would wake up crying and in obvious discomfort.  It was difficult for a Momma to sit back and watch him 'grow' but a necessary process in getting older.

I would argue that a majority of my time homeschooling has not been spent on lesson plans.  It has been spent on fostering a loving caring relationship between my children, or, ahem, referring battles.  That has been the more challenging than any other aspect of homeschooling.  It is more exhausting than worrying about phonics and sums.  In the grand scheme of life, it is far more important than phonics and math.

Some days there is more referring than teaching, and those days are when the growing pains are felt the most.  They make the clearing in the field or the light at the end of the tunnel all the more enjoyable!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Genesis 28:15

English Standard Version (ESV)
15Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."

This is the verse the kids and I are memorizing this week for school.  It was God's promise to Jacob..."I will NOT leave you until I have done what I have promised you."  Today I am thankful that I have complete confidence that He will not leave  me!  What a sweet promise as I can get easily overwhelmed with life.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween, or Not?

I have never been a big fan of halloween.  For some reason I never enjoyed dressing up and the make-up made me feel sick to my stomach.  Scents are huge for me, and something about the make up just smelt bad.  I hated the idea of being scared.  Add to that my not very social outgoing personality and knocking on doors requesting candy made me feel very anxious.  My parents loved it!  They would spend the whole day decorating the interior of the house to match the exterior.  The seamstress that my mother is, she would spend the whole month of October sewing my family a complete set of themed costumes.  We picked out a theme where we could all be something of the same group, Flintstones and the Adams Family to name a few!  We lived in the middle of nowhere so our trick or treaters were few but we always went all out!  Our trick or treating was bundling up in our snow gear under costumes that Mum would make a size to big, and driving from house to house since there were no side walks and the houses were to far apart to walk on a dark cold evening.  

As a family (Sam and I), we have always been on the fence with halloween.  To participate, or not?  We struggled with this question in early October.  You can find an article that someone has written to support whatever you want to believe.  You can throw the bible verse around about darkness and resisting evil.  We didn't want to endorse a wicked celebration but we also have a heart for home missions.  We want to be careful to not close ourselves off from our community.  We are constantly checking and making sure that we aren't justifying doing something that God wouldn't approve of by our sinful nature.

The kiddos love to dress up AND they love candy.  So we did it.  I have to admit, I really truly enjoyed it.  I enjoyed walking with the kids to houses and to see their smiles as they skipped back to us after collecting their loot.  I was excited to see them use their manners.  I was thrilled to watch the boys take their younger sister under their wings and to keep her safe walking up and down stairs and from the crazy crowds.  I was pleasantly surprised watching them be totally fearless walking up to costumed adults handing out candy, usually Hannah leading the way!  It was a great family night out with Darth Vader, Batman, and the Princess Butterfly!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Wow, this feels forced today :(

And it shouldn't because there is SO much to be thankful for.  I've been feeling so down lately.  I know all the right bible verses on why I shouldn't, I even read with the children this week from Ephesians when Paul said I will be content in all circumstances. But I am.  I have no excuses.

I am thankful for a dear sister in the Lord who loves me so much.  Every time we are together I feel so challenged yet comforted. 

I am thankful for the blessing of baby clothes!  This baby has so much to choose from!  I'm even running out of room.  I am thankful that I get to feel him kicking and, yes...sometimes I even talk out loud to him!  I can't wait to just snuggle and hold him when he gets here. 

I am thankful for a husband who fills my van up for me when it needs it! 

I am thankful that I get to rejoice with my children when they succeed in their school work.  I am thankful that I get to read chapter books out loud to them.  I am thankful that we get to study the Word of God together. 

I am thankful that I get to listen to my husband teach Sunday School!  I am thankful that I am his helpmeet on this side of Heaven.  His knowledge is overwhelming and encouraging...and he is mine!

And, I am thankful for HEAT.  We had to bite the bullet and turn it on and it is so nice to sit during out school day and feel the warmth of the furnace!  My kids huddle around the vent and enjoy it multiple times throughout the day.  We praise God that we can heat our home!


I need to do a little homeschooling update.  This was a wild week for us with lots of appointments out of the house!  The kids loved it, of course...but it made for a crazy schooling week! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thankful Thrusday

This morning I am blown away by the hearts of my children.  I am so thankful that God trusted Sam and I to raise these little people on this side of heaven.  My absolute favorite part of homeschooling is the fact that I get to spend a good chunk of time studying the Bible with the kids in the morning.  We spend time reading Scripture, then pour over it.  Talk about it, ask questions, tuck it in our hearts.  We work on committing sections to memory.  This has cemented homeschooling into our future.

This morning has been by far my most treasured precious moment.  I need to record it while it is still fresh in my mind, and while I am still sitting here letting the words of my sweet children just soak into my heart, just marveling at their hearts.  I started reading from Psalm 27 and stopped after the first verse and we talked about the Lord being our stronghold and that we have nothing to fear because God has us held tightly in His hand if we believe in Him. We talked about people that will do evil, and we may be in the path of it.  Then we talked about how the Chapter tells us to NOT be afraid.  There is no need to be fear with Jesus in our hearts.

We parked on this verse and read it through a few times...it gives me chills just reading through it again...

Psalm 27:4
One thing have I aske do fhte Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.

Then we talked about Jesus being a gate of protection around us.  There is nothing to fear with Jesus as our gate.  The heart of our Turner is so humbling for this Mommy.  He immediately, without a second thought, asked about those around the outside of the gate.  He asked if he could tell those people who don't have Jesus in their hearts so they could BELIEVE in Him (Romans 10:14-15) and come into the gate of protection of Jesus.  He started listing people he could tell.  Isaiah looked at him and said, "But Turner, isn't that scary to tell them?"  And T gave Isaiah a look that totally said, "Seriously?"  He replied, "No, not at all, what is there to be afraid of?"

And this pregnant Momma is weeping AGAIN, just writing it out...at the heart of this child.  A child.  He has less fear over sharing the Gospel then most adults, his mother included.  Oh Lord, let his passion rub off on me!!

