2019, Homeschool

Mid year Homeschool evaluation

We are now in the middle of January of our 2nd year of homeschooling! Time has flown by!

This year, we decided to start year round schooling. The plan was to begin in July and school for 6 weeks and take one week off. I had it all mapped out on my calendar. We were going to take a few weeks off at Christmas and still finish the 180 early. Guess what? The plan was wrecked before we even started! C decided she wanted to start school in June! It threw off my whole plan. But if I’ve learned anything in our last year and a half of homeschooling…it is all about flexibility! We didn’t take too many full weeks off this past fall, but we took days off when we needed to. And we took almost 4 weeks off for Christmas break! We just reached 100 days in our school year. I anticipated reaching it much sooner, but I’m sure we will be just fine finishing at least 180 days! Especially if C comes in and asks to do school on Saturdays (yep, she actually begged me today).

Another thing that has happened is that I have pretty much accepted that we do our schoolwork after lunch. I spent so much time last May and June attempting to plan a schedule for our school day. At that time, we planned to use a different curriculum and I had absolutely no peace about a schedule. We switched last minute to pretty much all Masterbooks. I instantly felt peace about a schedule but I also realized and accepted it is ok to not do school at 8 am or do it all day long. Now our day isn’t always perfect, but we usually wake up by about 8, sometimes 9. Eat breakfast. The girls may watch a show or play Minecraft. I am usually trying to clean up something during this time and keep baby A out of making more messes. The girls play together…dolls, Barbie’s, make up dances or Legos. We eat lunch and usually start schoolwork around 1. Some days we finish by 3 and some days it takes longer. We don’t have a set schedule and I’m finally ok with it! I do know that if we have something planned for about 1:30 or 2…it does mess up our school day.

Our curriculum has been simplified. And by this, I don’t mean dumbed down. But I have also realized we don’t need to be doing EVERYTHING!

Bible:

In the fall, I started having the girls color or draw at the beginning of our school time. And I read from the Storybook Bible and discuss it with them. I absolutely love this Bible and it has been fun to go through it and see things click for the girls. They are remembering stories and understanding more and more about Jesus. We are nearing the end and I’m not quite sure what we will move on to. But I’m thinking we may do the Indescribable devotional by Louie Giglio. I’ve also started going through The Ology book with the girls (mainly C since it is a bit deeper). Tonight as I read the second chapter about Trinity and wondered if I could explain it any better since it is such a deep concept to understand…C said “mom, I actually get what this means.” What?!?! I read it and it seems like she does. I was totally impressed!

The Jesus Storybook Bible can be found many places. Here is a link to Christian Book Distributors:

CBD

Science:

Masterbooks released God’s Design for Life for Beginners toward the end of summer. We started it in the fall and I LOVE it. The girls LOVE it! They actually beg me almost daily to do Science first. The lessons are short and easy to do, but so full of good information. C (age 7) is learning it and retaining the most, but little G (age 3) is able to do the coloring and other activities. I love that they can learn together. We are almost done with the plants section and plan to move on to the Human Body next!

God’s Design for Life for Beginners can be found on the Masterbooks website:
Masterbooks

Social Studies:

We are still going along in My Story 1 by Masterbooks for Social Studies. We are a little more slow moving in this. I can’t quite pin it, but this is usually the first subject we drop if we lack concentration or need to finish sooner than expected. We are working at adding this back in daily for this spring semester. There is so many good things from this book! I already have My Story 2 as well. My plan is to just keep going once we finish this first book. I have also accepted we don’t always do every activity how the book says. We adapt things a lot more now.

My Story can be found on the Masterbooks website:
Masterbooks

Language Arts:

We are also still using Language Lessons for a Living Education level 2 by Masterbooks for LA. I’m so thankful that we chose to use this curriculum instead of TGTB. I love it! I can actually see growth already. C dreaded writing stories at first and now I think it is one of her favorite days of the week. She is even writing more on her own! There is one lesson a week that focuses on spelling. I have purchased other spelling curriculum but decided to just give it a try with this spelling in the LLFLE book. When we get to the new spelling page (day 5 of the lesson), that begins our week of practicing those words. Many don’t like that the spelling is on day 5 of the week, but for us it works out fine since we just don’t next lesson the next day we do school and the days of the week don’t always coincide with the days in the lessons. I found a program on teachers pay teachers that I can plug our spelling words in each week and have activity sheets for them. This has been great added practice for the spelling words in the book. C is finally starting to read for fun and on her own. I love hearing her read to me in the car or sit down in front of the bookshelf and read. These things are huge breakthroughs with her and not something I take lightly. I want her to succeed in her schoolwork, but I want her to love learning and reading.

