Saturday, November 1, 2014

There's a First Time for Everything...

Last night was the very first night my kids had actually ever gone trick or treating...door to a neighborhood.

We live on a tiny little dead end street and the other 2 kids who live on our street go trick or treating elsewhere, so we've always just gone to Fall Fests and Carnivals at either our church or other churches.

This year, our church tried something different. And it was awesome! We and several other church members went to a friends house. She lives in a very popular trick or treating neighborhood. We passed out hot dogs, water, balloons, glow sticks, and candy....can't forget the candy ;)

Before the night was over, we were completely out of glow sticks and balloons. Those 2 items were a hit!

The jar with the glow sticks had a Bible verse on it about Jesus being the light of the world. How cool is that?!? Many parents actually read it and commented about it. And, along with the candy in the bags, we also added a small card inviting the kids to come to Awana. Awana is a super fun activity our church offers on Wednesday nights. You can come for a free meal, play games, hear Bible stories, learn Bible verses, and earn awards. The kids love it!

Sometime during the evening, my kids got to go trick or treating...and they had a blast! This was also a great time to talk to our kids about safety ;) We knew several other people in the neighborhood so it was nice visiting with everyone. At one house we went to, my kids just started playing a game of basketball with the other kids at that house while the parents chatted. 

Back at our friend's house, her yard was so full of kids running around, playing football, or just having fun, we couldn't tell the neighborhood kids apart from the church kids. Some kids didn't have anyone walking around with them and others were just dropped off at the neighborhood entrance, so it was great to have a safe place for those kids to go and hang out, eat some food, get a drink, or just rest.

Some people might frown on participating in anything "halloween" related or anything taking place 'outside' of a church carnival or festival. With this being our very first time in a neighborhood trick or treating, I have to admit, I was a little hesitant myself. 

A friend told me several days before tho...."Satan doesn't own Halloween. He doesn't own any day." We have to search our own hearts and convictions and question why we are doing what we are doing. 

Some people might say Satan is getting glorified when others participate in ANY Halloween activities. But is this really true? I personally do not think so. At least not for the people who don't put the focus on evil and dark things. Sure, there will always be those people who choose to put the focus on evil or Satan or witchcraft. They are going to do that regardless of what day it is. We need to be aware those things are going on and we need to pray for the people involved in those things, but should we let those people stop those of us who want to glorify God on this day? (I also took the time yesterday morning to talk about Reformation Day and Martin Luther. This was a pivotal point in church history that is so often overlooked and overshadowed by everything else going on.) I don't want to hide away, lock up my doors and turn out my lights, I do NOT believe the day belongs to Satan and it CAN be redeemed by God. 

What an awesome time to be a witness of God's love and light to others! I so wish I lived in a big neighborhood (at least on Halloween I mean, what other time are people willingly going to come to your door looking for a handout?....well, mainly candy, but what a perfect time to give them something more :) Not in an 'in your face', 'shove it down your throat' kind of way either ;)

Last night was about food and drink for tired and hungry kids and parents, a safe place to sit and rest, an invitation to church, bright yellow balloons, and glow sticks with a simple reminder that Jesus is the light of the world. Last night was about getting to chat with old friends, meet new people, and share life with others. 

We loved it and we look forward to doing it again next year!

**Each Christian must search his/her own heart and convictions. It's a matter of conscience before God. Regardless of our levels of participation, we must remember to honor God in all that we do. **

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I decided to visit my blog today. I haven't been in a while - just haven't had the time.

I read through several posts that were never published (which is probably a good thing ;)  ). Sometimes I just like to get everything out and written down without telling the rest of the way of venting I reckon.

School is in full swing and has been for about a month now; lots of changes taking place this year. 

My daughter is taking competition dance classes at a Christian dance academy. We are SO thankful for Steps of Faith. If it wasn't for this academy, she probably would not be dancing anywhere. The music, the costumes, the movements, etc all bring glory and honor to God. 

My son is in band again. The intermediate band he was in year before last fizzled out. He plays the trumpet. He is excited, but he wasn't thrilled about starting over in a beginner band. It will be good for him especially since he needs the practice after not playing for over a year. His band instructor is great and very experienced; she can meet each child where they are at regardless of skill or experience.

We let go of MFW (for now) in order to try out a fairly new fine arts academy that includes history, art, music, and drama. Letting go of MFW was REALLY tough for me, but I didn't let go completely ;) We plan to add in several of their recommended read-alouds for the 1850's to Modern time period this year. The kids seem excited about Artios Academy - my daughter more so than my son, but I think it will grow on him. If not, we'll change gears and try something different for next year.

