Friday, January 30, 2009

Staggering Along

Sky had her surgery on Tuesday and all went well. The recovery is taking longer than I had anticipated. Her swelling seems to be more as the days go by instead of less but I have been reassured that this can continue for up to a week or so. It's funny that I had it in my mind that we would get to do at least a few days of school this week! Ha! There is simply no way that Sky is capable of school at this point and its Friday!

I did manage to do a little Sing Spell Read and Write with Meadow, a page of math and a spelling lesson. She has enjoyed her time off this week! To be quite honest I don't feel my best either. I don't know if its the traveling and messed up sleep schedule or what but today I've had a headache that doesn't want to leave. I've taken Tylenol and am moving on to Motrin praying that something works.

So at this point the plan is to begin My Father's World week #10 on Monday.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I came across this on one of my homeschooling boards today and felt it very much worth passing along.

"How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about [arithmetic], and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone?"--G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Off Day

I guess we all have them. I know they hit here quite often, although I'm thankful that it has been a while. This week has felt so forced. I prefer flow to force. I've been thinking today and trying to figure out what has changed. If there is anything that is different. The girls are bickering and bickering and bickering. I get so tired of hearing it between them. I have them stop, we pray outloud together, they apologize, then hug. Then it starts again. There are moments I want to scream! These are the tough times in homeschooling. The times when if you allow yourself to, your thoughts can wander to thinking that the grass may be greener on the other side. Thankfully, I know better. So I hunker down, I pray, I cry, sometimes I yell but I stand. That is the most important thing. I REFUSE to give in and I REFUSE to give up.

I know the battle is hard because we are having great success this year and the enemy doesn't like it one bit. In thinking about causes or changes, the Lord has shown me a few things. One, the girls were very disappointed that it didn't snow. Two, Sky has upcoming oral surgery Tuesday next week, with doctor's appointments on Friday this week and on Monday next week. So, we will miss three days of school and that adds some pressure on me trying to keep us caught up. Three, our schedules have slipped some. I've had Aiden (he is the 5 month old little baby boy that my sister in law is caring for) last week and this week. Last week went well, this week its been harder with him. I'm not sleeping as well and I end up sleeping later or napping during the days which means our time isn't being spent wisely.

Tonight Meadow tested at 10:00 pm, Sky drew two of her art history summaries, she'll have to color them tomorrow. We didn't finish our music study on Mendelssohn but will try to get it in before Monday. I don't like schooling that late in the evenings and the girls don't either so that is frustrating to all of us. I know that I'll work to get us back on schedule and we will see better days. I mainly wanted to share with my readers that our homeschool days isn't always perfect!

On the up side of things we are learning about such interesting people! This week we learned about another missionary named John Elliot. John had a heart to see the Indians saved. He taught himself to speak their language, and he preached to them in their tongue. Many came to know the Lord and they became known as the praying Indians. Another interesting person we are learning about is Madeleine Di Vercheres. She was a very strong 14 year old girl who protected and held the fort that was her home for 8 days, from the Indians, until help arrived. We are reading deeper about her in our new book Madeleine Takes Command by Ethel C. Brill. We are also reading The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh, which is geared more for Meadow's age. The middle book is Meadow's last Sing Spell Read and Write book! Yep, you heard right! Her last one! She is on step 34 and should be completing the series by the end of next week. We are both so excited!

My favorite thing this week is our new hymn. It's called Alas, And Did My Savior Bleed, written by Isaac Watts. The version we are listening to is sung by Sovereign Grace Music on the Songs for the Cross-Centered Life album. I'm going to try and embed it below so that if you like you can listen to it. It's so beautiful, so deep and it just touches my heart so. I hope it speaks to you as strongly as it did to me. Have a blessed week!

Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed - Sovereign Grace Music

Monday, January 19, 2009

It Was Trying to Snow

It makes me feel so bad for the girls. We haven't had snow in so long and we all just long and pray for the Lord to open up the Heavens and rain SNOW down on us!!! Today it flurried for about 10 minutes. Meadow and her friend Mowpheth (pronounced Mafaith) ran outside to try and play a few minutes.

Meadow running trying to catch snow in her mouth!
Silly girls!

This is the only picture that you can really see the snow in.

Both girls had company last night so school was a bit slow going but we managed to finish our day. They are calling for a 70% chance of snow tonight so we are really praying hard that we get it. We have to get our school done by Thursday this week because we have doctor's appointments on Friday and Monday next week. Sky is having some oral surgery done on Tuesday so that will be three days that we'll be off schedule. I'm hoping to catch us up if Sky recuperates well.