And today, I am thankful that I get to share these moments with my children.  I'm rejoicing that they firmly believe in Christ, the RISEN Savior.  I am praising the LORD that they are within the protecting gate of Jesus.  

Tissues, anyone?  I'll take a few now.  Well, maybe a whole box.  Grandma's I'm sure could use a few too :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Big Day!

Silly Girl!

Mr. Robot getting down to work!

Brother helping Brother.  SO encouraging! Love it!
Today there were amazing strides made in our home in schooling!  It was a HUGE blessing coming off a fairly dismissal week.  If it weren't January looking a bit wild with the new little one arriving, I probably would've written off the whole week, but we plugged away...all be it...miserably.  Friday night as I was talking with Sam about how I'm just not getting enough curriculum completed, he reminded me to look through the state standards to see exactly where the kids were falling.  They have already completed more than 1/2 of the standards for their respective grades.

This morning started off with T doing some awesome reading!  He has started reading CVC words!  While up stairs laying down for our afternoon rest, he found a Bob Book and started reading it! He was so excited to come down stairs and read it with me.  His frustration was evident as he sounded out word after word, but I was so proud of him sticking with it and not giving up.  He voiced frustration over not being able to read like his brother.  Isaiah started the year off very behind in reading, and while he still struggles he has developed fluency....and don't tell him but I do believe reading is becoming more of a pleasure for him!  T also rocked his math assessment which for him is fantastic!  He doesn't care at all about numbers.  He said to us one day at the table for dinner, "No, I don't dream about numbers.  I don't know why anyone would do THAT."  Isaiah looked at him astonished, as he nightly practices his addition and subtraction facts on his chalkboard in his room.  I found that the reading gave T the success he needed to experience to want to tackle the numbers.  He is like superman right now during school, tackling everything in sight!

I'm so grateful that I get to rejoice with them...and looking back from the other side of the tunnel (ie. our not so fun week last week), I am grateful that we get to struggle together also!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday

* I'm thankful for mornings when it is just Sam and I at breakfast before he heads to work!

*My Nana!

*Listening to my husband teach Sunday School

*Bible time in the morning with the kids before we start school, hearing their hearts simply amazes me.

* Our God is Greater by Chris Tomlin

*Choosing to rely on God when it is hard. There is a reason for this season.  Lord, Blessed Be Your Name

*Spending the evening building legos with my family!

*For my  husband bringing me home a hot fudge sundae after bible study!!!!  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Love and Gentleness

Ephesians 4:2

English Standard Version (ESV)
2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

This verse was in my inbox this morning.  Perfect!  I've been feeling very discouraged lately.  Beat down.  Lonely.  I don't feel like I'm getting enough curriculum completed in homeschooling.  There are ways that God is growing the faith of my husband and I in painful ways that we would rather jump over and skip, but we are pressing on.  God is driving me towards holiness and being deep in His Word, which in itself is crazy intense.  The 'world' doesn't understand this passion, therefore I look like a freak.

I was able to spend an hour and a half yesterday, alone.  It was a great time of fellowship with the Lord while I hung out in the lab at the hospital doing my glucose screening.  I cried out to Him and begged Him to make some situations in life better.  To fix them, to make them go away!  God isn't in the practice of making our lives easy.  Oh how I wish He was!  However, He is in the practice of making us holy.  Driving us to become more like Christ.  It was in early August, a few months ago, when I apparently prayed for patience.  God began teaching 'staying put'.  Sticking it out, not throwing in the towel when it gets hard.  You can fill in your own "it", my "it" applies to multiple areas.  I've been slowly learning this tough lesson for a fix-it and move on girl.  Sometimes we just have to sit in the pain, in the small area between the rocks, and let the Lord refine us by the fire (1 Peter 1:7).

This verse was a sweet reminder of how I treat others even when things are rough.  It was a sweet reminder of how to parent my children when they are running around my house with a ton of pent up energy or when we are trying to get through a lesson. 

Heavenly Father, help me to stay put.  To allow growth in my heart to become more like you, even when it hurts.  Help me to keep showing love and gentleness even when it is hard.  This I can only do with your help, Lord.  Amen.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I have been looking forward to this post all week, to record the praises...what God has been doing in my life!

As a child of the King of Kings, I should be ready to give an account at all times of what He is doing in my life TODAY.  And I love that Thursday's are a day for me to sit and reflect over what He has been doing in my life, in the lives of my children, and in my heart.

So...here we go!!!!!!!

1.  The kids have amazing doctors.  Our pediatrician flat out rocks.  And T's specialist for his asthma is wonderful.  He listened and took all my concerns seriously this week.  He and his staff have been wonderful with T...and instead of taking him to 2 hours away every 3 months, they have an office that they come to monthly an hour from us.

2.  I am thankful for friends that will help me out and watch my other kiddos so I don't have to try and keep everyone happy when I take one to the doctors.

3.  I am thankful for the forgiveness of my children when I blow it as a mom.  I am thankful for the forgiveness of my husband when I blow it as a wife.  I am thankful for the forgiveness of a friend when I blow it as a friend.

4.  Listening to my oldest sing "Sing, Sing, Sing" and "Jesus, Messiah" while in the shower with all his heart.

5.  The heart of my T-man.  He is so concerned about people having Jesus in their hearts.

6.  A friend who is driven towards holiness and isn't afraid to speak the truth with me.

7.  My parents.  Who are willing to watch my kiddos so I can date my husband this weekend!  I absolutely can't wait.  Plus, we get to spend time with them.  And Dad comes every Tuesday for dinner while he works in town.  I'm so grateful to spend time with them, as are my children!!

8.  God's Word, always alive.  Always changing me (when I, ahem, allow it too!)  Always TRUE. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Today...

I blew it.

Flat out blew. it.

A year ago I would complain that I didn't have time.  After all, I was a busy mom to three little ones.  Busy, Busy, Busy.  Honestly, I was lazy.  It was easy to use the mom excuse to put things off that I just flat out didn't want to do.

