Thursday, August 8, 2013

Taking the Unwired Mom 2 Week Challenge

I have joined Sarah Mae's Unwired Mom 2 Week Challenge.  While I don't feel addicted to the internet, I have jumped down the "rabbit hole" and watched 5 minutes turn into an hour or more.  I want my children to have memories of me interacting with them - not seeing me hunched over a laptop or racing to answer a text.

When I worked outside the home, I was tethered to my work phone - 24 hours a day.  I really noticed the impact after I was done working.  I no longer needed to be tethered to my phone and I had the luxury of answering calls and messages as desired.  But it took my family over 6 months to get used to this new found freedom.  The phone would "beep" and one of my children would go running for my phone and rush it to me - "here Mommy!"  I felt so sad, and a little angry.  What had I done to them?  What was I teaching them?

Fast forward a year or two, and they have calmed down on the phone.  But now there is the internet and Facebook - good tools if used wisely.  A plethera of information is literally at our fingertips - recipes, crafts, birthday ideas, answers to questions.... But do I really need to know what Susy fed her cat for dinner?  (Okay, I am exaggerating here....slightly)  There is SO MUCH information it can quickly become TMI - TOO MUCH INFORMATION - and overwhelm and muddle our minds with needless input.

Over the past few weeks I have been sensing the need to stream line and guard more carefully what information "goes in".  The Holy Spirit knows exactly what I need to know.  If I will listen, He is always faithful to guide and help me (and you).  I am reminded to go to Him first, not the internet where I can easily slip down into that rabbit hole and emerge an hour later thinking "where did I just go?"

When I saw Sarah Mae's challenge, I jumped in.  I think my children will enjoy this challenge with me.  And what a great way to gear up for the new school year - spending 2 weeks practicing being present with my most cherished blessings - creating a new habit of enjoying the moment WITH them.

So, ready or not, here I go!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Our Curriculum for 2013-2014

More than ever, it is burning in my heart that my children (and my husband and I) come to an ever deeper heart knowledge of God, so that we can be strong and boldly carry out all that He has for us to do.

Daniel 11:32b NKJV
but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

With that in mind (and deep in my heart), I am endeavoring to tailor our "school" around our theme of "Knowing God".... We may get to everything on list list, but probably not.  We will endeavor to be led daily by the Holy Spirit - delightfully discovering God, His amazing creation and His purpose for us through our studies this year.

Family Devotions: daily Proverb, prayer & time of worship (we have our favorites that we sing together)
Bible Memory  (also handwriting/copywork) - something I am putting together that will focus on our relationship with God.
Child Virtue Bible
The Beginner's Bible
We Choose Virtues
It Couldn't Just Happen - Fascinating Facts About God's World

Language Arts
All About Spelling 2
All About Reading 2
AOP LifePac Language Arts 5th grade
Institute for Excellence In Writing - Student Writing Intensive B, Bible Based Writing Lessons, Rockets & Radar Writing Lessons
IEW's Fix-It Grammar
IEW's Phonetic Zoo
Bob Jones Explorations in Literature

Singapore Primary Math - 1B, 2A
Singapore Primary Math - 5A & 5B
Math-U-See Zeta
Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra
Right Start Math Games

Christian Kids Explore Creation Science
Neosho Chemistry I & II
Apologia General Science

The Mystery of History III

Mango Languages - free through our library
Home Economics using AOP LifePac
Health (5th grade) using Abeka
Art and science experiments provided at our local children's and city museum
Free online typing lessons - Dance Mat
Soccer and dance

Broken down by grade -

2nd grade
Family devotions & Bible memory
The Begnner's Bible
We Choose Virtues
Calendar Time
All About Spelling 2
All About Reading 2
Singapore Primary Math 1B through 2B
Noeo Chemistry I
The Mystery of History III
Art, science experiments, and soccer

5th grade
Family devotions & Bible memory
Virtue Training Bible
It Couldn't Just Happen
AOP LifePac Language Arts 5
Adventures in GrammarLand
Singapore Primary Math 5A-B
Christian Kids Explore Creation Science
Noeo Chemistry II
The Mystery of History III
Art, science experiments, and soccer

6th grade
Family devotions & Bible memory
Virtue Training Bible
It Couldn't Just Happen
IEW Student Intensive B, Rockets & Radar
Adventures in GrammarLand
Fix-It Grammar
Phonetic Zoo, Spelling City
Math-U-See Zeta
Christian Kids Explore Creation Science
Noeo Chemistry II
The Mystery of History III
Art, science experiments, and soccer

8th grade
Family devotions & Bible memory
Virtue Training Bible
It Couldn't Just Happen
IEW Student Intensive B, Bible Based Writing Lessons
Fix-It Grammar
Bob Jones Explorations in Literature
Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra
Christian Kids Explore Creation Science
Apologia General Science (2nd half of book)
They Mystery of History III
AOP Home Economics
Mango Languages

I have linked up with the 5th Annual Not Back To School Blog Hop - to see what others are doing, click here.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I thought I had a resistant reader. Turns out the words on the page are not cooperating!

For those of that may have a "resistant reader" ....

I have had the hardest time getting my youngest to read. He can sound out almost any word and he is a good speller, but ask him to read a simple book or even a sentence - forget it! Finally one day he told me that the words "bounced" on the page. After he was tucked into bed I did a google search and came up with this -

Low and behold there were pictures of words that showed various vision problems. The next day I asked him if any of these pictures were what he saw and 2 of them were (the ones that depicted eye tracking and eye teaming problems).