Just for the record, if it snows tonight the girls will be playing in it tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

An Important Lesson

Our day today went well, it was very productive. We finished our read alouds in history and then the girls worked on their maps and Sky did a small sketch on a missionary named Jacques Marquette 1637-1675. We had never heard of him before, we are learning about a lot of people we had never heard of before.

Below is a picture of Meadow working on her own. I love the image of her working at her desk. She is completing her math, Sing Spell Read and Write worksheets and her Spelling from Rod and Staff.

This is a picture of Sky's and Meadow's maps and the sketch that Sky drew. The little books above the maps are replicas (not exact) of the New England Primer that was commonly used by homes and school in New England and other areas. It was printed in 1690 and widely used through the 1800's. It was a simple project but a good one that also showed the girls how different the language was then. They are creating very nice, full notebooks this year.

For me the real learning came tonight. I'm a planner, I love learning about different curriculum and figuring out what we will cover for the year, but in times past we haven't always completed everything. For the most part it was because I would tend to get lazy. The Lord dealt with me a lot on this last year so this year I seen a great need for a schedule. In my zeal I have plunged into My Father's World head on and added a few things of my own. Our days aren't what I would call strenuous but sometimes I believe my attitude is. I want things to go smoothly, which means no interruptions. I want them to listen and learn. I want to get it done.

So tonight we had a science lesson we hadn't gotten to today. I planned to use the hour before Meadow's bedtime to finish it with her. We are using God's Design For Life the Animal Kingdom.

So we pile up on the couch along with The World of Animals which we add in mostly for nice pictures and I begin to read. Meadow doesn't want to sit still, she keeps pointing to pictures in the The World of Animals making comments about this amphibian and that reptile. I started to fuss at her and all of a sudden I thought to myself, "What are you doing?" I closed my mouth and I let Meadow show me, I let her talk. Then she informed me that she wanted to read the science lesson for tonight. So she took The Animal Kingdom and she began to read. I was blown away. What had I thought? That this book was too hard for her? That she wasn't capable of reading and comprehending what she read? Yes she stumbled on a few words. Yes she asked the meanings of a few words, but I'm willing to say that she learned more tonight about amphibians and reptiles than she would have remembered had she been forced to sit and listen.

It wasn't that I'd never read about this, or heard about it. It wasn't that I had never followed their lead before. Its just that somewhere along the way I became so focused in getting school done that I had lost how real learning occurs.

Today was a good day. Thank-you Father, I pray that You continue to reveal to me and teach ME.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Drying out Corn

Meadow cut the corn off the cob. We were supervising and daddy helped out too!

Meadow carefully cutting corn off the cob.

It took a long time to dry so this picture was taken the next morning.

We couldn't eat it. It was too hard. Sandy Meadow's hamster enjoyed it!

Meadow plays with Sandy a lot!

Meadow loves Sandy!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Our Book Basket

This is a picture of our book basket. My Father's World has the neatest ideas! Marie created a book list for you to choose from. You gather books from this list and keep them in a basket for your children to go through at their leisure each day at book basket time. No required reading or work, just free time to look at pictures or read if they choose. You can take the list to the library and fill your basket and it cost you nothing. I was blessed to have found a lady who had done the leg work and had purchased all of the books on the list. She sold them to me at a great price and I have them on their own shelf and I rotate them in the book basket. Works like a dream.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Making Butter

I poured a pint of whipping cream into a 1/2 gallon mason jar and had Meadow and her friend from church Calli shake it until the butter began to form. Tony and I did take turns with them to help them in the process but still they worked hard! Their eyes just lit up when they started to see the butter.


Sweet Callie again.

Meadow really putting muscle in it!
Meadow and Calli shaking the cream together! They had such a good time!

Pouring the butter and buttermilk into a colander.

There it is BUTTER!

The girls actually drank the buttermilk. I couldn't stomach it. I've never been a fan of buttermilk! My daddy always crumbles cornbread up in a glass and pours cold buttermilk over it and eats it with a spoon. I just never took to it.

We talked about how cows were milked in the colonial and pioneer days and how the cream would rise to the top. Then they would take the cream and make butter from it. Things sure have changed as the milk we drink is homogenized and all the cream is mixed fine enough to leave it in the milk.