We changed math curriculum. We are now using Dive in conjunction with Saxon - so far so good. The work load has doubled (and the kids weren't thrilled about that, but they are adjusting). It is a more thorough curriculum than what we had been using. It gives my daughter the continual practice she needs on past skills and challenges my son to do more difficult problems.

My daughter will also be in an art club this year. She absolutely loves art! I can't really draw, nor do I like to (probably because I'm no good at it), so it will be nice for her to get some solid instruction from an experienced artist.

Then there's 4-H. We are trying that too this year. I know, I'm on overload this year! I'm still trying to figure out how we are going to juggle it all. People who say home schoolers have socialization issues must have never home schooled before because my kids have SO many opportunities to be out and about and around all people groups and walks of life that we have a hard time finding any down time nor can we fit everything in that we'd like to do or be a part of. Anyway, this 4-H group is more for my son. There are TONS of boys in this group, which is awesome, because it is hard to find groups with many boys. They have rocketry, robotics, shooting sports, fishing (possibly), and lots more. There are plenty of things for my daughter to participate in as well, but her plate is already so full that she may not do much outside of the once-a-month club meetings.

There's also AWANA on Wednesday nights at church. LOVE AWANA! The kids memorize Scripture, play fun games, and hear Bible and mission stories. 

They also have an opportunity to be in children's choir, although they are signed up, we haven't made up our minds completely about it yet...just don't know if we can fit it in with everything else we have on our plates :/ We'll just have to see how it all goes. 

We dropped a few mission activities the kids and I had been doing during the day and replaced them with activities we all (including dad) could be involved in. We are looking forward to doing missions together as a family this year as well as focusing more on the people right around our neighbors :) 

Everything kicks in this, 4-H, Artios, band, etc... This month will be a trial month and we will make the final determination of what ultimately stays or goes. I don't want to be so busy that we don't enjoy anything and just feel like we are running from place to place. If it all works out the way I have it planned out in my mind, it will be fine. 

Ha! We'll see...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Why I LOVE Homeschooling!

Oh, there are so many reasons...where do I begin?

I'll start off with a quote I came across a few years ago. I absolutely LOVE it and it sums it all up in a nutshell. Of course, I'll add my own reasons below this as well ;)

"In short, I homeschool because I can’t. I homeschool because He can. I homeschool because “in my weakness He is strong” (1 Cor. 4:10). And I homeschool because “He is able to do immearsurably beyond what I can ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). I homeschool because it gives me a front row seat to the miracles and faithfulness of a mighty God." 
-Rachael Carman-

I love having that front row seat... Every. Day.

1. Flexibility - We can take off from school when my husband is off from work and with a husband who is off every other Friday, this is awesome! Need time off for a surgery, an illness, a family getaway while all the other kids are in school? Easy-peasy!

2. Schedule - Rearrange each day according to your family's needs. Most days, we'll stick to the schedule and start school in the morning and finish just after lunch. But what if you need to go to a doc appt before you start school? Not a problem. Do you need to run a few errands in the middle of the day or gather that last item for a science experiment? You're covered. Do you need to drop everything to go help a friend or relative? Done :)

3. Control - I know exactly what my kids are learning. I get to pick from some of the best curriculum out there. If something isn't working, we can change it :) I know exactly who is teaching and discipling my kids. If a group, club, or instructor/teacher does not line up with our spiritual values or meet our needs, they can be removed or changed.

4. Opportunities Galore -  My kids have so many options of things they can be involved in 
that we have a hard time picking and choosing. It is amazing just how many extracurricular activities there are out there. Plus, lots and lots of mission opportunities!

5. Togetherness -  Let's face it...this world keeps up pretty busy. I love that I can spend a good part of the day together with my kids. For the most part, my kids get along really well together because being together is an everyday thing for them. Don't get me wrong, we have some knock-down-drag-out sibling rivalries as well, but that is not the norm.

6. Biblical Worldview - I love that the Bible can be woven throughout every single subject all throughout our day. 

Those are just a few of my reasons. What about you? What do you enjoy most about homeschooling? 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Weeks 26 to the end...

Here are a few highlights from our week...

I'm behind...again. This seems to be my norm now. 

Between a week of vacation, a week of testing, various family members in and out of hospitals, shuttles to and from doctor visits, newly acquired bees, a dance recital, and rocketry camp...some things just had to give and my weekly posts about school was one of them.

