Thursday, January 5, 2012
Two years after I graduated I was married to my boyfriend I had had since I was fifteen years old. At fifteen we promised each other we would get married. At eighteen, after my first day of college orientation he gave me my beautiful heart shaped diamond ring. Nothing spectacular, we were broke, but in love. Not quite sure where I was working at that time. Either McDonald's or the vets office I worked at for a while as a kennel tech. The size of my ring was criticized by some, however that material possession wasn't really what mattered to me. The love it represented is what mattered, and I thought it was perfect.
At twenty I was married, and then at 22 I was a brand new mommy. There was nothing I wanted more than to nurture this brand new life God had just handed to me. At the time I wasn't a christian, however it is very hard to go through the miracle of birth and not wonder how this miraculous even happened without God. Was all of this just by accident? After becoming a mother I could never believe this again. Spilling your coffee is just an accident. Two cells growing into the sweetest little person that you love so much that you think your heart will burst is not an accident. NOT an accident!
Right around the time I was pregnant with my daughter the song, "Jesus, Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood came out. I would listen to that song and just cry and cry and cry. Right after getting married I had gotten into a really bad wreck (that I walked away from), so I could understand the fear and loss of control you feel when you go through something like that. Not just while you are spinning around in your car thinking that in that moment your life is going to end, but afterwards when you can't replace your car because you didn't have insurance on it, and you lose the house you and your husband just bought because you can't drive yourself to a job to produce a paycheck (and you were young, dumb, and were trying to live beyond your means), and it suddenly feels like the first year of your marriage is going to be your last. Fear can grip you when you realize there are so many things you can not control. Maybe some of our circumstances could have been controlled with knowledge that we didn't have at the time. But either way I was starting to realize that I am ultimately not in control. Jesus is, and his plan is better than anything I can ever come up with. I am very glad of this because most of my plans either stink, or never happen.
On my daughter's first Easter I accepted my friend's invitation to visit her church, and boy did I feel God tugging on my heart that day. It was a beautiful service. The church members there had worked so hard to get ready for a play we watched that day about Jesus's death and resurrection. There was a little girl dancing in front of the pews during the worship music. My friend leaned over and asked me if I wouldn't love for my daughter to be doing the same thing at her age. Now that my daughter is her age, and we have started going to a church where the children stay with the parents during the worship service, she does.
We visited her church for a little while until we decided we couldn't live on my husbands current paycheck and moved three hours away so that he could work as a mechanic in the oil field. Fixing up vintage cars and building dragsters for his old boss wasn't cutting it. He dreamed of doing things like that his entire life, and I would have loved for him to keep doing it, but all of a sudden we had a child to raise. We needed insurance. And enough money to pay for food.
When we got settled in we started visiting a church right by us that my sister was going to. The first time I went there it was on Father's Day, and they showed a video of a man running in the rain holding his small child who was just screaming. The man represented God, and the baby represented us. When we go through storms we have a tendency to worry and sometimes we get so full of fear that all we can see is our fear just like the child. We can not see that God is taking care of us and has something wonderful planned that we are beyond blessed to be a part of. Even through those storms we are blessed and we are called to "b
Monday, January 2, 2012
We started the morning with a devotional and then Bible reading. On Sunday the pastor at our new church told us what book of the Bible he will be going over next Sunday. The kids and I are reading through it this week, and I plan to make a book with different words from the passage that the pastor might say so that my daughter can listen and mark off the words when she hears them. I hope that it will help her to pay a bit more attention to the sermon than she has been.
My son just turned four last week! Can't believe how big he is getting. My baby is no longer a baby. *sniff* So today he began his math lessons. He feels like a big boy now. He did awesome in his lesson today. He learned to recognize three of something without counting. The curriculum we use is big on visualizing numbers rather than counting. My husband has always done that with numbers and he is wonderful at math. I am actually getting better at math and my daughter is only doing 1st grade math. She worked on a worksheet today where she was adding two four-digit numbers together. I love that she is learning why we carry numbers when adding instead of learning how to carry numbers. She seems to have a real understanding of numbers that I never really had.
Since we woke up later today that I would have liked, right after math we had lunch and then bath. I realized at that time I needed to take my daughter to the doctor instead of starting on science as planned. So off to the doctor we went. We started on science when we got home at five today. All we were doing was putting together a book for our lapbook we are doing on rocks.