So I found on the HSLDA website a link with ways to do preliminary testing at home for problems. I did the tracking test and sure enough, his little eyes bounced and did not seem to track properly. (My little guy was not just being lazy or defiant about not reading!)

Well, while waiting to get him formally tested, I stumbled upon some online exercises to try with him. Here is the link: Saccades

I hope this helps someone and I am interested to hear any other suggestions or experiences regarding reading and vision that you may want to share.

Blessings! - Lisa

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Today I Will....

Today I will take time for what really matters:

Take time to enjoy God's presence.  To see His gifts everywhere and enjoy the wonder of His goodness.

Take time to enjoy my children, precious gifts from Him.  Focusing on building relationships and enjoying this season that I have been given with them, for time passes quickly and I do not want to miss a thing.

Take time to focus on character before curriculum.  Checking my heart, what do their hearts need today to be successful?  Science lessons they may eventually forget but the heart instruction that forms lasting character will go with them for life, and their success.

Take time to focus on blessing my husband.  What can I do for him today that will bless him or make his life easier or more pleasant?

Take time to focus on others.  Being ready to offer encouragement and help to whomever God leads me.

Take time to receive GRACE from heaven to be the woman that God created me to be.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Big Move

I cannot believe that it has already been 4 weeks since we arrived in New Mexico.  Time sure flies when you are having fun!  At the same time, it seems like we have been here longer - and it fits.  This is funny because if you would have asked me if I ever would have imagined my family living "out west" my answer would have been a definite no.  Up until recently I did not like the west, cowboys (except my 6 yr. old dressed up as one because he is irresistibly cute), and especially not western movies!  However, God must have been preparing my family because for the last year or so my husband and 4 children religiously celebrate "Western Saturday" by snuggling in and watching shows like "High Chaparral," "The Virginian," "Big "Valley," and "Bonanza."   I have even been roped into "Dr. Quinn" reruns!

Well, I am falling in love with the West, and the people here.  Making such a big move was a giant leap of faith for our family.  Yes, we have moved out by some of our very closest friends whom we consider family and our kids call "aunt" and "uncle" - but everything else was "God, we are trusting that we are hearing from You and that You are leading our steps."  Jeff did not have a job yet and we did not have a place to live.... and I sometimes wondered, "Will we fit in there?"

Well, I am thrilled to share that Jeff does have a job, he is a store-manager-in-training at a local book/entertainment venue.  God has provided in jaw-dropping ways for our family.  We  have a home - a ranch actually - on 6 acres!!!  (More about that later.)   We were blessed with groceries to restock our pantry the night we unloaded our moving truck, which was a huge blessing since I have given most of our pantry items away to friends before we moved.

What we see some mornings in our front yard.
We had been down to 1 vehicle for almost a year and were making due.  Someone came up to us and handed Jeff and I each a key - we were so confused - an explained that we needed a second vehicle so I could get around with the kids while Jeff was at work.  A Chevy TAHOE!  Jeff and I were speechless with our mouths hanging open.  How does a simple "thank you" work in that situation?

The next week our children were given a new trampoline, a big blessing since we live "out" and it gives them lots of exercise and play time.  They are never bored between the trampoline, the long road for bike riding, and the neighbor's horses.

And, best of all, we LOVE our church and it is a FIT for us.  This has been the EASIEST adjustment for our 4 children - they are so happy.  God is just SO GOOD and FAITHFUL.  (Good news - He is no respecter of persons.  He wants you to experience His goodness and faithfulness in your life too.)

I feel like I can breathe again......

How has God shown His goodness to you?  Please share!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Our Homeschool Room!

This is the first year (in 6 years) that we have had a whole room dedicated to just homeschooling!  Thanks to my wonderful husband for the idea and help to make this happen.

Grammar wall with write-on wipe-off area for day's sentence, and weekly Root words and Spelling info.
 15 foot timeline! Plus a space for everyone.  We may switch to individual desks in the future.
 1st grader's area with easel (he likes to move so standing for many things is better for him) and separate desk for 7th grader and mom to share.
 Table for 4th and 5th grade sons to share (and 1st grader too at times)
 My teacher tools crate
 Each child has their own color coded crate with their work inside
 And a mini color coded crate for supplies
School crates are on the floor next to their spaces
Curriculum closet - Top shelf has past schoolwork, Then we have supplies and crafts, to the left are shelves for science, math and history.  In the middle are more supplies and a shelf for language arts.  To the right are shelves for learning games and sewing supplies.  Everything is in here  except for readers.  Readers are in the living room in bookshelves.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Last Days of Summer - Fun - Try This at Home!

It has been a scorcher in the Ozarks this summer and very few days have been spent outside.  Talk about Cabin Fever in a whole new way!  Finally, as our planet is moving on it's orbit around the Sun, we have had a break in the weather with some cooler days and much cooler nights.  (Insert huge amounts of gratitude here!)  And so, the boys (and girl) can once again venture outside for the  better part of the day and I am grateful that our school principal (aka Daddy) has reminded me that school NEVER officially starts until after Labor Day.  This gives the teacher (me) a few extra weeks to prepare for a stellar year (by His grace) and the children some extra time outside gathering in vitamin D while playing and breathing deeply of fresh air.  There are noises of nature all around us, a beautiful chorus singing to our Creator.

And then, what is that EXTRA noise?  We don't have any motorcycles in our neighborhood.
Ahhhh, it is MY boys!   Take 1 bike and 1 empty water bottle and you can transform said bike into a noise-making, motorcycle-imitating machine!