Today?  I really am busy.  Sam will come home and ask if I did something that I had told him I'd do...and I could blame it on pregnancy brain but it likely just got pushed out!  I *think* my house is cleaner and I work hard to get laundry put away in an orderly fashion rather than living out of clothes baskets.  And eating out is a thing of the past.

In all honesty, I had no idea homeschooling would be so much work.  It consumes my every thought during the day.  I am constantly thinking of ways to push the kids to learn more, to learn better.  To help them in areas they are struggling with I am trying to think of ways to approach the material again in a non-traditional way to help them grasp it better.  Every moment right up until dinner time.  And then every moment until bedtime is centered around learning.  Yes yes, I can be a slave driver.  I worry that I'm forcing to much work and not enough play.  I try and have my plan book closed and put away off my desk by 4pm each day so I can focus on dinner but even while chopping veggies I'm thinking of ways to help T grasp recognizing numbers.  Or ways to help Isaiah become more efficient at reading.

One little one has been left out of much of this homeschooling madness in my brain.  Our little girl is too young for school but old enough to know that she isn't involved.  I thought I was trying my best, but my best was pushing her off to play by herself.  Homeschooling has been the biggest adjustment for her.  Last year she had me all to herself while the boys were in public school, this year the boys require 150% of my attention...and she gets pushed out.  Today she decided to let me know her thoughts.  It was a sobering wake up call for me.  I felt horrible when I realized that her heart was aching for some of Mommy's attention.  I stopped all of our lessons for an hour or so in the afternoon and sat with her and read to the children "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" and then we snuggled while watching "Go Diego Go!"  I have a friend that I reached out to in the middle of my near meltdown (and then freak out of...oh my goodness, it is only going to get worse in January when our new little one arrives!)  She focused me and will help hold me accountable over the next few months.

And tonight, we crept up to her bed while the boys of the house were intensely watching their nightly Wheel of Fortune.  I knew she was craving some snuggle time, and I was too.  She held my arm so tight around her little chest.  We prayed together and then I watched her drift off to sleep.  Praising God for the gift of these precious little ones that He gave us and praying, oh praying, that I won't blow it again.  Praying that I will take the time to STOP and just BE with the kids.  Praying that I won't work away these precious days while they are all here under my roof with lessons and miss life passing by.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Out of the Norm

Our week started off not ideal.  The kids seemed really sluggish and sleepy, I was right there with them!  We had a wonderful weekend of football (the boys had a game in chilly, rainy, windy weather) and family (yay! birthday parties!).  As Sam headed off to work he suggested as the kiddos still lay in their beds sleeping and me snuggled under our blankets that we take a sick day.  The idea intrigued me.  BUT I had the whole week planned and taking a day off would mess up my plan book!  I decided to see what the day held before I made any decisions...by 10am the house was in full swing.  Instead of forcing us to work at the dinning room table I moved our school room into the living room and we completed our lessons on the couch and coffee table.

Believe it or not, the kids totally loved that we changed up our day!  We didn't get school work done till 4pm, but we did get it done!  We took our time, played, relaxed, and NAPPED!  Yes, napped.  It was so delightful!  I noticed a huge difference in my mood.  I'm struggling with how relaxed I can be while not compromising their educations.  It is such a balance!

Today we had T's pulmonologist appointment so I had planned for school to be off today.  Which is something of an oxymoron when your mother is your teacher, right T?  I had him working on numbers (his absolute least favorite) while we waited in the exam room by using the calendar on the wall. We also worked on before and after (yesterday and tomorrow) using the same calendar.  Then to keep him from using the doctor's stool that is on wheel's as a race vehicle I pulled out my calculator and we worked on number using that!  I have such an advantage knowing what they are learning, and more so, what they are struggling with so I can work on those areas all throughout the day.  Poor kids, right?!?!

The last few days have been not so traditional for me, but they have been so much fun!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It is Thursday!  I pray that we have thankful hearts throughout the whole week, and just not on Sunday or Thursday.

1.  I am thankful that we live in the same town as my grandmother!  And that she just stops by to take the kiddos over to McDonald's for sundaes!  It is SO special to them!

2.  I am thankful for the example the Proverbs 31 woman sets.

3.  I am thankful that my husband could make my washer work until we can afford another one!

4.  I am thankful that I get to feel Striker multiple times a day...a sweet little reminder of the gift that God gave us with this little one!

5.  I'm thankful that Sam is a rock solid man in the Lord.  He has a serious yearning for the Scriptures and an awesome desire to become more like Christ.  He challenges me everyday to become more like our Heavenly Father.



A little homeschooling...

Shopping at the store! 
 We are working on coins in our math curriculum, so I set up a little grocery store and gave the kids coins (It also helped T to realize he does indeed need to learn his numbers!) so they could go shopping. It was fun!

Celery before
Red and Blue Celery!
The tubes found in the stem that carry the water from the roots to the leaves!

 We are totally loving the AIG God's Design for Life series.  My kids are learning so much and they are asking wonderful DEEP questions.  Sam has been stumped by one even!  This week we learned about stem structure and so we watched red and blue dyed water travel from the base to the top of celery by tubes the tubes in the stem.

I am constantly blown away with what they are learning. Their brains are soaking up so much information.  Every morning we go through the states and capitals (which totally confusing Isaiah, when you ask him what the capital of California is he will say C instead of Sacramento!) and it is working! I will hear the boys singing the songs as they play!  The info is going in, now just to help them organize it!  Isaiah is finding the 5 and 6 addition and subtraction families a bit of a struggle, which for him is probably more 'average' but he is having to work to commit those facts to memory!  He is also doing so well in reading.  He is reading books that 2 months ago I thought he wouldn't be able to sit down and read alone for another year!  He still loathes reading, and I'm praying there will be a day when he will WANT to just pick up a book and read it.  He is still new to this reading thing so I'm praying that as time goes along, his confidence will grow and he'll be comfortable to just pick up a book and read.