Time for dinner! We had no time to do our art/writing project we are doing this week. We are going to be making a story book and illustrating it by painting tissue paper and using it in collage just like Eric Carle does. I found a video on his website showing how he does this, and hopefully the kids will be able to watch it tomorrow and start on our book (or books?). This might end up being a weekend project if we are not able to get it done during the week.
*Happy homeschool mom moment* My kids are really starting to recognize states by their shapes! If you have read my blog before you probably know that we have a geography station that the kids can play in, but I do not require them to do so. My daughter took a bite out of her cracker and asked me, "Mommy, does this look like Idaho?" I had no idea so I looked at the map and yep! It did! I was surprised that she would know that. Then my son ran off to get the puzzle piece of Idaho for me. Later that day she tore a piece of paper and recognized that it looked like Tennessee. My kids already know more about states than I do!
Tomorrow my daughter goes to her new Creative Arts school for an hour and a half in the morning. She is sooo excited, but I am a bit stressed because I have to make sure and get up with enough time to get us there on time. I am not a morning person. If we are lucky we will get morning school done before we leave. Just Bible and math. Piece of cake, huh?
I couldn't wait to show off my new labels for the drawers in our homeschool room! No one I know much cares, so hopefully you (my make-believe blog reader!) will be sooo excited over them. :) I have tried in the past to take photos of my kids toys and make labels with them and have failed. Well on another blog I read (can't remember which) the mom took pictures from the internet and printed them out. Why didn't I think of that? I went to yahoo images and found the perfect pictures for the labels, printed them out, and glue them on top of some construction paper. I plan to take them to Mardel for laminating soon and then add velcro. My kids love knowing where there toys are! They have never had so much fun with their toys as they are now. It makes a big difference to have things organized and sorted for them.
So that was my day today. Written mostly for my memories, but if someone other than me is reading let me know! Did you go back to school today? If so how did it go?
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
One of my goals is to make my part in homeschooling simple. That is one of the reasons for the learning centers I am putting together around the house. All I do is put the center together, and then my children are able to spend countless hours using them and learning all on their own. As with math I have chosen a wonderful curriculum that comes with books that tell me exactly what to say and do and a set of manipulates so that I have everything I need in my math basket. All I had to do was take my book to my local postal center to make copies of all the worksheets and tests. Then each morning while the kiddos are playing all I do is open the math book for a few minutes to read over what we are learning and then call them down to teach it.
This is a picture of a week of lesson plans for both of my children. Simple! I have filled a magazine holder with five file folders labled each with one day of the week. I also have added a "basic unlabeled weekly" lesson planner sheet that I have filled out with our plans for the week. I printed the planner sheet from here.
We spontaneously decided to take off from school last week and this week, so this is actually filled up with next week's lessons. We normally just go on to the next devotional for Bible time and our next lesson during math which pretty much takes away all of the planning for those subjects. For reading we read what we feel like reading so again no planning. I have put the "Magic School Bus" chapter book we are reading in the container so that we can just grab it during group reading time.
The other subject we do each day right now is science and that is what takes a little bit of time to plan for me. I am currently doing unit studies with the children on subjects that interest them. Tonight I went through our unit study on rocks that we are currently doing and printed out every page we need for the lapbook we will be putting together. There are eight different components to the lapbook so I have decided to do one component Monday through Thursday for two weeks. On Friday we will do a hands on activity. I put the pages we need for next week in the corresponding folders, tucked the lapbook pages for the next week behind the folders, and then printed out information on how to make a volcano and put it in the Friday folder. It really didn't take much time time at all, but as the children get older I expect science to take more time to plan.
So how do you simplify lesson planning?
This post is linked up to Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Recently it hit me. There isn't a good reason why I shouldn't bring the homeschool room downstairs where we spend most of our time. Of course I didn't want everything out in the open for people to see. I wanted to be able to decorate downstairs where everyone who comes over sees and have all of the kids things upstairs where they don't see. But of course this was not a good reason to keep things as they were which was not enjoyable for any of us.
I have been working really hard on bringing everything down and I am almost done! It has been wonderful. Each time the kids want to play a board game and I am doing dishes I only have to walk to the dining room to get the game down and then am able to quickly get back to what I was doing. Most of the crafting supplies are now within their reach and they are able to sit at the dining room table and create while I am folding the towels. Their lives are richer and my life is easier. :) The room isn't finished yet, but this is how it looks right now. Well... after I had the kids pick up the toys they were playing with and just left in the middle of the floor.
