Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Wonderful Read...

If you have not ever visited Ann @ Holy Experience you must visit today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Samuel's Curriculum


Phonics - Sonlight: Sounds, Letters, & Easy Words, Handwriting Without Tears, Language & Thinking for Young Children, Explode the Code (Get Ready for the Code)

We were fortunate to have a friend who homeschooled her daughter last, using the Sonlight Core package for kindergarten and is allowing us to borrow it this year for Samuel! We will only be using the phonics and handwriting portions because I had already picked out our math curriculum.

Math - Saxon Math K: We will be using manipulatives and starting the basic math program with Saxon.
We will be using this calendar to start the day:
With this pocket chart stand that Dad is making for us:
You can get the directions here. It is very simple and MUCH cheaper than the metal stands. We won't be painting ours and I might have him put it on casters so we can move it around easier.

We don't believe it is necessary to start formal instruction for science and history until he is older, so Samuel will enjoy the hands-on activities and field trips with the girls, without an actual history or science curriculum dedicated to kindergarten.

Art - Drawing With Children

P.E. - Soccer (fall), Basketball (winter), T-ball (spring)

Bible - Leading Little Ones To God & Drawing to Learn the Book of Proverbs

I forgot to mention the Draw to Learn curriculum in yesterday's post but we will begin our day using these lessons during our circle time. I cannot tell you how valuable Kendra's blog has been to me during this process. So many awesome ideas!!!

Of course, circle time will look different for each family and ours is no exception. I am positively certain that we will revamp this part of our day countless times based on the ages of my children, the seasons (holidays & weather) and our circumstances. But for starters it will hopefully go something like this:


Praise: Emma will play guitar and Hannah will play piano...I am giddy about this!

Scripture: We will read from Proverbs as we go through the Draw to Learn lessons.

Drawing to Learn: Complete the devotion and drawing

Memorization - this may be scripture, poetry, catechism...basically whatever we want ;)

Veritas song: Samuel learned this last year and to hear him chant, "THIS WAS MONOTHEISM!!!" is a hoot if nothing else.

Write thank-you's or birthday cards: We I really struggle with this so it seems fitting to use my entire family as a means of accountability. This art of hospitality and gratefulness is rare nowadays so I hope our efforts are consistent!

Of course every cotton-pickin' thing that I have listed these last two days are "subject to change" "a moments notice"......"at the drop of a hat"....."in a red-hot minute" because that is the beauty of homeschooling.

If it doesn't work. We change it.

Our desire is to honor God. That is easily lost in the ambitious plans of one well-meaning momma. My prayer is to be motivated by God's word and his commandments through scripture. I am blessed to be given this opportunity and I am excited to begin this journey for another year.

Tomorrow I will expose the magic of cramming 87 hours of school in just 4 or 5....and it's not all smoke and mirrors!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Curriculum 2008-2009 for Hannah & Emma

Hannah- 8th Grade
Emma- 6th Grade

*Math (Hannah) - Saxon Alegebra 1/2: We completed 1/2 of this book last year and we will finish the book this year. About a month into the school year I realized that she would greatly benefit from spending two days on each lesson. As a result she had better retention and understanding in math than she had ever had before!

*Math (Emma) - Saxon 8/7: There is much debate about whether to skip 8/7 and go straight to Algebra 1/2 but after some research I believe that the 8/7 program has been revamped and does a better job of isolating some Pre-Algebra concepts to really prepare the student for Algebra 1/2. I think that in the previous editions it was a bit redundant. We used an older version of 7/6 last year and Emma did fantastic but towards the end you could see there were concepts that we could certainly spend more time on.

*History - Veritas New Testament/Greece & Rome: We loved Veritas last year! Because it is completely chronological it is easy to tie in previous lessons and see how God has always been at work in the lives of men and how He did not just shape history but HE IS history.

We love the balance of scripture and history and the reference books make each lesson so interesting. We will use this program for many years to come.

While it may be expensive to purchase some of the literature to go with it, I have chosen to only purchase the books that we will use for several years and we check the others out from the library. It has been fun to watch our own little library grow with our second year of school!

Sam sits in during the memory songs and projects. I plan on reading aloud more this year since I won't be competing with jackhammers and nail guns. Of course, both girls do the same level of history & science. I have no plans of adding a history or science curriculum to the mix for Samuel until at least 3rd or 4th grade.

*Language/Grammar - Total Language Plus: I wrote in detail about this program here. I love it. Nuff said ;)

Hannah will start the year with A Wrinkle In Time and Emma will read The Twenty-One Balloons.

I plan on using Easy Grammar with the girls and then switching over to a writing curriculum when it feels like they are ready. In the meantime, TLP has plenty of writing assignments to keep them busy.

*Science - Apologia Flying Creatures of the 5th Day: This may be a tad elementary for Hannah and a bit over Samuel's head, but we are meeting in the middle in a quest to find love for science.

Last year was dry. And boring. And dry.