The boys are exact opposites! T struggles in math (mainly number recognition!) and is excelling in reading.  He knows all the sounds of the alphabet and for the last two week we have been adding constants to vowels and working on blend ladders.  Yesterday we added a constant at the end of the blend to make a word.  BAM! He read a word.  His smile was SO radiant.  So so so radiant when he realized what just happened!

Do you know what is just awesome?  Watching my children read from the bible themselves!  I've been encouraging (especially Isaiah!) to open their bibles every morning during our bible time and look for familiar words (for T) and to actually read a verse!  Seeing their noses tucked away in their bibles can bring this Momma to tears!  This morning I watched the boys work with Hannah girl on her color flashcards and Isaiah flip through T's number flashcards with him.  Isaiah loved helping his siblings!  I love to watch their relationships grow.  Plus, we have been able to play with friends every day this week! 

I am struggling to find balance.  Next week T has a pulmnologist appointment which is likely take us away the whole day, but I have everything figured out so test days fall on certain days (Thursday and Friday) so it just fits nicely...and after next week it won't fit so nicely!  God is working in my heart on balance.  It is OK to miss a day here and there.  And I am very capable of adjusting the lesson plans.  So I just need to stop worrying!  I was getting to relaxed about bedtime and this made for some not very happy kiddos to start school time at 8:30am!  We are getting back to a nice routine at bedtime, it is hard since Sam has been having many late days.  I have also been focusing on Proverbs 31 and going through a study by Elizabeth George during my morning quiet time and then I wrap it up during our afternoon down time.  It has been wonderful and driving me towards being the godly woman I so desire to be!



Monday, September 26, 2011

Proverbs 31

Let me just start by saying, I'm not there.  Not even close.  I am not a Proverbs 31 woman.  However, I do greatly desire and aspire to be like the woman described in Proverbs 31.  I can't do this without Christ and without His Word.  You will see more posts on this long never-ending journey for me.  This is the first of many!

Proverbs 31:11-12

New King James Version (NKJV)
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
      So he will have no lack of gain.
       12 She does him good and not evil
      All the days of her life.


I confess that I have mocked this chapter of Scripture when I felt threatened that I couldn't attain the perfection of this woman.  I confess that I stood by and watched others mock her.  This left me very heartbroken.  God convicted me of this, and showed me the Holiness of HIS WORD.  It is NOT to be mocked!

So, here I am today...An imperfect wife, mom, and woman.  I desire to bring God glory with my life and I want to have the desire to strive for holiness.  I want to surround my life with others that are striving after the same goal of holiness.  I can't do it alone, I can't do it with human help...I can only come a smidgen closer to holiness with Christ.  This is a constant yielding to Christ and what He is doing in my heart.  Always changing me, pushing me on to the goal that He has laid out for me.  I pray that I will always say at the end of the year when I reflect back "Wow! What a year of growing!"  I pray that I will still say those words as I approach my last year on this earth as I continually prepare for my heavenly home. 

God made me a girl.  A woman.  Even though I want to be different from Eve, I am just like her and I would've urged my husband to take the same bite for fruit that I knew was forbidden for me to eat.  Because of this sin, I am made to be submissive to my husband.  Deep breath, I did just write the big S word...submit.  We all hate it, why?!?!  Well, because it means we are denying ourselves the basic right (worldly right, I might add) of leadership that our flesh so desires. 

I struggled with submission early on in our marriage.  I am a head strong nothing is going to stop me I will conquer the world kinda gal.  College bound with dreams of a teaching career, so self satisfying!  Submission was never in my vocabulary.  Having not given my life to Christ until after meeting my husband, I was a young Christian with so much to learn.  I still ask him what he saw in me early on to think I was a suitable helpmeet, because I certainly wasn't on track to be a godly submissive wife.  I felt that (oh this pains me so to write now!) Sam's task in life was to make me happy, to make sure all my needs were met...until his last dying day.  I was a woman, hear me roar!  Maybe I did, but reflecting back I do not sense a servants heart.  I rarely cooked, and cleaning was nearly non-existent.  I put my needs far above his, and I would stoop to public husband bashing when I got the chance.

Then, God forced me to look at Proverbs 31.  I resisted.  I mocked that woman.  I mocked God's Word.  I joked with others that I was a proverbs 32 woman, because well, Proverbs 31 was not attainable.  Oh Lord, forgive me!!  There was a woman that God placed in my life who had such a thirst for the Scripture, even in her retirement, and she was not afraid to speak the truth to me.  The cold hard truth, the truth that we often run from.  She really challenged me to look at God's Word, His truths for my life.  This was an area where I really struggled, marriage and submission.  Submitting myself to the needs of someone else is always tough to do. 

There is great joy in submitting and serving my husband.  No no, I bet you are picturing Sam as this male who just sits around the house and watches while I do the housework.  Not so.  While you will never ever spy him doing dishes, you will see him folding laundry or running the vacuum cleaner.  He is a night owl, so it is always a treat when I wake up to find that he blessed me by doing a household chore for me late in the night!  We have found such joy in serving each other as we focus on Christ as the center of our marriage.  Joy in submitting.  Joy in serving.  Joy in dying to myself.  In my heart transformation in my marriage I am also having a heart transformation in my walk with Christ.  I challenge you to read through Proverbs 31.  Pray that God will open your heart, take away the bitterness that you may feel...and just find joy in serving. 

(to be continued...)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thankful Thursday ... only on Friday... :)

Yesterday was crazy.  The end of our lovely 'honeymoon' of homeschooling, the first day where giving up sounded like an option in my mind.  And this morning when I read my friends "Thankful Thursday" list, I knew writing one myself would put my heart/mind in the right place.

1.  I am thankful for summer days when my husband doesn't have to work.  Contrary to popular beliefs that school teacher do nothing....he has worked 10 hour days at school this week only to come home and put in another 3-5 hours of grading/planning.  We miss him.  But these long days make me praise God that he has summers off!

2.  I am thankful for a photographer friend who took awesome pictures of my kids this week!

3. Forgiveness. Renewed friendships.  A repentant heart (mine).

4.  That I am able to home school kids.  That I even have the option to teach them about God in a free country when there are so many other Christians who can't even utter the Word of the Lord without being put to death.