Instead of writing about everything, I'll just post a few photos I managed to snap to sum up what we did our last weeks of school. 

Also, check out Jennifer's video playlist for Weeks 26-34. Lots of good ones in there. 

When you get to Week 29, check out the Angry Aztecs video clips on You Tube. There are some pretty entertaining ones ;)

Hard to believe, by the time I got around to actually posting this, that summer is well under way and planning for our new school year has already begun.

I hope you guys have a wonderful summer!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why I Home School (Part 3)

Don't get me wrong, I never doubted the Bible for a second. I knew what my parents told me was true. I know what I learned in church was right. I knew the Bible was correct, but how could I meld the two worlds together though without giving into the idea of evolution and millions of years or fit the churchy-biblical historical events in with what I was learning in history class at school? 

I couldn't. At least I never really sorted it out while in high school. I never realized that some of the historical figures we learned about in high school history class were some of the very same ones I learned about in Sunday school. I didn't understand how the dumb cave dwelling people fit in the timeline with the intelligent individuals (Adam and Eve) God created in the beginning of the world. I didn't understand a lot of things then :/

I was never taught apologetics or how to defend my faith. I recall disagreeing with some of my teachers on certain things, but how could I explain it to them as to why I believed what I believed other than saying, "Because the Bible says so." I guess I felt helpless in a way. I did not feel properly equipped. And I grew up in church! I knew every Bible story forwards and backwards. I could rattle off all the books of the Bible and win every Bible drill, but I could not defend my own faith against some of the lies I was being taught in school. Because of all this, I really didn't like history or science in school. I did well in the classes, but I didn't like or enjoy them...especially history...I really despised history.

I also didn't understand how I had teachers who professed to be Christians or who I knew went to church, but taught some of these lies to me or simply left God, the Bible, or creationism out of the equation all-together. Not all did this, but some did. Oh boy! I sure could get off on a tangent here about a few teachers who utterly destroyed their Christian witness not only with this, but also with their behavior, language, and actions in the school...but that's not what this post is about ;)

It's about discipleship and I wanted my kids to be taught and discipled by people who loved God and were not afraid to share the truth. I wanted my kids to be taught by people who were not perfect, but admitted when they were wrong and strived to be a good example of Christ and His love. I didn't want them growing up being confused. I wanted them to see through the lies of millions of years and evolution, understand not just that it was wrong, but why it was wrong. I wanted them to understand how Bible history fit perfectly in with "school" history.

Around the same time that the enormity of what God had called me to do in homeschooling my kids hit me, I was introduced to a curriculum called My Father's World. It had Christ infused throughout every subject. They were learning apologetics...and at such a young age! They were made aware of the lies out there and understood why those lies were wrong. They were learning how to defend their faith. History made sense to them...history made sense to me :)

I felt like I was back in school right along with my kids learning the way I should have all along...and I loved it! 

And for the record...history is my absolute favorite subject now ;)

***Now, if you do not homeschool your children, please do not get offended with what I have posted above. This is about my life and what God has shown me that I needed to be doing. I am in no way trying to tell you what you should or should not be doing with your own children, only God can do that. He has a plan for each of our lives and His plans are not always the same for each person.***

Why Do I Home School? (part 2)

I don't exactly know when my reasons started to change. I do recall speaking at an informational meeting about homeschooling several years ago and crying halfway thru because... I guess the enormity of this task God had called me to had finally hit me.

I recall telling everyone God knew why I needed to homeschool before I really knew why I needed to homeschool. I recall talking about a book I recently read called, Kingdom Education, by Glen Schultz.

It wasn't just about tailoring school to each of my children's individual needs, it wasn't about being able to pick out the best curriculum, it wasn't even about being able to slow down when things were hard or speed up when things were easy. It was so much more than that. 

It was about discipleship.

Bible verses like Deuteronomy 6:5-9, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" 

and Luke 6:40, "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher", flooded my mind.

I thought back to some of the teachers I had in school... I had some very good teachers, but I also had some very bad teachers. Did I really want my children trained and discipled by some of those people?!? 

More so than that...did I want my kids going through a school void of any mention of God?

This was a big one for me. I grew up in church. I was there every time the doors were open. I know what was taught in the Bible and I also know what was taught in school...and I was so utterly and completely confused.

More on this in the next post...