See how I am trying to ramp up for Science? Can you see the gaping hole in my teaching credentials? (shhhh....I hate do not care for science)

*Latin - Prima Latina: This is our first year of Latin. I have spent a great deal of time researching whether to add this to our schedule. I know that it will prove beneficial in building vocabulary knowledge as well as developing grammar and even introducing the building blocks for other foreign languages. I wish we had started this when they were younger.

*Art - Drawing with Children by Mona Brooks: I can't draw. The kids want to draw. Hopefully Mona can help us out.

*Music - Hannah will continue her piano lessons once a week. We have found a music school not far from our home and hopefully this will be good fit. Emma loves guitar and will also continue her lessons once a week. Her repertoire has really increased and includes many of our favorite praise songs now!

*P.E. - Hannah is starting her third year of field hockey and also training for a 5K with mom. Actually she is training mom for the 5K but those are just minor details.

Emma "retired" from gymnastics and we thought she would join Hannah in field hockey but the age requirements would have put her in a different age group.


Emma would like to try swim team next spring. I believe you call this a "Michael Phelps Conversion".

The whole time she was in gymnastics she also had an interest in dance but her schedule did not allow her to do both, so now she will take a couple of dance classes this fall. She is also training for the 5K with us.

*Drama - The girls are auditioning in a couple of weeks for parts in The Sound of Music at a very small children's theater. The program is extremely laid back and geared for all levels of experience. This is the "get your feet wet" test and we'll see where it leads.

We all know that my children are well-equipped in the area of drama. So maybe this is where we get to use what the good Lord gave us.

In a good way.

*Homemaking - The girls will help plan the weekly menu and choose things from the menu to cook. They LOVE to cook.

My OCD/ADD/ADHD/can't-stand-to-make-messes/ part of my brain is really being challenged here. But it will be okay.


Sorry. Part of my therapy there.

They will also be learning more sewing skills this year. I am not sure exactly how this will transpire, as my skills are limited to loose buttons and glue guns but surely we can find an experienced teacher out there somewhere.


So there is the long and short of it. Well. Mostly the long of it. I will post our choices for Samuel later this week! I will also explain our calendar and schedule and how all that stuff up there fits into a 7-day a week, 24-hour a day plan ;)

It's all about Jesus, prayer, compromise, moderation, and planning.

Oh....and coffee.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Weekend...

We went to the county fair this weekend and even though it paled in comparison to the real thing...
(ya'll know what I'm talking about)
It was still a lot of fun ;) We went with Brian & Jenn and their family and the weather could not have been more pleasant.

I am super busy this week trying to cram in SUMMER! FUN! AT! EVERY! TURN! so this post may be many pictures with few words...

What's a fair without the barrel train?

And several deathtraps fun rides for the family!

And the good ol' pen of germs petting zoo...
Now this ride will require a little background info. And the pics? They won't even do justice to the hysterical expressions on my son's face.

Basically it looked like a typical kiddie ride that putted around the track and for the most part that was true. But like any good stock car it had some action on the turns. For Samuel it was action that was a bit....
Right about now. I was laughing so hard. I could not breathe. Or control my bladder.

Pig Racing. The ever-professional and oh-so-realistic announcer chose people in the crowd to root on the pigs. Apparently, Samuel's pig won. In the world of "Samuel the Constant Competitor", this means that he (being Samuel) actually had something to do with Tony Squealing Stewart being the fastest pig. And there was a ribbon involved.

I think this might be Samuel's Best Day Ever.

Take a close look at the ribbon. With a cross on it. I thought Samuel was gonna bust a spring when he saw that little attention to detail.Sharing the gospel. While racing pygmy goats.
Please tell me you have heard of the Banana Splits Show? Please??? Well guess what!
Here we are folks... Tra, La, La!

Bumper Cars
AKA: The fastest way to get a stiff back.
We needed sandpaper to remove the thick layer of filth from Samuel's feet and my stomach might never be the same after eating fried oreos and then riding "The Street Fighter" (which is exactly what I looked like when I got off) with Emma, but.....we had a blast!
Benjamin did not seem to fully enjoy the experience. Surely next year when he can traipse through the grime and debris himself and devour his very own fried oreos, his opinion will change.
Brian. The Elder.
Speaking of Brian.
Our church facilities were not available for us on Sunday morning so at the last minute we pulled it together and had worship service here! At our house!

I am using this last week to nail down my calendar for the upcoming year and finish getting things organized. I plan on posting my final curriculum choices and what our day-to-day schedule will look like. While I am sad for summer to be over, I am really excited to start another year of homeschool! It has been the sweetest blessing and challenged me in every area of my life.


Saturday, August 23, 2008


Choosing home? Instead of career? Crazy talk!
But look here. They really exist.

Say it with me now...."hohm-mey-king"

HT: Rocks In My Dryer


We spend most Sunday evenings with our church where we have a time of family worship. We begin with worship in song, followed by a bible study (Genesis) and we conclude with a time of catechism.

This entire time is spent together as a family and it is something that we all look forward to. Because the children are present the entire time, it allows for an interesting climate to say the least ;) Our elders do a fantastic job of including our little ones and quite often the discussion and input from them is very insightful!

When we began this time of worship, I had never participated in catechism before and to be quite honest I had only associated the word with the Catholic faith and had no real understanding as to what it meant.