Language Lessons for a Living Education can be found on the Masterbooks website:

Masterbooks

Here is the link to the Teachers Pay Teachers editable spelling activities:

TPT Editable Spelling Activities

Math:

We are still doing Math Lessons for a Living Education level 2, but I have slowed is down a bit with it. I found books called Math Facts that stick by Well Trained Mind so we are going through the addition one currently. We have completed 3 weeks so far and C loves it. The book is laid out to show a way on how to visualize the facts on the first day. Then the rest of the week we play a game to solidify the facts. C loves the games and I can already see her improving! We do plan to continue MLFLE. I will probably be doing both of these books for a while as long as C doesn’t fight me on it!

Math Lessons for a Living Education can be found in the Masterbooks website:

Masterbooks

The Addition Facts for a Well Trained mind can be found at this website (but I did find them a bit cheaper by buying on Amazon thanks to prime).

Addition Facts for a Well Trained Mind

What aren’t we using?

We shelved Picture Smart Bible and our other daily devotional books. We weren’t being consistent with them and I didn’t like that. I wanted the girls to have Bible but I didn’t love what we were using. Picture Smart Bible is an awesome program, but my girls want to be crafty with it. I don’t always have the motivation or time to get all the crafty stuff out and make a mess. I don’t like crafts! That’s why they do crafts with grandma! And the daily devotionals we were using. The girls liked the little puzzles and begged to do about 10 a day. Which is nice but they took up lots of time and I didn’t just like reading a verse and doing a puzzle 10 times. They loved the puzzles but not listening to the Bible.

I realized something toward the end of summer as I lost motivation to complete our unit study of Arthropods by TGTB. I don’t like unit studies. I don’t like gathering up extra books or videos or activities for my kids to get what they are learning. I want it all done for me. Yep, I’m a bit lazy, but I’ve got enough on my plate!

I originally bought Mathematical Reasoning by Critical Thinking Co to just have C do for fun. We attempted a page or two and she was so frustrated. She hated it. I thought nope, this isn’t worth a struggle. She has a great math curriculum that she loves and doesn’t fight me on.

C originally told me this year that she wanted to work on writing in cursive. I encouraged it and bought the book of A reason for Handwriting. But she didn’t really like putting in the effort. So I bought a barely used version of Handwriting without tears. But we did maybe one lesson in it. Then I finally realized. She writes and does a lot of copywork… especially in Language Arts and Math. So we haven’t really been pushing handwriting. Like I mentioned before, she is now writing stories or poems often on her own. She also loves drawing, so so I did buy her a couple more of the Draw Write Now books for Christmas. And she loves Art Hub on YouTube.

Other random things I planned to use but we haven’t touched this year:

Our Spanish books

Our Health book

Our Typing book

We are also done using TGTB for good. It is a touchy subject in the homeschooling blog and YouTube realm, but our choice is to be done with the company. I may decide to write more about in the future.

Thanks for checking out our curriculum update for our second year of homeschooling! If you are interested in seeing any of this curriculum up close, make sure to check out my YouTube channel. I go through parts of the books in my videos.

my YouTube channel

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2019

Intentional 2019

I have seen people through the years have a new word for a new year. I never considered doing this but started thinking about it a lot today on our 4 hour trip home from my in-laws house.

The word I came up with for 2019 is INTENTIONAL. The definition of intentional is done on purpose, deliberate.

The last 2 years have been crazy in our family. I felt like we were always flying by the seat of our pants. We have had to be so flexible and our plans have changed often. I know that we will still need flexibility and that only God knows the future. But I felt like so many things in our life weren’t completed to the potential it could have been because we were barely hanging on and surviving.

So I want to be intentional this year. What does this look like?