I like it. I really love that my little boy can't tear it up without me seeing. That was a big problem. Nothing was able to stay in it's place. I am also very excited about the days of the week drawers that my neighbor gave me. I am going to try filling them up each Sunday with books, games, worksheets etc that I would like them to work with that day. They are very excited about the plan, but we will see how it works in the real world.
If you have posted pictures of your homeschool room on your blog please leave me a comment! I LOVE looking at other people's school rooms to get ideas for ours.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
"Creating a learning environment is the key. Make your entire home an exciting, vibrant place where learning is happening all the time - a place where loving to learn is as natural a part of your children's everyday existence as loving to play. Make it a child-friendly environment that is rich in interesting, inspiring, mentally stimulating options at every turn. Use every part of your home to engage your children's senses in the learning process and to strengthen their emotional ties to the home - the smell of fresh bread baking, the sounds of Baroque chamber music, the sights of beautiful Scripture calligraphy and interesting artwork. Your entire home should reflect your homeschooling values from the way you arrange your furniture to the books you leave out on tables to the pictures and verses you hang on the wall to the way you use your kitchen. There should be no discernible dividing lines between home and education. The natural atmosphere of your home should be alive with learning and life."
I couldn't have come up with a better description for a home "alive with learning and life" then this paragraph from the Clarkson's book. This is how I want my home to be! A major light bulb moment for lack of a better term. I am having so much fun filling our home library with beautiful literature, hanging posters that have information that I am challenging the children to learn, scattering Bible verses throughout the house, and creating "discovery corners".
Monday, December 5, 2011
Last weekend we went to Dewberry Farms and had tons of fun. It normally costs quite a bit to get in, but all of December it is free so I have been going and letting my kids run wild. We live in the suburbs (not my idea, but it was the best place for us when we moved here) and our yard is so tiny that we might have only enough room for two blades of grass. So of course anytime I can find a nice place to take the kids and let them experience a little bit of nature I am all for that. I took pictures and made the cutest photo collage in the shape of a heart that you can see above. I just didn't realize it would have such a large web address stamped across it. Too cute not to show so there it is anyways.
On Monday we did most of our school on the livingroom floor. It flowed pretty natural. We had our devotional and Bible reading. Then we had our math lesson which looked like this:
My son loves to get into the manipulatives while we do our lesson. As long as it keeps him happy I am happy. He used to crawl all over me anytime I tried to do lessons. Then I started writing on a small dry erase board that has lines on it that we were using for math. My daughter was interested and read what I was writing, and then wanted me to write down the story she told me. Once we finished that I told her to write her own story on the board and she did and she was happy about doing it. I was very excited about this because she never wants to write. Because of a tip from a wonderful homeschooling mom (http://www.ourbusyhomeschool.blogspot.com/) I pointed out two things she did right and just one thing she needed to fix. She felt very proud of her work because of the good things I said, and then fixed the mistakes with a smile on her face. What progress!
After lunch we cuddled on the couch while watching Narnia because we had just finished the book and the kids loved it. They sat and watched the entire movie which is unusual for them to do with any movie that doesn't have cartoon characters. I thought they would think it was scary, but they didn't but instead really enjoyed it. Then again I thought they would be really upset about my husband killing his first deer a few weeks ago, but they were fine with that. I am still having a hard time with it, but I think that is because of watching Bambie as a child. I think Bambie will be banned from our house!
The rest of the day they played board games and did art projects together nicely. One of the best things I ever did for our homeschool was fill a small chest of drawers with art supplies. There are markers, crayons, googly eyes, tissue paper squares, magazines, paint, paper, pipe cleaners, pom poms, scissors and more all within reach. They are pretty creative and come up with some wonderful art projects. What they come up with is always better than any of the mommy directed crafts I come up with. Not only are they able to use their God given creativity, but they practice there fine motor skills such as cutting, coloring and writing.
Tuesday went just as well. We started reading "Meet Kit" one of the books from the American Girl series. My daughter can't wait to watch that movie! Then today we did no school work at all. We did our devotional and Bible reading, went to Ballet, played and then went to church after dinner.
So how has your week gone? Leave me a comment even if just to stay hi. I would love to know how your week has gone, and to read your blog if you have one. I am addicted to blog reading and I need some new ones to read. :) And I would love to know that I am not the only one that reads my blog posts.