Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Home school

Every home schooling mom longs for the days when their kids will appreciate all the hard work and dedication it takes to teach them at home. Some days can be such a struggle and we wonder if what we are doing really matters.

Every once in a while, we get a nugget from our children. A kind word, a hug or even a thank you. This morning, my sweet daughter made me cry. That is not easy to do. I am usually stone-faced and tough. Not a lot gets to me, emotionally speaking. Her letter melted my heart and reassured me that I am indeed doing the Lord's will.

Here is her letter:


Thank you so much for helping me with math today. Thank you for goofing off and being patient although I took up a good part of your day. Thanks for not giving up on me even when I give up on myself. You lighten my load and inspire me all the time.

I love you.

P.S. You probably don't want to mess with the black sweats in the laundry because I think Keri peed on them. (our cat snuck in the house, she is SUPPOSED to live outside but keeps finding her way in)

Excuse me while I grab some tissues.

And wash the same load of laundry 20 times.

I am so blessed with this child.

You Can Do It
Tuesday / November 17, 2009

"Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Have you been experiencing setbacks lately while homeschooling? Are your children rebelling or acting bored? Do friends continue to harass you about your decision and worry that your children will be socially inept by the time they graduate? Is all the hard work of balancing time for your spouse, your children, and yourself just too much? Are the unpaid bills or unfinished chores keeping you awake at night? Maybe God never really wanted you to homeschool in the first place? After all, if He did, things wouldn't be so hard, right?

Are you interested in a printed version of this devotional? Then check out the new Daily Focus devotional book, perfect for your own Bible study or as a gift. Order your copy today!

Those are the experiences and thoughts I felt homeschooling four children. Second guessing myself, I was ready to walk away and experience the "good life" of corporate reward and fulfillment. Anything had to be better than the frustration I was going through now. But each time I determined to give up and send my children to school, a wonderful day of homeschooling blessings would encourage me again. My spiritual and homeschooling journeys became intertwined, and I learned that any success I had when teaching my children was dependent on my closeness to God's heart.

My days of looking for a way out eventually ended when God gave me my own homeschooling life verse, "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory" (2 Timothy 2:10). I knew I could endure any homeschooling negatives for the sake of my children's salvation and growth in Christ. I was ashamed and humbled before God with my foolish fears and doubts. Even though I had been faithless and ready to quit to avoid suffering, God had remained faithful and encouraged me when I needed encouragement most (2 Timothy 2:13a).

God is waiting to encourage you today, too. He wants to meet you right where you are and give you the strength you need to be a faithful teacher. Learn from His sacrificial and loving example to faithfully teach you. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Hebrews 12:2-3).

Jesus, your love for me amazes me every day. My life is not my own, and I recommit my family and homeschooling to You today. Use me to be a blessing to these wonderful children. Help me stand against the temptation to feel sorry for myself. In Your precious name, Amen.

Chicken Mummy

Cody has waited for weeks to make a chicken mummy.

He has been learning all about mummies and how they are made.
He learned all about how decomposition happens, the different ways mummies have been made over time, and the traditions and religious beliefs that go along with it. There was only one thing he did not expect.

Say what? I have to stick my hand where???

Mom! Your joking. Right? Right mommy? Why aren't you answering me, mommy?

(I apologize in advance for the wording used in the video. I usually don't like that word but was too busy laughing like a freak and traumatizing my son to correct him.

After we simmered down, Cody's big sister came to the rescue. She agreed to hold the chicken so he could just spoon the salt mixture in the...er...ummmm. cavity.

After he added the salt mixture, he added herbs and spices so it would not smell so bad.
We have to check on the chicken every few days and replace the salt mixture until the chicken is completely dried out. The whole process can take up to 6 weeks. At which time the chicken will be properly mummified and we will wrap in in linen.
This is our last chicken mummy, as Cody is the youngest kiddo. Makes me sad.

No one else to traumatize.

Good Times.

Quick, What do you call small rivers that run into the Nile River? Juveniles.

Cody checked on his replication of the Nile River and the "crops" that surround it. He had sprouts everywhere! He flooded the Nile last week and his crops are thriving. He had to flood it again to make the crops grow even more. He also made a model of pyramids and made an Egyptian scene to go along with it.

So, now he has Egyptian pyramids right next to the Nile. Hmmm, what do do next? Maybe a shaduf by the river? No, actually he will be making a chicken mummy. Yes, with a real chicken. We are a little strange around here.

There is so much to learn from doing projects like this. Science, math, history, following directions, creativity and it gives such a good visual example of how things may have looked long ago. What better way to learn than a hands on, fun project?