  • I want to be intentional in my walk with God. When I was a younger adult (because I like to think I’m still a young adult. 35 is still a young adult, right?) I had such a guilty feeling if I didn’t read my Bible daily. It wasn’t a desire I had but I felt I HAD to. I am slowly getting through this guilt and finding that I long to be in His word. So I want to be intentional with my devotions and prayer life. And I want my girls to learn from this and not have their own guilty feelings in the future. I want to get back into church. I’ve gotten out of the habit of Sunday School, Sunday night and Wednesday night services this past year. And let’s face it…Sunday morning worship services sometimes turn into a circus since I have loud kids sometimes. I need to be spiritually fed and I need to be intentional about it.
  • I want to be intentional in my marriage. I know I’m not as patient or as understanding as I should be. Some days by the time he comes home from work, I’m so stressed out. I check out some evenings instead of trying to spend time with him.
  • I want to be intentional with my girls. I want each of them to realize how special and loved they are by first God and by their mommy and daddy. I want to take the time to listen to them. I want to play games, do crafts, get messy and bake with them. I want to try to do more one on one things with each of them.
  • I want to be intentional in my friendships. I want to spend more time cultivating those friendships. Asking how they are doing. I want to have courage to make new friends. And to take the time to go on play dates (with kids of course), go out to coffee or to dinner. God has shown me a lot about true friends this year as I went through such a hard year. He has weeded out some toxic friendships that would likely cause me stress in the future too.
  • I want to be intentional in our homeschooling. I want to go on more field trips (they always ask for this) and set up more play dates. I want to encourage them in their interests. I want to have a better schedule where we complete all our subjects and still have plenty of time for reading, Bible time and games.
  • I want to be intentional with my health. I am realizing through my grief that I can’t ignore my body. I need to grieve. I need to cry. I need to go to counseling. I need to take my medicine. But I also need to stop ignoring healthy habits such as drinking water, making better food choices, eat less fast food and to exercise. I also want to make more time for me. Take the time for a bath instead of a shower. Read books. Stop escaping into TV shows to avoid reality (yes, I did that a lot in 2018).
  • I want to be intentional in my house work. I am not good at housekeeping. At all. Plus add in a small house, 4 extra people living here and lots and lots of stuff. It is almost always a mess. And when it is a mess, I get overwhelmed and just ignore it. I want to be intentional about cleaning. Including my girls in cleaning. And we need to purge. So much junk.
  • I also want to be intentional about our purchases. I guess we don’t really need 20 cereal choices. I also don’t have to shop a sale. We have so much stuff we could get rid of!
  • I want to be intentional with family time. I already mentioned more games, but I want us to go out as a family more (we typically avoid this because of our little active 1 year old). But I want to go on hikes. Explore places. Go to Holiday world. And have such a good time on our tentative trip to Disney/Harry Potter World. We have let so many of these fun family moments slip us by these past couple years due to having a newborn or my dad being sick. But I don’t want to keep pushing them aside. These things are important.

As I was thinking through this word, a Bible verse came to mind. So I think this verse will be our verse for the year.

So I hope I am intentional in my life this year…no matter what circumstances come our way. Bring on 2019!

Grief

Finding Joy

During this time of year we hear people say “MERRY Christmas” or “HAPPY Holidays”. We sing songs about JOY to the World, JOYFUL JOYFUL we adore thee or LAUGHING all the way (Jingle Bells). But these days I’m not feeling this joy.

Usually I love the Christmas season. I love all the church events and parties. I love the Christmas carols. I love giving gifts.

But this year, things are different. Tears now take the place on my face instead of my smile. This year, my daddy is not with us. And there are very few things that we do during this holiday season that don’t remind us of our big loss.

He decorated the house. He helped decorate the church. He organized the Christmas events at church. He conveniently came up at the end of mom’s ladies Christmas party to get some food. He organized the caroling and welcomed people into his home (of course with mom’s help). He wrote the Christmas cards. He sang with me on the Sunday before Christmas. He bought the silly stocking stuffers every year that I grew to love and appreciate. He dressed up as Santa. He read the Christmas story before we opened our presents (and usually quizzed us on it). He prepared and served communion on Christmas Eve (or the Sunday before Christmas). He was always there and always doing something. But he helped make so many Christmas memories.

Now this year, we are forced to make memories without my daddy. I don’t want to. I don’t feel very festive or joyful. But I know a couple of things.

1. God understands my grief. God is big enough and strong enough to hold me right now even if I’m not in the mood to celebrate this year. I’m not disappointing him. God made me who I am and God knew that the loss of my dad would hurt tremendously.

2. He is Emmanuel-God with us. Not only does God understand my hurt and my lack of joyfulness this year, but He is right here with me. He is holding me so tight.

3. He is the Prince of PEACE. When dad took his final breath on November 8, there was a peace that washed over our family. It was indescribable. Daddy was no longer suffering. And even still. I miss him terribly, but I have a peace that is beyond all understanding knowing daddy is celebrating Christmas in heaven.

So this year, I’m still searching for my joy and happiness, but that’s ok. I’m thankful I can rest in His peace though.

Uncategorized

Finding Thankfulness

It has been a long almost 2 years. I think it was spring 2017 when we found out that there were some complications with my pregnancy. I had to go to a neonatologist on a regular basis until they finally induced me July 31 (3 weeks early). Thankfully no issues came from the scare, but my stress level was high. Then I suddenly had a newborn to take care of, a toddler to attempt to potty train and a 6 year old to homeschool. When we finally started getting in the groove of things, I fell and broke my ankle. It was bad. I had to have 2 surgeries and ended up on a couch and not able to put weight on it for months. Then on December 14, 2017, our world was rocked. My dad went in to get his gall bladder removed but they found his abdomen to be full of cancer. This past year has been a rollercoaster. He had chemo treatments often, which usually left him sick and weak. He had about 3 months or so where he actually had an appetite and some strength. It was almost easy to forget he had cancer. Until he stopped having good days and the last resort chemo no longer worked. Then he couldn’t eat and continued to get sick. He lost weight and strength. His voice was raspy and he could only walk with assistance. We saw him fade daily. Then my daddy took his last breath here on Earth just 2 weeks ago today.