Any Baptists out there raising your hand with me?

Piper explains that the derivative of the word is Greek and simply means to "instruct" or "teach". Through the process of using questions and answers and applying scripture to support the answers, we are able to learn and study biblical truth.

Our family has learned so much through this process and it has provided teaching points on so many levels. This fall, Samuel will participate as well, using a shorter more simplistic version while still memorizing scripture. Usually, Hannah and I (slow and steady) are a couple of lessons behind Chris and Emma (brainiacs with freakish memories) but I still make an effort to break down the vocabulary each week and really make application to the biblical truth in each question & answer series.

We also recite from The Heidelberg Catechism each Sunday morning during our worship time.

Several weeks ago this particular set really resonated with me. Regardless of our present circumstances, there is no loss that is outside of His ultimate and perfect plan.

What a blessing to cling to the truth that *everything* comes to us from God's sustaining hand!

Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?

A. The almighty and ever present power by which God upholds heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that leaves and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and unfruitful years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, and everything else, come to us not by chance but from God's sustaining hand.

Q. How does the knowledge of God's creation and providence help us?

A. We can be patient when things go against us, thankful when things go well, and for the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing will separate us from God's love. All creatures are so completely in God's hand that without the divine will they can neither move nor be moved.

2007- Grace Fellowship
Sunday Night Family Catechism

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Turning The Page

Have you ever caught a glimpse of your life and in a split second it looks like a far-away memory?

The sun beats down on the freckled bridge of your daughter's nose and you gasp, because after 11 years of always appearing like the "little girl", she suddenly does not?

I love to take pictures because I cannot bear the thought of losing a treasured moment in time.

When I see that face that looks so much older than it should.

When I watch her hold my baby in such a natural and maternal way and I realize she is as closer to being grown than she is to being my baby.

It makes me ache inside so badly that I wrestle with the emotions and I long to see that cherub face again.

So I look for pictures that let me visit for a while.
Today, I caught a glimpse of a memory and I took a picture because I wanted to remember little E and her love for gymnastics.

It was while I was completing the daunting task of preparing Emma's leotards to sell at the gym.

I am okay with the turning of that page. Gymnastics is jealous sport. It requires more of the child than most parents would be willing to give up. Definitely more than we were willing to give up. Gratefully even more than she was willing to give up, so the choice was hers before it had to be ours.

Still. Every time I turn a page in the lives of my children I start to reel through the season that has just passed and how quickly it went by....

And I try desperately to cling contently to the one we are in.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

go here...go there

If you are a friend or family member that reads this blog and are interested in the daily shenanigans of our kiddos, be sure to add Hannah and Emma to your list of daily reads. They update rather often and love to get comments ;) I have added their links to my sidebar (finally).

Also, be sure and visit Brian's blog and read
this post. Be sure and put on your steel-toed boots first! I mentioned Brian in a previous post but I am mentioning him that means it's important.

I think this is a wonderful series of posts from Girl Talk on raising our daughters to have a love for biblical womanhood and embracing a domestic life. It is our heart's desire that we honor God through obedience to His Word in how we raise our children. Gratefully, we do not have to wonder what God's plan is for them!

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Interestingly enough, my "lover of all things domestic" daughter, Emma just caught her second catfish with her Daddy this morning :) Here's a pic he sent from his phone...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Is this only funny to me?

This baby is wearing a Thudguard, which was created for the toddler's safety when he is learning to walk. You can also read about it here, at Baby's 1st Head Gear. I have to say I prefer the second site name.

The first seems a tad violent. I am sorta hearing the *THUD* sound when I say it. The second, however, is just plain common sense.

Baby's 1st Head Gear.

Of course.

Would ya'll look at this poor little fella who is attempting the dangerous feat of WALKING?
This little guy is playing it safe.
Bring on the avalanche of falling boulders and goldfish crackers.
It's like a Gap ad.

Gone wrong.

Ya'll these are actual quotes from the website....


Ya sure? For goodness sakes, I think you threw good parenting out the window when you decided that your BABY NEEDED A HELMET WHEN HE IS LEARNING TO WALK!

How 'bout this one?


Umm. Pedal cyclists? I gotta see this. First, the baby needs a helmet because walking is dangerous. Now he is riding a two-wheeler and doing sweet jumps?

Maybe he needs a helmet after all.

Last quote. I promise...

"Protect your toddlers head and make the learning how to walk experience fun for the whole family."

Oh, it's fun alright. If we strap that bad boy on Benjamin's head our whole crew will have a mighty fine time at his expense ;)

Ya'll go make her feel welcome!

Visit Jill, sweet wife and mother of three, at Find Us Faithful and drop her a sweet comment. She has been so kind to leave so many here!

She finally got herself her very own blog and I know from experience that getting those nice little ol' comments just really make your day!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I Heart My Camera (lens)

This was my birthday present:
It has capabilities far beyond my very elementary ability....but I love it very much. I took these pictures of Sam from a pretty good distance and the clarity is amazing!

Several weeks of lessons and one magical moment in the pool (on his own) and our boy is finally swimming!!!