5.  For a husband who sees me as a precious child of God, and treats me as so.  Even when I am so undeserving.  I am blown away that he loves me so much.

6.  Listening to my kids store precious biblical truths in their hearts!

7.  WOL Campground...because at least once a week Sam and I talk about our excitement to return next year!!!!  It is the best family vacation ... but we don't really see it as a vacation since we are learning so much about Christ during that week that our brains are overflowing when we come home!

8.  Friends that God has put in my life along our many stops along the way.  I'm so sad that we have moved and have left many wonderful friends behind, but what a huge rock they have been in my pursuit for God!

9.  It's Friday, and that means we get to hang out with my parents at some point this weekend and there is something so comforting about their house for me!

10.  God's sweet promise found in Scripture when facing trials.  1 Peter 1:6-7 "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,"

11. For Christ Tomlin's song "Our God is Greater" that has been played no fewer than 23 times a day at my house this past week!

And I could keep going but our school day is waiting to start! :)


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A week in review, kind of.

Where in the world did a week go?!?!

I must admit that I'm starting to feel more scatter brained these days.  Forgetting things that I said we were going to do that day.  Worrying about getting the kids outside to play enough.  I am trying to not forget things, but schooling and housework fill my brain and things just fall out.  As the boys say, "It just can't help it."  That is my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Sam is back to work and crazy busy.  I miss having him home more, I miss his companionship even more.  It is Wednesday morning and I'm craving the weekend with him.  I am so blessed that God chose me to be his helpmeet, even though I feel like a very unfavorable choice!

What is going well?  Bible time in the morning.  I love it.  We have been focusing on creation which has been awesome!  We are also working on memory verses during that time.  I like that we can play worship music during our lessons (don't fret, I turn it off if I think it is distracting the kiddos or if they request it off!)...I love that God is the center of our day.  I like that I could have Monday and Tuesday of this week as review days for Turner.  I feel like he needed the time to really cement in the material he has learned thus far.  I love that when Isaiah said today at the end of Phonics, "Can I write a story?" we could!  His first story!!  It was a simple three sentence story, but he did it all by himself.  I chose to walk away from the dining room table and let him figure out the spelling of some of the more difficult words himself.  He did a wonderful job! Then, we took the story over to Daddy at work!  I love how randomly throughout the day Turner will go through the vowel sounds to review them!  I love the flexibility and that Isaiah said to me this week, "Mom, can I really go to the bathroom whenever I want without asking?"  And at breakfast yesterday morning he asked if we could take a day off and go visit Aunt Tara because we haven't seen her or Uncle Scott in over a month :(  I enjoy reading to/with the kids in the afternoons, we are almost done with Mr. Popper's Penguins!

What isn't going so well...  I'm a hard nosed work driven teacher, drill sergeant anyone?  I need to back off a bit and give more breaks, allow for more playtime.  When I get in the teaching mode, there is no stopping me.  I need to lighten up a bit.  This is a tough one, I'm seeing a lot, I mean A LOT, of my negative qualities in my children's behaviors as we spend more time together.  It is a negative because it is hard for ME.  Because God is revealing impurities in my heart.  But necessary.  I feel like they don't get out of the house enough.  Every decent day we walk to the playground, but I still feel like it isn't enough.  We only had football once last week and once this week, so I feel like they are craving more play time with others.  Maybe it is just me putting that feeling on them? Who knows!  Our weekends are filled with family and cousins to play with, so I hope it is just me that is worried.  Incorporating more art into our day.  It IS messy, and my house is already messy.  I'm sure this will get better as winter carries on and our time outside is less and less. 

I want to make sure I'm embracing our day and keep it God-focused, God-centered.  It can be tough when I have my agenda that I think needs to be fulfilled!  I want to foster more friendship between my children and to yell less.  Yes, believe it or not, I yell.  Sometimes I even get frustrated.  I know, you are surprised!  I still love homeschooling.  I wouldn't trade these 'not so well's' for sending my kids to school any day.  I'm surprised at the changes in my heart.  And I praise God for that.  I am so thankful that through teaching my own children God is changing my heart.

Did I mention Isaiah wants to learn cursive?  I shouldn't have mailed the cursive book back to A Beka this summer! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why homeschooling?

Well I'm glad you asked.

Or not.  Since it puts me in the 'other' corner, the one that gets funky stares when I grocery shop with 3 kids at 1pm when it is clearly still school hours.

Or when my kids say they are homeschooled the person then looks at me with the "Oh those POOR kids" look.

And the world tells me I am failing them, and part of me wants to run and enroll them back in public school.

Or the look I get because "What about 'you' time?"

I will totally admit that I get caught up in it all...and sometimes I even do feel guilty about homeschooling.  I voiced it to my Dad last night as we watched the kiddos play on the playground.  The guilt about making sure that they get enough socialization with other children, you know so they aren't 'those poor kids'.  When school started I mourned the loss of my 'me time' as I read the status' on facebook of Mommies sending their kids off.  I'll admit that a very small part of me missed the excitement of it.  Do I need to even mention that my reffing skills have greatly improved since the children are home all day, together.  Together, all day.  Right?  Yea. 

All that stuff?  Is NOTHING in comparison to the bond that I see growing between me and then between each other.  As we work together through lessons and as they work together through struggles, the growth is overwhelming.  I told Sam this weekend that I was just overwhelmed with homeschooling.  He got this look of terror on his face...overwhelmed?  I had to explain that my overwhelming feelings were extremely positive.  It was (IS!) more of an emotional overwhelming than being overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed.  Watching them grow and develop, being an active part in their learning is amazing.  There is a door that has been opened in our communication together that I/we didn't experience at all last year.  The time I actually spend with the kids, quality time, is in abundance.  We sit and read together and during nap time they love it when I make the rounds and lay with each one of them in each of their beds talking and reading individually with them.  The conversations we have together are so touching.  They feel more open to verbalize their fears with me and the amount of affection they are showing to me and each other can be, at times, over the top!  So sweet!!  It just feels right. 

