Sunday, September 14, 2008

Homeschooling Week 2

Two weeks down, 30 to go!! HAHA!! Our second week of homeschooling brought more of a rhythym and comfortable schedule. I would say our brains are back in the swing of things. :)

Geometry leaves me constantly saying: "Did I ever learn this?" I had a 99% in Geometry...why don't I remember it? Well, there is no time like the present to learn. Tyler had his first Geometry test AND his first Chemistry test this week. Thank you Steve Demme of Mathusee for teaching us Algebra 1 so well that we were able to breeze through MOST of Chemistry's Module 1. Actually we only had one glitch. Thankfully, I have a REALLY smart husband who was able to explain the mystifying equation and set our world to rights again!

We are all plodding through Medieval History and learning lots of interesting facts we didn't know before. It is fun to watch Europe "take shape" as warring tribes shuffle lands and dominance between them. We've talked alot about why we study history and what types of lessons we learn from it. We applied it to discussions concerning the fall of the Roman Empire. What similarities are there between Rome's decline and America's present state? Are we in danger of overtaxing the middle class into extinction? Are we still selling our products to other countries? How many items in the house came from other countries? As we study history are we determined to repeat the mistakes of the past or learn from them?

Christian had a fun time this week because we did some geography work with labeling maps and also started his timeline. He loves both! He's a real history buff! He remembers all those things I have taught him and reminds me of all the lost facts! I learn so much from him...things I taught him!! Ironic, eh?

Here is one thing Christian does NOT favor...spelling!!! We read about a man, I think he was a Goth, who became a Christian and purposed to write his language into his own people's language so he could translate the Bible in that language. "See?" I said, "If you had been the first to write OUR language YOU could have decided how everything is spelled!" We had a good chuckle out of that.

Here is one little idea if you are homeschooling and have a child who also struggles with spelling. I wanted to find a way to help Christian focus on those pesky words that defy phonics rules. So, we came up with a "Rulebreaker" Book. Whenever he comes across a word that is not spelled as it sounds or in line with phonics rules, he writes it in this book. He loves this book and loves to dramatical pretend to be the "Word Police"! He records these "spelling infractions" in his book with glee! Voila! I got him to focus on these words painlessly! :) Here he is as the "Word Police" ready to write in his "Rebel and Rule Breaking Words" book!

Rachel is taking a fun class through our homeschooling group. It is centered on the American Girl Series. They are focused on the "Felicity" books. She is having such a great time. I never have to remind her to do her homework. She reads those books quickly and with a smile and completes the answers to the questions. Last week they did some needlepoint and it is being made into a pillow. Once she's done, I'll post a picture!

I love this time of year. Something magical happens when we start school...everyone starts reading for fun when they shunned books in the summer (except for bedtime reading). Everyone is deep into quiet projects. I love it! I'll have to share some of those projects soon. :)

Taking our history at a slower pace, we have gotten to add some books. Here a are a couple we have added:

I am reading "Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde" by Harold Lamb as a read aloud to Christian. It takes place about 400 years later than what we are studying now but by the time we are done we'll be at that point or further I am sure!

This book, "You Wouldn't Want to be a Medieval Knight! Armor You'd Rather Not Wear" by MacDonald and Antram, is just plain humorous fun! It is a whole series covering different Ancient to Medieval times. This one is no exception! It is just so funny you never outgrow it. We are reading a few pages each morning to wake us up and get us started on a happy note!

We're in deep now and ready for Week 3. Hey all you homeschoolers, how is your year going?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Homekeepers Journal

You can find the official Christian Homekeeper and author of the Homekeepers Journal at

A pretentious, showy life is an empty life;
a plain and simple life is a full life
Proverbs 13:7 MSG

One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.

Have you ever met those who brag about all their money or those who love to portray martyred poor? I've probably been both at one time or another. "A showy life is an empty life..." Too true! I have often told my children, "Secure people do not need ot brag! If you have to brag about it, you're not too confident in it."

Money may not make a man, but it sure shows his priorities. You could learn more about my priorities by where I spend my money than just about anything else. The path to the simple life is always a path to obeying God. There is no complication like the complications that sin brings. Having godly priorities in how I spend my money can only bring peace and rest and that is simpicity!

