"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Why Am I Doing This?

The alarm sounds and I roll over to turn it off. In the early morning darkness I squint at the clock, contemplating resetting it so I can sleep longer. Feeling guilty, I flop back onto the pillow, groaning to myself and wondering why I'm getting up so early.

It's not like I have to make sure children are on a school bus at a certain time. It's not like I have to be at the office at a certain time. With the type of employment my husband has, I don't even have to make a breakfast and lunch for him by a certain time. WHY AM I HAVING TO WAKE UP NOW?

Oh. Yeah. I'm a homeschooling mother of six, five of whom are still at home. They need breakfast at some point and then they need some teaching, training, more feeding, help with music practices, driving to music lessons, taking to the doctor for ongoing medical help, reminders to finish their work, hugs and kisses, clean bathrooms, math papers checked, grammar corrected...blah, blah, blah.

And before I get to all that, I need to get my head and heart screwed on straight.

Therefore the early wake-up time.

Because you can't give what you don't have.

So the day starts early with some exercise time to help get the body going and the mind somewhat clear. And then comes time in the Word and in prayer and in helpful books like
Educating the Wholehearted Child  because I certainly can't do anything on my own and everything I do needs to line up with what God's Word says - serving a God I must know intimately and following His orders closely. And far too often I fail at it all.

Then I'm more likely to greet the girls cheerfully as they filter into the kitchen when they wake up. And I'm more likely to not be overwhelmed by all that comes with the monumental task of homeschooling for the glory of God. And I'm more likely to do it for the glory of God instead of to prove how good I am, or to match up to some arbitrary educational standard, or to show the world how smart my kids are, or...whatever reason.

When the dull days of winter are on us, this post reminds me that I'm not alone and there are some ideas to vary things up a little. It also does me good to remember why we're travelling this homeschooling road. So I pull out my personal pep talk of educational goals and vision. Here's part of it:

Our children should be equipped to serve God in a variety of situations with a variety of peoples. Therefore this is why we do the following:

  • They should know history and worldview to keep from repeating the old wrong ways or being duped by supposedly new ways of thinking. They can also see end results of foolish or rebellious attitudes and actions from seeing what became of those who espoused such thinking and actions.
  • Our children should study math to better know a God of order, for personal accounting and figuring, and for logical thought processes.
  • They need to know how to write well and comfortably and properly use their native language for clear communication to others as well as in order to have clear and logical thinking for themselves.
  • These students of ours need to know story, both true and fictional, in order to have a more abundant, colorful, and understanding life. They should be steeped in good literature.
  • They should learn a foreign language for understanding other cultures, understanding better their own language, but primarily for ministering to others. Sometimes this one is difficult to come by, but it can be done.
  • They should have a deep respect for and understanding of nature and other aspects of science through the lens of an Almighty Creator of all. The wonder of God's amazing and diverse creation should be fostered all our lives.
And I get to be the guide into all these wondrous gateways for my children!

And I get to think up creative ways to keep them interested when we're all dragging because we haven't seen the sun in three weeks, or when we've just been trying to fit too much into our days.

I get to open their eyes to the thrill of reading, to the intricacies of God's creation,

to the hilarity of words that work so well together,

to understanding what led up to certain actions and events,

to knowing that God had His hand in all the acts of man and will continue to hold His children in His powerful hands.

And I get to know that I'm obeying Deuteronomy 6:6-9 in the doing of all this. And I get to know that as I step forward in obedience, or get out of the bed in obedience, He will strengthen me for the task.

Even in the long, dark, discouraging days, like in November and February.

Press on!

Linked up to: http://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/  http://www.raising homemakers.com


Friday, November 8, 2013

Hello, Again!

It's a cool fall morning and I feel like writing, so here I come again. We've had so much rain lately, but not as much as friends and family are having in the Philippines. Please pray for them. Our former pastor and his family are pastoring a church in Tacloban, one of the hardest hit cities. I haven't had word on them yet.

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Here's one of the activities which have kept me from blogging for a long time:

We're blessed to be able to celebrate the Reformation with our church family every year and this year was no exception.

Let's rock this Reformation Day party!

This year our Reformation Day party was focusing on the Celtic Christians who were actually prereformational in a way. We had a renaissance market place where we sold handcrafted items, the proceeds from which are going to help a local family with medical financing. (Thumbing our noses at Obamacare.)
Part of the marketplace

There were highland-type games because the men and boys didn't have enough bruises and broken fingers.