So why?  It just feels right.  There is so much more than just schooling in our day.  There is a day filled with love with Christ at the center.

Yes, melodramatic? Probably, I hope so.  I wasN'T an emotional person but God has been working in my heart.  To soften me, to make me a more loving and forgiving person.  So, here I am...embracing the melodramatic! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

I really do look forward to Monday's when I can sit down with the kiddos and open the lesson book again.  Isaiah's reading is just growing by leaps and bounds.  His confidence is exploding.  I can see him processing the one and two vowel rules as he goes through a sentence.  Right now we are working on his confidence with distinguishing between the long and short vowel sounds.  He no longer needs me sitting right next to him, and he is no longer painfully sounding out every single word in every sentence.  He is developing a rhythm in his reading and it just makes my heart want to burst!  He has reading homework every night that he is supposed to do with someone other than me.  On Friday he read with my Mum, tonight he will read with Daddy!  His math skillzzzzz are sick, in a very good way! ;) 

Turner will have his first assessment today or tomorrow.  He struggles.  I feel his struggle.  I have to keep reminding myself that he is just in Kindergarten, that it isn't such a big deal.  I pulled out another work book for him to work on while Isaiah is working on his reading lesson to re-enforce what he is learning during his lessons.  A Beka would like me to 'grade' him, and I'm just not ok with that.  He is still feeling this homeschooling thing out.  He honestly just doesn't care about academics.  I went to scan some reproducible worksheets from a book I have, and my scanner died :(  We are working on the vowels and number recognition. 

Right now I have jelly canning jars lined up in my kitchen with beans in them to see (or I guess, "PROVE" since we know what they need to grow!) which one contains the perfect environment to grow in.  The kids are loving science. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Test!

T reading while Isaiah works on Math after his morning of lessons!

Isaiah started Story Problems yesterday!

Hannah is such a trooper!  It is tough for her while the boys get one on one instruction.  She has a 'letters' book that she pulls out and we work on!
So tomorrow is Isaiah's first test!  He has his math test in the morning.  I have complete confidence in his ability to ROCK it.  He is great at math, he loves it.  He flies through his 1-5 addition family flashcards (makes his Daddy SO proud!)  We end the day with math, so he ends on quite the high.  Turner is working on number recognition 1-8...academics aren't as important to T so it is a bit of a struggle. 

Isaiah's reading is exceeding my expectations every day!!!  Yesterday he was able to read a simply sentence to me!  It was so wonderful to sit and rejoice with him over his accomplishment!  It is so encouraging to see him apply what he is learning in reading to environmental print.  Pure BLISS!!  Today I challenged him by reading some 4-letter words that have 2 constants in them (ie. lamp, dump, etc)  He is also working on the long vowel sounds and the one/two vowel rules.  He is working on special combos like -ck -ay and the sounds -e -o and -y make at the end of short words.  When you throw it all together and then apply it to reading you can see his brain working to know when to apply certain rules to what word.  Turner is working on Aa, Ee, Ii, and Uu.  Isaiah's first phonics test is on Friday.  I think he will do fine, but this isn't a strong area (for either of us!) so of course I'm naturally nervous for him.  I do expect he will rock it!

We have also decided to ditch the Story of the World Ancient Egypt right now.  We will see about adding it back in between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The kids weren't enjoying it, and neither were we.  We are focusing on the A Beka 1 history book "My America and My World" and with that we are learning the States and Capitals songs.  A lot LESS stress for everyone!  They are LOVING the AIG God's Design for Life science!  Wonderful stuff and I'm amazed at what they kids are absorbing.  We are also working through Creation for our bible time, with memory verses. 

So school, well according to my kids "REAL" school, started this week.  It IS a big deal in our home since my husband is a teacher, so there is no avoiding it with the kiddos.  And yes, I totally missed the excitement with the kiddos this year.  Sam moved with his class so he'll have the same group of students, so the hype wasn't there for him also.  I celebrated with the kids by having not our first day of school sundaes at McDonald's.  Can I be perfectly honest?  I'll admit it, there are things that I miss not sending my kids to public school.  Like, drum roll please, free babysitting.  I have a baby doctors appointment next week and taking 3 kids isn't 'fun'...  Also, I knew homeschooling was going to be more of a financial burden since we buy our own curriculum, but we go through more toilet paper and eat a lot more food.  I imagine our electricity bill will be higher since we need more light to work on these rainy days.  This afternoon I trekked to the grocery store with three kids instead of one, it was more of a challenge.  These are all small adjustments that I am happy to make, but still...they are adjustments.  However, I do love the fact that my dinning room looks more like a classroom rather than a place meant just for family eating!! 

I also can't toss the responsibility of educating my children off on someone else.  I feel that weight.  For them to grow and develop and to be on target, and at the end of the day there is no one else to blame but me.  The weight of having social adjusted children is there, especially when I have such social children.  Last night was the first flag football practice for the boys, and they loved it! 

Lots of emotions swirling around in my head this week for the first week of 'real' school...and the reality of our very real 3rd week of homeschooling! :) 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

No School!


Isaiah loathes writing...really hates.  He said to me this week, "Mom, I'm going to do my writing first to get it over even though it makes my stomach hurt."  I was so proud of him for being responsible and sticking it through.

Poor T-man is battling some crazy allergies this week :(  I feel his pain, but he is plugging through with his school work.  :(
We are taking a "No School" day to play with friends that we haven't seen all summer!  We are all excited!!!!  This week went well.  T and I are battling crazy allergies, so we both are feeling a bit foggy.  Sam started back to school yesterday and so now it is just the kiddos and I for the day. 