I could easily look at these past 2 years and feel sorry for myself and my family. But even in all these hard times, I can still continue to see God’s hand on our lives.

When we found out about my complications during the pregnancy, my prayer life increased. And I had to just give our baby to God. It was the easiest labor and delivery I have had with my kids and she was perfect! God knew we would need sweet little baby girl this past year. She has brought us many cuddles, smiles and laughs. And she was able to get to know her Boppa the past 15 months. She brought him smiles and laughter too.

When I broke my ankle, I had no idea how we would survive with me not being able to drive. But God worked it out. My husband was able to work from home for about 3 months. I ordered online groceries often and he would get them. I had to stop breastfeeding but baby girl did fine with a bottle. My parents helped out when they could. My dad even took the older girls to co-op even though he was starting to have symptoms of the cancer during that time. God provides during that time and i was forced to slow down!

And with my dad being diagnosed with cancer…we have seen God’s hand in this situation over and over this past year. My brother and sister-in-law are missionaries and are usually overseas. They came home the end of November…2 weeks before dad was diagnosed. My brother went with my mom and dad for his gall bladder surgery (when we found out about the cancer) so mom wasn’t alone. We were able to all be together and celebrate Christmas. It was bittersweet but still so good. My dad got an awesome oncologist and started chemo a few weeks later. My brother and his wife were able to adopt a little boy in July. This was right when dad started having a few good months. Dad loved that boy and got to play with him. We were able to take a couple trips to Gatlinburg all together and a few other small road trips. We homeschool and were able to be flexible with our schedule if we needed extra boppa time. Dad was able to retire in August and we had such a celebration. Many from out of town came in for the service and dinner. The church was able to hire a new Pastor that started the week that dad passed. And in the last few weeks, mom was able to be on FMLA to take care of dad. She was such a good caretaker. And my brother was able to help the last few days of his life. We were able to hear a few snippets of what he was seeing in heaven in his final days (this was so special to me).And I managed to be able to be at mom and dad’s an hour before dad passed and kissed him. We were all there with him and he passed before he had to go in and ambulance to a local hospice center.

This past year has been hard. We started grieving the loss of dad on December 14. And the real loss happened on November 8. But we had something that not many get. We had almost 11 months to laugh and cry together. To tell each other things we needed to say. To remember the past and reassure each other of the future. We were able to take so many pictures and make so many memories. I hate that we saw dad suffer so much this past year, especially the last week of his life, but it also helped us have peace. We saw how he wasn’t really living. The closer he came to the end of his life, the more he was focused on heaven. We know he is in heaven now, eating a feast, in a new body that has no cancer.

So today, my family sat down to a quiet Thanksgiving dinner with my mom. There were still tears. But there was still thankfulness. God is still good in the hard times and still carries us through. I’m so thankful for how He has blessed us, but most importantly, I’m thankful for the hope I have in Him.

Vacation

15 tips of a Smoky Mountain Trip

We went to the Smoky Mountains about a month ago and I had a few reflections after our time there. There may be some useful (and not so useful) tips for your Smoky Mountsin vacation.

1. Go back. Just because you’ve been to the smoky mountains at least 7 times before, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. There are still new memories to be made…every single time. Go back again and again. When we were trying to decide where to vacation this time around, we talked about Florida (during Hurricane season 😬), Nashville, and places IN Indiana and Ohio. While I’m sure there are tons of fun to be had at those places, we would need to figure everything out. There is something so familiar about the smoky mountains that made us decide to go back.

2. You need a vacation! If your husband has been working non stop for the last month or two on a project…a vacation is just what your family needs. The girls LOVED the extra special time and attention that daddy gave them during vacation week.

3. Family is so important. My parents and my brother and I have always been weirdly close. I’m sure there are other families that are close like us, but I’m not sure we are the norm. But it is so fun when we can actually get a vacation scheduled with all of us. There are now 10 of us. It isn’t an easy thing to book a week long vacation all together, but we have managed to do it 2 times this year.

4. Make the memories. I never really thought I have taken for granted the love of my parents and my family. But these past 10 months we have been much more intentional about spending time togerher and making memories. We have no clue how long dad will be with us, but I want to make sure we never wasted a minute and did all the things we could with him while he was here. This even includes him go cart racing with Craig and the girls on both trips this year. Even though he felt weak some of the trips, he made it the best he could.