There were some crafts to enjoy doing.

We had a somewhat confused dance, but all had fun anyhow.

And, of course there was food. Good food.

Linking to: 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Third Wedding Quilt of the Year

This wedding quilt was made for our pastor's oldest son who got married this past weekend. His favorite color is black and his bride's is purple, so I tried to put a lot of both in this quilt, but it was actually just a lot
of color. This time I had enough time and fabric to make matching pillow cases with his edging being blue and hers being purple.

A lot of accuracy was needed to make the blocks work perfectly, and if there's one thing I am not, it's accurate. So the quilt is far from perfect, but it turned out nicely anyhow. I plan never to make this pattern again, so they have a one-of-a-kind quilt. :)

The wedding and reception were nice and we're happy to have another new couple, carrying on the task of making families for God's glory.

Linking up to: http://teachinggoodthings.com/blog/teaching-good-things-tuesdays-link-up-party-111213/

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nature Scavenger Hunt

This afternoon, Sarah was struck with a great idea. After she recovered, she printed up the idea that had struck her:  a list for a nature scavenger hunt.

Unfortunately, we didn't have time to cavort about in the great outdoors till after a late supper, so toward the end of our hunt it was getting a little dark. But we persevered and were able to find everything on our list. Team Faith and Sarah found their stuff just a little before Team Ruth and Mom, but they helped us find the last few things on our list.
Then we came in and sorted it all out and showed it all to those who were party-poopers and didn't participate. Heh.

It was a nice time of getting outside together and enjoying the cooler fall evening.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's Been Happening?

Isn't this sky amazing?!
This school year is probably our busiest as we're being involved in more things away from home than ever before and we're ramping up the amount of writing we're doing in our studies, which, of course, means more time involved.

So, there hasn't been much time for blogging. Not that blogging is a necessity. It's mostly something I do for fun. But let me do a little catching up now.

Since our history studies are in the Reformation & Renaissance era, Ruthie asked if we could do our writing by candle light one day. When I said that would be ok, she lit a bunch of them, as you can see. That was a fun day. I've taken the notebooking pages that go with our Truthquest History book and had them spiral bound so we could easily write a page on whatever we're reading about. So far, the girls have really enjoyed doing their writing. Faith is doing the "Binder Builder" notebook, which is a collection of lap books put into a 3-ring binder. I'll show these projects as they progress.

Last Saturday we had quite an eventful and exciting day. After the morning's hunting and bagging of a six-point buck, the younger three got to enjoy the free youth flying held at our little local airport. Sarah & Ruth had gotten to do it two years ago, but Faith hadn't been old enough.

 Faith was actually kinda strutting here, though she might not look like it. They enjoyed spotting places they knew in the area as well as a "castle" that can be rented for gatherings. I think it goes for only $3,000 for the weekend. Ha.

Later that evening, most of us went the the street festival at which Grace had been working all day. We got there in plenty of time to witness the Open Mic Contest.
 After wiping the raininess off the keyboard, Grace played a wondrous rendition of a medley of pieces from the Pirates of the Caribbean. She did the best she's ever done it, I think.

Yes, she won the $100 first prize!

And then we went home to celebrate the day with a deer cake, of slightly different design than usual.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back to Home School

Well, we've mostly started school again, with the providential science lesson of our monarch butterfly "hatching" out of the chrysalis. Roo had found the caterpillar on a milkweed leaf and we'd kept it in a jar with lots of holes in the lid. It was fed milkweed leaves and it did what caterpillars do best - eat and poop. After a day or two, it climbed up onto the lid, spun a little grip, and hung there for awhile till it split and turned into a rather pretty green chrysalis.

It turns out that the chrysalis isn't green; it's clear, as we noticed when it turned orange and black just before it split open to let the butterfly out.
We enjoyed watching the butterfly's abdomen shrink and the floppy wings look a little more "starched" over a couple of hours' time.

We've collected caterpillars for a gazillion years now and it's always fascinating to me to see how God makes this wonderful metamorphosis. It makes me think of the verse that says that if we are in Christ, we are a new creature - we have metamorphosized into a new creature in Him.

Another fun thing about our new school year is that I figured out how to make very useable and simple assignment books/planners for the three youngest. Here's how they look:

 I had made the assignment sheets in Excel and printed up a bunch of copies. We miss some days of studying for music or speech or other studies or doctor visits and sometimes we do some studies on Saturday, so it's hard to estimate how many pages to make, but I made about 120 pages. I may change that next year.