I am seriously blown away with how much I am enjoying our days together learning.  I can't imagine it any other way!  The kids bounce between LOVING homeschooling and missing public school.  I wish I could explain it better, they don't want to give up homeschooling but they miss the traditional school in many ways.  The boys start flag football tomorrow evening so I hope that will help as they get out and are part of a 'team'.  I will admit that I have that annoying voice in my head, "Make sure your kids are socialized."  My kids are so naturally social.  They don't hide in a corner when kids come to the playground that they don't know.  They are go getters, make friends and get a game started that everyone on the playground can be playing.  I don't want that trait to be squashed!  Yesterday watching them play with everyone at the playground was so awesome! 

This morning we did our usual morning routine, alphabet work, scripture memorization, poem reading, map work, and flashcards but we are taking the rest of the day off!  I'm going to start doing a calendar corner routine too, more for Hannah but the boys will benefit also.  I am going to do weather, patterning, and probably some counting (skip).  I'll add this into our morning routine.  With Sam in his school routine, we should be able to fall into ours quickly. 

We have been finishing up with our core work by lunch time and saving the history (T/Th) and science (M/W/F) for the afternoons.  This week I started reading a chapter book to the kids during quiet time before I send them off with their own age appropriate reading material.  We started Mr. Popper's Penguins.  My thought behind this is to expose the kids to a longer sentence structure and more in depth story lines, hopefully to improve their writing.  This has been a challenge for the kids to just sit back and close their eyes and imagine what they are hearing instead of looking at pictures.  If I were to do this parenting thing over, I'd start reading chapter books when they were much younger!

I am so thankful that Sam is so encouraging and actively involved in this journey!  (I know I know, he SHOULD be...but I was prepared for him to leave it all up to me.)  He has been teaching the science part of our curriculum (YAY AiG God's Design for Life series!!) and has been helping me with our history (Story of the World).  We aren't loving SOTW, not hating but not loving it.  And he is a HUGE creation buff and his knowledge of it blows me away, so I have enjoyed us sitting down together going over the next chapter and discussing it!  Last night he ran to the grocery store since we are all out of the basic staples, and he came home with wonderful lunch ideas for us!  Just the idea that he knew we'd all be here for lunch together and bought us all things we'd enjoy rocks my world!  I am so blessed, so so so blessed. 

Next week is another 4 day week, we are taking Monday off.  Next Friday starts Isaiah's weekly phonics tests so I've been doing some prep with him on that to help alleviate some of the anxiety.  Today he rocked his reading flashcards, I was so proud of him.  He has worked so incredibly hard in his reading and has still struggled.  I have always been a slow reader and was always behind multiple grade levels so I have many flashbacks of struggling while helping him.  He rocked his flashcards today!!!!!!!!  I think the one on one is really working for him, plus I KNOW what he is being taught so I am able to review with him all day.  It is working out so well.  Our whole day is centered around what they are learning during our mornings, much more than when they were in public school.  Since I know what they are being taught (me = teacher), I can capitalize on the teachable moments all throughout the day!

Friday, August 26, 2011

One week down!

Sam said "You aren't going to do this everyday, right?"

Ah, no.  Isaiah kindly reminded me this week that I hadn't cleaned the toilet yet.  I won't be writing nightly about our experience for the day homeschooling.  Right now I have a basket of clean clothes that are screaming my name to be folded...I won't even think about putting them away for awhile. :)

I greatly underestimated the time commitment.  When people would say, "Oh sometimes the housework has to slide."  I would think to myself, "Seriously?  I wasted so much time when the kids were in school I don't think it could be worse."  Oh it is so different than I had imagined AND I have Sam home with me this week to help.  Plus next week will start our history program plus Isaiah's reading curriculum. 

Today went well, even with spilled cereal in the living room during Isaiah's lessons.  :)  Note to self: cereal with milk in the living room is a big no-no.  We took the kiddos to the skate park and the playground.  What are we going to do when the weather gets cold and they are cooped up inside all day?!?!?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Homeschooling Day #4

I am SO thankful that Sam wants to teach the science part of our day!  The boys really do enjoy it so much! And I get to sit back and watch...it is awesome! 

Sorting different characteristics of plants and animals.

Hannah involved in the learning too!
I knew today was going to be more intense, but in T's words "We've had a rough day". Trying to figure out our how to keep everyone else happily entertained while I am schooling with one child has proven difficult!  Hannah just loves to sit on my lap, and there are times when I am with Isaiah when she can't.  This does not make her happy.  Thankfully the kids are so great going with the flow and they don't need perfect peace in the house to learn!  Isaiah's concentration amazes me!

Today also began the more intensive part of Isaiah reading program with the start of blending.  I was very nervous that I was going to mess up the blends in teaching him, thus teaching him wrong.  But we were doing wonderfully by the end of the day.  It is so difficult to see him struggle because I understand all to well as a struggling reader myself.  I so desire to see him succeed, preferably easily!  He does need extra help with reading, but thankfully we have the time to put in the extra work.  With the one on one instruction time I am able to correct and most importantly ENCOURAGE what he does well.

I am praying that we will settle into a routine soon...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Homeschooling Day #3

Lampson Falls

We found a ton of blackberries!  They were so yummy!

There was so much neat stuff to see!
We got up this morning to the pounding of our roof being torn off and replaced, plus Sam had a dentist appointment...which was perfect to get our schoolwork started so we could enjoy lunch at Lampson Falls before the rain came.  Sam and I are so enjoying watching our children learn and being an active part in their education.  Yes yes, I am worried that when this honeymoon phase ends I'll be frustrated and wanting to give up...but that is why I'm recording this stuff so when I want to quite I won't.  The best part?  We don't have to take God out of learning!  He is in EVERY part of our day!

Isaiah was eager to get started first, he always picks math before phonics (just like Daddy!) He is doing so well with understanding math concepts.  I love watching his drive to do his best.  He is mastering letter sounds, and tomorrow we will begin blends.  I believe his least favorite activity right now is writing.  He cringes when I ask him to get his Writing With Phonics book out and I notice that he rushes that work.  Next week starts the reading part of our day which will add another hour or so to his schooling.