Making the pyramids was a great reinforcement to learning perfect squares, beginning multiplication and addition facts. The first layer of the pyramid was made with 25 sugar cubes, the second with 16, the third with 9, the fourth with 3, the fifth with 2 and the last with 1. We put the cubes into several groups to represent many different facts before we glued them down.

Most of all, this project made learning fun, and that is what I want the kids to think.

Learning is fun.

Back to it....Again
So, we are back from Florida. Back from our breaks and vacations and spur of the moment trips. Our start to the school year has had a few interruptions but I think that is one of the great things about homeschooling. We can pick up and go when we want without having to worry . We school year -round and that enables us to be pretty flexible.

Now that we are back, it is time to hit school pretty hard. It will take us a few weeks to get into a good routine again. My kids are just like any other kid when it comes to school. They whine and complain and try to bargain their way out of school after a break. Until they realize that there is no escape and they might as well give in. It is hard having your mom for a teacher and dad for a principle. And a little weird when the administration hugs and kisses a lot. That's another story though.
Cody is studying about The Nile River and Egyptians. His project this week was to make a model of The Nile River and then flood it to make his "crops" grow. His model is made from soil from our compost, pebbles, rocks, aluminum foil, and grass seed. He has to flood it every week to simulate how The Nile River floods every year. We'll post an update in a few weeks when it greens up a little. He really enjoyed making this project.

May I get something off my chest?

Homeschooling my children is a personal family decision that was not taken lightly. It is a decision we made because it is the right thing for our family and children. I do not think homeschooling is a good choice for all families.

Our family is not in competition with public or private school children or even other home school children. We do not think we are better than others because of our choice to home school. I would not be condescending or rude to other families who chose to send their kids to public or private school.

There seems to be quite a few people who assume that home school families really don't do anything. These same people make inaccurate assumptions and feel the need to quiz home school children and ask them questions based on what they think that child should know. This in intrusive, insulting, offensive and singles out the child making them feel less than.

There are so many different methods and curricula that homeschoolers use. Most of the time it is completely different that what public schools use. Maybe your fourth grader is studying The Civil War so you think that all fourth graders should know everything about The Civil War. So, of course, if my fourth grader (who is home schooled) is not studying the The Civil War and does not answer your question right, he must not be getting a proper education.

I can not tell you how inaccurate and frustrating this is. It would be the same thing as me asking a public schooled child if they know the Latin Declensions, The first Sumerian Dictator, the components of formal logic, or how to apply the Pythagorean Theorem all while raising my eyebrows and thinking they are not educated if they can not answer. Maybe they know these things, maybe not. What an uncomfortable situation for a child to be in.

The point is that when others go out of their way to single out a child and ask them questions like this it is really just a person who is not properly informed on home schooling trying to prove their bias. It is rude and hurtful to the child.

Most home school moms I know would be happy to talk about their curriculum, method, and lessons. If you are curious, just ask her. You would be surprised what you may learn and how your perception may change.

Daily Focus

Every day, I get the home school version of Daily Focus delivered to my inbox. This devotional starts off my day right and is usually spot on with how I am feeling and what I struggle with. Today's was really great so I thought I'd share.

Had Known
Wednesday / August 26, 2009

Looking back over your homeschooling experiences, what would you do differently? Enjoy these reflections gleaned from other homeschooling parents just like you:

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  • If I had known that teaching my children would be so much fun, I would have started homeschooling sooner.
  • If I had known my children were going to grow as fast as older women said they would, I would have treasured our time together even more.
  • If I had known that my son was going to become an archeologist and dig in the dirt for a profession, I would have never worried about removing the stains when washing his clothes.
  • If I had known that all my children would go on to receive college degrees, I would have never second guessed my curriculum choices and teaching abilities.
  • If I had known how unimportant it was to keep a spotless house, I would have gone to bed on time instead of spending countless hours cleaning, organizing, and tidying up for the next day.
  • If I had known how living on one income would build a solid faith in God, I would have gladly lived with less without all the complaining.
  • If I could only experience the thrill of one job to last an entire lifetime, I would homeschool my children all over again.
Whatever lessons you’ve learned from homeschooling so far, you’re incredibly blessed to teach your children. Praise God for the wonderful opportunity to be both your child’s parent and teacher! “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Lord, I lift up a grateful heart of praise and thank You for all my homeschooling joys. As we begin a new school year, please help me appreciate the benefits of homeschooling even more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

August 12, 2009


I am currently planning our curriculum, lessons, projects, activities and
field trips for the entire school year for three different grades.
Then, I am putting every day of planning in my online home school
If you don't hear from me soon, send help. I'm probably buried under
books and papers and can't find my way out.

Or my brain exploded.