***Now, if you do not homeschool your children, please do not get offended with what I have posted above. This is about my life and what God has shown me that I needed to be doing. I am in no way trying to tell you what you should or should not be doing with your own children, only God can do that. He has a plan for each of our lives and His plans are not always the same for each person.***

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why Do I Home School? (Part 1)

This week, I have been thinking a lot about educational choices...the good, the bad, and the ugly for all the options out there. 

I then started zeroing in on the choice we made to homeschool 7 years ago. Wow! Has it been that long already?!? I started thinking about my reasons for homeschooling our kids and they have changed quite a bit over the years.

First and foremost, the desire or calling God placed in my heart to home school my children has been there from the very beginning and that desire is still going strong. Don't get me wrong, we do have rough days...days where we are all getting on each others nerves, days when nothing goes right according to the plan/schedule, days when I wonder what it would be like to have some time all to myself while my kids were away at school in order to clean, organize, work out, I don't know, just anything. All. By. Myself.

 My son was a very "eager beaver" when he was younger. He wanted to learn his ABC'S, learn to read, learn to write and more pretty much when he started talking. Having been an early childhood teacher before he was born, I had tons of supplies and curriculum stored in my cabinets at home. So, we started doing a few fun educational things at the house. He was doing a pre-K program by the time he was 3 and pretty much a Kinder program when he was 4. By the time his 5th birthday rolled around, we just could not see putting him in public school. He was already so far ahead and I knew he would have been bored. So, we started him on into 1st grade at the age of 5 and he is still going strong and will be entering the 7th grade this coming school year.

My daughter is just 16 months younger than her brother. Things were a little different for her. Oh, she loved to "do school" with her brother, but she was not as eager about! I started a pre-K program with her when she was about 4 and she moved right on into Kinder at age 5. She struggled some with the letters of the alphabet. She kept writing certain letters and numbers backwards and she'd even spell and read things out of order just enough to get me to start reading everything I could about dyslexia. One book in particular, The Gift of Dyslexia, really helped me to help her through those struggles. My daughter did not end up being dyslexic or anything, but the things I learned from this book were very helpful for her. She is doing very well and will be entering the 5th grade this coming school year.

As I look back, I remember being very thankful that I was able to home school my son, because we could move at a faster pace to meet his needs, and my daughter, because we could move at a slower pace to meet her needs. Because of this, I am happy to report that both of my children are very much ahead of where they should be age/grade wise :-D

Public school is one size fits all. I remember teaching in the classroom and feeling like there was never enough time to get to all 22 students each day. There was no slowing down for those kids that needed just a little extra time nor was there any speeding up for the others that needed a faster pace. You had a schedule to stick to and there was no wavering from it. Sure, you could ask the parents to work on the things they were behind in at home, but that was rarely ever done. You could sneak in a few extra minutes here and there to work one on one with certain kids, but there was never enough time. I am thankful that I didn't feel backed into a corner with my kids as I did with the kids I taught in public school. 

Somewhere along the line, things started to change for me; my reasons for homeschooling began to change...

***Now, if you do not homeschool your children, please do not get offended with what I have posted above. This is about my life and what God has shown me that I needed to be doing. I am in no way trying to tell you what you should or should not be doing with your own children, only God can do that. He has a plan for each of our lives and His plans are not always the same for each person.***

Friday, May 23, 2014

You're kidding me, right?

Ahhh, good ol' Fannie Mae. You know, the Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac from several years back who's poor business choices cost tax-payers loads and loads of money? Yep, she's still around. Why Fannie Mae is still in existence baffles me. But I digress...

We went to look at a house yesterday. We've thought about getting into the home renting business. This one was close to us, in a decent neighborhood, at a decent price, with easy access to pretty much everywhere.

The house was not in the greatest shape, which was to be expected...severely outdated, with lots of flooring and baseboard damage. We looked past that though and saw potential. New flooring throughout, new paint - everywhere, update bathroom and kitchen, and you'd have yourself a cute little rent house. 

Problem was, this was a Fannie Mae house being sold as-is. This get nothing! - NO history as to what had ever happened in this house and NO idea of what condition the house was currently in. As we went over the house with a fine-toothed comb, we saw there had been water damage in several rooms in the past, but from what? The house was not in a flood zone and was higher than the rest of the yard and comparable to the level of the other houses in the area. The electricity had been long since disconnected and part of the meter removed, so there was no way to see if anything worked - lights, air conditioner, fans, etc. and the wiring was in terrible condition already. The water was turned off so no way to see if there was some crazy leak in the wall, if the toilets flushed, or the sinks drained. We could already tell with the standing water in the bathtub there was a severely clogged drain somewhere.