We took a field trip to a diary farm about 5 years ago. I think its time to try and schedule another one for Meadow. We will definitely be waiting for spring time and warmer weather!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Kingdom Academy Clock

This is a picture of my Christmas present from dear sweet husband Tony. Isn't it just beautiful?! He hand made this. He drew the design, then burned it into the wood. He stained the wood and finished it, purchased a clock kit, drilled the hole and hot glued the pieces on. Then he purchased the letters and painted them finally hot gluing those on also. I LOVE IT! I think it is so beautiful! I especially love the heart, hard work and time that he put into this. He would get up extra early on his workdays and on the weekends to work on this while I was sleeping. This was a huge sacrifice for him because he rises at 3:30 am during the week already and me, well I just can't imagine having to get up that early to begin with! He is a sweet special man. I love you baby!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Our School Room

Our school room and living room are combined. It is a very cramped living space. We have our computer and computer desk, our T.V. and couch, and my sewing machine and ironing board (which is temporarily in there because I'm currently working on a quilt). We don't have cable and cannot pick up any television stations. We turned our television off more than five years ago and it was the best decision that we have ever made for our family as far as family time. We do rent the occasional movie and I have tons of educational dvds and movies for the girls.

You may not believe this but even though the room looks very chaotic it is in fact very organized for me. These pictures are after the fall cleaning that I went through to get us ready to begin homeschooling again this year.

Do you see that shelf right in the middle of the floor in front of the couch? (You are seeing the back of the couch here with folded blankets on the back. We do our bible and history on the couch and snuggle in the blankets each day!) The shelf contains everything I need to get to complete our school day. The shelves lining the wall are so packed it was too confusing to remember where our needed material were. I have a friend who was throwing this shelf out and she gave it to me. It was perfect for me to put everything on and its easy to get to. It slides easily and I often move it close to the couch so I can reach it without having to get up. I read from so many different books that its easier than trying to lay everything on the couch or in the floor.

I really need to purge my bookshelves, dust and straighten them but its such a huge task I keep putting it off. As you can see I have a pretty nice collection so trips to the library aren't necessary. For us, I found that library days took so much time away from our schedule that we weren't able to finish our days. I also do not like venturing out in the cold a lot in the winter so it helps in keeping us in. In the spring we will go to the library as a treat, but I really like NOT having to go.

This is view from the front of the couch. I have cardboard stacked against the wall between the wall and the shelf on the end for projects. The back wall you see is actually the hall and I have collaged some of Meadow's work there. You can see the girl's desks too, these are used mostly for storage. They each keep their own notebooks and workbooks so they don't get lost through out the house. They do use their desks to do independent work too.

The good news is that in May when my oldest daughter marries and flies the coop I will have another room. Her room is actually a den. It's a huge room. It's the length of the house, it has a fireplace and carpet. Tony is planning to put in gas logs, paint and put in new carpet for me.

I have debated for the last couple of months on whether to move the living room into the den or the classroom into the den. My front door comes into the hallway you see there so Tony wanted the living room to remain in the front of the house. If I move the school room that will mean moving every single one of those books shelves. I have six. There isn't one single wall in the den that would hold them all and I would have to separate them. The more and more I've thought about it the more I've decided that it will be easier to move the living room. After all peering into this room how much moving do you think we'll have to move? Not much!

The tall table and chairs and television will go. I haven't decided on the computer. I think I'll just leave it in the classroom since the girls do use it for school. In all actuality the classroom will not change that much. However, the living room I could design myself. A new living room suite would be gorgeous! New curtains and blinds. The only drawback will be having to walk through the hallway and the kitchen to get to it. I don't think that drawback is big enough!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Birds Nests

Finally! It took me long enough to get to this project. It wasn't hard, it was actually pretty simple, and fun! It isn't really a fancy birds nests, I didn't do enough research on them to see that having jelly beans and maybe a peeps chick would have made them prettier, until after the fact! LOL! We had fun just the same. Here are some pictures of Meadow and her friend (who is also homeschooled) Christopher.

They were a little camera shy.

They enjoyed crumbling the Shredded Wheat

Look how hard they are concentrating

I think they had more fun eating them but I missed getting pictures of that.

Do you know what an owl pellet is? We are studying owl's and have just learned about how they eat and digest their food. I did not know what an owl pellet was. Now we all do. I can't wait until we have a few pellets to arrive in the mail so we can dissect them! I'll bet you can't wait to see the pictures!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Great Week

I am so happy that this week was well accomplished. We were able to finish up week 6 in My Father's World by Wednesday. We doubled up on our reading and did a little homework so that we were able to take Thursday and Friday off. One of the books we are really loving is called American Pioneers and Patriots, it contains wonderful humorous stories. Another one that we are loving is Story of the World, Volume 3, Early Modern Times. I also have the cds for this and I really enjoy listening to these as it eases my work load too. :)

The girls have had friends over, so the house has been full of laughter. I love these times! Last night I fixed a new dish called Pasta Carbonara at The Pioneer Woman's Cooking with Pastor Ryan. It was a winner here and there was not a morsel left!

Today Meadow and I are going to make an edible bird nest with shredded wheat, those crunchy Chinese noodles, peanut butter, and melted chocolate. I'll post pictures later!

God is so good!

Happy New Year!