One of the two.

August 2, 2009
Keeping it Real.

I know this will come as a huge shock but I'm actually going to be serious for a bit. No jokes or sarcasm........just real.

Bear with me now, it won't be that bad.

Before I left for the convention this weekend, I was feeling very burdened and overwhelmed. Don't we all feel that way sometimes? I guess it has been my turn this month. I almost did not even go, thinking I had way to much to do and it was selfish of me to go away for the day.

Moms in general have a lot of pressure but homeschooling moms have even more. We want to succeed. We want to tailor the curriculum to each child. We want to be productive, efficient, fun, and bring out the best in our children. On top of that we want to challenge them, socialize them, and provide every opportunity we can for them to excel. We pour over curriculum, methods, schedules, and supplemental activities. Those decisions alone are enough to make any homeschool mom lock herself in the bedroom closet and eat an entire bag of chocolate. (ok, I lied, I can't be 100% serious)

On top of all that, we have so much pressure. Not only self-imposed but also from family, friends, and the wonderful woman at the checkout counter who grills you with questions about laws and socialization and how will they ever learn to stand in line or wait their turn or deal with bullies and what about the prom for goodness sake?

Well, some of the worst pressure can come from

wait for it....

other home school moms. You know what I mean. The grilling over methods, styles, rigorous routines, instruments, how many grade levels ahead their little Johnny is compared to your little Sally and let's not forget how their children all sing merrily while doing their chores and rebuilding computers while your child has their finger up their nose.

It is so easy to listen to all the voices around you that fill your head with doubt. You may see other families that look like they have it all together. Let me tell you, not one of them do.

Not one.

They are second guessing everything they do every bit as much as you are. There is an undercurrent of competitiveness and an impossible standard to live up to. It is unspoken but it is there.

Logically, we know this. We also know what nonsense it is. Even so, there can still be a pulling in the back of our head that we are not doing enough.

For our family, the decision to homeschool was one that was prayed about a great deal. I felt convicted by God that this was the path for OUR family. (I am emphatic that it is not for every family) I felt confident and happy that we were doing the Lord's will and felt blessed to be able to do so. Part of every Christian's life are spiritual battles. It seems like the closer you get to doing the Lord's will, the more intense the spiritual battles become.

Lets remember where doubt, fear, second-guessing, competitiveness, isolation, striving, feeling defeated and wanting to give up come from. It is not from God.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:29-30
Anything that comes from God does not feel like a burden. If you are feeling burdened and defeated, like we all do at times, remember it does not come from the Lord. Lies come from one place and have one purpose. To defeat you. To break you down. To make you throw in the towel. To make you turn away from God.

Going to the convention this weekend was the best thing I could have done. I realize now the guilt I was feeling beforehand was just another spiritual battle. If I stayed home I would have missed out on hearing exactly what I needed to hear.

I listened to a wonderful speaker, Todd Wilson. He delivered such a wonderful message about the lies we listen to every day. The pressure we put on ourselves because of those lies and how they can destroy us. He reminded us of the above verse (Matthew 11:29-30) and gave us permission (and ordered us) to live in the truth. It took such a heavy load off my back. It brought tears to my eyes and after looking around the room I realized I was not the only one.

How many of us feels burdened and defeated? How much of that originates in lies and guilt?

I want to live in the light and the truth. I do not wish to be fake.

I homeschool for my children and for them alone.

Not praise or accolades.

Not approval.

And certainly not to impress anyone else.

At the closing of the seminar, Todd made us say the homeschooling mom pledge that he made up. I am going to print it out and put it on my computer so I can be reminded of it every day.

I, ___________(Name), do solemnly swear to plug my ears, refusing to believe the lies that ALL homeschooling moms believe. I will believe the truth and remind other homeschooling moms of the truth as well. I refuse to pretend to have it all together. I will be open, honest, and REAL with at least one other homeschooling mom. I will remember what's most important and forsake the rest. I will love my children, even if they never get "it". I will not give up. I will not wish it away. I will not throw in the towel. I willingly sacrifice my free time, my leisure, and my life for my children, my husband, and my God because it is worth it. And I swear to BELIEVE the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.


So, in closing, I just want you to know:

My boys run around in their underwear 1/2 the time.

My children do not sing merrily while doing chores.

Sometimes, I hide in my closet and eat a whole bag of chocolate.

Keepin it real.

July 8, 2009

Oooey Gooey.....

Oooey Gooey was a worm.
A mighty worm was he.
He stepped upon the railroad tracks,
The train he did not see!
Ooooey Gooooey!

We could not do our worm study without remembering Ooooey Goooey.
For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, check out the book, Linguistic Development through poetry memorization by Andrew Pudewa. It is a wonderful program.