As we walking around the outside of the house, we saw remnants of termite tunnels along the base of the brick. None seemed active, but how much damage had already occurred? A large storage building was rotting away on the property and would need to be demolished. The best thing about the property was the yard...about 1 acre, beautiful trees, good coverage, and very level. Then we came to the bay window, everything about it screamed problems. The window was rotting out (which also contributed to some of the water damage inside the house), tons of caulk and mold everywhere, and part of the brick came out! The hubs shined his flashlight in there and saw lots of rotting wood and termite damage. The roof was metal and not in the greatest shape which most likely contributed to some of the water damage we saw on the ceiling...couldn't get into the attic to look around b/c the ladder access was gone. 

This house was looking worse and worse. I asked the realtor, IF we wanted to proceed with the house, what would we do next. 

Put an offer on the house and if accepted, put $500 down as earnest money.

Next, home inspection. Before we could ever even get a loan from the bank for the house, it had to pass inspection. The buyer typically pays for the inspection so no biggie there. Well, you can't inspect the house without running water and electricity. Who's responsible for that cost? NOT Fannie Mae. The buyer interested in the house would have to pay all that money to get water and electricity turned on. Ok, what next? Well, if the home inspection revealed serious issues with the house that causes it not to pass inspection, those would have to be fixed and brought up to code before a bank would sign off on the loan. Who's responsible for those costs? NOT Fannie Mae, the buyer is. 

So, what's wrong with all of this? You are in essence paying for work to be done on a home that you do not even own. You have to put who knows how much money into a home that is not even yours, but it is what you have to do if you want to make it yours. In essence, you are paying to fix up something someone else (the government) owns. 

You're kidding me, right?

That just doesn't set well with me. Sure, we could pay for the inspection and to have the water and electricity tuned on, but if the inspection reveals terrible things, you just lots upwards of $800 or more depending on how extensively the electric company would have to work to get the meter box and electricity reconnected if you decide not to continue.

Say you do decide to continue...then you'd have to pay for a termite treatment if active termites are found. You'd most likely have to update several of the electrical and plumbing components to bring the home up to code to pass inspection. That's at least another $1000 (and that's on the conservative side of things) and who knows what horrors this home inspection could reveal costing you $1000's more. 

What next? You could ask Fannie Mae to come down on the price, but why would they? Suckers! You've already sunk tons of money into a home that wasn't even yours. You're not gonna walk away now, so what is there to motivate Fannie Mae to come down on the price?!?


After hearing all this, we decided not to proceed with this house, but I feel sorry for the suckers that do :/

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 24 & 25 - Marco Polo, Black Death, and Joan of Arc

Here are a few highlights from our week...

Art for weeks 24 and 25 cracked me up...not because of the assignments the kids had to do, but because of the products they created. In week 24 art, the kids had been annoying each other and had just gotten in trouble when I handed out this assignment. So, none of us were in a very good mood when they went to recreate this image and, as you can tell, any attention to details went right out the!

When they were finished, I asked to see their work. I laughed so hard and this made the kids laugh too. Then we all stopped being mad and just laughed at what they had drawn.
Super skinny with short!

The tiny head of the joker on the body of  a fat man. My son's picture cracked me up the most!

In week 25 art, the kids had to recreate an image of The Crucifixion

and Lamentations
Look at the smaller faces on the side...hilarious!

LOL @ the little monster faces in the box ;)

When we started discussing Marco Polo and his journey to China, the kids immediately picked up on his name and the swimming pool game they sometimes play. Naturally, we looked it up...and according to most things I came across, this is where the game originated from. Interesting stuff!!!

A fun interactive map/game about Marco Polo's journey to and from China.
A video about Cheng Ho

We learned about the 'Black Death' and how recent studies show this plague may have been spread through airborne particles instead of fleas on rats.

Here are several videos about the plague.
Horrible Histories: Plague Report
Horrible Histories: Peasants Plague
Horrible Histories: Plague Song
5 Horrid Things about the Plague
Plague Song

We also learned about the history of the Battle of Agincourt through a short video and song, and learned about Joan of Arc through Horrible Histories and a song.
The kids are learning about Venus in Week 24 and Earth in week 25. Aleeya is continuing with the planet painting activity. My son made the radar in astronomy co-op class and it really was worth all the work it took to make! It helped the kids (and me) better understand how scientists can tell what the surface of the planets look like without ever having to physically set foot on the planet.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Week 23 - China, Haiku, and the Samurai

Here are a few highlights from our week...