When my husband and I were first married, we had very little money. I was still in Bible College and he was working framing artwork. One day, the Dean of Students pulled me aside and told me that if I did not update my immunizations that I would have to leave school. This was a Maine State law. Well, we had no money. We prayed and called a clinic and they told me that the immunization I needed cost $16.00. We did not have $16.00. By God's provision, the next day a check came in the was a late wedding present of $30.00!!! Now I could get my immunization! I made the appointment.

Treats were few back then so we considered going out and getting a pizza on our way to the clinic. Surely we could get a pizza for the remaining $14.00! Guilt set in...since we had so little money we shouldn't waste the $14.00 going out to eat. So, we ate what we had in our own kitchen and went to my appointment. When we got there we found out that yes, the immunization was $16.00 but there was an additional $12.00 fee for the office visit itself! So, if we would have bought that pizza we would have been back to square one with me risking being kicked out of college!!

Such a small example but the lesson has followed me throughout life. If I misuse God's provisions my life becomes complicated! If I am not content with what I have then in my desire to fulfill my wishes, I buy the very thing I wish not to have...problems!

And finally, if I need to brag about whatever I do or don't have, then this is a signal of insecurity, of not being content with where I am in life. I don't need to impress others. I just need to walk the path laid out for me from God. THAT is simplicity!

Monday, September 08, 2008

In the Swing...

One thing I love about our Homeschooling Days is that built within them is time at home, time to get a little restless. Sound crazy? Well that restlessness can drive a person to creativity. In our home no one admits to boredom because that means mom gives you chores! I don't solve boredom for them by creating an activity(unless it is chores...snicker). Instead I let boredom do it's work, creating in them the motivation to entertain themselves. Today Christian spent time making a movie by drawing pictures and putting them in front of a VCR camera and providing sound effects (I know, I must get pics!). Later he and Rachel had a giggling good time acting out a little drama comedy. Rachel even put together a costume for her character! Here she is in the above picture!

We are knee deep in Medeival History and Literature with
Tapestry of Grace. I can tell I am going to really love this year. We started our Literature by talking about the times from which the literature was born. You see, the culture of the day was an "everybody believes in God" sort of culture. So, in much of the Literature, there is a backdrop of believing in one God. It gives a nod to Christianity but is far from a reliable source on what the Bible teaches. This is going to be so good for the children (me too, of course)! They will learn the lesson not to believe everything you read and how to discern truth.

The best counterfeit has an element of truth to it. It is vital to our Christian faith to develop discernment and to "test the spirits. This year we will spend lots of time comparing a certain literary works against the Bible.

Already, in the first week, my younger children have been reading "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table." Christian asked me, "Why would a magician be telling a King that God is angry with him for anything?" He knows God doesn't want us practicing magic and picked up on the inconsistency there.

Then Tyler read "The Dream of the Road." It led to a great discussion on how people would worship the cross of Jesus and not the Savior ON the cross. Yep, this is GOOD STUFF!!

It always takes me a little time to get my head in the game and be thankful again that I homeschool. But really, I am so thankful I do and I love the chance to really know what my kids are learning and to direct it and have all that time to mentor them. It's all good!! :)

We are taking the year slower too and will only do the first 18 weeks of the 32 week curriculum. I was hesitant to do this. But my husband looked at the curriculum and shared with me that he thought it would be best so the kids would have the chance to dig deep and really learn. The "check every box and do it to the schedule" person in me had a hard time with it but now that we have started I really think it is right and best. I feels good to really have the time to do the timelines, the mapping, the accountability questions, etc.

So...we've dug in! It's all good!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Homekeeper's Journal~Renewing My Strength

The Homekeeper's Journal is provided by Sylvia Britton at The Christian Homekeeper. Sylvia writes a weekly devotional and those participating respond on their own blogs. Be sure to go on over and check out her blog!

Renew My Strength, Lord

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isa. 30:31

1) Write about a time when you waited for something from God.

It seems like there is always an opportunity to be waiting on God. We have waited to hear what God would say and how he would lead toward or away from ministry opportunities, a move of our family, a loved one to be saved, a need to be met. God is always faithful though, and always answers. Our job is to be submissive and accepting of His answer whether it be yes, no, or wait! Sounds easy...sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't...either time it is sooo necessary. "In acceptance lieth peace." Amy Carmichael

2) Are there times when you feel weary? In light of the scripture today, what are you going to do with your weariness in the future?