As I asked Turner to get his school books from his bin on the shelf, he got his usual giggly smile and said, "Mom, I am going to do my best work today."  And he didn't disappoint!  He seems to always choose phonics first (I say always like I've been doing this longer than 3 days, ha!!)  He did fantastic at hearing the middle sound 'short i' in words!  Math was same/different and number concepts 1-5.

Once we were done with our school work, I packed up our lunch and we headed to the falls.  It was just awesome!  Hannah did great, our stroller lover, walked the whole way!  Isaiah surprised us by walking right up to the edge of the falls (you walk along the side of it to get to the bottom) without any fear!  Hannah and Turner stayed back.  It was breath taking and we just sat back for a moment and marveled at God's creation.  We found a rock that was surrounded by water at the base of the falls and had a great lunch.  After lunch we trekked down the path a bit more which was filled with blackberries (obviously not so traveled!) and pricker bushes. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homeschooling Day #2

Breakfast started like this from my T-man:
"Mom, I don't like school.  I don't want to do it today."

I knew this day was coming.  I just didn't think it would before the start of our second day.  I'll admit I felt a tad deflated dreading the fight that was coming just around the corner.  My oldest on the other hand could not wait to dig in.

Today's workload was a bit heavier than yesterday.  I told the boys that after school and lunch we would take a walk to the skate park where they could perfect their moves on their scooters.  It was perfect for my T-man to focus on that throughout his work.  Right now my struggle is with keeping my 3 year old happily entertained while I work one on one with the boys.  She is usually right there with me while I do everything, so this is going to be an adjustment for her more than any of us, I think.

We were done by 11:30, even with our science which my husband taught!  (We are dreading him going to back to work in a few weeks when school opens.)  It was wonderful and the questions that the kids asked were awesome!  As we were sitting down for lunch, my oldest son shared with him how much he is enjoying homeschooling and requested to not go back to public school!  I pray that this is his reaction in a few weeks as the reviewing turns to new material and as our workload continues to increase.  I have so enjoyed watching him work so hard on his letter sounds the last two days!  I also talked with T-man over lunch about what I could do to make schooling more enjoyable to him and he suggested that we take the pages out of his book.  Apparently he doesn't like working IN a workbook?  Easy enough!  I don't mind doing that!

T-man using counters to count.

Hannah girl working on coloring and stickers!

I LOVE this! School books on the table, my binder full of lesson plans, kids working happily!  Awesome!!

Isaiah working on his math!
We ended our school day with a 2 hour physical education 'class' walking to the skate park and then to the playground.  We had to drag the kids away. 

Homeschooling Day #1

Well it is in the books!  YAY!  It was rather enjoyable for this teacher, I believe my pupils enjoyed being done by 11 and having the rest of the day to PLAY with each other!  I can't believe how much I can get done one-on-one with the boys!  I was 'trained' to teach a classroom of 20 kids, so this one on one thing is wonderful! 

Using a flashlight to work on letter recognition for T-man and letter sounds for Isaiah with our alphabet on the wall.

Isaiah working in his math book.

T worked on the letter I today! He did so well coloring in the lines!


We are using A Beka for Language Arts and Math, Answers in Gensis for Science "God's Design for Life", and Story of the World for our History program.  Yesterday was just LA and Math...today is lesson 1 for science and next week we will start our history program. 

Our plan is to start by 9am daily, but the the kiddos just woke up so it looks like we will be starting a bit later today...and that is OK!  I am looking forward to getting into the full swing of our schedule next week! 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Crazy

This morning was rough. It was tough dropping Isaiah off at school. He has been 6 days since he has had severe stomach pain and I have so enjoyed having him back to himself. He has had moments of pain, but nothing like he experienced for 2 weeks. Praise God that the medicine he has been taking has been helping. I love having him back to normal, and dropping him off at school has been killing me. I want to spend all day with him! It makes me long for June. For summer break. To long for September when we begin our homeschooling journey.

Yes, the world thinks I'm crazy. Yes, the world thinks my kids will lack socialization. Yes, I really do long for spending days with my children. Yes, I know it is going to be really hard when they are fighting and I just want to hide under the covers of my bed. I want to hide under my covers right now, but I'm missing the sound of my children in my home.

Going crazy is a chance I'm willing to take to not miss my kids anymore.

I've been going down this road of becoming a woman of God. Basically everything that the world tells me NOT to be. Counter-cultural. To, *gasp*, be submissive to my husband. To put my family's concern over my own. But what about me time? What about my alone time? Really? Alone time? In studying Proverbs 31, I'm not seeing her priority in her 'me time'. I know that women have a difficult time living up to the Proverbs 31 Woman. And yes, we can't achieve all that she does alone. We need Christ. We need to lean on Christ. We can't do it alone.

As I write this, I have 2 of my 3 kiddos on my lap. And you know what? I love it. My heart misses Isaiah. These years go by so quickly. I want to soak up every moment.

Yes, I am crazy. Yes, I am crazy in love with Jesus.

This is a favorite in our house. It's not about this world. It's about our God, it's about eternity.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Homeschooling!!!!

We are homeschooling! At the start of next school year!

Some think we are crazy. *Gasp* Really? Spending ALL day with your children? Why, yes, that DOES sound lovely to me!

I'm a born teacher. It is in my blood, ask my mother. Better yet, ask my sister, the hours she spent practicing school with me... We pay a lot of money for my teaching degree. I endure a lot of anxiety dropping my little kiddos off at school every day. It is heart ache every time I get a note home from school that I need to work on this or that more. Really? I just got them home from being at school ALL day and I just want to be with them! Not drill them on more schooling.

So, yea. This has been on my heart for months. And now I'm knee (or is it neck?) deep in researching curriculum online with a bunch of different publishers. The idea of planning again, and teaching my own children, is just down right exciting.

I am going to journal my thoughts. Even though I am a trained teacher, I am terribly afraid of failing. I am worried about my kids having friends and enjoying playing wither other children. I am worried about them learning to respect other adults other than my husband and I. These were some of the primary reasons that we decided to give public school a try.

I am knee deep and digging through different curriculums to piece together one to fit our family perfectly. I'll totally admit that I am loving it!