Then I took the stacks of papers to Staples and had them cut them in half, laminate the covers, and comb-bind them. I had thought to have them spiral bound, but said the wrong word. Oh, well. They work just fine anyhow. And it all didn't cost very much at all. It was about $23 for all three.

So, I'm going to make a teacher's planner for me. Quite a few forms and beautiful covers can be found here:
tina's dynamic homeschool, but I think I'll still make my own personalized forms. They're not as fancy as hers, but they meet my needs better. And hopefully I'll remember to say "spiral binding" for mine.

How's the start of your school year going?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Musings - Sabbath Second Dinner

I've just got to tell you about something we came up with Saturday night and hope to continue to do 'most every Saturday.

You see, we like to have a nice dinner as a kind of start to our "Sabbath." Then we keep Saturday evening as an evening at home, kind of preparing for Sunday's worship time.

Well, I'm not sure how the brain-storming started, but we came up with an idea for a second "dinner" of literature. Here's a picture of the menu:

So, here's how it all worked out in detail:
Appetizer - Faith's recitation was of our week's Bible memory work:  Colossians 1:13-14.
Aperitif - Ruth read three Shel Silverstein poems.
Soup - Grace read "The Clicking of Cuthbert" by P.G. Wodehouse (very funny!).
Salad - I read "Footsteps of Angels" by H.W. Longfellow.
Fish - since we were running low on time, Hannah is going to read us a Father Brown mystery by G.K. Chesterton tomorrow afternoon.
Entree - Sarah read us W. Churchill's speech made in June of 1940 to inspire England to fight to the end and in all places and ways.
Dessert - Lovey read the book of Jonah.
Digestive - Lovey prayed for us all and for our upcoming morning of worship.

We had some popcorn and tea and then during the "salad" course, Lovey served up some ice cream. I plan next week to make something nice like scones, or a new treat, to make it an extra special time. I'm so excited about this idea, most of which was Hannah's, and hope we can stick with it. Maybe we'll get some friends to join us sometimes.

Do you have any Saturday evening traditions?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sewing Fun

This little cutie, daughter of some new friends whom we met in the library (where else do homeschoolers meet?!), is modelling some sewing fun that we had recently.

Her mom had asked if we could teach her a little about sewing because she wanted to sew this skirt for her little girl - a "twirly" skirt.

It was a simple skirt to make and it was funny to watch the mom get giddy about actually sewing. She had found the pattern online from a moms' forum in which she's a member.

We had so much fabric left over that we found a pattern for a very cute sun hat and whipped it up quickly. It was a fun afternoon, followed by supper and s'mores roasted over our backyard firepit.

Blessings galore!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Family Reunion

We're so blessed to have a God-honoring bunch of people for relatives! This past weekend we got to fellowship with my husband's side of the family in the beautiful northern woods.
Canoe built by Granddad on new lake owned by uncle.
Some of us tried tennis for the first time, reminding me of how poorly my sister and I used to try to play against my brother, an expert. More laughter happened than actual tennis.

Rope swings over water are such fun, especially when shared with a cousin.

Life is rough in these circumstances.

Blackberry picking at our old favorite spots.

First time to run a 5k.

Gleaning berries and philosophizing in the berry patch.

Loving on babies on the old family land.

Admiring the new bridge to Evelyn Island on Granddad's lake.

Recovering from the 5k with donuts and coffee in cousin's remodeled house.

Enjoying the wildlife which tied itself in a knot.
Shooting "skeet" (clay pigeons).

More baby loving and fellowship.
The next morning we got to worship with family and were exhorted to dig deeply into God's Word through a sermon on Psalm 19 and then enjoyed pizza with our nephew and his kids.

Again, we're so blessed!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cozy Coffee Shop

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away...I had told you that I'd show you the cute coffee shop in which I spent my time during the girls' art classes, so here goes:

One of my favorite things about this shop, besides the wonderful coffees, scones, ice cream, sandwiches, smoothies, and gift shop is this counter top. I have dreams of having/making one someday.

Because this coffee shop is set in the baby food capital of the world, it's only natural to see, among the pictures and posters of by-gone days, the original Gerber baby.

It was a good setting in which to take myself to my own little home education convention, thanks to Clay and Sally Clarkson. I'll give you more of a taste of this excellent book in another post. It has been such an encouragement to this veteran homeschooler who was in need of encouragement.

I hope you have a place of beauty and good tastes in which to refresh yourself now and then.