5. Go outside. This seems like a given when you are in the beautiful Smoky Mountains but I didn’t really grow up hiking on vacations or playing in random rivers. But my husband did. And we have been trying to do these things with our girls. It is pretty fun to hike with a 5 year old, 2 year old while being pregnant with some light rain. There were some places I was pretty nervousof the edge. Or the time we were hiking while I had C in the Ergo and I fell. I scraped up my knee pretty bad and bumped C’s head. Those are not necessarily my FAVORITE memories of outdoor time on vacation. We have the time when we were hiking with C and a bear was super close to us in the parking lot (okay, that is a bit scary but looking back….it was so cool). Or the hike we took in the spring with all 3 girls and it started pouring. It was a short hike and we were drenched by the end but we were giggling. And then there is all our time at the river. Our favorite spot is at Greenbrier and across the street at a covered bridge. We try to go there at least once every trip. And those smiles and giggles are priceless!

6. Do your research. Most of the time, Craig and I spend a good amount of time going through cabins. Cabins have always been our preferred lodging so we can be away from crowds, have space to be with family and be able to cook our meals. We usually take into account the price (obviously), location, amenities (a hot tub and wi-fi), roads (we prefer not to go up/down steep inclines), close neighbors and number of rooms. When all 10 of us are together on trips…we prefer at least 4 or 5 rooms. Let me back track. I prefer 5 rooms. Baby girl A sleeps way better in her own room. And I sleep much better when she sleeps much better!

7. Go on a bear hunt. This is similar to the first point. Just go back. Cades cove is one of those places where we have been there, done that. But we Go back everytime mainly to look for bears! We take the long, curvy drive just to look for bears. But it is beautiful. And we still like the gift shop. And we almost always see at least 1 bear and horses. Plus it is so cute to watch the girls ride with theie heads out of the window so they can see some bears.

8. Choose restaurants wisely. I know there are so many must eat at places in that area. I wish we could squeeze them all in. But then we would likely be stuffed. And especially this past year, dad can’t eat too much for meals. Plus you factor in the CRAZY of 10 people and 4 of them being wild kids. It isn’t a ton of fun to go out a lot. Some of our favorites are: Big Daddys Pizzaria, Mellow Mushroom, Hungry Bear BBQ, Bennett’s BBQ, Fuddruckers and the New Orleans Sandwich shop. *Note: we did love going to Shakes and Dawgs for hot dogs but they appeared to be closed this last trip.* We dont usually go to all of these places, but we enjoy a few each trip.

9. Eat the ice cream. I’m not sure why, but it is almost always a must to go get ice cream on a regular basis. We like chunky monkey and mad dog’s creamery but really any ice cream will do!

10. Don’t waste your money. We have spent money on some things there that we regretted right away. At least for our situation (with younger kids and my dad being sick)…some things were not worth it. Money wasters in our opinion: Wonderworks, Ripley Believe it or not, Old MacDonald putt putt, and the Aquarium on a Saturday (it really is a great aqyarium, but it was absolutely no fun on a busy day). Many of these things we did because C begged, but we choose not to go back now. We have really enjoyed The Exotic pet zoo, go cart, going to see Santa at Santa’s Claus-et. Honestly, usually we have more fun when we don’t do a lot of the big touristy things.

11. Buy the shirt. I know I just said not to waste money, but a souvenir shirt is different. I think it must be a thing my parents started with us. I have a lot of shirts from vacations growing up. I love the memories associated with the trips. And now, I feel the same way with the girls. I can look at their shirts from Gatlinburg tripa and recall certain fun memories. I love it!

12. Go fishing. My husband really likes to fish when we are down there. Yes, I did even make the sacrifice one year of waking up at 6 am to go fishing. It isn’t my favorite thing, but I do it because he wants to. And I love seeing our girls have fun with daddy. They feel so proud when catching a fish. Even my dad caught his first fish last year while fishing with us in Gatlinburg.

13. Spray for mosquitos. The same annoying mosquitos you deal with at home are also annoying in the smoky mountains.

14. Go out for breakfast. Most breakfasts we make pancakes or eat cereal when we are at the cabin. But we have started a tradition where we go out for breakfast on the last day together. It is a fun/yummy way to end our trip. Even if my 3 year old picky eater said she would est the bear pancakes and then refused to take a bite when she got them.

15. Stay an extra day. There have been several times that my husband and I weren’t ready to go home. My parents and brother and his wife had other obligations, so we ended up getting a hotel room downtown Gatlinburg. Usually I am not a fan of spontaneity, but I love it in this case. We are usually able to squeeze in a few extra things we had hoped to do.

Go to Smoky Mountains! Have fun and make lots of memories!

Homeschool, I love Jesus, Mom life

Your conviction is YOURS

I’m not quite sure of the direction this post will go but I have some things on my heart that I need to get off my chest.

Recently, a book called Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis has become popular. She starts each chapter with a lie many women tell themselves and gives personal examples on why these lies are not true. I listened to this book on audio (in her voice) and enjoyed it. There were chapters that I really needed to hear and have kept me thinking. Other chapters weren’t really for me, but thats ok.