We opted not to paint a Diptych because it was so similar to the Triptych the kids painted from last week and the kids already got the jist of it. Instead, we saved our Haiku activity for art time.

I think the kids did a great job!

Sorry, I cut off part of the says, "some have eyes and some do not"...pretty clever ;)

I had never heard of Peter Waldo and the Waldensians. It has been both fascinating and sickening learning about the early Church of Rome. With so many atrocities being committed by the supposed Christian Church in that time, it is easy to see how the Reformation period was ushered in.

Here is a link to the art of a Japanese Samurai Warrior Dance.

Sumo Wrestling  to which my daughter said, "Inappropriate!"

Last week was the sun and this week is Mercury. Both of the kids planets are coming along nicely. My son has been working in astronomy all year long and his planets are stored at co-op until the last class day. My daughter is doing hers at home though b/c she is not in the astronomy class at co-op.

We did not complete any of the projects on Mercury b/c the kids still remembered doing these same activities from a few years ago when we studied astronomy.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Opinions are like....

Ok, I WON'T finish that!

I know the only opinion that matters is God's.

But I think, because I know that my every move is being scrutinized by certain people, I feel like I have to prove myself sometimes. I think a lot of home school moms feel this we have to be overachievers or something.

I look around at what the homeschool moms are doing in my church and my community and the things they accomplish blows my mind. 

I had a conversation with a retired public school teacher recently, who knows me and a few other homeschool moms, who questioned me as to how we (homeschool families) are able to get school in each day on top of all the other extra things we do and are involved in. I can't speak for others, but I did share with her how we do things. I hope I helped to ease her mind that we (well most of us) do take school seriously and we strive to give our kids the best education we possibly can all while sharing the love of Christ with others. 

Anyway, back to the overachievers club...Lately, I have begun to feel overwhelmed. I even admitted to this in that conversation that I am bad about piling one thing after another into my schedule as the year goes on.

I love the things that I am involved in. I love teaching Sunday school, helping with Kids for Christ, volunteering at the local crisis pregnancy center, being involved in our church's apartment ministry and clothing closet, helping in Awana, teaching in our home school co-op, and all the other things on my list. 

When my kids were younger and school took a fraction of the time it does now, I had more time to do a lot of these extra things. This school year, when my son hit the 6th grade...time slowed down A LOT and there just didn't seem to be as many hours in my day as there used to be. I don't think I was prepared for it. I just don't feel like I am giving 100% in all the things I am involved in anymore. 

Recently, I visited a friend's blog titled 'A Million Skies'. She posted about ministry. You can check it out here.

It really made me stop and think...educating my children at home is a family is a neighbors are a ministry. Sometimes, I can get so busy ministering to others or listening to others define ministry for me that I miss ministering to those closest to me. I think this is part of why I am feeling overwhelmed. I haven't had time to keep my house up like I need to, no time to plan and cook meals like I need to, no time to do those extra fun things that make homeschooling special, no time to stop and visit with my neighbors, etc. 

This doesn't mean I have to give up all the other things that I love doing. It means I need to be more intentional and choose things that I can give 100% in - not just half-do.

It means, I need to stop caring what other people around me think and focus on what I feel God leading me to do. I don't have anything to prove to anyone. I don't have to be super-woman. 

It's ok for me to just be a mom, wife, homeschool teacher, neighbor, and friend. Other areas of ministry will fall into place too, but they don't have to overwhelm me.


I am a former public school teacher.

I resigned after having my first child to stay home with him. A year and a half later, along came my daughter. 

Fast forward a few years and my then son 3 year old is begging me to teach him to read. So, we start doing preschool at home. By the time he was 4, we were doing a full fledged Kinder program. It came time to enroll him in public school, but he was doing so well and loving home schooling that we decided to continue on with that and my daughter fell right in with us doing her schooling at home too.

As the years went on, my husband and I continued to pray about what to do and we felt God giving us the o.k. to continue homeschooling. My kids are now ages 9 and soon to be 11.

As a former public school teacher turned home school mom/teacher, other public school teachers either like what I am doing or they don't. Very few are middle of the road or don't really care. It's pretty easy to figure out how they feel even if they don't come right out and tell you simply with how they treat you. Of course, others will just come right out and tell! Often times, they turn it into a -vs- kind of thing pitting homeschool and public school against each other. 

Why do people do that? How to educate your children is a decision all parents make. Public school? Charter school? Home school? Christian school? It's a decision, but it's not a competition! And which category of people get the brunt of it all? The home schoolers. Charter schooler, Christian schoolers, and especially public schoolers...they all get a free pass.

