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 :(