But lately though, I have come across different blog posts about how wrong Rachel is in her writing. Saying she didn’t lead people to Christ in her book. And it is now being reposted by many Christians pretty much bashing Rachel and her book. Maybe Even making people feel guilty for reading it and liking it?!?

I enjoyed this book. Did I draw closer to Christ from it? Nope. But I didn’t read it with the intent. It was more of a self help book. Do I feel guilty for reading it since I am a Christian? Nope. I actually read her 3 novels in the past year and enjoyed them and decided to read this book too. I enjoy her realness, her funny stories, and her hard work.

Many are feeling the conviction to not read this book because it is not leading people to Christ. That is fine. Don’t read it. But don’t judge other Christians if they don’t have the same convictions and do choose to read it.

Here is another example. Rebecca with Homeschool On ruffled feathers a few months ago. She had previously promoted a particular curriculum but after prayer and using it a while, she decided to quit using it because of HER convictions. She was bashed by many for HER convictions. If she feels God is leading her away from a particular curriculum for a particular reason…that is between her and God. Since then, I have seen many youtube videos of Christian moms attempting to defend themselves on why they still chose to use the curriculum. We shouldn’t have to defend ourselves! I was using that same curriculum and I didn’t have the same convictions as Rebecca. But I did feel God leading me to switch curriculum for other reasons. So I obeyed and I really think this school year has been great due to our switch. Even recently, a friend questioned something in this curriculum and seemed to open a hornets nest by questioning this curriculum. How can anyone have convictions or question this beloved curriculum? (Yes. That is sarcasm).

Really? We have enough on our plates. Let’s stop judging others for silly things and making people feel guilty for convictions.

Some Christians still let their kids dress up and trick or treat for candy 🙋 Yep, we do. Some don’t. We don’t “celebrate” Halloween, but we can still have fun. But if you don’t feel it is right for your family…that is fine! It is your personal conviction.

I know Christians who read or watched 50 Shades of Grey. For me, I had no interest in this. It is MY own conviction to not expose myself to this. But if you don’t share in this conviction, then that is fine.

Some have convictions about music or movies or even electronics. Some don’t. My husband is a computer programmer and grew up loving electronics. So we let our kids watch tv shows and play on iPad’s. It is ok if you don’t let your kids do that, but there is no need to bash others who do.

I can’t stand the song I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me. I can’t exactly pinpoint why but it instantly annoys me and I have to turn it to something else. And my favorite verse is not Jeremiah 29:11. I love my small church family and dont wish to go to a big church. We homeschool. I have a few ear piercings and no tattoos. I breastfed my first 2 girls for over a year but had to switch to formula after 2 months with my youngest due to my injury. My girls eat candy and sweets sometimes. My oldest is a huge fan of Harry Potter and Star Wars. You may feel or be the same as me and my family or you may not.

My whole point is you do you. I will do me. I will continue to seek God and follow the convictions He has placed in my life. And I hope that you will do the same. But let’s please stop judging others!

I love Jesus

When my dad is no longer my Pastor

My dad is retiring this weekend. To most, retirement is a happy and exciting thing to look forward to. But for many reasons, this retirement is very bittersweet.

We had plans in the coming years that our family would move closer to my husband’s family in Cincinnati. Since I’m extremely close to my parents, I really wanted to wait until they retired to move so they could move soon after us. And they were excited about it. But that move isn’t happening like we had hoped. My dad’s cancer diagnosis messed us all up! Now, my mom is continuing to work so she can get the great insurance for my dad’s chemo. And my dad’s oncologist recommended that my dad retire sooner than later. So with tears, my mom and dad announced their retirement a few weeks ago. It just isn’t the way his retirement should be!

 

This bittersweet feeling isn’t just about my dad’s diagnosis though. It goes deeper. My dad has been a pastor for 43 & 1/2 years.  Just in case you don’t know…that’s about 8 years longer than I’ve been alive. He has been my pastor my whole life (except for the few years I was away at college, Ukraine and living in Versailles, IN). I have listened to countless sermons from him…I was even a sermon illustration in many of them. I have been his partner in ministry with VBS, children’s Ministry, missions and youth ministry. He helped develop my love for serving others. I actually liked attending board meetings or district camp meetings to know what is going on in the church a little more. It will be super weird after this week to come to church that my dad is no longer preaching at.

But through the years, not only was he our Pastor at our church. He was our Pastor at home. He has always told us that his family was his first congregation and he lived it. He felt that if he failed us, he would have failed as a Pastor. He prayed with us. Loved us. He was super involved in our lives. I mean what other dad’s do you know who put their red sweat pants on (while still wearing their breathright strip on his nose) takes his kids to school. Or does his daughter’s ponytail everyday before school when her hair is permed. Or reads books and prays at their kid’s school. He made the time for us and he made us feel important. And he showed us the way to Christ.

 

So even though he is retiring from being a Pastor of our church, he will still be the Pastor to our families. We have no clue what the future holds, but I’m thankful that for my Pastor. And my daddy.