I have actually had a few public school teachers and public school parents tell me (and know many others who think it) that our public schools are in the condition they are in because of the increasing number of home schoolers, Christian teachers resigning to stay home with their kids or to home educate their kids, or any number of other excuses. They say we have dropped the ball.

Ummm, I'm sorry, but people who choose not to take advantage of public school or teacher moms who choose to stay homes with their kids are most certainly NOT causing the issues the public schools are facing. 

I get it. They need someone to blame. We are easy targets. We are the scapegoats.

I have a little brother who attends one of the local public schools. I care about my little brother and I try to stay involved with what is going on in his school. One of the ways I do this is by participating in a club once a month called "Kids for Christ". We sing some fun songs, tell the kids a Bible story, and send them on to class with a smile and a little seed planted that will hopefully be watered by someone else along the way :)

I know it's just a small part, but I am at least trying to do my part. Now - back to these condescending teachers and'd think these same people would be doing everything they can to reach the public school kids for Christ then, right? 

You'd think they'd be all too willing to participate and help with these clubs, right?


Who participates in these Kids for Christ groups that meet at 3 of the area schools? Retired adults (some of them retired teachers), home school moms, and moms who's kids are in christian school. Who does NOT participate (at least in the school we help in)? Christian moms of the kids who attend that school, the Christian teachers who teach in that school, and even many church-going kids who attend that school.

Does anyone else see the irony here in all of this?!?

Now, I know that these Kids for Christ groups are not the only way to show others the love of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are to live His love out every day in everything we do.

I don't know...I guess I just get irritated sometimes. I can do a million other things to show kids the love of Christ, but because I am not teaching in the public school or don't have my kids in the public school, in their eyes, I have failed.

*I feel I should add in a little update/clarification in here as well. Of course, not all public school teachers and public school parents are against home schooling or think badly of people who home school. I know many who are encouraging, supportive and totally ok with it and I am truly thankful to have them in my life :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Week 22 - The sun, melting chocolate and a sunset/color experiment, and a FREE Ancient China Lapbook

Here are a few highlights from our week...

We watched a 5 minute video about Israel's history. The kids thought it was pretty entertaining ;)

Here is a FREE lapbook all about ancient China.

Here is a link to several short 1 and 2 minute videos about the Great Wall of China.

We also watched a silly song about Chinese Dynasties as well as viewed some pictures and video footage of the terracotta warriors.

Here is a video about the Old Silk Road.

We also learned about the sun and watched a video showing the revolution and rotation of the sun, earth, and moon. There was also a catchy little song that immediately follows about the sun.

Here is another song about the planets.

We also completed 2 experiments. We melted chocolate using the sun's heat and a magnifying glass and we also showed a sunset demonstration

Read Aloud
Here are the video links to the daily readings for Dangerous Journey/Pilgrim's Progress:
Part 5 - The Valley of the Shadow of Death
Part 6 - Vanity Fair
Part 7 - Doubting Castle
Part 8 - The Dark River

We also went on a field trip this week to see Dino-Light put on by the LightWire Theater that was featured on America's got talent. The show was really good, but the story line was a little hard to follow. Of course, the kids loved the dinosaur light saber!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Week 21 - The Crusades, Knights, and Robin Hood

Here are a few highlights from our week...

Well, things are getting back on track. We are really trying to get back into the swing of things and get a good routine going again not only with school, but chores and gardening as well. Yay for gardening and warmer days!!!


We had a foam sword activity left over from a lesson I taught at church, so the kids made those along with their Coat of Arms shields. They had a lot of fun putting on mock battles and did a wonderful job on their swords and shields.


This week, we started reading from John Bunyan's Dangerous Journey (Pilgrim's Progress). Both of my kids had read simplified versions of this book separately in previous years, so it will be nice to be able to go through this with them all-together this time around. With all the history and Bible read a-louds called for in MFW, my voice was beginning to conk out on me. So, it was a blessing to come across this book as a read a-loud through video - complete with pictures and all. I let the kids follow along in the actual book as well since the pictures are much more vivid.

Monday - p7 - Slough of Despond
Tuesday - p32 - The Interpreter's House
Wednesday - p42 - The Hill Difficulty
Thursday - p52 - The Fight with Apollyon


Netflix has a video called Torchlighters: The John Bunyan Story that would be a great addition to Monday's Trial and Triumph reading about John Bunyan.

You can also listen to St. Bernard of Clairvaux - "O Sacred Head Now Wounded"


We finished the castle!