Anyway, we moved on to the phylum, Annelida. Annelida is pretty much a catch all group that includes any long and thin and more or less legless creature that is not a snake that has segments. Annelida means, "little rings" which, of course, is referring to the segments these animals have.

There are only three large groups or phyla of real worms, which are only distantly related to each other.

One group is the flatworms, which includes tapeworms. They're more or less flat and are not all parasitic like the tapeworms.

Another group (or phyla) is the roundworms. They're all round in cross-section and smooth-bodied. Some are parasitic, some are thin and live in the soil (nematodes)

The third group, to which our wonderful earthworms belong, is the segmented worms or annelids. They are round in cross section too, but their bodies are ringed, or segmented. This distinguishes them from the roundworms.

The children dissected an earthworm this afternoon. They learned about the digestive, excretive, and reproductive systems of the earthworm.

They balked and gagged and acted like a bunch of hoodlums, then they settled down and became interested in the different organs and their functions.

The boys especially liked the digestive system. What boy does not like talking about bodily functions? The word I hated teaching them about the most was.....anus. Ugh. That word just makes me want to gag. Yet, I have to teach the anatomy. Why could they not come up with a better name? That just sounds.....wrong. I'm going to start inventing my own words for things I don't like to say. Yes, then I will sit back and watch the mayhem and confusion it creates.

After the digestive system, Cody fell asleep. Laying on a chair, with his feet planted on the floor. I guess when you have gone through all the potty humor, what is left but to sleep? It wears a boy out.

Well, the children (the one's who were still awake) continued to learn about the reproductive system of an earthworm and also the excretory system. They found the fact that an earthworm is an hermaphrodite....interesting, as well as hard to wrap their little brains around. Even though an earthworm is an hermaphrodite, it still needs a mate. It can not reproduce with itself. It just needs another worm and an exchange of...........secretions that will settle into an egg capsule.

Um, can I just say, earthworms are gross? Thank you.

I think we all found the earthworm fascinating. They have much more organs and anatomy than suspected. The kids were surprised to learn earthworms have an esophagus and a gizzard. (like chickens) They have the basic structures that most life forms have and it was a wonderful introduction to anatomy. They also learned why mommy wants them in her garden and were instructed to bring each and every one they found home so I can put them in the compost bin.

We still have a craw fish and a perch to dissect. Good times!

I need to order more animals to explore. We are almost out!

Hmmmmm......starfish, shark, cat, pig.....What will be next????

Are you grossed out yet?

June 26, 2009

Okay, okay back to work.

We had a nice break. Had a lot of fun and now we are on our summer schedule.

Our summer schedule is a little more laid back than our regular school year schedule. We do 4 subjects a day with a focus on two subjects. So, for example, on Monday we focus on Math and Science, allowing an hour and a half for each subject. We will also do supplemental activities like creative writing, devotions, projects, experiments or art. On Tuesday we would focus on Language Arts and History and then throw in some of the activities already mentioned. This pattern is repeated throughout the week. Friday is when we will go on field trips or do a fun activity.

For science this summer, I thought it would be fun to focus on animals and insects while we have an opportunity for hands on learning. We will add to our insect collections and study the insects specific to this area. We will also focus on animals and try to observe, take nature walks, and experiment whenever possible. I'd also like to throw in some sketching and journaling. We have a worm, craw fish and perch to dissect. It should be fun!

I also wanted to cover a few areas they have not covered yet. One of those areas is learning to classify animals. We have started with Mollusca this week. They have learned about the different animals included in this group, picked one to write a report about, did supplemental reading and research and did a sketch. We will continue this for the other phyla to include:
Annelida, Ecinodermata, Cnidaria, Chordates, Arthropoda and Crustacea.
Brandon and Lexie's sketches and narrations.
Brandon did his on the Atlantic Giant Squid. He could not believe they get as big as 44 feet.
Lexie did hers on The blue ringed Octopus. This is the only Phalopod with a deadly bite.
This is Cody's. He chose the Vampire Squid based only on the name. He thought it was funny. This squid has connective tissue between the tentacles that looks like a vampire cape. Plus, it is black or dark red and has a bright blue eye. Cody loved learning about it. His handwriting is really coming along and his pictures are getting more and more detailed.

We are on break. Please enjoy the pretty picture above while we go on field trips, go berry picking, have water fights, go to the beach, read, and take naps on the front porch bench swings.

1 comment:

Dart Budgie said...

Again, you are killin' me over here!

We have a few more weeks yet....long....excrutiating....weeks. hee hee!

Though i am not sure why I should be in a hurry, we cannot do much outside yet anyway.