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The night before public school starts

2 years ago, we were prepping for public school to start. We bought all the supplies. Purchased the new clothes and shoes. Met the teacher. Labeled the million items. Packed the bags. Made contact with the bus driver. Packed a lunch. Cried a few tears. Took lots of pictures.

The first day for her was a pretty good day. But as the days went on, the newness wore off. She dreaded leaving mommy. She cried daily. This pregnant Mama’s heart had a hard time dealing with it! She made friends. She learned a lot, but we needed a change.

Homeschooling last year was rough. It still isn’t perfect everyday. But we have settled into a pretty peaceful school year. We do a lot more playing and reading.

On this night before many of my friends are sending their kids off to public school…I’m thankful. I’m thankful we didn’t have the anxiety this year as we began our new school year. I’m sure she would be so anxious and worried about starting a new year with a new teacher in a new room and a new schedule. I’m thankful that I can extend bedtime tonight because my girls were actually playing really good together. I’m thankful we can take our time getting ready tomorrow instead of rushing around and in bad moods. I’m thankful we have plans for some fun things tomorrow. Things that we can do together. I’m thankful I didn’t have to be super stressed out about finding all the supplies and labeling everything. I’m thankful I get to teach my girls. I don’t know if this will always be our life, but I am so glad for this homeschooling journey right now. I’m thankful for homeschooling.

Homeschool

2nd grade Curriculum for 2018/2019

Just a few short months ago, I thought I had C’s curriculum all planned out. If you read the post here, I had planned to basically use all that The Good and The Beautiful offered for a 2nd grader. The Language Arts, History, Science, and typing. And even just a few weeks ago, that was my plan. But things have changed a bit. I have still gathered curriculum from various companies, but we are actually leaning a bit more toward Masterbooks for core subjects. We are also going to have a better schedule as much as possible. Which includes what I have dubbed as “Fun Friday”. We will still do some math/reading but it may be more game oriented. This will also be the time where we really focus on Science, Art, our bigger Bible curriculum, and whatever else. Doing this brought me some relief because it just seemed like so much to fit into a daily schedule.

Here is our plan for the 2018/2019 for my 2nd grader!

Bible

Last year, I wasn’t very good at including Bible. I wanted to, but I had so many plans that didn’t happen due to our life circumstances. So this year, I have a plan!

We will use our daily devotional book from Word of Life (these are a previous years devotional that was for sale online at half the price). I bought one for C, G and myself at our own levels. They all coordinate with Bible verses. The girls love these devotionals and usually ask to do several days at a time. I can’t complain about them wanting to read more of God’s word together!

Word of Life Store link

For Fun Fridays, we will be working through Picture Smart Bible. I love this curriculum! I love that when we are done, we will have basically talked about the entire Bible! Every book has a picture and the parent reads about what parts of the picture stand for and it gives a summary of each book. To make it a little more interesting for the kids, they recommend cotton balls, twigs, cloth and whatever other crafty things you can find to glue to the pictures. It can take a little time and be a bit messy, but it has been a fun curriculum for the girls so far! There are free sample lessons on their website…so check it out!

Picture Smart Bible Link

Social Studies

I purchased The Good and The Beautiful History 1 and intended to use it this year, but decided to go a different route for now since my oldest is only in 2nd and she has plenty of time to focus on History. I decided to focus a little more on Social Studies and I LOVE what we picked! There is a newer curriculum called My Story by Masterbooks. It is Christian based and starts out talking about families, then communities, and then travels around the World. The lessons aren’t too long and there are a lot of different activities throughout the book. My favorite so far is a Family Tree after talking about Noah’s family on the ark. After receiving it and loving it right away, I have already pre-ordered My Story 2!

My Story by Masterbooks YouTube review

My Story 1 by Masterbooks link

I should also add, I attempted Beautiful Feet Around the World with Picture books for a few days, but it just didn’t click with our family. I know many others love this study, so check it out! It has a beautiful guide.

Spanish

I wanted to add in a little foreign language with my girls but not overwhelm them. I came across this book called 52 weeks of Family Spanish. There wasn’t much info on Amazon for this, so I did create a very non professional review of it so others could check it out. There are short lessons with only a few words to learn each week. I think it will be perfect to even include my 3 year old!

My YouTube review of Spanish curriculum

52 Weeks of Family Spanish Amazon link

I also purchased the complete book of Spanish workbook in case C would like to do a little more learning. I have also come across a YouTube playlist someone created by finding tons of short videos to go with the lessons in this book.