I read Wardeh's response to these just now and like her, I feel like I am always weary. Life runs awfully fast for me. I mostly get weary from homeschooling to be honest. The steady, ubiquitous presence of planning, teaching and correcting take much of my energy. So this is my biggest area in life where I need to lean daily on the Lord.

3) Is there something, some area of life, where you need God to renew your strength?

Yep, homeschooling...oh, and trying to keep a "clean enough for company" house with enough clean laundry for everyone to be able to put on clean clothes at the beginning of the day! Oh and keeping up with time in the Word and prayer daily too!

First Day of School~I'm Divin' In!!

Steven Curtis Chapman

The long awaited rains
Have fallen hard upon the thirsty ground
And carved their way to where
The wild and rushing river can be found
And like the rain
I have been carried here to where the river flows, yeah
My heart is racing and my knees are weak
As I walk to the edge
I know there is no turning back
Once my feet have left the ledge
And in the rush, I hear a voice
That's telling me it's time to take the leap of faith
So here I go

I'm divin' in, I'm goin' deep
In over my head I wanna be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow
In over my head I want to go
The river's deep, the river's wide
The river's water is alive
So sink or swim, I'm divin' in

There is a supernatural power
In this mighty river's flow
It can bring the dead to life
And it can fill an empty soul
And give a heart the only thing
Worth living and worth dying for, yeah
But we will never know the awesome power
Of the grace of God
Until we let ourselves get swept away
Into this holy flood
So if you'll take my hand
We'll close our eyes and count to three
And take the leap of faith
Come on let's go

I'm divin' in, I'm goin' deep
In over my head I wanna be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow
In over my head I want to go
The river's deep, the river's wide
The river's water is alive
So sink or swim, I'm divin' in

So sink or swim, I'm diving in
So sink or swim, I'm diving in
So sink or swim, I'm diving in

Monday, September 01, 2008

Curriculum, Curriculum...

Before I even share my curriculum choices, I am going to share a couple of pics from our vacation. They are here to remind me to never neglect the hands on, eyes on learning of everyday life!

On our recent vacation we got to view a "Maine rarity" daily! There were so many loons on this pond. Instead of the occasional 2 loons you might catch together we would see groups of loons every morning. One day we counted 13 of them all together. Oh, I was wishing for a zoom lens on my camera to capture it better!

Another rarity...a crawfish, a crayfish?? I never knew we had those here in Maine!

Okay, here goes...

Tyler: Sophomore Year of High School
Writing/Research Skills:Class at my church taught by a friend.
Careers Class: Offered by my homeschool group and taught by a woman from a local Community College staff.
History:Tapestry of Grace, Redesigned, Year 2
Literature:Also TOG Year 2
Geometry:Mathusee with assistance for our Math Tutor/Youth Pastor on "Homework Help Night!"
Chemistry:Apologia, also with the same above assistance with the Algebra portion.
Bible: The Bible!, Combination of Greek (Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek), "Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations", Biblical Theology (Theology book by Dr. Enns)
Music:Guitar lessons with worship leader from church.
Art: Google product (Sketch Up) for learning Architecture.

Full Credit Courses: History, Literature, Geometry, Writing and Research Skills
Bonus Credit and a Half Course: Chemistry with full labs
Half Credit Courses: Bible, Art, Music, Career

Christian and Rachel (6th and 5th grades)
Science:Combination of local monthly class taught by Naturalist, and Apologia Elementary (Botany)
History:Rachel will take an American Girl course taught by Homeschool group mom, then join Christian for TOG Year 2 Redesigned Upper Grammar.
Math:Mathusee Zeta for Christian, Epsilon for Rachel
Literature: TOG Year 2 Redesigned Upper Grammar
Language Arts:Alpha Omega, Classical Roots Vocab., Sequential Spelling
Art:Book on Drawing Anime
Music:Drum lessons on DVD, Piano lessons for Rachel
Bible:The Bible!, Greek (same as Tyler) and "Learning about God from A-Z"
Foreign Language: Rachel asked to learn French so she is doing "French in 10 min. Per Day."