We also watched a few videos this week about:
castle life, nasty knights: castle defenses, nasty knights: templar, Medieval Scottish Wedding, and the Magna Carta.

Netflix has the animated Disney story of Robin Hood as a 'watch it now', so...we watched it ;)

We also watched short Mickey Mouse video clip of their rendition of the William Tell Overture.


We are on to astronomy now and will be here for the remainder of the school year. My blue eyed boy has been taking an astronomy class through our home school co-op, so he has been working on several extra astronomy assignments since the school year started.

I purchased solar system craft kits. As we get to each planet in our lessons, we are going to paint that particular planet. At the end of the school year, we are going to put the solar system model together.


Over the weekend, we spent lots of time doing things the kids wanted to do. We went on a field trip to the Houston Museum of Health and Science. We met a lot of new homeschoolers and the kids had a great time going through the exhibits as well as running around at the park. It was the perfect time to go because all of the exhibits were about the Human Body which is what we just finished learning about in science :) 

We played several basketball and shooting games, water balloon games, and made a huge slip n slide. We put soap and water all over it, used their large inflatable pool/beach float, and flew down the path. Well, I didn't. It was still a little too chilly for me to get that wet, but Dad and the kids!

My son helped Dad cook some amazing baby back ribs and my daughter and I spent the entire day sewing. Of course, I haven't sewn in YEARS, so the early part of my day was spent reading, watching videos, and reacquainting myself with the machine and sewing. it slowly came back to me as the day went on. And boy does my back hurt!!! My brown eyed girl has been begging me for quite some time to learn to sew, so with all the rain on Saturday, that was the perfect time to stay indoors and teach her. She did really well! She made several outfits for her doll, made a pillow and bedding for her doll, and made some sort of bag as outlined in her little sewing book she got last Christmas.

Weeks 17-20 - Can you tell I'm running behind?

Here are a few highlights from our week...

Well, I knew it was going to happen eventually. It usually does and I start to poop out a little over halfway through the school year. We are going full-speed in life and in school and I just can't seem to keep up with these weekly posts. I'm going to try to do better...

Art hasn't been bad. We pick and choose which lessons to complete and we have combined a lesson or two as well when applicable.

They did a wonderful job on their stained glass window art. Neither are very Medeival-ish though. My daughter is into horses and drew and colored this all on her own. She is very talented and we are so blessed to be joining a history and arts homeschool group this coming school year. I really think this will help to feed her passion. My son likes to draw as well and is actually really good at engineer-type drawings, if that makes any sense, so I hope this group will bring out more of his "artsy" side.

We have been enjoying reading from Trial and Triumph about all of the people who have made an impact on the world for the Kingdom of God. These people have not been perfect my any means, but despite their flaws, God used them to further His kingdom just like He does with believers today.

We have moved from Saxons, Normans, and Vikings and are now learning about castles, kings, and queens of the Middle Ages. There are tons and tons and tons of Horrible Histories you tube episodes to watch about Vikings, Saxons, Normans, and monks. Just go to You Tube and look them up. The kids enjoyed all of them and some of them are quite funny!

We are just beginning to make our castle. I know we are a little behind on this project, but all the pieces are cut out and we will begin the construction phase shortly.

My daughter had just had robotic pyeloplasty surgery the week before, so learning about the urinary system fit perfectly with what was happening in our lives and her life at this time. We added the kidneys, ureter tubes, and bladder to our skeletal models and as we did, we talked again about the procedure she had done to correct the birth defect in her ureter tube and about the stent she had to have in for the next month running from her kidney, down through her ureter tube, and into her bladder.

We also finished the human body and the model. Next week, we move on to astronomy.

The Wonderful Way That Babies Are Made was also on the schedule to discuss. My husband and I had already had small talks with each of our kids about this, my son more so than my daughter, but we discussed a little more than she was aware of this week. My daughter had lots and lots of questions about everything and my son just wished he were somewhere else when this discussion was taking! I still have a few of the more intimate details to go over with my daughter, but I'll save that for a time when my son is not around so he doesn't have to get "grossed out" all over again ;)

I voted in the March primaries. It was a great time to remind the kids how democracy/democratic process works, why it is important to research who to vote for, how those people are elected to their positions, and how the whole voting process works. We didn't just vote though, we also helped one of the candidates by labeling fliers to send out before the election as well as holding up signs on voting day.

Oh, and the kids each got a new chick...since a few of our others were eaten by a raccoon :(