Spanish lessons YouTube playlist

The Complete book of Spanish link

Health

Ok homeschool moms. Do you ever come across a subject or curriculum that you didn’t even think about needing but someone suggested it and you decided you HAD to have it? Yep. That would be this curriculum. We haven’t started it yet, but I really liked it. And it is K-3 so it can last you at least 4 years! There are several options for each level and going a little deeper as they get older. It is called Healthy Living from the Start by Oak Meadow. This is not a Christian based company, but if I do come upon anything I don’t agree with in the curriculum, I will just skip it. 😁 I did a YouTube video on this curriculum.

Healthy Living from the Start Youtube Review

Healthy Living from the Start by Oak Meadow Amazon link

Sciene

We will be adding in Science a bit more than last year. We will be finishing up the Safety Unit that we started last year. C picked to do a Water Unit next, but the girls have developed a new love for bugs. I decided now is the best time to study bugs so Arthropods Unit it is! All of these units are from The Good and The Beautiful. I chose to print and bind these units myself to save a little money. I’m also adding other things to these unit guides. YouTube videos, activities I found on Pinterest, and other books. One is God Created Insects by Masterbooks. It is a sticker/coloring book and very detailed too!

TGTB Science units link

God Created Insects by Masterbooks link

Math

In March, we switched from Horizons Math to Math Lessons for a Living Education by Masterbooks. We love it and are sticking with it this year. The lessons are short (Charlotte Mason Inspired) and there aren’t a ton of problems to practice. C says she loves Math again! We are adding some extra games and flash cards in to really get her to remember her math facts. My original plan was to start her with Teaching Textbooks as soon as she can, but I think we will stick with MLFLE for a while!

MLFLE by Masterbooks link

I also purchased Mathematical Reasoning Level C by Critical Thinking as a fun supplemental. Many have been loving this curriculum, so I thought I would try it out. So far, we have attempted it one day during the summer and C was frustrated, but we will try it again soon.

Mathematical Reasoning by Critical Thinking link

Language Arts

This is where things are a bit crazy! In March, when we switched Math, we also switched LA to The Good and The Beautiful curriculum. It was a great change and I could definitely see C learning more than she had. We only completed about half of the level we were on and my intent was to finish that level this school year and then move on to the next. But I just felt this nudge from God to switch again to another curriculum. While TGTB is a great curriculum, I felt like we needed a little more open and go and simple. Some would argue that TGTB is exactly as I described, but there is still a lot involved each day (phonics cards, memory work, spelling lists, sight words, assessments, mini books, and the reader) and it got to be overwhelming. Masterbooks just released Language Lessons for a Living Education level 2. This curriculum seemed very similar to TGTB but less involved. The lessons are usually a page front and back. There are 7 spelling words each week and there are suggested extra activities to do in the back of the book. I did also purchase a Spectrum spelling book, but I’m going to wait to see if she needs extra practice before starting that. We are a few days into this curriculum and love it so far!

LLFLE level 2 by Masterbooks YouTube review

LLFLE by Masterbooks link

Handwriting and Typing

C is very interested in learning cursive. We have tried several things this past year, but she chose to do A Reason for Handwriting level C. This is a Christian curriculum. It is broken down by days and the first 3 they practice letters or words and then by the end of the week, they write out the verse on a piece of pretty paper they have in the back of the book.

A Reason For Handwriting link

I also purchased Typing 1 curriculum from The Good and The Beautiful. My plan is to let C do this at her own pace and when she wants to. I’m hoping she will do this more on her free time when I am working with her younger sister.

Typing by TGTB link

Thanks for sticking with me on this long post! I hope to get a YouTube video out showing it all in a video, but that may not be for a week or two. We started our new school year on June 19. So far, I feel like it is relaxed schooling but a better schedule than last year. Anything has to be better than our crazy school year last year (newborn, broken ankle and dad’s diagnosis of cancer)! I’m so excited to see how our sweet girls will grow in stature and wisdom this year!

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Spread a little love

Today at Walmart…there were very long lines. I dread long lines when with all 3 girls, but we had no other option. Thankfully the girls were all pretty well behaved during our shopping trip (because it doesn’t happen).
A mom behind me with an older girl started making small talk. “Don’t you just love this time of the year when shopping with school aged children too?”
I mentioned that I always have them in the store since I homeschool 😀
She talked about how much I should treasure these moments because it goes by quickly. She has 2 girls and the youngest just graduated this week. She said she remembers the hard and long days off when they were younger but they’ve gone by in a flash. We talked some about public school and homeschooling.
After I checked out, I told them to have a good day.
Know what she said? “You too. You are doing a good job mom”

Those few minutes of conversation may not mean much to her, but they meant the world to me. As a stay at home mom, I have very few grown up conversations each day. But this mom took a few minutes to talk to me. Not only did she talk to me, but she ended the conversation with encouragement. She built me up when I really needed it. Take a few minutes when you are out and about and encourage others. Talk to those moms who have their hands full. Don’t give them advice on what they should be doing different. Encourage them. Let them know you have been in their shoes. Tell them they are doing a good job. It makes a difference!